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FAQs about Figure Eight Puffers 2

Related Articles: Alone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Figure Eight Puffers, Freshwater/Brackish PuffersGreen Spotted Puffers (GSP's), The Arrowhead Puffer, Tetraodon suvattii, miraculously malicious, True Puffers, Puffers in General, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. NastyPuffer Care and InformationPufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo,

Related FAQs: Figure Eight Puffers 1, & FAQs on: Figure-Eight Puffer Identification, Figure-Eight Puffer Behavior, Figure-Eight Puffer Compatibility, Figure-Eight Puffer Selection, Figure-Eight Puffer Systems, Figure-Eight Puffer Feeding, Figure-Eight Puffer Disease, Figure-Eight Puffer Reproduction, & BR Puffers 1, BR Puffers 2, BR Puffers 3, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Reproduction, Brackish Water Fishes in General,

F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/4/13
I attached a photo of Dorphy my F8 he or she has been acting strange ever since its larger and older buddy died a few days ago Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 nitrate 5-10  PH 7.6 and today pooped orange string with balls attached and now has a second today his stomach turned grey but seems to be turning white again there are 2 other puffs with him 37 gals 6 electric green tetras 3 zebra danios 6 bandit Corydoras catfish and a yoyo loach what could it be?
Thank You for your business
Sincerely: Steven
<I'm confused by your stocking. Figure-8 Pufferfish must have brackish water, around SG 1.003, which is roughly 5-6 grams marine aquarium salt per litre. That's lethal to things like Danios and Tetras, so I'm assuming that you have placed this fish in a freshwater aquarium. That, my friend, is why this fish won't do well, why the other one died, and the odd thing you see here may be a warning sign. Have a read here, and follow the links:
No, these aren't eggs; they're likely unusual faeces, possibly caused by parasites but it's hard to say for sure. Move your Figure-8 puffers to brackish water as soon as possible, and they should improve. Meantime, visit the excellent Puffer Forum, here:
While the guys and gals there are a bit waspish at time (they take pufferfish very seriously) they know their stuff and they'll tell you precisely what to do. Cheers, Neale.>

Figure Eight Puffer - Tetraodon biocellatus     4/4/13
<I do like About.com's offerings, including food recipes, gardening... and pet fish>
This link tells me it's a fresh water fish and this sites host has kept them for up to 5 yrs at a time in freshwater so I don't think in 2 weeks of having him in freshwater would kill it.
<Mmm, no. Are freshwater... >
 Not being combative but want to understand this species.
Thank You for your business
Sincerely: Steven Konen
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/4/13

Also was purchased 2 weeks ago from pet supermarket and they had them in freshwater. Don't understand?
<Oh, I see; the response below (will be posted above... chronological) by Neale.
Tetraodon biocellatus IS a freshwater species. I've personally collected them in a few rivers in S.E. Asia... is listed as FW in Fishbase.org...  most everywhere else. Maybe Neale (a UK citizen) is mis-taking the common name for something else? Here's a bit on this on EOL:
Am bcc'g Neale here>
Thank You for your business
Sincerely: Steven Konen
<Thank you for your follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/5/13
So are you saying they are a freshwater fish?
<Yes... Tetraodon biocellatus...>

The link I sent Leeds me to believe that a few weeks in freshwater would not kill a fish that was kept in freshwater at the store where I purchased them so I'm confused. Are you saying that you feel they do better in brackish but are truly freshwater?
Thank You for your business
Sincerely: Steven Konen
<Not a biz; but a free information, interactive site offering help on ornamental aquatics. Bob Fenner>
Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/5/13

Why are you offering help if you don't give any
<Not sure the misunderstanding here, but will try. Tetraodon biocellatus,
the fish we call the Figure-8 Pufferfish, was once thought to be a freshwater fish. That seems to be wrong, and comes about because a name used in the hobby for this species, Tetraodon palembangensis, *is*  a freshwater fish, sometimes called the Humpbacked Puffer. It's a totally different fish, bigger, mottled brown, upward pointing snout, and feeds on fish it lunges at from below. Anyway, Tetraodon biocellatus, the Figure-8 Pufferfish you have, is a low-end brackish species. While it may live in freshwater for long periods, it does much better in brackish, and should be kept at around SG 1.002-1.005. As you have experienced, kept in freshwater they are sickly and short-lived. Move your specimens to a brackish water tank. Job done. Not sure what more help you need! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/5/13

