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Aquarium pH

ricagudino

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I've recently added a bunch of plants and sand substrate to my aquarium after struggling with parameters for the whole year.. my poor axolotl is doing very well despite it all and she is currently still tubbed while I figure out the aquarium parameters.

My main problem was high nitrates, the plants and water changes have totally fixed that issue. Now I am having issues with high pH. She likes a pH of 7.4 and my tap runs at that pH. But somehow her tank has been at 7.8 for the last month. So last week I treated her tank with an indian almond leaf tea and put the leaf in with the tank as well. I am attaching a pic of the pH test after 7 days of the tea being added to the tank to make sure I'm not misreading it. Also attaching a picture of her tank set up in case I am missing something.

I want to be super careful when I put her back in the tank and hopefully this pH issue will be the last of it.
 

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John

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I wouldn't try to modify the pH if you can keep it below about 8 - there is no need and the axolotl will appreciate it. If it climbs above 8, that's more of an issue. Causes for this are usually due to items in the tank, high ammonia, and, less likely, some plant activity. Frankly though, those coloured tests for pH are not exactly the most accurate. I would have a hard time telling the difference between 7.4, 7.8 and 8.0 with what's in the photo. Modifying the pH doesn't make sense when it's still within the ideal range for an axolotl, and it may cause stress in and of itself.
 

JM29

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Hi Ricagudino,

100% agree with John's answer.

Great to see you have a well planted tank.
Your axie should feel better in it (when the tank is cycled since you seem to have a filter)
 

ricagudino

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I wouldn't try to modify the pH if you can keep it below about 8 - there is no need and the axolotl will appreciate it. If it climbs above 8, that's more of an issue. Causes for this are usually due to items in the tank, high ammonia, and, less likely, some plant activity. Frankly though, those coloured tests for pH are not exactly the most accurate. I would have a hard time telling the difference between 7.4, 7.8 and 8.0 with what's in the photo. Modifying the pH doesn't make sense when it's still within the ideal range for an axolotl, and it may cause stress in and of itself.
This makes sense! What is the axolotl's preferred pH range? I try to read the tests in the same lighting to make sure I'm reading them right, but I agree they are difficult to tell the difference. All other parameters are normal, ammonia and nitrites are 0 and nitrates are around 10.
 

ricagudino

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Hi Ricagudino,

100% agree with John's answer.

Great to see you have a well planted tank.
Your axie should feel better in it (when the tank is cycled since you seem to have a filter)
I was going to update my old thread to show you the tank set up! The filter should be already cycled, I did a 75% water change when installing the sand and plants on November 14. Unless I'm mistaken? What should I watch for as to when it's safest to put her back in her tank?
 

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This makes sense! What is the axolotl's preferred pH range?
My preference would be pH 7-8. I'm keeping some at pH 6.7 right now (our tap water here is acidic) but I've kept them in tap water that was pH 8.4 too.
 

JM29

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ammonia and nitrites are 0 and nitrates are around 10
Well, your aquarium seems to be cycled and with low nitrates, which is good.
In these conditions, you could introduce your axolotl in the tank.
Then, check the nitrates from times to times, since the axolotl will bring extra ammonia which will be nitrified by your filter.
The main reason to water changes in a filtered tank is to keep nitrates low. If nitrates stay at a low rate, you'll not have to make massive water changes.
 

ricagudino

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Well, your aquarium seems to be cycled and with low nitrates, which is good.
In these conditions, you could introduce your axolotl in the tank.
Then, check the nitrates from times to times, since the axolotl will bring extra ammonia which will be nitrified by your filter.
The main reason to water changes in a filtered tank is to keep nitrates low. If nitrates stay at a low rate, you'll not have to make massive water changes.
I put her back in her tank on Monday, and she's been having a time excavating in the sand lol here are update pics after the week! Today I replanted what she dug up in places she seemed to leave alone, and I also cut back and removed dying plants. I noticed some tiny snails made their way into the tank via some of the new plants, will they be ok tankmates? They are living on the floating plants, particularly the duckweed.

Another thing I noticed, she remains still during the day when the tank light is on and becomes active when I turn the light off. She refused to eat when the light is on, and ate today after I turned the light off. I do day/night light cycles because the tank is in my bedroom and I'm new to putting a light on her tank.

All water levels are still normal and nitrates are low.
 

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JM29

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Today I replanted what she dug up in places she seemed to leave alone
That's exactly what had to be done. There is unfortunately nothing else to do.
But if you want your plants not to be disturbed, you can put one or two neutral stones in the tank and plant the plants near the stones.

For the little snails, I cannot answer because I don't know what species it is. Snails can be useful tankmates, as tank cleaners, as long as the axie doesnt eat them.

No problem with the light. If you're new to putting a light on her tank, I suppose your axie also is not used of so much light.
Never mind, she'll slowly get used. In y.our first photos, I noticed you've introduced some floating plants. If you want to keep the benefits of the light for your water quality but provide less lighting for your axolotl, a solution could be letting these floating plants multiply a bit : this will provide some shade.

Nitrates stay low, that's good news : your plants are doing the job.
 

ricagudino

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That's exactly what had to be done. There is unfortunately nothing else to do.
But if you want your plants not to be disturbed, you can put one or two neutral stones in the tank and plant the plants near the stones.

For the little snails, I cannot answer because I don't know what species it is. Snails can be useful tankmates, as tank cleaners, as long as the axie doesnt eat them.

No problem with the light. If you're new to putting a light on her tank, I suppose your axie also is not used of so much light.
Never mind, she'll slowly get used. In y.our first photos, I noticed you've introduced some floating plants. If you want to keep the benefits of the light for your water quality but provide less lighting for your axolotl, a solution could be letting these floating plants multiply a bit : this will provide some shade.

Nitrates stay low, that's good news : your plants are doing the job.
So far she's leaving the plants for now. I'm attaching a picture of one of the snails. I had put duckweed and hornwort as floating plants, both are multiplying but the duckweed is also dying fast and I wonder if it's because of the snails. She has a good amount of shade, I think it's like you said, she'll slowly get used to the light.
 

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JM29

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Difficult for me to identify this snail.
It could be an american species I don't know. Moreover, the picture is not informative enough.
If its shell turns left, it coulb be a Physa (very frequent genus). Not dangerous for most plants but good algae eater.
 
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ricagudino

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Difficult for me to identify this snail.
It could be an american species I don't know. Moreover, the picture is not informative enough.
If its shell turns left, it coulb be a Physa (very frequent genus). Not dangerous for most plants but good algae eater.
I'm attaching pics of one I found, I did some research and I'm pretty sure it's a leopard ramshorn snail, which are common hitchhikers for freshwater aquatic plants. Are you familiar with them? the shell is spotted and doesn't turn left or right, but under.
 

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JM29

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Not sure of the exact species but it's a ramshorn snail.
I had some ramshorn snails a long time ago, before having caudates, but the bettas I had then ate them.
I remember they were useful cleaners and not dangerous for the plants, except for the fern Ceratopteris thalictroides.

If you have not any of these snails, let them in the aquarium and check the plants from times to times to see if they are not damaged.
 
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