Going f8

The forum for puffers that either live or start in brackish biotopes: GSPs, F8s, Ceylons & more.
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Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
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Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:18 pm

I have read about every figure 8 post on this site but still feel nervous and uneasy about my capabilities (I have been Fw my whole hobby).

LONG story short, I wanted a type of puffer that is no longer an option in the states. My husband has been sick of listening to the puffer stuff for at least the last year :poke: but he still looks over my shoulder when I'm deep in hunt mode. He says as I'm looking through aquabid "I reallllly love that one!" Then I start reading to ensure that they are indeed brackish, as I remembered them being, as I have been limiting myself to purely freshwater puffs. But now, I think this is the one. Being described as: "The most rewarding, the best personality, low-no need for dentistry" and, most importantly "a good choice for beginner brackish". Now I have questions

1.) cycling: I'm would be starting a new 20 long for a singleton and am confused about the salt/cycling order. Do I set up with, and cycle at, the full degree of salinity they need (1.005-1.008... right?) or cycle first as freshwater (bc the puffer will 90% likely be coming from a freshwater holding tank) then raise the salinity once the puff is in tank, of .001-.002/week?

2.) PH- my tap water is very hard and stays hard in the aquarium, 8 is the lowest it's ever gone. Will this affect how much salt I will use?

3.) Is there a brand, or type of refractometer that is best for brand new brackish tank owners, that's easiest to use and read.

4.) water testing- do I need a saltwater test kit? I have the API freshwater test kit now, is there something different I should use for testing brackish water conditions?

5.) Medicine- do I use freshwater or marine forms of meds? I know some are used for both, but many medicines vary by water type and are sold as such.

6.) Plants- I mentioned how hard my water is (8-8.2) with a high GH (I use calcium block 'Wonder shell') and a decent KH keeping the PH consistent and stable. I keep hardy low light plants (6 dif species of anubias and amazon sword) and they do great! Because these puffs are so low end brackish, is it safe to assume these plants will do fine in their tank as well?

7.) Ease of use- can i get an honest account of first time brackish tank keeping? I'm still a little
Mixed up on why it has to sit in buckets so long after the salts completely mixed in?!!! Is it really as simple as about a tablespoon per 5 gals, some math, and using the refractometer?

Thanks for answering these likely repetitive questions!
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:38 pm

F8s are easy to locate.

library/puffers-in-focus/fig8/

1) yes just cycle at your target salinity then drip acclimate in a bucket over the course of a day.

2) ph is fine. They're actually fw but like hard water. Light brackish is just a way to keep it consistent/stable.

3) you'll have to check I use a hydrometer.

4) yes I would get a SW kit

5) meds I would use accordingly

6) There's not many that will survive long term in brackish, but that's up to you.

7) viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19348
Yes its that easy. Just calibrate your refractor. Personably I would top off with ro or distilled to avoid build up from evap.

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Re: Going f8

Post by Pufferpunk » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:43 am

What kind of FW puffer have you been looking for? Wetspot always has a few cool ones.
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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Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
Mad Max: P. Cochinchinensis
Apollo: T. Miurus
(SIP Bonnie) Clyde: C. Irrubesco
SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:08 am

Thanks for your quick response @Pyru I appreciate you answering each question. Now my next question to you is: (I know it's going to be debated but it's burning in my mind now....) if the water is kept at 8 ph without salt, will it be bad for the puffer- or is it as good as brackish since it's used with F8's to keep the PH up and stable?!?!?

@pufferpunk I'm the one with the other posts looking for Irrubescos (or lortetis) for ever and found out through a really awesome Segrest farms (wholesaler) rep, Wet Spot rep, and Rainforest Farms site- that the US lost their importer, and these fish are very hard to source responsibly... so the future looks grim for the hobbiests who want one of these in the next couple years (Sept 2015 was last known sighting).

I want to give the best home ever to a puffer, to THE puffer. Through this long journey I have begun to fall for puffers as a species, not just one specific type. I'm a habitual understocker, anal tank keeper, and fish hypochondriac (I watch them like hawks for first sign of illness or stress) and I fear I'm starting a long term relationship of up to 15 years, and the little guy doesn't deserve to be experimented on via my learning curve with brackish water.. ya know? Although I have helped others medicate and cure their FW puffers, they weren't in MY home and weren't brackish either. This will be both my first puffer and first brackish tank- so I'm doubly nervous!
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

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Iliveinazoo
Fahaka Puffer
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Location: Southampton

Re: Going f8

Post by Iliveinazoo » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:46 am

Bleedingheartmommy wrote:
Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:18 pm
I have read about every figure 8 post on this site but still feel nervous and uneasy about my capabilities (I have been Fw my whole hobby).

