F8 brackish water questions. Fig 8 sys; salinity... Artemia cult.
I know there's a lot of info already about this subject on wet web media and I
have studied a lot of it. Thanks so much for all you do. I'm emailing you
because I feel that I have a specific problem that I would like help with. About
a day and a half ago, we bought a Figure-Eight Puffer. He's a
little over an inch long, so what do you think...maybe about a year old or a
<Sounds about right.>
He's in a 40- (US) gallon aquarium. All basic water parameters (nitrites and
ammonia) = 0 except pH=7.6 and nitrates are <20. The aquarium is
well-established. It was a freshwater setup for Gouramis and Tetras, but they
have been moved to a different tank.
Anyway, I was unaware (until reading your website last night) that you
can't just use API Aquarium Salt to create brackish water.
<It's okay short term. Better than no salt! But longer term, actually not
economical or as good. Better to use marine aquarium salt.>
I added a teaspoon per gallon of that yesterday. Then I went out today and got
some Instant Ocean after discovering on your website that this is what I need
for making proper brackish water.
One question I have is: Will it be necessary to do a large water change, say
75%, to remove as much of the API Aquarium Salt as is possible before adding the
<Nope. Your little Puffer will be absolutely fine as he is now. Just add your
marine aquarium salt to each bucket of new water added to the tank.
I'd suggest adding 5-6 gram salt mix per litre of water. That should produce
about SG 1.003 at 25 C/77 F.>
Also, how much Instant Ocean should I add to make brackish water with an sg =
1.002? (I read on your site that you should gradually introduce him to brackish
water if the pet store had him in freshwater, increasing it to 1.005 over 3
<Correct; and see above.>
My hydrometer is reading just barely above 1.000 right now.
<That is because 1 teaspoon of salt per US gallon is a trivial amount of salt.
Not brackish at all! Full strength seawater contains 35 gram salt per litre.
That's about 6 teaspoons of salt! Most people have no idea how salty the sea is.
You only want a fraction of that amount of salt. One teaspoon is about 6 gram
salt, so a bit less should be 5 grams, and that's the
amount to add per 1 litre of water to get SG 1.002-1.003, which is ample for a
planted low-end brackish system.>
He's a really cute little guy, very inquisitive, very active and we have a good
supply of pond snails for him. I plan to vary his diet with frozen Tubifex and
freeze-dried Krill. As for our snail supply, they live in my male Betta's tank
where the pond snails run amok and he never bothers them!
My female Betta eats all the snails in her aquarium!!!
I also was wondering if it would be possible to breed brine shrimp in the
puffer's aquarium since it will be brackish?
<In theory, yes; in practise, the filter will suck up the brine shrimp eggs
before they hatch, so nothing will happen.>
Or am I remembering correctly that you said that they have very little
nutritious value for a puffer?
<Adult brine shrimp are a poor food. Baby brine shrimp are much better though,
and you can hatch these in an empty plastic Coke bottle (or similar!) filled
with seawater (35 gram/litre) and bubbled a bit with an airstone. Even easier,
buy some "enriched" frozen brine shrimp; these are a good food for puffers.>
If so, maybe it wouldn't even be worth it. And, is a 40-gallon aquarium large
enough for two F8 Puffers to coexist without fighting?
<Actually, I'd keep three specimens rather than two. Pairs can squabble much
worse than larger groups.>
I have heard yes and no from so many different people on that question.
<Indeed; all puffers are unpredictable, at best. But generally bigger groups are
less troublesome, but of course need you to be extra careful about water
Thank you again for all your help in the past and in advance for your answer to
all this. Sorry to have written a novel here, but I felt I needed to explain the
situation in detail.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: F8 brackish water questions 9/23/16
Thank for the info. This helps me a lot. One more question if you please.
Do you use a testing kit for salt or for fresh water in the case of a brackish
water setup? Thanks!
<Yes, you can use your freshwater test kits in a low-end brackish kit. The only
problem might be pH or hardness kits "going off the scale" because the pH and
hardness might be above the range of colours on the card you compare your test
result to. But the nitrite, ammonia and nitrate kits are fine,
and chances are the pH and hardness will be fine too. Cheers, Neale.>
Live blackworm colony in brackish water?
I am in the process of setting up a brackish tank for a violet goby I
purchased before doing adequate research. So now I'm trying to make sure
I get it right so I won't have to move "her" once in brackish water.
Currently she is housed (I know inadequately) in fresh water in a 55
gallon with several dozen guppies.
<A surprisingly good combo! Violet Gobies seem to ignore the adults, and
any impact on the baby Guppies seems to be trivial and accidental.>
Her current water parameters are pH 8.2, very hard water.
When I test the ammonia is always 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate never over
I use a thick (3 - 5") layer of organic dirt and sand that releases a
lot of tannins into the water. She loves to dig, dig, dig!
