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FAQs on Cycling Brackish Systems

Related Articles: Brackish Components, Brackish Water System Set-up

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Cycling BR sys.     2/8/14
Thanks for the reply!
Now the second problem is filter.
The filter I've been using for the 20 gallon is just a small external hanging filter. For some reason, it took forever to convert a bit of ammonia into nitrate.
<Sometimes happens>
Is it because there wasn't enough area of the filter sponge for the bacteria to grow on?
<Perhaps a factor... there are others>
 I cut up a small rectangular piece to fit into it. Or could it be that the cycle wasn't done properly in the first place?
Should I get two external hanging filters or a single pump the can be submerged for my 30 gallon?
<More would be better... Please search/read on WWM re BR cycling:
Thank you, June.
<Welcome. BobF>

Cycling necessary even with remover?     12/18/13
Dear Crew,
I was recently given a 3 inch Green Spotted Puffer by a friend who had to leave the country in a hurry.
<Sounds dramatic!>
It is currently in a 7 gallon tank at sg of 1.006.
<Too small for this species... plan on an aquarium 8-10 times bigger than this.>
Since he gave the poor puffer to me without prior notice, I did not have the time to cycle my tank.
The little guy seems all fine.
<Likely so. Brackish water to some degree reduces the toxicity of nitrite, which will benefit the fish. Nonetheless, reducing food input, and doing frequent water changes, will be crucial. Use an ammonia (and preferably a nitrite) test kit regularly, and if ammonia is above 0.5 mg/l, do a water change and stop feeding until ammonia goes below that level. Likewise nitrite should not exceed 1.0 mg/l. You want zero levels for both.>
I have the porous ring-shaped ammonia/nitrate/nitrite remover in my hanging filter.
<No simple device invented by science will remove ammonia, nitrite and nitrate quickly enough to keep an aquarium clean -- except a mature biological filter, and even that doesn't remove nitrate! So this "ring thing" is probably a gimmick. Zeolite will remove ammonia (but not nitrite or nitrate) and can be useful -- but needs replacing very regularly. It's not really cost effective. Better to understand cycling, and work around it. Your aquarium will cycle in 6 weeks, and if you do it properly, there's a good chance your Pufferfish will be fine. That said, I wouldn't cycle a 7-gallon tank with a Pufferfish! Too risky.>
If the remover is changed monthly as recommended, is there a need for cycling?
<Cycling is essential and will happen in any aquarium with a decent biological filter installed.>
I do not have another tank to cycle that much water:(
<You don't cycle water; you cycle the biological media (sponges) inside the filter.>
Thank you in advance for your response, Sam.
<Welcome, Neale.>

plants and cycling  1/27/11
Hello Neale,
Me again...
My 55 gal brackish tank has been cycling for about 7 weeks now. Still no ammonia spike.
<Probably because the plants are using the ammonia directly. After 7 weeks it should be perfectly well cycled. I'd start adding fish.>
I know that's not entirely unusual as it could take months to spike but when I set up the tank I used about 10.- 12 cups of substrate from an established tank to boost the beneficial bacteria and help along. I also used part of the filter media from the same established tank and I added 5 mollies. I was going to do a fishless cycle but I decided against it seeing as my 10 gal was getting overstocked with the fry and so I had to move some fish anyways.
So my first question is, is it possible that I added enough bacteria that the ammonia may never spike
or have I simply delayed the cycling process by doing that.
Secondly, I want to strip down the 10 gal and use it's filter in the 50 gal as well as the filter I'm already using. Then I'll have more water movement as well as filtration. Both tanks have the same water parameters and I switch fry/fish back and forth between them pretty regularly they're like the same tank. The 10 gal filter is cycled and established, it's for a 10-20 gal tank. I'm not sure how many gallons it turns an hour. So my question is if I switched this over now and put all my fish into the one tank (50 gal) would this keep the ammonia from ever spiking?
<No, you should be fine.>
As if it was always an established tank. Or would this not to be a good thing to do? Should I wait?
<If you move live filter media, or a mature filter, from one aquarium to another, the new aquarium should cycle "instantly" assuming the bacteria aren't killed off somehow (e.g., by exposure to radically different water chemistry).>
Also, I ordered a few plants off eBay, java fern, java moss and a small Anubias plant. Should I add these to the 50 gal?
<Sure. All these should do well in brackish, provided the salinity is fairly low, I'd say 3-5 grammes/litre if all you're after is Mollies and other low-end species. That's about SG 1.002-1.003 at 25 C/77 F.>
Or should I leave them floating in the 10 gal until the 50gal spikes and then set it up?
<No, don't think it's necessary. It doesn't really matter whether ammonia goes into plants or through a biological filter -- just so long as the ammonia goes away! There are in fact "vegetable filters" that rely 100% on plants using up ammonia. They can work extremely well.>
So many options! I'm just not sure what to do...
Thanks for any input
<Hope this helps Jessica. Cheers, Neale.>

