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Old 09-28-2008, 11:08 AM   #1
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Question Exact instructions on building a brackish tank...

I am looking for EXACT directions, as I am having trouble finding out how to build a brackish tank. When I was out yesterday getting my angels and loaches, my husband fell in love with the green spotted puffers. So, lightbulb went off in my head to maybe set up a GSP tank for him for his birthday (which is mid November)....so, I got to reading on here and see that they need at least a 30g tank and brackish conditions and it needs to be a species only tank. Does that mean brackish conditions immediately or over time after you get them, if you get them young? I am just toying with this idea right now, as I had intended on getting him a corn snake for his birthday....so many decisions and not much time....lol....:p
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:22 AM   #2
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Over time the salinity needs to increase as the puffer gets bigger. Mine was actually in a full freshwater tank when I first got him. Alsip nursery apparently doesn't know how to take care of thier fish.
Water Chemistry:
I suggest keeping GSPs at low-end BW when juvenile <2", (in a specific gravity, or SG of 1.005-08 ), at 2-4", medium BW (SG 1.010-15) and adult >4" SW (SG 1.018-22).

Taken from this website: Green Spotted Puffer Profile (TROPICAL FISH ARTICLES)
There's also quite a few websites with green spotted puffer care info.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:24 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that the puffers beak will keep growing as it gets bigger. You need to have snails to feed in order to keep the growth of the beak down. Otherwise you can trim it's beak. Mine love's snails, krill, and cocktail shrimp. He will eat anything I throw in his tank though and eventually I will aclimate him to my saltwater tank.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:45 AM   #4
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What size tank do you have yours in crazyfishlady?
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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Heheh...right now only a 10 gallon but I will be acclimating him to my 72 in the near future. He's been in the 10 for about 8months now. They supposedly can get up to 6" and he's already about 4". When I purchased him he was probably about 1.5". He has grown quite fast.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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Wow....so a 30g tank for one puffer would be okay, or is it recommended to get even bigger than that for one fish?
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:16 PM   #7
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GreenSpottedPuffer.NET

I thought about getting one but the level of care is to high for my taste. However you can put some other predators in there with him if you have a bigger tank.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:17 PM   #8
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Yes, I would think a 30gallon would be perfect for one puffer. Mine has survived so long in a 10gallon because I do frequent water changes. In my experience, the green spotted puffer is really a hardy fish. As long as you know how to care for them properly. I know people who have not added salt to the water and the puffer did not live too long. They also added them to thier community tank and the fish just about wiped everything out. They are definite fin nippers.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #9
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Other than adding salt to the water and a few snails here and there I don't think the care of this fish is hard at all.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:29 PM   #10
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okay...exact instructions would be nice. So, say I bring home a baby puffer and it is acclimated into a 30g fw tank when and how do I start adding salt to my tank? Also, if they have to eat snails, don't snails and salt NOT go together? Anyone with a lot of experience in building a brackish tank out there??? how often do I add the salt and when and do I add it with each water change? Etc., etc., etc.....
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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If your puffer is coming from a freshwater tank I would start him off at the lowest specific gravity level and work your way up from there. As far as acclimating the fish to the tank, you should use the drip acclimation method. Put the fish in a clean bucket with the water from the store in there. Use airline tubing siphon the water from your tank into the bucket, tie a knot in the tubing so the water drips into the bucket 1-3 drops per second. Do this for 2hrs. then net your fish into the main tank and dispose of the water in the bucket. If your replacing evaporated water in the tank only add freshwater. The salt does not come out of the tank until you siphon it out, so adding more salt to the tank is only neccessary on water changes or when increasing the puffers salinity level. You shoul slowly up the salt in the water during water changes and depending on the puffers size. Make sure you have a specific gravity meter so you may measure the amount of salt in the puffers water.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:49 PM   #12
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The snails I breed are in a seperate 10gallon freshwater tank. Otherwise, if your worried about the puffers beak there are people out there that come to your house and trim the puffers beak. Some websites even suggest buying fiddler crabs every once in a while to feed the puffer. The last time I fed my puffer a crab it pinched my puffers face though. But, the crab that I fed him was a different breed from a saltwater tank.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:54 PM   #13
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From what I researched you add .002 SG per month to the tank.

GreenSpottedPuffer.NET - Has great articles on that.
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Old 09-28-2008, 01:26 PM   #14
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Thanks for the more specifics....I am not sure I can handle all that is required for this tank and since it would be a present for my husband, I am definitely sure he couldn't handle that type of upkeep on a tank....maybe I will stick with the corn snake idea...lol
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:17 PM   #15
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Well, most lfs sell GSPs in freshwater. So start them in freshwater (after verifying with lfs what they keep them in). But start adding salt as soon as possible. It will really, really help their immune systems. Yes, you need 30g per GSP, and they will only eat live and frozen foods. If you have trouble getting it to eat, try soaking the food in garlic juice.