<Oh yes. They also enjoy gulping plankton (such as live brine shrimp) as
well as scraping at algae-covered rocks. They're very interesting
I love the look and behavior of this beautiful little goby. She seems to
be doing well, despite being housed in fresh water, and has grown 3/4"
in the last 3 weeks. I enjoy watching her dig and sift for food, so want
to make sure her permanent home encourages this natural behavior.
To this end I'm wondering if I could culture a self-sustaining colony of
blackworms in her eventual home.
<Almost certainly not. Lumbriculus don't have a very high tolerance for
salt; if you use Google Scholar and search for "Lumbriculus" and
"salinity" you'll find a fair amount of experimental data. While they
would probably do okay in low-end conditions, around SG 1.002-1.003 say,
they're unlikely to prosper at higher salinities. Bear in mind
Blackworms are freshwater Oligochaetes, and specialise in freshwater
habitats. Once the environment becomes brackish or marine, Oligochaetes
become much less significant players in aquatic ecosystems, being
replaced by the Polychaetes instead,
many of which are euryhaline and able to adapt to changing salinity
If I introduce them into the substrate and feed them in fresh water,
then slowly make the transition to brackish water do you think they
might adapt and survive?
<I would not put money on it, and a bunch of dead worms in the sand
isn't going to be much use to your water quality! In any event, even if
they did survive, I doubt they'd maintain sufficient populations to feed
You'd need many square metres of mud for that.>
Ideally I'd like to get the specific gravity as close to 1.010 as
possible for the health of the goby, but I might be willing to stop at a
lower salinity if acceptable to both worms and goby.
<Violet Gobies are euryhaline, and as happy at SG 1.003 as they are at
SG 1.010. As you have seen, they're quite hearty animals! They come from
mudflats and actually have the ability to survive in mud when the tide
goes out. What kills them is the total absence of salt over long
periods. Once you get into the brackish range, they're pretty much happy
Any info or advice will be much appreciated!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: live Blackworm colony in brackish water?
Neal, Thank you for your prompt, good natured, and incredibly
informative reply. :)
You mentioned that the blackworms might survive at SG 1.003 and that SG
1.003 would also be an acceptable salinity level for the goby, with the
caution that dead worms would be bad for water quality if they can't
take the salt.
Rather than throw in the towel over water quality fears, I propose a
little experiment. I'll set up a small spare aquarium I have with a
layer of dirt and sand, a filter, etc, as I would for the larger goby
tank - but all in miniature.
<An excellent idea.>
Then add a Blackworms culture and fresh water. Every 5 - 7 days add a
small amount of water with marine salt dissolved in it. I'll do some
calculations and decide how much water to change each day and what SG to
add. I think two weeks to target SG seems okay. If the worms survive use
them as the seed population when I set up the permanent goby tank.
<Indeed. Or else simply culture the worms in ideal conditions indoors or
even outdoors in a "water feature" of some sort, and then add the worms
to the tank as a periodic treat.>
As to your statement that I'd need several square metres of mud filled
with blackworms to adequately feed my goby, I figured with her potential
size and huge current appetite I'll have to continue my routine of 2 - 3
times a day feedings.
<Oh, certainly yes; at best, any "in aquarium" colonies of food will be
a mere snack, not a staple. Have you come across the book "Dynamic
Not an easy read, being aimed at academics setting up ecologically
balanced food webs in aquaria, but full of useful information. One of
the major themes is the HUGE amount of space required to produce
sufficient quantities of prey for even relatively small fish such as
freshwater Angels. Off the top of my head, it's something like 100
gallons for a
single Angel, that sort of ratio. Of course you're not proposing that, I
know, but I'd be surprised if the blackworms were able to maintain much
of a population in even a 55 gallon tank alongside an adult Violet Goby.
So even if they survive, topping up the supply with ones from another
tank or pond will surely be essential.>
I don't want her to mow through the entire Blackworms population at any
point, I just want them there for her to nibble to discourage boredom. I
know most fish are opportunistic feeders, so all my trouble might be
eaten in one glorious afternoon, but if the worms survive the salt I'll
keep some of the test pop population aside in brackish water to culture
and feed as treats. Let me know what you think :)
<See above. Definitely worthwhile, and a fun experiment, but skeptical
of long-term success. Cheers, Neale.>
re: live blackworm colony in brackish water?
Thought I'd update you with the final outcome of my salty blackworm experiment.
I set up a 20 gallon long tank with a decent colony of blackworms in fresh
water. Organic soil and sand substrate, seeded (cycled) mini corner matten
filter, and some rocks and fake plants. Then for two weeks I raised the specific
gravity by .001. At two weeks all was going well and the SG was 1.002. The worms
were really taking over - looked like a little forest sticking out of the dirt.
My violet goby, in the mean time, was wreaking havoc on my 55 gallon.
