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Old 07-05-2011, 11:34 AM   #1
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Newbie here (please be gentle)

Greetings to all.

I am totally new to the aquarium hobby. And like many, started out poorly with the visit to (you guessed it) Wal-mart. Despite the improper start, I am looking to do right by my new aquatic friends.

So here's where I'm at currently. I have a 10 gallon Tetra starter tank with the included full lid and filter. I added the Tetra 2-15 Submersible Heater to allow for warmer water fish. I decided on a brackish environment for flexibility. Decor is basic - gravel base with a few small stones.

Our water is well water run through a softener. I used Jungle Start Right conditioner and Jungle Aquarium salt per the manufacturer's instructions. As of now Nitrates and Nitrites both test at 0, Alkalinity at 180 (KH) ppm and pH at roughly 7.6.

Now for the real concern I'm sure on this board - the fish inside. My initial group has two siamese algae eaters, a dwarf pink gourami and a green puffer. The last is obviously my biggest concern. I know, I know - too big for a 10g tank right? I've heard two stories. One from a friend who had puffers in smaller tanks and said they always self limited growth to ideal size for the environment. The other who follows the general hobbyist line that the 10g is too small.

I'm not in position to immediately purchase a larger tank and support it, though I should be able to by winter. So the question I have is the rate of growth for the puffer. Is there enough time to make it to winter, then get the larger tank and move it once the tank has been cycled? Or will it grow at too fast a pace to wait until then. I'd hate to have to return it to a LFS.

Currently all four seem to be in really good health and are interacting well together.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and support you'd care to share.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA! Unfortunately... Only the green puffer is actually brackish if I'm not mistaken, so the other fish are going to need another, freshwater, home. The puffer will make it till winter, but the others will be lucky to last a few weeks in the brackish. I think the puffer needs a 30 gallon minimum, so not too much of an upgrade. the other ones will be fine, as long as the environment is changed to freshwater. The puffer will be ok in freshwater I think until you get the new tank setup. check out the link in my signature on fishless cycling regardless, as you're gonna need it to safely set up the new tanks. hope I wasn't too bad!
-Lauren
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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Thanks Lauren. I appreciate the welcome and the feedback.

As far as the concern about freshwater fish in a brackish tank, this is the sort of feedback I'd seen that made me think I'd be ok:

"Brackish water is freshwater from the faucet with one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt added to each five gallons of the freshwater. This is the same concentration of Aquarium Salt that is part of the Recommended Treatment for stress and disease that is given elsewhere on this website.

Almost all aquarium fish can tolerate brackish water with one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each five gallons of water. For example, all Livebearers, all Cichlids, all Goldfish and Koi, all Barbs, all Gouramis, and all Danios can tolerate this amount of Aquarium Salt. I have used Aquarium Salt on all the freshwater fish listed on this website."

This is the mix level I've been using so far. That's where I was hoping for striking a balance, at least for now. Of course I'm monitoring water conditions frequently, and doing consistent water changes (about 25% weekly so far). I'm also watching each of the fish closely for any sign of behavioral changes. Haven't seen any signs of stress yet.

I do think a 30g will be manageable for me by the holidays this year. That's probably what I'll be looking at (I don't think I can handle a 55g or bigger just yet).
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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The thing about salt is that it's overused. those conditions aren't brackish. Brackish is achieved with marine salt, not aquarium. don't bother with the aquarium salt for now. Only use it for diseases, and healing wounds the bright side is that just two 50% water changes (treated with water conditioner of course) will get the salt water out. On another note, The gourami will be fine in that 10 gallon tank, but the SAE's can get to 6 inches, so an upgrade, or returning one, or both would be ideal. there are better algae eaters out there that will stay much smaller.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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In a way, it might be ok on the algae front anyway, since the Gourami will graze on algae to begin with right?

I'll probably look for another home for the SAE's, do the water changes and start planning for the new home for the puffer as a longer term plan.

Then, BEFORE I think about any other changes, I'll fire a note out here on AA to get suggestions on suggested good company for what I have left
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjwcpm
In a way, it might be ok on the algae front anyway, since the Gourami will graze on algae to begin with right?

I'll probably look for another home for the SAE's, do the water changes and start planning for the new home for the puffer as a longer term plan.

Then, BEFORE I think about any other changes, I'll fire a note out here on AA to get suggestions on suggested good company for what I have left
Sounds good for algae eaters, check out ottos. They stay small and eat a TON of algae lol. Just let your tank mature a bit first. Also, if you don't have one already, an API master kit is a must. the fact that you have no nitrites or nitrates shows you haven't even started cycling yet. Don't get anymore fish until you're done cycling (hence link in signature) for more info on your puffer, Pm Mr. Limpet on the site. He has a tank dedicated to them. For cycling info, Eco23 Is your guy. for stocking, you could do something like this:
6 neon tetras
3 ottos
2 African Dwarf frogs
1 dwarf gourami
Hope I helped!
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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You did....plenty! Thanks Lauren!

-Kevin
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kjwcpm
You did....plenty! Thanks Lauren!

-Kevin
No prob, good luck with your tank! Feel free to Pm me if you have any questions.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Homedog98 View Post
Sounds good for algae eaters, check out ottos. They stay small and eat a TON of algae lol. Just let your tank mature a bit first. Also, if you don't have one already, an API master kit is a must. the fact that you have no nitrites or nitrates shows you haven't even started cycling yet. Don't get anymore fish until you're done cycling (hence link in signature) for more info on your puffer, Pm Mr. Limpet on the site. He has a tank dedicated to them. For cycling info, Eco23 Is your guy. for stocking, you could do something like this:
6 neon tetras
3 ottos
2 African Dwarf frogs
1 dwarf gourami
Hope I helped!
3 frogs,not 2. they are social
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:52 PM   #10
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I agree the frogs are better off with 3, if possible. ADF's are nearly blind so they have a hard time competing with fish for food in community settings. Make sure you feed them in the same place every day, place the food in their fav cave or hidey hole, and that way they should be able to learn where to find the food when they smell it, hopefully before the fish get to it. It's best to feed them only frog & tadpole bites and frozen foods.

One key to success with oto's is to add them a well established tank, waiting 6 months is good. I wouldn't recommend 3 oto's in a 10 gal. Oto's are very senstive and many, if not most, will not accept supplements such as algae wafers and zucchini. If you end up with those that will not accept prepared food as a lot of us do, a 10 gal tank will not provide enough algae for them to survive unless maybe it's catching a lot of sunlight. A good rule of thumb with oto's is no more than 1 per 5 gals. If you choose to keep oto's in a smaller tank like a 10, I would keep some stones in a bowl of tankwater in your window until they are covered with algae and then add them to the tank for your oto's to graze on. I always keep this process going for oto's in a smaller tank.
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