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Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) A dedicated topic for those seeking help with Axolotls, showing off your photos, or just to talk about them.



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Old 29th November 2018   #1
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Default Biologically Supported Axolotl Tank

Hello! I wanted some help with redesigning my 20 gallon axolotl tank! I really would love to figure out a way to almost completely remove the need for water changes for my axolotl, Titan. His tank is rather barren, with lots of Java ferns on the wood with Java moss and lots of hornwort (ceratophyllum demersum) as well as two pieces of Marimo moss and some bamboo. He does have a very minimal flow sponge filter that he doesn’t seem to mind and some sand as substrate. Currently, I am doing water changes almost every day. I would love to remove this factor to the best of my ability, but I’m not entirely sure how.
I was wondering, how possible would it be to create a moss “carpet” along the bottom of his tank? I love Marimo moss, but I’m unsure how well it would work due to price, practicality, and common availability in my area. My next idea would be making a wooden board that fits along the bottom that would allow me to plant lots of Java ferns and Anubias along the bottom of the tank. I would add a layer of fine sand over the top to make it far more visually appealing of course. My grandpa is a builder and wood carver, so he would likely be able to cut a piece that is the perfect size for the tank.
I have been doing my best to keep up with his care (along with my 6 betta tanks), but his is the most time consuming, and because of school and illness, I would really love to provide Titan with lots of spare hiding places, oxygen, clean water, and healthy food without wearing myself out each night. I would love some help with this idea, and if you have any ideas on ways to help, I’m all ears!

Edit: I just thought of another idea with the wood! If I raised it up slightly underneath, and placed sand underneath, would that act as a good biological media for filtration?

Last edited by AnimalArtist; 29th November 2018 at 17:12. Reason: New idea lol
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Old 2nd December 2018   #2
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Default Re: Biologically Supported Axolotl Tank

I see you live in oregon; if you're able to make it into portland there's a good shop that I get most of my aquarium supplies in, though I'm not entirely sure if I'm allowed to name specific places of business on this website. A couple good ideas for filtration would be to remove any excess food, adding in snails and shrimp to clean up detritus, and adding more plants. having a carpet of moss might trap excess food, but if you do end up putting in enough hiding places for shrimp they might be able to live long enough to establish a breeding colony in the tank which would make cleanup easier. You can also add a more powerful filter and simply redirect the flow with a piece of wood or plants so there isn't too much current for the little guy. Hope this helps!

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Old 2nd December 2018   #3
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Default Re: Biologically Supported Axolotl Tank

In a properly cycled tank you shouldnt be having to do daily water changes! Have you considered adding another sponge filter, or possibly a buffered HOB? Since you're interested in plants you might consider a planted hob filter! I have one in my cichlid tank and plan to plant my axi one. the'yre very aesthetically pleasing, and you could even add some moss in buffer (i use a water bottle). I've also been interested in a moss carpet for my axis, and the method people use for growing moss walls on plastic mesh seems promising. However I wouldn't recommend adding sand underneath the wood because itd be vulnerable to anaerobic pockets. I like the idea of a colony of shrimp to help clean up but dont have any experience there, but I'd recommend against snails as your axi would he liable to try to eat them and become impacted or choke.

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Old 3rd December 2018   #4
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Default Re: Biologically Supported Axolotl Tank

As Giuseppe said you shouldn't have to do water changes that frequently. I would struggle too doing it that often. Most people just do weekly water changes which is a lot easier to manage and plan for than almost daily. I reserve one afternoon a week where I test my 4 tanks then do water changes. It takes probably an hour, sometimes longer once a month when I rearrange.
It would be interesting if you could find plants to eliminate the need for water changes, but since axies are so messy I don't know how easy it would be to achieve. There would also be water evaporation which would need topping up occasionally.
If you can get a carpet going without them ripping it up, that's a miracle haha Mine always rip up plants
Goodluck with it!

~~~ Hayley, mother to Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers (aka Cap) the axolotls ~~~
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axolotl, biological filtration, plants

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