NatureGrafix'-17 liter Dwarf Puffer tank
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:01 AM   #1
NatureGrafix
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NatureGrafix'-17 liter Dwarf Puffer tank


It has been years since I have had any aquariums. When I was a kid, my first tank was a 10 gallon that had various fish over the years... tetras, rasboras, corys, platys, knight gobies, kuhlis, pond snails, crayfish, etc.

As a young adult, I experimented with a 30 gallon SW invert tank. Eventually, my longest lived tank was stocked with Tanganyikan cichlids. Now in my 40's, I've gotten the bug again. I've been reading this forum and other similar forums for the past few months. Money is kind of tight, so I have been slowly purchasing the needed gear over time. Tonight, I finally had enough of what I needed and the time to set up the first of a couple of nano tanks that I want to get going. There is no fauna, except I think I did see one small snail that hitched in on one of the plants, but I have lost track of him.

Anyways, here is a list of what makes up this tank at the moment. After it has cycled, I plan on putting a few Neocaridina heteropoda var. "red" in the tank... debating on making it a home for a Carinotetraodon travancoricus, or freshwater dwarf puffer. I will wait to see how stable I am able to keep the parameters of this small tank.

· Meijer 5 gallon rimless aquarium
· ADA - New Amazonia - Aqua Soil - Multi-type
· ADA - Congo Sand SS size
· Archaea 27W power compact light fixture (ADA)
· Archaea Mini Aquarium Heater (25W) (ADA)
· Eheim Classic 2211 Canister filter (Big Al's)
· AquaticMagic - Nano "Magic" Lily Pipe 9mm Set (Ebay)
· Eriocaulon cinereum
· Süsswassertang (Round Pellia)
· Hygrophila pinnatifida




I have to comment about the lily pipe set, regarding fitment with the Eheim Classic 2211 filter. The outflow pipe fits the tubing of the Eheim pretty well. The inflow pipe does not fit the stock tubing of the Eheim, however. I am either going to have to figure a way to adapt it up... or just spring for a larger diameter size outflow pipe. Right now, I'm just using the green plastic inflow pipe that is provided with the Eheim. In a much larger tank, I probably could just hide the intake and outflow and not worry about it. On a tank this small, the glass pipes stand out a lot less, in my opinion... or rather fit the decor better.

The plant stocking is pretty lean at the moment. At the moment, I'm not set on adding CO2 to this small tank, I may change my mind later. The E. cinereum and the pinnatifada are from a fellow forum member, and mostly my first experiments to see if I can keep them alive. The round pellia was ordered online, showed up frozen solid. I have a small bit (in the driftwood) in this tank and the rest in a pico tank, almost a week since I got it, I'm surprised that it seems to still be alive, not falling apart, yet. I am open to suggestions on suitable plants. It's a bit frustrating that I haven't found any good source of LFS plants. Ordering online, or shipping in this season is a bit chancy, weather-wise.

Oh, and the rock on top of the driftwood is to keep it weighted down for the moment. Not a permanent fixture, I will either figure a way to weigh it down from the bottom or see if it eventually becomes water-logged enough to stay seated on its own. ;-)
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:03 AM   #2
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So the tubing for the Eheim Classic 2211 doesn't fit the 13mm inflow pipe? I assume it's larger. One thing to try would be to get 1/2" tubing from aquarium/hardware-store, cut off a 6 inch piece and try jamming that into your Eheim Classic 2211's inflow tube. If that works, then attach that to the inflow glass pipe. You could put rubber bands around the 1/2" tubing so when you jam it into the Eheim tube, it'll help seal it better. I do that with my filter's 5/8" tubing and go down to the 1/2" tubing size (and got the idea from Aqua Forest store in San Francisco)
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:34 AM   #3
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Sorry for being a bit unclear. I bought a glass 9mm set (inflow and an outflow lily pipe). The 9mm outflow lily pipe fits the Eheim 2211 tubing (stamped 9mm/12mm on it's side) very well. But the glass intake pipe is also 9mm, whereas the Eheim intake tubing is stamped 12mm/16mm. I thought I had read somewhere that the 2211 tubing fit 9mm lily pipes, which is correct, I just assumed that meant the intake was the same size, which is not correct.

I'm pretty sure that I can rig some an adapter of some kind to make the 9mm fit, but then I am wondering if the smaller diameter intake would be bad for the filter/impeller motor. I looked back on ebay, I do not see a 12mm glass intake pipe (which is what I think is the right size)... but I see 13mm ones offered. I'm debating seeing if that one can be made to fit. The canister filter is working great right now, no leaks (knock on wood) and utterly silent. I would like to get rid of the green Eheim intake plastic pipe, though. It definitely stands out, not in a good way.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #4
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Here you can see the supplied Eheim green plastic intake tube, fitting into the green hose (12mm/16mm). Next to it, not hooked up to anything is the glass intake tube that came with my 9mm nano lily pipe set, for comparison. You can noticeably see the diameter difference.


