Questions and help: New axie owner (to be)

ChocoUniversa

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I got the tank today (still need a lid) as well as a few other things I thought was necessary, luckily my parents had some extra decorations so that saved me a few bucks—however I do need to clean this all to ensure no other bacteria is on it.

This is a 20gal tank, and the fake bonsai w/ pot does have some rocks—but they’re glued on, and the other plants are also fake so I can keep the tank low lit (only light source is from my lamp when its night and in the day my window is closed but allows natural light to come in). Below the tank I have some jars (for feeding and water changes) the Aqua Clear filter inserts, some Seachem Prime for dechlorination, some Turbo Start bacteria (again I’ve been told here this wasn’t a to go method for the cyling bacteria) the thermometer, siphon, some water tests (tho I need the API Master Kit as I’ve been told) and some extra driftwood.

Of course, my only challenge now after getting a few more stuff (like the master water kit, tongs, stability, etc -,3,-) and of course...the necessary cycling materials. After that I need to look for the lil thing...but my biggest qualm and anxiety right now is the cycling. I’ve already asked, and I watched some videos but I’m really anxious overall on what to get cause I keep getting what I think is good but then am told it’s not? I’m a bit stressed about it and I know its a whole process, so if anyone can offer any tips that would be helpful, I just wanna know what to do before putting anything in total danger.
 

ellarose

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You’re doing great! A lot of owners are not so informed and throw their little guys in tanks with no preparation. Cycling can be done with no extra materials than what you have if you don’t mind it taking quiet a while. I would highly recommend that you get the API test kit, or else you won’t know when your tank is cycled.

I’m sure you know the basics of the nitrogen cycle, but just to recap:
The axie will produce ammonia in its poop. Ammonia is toxic to them.
Bacteria that lives on surfaces in the tank eats the ammonia and spits out nitrites. Nitrites are also toxic to axies.
Another type of bacteria eats the nitrites and spits out nitrates, which are safe in low doses and can be removed with water changes (I would recommend weekly 30-40% changes).
Cycling is the act of establishing these helpful bacteria, so all you need to get the cycle started is dechlorinated water, a tank, a filter, and ammonia. I usually source my ammonia from fish flakes or pellets. If you let the food sit in the tank, it will produce ammonia as it decomposes. The bacteria will eventually grow on its own. If you don’t want to wait for this, I’ve had great success with Seachem Stability. It basically just contains colonies of this bacteria so you don’t have to wait for them to pop up of their own accord. I would discontinue use of it as the cycle stabilizes so that you are not adding in anything extra just before or while your axie is in the tank.

The way you know your tank is cycled all depends on that API test kit. It will allow you to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. At first, you’ll see an ammonia spike with no nitrite or nitrate, then you’ll see the ammonia go down and nitrites go up. Eventually, you will have no ammonia, no nitrites, but a small-ish amount of nitrates even if you continue to add ammonia. Then you know your tank is cycled and ready for your new addition to the family! :)

Sorry for the long read, but I hope this answers all your questions.
 

ChocoUniversa

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Thank you so much, I’ll see to it that I get those after washing, as for the water changes, all I gotta do is use the siphon I heard? to add new water I just use some tap with prime and then pour it back in through the jar?

You’re doing great! A lot of owners are not so informed and throw their little guys in tanks with no preparation. Cycling can be done with no extra materials than what you have if you don’t mind it taking quiet a while. I would highly recommend that you get the API test kit, or else you won’t know when your tank is cycled.

