10 gallon high-tech puffer tank! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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10 gallon high-tech puffer tank!

First tank journal in quite a while, I'm hoping to keep up with this one a little better!

This is a high-tech pea puffer tank. My male puffer is the only occupant, other than the hapless snails or blackworms that get thrown into the tank. They don't last long - the puffer is a ruthless, heartless killing machine and I love him. UPDATED: Tank now has two Otocinclus as well, puffer doesn't mind them at all.

This tank was previously a high-tech RCS tank, shrimp are gone now. Here is a link to that thread - https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...rimp-tank.html
Many of the same plants are being used

So let's dive in -

Tank - Standard 10 gallon
Light - 20" Finnex Planted+
Substrate - White PFS
Stone - Seiryu
Wood - Malaysian Driftwood
Filter - Eheim 2213 (blue sponge, loads of bio-media, two layers of filter floss, two packets of Purigen)
Heater - Eheim 50W - 79*F
CO2 - In-line diffuser, GLA reg, 5# CO2 tank, aiming for 1 degree pH drop

Current plant list as of 7/26/19 -
Blyxa Japonica (still propagating in another tank)
Micranthemum tweediei 'Monte Carlo'
Nymphaea sp. "Santarem"
Staurogyne sp. "Purple"
Sagittaria subulata
Helanthium tenellum Red
Hydrocotyle tripartita "Japan"
Rotala sp.
Hygrophila pinnatifida
Hygrophila compacta "siamensis"
Hygrophila polysperma
Ranunculus inundatus


Likely to change as I add/remove things in the coming days

I use RODI water and I front load all fertilizers except micros. Micros are dosed 3x/wk
Dosing -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iiL...ew?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZzM...ew?usp=sharing

Some photos of the hardscape -
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Last edited by mgeorges; 07-26-2019 at 07:30 PM. Reason: edit
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update, photo update to come in a few days -

New RODI remineralization recipe, some minor tweaks for the most part -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M0q...ew?usp=sharing

I've reduced lighting period to 5 hours while the tank gets re-established. Was having some algae issues due to too much light, too little plant mass. Dosed some AlgaeFix to deal with the hair algae, worked like a charm. Added 3 Otocinclus last Friday to also assist with algae, 2 adults and 1 juvenile. Puffer doesn't seem to pay any attention the the Oto's at all. Juvenile Oto fell ill yesterday, haven't been able to find him today. Did a water change yesterday, dosed the tank with Prime and Stability to make sure it wasn't the increased bio-load causing ammonia or nitrite poisoning, though both had zero readings. Tank was also dosed with PraziPro with their introduction to ensure no internal parasites, quarantine was skipped otherwise. Shame on me. Puffer is doing well though, and he's my centerpiece fish. I'd like the Oto's to thrive, such fragile fish it seems.

Plants are thriving and filling in very quickly and algae has been greatly reduced overall. Should be able to load some updated pics this weekend. I'll also be updating the plant list here shortly, as there have been some major changes to that.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
Quick update, photo update to come in a few days -

New RODI remineralization recipe, some minor tweaks for the most part -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M0q...ew?usp=sharing

I've reduced lighting period to 5 hours while the tank gets re-established. Was having some algae issues due to too much light, too little plant mass. Dosed some AlgaeFix to deal with the hair algae, worked like a charm. Added 3 Otocinclus last Friday to also assist with algae, 2 adults and 1 juvenile. Puffer doesn't seem to pay any attention the the Oto's at all. Juvenile Oto fell ill yesterday, haven't been able to find him today. Did a water change yesterday, dosed the tank with Prime and Stability to make sure it wasn't the increased bio-load causing ammonia or nitrite poisoning, though both had zero readings. Tank was also dosed with PraziPro with their introduction to ensure no internal parasites, quarantine was skipped otherwise. Shame on me. Puffer is doing well though, and he's my centerpiece fish. I'd like the Oto's to thrive, such fragile fish it seems.

Plants are thriving and filling in very quickly and algae has been greatly reduced overall. Should be able to load some updated pics this weekend. I'll also be updating the plant list here shortly, as there have been some major changes to that.
Look forward to seeing your pics.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 12:17 AM
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I’ve noticed otos are really sensitive to too much co2 fyi, might be the case. I also have a dwarf puffer as a centerpiece fish in my tank with a bunch of rasboras and shrimps. Love the puffers personality. Looking forward to the updates.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Ok guys, sorry for the delayed update.
I've made some more changes to my RODI remineralization, you can find that here - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G6D...ew?usp=sharing

I leaned out NO3 and PO4 levels, all ferts are front loaded except micros, those are dosed 3x/wk. I've also increased photo period by and hour, I believe it's now at 6 hours.

