Myths, Truths, And Lies Disproven [puffers/ugfilter/tapwater]

Do you think I am crazy?

  • Yes- completely psycho. Serial Killer level coo-coo

    Votes: 3 75.0%
  • Nah, you might be right

    Votes: 1 25.0%

  • Total voters
    4
JakeFishGuy
Member
Good evening all, I hope this thread finds you all well. I post this not with administrative or instructive intent, but to raise the other side of three key arguments/truths of the Saltwater world. Puffer compatibility, effectiveness of an under-gravel filter, and safety of tap water!

First a little quick background. My name is Jake, I entered the hobby with a fair-prize goldfish and got sucked in when I thought I could get away by doing things cheap. To an extent, I still feel that is true, but to learn how to do things cheaply, you need to spend money. Either way, after roughly 6 months of freshwater I moved on to oddball brackish, which was lead to saltwater after about 8 months. I have now had a salt tank for a long time and would love to share my findings!

The first finding is that puffers can be quite compatible, despite what is often advised. I do not mean same-species puffers alone, but instead I talk of variable species. In my tanks, I have housed green spotted puffers [gsp's], figure 8 puffers [f-8's], ocellated puffers, and valentinI puffers together. Normally the primary concern is the aggressive behavior of puffers. The truth is that each puffer is an individual just like ourselves, in a sense they will react based on the way they were raised, and in a different sense they are each naturally different in behavior. So why take a chance? Well, keep in mind that even highly aggressive fish do not tend to kill instantly, instead they bully and overtake their victims over a course of time. Puffers are no exception. They will bully, but so long as they are monitored this should be easily identified before it becomes an issue. Bullies are fairly rare in a well-fed tank. The key is to keep the environment interesting, changing, and to block direct lines of sight where possible.

Why then are people so steadfast against different species being housed together? Because the parameters required can be vastly different! This is true, and VERY IMPORTANT to note. The housing of these species must be as close to a middleground as possible. For instance, a GSP needs full saltwater by maturity, while a f-8 needs high brackish. Solution? Very low SG of 1.018 or even 1.016. Sure you can't keep corals in such waters, but hey, f-8s, gsp's, and valentinis are gorgeous together.

The second finding is that a undergravel filter is quite effective. Not only are they effective, but they are cheap. The undergravel filters are so underrated nowadays as an antiquated method. But when used not as a primary filter they can be insanely great. Sure, they cannot handle the load of an aquarium nearly as well as a canister filter but they do take one of the hardest jobs of keeping an aquarium at bay. You know what I'm talking about don't you? Gravel cleaning. The UG filters keep the gravel so clean once they establish good bacteria, and so long as you are consistent with water changes and feeding amounts, you will notice a more beautiful aquarium. What else are they good at? Aeration! Just all around great to have if you are using a canister filter or strong HOB as a primary filter. Sure, overfiltration is real in extreme cases, but keeping your gravel healthy can't be over done

The third finding is that tap water can be safe: Yep, I said it. I can feel the ministrokes many of you are having. This is a highly uncommon opinion, as most recommend RO water. For reef tanks I am sure that is true. For fish only tanks, I believe it is something that can be gotten away with. Of course, all tap water is different and must be treated as such. From my perspective however, prime does a great job of preparing the water, mixing the salt is simple, and truly I see clean water and happy fishes
 
  • Moderator
smee82
Moderator
Member
No idea about puffers but you'll find most people will agree with you on undergravel filters and tap water.

However undergravel filters aren't great do have in planted tanks and I wouldnt use one with fish like corries and loaches.
 
stella1979
Member
Nice write up. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This is the kinda stuff I really love here... Thought provoking posts that prove that no single way is the right way.

I know nothing of UG filters and am now wondering how they'd work out in a FOWLR. Any problem using one with sand substrate? Can it withstand having many pounds of rock on top of it? Also, what's the max height of the UG filter? I'm wondering how one might affect sand sifters, and how deep sand might need to be to not affect them at all.

Speaking of sand... You probably know that sand, rock and other porous materials are capable of absorbing nasties like heavy metals... a big no-no for corals. For those new to the salty side, the common way (and perhaps the best advice), for an eventual reef tank is to start with a FOWLR. Lots of FOWLRs don't stay that way for long though, because it's hats to resist that eye candy at the LFS's. So, since there is a possibility of nasties staying in the tank regardless of a switch to RODI water, you will not find many advising using tap water... ever. Also, as you say, tap water varies in its quality. People will often ask if they can get away with tap for a FOWLR, especially in other countries where a RODI system may be much more expensive, and though I sympathize with their plight, to that I say... Is a comprehensive report on tap water quality available?

Again, thank you for a great post!
 