SG flux GSP tank  9/21/09
Good evening crew. I have a GSP tank that I normally keep at SG of 1.013 for well over a year now. After my last water change, I don't know if I was distracted or what, but I added a bit too much salt to the make up water and now I have a reading of 1.015 in the main tank. How bad is this going to be for the biological filter and should I do a partial water change of fresh to remedy this ASAP? The fish seem unaffected, but from what I have read you are supposed to do any increases very gradual and that even .002 jump should be over a week or so. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Hello Keith. It's very unlikely you've done any serious harm. Filter bacteria adapt to fairly big changes in salinity. Your fish, being brackish water fish, couldn't care less. In fact adult GSPs do perfectly well from
1.005 to 1.025. So if everyone seems happy, and there's no nitrite or ammonia in the system, you needn't worry. Cheers, Neale.>

A question about cycling a brackish water tank 07/07/08 HI, my name is Steven and I've been keeping fish for about 6 years now (I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank that's fully cycled and has one 10" Pleco, a female better, a Chinese hill stream loach, and a couple mollies I wish to get rid of) and am currently setting up a 10 gallon brackish tank for a single figure eight puffer. <Plans for that Pleco? Definitely needs a larger home...> I have the tank set up, have a filter for a 20 gallon tank set up with it, a heater, an air pump to aerate the water, and the salt already added. I've had the tank running for about 4 days now with no fish in it as I know the tank must cycle before adding any fish to it (none the less a mess eater such as a puffer). I've done a large amount of research regarding figure eights as to make sure I can provide the best home possible for the little guy but I have one question I can't seem to find the answer for, I was considering taking the bio wheel from my fresh water tank (Marineland emperor power filter) and dipping it into the brackish tank. I heard this would work to start the cycling process for another freshwater tank but I can't seem to find anything about doing the same for a brackish water tank. The SG in the brackish tank is low (I don't have a hydrometer that will read low enough but it 1 table spoon per gallon) and I was wondering if the bacteria from my fresh water tank will be able to take hold in the brackish tank if I take the bio wheel and swirl it around the brackish tank for a little while. Any help on finding the answer for this question will be much appreciated. Even if the answer is no it'll help me greatly as to what to do (I don't want to swirl the bio wheel in the brackish tank if the salt will kill the bacteria and make me have to re cycle my freshwater tank as well). Thank you for taking the time to look over my question. <Steve, there are a couple options from the start; if you add bacteria to freshwater and let it cycle, then very very slowly bring the salinity up over the course of several weeks the bacteria will adapt. If you've already made the tank brackish then you should just wait for bacteria from the air to colonize the aquarium and cycle it. Since you don't have another brackish tank to seed from, there really isn't a way to speed up the process- just follow basic fishless cycling procedure and you should be fine- to clarify, I would not expose your old filter to salted water, as this could damage your other aquarium's established cycling.> Steve <Benjamin>