Hello Bob, Steven,
Have replied via WWM; didn't see this message from you until this morning.
<Aren't you still on your honeymoon?>
Figure-8 Pufferfish *are* brackish water aquarium fish. Fishbase is wrong, or at least, uses old resources based on misidentifications or misunderstandings. Do remember that Fishbase is not a primary source but collates scientific literature, including any obsolete or incorrect data therein.
<Ahh, am sorry for my part in this confusion. I have collected what I thought was T. biocellatus in straight freshwater... Could be that these were just there temporarily or that I had a different species altogether>
Later works, e.g., Aqualog, treat Figure-8 Pufferfish as brackish water fish.
In any event, moving freshwater fish into brackish water (where possible) generally kills of parasites by interfering with the
parasite's life cycle. So while it's hard to say what's wrong with this Pufferfish, switching to moderately brackish conditions would be very helpful.
Cheers, Neale
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging (Bob, an FYI for you, too)     4/5/13

That was perfect just an explanation from a professional was what I was seeking had no clue it was a different fish thank you for the extra effort for us stupid people. I have research this fish and gets mixed answers.
Sincerely: Steven Konen
<Thank you both for your patience and understanding. Bob Fenner>
Re: F8 Puffer has orange string hanging     4/6/13
Have no doubt that this is true, Bob. Like Knight Gobies, Bumblebee Gobies, Violet Gobies, and Mollies, they likely to occur, commonly, in freshwater habitats. But by all modern accounts they are comprehensively more durable kept in brackish water (like the fishes just mentioned) with Klaus Ebert in the Aqualog book describing collections of these puffers living for, on average, twice as long in brackish as in freshwater.
Yes, still on honeymoon. Yesterday went visiting the Sian Ka'an nature reserve and coral reef. Among other highlights were the mangroves, where I watched Mollies of some sort swimming in a lagoon alongside Needlefish (Tylosurus sp) and Mangrove Jellyfish! Have often described Mollies living in near-marine habitats, but this was the first time I'd seen it in action!
Cheers, Neale
<And you, BobF>

Puffer Eyelashes?     2/15/12
I've looked everywhere and I have yet to find anything that answers my question.
Ever since I purchased my first green spotted puffer, I've been fascinated by these fish! I like learning new things and I've been stumped when trying to figure out what this was. I was hoping you could help me in identifying what exactly the two "eyelash" looking things on my figure 8 Puffer's face are and what they could be used for. They are positioned just between his eyes and protrude by roughly one millimeter.
Chris C.
<Those are its nostrils. They're actually very interesting. Most fish have nostrils not connected to the throat (so they can't breathe through them -- the fact our nostrils are connected to the throat is something we inherited from our Lungfish ancestors). Fish use their nostrils exclusively for smelling. Now, Puffers have a skull almost completely filled with  proportionally massive muscles to operate their small but exceedingly strong jaws. That means there's little room inside their head for anything else. Evolution compensated for this by giving Puffers eyes that bulge outwards compared to other fish, and putting their nostrils on the outside of the head. Those little tentacles are the tissues used to detect smells in the water. Hope this clears things up! Cheers, Neale.> 

