HELP!! fish murderer, shark or puffer? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-08-2010, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation HELP!! fish murderer, shark or puffer?


Ok i have a 37 gallon tank with 15 fish, may b 2 many idk, anyway i usually buy my fish together so heres the list Group 1: Pleco (lke 3 inches now), 2 micky mouse plattys, 2 red wag plattys
Group 2: Black molly, Dalmation molly, Dwarf Gourmai, and 5 fancy guppys
Group 3: Green Spotted Puffer, Cetopsis blue shark (blue whale catfish)

ok heres the problem the final group i got was from my LFS and is quite questionable, i picked them up last minute because of how hard it is to get these and rare the shark is, withough even thinking if they were aggressive and compatibility, So i got them 3 days ago and since then 1 fish has either disappered or been halfway devoured (guppy disappered, dalmation molly carcass) and a few of my fish have fin bites. At first i suspected the shark because the puffer had fin bites as well so i but him in a breeder net for a day with the rest of the dalmation carcass n some blood worms, he seems not to eat and when i came home the food and fish was still there so i pulled the dalmation carcass out and as it fell to the bottom of the tank i noticed my puffer go straght to it and take 3 vicious bites which confuses me. Long story short i ran to pets mart bought there terrible tank separators and separated tank. my fear is that im separating the wrong fish i dont know wheteher to separate the shark or puffer, the shark harms no fish and bothers no fish when im around, i watch teh puffer kind of harass other fish by following them but havnt caught him in the act of fin nipping. I get off wrk in lke 3 hours and my fear is ill have a 3rd fish dead, at least if i do i may know more of which fish is doing it, cuz the puffer is with all my other fish and the hark is on the other side of the separator but my dumb fish r swimming to that side and squeezing through edges which i know ill have to fix. and i noticed the puffer is a brackish fish? i stated with a ten gallon that is now cycling for saltwater. i want to place a small false clown fish, coral, shrimp and crab in so because of that my shark cant be separted completely to another tank, so i also want to know should i move my puffer to the salt water or is that too much salt, and i dont want him messing with the $20 -$30 fish that i do put in there.

and b 4 u suggest returning or getting rid of the shark take into account that fish cost me $40

1) whose killing my fish: puffer (known fish nipper and fish eater)
shark ( Known to take chunks out of fish)

2) Puffer location a: leave in freshwater
b: move to saltwater
c: put salt can or w/e it is in my fresh water for brackish water tank ( can my other fish . survive in that environment as well?)

3) For people who own cetopsis blue shark how do you feed it since its blind and what, ive tried dried blood worms, and tropical flakes, i thought hed smell and attack them lke owner told me but he doesnt seem to respond, may b he eats at night when im sleep or eats my fish when im at wrk lol idk

thx, n e help appreciated
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-08-2010, 11:30 PM
In my experience, puffers shouldn't share tank space with ANYONE! They truly make HORRIBLE neighbors. I've even had them ruin airline tubing and filter tubes! I blame the puffer, though the shark should be considered a serious suspect, too.

I wouldn't move the puffer into anything but its own aquarium.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-09-2010, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Yah he seems mean and like i said he terrorizes the fish chasin there tails for a second or two but i cant catch him nipping.

well after i got home last night i counted and still had all my fish BUT, all my fish or most besides my pleco and like 2 others crossed the damn separator by squeezing through (pleco, shark, and puffer are to fat to go pass separator so i guess it does its job) to the sharks side while the puffer layed on some gravel under a fake plant.all alone, at frst i thought he was trying to make friends but not so much n e more i dont think, and my fish are clueless they swim over that separater when ever they have the urge last night they where all near the puffer as i watched tehm cross it back and forth :/ this morning just about every single one was back with the shark

no deaths though and no new nippings so well c, wat i need is a fish that can put the puffer in its place i thought the shark would or my pleco and evidently someone attempted to and may have been successful because no dead fish and the puffer has two separate fin nippings on him, so someone in my tank is pretty damn bold lol thats y at first i didnt suspect the puffer
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-09-2010, 01:15 PM
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Simply put, you have completely non-compatible fish in the same tank. Compatibility has many aspects; I strongly suggest you read the "sticky" article in the Freshwater Aquarium section, here's the direct link:

Mixing non-compatible fish will cause stress to some or all of them in many varying ways, and stress leads to health problems and quite possibly early demise of the fish.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-09-2010, 01:46 PM
I agree with Byron
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-09-2010, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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ok good news and bad news, today i got back from buying a new tank and refugium setup and i glanced at my tank to c my dalmation molly on the rocks sideways i freaked out thought it was bout to die that second, he crossed teh separator lke most teh other fish so i put him on the other side

long story short after i changed his sides and he went back down to the rocks i watched my puffer attack him twice and noticed he had been bitting at his bottom side fin so he couldnt swim n i could c the meet hanging which is y he wouldnt move, immeadiately i did the only thing i could think of i grabbed my breeder net and put my dalmation in it and about an hour later he was up and swimming again :D i think i saved him in time, sooooo ima keep him there for about a week or less because im using my old 10gallon saltwater and ima throw dat damn puffer in dere so ill have freshwater, brakish, and saltwater tanks :/ tooo much oh well the love of fish, at least i know its the puffer and the shark is doing no attacking, the puffer looked so cute and innocent too, i just want to spank him lol
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 06:58 AM
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Unfortunately, you have lots of different problems with your current stocking (as you're witnessing).

The pleco, gourami and catfish are all softwater fish and would do best in soft, acidic water. Unfortunately, the pleco (if it is a common pleco) needs to be in a minimum 75g tank as it grows quite large (18"+). The shark catfish grows to about 10" but is a fairly active swimmer so should also be in a 75g tank. This fish is also pretty vicious and will outright eat smaller fish and attack ones larger than itself. According to Planet Catfish some have had success keeping it with armored catfish (like your pleco) but this isn't guaranteed. If I were to keep this fish, I'd probably keep it alone in a 75g tank.

The mollies, platies and guppies are all generally good community residents but will get eaten by the catfish and puffer for sure. All of these prefer hard, alkaline water.

The puffer is problematic for two reasons: it's a vicious fin-nipper and can't really be kept in a community tank, and it is, at the least, a brackish water fish. They can do just fine in fully marine conditions; unfortunately a 10g tank isn't big enough to house a GSP and the puffer would likely eat anything interesting you wanted to put in a reef tank anyway (including nipping on corals, eating inverts, attacking other fish, etc.).

So, not counting the salt water tank you're setting up, if you want to keep all of these fish I would probably set up something in the 30g range for the livebearers, another 30g brackish/salt for the puffer, a 75g for the catfish and pleco with the understanding that the pleco might have to go and your gourami would be the "odd man out" since it would prefer the water in the 75g with the catfish but would likely get eaten if put in there.

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post #8 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot for that information, now i know. n my dalmation didint make it..... i really wish someone woulda given me all this advice like you did b 4 i bought dat new 15 gallon tank with 10 gallon sump reef ready, its really nice stand and all, and b 4 i dropped some freshwater salt all in my 37 lol. So now i have 4 tanks a 37 gallon, 2 10 gallons one is a refugium and a 15 :/ and no more space or money because of this saltwater setup my room has a tank in every corner, my studying desk, n even my drawers lol..... thanks alot again man, for now im putting the puffer in my breeder net until i can fix the separator, then eventually get a bigger tank :D
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-11-2010, 06:32 AM
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No problem. I would stop using salt for now; a small amount of regular aquarium salt isn't really going to be all that beneficial for your puffer and might really bother the catfish especially. How big is the GSP? They're alright in fresh water as youngsters but really need to transition to brackish and finally full marine conditions as they grow so I wouldn't wait too long before at least getting one more tank for him (or for moving other fish into; a 37g tank would make a really nice permanent tank for a GSP).

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post #10 of 13 Old 05-11-2010, 03:00 PM
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Are all your tanks being used? Maybe we coule help you come up with a solution for now.

Basically, you should try to sell the shark and puffer.
I read an instance of a dwarf puffer killing a firemouth cichlid. Definately, there's no way to buy a fish to "put the puffer in its place" because 1, the puffer is agressive to everyone- the new fish would have to be even more agressive,, In which case it would probably kill the puffer and harass everyone even more.

Maybe this will be a lesson- do your research before spending $40 on a fish.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

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