Green Spotted Puffer Mom Seeks Answers on Tank Size/Cycling  3/2/08 Hey guys, me again. <Hey, Micah> So, I'm utterly baffled. I was keeping my two juvenile (under 2") green spotted puffers in a 10 gallon tank. I tried to instant-cycle the tank with Bio-Spira but I think I messed it up by pouring it directly into the tank instead of into the filter. <If kept properly refrigerated from it's manufacturing to your tank, either way should work. The problem is, I've seen some shops keeping it out on their shelf & even at some warehouses, leaving it out in cases for weeks, unrefrigerated. Unfortunately, I am hearing of more & more cases of Bio-Spira not working & I blame it on that.> As such, the levels in the tank are higher than I'd like to be but I do daily 20% water changes to keep the levels down while I wait for the aquarium to finish cycling. <20% may not be enough in an overstocked/uncycled system. Please post exact, most recent ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH, whenever posting a question about this.> While the tank is freshwater, I have 1/2 tsp of freshwater aquarium salt for every gallon in there. <I would not suggest adding any salt at all, until the tank is totally cycled & parameters steady, for at least a week. Then you may use marine salt to raise the specific gravity, no more than .002/week. Less is fine too. You need to measure it with a hydrometer or refractometer.> The puffers are the only ones in the tank obviously and I thought that one was harassing the other (the slightly smaller one harassing the slightly larger one). <Very possible with puffers in too small a tank & not enough décor, blocking their lines of sight.> Nothing too intense but I did notice what looked like a nip on the end of his tail. The two puffers were very different in color--one the bright green with black spots and white belly that I see in all the online pictures (though he does have the beginnings of dark grey stress lines at the sides of his mouth) and the other so dark green that he was almost brown, though his belly was still a nice white. I thought maybe it was best to separate the two fish, so with my currently limited budget, I bought a 10 gallon tank, put three gallons of water from his old tank into the new one and treated the water new water, added salt and set it up with a heater and power filter (hoping that it would provide enough aeration). <There is nothing you have added that will cycle that tank. Even using water from a fully established tank has none of the beneficial bacteria needed to cycle your tank. It lives on surfaces; like the substrate, filtration media, plants, etc. Maybe a divider to keep the aggression down, until you can fishless cycle a much larger tank for them?> I scooped the darker-looking puffer out with a 3 cup measuring cup (never again will I let anyone use a net around my puffers) and put him into the new tank. <Great job, not using a net!> I fed him a ghost shrimp but he didn't seem interested in the other ones after he ate that one. I've noticed his appetite hasn't been very good lately, which is particularly evident in comparison to his fat buddy. About 30 minutes later I stopped by his tank and found him floating on the roots of an unanchored java fern, looking so dark brown he barely had spots (but oddly, still with a white belly). I panicked and removed him back to his former cramped quarters, and he perked up substantially, though he's still fairly listless and not nearly as brightly colored as his friend. <The fact that he perked up immediately after moving into another tank, is a sign that there is something wrong with the water in his tank.> I feed them a decently varied diet...cooked shrimp, <Raw is much more nutritious.> small pond snails, thawed blood worms and pellets (though only the brightly colored one will actually eat the pellets...the listless dark one spits them out and loses interest quickly) and I generally try not to feed them too much (never more than once per day and I always take out whatever they haven't eaten that I can find). <Lots of other good suggestions for feeding here & an article on how to get a picky puffer to eat: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/ > I don't know what's wrong with my puff...I know that he (okay, gender could be either, but I think of it as a him) is stressed but I just don't know how to unstress him. The other fish doesn't antagonize him extensively and he seems to be happier around him than alone. Could he be constipated? I can't find anything that seems like it would describe the problem... <If he was constipated, he would be bloated & not pooping.> Any ideas? The best I can do is as I suggested before. These puffers need a minimum of a 30g cycled tank together, for now or try to find a place that can take one of them but you'll eventually need a 30g for one adult. You now have 2 uncycled tanks & neither puffer will fare well in them together. ~PP> Micah

Re: green spotted puffer mom seeks answers...  3/2/08 Thanks Pufferpunk, <I'm trying'¦> In a last ditch attempt, last night I switched the filter cartridge from one of my established tanks to the puffer tank in the hopes that a "seeded" cartridge might make a bit of difference. <It should help.> This morning I tested the water again and using the API Freshwater test kit, my results are as follows: The pH reading is 7.4, Nitrite is 5.0 (good. lord.), Ammonia is .25 (not great but better than it was) and Nitrate is 10 (below 20, at least...). Temperature remains steady at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. <Just not enough bacteria in that filter to support 2 messy puffers.> What percentage water change would you suggest on a daily basis while the tank finishes cycling? <I recommend at least 80% at this point, using Prime as a dechlorinator.> I'm deducing from the fact that the ammonia levels are dropping that one of the two kinds (I get nitrosomer and Nitrobacter confused) of bacteria are beginning to establish themselves but the second kind has yet to really make a dent. I wish I had an available fully cycled tank to put them into but I fear disastrous consequences of putting them in my molly/dwarf Gourami tank (20 gallons, with 3 balloon body mollies, 3 Danios, and 5 dwarf Gouramis) or my guppy/Hatchetfish tank (10 gallons, 3 guppies, 2 Hatchetfish and 2 Otos)... <Can you possibly rearrange the fish so the puffers can go into the 20g alone?> The harassment does appear to have been all in my head and I think it's just the water conditions that are troubling the one puffer. <Possibly'¦ ammonia/nitrite isn't fun for a puffer to live in.> They do have several broken lines of sight, with 2 decent sized hole-riddled faux vases that I've seen them play in and around and a solid amount of live plant cover (4 java ferns, some water sprite and some micro sword grass--the first and last being plants that originate in brackish waters), so right now I'm more focused on how to best fix my water problems. Is the answer water changes, water changes and more water changes? <LOL, have you seen my signature somewhere?> I'm happy to do 90% water changes every day if you think it'll help... <Do as much as you can possibly do (even 2x/day, if necessary), to keep the ammonia & nitrite as close to 0 as possible at all times. Feed sparingly. ~PP> -Micah

