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So many questions!

ErinElizabeth07

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Hello!! This is my first post, but I look at this forum A LOT lol. I’ve had my axies for about 5 months now (Rua and Ciaran). I got them when they were just wee ones and I love them! They are getting pretty big and seem healthy (other than a few things I’ll get to in this very long post). I have some questions. Please go easy on me, as I’m still learning. I got these guys as rescues, so I didn’t have as much knowledge before taking them on as I would have liked, but have learned a lot since. But, I have just begun to scratch the surface and would love all of your awesome advice on some things I’ve been wondering about.

First, I will tell you my tank set up. I have a 20 gallon tank, an HOB filter, sand substrate, 2 hides, 1 fake plant, and an air stone. They get fed and before that they were getting frozen blood worms. I do bi-weekly 25-30% water changes. The temp stays between 62-68 normally, though it was warmer before I added a small evaporative fan. Please note, I will be changing to a 40 gal tank once it’s cycled. For the new tank set up, I plan on changing the filter to a Fluval 106 canister filter, adding driftwood, lots of live plants, bigger hides, fish, snails, and possibly shrimp. I will also be adding a Fluval Aquasky light (at lowest setting only for 4-6 hours/day and with adequate plant cover on the surface) and an additional evaporative fan. Also, I’d like to start farming earthworms as a food source as well.

Here are my questions. I’m sure you’re ready after all of my previous blabbing. Really, any experience or advice you have is great. Also, bonus points given for any additional resources you may have.

1. What fish, shrimp, snails have you had success/failures with? Which are the best to add to the tank in your opinion? Anything to look out for with these extra creatures?

2. What is the average cycle time? I plan on doing a fishless cycle with Dr. Tim’s Ammonium Chloride Solution and One and Only Nitrifying Bacteria. Any advice on this is welcome!

3. Tell me all of the pros/cons of live plants. I’m choosing those that can be in low temperatures.

4. I have a bit of a fungus infection on one of Rua’s gills. I am doing a saltwater treatment, but feel like a bad axie mom :/ I believe it’s from the pellets and waste not being totally cleaned up when I was gone on vacation, but if you know anything about this and how to prevent it in the future, do tell.

5. How do you determine the sex?? And when can you tell?

6. What are the best/safest worms? Where do you buy them? If you have any experience with farming worms, I’d love to hear about it.

Phew! That was a lot of typing. Thanks for seeing this whole post through until the end!

Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say :)
 

wolfen

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normally I would say that the fluval 106 would be too small for a 40 gallon tank (specs are up to 25 gallon), if you are planning to use it straight out the box then it will be, but if you are willing to put some effort in it should be fine, I've added a useful kink here
.
platty's are most suited followed by mollies then guppies, I say suited as their nature habitats are closest but at most they end up in an axolotls stomach in the end so they are the most suitable for live feeders, shrimp wise I use river shrimp (look like ghost shrimp) when I go on holiday so the axolotls don't need feeding extra, during cold months river shrimp will last a while in the tank until eaten, as it gets warmer they tend to die off which allows the axolotls to dig around for the carcass's, I also have scuds (Hyalella Azteca) as clean up, snail wise I have small common tropical snails (they get to about 5mm in size) and ramshorn snails also as clean up.
time wise for cycling depends on filtration size, if the filtration is inadequate then cycling will take a long time if ever, if it is just adequate then it will take up to two months, if the tank has high/good filtration then it should take less than a month sometimes a fortnight, it also depends on water quality, chlorine/low ph/low temperature is bad and can slow bacteria growth down, good dechlorinated water/good ph/warm water will encourage bacterial growth.
because axolotls are a slight brackish hard water organism there aren't many plants that will tolerate the water chemistry as well as the cold temperatures, amazon sword will tolerate cold water but not the salt level, java fern will grow quite well as will moss, sagittaria grows quite well, other plants that grow quite well are pond plants but due to size can easily over grow.
always use a form of holtfreters in any water that axolotls are kept in, benefits are.. helps prevent fungus, protects against nitrite/nitrate, helps to prevent against anaemia and edema, makes sure the the water contains essential salts and minerals, see here for details Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity
males tend to have longer tails and are more slender looking, females look more bulky with shorter tails, also the underside part of the dorsal tail starts more or less near the back legs on a female where as on a male there is a gap (normally over a centimetre where the cloaca bulge is), both males and females have a cloaca but on a male it is swollen and elongated giving the appearance of gonads. unfortunatly axolotls don't always follow the rules and even what appears to be a female can turn out to be an immature male. adult males also tend to be longer. although axolotls are sexually mature at 18 months (some before, some after), sometime it is only when you have eggs everywhere that you realise you have a breeding pair.
blackworms/bloodworms/earthworms axolotls will eat most types of worm although sometimes they will bring an earthworm up again if the wriggling irritates their stomach so may require chopping up, most bait shops sell worms sometimes you can even find farms that raise them, earthworms easy to keep in a tub of compost and vegetable waste.
 

