Planted 30 Long Spotted Congo Puffer Tank - Journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Planted 30 Long Spotted Congo Puffer Tank - Journal

Hi All,



About 2 years ago I had a spotted congo puffer in a lightly planted 75 gallon tank and it was awesome. I loved that tank and the puffer, unfortunatly I had to move and tear down the tank and sell my puffer. Once again I have my own place and I'm able to setup a small tank, luckily Spotted Congo Puffers don't need a huge tank, so I got the largest tank I could get to fit the space I have, a 30 gallon long. 36"w x 12"d x 18"t. Great dimensions! Usually I hate to use a 12" deep tank, but this tank is in somewhat of a walkway and I couldn't have it stick out too far away from the wall. I had to special order the tank from my LFS, got it for $90 with a lid, not a bad deal.



Anyway, this will be my journal, come along and see what goes wrong!



For those of you interested, this was my previous 75 gallon spotted congo puffer tank







Here is the new 30 long, I just put the gravel in it today and filled it up, so its pretty cloudy, give it a couple days and it will clear right up





For gravel, I use this patio/paver base from homedepot. its $4/bag and I really like its natural look. Its DIRTY so it takes a lot of rinsing, its about a 2:1 ratio after rinsing. I have used it before and it does not effect the water chemistry. Its cheap, looks good.









For a light, I used this from ebay, its cheap, thin, looks good but has crap light output, plus its way too blue for my taste. I suppose it would do for just lighting a tank, but it wouldn't grow anything. That's alright tho, I never intended on using the LEDs it came with.





I took all the LEDs out and replaced them with these strip lights. They are a nice cool white at 5700K and have a 95% CRI (color rendition index) rating. These are VERY high quality LEDs and you can see that reflected in the price. They make colors pop and have a full spectrum of light which is great for growing plants.





I was able to get two strips of lights in this housing. These really aren't like any other LED strips you've probably used before. The adhesive backing is VERY sticky and I'm confidant they will never come unstuck. I think I would have a hard time getting them off even if I wanted to. I wired them up to a regular ol' 12v power supply you probably have laying around.





They were too bright, giving me around 70 par at a full 12 volts. That's enough to grow the most demanding plants and CO2 would be required to prevent any algae from growing, so I needed to dim them down to around 40 par, which is more than enough for the anubias and java fern I will be using in this tank. So I got this PWM dimmer which lets me really control the output of the light.





For a filter, I just used a Sunsun 304 canister filter. It does 264gph, I chalked it full of golf ball size java rock as bio media and it came with a bunch of mechanical filtration.





The tank is in my front room and while Sunsun filters are pretty quiet, it still gave off an audible hum that I wanted to get rid of. Nothing a couple of towels and heavy blanket cant fix. Makes it completely inaudible.



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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 10:22 AM
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What did you mix with the paver base?

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Didn't mix anything, what I meant by 2:1 ratio after rinsing was you're left with half of the amount after rinsing the gravel. If you put 10lbs of dirt in the bucket, you'll be left with 5lbs of usable clean(er) gravel to go into the tank.


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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone,



I got the hardscape in yesterday and let it clear up over night. still a bit cloudy, but it looks better in person. Still i figured its cleared up enough to show you the hardscape.



I went to my local building supply yard and got black lava rock. Building supply yards are great because I got these rocks for $0.22/lb. I wouldn't find it too hard to believe that a LFS would sell them for $3/lb.



Anyway, here are the pics. I am cycling the tank now and will probably get my first few fish today. I have already purchased the Spotted Congo Puffer from Wes, he is holding it for me until the tank is balanced and cycled. Next step is to get about as much anubias as I can get my hands on.



I went with a FLOWR (Fish Only With Live Rock) style scape. These are super popular in the marine side, they are a very efficient design, offering swimming space around the entire structure, lots of cracks and shelves to put plants (usually corals) and they make it easy to keep the tank and substrate clean as there is actually very little hardscape touching the substrate, allowing you to vacuum very effectively. Spotted Congo Puffers are messy eaters and its important that I will be able to get to any places that uneaten food and waste accumulate, and I think this design will best allow that.



Scrolling through google images, this is the tank that I kind based my design on





















here is kind of a rough rendering of what it will look like with plants. The plan is to pretty much shove a Anubias plant in any crack that I can find.



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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:40 PM
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Very nice. That substrate is so natural looking. I really like the look of it.
I cant see the content materials- Ill have to look at it online.

The addition of anubias (and maybe moss?) on the lava rock will make the design look much less "stylized." But, that is my own preference.

I like your concept, the substrate is fantastic looking, and am looking forward to watching this tank fill out.
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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 pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:35 PM
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Love it! My girlfriend wants a puffer tank also! Definitely will be watching! Also is your water going to be brackish? I assume brackish or full salt?


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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:42 PM
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Not OP but Congo puffers are true freshwater fish and don't require the addition of salt.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Not OP but Congo puffers are true freshwater fish and don't require the addition of salt.
Thank you for chiming in, you are correct. However, for posterity, I will be keeping a Spotted Congo Puffer, not a Congo Puffer. These two can easily be confused but they are different species

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Originally Posted by Yaboihunt View Post
Love it! My girlfriend wants a puffer tank also! Definitely will be watching! Also is your water going to be brackish? I assume brackish or full salt?


