Are Puffers right for me?

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Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Tue May 29, 2012 6:16 pm

Hello everyone,

I've been lurking around here off and on for quite sometime trying to decide if a puffer will do well in my set up and if so, which one. I have a well established, 29 gallon biocube. This used to be my reef tank and I have done some mods to the lighting (108 watts PC) and fans. Salt water just got too expensive and time consuming, so I switched back to fresh. I took out all the bio balls from the back and run a pretty simple wet/dry filtration system. The tank has been fresh water now for a little over a year. It did house a neolamprologus brichardi, but I had a hard time finding tank mates for it as the display area of the biocube isn't that large. That fish jumped into the filter and now I have some garden variety Peacock cichlid. I'm looking to replace the Peacock with something more unusual and I really like species only tanks. Right now my only other tank houses wild caught betta mahachai.

Here are my tank specs:
29 gallon
High lighting
Eco Complete Cichlid Sand substrate
Lots of rock
Lightly planted
243 GPH of flow (can easily add more)

Water parameters:
PH = 8.4 (comes out of the tap this way, limestone aquifers!)
dKH = 7
SG = 1.003 (risidual from reef setup?)
Nitrite/Nitrate/Ammonia = 0
Temp = 77 (colder is difficult with the lights)

Pictures:
Image

Image

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Brackish (as long as I don't have to go full marine) is fine. I won't use chemicals to lower my PH, so if 8.4 is too high I will skip puffers and look into some other Rift Lake Cichlids. Also, I have several empty tanks, so food cultivation is no problem.

Thanks!
Jessica
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby Pufftastic on Tue May 29, 2012 6:23 pm

Since you're willing to go brackish, 1 to 2 Figure 8 puffers would be very happy in a tank that size (I personally keep 1 F8 in a 29 gallon, but you could have 2 if you want). If you want to stay with freshwater, you could do DPs (dwarf puffers). They're small but endlessly entertaining. Or you could do one of the varieties of red-eyed puffer.

Those puffers are really the more "active" options for a 29 gallon. But if you're interested in one of the lurkers, you could do a Palembang or a Congo (T miurus) instead.

ETA: Don't stress about your pH. Mine is consistently 8.4-8.6, and my puffer is perfectly happy. In fact, RTR, the ultimate puffer guru, says that a high pH is most likely beneficial for Figure 8 puffers. :D
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Tue May 29, 2012 6:54 pm

Thanks for the quick reply, Puffertastic. :) I'm really encouraged to hear that the high pH isn't detrimental to my fish keeping plans for a change. Figure 8s are really attractive fish. With my dislike for full bio loads and the smaller foot print of the biocube, one F8 might be just the thing. Can you point me in the direction of a good article about F8s and salinity?

I was thinking about a pair of irrubesco puffer, but they seem hit or miss in the looks and availability department.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby Pufftastic on Tue May 29, 2012 7:03 pm

Yes, irrubescos can be hard to find -- I still haven't seen any near me, and I've been keeping an eye open for a couple years.

Here's an absolutely invaluable article on F8 puffers by this forum's own RTR. It has everything you need to know, and more:

http://badmanstropicalfish.com/articles/article84.html
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Tue May 29, 2012 8:57 pm

Great link! I just read four articles there. :) The Figure 8s seem a pretty good way to go with my tap water and SG of 1.005 shouldn't be too tough. My LFS actually has a small section of BW tanks. I think their SG is 1.008 though. I might run up there tomorrow and see how they would handle the puffer if order through them.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby Pufferpunk on Tue May 29, 2012 11:58 pm

There's another F8 article here: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=28692
Raising SG: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19348
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby RTR on Wed May 30, 2012 6:08 am

The F-8 should love that water. High KH is definitely a plus for them. With that alkaline water supply you will have a huge margin of safety. Stability does matter and that water should be quite stable.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby GSPicthus on Wed May 30, 2012 9:00 am

Everyone already said everything I would suggest. I did have to compliment you on your decorations. I love the look it is very natural looking.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Wed May 30, 2012 1:38 pm

Thank you for the additional links and confirmation that my water will be an asset. (When I moved into this house the betta breeding had to go. :) ) Thanks for the compliment on my tank too. I will be replacing the fake plants in the background with swords and java fern at some point and covering the rocks with moss and maybe the back wall too. I have just a few remaining questions:

Would adding a small brackish goby be helpful in cleaning up after the puffer? Chlamydogobius eremius, the Desert Goby, seems a likely candidate and the Bumblebee goby seems to be a favorite F8 tank mate.