While all had seemed fine for a while, silt from all of its digging had built up
in the filter and began repeatedly clogged my matten filter to the point of zero
<Ah, yes, I can understand this. With big/jumbo fish, it's often easiest to
stick with relatively coarse media. Physically remove silt during water changes
rather than relying on the filter. Turkey basters are a good tool for "spot
cleaning" piles of uneaten food or faeces without having to waste more than a
I was doing daily 25% water changes and using a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove as
much of the silt from the filter foam as I could. With such restricted water
flow the ammonia and nitrite began building up, too. The guppies seemed
oblivious of the poor water quality, but Kappa (my goby) was looking sluggish
and red about the gills.
<Yikes! Do bear in mind these fish are facultative air-breathers. They're
actually pretty tough, able to survive in burrows in the wild. Of course one
adaptation to this might easily be becoming sluggish to conserve oxygen.>
So I transferred my goby to the 20 gallon (which had better water quality - 0
ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and (if I'm remembering correctly) 60 ppm nitrate.)
Kappa promptly swam several circles around the tank, then dug under a rock.
Over the next week the 20 gallon long's water quality declined. I suspect this
was due to an insufficient population of beneficial bacteria to deal with my
Goby's size and messy eating habits. Kappa also did its best to clog up the
filter by digging through nearly every inch of substrate. Luckily I'd used a
thinner piece of filter foam for the corner matten
filter and it was easier to keep clean.
So just a caution to anyone considering violet gobies in a planted tank - skip
the dirt! Your water will be forever cloudy and your filters forever clogged
with silt. Instead do washed sand. It seems to work fine.
<Correct. Clean substrate and coarse filter media. Heavyweight filtration as
well, but you know that by now!>
Kappa seemed to really enjoy snacking on the blackworms at first, but once the
water quality stated to decline, its appetite did too.
So I was back to a sluggish, red-gilled goby in a muddy looking tank. I was
doing tons of water changes - sometimes twice in a day to lower the ammonia and
With all the back and forth water buckets, eventually the inevitable happened -
I miscalculated the amount of marine salt to add to get to my target SG (by now
I was up to 1.003) and got it too salty.
I knew pretty quickly - the worms shot up out of the sand and flopped over.
Some crawled around like they were looking for a way out...
As quick as I could I got the salinity down with another water change - this
time with no salt. The worms settled down. Kappa looked positivity ill. I stayed
and watched for a couple of hours, hoping all would be okay.
Then finally went to bed about 3 in the morning. I didn't record the SG that
night - but replaced about 10 gallons - so about 1.002 I'm guessing.
In the morning I went in to find the aquarium lid in the tank and my cat looking
very pleased with herself. Panicked, I took out all the rocks and fake plants,
even the filter looking for my goby, but couldn't find it.
Cautiously I felt through the substrate (I'd heard violet gobies can give quite
a bite) but found no Kappa. I sat down and cried.
A few hours later I went back in and there was Kappa swimming around! I'm
guessing it was buried in the dirt and I missed it somehow.
<See above. When stressed, they dig burrows. Like lungfish.>
Now the goby is in yet another tank at around SG 1.005 - there are no worms or
live plants to worry about, so I'm sometimes imprecise with my salt measurement.
<Which is fine. You can transfer Violet Gobies from fresh to marine and back
again and they'll be fine. They inhabit mudflats where the tide comes and goes,
and sometimes they might be under a river, sometimes under the sea, depending on
the time of day. As you can tell, selling them as freshwater fish is extremely
However the water quality is great and its gills are no longer red and its
eating and growing very well. The substrate is washed black sand - with a "dam"
of aquarium gravel up against the bottom edge of the matten filter foam to keep
Kappa from digging under and getting stuck halfway (which it did before I added
However, I consider the salty blackworm tank a partial success. The worms were
at SG 1.003 for nearly a week and thriving.
Kappa didn't manage to eat them all, but might have if it had felt better.
However, I learned just how easy it is to get the salinity level incorrect and
for that reason I don't think I'll try to establish an in-tank blackworm colony
in brackish water in the future.
Overall an informative and exciting experiment!
<Agreed; armchair speculation on my part is all very well, but an experiment
will usually provide the facts! Within reason of course -- senseless stressing
or killing animals for the sake of curiosity isn't something I condone. What you
were doing here wasn't that, and I'm pleased you were able to maintain worms and
goby with success.>
Thank you for your guidance!
Brackish Tank Questions; stkg., substrate, fdg.
Hi, I haven't had an aquarium in a while and I'm thinking about getting
back into the hobby. In particular, I'd like to start a low-end
(SG 1.002-1.003) brackish community tank in the 29 gallon
aquarium sitting empty in my basement. I have some questions relating to
stocking, substrate, and feeding.
