Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Tain't fresh, and tain't marine! Talk about brackish setups.
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Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Woland » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:59 am

This article is recommended by our team of experts.

Starting a brackish Aquarium, an article by Cody Shoup
Regards

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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by razzledazzlebee » Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:05 pm

Thanks! That's a great informative article! Thanks for sharing. :)

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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by nmonks » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:10 pm

It's quite a good article, but there are several errors, or at least assertions I'd take issue with. Starting from the top:

Plants -- At below SG 1.005, there's a huge variety of plants that are viable. If you're building something for, say, knight gobies, BBGs or mollies, there's absolutely no reason not to keep plants. We've discussed this elsewhere so I shan't bother repeating too much here. But basically anything that does well in hard/alkaline water is worth a shot.

pH -- The value of measuring pH is one of the biggest misunderstandings in the hobby. Brackish water fish don't want some specific pH; they want a certain level of carbonate hardness, and that carbonate hardness will cause a certain pH. So rather than fussing over pH, concentrate on hardness. Too many people turn to pH-up and pH-down buffers instead of concentrating on chemical filtration, i.e., crushed coral in the filter to raise the KH (and thus the pH).

Salt -- Brackish water fish absolutely DO NOT need to be raised to marine salinity over 3-4 years! You can add your scats and monos to a marine aquarium when they're mere fingerlings. Couldn't matter less. Very few brackish water fish are catadromous or anadromous in the same way as, say, eels or salmon respectively. Normally they are fish that specialise in brackish water habitats, and spend their entire lives moving up and down the salinity gradient. Yes, Terapon jarbua babies are normally found in fully marine environments, but that doesn't mean they don't tolerate freshwater for long periods; and conversely, while Terapon jarbua adults are usually found in rivers, that doesn't mean they don't go into the sea some of the time. Likewise for scats, monos, Colombian sharks, etc.

So anyway, this whole section is wrong. What matters when discussing salinity is not the fish, but the filter. You can take mollies or scats and transfer them directly from saltwater to marine, or vice versa, and they'll adapt. It's not nice, maybe, but they'll live. Do the same to your filter, and you'll kill the bacteria. In real terms, adjustments in salinity need to be made gradually (perhaps a couple of "points" on the SG scale, e.g., 1.004 to 1.006) every week or two. The filter bacteria will adjust, and by taking regular nitrite measurements you can keep tabs on things, going more slowly if you need to.

Inhabitants -- This section is a wee bit optimistic in my opinion. Keeping mollies in a 10 gallon tank for example isn't really a good idea, given sailfin mollies regularly top 10 cm in length and can in the females of at least one species reach up to 18 cm. Mixing knight gobies with bumblebee gobies is sort of like mixing knight gobies with brine shrimp -- the shrimps will live fine right up to the point where the knight gobies eat them. And the knight gobies will be equally happy to eat your BBGs! Similarly, mixing mudskippers with crabs isn't a brilliant idea. Mudskippers will eat small crabs, and big crabs will eat small mudskippers. They're best kept in their own tanks.

Water changes -- I'd consider 15% per week to be at the low end of the range, especially if you're keeping messy fish like scats. There's an argument (which I subscribe to) that good quality water at a lower than optimal salinity is better than poor quality water at an optimal salinity. In other words, if the cost of salt is an issue, I'd expect a tank of scats kept at SG 1.005 to be healthier with 50% water changes per week than another tank of scats at SG 1.010 but only getting 15% water changes a week.

Anaerobic gases in the sand -- This is alarmist. I have seen gas bubbles in the deep sand substrates I use in my freshwater tanks (for the benefit of the plants) and never had problems in the 10+ years I've kept fish thus. Moreover, deep sand beds are used routinely in marine aquaria to foster anaerobic decay, and anaerobic decay also happens in living rock. In marine tanks, this is seen as a way to convert nitrate into nitrogen gas. It seems entirely likely that because hydrogen sulphide is so reactive, that even if it gets produced in an aquarium, by the time it hits the water it is oxidised long before it has a chance to cause any damage to your fish.

Green Spotted Puffers -- I simply don't believe these fish need marine conditions to live a good life. That isn't to say that marine tanks aren't a good place to keep adult GSPs; they may well be. But I don't believe they're essential. I agree with Frank Schaefer and Klaus Ebert that provided water quality is good, 50% marine salinity is more than adequate for them.

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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by LilGreenPuffer » Sun Jul 05, 2009 4:43 pm

"Green Spotted Puffers -- I simply don't believe these fish need marine conditions to live a good life. That isn't to say that marine tanks aren't a good place to keep adult GSPs; they may well be. But I don't believe they're essential. I agree with Frank Schaefer and Klaus Ebert that provided water quality is good, 50% marine salinity is more than adequate for them."

