30g Planted Pea Puffer Tank

8kdr22

So I’m in the process of breaking down my 40 breeder reef, as the time required was just too much. In its place I want to set up a pea puffer tank. I got a great deal for a 30 gallon (36x13x16). It’s a little bigger than what I wanted, but a practically brand new 30 gal for 30 bucks was too hard to pass up. So I have limited expierence with a planted tank and none with puffers. I have been keeping mbuna cichlids for over 7 years though so we’re good on freshwater general knowledge. I want to recreate almost a natural environment for the puffers plant and scape wise. So here’s my questions:

Stocking:
8 puffers? 2m-6f
6 ember tetras?
6 Otto cats?

I have heard and read such varying opinions on puffer stocking so please let me know what you think. Even to me this seems like a lot of fish but I don’t want the 30gal to be empty.

Plants:
Going with a nicrew plant LED
Java moss
Dwarf baby tears
Amazon sword
Water wisteria
African water fern
Brazilian micro sword
Can anyone recommend CO2 systems? And are these good plants for a beginner?

Aquascape/ substrate:
Aquasoil 1 1/2inch
1/2 inch fine sand top layer

Spiderwood

any help and recommendations would be much appreciated. I’ve started too many tanks the wrong way and had to catch up to get them right, so this one I want to be easy off the bat.
 

BruinAquatics

Unfortunately I just can't see the pea puffers with the other inhabitants. The 6 ember tetras will most likely not survive imo and if the otos are fast enough they may. This being said, a stressed oto usually means a dead oto.

Also, personality of a pea puffer various greatly and many have been extremely aggressive or extremely nice. It all depends. You could argue that the aggression may be dispersed between each puffer and they wouldn't bother other fish, which is a valid argument, however from what you wrote if you want to set this tank up correctly with minimal issues and for it to be easier off the bat rather than a mess with aggressive puffer fish, I would simply only keep a puffers species only tank. 8 seem to be good imo. 5-6 might be a bit safer, but if i'm being honest 8 should be fine as long as there is enough plants to allow for territories to be established.

As far as your plants go: Most of your plants are Beginner plants other than the Dwarf Baby tears. Those require co2 and really get finicky with lighting, ferts, and co2. If you really want a carpeting plant I would honestly go with dwarf hairgrass or dwarf sagitarrius, and if you want to retain the look of the dwarf baby tears then go with monte carlo as ime they have grown under med light, no co2 and only fluval stratum.
 

8kdr22

Unfortunately I just can't see the pea puffers with the other inhabitants. The 6 ember tetras will most likely not survive imo and if the otos are fast enough they may. This being said, a stressed oto usually means a dead oto.

Also, personality of a pea puffer various greatly and many have been extremely aggressive or extremely nice. It all depends. You could argue that the aggression may be dispersed between each puffer and they wouldn't bother other fish, which is a valid argument, however from what you wrote if you want to set this tank up correctly with minimal issues and for it to be easier off the bat rather than a mess with aggressive puffer fish, I would simply only keep a puffers species only tank. 8 seem to be good imo. 5-6 might be a bit safer, but if i'm being honest 8 should be fine as long as there is enough plants to allow for territories to be established.

As far as your plants go: Most of your plants are Beginner plants other than the Dwarf Baby tears. Those require co2 and really get finicky with lighting, ferts, and co2. If you really want a carpeting plant I would honestly go with dwarf hairgrass or dwarf sagitarrius, and if you want to retain the look of the dwarf baby tears then go with monte carlo as ime they have grown under med light, no co2 and only fluval stratum.
Thank you for your reply! So I figured that the puffer only tank would be the safest way to go and I will probably go that way. As far as plants, I’m glad to see most were suitable for a beginner. I did purchase a CO2 system for this tank though. It wouldn’t hurt to use it with the plants I have mentioned right? I figured I’ll start off with beginners and get the whole lighting, CO2 and substrate settled in and then try out some more moderate level plants in the future.
 

BruinAquatics

Yeah the co2 would do nicely and you can ever consider adding some other stem plants like rotalas and ludwigias. The only issue with dwarf baby tears is that they require a specific temperature and ph that cannot swing at all, and the co2 and light levels need to be precise. I'd say try out the co2 and consider adding more plants in as well!
 

8kdr22

Yeah the co2 would do nicely and you can ever consider adding some other stem plants like rotalas and ludwigias. The only issue with dwarf baby tears is that they require a specific temperature and ph that cannot swing at all, and the co2 and light levels need to be precise. I'd say try out the co2 and consider adding more plants in as well!
Ok awesome! Thank you. I’ll definitely start researching now. Still have a little ways to go, have to breakdown the old reef, build a stand for the 30 gallon and then cycle.
 

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