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In trouble with cycling.

BradleyB

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Apr 13, 2021
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Calgary, Alberta
Hi and greetings from Calgary, Alberta.

We will be getting a young axolotl in a little less than 3 weeks. When I purchased the tank and filter from the local aquarium store, the staff member told me I should be able to cycle the tank and get it ready in 2-3 weeks. My bad for not reading more at the time, as I am now facing an uphill battle from what I can gather. In part this stems from the fact that it is almost impossible to purchase pure unadulterated ammonia in Canada, coupled with the fact that the staff member assured me that as long as I used a good cycling starter like Tetra Safe Start, all would be well. I learned about the ammonia problem on Saturday when I filled the tank and headed out looking for it, to no avail. Any household products are lemon-scented or the like and none of the local aquarium/pet stores seem to carry any. Ordering online would involve a 3+ week wait, as it would ship from the US.

I subsequently spent a good part of the past three days scouring the internet for possible solutions, other than using some sacrificial fish, or as one aquarium store employee suggested, adding a frozen cooked shrimp to the tank. At this time, I do not know anyone local that I could get some established filter media from :( Even if I did go the frozen shrimp route, I gather that it would be an extremely disaster-prone path to try, as controlling the ammonia level would be fairly difficult.

My current understanding is that a fast cycle still might be possible using the Safe Start if only I could access some ammonia, so that I can ensure a controlled food source for the nitrifying bacteria until the tank gets established. Being able to add some filter media from an established tank would be a huge bonus. The set-up is a 20 gallon long tank and a Aqua Clear 30 HOB filter. I tested the tap water prior to treating for chlorine and got the following results:

Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 0 ppm
PH 7.4
GH 300 ppm range
KH 100-150 ppm range

I filled the tank on Sunday and it appears to be settling in at 64 degrees F (18 Celsius).

Help!
 

Pigalit

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
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Location
Georgia
Is it possible to get the ammonia shipped from another country? Or find one from amazon? If you're worried about the tank not being cycled in time of when the axolotl arrives, you can always tub them. It's also not guaranteed that your tank will cycle at the given time of 2-3 weeks. Also if you can't find established filter media for thank specific type of filter, maybe think about looking into different filters such as sponge filters and find a used sponge filter.
 

BradleyB

New member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
Location
Calgary, Alberta
Hi and greetings from Calgary, Alberta.

We will be getting a young axolotl in a little less than 3 weeks. When I purchased the tank and filter from the local aquarium store, the staff member told me I should be able to cycle the tank and get it ready in 2-3 weeks. My bad for not reading more at the time, as I am now facing an uphill battle from what I can gather. In part this stems from the fact that it is almost impossible to purchase pure unadulterated ammonia in Canada, coupled with the fact that the staff member assured me that as long as I used a good cycling starter like Tetra Safe Start, all would be well. I learned about the ammonia problem on Saturday when I filled the tank and headed out looking for it, to no avail. Any household products are lemon-scented or the like and none of the local aquarium/pet stores seem to carry any. Ordering online would involve a 3+ week wait, as it would ship from the US.

I subsequently spent a good part of the past three days scouring the internet for possible solutions, other than using some sacrificial fish, or as one aquarium store employee suggested, adding a frozen cooked shrimp to the tank. At this time, I do not know anyone local that I could get some established filter media from :( Even if I did go the frozen shrimp route, I gather that it would be an extremely disaster-prone path to try, as controlling the ammonia level would be fairly difficult.

My current understanding is that a fast cycle still might be possible using the Safe Start if only I could access some ammonia, so that I can ensure a controlled food source for the nitrifying bacteria until the tank gets established. Being able to add some filter media from an established tank would be a huge bonus. The set-up is a 20 gallon long tank and a Aqua Clear 30 HOB filter. I tested the tap water prior to treating for chlorine and got the following results:

Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 0 ppm
PH 7.4
GH 300 ppm range
KH 100-150 ppm range

I filled the tank on Sunday and it appears to be settling in at 64 degrees F (18 Celsius).

Help!
Ok! Found a clandestine source of ammonium choloride for cycling on Kijiji! Will hopefully be picking up some this afternoon :)
 

BradleyB

New member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
8
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Location
Calgary, Alberta
Is it possible to get the ammonia shipped from another country? Or find one from amazon? If you're worried about the tank not being cycled in time of when the axolotl arrives, you can always tub them. It's also not guaranteed that your tank will cycle at the given time of 2-3 weeks. Also if you can't find established filter media for thank specific type of filter, maybe think about looking into different filters such as sponge filters and find a used sponge filter.
Hi. I just found a solution for the ammonia problem, thanks to someone local who is clandestinely selling packets of ammonium chloride :)

Yes, had I not found a local source just now, it's possible to order from the US (that's the only source on Amazon as well). Problem is, because it involves international shipping, either it takes 3+ weeks to arrive (things are really slow in the current covid world), or else the likes of Fed Ex extort a shipping rate of $70+ to get it here in a couple days.