LONG story short, I wanted a type of puffer that is no longer an option in the states. My husband has been sick of listening to the puffer stuff for at least the last year :poke: but he still looks over my shoulder when I'm deep in hunt mode. He says as I'm looking through aquabid "I reallllly love that one!" Then I start reading to ensure that they are indeed brackish, as I remembered them being, as I have been limiting myself to purely freshwater puffs. But now, I think this is the one. Being described as: "The most rewarding, the best personality, low-no need for dentistry" and, most importantly "a good choice for beginner brackish". Now I have questions

1.) cycling: I'm would be starting a new 20 long for a singleton and am confused about the salt/cycling order. Do I set up with, and cycle at, the full degree of salinity they need (1.005-1.008... right?) or cycle first as freshwater (bc the puffer will 90% likely be coming from a freshwater holding tank) then raise the salinity once the puff is in tank, of .001-.002/week?

There is anecdotal 'evidence' that cycling is quicker if you do it in freshwater rather than brackish. Why not cycle in fresh then when you carry out your water change before adding the puffer up the salinity in the tank to SG1.002. The increase will not bother your puffer at all but you should still get the puffer used to your water conditions over a period of time. I would float the bag that you buy him in to acclimatise temperature-wise and slowly add water to the bag like you would with any newly purchased fish. When transferring from the bag try to scoop him out with a small container so that he is not exposed to air and to transfer as little of the bag water as possible.

2.) PH- my tap water is very hard and stays hard in the aquarium, 8 is the lowest it's ever gone. Will this affect how much salt I will use?

Possibly but I guess the amount would be negligible.

3.) Is there a brand, or type of refractometer that is best for brand new brackish tank owners, that's easiest to use and read.

I've always used a cheap swing arm hydrometer. If the hydrometer starts telling me that I need to add more salt than usual then I go out and buy a new one, I've had to get 3 in about 9 years. Refractometers are more accurate but Figure 8's are low end brackish fish that tolerate a wide range of salinities so I don't feel that the accuracy is needed (or I'm a tight fisted .....). If I was keeping a marine tank then I'd go for a refractometer every time.

4.) water testing- do I need a saltwater test kit? I have the API freshwater test kit now, is there something different I should use for testing brackish water conditions?

Preferably get a test kit suitable for both but if you are keeping under SG1.005 then I'd go for freshwater. Above SG1.015 then I'd go for saltwater. Anywhere inbetween then I'd send an email to the test kit manufacturer to ask the question.

5.) Medicine- do I use freshwater or marine forms of meds? I know some are used for both, but many medicines vary by water type and are sold as such.

As above but to be safe it would still probably be worth emailing the manufacturers.

6.) Plants- I mentioned how hard my water is (8-8.2) with a high GH (I use calcium block 'Wonder shell') and a decent KH keeping the PH consistent and stable. I keep hardy low light plants (6 dif species of anubias and amazon sword) and they do great! Because these puffs are so low end brackish, is it safe to assume these plants will do fine in their tank as well?

At Sg1.005-SG1.008 most commonly available plants will die and you will need to get Brackish specialists. If you keep your tank at SG1.002-1.003 then more plants will be available to you. Anubias has always struggled in my tank but other people have great success and I've never tried Amazon Swords. Plants currently working for me at SG1.003@25DegC are: Tiger Lotus, Vallis, Crypt Wendtii Brown, Bacopa Monieri, Saggitaria Subulata and Aponogeton Crispus.

7.) Ease of use- can i get an honest account of first time brackish tank keeping? I'm still a little
Mixed up on why it has to sit in buckets so long after the salts completely mixed in?!!! Is it really as simple as about a tablespoon per 5 gals, some math, and using the refractometer?

