Having your tank cycled is very important to the health of an axolotl. Just like setting up a fish tank, they require their water to be within certain parameters. Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to axolotls and WILL cause burns, gill loss, and eventually death. The best way to go about cycling your tank is to grab an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. This will include everything you need to test for. 
  • PH - 7.2- 8.0
  • Ammonia- 0ppm
  • Nitrites- 0ppm
  • Nitrates- 5-20ppm

Nitrogen Cycle with axolotl



There are three steps to cycling:

  • Ammonia-  Ammonia is the waste produced by your axolotl but since we CAN’T cycle with an axolotl in the tank, you need to dose your tank with pure ammonia (no other additives.) This is where your test kit comes in, you will need to dose your tank so you get an ammonia reading of 4ppm.  Next, you can add some type of beneficial bacteria to help jump start your tank. We recommend SeaChem Stability or API Quickstart.  
  • Nitrites- After you add ammonia, you will start to notice your nitrites spiking to a dark purple. THIS IS GOOD! Nitrites are the poop of the bacteria that eat the ammonia, which means you are establishing a cycle. 
  • Nitrates- Nitrates are the waste of the bacteria that eats the nitrites. Nitrates aren’t as harmful as ammonia and nitrites. But are harmful in large amounts such as 40ppm. The only way to decrease nitrates is through a water change. 

Once you have your cycle started you will want to check your parameters every few days to keep up on your ammonia. First you’ll notice your ammonia decreasing as your nitrites rise. Keep dosing your ammonia to 4ppm. This is important to make sure none of your beneficial bacteria dies off and has a constant supply of food to be able to populate more.. When your nitrites reach 0ppm and your ammonia can go from 4ppm to 0ppm in 24 hours and you have atleast 5ppm of nitrates your tank is cycled! Do not do a water change during your cycling process unless your ammonia is above 8ppm or your nitrates are above 80ppm. 

It is recommended to do weekly 50 % water changes with  fresh de-chlorinated water after your tank has cycled. We use SeaChem Prime to dechlorinate our  tap water. AGAIN, Water quality is most important to an axolotl's health.