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Question: Preparing water

SheEpYW0lf

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I just spoke with a guy from a zoo who said that I had to prepare the water, before putting my Axolotl in it. And this cleaning of the water process would take up to 1 week. Then I spoke with another guy who said the water contained chlorine, and to remove it, I had to either buy some special thing to do it; Or let the water stay for about 1 hour. And from what I've heard, some people change the water once a week. So wouldn't it be extremely annoying and hard to prepare the water every single week, so it could get ready for the next week? Imo the second solution sounds more right. But what is the actual way to do it?
 

blueberlin

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Ok the first thing you need to do is call your water company or visit their website and see if there is chlorine in your water, or chloramines. Here in Germany we do not have chlorine in the water and so it does not need to be treated, and it may be that way in DK, too. (A pet shop saleman sold me dechlorinator anyway, grrrr.)

Chlorine will evaporate. You can spray it into a bucket from a hand shower or something, or stir it with a whisk, or let it sit for an hour or longe - not an entire week! Chloramines have to be treated with a dechlorinator. You buy this at a pet shop and follow the instructions exactly. It works immediately.

Maybe the pet shop person meant cycling a tank? But this takes a good month or so, not a week, and there is not any need to buy anything to cycle a tank. It will happen on its own.

Hope this helps.

-Eva
 

SheEpYW0lf

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I got some more info. It's when you first get your tank. And yes, we do have a little chlorine in the water. Unfortunately.
 

dragonlady

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Well, chlorine is easier to get rid of than chloramines. Chlorine can be removed using blueberlin's method. In addition to using her method, you may want to have your water tested to make sure it doesn't contain other things like ammonia or some trace metals. I live in an older home (with old plumbing) in a small town that is not great about keeping their equipment up to date.

Your pet shop should be able to test your water for you, it's a good idea to know what is in your water before you put it in your tank. This is most often a free service but it would be a good idea for you to have your own test kits at home because sometimes things happen and the water chemistry of your tank can suddenly shift. If your axolotl begins acting a little strangely, stops eating, etc., the first thing you will want to check is your pH, ammonia, nitrites/nitrates. The kits will also be helpful during the cycling process that Blueberlin asks you about.

Read this about CYCLING. I would suggest that you set up your tank for at least 2 weeks before you get your axolotl. This way, the tank is at least partially cycled. The article should tell you everything you need to know, but if you have any other questions - just ask.
 

SheEpYW0lf

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So.. As I understand it..
I will have to basicly fill the tank up with plants and all that stuff. Turn on the pump, and let it run like that for 1-2 weeks, while testing for the different things, every day?

I belive that I can also ask the people at the pet store about all this?
 

dragonlady

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When it comes to axolotls, one of the first lessons learned is to not accept advice from the pet shop about them.

You can ask the pet shop for advice on this, but they may try to sell you a bottle of bottled bacteria - this stuff is not reliable. The good bacteria you need, needs food and oxygen in order to thrive, 2 things not likely to exist in a sealed container that has been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long. Taking this shortcut now may cause your cycle to crash later - while your axolotl is in it.

If they give you proper advice, they will tell you something similar to what I have given you here and the information given on this site.

This is a paragraph from the article about Fishless Cycling under Caudate Culture that I gave you the link to: "Set up the aquarium using dechlorinated water and let it run for 24 to 48 hours. This will allow you to ascertain that all the equipment is working properly and will allow any excess dissolved gases to dissipate. Test the water for all of the above listed parameters and record the results; these will be your starting measurements. After the aquarium has been running for the recommended time period, add a small amount of your ammonia source. (For example, use a piece of frozen brine shrimp that could cover a dime). After 24 hours, test the water and record the results. Monitor the water results every day or two. When the ammonia level begins to drop and the nitrite levels to rise, add another small piece of ammonia source to keep feeding the bacteria. Keep monitoring the water quality, and when the nitrates begin to rise again dose the tank with the ammonia source. This should be the last dose required to finish the cycle."

The ammonia source is key to starting the cycle. You can use fish food like the tropical flakes, it does not take a lot. Ammonia (from fish food, brine shrimp, fish) becomes nitrites - nitrites become nitrates - nitrates form your good bacteria that form colonies in your substrate, in your filter, just about anywhere. This bacteria keeps your environment stable (with your help) and safe for your axolotl.

Cycling is the worse part of this process, but if you are serious about this axolotl, this will need to be done in order for your tank to be safe for your new pet. Everybody out here has done this, and we can help you through it. ;)
 

Mac Myers

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I belive that I can also ask the people at the pet store about all this?

