Stressed Axo???

Therealkarp

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Hi there, first time axolotl owner here.

Lt. Colonel Boots has seemed to be fairly active and healthy since the day I got him (her?). Always eager to get food, swims back and forth throughout the night booping the sides of the tank (Is that normal btw?). Lately I've begun to worry about him being stressed. Attatched are pictures of him at various points since the new year and what I would typically walk into the room on him doing. Judging by his tail, does he look stressed? I'm worried his 20 gallon tank isn't big enough and he doesn't have enough space to swim and be happy. He seems to do fine in his tank without a substrate, despite one of his back legs only having 4 fingers which I think affects his swimming. I'm currently looking at getting a 55 gallon tank that has a stand which would be much much better than what I currently have in the last picture, which affects my sleep. Super worried and it keeps me up at night! I want him to live a long happy life, he's my best buddy. Can anyone give me any tips?
 

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kaixingin

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What is making you feel he is stressed? From what I understand, it is the tail tip being bent that indicates an issue but his gills dont look abnormally bent to me. What kind of behavior changes have you noticed? Also, a bigger tank is always a good idea so long as you can handle it! 20 to 55 is a big jump but it would give him much needed floor space since it appears that you have a 20 tall tank :3 Very cute!
 

Therealkarp

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He sits relatively straight when I am sitting at my desk about 6 feet away but when I approach the tail comes in a bit. I'm not sure if it's stress from the flow of the tank (Have it almost as low as it can go, it makes some weird noise when it's all the way low) but he still swims up to it sometimes. I have recently put a lid that covers the front half of the tank as I've read they can jump from the tank, but he still comes up under it for air sometimes just the same. He's pretty well always gone into the scuba head and sat vertically (for fun I guess)? I added that cave a few months ago as he got bigger and needed a better place to hide, he enjoys swimming around the pineapple, still eats fine, and is always eager for mealtime (I feed him one small bloodworm cube a day), but seeing that tail curl and reading some horror stories has be a bit worried for his well-being. Is transferring tanks difficult? I had planned to set the tank up for about 2 weeks adding the necessary bacteria to it in order to get it started (I didn't with this tank, set it up and put him in the same day), and then transferring his 3 tank pieces in then himself. I was going to keep it substrate free as I find it's easier to clean as all I really have for suction is a turkey baster, but this new tank should have a great vacuum that could remove things easier. I'm looking at him in the tank right now from my desk and there is even a slight bend which is what causes me to worry. I'm hoping that the extra room will help a lot, he's about a year old now and even though the tank stays at ~19.5 Celcius he seems to be fairly active swimming around. Do you think I am doing anything wrong?
 

kaixingin

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Oh I got it! Okay. I would go ahead and transition him off bloodworms. They arent enough nutrition for a staple diet for adult axolotls and over time that can cause issues although they are a tasty treat! I feed mine nightcrawlers (bought from any pet store or fishing supply store) and rangen soft moist pellets which can be bought on the Etsy, through this forum, or even Amazon! I can guarantee that changing his diet will help enormously. For a year old, I'd give him two nightcrawlers a week (chopped in half if he cant swallow whole yet) and supplement pellets for in between feedings!
And thats a good plan for the tank! Cycling it while you have him in his current tank is the perfect situation. I used Dr. Tims Nitrifying Bacteria which is currently ~8 dollars for a huge bottle on Chewy so its a steal and I also used his Ammonium Chloride solution to feed the bacteria. My big tank is almost done cycling after about a month or so. I think youre doing great and its so great you're looking for resources online, I know I've learned a ton from this site.
Substrate is up to you for sure. I have fine sand from CaribSea and although its powder fine to avoid impaction, it is kind of a pain to clean T-T Some axolotl owners notice that their axies get stressed from that lack of grip on the bottom but there are alternatives like using a large piece of tile or very very large rocks (bigger than theyd be able to swallow.) personally, I like the sand despite its challenges because they love to dig in it and run around so it is worth it to me haha xD
Your tank temp seems fine to me and everything else is good :3 Feel free to ask me anything else if I missed something!
 

kaixingin

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Oh yes I forgot! Transferring tanks is not difficult, dont worry! Having a substrate will help a lot with tank cycling and adding the same filter media that you are currently using will be good. With tank cycling, you want to give enough space for bacteria to grow and maintain itself. Sometimes, people use tank filters that need to be replaced every few months and that will crash your cycle because thats where all the bacteria lives. So the best thing to do, is to keep some old media (plus the substrate) in the tank while you slowly transfer in new media. I use a canister filter because it allows me to customize the media but this will work with HOB filters as well. I can give you more precise instructions if you let me know which filter youre thinking of getting :)
Here is a tank cycling guide that I like.
Fresh water tank cycling guide!
With using the bacteria starter, everything else is the same. It wont be cycled in two weeks unless you already have filter media from a cycled tank unfortunately. I lamented about this for weeks until I finally realized the reality xD Its a bummer but its worth it and I think you could get it done in a month or two. just make sure you have a water testing kit that tests Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate!
Also, concerning the diet, the issue is mostly about the phosphorus to calcium ratio and the amount of fat in the food source. Nightcrawlers have a perfect ratio and less fat, plus they are bigger but earthworms have a slightly better ratio, more fat, and the worms can produce a foul tasting slime that might put off your salamanders.
 

