Help with my new tank?

Aysvin

Small Fish
May 18, 2013
26
0
0
#1
I've been trying to cycle my 10 gallon tank (still in the early stages) for my F8 Puffer, Bruce. I know 10 gallons is small but I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY A LARGER ONE AT THIS TIME. AS SOON AS I DO I WILL GET A 20 GALLON. SO PLEASE DON'T HECKLE ME ABOUT IT. I'm finding it hard to locate the parameters needed to keep him healthy. I know a few but am confused with others. I'll list my latest readings and bold what I don't understand then try to explain some more.

Ammonia: 2 - then 1 after a 4 gallon water change
Nitrate: 10
Nitrite: 0
Hardness: 400 - maybe around 20 degrees
pH: 7.6
Alkalinity: 80
Temperature: 78F

What confuses me is when I look up alkalinity it seems to talk about the hardness, but on my tests it has both so they're not the same thing...I guess I'm just wondering what I'm supposed to do. I know the hardness needs to go down, but what about the alkalinity? What is a good level for it and how do I bring these two factors down?
 

FreshyFresh

Superstar Fish
Jan 11, 2013
1,337
23
38
East Aurora, NY
#2
How are you trying to cycle this 10g? Fish-in or fish-less?

pH, hardness, etc.. is all completely meaningless IMO until you've established a proper nitrogen cycle.

And why are you yelling at us? You asked us a question? I'm kidding (for the most part :)).

Oh.. and a typical recommendation for figure 8 puffers is a 30g tank, so even your 20g target is off.
 

Thyra

Superstar Fish
Jun 2, 2010
1,891
0
0
Yelm, WA
#3
Welcome to the forum! I am assuming you already have Bruce in the 10 gallon tank. I would stop worrying about anything except ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You want zero for the first two and than about 20ppm for the nitrate. Until you get to that point, you need to be doing daily water changes of at least 50%. And I would definitely recommend not adding any other fish. You might start cruising around garage sales - its summer, there will be a lot and you might pick up another tank very cheap. Like make a $5 or $10 offer - if people are storing a tank, it takes up space and they just want it our of their life.
 

Aysvin

Small Fish
May 18, 2013
26
0
0
#4
I was 'yelling' because in another forum when people found out I had Bruce in a 10 gallon tank they got pissed off and snappy with me. I was just trying to get across the point that I don't have the money for something larger.

As for tank size, I've seen recommendations ranging from 15 to now 30. He's going to be the only fish so for a non enthusiast like me even a 20 sounds huge.

The cycling is with Bruce in the tank. I didn't know about cycling until after I got him.
 

Aysvin

Small Fish
May 18, 2013
26
0
0
#5
Welcome to the forum! I am assuming you already have Bruce in the 10 gallon tank. I would stop worrying about anything except ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You want zero for the first two and than about 20ppm for the nitrate. Until you get to that point, you need to be doing daily water changes of at least 50%. And I would definitely recommend not adding any other fish. You might start cruising around garage sales - its summer, there will be a lot and you might pick up another tank very cheap. Like make a $5 or $10 offer - if people are storing a tank, it takes up space and they just want it our of their life.
I changed out 4 gallons last night then 4 more a few hours later. The ammonia got down to .5 after that. I always do at least a 4 gallon change a day since, after factoring out the gravel and decor, there's about 9-8 gallons of water. Bruce's species doesn't get along with other fish, unfortunately, other wise all I'd add would be a bottom feeder since he's a very messy eater. It takes longer, but I only put one or two pieces of food in at a time, scoop up the scraps, then give him some more.

There's a lot of yard/garage sales in my area. I'll try to find some via Craigslist so I'm not on my way somewhere, seeing a sign, then trying to remember. That's a good idea. If that doesn't work I know where I can get a 20 gallon for $37, which is about half of the next cheapest I've seen. I have a job interview at that store on Tuesday. I'm not sure if I get a discount if I get hired though...
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
3,682
33
48
36
Cape Cod
#6
If you can, also add some AmQuel Plus or something similar that will bind the ammonia so that it isn't harmful, until the tank is cycled. Otherwise, maybe change out 6-7g at a time a few times, so that it really gets that ammonia level down to 0 (or at least holding lower at 0.25-0.5, not getting up towards 1ppm+ again).

If Bruce is slender, continue feeding as you are. But if he's at a good weight, I'd feed less (maybe half as much) until you are done cycling, as the ammonia level that you have will burn his gills and cause damage. Less waste is less ammonia right now - and him being a little hungry is better than having additional ammonia.

Petco was having the $ per gallon sale recently, not sure if they still are. I agree checking on Craigslist and yard sales - I have gotten good deals on both.
 

