5.5 gallon planted dwarf puffer tank
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:53 AM   #1
tithra
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5.5 gallon planted dwarf puffer tank


As titled this is a 5.5 gallon setup for a single dwarf puffer. Just started to set up the tank last night.

I'm kind of a newbie to hard scape, and this is my first time using rock as hardscape. Any suggestions etc are welcome.

Current flora:
Needle leaf java fern
Rotala colorata
Ludwigia sp. red

I have some marselia minuta and hopefully some hygrophila pinnafitida and anubias nana petite on the way as well.

Fauna:
1 dwarf puffer just added tonight - he looks a little shell shocked

Substrate is a random mix of Eco complete, Tahitian moon sand, and up aqua sand (just leftovers I had lying around)

Lighting - finnex planted plus, 50 par mid tank at substrate level

Here's what I have going on so far:
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:06 AM   #2
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:23 AM   #3
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Nice
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:35 AM   #4
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That looks like a fun tank for a 'lil dwarf puffer to explore ^^ Don't worry about the shell shocked-ness, tiny fish doesn't do well with shipping/transport/new [censor] but it'll settle in and color up in a day or two. What foods do you have for yours? They love live snails, and its fun to watch them hunting and sucking the snails out of their shell.
Btw I'd bring the water level down a little or consider a lid, they can jump. Lost one of my husband's to diving onto the desk and drying out.. but we think it was harassed by another dwarf puffer, however they can get started from lights on/out time and hit the surface or break the surface and go flying. The 2 that are left still occasionally 'jump' or bolt when the lights go on but with a lid they stay in the tank.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
That looks like a fun tank for a 'lil dwarf puffer to explore ^^ Don't worry about the shell shocked-ness, tiny fish doesn't do well with shipping/transport/new [censor] but it'll settle in and color up in a day or two. What foods do you have for yours? They love live snails, and its fun to watch them hunting and sucking the snails out of their shell.
Btw I'd bring the water level down a little or consider a lid, they can jump. Lost one of my husband's to diving onto the desk and drying out.. but we think it was harassed by another dwarf puffer, however they can get started from lights on/out time and hit the surface or break the surface and go flying. The 2 that are left still occasionally 'jump' or bolt when the lights go on but with a lid they stay in the tank.

Thank you for the info! That's helpful

I have frozen blood worms, live black worms, and tons of those teeny tiny rams horn snails (the ones that are like pin head size, not sure if he'll go for those?)

I will lower the water level and look into possibly getting a lid...I honestly hate having lids on my tanks, but I also don't want a dead fish on my hands!
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:34 AM   #6
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Nice

Thank you guys
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:38 PM   #7
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Looking good!!

You tanks alway look good though!
You should update your goldfish tank more often as well! =]
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:13 PM   #8
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Looks really nice. Rock work is very natural and balanced imo. Are you going to plant anything between the two rocks on the right? nana petite perhaps on a tiny bit of dw?
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:37 PM   #9
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Looks really nice. Rock work is very natural and balanced imo. Are you going to plant anything between the two rocks on the right? nana petite perhaps on a tiny bit of dw?

Thank you!

Yes, I am planning to plant that space, and several others. Still waiting on some plants.

I am getting some petites, and I'm also getting some pinnafitida for this tank, which I've never kept before but am hoping I can keep small enough to not dwarf the tank.

I'm open to any plant suggestions. This is going to be an excel only tank so I feel like that limits my small plant options a bit.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:37 PM   #10
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Nice and he will LOVE the ramshorns
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by xjasminex View Post
Looking good!!

You tanks alway look good though!
You should update your goldfish tank more often as well! =]

Thanks jasmine!
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tithra View Post
Thank you for the info! That's helpful

I have frozen blood worms, live black worms, and tons of those teeny tiny rams horn snails (the ones that are like pin head size, not sure if he'll go for those?)