I'd be happy to find any established sponge :)
 

Pigalit

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
65
Reaction score
19
Location
Georgia
Hi. I just found a solution for the ammonia problem, thanks to someone local who is clandestinely selling packets of ammonium chloride :)

Yes, had I not found a local source just now, it's possible to order from the US (that's the only source on Amazon as well). Problem is, because it involves international shipping, either it takes 3+ weeks to arrive (things are really slow in the current covid world), or else the likes of Fed Ex extort a shipping rate of $70+ to get it here in a couple days.

I'd be happy to find any established sponge :)
Glad to hear 😁 good luck!
 

YGDS

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Jan 3, 2021
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Location
Calgary
I'm glad you found what you need. For the future, you ought to connect with Hollies Hobbies (facebook store: Hollies Hobbies Calgary) for axolotl associated needs, if you haven't already. They are based here in Calgary, and seem to have a good reputation. They were selling ammonium chloride packets and have really good materials on how to best cycle a tank.
 

BradleyB

New member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
8
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Location
Calgary, Alberta
I'm glad you found what you need. For the future, you ought to connect with Hollies Hobbies (facebook store: Hollies Hobbies Calgary) for axolotl associated needs, if you haven't already. They are based here in Calgary, and seem to have a good reputation. They were selling ammonium chloride packets and have really good materials on how to best cycle a tank.
Thanks! It was Hollies Hobbies who I got the ammonium chloride from! Found them on Kijiji after I posted here this morning. Started the cycle process this afternoon and put a heater in the tank to raise the water temperature and help it along.
 

BradleyB

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Apr 13, 2021
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Location
Calgary, Alberta
It's been a long haul but today's readings are
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 20 ppm (60% water change 2 days ago and plants in the tank)

Now let's see if these readings hold. Added ammonia to reach 1 ppm.

Lucy has been tubbed since May 4th when we got her. She's better than 2" long now, back legs are almost fully developed. I think she is likely still too tiny for the tank (20 gal long). She is happily eating frozen baby blood worms and live brine shrimp. Here she is, she just got her daily water change.
PXL_20210605_170042470.jpg


This is her current home
PXL_20210605_170154221.jpg


This will be her new home. Eventually (when she's old enough) there will also be some fine white sand, along with a planting area and hide made from slate.
PXL_20210605_170333053.jpg
 
Last edited:
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    My son and I have been looking for a water dog/tiger salamander for quite some time now with no luck has anybody know how or where to find any
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    @axolotl nerd, where can I find waterdogs or tiger salamanders my son has wanted one for a long time and I've been searching high and low with no luck
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    @Jokerjay, as in water dogs do you mean axolotls? i suggest very heavy research and a fully cycled tank before even considering purchasing one
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    Axolotls are amazing until they get sick and then they’re a pain in the backside to treat - I recently lost two axolotls due to unknown causes
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    Anyone from the us? Looking for at least one or two axolotls for me and my son to have our own at-home project together.
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    i highly recommend “buyanaxolotl.com”- ive purchased from them and received a beautiful animal for relatively cheap, in great condition, and excellent shipping precautions. the breeders are a couple living in georgia (i believe, don’t quite remember) and they’re fantastic. sometimes their website contact page doesn’t work, so i’d probably try just emailing them. good luck and happy hunting!
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    do those aquarium fans work well for axolotls
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    My little guy got stuck in the filter yesterday. His back leg is red. Will this heal
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    heh
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    Hi all I'm new here I'm just looking some advise on cycle witch is currently driving me insane . So we are week 8 I'm dosing daily with 4pp of amonia and for the last week has been dropping to zero witch I no is good. But my question is my nitrites are sitting at between 0.50 and 1.0 PM and nitrates are between 10 and 20 and neither of these seem to be dropping. I have done 2 40% water changes a few days ago and no change the only thing I can think of is I didnt use the seachem stability stuff which I have now ordered but surely that shouldn't have much difference this far into cycling
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  • ytz13513:
    Dropping ammonia with rising nitrate and nitrite is good. It means the nitrifying bacteria is working. You just have to remove the nitrate from the water doing water changes. The level of nitrates is high and the nitrate is also high. The nitrite will be converted to nitrate using the beneficial bacteria and you can add them using quick start or allowing them to naturally grow in the tank. The latter option will take longer. The nitrate can be used by plants, so live plants can decrease the levels, but I would do a water change to get the nitrate at a level that is lower than 5 ppm. 5ppm of nitrate is natural and a good place.
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  • EvankingM:
    New here. hope this is the right place to post my question. I had 27 axolotyls aged 2-3 months old. main food has been finely chopped up bloodworms. no problems. I decided to introduce earthworms from my earthworm compost bin for variety. I finely chopped up 4 small earthworms and fed them to the babies. Within an hour 20 of the babies were dead. The remaining 7 (the smaller babies) survived and are now fine on bloodworms. Any ideas why the chopped up earthworms killed many of the babies?
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    i agree
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    love the new look
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    does anyone know if fairy shrimp are good to use with axolotls?
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    noahc808: does anyone know if fairy shrimp are good to use with axolotls? +1
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