Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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angiegal 03-14-2011 10:26 PM

new puffers, bad advice and what to do now?????
:cry:Before anyone tells me how irresponsible or stupid this was... believe me, I know, but I'm trying to figure out what to do next!!!
Ok, here's the story:
I had a small 2 gal. tank on my desk at work for about 1 1/2 years now. I went away for two days and came home tonight to a 20 gal. tank with two Green Spotted Puffers in it! My teenage son thought it would be a great present for me. He did what they told him to do at the pet store (they were a bunch of idiots in my opinion!!) and thought he was doing a great thing for me. I told him it was great and I loved it and now I have to do everything I can to keep these two fish alive!!
So, per the pet store, my son bought the 20 gal. tank, brought it home and emptied the 2 gal. tank (gravel and fish included). Then added tap water and water conditioner pack that came with the aquarium set up. He added marine salt (he said 3 pounds like they told him at the store), plugged in the filter and heater and floated the two puffers for half an hour. Then he set them free into the tank. All of this happened about 36 hours ago. This is where I am right now:
water is a bit cloudy
temp is 78 degrees
salinity?? or specific gravity?? is 1.02 (they sold him a thermometer that floats in the tank with a hydromoeter on top) yes, I'm sure it's not the most accurate
I don't have any water test kit and won't be able to go to the store until tomorrow morning (believe me, I'll go right away)
the two tiny cat fish, 1 Zebra Danio and 1 Neon Tetra that were in the original tank all died at some point yesterday (son feels really bad for killing them which is part of the reason why I want to do whatever I can to save these guys)
I know the tank should have been cycled first and that puffers are not a hardy fish and shouldn't be used for cycling, but in your opinions, is there any chance for these fish to survive the cycling?
I don't want to break my son's heart and return them to the store and at this point, I would think that moving them to another tank would be traumatic to their systems.
Any thoughts????

SeaHorse 03-14-2011 10:37 PM

I posted to you but it seems to be missing! ok so I'll try again.
First do you have any more de-chlorinator? Is the salinity the right amount or do you need to do a couple of small water changes back to back to slowly lower the value/number?
Do you know what breed these are? Figure 8 or dwarf puffer? both are in our profiles listed above.
Did they give him any food? they will need to be fed tomorrow with probably blood worms or snails.
Also do you have any good bacteria product available like Prime?
You won't be able to get into the chat room until you have posted 10-15 times, can't remember exactly which it is. so I'll stay on here to help for a bit if I can. Good luck.

SeaHorse 03-14-2011 10:45 PM

Sorry I thought Green spotted puffer was a description rather than a breed. I'll see what I can find to help. Jakiebabie

SeaHorse 03-14-2011 10:49 PM

Here is a link with lots of info....just trying to help, wish I could do more...
Green Spotted Puffer Profile (TROPICAL FISH ARTICLES)

Since it says you should not/can not cycle an aquarium with puffers, is taking them back an optiion?

angiegal 03-14-2011 10:51 PM

I don't have any chemicals or testing supplies here at all.
I'll head to the store first thing in the morning, so any suggestions would be helpful.
They were fed- my son said they gave him a bag with about 20 tiny, little snails.
We can't find any in the tank now, so I assume they ate them.
I've been reading everything I can find, but for the most part, all I can find is "make sure your tank is well established before you get the fish!"
thanks for your help!

angiegal 03-14-2011 10:53 PM

I'm not sure about taking them back. I can check with the store. It just seems to me that the move to another tank would be rough on them.

SeaHorse 03-14-2011 10:59 PM

yes it will be hard on them but being in an uncycled tank could very well kill them as you know. Another option is to get good bacteria in the form of a used filter pad or substrate to put into your new filter. Talk to the store, shame on them for putting you guys in this situation so they need to help you out.
Good luck. Thank goodness they are fed. I'll check back here tomorrow. hopefully the puffer owners in here will jump in to help!

angiegal 03-15-2011 08:40 AM

puffer update: Petco doesn't want to take them back because "they could have parasites and infections". However, if they die and I bring them back along with a water sample, they will replace them (if the water is within normal parameters). Of course, if the water were in the correct parameters, the fish probably wouldn't die.:shock:
I purchased the test kit and will report results very soon.

SeaHorse 03-15-2011 10:00 AM

Hi angiegal! Well you are hanging in there! So while you were at Petco were you also able to get some Prime or some kind of bio support?, De-chlorinator for the MANY water changes you are going to have to do to keep this water stable,... maybe the same product.?... I have never bought Prime (yet) but everyone in here swears by it. test your tap water too, know those numbers! My water has ammonia in it and always sits at .25. Also there have been posts in here about municipalities dumping chlorine into the water in spring so lots of us are on high alert. Also Chlorimine is used in some places. Again Prime works on both chlorine and Chloramine. (Yes I am going to try it too, my LFS local fish store is an hours drive so next trip to the big city)
Since you know for a fact that this tank is going to cycle you will need to monitor the numbers closely! daily if you can. they are also highly intolerant of high nitrAte numbers too after the tank cycles so regular monitoriing going forward to stay near 20.NA
did you get more for them to eat?
When you finally get some spare time, we would love a picture. lol.

angiegal 03-15-2011 06:38 PM

Here's the update:
temp 71 degree
spg 1.012
Nitrate 20 ppm
Nitrite 0.5 ppm
alkalinity 20
pH 7.6

I bought Prime while at the store today. I added 2 and 1/2 capfuls- this was what was suggested on the bottle for an emergency situation.

I got them some more snails and ghost shrimp- they polished off 12 shrimp in about 5 minutes.
I haven't seen them eat any snails, but I can't find them anywhere, so maybe they ate them?
I also bought some frozen shrimp for them, but haven't used any. I don't want to overfeed them.

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