new tank + axolotl: ammonia levels not going down

stinkbug

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currently in the tank:
15 gallons tapwater
seachem prime, safe, stability
nutrafin waste control
2 goldfish
1 tiny snail
3-4 tiny guppies
1 5-inch axolotl
1-2 ghost shrimp
some kind of sponge filter/bubbler

I'm using the API (liquid) test kit. The rescue assured me that starting the tank the same day I received the axo would be fine, as "our tanks come pre-cycled"

Adding 15 gallons (hard) tap water to the tank and the directed amount of Seachem Prime, all levels tested normal except for ammonia, which was at 0.25 ppm BEFORE critters were even introduced. I let the filter/water go for 5 hours before re-testing and got the same results.

I had the lids off of the travel containers for air but the little guys kept jumping out so I ended up setting them loose in the tank after floating for an hour. I did not know the rescue would be sending the goldies (which I know produce a lot of waste) so it was a surprise.

Today, Seachem Safe + Stability arrived along with the Nutrafin Waste control. I was a bit worried about adding too many chemicals to the water at once so I added them one at a time, an hour apart.

Now the levels are at about 0.5 ammonia, pH 7.6, nitrites/nitrates 0.

The goldfish seem very normal/active and are happy to eat.

Axolotl has very small gills but they do not appear to be curled forward. His tail is not curly. No colour changes or abrasions He did not want a worm this morning, and I have not watched him eat any of the 4-5 pellets I dropped in the tank but the goldies had a nibble.

I apologize for the length of this post but I figured the more details, the better.

With all that said:
- I am planning on doing a water change tomorrow morning, and using a siphon to clean up whatever I can. Should I stick to 25% change or go higher?

- How do I fix this? What am I missing? What do I do?




TIA - I really appreciate it
 

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GulfCoastAxolotls

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currently in the tank:
15 gallons tapwater
seachem prime, safe, stability
nutrafin waste control
2 goldfish
1 tiny snail
3-4 tiny guppies
1 5-inch axolotl
1-2 ghost shrimp
some kind of sponge filter/bubbler

I'm using the API (liquid) test kit. The rescue assured me that starting the tank the same day I received the axo would be fine, as "our tanks come pre-cycled"

Adding 15 gallons (hard) tap water to the tank and the directed amount of Seachem Prime, all levels tested normal except for ammonia, which was at 0.25 ppm BEFORE critters were even introduced. I let the filter/water go for 5 hours before re-testing and got the same results.

I had the lids off of the travel containers for air but the little guys kept jumping out so I ended up setting them loose in the tank after floating for an hour. I did not know the rescue would be sending the goldies (which I know produce a lot of waste) so it was a surprise.

Today, Seachem Safe + Stability arrived along with the Nutrafin Waste control. I was a bit worried about adding too many chemicals to the water at once so I added them one at a time, an hour apart.

Now the levels are at about 0.5 ammonia, pH 7.6, nitrites/nitrates 0.

The goldfish seem very normal/active and are happy to eat.

Axolotl has very small gills but they do not appear to be curled forward. His tail is not curly. No colour changes or abrasions He did not want a worm this morning, and I have not watched him eat any of the 4-5 pellets I dropped in the tank but the goldies had a nibble.

I apologize for the length of this post but I figured the more details, the better.

With all that said:
- I am planning on doing a water change tomorrow morning, and using a siphon to clean up whatever I can. Should I stick to 25% change or go higher?

- How do I fix this? What am I missing? What do I do?




