Tank/Cycling Startup Advice

kjones8000

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We are getting our first axolotyl when the tank is ready. New hobbyist.
Starting with the tank/filter to start cycling.
We have a location in the basement that should stay cool.

Looking at purchasing these items to start. Let me know if I am going overboard or on track.

20 gallon long/shallow tank
https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/aga-20g-30x12x12-lng-bk-tank-170933

Fluval C4 Filter (largest available - i think - for back of tank) Prefer not to use sponge filters
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003SJXTIU

Fluval sponges, carbon pack, amonia removal pack, biomax (and mesh pouch/es)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HHSG5M

Mesh cover

Thermometer (mercury)

Place/s to hide - typical aquarium fare/turtle cave or shale
https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/north-american-pet-zebra-rock

Possibly black sand

Turkey baster

Water bucket specific to the tank

Feeding tongs

Water dechlorinator

Siphon vacuum - large
https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/aqueon-siphon-vacuum-aquarium-gravel-cleaner-10

Water testing kit (are the strips enough?)

Future considerations:
Aquarium fans if needed (4 pack on Amazon)
LED black light
Live plants (tank will be near a basement window well and will get indirect light)
Is it worth getting any other chemicals to kickstart the water?
 

Hayleyy

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Hey! You have most of it covered which is great!
That filter might be too high powered for the tank, it says it's for 40-70 gallons. High filtration is great for axolotls because they're so messy but I'd be worried that it'll create too much water current. You could play around with blocking the output to reduce flow. You can use some prefilter sponge, decorations or plants stuffed into the output. I've found these options work really well to reduce flow. I always use sponge filters in addition to any other filter, they're super popular among axolotl owners and some axies like to play in the bubbles.
A fan is great if you need to drop temps a few degrees. For anything more (10+ degrees) you'll want to look into getting a chiller.
Sand is a good substrate, just make sure to use it only when the axolotl is larger than 5 inches.
Lots of hiding places are needed, especially if you want to use a light. Just make sure there isn't any sharp bits, if there are these usually can be sanded back. Some rocks aren't safe, I'll link the info page for you. It also has lots of aquascape info. https://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanctuary/Aquascape.shtml
Siphons will probably pick up the sand so keep it a couple of cm above the substrate when using. I use my turkey baster almost every day so I don't need to siphon too much.
I'd use the liquid water test kits, API is great. They're more reliable than strips. You want ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and hardness.
Live plants are great and will help the cycle a lot. The link above has a good list of plants.
You want to avoid most chemical additives with axolotls. Bottled bacteria is fine and should help. There are some you can use if you need to raise water hardness, I use aquarium salt.
I hope this is all helpful :)
 

landonewts

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Hello, I am a long time newt keeper, about to get my first axolotl. There is so much great information online, especially here, and I wanted to jump in on this thread to ask my question.

My axolotl will be a young one, an axolotl enthusiast who teaches at a local school had her class raise a brood from eggs, and now that they are big enough they’re selling them to raise money for the school.

Bascially, my question is, how long do I really need to cycle my tank before the axolotl goes in?

I set my 10 gallon tank up 5 days ago, everything is set up (sand substrate, 3 hides, temp in the mid 60s, no lights.) water is clean and dechlorinated, and it’s been cycling since for the entire 5 days. I am picking up my new pet tomorrow. Articles I read say tanks should cycle anywhere from several days to several weeks. I don’t want to endanger my new pet, but he/she will be coming home tomorrow, as it’s the latest we could arrange it.

Am I in for trouble, or will it be ok?
 

landonewts

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Also is cycling just running the filter, or am I supposed to be adding things to the water?
 

Hayleyy

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There isn't any set time a cycle takes, it depends on what is in the tank. I would say it's probably not cycled, get yourself the API master test kit so you can see if it's ready. You want 0 ammonia and nitrite, and nitrates between 10-40ppm (at 40-80 I usually do a water change). You'll want dechlorinator for the water but you can add bottled bacteria to help the cycle. If you know anyone with an aquarium you can ask for some of their filter media. This will bring over some bacteria. You'll need to add some ammonia to the tank to kickstart the cycle, this can either be some fish food, a bit of prawn or straight ammonia. I've never used the last one but lots of people do, I'm not sure of the brand but it should be on the forum here :)
 
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