Question: Future setup for an axolotl

Nixel

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My friend plans to one day get an axolotl (likely wild type, though he'd kill for chimera), and I promised I'd help prepare/research. Because of their current sad situation in the wild, we decided a biotope would be a good idea toward providing a comfortable sanctuary for one.

It's still really far off before he'll get one, but I wanted to plot out all the details so there will be few surprises or hitches.

How does this setup sound?

Tank: ~20 gallons

Occupants: Ambystoma mexicanum (1)

Substrate: Silt

Temperature: 61-65F

Equipment:
-Low wattage LED lamp (ex. 40W)
-Peltier cooler
-Canister filter (reduced flow)
-Lid

CO2: No

Decorations:
-Driftwood
-Large riverstones

Plants:
-Ludwigia palustris
-Nymphaea mexicana
-Pistia stratiotes (Water lettuce)
-Eichhornia crassipes (Common water hyacinth)
-Hydrocotyle ranunculoides/leucocephala (Floating pennywort)
-Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae

Notes:
-20% water change every two weeks with dechlorinated water


Question #1: Is there any way to mix certain substrates to get silt? What about mixing Red Sea's Flora Base with CaribSea's Super Naturals Moonlight Sand?

Question #2: Any idea what kind of driftwood would be native for this biotope?
 

KumquatSquats

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i think looking at the natural environment they come from is a good idea in theory but not exactly the easiest task in practice if you want to get down to specific woods and silt ratios.

seeing as they come from lakes that used to exist in what is now Mexico City i'd guess you could look up the wood most commonly found near the natural habitat, but if you did go that route you would also have to look up if that particular wood caused pH to rise or lower and how fast they rot in an aquatic environment. one full tree in a full lake will effect overall water pH very little but one branch in a 20 gallon tank could change a LOT. Just something to keep in mind. Mopani wood is recommended for aquariums because it is a hard wood that can be submerged many years before breaking down like most other woods, its readily available and proven safe for axolotls. this might be a good alternative if you cant find a native choice.

as for substrate, i dont see any reason why you couldn't mix 2 different (axolotl safe) substrates to get the consistency you are looking for. i dont have a lot of experience there however, my Axolotls are on bare glass for the time and all my previous fish tanks have been bare glass or gravel.

I would be very interested in seeing the final product, hope when you do put this together that you share some pics!
 

Nixel

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Thank you for the reply! I had trouble finding what woods were native to the area, but I think if they were specific, they would be hard to procure anyway. I've seen some amazing pieces of mopani so it would probably be easier to just go that route.
 
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