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Question: Tank cycling?


New member
Apr 10, 2022
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Spokane Wa
I'm in the process of cycling my tank for my axolotl and have been getting tons of conflicting info about how to do it? would someone whose done it be willing to walk me through the process so I can make sure I'm doing alright? Wanna make sure were all good before we go get our axie!


Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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first of you need to make sure you have everything.
large enough tank 20 gallon for one axolotl, add 10 gallon for every additional axolotl.
large enough filter, if it says up to size ie.. up to 20 gallon then it will cope at best 10 gallon, axolotls don't have a lot of substrate etc so rely upon the filter for all cleaning and biological functions, make sure the inlet is axolotl safe and the water flow/outlet can be either buffered or reduced to prevent a lot of water movement.
a air pump and air stones, bacteria require oxygenated water as much as the axolotl to function.
a heater for the tank whilst cycling
a lid, axolotls can and sometimes do jump out of the water.
any ornaments, rocks etc..
a large bucket for water changes, also a water siphon to remove water.
a liquid water test kit, api freshwater master test kit is the most popular.
ammonia chloride, dr tims is the most popular.
sometimes bottled bacteria can be useful, this can be added whilst cycling and after any water changes.
a de-chlorinator, any will do just don't use any with stress coat as this can be harmful.
bicarbonate of soda, in case the ph drops.
fill the tank up with de-chlorinated water and put the filter, air-stones, heater and anything that is going in the tank in.
let the tank run/stand for 24hrs then add enough ammonia to bring the level to 4ppm, the reason it is 4ppm is to make sure that the filter/tank can cope with a large adult axolotl.
leave the tank running for a week then test the water parameters ph/ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, top the ammonia back up to 4ppm and retest 24hrs later, top up and restest 24hrs later, keep repeating until after 24hrs there is zero ammonia or nitrites, then top backup up to 4ppm, for a couple more days to be sure that the cycling is done, keep dosing the tank daily until 24hrs before adding the axolotl, also remove heater 24hrs before adding a axolotl, also make sure to test the water before adding the axolotl.
if the ph drops below 7 whilst cycling add bicarbonate of soda to bring it up to 7.4 - 7.6.
do not be tempted to do a water change until either it is cycled or the nitrates are 110ppm or higher, once it is cycled do a water change weekly, the water change is to remove nitrates, the % of water removed is the % of nitrates removed, always de-chlorinate the water before adding to the tank.
read up about and consider using holtfreters solution or a modified solution so the water is at its best.
also while the weather is still cool research into ways to keep the water cold in warmer months.
please bare in mind cycling can be long and very annoying, but persevere as it is worth it.
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