  • Thread Starter
JakeFishGuy
Member
stella1979 said:
Nice write up. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This is the kinda stuff I really love here... Thought provoking posts that prove that no single way is the right way.

I know nothing of UG filters and am now wondering how they'd work out in a FOWLR. Any problem using one with sand substrate? Can it withstand having many pounds of rock on top of it? Also, what's the max height of the UG filter? I'm wondering how one might affect sand sifters, and how deep sand might need to be to not affect them at all.

Speaking of sand... You probably know that sand, rock and other porous materials are capable of absorbing nasties like heavy metals... a big no-no for corals. For those new to the salty side, the common way (and perhaps the best advice), for an eventual reef tank is to start with a FOWLR. Lots of FOWLRs don't stay that way for long though, because it's hats to resist that eye candy at the LFS's. So, since there is a possibility of nasties staying in the tank regardless of a switch to RODI water, you will not find many advising using tap water... ever. Also, as you say, tap water varies in its quality. People will often ask if they can get away with tap for a FOWLR, especially in other countries where a RODI system may be much more expensive, and though I sympathize with their plight, to that I say... Is a comprehensive report on tap water quality available?

Again, thank you for a great post!

Hello Stella!

Thank you for reading! I'd love to address your questions

The UG filter works excellent with a FOWLR tank, and this is for quite a few reasons. First, is that in a FOWLR tank they really don't have a negative effect, which leaves only room for the positives. Secondly, the constant downflow of water provides for a much healthier substrate for the liverock to grow in. Thirdly, the rock and the UG filter would have a symbiotic relationship in which you can tell the health of your substrate by looking at the rock. The rock will likely be the last to grow and the first tio die off, and it will act like a canary in a mine. If the liverock doesn't look healthy, your bacteria might need a boost!

Unfortunately, a UG filter wouldnt work with sand. The sand would fall through the grates and clock the filter itself. A UG filter works by creating an empty space or chamber under the substrate and sucking the water out of that chamber, therefore water is forced through the substrate to take its place. If the substrate is sand, and the sand falls through then the chamber would be clogged. So what can you use? Larger gravel, rocks, or my favorite crushed coral It looks great, harbors healthy bacteria, and stays clean.

It can definitely hold pounds of rock, but I would put the water in first just to be safe

There really is no max height, they work via single tube and an airstone so that tube can be as long as needed.

Unfortunately, sand sifters would be a no-go with an undergravel filter... for the most part. Because the substrate needs to be larger than sand, you would need a much larger sifter if one at all. In any case, it would not be ideal.

And that is very true! I have -as the picture shows- a FOWLR tank because I need to learn to resist that candy, but boy do I want to give my clowns an anemonemamoney (anemone ].

Thanks again for reading! Let me know if I can share any more knowledge of the UG filter, I know they can be a daunting thought but under the right conditions it can be so worth it.
 
Triggerman
Member
JakeFishGuy said:
Good evening all, I hope this thread finds you all well. I post this not with administrative or instructive intent, but to raise the other side of three key arguments/truths of the Saltwater world. Puffer compatibility, effectiveness of an under-gravel filter, and safety of tap water!

First a little quick background. My name is Jake, I entered the hobby with a fair-prize goldfish and got sucked in when I thought I could get away by doing things cheap. To an extent, I still feel that is true, but to learn how to do things cheaply, you need to spend money. Either way, after roughly 6 months of freshwater I moved on to oddball brackish, which was lead to saltwater after about 8 months. I have now had a salt tank for a long time and would love to share my findings!

The first finding is that puffers can be quite compatible, despite what is often advised. I do not mean same-species puffers alone, but instead I talk of variable species. In my tanks, I have housed green spotted puffers [gsp's], figure 8 puffers [f-8's], ocellated puffers, and valentinI puffers together. Normally the primary concern is the aggressive behavior of puffers. The truth is that each puffer is an individual just like ourselves, in a sense they will react based on the way they were raised, and in a different sense they are each naturally different in behavior. So why take a chance? Well, keep in mind that even highly aggressive fish do not tend to kill instantly, instead they bully and overtake their victims over a course of time. Puffers are no exception. They will bully, but so long as they are monitored this should be easily identified before it becomes an issue. Bullies are fairly rare in a well-fed tank. The key is to keep the environment interesting, changing, and to block direct lines of sight where possible.

Why then are people so steadfast against different species being housed together? Because the parameters required can be vastly different! This is true, and VERY IMPORTANT to note. The housing of these species must be as close to a middleground as possible. For instance, a GSP needs full saltwater by maturity, while a f-8 needs high brackish. Solution? Very low SG of 1.018 or even 1.016. Sure you can't keep corals in such waters, but hey, f-8s, gsp's, and valentinis are gorgeous together.