TIA - I really appreciate it
Thank you for all the details, it really does help get a clear picture so we can assist better.
OK so a few things here -
1) Remove the goldfish. Put them in their own tank or rehome them. Goldfish alone require 5 gallons per inch (ex. if you gave two 1-in goldfish, they need 10 gallons). They produce A LOT of waste on their own, let alone combining that with an axolotl. I wouldnt even keep goldfish in a 55 gallon with an axolotl. Generally speaking, axololts should not be kept with fish because their gills will get nipped at. Guppies are kind of the one exception, but most of the time axolotl tanks are a little too cold.
2) Axolotls require a bare minimum of 20 gallons by themselves. 20 gallon long tanks are the most commonly used tank as the length and width of the tank are more important than the height. a 40 breeder tank is even better.
3) tanks cant be "pre-cycled". it doesnt work that way. You can have "live sand", or a used filter or filter media that has established bacteria colonies that will give you a jump start. As soon as any of those things dry out though, all of that bacteria is gone. So I'm not sure what they meant by that claim, but the presence of ammonia suggests a non-cycled system. Sponge filters are fine and do offer good biological and mechanical filtration as long as they are maintained properly, but there is zero chemical filtration to them. A HOB (hang on back) filter may be a good investment to give you better filtration. I use a combo of canister filters and sponges.
4) .5 ppm ammonia and above is highly toxic. 25% is not going to be enough. I would remove the axolotl from the tank and keep him in a tub with fresh cold water and do at least a 50% change. the problem is that if you have ammonia in your tap water, you're going to change ammonia filled water with ammonia filled water. it's kind of counter-intuitive. you may need to find a new source of water until you tank is established to the point that it can convert large amounts of ammonia in a 24 hour period so the brief influx won't linger.
 

stinkbug

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Thank you for all the details, it really does help get a clear picture so we can assist better.
OK so a few things here -
1) Remove the goldfish. Put them in their own tank or rehome them. Goldfish alone require 5 gallons per inch (ex. if you gave two 1-in goldfish, they need 10 gallons). They produce A LOT of waste on their own, let alone combining that with an axolotl. I wouldnt even keep goldfish in a 55 gallon with an axolotl. Generally speaking, axololts should not be kept with fish because their gills will get nipped at. Guppies are kind of the one exception, but most of the time axolotl tanks are a little too cold.
2) Axolotls require a bare minimum of 20 gallons by themselves. 20 gallon long tanks are the most commonly used tank as the length and width of the tank are more important than the height. a 40 breeder tank is even better.
3) tanks cant be "pre-cycled". it doesnt work that way. You can have "live sand", or a used filter or filter media that has established bacteria colonies that will give you a jump start. As soon as any of those things dry out though, all of that bacteria is gone. So I'm not sure what they meant by that claim, but the presence of ammonia suggests a non-cycled system. Sponge filters are fine and do offer good biological and mechanical filtration as long as they are maintained properly, but there is zero chemical filtration to them. A HOB (hang on back) filter may be a good investment to give you better filtration. I use a combo of canister filters and sponges.
4) .5 ppm ammonia and above is highly toxic. 25% is not going to be enough. I would remove the axolotl from the tank and keep him in a tub with fresh cold water and do at least a 50% change. the problem is that if you have ammonia in your tap water, you're going to change ammonia filled water with ammonia filled water. it's kind of counter-intuitive. you may need to find a new source of water until you tank is established to the point that it can convert large amounts of ammonia in a 24 hour period so the brief influx won't linger.
thank you for your reply! things that have happened in this time:

- I rehomed the goldfish
- found out that there are SEVERAL people out (google/YouTube for example) there using the same kit who can never get it to read as 0 ppm... have ordered a separate ammonia tester at this point but for the time being I am reading 0.25 as 0, 0.5 as 0.25, etc and changing the water with reference to that.
- I am in talks with API about the above.
- was able to obtain plants, rocks, and sand from another established aquarium which has really helped! the levels have remained good for the past two days.
- the rescue was not a real rescue. they were probably the reason he currently doesn't have limbs in the first place.
- he is very active and eating well at the moment. I will continue to monitor levels and adjust as needed.
- will be on the lookout for another tank with a larger surface area vs a technically larger but mostly taller tank (which is most of what I'm seeing now)

many thanks!
 

