I have recently taken a greater interest in making my Green Spotted Puffer (GSP) tank more suitable for Jake and Finn. Previously I had introduced a large, branching piece of manzanita wood into their tank. This was a huge mistake which I am still recovering from. The earlier batch of photos I posted of Jake and Finn were certainly not of the at their best. The manzanita I ordered was not sandblasted. I loved the deep red color of the bark, but had not realized how terrible of a mistake it was to introduce this piece of wood to their tank.
Perhaps someone else could let me know their process for preparing manzanita wood for use in aquariums, but so far every process I have tried has still resulted in a long mold/fungus period, even after debarking, boiling, and soaking. The whitish slimy coat on the branch was especially hard to battle in a GSP tank – they eat every snail or shrimp that might combat the decaying wood and white slime. Furthermore, GSPs are quite messy eater, leaving chunks of food and parts of decaying snails littered throughout the tank and giving algae and other organisms an ample food supply.
The longer I left the wood in the tank, the worse Jake and Finn looked. Every source I’d found online suggest that, given about two months, the problem would subside on its own. Yet I wasn’t sure I wanted to subject Jake and Finn to such a long period of stress and possibly dangerous water conditions. At first I resisted, adding a bag of Purigen and an extra sponge filter. Jake and Finn still had bellies that would turn gray near the edges and sometimes in the middle, despite frequent water changes and white slime removal. Once Jake’s neon head spot began to fade, I decided it was time for the experiment to end.
I took out the manzanita branch and did a large water change, being sure to vacuum up any remaining white slime in addition to the usual removal of the brownish destritus and algae combination that my GSP’s messy lifestyle always seems to create. Within a day, Jake and Finn were already noticeably more active and had better coloration. They came out to greet me enthusiastically and returned to exploring the tank instead of just sleeping all day. Maybe in the future, I can prepare a beautiful manzanita branch for them that won’t cause these issues, but, until then I’ll be plotting their new aquascape!