Planning on further plant changes in this tank, as I'm not currently very pleased. I think a bush of pearl weed in the back left corner would look nice instead of the Hygrophila compacta "Siamensis" and H. polysperma that are currently there. I'll probably leave the Hygrophila "Siamensis" to the right of the Rotala and Lud, Lud may not be staying and I doubt polysperma will stay, good fast growing stem though for the moment. The low, bare spot in the back right corner will be filled with Blyxa that I'm currently propagating in another tank, entire front area should be filled with Monte Carlo except for in front of the rock on the right, that will be a Hydrocotyle tripartita bush. There's also quite a bit of Helanthium mixed in that will add some grassy feature into the Monte Carlo. I'm aggressively propagating the Rotala at the moment, want that to form a nice bush behind the wood. It's growing very quickly in this tank with the abundant light and nutrients. Still waiting on the Staurogyne "Purple" to acclimate and start growing, it's struggling at the moment.

Here's some photos of where we're currently at, again, a lot will be changing as it fills in more -
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Just 5 days since my last update and the Monte Carlo has really started to take off. I think it, as well as some of the other plants, approved of me leaning out the macros. The Ranunculus inundatus has gone gangbusters, the Hydrocotyle is really starting to creep, and all of the Hygrophila sp.'s are doing very well. I've never had much success for some reason with Helanthium tenellum for some reason, until this tank. I thought it stayed very short and small like DHG, but now I'm getting beautiful red blades that are several inches long. I'm almost thinking it's going to be too tall of a plant for what I had intended. I simply wanted a little bit of a grassy appearance to blend in with the Monte Carlo, but having played with DHG for a while, I don't trust it to not take over. Maybe after the MC is well established, I'll put some DHG plugs randomly in it. The only plant still not doing well for some reason is the Staurogyne "Purple". I've got plenty of it propagating in my 29 gallon - which runs the same RODI remineralization, macro front loading, and micros - but it does not seem to want to take off in the 10 gallon. The roots and stems seem alright, but the old leaves seem to slowly die off and new leaves all stunt and wither. Ca is my only thought, as the Seiryu stone certainly has a significant impact on KH, haven't checked GH but I know the rocks contain calcium. 29 has Seiryu, but it takes up far less volume...dunno. It's the only plant currently struggling, I may give up on it in this tank if things don't turn around soon.

I've come to the realization and acceptance that this is going to be a very high maintenance tank. Between the MC, the R. inundatus, the H. tripartita, the H. polysperma and the Rotala sp., I'm going to be having to do a lot of trimming on a regular basis. The H. poly seems to average an inch of growth per day and it likes to spread sideways. I think I've already said it, but that plant may not be staying. I still like the idea of Pearl Weed in the back left corner, but if you've ever worked with Pearl Weed in a high tech tank, you know how insanely fast that stuff grows and spreads. Decisions, decisions...

Puffer and two Oto's are doing great! Nothing new to report on the fish. I've got some Amano shrimp arriving tomorrow for my 29 gallon tank, I'm tempted to add the largest I can find to my puffer tank and see if he'll tolerate it. I've read where people have had success with this, I figure add it and watch very closely. If the puffer is going to try and kill it, the attempt should come within seconds/minutes of the shrimp being added. He locks on very quickly when it's feeding time, nothing survives for long lol.

I should be able to get some more photos up this weekend, try to get some good pics of the puffer himself! Thanks for watching! Take care
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:49 PM
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Nice looking tank. I always hated hygro polysperma. I had hygro polysperma sunset for a bit and it grew way to fast. also when I finally decided to take it out it kept coming back out of nowhere. Seems if you leave even a single root it somehow sprouts back to life.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 09:16 PM
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Beautiful tank. I love puffers! Why just one? You could easily have more in a tank that size, no? Or do they fight amongst themselves to much?

Can I ask why you're going the RODI/remineralization route? Is your water crazy hard or something? Puffers are supposed to prefer hard water, and otos seem to acclimate it to okay (mine have)

Will be interested see how your battle with H. polysperma goes. I've got some in my newly set up tank--am counting on it to outcompete the algae outbreak I've got going on.....
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for delayed responses, I've subbed to my own thread now so I know when people are commenting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwarsfan View Post
Nice looking tank. I always hated hygro polysperma. I had hygro polysperma sunset for a bit and it grew way to fast. also when I finally decided to take it out it kept coming back out of nowhere. Seems if you leave even a single root it somehow sprouts back to life.
It does grow very quickly, which was the purpose of it being in there for initial setup - nutrient sponge! I trim back growth about every other week, sometimes weekly if necessary, to try to keep it more compact. The polysperma has grown on me, though, and will likely be staying. With the right lighting, new growth turns a beautiful reddish orange, so maybe I have the 'Rosanervig'(aka sunset) variety? In fact, I just did a quick Google search and in reading on 'Rosanervig', I think that's exactly what I have - white veins and the coloration I mentioned. Neat! As to how prolific it is - that's why it's on the USDA invasive plants ban list! A plant can sprout from a leaf fragment, and as you've observed, possibly even root strands left in the substrate! It's ease of "reproduction" is why it's such a threat to waterways, can easily choke them. All my clippings get dumped in the yard for that very reason. Don't want to risk dumping a leaf frag down a drain and have it end up in a waterway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
Beautiful tank. I love puffers! Why just one? You could easily have more in a tank that size, no? Or do they fight amongst themselves to much?