Therealkarp

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Thank you so much for all your help! I'll guess I should be more exact about everything I'm using so I'll try and organize it as best I can!

----------------------------------------------------------------------Current Tank Situation-------------------------------------------------------------------

Water Test (Right now): Ammonia is about 0.5 ppm/L (this and the next test are color comparison charts), nitrate is 20, nitrite is ~0 ppm/L, (this one concerns me) the water is very hard at 300 ppm/L, chlorine is 0, alkalinity is 35, and Ph is about 7.6

Water treatment products: For neutralizing chlorine I use Tetra aquasafe plus (based on the reading it must be working!) and for the bacteria I have Nutrafin cycle.

Food: I have almost exclusively fed him bloodworms, save for about 2 weeks I fed him brine shrimp as I couldn't make it to the store and its all I had left (bought it for him to try but it's too messy and gets caught in the filter)

Tank decor: He has what is in that last photo obviously, no substrate or anything.

Concerns: I am really worried about the water hardness, would that be affecting him? I have not been using the bacteria aside from the first few days I got him back in October but I have also put it in the odd time, probably only about 4 or 5 times since then though.

-----------------------------------------------------------What I want to change/future plans-------------------------------------------------------------

Water treatment: I feel like the stuff I'm using is good to use right? I'm hoping to go buy more bacteria tomorrow from pet smart but I'll write you what it says to use it for relevant to starting his new tank, does this sound right? I know I need to add more.
"Day 1: 25ml/10gal, day 2/3 10ml/gal, 5 ml/gal on every water change (which I would do bi weekly), 10 ml/gal when adding new fish, 10ml/gal each week to maintain strong colony"

Food: So I hope to find night crawlers, but with the lockdown I am worried that I won't be able to find any. I'll take a look around, but I'll start with 2 nightcrawlers a week (probably on Mondays and Fridays, then feed him pellets? What kind of pellets should I feed him? I bought ones recommended to me but they are for turtles and they don't really stay at the bottom of the tank for him lol.

Tank decor: What kinds of tile and other decors should I look for him? I have a bunch of rocks I initially had in the tank I collected at lake Ontario, but took them out thinking it made the water hard. Bi weekly 50% water changes have shown me this was not the case. Is it safe to add them? I have boiled them to remove any impurities.



ps. Sorry I hit send to early on this
 
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kaixingin

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Thank you so much for all your help! I'll guess I should be more exact about everything I'm using so I'll try and organize it as best I can!
Ill just answer in red within so that its easier to separate xD
----------------------------------------------------------------------Current Tank Situation-------------------------------------------------------------------

Water Test (Right now): Ammonia is about 0.5 ppm/L (this and the next test are color comparison charts), nitrate is 20, nitrite is ~0 ppm/L, (this one concerns me) the water is very hard at 300 ppm/L, chlorine is 0, alkalinity is 35, and Ph is about 7.6
Okay, thats interesting... If you're getting Nitrates then your tank is either cycled or almost finished cycling yet you still have ammonia readings... It could be that your tank is just finally cycling after the year of having him which is a good thing! Or it means that the bacterial starter you're using is working, though, that could be temporary since you've only been using it a short time. For his new tank, I would definitely move your filter media to that one just in case! I would say your hardness is fine as long as you're testing for GH (general hardness.) They like harder water than most freshwater animals. Your pH is perfectly ideal. As always, more water changes are better.


Water treatment products: For neutralizing chlorine I use Tetra aquasafe plus (based on the reading it must be working!) and for the bacteria I have Nutrafin cycle.
I, too, started out with TAS+ but! I would suggest getting Prime because it neutralizes Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate and while your little buddy is in a cycling tank, it can be a life saver. Amazon has big bottles for cheap and a little goes a long way, a lot longer than the other stuff. Also, TAS+ tends to create bubbles and slime which always annoyed me haha.
I dont have any personal experience with that bacterial starter but if you are just now starting to get nitrates after beginning it then definitely keep using it! Just be aware that the bacteria can die off if they cant maintain their food supply (ammonia) and can then cause an ammonia spike from their dead bodies. Cycling is truly a pain in the ass and there isnt any shortcuts lol.


Food: I have almost exclusively fed him bloodworms, save for about 2 weeks I fed him brine shrimp as I couldn't make it to the store and its all I had left (bought it for him to try but it's too messy and gets caught in the filter)
Bloodworms and brine shrimp are sooooo messy. Once you switch to worms and pellets you wont want to go back (sorry Lt. Colonel sir haha).
Tank decor: He has what is in that last photo obviously, no substrate or anything.
Yeah everything seems in order so long as he has a hide. He might like some fake plants or something to climb on. Yours seems to have quite the personality so I bet itd be fun to get him some new toys xD

Concerns: I am really worried about the water hardness, would that be affecting him? I have not been using the bacteria aside from the first few days I got him back in October but I have also put it in the odd time, probably only about 4 or 5 times since then though.
Okay I must have misread. So if you've have this bottle of bacteria for that long, its unlikely they are still potent unless you've kept them refrigerated.
-----------------------------------------------------------What I want to change/future plans-------------------------------------------------------------

Water treatment: I feel like the stuff I'm using is good to use right? I'm hoping to go buy more bacteria tomorrow from pet smart but I'll write you what it says to use it for relevant to starting his new tank, does this sound right? I know I need to add more.
"Day 1: 25ml/10gal, day 2/3 10ml/gal, 5 ml/gal on every water change (which I would do bi weekly), 10 ml/gal when adding new fish, 10ml/gal each week to maintain strong colony"
I dont think what you are using will hurt anything but its possible that it wont work long term (also, it seems pretty expensive :O) It seems to have pretty good reviews online from what I've seen. I would do as the bottle suggests but then I would follow a proper water cycling manual. No matter what, these bacteria need something to eat or they will die. In your current tank, your axolotl is producing the food for the bacteria but in the new tank, nothing will be there and they generally need toxic levels of ammonia to get going. Some recommend adding fish food or live fish but I dont find that ethical and the latter is too slow. If you have access to receive shipments, Amazon or Chewy have the ammonium chloride solution for a few bucks if I recall.

