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Old 2nd December 2016   #2
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Default Re: Setting up first tank!

Welcome to the forum! I know you will find a lot of good useful information here for your first axolotl. I will attempt to answer a few of your questions, the rest I will leave for more experienced hobbyists.

Your basic setup plan is a little.... out of order. I realize you weren't putting it in any specific "order" but figured I would help out.

1 - Find a 20 gallon long tank for $20 or less
2 - Buy a sponge filter for about $15
3 - Buy a PH and an ammonia monitor, and something to remove chlorine/chloramine
4 - Find either slate tiles or black sand for a substrate
5 - Order some marimo moss balls
6 - Build a hide of some sort
7 - Order salmon pellets
8 - Find an axolotl for $20 or less (preferably pink)

Now on to your actual questions!

•Is National Geographic black sand safe for axolotls? ~ I have heard and seen some bad occurrences of black sand being made out of crushed obsidian, so it can be a toss up of what you get with the purchase, if you aren't able to feel it ahead of time. When in doubt I would use pool filter sand or play sand. Personally, I use a bare bottom tank for my babies. It makes it easier to clean up, to see the poops and to do general maintenance. Also, with a 20g long you will likely be doing 50-100% water changes every week. It is easier to refill with a water hose or such if there is no substrate in the bottom to disturb, but again, that's just my opinion.

•Will monitoring temperature, PH and ammonia be enough? What else do I need? ~ You need an API Master Freshwater Liquid Test Kit. They are between $20-$30 at the local pet store (Pet Smart, PetCo, etc) and worth EVERY PENNY. They test for PH, High Range PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. All of which is required to be tested in keeping axolotls. With this kit you will need no other testing equipment, and it will last you a very long time.

Each kit contains enough liquid for:
-250 pH tests
-160 High Range pH tests

-130 ammonia tests
-180 nitrite tests

-90 nitrate tests

•What is a good sponge-filter brand and are there any major problems with this type of filter? ~ Sponge filters are cheap and easy to make yourself, or you can purchase a ready made one. If this is your first time I would suggest purchasing one. You can get them off of eBay or Amazon for around $5-$20 depending on type and style of filter. I have the double barrel biomechanical filters and they worked great.

•How long will 12oz of salmon pellets last an axolotl? ~ I ordered 2lbs of Axolotl Pellets from Lexi Miller (32 oz) and they were shipped in 1/2 lb (8 oz) bags. I have 4 greedy little axolotls that are fat and sassy and in 2 months I still have about 27 oz left. My first 8 oz bag is still 1/4 full and the other 3 are stored in the freezer to keep them fresh. I would imagine a single axolotl would take at least 6 months to a year to go through 12 oz of pellets.

•It's okay to dig up earthworms for food right? ~ Absolutely! If you can confirm without a doubt that they are from an area that is pesticide free. Meaning no chemicals, no soapy water, no bug spray, etc.

•Has anyone tried a drip filter with overflow? ~ I have not, so I cannot comment.

•I can filter out chlorine but is there a way to filter chlorimine out of the water? This is for the drip filter. ~ I cannot comment. I use Seachem Prime that removes chlorine and chloramine from the water.

•What is a good alternative to Java moss? My tank will be cool and low light and Java moss appears hard to keep in control. ~ Anubias plants are great. I have several Anubias Nana in my tank, and they don't grow out of control like java moss can.

•What are your favorite plants for axolotl tanks? ~ Anubias Nana and Marimo Moss Balls are what I have with mine. I love them.

•Do you think the axolotl will be comfortable enough in a 20g long tank? It's the best I can fit.. ~ A single axolotl will be perfectly content and happy in a 20g long tank. More than 1 you would be pushing it.

•Is sand substrate hard to clean? ~ Some say yes, some say no. I found it to be a pain when I had sand in one of my tanks with fish. It wasn't any more difficult to clean than the gravel (gravel in a FISH TANK, not with axolotls), and I ended up getting rid of it.

•I've heard Biofilter stones can really make a difference in water quality. Anyone tried these? ~ I cannot comment on this.

1 Husband, 1 Son, 1 Doberman, 5 Axolotls, and about 60 babies.....

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