From fresh to brackish to full marine! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
From fresh to brackish to full marine!

Hello, all! I'm new to saltwater keeping but I've always wanted to try... and with my green spotted puffer I might just have to!

I received Captain Davy Anchor Stillwater (yes, that's his actual full name) as a birthday gift last year. I'm closing in on my 21st birthday and I'm expecting to get another 10 gal tank soon (possibly by the end of this week).

Davy is almost 2" long, healthy, active and eating very well (mixed diet of frozen brine shrimp and FW snails). As I expect y'all know, green spotted puffers are brackish fish and should go full marine as adults.

He is currently in a heated 10 gal. freshwater tank (but with the recent addition of a Pictus Catfish thanks to my family , he's got to move. The family is planning another tropical tank... more on that in another thread).

My general plan is this:
1. Move Davy into his new 10 gal. tank this weekend.
2. Gradually acclimate him to a brackish environment.
3. Upgrade from 10 gal. to 20 gal.
4. Complete marine acclimation and use my 2.5 gal. tank as a sump.
5. ..... this is the part where I get stuck.

I've read over and over various guides on forums and other websites how to set up a saltwater tank from scratch... but I don't know where to find a guide on how to set up a marine setup with a fish who's already IN the tank.

Ultimately, I'd like to keep corals because, you know, they look pretty and whatnot. However, I also want to keep a few snails, scarlet hermits and cleaner shrimp (aka a cleanup crew) but with Davy there is NO way that's going to happen.

So my next question would be: is there a way to set up an aesthetically-pleasing tank while being able to keep a predatory fish?

I've attempted re-homing Davy multiple times with no luck so I'm doing my best to look into keeping him healthy and happy.


Shifting gears, if I wind up successfully re-homing Davy, I might do a SW pico with my 2.5 gal. instead. I know a pico isn't the best option for a beginner... but I've been seriously looking into it for some time now. Like I said in my introductory post, I love a good challenge.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Last edited by TianTian; 05-16-2011 at 12:31 AM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 06:38 AM
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fake corals may be your only way of having a reef with davy. snails, hermits or other inverts for that matter would just become a snack for him. it may not hurt to see if a local fish store would take davy in.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-16-2011, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
Hey thanks for the response!

If I could find a home for Davy, then that would free up the ten-gallon for the tropical community tank my folks want AND I could simply start up my 2.5 pico tank instead.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-17-2011, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
Update: So I re-homed Davy at one of the LFS I frequent; they were happy to help re-home him, so I'm free to do my 2.5 pico; sweet!
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 12:39 AM
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for future reference davy is a green spotted puffer, should require a small salinity. brackish water critters will adapt to salt water fairly well. For my brackish water pets i just kind of swish saltwater into the tank. as they are used to the brackish/freshwater clash. they seem to like saltwater better. my conversion from brackish to salt was within a week.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
Perhaps I didn't mention it before... I tend to forget things.

Davy was a birthday gift nearly a year ago; I had no idea how to care for his species... (in retrospect, it was probably not the best gift, lol). Fortunately he was/is pretty small yet, so he'll be okay for sure. I had to get rid of him due to space constraints and simply because I didn't want to do a brackish tank just yet. One day.....

In the meantime, I'm gonna work on planning my 2.5 pico tank.
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 08:26 AM
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i hate to say this, but if keeping a puffer was a challenge for you, having a 2 gallon pico reef tank is going to be much more advanced. please, please, please, ( i had to say it 3x ) read up on saltwater keeping for awhile, and awhile means atleast a good month or two. use this time to save up some extra cash to fund the tank, plan how your going to set it all up, what your going to keep in it, and how to keep it alive... before buying anything. this way youll have the best chances of success and it will offer more enjoyment.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
I will keep that in mind. :)

Realistically, I've been researching like a madwoman on marine tanks. I'm really shooting for a 2.5 mostly because I have a tank that's available. The 10 gal. was commandeered by my folks for a tropical tank. If I had a 5 gal, I'd work with a five. C'est la vie.

But I'll let y'all know how it goes.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 01:55 PM
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the high powered light and chiller to keep the tank at a stable temp is going to cost 20x more then that 2 gallon tank costs. if money is an issue, stick with freshwater for now.
the reason i say having such a small tank is so difficult is because the slightest change can crash the entire tank very fast. evaporation is much higher on saltwater tanks then fresh, so with this size an auto top off would even be benificial. i dont think i would keep any fish in this size tank either, and your stocking is prob. limited to a cleaner shrimp, if not maybe a sexy shrimp with the rest of the livestock being coral. im not trying to discourage you from doing this but just trying to save you headache, frustration, money and the lives of animals that are already being overharvested.
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-18-2011, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
I understand that. :) Thank you.
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