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Old 11-14-2021, 08:19 PM   #1
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New tank cloudy for 2 weeks. Ammonia wonít go down. Is my cycle stalled?

Hello everyone,
Iím relatively new to this hobby but Iíve been trying my best to do a lot of research.

Iím on Day 36 (Iíve been documenting almost every day) and everything just seems to not be moving forward.

I read on many forums that TSS works fishless so I decided to try it. I have a 20 gal for my axolotl (rescued; currently in quarantine tub). I dechlorinated tap, had it sit for 26 hrs, then started with up to 2ppm Pure Ammonia and a little over half bottle of the 250 mL Tetra SafeStart. In the beginning, all seemed pretty good as Nitrate was showing up fast, and I hadnít seen any signs of Nitrite. I let Ammonia fall before adding back up. Iíve been religiously checking water parameters and some days it lowers, others itís higher even without dosing.

Water params usually read:
pH 7.4-7.7 (stable)
Ammonia 2-5
Nitrite 0 (consistently 0; have never seen any nitrite yet)
Nitrate 5-10

Ammonia started building up without me adding any form of Ammonia to the tank. Eventually it got to the point I thought that maybe Tetra couldnít handle it, and I was advised not to do water changes. On day 23, I opted to using Microbe Lift (Nite-Out II), and the next day the water became really cloudy. I understand that blooms are normal during cycling, but Iíd like to mention that my concern is that itís been about 2 weeks like this) Ammonia lowered from 4 to 3 after a day, but then came back up and has been consistently 4ppm... I try lowering this from time to time w WC but it goes back up.

Iím using Aqueon filter cartridges along with some cut up sponges (both airy and dense).

Iím really unsure of what to do. I refrained from water changes during the cycling with just TSS but topped off (as I have a bubbler+fan, along with a HOB filter that needs the level up a certain point to run). I have only been topping off and doing WC due to high ammonia since adding Microbe Lift (and I think the evaporation got my nitrates from 10 to now 7). Do I continue to wait things out? Should I wash everything out and restart, or would it be a waste since I have nitrates in already? I see a lot swear by the Stability+Prime combo too. Very confused at this pointÖ sorry if itís hard to read all this. Appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 11-15-2021, 04:01 AM   #2
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Before commenting on your cycle can i ask about the axolotl?

You have it in a quarantine tub? How big is this QT? Is this QT filtered? Is the QT cycled? Is the axolotl intended for the tank you are cycling?

I ask this because if you are planning to keep the axolotl in the tank you are cycling and it is currently in a small uncycled tub you may as well just move it into the larger uncycled tank. It would be better for the axolotl to be in the larger volume of water even though its not cycled and cycle the tank with the axolotl.
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Old 11-15-2021, 07:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Before commenting on your cycle can i ask about the axolotl?

You have it in a quarantine tub? How big is this QT? Is this QT filtered? Is the QT cycled? Is the axolotl intended for the tank you are cycling?

I ask this because if you are planning to keep the axolotl in the tank you are cycling and it is currently in a small uncycled tub you may as well just move it into the larger uncycled tank. It would be better for the axolotl to be in the larger volume of water even though its not cycled and cycle the tank with the axolotl.
Hi, thanks for your response. Yes he is currently in a QT. Honestly itís not that big (16 1/2Ē x 13Ē x 6Ē) but itís what I have. Since I rescued him recently and out of the blue, I wasnít prepared so unfortunately the tub is not cycled, however I do 100% water changes in it and dose prime every 24 hours. He was very malnourished and small when I got him but his gills have gotten much fluffier as of late, so I feel the tub is ok for the time being. I want to move him into the tank, but wouldnít it be bad for him considering I used the method of using relatively high doses of bottled ammonia? Would I need to dump that water and rinse everything before letting him back in?

Iíve also attached pics on the state I received him and how he is now.
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Old 11-15-2021, 07:24 PM   #4
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You do a fishless (or axolotless) cycle so you arent subjecting the fish to the waste products of an uncycled tank. But you are subjecting your axolotl to the waste products of an uncycled tub. You are controlling this waste through water changes which is in effect a fish in cycle. May as well do that in the bigger tank. Your axolotl will benefit from that immensely. What waste your axolotl produces is way less harmful diluted in the larger volume of the larger tank.

Am i explaining that clearly?

100% water change in the tank to get ammonia and nitrite to 0. Move the axolotl. Water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite combined below 0.5ppm. A lot less work for you, a lot more healthy environment for your axolotl. Your tank will have cycled to some degree through your fishless cycle as well.

Win, win.
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Old 11-15-2021, 09:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
You do a fishless (or axolotless) cycle so you arent subjecting the fish to the waste products of an uncycled tank. But you are subjecting your axolotl to the waste products of an uncycled tub. You are controlling this waste through water changes which is in effect a fish in cycle. May as well do that in the bigger tank. Your axolotl will benefit from that immensely. What waste your axolotl produces is way less harmful diluted in the larger volume of the larger tank.

Am i explaining that clearly?

100% water change in the tank to get ammonia and nitrite to 0. Move the axolotl. Water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite combined below 0.5ppm. A lot less work for you, a lot more healthy environment for your axolotl. Your tank will have cycled to some degree through your fishless cycle as well.

Win, win.
Oh, I understand your explanation. Ok, I’ll do that when I get home from work! As for products, aside from using prime to detoxify any signs of ammonia while he’s in there, would pairing with the stability after each water change help at all? Or are additives aside from the dechlorinator/detoxifier just a no go right now? Would it also be helpful to put in any plants or do I need to wait? Just want to double and triple check everything.
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Old 11-16-2021, 04:06 AM   #6
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Products like safestart, stabilty, and one + only will help establish beneficial bacteria and is fine to add. These products are hit and miss (mostly miss) but wont hurt to add. Certainly wont do any harm. I would dose with your 100% water change, or whenever you get hold of a bottle, if you have any left, use that up with future water changes. Once your bottle is used up, then i wouldnt bother any more. Its probably an expensive placebo at that point.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:07 AM   #7
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Products like safestart, stabilty, and one + only will help establish beneficial bacteria and is fine to add. These products are hit and miss (mostly miss) but wont hurt to add. Certainly wont do any harm. I would dose with your 100% water change, or whenever you get hold of a bottle, if you have any left, use that up with future water changes. Once your bottle is used up, then i wouldnt bother any more. Its probably an expensive placebo at that point.
Alrighty. Thanks so much for your very helpful information! I always get confused with the clashing advice online, but you made things very clear and easy to understand for a newbie like myself. Appreciate it and have a good one!
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:08 AM   #8
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Would it also be helpful to put in any plants or do I need to wait?
Im not that knowledgeable about axolotls apart from what ive read on here, so i can't advise too much on them. I dont really know if axolotls will dig up or otherwise disturb plants.

I believe axolotls like low light, so that limits the plants you can go for. Something like java fern might be good. These dont need to be planted. Just attach them to a rock or piece of driftwood and place them where you like. You can actually easily add these types of plants later if you like. If its a rooted plant i would plant that before you add your axolotl to avoid disturbing things at a later date.
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