ErinElizabeth07

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time wise for cycling depends on filtration size, if the filtration is inadequate then cycling will take a long time if ever, if it is just adequate then it will take up to two months, if the tank has high/good filtration then it should take less than a month sometimes a fortnight, it also depends on water quality, chlorine/low ph/low temperature is bad and can slow bacteria growth down, good dechlorinated water/good ph/warm water will encourage bacterial growth.
because axolotls are a slight brackish hard water organism there aren't many plants that will tolerate the water chemistry as well as the cold temperatures, amazon sword will tolerate cold water but not the salt level, java fern will grow quite well as will moss, sagittaria grows quite well, other plants that grow quite well are pond plants but due to size can easily over grow.
always use a form of holtfreters in any water that axolotls are kept in, benefits are.. helps prevent fungus, protects against nitrite/nitrate, helps to prevent against anaemia and edema, makes sure the the water contains essential salts and minerals, see here for details Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity
males tend to have longer tails and are more slender looking, females look more bulky with shorter tails, also the underside part of the dorsal tail starts more or less near the back legs on a female where as on a male there is a gap (normally over a centimetre where the cloaca bulge is), both males and females have a cloaca but on a male it is swollen and elongated giving the appearance of gonads. unfortunatly axolotls don't always follow the rules and even what appears to be a female can turn out to be an immature male. adult males also tend to be longer. although axolotls are sexually mature at 18 months (some before, some after), sometime it is only when you have eggs everywhere that you realise you have a breeding pair.
blackworms/bloodworms/earthworms axolotls will eat most types of worm although sometimes they will bring an earthworm up again if the wriggling irritates their stomach so may require chopping up, most bait shops sell worms sometimes you can even find farms that raise them, earthworms easy to keep in a tub of compost and vegetable waste.
Wow, there are so many good tips here, thank you! I don’t even know where to start with my follow-up questions lol. Ok, first, regarding filter, I have the 107, but would it just make sense to get the 207 instead? Or, will this little trick you posted make it suitable (especially for a successful somewhat short cycle)? As for the cycling, I have hard dechlorinated water and a good pH, but I didn’t even think about warming the water. It makes a lot of sense, thank you! I am very intrigued by this Holfreter’s solution. Do you make it yourself or buy it? I feel like it would really help. As for plants, I’m sticking to mostly moss and plants suited for cold water and I will just experiment. That’s all I can do really lol. As for the sexing, I’m a bit nervous. I honestly don’t want babies bc it’s just too much for me. According to what you’re saying they seem to be both males, but, I am not totally sure. Maybe I will post pics on here and get opinions. Thank you for sharing all of this info! I am excited to get their new tank set up, I just want to make sure it’s all good. If you have any tips on this Holfreter’s stuff, I’d love to know more. Thanks!
 

wolfen

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if there is plenty of substrate/ornaments etc.. for bacteria to grow on/in then the 206 as is would be ok otherwise you would need a 406 for the amount of ammonia that adult axolotls produce. the video changes a three stage filter into a two stage with a massive amount of bio-media,
I tend to make the holtfreters myself but there should be places that sell it ready made.
 

ErinElizabeth07

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if there is plenty of substrate/ornaments etc.. for bacteria to grow on/in then the 206 as is would be ok otherwise you would need a 406 for the amount of ammonia that adult axolotls produce. the video changes a three stage filter into a two stage with a massive amount of bio-media,
I tend to make the holtfreters myself but there should be places that sell it ready made.
Ok, great. I’m annoyed with myself for misreading what the capabilities were for the filter. But, I think I’m going to get the 307 and use the 107 for a back up. I’m still going to do the trick with the 2-stage change. I’m thinking about making the Holfreter’s myself as well. Doesn’t seem too hard. Where do you buy the supplies for yours? Also, if you don’t mind me asking one more question, where do you usually purchase your fish, shrimp, snails? We have one PetSmart here and they honestly don’t have much.
 

wolfen

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Ok, great. I’m annoyed with myself for misreading what the capabilities were for the filter. But, I think I’m going to get the 307 and use the 107 for a back up. I’m still going to do the trick with the 2-stage change. I’m thinking about making the Holfreter’s myself as well. Doesn’t seem too hard. Where do you buy the supplies for yours? Also, if you don’t mind me asking one more question, where do you usually purchase your fish, shrimp, snails? We have one PetSmart here and they honestly don’t have much.
holtfreters ingredients are normally brought on ebay or direct from chemical manufacturer, river shrimp are normally a ebay buy as are ramshorn snails, tropical snails came with plants, fish from pets shop,
 
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