Question: Best Filter for my Situation?

LakeJeffler

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Hello, all!

I know that filter questions have been posted a thousand times on here, but I was hoping to get some help with my specific situation. I'm new to axolotl ownership, but have done plenty of reading on the subject.

I have a 20 gallon tank filled with 12 gallons of water with play sand substrate. It currently houses 3 juvenile axolotls approximately 6 inches in length. (I know that many would say this is too small for 3 axolotls, but they're happy for the moment.)

My tank was cycled before introducing the axies, and all was fine when I transferred the first axie over. The same when I introduced the 2nd about a week later. Things became more difficult, however, when I added the 3rd axie to the tank. I'm afraid that my filter is unable to keep up.

Despite my weekly 20%+ water changes and nightly food/waste removal regimen, the water has turned slightly cloudy and a brownish color. My levels have been (mostly) fine. For weeks now I have maintained 0.5ppm ammonia, 2.0ppm nitrite, and 5.0ppm nitrate. My pH has always run high at 8.2, but the axies don't seem to mind.

I need to find a filter that can handle my setup and situation to keep the water clear. I'm currently using an internal Tetra Whisper rated for up to 10 gallons, baffled with a plastic water bottle. Yes, I know (now) that it is way too small to handle 3 axolotls, but I'm a college student on a budget, so that was what I started with. I need a filter for under $40 that is going to stay quiet and not create a current too strong for axies. I also have to be careful with water temperature, as my tank already holds a temp of 74F with my internal Whisper filter.

Can anyone give me any suggestions? Really wanting to get this figure out to keep my axies healthy and happy! Thanks in advance!!
 

Swag

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Multiple sponge filters? Really for $40 you can get pretty much any quality hang on back filter for that size tank.

Amazon.com : AquaClear 20 Power Filter - 110 V, UL Listed (Includes AquaClear 20 Carbon, AquaClear 20 Foam & AquaClear 20 BioMax) : Aquarium Filters : Pet Supplies

Remember, you can't over filtrate. 3 axolotls, especially 6" ones, is in fact too much for a 20 gallon, however if you up your water changes to 50% weekly and put in two sponge filters and a better hang on back filter like the link above, you should be fine for now. Now is very much present and not even in the near future. I have a 20 gallon with one axolotl in it, which I feel is a bit of a stretch as it is. You'd be better off spending that $40 on another 20 gallon tank on craigslist and a new filter for it.

Edit: Filtration > Flow. Be more worried about water quality and less worried about current. Current is something to fix if you have the problem, which you probably won't. The only time current is too high for an axolotl is if they're being constantly pushed around the tank by it. Axolotls can live in water as long as it's not white water rapids-tier current, but they can't live in water that isn't clean.
 

LakeJeffler

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Thanks for the reply, Swag! I'll take that into consideration.

I'm still looking for other suggestions on filters, as well. Does anyone else care to give their input? Thanks!
 

michael

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I would fill the tank up and use more water. I'd use a hang on the back filter with extra biological medium. 3 axolotls in a 20 gallon tank is o.k. if it is a twenty long. If it is a 20 high it probably will not work. You will have to watch your parameters closely.
 

LakeJeffler

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Thanks, Michael! I'll consider doing so. As for the tank parameters, they have been mostly fine so far. The pH and temperature are a little higher than I would like, but my axies don't seem to mind at this point.
 

SnotOtter

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Just my 2 cents but marineland bio-wheel filters are the best hang on the back filter for reducing nitrogen products. Nothing beats wet/dry biological filtration. As a bonus the air exposed wheel counterbalances the heat produced by the impeller through evaporative cooling.

Good luck!

P.S. Plants are a great inexpensive means of biological filtration. Some even utilize ammonia and nitrite. Plus they add nice visual appeal and cover for your critters. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum) is a great cheap, easy to care for plant that you can usually find at any local pet store.
 

Creepella

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Lots of good suggestions already posted.

"More water" - definitely, if you're having water quality issues. The more water, the less concentrated any toxins are. I recently set up a 29 gal tank for two 5 inch axies. It has a hang on back filter. I added an AquaClear filter media bag that absorbs ammonia. The HOB filters I've used all have enough room to add extra filter media, like sponge, inserts etc. I do like the Marineland Bio-Wheel filters (I've used them before in smaller tanks) but the filter I'm using came with the tank. ;) To disperse the water flow I use a clear plastic soap dish with holes in it and large suction cups, mounted where the water flows back into the tank. I got it at the dollar store.

I also use a sponge filter, this provides surface for bacteria growth and helps clean the water. I squeeze it out in tank water once a week to clean it, but I don't disturb the film on the surface. Their flow is easily regulated by adding a small valve to the air hose.

I'm starting to collect live plants, as these help clean the water. So far I have several Marimo moss balls and some duckweed. Floating plants are easy to keep and the axies won't tear them up. I plan on adding java moss and some other plants as well.
 

LakeJeffler

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Just my 2 cents but marineland bio-wheel filters are the best hang on the back filter for reducing nitrogen products. Nothing beats wet/dry biological filtration. As a bonus the air exposed wheel counterbalances the heat produced by the impeller through evaporative cooling.
Thanks! I'll look into the bio-wheel option.
 

capn

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I'm new to everything too, but I was worried about the filter in my axie tank maybe producing a strong current. And then I happened to see a video on youtube about a person setting up an axie tank and using a shower loofah pouf hooked onto the filter water output to soften the flow. Just make sure you clean it really well, obviously.
 

allied123

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ermm I'm not sure if this is what you meant but please don't "clean" it. buy a new one and rinse it with water do not use any cleaner on it and do not use one that has been used.
 

capn

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Yes. I meant "clean it really well with hot water". That's what I did with mine.
 

Swag

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I've always found that appropriately sized hob filters don't create nearly enough current to warrant all the ugly plastic bottles and such. Canisters and sumps use spray bars so they don't cause problems.
 
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