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Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum)>First Axolotl: Need Help with Basics and Behavior!
AnimalArtist 18:00 18th July 2018
Ok, so here's a new question that applies to both the axolotl and my other fish tanks: should I leave the ammonia in the tank, so the filter can cycle? I know that the bacteria need the ammonia in the water to turn it into nitrites, and then into nitrates, so should I be leaving some ammonia inside the tank? I'm afraid emptying all the ammonia from the water may reset the biofilter completely, but leaving it inside the tank, will harm the axolotl. After leaving him in the tub, I noticed his gills shriveled up more, but after cooling him down, his color went back to pretty much normal (minus his red nose), so I put him back into his tank so he could get more oxygen in his gills again. Overnight, his gills have just barely improved and have slightly unfurled themselves. Considering his appetite has returned, along with his coloring and gills, I doubt this was parasites. I will continue monitoring him closely, but I would love some answers about the biofilter. Thanks to all of you for your help!

tundrabadger 22:25 18th July 2018
If he's in the tank it would be best to keep doing water changes, it will take a bit longer for the cycle to establish but it's better for him if you keep those ammonia levels low. It can be a bit frustratiing because you want it cycled, but it's the best thing for your pet. Or pets, being as you're talking about fish tanks as well. If he isn't in the tank then go to, leave the ammonia in because it will cycle faster, but the main thing is you want as little ammonia as possible in the water he's living in.

AnimalArtist 21:25 19th July 2018
I noticed today that Titan had these clear "bubbles" on his gills. I'm not sure whether he is just regrowing the fluff on his gills, or if this looks like an infection. He is isn't showing nearly as many signs of stress, to the point where he is ravenously eating pieces of nightcrawlers again. He has even begun "greeting" me when I walk in the room (yes, I am aware he just knows that I bring him food, my fish do it too). The only thing that is concerning me are these "bubbles". He also goes to the surface once every few minutes to gulp air before swimming back down to the bottom and continuing whatever he was doing. I can only assume that would be because of the damage done to his gills. I have included pictures! Are his gills just growing back, or is this something else?
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(His face is red because he is still recovering from the heat and ammonia spikes. The rest of his coloration has returned to normal)

Tags:axolotl, basics, beginner, behavior
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