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Old 09-28-2006, 08:33 AM   #1
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SAP Biotope

Hi guys,

I have a 190 litre (50 US Gallon) tank I am wanting to fill with some colomesus asellus (lfs says I could have up to 6 in one this size - not sure I want that many). I am wanting to set up as near as poss an amazon biotope for them to live in and wondering if anyone on here has one set up.

I am looking at using onyx sand as substrate - is there an advisable 'size' of substrate? The onyx I have seen has gravel size pieces in it and I don't want them thinking they are snails and damaging teeth or something! Also are there any concerns with the effect on ph this substrate has? The lfs were very hung up about which substrate could be used due to the effect on ph.

I have live plants in my other tank and would want to do the same here, as near to the amazon biotope spec as possible.

I would love to have a plec or two in with them, any advice? Not a fish I have ever kept so one that is reasonably easy to care for as I think caring for the puffers will be a full time job in itself! Any advice as to which should go into the new tank first to reduce the chance of conflict?

Any advice appreciated, I have read every post on here about puffers I think during the thought process! There is some fantastic advice and I can't wait until the tank is up and running and I can report on progress!

Many Thanks,


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Old 09-28-2006, 06:48 PM   #2
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No advice here but sounds like a very cool tank in progress

Good Luck with it

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Old 10-01-2006, 05:28 AM   #3
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I have kept Colomesus asellus (South American puffers) and used Onyx sand although not in the same tank. Onyx sand is an excellent substrate for planted tanks and doesn't have an effect on the pH. It is very small and should be rinsed repeatedly before being added to the tank.

Colomesus asellus are fun fish to watch but you must be careful about any tank mates. Do not get any fish that have long fins (i.e. angelfish) as your puffers will most likely nip at them. A planted tank like the one you are contemplating should provide lots of interest for them. You might want to consider seeding the tank with pond or rams horn snails to provide the puffers with a crunchy diet. This will help reduce, but not eliminate, the need for trimming your puffers' teeth.
Gene Heitman - 12 tanks (11 freshwater and 1 saltwater), 206 gallons, 20+ species of fish/shrimp/snails, 52+ species of plants ... 10 years ago I just wanted 1 tank with some fish
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Old 10-01-2006, 01:30 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what pH SAP's like, but be aware that Onyx sand does raise the pH of the tank. Seachem's website says it only does it by half a pH unit or less; I've heard other aquarists say the effect was much more dramatic than that so consider yourself warned.

I know nothing about SAP's, so if they like alkaline conditions Onyx sand might be perfect. If they like acidic conditions, I'd avoid it.
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bio, biotope, oto

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