First off, my tentative stocking plan is:
(1) Peacock spiny eel (Macrognathus siamensis) OR (1) Barred spiny eel
<Either should work here, though Macrognathus pancalus is arguably the
more truly brackish of these species. Neither will want much salt
though; 1.002 should be ample. Lower salinity will also ensure plants
can grow well, especially Indian Fern, a definite plus here for stopping
Spiny Eels from being jumpy.>
(1) Male and (2-3) female short-finned mollies
(2) Orange Chromides
<Generally fine, though as territorial as any other cichlid of this
(1-3) Knight gobies
<Nice fish, and will ensure no baby mollies survive!>
Would this be overstocked?
<Nope. Busy, yes; overstocked, no. Just keep on top of filtration and
I'm also concerned that in a 29, a pair of Chromides might become
tyrants if they decided to breed.
<Always a risk.>
If you think that would be the case, I'll either reduce the Chromides to
a singleton or remove them from the plan completely. (If you think this
setup would be overstocked, they're also my first choice on what to
eliminate.) I'm also wondering if even provided enough hiding spaces,
the 29 might be too small for multiple knight gobies. How many do you
think would be ideal for this setup?
<Two females and a male should be okay.>
On to substrate, I have a bag of CaribSea Sunset Gold sand laying around
my house. Would that be soft enough for the spiny eel, or should I stick
to buying some silica sand?
<I've not handled this brand of sand personally, but if it feels smooth
rather than sharp, it's probably fine. That said, pool filter
sand/smooth silica sand is so cheap, you might want to play it safe and
go straight for that.>
Additionally, what depth of sand would be best to allow the spiny eel
room to burrow but not to risk anaerobic decay? Does 2" sound about
As for feeding concerns, I want to make sure that the plant-based foods
for the mollies and the meat-based foods for the other species wouldn't
cause any health problems if the other party ate some of it. I also
some advice for feeding a balanced diet to the spiny eel and knight
I know that spiny eels go crazy for earthworms, and I suspect that the
knight goby would enjoy them, too.
<Yes! Very much so. Knight Gobies are very much predators.>
However, I'm a bit confused as to which of the big three in aquatic
feeder worms (bloodworms, blackworms, and Tubifex worms) is most
nutritious and least likely to carry diseases.
<Not much in it, to be honest. Tubifex have a very bad reputation,
probably justified. But bloodworms and blackworms aren't exactly
cultured in crystal clear pools of French mineral water! On the other
hand, if gamma
irradiated, they shouldn't carry any pathogens, and if used sparingly,
the risk from introducing heavy metals, for example, shouldn't be too
That said, marine aquarium foods like krill and fortified brine shrimp
are certainly safer and usually accepted readily.>
I've seen claims in favor of or against all three of them, even here on
Wet Web Media. I'd sort of like to start a culture of one of these in
one of the smaller empty tanks as an easy source of live food, but I
don't know which would be best for the fish.
<If you're growing them yourself, they're probably all reasonably safe.>
I intend to buy wet-frozen krill as another food for the goby.
Do you think that the eel would also eat those?
<Yes; spiny eels are hesitant feeders, and nocturnal to boot, but they
aren't over-fussy. My specimens have happily taken chunks of prawn, for
I also know that any and all molly fry will probably end up knight goby
What other foods would be good for one or both of them?
Some of the things I commonly see suggested, such as lobster eggs,
aren't available in my area as far as I know,
<Do try stores aimed at marine aquarists.>
and others, like tilapia, I don't think my parents would approve of
buying seafood sold for human use to feed to pets.
<So far as seafood goes, one approach is to buy white fish or squid for
yourself, and wrap the scraps in some aluminium foil and place it in the
freezer. Your fish aren't fussy, and for a few weeks at least such
scraps will contain sufficient useful nutrition.>
If I do get the Chromides, I plan on using one or two brands of cichlid
pellet or flake food for a staple, in addition to the smaller varieties
Finally, for the mollies I'll provide some sort of spirula-based flake
food, and maybe algae tablets, but I'd also like to give them fresh
veggies. When I see stuff like this mentioned, I always hear that you
should blanch the vegetables and put them in the tank when they've
cooled off, but I never see any recommendation for how long to cook the
Is there some sort of good rule of thumb for that?
<None. The blanching thing is about softening, not cooking. Zapping
lettuce in the microwave for a few seconds usually does the trick. But
lettuce is nutrient poor and shouldn't be anything more than a "salad
bar" that goes
along with the main course, i.e., the good quality flake. Some foods,
like cucumber, can be left in the tank to soften naturally, and the fish
will peck away at over time. Since these foods contain near-zero
protein, their impact on water quality is minimal, even if they end up
as horrible mush.>
Thanks for the help.
<Welcome. Sounds a nice tank and well planned! Cheers, Neale.>
Brine shrimp? 8/4/13
Hi Neil, Hope you are well. I have a few questions
regarding Bumble Bee Goby and live food.
I have a 3 gallon planted tank that has/had brine shrimp. They
must have tagged along on some plants from a LFS. Do these breed
in fresh water?