Incredibly stupid mistakes. Figure 8 puffer, Need help ASAP.  10/27/11
<Hi there>
It's embarrassing to approach you with such a series of stupid mistakes, but as you like to know the tank info and history, I'll lay it all out. I saw a green spotted puffer and fell in love with how it swam and it's personality.
BUT didn't get it, I researched and discovered it needed a large tank and special treatment. Did more research and found out about Dwarf Puffers. I talked to a LFS and they said they might be able to get some in for me.
SO, I set up a small 10 gal tank, heavily planted to break up field of vision, and did a very careful fish-in-cycle with 6 Tetras. My husband and I did regular water changes and made sure the ammonia and nitrites stayed down.
I planned on getting 2, or maybe if I was feeling selfish 3 dwarf/pea puffers.
(We do try to be responsible owners.) Got the tank established and cycled and kept the tetras in it to continue the cycle and had it established for approximately 1 month.
<So far...>
We then discovered, as winter suddenly moved in here, that the heater we had in the tank wasn't working. So we got a new heater, my husband installed it and intended to observe the temperature change to make sure it was gradual.
(The temperature dial was kind of hard to tell where the temperature was set at.) Our 2 year old daughter decided, at that moment, to have fun getting into trouble and my husband had to take care of her. Thus getting distracted. As it was Sunday, and we're religious, we went to church and returned home to 6 dead tetras. The temperature had been around 70 degrees, room temperature, and within an hour or so shot up to 85 degrees. We think the stress of the sudden temperature change did them in. That was stupid mistake 1. (Don't worry, I am getting to the puffer.) We checked our parameters and they were average for our tank (I'll provide specifics later on. I know this is FW and F8's need brackish.)
As we no longer had fish in the tank to keep the cycle going, we called the LFS, who then notified us that they were unable to get DP's in the previous shipment but were placing an order within a day or two and might be able to get some DP's then. In an attempt to continue the cycle, my husband placed some flakes and some shrimp pellets in to create ammonia. A few days passed and we talked to the LFS. They said they had been unable to get DP's and that none of their suppliers had any available or any idea of when they would be able to get some. They then said they HAD been able to get some Figure 8 Puffers in.
I'd seen them previously, and liked how they looked just as much as the others. So we did some more research, we learned how to read the salinity.
<Adjusting this may well kill off the nitrifying microbes>
We learned about water conditions and what they need to eat to keep their teeth from growing. We knew the 10 gal was small for them, but the F8's at the store were maybe an inch long. As we're moving in a few months, we decided to place them in the cycled 10 gal, and then after moving get them in a bigger tank. We got 2 F8's and plan on a 30 gal long. The LFS had them in FW, so we kept the tank FW to slowly adjust them to BW. Did an acclimation process, set the bag in the water to help adjust temperature, and then slowly added tank water to the bag. Then, as they were to be the only fish in the tank and if they needed treated we could just treat the tank, we added them in. They swam around fine for a while and we went about our business... Then, my husband happened to look up at the "perfect" time.
He watched one playing in our powerhead flow (we read they like current, the powerhead says it's 170 gph, is that too much current?)
<Not if the intake is screened>
it apparently lost the fight with the current and got shot half way around the tank before regaining control. He then checked on it again a few minutes later and saw that it was caught in the current from the filter, floating upside down and seemingly out of control. We rescued it, and it swam to the top, and floated there. Not breathing well, not swimming, just doing the occasional twitch/hiccup.
We realized a BIG mistake. We hadn't checked the parameters before adding the fish. Turns out the temperature was 88, we turned the heater down feeling that a somewhat sudden drop would be better than slow-cooking them.
We then checked the ammonia etc. Ammonia was reading at .25,
Nitrites 0,
Nitrates 40,
<This too>
and PH 8.0-8.2. We kicked ourselves for our stupidity and did a 50% water change ASAP. Retested the water. Ammonia was now at 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates back down to 20 (average for our tanks) and PH was 8.0-8.2.
Temperature is slowly dropping and currently reads 84, we're adjusting the heater down more to get it around 77.
So now the reason I'm writing. How much damage did we do?
<Only time can/will tell>
The one fish (that alerted us to our stupidity) has been swimming around all disoriented-like, and can't seem to swim straight. She swims in barrel rolls and in general seems to be rather ill. The second fish has been in "time out". It swam over to a corner and is just hovering there. Fins moving average speed and it seems to be breathing fine and appears to have fine swimming control. We feel absolutely horrible for our stupidity and are especially concerned for the one disoriented puffer. Could it have ruptured it's swim bladder in the original tumble?
If it's suffering from the ammonia levels and/or has permanent damage done to it and will continue to suffer, we'd rather be humane and euthanize it. All we can do is live and learn and never make the mistake again, but we don't want to be cruel to the poor thing. Any help or advice you can give us would be wonderful...
<I'd just wait; be patient here>
P.S. The previous sources I had, pufferforum and aaquaria are both no longer up and running, maybe it's just my browser but I can't access either of them.
<Mmm, they're still about: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/
Bob Fenner>