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GulfCoastAxolotls

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thank you for your reply! things that have happened in this time:

- I rehomed the goldfish
- found out that there are SEVERAL people out (google/YouTube for example) there using the same kit who can never get it to read as 0 ppm... have ordered a separate ammonia tester at this point but for the time being I am reading 0.25 as 0, 0.5 as 0.25, etc and changing the water with reference to that.
- I am in talks with API about the above.
- was able to obtain plants, rocks, and sand from another established aquarium which has really helped! the levels have remained good for the past two days.
- the rescue was not a real rescue. they were probably the reason he currently doesn't have limbs in the first place.
- he is very active and eating well at the moment. I will continue to monitor levels and adjust as needed.
- will be on the lookout for another tank with a larger surface area vs a technically larger but mostly taller tank (which is most of what I'm seeing now)

many thanks!
So glad to hear you got rid of the goldfish. I've never had an issue with the API master kit myself and I've owned many over the years so that is definitely interesting. I'd be interested to know what they say about it. The plants will definitely help keep your tank stabilized. Marimo moss balls are one of my favorites because they are easy to care for and axolotls love them.

Im glad he is doing well and eating well. Hopefully his limbs will grow back, but if he's been repeatedly bitten or had the legs removed on purpose (I shudder to think), they may never be quite "normal". I have a female that had an extra foot when i get her and I just think it give her more character. She's a feisty little thing.

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things and making proper adjustments so that is good!
 

stinkbug

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So glad to hear you got rid of the goldfish. I've never had an issue with the API master kit myself and I've owned many over the years so that is definitely interesting. I'd be interested to know what they say about it. The plants will definitely help keep your tank stabilized. Marimo moss balls are one of my favorites because they are easy to care for and axolotls love them.

Im glad he is doing well and eating well. Hopefully his limbs will grow back, but if he's been repeatedly bitten or had the legs removed on purpose (I shudder to think), they may never be quite "normal". I have a female that had an extra foot when i get her and I just think it give her more character. She's a feisty little thing.

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things and making proper adjustments so that is good!

I'll update this thread once they've responded..... but also.... an EXTRA foot??????


PICTURES!!!! please
 
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    Hey guys, one of my axolotls has developed some fungus on one of her gills, I've started salt baths, but do salt baths need to be done in the fridge, some people said I should have her in the fridge permanently during the process, even when not in the salt bath, is this true? As some people said its unnecessary as long as the tank is below 20°c which it is. Also do I need to get them both out the tank and clean it out?
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    Does anyone know if aquacare general tonic is ok for axolotls as a treatment for bacterial or fungal infection?
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    Hi Lilith, you can check the medications page for a list of axolotl safe treatments. Although if the infection is mild, I would stick with fridge and salt baths!
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    I believe the fridge gets to about 54°, so if you can replicate that in the tank, it might be okay. I personally would fridge just to make catching them easier, and if the infection is something in the water column at all, it will hopefully die out while they're AWOL (I'm thinking like ich for fish, not sure if axies have an equivalent)
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    Ok, thank you!
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  • chitoos:
    My three inch axolotl was having trouble pooping up to a few days ago. I wasn't feeding her as often because I was scared I would just add to her constipation. I fridged her until she pooped (twice), and then began to feed her around 6 bloodworms every other day. she's been pooping everyday now, but she's at that age where you can see through her stomach and I always see poop ready to come out but has not yet passed. I don't think she's constipated anymore, but I'm not sure and i don't want to over or underfeed her... any advice?
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    Feed it chopped worms chitoos, its big enough and bloodworm is nutritionaly deficient.
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    Freeze dried , live or frozen bloodworm.
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    Oh ok thanks! I thought she might be ready for something more. do you have any advice about the apparent poop problem?
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    @Lilith, fridging is not required for fungus treatment. Read my thread on treatment.
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    Feed it more, six bloodworm isnt much, dont use freeze dried foods
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    Feed daily , remove uneaten food
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    Gotcha, Thank you!
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    Its probably not pooping because its hardly beign fed, it pooped in the fridge because the lower temp caused it to purge itself. If it stays constipated you can pm me
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