Hey My name is Jeff and I started a 5 gallon freshwater tank about 2 months ago. I suppose I'm pretty lucky since I didn't know a thing about cycling and the 2 glofish danios and the 2 neon tetras were pretty happy from the start. I just threw them in distilled water from wal-mart. lol. I began feeling like I could do a lot more with a 20 gallon tank with a 30-60 gallon filter unit; so I set it up and moved 'em over. They did fine until I added a 2 of those senegal bichirs without reading up on them at all. Along with the bichirs I got 2 more neon tetras. The bichirs were pretty happy with shrimp pellets but i came home one day to find a couple of missing neon tetras and some extra fat bichirs. I regrettably brought the bichirs back to petsmart after they ate one of the neon tetras that I started out with. I thought they were the coolest things in the world at 4 inches but I couldn't afford to feed them live fish through until they were a foot long. Sad day. So i traded them for a golden gourami 5 more neon tetras and 3 ghost catfish (all into the 20 gallon) I thought the subtraction of the bichirs would keep ammonia/nitrite shock from rising too much, but alas only the gourami and 1 ghost catfish survived the night. I did a partial water change and since the water was pretty cloudy I rigged a powerhead to pump water through a 5 micron house water filter which cleared up the water after only a few hours
I waited about 2 weeks during which i brought home 2 red clawed crabs and some live plants then I bought 3 more tetras. I won't buy any more fish until the tank is fully cycled and nitrites and nitrates are down to 0's. Unfortunately right now the nitrite levels are in the stress zone on the test strips I'm using so I'm doing 10% water changes each night and 25% changes once a week. Added cycle to get the ammonia producing bacteria up to speed. Ammonia levels are at 0 and nitrite levels are around 3-4 ppm
so I take it to mean nitrosomonas are doing their job and I'm just waiting for the nitrobacter to kick in. If this doesn't sound right to any of you just let me know. Again I won't be adding any fish until the toxicity levels reach 0's but when I do I want to add either 1-2 dwarf puffers (with a little added foliage to break line of sight better) or 1 red-eyed, red-tailed dwarf puffer (Carinotetraodon irrubesco). First wanted to get 1-2 Green spotted puffers from wal mart but I've heard many species of puffers are very territorial and voracious (YouTube - Puffer Fish v. Goldfish
) I've found information from the internet and video results on youtube of dwarf puffers being much more
peaceful than other species. I've seen dwarfs getting along well enough with neon tetras and dwarf gouramis-though this doesn't mean I don't expect to have absolutely 0 fin nipping... As far as the C. Irrubesco (not to be, but often, confused with the much more aggressive C. Lorteti) I've read that they're similar in temperament to dwarf puffers and a little bit larger. They are much more rare to find though and I can only find one site that stocks them and they're currently on back order. I have dumped a bunch of little spiral snails and apple snails into the tank in order to get them reproducing as a food source for either choice of puffer
I've also ordered a daphnia starter culture kit to be another added source of food for any fish that takes a liking to them.
Questions I have: I'm looking to find whether normal dwarf puffers attack and eat crabs (as do the beautiful figure eight puffers, an idea I sadly discarded in the interest of my crabs) but haven't been able to find any evidence that they do. I'm under the impression that a 2 inch crab would be more effort than a 1 inch fish would want to put into killing. I would think a red eyed puffer might go for it but I haven't been able to find much information on these awesome little guys to know. If you have information on whether either of these fish eat crab as part of their natural diet I'd be happy to hear from you.