Cycling, why and how? – Gary The Axolotl

Cycling, why and how? – Gary The Axolotl

Cycling is essential for your axolotl.


Cycling your tank means that beneficial bacteria will develop in your tank to take down ammonia. 

Ammonia is produced by your axolotl living in there and his waste or uneaten food. It can harm your axolotl and cause ammonia burn. With a cycled tank your ammonia will be taken down by the beneficial bacteria and transform them into nitrite (which is still toxic) and the cycling continue and the nitrite will be transformed into nitrate, which is beneficial to live plants and harmless for your axolotl until 40ppm and that’s why you do a water change every week, to take down the nitrate.

With a cycled thank, the ammonia will be taken down in 24h.


Now how to Cycle your tank.

It is really simple but I warn you, it can be long. From 3 to 8 weeks or more in some cases. Your axolotl will need to be tubbed during the cycling you can’t cycle your tank with your axolotl in it.

Preparing and cycling your tank before having your axolotl is a good idea. 

You will need to set up your whole tank before cycling it as the beneficial bacteria are gonna develop all over your tank and mostly in your filter.


The fresh water test kit ( I recommend API freshwater Master test kit) will be your best friend during all the whole process.

1-For your tank to start cycling you will have to introduce ammonia by either letting pellets rotten in your tank or directly dosing pure ammonia which I recommend because you can monitor your cycling way better (you can find it in every supermarket, take pure ammonia with no scent added).


2-Dose your ammonia up to 4 ppm everyday (For me in my 60L tank 4ppm of ammonia was around 15 drops) and test your water everyday until you have a reading for nitrite.


Once you’ll have a reading for nitrite then it means your tank have started to cycle, youpiii.


3-Keep on dosing your ammonia to 4ppm, you’ll see your nitrite and nitrate going up, no worries keep on doing that with absolutly no water change during the whole process until your nitrite is finally gonna drop to 0.


At this point you’re almost done. Don’t worry about your nitrate you’ll fix that at the very end.


4-If your Ammonia goes from 4ppm to 0 in 24h and your Nitrite is still at 0 then do a 90% water change to lower the Nitrate. Add 4 ppm of ammonia one last time and if 24h later you have the following readings :

PH : between 7 and 8,2

Ammonia : 0ppm

Nitrite : 0ppm

Nitrate : between 10-20ppm


Then Congratulations*:・゚✧*:・゚✧, your tank is now cycled and your axolotl can safely go in.


The next water change depends on your Nitrate. If they are over 20ppm it means you need a water change. Always keep your readings as above and run a test once a week to make sure your cycle haven’t crashed.


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