The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store

Notices

Axolotl General Discussion Open axolotl forum: if it doesn't fit in the sub-topics then post it here.

Reply

 

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10th January 2009   #1
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Cant get the ammonia down!

I am currently in the process of cycling a 10g tank with my new 8 week old axolotl (not by choice). I have been struggling with the ammonia levels. Yesterday and today the level stays firmly on 1.0-2.0. I drained the tank almost entirely yesterday and was able to bring it down to .2 but today it is back up at 2.0. I did 2 20% changes which brought it down to 1.0. I don't want to drain the tank because I know it will make the cycle slower but I don't want to hurt or worse to my little baby. What should I do? How big of a change should I be trying to help get this down?

Just alittle bit of extra info, The filter in the tank has 2 pieces of filter material from my cycled tanks as well as its own filter pad. It also has ceramics in it to help give the bacteria more room. In the tank itself are 2 ceramic pots and a few fake plants. The substrate is sand about 1 inch deep give or take.




Last edited by RobertsKitty; 10th January 2009 at 17:09. Reason: Adding Tank Info
RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th January 2009   #2
click
(ianclick)
Site Contributor
 
ianclick's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 1,306
Gallery Images: 15
Comments: 1
Rep: ianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.orgianclick is a mainstay of Caudata.org
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Hi,

You are correct in your assertions about changing too much water. Have you and do you check the tank regurly for uneaten food and waste. Both contribute to the levels of ammonia in your tank. A small piece of decaying food or poop can dramatically increase ammonia levels.

What substrate do you have. Food and waste matter can get stuck between rock or pebble substrates and gasses from waste can get trapped in sand.

How is your axolotl? Is it showing any signs of stress?

Otherwise Keep up the daily 20-30% water changes and spot cleaning.

Good Luck



__________________
It takes every colour to make a Rainbow
ianclick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #3
Jacquie
Moderator
 
Jacquie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 44
Posts: 1,849
Gallery Images: 9
Comments: 12
Rep: Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertsKitty View Post
I am currently in the process of cycling a 10g tank with my new 8 week old axolotl (not by choice). I have been struggling with the ammonia levels. Yesterday and today the level stays firmly on 1.0-2.0. I drained the tank almost entirely yesterday and was able to bring it down to .2 but today it is back up at 2.0. I did 2 20% changes which brought it down to 1.0. I don't want to drain the tank because I know it will make the cycle slower but I don't want to hurt or worse to my little baby. What should I do? How big of a change should I be trying to help get this down?
If the Ammonia is spiking highly you can increase water change to 50-75% if necessary. Cycling is a balancing act. Ammonia is a necessary evil and must be present for the cycling process to happen and on the other hand it needs to be kept right down for the sake of the animals living in the water while cycling.

Try to keep the Ammonia at about 0.25-0.50 - this isn't easy as the ammonia as you have noticed will 'spike'.

If the Ammonia reading is in the range of 0.25-1.00 - I would do a 25% water change. If the reading is higher increase to 50-75% water change to bring it back down. Never do a full water change though as then you are right back to square one.

Some axies take to cycling better than others. If the axolotl starts showing symptoms of stress, then remove him from the tank and keep in a container while the tank is cycling. While in a container, he will need his water changed every day. Any poop or leftover bloodworm can be tossed into the tank to feed the cycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertsKitty View Post
Just alittle bit of extra info, The filter in the tank has 2 pieces of filter material from my cycled tanks as well as its own filter pad. It also has ceramics in it to help give the bacteria more room. In the tank itself are 2 ceramic pots and a few fake plants. The substrate is sand about 1 inch deep give or take.
Just a thought: Were the two pieces of filter media taken from the cycled tanks added to the new filter immediately? If the bacteria was allowed time to die (ie. if the sponges dried off) then this may be increasing the ammonia levels due to the bioload of dead bacteria in the new filter.

Another thought: Are you using any cycling aids to help cycle the tank? If so I would cease using them as they may be 'dead' and adding to the bioload.



__________________
"I shall deal with the matter momentarily" - Havelock Vetinari

Useful links: Forum Rules | Axolotl Caresheets | Axolotl Sanctuary | Axolotl FAQ| Water Quality FAQ | Caudata Culture Articles
Jacquie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #4
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

To answer your questions, I gave it a really good vacuum this evening and got quite a bit of stuff. I will vacuum even better tomorrow morning with the water changes and see how that does. I have sand in the tank and it is an inch give or take so no gasses.
What are the stress signs I should watch for?
The filter media was added straight away and I am not using any cycling aids.



RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #5
Jacquie
Moderator
 
Jacquie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 44
Posts: 1,849
Gallery Images: 9
Comments: 12
Rep: Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11Jacquie goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertsKitty View Post
What are the stress signs I should watch for?
Floating and will not go to ground, Frantic swimming and jumping at the surface as if trying to get out, Loss of Appetite, Listlessness, Gills receding to the stubs, Fungus...

If your little one is eating well, and is sitting nicely and swimming leisurely - I wouldn't worry. Just keep up with partial water changes every day and monitor him or her.



__________________
"I shall deal with the matter momentarily" - Havelock Vetinari

Useful links: Forum Rules | Axolotl Caresheets | Axolotl Sanctuary | Axolotl FAQ| Water Quality FAQ | Caudata Culture Articles
Jacquie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #6
Eva
(blueberlin)
2010 Research Grant Donor
 
blueberlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 49
Posts: 1,939
Gallery Images: 1
Comments: 3
Rep: blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Will add to Jacq's excellent list one more thing - the first sign I usually notice is that the gills curve toward the nose. This is always a flag to me to check water parameters, quickly.

-Eva



__________________
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

Albert Einstein
blueberlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #7
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

The gills have a slight forward curve to them but they have had that since the moment I got him/her. Is that normal? Other than that he has been eating, chilling at the bottom, and swimming around on occasion. Does that all sound ok?



RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #8
Eva
(blueberlin)
2010 Research Grant Donor
 
blueberlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 49
Posts: 1,939
Gallery Images: 1
Comments: 3
Rep: blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Hullo dear,

Look here, there is a picture of "stress gills" (due to excessive water flow) on the Requirements page of the axolotl site.

Eating, chilling, and swimming around on occasion sounds like normal, healthy axolotl behavior.

-Eva



__________________
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

Albert Einstein
blueberlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #9
Rayson
(Darkmaverick)
Veterinarian
 
Darkmaverick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 39
Posts: 2,032
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 1
Rep: Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11Darkmaverick goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Hi robertskitty,

Jacq and Eva already presented a good list. Other than the behavioural signs, ammonia toxicity can manifest as a chemical insult to the skin and gills. There may be increased mucus/slime production on the skin as a defense mechanism initially. If left untreated, the skin can become ulcerated and therefore predisposed to opportunistic pathogens like fungus and bacteria. The gills may also lose the filaments and become 'deformed' in appearance. Things that cannot be seen by the naked eye includes immunosuppression. Axolotls react to high ammonia by becoming stressed and their immune system becomes depressed. In the worse case scenario, it just dies.

Cheers



__________________
Darkmaverick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #10
Kira
(kira)
Axolotl Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 35
Posts: 407
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 1
Rep: kira has given good advice and informationkira has given good advice and information
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Don't panic about your axolotls gills. Because your little one is only 8 wks old, the gills will be forward facing anyway. This is normal!

Eva means that if they start to curl forward (this does look different), then thats when you need to sort things out quick.



__________________
The more things change, the more they remain... insane.
kira is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2009   #11
Eva
(blueberlin)
2010 Research Grant Donor
 
blueberlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 49
Posts: 1,939
Gallery Images: 1
Comments: 3
Rep: blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11blueberlin goes to 11
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kira View Post
Don't panic about your axolotls gills. Because your little one is only 8 wks old, the gills will be forward facing anyway. This is normal!

Eva means that if they start to curl forward (this does look different), then thats when you need to sort things out quick.
Indeed - they start pointing toward the nose, like a C.

-Eva



__________________
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

Albert Einstein
blueberlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2009   #12
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Well I am happy to say he is definitely not exhibiting any stress signs. I cannot get the ammonia down past 1.0. I changed about 70% which took it from a 4.0 to 1.0. He is eating fine and acting normal. His gills aren't forward anymore.



RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2009   #13
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

Should I just focus on trying to keep the ammonia to 1.0 until it cycles alittle farther or should I still shoot for lower?
I can't get lower than 1.0 without doing about 90% change....



RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2009   #14
RobertsKitty
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 78
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: RobertsKitty has started on the right path
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

I just had an idea and it wont let me edit cause its been too long. Would it be worth it to take the filter in the axie tank and replace it with a filter from the cycled fish tank? I could put axies filter in the fish tank and let them cycle it and then when things are running better then put the old filter back on axie's tank.

Also, would it be worth it to put all his decorations and everything in a fish tank to keep teh bacteria and moved him out of the tank and started over? I would REALLY like to get all the sand out of his tank so I can see to vacuum everything. And starting over with new water and more decorations might help it cycle better this time. Is it worth trying? I can't keep him in any container cool enough. If I started over I could put in more decorations and with a glass bottom I could see better what need to be vacuumed so I could make sure everything was clean.