For the outflow side, you can see the 9mm glass lily pipe fits the Eheim hose (9mm/12mm) perfectly. I just goofed up thinking the inflow and outflow sizes would be the same, as I didn't have the canister filter in front of me when I ordered the lily pipe set.

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:32 AM   #5
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Ah that makes more sense. I wonder if the 13mm intake lily pipes would fit? It would definitely be tight but I saw a tip on these forums saying if you put the tube in warm water it's a lot more easy to work with so if you got a 13mm glass intake and really jammed the tube in there it could work. Obviously the downside to this is you have to spend more on a 13mm intake lily pipe.

The other option is like what I mentioned in my previous post, but opposite. Get small 9mm tubing that would fit over your 9mm glass intake and then fit that small tube inside the 1/2" tubing that's currently on your eheim intake. Pretty sure it should fit fine (do that rubber band trick as well to seal it better)... and if it's really hard to get in there, put both ends of the tubes in hot water to make it more flexible while you fit it.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:33 AM   #6
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mini update:

Replaced driftwood with petrified wood that I pulled out of storage.



Last weekend I spent a whole day looking for decent plants at pet/fish stores locally. Very sad selections. Big Box pet-shops selling non-aquatic plants, or ragged plants being held together by the algae on them. Added Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Brazilian Pennywort, bought at a Meijer store... they actually had some decent looking plants at one location. Today, I picked up a small bunch of Vallisneria - at least that's what the shopkeeper said it was. It was carpeting a quarter of one of their fish-tanks, growing only an inch or two in height. The shopkeeper said that he had put it into a tank years ago, it was much taller, the runners were all dwarf in size and had grown that way for him since. He had sold some to customers and all had reported that it had grown tall again, for them. So, I'm going to see what it does. I'm not even sure it is Vallisneria. Could it be something else? I would love for it to stay short and carpet the front of the tank, like at the pet shop. Otherwise, I will have to move it to the back.

Closer look at the small runners that I bought today...



Almost a week since being set up, I have done two sets of tests on the tank. Ammonia has been the same both times, Nitrites have fallen, Nitrates have risen, pH looks about the same. I bought some ammonia from the hardware store today, but won't be adding any at the moment. I am guessing the ammonia present in the tank is from the ADA New Amazonia Multi substrate, does that sound correct? The only introduced fauna are 4 small snails that came in upon a few of the various plants.



I have been adding 1/2 ml of Seachem Flourish Excel daily. The lights have been on approximately 12 hours daily, on when I leave for work, off when I get home. I bought a timer yesterday, will probably put the lights on the timer and reduce light-time to 9-10 hours.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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Well, it is approaching 3 weeks since this tank was setup. A little bit of algae is showing itself on the glass and on the leaves of the Pennywort. I keep meaning to put the lights on a timer, they are on, at times, for 12+ hours. I have been compensating by leaving them off a random day, here or there. I will get the lights on a timer by the end of this week, I promise! :-)

My ammonia had been steady at 4.0 ppm and I was getting a little impatient. Snails, that were introduced via the plants, are reproducing like crazy. (I don't mind, this tank is destined to be home to a dwarf puffer, so the snails will be good pickings for it.) I succumbed to trying to get the tank cycle a little kick in the butt, dosing the tank with Tetra SafeStart 4 days ago. The ammonia has started to move down, slowly... I'm not sure if the SafeStart has helped or if it is just coincidence. I have started doing regular water changes also, so that may be helping. I suspect the Amazonia soil is leeching ammonia... and the snails in the tank, I guess are adding a certain amount, I have no idea how much they contribute (I see a lot of snail feces!).


Plants, for the most part seem to be doing decent. Every day I dose with anywhere from 1/2 ml to 1 ml of Excel. I did dose once with Tetra FloraPride, but noticed a bit of cloudiness the next day, seemingly algae suspended in the water column, so I have been reluctant to do that again, just yet.

Yesterday, after water testing and doing a large water change, when I restarted the filter, a white scale substance started coming out of the lily pipe. It looked liked the canister filter's tubing was expelling scale buildup. I have no idea why it all just came loose, made a little bit of a mess in the tank which I siphoned off with today's water change. While inspecting the tank, I have noticed, besides the reproducing snails, quite a few small copepods inhabiting the rocks and on the glass. Very small, but I have blown up one photo that shows one of them.



Hopefully, the ammonia keeps falling. I guess when it shows up as zero, I will dose with ammonia to see if the tank can process it within the day... if so, then hopefully I can introduce the planned fish inhabitant!
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quick little snapshot of the current state of the tank.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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Quite a few things have happened. I've had a very hectic work schedule, but wanted to make a log post before too much time has passed. A few days ago, Saturday March 3rd to be exact, this tank having seemingly gained a cycled and stable state (took about a month), I found a bit of time to go out and finally get its inhabitants. First, I went and obtained the freshwater dwarf puffer fish that I had originally planned for this tank.

