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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I set up a low tech dirted tank about a year ago and after a long time of frequent water changes and algae scraping the plants FINALLY took off. Everything looked great, but I couldn't leave well enough alone. A couple of small spots of black beard algae showed up on the manzanita wood and I read online that peroxide was safe and would kill it. Well.. It killed half of my plants and severely set back the rest. I had to start all over again. Now that everything is trying to regrow I am noticing bite marks in my plants! I haven't added any new critters to the aquarium. Whatever it is, it demolished my downoi. I purchased three plants online and three had turned into a sizable clump of beautiful plants. Now I have ZERO.

In the tank there are Malaysian trumpet snails (regret, but can't get rid of), ottos, one nerite snail, an Amazon puffer, three pea puffers, and two small half beaks (celebese, I believe).

All of the current tenants have been there from the beginning and I never noticed the munching before. Even my tiger lotus which was formerly huge can't get going again. Whatever is treating the tank like a salad bar is eating the stems before the leaves have a chance to get going.


Help!!
 

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That does look more like bites, not scrapes. The Puffers can bite, but I don't know if they bite plants. Snails are their usual target.
Halfbeaks are also more carnivorous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dwarf sag
Jungle Val
Duckweed
Red tiger lotus
Various anubias

These are the only remaining plants.

I had a bunch of downoi but it was all eaten.

The downoi was the first plant targeted and whatever is doing the eating ate all of the leaves until the poor things were just stems!

I've checked the tank at night and there are definitely trumpet snails on everything including the plants but I've always heard that they don't eat live plants. Also, I've had them for the entire life of the tank and have never had issues before.

I've never seen the puffers show any interest in the plants. Of course, I'm not watching them at all times.
 

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I can't tell the scale ratio size of the plant and bite marks, but since you are there, do the bite marks match the size of the amazon or the pea puffers beaks/teeth?

Though puffers are normally carnivorous, the bite marks do look like puffer bites rather than any of the other tankmates (even if the plants were decaying).
Maybe the algae, melting plants, or just the plants in general had aufwuchs that the puffers were trying to get to. Are they underfed making them hungry enough to desperately try and eat whatever? Or are they overfed that their internals are backed up and they are trying to get some roughage in their digestive system to help clear it out?
If the latter, maybe you can try feeding blanched, mushed deshelled peas (might not even have to really mush them for the puffers), this normally is a good roughage, and a decent food every so often (though I don't think puffer need vegetable matter really), so that way they get the roughage from the peas rather than having to munch on plants.

According to this site The Puffer Forum ? Colomesus asellus
it says Amazon puffers may damage plants in the process of hunting snails. Doesn't really say they eat plants though.

Usually fish that normally don't eat plants, but oddly end up doing so, is due to a insufficient diet. (whether not enough amount, or just lacking a certain nutrient within the feed). But some fish and inverts that don't normally eat healthy plants, will feast on decaying plants. I don't believe they are eating the plant matter, more so the microorganisms that grow on the decaying matter.

You said you had three large clumps of plants, but now zero. Did those plants mainly die from unsatisfactory conditions (algae, light, ferts, co2, etc), hydrogen peroxide or were they full eaten?


On a side note, I'm a fan of puffers. Just wanted to hear your experiences with them. Was just curious how your pea puffers get along with the Amazon puffer. How do the pea puffs get along with each other? What size tank? Heavily planted? I hear Amazon puffers' beak grow very fast, how often do you trim it down? If you don't trim it, maybe the amazon puffers' beak is too long and it's munching on plants and/or other items out of irritation (painful or uncomfortable) or a means to dull/grind the beak down?
 

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Hello all! I set up a low tech dirted tank about a year ago and after a long time of frequent water changes and algae scraping the plants FINALLY took off. Everything looked great, but I couldn't leave well enough alone. A couple of small spots of black beard algae showed up on the manzanita wood and I read online that peroxide was safe and would kill it. Well.. It killed half of my plants and severely set back the rest. I had to start all over again. Now that everything is trying to regrow I am noticing bite marks in my plants! I haven't added any new critters to the aquarium. Whatever it is, it demolished my downoi. I purchased three plants online and three had turned into a sizable clump of beautiful plants. Now I have ZERO.

In the tank there are Malaysian trumpet snails (regret, but can't get rid of), ottos, one nerite snail, an Amazon puffer, three pea puffers, and two small half beaks (celebese, I believe).

All of the current tenants have been there from the beginning and I never noticed the munching before. Even my tiger lotus which was formerly huge can't get going again. Whatever is treating the tank like a salad bar is eating the stems before the leaves have a chance to get going.


Help!!
get some spinach and zucchini and drop a little bit in the tank, hopefully the perpetrator will leave the plants alone and eat some vegies instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the helpful replies!