I will lower the water level and look into possibly getting a lid...I honestly hate having lids on my tanks, but I also don't want a dead fish on my hands!
Well every fish is different, like I said the 2 I have do still 'jump' at the surface and art from lights on/off, you're puffer might not once settled in, but its better to be safe than sorry for starting out, right? I hope you have good luck with the frozen blood worms! Mine prefer live foods and are being stubborn about getting trained onto frozen. Keep an eye on yours at feeding, if it doesn't go for the frozen food after 10-20 minutes (at most)remove it so it won't foul the water quicker.
Black worms are a great food, mine love them! They're also fairly easy to keep. If you want any tips on black worm care let me know ^^ These puffers have some black worms living in the tank substrate that they can hunt as the worms pop up, and get fed some fresh ones via needless syringe ever 2-3 days.
There are also a lot of snails kept in the tank so they can hunt as they get hungry between black worm meals. I have no clue how many MTS are in there now, they tend to hide, but I end up exposing some as I replant loose/new growth and they get eaten pretty fast before they get back down in the sand. I also add pond/bladder and ramshorn snails ever other day. They can hunt pretty tiny ones but I don't know if 'pin head' will be big enough yet, if not just leave them in the tank and the puffer will eat them once it can. I let the snails lay eggs in the tank too and have seen some tiny pond snail shells from babies being eaten, and a few small empty mts shells. I also keep snails in all my other tanks to harvest for feeding the puffers (usually I just grab out the biggest as they are obviously the easier to spot and pick up).
If you feed on a schedule/pattern your puffer will learn the ques and be eagerly awaiting food. They are also very observant of you and everything else going on outside the tank, its fin to watch them inspect some new item set down by the tank, or follow you as you pass by.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Well every fish is different, like I said the 2 I have do still 'jump' at the surface and art from lights on/off, you're puffer might not once settled in, but its better to be safe than sorry for starting out, right? I hope you have good luck with the frozen blood worms! Mine prefer live foods and are being stubborn about getting trained onto frozen. Keep an eye on yours at feeding, if it doesn't go for the frozen food after 10-20 minutes (at most)remove it so it won't foul the water quicker.
Black worms are a great food, mine love them! They're also fairly easy to keep. If you want any tips on black worm care let me know ^^ These puffers have some black worms living in the tank substrate that they can hunt as the worms pop up, and get fed some fresh ones via needless syringe ever 2-3 days.
There are also a lot of snails kept in the tank so they can hunt as they get hungry between black worm meals. I have no clue how many MTS are in there now, they tend to hide, but I end up exposing some as I replant loose/new growth and they get eaten pretty fast before they get back down in the sand. I also add pond/bladder and ramshorn snails ever other day. They can hunt pretty tiny ones but I don't know if 'pin head' will be big enough yet, if not just leave them in the tank and the puffer will eat them once it can. I let the snails lay eggs in the tank too and have seen some tiny pond snail shells from babies being eaten, and a few small empty mts shells. I also keep snails in all my other tanks to harvest for feeding the puffers (usually I just grab out the biggest as they are obviously the easier to spot and pick up).
If you feed on a schedule/pattern your puffer will learn the ques and be eagerly awaiting food. They are also very observant of you and everything else going on outside the tank, its fin to watch them inspect some new item set down by the tank, or follow you as you pass by.


Thanks again, this is all good info being a DP newbie. So I'd actually love to hear any tips you have for creating an easy/basic black worm culturing setup. I would like to just grow my own out of the tbsp I bought. I've read up on this a but, but of course there are so many different ways to do it I'm not sure which way to go.

What type of feeding schedule should I be doing? 2x a day? Should I not feed black worms daily? How many worms at a time should I feed him? Etc etc any tips you have on feeding are welcome
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:22 PM   #14
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Well since you have frozen and snail food options try to switch around foods (I'd start with frozen so he/she doesn't get hooked on live foods first and refuse frozen). With any new food and feeding schedule for the fish it may take a few trys/days before it eats, but it will.

Feeding Schedule: if convenient for you, two very small feedings a day work, but one feeding a day is fine too (feeding frequency can be reduced by keep live snails in the tank to hunt, but be mindful these snails are an added bioload).

Feeding Amount: Sadly I can't give a formula for how many worms to feed... shot in the dark 4-8 black worms per a feeding, depending on size and how eagerly the puffer goes after them (you can keep an eye on how big its stomach gets as it eats). They can survive in warm water so if he/she doesn't eat them they may burrow into the substrate, and get eaten whenever they pop up. Don't have a good quantity guess for frozen food yet.. the 2 puffers here are still not keen on the stuff to know how much they'd eat, sorry. I'm sure you can watch some Youtube videos of others feeding their puffers frozen foods to get a rough idea for amounts.

Live Blackworm Care: if you are starting out with a tbs, you won't be able to feed them to the puffer very often if you want their #s to grow, they will make more but its not fast going. If you want to get more, i bought mine from easternaquatics.com, its in Pa so closer than buying from the Ca source. You can also ask for more care tips via email or phone.
First off, if you do not have it get Seachem Prime: its a de-chlorinator that also binds ammonia and nitrite for 48 hours when used in up to 5x dose. Use this stuff, it keeps the worms from dieing of ammonia toxcity, this lets you keep them in unfiltered containers. For your small amount you have I'd first split the group in half, always good to have a 'back up' culture in case somethign happens. You can keep them in Tupperware/small plastic storage containers (if you already have some make sure its VERY clean no soap/detergent/food left in there.. also don't use it for food again.. your family will not be happy :p), I'm using

But you do not need a container this big, i have large ones since I usually buy about 1/2 lb of worms to last a long while (shipping is $30, so do not want to buy often)
I only fill my container about 1/2-2/3 with water, these worms prefer shallow water as they will climb the walls to get that the surface for air. (worms are hiding its right after a bath, they're under the paper)


For food of the worms all you need a brown paper bag (the less ink print on it the better) or organic brown paper towels (white ones usually contain bleach, that how they got white). I went with paper bags as I can get them for free at the grocery store, just request paper.