Food: So I hope to find night crawlers, but with the lockdown I am worried that I won't be able to find any. I'll take a look around, but I'll start with 2 nightcrawlers a week (probably on Mondays and Fridays, then feed him pellets? What kind of pellets should I feed him? I bought ones recommended to me but they are for turtles and they don't really stay at the bottom of the tank for him lol.
I work at a pet store that shall not be named lol but definitely call ahead before you go. Most PM get their shipments of bugs on Tuesday or Thursday and right now people are stocking up for their reptiles ahead of time. Its a pain. I also bought turtle pellets at first but turns out I had the same issue you had and also they are way too hard for axolotls lol. Adding it to the pile of unfortunate purchases for these guys xD Get the soft moist pellets. My axolotls took a few days to take to them but now they cant get enough of them and its recommended by all the big axolotl experts. You can only get them online but I think one of the mods here sells them for cheap. I bought mine from etsy because Amazon wouldnt ship to my state. I'm feeding them the Rangen Soft Moist Pellets 3/18" size but I'd go bigger since yours is older. I can send you the seller link that I used if you want just dm me :)

Tank decor: What kinds of tile and other decors should I look for him? I have a bunch of rocks I initially had in the tank I collected at lake Ontario, but took them out thinking it made the water hard. Bi weekly 50% water changes have shown me this was not the case. Is it safe to add them? I have boiled them to remove any impurities.

Thats interesting... I would assume that rocks should be inert so long as they are not crumbly or compounded with salt. I dont know for sure on that one sadly but maybe hold off on the rocks until someone can confirm. If you had them in the tank, though, and he was alright then you should be good just monitor. As far as tile, I know some people get sample floor tile or backsplash tiles from Home Depot or similar stores and use those. With the tiles, just make sure that what they are made of is something inert like granite, slate, or cement with stones embedded is best for grip. Nothing that will crumble xD Then, you should be able to gravel vacuum around them and occasionally remove them to get underneath them.



ps. Sorry I hit send to early on this
 

kaixingin

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Oh yeah and I may have misunderstood but get a gravel vaccuum if you dont have one its a game changer! xD I know theyre an investment but water changes without one are no fun especially if you're going to get a bigger tank. PM has ones with suction and a big one is like $12 US I think. Also make sure to price match all the stuff you buy at PM with online prices, especially amazon and chewy cause theyll give you the discounted price and its often a big difference!
 

Therealkarp

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Sorry for the late reply, got my new tank and I'm waiting to set it up right now! I'll go through the different sections again just copying your response and answering in black lol.

----------------------------------------------------------------------Current Tank Situation-------------------------------------------------------------------

Water Test (Right now): Okay, thats interesting... If you're getting Nitrates then your tank is either cycled or almost finished cycling yet you still have ammonia readings... It could be that your tank is just finally cycling after the year of having him which is a good thing! Or it means that the bacterial starter you're using is working, though, that could be temporary since you've only been using it a short time. For his new tank, I would definitely move your filter media to that one just in case! I would say your hardness is fine as long as you're testing for GH (general hardness.) They like harder water than most freshwater animals. Your pH is perfectly ideal. As always, more water changes are better.

When I do my water changes, I have been rinsing the filter cartridges under warm/hot water (sponge, charcoal, and some rock-type things), should I not be doing that? I feel like rinsing the sponge of the impurities and grime and stuff is good. It often goes from a white to a grey color then goes back to white after rinsing. The filter is going from a 10-30 gallon aqua clear power filter to an aqua-tech filter. Okay, I won't worry too much about the hardness then. I will stick to my about 50% water changes every two weeks

Water treatment products: I, too, started out with TAS+ but! I would suggest getting Prime because it neutralizes Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate and while your little buddy is in a cycling tank, it can be a life saver. Amazon has big bottles for cheap and a little goes a long way, a lot longer than the other stuff. Also, TAS+ tends to create bubbles and slime which always annoyed me haha.
I dont have any personal experience with that bacterial starter but if you are just now starting to get nitrates after beginning it then definitely keep using it! Just be aware that the bacteria can die off if they cant maintain their food supply (ammonia) and can then cause an ammonia spike from their dead bodies. Cycling is truly a pain in the ass and there isnt any shortcuts lol.


Okay, I bought another bottle of TAS+ and will keep using it, but if it's not the biggest cause of stress I'll use the bottles up then change over to prime. Got it bookmarked on amazon! As you read in the later part of my post, I haven't been using the bacteria nearly as much as I should have been. I will start using it and do a test at the start of the new aquariums life after a month, then again in another month and see how it changes.

Food: Bloodworms and brine shrimp are sooooo messy. Once you switch to worms and pellets you wont want to go back (sorry Lt. Colonel sir haha).