The pea puffers and Amazon puffers don't mind one another at all. I currently have three pea puffers and I've noticed that as long as they have enough places to hide they won't give each other any guff. I've also noticed that when stressed (during water changes) they will school together. It's adorable.

The Amazon puffer is beautiful but I wish that I'd read up on them before purchasing. I am a perfect example of a novice taking advice from pet shop employees and jumping into fish keeping prematurely. The poor little things just try to escape NONSSTOP. First of all, it is my understanding that they're all wild caught which saddens me. Also, in the wild they are constantly traveling. I can't imagine how you'd possibly provide the proper environment for a little fish that wants to travel :(.

Currently my tank is only a 20H. Lightly planted (bc I killed most of my plants with peroxide). It WAS heavily planted before that. I have my eye on a beautiful 125 gallon aquarium at the local petstore. As soon as we finish our basement I'll be setting that up. Hopefully then the Amazon can swim to its hearts desire. Maybe then his behavior will change and I will change my mind about him.. As it stands he's very flighty and not interactive at all (other than trying his hardest to flee from me). I guess, as with any animal, each one is different. Maybe I just got a shy one. Honestly, if I could go back, I would have never bought him. I refuse to return him bc I fear what his fate will be. I am absolutely in love with the pea puffers though. I'd like a huge tank full of the little beauties LOL.


As far as trimming the amazon's teeth goes... He's definitely due. I've never done it before but I purchased all of the necessary tools. I have a couple of containers, clippers, clove oil, and two air stones (one for each container). there is a YouTube video explaining how to trim their teeth and I will be trying that method. I'll let you know how it goes.

The downoi was thriving (tons of babies coming from the base of each plant) and then the bite marks began to appear. Slowly, they were eaten until their sad little stumps were all that were left.

I don't think my puffers are underfed.. I feed them everyday until their little bellies are filled out. If anyone has advice for me here, please let me know. I will certainly offer them a pea, but I doubt they'll take it. They're pretty particular in my experience. They only like frozen-thawed bloodworms, live pond snails, and frozen-thawed brine shrimp.

If I forgot to respond to anything I apologize. I'll re read the responses and add on.
 

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Ive never owned puffers so I will throw that caveat out there. I was reading about amazon puffers on seriously fish and I found this interesting and may explain your amazon puffer's nervousness:
This species naturally forms loose aggregations and can behave nervously in the absence of conspecifics. Ideally a group of 6 or more should be purchased.
 

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Yeah, that's what I've heard as well, though I've heard of them being in groups of at least 3 or 4. But yeah, a 20 gallon tall is too small for more. Amazon puffers are nicknamed the nice/peaceful puffer, and this species is social.

This has got me really interested again in puffers (though I was starting to consider larger puffers). I didn't recall them being said to eat plants, so I looked it up again
Amazon Puffer, South American Puffer Fish, Bee Puffer, Asell's Puffer, Brazilian Puffer Colomesus asellus
The Nice Puffer: Colomesus asellus, the South American Puffer
According to those, they do/may eat certain plant species. Haven't seen many people report issues with plants, but good to know.

Normally fish attempt to escape for stress reasons, usually from water conditions or tankmates, but this puffer species is pretty adaptable and hardy for a puffer.
This site notes them pacing around the tank if they don't have enough flow (didn't remember this either, you would think puffers wouldn't be great swimmers to swim against strong currents) or areas to explore. Also noting too small of a tank may be an issue.
The Puffer Forum ? Colomesus asellus

I found another site that stated the opposite of the above quote (sorry can't remember which article). It did say they should be in groups of at least 3-4, but it was said they don't seem to become timid when kept alone like most schooling fish (social). I don't know which is more true. I've seen videos of them kept alone and they were actively pacing the tank walls, they weren't exactly skittish, so maybe they are just meant to be super active, constantly roaming around exploring areas. But for the OP's case, since it is rather skittish/nervous it does indicate it is a bit scared/stressed, though the reason could be a number of things.

Make sure to keep a good lid on! Hope he will make it to see the 125 gallon! And hopefully more Amazon puffer buddies!
 

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Could maybe be the puffer's are damaging the leaves at same time they are snatching off trumpet snail's who are much more active after dark.
Snail's travel up and down the length of the plant much more during darkness than light's on.
Only speculating.
 

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Here is another speculation and as before a caveat that I have never owned these puffers. According to seriously fish their diet keeps their teeth ground down. Could this be the amazon attempting to file its teeth down because they are bothering it, the op did say they are getting long? Just an idea and a guess. Another thought I had is according to seriously fish in the wild their diet is what keeps the teeth growth in check and they recommend shelled crustaceans and snails as the means to do so, they also mentioned crab legs. Would the hard shell of shrimp do so? Maybe the op can start a shrimp colony if that is the case and let the teeth be filed down naturally which would be less stressful for a fish that sounds to possibly be under stress already.
 
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