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  1. #1
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    Conversion of 15-high freshwater tank to brackish tank to house spotted puffers

    I have a 15-high tank that has been used as a freshwater tank for over a year. The top of the tank is an Eclipse biofilter wheel setup. Before the tank was a freshwater tank, it was a brackish tank, housing spotted puffers (t. nigroviridis). When I moved a few years ago, all my puffers died before I realized that the water in my new home had an incredibly high pH. I was heartbroken over the loss of my 3 puffers, and converted the tank to fresh.

    I moved again recently, and moved my freshwater tetras that were in the 15-high to a 5-gallon tank at work where they seem to be very happy. I set up the 15-high tank as a freshwater setup in the new home, and have let it run for a few weeks until I could get a little more settled. I have a ton of Java Fern that I've had since the tank was brackish two years ago. The substrate is small rounded rocks, not the typical stuff sold at PetsMart but a much finer rock. I want to add a piece of driftwood as well, one with holes so that the Puffers can play in the holes when they're swimming.

    To prepare the tank for brackish fish, I put a small amount of aquarium salt in it last weekend to give it some salinity. Now, I've heard that you have to use marine salt for brackish fish, but I read online somewhere that for juvenile spotted puffers the salinity can be low and aquarium salt is good because it doesn't jack up the pH. I figure I'd just use aquarium salt for 6-8 months, and then slowly begin adding some marine salt while carefully monitoring pH.

    I have a few concerns. First, the tank had a MAJOR infestation of snails. I don't know if it's because of the added salt or what, but the snails seem to be disappearing. Should I do a water change (or 2 or 3) to try to siphon out what may be dead snails in my tank from the salinity? Has anyone else had experience converting a freshwater to a brackish in regards to the biofilter wheel and whatnot? I had three puffers that lived in the 15-high happily for over a year, until the move, but I think I will have it be a one-fish tank. What experience have others of you had with having more than 1 spotted puffer in a tank? Any advice would be great.





  2. #2
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    FW snails are indeed killed by brackish conditions. They should be removed, though having them in there now just maintains the ammonia to feed the bacteria as they convert over as well.

    BW puffers need the high pH--not sure what you're talking about there. Low pH brackish water would be tough to maintain--not sure how you would even go about it, much less know why it would be desirable. More likely, something crashed the bio-filtr during the move and the resulting ammonia spike killed the puffs--they are very, very sensitive to ammonia.

    One will be much happier. They really are not social fish, especially in smaller tanks, and become increasingly aggressive as they mature. One will also be less maintenace as well.



  3. #3
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    I'll second and expand on OG's comments. Green spotted puffers, T. nigroviridis, need high BW to full SW as adults. High pH is needed/desired fron the begining. Mixtures of FW and SW, which are BW, have higher pH and alkalinity than FW excepting the most dense Rift lakes, which do nor necessarily have sodium chloride anyway. Aquarium salt will do nothing for the pH and alkalinity these fish are from (all are wild caught) - it may have slightly higher osmolarity than FW, but it is not BW. It is salted FW.

    An adult GSP requires at least 30 gallons per fish (they get to 6" and are very stocky fish, plus are very messy feeders - think in terms of a smaller but heftier Oscar). Have you considered T.biocellatus, the figure-8 puffer? They get only slightly less than 1/2 the length of a GSP and less than 1/4 the mass. They do not need high BW, light BW will do just fine for them for life. A 15 gallon tank is suitable for an F-8 for life (which is long, mid to upper teens). Biowheels are excellent biofilters, but with BW and SW can make a mess with salt spray.

    If you want to go with The GSP, or multiple GSPs, a larger home will be needed before very long, certainly less than a year. A good article on GSPs is available at:

    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishS...ex/gspsart.htm

    One on Figure-8s is available at:

    http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml

    The article on GSPs details a good process for increasing salinity.

    HTH



  4. #4
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    Actually, it sounds like a Figure 8 might be more to my style of fishkeeping. Because I'm a renter, I hate to commit to much bigger than my 15-high, but from what it sounds like, a 15-high would be suitable for a Figure 8 or two. I don't quite like the looks of them as much as I like the looks of the Spotted Green puffer, but I'm sure that they are similar enough behavior-wise that I could be happy with it.

    I did a check on my water in my tank, after I did a change and added no salt to it. I used a Quick Dip test, so it may not be totally accurate, but it will be pretty close. The nitrates showed at 20, the nitrite was at 0, the hardness was at 150, the alkalinity was at 80, and the pH was at 7.2. The tank has been sitting empty with nothing but snails and Java Ferns for a month. I think I'll get some freshwater Biro-Spira, as I had good luck with that in another tank. I'll also get some Instant Ocean and a good hydrometer (mine's still in a box somewhere from the move). The Instant Ocean should raise the alkalinity and pH to more acceptable levels for a brackish tank. I think with adding a little Instant Ocean to get the salinity to 1.005 and the BiroSpira that the tank should be ready to go if I buy a puffer at the same time. I know to dissolve the IO with an airstone in a bowl for about 45 minutes or so before adding it in the tank.

    What I did with my last puffer was when I got home, I put the puffer in a small Critter Keeper type container, and added half a cup of water from the tank about every half hour and did that for a few hours, so that the fish had a good chance to adjust to the conditions of the new water.

    Now .... to find Figure 8 puffers in Dallas, TX. I know a few stores that carry GSP's, but none that carry Figure 8's on a regular basis.



  5. #5
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    I found a shop with Figure 8, and it's one of the more reputable in the area. They also carry ghost shrimp, so I'll get a couple of Figure 8's and a half-dozen ghost shrimp.

    Also, I did a water change last night and didn't add any more salt to the water, and apparently my snails loved it becasue I have about 5 dozen at the top of the water line. My puffers are going to have so much fun eating them!

    I am so excited, I've been wanting puffers ever since my last batch died. I'll be super careful with checking the water and everything for the first few weeks. Like I said, I don't think the tank will need to go through a full cycle since it's essentially an established tank, but I'm going to get some Biro-spira just to be sure.



  6. #6
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    FW Bio-Spira may not yet be available again - I don't know if they have started shipping again yet.



  7. #7
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    Yeah, I wasn't able to find any Biro-Spira, but I did find some TurboStart and put that in there. I haven't noticed any spikes, but it has only been 48 hours.

    I ended up getting three Figure 8's, and they look very happy and healthy. I've been feeding them brine shrimp in the morning and bloodworms in the afternoon. I got 10 ghost shrimp, but I didn't see any in the tank this morning, so I'm thinking that they've all already become meals, or are very good at trying not to be seen. I've got the salinity at 1.005 and the pH is up to 7.8 according to my test strips.

    I was able to find driftwood attached to a sheet of something, rock I think, and it looks good, but since I've added the salt, the Java Ferns are looking a little puny, which is odd since I didn't take any out.



  8. #8
    Senior Member Pufferpunk's Avatar
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    Was that Turbo start refrigerated? The only live bactera I have ever seen work is B-S. some folks have noticed sucess with TS at the beginning, & after a few days their csystem has crashed. Please keep a close eye on the water parameters. You can order B-S online.
    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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  9. #9
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    Yes, the Turbostart was refrigerated, enough for 40 gallons. I called around and no one in the area is carrying Biro-Spira yet. The Turbostart, 1 oz, was $9.95.



  10. #10
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    The tank will be too crowded with three F-8s, you will ned to upgrade the size in a few months. They (most puffers generally) do not do well crowded.



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