I recently acquired a juvenile axolotl, and unfortunately didn't have the ability to cycle his tank prior to his arrival. I currently have a fish-in cycle going with him now. I was doing water changes twice a day to keep his ammonia levels down. Even with his small size, he is producing a lot of waste. I figured I could let the cycle run it's course naturally on its own with daily water changes, but I also don't want to unnecessarily stress him out and delay my cycle in the process as well. I have been dosing every 24 hours with Seachem Prime to detoxify any ammonia he is sadly living with right now. Current parameters are as follows:
Ammonia-Hovering between .5-1ppm. Was 1ppm this morning so I did a 50% water change (maybe 60%) to bring that level back down, and dosed with Seachem Prime as well.
I had 0 traces of nitrites and nitrates, until I purchased a pre-seeded sponge filter from Angels Plus. It came in a bag of pretty dirty water, that I also added to his tank. It has been running for about 48 hours now,and there has been no change in the ammonia levels. Nitrates originally started at 0 (finnicky test so it's hard to tell whether I tested right in the first place or shook the bottle enough), but are now at 5ppm. Ammonia hasn't been decreasing at all, aside from when I do a water change. When I've done a water change, I have dosed with Seachem Stability as well, to try to replenish anything I might have removed, even when there is little beneficial bacteria in the water column itself. I do have a couple of questions about the process I used, or what I could be doing to help push my cycle along.
When placing the sponge filter in the tank, I did not acclimate it to the temperature of my tank, like I would with other aquatic life. My axolotls tank is usually around 64-68 degrees. Would this have killed off, or slowed down, the nitrifying bacteria in the sponge?
Is there anything that could potentially be interfering with the ability of the bacteria to consume the ammonia in my tank?
Would purchasing another sponge help expedite the process, or would that simply kill of beneficial bacteria because my bioload with just the one little guy is so small?
Am I just being impatient in expecting "instant cycling" because I used seeded media?
Is there a rough timeline I should be looking at regarding whether the seeded media is going to make a difference in my tank in general, or is it just a crapshoot and when it happens, it happens?
Cycling can be so frustrating