Pretty easy but slightly increases the tank maintenance time. Even if keeping a tropical tank you would still need to regulate the temperature to that of your tank and dechlorinate then the only difference is adding salt. I always add salt to my water butt first so that it disolves as you add the water but for the first few times you will probably want to add the salt second so that you can work out how many table spoons that you need to add. You can physically stir the water or use a pump and if you are keeping the water for any length of time then you will want to add a heater.
Keeping water for a length of time is recommended because chlorine will gas off (chloramine and metals won't) and some report problems with their fish if they add water immediately to their tank, I think that it's due to oxygen bubbles but I'm not sure, personally I've never experienced the problem.
I get to my required salinity by adding 2-3 tablespoons for every 10 litres.


Thanks for answering these likely repetitive questions!
I've added my answers in the quote from your post above Bleedingheartmommy.

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:29 am

Bleedingheartmommy wrote:
Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:08 am
Thanks for your quick response @Pyru I appreciate you answering each question. Now my next question to you is: (I know it's going to be debated but it's burning in my mind now....) if the water is kept at 8 ph without salt, will it be bad for the puffer- or is it as good as brackish since it's used with F8's to keep the PH up and stable?!?!?
IF you could keep the proper ph & kh stable then yeah. However it will be impossible to do that with weekly waterchanges and everything else that effects it. The easy solution? Just use an easy to maintain low end brackish tank. This gives the required parameters and a stable environment that your able to maintain with minimal effort. These things have been kept for yrs like this if there was an easier way we would all be doing it.

You can use the search function and find all the posts by RTR on this subject.

Low end brackish is an extremely easy system with minimal cost increase over a normal fw setup. Well unless you are planning on a giant f8 exhibit type of deal.

Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
Mad Max: P. Cochinchinensis
Apollo: T. Miurus
(SIP Bonnie) Clyde: C. Irrubesco
SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:19 am

Actually, I keep calcium carbonate In all my tanks but not with aragonite or using salt directly. I follow a man Named Carl Strohmeyer ('Aquarium and Pond Answers' is where his articles are found) and his work very closely (done a lot for the hobby imho) and he does much in study of redox potential and reduction, (involving mineral cations and positive ions and such) which has brought me to how I keep my tanks. My water is in constant supply of all essential minerals for needed osmoregulation and proper immunity function. I wonder if it's the intentional ways I run my tanks that keeps it so constant, across the board. Only thing that moves is GH and it's because of calcium and others being replenished and removed, but even then it's only a degree change. I change about 50% on my betta tank every 5 days, so a little more then once weekly. I mention my betta tank bc I run it like clock work and watch it insanely closely as this is my 'problem child'. Would the heightened waste the puffer creates and leaves from feeding cause a different affect on those numbers? I will never bother to find out, I can't manage possibly hurting my fish just to get an answer buy boy I'm curious now... if F8 truly is just in salt to maintain water hardness, or if these fish need the salt too.
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:45 am

Found the threads. After reading them it makes me want to mix up some .005 for you lol.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35203

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19002

Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
Mad Max: P. Cochinchinensis
Apollo: T. Miurus
(SIP Bonnie) Clyde: C. Irrubesco
SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:50 pm

Thanks @pyru I love new reading material!!! The first link was awesome and spoke directly to my question lol and the second, on real f8 habitat and such I had just read yesterday (and was a really cool one imo). Do you still keep f8's?

I appreciate all of the help from everyone, after doing more research and letting it all sink in... I'm going to start the tank for a figure 8.

Here is my equipment and plans, I'm sharing this to give others a chance to help/correct me if something isn't well suited for this puffer.

20g long aquarium
AquaClear(hob) 50 (200gph turnover)
ATI hydrosponge 2 (spongefilter for redundancy)
Aqueon 100w (glass) adj heater (set @80*)
Aragonite sand for bottom (any ideas where the cheapest place to buy this would be?)
BrAckish plants and driftwood decorations
5.5 gal breeder tank setup for snails

Need to buy: hydrometer or refractometer and ocean salt (correct?)

My last question is this: I know these fish are active, however I'm co fused about how the tank should be setup? With more swimming room through the middle and hiding places off to the sides or more thickly planted below for keeping their intretest/hiding and the upper or top portion of the tank for swimming... I don't know how to aquascape to give this specific puffer the needed space in the right way, if that makes any sense.
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:54 am

I had 3 F8's for something like 10yrs before I had to move. I kept them just like the care sheet describes. I used pool filter sand, local river rock, local drift wood, and appropriate filters etc. I kept them at 78F with .005 sg in a 40b.

I have 3 on order now and just waiting the importer to do his thing. My old ones were fairly active but mostly hovered around the bottom going in/out of caves etc waiting on me to drop some food in.

Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
Mad Max: P. Cochinchinensis
Apollo: T. Miurus
(SIP Bonnie) Clyde: C. Irrubesco
SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:50 am

PYRU wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:54 am
I had 3 F8's for something like 10yrs before I had to move. I kept them just like the care sheet describes. I used pool filter sand, local river rock, local drift wood, and appropriate filters etc. I kept them at 78F with .005 sg in a 40b.

I have 3 on order now and just waiting the importer to do his thing. My old ones were fairly active but mostly hovered around the bottom going in/out of caves etc waiting on me to drop some food in.
That's awesome you mention that your picking some up, bc my next question was: do you have a seller you recommend? The f8's I have found look bleached out, under fed, and chewed up. So they're obviously poorly cared for, and I refuse to give my money to bad sellers just bc they have the genus I'm looking for (tree hugger alert)!
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:30 am

This is local called aquarium imports. I don't know about the f8's on order, but the gsp's were in pretty good shape just underfed.

I've been looking at aquariumfish.net, thatpetplace, thewetspot, an eBay seller recommend from someone here, bluegrassaquatics, aquascape, and i thought of emailing Jeff Rapps seeing what puffers he might have access to.

Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
Mad Max: P. Cochinchinensis
Apollo: T. Miurus
(SIP Bonnie) Clyde: C. Irrubesco
SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: Going f8

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:06 pm

Thanks, that's where I'm looking.

Azgardens.com has a BEAUTIFUL f8 specimen (and a rather wide selection of puffers for this time of year) that i have been eyeing. They're in Arizona and ship, but old threads here have been up and down about their amounts of loss, and fish not living to arrival... screw an "arrive alive" guarentee- like a credit for another fish is going to take back excitedly opening a box to the heart wrenching sight of your new pet dead. I can't deal with the idea of a fish dying in a dark cold box, in a bag... hence the reason I haven't pulled the trigger yet.
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

PYRU
Figure 8 Puffer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Going f8

Post by PYRU » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:15 pm

I found the eBay seller I and my friend used. Fisholinerus. Which sounds gimicky. However my friends fahaka was in great shape and I ordered dwarf puffers that came good shape. I haven't used them in years though, but they're still on eBay with great reviews. They have F8s, but shipping fish is never cheap.

Live arrival guarantee is a really good thing.

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Iliveinazoo
Fahaka Puffer
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:09 am
Gender: Male
My Puffers: 1xFigure 8
Location (country): UK
Location: Southampton

Re: Going f8

Post by Iliveinazoo » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:34 am

Bleedingheartmommy wrote:
Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:50 pm
Thanks @pyru I love new reading material!!! The first link was awesome and spoke directly to my question lol and the second, on real f8 habitat and such I had just read yesterday (and was a really cool one imo). Do you still keep f8's?

I appreciate all of the help from everyone, after doing more research and letting it all sink in... I'm going to start the tank for a figure 8.

Here is my equipment and plans, I'm sharing this to give others a chance to help/correct me if something isn't well suited for this puffer.

20g long aquarium
AquaClear(hob) 50 (200gph turnover)
ATI hydrosponge 2 (spongefilter for redundancy)
Aqueon 100w (glass) adj heater (set @80*)
Aragonite sand for bottom (any ideas where the cheapest place to buy this would be?)
BrAckish plants and driftwood decorations
5.5 gal breeder tank setup for snails

Need to buy: hydrometer or refractometer and ocean salt (correct?)

My last question is this: I know these fish are active, however I'm co fused about how the tank should be setup? With more swimming room through the middle and hiding places off to the sides or more thickly planted below for keeping their intretest/hiding and the upper or top portion of the tank for swimming... I don't know how to aquascape to give this specific puffer the needed space in the right way, if that makes any sense.
Great find Pyru, just the post i was talking about!

I find that Figure 8's like cover so floating plants and a tall plant like vallis will have them out a lot more and they will use every level of the tank, if you have low level caves or plants then they will spend most of their time down there hiding. Some open swimming space will be appreciated as well though.

Personally i'm very happy at how often my puff is out with a mix of low level crypts, floating water sprite and taller vallis and tiger lotus to link the top to bottom. I also have some large driftwood giving caves and another link from top to bottom, i must say that driftwood is frowned upon though because it softens the water.

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