Re: Green Spotted Puffer Mom Seeks Answers    3/5/08 Hey Pufferpunk...just an update. <Micah> With consistent water changes, I've gotten the ammonia to somewhere between 0 and .25 (my color match doesn't distinguish any further) and nitrite down to .50. <That will do it!> I'm not feeding them, though there are a couple of ghost shrimp wandering around the tank in case they do decide to eat (they've been there since Saturday). <Unless the ghost shrimp have eaten (gut-loaded), they are basically not nutritious--mostly water.> In a few days (i.e. Wednesday) I'll be getting the larger tank. Should I try to cycle it first or move the puffers into the new tank right away? <I would move the puffers, substrate, decor & filtration over to the larger tank, ASAP. How large?> I'm trying, really. I'm sure my constant queries are tiring, but I do appreciate all the help you've given. <What gets tiring, are the countless letters after folks' puffers are already dead. What is refreshing, is people that send letters of research, before purchasing. Not actually a scolding to you, just something good to do next time. ~PP> -Micah

Green Spotted Puffer Mom Learns, Finally. 3/6/08 Hey Pufferpunk! <Micah> Some good news and some sad news. I came home today with a 55 gallon tank (complete with hood and fluorescent light), ready to move my guys into their new home. Sadly, the puffer that hadn't been flourishing passed away between when I left for school this morning and when I came home from my LFS. <Awww... sorry for your loss. The single puffer will be thrilled with his nice big home.> On the up side, his compadre is still doing fairly well. I can tell by his coloring that he's still a little stressed but he's swimming around and exploring, as per usual. Nitrite and ammonia levels are down to .25 or less. I'll be transferring him to his new home, along with the substrate, plants and decor from his current tank, tonight. In addition, I'll be adding a large bag of crushed coral to the substrate. <Sounds good.> The filter I have on his current tank is for 20 gallons or less, so I don't know about transferring that to the larger tank (I bought a Penguin bio-wheel designed for 55 gallon tanks)...would you recommend transferring the BioWheel from his old tank to help with the bacteria development in the new one? It appears that the bio-wheels are similarly sized... <I'd hang both filters on the tank for at least a month. Puffers need a lot of filtration anyway.> Is there anything I'm missing that I should run out and get? I bought some instant ocean and Prime (the former obviously being for once the bacteria colonies get themselves established so that I can start killing them off and increasing the salinity). I did pick up a hydrometer. And I heard that puffers like playing in bubble walls, so I picked up one of those, as well (attached to an air pump, obviously). You've been so wonderful, coaching me through this. I can't thank you enough. In the future, I'll limit species occupying my small tanks to guppies and other bitsy fish. <Good luck to you & I hope your puffer lives a happy, healthy, long life! ~PP> Best, Micah

