Newbie trying to cycle tank please help 😦

Ravensight

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Hello,

I am new to axolotl tanks. I'm currently trying to cycle my tank so that I can get an axolotl. So I'm not sure if I'm doing this right. My perimeters of my water after I filled my tank and dechlorinated it with prime were as follows .

Ph : 7.6 HRPH : 8.4 * too high , ammonia was 0ppm , nitrate 2 : oppm, nitrate 3: oppm, GH :8, KH : 3
I was told to put the seeding stuff in with the tank and I followed the directions on the bottle and added accordingly. I'm using an API freshwater Master test kit and an API GH and KH test kit. I waited a week and then tested it again. Below are what it is at now and my water is kind of cloudy.
Ph : 7.0 HRPH : 7.4 , ammonia was .50ppm , nitrate 2 : oppm, nitrate 3: oppm, GH :6, KH : 4

For some reason the nitrate number three was slightly green I've added the picture. Because I'm trying to do the nitrogen cycle should I be trying to fix the water at all or should I just let it continue to cycle?
I'm using a sponge filter as well. And I have a 20 long tank. I'm cycling it to get one axolotl.

Also is top fin PH decreaser okay to use it says it's for freshwater aquariums but I wasn't sure which one to get and the person at the pet store didn't know either which I don't know why they didn't know.
I have added pictures of my tank maybe I have it set up wrong? Any help is appreciated!
 

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MnGuy

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Cycling a tank can take weeks and longer than a month sometimes. Coldwater tanks cycle much slower because the healthy bacteria reproduce faster in warm water.

How long have you been cycling your tank?

Patience is a huge part of this.
 

Ravensight

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I know it can take up to a month. That's why I have an obtain the axolotl yet. I'm just wondering what to do about the water perimeters and if I'm in the right direction. Also I wanted to know how the seed stuff works and if that is going to give it the bacteria it needs to give it a jump start. And how that affects how long you have to cycle because it doesn't say on the bottle. Peruse pet person said that I could do it within a week but I don't think that that's possible.
 

AMurry24537

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Apologies, prepare yourself for a novel. I use SeaChem Neutral Regulator to reduce my ph levels. Regulator also serves as a dechlorinator, detoxifies ammonia, and precipitates heavy metals. It's the only water treatment you should need (accomplishes the same things as Prime). I've used it for two years for my axolotls and highly recommend it.

On the topic of cycling, please be aware that, in order to cycle a tank, you must have a consistent source of ammonia, whether from an animal or by adding it artificially.

All living creatures produce ammonia as a waste byproduct. Ammonia, however, is toxic to aquatic creatures, especially axolotls. The process of cycling a tank means that you are essentially breeding bacteria to eat the ammonia and turn it into nitrites. Nitrites are, unfortunately, ALSO toxic, so after you get nitrites, you need bacteria to turn the nitrites into nitrates, which are a bit safer as long as they're kept within limits.

Seeding a tank essentially adds the necessary bacteria to accomplish all of this, but without a constant source of ammonia, you will end up starving the ammonia-eating bacteria and then, by extension, the nitrite-eating bacteria. If you have not been supplying ammonia, you may need to restart the cycle completely.

Some people use live fish to cycle their tank, but this is a risky process for anything living in the tank because, again, ammonia and nitrites are toxic, and the animals often die. This is why I would recommend using liquid ammonia, which you can buy in many stores or on Amazon. You should also purchase some kind of dropper so that you can measure out specific amounts of ammonia.

Once you have the ammonia, use the dropper to count out how many drops of ammonia you add to the tank. I would suggest starting out with about 10 or so drops. Wait an hour and pull out your API Masterclass test kit to test the ammonia levels. If the test doesn't go to the maximum level (the dark green), add more drops, test again in an hour, and repeat until you hit the maximum on the test. Keep track of the number of drops, and then add that same number of drops every 24 hours.

The ammonia will stay high until the ammonia-eating bacteria develop. Once you notice the ammonia levels dropping (despite still adding the same amount) you should then see a nitrite spike. Continue adding the ammonia and testing the water about an hour later. Once the ammonia and nitrites remain consistently at 0 ppm, your tank is fully cycled. You must continue adding ammonia. The LAST ammonia dose should be 24 hours BEFORE you add your axolotl to the tank.

By this point, your nitrates will likely be above recommended levels (40 ppm is generally the very highest you want to go). Live plants eat nitrates. You can also decrease nitrate levels by doing a water change (note, topping off the water level does NOT accomplish this). I have several plants in my fully cycled aquarium and do a 40% water change once a week.

