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Old 10th July 2014   #1
Missmeadow
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Default Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Hi, just wondering about how you guys go about collecting uneaten food?

The bottom of my tank is covered in large river stones and I have a small area at the front of my tank that doesn't have any substrate at all.

I feed my axolotl, Kowhai, axolotl pellets by soaking them a few minutes and then dropping them so they land in the gap with no substrate.

He typically comes to the front of his tank when he's hungry and (tries) to catch whatever I drop near his face. The rest he usually eats off the floor. However there is usually some leftover which he accidentally pushes under the river rocks.

Snails do a pretty good clean up of leftover food and since my aquarium has over 40 plants, they usually use the snail excrete as fertiliser. (Also wondering - what counts as heavily planted? I have yet to find a proper answer to this).

I do try to remove any food that's easily accessible, however that requires me to put my hand in the tank. I properly wash it before hand and Kowhai is tame enough that it doesn't scare him, but it I'm sure it isn't good for the water quality.

I can't use a gravel siphon that people normally use for waste that's trapped in substrate because my rocks are too big. What do people normally do in this situation?

I usually do one 50% water change once a week, or two 25% ones twice a week, depending on how busy I am.

Is it okay to just leave the small amount of leftover food to the snails and plants? If not, how do I remove uneaten food caught between large river rocks?



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Old 10th July 2014   #2
auntiejude
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

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Originally Posted by Missmeadow View Post
What do people normally do in this situation?
Get rid of the river rocks. I had rocks to start with, I got rid of them after a month because of the exact problem you are describing. It's not only the excess food you have to worry about either, it's the poop and other crud you can get accumulating at the bottom of the tank.

And I have to ask what kind of snails you have - snails are a hotly debated subject, some snails are not suitable for keeping with axies, I suggest you do a little reading here and on caudata.org on species mixing.



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Old 10th July 2014   #3
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Default

Agreeing with auntiejude but also going to add that while snails may eat the left over food they still create waste.
If you like the look of the river rocks put a layer of sand down and space the rocks so they are far enough to prevent waste buildup.


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Old 10th July 2014   #4
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

The easiest thing would be to get rid of the river rocks or do what Boomsloth said. But meanwhile you could try a feeding jar to prevent the pellets from flying everywhere.



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Old 10th July 2014   #5
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Default 回复: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Pond snails, sometimes the odd ramhorn gets in there too.

He eats them every now and then, but they don't seem to have done any harm so far. I've never had a snail outbreak or anything either, they stay at pretty constant levels and keep algae at bay and breakdown debris. I was worried when I first was invaded and read quite a few yay/nah articles about snails and ended up just accepting that they were there.

After looking through the forum, I can see that bigger varieties would cause a choking hazard, just never thought about it since my snails are about the size of an axolotl's eye (such a beautiful metaphor ).

Is there a way of cleaning between river rocks without having to get rid of the rocks themselves?

I am assuming since aquarium keeping has been around for such a long time there might be some sort of method out there. I might be wrong though, and I'll keep in mind that I can always change substrates if it gets too much of a hassle.



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Old 10th July 2014   #6
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

The only way to really clean between rocks is to move them about. Or be really pateint with a turkey baster. I still say it's too mcu trouble, maybe a few rocks on sand would give you the look you want instead.

I found my axies were actually moving stones around themselves to get a food trapped underneath - we'd be sitting there watching TV and all of a sudden there would be a loud CLACK as they shifted them, which was kinda scary in a glass tank...



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Old 10th July 2014   #7
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Default 回复: Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Same here! When I first got Kowhai, I was living in a tiny student dormitory and slept right next to him.

In the first few months I kept waking up thinking there was someone at the door, when it only because he had decided to shoot around his tank. Got used to it the same way I got used to his filter though (and he grew up and became lazy).

Hmm. I'll have a look around on trademe/local pet shops and see what options are out there. If I do decide on sand, I'd just need to figure out how much I'd need to cover a 60cm x 30cm surface. I guess it would have to be at least 3cm high…

Thank you for your help by the way, I appreciate it!



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Old 10th July 2014   #8
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

If you pull the big end tube off your siphon, using just the narrow plastic tubing will give you more suction and might be able to pull out some of the gunk.



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Old 10th July 2014   #9
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

60 x 30 x 3 cm is 5,4 liters and that would be about 9 kg of fine sand. Though you don't necessarily need to have even 3 cm of sand everywhere in your tank. If you like the rocks, you can just put enough sand to fill the gaps between them.