I’m sure you know the basics of the nitrogen cycle, but just to recap:
The axie will produce ammonia in its poop. Ammonia is toxic to them.
Bacteria that lives on surfaces in the tank eats the ammonia and spits out nitrites. Nitrites are also toxic to axies.
Another type of bacteria eats the nitrites and spits out nitrates, which are safe in low doses and can be removed with water changes (I would recommend weekly 30-40% changes).
Cycling is the act of establishing these helpful bacteria, so all you need to get the cycle started is dechlorinated water, a tank, a filter, and ammonia. I usually source my ammonia from fish flakes or pellets. If you let the food sit in the tank, it will produce ammonia as it decomposes. The bacteria will eventually grow on its own. If you don’t want to wait for this, I’ve had great success with Seachem Stability. It basically just contains colonies of this bacteria so you don’t have to wait for them to pop up of their own accord. I would discontinue use of it as the cycle stabilizes so that you are not adding in anything extra just before or while your axie is in the tank.

The way you know your tank is cycled all depends on that API test kit. It will allow you to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. At first, you’ll see an ammonia spike with no nitrite or nitrate, then you’ll see the ammonia go down and nitrites go up. Eventually, you will have no ammonia, no nitrites, but a small-ish amount of nitrates even if you continue to add ammonia. Then you know your tank is cycled and ready for your new addition to the family! :)

Sorry for the long read, but I hope this answers all your questions.
 

ellarose

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Thank you so much, I’ll see to it that I get those after washing, as for the water changes, all I gotta do is use the siphon I heard? to add new water I just use some tap with prime and then pour it back in through the jar?
Yep! The syphon will also be good for removing any waste you see from the axolotl.
 

DragoTheAxie

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A good thing to get is a moss ball, It's very beneficial and doesn't require sunlight.
 

ChocoUniversa

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Will do ^^) once everything is set up—should I do it before cycling or after? I read that moss balls eat nitrates so...

A good thing to get is a moss ball, It's very beneficial and doesn't require sunlight.
 

ChocoUniversa

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I have fish food for ammonia source and stability in the fridge, is that ok? I just need to get the substrate today and I can start—but is fish food ok cause I could never get ahold of liquid ammonia or a heater

Cycling is a step by step process at the same time everyday - It seems super intimidating but as long as you go step by step you are okay.

CYCLING HANDOUT
 

Calgarycoppers

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Personally, no fish food will never get you to the ammonia concentration you need.

Amazon has the ammonias you need

Amazon.com : Alpha Chemicals Ammonium Chloride - NH4Cl - 1 Pound : Bulk Animal Food : Garden & Outdoor

Amazon.com : AniMed Powder 99.9-Percent Ammonium Chloride for Horses Dogs Cats Cows Sheep and Goats, 2.5-Pound : Pet Supplies

or go to the hardware store and get pure cleaning ammonia. No scents, no colors and no surfactants i.e. you shake it and no bubbles

I have fish food for ammonia source and stability in the fridge, is that ok? I just need to get the substrate today and I can start—but is fish food ok cause I could never get ahold of liquid ammonia or a heater
 

ChocoUniversa

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Ok I’ll head to one while getting the sand, do I need a heater?

Personally, no fish food will never get you to the ammonia concentration you need.

Amazon has the ammonias you need

Amazon.com : Alpha Chemicals Ammonium Chloride - NH4Cl - 1 Pound : Bulk Animal Food : Garden & Outdoor

Amazon.com : AniMed Powder 99.9-Percent Ammonium Chloride for Horses Dogs Cats Cows Sheep and Goats, 2.5-Pound : Pet Supplies

or go to the hardware store and get pure cleaning ammonia. No scents, no colors and no surfactants i.e. you shake it and no bubbles
 

ChocoUniversa

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I got some sand from Petco and began filling the tank with water, its a bit gunky but my dad said it should clear up...and I got some smooth, big stones from outside to weigh down the center piece (they have some dirt, and they’re big enough to avoid being swallowed), and have some fake plants in there—I need to wait before putting in the ammonia tho

Again, for now when the water clears I’m gonna try the fish food method, but if that doesn’t work the first one you recommended to me should come soon—I was unable to find, pure unscented ammonia (that wasn’t lemon scented) or that did not have bubbles upon shaking

You dont NEED a heater just dont cool the tank in any way. The bacteria populates faster in tropical water
 