Since I have 2 fish tanks and axie's tank currently, I could move all the fish into 1 tank and hook up axie's filter and the regular fish filter in the fish tank and take the empty tanks filter for axie's tank. That way axies filter could get some of the cycled tanks good bacteria and in the mean time the axie tank would ahve a filter from an already cycled tank. Would all this help or hinder?



RobertsKitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2009   #15
geosheets
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 67
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: geosheets has given consistently good advice and informationgeosheets has given consistently good advice and informationgeosheets has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

It certainly will help. Are all your tanks and filters the same size? If they are, you may be able to make the right combination of moves to where none of the tanks would have to be overstocked and none would have to fully cycle again.



geosheets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th January 2009   #16
Jay
(Kal El)
Member
 
Kal El's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 33
Posts: 426
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Kal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and informationKal El has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Cant get the ammonia down!

G'day,

I really think you have to take this "cycling" business with a grain of salt. Understandably, you're going to want the most suitable tank for your axolotl, which obviously means a cycled tank.

There's really nothing wrong with having an ammonia level of 4ppm (only during the cycling period, of course!), as long as your axolotl isn't in the tank, hence, the 'fishless cycle'. In fact, I think you may be prolonging the process by doing these drastic water changes. If the ammonia concentration does not creep above 4ppm, then you should be fine. It is only when ammonia goes above 4ppm that will have to perform partial water changes to keep it down. Generally speaking, you'll find yourself with a perpetual nitrite-spike should the ammonia level go above 4ppm.

How long have you been cycling your tank? Hopefully you are aware that this process can range any where between a few weeks to a few months. Nonetheless, there's no rush. The process is also different amongst individuals. For instance, I never enountered nitrate in the so called ammnonia >> nitrite >> nitrate phenomenon. Also, what method are using to test for ammonia?

Personally, I'd just let the tank cycle without the axolotl in it, but that's just my 2 cents. As ammonia toxicity is of greatest concern right now, I'd put the axolotl into the fridge while the tank cycles. You could put the axolotl into your other fish tank(s), but you'll have to factor in the possibility of transferring disease(s) to/from the axolotl/fish. And, as always, the axolotl could eat these fish, or worse case scenario, the fish kill your axolotl by meticulously nibbling at it making it more susceptible to pathogenic invasion.

While the tank is cycling, I'd monitor the ammonia and pH ensuring that ammonia does not creep up above 4ppm, and pH does not drop below 6 because both discrepanices will hinder the nitrification cycle. Word of warning though, do not use any chemicals or powders to boost the pH. Let nature take its course.
As mentioned earlier, if the ammonia goes above 4ppm, perform a partial (20%) water change. In doing a massive water change, I believe you'll be getting rid of what ever bacteria colony is trying to form, and also any organics that are trying to adhere to any surfaces. Bacteria seldom remain in free water, but they'll start off some where there and then adhere themselves to surfaces that contain organic matter (i.e. food). This process is known as chemotaxis. Therefore, if you are continuously disturbing the tank, these organics don't have the 'chance' to adhere to the surfaces and, thus, attract a colony of nitrifying bacteria; which leads me to my second point. It's not a good idea to stir the sand all the time because aerobic nitrifying bacteria will be residing a few millimetres below the surface of the sand. But this is not to say that you don't stir the sand every now and then to get rid of pockets of hydrogen sulfide.

If, however, you're still keen on starting over, here are some pointers that I've picked up along the way (mainly through the wisdom of others, and also through trial and error):

- Remove the filter from both tanks before you start siphoning out any water. This will prevent any debris from being transferred along with the filters.

- When removing the sand, try to carefully siphon the upper most layer because this is where the aerobic bacteria reside. Don't mix the upper and bottom layers of sand together. You can place the upper layer back on top once when you've added the bottom later again. NB. make sure you keep the upper layer with just enough tank water to cover it.

- Try to keep all your decorations/plants (basically everything in the tank) wet, i.e. don't let anything dry out because you'll be losing that precious biofilm.

That's about all I can think of. I hope I haven't confused you in any way Good luck!

Jay.



__________________
The worst time to have a heart attack would be during a game of charades.
Kal El is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ammonia, down!

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads

Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ammonia at 4.0 -- why? Marimo Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 6 23rd June 2008 20:52
Just cant get rid of ammonia rosstxttpo Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 11 16th November 2007 23:39
Ammonia rosstxttpo Sick Axolotl? 25 2nd November 2007 07:20
Ammonia bev Axolotl General Discussion 13 13th October 2006 13:51
Ammonia hayley-jane Axolotl General Discussion 7 1st August 2005 23:19


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:01.