While seeding the tank can drastically decrease the amount of time the nitrogen cycle takes, please also be aware that it can take even longer than a month. I personally have noticed a correlation between high ph and a longer cycle, but this may be a coincidence, I don't honestly know. My first cycle took nearly two and a half months. The good news is that once it's established, you generally won't need to do it again as long as you avoid crashing the cycle. It's great that you have a sponge filter; the sponges hold a lot of bacteria, even after you clean them out (note on this as well, be sure to squeeze them out well at least once a week in water that you've taken out of the tank, NOT tap water. Since it has chlorine, it will kill the bacteria).

If you do happen to get your axolotl before your tank is fully cycled, be prepared to tub your axolotl and do 100% water changes every 24 hours (minimum) until you can move it into the tank.

Again, apologies for the novel and if there's anything my phone auto corrected that I didn't notice, haha! Let me know if you have any questions!
 

Ravensight

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Amury thank you ! Do you know why my nitrate 3 would be green instead of yellow? Repeated it twice same result .
 

AMurry24537

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Amury thank you ! Do you know why my nitrate 3 would be green instead of yellow? Repeated it twice same result .
I personally have never seen that result, so I don't know for sure, but I do know that the nitrate tests require the most specific preparation. I would suggest going through the directions one by one, making sure to use a clean test tube and shaking the chemicals/samples very thoroughly for the full amount of time. If you're still having problems, I would guess that something is wrong with the test kit, in which case you'd have to talk with API's customer service.
 

Ravensight

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I'm going to try to do it one more time tomorrow and I have been very careful because I'm still new. I think I'll watch a few videos to make sure I'm doing it properly as well. Thanks for responding.
 

72Perfect!

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I am in a cycle of a new tank as well. When you say ‘tub the Axolotl’ do you mean putting him in another tank with new water/filter and wait for your original tank to finish cycling? Thanks!
 

AkemiYousei

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I am in a cycle of a new tank as well. When you say ‘tub the Axolotl’ do you mean putting him in another tank with new water/filter and wait for your original tank to finish cycling? Thanks!
Tubbing is when you put the axie into a container usually cooled to the lower end of their ideal temperature range. 100% water change daily, with water dechlorinator. Make sure it does have air holes around or on the top. There are many articles on tubbing.
 
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    hey thank you all so much for your help!! i shouldn't have been so careless, but I love my axie very much and her behaviour has improved as I have started a tank cycle and gotten some good food for her
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    @lvlyvoa, good to hear, np. They love nightcrawlers and worms if you have access to them, they're the healthiest thing they can eat since they're a complete prey
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    My axolotls were doing fine until the cycle int heir tank crashed. I currently have them tubbed and they wont stop shedding their slime coat, and my golden albino looks a little red, and his gills dont look too good. Theyre both flaoting and im keeping the tub at 18 degrees celsius and doing 100% water changes everyday, any help on anythingelse? can anyone help?
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  • AkemiYousei:
    @Jaeger I would try to double up on Prime to combat the slime coat shed when doing the 100% water changes. Also, if it's bad, might want to consider a tea bath as a preventive measure.
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    I just wrote this on the post ^
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    Haha, great minds, right?
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    They sure do 😄!
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    @AkemiYousei thanks so much. Will do. I have also given them a tea bath before, seems to work their gills are looking so much healthier, my golden albino is swimming around frantically trying to jump out, should i be worried? my wild type is fine
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    Might be the stress, or the shedding bothering it
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    Make sure s/he can't jump out, and maybe keep her in a undisturbed, darkened place for a bit. See if that calms the goldie.
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    I woke up to my golden axolotl covered complete white. what do i do
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    Just found out, hes dead. :(
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    We have an axolotl called Jasper who is approx 3 years old. He was being attacked by his companion so we separated them. He has healed his wounds now but has got very thin. his lips have turned black. he was just looking still and dead at times but ears moved so we knew he was still alive. Hold earthworms right in front of him which after some time he will take you think good he is eating but then it pops straight out again. At the moment he is in the fridge. Not sure what else to do if he can't or won't eat !!
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    Hi Jasper 2021,
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  • Wyn1993:
    I am new to axolotls myself and one thing I learnt was that earth worms when in distress give off an awful taste - have you tried live river shrimp? Mine really like these and are always happy to 'bite' - I also give them live crickets and pellets which are really pungeant in smell and they always take these - even wait at the glass for them! So sorry to hear he was being attacked by his companion!
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