Fishless Cycling 02/29/2008 Greetings - <<Hello, Andrew this evening>> I've been doing a ton of researching regarding "fishless" cycling. I wish to set-up a brackish tank for a Green Spotted Puffer (I've done my fair share of research for these guys, too!). <<Sounds great>> I've just a few questions to clear up my understanding of doing this right: 1 - In my readings, I understand what "cycling a tank" means (establishing bacterial colonies that converts Ammonia to Nitrites to Nitrates). I do understand at the very start of new tank Ammonia levels will skyrocket, then suddenly plummet as the Nitrites take hold. Does that mean once the Ammonia and Nitrite levels are at 0, and Nitrates are up, the cycle is complete? <<Near enough yes. Once the ammonia and nitrite have gone back to zero, the nitrates will drop to around about 10ppm. When it stays at this level, with constant readings, then your cycle is complete>> 2 - I don't like the idea of using pure Ammonia, since I've read many things going wrong with others' tanks due to overdoing the Ammonia, resulting in a delay of the cycling process even further. However, I've read quite a few articles regarding the "shrimp" method. Taking a piece of shrimp and tying it in a pantyhose stocking, dropping it in the tank and letting it rot (as the source of Ammonia). Does it seem valid to you? Or dropping a few flakes a day seem more reasonable? <<Yes, i always recommend this route to cycle an aquarium. Remove the carcass when the ammonia reaches 4 - 5ppm >> 3 - Also, in terms of cycling a "brackish" tank - should I be adding the marine salt at the very start, or when the cycle has completed? What are the pros and cons of doing so? <<Yes, you need to set the specific gravity right from the start>> 4 - Last, but not least. In regards to a cycle WITH fish, I understand the importance of doing water changes to keep the Ammonia / Nitrite levels down as to not harm the fish. However, in a cycle WITHOUT fish, should one just let the bacteria colonize and NOT do water changes? Or should water changes be a routine in cycling the tank? <<When running a fishless cycle, there is no need to carry out a water change until the cycle has completed. As i mentioned in point 1, above, when you reading are at Ammonia, nitrate zero and nitrate about 10ppm and like this for a week, cycle id complete, and now its time to carry out a good 50% water change to replenish the tank. Then your all set to "slowly" start to stock the tank>> I appreciate your time in reading / responding to my questions. Happy fish keeping, Emily <<Hope the above helps Emily, any more questions, just ask away. Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>> Cycling a brackish tank from scratch 7/5/07 Hi, I currently have red cherry shrimp and am going to start breeding other shrimp that the fry need to be raise in a separate brackish water tank to go thru it's larva stages. My questions start with can I take a fully cycled 10 gallon tank and convert it to brackish and how? Also once it's a fully cycled brackish tank do I need fish and or shrimp fry to keep it cycling if so what small fish will do the trick, maybe a brackish water shrimp ? What SG should I keep the salt level at? Any and all comments will be put go good use as I will print this out to keep for future use so be as specific as possible. Thanks, Rick Sahrp <Hello Rick. You can adapt filter media from an established freshwater aquarium to SG 1.005 or less almost at once. Put the media in a bucket of freshwater, and do some brackish water water changes over an hour or so just as you would acclimate a new fish from freshwater to brackish water. The bacteria seem to adapt well. Above SG 1.005 things get a bit more hazy. In theory, you can gradually raise the SG in the aquarium at each water change and the filter bacteria will change from freshwater to brackish water ones. In practise you should GO SLOW and test for ammonia/nitrite after each water change in salinity just to make sure everything is fine. You can keep a tank cycled without fish or invertebrates. Adding a bit of seafood or a few pinches of flake food will do the trick. As these rot, they will produce the ammonia the bacteria need. Don't go bananas, but you are wanting to mimic about the same level of food every day or two as you would add if there were real fish in there. The bacteria don't "know" where the ammonia comes from, and couldn't care less if it came from a pinch of flake or a black molly! Now, one thing I'm confused about is why you need brackish water for Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis). These are freshwater shrimp with no larval stage. They breed very readily in freshwater, and brackish water is *not* required to rear the baby shrimp. The baby shrimp are very robust and easy to rear. A local tropical fish shop has baby shrimps all over the tank the adults are kept in! The only thing that matters is the water is fairly hard and alkaline. Beyond that, they aren't fussy. Amano shrimps (Caridina multidentata = C. japonica) do need brackish or marine water to complete their life cycle, as do some other freshwater aquarium shrimps, like the Red Nose Shrimp (Caridina gracilirostris) but certainly not all of them. Hope this helps, Neale>

Cycling a Brackish Aquarium  7/7/06 Thanks for the quick reply. <Hi Melissa, you've got Pufferpunk here this time.> I did use something called Cycle when I set up the tank to get the bacteria going. <Cycle is total bunk & a waste of $$$.  The only product that will "instant cycle" your tank is Bio-Spira.> The guy at the pet store told me if I used that, then it would be ok to get that many fish. I guess he had no idea what he was talking about. <Sure didn't!  Don't always depend on the folks working at aquarium stores.  You must do your own research on these things too.> So, is the aquarium salt ok to use for these fish? I never got an answer on that. <Brackish water is made with marine salt, measured with a hydrometer or refractometer.  Of the fish you have listed, only the mono & glassfish were brackish.  The mono is a schooling species that get about a foot long.  You cannot keep brackish fish & freshwater fish in the same aquarium.  Please do much more research on each fish species & their care before buying any more fish.  ~PP>