They did finally prove that adult GSPs breed in marine conditions. They've been bred in captivity, and the sperm was only viable in marine water. Of course, they do live perfectly normal lives in brackish water, but if you're out to mimic their natural lives as exactingly as possible, moving to marine would be the final step. Anywho, thought that was interesting.
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by RVS » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:49 pm

Well, i agree with nmonks in all aspects.
But the interesting thing is the GSP breeding in full marine environment to provoke it, thats a red point.

I would like to see the article or info about GSP captivity-breeding, cuz everywhere i ask, the answer is the same:
Impossible, but i don believe is like that, so if you agree, i´d like to read that information, just because the last step for my GSP will be a 270G tank with 1.022 SG, not a marine environment.

i´m interested on giving the best life to my GSP, and i also believe that i´m lucky to have a pair (female&Male) even though, its only a theory (lets wait if one of them lays eggs hehe).
So, could it be possible to have this information?
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Reaperpilot2014 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:31 pm

Lol, this is a 2 year old thread, but one I haven't read yet, so it was cool to have it come up.
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by sevenyearnight » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:25 pm

Yeah lol, it's kind of spooky when one of these older threads pops up in the feed.
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by RVS » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:29 pm

Yes, it is a very old post, but it wash´t closed, so i decide to ask about that info hehe
Anyway old or not ist very important at least for the GSP keepers, isn´t it?
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Reaperpilot2014 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Not at all. If the thread applies to your question, then go for it. If you're not sure, you can always open a new thread.
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by RVS » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:00 pm

Reaperpilot2014 wrote:you can always open a new thread.

Umm that´s right!
i will look for this info on the web, if i don't find any i will ask for it, but if i find it i will share it! :D
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by RTR » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:25 pm

Yes, it is an old thread, but perhaps it does need some response. I am not even sure that nmonks would give the same arguments today, as FOWLR tanks have become far more widely used and understood since the thread initiated.

Well, I do agree with Neale on a number of points, but I very strongly disagree on the point of GSPs in SW. He was picking and choosing the things on which he chose to argue. I don't think that any one here is going to say that GSPs cannot be kept in mid-brackish water. They have been kept so for decades. But I will argue that keeping them in full strength SW, with the system set as FOWLR plus a good skimmer plus a 24/7 lighted macroalgae refugium will be kept far longer and healthier and cheaper than at 50% full marine with large (50% weekly) partials because the FOWLR ++ setup requires only small partials to stay much cleaner and healthier.

On the water changes for fish and bacterial adjustment, he is full agreement with what is taught here. I hope that everybody here knows that it is the bacteria (biofiltration is required up to full marine) which need slow adjustment. I do not agree with just dumping the fish from FW or light BW into full marine, but drip adjustment on fish can be done in hours, not days or weeks or moths. Personally for myself, I would keep the GSP in a generously sized QT tank while I established the LR sump/tank and added the refugium before adjusting the GSP (or Monos) to full marine with drop-wise quick adjustment into full marine and moving it to the now mature setup. Personally I do not keep scats - they make Oscars and the huge CA Cichids look like schooling Tetras on the waste-producer scale. They simply are not worth the upkeep IMHO & IME.
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by RVS » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:59 pm

Completly agree with RTR.

If I'm interested in something is in create the most "natural" as possible tank for the GSP.
There is a lot of discussion about the best GSP Keeping, but something is true, GSP can be ok from 1.005 when baby, then 1.010 when young and 1.022 (almost marine) when adult but this fish like to hunt on mangrove coast and delta rivers, so we don't have a strict Salt parameter, we have a VS (Variable Salinity) parameters, thats why its difficult to say where the puffer will breed, find its girl/boy, etc...

Now, talking about the Tank, i prefer like you said, a 1.022 SG with a Sump (or bigger pond filters) and a Skimer, just like a SW tank equipment, instead than FW, to save water changes an keeping Scats hahaha
that are waste factories, adorable indeed.... but waste champions ñ_ñ
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:06 pm

I can't begin tell you, how much $$$ you save on WC, with a SW system, compared to BW!
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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:06 pm

I can't begin tell you how much $$$ you save on WC, with a SW system, compared to BW!
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!"

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Re: Starting a Brackish Aquarium!

Post by Reaperpilot2014 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:56 pm

Very, very true...
It's a crayfish! It's a snail! It's a... ah who cares?
Nom nom nom!...

Tank: 4 liter custom-shaped sphere
Contents: 1 Brainfish
Ph: 7.4
Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates: ?
Problem: Cloudy/muddy water
Can you help me?

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