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

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Old 30th April 2015   #1
AbrahamAxolotl
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Unhappy Cycle crash or something else?

Hi, so ive had the worst time with cycling. it took me 5/6 months to finally get a cycle and now, two months later, i think it crashed!

in March i got a new filter, old one was on the way out. it's more powerful than the old one, but not by too much. i used all the sane media, only added one more sponge and some more ceramic rings. it was totally fine for over a month. I was doing water changes once a week and I had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite (the blue one i dont have the sheet in front of me) and about 40ppm nitrate (the orange one). About a week or so (i think this is week two now) I've been getting daily ammonia. after a water change i still have. 25ppm ammonia. its been at. 25 to .50 and ive had to change the water every other, or every two days. i still have 0 nitrite, and my nitrate has lowered. its not ORANGE orange anymore, its the pale orange, like 5/10ppm. I'm worried it'll go away completely rather than come back.

why is it doing this though? and how do i save it? I tried increasing surface disruption but it only seemed to bother my lotl. (only increased for about a week). hes eating every other day, amount but does eat it all. poops every other to every third day. but i was feeding him this much previously too. so idk why i had a cycle and now i dont.

could it be that now the weather is warming so the pressure on the tap water pipes is changing the ph of the water? or is that not a thing? like maybe the winter pressure increased ph and now the decrease in pressure is decreasing it and killing bacteria?

i haven't been doing anything different, other than one week i changed the water after 4 days instead of 6 because I wasn't going to be home. could that have done it? what can i do to get my cycle back without it taking 6 months again?

(only one adult lotl, 40b tank, chiller attached to regulate temperature, using prime to dechloinate tap water prior to adding to tank during changes, thermometer to make sure new water temp is the same as the tanks - i can't avoid turning off the filter during changes, it's off about 20 to 30 minutes. but i used to have it off 45 minutes and the tank was holding a cycle then so i dont know why it would all of a sudden matter especially now that is off less time )



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Old 1st May 2015   #2
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Default Re: Cycle crash or something else?

I had so much trouble with cycling crashes, it took me ages to figure out the problem was with my tap water, it is totally soft where I live & would not hold the cycle. If you can get the water hardness checked it would at least give you an idea if that is an issue. There are tests you can get for hardness, GH & KH but if you live near a pet shop just take in a sample of water from your tap & ask them to check it, if its fine then you can rule out one possibility at least.



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Old 1st May 2015   #3
rachel1
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Default Re: Cycle crash or something else?

The nitrate is going down because you are changing the water frequently to control the ammonia. It does not mean your cycle is gone, it's just a little fluctuation. I would check around the tank for anything decaying that you may have missed while cleaning that could potentially be causing your ammonia spike. Under and inside decorations, etc. And I would check the pH also-over time the pH in the tank tends to go down, and it can eventually affect your bacterial colonies. Adding some crushed coral or limestone to the filter or tank can help buffer the pH if it is low.



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Old 11th May 2015   #4
AbrahamAxolotl
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Default Re: Cycle crash or something else?

Thanks I'm beginning to think that it's PH.
When I first started the tank my PH was 6.0 or less (the vial was barely yellow). This was back in July and I did some asking around and was told that "axies can tolerate a wide number of PH so you're fine, it's not that". Even though I still thought 6.0 was pretty acidic I left it. Sometime in Feb, my axie stopped eating for about 2 weeks. He was still active and looked fine, just wasn't interested in food. After that two weeks I got him eating again. About another week after that I noticed a cycle was finally starting (after 6 or so months). Nitrates were going up and ammonia was slowly coming down and water changes were getting less and less frequent.

During the winter the pipes were getting colder so it was having added pressure on it. Every time I changed the water it came out of the tap looking like MILK. I did some research and found out that it was tiny airbubbles from the pressure. After sitting a few minutes they completely disappeared and left no residue behind (because there was nothing in it).

My theory is that this added pressure and increased O2 from the bubbles somehow raised the PH over the winter months (since I was still under the impression that PH was ok I didn't check it). And now that it's warmer and those airbubbles are gone from the tap water that the PH dropped again.

Not only is the ammonia needing to be changed daily again but I'm down to only 5ppm nitrates. And my axie refused his food last night (thought I caught him swimming around a bunch last night when I'd check on him). It's only one night, it just worries me since I'm going away for 24 and can't offer him food again until tomorrow night (don't want to offer before I leave since I don't want it just sitting there, rotting, causing the ammonia to raise faster).

I was told that, in addition to limestone/corals, that an airstone can help? I'm just worried about how much is TOO much - I don't want to raise the PH too quickly or by too much (just to about 6.5 or so, right?) but I heard raising it too quickly can hurt axies. I'd also prefer something that can be put directly into the tank rather than having to be put in the filter (for ease of both doing so and ease of my mind).

So would an airstone help raise the PH to a better/safer level for both my axie and the bacteria colonies?



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