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Advice for stocking 55 gallon w/3 SAPs?


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I have a 55 gallong planted tank with three juvenile south american/amazon/peruvian puffers.  I'd like to get them up to a group of 6, which hopefully will keep them happier.  All my local fish stores appear to be out, but I think the Wet Spot has some and I could try to order.  

The thing is, I also would like to try corydora in there (the idea being they could help "clean up" after the SAPs which are messy eaters, and also because I think they're really cool and have never kept them before).  

Anything I get next will be in QT for at least a month before being added to the main tank to allow the system to adjust to bioload.  And I'm going to add one species or the other next, not both at the same time. 

I can't quite decide if I should get SAPs up to a group of 6 first, or try the corydora first and then maybe next year if the local stores have SAPs in stock again, I can add 3 more then.  

Reasons for not getting 3 more puffers now: I'm a novice puffer owner, and I already picked a complicated one to start with (though I feel I made an informed decision and am doing the best I can).  Managing 6 sets of teeth down the road seems like a lot, and I'm really only considering increasing their numbers for the well-being of the fish (which is an important to me).  

Reasons for getting the puffers now: assuming they're still in stock and will ship from The Wet Spot, better get them while I can.  Also maybe group dynamics shake out better when fish are combined as juveniles.  Plus I can pretty much get corydora anytime.  

I guess if it turns out I can't order any more SAPs from anywhere I would trust, that will solve the question for me -- but assuming I can get them, what would you do?  

Edited by SWilson
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Me? I would look at dwarf / pea puffers first if you're looking for a cute, readily available little puffer. They're just as cute, maybe cuter, actually seem to prefer living in groups like the SAPs, and are a little easier to feed since they'll be happy with frozen bloodworms in addition to tiny snails and don't need their teeth ground down like other puffers, but don't worry, they're still little murderers 🙂

But, if you're committed to this route, I'd buy up as many ramshorn, malaysian trumpet, and pond snails as I could find, get up a nice hearty infestation, feed them cheap sinking wafers, let them reproduce to slightly frightening levels, then let your new puffer tribe loose on them.

The snails should be able to handle any "mess" left behind, which will help fuel the next generation of feeder snails (though you might still want to start a small snail tank to help them keep up with the puffers). I'd save the cories for a peaceful soft water tank with like tetra and angelfish. I don't think they'll be needed here.

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