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

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Old 10th June 2015   #1
Iske
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Default Setting up my first tank

I'd like to get an axolotl but there's some things I'm not quite sure about. My tank's pH is at 8.2 and my tap water is 7.8, both of which seem pretty high to me. Right now, all that I have in the tank is sand and a few plants. Would the sand cause the pH to rise? Is there a good way to bring it down?

I think I have temperature okay. While running a regular room fan next to the tank, the temperature dropped by a couple of degrees. It was a hot day yesterday and it did climb to 21 C in the tank. I'm getting an aquarium fan so I'm hoping that will keep it cooler, but if the temperature did get to 21 C on occasion, would that be okay? Or would I be better off moving the tank to the basement?

One last thing - I've read lots of different things about cycling and whether to do it with an animal or without. I'd like to get some opinions that are more axolotl specific since everything I've read has been specific to fish.

Thank you. I'm sure I'll have more questions soon.



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Old 10th June 2015   #2
keiko
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

It can be the sand that's causing the pH to rise. Axies like hard water and high pH, but it still might be better to change the sand to avoid fluctuation every time you do a water change. Do not use any pH-down solutions, they are generally not safe for axies.

21 C is a bit high, but if it's only for a day then it's ok. If you have the option to put the tank in a basement then I'd suggest you do that. A lot less stress or both you and the axie.

Don't use any animal for cycling your tank. With an animal the cycling requires a lot of daily work from you and it can be very cruel to the animal if not done properly. It will also take a lot longer than cycling your tank without an animal. Here's a good guide for fishless cycling.



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Old 11th June 2015   #3
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

I tried some play sand but that gave me an even higher pH. Starting to think I should just forget the idea of using sand. I picked up the ammonia for the fishless cycle so I think I might go ahead and cycle it and see what the pH looks like after that and see if it looks like I can get it to be stable.

Moving the tank to the basement is an option but I have less control over who goes down there and sometimes my nephew wanders down and I don't really want him near the tank.I don't trust him around animals. Or anything that's breakable. But I think I should be okay upstairs since the temperature would go up to 21 C and then start dropping after a few hours so it'd never be that high for even a day. But I am glad to know that a day would be okay at that temperature because I'll be gone for the whole day about once a week this summer so I won't be able to keep an eye on the thermometer and add some ice if necessary. My aquarium fan also arrived today and I think that'll work much better than the 30-year old desk fan.

I might go ahead and test the fan before I start the cycle and see how low I can get the temperature. It'll probably take me a while to figure out the math to get the right amount of ammonia anyway.



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Old 11th June 2015   #4
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

Please tell us how the aquarium fan works out for you! And how much it cools the tank! I thought I might suggest (since it seems like you have some time before the axies get there) you try putting like a frozen water bottle (I used frozen 2 liters last summer so I didn't change them every hour or two) in before it gets too hot and seeing if that keeps the temperature more stable?



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Old 11th June 2015   #5
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

Frozen bottles is my next step if the fan is insufficient. I was reading that it can cause too fast of a temperature change so I'm hoping the fan'll work.

As impatient as I can be, I don't want to get any animals until I know I can provide a good environment so I've got all the time in the world to test things. I've gotten too many pets on impulse before so this time, I'm going to do things right this time.

Edit: So the fan's been going about an hour and the temperature's dropped about half a degree, so it's lowering it faster than the desk fan did although the outside temperature isn't too horrible at the moment either.




Last edited by Iske; 11th June 2015 at 02:27. Reason: Adding info
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Old 12th June 2015   #6
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

I'd say keep the sand. It may raise the pH slightly, but it also buffers the pH and keeps it incredibly stable. Just make sure you keep the layer thin enough so as to prevent anaerobic bacteria build up. They'll do weird stuff to your cycle. And if you keep the sand, it provides the bacteria you're trying to culture by cycling a lot more surface area on which to live.



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Old 12th June 2015   #7
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Default Re: Setting up my first tank

I'm enjoying this thread because I'm having exactly the same thoughts. My new tank is ready to be picked up and I'm thinking of planting it and cycling it without any creatures in it, preparing it for a juvenile axie or three when it's perfect. I'm currently doing my research on the best low-light, low-temperature plants. My one piece of advice is that in my last axie tank, I found a medium-sized volcanic rock was an excellent way to provide extra surface area for beneficial bacteria, not to mention a fun place for the lotl to hang (upside down, like a limpet up the side, on top surveying his kingdom, you all know the drill). I'm reluctant to even start with the sand if the tank will house juvenile lotls (who may ingest the sand). I'm missing my lotl (which left my life prematurely in February to live elsewhere) so despite the difficulties of keeping temperatures stable in an Australian summer, I cannot resist the axolotl life. Here we go again!



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