High Ammonia, All Other Parameters Good

merickson95

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New member here. I have one axolotl in a 20 gallon long with a Tetra Whisper EX70. The tank has been running for a about a year and a half, and I swish the filter pads in tank water every few weeks. They have never been change because I fear a re-cycle. Water changes of 50-70% every week/two weeks. I feed my axolotl every other day or so, and they poo about twice a week. I have been getting high ammonia readings but just figured my kit was expired. Went and got the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Nitrates are 10-20, nitrites are 0, PH is about 7.6, but the ammonia is between 2.0 and 4.0 (the color is uncertain but either way I don't like the reading one bit). Does anyone have any advice? My axolotl seems just as lively and eats as well as when the ammonia was normal but the gill stalks are worrying me, my husband agrees they've shrunk. I have a few floating hunks of anubias in there to help with oxygen production and waste removal. Please help?
 
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merickson95

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I did have tea in the tank for awhile because I thought my axie was peeling and it's good for their skin. That's all I can think of. For dechlorinating I use Tetra AquaSafe and Prime. I've heard that Prime can cause false positive readings but I am certainly not an expert. The filter cartridges are supposed to have carbon in them but I've heard it gets used up. Do you have any recommendations on what to put in with the cartridges that will supply carbon? I will then look it up and make sure it's safe for axolotls.
 

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If you replace the Carbon with more it will be fine. It doesn't really hold bb anyway.

The tea may have been the issue, it could've killed bacteria.
 
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merickson95

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I will get some of those little carbon cubes that go in the filter so I don't have to replace the cartridges. Since I've read so many sources that say not to follow box instructions on changing the cartridges, is there a time limit on them if the floss is still in good condition and they aren't too dirty? I love my axolotl a lot and feel really awful that this is happening. Good thing they came from someone who never even bothered to vacuum their tank or they would probably be toast!
 

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merickson95 said:
I will get some of those little carbon cubes that go in the filter so I don't have to replace the cartridges. Since I've read so many sources that say not to follow box instructions on changing the cartridges, is there a time limit on them if the floss is still in good condition and they aren't too dirty? I love my axolotl a lot and feel really awful that this is happening. Good thing they came from someone who never even bothered to vacuum their tank or they would probably be toast!
Carbon absorbs the impurities so if you want it to work you should replace it every 3 weeks or so.
 
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merickson95

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Alright, that is how often I will replace the cubes. Thank you so very much for your input! You'll be helping a very adorable little amphibian!
 

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merickson95 said:
Alright, that is how often I will replace the cubes. Thank you so very much for your input! You'll be helping a very adorable little amphibian!
I love axies sadly mine died of poor care last year.
 
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merickson95

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That's what I worry about. I had another that passed in a separate tank so I'm being extra cautious. My remaining one is now covered in fungus, I came home yesterday and freaked out. They are now in the fridge and on a salt bath regimen. I will be getting those cubes, swishing the filter pads and decorations in dechlorinated water, and vacuuming the tank extensively to rid it of fungus particles. I have never dealt with fungus before but Nibbler has been fridged for constipation in the past. I feel like a horrible owner :"(
 
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