Hello! I'm new to this forum. I'm planning a new project and I was hoping for some advice. I have an axolotl named Pan who is currently in a 20 gallon long with bare bottom glass.
I know axolotls are perfectly content with bare bottoms, and substrate like sand can cause impactions. My fiance and I want to upgrade him to a 55 gallon long, give him more room to move around as he is getting big. I would like to decorate the 55 gallon long with a faux stone bottom, like a mountain stream, maybe add wood 'roots' with attached plants.
I am using this tutorial as inspiration, but it is for a background, not a floor:
Basically, foam carved bottom slab, then painted with concrete. I would do water changes until pH returns to normal before adding Pan.
I could not find anyone else from Google searches who has done this for a bottom. My primary concern is, how do I keep this from absorbing or trapping nitrates/waste?
Pan used to have many river rocks as his bottom, but so much waste was settling underneath them that it became impossible to keep clean without removing every rock each water change.
My thoughts for filling in the gaps between the foam/concrete slab are expanding foam and more concrete after the slab is fitted in; leave a gap on one two sides to fit a gravel vacuum and only have substrate there; or leave the bottom unattached, sitting on something like egg crates and have the bottom be pumped to a filter underneath the rock slab.
I would appreciate any input! Thanks