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The Nitrogen Cycle 

A guide for kids

     What do you do that your axolotl does?

                                                     --   That’s right, Poop!

 

     In a fish tank, that poop (and pee) has nowhere to go but in the water. Pee has a special smell, and that smell is ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to pretty much everyone, and if we were stuck with our ammonia, we would all die.

 

Axolotls can live in a tank because of Nitrates. Nitrates are an ion that breaks off from Nitrites and they feed off ammonia. Imagine that Nitrates eat Nitrites and Nitrites eat Ammonia. This cycle will go on forever, but when you first get a tank it happens all at once, which makes the ammonia and nitrites that exist in the tank toxic, or deadly.

This cycle is going to happen whether you like it or not. If you buy an axolotl, place it in a new tank, and hope for the best, it can be injured and possibly die from the ammonia spike in the tank.

Why doesn’t this happen in a tub?

     Why can your axolotl be kept in a little tub? Because you change the water every day, which cleans up the pee.

If you leave the water too long, the process will start.

 

There are so many big brains out there that give ways to cycle a tank. As a responsible breeder passing on to a responsible pet owner, the two things I want you to know is:

1: This process takes time.

2: Keep it simple. Bacteria will bloom, and numbers will go up (and down and up). The more joy you take in the process the sooner it will come together.

On that note, I’d like to introduce you to:

Axo-not-l!

    Axonotl is there to absorb your care!

Remind yourself to care for your axonotl through the ammonia doses, empty feedings, or whichever daily maintenance that works best for your family. The next month and a half to four months will be spent caring for your axonotl, and when you have your target numbers you will know that you CAN responsibly care for your soon to be axolotl baby. Have Fun!

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