Yeah I'm gonna get some nightcrawlers and pellets hopefully tomorrow if I can find a store near me that has them lol

Tank decor: Yeah everything seems in order so long as he has a hide. He might like some fake plants or something to climb on. Yours seems to have quite the personality so I bet itd be fun to get him some new toys xD

Yeah he has a little cave for now, I'll attach a photo of the new supplies that the tank I bought came with. Has some of the stuff you mention later in your response to get!

Concerns: Okay I must have misread. So if you've have this bottle of bacteria for that long, its unlikely they are still potent unless you've kept them refrigerated.

Okay, I will make sure to keep the bacteria in my fridge from now on, I wasn't aware of that!

-----------------------------------------------------------What I want to change/future plans-------------------------------------------------------------

Water treatment: I dont think what you are using will hurt anything but its possible that it wont work long term (also, it seems pretty expensive :O) It seems to have pretty good reviews online from what I've seen. I would do as the bottle suggests but then I would follow a proper water cycling manual. No matter what, these bacteria need something to eat or they will die. In your current tank, your axolotl is producing the food for the bacteria but in the new tank, nothing will be there and they generally need toxic levels of ammonia to get going. Some recommend adding fish food or live fish but I dont find that ethical and the latter is too slow. If you have access to receive shipments, Amazon or Chewy have the ammonium chloride solution for a few bucks if I recall.

I think some of my pet stores have ammonium chloride, I may see if I can pick some up today. So I start adding ammonium chloride and then the bacteria and the latter feeds off of the former? That seems easy enough for me. I don't really know how cycling works, so I guess I should look that up.

Food: I work at a pet store that shall not be named lol but definitely call ahead before you go. Most PM get their shipments of bugs on Tuesday or Thursday and right now people are stocking up for their reptiles ahead of time. Its a pain. I also bought turtle pellets at first but turns out I had the same issue you had and also they are way too hard for axolotls lol. Adding it to the pile of unfortunate purchases for these guys xD Get the soft moist pellets. My axolotls took a few days to take to them but now they cant get enough of them and its recommended by all the big axolotl experts. You can only get them online but I think one of the mods here sells them for cheap. I bought mine from etsy because Amazon wouldnt ship to my state. I'm feeding them the Rangen Soft Moist Pellets 3/18" size but I'd go bigger since yours is older. I can send you the seller link that I used if you want just dm me :)

My problem is I live in Canada lol. Does PM mean 'Pet Mart'? Sorry lol. I know my country has stores called Pet Smart and Pet Valu which carry plenty of variety, I can do curbside pick up so I should be able to get what I need I think. I'll look into the Rangen Soft moist pellets, Ill message you for the link! :)

Tank decor: Thats interesting... I would assume that rocks should be inert so long as they are not crumbly or compounded with salt. I dont know for sure on that one sadly but maybe hold off on the rocks until someone can confirm. If you had them in the tank, though, and he was alright then you should be good just monitor. As far as tile, I know some people get sample floor tile or backsplash tiles from Home Depot or similar stores and use those. With the tiles, just make sure that what they are made of is something inert like granite, slate, or cement with stones embedded is best for grip. Nothing that will crumble xD Then, you should be able to gravel vacuum around them and occasionally remove them to get underneath them.

The rocks aren't crumbly, they're very smooth and fairly hard. I'm not sure how to tell if they are salt compounded, but I boiled them in a pot for a while on the stove to remove impurities, but they did come from Lake Ontario (VERY salty, learned that from experience lol). I think I will hold off on them then for now. I'm gonna check home depot, I've seen youtubes of people who have had them and LOVED it. I am not going to silicon it to the tank though, I am going to simply set it in and clean under it when I clean it bi-weekly.

For the gravel vacuum, the lady had one included! She paid about 1000 bucks for all the stuff she gave me for 320. I'm gonna send a picture of it in a sec!
 

Therealkarp

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I did a little bit of reading and found out I could move him over today. The process took most of the time doing the work before putting him in, but I took 70% of the 20 gallon tank and put it in the new 55 gallon. I added the bacteria as specified on the bottle, which I am now keeping in the fridge. He's just been flicking his gills getting used to it, but I let the bacteria and water treatment for the chlorine. I plan on doing daily water tests and 50% water changes as I see levels spike and any potential stressors arising. Do you think this should be okay? I am looking for any ways I can get nightcrawlers where I live at pet stores
 

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kaixingin

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When I do my water changes, I have been rinsing the filter cartridges under warm/hot water (sponge, charcoal, and some rock-type things), should I not be doing that? I feel like rinsing the sponge of the impurities and grime and stuff is good. It often goes from a white to a grey color then goes back to white after rinsing. The filter is going from a 10-30 gallon aqua clear power filter to an aqua-tech filter. Okay, I won't worry too much about the hardness then. I will stick to my about 50% water changes every two weeks

Well, if you rinse the filter cartridges or you replace them then your bacteria colonies will all die so if you ever want to cycle it, its a bad idea especially if you dont have substrate for them to live on :O



I think some of my pet stores have ammonium chloride, I may see if I can pick some up today. So I start adding ammonium chloride and then the bacteria and the latter feeds off of the former? That seems easy enough for me. I don't really know how cycling works, so I guess I should look that up.
Yeah! So I sent Ivy's guide above, she explains it pretty well or you can look on Dr. Tims website though they contradict each other slightly on instructions.


