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View Full Version : My 1st Axolotl - advice


benh
27th August 2009, 17:49
Hi everyone, this forum looks like a very informative and friendly place :happy:
I'm getting an Axolotl soon, and just wanted to go over a few things if you'll bare with me.

What I've got:
Tank - 2ft x 1ft and just over a foot high.
Filter - cheap internal filter off e-bay, does 100L/hr, has a spray bar which I angle to run down the side of the tank.
Substrate - Some large pebbles from the beach, a piece of slate, some marbles (thought they looked pretty cool)
Plants - Elodea, and something which looks very similar?
A smaller secondary tank, for when I clean out the big one.
Thermometer.
Plant pot which i'm turning into a little hidey-hole.
A net to fish out waste etc.
Some litmus paper to test the waters Ph levels.
A wormery, so I can dig out some juicy Earthworms!

I was planning to get my Axolotl from here http://www.exotic-pets.co.uk/axolotl.html - along with some pellets.
So, do you guys reckon I'm all set? Or am I missing anything - or anything you think sounds like a bad idea?
I've read conflicting information about how often, and how much to feed the Axolotl. I'm planning to feed it a diet of earthworms and salmon pellets.

Sorry for rambling - thanks for reading everybody!!
P.S. I'm really paranoid about electricity and water lol. I bought the filter off a Power-seller on ebay, and it's working fine and has a 3 amp fuse in the plug - just anything that plugs straight into the wall and sits underwater worries me a little... am I just being silly? :blush:

Kerry1968
27th August 2009, 20:58
Tank sounds just fine, as does the filter.

The pebbles from the beach, were they well scrubbed before you put them in the tank? I would clean them with a bleach soloution personally, then rinse LOTS! Marbles not a good idea, they'll be OK while your axie is small, which I believe they are from Exotic Pets, but pretty soon they will be mouth sized for your axie. Also having large stones in the tank make it hard to keep the tank clean as waste accumilates (sp?) underneath, which means a lot of moving around of stones to clean. Up to you on that one!

If you get plenty of plants in they provide good cover, look pretty and help with the nitrate levels.

Smaller secondary tank, fine, but you won't need to do a complete clean on your tank, as in empty it out. You can do the majority of your tank maintenance with the axolotl in the tank. If you are removing all the water and hides etc, you will be taking out all the beneficial bacteria, which will help keep the tank healthy after you have cycled the tank.

Thermometer and plant pot good, make sure there are no sharp edges on the pot, more than one hide is always good! ;)

The net can be handy to collect up any debris, a turkey baster works wonders too!

Hmmmm.....litmus paper? I've never heard anyone test their tank with litmus paper, but OK! You need to be also checking the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites.

Wormery, fantastic!

When axies are little they need to be fed daily, how much is difficult to say, but you're aiming for a nice full tummy! In the axie not you! ;)

I understand your concerns about electricity and water. A healthy respect and common sense is all it needs.

Welcome to the world of axolotls! They are VERY addictive, I now have 6!

Don't forget to show us pictures when you have your little one!

benh
27th August 2009, 22:02
Thanks so much for the thorough information Kerry1968 (http://www.caudata.org/forum/member.php?u=5855) :happy:
Some very helpful advice!

I think that sand looks really cool, but thought that it would be tricky to clean and maintain... didn't really research it much though. Being a somewhat poor student, I've generally bought most things on a budget, and already had a tonne of pebbles to hand.

I definitely foresee more Axolotl's and bigger tanks in the future! :D
I'll post some pictures soon.

bitenomnom
27th August 2009, 22:19
If you end up wanting to use sand instead, that should be fairly inexpensive. You can just use "play sand" that is meant for sandboxes and the like. (Just rinse it through well before putting it in so the water doesn't get so foggy!)
How large are the pebbles? (To me the word "pebble" just has an implication of small so I'm trying to envision the size of a large pebble.)
I have sand in the bottom of my tank and it works out just fine. You can use a turkey baster or something similar to clean out the waste.

