Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Calmwaters 09-29-2010 02:12 PM

New project suggestions needed...
ideas welcomed. Since I am out of work with my back injury I have had alot of free time to think and plan my next project. I have an extra 10 gallon that I want to turn in to a natural habitat for dwarf puffers. I am thinking I will get 3 a male and 2 females since from what I have studied the last few days should work out fine. I plan on trying the soil substrate like redchick has posted about. Then here is a list of plants I would like to use:
Aponogeton Crispus-Really like
Aponogeton Ulvaceus-Really like
Aponogeton Undulatus-Like
Cryptocoryne Walkeri-Like
Cryptocoryne Parva-Really like
Cryptocoryne Undualta-Really like
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red-Really like
Hygrophila Corymbosa-Like
Hygrophila Difformis-Really like for floating
Nymphaea Lotus Red or Green- Really Like
Rotala Indica-Like

Now do you guys think one each of these plants would be to much or not enough? If its not enough which should I do 2 of and also can you tell me which ones should be placed near the front mid and back of the tank. I also plan on putting a nice piece of driftwood either branch like or root like or a cave of some sort. So what do you guys think?

kitten_penang 10-04-2010 03:08 AM

you mean redchigh lol redchick sounds hot =)

Calmwaters 10-04-2010 10:43 AM

Opps LOL Sorry Redchigh.

kitten_penang 10-04-2010 06:13 PM

wheres byron??? i bet he knows what o do with all those plants

Calmwaters 10-05-2010 03:00 PM

LOL yes he is always alot of help he should have plantguru has his user name. LOL

kitten_penang 10-06-2010 05:22 AM

ill go pm him to this thread.i bet he'll love the plantguru nick you gave him

Calmwaters 10-06-2010 11:32 AM

LOL it suits him because he knows so much about them and his tanks are amazing!

Byron 10-06-2010 12:45 PM

Well, mustn't use "plantguru" as my colleague Tom Barr uses that (though he is not on this forum as far as I know).:-)

To the issue. First question Amanda, by "natural" are you thinking true biotope (using plants and materials that would naturally be found in the puffer habitats) or just a "natural" aquascape meaning plants, wood, rock? I'll respond as if it is a true biotope; if it is just "natural" then plant substitutions could be made with plants from other areas than SE Asia.

Dwarf Puffers come from India and Sri Lanka. The substrate of the habitat streams is sand, small gravel, pebbles, iron clay (laterite). So a substrate in the aquarium of brick-red colour (the dull darker brownish-red, not bright red) meant to suggest iron clay can be used, in a sand or fine gravel but dark not light if you can't find dull red. Seachem's Flourite plant substrate comes in a reddish colour, ideal for this setup. This is one setup where a thin layer of laterite under the sand/gravel would be useful, as the plants from this region all need iron; but not if you use an enriched substrate like Flourite, it would be too much iron.

Pebbles, bits of rock arranged as small caves (puffers establish territories and needing lots of hiding spots) and bits of bogwood also arranged to provide crevices for hiding spots would be appropriate and necessary. Bits of broken clay flowerpots would provide caves and also add to the reddish theme. The stream bed in this area is often reddish from the iron over which the water flows.

And then lots of plants, thick vegetation both to represent the habitat and provide more cover for the fish; a thick planting breaks up the line of sight for the fish's territories.

In a 10g, Aponogetons are rather large. I have A. crispus and A. undulatus in my 70g and they have leaves more than 2 feet in length laying across the surface. One of either species would be sufficient if you do use an Aponogeton, I would think Aponogeton undulatus the better choice, have a look at the profile, also A. crispus is included in the profiles too so you can compare. The A. undulatus in my 33g has remained smaller.

Crypts are ideally suited to this habitat. Several naturally occur in India and/or Sri Lanka, as noted in our profiles. Some have reddish leaves to contrast nicely with the darker green varieties.

Java Fern attached to some of the wood or rock would be good; and Java Moss on the wood or rock also. For floating plants, aside from the Aponogeton leaves, Ceratopteris cornuta or duckweed are authentic.

The lotus plants are strictly speaking not Asian, though many of us use them in Asian aquascapes; the aquarium species of Nymphaea are African, the plants in Asia are a different genus and not common. Still, the red tiger lotus would be a nice touch, and provide more floating leaves (wouldn't need the Ceratopteris with this and Aponogeton).

All of the above plant suggestions manage very well with moderate (lower) light, a good idea with puffers to reduce their shyness. I would not go for more than 3 Puffers in a 10g; males can be quite feisty.

Hope this is of some help. I'm thinking of getting a 5g for my lone dwarf puffer, he arrived with the pygmy corys so was not intentional, but as he eats every snail in the tank:shock: I want to isolate him.


Calmwaters 10-06-2010 01:05 PM

Thank you Byron. I will look at the plants you suggest as what I am looking to do is a biotope type of set up. I was thinking about doing a soil based substrate but I am kind of afraid I would do something wrong and end up with dead fish so I will probably go with the Seachem Flourite like you suggest. Most of my tanks have black or natural brown gravel so the red may be a nice change. I plan on trying to get a male and 2 female puffers so I will not have to worry about the aggresion as much if they can not assure me of the sex I may just get one.
Also even if you don't use it as your name you will always be plantguru to me and the others here. LOL

Byron 10-06-2010 07:29 PM

While I was doing my water changes earlier, the Aponogeton plants in my 33g and 70g made me think of something I had forgotten previously. Another reason for my suggesting A. undulatus is that this plant reproduces vegetatively, the only Aponogeton species to do this. An inflorescence is produced with daughter plants, just like the SA sword plants. From my experience, they do this regularly. And this means an endless supply of plants, so you can remove the larger and plant the smaller ones to keep the tank "full" of this lovely plant and have them smaller.

I would in this case go with the Flourite. Aponogeton and crypts require good nutrition which they absorb mainly via the roots.


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