dwarf puffers (no more) in a cube tank

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hilux_ie
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Location (country): Bray, Ireland

dwarf puffers (no more) in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Hey lads,

My 2-year adventure with marine cube tank is ending. Fish are going to a new & better home on Sunday and I’ll flog the marine-specific equipment, but it would be a shame to get rid of the tank itself. It’s a 40x40x40cm (16x16x16 inch) 64l (20g) cube tank with a stand, that fits perfectly either in my home office or in the bedroom. I was looking for freshwater fish for it and it seems like dwarf puffers are a decent match, but some sources claim that 20g cube tank is not big enough.

Here’s what I’m thinking:
Using black foamed pvc for the background I can build a mesh for the Java moss to cling on to. Worked like a dream for my shrimp tank, after about a month I got a proper moss wall. For them puffers I could build several pigeon holes and tunnels to keep them happy & occupied and give them some private space if needed. Once the Java moss will grow over them they should look natural alright, give them puffers something to explore and hide in, while replacing less water than 3D backgrounds.

Central piece would be driftwood, preferably something slim (again, little point replacing too much water with something else) but branchy to block line of sight, especially once Java moss clings onto it (which it will).

Plants-wise I’m thinking mainly Valisineria, it’s a bit brighter than Java moss, so should look good in front of it. Maybe some Anubias on the driftwood, from what I gather puffers enjoy flat surfaces to hover over.

Filtration and heating would be tackled by my spare JBL e901 canister filter, with an overflow heater. This would add extra two gallons or so to the overall flow, the more gallons, the better.

Do you think it's feasible? If so, how many dwarf puffers could fit in there comfortably? From what I gathered so far somewhere between 4 and 6, but you guys are the experts. :)

Thanks in advance and cheers from Ireland!
Last edited by hilux_ie on Wed Dec 16, 2020 4:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Pufferpunk
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Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
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Also kept:
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Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Pufferpunk »

Sounds like a lovely tank! DPs prefer to be in groups of 6 or more. 6 would be perfect in there.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Right, 4 months later I know that:
- My cube tank is too small for 6 puffers. I ended up with 3 males and 3 females, there's too much fighting for my liking. In 2-3 weeks I'll move them to a 63g tank, they should be happier there. In the meantime one male will be evicted to the spare shrimp tank.
- Pigeon holes don't work, zero interest from the DP's.
- Java moss prefers a fine mesh to form a proper wall, 1" holes are too big.
- With a black background, it's best to spray paint the mesh black, so even if moss won't cover it, it's less visible.
Live and learn. ;)

On the upside:
- First fry spotted 3 weeks ago. So cute! 8)
- As of last week there's at least two of them little buggers. The second one is about half the size, around 2-3mm.
- Frozen bloodworms are by far their fave food, zero interest in any other frozen one. I'm supplementing them with ramshorn snails, but my colony in a 5g tank needs a few more weeks to be able to catch up with the demand. MTS are there too, but I don't see any remaining trumpet shells so either the puffers are not interested or the MTS are still too shy.
User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31914
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Pufferpunk »

You're doing great if you have fry! Can't wait till they are moved to the bigger tank. :)
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Cheers! :) They're really hard to spot when surrounded by plants, but the older one is getting more adventurous and swims in the open sometimes, when the adults aren't there.

Image

Tried to catch both young ones in the same photo.

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hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

I've trimmed some plants and it turns out there are three baby puffers there. :mrgreen:

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Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31914
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Pufferpunk »

Wow, how cool! How big are they?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

3-5mm, methinks.
It's awesome to watch them exploring the tank, they're even more inquisitive than the adults, who ignore them completely, by the way.
Elbaid
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Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Elbaid »

Wow it's fun how my tank born puffer baby had exactly the same markings at that size!!! Glad your adults leave them alone!
My baby started growing rapidly when I started daily live baby brine.
Hope you have females in the babies. Please keep documenting!
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Merci Elbaid. :)

So the old discus' tank (Juwel 240) got some proper clearing and bleaching last week. I then moved it to the new home office, built the utility box in the corner and now it's rinsing.
Filtration right now is a JBL e401 power head with an e901 canister; even with a spray bar it seems to create sufficient flow for the DPs, but since I have a spare e401 I'll probably set it up as well as a backup to get some water flow closer to the bottom.
A 100W heater should be enough, I have a spare 150W as well, with plenty of room to conceal it. The lighting unit is an old remote controlled Fluval, I'll probably upgrade it to an Aquasky, cos they're awesome. ;)

In a few days I'll drain the tank and start working on the interior, but I'm in a bit of a pickle - gardening stores are closed due to covid so I can't get proper mesh for a moss wall. Google tells me that a coarse sponge works well as a moss anchor, but it's not sturdy enough for a proper wall. It'd be more like patches and I'm not sure they would look well on a black foamed PVC background.

Another thing I'm considering are tank mates. My neighbor's orphaned otto is doing OK in the cube tank, puffers ignore him most of the time, so I'll probably get him a few buddies (they like company) once the new tank is up and running and algae start to show up. Other than that no fish, so the only option left are crustaceans. Shrimps are risky, but what about the bigger ones, freshwater crabs or crayfish? Does anyone have any experience with keeping these together?

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User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31914
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Pufferpunk »

Actually, small shrimps do fine with DPs. Lots of folks are very successful with cherry shrimp. Don't ask me why! I would be concerned with the fleshy periscope eyes of crabs. Mine don't touch ottos.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Fair point about the periscope eyes, thanks. I'll have a look at the crayfish if they can be a match.
User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31914
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Pufferpunk »

Also, keep in mind, crabs/crays are opportunistic feeders--which means when the puffers are sleeping...
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
Elbaid
Puffer Fry
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:27 am
Location (country): France

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by Elbaid »

I'd go for cherry shrimp.
There's gonna be a shrimp snack here and there, and half of the shrimplets will be puffer food, but I have thriving neocaridinas colonies in my dp tanks.

Mostly I've seen female dps eat adult shrimp during breeding periods. Never seen a male do it yet.

Only thing is that you need the shrimp colony to be established before introducing the puffers, and you need proper hideouts for female shrimp and shrimplets (like the famous lucas brets rock piles).
hilux_ie
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Location (country): Bray, Ireland

Re: dwarf puffers in a cube tank

Post by hilux_ie »

Zeppelins in their new, bigger home. :D

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