Anyway, you need a hydrometer that goes all the way down to 1.000(freshwater). Mix the marine salt in a separate container and let it sit for a day with a powerhead. Rubbermaid containers work great. Recheck the sg. Only up the sg by .002 per week.

Btw, you do need to keep in mind that they will need to be in marine conditions as adults.

Yes, most snails will die in brackish/saltwater, but I find that the pond snails I drop into my F8 puffer's tank (brackish) live for several days even weeks. I recommend keeping a separate tank, 5g or more, to breed snails. Pond snails are great. They are super easy.

A great place for puffer specific info is www.thepufferforum.com. They have great articles about feeding, teeth maintenance, etc. Plus, there are experienced puffer keepers who know every trick in the book.
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:20 PM   #16
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Oh, yeah, there are lots of freshwater puffers out there. They have similar dietary needs as well as the need to keep the teeth in check. All puffers have teeth that are constantly growing throughout their life. If they aren't trimmed (manually or by diet), the fish can starve to death.

But, really, they are totally worth it. I would start with a freshwater puffer if you don't have experience with brackish or saltwater.
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:56 PM   #17
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FWIW, Dwarf Puffers are (IMO) just as cool, stay much smaller, can (and ought to) remain in freshwater their whole lives, and don't require constant filing down of their teeth. If your hubbie wants a puffer tank, that might be a better option.

You can easily keep one in a tank as small as 5 gallons. If you went up to 10 gal and planted it pretty heavily, you could probably keep a pair or even three (or keep that many in a 20 gallon less heavily planted). They are extremely addictive, they learn VERY quickly to come to the front glass and "beg" for food the instant they see a person in the room. They adore worms (bloodworms/blackworms, glassworms) and I found I could get them to eat frozen ones if I kind of "jiggled" them in the water to make it look like they were moving. But the main part of their diet is snails. Basically I just kept one of those Home Depot type big plastic buckets filled with water and some sort of fast-growing plants (anacharis, hornwort, guppy grass, whatever I had on hand) sitting near a window, and threw a handful of pond snails in there. As long as the bucket gets even a tad bit of light, some algae will grow, thus providing food for your snails to munch on (as well as the decaying parts of your plants), you will soon have your own little "snail factory" that is producing snails faster than you can use them. Dwarf puffers are so small, they only eat about 1-2 pond snails (or just a few worms) per day, so if you only have a few puffers it is easy to produce (in your bucket) more food than you need. Ramshorn snails would be a good choice too, and are as easy to "grow" as pond snails are.

Everything you could possibly need to know: Dwarf Puffers.

P.S. -- One of my favorite lines from that website, it describes a dwarf puffer eating a snail:

Quote:
As for feeding the snails to them, all you have to do is drop them in the tank.... the puffers will hunt them on their own (quite fun to watch). They stick their head into the shell and start thrashing around. It looks like a dog with its head stuck in a cardboard box!
P.P.S. -- Also following the advice of that website regarding tankmates: I had a 10 gallon tank, one dwarf puffer (started with two but one was sickly even at the pet store...I bought him anyway to try to "rescue" him but he was too far gone), and a few ghost shrimp as a cleanup crew for the substrate. Worked out great. When I started developing some algae issues on the tank glass, I got one oto and he took care of it. The puffer, oto, and ghost shrimp all got along great, and it made for a really nice, interesting tank.
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:12 PM   #18
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As always, JohnPaul, you came through with some fantastic information for me...now how to put this tank together as a surprise for my hubby...that will be the real trick! You know, I just happen to have a cycled 5g hexagon tank that is empty at the moment (I put Balthazar the betta in a regular 5g tank so he had more horizontal swimming room). So, I have this empty 5g hexagon that is already cycled...hhmmmm. Now, where can I get one of these dwarf puffers JohnPaul?
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by new2betas View Post
As always, JohnPaul, you came through with some fantastic information for me...now how to put this tank together as a surprise for my hubby...that will be the real trick! You know, I just happen to have a cycled 5g hexagon tank that is empty at the moment (I put Balthazar the betta in a regular 5g tank so he had more horizontal swimming room). So, I have this empty 5g hexagon that is already cycled...hhmmmm. Now, where can I get one of these dwarf puffers JohnPaul?
My experience is many LFS's sell them. If they don't have them in stock, see if they can order them for you--I can't imagine any legit petstore would be unable to do that. If even that doesn't work, I am sure they would be available online from most places that sell fish.
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:21 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by JohnPaul View Post
My experience is many LFS's sell them. If they don't have them in stock, see if they can order them for you--I can't imagine any legit petstore would be unable to do that. If even that doesn't work, I am sure they would be available online from most places that sell fish.
Alrighty, thanks! and thanks again for that dwarf puffer website link. I have been reading it all morning, it is great!
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