My problem is I live in Canada lol. Does PM mean 'Pet Mart'? Sorry lol. I know my country has stores called Pet Smart and Pet Valu which carry plenty of variety, I can do curbside pick up so I should be able to get what I need I think. I'll look into the Rangen Soft moist pellets, Ill message you for the link! :)
Yep Petsmart xD hahah. If you cant find soft pellets for him I'd just stick to worms cause you definitely dont want to impact your lotl, its the most common problem they experience T----T
 

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I did a little bit of reading and found out I could move him over today. The process took most of the time doing the work before putting him in, but I took 70% of the 20 gallon tank and put it in the new 55 gallon. I added the bacteria as specified on the bottle, which I am now keeping in the fridge. He's just been flicking his gills getting used to it, but I let the bacteria and water treatment for the chlorine. I plan on doing daily water tests and 50% water changes as I see levels spike and any potential stressors arising. Do you think this should be okay? I am looking for any ways I can get nightcrawlers where I live at pet stores
Yeah I mean, if your smaller tank is cycled then I could see it working but its hard to tell. Technically, you were still having ammonia readings and those would always be at 0 if your tank was cycled. Definitely get the nightcrawlers and keep reading about cycling. You can do axolotl-in cycling but you have to get prime now instead of waiting and you also cant let the ammonia go above 1ppm and should really change water out if it gets to .5ppm. If I were you, I'd probably keep him out until your done cycling the 55 gallon because thats gonna be a LOT of water changes xD
 

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Okay! I won't be rinsing the filter cartridges lol. The filter that came with the tank I got only had a sponge for one large foam pad when it needed to, so I used the sponge out of the old filter as well as two new ones cut to fit the size of where the proper foam pad should go. Whatever bacteria that was on the previous filter should have come to this one then, and these new sponges should get it as I have added it the first three days as the bottle indicated, and I'll be throwing some in every week as indicated. I'll give the readings I just took of the tank after three days, though I'm worried since there isn't exactly an ammonia reading.
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Nitrite: 0.1 mg/L
Hardness: 200 ppm
Chlorine: 0 mg/L
Alkalinity: 30 ppm
Ph: 7.5
The readings I've been getting are almost what I got in my old tank, just the Nitrate is a little bit higher, but according to the bottle it is still in the safe area. Do you think I should be worried? I ordered Java Moss for my tank as he loves the fake grass in there and the moss should help the Ammonia.

Okay I'll take a better look at the guide.

I actually found a store a couple hours away that sells axolotl pellets! The nutrition looks about the same as an earthworm. I'll send the nutrition as the site says below. I haven't had any luck with nightcrawlers, Petsmart doesn't have any near me and I can't find any on the wal-mart site here so I'm gonna call the reptile store I got Boots from tomorrow and see if they have any.
Heres for the pellets I ordered:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN) ...............................................55%
CRUDE FAT (MIN)..........................................................17%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX) ......................................................2%
SODIUM .........................................................................0.6%
CALCIUM .......................................................................1.5%
PHOSPHOROUS ..........................................................1.1%

How do I tell the ammonia reading then? I can get prime from the petsmart near me, it does have that, should I get that over the TAS+? When I bought that second bottle of TAS+ they accidentally gave me a bottle of EasyBalance+ which it says "regulates Ph and alkalinity at recommended levels, reduces nitrates and phosphates, and adds vitamins and minerals and electrolytes needed for vibrant active fish". Would this do the same or is prime the way to go? I have no problem grabbing prime instead.

I'm honestly kind of scared now that I got excited and went ahead and did the tank change anyways, do you think he'll be okay??
 

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Okay! I won't be rinsing the filter cartridges lol. The filter that came with the tank I got only had a sponge for one large foam pad when it needed to, so I used the sponge out of the old filter as well as two new ones cut to fit the size of where the proper foam pad should go. Whatever bacteria that was on the previous filter should have come to this one then, and these new sponges should get it as I have added it the first three days as the bottle indicated, and I'll be throwing some in every week as indicated. I'll give the readings I just took of the tank after three days, though I'm worried since there isn't exactly an ammonia reading.
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Nitrite: 0.1 mg/L
Hardness: 200 ppm
Chlorine: 0 mg/L
Alkalinity: 30 ppm
Ph: 7.5
The readings I've been getting are almost what I got in my old tank, just the Nitrate is a little bit higher, but according to the bottle it is still in the safe area. Do you think I should be worried? I ordered Java Moss for my tank as he loves the fake grass in there and the moss should help the Ammonia.

Is the ammonia reading coming up as 0? If its at 0 then thats a good thing :O Same thing with Nitrite. What is your nitrite reading in ppm? Everything else looks good.


Okay I'll take a better look at the guide.

I actually found a store a couple hours away that sells axolotl pellets! The nutrition looks about the same as an earthworm. I'll send the nutrition as the site says below. I haven't had any luck with nightcrawlers, Petsmart doesn't have any near me and I can't find any on the wal-mart site here so I'm gonna call the reptile store I got Boots from tomorrow and see if they have any.
Heres for the pellets I ordered:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN) ...............................................55%
CRUDE FAT (MIN)..........................................................17%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX) ......................................................2%
SODIUM .........................................................................0.6%
CALCIUM .......................................................................1.5%
PHOSPHOROUS ..........................................................1.1%
Great! Those pellets look perfect. As long as their soft and not too big then those are a perfectly fine staple diet for your lotl. Its still good to get them some variation and plus they love worms but if you have those its no rush :3 He'll be so happy with those I'm sure!

