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Relentless Water Changes and No Results

This is a discussion on Relentless Water Changes and No Results within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I have been at it with this tank for a whole month now, the ammonia levels read 4.0 which I ...

Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate Discussions on tanks, temperature, filters, gravel, lights etc.

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  • 1 Post By Cacique
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Old 13th August 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I have been at it with this tank for a whole month now, the ammonia levels read 4.0 which I know is super high, I used ammolock to detoxify the ammonia. But, I do water changes and literally the reading doesn't change I don't know what to do... So, I'm turning to you guys because these daily 40% water changes are not helping me out at all. They still are eating and I clean up their poop whenever I clean. What do I need to do to fix this mess I've created. I have bamboo, a marimo, and a plant in here. I just don't know...



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Old 13th August 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

What kind of filter media do you use in your filter? Are the plants doing good or do they look like they're dying?

The only thing I can advice right now would be to do a bigger water change to see if that helps, maybe as close to 100% as you can? Also if you use regular filter cartridges with carbon that could be screwing up with your cycling. I use filter floss/quilt batting and a pre-filter sponge or sponge in the filter too for more biological media.

Also, do you have any substrate? My sand would get quite dirty so gravel-vaccuming it works great there. I would also check near the plants and under rocks and decor/hides to see if there's any missed poop or food that could have been thrown up or missed.



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Old 13th August 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I have a Tetra Whisper 20i so yes, it's carbon based. The problem I have with sponge filters is that the air pumps make so much noise. My plant is budding with new leaves, and I have black sand on the bottom that's a pretty thin layer. My tank is a 20 gallon long tank with 3 axolotls.



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Old 13th August 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

Are your axies in the tank? They need to come out right away. If the ammonia is 4 ppm it's very toxic to them. It's best to cycle the tank without axies in it so they won't be harmed and you can let the ammonia get pretty high -> the cycle is ready faster.



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Old 13th August 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

You don't have to use a SPONGE FILTER..... just sponge inserts IN your filter. If you have a sponge filter, you can use a tiny power head to run it with a spray bar to diffuse the current. That would solve the noisy air problem. Or, you can put porous biological media in your filter or in a filter bag and lay it in your tank. (I would name them, but there are so many kinds!!!) You can even get some that are already in little bags that may fit inside your filter.

The point is, you need somewhere for your bacteria to grow and multiply. The more surface you have for the bacteria to grow on, the better. Sponges are GREAT For that since they have so much surface area throughout.



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Old 13th August 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I have taken out my axies and they are in a tupperware container. Now what should I do with the tank? Should I change the filter as it's really gross and my whole tank is covered in white stringy (bacteria?) stuff.



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Old 13th August 2014   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I would try just wiping things down inside, making the "stuff" free-float in the water, then use a siphon to clean it out, if it bothers you. Personally, I would leave it since the axies aren't in there, and see how the water parameters change over the next few days. The more you clean, the longer the cycle takes.



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Old 13th August 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

Good news is that they are still eating in their temporary home, each of them ate a sill earthworm each Now, it's just a waiting game.



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Old 13th August 2014   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

Also, your tank is overstocked, you should have 2 axies at most in a 20



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Old 14th August 2014   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

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But, I do water changes and literally the reading doesn't change I don't know what to do...
If you test the water parameters, remove half the water and replace it with clean, treated water, and then test a few minutes afterwards, the levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates should be half of what they were a few minutes prior. If that's not the case, something is amiss in the process or the test kit.

Then, as time goes on, those levels will rise again (which will necessitate another water change) until the biological filter is established. The more water you have per axie, the less often and/or less water you'll need to change out.

Are you reading any levels of nitrites or nitrates?

Without introducing previously seeded tank filter material, it will usually take more than a month to complete a fish-in tank cycle. Maybe several months. Fish-in cycling usually also is done with a lightly stocked tank, versus an overstocked one.



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Old 14th August 2014   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I would recommend forgetting about the filter inserts, they're pretty pointless and a waste of money. I don't have the same filter as you, I have Tetra Whisper ones in most of my tanks. I used filter floss where the carbon insert is and put a filter sponge over the open intake hole, so it uses the pre-filter sponge instead of it's cover.

Another option is just to put a piece of sponge, you can buy any aquarium sponge and just cut it to fit and stick it in where the filter cartridge goes.



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Old 14th August 2014   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

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Originally Posted by Xtophr View Post
If that's not the case, something is amiss in the process or the test kit.
Excellent point.

Have you tested fresh dechlorinated water? Could be your test kit or your water that's the problem!



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Old 14th August 2014   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I also forgot to ask; how is the bamboo plant? I've read in several places that they're not fully aquatic, so it could be dying maybe if it's fully underwater and messing with your water quality? If it is submerged, you could try raising it so that the top of it is outside of the water.



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Old 14th August 2014   #14 (permalink)
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After doing a little more research I realized that while I use the "lucky bamboo" that it's not actually a true bamboo but is semi aquatic. The leaves need to be out of the water to grow. Any other bamboo will rot.



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Old 14th August 2014   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

Does that mean the bamboo you have is not the lucky bamboo you see in all the pet stores? Sorry just making sure I got that clear lol.

I had constantly seen these little bamboo at all the stores and wanted some but I don't like the idea of an open top tank too much.

If you were interested, I find water sprite I think it's called to look quite a bit like a miniature version of bamboo.



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Old 15th August 2014   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I'm curious as to why the ammonia level is going up so high in the first place. I'd expect three axxies in a 20 gallon tank with no filtration at all to put the ammonia up to no more than 2.0 in a day, maximum*. Yet yours is double that. Maybe you need to cut down on the feeding as well?
*based on my experience of having to temporarily keep mine in uncycled tanks.



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Old 15th August 2014   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I've been feeding once a day for a while now to try to cut down. My bamboo is only partially submerged the top is sticking out meanwhile the bottom is buried in the sand. I got it from Petco. I've had my axies out for 2 days now and I tested my ammonia levels without them in it and it's reading higher now. I'm thinking I just need to clean out the whole tank.



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Old 15th August 2014   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

Quite confusing. I would try doing a large water change, maybe remove your axie and put in a separate tank and do like 80% water change. I'd say 100% but you have live plants. Maybe do that and test and see if that does anything?

I think I already asked this, but did you flip decor around and dig through all that to see if there was any food or poop that might have gotten pushed under something?



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Old 15th August 2014   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Relentless Water Changes and No Results

I decided to take almost everything out and wash it in some of the water I took out, I stirred all of the sand around in the tank and it is now murky and I'm unable to see anything. The axies have been out of the tank for 2 days. There has also been a lot of stringy white (slime?) coming out of everything and stuck on everything.



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