Can I ask why you're going the RODI/remineralization route? Is your water crazy hard or something? Puffers are supposed to prefer hard water, and otos seem to acclimate it to okay (mine have)

Will be interested see how your battle with H. polysperma goes. I've got some in my newly set up tank--am counting on it to outcompete the algae outbreak I've got going on.....
Just one because I didn't want to deal with potential aggression, they need sight breaks and I can only do so much in a 10 gallon. I also wanted to add other livestock and puffers add quite a bio-load...very messy eaters!
As to the RODI - When I started in the hobby, my water was quite hard and my KH was very high, but has improved a lot over the years. I stick with RODI for a few reasons - Plants and many of the fish we keep prefer softer water with a lower KH. Also, it eliminates guess work - I know exactly what's going into my tank each and every time, whereas tap can vary quite a bit seasonally for most people, and since it's coming from the Kansas River in my case, there's definitely some fluctuations. I also keep shrimp in all my planted tanks, as well as three dedicated Neo tanks, and don't wish to have parameter fluctuations in the tap that might kill them.
So far, H. polysperma has been great. I'll likely be keeping it in the tank.


As to updates on my tank, I apologize for the lack thereof. The tank has not been doing very well overall and I think there's a few reasons that are compounding the issue -
1. The Seiryu stone leaches...a LOT. My TDS climbs pretty significantly throughout the week as Calcium carbonate leaches from the rocks trying to counteract the acid pH of the water. I cannot fix this without a) removing the rock completely, or b) removing the rock, sealing it with a clear epoxy and then placing it back in the tank after curing. But who's to say how long the epoxy will last? Months? Years? ...?

2. The SBReefBox light is a bad idea, at least without being suspended higher above the tank, which I don't want to do since it's in the living room and that would cause unpleasant light spillover, and it probably needs a diffuser. It's also just a ton of wattage, even at a low setting. With it not being higher above the tank, perhaps the colors aren't properly blending because I get spots of wonderful growth and then dead spots.

3. The wood in there, though beautiful and I love it, is several years old and decomposing a bit, adding carbohydrates and feeding algae. I'm dealing with a LOT of BBA, and I'm not very pleased.

First thing I'm trying to fix the situation - light change. I've swapped the SBReefBox for my old Finnex Planted+. I've always been pleased with that light and it's been sitting on a snail and California black worm breeding tank(read: puffer food tank!) for a while now, so I thought let's give that a try. I'm also dosing Excel and upped CO2 a bit. During my next water change, I will spot treat with an Excel+H2O2 mix sprayed onto the affected areas. Hopefully my Amano is still alive and will clean up the dead algae quickly, and the Oto's will do some work too on dying/dead BBA. Neither Amano or Oto touch healthy BBA, but I've seen both chow down after it has been nuked. Due to the sheer amount of BBA, many water changes will be required after treatment. It's bad...but I like to share the struggles too. It's not all rainbows and unicorns, lol.

Plants that have struggled most - Staurogyne sp. "Purple", Nymphaea sp. "Santarem", and the Monte Carlo. The MC carpet has leaf melt, but stem stays healthy so new growth should fill in quickly after I get things figured out. The Staurogyne "Purple", however, completely melts. Over, and over, and over again. I have a bunch of it growing wonderfully in my 29 gallon, so occasionally I transfer some over, and it'll establish roots, but never flourish or put out healthy new growth, and eventually melt. As for the Nymphaea, there's just a leafless bulb sitting on the substrate, refusing to put out new growth. The bulb is still firm, and I've had dormant bulbs go MONTHS without putting out new growth, so I'm not too worried. I haven't even tried to add Blyxa yet, as the melt from the other plants tells me it won't survive. I've dealt with a lot of Blyxa melt, unfortunately, and if other things are melting, so too will it.

I updated my RODI remineralization chart a few weeks ago. Here's a link if you'd like to have a look. Lowered NO3 and upped PO4. I'll likely up K a little bit here shortly as well, as I'm likely pushing the low side, but plants in my 29 gallon running this same recipe seem quite happy -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oPA...ew?usp=sharing
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