How do I tell the ammonia reading then? I can get prime from the petsmart near me, it does have that, should I get that over the TAS+? When I bought that second bottle of TAS+ they accidentally gave me a bottle of EasyBalance+ which it says "regulates Ph and alkalinity at recommended levels, reduces nitrates and phosphates, and adds vitamins and minerals and electrolytes needed for vibrant active fish". Would this do the same or is prime the way to go? I have no problem grabbing prime instead.
Usually kits have an ammonia test. Its for NH3+. Andyeah I'd definitely go for prime. Definitely price match it but the sooner you switch to prime the easier life will be xD

I'm honestly kind of scared now that I got excited and went ahead and did the tank change anyways, do you think he'll be okay??
Dont be its okay! If youre getting nitrates then just keep doing what youre doing and make sure Ammonia or Nitrite dont go above 0.5ppm. Dose prime in your tank every day just in case and do tests every other day or every 3 days. Petsmart might also have an ammonia meter; its like a tiny piece of plastic with a colored ring on it and it will tell you if the ammonia spikes by changing color. If your tank cycled that quick with a bacterial starter Id say youre the first and only person who its ever worked for and I'd get myself a bottle xD Definitely update me if anything weird happens and definitely in a month if everything stays the same!
 

Therealkarp

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Okay, I got the kit!

My ammonia reading is about 0.12-0.14 as my girlfriend thought, it was done using a color test I have attached a photo of after doing the test.

For the nitrite, I read that every 1 mg/l is 1 ppm so if I have a 0.10 mg/l then I believe I have a 0.10 ppm for nitrite. So neither ammonia nor nitrite is 0, but they're pretty close I would say. I am monitoring them and doing tests every other day to every 3 days.

Still waiting for the pellets to come in the mail! If they don't come by the time my parents go visit my brother (where this store is near Toronto, I am about 2 hours east of it) then I'll get them to do a curbside pickup right there.

I grabbed the prime! Gonna wait till tomorrow and do a water test, then add prime as appropriate. I believe it'll be about 3 ml after I do a water change on Friday with a water test before changing or adding anything. After that, I'll add the prime every day, with bacteria being added every water change. I'm gonna try a water change every Friday for the next three Fridays, then try easing into bi-weekly changes.

I'm monitoring the levels of everything and ensuring they don't spike at all. I have the prime and even found a fan I cooled the tank from 20.5 C (69 F) to 18.3 C (65 F) I'll definitely get back to this thread if I have any more questions or anything comes up! Thanks so much for all your help :)
 
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Okay! I won't be rinsing the filter cartridges lol. The filter that came with the tank I got only had a sponge for one large foam pad when it needed to, so I used the sponge out of the old filter as well as two new ones cut to fit the size of where the proper foam pad should go. Whatever bacteria that was on the previous filter should have come to this one then, and these new sponges should get it as I have added it the first three days as the bottle indicated, and I'll be throwing some in every week as indicated. I'll give the readings I just took of the tank after three days, though I'm worried since there isn't exactly an ammonia reading.
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Nitrite: 0.1 mg/L
Hardness: 200 ppm
Chlorine: 0 mg/L
Alkalinity: 30 ppm
Ph: 7.5
The readings I've been getting are almost what I got in my old tank, just the Nitrate is a little bit higher, but according to the bottle it is still in the safe area. Do you think I should be worried? I ordered Java Moss for my tank as he loves the fake grass in there and the moss should help the Ammonia.

Okay I'll take a better look at the guide.

I actually found a store a couple hours away that sells axolotl pellets! The nutrition looks about the same as an earthworm. I'll send the nutrition as the site says below. I haven't had any luck with nightcrawlers, Petsmart doesn't have any near me and I can't find any on the wal-mart site here so I'm gonna call the reptile store I got Boots from tomorrow and see if they have any.
Heres for the pellets I ordered:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN) ...............................................55%
CRUDE FAT (MIN)..........................................................17%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX) ......................................................2%
SODIUM .........................................................................0.6%
CALCIUM .......................................................................1.5%
PHOSPHOROUS ..........................................................1.1%

How do I tell the ammonia reading then? I can get prime from the petsmart near me, it does have that, should I get that over the TAS+? When I bought that second bottle of TAS+ they accidentally gave me a bottle of EasyBalance+ which it says "regulates Ph and alkalinity at recommended levels, reduces nitrates and phosphates, and adds vitamins and minerals and electrolytes needed for vibrant active fish". Would this do the same or is prime the way to go? I have no problem grabbing prime instead.

I'm honestly kind of scared now that I got excited and went ahead and did the tank change anyways, do you think he'll be okay??
My axolotl eats InvertAquatic Pellets, which are ordered on amazon and very affordable for a high school student like me. As for the EasyBalance+, it shouldn't be a problem, but if he looks stressed, you can always do a water change. The main thing prime does is it removes chlorine, which is present if you have city tap water that has been treated. If you have well water (like me), you might be able to get away with the easy balance, but prime is always a good idea. Hope this helps!
 

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Hi there. Coming back with an update on Boots: I am still pretty worried about him.

