Aquarium Enthusiasts! Help please.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by puckbunny87, May 31, 2008.

  1. puckbunny87

    puckbunny87 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Norco, CA
    I don't know how many of you have aquariums, or more specifically, experience with my new found love. Sorry if this gets a bit long, but this is the story...

    I have a 30 gal freshwater aquarium that I got for christmas. It is now heavily planted, but only has a few fish and a very cute cherry shrimp. Over the past few months, it's become infested with snails. I loathe the snails. They are evil, and mar my underwater greek theme. I did some research, and was advised against commercial snail killers and such, as they will end up killing the plants and fish as well. I did read somewhere that a puffer fish is the only fish that eats snails, but I haven't seen any in my local pet stores.

    Well, during a late night trip to Wal-Mart yesterday, I came across a tank of "green spotted puffers". They're cute, and resemble little spotted blimp-shaped aliens. I purchased one, hoping he would take a whack at my snail population. I've read that they get aggressive, so the shrimp and other fish moved to a small 10 gallon spare tank I had...and in goes the puffer, into the 30 gal. This was late-night. This morning, around 7am... there are two tiny snails left that I can see in the tank. And one slightly-fatter puffer fish. No snails in the plants, no snails on the decorations, no snails on the glass. The last two snails have since disappeared.

    My question is, I've been reading contradicting information about these little fish all morning. They either need brackish water, or fresh. He seems to be doing fine in fresh water at the moment. Does anyone here have a brackish tank? Or a puffer?
  2. sred98

    sred98 Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    Puffers are like Mollies, they can live in fresh or brackish (slightly salty) water, but they do better in brackish water, and it will help control the snails. It shouldn't hurt the plants. I kept livebearers (all do best with a little salt in the water) for years and they did great. You have to use aquarium salt, not regular table salt, and I used about a tsp. per gallon. What other kinds of fish do you have?

    I grew up in a petshop that my grandfather owned, and have had just about every kind of fish imaginable!

  3. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    I had a puffer I purchased for snail control - they LOVE snails YAY! And I keep my tanks somewhere between brackish and fresh and it did fine. Just know that they're toxic, if you ever have carnivorous fish who try to eat them, they'll die from the attempt.
  4. shmooborp

    shmooborp artistic fowlism

    and i fthe puffer ever dies then it will release its toxens... so the water can have poison in it.. so do a water change if something happens.. dont let the others eat it.. lol [​IMG]
  5. puckbunny87

    puckbunny87 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Norco, CA
    I didn't know mollies could live in slightly-salty water! At the moment, in the spare tank I have rummy-nosed tetras, cherry shrimp, and creamsicle mollies. My fish population got cut down by ick a while back, and I haven't replaced any yet.

    Are there any good tankmates for puffers? Or should he get the tank to himself (he will eventually be moved to the smaller tank, after he's done w/ quarantine and snail patrol)
  6. sred98

    sred98 Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    Most livebearers do best with slightly salty water, and it helps with ich! [​IMG] Mollies seem to be prone to ich. Since the shrimp is in fresh water, I would think that it might not work for him. Do some reading up on it and see what it says.

    The puffer could do fine with the mollies.

  7. texasreb

    texasreb Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Mollies can actually live in full marine conditions.

    GSP's need to gradually move towards brackish water as they mature, and your plants will not survive the salinity they need to thrive.

    You should start GSP's in slightly brackish water with a specific gravity of 1.005-08, unless you purchased them in fresh water, then you will need to increase the SG slowly each week so that the puff and your nitrifying bacteria can adjust to the increased salinity. As they grow towards adult size, the SG should move to a SG of 1.018-22. You'll need a hydrometer to test the water and a storage container and power head to mix the salt and water prior to water changes. Rubbermaid storage bins and trash cans work great for this.

    BTW, one cup of salt per five gallons of water will raise the SG .005, which is slightly more than the amount you'll want to raise it each week if your GSP was kept in fresh water at the LfS.

    Also, puffers in general are very messy fish, so extra filtration is really nice plus frequent water changes. They are also sensitive to dirty water conditions.

    Another thing to know is that GSP's are highly aggressive as they mature. They are usually kept as single specimens as they will kill all of their tankmates.

    And another thing, you'll need a steady supply of snails to keep their beaks trimmed to the right length. So, after you get rid of the rest of your fish (or your GSP eats them) you can use your 10 gallon tank to raise pond snails for the puff.

    Just in case you were wondering, I have 10 aquariums up and running in my house. Four are 80 gallons, 2 are 55 gallons, 2 are 29 gallons and two are 10 gallons...and yes I've raised puffers and brackish water fish before.
  8. chicken_boy_Kurt

    chicken_boy_Kurt Songster

    Mar 20, 2008
    Puffers are good for snail control, but they'll also eat your shrimp. And their is only one freshwater species. All others need brackish. The freshwater one is from India and only grows to about 1". A few snails are OK as they eat algae. But too many and they will start to eat the plants as well.
  9. birdnutz

    birdnutz Songster

    Mar 6, 2007
    Clown loaches would have eaten your snails also.Plus they make good community fish.
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I would probably keep the puffer alone. I've only ever heard horror stories about people buying those from Walmart and putting them in with their other fish. They usually eat everyone else in sight! They are adorable though, and they seem to have neat personalities.

    As for the snails, you could also try putting a piece of lettuce in to float at the top of the tank. They LOVE lettuce and will come up to eat it. In the morning, remove the piece of lettuce, as their should be a BUNCH of them feeding on it! Just toss it in the garbage and you've removed a bunch of snails. Do this as often as necessary and it may solve your problem. I've never tried this, but have heard good things about the method!

    I used to have some snails I took from my pond outside. They bred like crazy, but they never overpopulated the tank. They were tiny and black and helped to keep the tank so clean! I always liked to watch them. I have seen tanks FILLED with snails, and they definitely can be a pain in the neck!
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008

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