Rip off a chunk and stick it in the container of water (this is a mostly used bag).. note I do not put in the glued edges or any parts with ink.

Since you are keeping worms in an un-cycled tank, you will have to change their water and "bath" them often to keep them alive (do not go several days/weeks without bathing.. I did with the first batch.. the smell of rotting worms is worse than an old person's very used diaper...).
How you go about cleaning and how often can be done several different ways. The company i got my worms from said: get a clean milk jug, fill with water and store in fridge for next day use and wash worms with this jug water every day.
Well I tweaked that and lost the jug (cold water tap here is close to what fridge water temp would be). I started with daily washing... but have moved to ever other day since I have very few worms (if you get a large amount or keep them in a very tiny container daily washings are strongly recommended).

Sorry no photos for this part, i need both hands for cleaning (won't want to drop phone in water)
Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after any contact with fish tanks and fish live food cultures (not because 'you'll get a disease', just good hygiene, also black worms are tiny so having leftover whatever on your hands when you wash them can effect them)
Take worms to sink, have a second container 1/4 full of cold tap water.
Remove brown paper towel/bag from bin (check it for worms some stay on.. shake them back into the main container or the cleaning one) and paper set aside somewhere clean (don't want food particles/soap/etc getting on it).
Slowly and carefully tilt the container to drain water from worms bin down the sink (I'd recommend a mesh strainer as you start out its easy to have a worm slip into the sink, don't want to loose any!).
When worms are in a small ball with very little water left over them, dump them into the cleaning container with 1/4 water
Wash out the worm's main bin (the inner plastic may feel slimy inside, get that stuff off)
Refill main bin to desired water level (remember they like shallow water, but don't make it so shallow they are sticking up out of the water when they ball up together).
Focus on cleaning container with worms, swirl your finger around the water by them or gently directly in the worm blob, this will make them separate and give you a chance to easy find any dead ones (dead ones will be extremely pale/white and not move back into the worm ball, though live worms may cling to them).
If you see any dead ones remove them, if not, carefully drain the bin then refill and drain one more time(does not need a lot of water).
When most of the water is removed again pour the worms and the remaining water back into their main container.
Put paper bag/towel back in water over top of them (ah dark place). You will have to change out the paper ever few washes (my paper bag strips last 7-14 days), you'll know when by it becoming slimy and/or breaking down as you try to get it out of the water. Just remove it and give them a fresh piece.
Dose Seachem Prime, calculate how much water you have in the bin and do all that math-y good stuff to figure out how much prime to dose to safely bind ammonia.
Put worms someplace cool and dark for main storage (mine stay in the basement usually doesn't get above 68F, I'm bad about putting them somewhere dark though.. might forget them).
Over time you'll notice very thin tiny new worms, (babies yay!) Be mindful of them when doing the water changes/baths so you don't loose them down the drain, they are very tiny and hard to grab without crushing if they get loose into the sink.
Again this is just how I do it, it is not "the only way" find what works for you.

For feeding the puffer you can just pinch some up with your fingers, use tongs/tweezers, or needless syringe. I feed puffers right after the worm bath and fresh dose of prime, so I'm not introducing ammonia heavy water to the puffer tank (even bound, it will just mean more nitrates after the filter BB is done with it).

Btw the worms are kinda fun to handle out of water, like cold live wiggly angel hair pasta on your fingers, get use to them, don't get grossed out or it'll be harder to care for them.

If you buy blackworms from easternaquatics.. they come with leeches, don't freak out! You can get rid of them easily.. the leeches will cling to the container was you drain water and remove worms, so do a few baths when you first get the worms to remove the leeches (they're tiny things, and not really harmful.. but its a leech.. soo yeh out they go). When the leeches are stuck to the side of the empty container either push them off with a finger or use whatever to get them off, try to throw them in the trash (they're aquatic leeches and will dry out) not down the drain. No photos of leech but they're small kinda ovular with pointed tips at 'head' and 'tail', flat, and very pale/white/peach colored, easy to tell apart from live blackworms. I did not have any issue with leeches latching onto me when removing them.
I do not know if other blackworm supplies will come with leeches or not, I'd think most large worm farms have them.

Hope my rambling offers some helpful info, if you have more questions feel free to ask, or post a thread in the fish section (like "What's your dwarf puffer feeding regime?" or "blackworm live culture care?"). There are several other owners and everyone does things differently, and are happy to share their experiences/knowledge.
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:42 PM   #15
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Thank you very much for taking the time to write all that up I will update how my worm culturing is going!
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