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Old 11th January 2018   #1
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Default Tank cycling help

I received an axolotl a couple of weeks ago for Christmas from my husband but the store he purchased him from did not mention anything about tank cycling. As this is my first aquarium, I freaked out when read that the tank should be cycled for my axolotl ideally before I had added him. So now I'm trying to cycle my tank with him in it. I have a 15 gallon tank with an AquaClear power filter which is suitable for tanks 10-30 gallons. I also became concerned that the flow was a bit too fast for my lotl so I also added a makeshift baffle as well.

I've since purchased an API masters test kit, Seachem Stability and Prime. I am on day 5 of using stability and dosing with prime daily as well.

As of today my parameters are:

pH: 8.0 (I have really hard water where I am)
Ammonia: 1.0ppm - 2.0ppm (the colour is slightly darker than 1.0ppm but not as dark as 2.0ppm
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0
Temp: 59

Before using Stability, my ammonia consistantly sat around 0.25ppm but for the last four days it has spiked to the above parameters. Ammonia levels have not decreased when performing water changes. I have been performing 25% water changes every other day and removing any waste or leftover food promptly with a turkey baster.

I know that cycling can take 6-8 weeks but I want to make sure I'm not stressing out my axolotl during the process. He eats well and is pretty active - it doesn't seem to be affecting him.

Any advice?

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Old 12th January 2018   #2
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Default Re: Tank cycling help

Generally you NEVER want to cycle a tank with the axolotl in it, because it is extremely stressful no matter what, as the cycle at some point ends up having an ammonia spike, which is usually where axolotls tend to die. If you keep them in, keep up the water changes, but up it to a 50% change to keep the ammonia down.I also suggest to buy some Zeolite from a pet store, and some of the netting bags, then take out the charcoal bag in the filter, and fill the bag up to the same size as the charcoal bag, rinse it under cold tap water, and then put the new zeolite filled bag where the charcoal was, (the charcoal is the black powder stuff). Change the Zeolite as you do water changes, or at least once a week. I suggest instead of tap water to use Kroger Drinking Water if there is a Kroger near you, I find it is the best water for the Axolotls, and I have had it tested by a professional as well for safety issues concerning it. If you use the Kroger water you won't need any dechlorinator either. PLEASE contact me if you need anything, as you are new to the world of Axolotls, and Pet Stores generally don't give you the correct information on them, and that is typical with any animals.

On the other hand, if you don't want to risk the axolotls, I suggest you get either another tank for them, or getting some large tubs for them, and you will need to do daily water changes, then get about 3-5 fish and place them in the tank to be your source of ammonia. Then once you are cycled, make sure to remove the fish as the axolotl will eat them, or the fish will eat the feathery parts of the axolotls gills, which is no good. You can probably return the fish, or start your own fish aquarium with them, or possibly give them to a friend who has an aquarium.

Good Luck with everything! Please, as I said above, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you have concerning your new babies. Also, Welcome to the Wonderful World of Axolotls! :)

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axolotl advice, help and advice needed, new tank set up questions, tank cycling

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