This is a quick synopsis of what this poor little guy (or girl?) went through. My area, years ago, had so many locally owned pet/fish stores that you could spend a weekend visiting them all. Now, as probably it is for most of you, we have your Petco, PetSmart, PetSuppliesPlus... chains, with the limited stuff at Walmart and Meijer. One local store, in my area, and I'm afraid they are going downhill. Ironically, the place I found local to get my dwarf puffer is a farm supply store called The Andersons. They had one tank of dwarf puffers, back a month ago there were quite a few. As I went to get mine, the population was less, but for the most part they seem healthy and inquisitive, full looking bellies and no apparent ick or fin problems.

Before I had left home, I got things ready for the puffer, to acclimate the little guy when I got him home. At the store, the person that helped get the fish for me, really didn't seem to know or care much about the puffer. Out of ignorance, they quickly scooped water from a completely different tank, and then scooped up the puffer and deposited it quickly into this water. I wish I would have said something, but it all happened so fast, I was just kind of dumbfounded. Poor little thing was probably pretty traumatized right off the bat. So I quickly paid for the puffer and headed to my car to go home, holding the double bagged fish contents in my coat, protecting from the snow and cold breeze. Straight home, we go. Once there, I went thru the slow acclimating process, which probably didn't matter since the little fish was shocked already from being thrown into totally different water. It was late in the evening and the little puffer, in his new tank, turned pale... looking stressed. I watched him for a few minutes before turning off the lights, hoping he would settle in and be calmed down in the morning...

Morning comes, usually my dog wakes me up around 7am on my days off. Today, we both slept til around 9:30am. I get up, feed the dog and take him outside for his nature break. I come back inside and turn on a lamp, instead of the tanks overhead light, to let the little fish acclimate to the light and not be shocked. I look in the tank and do not see the little guy. But I'm not surprised, as he is pretty small, and kind of easy to camouflage amongst the plants and rockwork. I keep looking... but cannot see him anywhere. I start to get a little anxious, checking the floor for a dusty crusted up fish...but I see nothing on the floor. He must be in the tank! I look again, unsuccessfully. Then, on the desk... about 10 inches from the tank, I notice him. The little dwarf puffer is laying on a mousepad, motionless... out of the tank. Oh man! I start to panic, afraid that the poor little guy is a goner, I look closely and at least can see that he is not dried up. I pick up the foamy mousepad and drop the little puffer into my hand. He is VERY slimy. Almost like encased inside of a big wet booger, it is actually hard to get him off of my hand to drop into the tank of water.

The little puffer fish drops to the bottom of the tank like a pebble. I get close to the tank to inspect him... I can see him taking breaths through his mouth and his eyes are looking around like, "WTF!". He just sits there for about 5 minutes. Breathing, looking around... and then he kind of starts to hover slowly... getting his bearings and swims in place for 10 minutes or so. An hour later, the slimy coating is sloughing off of his skin and you really wouldn't know the trauma this little fish had endured. I watch him start hunting the many baby snails amongst the plants and rocks. :-)
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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I was kicking myself for putting this poor little creature through so much! My pretty little tank... lidless, I had allowed this to happen. But thank goodness, he seems to be okay. I have some makeshift covers over the sides of the tank for now, and I went out that day and purchased enough frogbit to cover most of the surface of the tanks water, in hopes of keeping a repeat jumping incident from happening. I also, at the one locally owned fish store, was able to find the last 5 red cherry shrimps that they had and put them in the tank. The little puffer has been clearing the tank of baby snails and so far, has ignored the shrimps (which are about the same length as he is!).

Here is my cute little puffer that has had such a traumatic and stressful homecoming... fingers crossed that he does well from now on...! I took this, the evening after finding him on the desktop.



And here is the brightest of the red cherry shrimps that I purchased. Out of five, this one is the nicest colored. One other is slightly less well colored and the rest are kind of bland, almost colorless really, unless you closely inspect them. They seem to stay pretty busy scavenging the tank.



The tank is growing in... and I have added a Java fern and some frogbit. Before the tank was fully cycled, I dosed the tank with ammonia, testing daily all of my numbers. The next day, I noticed a yellowing and melting of the dwarf Val and some of the dwarf baby tears. I thought I was going to lose them... they seem to be recovering, slowly. Various algae are making an appearance too. I was dosing with Seachem Excel, daily, I have cut the dosage and frequency back since adding the shrimp, I'm a little nervous of doing any damage to them and/or the dwarf puffer fish (has anyone had any problems dosing with excel, plant ferts, etc with dwarf puffers? I know they are scaleless fish... maybe more sensitive, absorbing of things in their water environment?).
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:07 PM   #11
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Updated overall tank photo...

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Old 03-09-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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Nice tank and pictures.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:41 PM   #13
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I do love dwarf puffers, so cute! I'm glad to hear he survived, can't have been out of the water for long?
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:45 PM   #14
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I am so interested to see how long the cherrys last. I have wondered if a Dwarf Mexican Crayfish and DPuffer co coexist. I wonder if a large amano shrimp could even survive their voracious hunger for inverts. Good luck and PLEASE keep us updated.
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