As Kerry1968 said, tests for nitrate, nitrite, an ammonia in addition to the pH test you already have would be a very wise investment, and especially handy for cycling your tank!

Looking forward to seeing the little guy! :D

benh
27th August 2009, 23:39
Thanks for the feedback Amanda!

Sounds like having sand would be less maintenance than routing through lots of pebbles to get rid of waste (don't worry, the pebbles I've got are all too big for the Axolotl to swallow!) I would have considered going without any substrate (I'm a little bit lazy at times, lol) but aesthetically sand looks much more natural and pleasing.

You've mentioned removing bits of waste with a turkey baster, which sounds easy enough - I just wondered how often I'd have to replace it? Will there come a time when I'll have to empty it all, and lay down some new sand? Whilst I did that, I guess I'd remove the little guy from the tank for a while until the sand settles?

Cheers for all the friendly advice :happy:

*Edit - i'm such a nerd! Would this type of sand work? Guessing I'd rinse it for a while prior to laying it. http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/catalogId/1500001801/partNumber/3650574.htm

jclee
28th August 2009, 03:59
For what it's worth, I started out with beautiful, large-ish rocks covering the entire bottom of my tank. I vinegar tested each one to ensure that is wasn't calciferous, and was quite pleased with myself when it was done. At cleaning time, I removed the largest of them, and pushed the rest around with my gravel vacuum to get at the debris. HOWEVER, after about the third or fourth cleaning, I was already impatient with the rocks, and I removed them all. The bottom is currently bare, while I decide which route to go to replace them. (I did leave in a few rocks to which I'd already affixed moss/plants.)

Just thought I'd throw that experience out there. Rocks = beautiful, but more time consuming than any other substrate that's safe for axolotls. It could certainly work out if you're more patient than I.

Kerry1968
28th August 2009, 08:53
Sand is easy to keep clean, you can use a vacuum syphon to run through the sand every now and again, once you get the hang of it you don't suck up too much sand!

Running your fingers through it will help to get any debris to the top and keep your sand from becoming anaerobic and black under the top layer.

A turkey baster for spot cleans of poo or leftover food.

Only have the sand about 1" deep, then you won't come into problems with algae or gas build ups you can get in deeper sand.

You shouldn't need to replace the sand as long as you keep it clean and as long as you don't suck too much up in the syphon ;) Any that does get sucked up you can always tip back in as long as you've got rid of the debris (which tends to sit on the top of the sand, so easy to tip off with the water.)

I love the look of sand, but I've now gone to bare bottomed tanks for easy cleaning, I may go back to sand in the future, my tanks are always changing!

benh
28th August 2009, 13:27
Thanks again people!

Hmmm... well, I suppose I'm after easy cleaning, and sounds like a lot of people are opting for no substrate. I have several large pieces of slate which I'm in the process of cleaning, that would look pretty cool and be easy to maintain.
Now I'm stuck on plants. I've got some free floating elodea which I'm going to let float at the top of the tank, but I wanted my few other plants (not sure what they are, but similar to elodea) to sit at the bottom. At the moment I've fastened them to a few rocks with elastic bands, but this doesn't exactly look very good lol. I found fishing line a nightmare to work with - so was just wondering if anyone knew any tricks or things I could buy to weigh down and attach my plants to.

Cheers :happy:

jclee
28th August 2009, 14:41
I've been using sewing thread for the species that will actually grow onto the rocks, because they won't need it once they're attached, so as I see it fray off, I'll remove it. I'm minutely worried about the axolotls ingesting it, but I check on it daily, so I'm fairly certain that I'll see it come loose before it's free enough to wind up in an axolotl's mouth. Another option I've considered is simply potting the plants in those little fishtank pots. The rock thing has been working well enough for now that I haven't bothered. Also, some plant types are naturally heavier than water, and they'll sink on their own. Java fern does this when its roots are developed enough, and there are other species that grow from bulbs that do this.

Another substrate that I think I've heard people advocate is florabase. I use this in my fishtank, and would like to try it for the axolotls. Anyone have any yea or nay experiences that would encourage/deter the use of this?