Raising salt levels, changing products?

Tain't fresh, and tain't marine! Talk about brackish setups.
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Raising salt levels, changing products?

Post by TwistOfF8 »

Right now I'm in the process of increasing the salt level for my GSP tank. The puffer is only 1.5 inches long so I'm only going up to about 1.005. Currently it's at 1.003. He's in a smaller tank while I cycle the big 35 gal tank for him. He was in a bigger tank, but that tank started leaking and I had to move him out in a hurry. Once he's moved into the new tank and gets bigger I will increase the salt as he grows up. I know I could probably have waited to increase the salt until after the puffer is in the big tank, but the tank he's in is pretty small (only 10 gal) and I thought he'd have a better chance of survival if I added salt now. The tank is cycled, running the 30 gal HOB filter from the leaky tank, and I'm testing the parameters daily.

Currently I use API master test for fresh water. I know that there's a version of this test for salt water. I'm also planning to try the Tetra product that speeds up the cycling process. The salt water version is Instant Ocean Bio Spira, the freshwater version is called SafeStart Plus. Which products should I use to set up, test and cycle the new tank - the fresh water or salt water versions?

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Re: Raising salt levels, changing products?

Post by devildog999 »

I wouldn't worry too much about using chemicals to start the cycle, I always prefer to just purchase some live sand and throw in a couple dead shrimp and let nature take its course. As for testing, I prefer higher grade kits such as the ones offered by RedSea.

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Re: Raising salt levels, changing products?

Post by Iliveinazoo »

I don't own a GSP but most people would recommend starting your 35 Gallon as a full salt water tank and then drip acclimate your GSP to saltwater over a number of hours, this is because salt water filtration is completely different to fresh water filtration and it will not do the GSP any harm to go this way.

If you plan to carry on as you are then a change from SG1.003 to SG1.005 is a very minor change and will not necessitate any product to be added other than the usual salt and dechlorinator. If your 10 G tank is currently cycled then there is no need to separately cycle the 35G - just move the filter media to the new tank, use as much water from the 10G as you are able (water doesn't contain nitrification bacteria but your GSP will be less shocked by the change with the mature water that he/she is used to). I would recommend transferring some, if not all of the substrate from your 10 to your 35 because it will house some nitrification bacteria and aid the maturation of the new tank, if you don't want to use the same substrate - and it's gravel or similar - then consider using mesh bags with the old substrate in it in your new filter for a couple of weeks before ditching it. If you want to add a product like Safestart then the freshwater version would be the best one to use at SG1.003.

Word of warning for the dead shrimp cycling method. Basically by adding food to the aquarium you are trying to simulate how much food you would be feeding your fish and allowing the filter to get to the point that it is able to cope with the waste produced by your fish. By simply throwing a large amount of food into the aquarium, especially all at once, then you are at risk of overloading the filtration at the offset and the rotting food will do no more than decompose and make you have to strip the tank down and start again. It can work but you should add very small amounts of aquarium grade food and monitor the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily as you would do. What you need to bear in mind here is that the food will simply be decomposing on its own - it is not being processed by the digestive system of the fish and excreted as a waste product.

Instead of using fish food some people use pure ammonia and a strict schedule to take the 'guesswork' out of it.

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