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Old 20th November 2018   #1
Lady Kiri
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Question Advice for a New Owner

I'm reasonably new to this whole aquatic animal keeping, I've done alot of planted scapes over the years, but just stuck to bettas. I have 2 1/2 years experience with a 15g and 10g tanks.

I'm looking at getting a custom made 60g tank for an axolotl and while I've done alot of research there seems to be conflicting information on some things so I thought I'd ask advice from experienced owners. (is 60g too big for one axolotl?)

I plan on having both a sponge filter and another filter (torn between canister with a spray bar or hang on fluval filter). I also plan on buying a chiller as summer's here in Australia are very hot and I am doubtful frozen bottles will make much impact on 60g.
I plan on using sand substrate with some driftwood and a slate hide as well as plants.
I know low light is a must so I'll be adding some floating plants for extra shade too (will an axolotl try to eat frogbit?). From what I have read decoration requirements are similar to a betta's, just on a bigger scale. No sharp edges, plenty of places to hide, and nothing that can fit in their mouth etc.

This tank is something I've been wanting to do since I started with my betta tanks, and will be a main feature on the dark side of my living room hopefully early next year. I want to make sure I get everything right and am confident with my knowledge before I commit a few thousand to this project.

Is there any advice at all that you could give me starting out? What to avoid? What products you recommend. What are must haves apart from the basics of cold water, food, low light, good water, and a hide? What advice do you wish someone had told you before got your axolotl? Basic care, what to expect? etc.

Thank you.
(sorry if this is in the wrong spot. I didn't put it in equipment because I wanted general advice about the critter as well as setup)

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Old 20th November 2018   #2
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Default Re: Advice for a New Owner

Everything you've said sounds just right it seems like you've done a lot of research and will put a lot of care into setting up the tank and I'd love to see it completed! I don't think it's possible to have too large a tank, esp if you have cover which it sounds like you will. If it's custom I'd prioritize floorspace over height. I probably wouldn't put a baby axolotl in a planted sanded tank just to be extra careful about impaction, so you could raise in a barebottom and transfer to the big tank or just get a juvi or adult. Would also use a feeding dish or tile to help with mess and reduce sand ingestion, or just hand feed. And make sure it's a very fine sand, I used caribsea black sand and my juvi still became impacted by it (she's ok now) I've heard good things about pool filter sand and play sand for cheap options just make sure to really thoroughly rinse.
I don't personally have experience with floating plants but I don't think they'd intentionally eat it and would pass it safely if they did, as my axolotl have accidentally chomped and passed marimo. I use a fan instead because our summers don't get too hot but I definitely recommend against frozen water bottles as it's too hard to keep stable and the fluctuating temp can be really stressful.
Also be aware that they are poop machines and I've found the best way to keep clean is suctioning up poop when I see it with a turkey baster in addition to my sponge and hob filters.
Good luck and please update with pics when you're all set up :)

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Old 23rd November 2018   #3
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Default Re: Advice for a New Owner

Yep, never too big. Axies are messy animals so you shouldn't have an issue with not having enough ammonia for the cycle. For a big tank a canister filter is a good idea and will work perfectly with a chiller (attach the filter output to the chiller then the clean cool water goes into the tank).
Bunning playsand is a great option for a sand substrate, you just want to clean it a lot. But avoid sand if you're getting a juvenile, like Giuseppe said. If you get the darker colour driftwood it can tint your water so try and get the lighter ones.
Frogbit should be fine, the axie may eat it but I don't think it's harmful (just check first though). I can't get it here in NSW so use banana lillies, which have actually grown much better in the cold axie tank than they did in the warm betta tank.
For a lid I would recommend a mesh one, they should be able to make one custom for the tank as well. It keeps the water cool and stops insects settling on the nice still water (especially mozzies). You can build shelves onto the tank too, kind of like a turtle tank. This increases the surface area which is always great.
Have a master test kit ready, you'll want to test the water around once a week. I do a test before a water change and the day after the water change (so I don't get incorrect readings from the seachem prime). Test your local water supply every now and then as well. I have ammonia in my tap water, hence the need to use prime to detoxify it.
When you do get your axies I can recommend some aussie nightcrawler suppliers if you want this as a food source :)
I would love to see the finished product. Once it is done make sure to post a picture!

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