The second finding is that a undergravel filter is quite effective. Not only are they effective, but they are cheap. The undergravel filters are so underrated nowadays as an antiquated method. But when used not as a primary filter they can be insanely great. Sure, they cannot handle the load of an aquarium nearly as well as a canister filter but they do take one of the hardest jobs of keeping an aquarium at bay. You know what I'm talking about don't you? Gravel cleaning. The UG filters keep the gravel so clean once they establish good bacteria, and so long as you are consistent with water changes and feeding amounts, you will notice a more beautiful aquarium. What else are they good at? Aeration! Just all around great to have if you are using a canister filter or strong HOB as a primary filter. Sure, overfiltration is real in extreme cases, but keeping your gravel healthy can't be over done

The third finding is that tap water can be safe: Yep, I said it. I can feel the ministrokes many of you are having. This is a highly uncommon opinion, as most recommend RO water. For reef tanks I am sure that is true. For fish only tanks, I believe it is something that can be gotten away with. Of course, all tap water is different and must be treated as such. From my perspective however, prime does a great job of preparing the water, mixing the salt is simple, and truly I see clean water and happy fishes
My most successful saltwater tank was an undergravel filter with a protein skimmer they can handle a huge bioload undergravel filters for messy eaters
 
Katie13
Member
I’m using tap water in my sw tank. My tap is perfectly fine for it and I checked the heavy metals and everything against the levels found in salt and everything adds up with my tap having less than the salt!
 
CanadianJoeh
Member
JakeFishGuy said:
Good evening all, I hope this thread finds you all well. I post this not with administrative or instructive intent, but to raise the other side of three key arguments/truths of the Saltwater world. Puffer compatibility, effectiveness of an under-gravel filter, and safety of tap water!

First a little quick background. My name is Jake, I entered the hobby with a fair-prize goldfish and got sucked in when I thought I could get away by doing things cheap. To an extent, I still feel that is true, but to learn how to do things cheaply, you need to spend money. Either way, after roughly 6 months of freshwater I moved on to oddball brackish, which was lead to saltwater after about 8 months. I have now had a salt tank for a long time and would love to share my findings!

The first finding is that puffers can be quite compatible, despite what is often advised. I do not mean same-species puffers alone, but instead I talk of variable species. In my tanks, I have housed green spotted puffers [gsp's], figure 8 puffers [f-8's], ocellated puffers, and valentinI puffers together. Normally the primary concern is the aggressive behavior of puffers. The truth is that each puffer is an individual just like ourselves, in a sense they will react based on the way they were raised, and in a different sense they are each naturally different in behavior. So why take a chance? Well, keep in mind that even highly aggressive fish do not tend to kill instantly, instead they bully and overtake their victims over a course of time. Puffers are no exception. They will bully, but so long as they are monitored this should be easily identified before it becomes an issue. Bullies are fairly rare in a well-fed tank. The key is to keep the environment interesting, changing, and to block direct lines of sight where possible.

Why then are people so steadfast against different species being housed together? Because the parameters required can be vastly different! This is true, and VERY IMPORTANT to note. The housing of these species must be as close to a middleground as possible. For instance, a GSP needs full saltwater by maturity, while a f-8 needs high brackish. Solution? Very low SG of 1.018 or even 1.016. Sure you can't keep corals in such waters, but hey, f-8s, gsp's, and valentinis are gorgeous together.

The second finding is that a undergravel filter is quite effective. Not only are they effective, but they are cheap. The undergravel filters are so underrated nowadays as an antiquated method. But when used not as a primary filter they can be insanely great. Sure, they cannot handle the load of an aquarium nearly as well as a canister filter but they do take one of the hardest jobs of keeping an aquarium at bay. You know what I'm talking about don't you? Gravel cleaning. The UG filters keep the gravel so clean once they establish good bacteria, and so long as you are consistent with water changes and feeding amounts, you will notice a more beautiful aquarium. What else are they good at? Aeration! Just all around great to have if you are using a canister filter or strong HOB as a primary filter. Sure, overfiltration is real in extreme cases, but keeping your gravel healthy can't be over done

The third finding is that tap water can be safe: Yep, I said it. I can feel the ministrokes many of you are having. This is a highly uncommon opinion, as most recommend RO water. For reef tanks I am sure that is true. For fish only tanks, I believe it is something that can be gotten away with. Of course, all tap water is different and must be treated as such. From my perspective however, prime does a great job of preparing the water, mixing the salt is simple, and truly I see clean water and happy fishes
I have never had puffers nor used an UG filter so I can't speak to that

But for water... I have ALWAYS used tap water with Prime and never had problems.

However you need to treat tap water with at least some sort of conditioner.

My old boss puts straight tap water into his tanks. The guy is an imbecile. Claims that all chlorine and evaporates out. But that is simply incorrect.
 
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