YaBoiHunt
Hi! Puffers are awesome! The Spotted Congo Puffer " Tetraodon Schoutedeni " is a full freshwater puffer. They are also one of the only puffers that aren't super aggresive and can be kept in a community tank. With that said, they are a puffer and if it decides something is his next meal, there isn't much you can do to stop him. With that in mind you must be willing to loose anything that is in the tank with one. They can also be kept together which is kinda rare for puffers, but they are hefty at around $200/ea

Here is a couple pics of my first Spotted Congo Puffer.




Here we can see him eating frozen blood worms right next to a crystal red shrimp, typically a much more attractive meal to a puffer, but living side by side.


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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:52 PM
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Would have never dreamed that last picture would be possible! I ordered 5 of those for a customer many years back. No wholesalers ever had them in except once in a blue moon Seagrest Farms would get a batch. I'm sure they were $200 each back then as well, only remember because it was my only $1000 day in freshwater fish sales! My rep at Seagrest said that these may be the rarest freshwater fish in the hobby (at the time, was probably over 10 years ago).

Edit, it was the spotted Congo, schoutedeni. Spaced and forgot there was one called a Congo puffer as well.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Would have never dreamed that last picture would be possible! I ordered 5 of those for a customer many years back. No wholesalers ever had them in except once in a blue moon Seagrest Farms would get a batch. I'm sure they were $200 each back then as well, only remember because it was my only $1000 day in freshwater fish sales! My rep at Seagrest said that these may be the rarest freshwater fish in the hobby (at the time, was probably over 10 years ago).

Yep! They are pretty rare! Their demand far out weighs their supply. I have an importer local to me and I already paid for mine, he is holding it for me while my tank cycles and gets balanced.

They come from an area that has been war torn for the last 20 years, making it far too dangerous to export them from the wild, and no one knew how to breed them so they were pretty much unavailable to the hobby. In the last couple year the area has calmed down and exporters are able to get in there. There also have been a few people, I have read of 3 that are able to breed them in captivity.

They are an awesome fish and worth every penny, in my opinion.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:56 PM
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AWH ITS SO CUUUUUTE! THANKS FOR SHARING THE INFO! And sheew! Thatís a pretty penny for one puffer! About what size are they when purchased and how big are they at adult size?


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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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AWH ITS SO CUUUUUTE! THANKS FOR SHARING THE INFO! And sheew! Thatís a pretty penny for one puffer! About what size are they when purchased and how big are they at adult size?


YaBoiHunt
They are purchased around 3" and get around 4.5" pretty small. I would say anything larger than a 29 gallon and they are happy! A 40 breeder would be perfect. I kept my last one in a 20 Long while I switched my 75 gallon over from a high tech tank to a low tech tank in preparation for him. He didn't seem to mind being int he 20 long. a 75 gallon is WAY too big for just one of these guys, totally not necessary but he was super happy. I was afraid I would never see him in the 75, but that just wasn't the case. As soon as you walk up, boom they dart out from where ever they are and greet you, like a little puppy.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:30 PM
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Great scape Sean W.!!
Generous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaboihunt View Post
Love it! My girlfriend wants a puffer tank also! Definitely will be watching! Also is your water going to be brackish? I assume brackish or full salt?


YaBoiHunt
These are all straight outright freshwater.

There are so many more.
I had to do some solid searching to hone in on what kind of a tank size and personality a few had.

Schoutedeni are very nice. Community.
Cutcutia are super friendly too. No more than 3.5" to 4. Neat head shape. Great eaters.
Palustris puffer. Still in the 4 inch range. Very pretty.
Palembangensis, Super pretty with large eyes. 6-7inch. Lurker. rare find for personality, but they do exist.
Turgidus. 5-6inch. Super eaters. I may have a male and female I suspect.
Target Puffer (Pao leiurus). Fastest puffer I came across. Great eaters. Longer snout than most faces.
Pea puffers. Super way to start learning about puffers and behavior. 5-6 work great with lots of plants or driftwood to "break-up-sight-lines". Live blackworms are a favorite staple food.
1-2 will generally set up a bad match for a dominant vs. submissive tank.
Get ready for a 2nd tank just for snails! They love them, and almost certainly belong in the food rotation. Teeth grow at different rates for different species.
There are 2 puffer places these days for info (threads). One has the name puffer and the other one is for large monster-like fish.

Enjoy your journey.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:39 PM
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Can't agree more on snail tank or two as well as a backup tank for peas. Those are probably a top 10 freshwater fish I've ever kept for behavior and interest. But wow did I have to move some around once they grew up. I'd always kept babies for sale and had a whole different idea of their personalities before mine reached maturity and I started getting some back as trade-ins. Always wanted to try both schoutedini as well as humback/dragon puffers. Wish I had done so when still ordering fish wholesale.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:58 PM
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I used to have a puffer in a saltwater tank which I took over when a buddy moved. I could pet it, it would eat shrimp out of my hand, and it would squirt water to knock shrimp out of my fingers above the tank. Best puppy ever!
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