There seemed to be a small number of them, maybe 7 as I was salvaging
quite a few when I changed water last, and sometimes they were attached
together in a pair.
<Yes; mating, I believe why the male has such large headgear.>
I have very hard water already and I stuck a limestone with a small cave
opening in there, there was already a bunch of java moss and some java
ferns and I added a watersprite and some little tiny top floating plants
tagged along (but it's low lit LED and those didn't grow out of control
when they tagged along before). A couple of days ago I put a freshwater
raised (the species with the unbroken bands) bumblebee goby in this
tank. He was initially pale and it looked like he'd die during the
very first hour, but then he might have found a brine shrimp, because
then he colored up nicely and became more curious and active. It's
got a lot of plants and hiding areas and a bubbler and a small filter
and it was long time cycled, plus I rubbed a small Fluval cylinder
sponge in my big tank's filter bacteria and put this over the air stone
so I'd have even more healthy
<Even though sold as a freshwater species, I'd be prepared to add a
taste of salt, just in case, and choose plants/companion species
Identifying BBGs on the basis of colour markings simply doesn't work, so
don't for a second imagine you can identify your species that way! Goby
scientists have told me this in unambiguous terms, before then
describing how they identify them reliably -- under a microscope! Given
yours were sold in a pet store, you can fairly assume these are from the
standard issue "Brachygobius doriae" group of species, and these do well
in both hard water and slightly brackish, and as I say, I'd be prepared
to add salt at 1-2 gram/litre, which won't harm hardy plants at all.>
He ignores the frozen blood worm but he's so active and plays
continuously in the bubble current, so I think he must have been eating
brine shrimp. I used to see the brine shrimp swimming around
sometimes, but I haven't lately.... I'm wondering, could he have
eaten them all already in 2 days?
He's so tiny. He'd have to have a voracious appetite. Just
eating 1 would be like a person eating a 12" submarine sandwich.
<Quite so. But that's a trend across the animal kingdom: small animals
eat more as a proportion of their body size.>
In a small tank like this, if they do breed in my hard water, what are
the chances some could hide from him and that they will they breed
before he eats them all? Or do I probably need to purchase a
culture and breed them in marine salt?
<Chances of Artemia breeding successfully in freshwater are almost nil,
and they don't usually live that long in freshwater anyway. Do try
Daphnia instead. I have a gazillion Daphnia in an 8-gallon windowsill
tank that lacks a filter, and I'd imagine adding a small air-powered
sponge or similar wouldn't cause any undue problems. Just add Gobies!>
The lady claimed the bumble bee gobies will eat the frozen blood worm.
<They will, and also small bits of seafood, especially prawn. With BBGs
it isn't so much their lack of interest in frozen foods as their
slowness, so if kept alone, they're usually easy enough to train to take
I've heard stories of people struggling with getting them to eat.
I purchased him thinking that the living food already in my tank would
help him to adjust, and it's a well established nano tank so there's no
cycling issues for him to endure. I hope he'll eat the
bloodworm too. He's looking plump and active now and may not need
the bloodworm just yet. If he never does I guess I can let the
Betta and Endler's eat it as treats and buy the brine shrimp culture for
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Brine shrimp? 8/4/13
Thank you, Neale. That's very helpful.. I'll try daphnia.
A pet store manager had thought that's what I had, but I later realized
from pictures they were actually brine shrimp. They are kind of
cute little critters, but I need a reproducing live food source. I
had clipped a little blood worm in a bobby pin hung over the edge of the
tank but it was untouched, but since he likes to skim the glass he'll
probably eventually see if I keep putting it there. The
Betta who I ended up giving it to the other day was much quicker.
The goby is shy but end of night yesterday he kept circling and passing
the front of the tank. He plays all along the glass of the back
side and rides the bubble stream, but when he passes the front of the
tank he hops cautiously and then waits in the gravel where he blends in
then hops, waits, hops.
<Pretty much what they do; perhaps in the wild they hop into the water
current to catch zooplankton, then sink down once they've caught
Adding food to the current near the Goby, for example by using a turkey
baster, might be worth trying.>
I hope he eventually realizes no harm will come of him swimming in full
display. Maybe this will happen when he discovers the food and
receives regular blood worm treats.
Have a nice Sunday.