Is 243 gph turn over enough flow? I have two Koralia Nanos (240 gph each) that I could add to the tank to either create stronger flow or turbulence if they F8s like that sort of thing.

Do you think it is visually complex enough?

The outside measurements of the BioCube are L 20.8 x W 20.1 x H 19, then take about three inches off the width for the filter area. I read the F8s are active and love to swim, so I’m just a little concerned that the square dimensions of the cube will lead to pacing the glass, unless I can provide some alternative via flow or an exciting environment.

Thanks again!
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby Pufftastic on Wed May 30, 2012 3:43 pm

Would adding a small brackish goby be helpful in cleaning up after the puffer? Chlamydogobius eremius, the Desert Goby, seems a likely candidate and the Bumblebee goby seems to be a favorite F8 tank mate.

Gobies can sort of act as cleanup crews, to an extent, by eating small bits of food the puffer leaves behind, but you'll have to make sure to feed them as well. They definitely have an impact on the tank's bioload.

Is 243 gph turn over enough flow?

For a 29 gallon? Probably. F8s enjoy having some current to swim in, but also need quiet spots in the tank to rest and sleep. You can add one or both of your other filters if you want, especially to increase your biological filtration, but you'll need to make sure the puffer isn't being blown around the tank. :wink:

Do you think it is visually complex enough?

You really have a lovely setup there. It's hard to find the exact balance between leaving ample swimming room for the F8, and giving it plenty of decor to explore. Your tank looks just right to me.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Thu May 31, 2012 1:21 pm

Pufftastic wrote:Gobies can sort of act as cleanup crews, to an extent, by eating small bits of food the puffer leaves behind, but you'll have to make sure to feed them as well. They definitely have an impact on the tank's bioload.


If their cleaning compacity doesn't really out weight their bioload, I'll probably pass. I think the puffer will have enough personality for the tank :D

For a 29 gallon? Probably. F8s enjoy having some current to swim in, but also need quiet spots in the tank to rest and sleep. You can add one or both of your other filters if you want, especially to increase your biological filtration, but you'll need to make sure the puffer isn't being blown around the tank. :wink:


The Koralia's are just power heads. They do help keep junk from accumulating in/on the rocks, but that is all. I'll just watch and see what happens and add if needed. I think I'll restack my back middle chamber and add some something for bacteria to grow on. Right now the chamber just has some filter floss on the drip tray to catch debris.

You really have a lovely setup there. It's hard to find the exact balance between leaving ample swimming room for the F8, and giving it plenty of decor to explore. Your tank looks just right to me.


Thanks :) I'll just continue with my planting plans then. Everything in there will tollerate the light brackish conditions of the F8, so that is really exciting.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Thu May 31, 2012 8:04 pm

I spoke with my LFS and they will be able to order a F8 for me. It will come in as fresh water though.

I want to improve my filtration and set up a snail breeding tank before I order a fish. I found some dead spots in the tank, so I rearranged a bit, added a power head, and replaced the last fake plants with live ones.

Thanks for everyone's help!
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby Pufftastic on Thu May 31, 2012 8:38 pm

That is going to be one lucky F8 that you get, since you've done all your research and worked so hard BEFORE even bringing it home! Can't wait to hear about the arrival.
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby bertie 83 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:47 am

+1 well done for doing your homework and getting your tank spot on before getting the fish.
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Are Puffers right for me?

Postby MyLiquidBlue on Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:08 am

Thanks for all your help. :D If I have more questions I'll post them in the appropriate sections. Here are two pics of the tanks right after I added the new plants and power head.

Image

Image

Please excuse the cloudyness. I'm going to do a water change after I am happy that I have no hidden dead spots. Right now there are two, but they are easy to see and reach with a turkey baster. The middle of the rock work is one of those dead spots, but I thought it would make a nice nap area.
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