No. But you can listen to Shannon and take her advice. Pet Store people typically know very little (some of them frequently can't even find the store that they work in 2 days in a row) ;)... but they ARE trained to make things up on the fly and utter them in a very convincing tone.
 

SheEpYW0lf

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Okay. Think I got it now.
1. Fill tank with plants, rocks, everything + water.
2. Let Pump/Filter run for 24-48 hours + Test water.
3. After that, I put in some sort of ammonia source (food)
4. After 24 hours, I test the water, and see what has happened.
5. Repeat step 3+4.

That's how I understood it.
 

dragonlady

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Yes, pretty much. After the first dose of food, keep a check on the levels. Don't keep adding food on a daily basis though. Once you see ammonia level drop and nitrite start to go up, then add another dose of food and monitor for a few days again. At this time, you should start to see the nitrates start going up.

However, getting that ammonia level to drop after the initial spike is a bother! Ammonia can spike more than once. If this happens, do a partial (20%) water change.

Your tank may become cloudy during the cycle - this is actually a good thing. This is called a bacterial bloom and means your tank is trying to cycle. See this happen, do a partial (20%) water change daily until it clears. If you get this cloud and get it clear, you should be in excellent shape!

If you have any issues at all during the cycle, just ask. If you do a search under the sub-topic of "Tanks, Substrates" in the Forum; you will discover all sorts of stories about cycling and many problems encountered by others.

BTW, your #1 mentions rocks - you're using sand, right?

Good luck! We're here for you. ;)
 

SheEpYW0lf

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Ofcourse I'll use sand :] I just want some big rocks here and there, to make it looks a bit better.
 

dragonlady

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About the sand, just checking. ;)

I started out with two buckets; one to put the old water in and the other with my prepared water to go in. I used a hose to remove the water and to put the new water in. This wasn't fun, I had to start the siphon action by sucking on the end until I felt the water start to come (yuck!). I then upgraded to a siphon with a squeeze bulb, a little easier!

Now I have a siphon system that connects directly to my tap but still have prepared water ready on the side.

Haven't discussed waste management with you yet. Will you be getting a vacuum or just using a turkey baster to start? I use my siphon to handle that and a turkey baster for spot cleaning here and there.
 

SheEpYW0lf

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Well. I think I'll just have a look at the pet store, for what they've got. And probably buy one of each, as you.
 

blueberlin

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About the sand, just checking. ;)
, I had to start the siphon action by sucking on the end until I felt the water start to come (yuck!).

I used to do that too until a (competent) pet shop fellow showed me how to do it correctly. Fill the bell end of the siphon with water while holding your thumb over the other (tube) end. Keep the tube end below and raise the bell end. The water will run down to fill the tube and the air will bubble up into the bell. Once the tube is entirely full of water, put the bell end under water and release the tube end. You now have siphon and no mothful of poop-water. :happy:

-Eva
 

SheEpYW0lf

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I used to do that too until a (competent) pet shop fellow showed me how to do it correctly. Fill the bell end of the siphon with water while holding your thumb over the other (tube) end. Keep the tube end below and raise the bell end. The water will run down to fill the tube and the air will bubble up into the bell. Once the tube is entirely full of water, put the bell end under water and release the tube end. You now have siphon and no mothful of poop-water. :happy:

-Eva
Think you could record that method? Sounds interesting.
 

dragonlady

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Once the tube is entirely full of water, put the bell end under water and release the tube end. You now have siphon and no mothful of poop-water. :happy:

-Eva

Yes, I forgot, I was taught a similar method but not until after I had the siphon with the bulb! :(

I was taught to submerge the entire siphon under water until all air bubbles escape. Keep one end submerged and cover the other with your finger/hand until you have it in your bucket below the submerged end and remove your finger - voila!

As for the video, ask and you shall receive!
HERE
 
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blueberlin

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I found this video which shows what I meant about just letting the air run up without taking the thumb off of the tube end. I never got down on my knees to do so, but it's agood illustration. Disclaimer: I only watched the first 40 seconds of the video so don't know what else she says. Hope I can attach it correctly.

-Eva

Link
 

SheEpYW0lf

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Question: Once I have done all this - Do I have to use dechlorinator on the water?
 

blueberlin

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It depends on whether you have chloramines in your water. If you have chlorine, you can just let the water stand in a bucket for awhile first, the chlorine will evaporate. Chlormaines do not evaporate and require a dechlorinator,. You can find out what is in your water by contacting your local water company or visiting their website.

-Eva
 
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