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

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Old 6th June 2014   #1
charbean
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Default Filter and decor advice

Hiya newbie here, I'm looking for some help for making sure my tank is all set up properly before I buy my axies!

I'm getting a Juwel Rio 180 on Sunday which is awesome because it's 180 litres, over three foot long and a 1.5 feet wide so plenty of room for two axolotls.
The tank comes with a Bioflow 3.0 filter, so I was wondering if anyone has experience of these and know if they're any good or not? The filter has a heater on it too, so I'm happy that there won't be a chance of them getting cold in the winter (my apartment gets ridiculously cold at times).
Obviously I want to make sure my axolotls are happy from the start, so if it's too powerful I'll look into getting a different one.

Also, I live near a pebble beach and was thinking about getting some smooth rocks from the shore and building a little hide for them, would this be okay provided I clean them/put them in boiling water first?

Thanks!



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Old 6th June 2014   #2
fireball99
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Hi, welcome to the forum.

If you're taking rocks from the beach they absolutely *must* be larger than your axolotl's head otherwise they could eat them and cause impaction in their gut. I have two rocks in my tank which are pretty much boulders (you can see one behind my Axl in my profile pic). They are as big as my axie and he has no chance of swallowing them. Make sure you give them a good clean but try not to use detergent as this can be transferred into the tank and make your axie ill.

Please don't use little rocks as substrate in the bottom of the tank. Again they can eat them and it can cause problems. Fine sand is good, but wash it thoroughly first. I use kid's playsand, put some in a bucket and washed it though loads of times until it ran clear(ish). You don't really need a substrate in the tank, bare floors seem to be fine but sand can give your lotl something to cling onto, and they leave little footprints in it :)

Vitally though, axies are supposed to be kept at cool temperatures so please, please don't use a heater! Ideally your axie can live at 16-18 c *maximum* Anything more than that can make them ill/stress them out and eventually lead to death if left in hot water for a prolonged period of time. My biggest trouble is keeping my axie's water cool! They like cold water, they originally come from lakes filled with glacial meltwater.

Also you must ensure that your tank is properly cycled before you add your axies. I don't know enough about this to advise you properly but other members will be able to steer you in the right direction, or you will find advice online/elsewhere on this forum. It basically means you can't simply get water from the tap, stick it in the tank and then plop your axolotl in. You have to sort out the bacteria in the tank.

For this you will need liquid test kits for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and the water PH. You may also need some water dechlorinator. You can pick all of these up from Pets at Home or a good pet store. Paper test kits are cheaper but not as reliable. The liquid test kits are very reasonably priced. You need these to make sure your tank is cycled before you add your axie, but you'll also need them to test the water parameters every time you do a water change.

There's loads of good info on this site so please make sure you know as much about your axies and their needs before you get them :)




Last edited by fireball99; 6th June 2014 at 20:53.
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Old 6th June 2014   #3
Liz Roome
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Default Re: Filter and decor advice

Indeed I have a rio 125, the filter is pretty awesome, but you need to pint the output at the back of the tank to reduce the flow. The filer pads you can get on eBay in a pack, makes it cheaper, and I am doing a full replacement a year in, of all of them together.

You really won't need the heater, axies need cold. Mine has a slot for a heater, I just placed it in the cupboard underneath for storage.

They may appreciate some large pebbles to grip on when moving about the tank, but not little stones, as they can swallow and then get them stuck.



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Old 6th June 2014   #4
charbean
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Default Re: Filter and decor advice

Thanks for the help, I probably should have made it clear I'm going to get large rocks, the size of the axies or definitely large enough they can't swallow them, I don't want to use cleaners like bleach etc, but wasn't sure if washing them would be enough. I'm using sand as substrate and I've ordered a liquid tester kit off amazon after spending a lot of time looking into cycling the tank.

I only mentioned the heater because sometimes my apartment can drop down to below 10 degrees when the central heating isn't on, I just want to make sure that they're staying at their optimum temperature, I doubt I will ever use it but it gives me peace of mind in case my boiler breaks (it happens a lot to me it seems).

I'm hoping to have the tank fully set up by the end of next week and get the axolotls a week later so I can be absolutely certain the environment is right - these are my first axies and I really want to do it right.

Thanks for the heads up on the filter pads too!



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Old 7th June 2014   #5
Hayley
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Default Re: Filter and decor advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by charbean View Post
Thanks for the help, I probably should have made it clear I'm going to get large rocks, the size of the axies or definitely large enough they can't swallow them, I don't want to use cleaners like bleach etc, but wasn't sure if washing them would be enough. I'm using sand as substrate and I've ordered a liquid tester kit off amazon after spending a lot of time looking into cycling the tank.

I only mentioned the heater because sometimes my apartment can drop down to below 10 degrees when the central heating isn't on, I just want to make sure that they're staying at their optimum temperature, I doubt I will ever use it but it gives me peace of mind in case my boiler breaks (it happens a lot to me it seems).

I'm hoping to have the tank fully set up by the end of next week and get the axolotls a week later so I can be absolutely certain the environment is right - these are my first axies and I really want to do it right.

Thanks for the heads up on the filter pads too!
If you grab rocks from the beach I would probably test them with the vinegar test to ensure they are safe. If it bubbles it usually is unsafe and would advise against it. If it doesnt is SHOULD be safe. I boiled mine a few times and place it in dechlorinated water (not my tank) and tested the pH levels over a week or two to see if it did affect my pH.

I would strongly advise against a heater. It may drop down to low temperatures but introducing a heater is a bad idea. They can malfunction and end up almost boiling your axolotls.

If you tank isnt set up already, chances are it is uncycled. Cycling may take a fair few weeks to complete. If you want the environment to be perfect for your axolotls I would hold off until the cycle is complete. Otherwise you will be putting them at risk of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate burns, unless you keep up on large daily water changes. In my opinion I think its a lot easier and safer cycling the fish-less method.



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