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

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Old 10th October 2017   #1
Crow
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Talking Planted Tanks?

So I've had my axolotl for a little over 4 years now, and I'm getting bored with her current set up. I want to plant her tank but I've got a few concerns.

Firstly is the lighting issue. I've tried to keep plants in her tank prior to this, but eventually they all die. I'm going to assume it's because I don't have a light over her tank because I don't want to damage her eyes (she's a leucy too) or stress her out.
I'm wondering if using a light would be fine as long as there's a part of her tank where there's shade? I'm thinking of utilizing a large piece of drift wood positioned so the bulk of it is near the top of the tank might provide some coverage combined with duckweed? I'll of course still have all her other regular hides and what not in addition.
Does anyone else have any experience with lighting axolotl tanks?
Also, if you do, what light would you recommend for promoting plant growth but being relatively low output?

I'm also concerned about cleaning up after my axolotl if I do decide to plant the tank.
It can be tricky enough moving everything around to make sure I clean up all the waste without having to go around large leafy plants everywhere. Plus I don't want to tear up the tank every week for cleaning if there is waste tangled in the foliage.
I assume that leaving small amounts of waste would be fine in this situation, since it would be healthy for the plants anyway, and prevent me from having to use an additional fertilizer, but I wanted to get other opinions on the matter!

Finally, what are the best hardy, low light plants I can use in my axolotl aquarium?
Right now I'm thinking of using duckweed, java fern, java moss, and anubias, but I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas for species I could look at!
I already have a few moss balls in there.

Also, if I anyone knows of any reliable resources for learning about aquarium plant care and health, and about what to look for in aquarium lighting, that would be super helpful!

Thank you so much!



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Old 11th October 2017   #2
Herpin Man
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Default Re: Planted Tanks?

I too am entering the world of planted tanks. I do pretty well keeping reptiles and amphibians alive, but I'm not exactly a green thumb with plants.
But I am finally having some success. I have a plant bulb (Floramax) directly over and on top of the tank. I used glass bowls and pyrex dishes as planters. I used fertilized aquarium gravel as a substrate, with large smooth gravel covering the top. For plants, I have some of those you mentioned, plus frog bit, water sprite, wisteria, Brazilian pennywort, and water lettuce. All seems to be thriving, with the possible exception of the water lettuce.
Light and nutrients seem to be the key.
With plants, the newts have more places to hide, and seem to be healthier.



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Old 29th January 2018   #3
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Talking Re: Planted Tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crow View Post
So I've had my axolotl for a little over 4 years now, and I'm getting bored with her current set up. I want to plant her tank but I've got a few concerns.

Firstly is the lighting issue. I've tried to keep plants in her tank prior to this, but eventually they all die. I'm going to assume it's because I don't have a light over her tank because I don't want to damage her eyes (she's a leucy too) or stress her out.
I'm wondering if using a light would be fine as long as there's a part of her tank where there's shade? I'm thinking of utilizing a large piece of drift wood positioned so the bulk of it is near the top of the tank might provide some coverage combined with duckweed? I'll of course still have all her other regular hides and what not in addition.
Does anyone else have any experience with lighting axolotl tanks?
Also, if you do, what light would you recommend for promoting plant growth but being relatively low output?

I'm also concerned about cleaning up after my axolotl if I do decide to plant the tank.
It can be tricky enough moving everything around to make sure I clean up all the waste without having to go around large leafy plants everywhere. Plus I don't want to tear up the tank every week for cleaning if there is waste tangled in the foliage.
I assume that leaving small amounts of waste would be fine in this situation, since it would be healthy for the plants anyway, and prevent me from having to use an additional fertilizer, but I wanted to get other opinions on the matter!

Finally, what are the best hardy, low light plants I can use in my axolotl aquarium?
Right now I'm thinking of using duckweed, java fern, java moss, and anubias, but I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas for species I could look at!
I already have a few moss balls in there.

Also, if I anyone knows of any reliable resources for learning about aquarium plant care and health, and about what to look for in aquarium lighting, that would be super helpful!

Thank you so much!

For my planted tanks, I use basic LED lights (I believe they are Marineland brand, but just the basic white and blue LED strips) paired with an LED dimmer. Dimmers can be grabbed on amazon for around $10 I believe.

When I first got the lights, I slowly adjusted my axis to the LED lights by started them off very low, and slowly increasing the amount of light with the dimmer over a few weeks. I still only keep the lights at about 40% power, as over this I can tell that the light is bothering my axis, so just watch her and see how much light she can handle. My plants seem to do well with this amount of light, and I only turn them on for about 6-8 hours per day.

In terms of plants, I think its best to just research online and find out what plants are sustainable with low light and cold water. I'll leave a short list here of what plants I have in my tanks that have been successful so far.

Java Fern
Anubias (Most variations, again just research the exact variations you like in order to find out if they will work with your axi's enviroment)
Cryptocoryne (green variations, NOT red leafed variations)
Lilaeopsis (This is a nice grass-like plant that does well)
Hornwort
Most mosses do really well. I've only messed around with moss balls, but have heard that most kinds do well.

In general, I have found that red-leafed plants do not do well in low light.

From the research I have done on fertilizers, most people recommend to NOT use them in axolotl tanks. I decided to not take the risk, and my plants seem to be doing just fine.

To answer your question on cleaning the tank, it does make it slightly more of a hassle. I have some of my plants in small terracotta pots, which makes it easy to pull them from the tank and give them a good washing if necessary. For the plants I have planted in substrate on the bottom of the tank, I just brush the gunk off with my hand before I siphon the bottom to pick up excess food and feces.

The website I use for researching plants (This website also sells them, but I have never purchased anything from them, so I can't recommend them on that front) is https://www.liveaquaria.com/

They seem to have just about every variation of plant that I have come across and will tell you how hearty the plant is, what water temperature is recommended, and how much light is required.

So all in all, having plants in an axi environment isn't too tough, just expect to spend a little bit more time cleaning up, and be sure to research plants that you like to make sure that they will survive in the ideal axolotl environment.

I hope this info has helped, best of luck with your tank!



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Old 3rd February 2018   #4
Wyvell
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Default Re: Planted Tanks?

I just wanted to say, Fertilized substrates may not be a good Idea. Flourite sand seems to be fine but others contain trace elements and these can be not so good for the axolotl



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