Needle Fish Will Not eat We have a needle fish we have had
for a few months now we were feeding all the time and was told by the
Pet Store to fed him 5 feeders every few days. He is in a 30 gallon
tank with 5 small Tiger barbs, 1 Severum cichlid and 2 Dojo's which
are about 8 inches each. About two months ago our cichlid( SEABASS) got
ich we treated him and all was fine. Now our needle fish (STANLEY) is
brown Has not eaten for over a week. Can you give me any ideas on what
his problem could be? Thank You. Donna Slawson < Needle fish
are mostly a brackish fish. I would recommend a teaspoon of sea salt
per 5 gallons of water. Your Dojos will not like the salt and may
An addicted eel!!! Hey all, <Hi, Pufferpunk
here> I wonder if people remember who I am. <Not
really, I'm kinda new.> I've had no problems so no
real need to come scrambling back for new advice. <That's
good.> My little experiment with a saltwater aquarium went
well till I got bored of the maintenance and dropped it back down to a
brackish tank again. <Hmmm, the only difference is a protein
skimmer, IMO.> My Tetraodon nigroviridis that was in that tank
through the saltwater and now brackish has grown very fat, and ever
since I added in bumblebee gobies he's been looking much more
content to have the company of their species again (he was raised from
the smallest size with two bumblebee gobies before I traded them
away). <GSPs are best kept in marine conditions as adults.
I have never been able to keep smaller, slow-moving fish with my adult
GSPs.> My hunt for aquatic plants ended when my aquarium now
looks like a jungle and I have to frequently cut and remove the excess
foliage to allow the light to hit everything. <Curious, how
low BW SG did you go? There are no plants that could survive over
1.005, never mind grow into a jungle.> In that tank I have a
male and female pair of johannis, a very lively banded archerfish, a
masked julie, a Melanochromis exasperatus and four angels that I just
acquired today. The angels are actually absolutely fabulous specimens,
which I had personal pick between from friends of mine who are
professional angel breeders. I wasn't able to pick any purebreds,
but I did get a chocolate/marble, marble/smokey, gold/koi and
marble/koi angel. <All of the fish you just listed are not BW
fish (except the archer. Are these all in the same BW tank as the GSP?
The angelfish are actually soft water fish, which is the opposite of BW
conditions. Also, those angels are going to be without fins in the very
near future in the company of your puffer.> Then finally there
is the Red Sea whitespotted moray eel, who brings up the subject of
this email. Four months have gone by since I made the trade for
this eel, and it took two months just for him to get accustomed to his
new surroundings. After the first month he would come out and explore,
and after the second month he was finally eating the krill that I'd
stick in front of him on the end of air tube. Since then he's
started to show more signs of aggressiveness when exposed to the smell
of food, and when he actually attacks the food on the krill-on-a-stick.
He seems to be acting like an adult based on how adult morays are
supposed to be aggressively, but what I find weird is that as
aggressive as he may be he wont attack anything live. I've put live
mollies and silverbacks (the only thing he would eat when I first got
him) right in front of his face, but he wouldn't dare touch them,
even if I helped by half killing them for an easy catch. Now he eats
krill like a starving hog in heat but I can't find anything else to
vary with his diet. Also I'm noticing that there are frequently
pieces of krill too small for his poor eyesight to see. What I mainly
need is to find out what I can use as a larger version of krill, and
another type of food that he might be coaxed into eating so I can vary
his diet. He's a real healthy stinker, but he's still an
addicted stinker nonetheless. Any other ideas would help. <Try
threading most any food you can find from the fish dept of your grocery
store. Bounce it in front of his nose on the end of the thread. You
need to be very patient, it may take a while, but he should eat it. You
could start with shrimp. Again, this fish also prefers high-end BW
& SW as an adult. ~PP>
Puffer Eating Woodlice 3/22/04 Hi, Pufferpunk
here> Have you heard of puffer fish eating woodlice. Mine
eat one that got put into the tank (by mistake) along with
earthworm. The puffer made short work of it and so far seems
OK. What do you think. Could it become a regular
food source or should it remain a one off? <I don't see why they
wouldn't like woodlice--mine love crickets. Just make
sure their staple diet is mad up of hard, crunchy foods for their
Spectrum for Puffers? Hi Bob, I'm wondering if you could
find out if Spectrum has been "tested" on freshwater or
brackish puffers. I'd love to find a nutritionally-enhanced
pelleted food that my puffers would eat. They've turned their noses
away from a dozen different things I've tried, including pellets
with shrimp, krill, and other typical puffer favorites, so I'm a
bit skeptical that they'd eat the Spectrum. --Ananda <Am
cc'ing Pablo Tepoot here (the owner, manufacturer of Spectrum
foods). I recall he did have some good-sized marine puffers living on
his pelleted foods... but did not have any freshwater or brackish
animals at his home/farm as far as I recall. From what I've
observed re the line, I would be very surprised if these other puffers
did not accept the food. Pablo? Bob Fenner>
Brackish feeding? (10/21/03) Hey, just a brief question I
guess. <Ananda here to try for a not-too-long answer...> I am
trying to figure out what to feed my fish. I had actually asked before
but kind of got fuzzy results, and I wasn't that specific in the
first place. <Sorry about the fuzziness.> In my aquarium so far
aside from aquatic plants, I have two mollies (Poecilia latipinna - I
did my homework), <Hmmm. I forget how big your tank is, but do
consider getting another female if your tank can withstand the extra
bio-load. The females will appreciate it.> a baby spotted puffer
(Guentheridia formosa), <Are you certain of this species? Fishbase
lists this as a marine species. It's more likely that you have a
"green-spotted puffer", one of the Tetraodon species.> and
two bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius sua). I was suggested to feed them
chopped up shrimp, the tails for the puffer, the shrimp bodies for the
gobies.... but the problem is that my puffer is still a 3/4" baby.
