Advice on most stress free move possible for puffers please!

AZL

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Hi I was planning to upgrade the tank for my pair of green spotted puffers in the Spring but have been offered a 130 gallon tank with sump, stand, bulkhead, pump, etc for an unbelievable price. It's bigger than the 110 I was planning for them which is great and while this has happened suddenly and at an awkward time it's good as they've grown quickly from under 1" to nearly 3" in 7 months and are really fed up with their 35 gallon long baby tank. Of course this does mean moving them without stressing them unduly.

I've got help and a van tomorrow so will need to get the tank but can't get water delivered until the weekend so I'll have to have to maneuver around that and their old set up. In the meantime I'll be rinsing sand and sorting the plumbing. My guys are in full marine, I use natural seawater which helps - no risk of mix being off in new tank. Just them going in along with enough extra live rock to make up the 1kg per 10 litres recommended and that is coming out of my local supplier's sump so already well matured. I've been assured between the mature rock and the nsw this means no cycling but will top up with bottled bacteria and check water parameters daily until I'm sure all is stable.

As far as moving them I realise to use a container rather than a net. I've given them large water changes to prepare them for the move as well. When they came here one was from full marine but mixed water and the other from brackish so I drip acclimitised them. I suppose although there's less adjustment this time that would still be ideal? A friend has suggested treating with anti bacterial and/or anti parasite meds prophylactically as no coral or inverts to worry about atm. Does that sounds like a good idea? I'll have to get their rock out and their sand before filling the new tank, am I best leaving them in the current one while I carefully do so or putting them in my QT with some heat, air, and their tank water for an hour or less while I do that? I've been told it'll only take a few hours to heat new tank so hoping they'll be ok without rocks and sand just that long?

Sorry for all of the questions, this will be great for them going forward but I'm so worried about stressing the in the process of upgrading!
 

Joshaeus

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I have no experience with puffers, but I will try to help :) I had a much smaller (10 gallon/around 38 liter) marine tank in the past. I did not have much for corals, but I did have a lot of macro algae...have you considered adding that to the puffer tank after they are settled in? I have no clue whether puffers will bother coral, but they will definitely eat most mobile invertebrates.

I'd be worried about accidentally crushing the puffers with a rock if you kept them in the tank while you moved the rocks. I would put them in a QT with what you stated, perhaps with some of the live rock as well for cover.
 
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AZL

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Thank you! I'll be QT-ing them for the move, they'll be annoyed but safe. Their current tank has masses of established blue ochtode and red bush so that will come with them - the effect is like a Roger Dean painting, their home is pretty much a living prog rock album cover lol
 

ystrout

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How long will this take?

I understand setting up the new tank and plumbing will be brutal, but can't you just leave them in the 35 gallon tank while you set everything else up? Even if you pull the live rock out to set up the new tank, they'll be fine. Ammonia won't spike in a few hours. Keep the water agitated with a HOB filter or bubble bar though, as well as heated.

A few months ago, I moved apartments and had to move my spotted congo puffer (similar size to GSPs) and pea puffers. Moving my 75G tank took forever so Potato the spotted congo was in a covered bag for about 4 hours. She just slept and wasn't stressed at all. Moving the pea puffers was easy because I didn't have to disassemble their tank. I just moved it, filled it back up, acclimated them, then plopped them in.

But both the spotted congo puffer and pea puffers are the easiest fish in the world to move.
1. Pet puffers are trusting and don't run away from you when you are catching them. So that doesn't stress them out.
2. If they are scared, they're so slow that catching them is easy and you don't have to chase them for a prolonged time
2. They're pretty fearless fish, so being in bags for a few hours doesn't bother them. Just keep the temp of the house similar to the tank water so they don't get too cold.

And you can use a net, but don't take them out of the water in it. I scoop my puffers up with a net, then transfer them to a bag all while underwater in case they inflate. That said, they've never inflated in the short time the netting/bagging takes. I think they need to be pretty stressed or feel super threatened to puff up and this has never really bothered my puffers.

Also, as long as you're not increasing the stocking, the current bacteria on your current rock will keep the tank cycled. Just monitor your ammonia levels for a few days after the move is done just to be safe.

Good luck!
 
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AZL

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Thank you for that! I will be leaving them in their current tank until very near the end of the process but I need to move all of the live rock as well as the sand as it's now live and contains the small life the new eco system will need to establish itself so thinking being in their own water in a small holding tank for a few hours is likely the least stress. I will be fast moving the sand and rock, 30 minutes max, but the 400 litre tank and 125 litre or so sump may take awhile to heat. I'll be running two heaters and can also pre-heat barrels in a hot bath so that will cut time down. I will also have to ask my spouse to watch the QT tank while I transfer as I'm not convinced the lid is puffer proof let alone cat proof. As you say my guys are pretty trusting so I'm hoping a careful transfer won't make them puff, more worried about overall stress causing disease after the fact. Going forward there will be additional already matured live rock and new tank mates will be QT'd for the first few weeks anyway so I don't expect a cycle crash but will monitor water parameters closely. :)
 

saltwater60

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If you’re buying new and more live rock make sure that is cured before adding it to the new tank. If not cured there is a lot of die off and can cause ammonia to spike. Other than that same temp water and ph and you should be pretty good to do a normal acclimation and be on about your day.
 

ystrout

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Sounds like you have a plan.

I'd avoid heating the water in the bathtub. I feel like there would be soap and chemical residue. Can't you just heat the water to a similar temp out of the faucet and then get it precise once it's in the tank before the fish go in?

Let us know how the move goes!
 
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