Hey everyone, I am having a bit of an overwhelming time trying to "start" planning my tank which I would like to house only a few dwarf puffer fish. I guess my problem comes from the fact that I started with the want of having a planted tank, and started by looking up the different substrates. I have come to the conclusion that I wanted to use Azoo Plant Grower Bed due to the way it looks and its supposed ease of aquascaping. It is supposed to be the same as Aquasoil except for the fact that it doesn't get sprayed with ammonia; so it does buffer the pH of water, just not as much as aquasoil does. I don't want to run eco complete since I guess it is prone to scratching your tank and harder to aquascape.
From what I have read online, sites claim that the dwarf puffer needs a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 (fishlore), 7-7.8 (aquariadise), or 6.8-8.0 (seriouslyfish). A neutral or slightly alkali water seeming to be the agreed upon preferred pH. I know a combination of factors can affect the pH of a tank, but I am wondering if I am over estimating how much of a factor my choice of substrate will be.
Next thing I am having trouble with is choosing the plants. I like the look of Staurogyne repens or Eleocharis parvula when they are used as carpeting plants, but I am also interested in some type of floating plant that wont get too big, meaning root structures don't get crazy long (if I can safely trim these then that's not a very bid deal) and relatively small "diameters" while floating. I have determined that I am not interested in duckweed though. Dwarf puffers seem to require lots of hiding places since they are rather shy, and also territorial, so if you wouldn't mind and could give some recommendations for some plants that would be appropriate for a 17.1 gallon tank I would appreciate it. Drift wood looks nice when done properly but is supposed to decrease the pH of the water as well, and seeing as I already have a substrate which does that I am afraid to utilize it.
So far my current items that I actually own are a Sattelite plus pro 24" light, an aquaclear 20, and an aqeuon 20 gallon tank which is actually going to be switched out for a mr aqua 17.1. I also have an API master test kit and GH/KH test kit on the way. I originally wasn't interested in running CO2, but have since changed my mind on that after reading more about planted tanks
. I do have an in process cart which you are welcome to look at and make recommendations for, you can find that here
Thanks for your help; I just want to be a responsible pet owner and plan accordingly.