The only thing he will eat out of a mixture I make (krill-tropical
flake-shrimp pellet-blood worm) is the blood worms, although for the
most part the food always disappears in time. <I didn't realize
he was so little! In that case, you're going to want to start
raising pond snails, so you can feed him the little ones. Pond snails
are mostly spherical, with a bit of a point, and should be free at any
fish store that has them; they're considered a nuisance and
hitchhike in on plants. The small, nuisance-type rams horn snails would
probably also work. To raise them, just give them their own container
of water and feed them. You don't need to keep them in brackish
water, but they will need occasional water changes.> I'm more
worried about the gobies though. I never catch them eating really since
they hide a lot. Will he be ok for the time being eating blood worms or
should I be looking for another type of diet for the little thing? Will
that chopped up shrimp technique work if I beat up the pieces enough?
Would the shrimp even be good for the mollies? <My mollies will
nibble shrimp, but algae-based food is better for them. For the gobies
and puffer, try taking frozen shrimp to a shredder. That should leave
it in more bite-sized threads. Bumblebee gobies in particular are
rather fussy. You can alternate the bloodworms with glassworms.>
Robert <Hope this helps! --Ananda>
Brackish feeding? - More questions. <Hi! Ananda here
today...I'm going to combine these, as I had started work on one
when the second came in...> Ok, as for the mollies, I apparently had
a brain fart in the store when not realizing to check their sex.
I'd assume that they are both males because of the long points on
each of their tails. <It's not the tails that are the indicator,
it's the modified anal fin, called the gonopodium. It is long and
pointed, whereas the females have 'normal'-looking anal
fins.> I currently have everyone in my 10 gallon while my 55 gallon
aquarium awaits another bag of sand and then cycling for a brackish
setup. With 5 fish already, I could handle one more molly if the ones I
had were both female (although I'm guessing not), but I don't
know if I can hold 4 extra females. <I would wait on that.>
Considering that the mollies are about an inch to an inch and a half
long considering their tails, could I hold that many more? <Yes, in
the 55g.> As for my puffer, there is a slight green coloration on
top of him, so you may be right. What's the genus and species on
that type? <Probably Tetraodon nigroviridis. Head over to
Google's search page, click the Image tab near the top of the page,
and do a search on 'nigroviridis'. That should bring up several
photos you can compare to.> I have a couple of fishbowls that I can
put snails in, but does it need aeration? <Filtration and aeration
will help.> A lid to prevent escapees? <Nope. Not for the
strictly-aquatic snails.> What do I feed the snails? <Old fish
food, blanched green veggies, leaves you trim from aquatic
plants....> How long till they reproduce and how long should I have
the puffer on that diet? <They should reproduce fairly quickly.
Puffers should have some crunchy food daily, if possible, but they
really appreciate a varied diet.> Final note, the gobies definitely
seem to be fussy. The most they will usually do is chew on a bloodworm
and spit out the worm when there's no blood left in it. There are
no stores here with glassworms. The best thing I can get here is
hatching my own brine shrimp, but aren't they basically nutrient
barren? <Newly-hatched brine shrimp are far better than adult brine
shrimp, but not sufficient for a complete diet. You might look into
raising other live foods, perhaps vinegar eels, grindal
worms, white worms, or other critters you can culture easily. (Try
Googling 'live fish food' for this one.)> <I'm going
to combine these, as I had started work on one when the second came
in...> Greetings once again....I had talked to Ananda before, and
I'd gotten a rough idea of what I was looking for, but in the end I
still have a question for the crew. First off, we were in a bit of a
mix when trying to figure out what type of a puffer I have. On the
store it said "Spotted Puffer," but as we all know, pet
stores have the great ability to get their common names wrong.
<Sometimes they are indeed 'wrong', other times it's
more a question of what names are used locally.> She had suggested
that it be a Green Spotted Puffer, but I couldn't find that name
under www.fishbase.com. <If Fishbase has a weakness, it is that many
common names we actually use are not included....> So I'm still
clueless as to what he is, and although he has a green shading on his
back with a white belly, he still looks a lot like the Guentheridia
Formosa. I'll post a couple pictures with this email. <No photos
came through...could you re-send?> With many thanks to Ananda, I
took her advice of looking for snails to much on, and my friend at the
fish store went around fishing through their tanks to fill me a bag
with a few snails, which I took home and stuck in an open fishbowl with
a plant and an algae pellet to take care of everyone. <Sounds like a
good start.> I've barely even had it and I'm seeing tons of
baby snails crawling all over the place, and the puffer loves them.