Going From Brackish To Freshwater  12/10/05 WWM crew, I have a brackish tank which my fish recently died and I want to turn it into a freshwater tank. I was just wondering if I could skip recycling the tank by simply emptying the brackish water and replacing it with freshwater. Hope this question isn't too stupid... thanks. < Brackish is a very loose term that means it is between pure freshwater and pure saltwater. Depending on the exact salinity you were keeping your fish at, after replacing the water, I would still add Bio-Spira from Marineland to cover all the bases.-Chuck>

Set Up and Stocking in One Day - 12/07/2005 I set up a brackish water tank and all day the tank was clear the fish were active and eating, nothing unusual. I had 2 Green Scats and a Green Puffer. When I went to feed them this morning the water was extremely cloudy and the fish were dead. <Surprise, surprise.> Could this have been a filter problem. <Well yes in a manner of speaking. Not physical however, but biological. This is what happens when fish are thrown into an uncycled tank.> I had them on a Whisper filter overnight and was going to get a biowheel but I didn't get a chance to. Any ideas? <Study. - Josh> 

Making BW for a F8 Puffer, Cycle is Bunk - 10/24/05 Thanks, wow I had no idea about the brackish water thing. With the set-up I have now can I make a brackish tank? I know I'll need marine salt and a hydrometer or whatever measures specific gravity of the water. Right now I can't move the loaches out of the tank. I am moving the goldfish out tomorrow hopefully. I thought you needed some crazy equipment to handle a brackish tank. I have not researched it so if you could let me know what I would need to do I would be glad to do it. Cycle, as I read, had dormant bacteria that come alive when the conditions are right, is this wrong? Water quality seems good, although things that are not visible could be deadly I know. Well thanks again for helping!  <Your loaches will not appreciate the salt. Can you find somewhere to re-house them? Maybe your LFS will take them or you know someone that has a much bigger tank? Cycle is total bunk. Bacteria does not come alive. The ONLY product that contains live bacteria is Bio-Spira & it needs to be kept refrigerated, so the bacteria doesn't die. Check out www.thepufferforum.org, for more puffer info & lots of great articles in the Library! ~PP>

FW water quality, puffer 8/9/05 Bob, <Erik> Update and 2 quick questions for you... My tank appears to be cycled. Ammonia and nitrites are zero. Nitrates are between 20 and 40 PPM. I did a 50% water change yesterday to bring these down a bit. My tap water is not as loaded with Nitrates as I'd originally thought. Your comment made me rethink my original tests so I did a control and tested straight tap water, only 5 PPM nitrates. <Ahh> But I did notice one strange anomaly, and I double checked it several times to be sure, my tap water does appear to have ammonia in it! I did a control with distilled water, and of course it registered zero, the tank is registering just above zero, but less than .25 PPM, way less. The test tube appears pure yellow until I put a control of distilled water next to it. You can then tell it has a very slight green tint to it which indicates some level of ammonia. Am I correct in assuming that a control test of distilled water will always look a little purer than tank water? <Generally> There will always be trace amounts of ammonia in the tank because of waste that hasn't been converted by the bacteria yet correct? <Umm, no... not detectable amounts in a completely cycled system> Any way, I retested twice and yes, my tap water appears to contain between 1 and 2 PPM of ammonia! <Trouble> I'm going to try a different test kit, I find it hard to believe that the city would allow such high levels. I don't drink tap water anyway but I worry about the fish and my cat. He'll get bottled water until I find out what's going on. <A good idea> Anyway, my important question is this... Is it normal for a Cholonodon patoca (Milk Spotted Puffer) <Mis-spelled... Chelonodon: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=6610&genusname=Chelonodon&speciesname=patoca> to spend quite a bit of time resting on the bottom? <Yes> When he moves, he's moving and healthy looking, but he rests quite a bit. I've seen you tell other puffer owners that they do this, but there is very little info out there about my little guy. As passive as he is, I'd expect the Milk Spotted Puffers to be more popular. Haven't seen him even threaten to fin nip his tank mates to date. I know this will change with age but he's pretty friendly right now, even shares his food with the sharks! Salinity is about 1.008 and I am gradually bringing that up so as not to hurt the other fish. Water temp is about 80 degrees F and the pH is about 7.6-7.8. Thanks Again, Erik <Keep studying... prevention... Bob Fenner>

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