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Old 14th July 2014   #10
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Okay, so I went to the pet shop yesterday and asked them to do a water test on my aquarium with the river rocks

Apparently I had no ammonia or nitrite and 5ppm nitrate. My pH was 6.5

Pretty good I guess. So I guess my plants are really doing well filtering out all the poop and uneaten food.

However, since I have been thinking about getting a new tankmate, and I know axololts are highly curious animals and like a change in environment every so often, guess what I picked up with my flimsy little scooter on the way home in the pouring rain?

20kgs of play sand!

I spent the whole afternoon rebuilding my aquarium and ended up adding about 7kgs of sand.

3cms at the back, 1cm at the front.

My tank has always looked like this:

Attachment 38585

I spent all Sunday cleaning the sand in the rain (took about 12 rinses to clean half a bucket full).

Then had to remove everything, keeping the plant life, ornaments, rocks, and filter in a container with tank water so I didn't lose too many beneficial bacteria.

Cleared everything out, and found a bit of debris underneath but nothing major. Washed it out with dechlorinated water and gave it a bit of a scrub to remove the algae I couldn't reach normally. Snails, plants and good filtration must have done a lot of good.

And the plants, god! So many (I mean, from how many I had originally, they're all clones)! Here's what I ended up removing from her tank:

Attachment 38586

I couldn't plant all of them again, because I was planning to make some of the front part of her tank bare, and the middle with low lying plants and the back with tall ones. Therefore I ended up picking out the ones with the potential (e.g.: shoots and other new growth).

I ended up putting her java fern and anubis covered urn (her favourite hide) on one side of the tank, her java fern covered driftwood on the other.

I think the plant that totally covered my tank is a blue hygrophila. It grows incredibly fast and can grow from a tiny plant to the very top of the tank in about a month. I put that at the back of tank and used another java fern, anubus and java moss covered driftwood cover the bottom of the steams.

Planted random red plants (which I know need a lot of light) in the middle and a slow growing but hardy small leaved creeper at the front (moneywort?)

Also left the duckweed at the top, it's a pretty good nitrate consumer and when it starts to take over I just add some of it to my compost bin.

If anyone knows what these plants are, please tell me, they have survived Kowhai's rampage quite well.

Hopefully they'll grow down roots fast, because unlike river rocks, sand doesn't really deter an axolotl from digging about.

Anyway, I ended up with this:

Attachment 38587

Not particularly great (water's cloudy too) but as with my vegetable garden I prefer efficiency and good quality results from artistic value. Hopefully they won't all melt.




Last edited by Missmeadow; 14th July 2014 at 14:53.
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Old 14th July 2014   #11
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

I can't see your pics.

After reading TONS of posts about others' set-ups, I think I will be using only attachment plants for my tank..... Anubias, Java fern, java moss..... I already have plenty of plants to divide and plenty of pieces of driftwood to use in my fish tanks, so it's also the cheapest way for me to go....lol.



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Old 14th July 2014   #12
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Nothing special, but I'll try again.

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Sounds like what I did with some of my ornaments and wood, although I anubias takes months to establish itself. I found Dustin's Fish Tanks to be quite helpful when trying (and failing) to grow plants. He's on youtube and gives out some pretty good advice.

Oh! If you're planning on adding driftwood from the wild (you probably already know this) remember to put it in a bucket of water for a few weeks to release the tannins and then boil it for 2 hours afterwards. Takes a while but a) stops the water going cloudy and b) stops the transfer of diseases.




Last edited by Missmeadow; 14th July 2014 at 21:25.
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Old 14th July 2014   #13
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Default Re: Uneaten food trapped under river rocks

Yes, I do know.....but it's nice to have people looking out for me!! I have been keeping fish all of my life. I have bought driftwood and collected driftwood and cleaned driftwood over and over and over!!....lol.....I actually have quite a collection. My husband thinks I should get rid of some of it.....he just doesn't get it. If I get rid of some, that will be the exact piece(s) that I needed for my next project!!

I have some pieces that have never stopped leaching tannins. I am talking about pieces that I have had for 2-3 years!!!

And I already have some Anubias that I removed from my 75 gal Angel Fish tank because they seemed so small in there. They are established on some pretty generic pieces of driftwood. I also have some huge Amazon Swords that are continually reproducing, and some moss (I think it's Christmas tree moss) that I am going to try to somehow attach to a cool terra cotta pot that would make an awesome hide. (It's made for hens and chicks or strawberries or something, with two big holes in the sides, but it's flat on the back with a hole to hang it on the wall)

Ok, I'll stop with the novel here.....just excited!!



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