<And you get to watch his hunting behavior.> The other part was
about my two bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius sua)... which ARE picky
eaters, but the only thing that they will eat or only have an interest
in is my bloodworms. <Not surprising, though they may show an
interest in frozen/thawed mysis shrimp if you can get them.>
Actually I'd stay longer to say more, but my mollies have just
started to shoot out fry and I have to catch them and separate them
before they can eat anymore. <Well, now we know that you don't
have a pair of males! :-) > I dunno what you people do to catch fry,
but I'll be damned if there is anything better than a turkey baster
for catching those little things, lol. <*blink* Three years of
keeping mollies and catching molly fry, and that never even occurred to
me...I use a couple of nets.> Robert *Turkey basting the baby
mollies* <Truly, some excellent ideas come from people who are do
not know what they are 'supposed' to do. Thanks for the idea!
Vacation Feeding for Green Spotted Puffer How many days is it
safe to go without feeding a green-spotted puffer. He is about1-1/2
inches long & usually eats 1 small slug and 3-4 large Spirulina
flakes twice daily. I will be gone for two days and then
again 1 week in Sept. I plan on having someone come by
daily to feed him in Sept., but am not sure about the weekend
thing. Thanks, Donna <Feed well a few days before the
trip and I think it can get by for a couple days. Don>
Bloodworms -- possible cause of puffer loss? (03/17/03)
<Ananda here this morning...> Hi. I just lost my three puffer
fish. <Sorry to hear that.> They had been fine for a while and
all of a sudden, the other day, they started dying. I'm
wondering if the frozen bloodworms I'm feeding them have anything
to do with it. Like maybe there's too much protein in
the tank. <Unlikely that the food itself was the direct
cause of it. However, it's easy to overfeed, and excess proteins in
the tank can decay into ammonia/nitrites/nitrates -- and high levels of
those can cause fish death. Without more information on your tank,
it's impossible to say with any certainty what the cause of death
was.> Any help is greatly appreciated. <Do look over the puffer
articles and FAQs... both marine and freshwater/brackish, regardless of
which type of puffer you had. Much of what has been written applies to
most puffers. Thanks, Angie <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Figure eight puffer Hello, <Cheerio, old sport! Anthony
Calfo in your service> I have owned a freshwater fish tank of some
form for many years. Whether it was 50 gallon, 20, or 10 (I have a 10
right now because of the convenience), I have never really paid
attention to pH, ammonia, etc. <like an ice pick in my
ears...hehe> I use a water X and add a teaspoon of salt for every 10
gallons. <I like that part <wink>> Right now I have a 10
gallon tank that follows me pretty much everywhere. <most
people have cats and puppies for this but hey... enjoy> Today I
bought a figure eight puffer, I have always wanted a puffer and finally
I decided to get one, but not before asking the dealer a bunch of
questions. He said that although he may get territorial, he is a good
community fish. <you dealer is a fibber <G>> He said
the fish will eat flake food, which is what I normally feed my fish,
but I often give brine shrimp. <Puffers are cute, lovable and
dedicated fin nippers. They also will suffer on a diet of flake and
brine shrimp. As crustacean eaters, they need hard shelled foods to
wear down their naturally growing teeth. Without it the teeth will
become overgrown to the point where the animal cannot feed. As such
flake food is too soft and brine-shrimp without enrichment (Selcon
soaked and the like) is a useless fare that is essentially water made
to look like shrimp. Too bad it is so well liked by fish... it is the
lowest grade food. Add frozen Mysid, krill and plankton to the diet
(freeze dried krill too). Some folks keep fast breeding live snails
(the puffers love them!!!) to help with the teeth too> He said my
salinity would be fine. <probably although they could take and
might enjoy a lot more salt to truly be brackish> Once I bought the
fish and released him into the tank, everything at the moment appears
to be fine. I haven't fed yet, so I don't know how that will
go. I started looking things up on the net here and one guy has me
really afraid. He seems to know what he is talking about, but he says
that having all these conditions right is vital and puffers are very
sensitive. Can you help me out a little here? <some truth to
it... they are scale less fish and as such are sensitive to water
quality and medications> Also, since I have released my figure eight
puffer into the tank, he has swam up and down the side wall non-stop.
It appears normal, but I saw a comment somewhere saying this was a bad
thing, is this true? <common but not normal or healthy in the
long run. A stress induced response to many factors (salinity, light,
water quality, etc)> Please help me out, thanks. <no problem my
friend... much has been written on this topic. Do a search on this site
(tag the bullet for WWM only under the keyword field at the bottom of
the home page) and look through the archives of FAQs. Much information
there. Also, look through the brackish articles by following the links
from the WWM homepage as well. I suspect that you will be enlightened
and able to enjoy your puffer very soon. Best regards, Anthony>