Lost my Lotl; Recycling my Tank

ComicMischief

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Hello to all! This is my first time posting in the group, and I wish it was under better circumstances. Try not to judge me too hard about it...

Before I went to bed last night I was finishing up a second salt bath for my year-old golden albino axolotl who had developed fungus on her body, but when I was lifting her out of the bath container to her tank, she wrestled free from me and fell a foot or so to the floor, flailing around. When I put her back into the water, a few small blood vessels in her tail had ruptured, and there was a small tear in her skin near the tip, but she otherwise looked okay. When I woke up the next morning, she had shed so much of her outer skin layer it looked like it was snowing in the tank, and she was acting very restless. I had to leave in the morning for work, so I asked my family to keep an eye out and maybe fridge her if she looks bad. I felt paralyzed by guilt and could barely function at work all day. When I got home, all her gill filaments had detached and she was motionless at the bottom of the tank. Fearing that fridging her under that much stress would add more stress, I just kept the tank dark and cool and forced myself to go to sleep.

The next morning, she was still in the same position, and I realized she had passed overnight.

My axolotl brought me so much joy, and it kills me thinking if I had just used a net to transfer her, or just didn't give her a salt bath, she would be alive right now. Just a couple days ago she had fungus but she was otherwise the same happy lotl I grew to know and love. It's my fault that she died and I'm struggling to forgive myself.

My lotl got fungus in the first place because my surge protector tripped while I was at work and her tank was in a big a temperature spike by the time I got home.

I was already in a bit of a dark place because of other situations, so I find I miss having a smiling little Lotl as the last thing I see before I go to bed at night even more. I learned a lot from this situation, and I'd like to try again with a new lotl, but I want to make sure I do everything right this time. Hopefully I can turn to the good people here to steer me in that direction.

So, with that said, after she died, I decided to break down my tank completely and sterilize it. I want to start a new fishless cycle for my tank in case my poor girl left anything in there that might make my new axie sick. I threw away the filter media and the sand substrate (it was hard to keep clean even with spot cleaning with a turkey baster and weekly siphoning). I boiled a pot of water, aquarium salt, and vinegar, put all the silk plants and her pvc pipe hide, along with the filter housing (not the wired component) into a bucket, and poured the solution over it. As it's already night here, I'm just going to let it soak overnight and dry everything out on the porch when the sun comes out.

For the tank, I used the same warm water, vinegar, and aquarium salt mixture and scrubbed it thoroughly, and pat it dry with paper towels.

For cycling, after all the decorations dry out completely, I plan on filling the tank back up with water, replacing the filter media, and attempt a fishless cycle.

I'd read that using fish flakes will introduce ammonia, but I'm worried about fungus since that's what started this whole nightmare in the first place. Instead, I'd like to try "DrTim's Aquatics - Ammonium Chloride Solution for Fishless Cycling - 2 oz Bottle" and add ammonia. I've been using test strips for water quality, but I read that it's inaccurate, so I plan on getting the liquid test kits instead.

Right now I only have a 13-gallon aquarium because the pet stores I went to that day didn't carry a 20-gallon long, but I'm definitely in the market for an upgrade.

I have the Iceprobe Thermoelectric Chiller coming by mail. My room had always kept her tank water in the mid 60s, but we've had a couple hot weeks lately in Hawaii, so I need to invest in an electric chiller to keep things stable.

I only had silk plants in her tank, but next time I plan on getting at least a couple Marimo moss balls. I read duckweed is good too? What are your thoughts on live plants for axolotls?

I plan on getting a juvenile this time around, perhaps in a different color... Like the melanoid or starburst even. Maybe a nice copper. I don't expect my tank to be cycled anytime soon, so realistically I'm looking at a month's wait time before I introduce a new axolotl to my tank.

If there are any sellers here or if you know of any good websites that offer axolotls shipped to Hawaii, please let me know!

If you have any other suggestions, I am all ears.

I've always been more of a betta keeper in the past, but I find that after owning an Axolotl, I can't go back to just fish again. I'm not as experienced as I'd like to be in aquatic pet care, so please keep that in mind.

It's nice to meet you all! I hope you can look past my mistakes as a axolotl keeper as I try again. I'm trying to look forward to meeting a cute little lotl instead of digging myself deeper in this hole I've gotten into.
 
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  • Lonewolf:
    Ok I’m new so I have a pink Axolotl and it’s a baby like two three max inches and it eats from the top and it has now been floating a while now should I be worried ?? The other one is at the bottom of the tank and the tail isint hoocked or the gills aren’t curved flowerd they seem relaxed
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  • Lonewolf:
    ?? I’m new owner to the type of fish
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    Lonewolf has left the room.
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  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
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  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
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  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
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  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
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  • Murk:
    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
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  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
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  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
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  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
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  • Ganaa:
    Anyone here from DMV?
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  • AlexisJG:
    Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated :)
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  • Ganaa:
    @patrickstar116, do you still have your fire salamanders?
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  • patrickstar116:
    @Ganaa, I do you may message me if you wish
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    hi.....
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  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
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  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
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  • AlexisJG:
    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
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    HalfDrunkToast: @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head... +1
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