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

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
mdtaylor
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Default Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

TL;DR: I have a 7.5cm lotl in an uncycled 10-gallon tank. I'm obsessively doing partial water changes to keep the ammonia down, but there aren't any signs of nitrites yet. (It's been four weeks, which isn't unusual, but I'd love to have a nice home stabilized for him in sooner rather than later.)

Would it be reasonable to start a second, smaller tank with 10-gallon filter and some decorations, add a little food to let the ammonia build up and hopefully cycle the filter and decorations sooner, then transplant them to his big tank to speed things up? I've been contemplating a different filter anyway since my edge-hanging filter creates a lot of flow that is hard to disperse (because the water drops from several inches above the surface if I don't put anything in between).


Longer version:
When I got the little dude, he was from a pet store that was doing everything wrong. He was rail thin, very sick, and had almost no gills. On the second night he was on death's door and laying on his side, so I put him in the fridge as a last resort and he got *much* better after about four or five days. Now his gills and appetite are back and he's quite tubby and cheerful now. It was a little traumatic for me though, and I'm still obsessively testing and partially changing the water at least once (or twice) a day to keep the ammonia at near zero until it cycles, but I have a feeling that's why I haven't seen even a hint of nitrites yet. There's a filter, a cave, two plants, and three rocks that are bigger than he is, and I don't leave food in his tank for more than two minutes. I've been using Stability and Quick Start (but not at the same time) and haven't convinced myself they're seeding any bacteria into the filter.

I'm imagining that the tank is going to cycle very, very slowly. As long as it's uncycled, my anxiety is going to be very high for my small, watery child. Does it make any sense to get a smaller tank with a filter and some decorations to cycle faster, and then transplant the objects back to the larger one? I imagine I'd put some food in it and Stability and/or Quick Start. It wouldn't be much of an expense since the filter I got is (in retrospect) not particularly ideal, and switching it to something else probably wouldn't be a bad idea if I can transplant the filter media.

Alternatively, there's a nearby exotic pet store that actually knows how to take care of axolotls. The owner is very friendly, and I have a feeling he'd let me have a used filter. My only concern is that the water for a lot of the tanks (with different animals) is probably connected, and I wouldn't want to bring in anything bad that could infect mine. Is that a reasonable route, or is it right to be worried about bringing in a filter from a pet store?

Thanks! Here are a few pictures of my little lotl in much better shape than before.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
mdtaylor
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

Oh, and... does anyone have a good guess as to what age my lotl might be? I'm guessing he/she is probably a little stunted due to being massively underfed by the previous owner. Length is about 7.5 cm, up from 6cm about two weeks ago.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Hayleyy
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

I would put your axolotl in the smaller tank, and cycle your main tank without him in it. With the smaller tank it will be easier to do water changes. Big water changes while cycling can crash it which is possibly why it is taking so long. This is what i'm currently doing, Bucky is in a 15 gal, i'm cycling a 40 gal.
Borrowing a used filter is a great way to cycle it, but as you said it could bring in issues. If there tanks are healthy I'd imagine it should be okay.
Age may be hard to guess, if it had stunted growth. I haven't had a juvenile so I'm not too sure what other signs there may be, other than when they hit maturity



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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
mdtaylor
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

Thanks Hayleyy, that's very welcome advice! I've seen a bunch of your posts; you've actually helped me in a bunch of other ways too.

Seeing as he's not all that big, he probably won't mind a slightly smaller tank for awhile. My kitchen counter might mind but it's not like I cook much anyway...

I'll hold off on transplanting a filter from that pet store; I've been so very cautious in everything else. I ordered a (fairly big) sponge filter that will hopefully pick up some good cooties, to use in tandem with my currently sub-optimal HOB. If the sponge filter seems to do well, I'll get a second to replace the HOB and stagger their replacements.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
Hayleyy
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

More than happy to pass on advice! This forum is such a great resource
Goodluck!



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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
Ambulans Piscis
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

If I were you I would let them stay in the tank. A good thing to combat this is when feeding them, put them in some sort of larger tupperware where you give them the food, let them eat and then put them back into the tank. It will make sure that the ammonia released during eating will not be in the tank.

Age wise, I am getting my first axolotl this week and it was born early December and now it is about 3 and 1/2 ish inches (8.89 cm). Yours is probably about the same because of the stunted growth. Hope this was a help and good luck!



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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
Amber C.
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Default Re: Auxiliary tank for filter cycling?

If you keep doing water changes to keep the ammonia down, you won’t ever have enough ammonia to start a proper cycle (nothing to get converted into nitrites).

I currently have my axie juvies in a 2.5 gal (which they’ve been in since I brought them home), and I’m starting to cycle a 10 gal for them now. What I’ve been doing is daily water changes like regular, but putting the old water into the 10 gal, so all the ammonia they generate in a day is getting pumped through the filter and substrate. This way I don’t have to leave them in bad water.

Your other option is to get something like Dr Tim’s ammonium chloride and cycling that way. You CAN NOT keep anything living in the tank when you cycle that way though. If you combine this with seeding, you could have a cycled tank in like a week. You just have to keep the ammonia level up (like 2-4ppm) so the bacteria have enough to “eat”.

No matter which way you decide to do it, keeping your baby seperate from the tank you’re trying to cycle is ideal.

Also, my axie juvies are a bit bigger than yours, about 9cm, and they were hatched at the end of February. They were well taken care of before I got them, so yours could be a month or more older.



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