Planted tank questions

magpie3

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Hi all,

I've had aquariums for many years and they've always been planted.

I know that many people successfully do Axolotls and plants, so am looking to pick your brain if you're one of those people. :)

- Heaters: I know generally people don't use heaters in Axie tanks, but am wondering if any of you with plants do, maybe to keep the temperature from dropping below say 60? I was thinking of using a regulator that would turn the heater on if tank is below 55 or 60, and a fan if above 66... OR if you don't heat your tank and your plants do OK, even better.

- Light: Axies don't like it, plants do. :) I currently have a Finnex Stingray LED. I don't see a way to hook it up to a dimmer. I'm wondering if it would be OK to keep this light - assure there are lots of hides, and I do have a lot of Water Lettuce that covers most of the surface. OR should I buy a light that can accommodate a dimmer? What do you do for light schedules?

- Ferts: I typically use a small dose of Flourish at each weekly water change, have read mixed reports on using it and not in Axie tanks. Some people say it's not needed. What is your experience? I'd rather errr on the side of caution, but just looking for your opinions.

I think that's it - thanks!
 

Murk

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Hi!
I have a lot of plants in the axolotl tank.

Axolotls like to break stuff, and they really like to break plants. Mine regularly try to eat the plants: after a while they spit them out because they don't actually eat plants, but by then the damage is done.
Before I covered the substrate with big riverstones, they also enjoyed uprooting the plants.
So, in general, I stick to very hardy, very easy plants. Maybe someone who is better with plants could do with more high-maintenance plants, but so far the "beginner plants" are best at actually surviving the axolotls - mainly java moss, java fern, anubias and waterweed, though I have a few rare others who managed to survive.

- I don't heat - keeping the axolotls cool is hard enough as it is. That might depend on your climate, though. The "easy" plants don't need it. Is your room temperature ever below 60?

- Light: yes, lots of it. I know the general advise is that axolotls don't like it, but I've never noticed. Maybe mine are blind by now. The beauty of a planted tank is that there is enough shadow and hiding spots anyway.
The axolotls do get more active in the evening - when the lighting on the aquarium is off, but a small bit of light from the room still gets in. I'm not sure if that's because they have the instinct to go out in twilight, because I usually feed in the evening, or both.

- No fertilisers, so far. Firstly because the easy plants don't need it - secondly because axolotls are gross animals. I have four, and they provide enough fertiliser for a lot of plants. Once you get the balance right it's wonderful. I set up my current tank a few months ago, and I haven't done any maintenance since (except replacing the evaporated water every month or so).

- I don't do CO2. Again, because the plants I chose don't need it, and because it's risky business. Axolotls are sturdy enough to handle some fluctuations, but I never dared to. I know some people do succesfully use it, though.

- For substrate, I'm a big fan of sand with big stones on top. Sand for the plants to root in (and because it is amazing for your cycle), big stones to keep the axolotls from eating the sand (and the plant roots). As long as the stones are big enough (so the axolotls have a flat area to lay on) the axolotls really seem to like it. They can poke around in crevices, but they can't actually hurt the plants or themselves.

I'm not sure if the above is helpful. If you're planning on higher-maintenance plants I can't help you, precisely because I never dared do it with the axolotls. Good lighting, an air bubbler (or flow from the filter), and a thick layer of substrate is enough for the most basic plants, though, and I would recommend it to everyone.
 

magpie3

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THANK YOU.

No, I have always done low-maintenance, low light plants and don't want to bother with CO2. I am done with trying to mess with water parameters to make plants happy - instead choose plants that are naturally happy in my water. If a plant doesn't work, I don't buy it again, and if it does, I buy more. :) I will try do go without the Flourish and see how it works.

I live in the high desert - night temps frequently tank even on warm days. We don't heat in the summer. I really don't know what the water temps will do without a heater as I've never done a tank without. I guess I just leave it and monitor and go from there. I have the heater - so can keep it stored and figure it out when it becomes a problem.

What do you do for an on / off light schedule?

Here is what I have right now - I have a hide that you can suction cup to the wall coming, am looking for another ledge/shelf type hide, and will buy some more plants (likely anubias, java fern, and/or aponogeton. At the WC yesterday I took out probably 3/4 of the water lettuce on top. It quickly grows to cover the entire surface. Pothos on top is totally new as of yesterday. The 3 tetras in there will go before the Axie comes.
IMG_9133.JPG
 

Murk

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Oh, that's looking very nice!
I think the axolotls will enjoy the big water lettuce a lot.

I have only one 39 watt T5 light for about 350 liters.
It's on from 10:00 to 20:00, and the tank gets a small amount of sunlight on the small side (little one by one meter window facing West).
As you might have figured from the other post, there is no scientific basis for any of this. I used to have more lighting but got algae, so I reduced the light until the algae left.
(If I'm being honest, there's also the fact that I didn't want the aquarium light on when I just wake up, or when I'm watching tv in the evening).

So... y'know, take my words with a grain of salt. It works for my tank, but I can't promise it will for yours. But experimenting is part of the fun, right?


EDIT: Ooh, I see you have an open top with emersed plants. That's awesome.
Before I got a closed lid I had an entire row of spider plants and arrowhead plants with roots dangling in the water. The axolotls really liked hanging around in the roots, and I could practically turn my filter off for all the filtering the plants did. Definitely keep those!
 

magpie3

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Thanks! I appreciate the input. My current timer is set for similar hours - perfect.

I ripped up an old failing baby gate to make a (free) open lid of sorts up top to help keep the Pothos plants in place - roots in the water, leaves out. It could also be used to put some screen / mesh over it if I find the lights too bright, or to lay a fan on top.
 

Chinadog

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I found Vallisnaria is very good in Axolotl tanks. It will grow very dense with half decent light and once properly rooted they won't be able to dig it up, no matter how hard they try!
 

magpie3

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Great, I have a ton of them! They usually reproduce so much I have to uproot and toss a bunch. Might happen less without heat.
 

Tjebb

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I have lots of plants in my axolotl tank, and he is really good at destroying them. He loves sitting on everything as well. So it is doable, just know that some plants may end up squashed
 
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    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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  • 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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    @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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    Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.
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