For a while he seemed to be enjoying his new tank, swimming around on the bottom enjoying his new hides. Now, for the last couple days he's been swimming frantically all around the tank hitting the sides of the tank much more aggressively than normal as well a floating near the top. I'll update with what is new with the tank as well as some readings

Filter: MUCH too powerful I think. If I can attach videos I will take a video of it otherwise just a picture. To weaken the flow I used elastic bands to wrap sponges overtop of it, but I think pieces have been breaking off into the water and adversely affecting readings.

Decor: I have made a little area he can slither through the back of a log, the old scuba head, and the new fake grass which he seems to love

Water: Okay, the nitrite has seemed to go up but I have been adding prime every few days and it doesn't seem to be working. I have added bacteria about three times since changing tanks, and I have done a 50% water change just this recent Friday (I believe 2 weeks? after switching tanks). I put in another bucket of water to bring the top of the water to where the filter water comes out (there's some space to where the top of it coming out is so he couldn't get in the filter) and added two capfuls (10 ml) of prime to be safe. The second capful was after the reading I took. Here is the water and ammonia readings:

Ammonia: 0.1 (mg/l) (I have attached a picture of this test but not the other as I couldn't get the pic in time)
Nitrate: 0.16 (mg/l) (I think this is the one that is most scary)
Nitrite: 0.1(mg/l)
Hardness: 250 ppm
Chlorine: 0 (mg/l)
Alkalinity: 30 ppm (Is this low?)
Ph: 7.6

Questions: What should I change???? I want to get a better filter with less flow but am scared of losing the bacteria with it, though could I not just bring the old sponges to the new filter? His tail also seems to be curly, not the entire shape of the tail but on the top of his back down to the tip almost making waves, what does that mean? Sometimes it is like that and other times it is straight! I have tried feeding him nightcrawlers (Still waiting on the pellets), and he seemed to take the first one pretty well despite me forgetting to completely wash it off, then the next time I tried he tried about three times and spat it out, so I gave him a bloodworm cube. About 4 days later I tried again and no avail, then just yesterday he took about 4 cm of worm and wouldn't keep the rest in. Also, there still seems to be a weird slimish-filmy coat on the top of the tank: what does that mean???

I am sorry for all the questions but I am really scared I am going to overstress and kill him!!! Can someone PLEASE help me???
 

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Murk

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Hiya!
I must admit I have only skimmed the entire backstory.
Do you know how old the axolotl is? Seems like a fairly young one.

Swimming and floating isn't necessarily an issue for axolotls. It's only an issue if they can't help it. If you see the axolotl try to get down but failing to, that's an issue (and even then, juveniles often have this problem just because they're stupid). Some just like to stay close to the surface.

From the video, Boots doesn't seem all that stressed, and the filter flow doesn't seem too strong - it looks like it doesn't even move his gills? In that case, he probably doesn't mind.
I know it's common wisdom that axolotls dislike flow, but I've personally never noticed it. Easy to test, though! Just shut the filter down for a day and see if his behaviour changes.

The water parameters are not perfect, but not entirely worrisome, especially not for a new tank.
Nitrates are great - it's the nitrites (and to a lesser extend the ammonia) you'll want to keep an eye on. I think if you leave the tank alone for a few weeks more, it should sort itself out. Keep an eye on the axolotl, but don't stress too much.
If you're still regularly dosing some kind of water conditioner, your ammonia and nitrite readings might be influenced by that as well.

Curly or waivy tails aren't a problem, and not something you can do anything about anyway.

The biofilm on top of the water isn't problematic either.
It doesn't look pleasant, but the axolotl won't care. The internet is filled with questions about biofilm and methods to get rid of it, but in the end none of them work 100%, and no one can really prove any adverse effects.
Essentially, it's an indicator that you do not have a fully self-sustaining ecosystem - but that's to be expected in a new tank.



In general, I would advise not too stress.
These are all things you can (should?) keep an eye on, and it's great that you do! It's always good if pet owners are concerned for the well-being of their pet.
But don't stress. A stressed owner is just as dangerous to pets as an uncaring owner. Axolotls are sturdy creatures, yours looks fine, and as long as you don't see any drastic changes you're doing a good job.


Edit: Just thought up some more "general advice": any reason you don't have live plants? I love live plants, because they are good for everything. Axolotls like to hang out in them; bacteria like to grow on them; they eat your nitrates (so you'll have do to less water changes); they can help with water flow and oxygen levels; they prevent algae; they look good. I think it might even help with the biofilm.
Just put a small light on the tank for a few hours each day and plop in some easy plants (hornwort, waterweed, java fern, vallisnaria are all indestructible).
I know some people don't care for plants, and that's fine. Just wondering.
 
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Therealkarp

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Hi!

Boots is about 8 months old I would say. They were uncertain of his age at the place I got him but he was RIDICULOUSLY small when I got him on Oct. 15 2019 so he must have been born mid-late September.

He's never been this aggressive with his swimming which is what concerns me. In his old tank, he would boop the sides all day but always very gently, I'll attach two videos showing the difference in his eagerness to do so. The first will be his current swimming (taken just now) and the second will be his old swimming.

I am trying to keep on top of the water and adding the bacteria to take care of him properly as I don't think I did right in his last tank. The only thing I left out from my last post was that I added a ceramic tile so he can have a bit more grip in his cave, though he hasn't been going in his caveat all since I put it in either.

I hope I'm not just being paranoid. I have just noticed this change in activity from slow and calm to erratic and hyper and that worries me.