Aysvin

Small Fish
May 18, 2013
26
0
0
#7
If you can, also add some AmQuel Plus or something similar that will bind the ammonia so that it isn't harmful, until the tank is cycled. Otherwise, maybe change out 6-7g at a time a few times, so that it really gets that ammonia level down to 0 (or at least holding lower at 0.25-0.5, not getting up towards 1ppm+ again).

If Bruce is slender, continue feeding as you are. But if he's at a good weight, I'd feed less (maybe half as much) until you are done cycling, as the ammonia level that you have will burn his gills and cause damage. Less waste is less ammonia right now - and him being a little hungry is better than having additional ammonia.

Petco was having the $ per gallon sale recently, not sure if they still are. I agree checking on Craigslist and yard sales - I have gotten good deals on both.
I got the ammonia to .25 tonight and I feed him until his tummy is a bit rounded twice a day. I also meant checking Craigslist for yard sale listings. I've already looked several times for the tank and they're all $45 and above. I haven't heard about the Petco sale, which is a shame.
 

FreshyFresh

Superstar Fish
Jan 11, 2013
1,337
23
38
East Aurora, NY
#8
Yep, the Petco $1/gal sale was in April in my area. Check every few weeks online for that. It's tough to beat that price for well used stuff even. I think they do another sale later in the year. Another smaller chain pet store that does $1/gal sales is Pet Supplies Plus if you have any near you.

I hear you though Aysvin, consider this a learning experience. Gotta research your fish before you take ownership. Nearly all of us have been down the same road before!

When I first owned tanks 25+ yrs ago, I didn't know about water changes. Never did them! Ugh.
 

Feb 18, 2013
194
0
0
#9
Fish can adapt to water ph \ hardness pretty well, what they cannot do is tollerate poison in their water, which is what Ammonia and Nitrites are, Nitrates above 20 ppm are also dangerous. While you cycle your tank, feed Bruce less. More food = more waste, more waste = more Ammonia. I feed my f8 once a day, until his belly is slightly distended, and I skip a day every week.

Brackish puffers are actually pretty resistant to poor water conditions, but keeping him in water that is not ideal will shorten his lifespan.

I was 'yelling' because in another forum when people found out I had Bruce in a 10 gallon tank they got pissed off and snappy with me. I was just trying to get across the point that I don't have the money for something larger.
Puffers are one of the more intelligent fish you can have, they are up there with Discus, and Cichlids. They get bored, they need area's to explore, and things to keep them active, changing their tank around weekly helps with these, or large empty snail shells, they will check for food in them often. They can easily see out of their tank, and can recognize several different people. My F8 for example can tell the difference between my wife, myself, and a couple of our friends, and he responds to each of us differently. A 10 gal tank is sufficient if the fish is < 1" in length from teeth to tail. Generally speaking you need a minimum of 10 gal per 0.75" of fish. Otherwise your filtration will be insufficient to handle his bio load, and you'll be spending more on chemicals and salt, not to mention changing his water daily. So keep an eye out for deals.

You state you are not an enthusiast, however if you keep Bruce around for any length of time, you will quickly become one, as puffers do have some special needs, other fish do not.

For example you will need to give him something crunchy at least once a week sometimes more to keep his teeth ground down. Give him about an hour with a snail, then remove the remains and discard, otherwise the snail will decompose and increase the ammonia in your tank, Shrimp are also good, if they are gut loaded, place them in their own tank, and feed them several servings of blood worms, so they provide nutritional value to Bruce. My LFS has an infestation of Ram horn snails that are about 0.25" in size, I went in for some starter shrimp for a breeder tank, and they threw in a dozen of the snails for free.

Something else you can do to save money, breed your own snails. An easy way to do this is to use an old gallon milk container, or soda pop bottle, or some other plastic container, cut the neck off so you can reach in and collect a snail here and there for Bruce, pond snails \ ram horn snails multiply rapidly, and do not need an airstone to survive, as they have snorkels they breath through. Feed them a flake food, and sit them in a sunny spot that will not bake them, and they will eat algae as it grows in the bottle. Change out half the water weekly - bi weekly.

Ghost shrimp are the same way, however they tend to be cannibalistic, and the small shrimp need to be separated, and fed small food to survive.

Brine shrimp are easy to grow however, they feed on algae, they require salt or brackish water to hatch, they reach maturity in about 6 weeks and breed rapidly, and you can go to Wal-mart and buy a "sea monkey" kit for around $5.00 once they are adults, let them lay their eggs, and feed a net full of the adults to Bruce. They swim pretty quickly, and Bruce will enjoy the challenge of hunting his food.

Baby brine shrimp also make good food for baby ghost shrimp.

Total cost of each breeder setup is less than $5, and you know the food you feed Bruce is safe.