Tank cycling help please(Solved)

Fluffinmuffins

New member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Fl
Country
United States
I recently acquired a juvenile axolotl, no more than 2 inches long. Tiny little guy. He is unfortunately right now living in an uncycled 20 gallon tank, that I am doing daily water changes on. Generally speaking I do about 20% but recently encountered an ammonia spike so I did about a 60% change to the tank. I have been dosing prime on a daily basis, as well as using it for water changes. I am also dosing with Seachem stability in the meantime. This hasn't seemed to do much for my tank in the week I've been using it, but I continue to dose anyway. I was able to get some seeded media in the form of a sponge filter to go ahead and get this tank cycled. The filter will be here Thursday. I have been testing parameters religiously throughout this process to make sure this little guy stays safe. Tubbing him isn't really a viable option in my household right now. I do have some questions about how to go about using this seeded media. I was instructed to keep all of the water that the bag contains and put it in my tank to keep the nitrifying bacteria. Should I remove my axolotl in this process? I assume it will be dirty and gunky and I don't want to stress him out by dumping a bunch of gunk into his tank with him in it. I have a sufficient air pump to get the filter circulating the moment it arrives. He is eating properly, swimming around, pooping, with zero signs of stress. Seems pretty content. At this size is he going to make sufficient waste to keep the bacterial colony alive? Should I do a water change prior to adding the filter to my tank? This is my first axolotl experience. I'd like to do it right and keep him healthy. Any help is appreciated!
 

Sanshouo

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
70
Reaction score
2
Points
8
Location
Mississippi
Country
United States
You really shouldn't keep an axolotl in a tank that isn't cycled yet. The ideal thing to do would be to keep him in a separate container and do 100% water changes daily (treating with prime each time). Even though he looks fine right now, things can go downhill fast with axies. Ammonia can spike rapidly in a matter of hours and your axie could be sick or dying within days. As for the tank, just add the sponge filter and let it do its thing. For the ammonia source you have a couple options. You could remove the poop from your axie container and add it to the tank everyday, you could put in some feeder fish, you could add some type of food (I've heard this is not ideal), or you can buy straight up ammonia (in the form of a salt combo like ammonium chloride). You shouldn't need to do any water changes for the tank unless your ammonia or nitrite are extremely high, in which case you can do up to 50% change as needed. You'll know the tank is cycled when ammonia and nitrite are 0 and there is nitrate present. Hopefully won't take more than a couple weeks but could be a couple months. I'm no expert on the topic of cycling but I hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

Fluffinmuffins

New member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Fl
Country
United States
I appreciate the help! I haven't received the filter yet but it is out for delivery. It isn't ideal to have him in an uncycled tank, I'm aware. Hence the sponge filter. I understand the idea of a mini cycle if you don't have enough beneficial bacteria to handle the bioload, however I was under the impression that putting established media in the tank didn't require the addition of ammonia and allowed the addition of aquatic life immediately to be the ammonia source. The sponge filter for the tank is rather large for the 20 gallon tank I currently have for him, and should contain enough beneficial bacteria to cycle the tank very quickly. Unless I am mistaken about how established media works? Naturally I am planning on checking water parameters as I have been doing multiple times a day.
 

Sanshouo

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
70
Reaction score
2
Points
8
Location
Mississippi
Country
United States
It's not quite that simple. It's true that much of the beneficial bacteria in a cycled tank is present on the filter media, but there is also bacteria in the substrate, on the walls, in the water, on plants, etc. Putting in the sponge filter will be hugely beneficial and will likely speed things up considerably, but it doesn't make your tank instantly safe. The bacteria will have to get established in the new environment, which usually takes at least a couple weeks. A tank isn't considered cycled and "safe" until your ammonia and nitrite readings are consistently 0. Even an ammonia level of .25 can be toxic to an axolotl so if you insist on cycling with the axie in, you'll have to be extremely vigilant of the readings. That's why it's easier and safer to just keep him in a separate container. It doesn't have to be very big if you're doing daily 100% water changes; a gallon would be fine. Plus, it would keep you from having to constantly do water changes in the tank which slows down the cycling.
 

Fluffinmuffins

New member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Fl
Country
United States
I would tub him if I felt he would be safe, but for an extended period of time I really don't believe he would. The water changes can be frustrating and time consuming, but I have committed myself to monitoring that, considering he is in less than ideal conditions. I did receive the sponge filter, which hopefully will get this done very quickly, but I am prepared to continue the water changes and testing every day during the next few weeks until it is established.
 

Murk

Active member
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
144
Reaction score
36
Points
28
Country
Netherlands
I'm not saying this to disagree with Sanshouo in any way (all that is right), but in-tank cycling can be done.
It might be a bit risky, but so is tubbing an axolotl. Daily 100% water changes in a tub are very stressful as well, and water quality (and temperature) will fluctuate much more in a small tub.

The main problem with in-tank cycling is that it takes longer (because you'll have to do water changes to keep the water OK) and that it is more work. To get an unstocked tank cycled, you just keep it running for two months without looking at it. Easy as that!
With an axolotl in it, you'll have to monitor, clean and worry about it for three months.

Axolotls are sturdy creatures, they can handle it. It is far from ideal, as Sanshouo rightly notes, but in some cases it's the best option. Your method seems safe enough to me.
 

Fluffinmuffins

New member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Fl
Country
United States
I prefer not to keep him in conditions less than ideal, but that is why I am using established media, as well as daily water changes. I don't see much of a difference between changing water daily in a tub and changing the water daily in his tank, as long as I am very careful, and monitor it very closely. I'm just trying to do what is right by the little guy, and keep him happy in the process. So far, he seems content enough. I did place the sponge filter in his tank, and used the dirty water it came in as well to maintain the nitrifying bacteria. Only time will tell if it will push my cycle along. Thank you guys for the help in the process.
 

miola

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
8
Points
3
Location
Ohio
Country
United States
I have cycled a tank with an Axolotl in it. You just have to be careful and test everyday, watch for signs of stress and keep up those daily water changes. It is work but it can be done. So I think you are on the right track. I also used Prime, Pristine and a bottle of Tetra Safe Start plus. Even with your cycled media, keep testing your water because you may end up with a mini cycle while the bacteria establishes itself throughout the tank. Here's wishing you a speedy cycle 🙂
 

Fluffinmuffins

New member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Fl
Country
United States
I purchased a second sponge to see if that will push things along as well. Thus far, it hasn't seemed to do much for my tank. I'm still consistently doing water changes and testing the parameters of his tank every day. He is behaving normally. Eating normally, growing quite quickly, gills not curled, no signs of stress whatsoever as far as I can tell. I am being very cautious with the ammonia levels, and dosing with Prime every day. Thank you!
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
    +2
    Unlike
  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    Anyone here from DMV?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated :)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Ganaa:
    @patrickstar116, do you still have your fire salamanders?
    +1
    Unlike
  • patrickstar116:
    @Ganaa, I do you may message me if you wish
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    hi.....
    +1
    Unlike
  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
    +1
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
    +1
    Unlike
  • MuggleMiChu:
    Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.
    +2
    Unlike
  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu,your so welcome im glad to be of help! and I'm glad that they are eating as well!
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    AidanD has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
    Chat Bot: AidanD has left the room. +1
    Top