 

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It's a bit strange that the behaviour suddenly appeared, but still I don't think it's anything to worry about (yet). Some just like to swim, and they end up booping the glass.
A healthy axolotl is an active axolotl, so activity is good, as long as it isn't frantic or manic.

If this is something he does all day, every day, you might want to do something about it. Backgrounds or in-tank decorations help with the booping of the glass (because they can see better that they're about to hit something), but even then I have axolotls who often boop just the same to solid rock. Sometimes they're just blind idiots.
A few more things to do can be a nice distraction - substrate to dig around in, plants or decorations that move on the filter flow, food to search for, etc.

Once again though, as long as this is not day-round behaviour I wouldn't worry. A few morning or afternoon laps are good to keep the stamina up ;)
 
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  • Toothpickthelotl:
    Also, she was fine at the higher temperature. Perfectly healthy and never showed signs of de stress. Just thought it being colder would make her happier and digest a little slower! (She’s a pig :p )
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  • SubZero:
    is it normal for a tiger to jump at you from being the glass
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  • Murk:
    @Paige1warren That should be fine. I wouldn't suddenly put her in very cold water without acclimatisation, but a few degrees over the course of two hours shouldn't be a problem at all.
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  • AlexisJG:
    Is anyone online? I need help badly
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  • AlexisJG:
    I have had my 2 axolotls since June 2020 and I had hoped they would mature the same gender but unfortunately they are not. I am currently on vacation and planned to separate them once I returned, my axolotls are currently being cared for by a friend who knows the basics to care for them properly. A melanoid and a leucistic. I had a feeling but didn't prioritize it enough and now I have many many eggs in the tank with both of my axolotls. I have zero experience with eggs and cannot really care for juvenile axolotls but I really DO NOT want to kill them. What should I do? Are my axolotls okay being in the same tank with them? would the eggs be okay all together in a tank by themselves? Where can I find someone to care for them and hatch them?I'm so stressed and worried I just want the best for them all.
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    you are going to have to get a bucket and put the eggs in that. they can hatch anytime between 11 and 20 days. order in brine shrimp eggs and get your friend to watch a video on hatching them. make sure your friend does 100% water changes every day. keep the water around 64digres and make sure your friend sends daily updates on them. i found kitchen salt works for the brine shrimp eggs. hope this helps.
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  • Gots2knowme2:
    I am a new owner of two juvenile axolotls that are Lucie's. One has black eyes and one has silver eyes. Is that common or rare?
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    A few days ago, my Axolotl was about to die, there was something wrong with the water but he’s doing fine now. His skin is still cracked and his red things are still white
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  • Toothpickthelotl:
    Hi guys.. I might of made an error and need some advice. One of the hides in my tank is too small for my axie now, but I did not want to buy another hide because they are expensive, so I decided to DIY one. I used a Tupperware (cut into a little home) and glued rocks from outside and plants on it. The problem is, I washed the rocks with soap and hot water. I completely wasn’t thinking. When I washed them there was no soap residue that was visible on the rocks, and the rocks have been drying for 3 days on the container. So it has been 3 days since I washed them. I used aquarium safe silicone to glue them on. It was fully dry tonight so I decided to put it in my tank. I had it in for about 3 mins until I realized j had washed the rocks in soap, and I took it out immediately. Should I be worried??? I’m really freaking out, I don’t want anything to happen to my baby! I was truly not thinking. I also read that it was safe to use rocks from outside, but now I’m not sure? Can anyone help
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  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Since you took it out straight away it should be ok but I'd still be doing a big water change. When I was a teen, I took some rocks from outside, washed them (probably in soap) and put them in my turtle tank. He died a week or so later and I've never used any rocks from the garden since because you just don't know what's been on them, such as pesticide and I suppose the mineral composition of the rock comes in to play too. Letting them dry for a few days before adding them also would have helped so you should be fine
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  • Toothpickthelotl:
    @Saturn, okay, thank you so much! Firstly, I’m so sorry about your turtle :(. My lotl seems to be fine, I haven’t noticed any changes or signs of destress. I do 25% weekly water changes (I have a fully cycled tank), but I will do a 50% change today. I hope that everything turns out fine. Axies are pretty good at showing they are not well or stressed so I’m hoping that I got the rocks out fast enough. Thank you again!
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  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Thanks hun and you're absolutely right, axolotls are so sensitive it would've showed signs. Glad your lotl is ok :)
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    Hii my tiger salamander has a black bump on his head, its looks like a little spot but its forming into a bump and its like making a hole..? You can tell i need help , please help😁
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    Do i just give him a salt bath?
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    Tank size 40 gal. 2 filter pumps /substrate roughed ceramic easy to clean / feed each one night crawler every 3 rd day
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    Ceramic substrate? That sounds interesting. What should I imagine by that?
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  • AMurry24537:
    Can't say if this is what's being referred to, but I had some ceramic tiles in an aquarium for a while. I used a silicone sealant to secure them to the bottom and to each other. It worked well for about 6 months, but eventually a little water got through my imperfect seal and started creating mold problems
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    Ooh, tiles of course. I was thinking of those ceramic rings/balls you can buy as filter medium, but tiles make more sense. Thanks
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    Hi there, I am a new Axolotl lover & owner of two cuties! They are little over 6 months old now. I have a divider and decided to see how they would be together because they always tried to get to each other threw the border/wall.
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