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    @ChocoUniversa, Buy some ammonia and an eyedropper from Walmart and a water test kit for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Figure out (through testing) how many drops it will take to get the ammonia level to the test's maximum measurement. Add that same number of drops every 24 hours. Eventually, the ammonia will start to go down as it's converted to nitrites. Keep adding ammonia. The nitrite levels will spike for a while and then they too will start to go down as they convert to nitrates. These you get rid of by doing water changes, which you should be doing anyway throughout the process. Once all of these are at low levels, your aquarium is ready. It takes about a month, maybe two (mine took a month and a half). Be sure to add ammonia until the day of or the day before you add your axolotl.
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    Hey guys, this is my first time using this so bear with me. I have an adult axie who looks like he’s developed some fungus on gills. It’s still really small and only on one part. I put him in a 10 gal quarantine tank with an Indian almond leaf. I want to give him a black tea bath but not sure if I can add my black tea to the tank with the Indian almond leaf in there. Any advice?
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    Hi, My axolotl has just started morphing, but has some fungal spot behind the gill.
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    Should I fridge therapy and salt wash? or will this not be wise when she is morphing.
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    Need help identifying what’s wrong with my axolotl
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    @BChen3695, what are your parameters and temp? The fact that they're raised bumps could indicate fungus or bacterial infection.
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    Hi! I have recently gotten a spotted salamander. Did some research and found lots of info, but just wondering if they brumate in captivity! Thank you to anyone who can answer this ☺
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    Hello its urgent!
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    I have a tiger salamander and i got him as a gift , recently it looks like something has been eating at his tail! Almost like its dissolving..? Ive checked that there is no other bugs in the closure, ive also ben giving him salt baths but its inly getting worse. Sorry if its much hahaha im just super worried!😓
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    @XxJennXx, I don't believe so. They are closely related to tigers and my tiger doesn't brumate. I think first year they might but after they see they aren't needing to, they should be good. They might try and hibernate to, mine did for the first year but now I see him crawling around right now.
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    @Pookisoo, The refrigerator is a good hospital for tigers.Temperature between 7 and 2 degrees Celsius can stop bacteria. If necessary or if you dare 0 to -2 can also help.Reduce the temperature in a few days from 7 degrees to 2. After that you can reduce further. Feel free to let it sit for a few weeks. Place the animal in a plastic container with a lid with some air holes. Fill it with some soil and / or leaves. Check regularly whether there is still moisture or ice in this container. At temperatures above 2 degrees, they do not go into hibernation. They will then live on their reserves. Doing nothing is not an option, I speak from experience. You can avoid these kinds of problems by keeping them fairly dry for much of the year.
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  • Paige1warren:
    Hi guys! I’m new to this site and a new axolotl owner. I’ve had my baby (his name is toothpick) for about a month or so now. I finally got a water testing kit and I tested the perimeters earlier today. My ammonia was at 3 ppm and my nitrite was at 2 ppm. This freaked me out because I know they are supposed to be at 0 ppm. I did a water change a little bit ago and it went down to ammonia 1 ppm and in between 1-2 ppm nitrate. I change 50% of my water weekly and clean up any pieces of waste or excess food with a turkey bastwr everyday. Could this just be because the tank isn’t fully cycled yet? Should I be concerned? Toothpick hasn’t shown any signs of distress
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    @RG, yeah.. im a new owner and i thought just giving salt baths would work, Thank you so much for this tho!🤗
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    Sorry again... but when i take him out is he supposed to be moving funny..? Sorry hahaha🤕
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @Paige1warren You need to tub your axolotl and perform 100% daily water changes. Your tank is not fully cycled, and any readings of ammonia or nitrite are toxic and potentially deadly. A fully cycled tank should at all times have readings of 0ppm ammonia/0ppm nitrite/0pmm<nitrate.
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    madcaplaughs: @Paige1warren You need to tub your axolotl and perform 100% daily water changes. Your tank is... +1
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