Will curbing my puffer fish help my water quality? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Will curbing my puffer fish help my water quality?

My stars and stripes puffer fish often leaves large globs of excrement at the bottom of the tank. In the interest of maintaining good water quality, I've begun cleaning up after him each morning I find it there. Do you think removing his excrement, as opposed to letting it decay in the aquarium, is beneficial for my water quality, or have I been wasting my time and getting unnecessarily wet every morning?

Fee-fi-fo-fum, somebody's been pooping in the aquarium.


curbing3.jpg

Alas, my IEED (Improvised Excrement Extraction Device) to the rescue! You need 1 fine mesh bag (often sold with aquarium resins), one hair tie, a stretch of tubing, and a wet/dry. (You can, of course, simply start a siphon from the tube into a bucket, but then you can only vacuum the sand bed until the bucket is full.)

curbing.jpg

Put the fine mesh bag around one end of the tube and wrap the hair tie (or rubber band) around it a few times to ensure it stays there.


curbing2.jpg

Insert the end of the tube without the fine mesh bag on it into the aquarium. Start a siphon by putting the end of the tube that is not in the aquarium (this should be the one with the fine mesh bag on it) against your lips and drawing as much air as you can through the tube. This will start to draw water from the end of the tube that is in the aquarium. Make sure to remove the other end of the tube from your mouth before the water reaches it or you'll want to have some Listerine on hand! Now that water is flowing through the tube, put the end of the tube with the fine mesh bag on it into your wet/dry. This will allow you to vacuum for as long as you want - the excrement or waste gets trapped in the fine mesh bag and the water goes right into your wet/dry where it is ultimately returned to the tank.

curbing1.jpg

Proceed to clean up after your fish.

curbing6.jpg

Admire your clean sand bed.

curbingfin.jpg

What do you guys think? Is this effort likely to yield any tangible benefits when it comes to water quality?
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 11:42 AM
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I didn't think there were any fish that produced more waste than a pleco but it seems your puffer wiins hands down. Removing that fee-fi-fo-fum has got to help with water quality. Nice DIY poop remover.

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post #3 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Kym. I have to say, I did feel a bit MacGuyver-ish putting it together. 8) Hopefully the extra work is doing the water quality some good.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 02:54 PM
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It is. That poop breaks down into Dissolved Organic Compounds. These DOCs are acidic. Left unattended, these DOCs have an adverse effect on your Alkalinity, Calcium and eventually your pH. It's kinda like skimming.



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post #5 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Jeff. That makes me feel much better about going the extra mile. In any event, the tank looks much nicer as a result of my effort.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 06:48 PM
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nice rig and it really does a nice job!!!

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post #7 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 09:29 PM
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You could try a well positioned power head to create water flow across the bottom of the tank.... get this waste suspended and over the overflows.

I had this same problem with my Naso Tang and adding an extra powerhead near the bottom of the tank did the trick.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-18-2010, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
You could try a well positioned power head to create water flow across the bottom of the tank.... get this waste suspended and over the overflows.

I had this same problem with my Naso Tang and adding an extra powerhead near the bottom of the tank did the trick.
Thanks for the idea, Mark. When you say to get the waste suspended and over the overflows, do you mean get the waste high enough so that it is drawn into the wet/dry via the pre-filter at the top of the tank? That's quite a distance for the powerhead to push it. Also, the puffer often poops while laying at the bottom of the tank, and a powerhead positioned that low would continuously blow sand around, right?
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-20-2010, 09:49 AM
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Not sure what to tell you about the powerhead idea...
but holy fish poop, batman!!! That puffer is a poo machine alright! Awesome job on the DIY poo vaccuum!

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post #10 of 11 Old 06-20-2010, 01:40 PM
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Neat idea. And HOLY COW!!! I didn't know pet puffers got that big. The ones at our aquarium arou only four or five inches long. I'm morbidly intrigued. Now I need to learn about puffers.

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