New to f8 puffers   10/11/11
Hi Team!
Please excuse my appearance of being an absolute moron (I work on the metric system and inches/gallons are foreign to me).
<Please do feel free to use the metric system with me! I use both>
For my birthday I recently (two days ago!) received a small tank (approx H=14"; W=12"; L=8.5") - I'm guessing 5 gallons - with a full lighting, filtration and pump kit.
<Much, MUCH too small for the fish listed. A single Figure-8, perhaps with a few Bumblebee Gobies, needs 75 litres/20 gallons, minimum. While they are small fish when young, they do grow quickly, and should reach 6-8 cm in length. They're also active and very sensitive to even slightly poor water quality (a common trait with all the puffers, really). Suckermouth Catfish such as Hypostomus plecostomus (though I doubt you have that species, Pterygoplichthys pardalis being far more common) get to between 30 and 45 cm in length, and need aquarium three or four times bigger than the 75 litres needed by your Figure-8 Pufferfish. On top of that, they aren't brackish water fish; your puffer and your gobies are.>
In the tank are 3 Figure-8 puffers (just over an inch each - they're babies), 2 Bumblebee Gobies (a little smaller than an inch each), and 1 sucker fish (Hypostomus plecostomus). It is not brackish water I've read that they can survive in fresh water but strive better in brackish,
<Actually not true. It's a very long story, but to cut things short, the aquarium literature for years called the Figure-8 Puffer "Tetraodon palembangensis". Now, that fish certainly is a freshwater fish. But it looks very different -- it's a brown, hunchbacked thing that sits on the bottom and eats midwater fish that swim overhead. So how it got confused with the Figure-8, I cannot say. But for decades the poor Figure-8 was referred to as a freshwater fish. In the last ten years the error has become clear, and all, and I mean ALL, fishkeeping experts agree that the Figure-8 Puffer is actually Tetraodon biocellatus, and that it's a brackish water fish. No question here. When kept in freshwater they rarely do well for long, and often die for no obvious reason within a year or two. Kept correctly, they can live for up to 15 years, though 5-10 years is perhaps more typical.>
but then I have been told by a guy at the local pet store that specialize in fish that the sucker won't survive in brackish water - is this true?
<This is true. Suckermouth Catfish have no place in a brackish water system.>
I also read that I should have 15gallons for the first puffer and then 10gallons for every additional one.
<Something like that, yes. Puffers, apart from the South American Pufferfish, are not social and don't get along.>
Now I'm worried because I don't really have the extra money now to buy a bigger tank for these 3 puffers, and will I need an even bigger tank because of the gobies?
<As it happens, Bumblebee Gobies are among the very few fish that seem to cohabit with Figure-8 Puffers. Both do well in slightly brackish water, around SG 1.003, which is about 5-6 grammes of marine aquarium salt mix per litre of water.>
I also bought about 20 or 30 little snails and thought that they'd be able to survive in the tank with the fish and they'd only eat them as they get hungry, but within an hour every last snail was gone.
I'm guessing that the puffers will eat the snails till they are gone, so should I rather keep the snails separate and only pop a few in once a week and continue with bloodworm on the other days?
<This can work well.>
I also am not sure how much bloodworm to put in for the f8 and bbg because the puffers seem to munch all the worm before the gobies even spot the food and I am worried they will starve.
<Bloodworms aren't that nutritious. By all means offer a few as a treat, but don't go wild. Krill and snails are much better. Minced cockle is also excellent. Prawn and mussel can be used, but sparingly, because they're rich in thiaminase.>
Two of the puffers appear to have some kind of mark on them. It's a tiny circular scar looking mark, and I'm not sure if it is what has been discussed as fungus or rot. One has it near a fin, and the other has it on it's head. It is silver-grey in colour.
<Could be damage from fighting, or from maintenance in freshwater. Do note that in freshwater aquaria, brackish water fish will constantly be suffering from one ailment or another.>
I am at a loss and I want a bigger tank, but my boyfriend is telling me I'm being stupid, but I'm the one that's been reading up on these little cuties. How long could they survive in this tiny tank till I can afford a bigger one?
<Hard to say. In freshwater they should stay healthy for a couple of months at least. But if the tank is too small, and they're fighting, then things will get worse much more quickly.>
Unfortunately I have not had a chance to buy anything to test the pH; ammonia; nitrite; nitrate in the water yet, so I don't even know if it's all ok. I want to be able to give these little guys a happy home so they can live as long as possible without any illnesses or deaths.
Your eager student
<Do peruse the Brackish section of this site, here:
These are excellent puffers, perhaps the best in the trade, and exhibit lovely colours and excellent behaviours. But they aren't freshwater fish, and can't be kept as such. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New to f8 puffers   10/13/11

Hi again
I am having a little trouble locating a post on your site with regards to transition from freshwater tanks to brackish tanks for my f8 puffers.
Thankfully my brother in law has a much bigger tank that will suit the cute little monsters and I will be getting that on the weekend. I thought that it would be a good time to also start them off in brackish since you, and many others say it will be for theirs and my benefit. How would I go about the transition from the freshwater to brackish?
<Just go slowly. Here's an idea. Make up some water at SG 1.003 at 25 C/77 F; that's about 6 grammes of marine aquarium salt per litre. Make up enough to change 10% of the water in the aquarium. Take out the old water, and top up the tank with this new water. Do the same thing tomorrow or the day after. And then again, leaving it a day or two between water changes. After a couple of weeks of this the tank will be slightly brackish, and best of all, the filter bacteria will have adapted just fine. By the way, if you prefer to use ounces and US gallons, you can find a conversion tool for this on my website; it's called "Brack Calc". But I find grammes and litres much easier to work with, not least of all because 6 grammes is about one level teaspoon, so estimating is easy! Use a hydrometer to double check the salinity, of course.>
I attached some pics from today and yesterday. They are literally no bigger than an inch and so cute. Their bellies are extremely big after feeding (pic of 2 under rock is 3 hours after eating), I just hope I'm not giving them too much food. They devour what I give them in 2 min.s or less and I am scared to give them more food in case they either get sick, constipated or literally blow up. Do they look good? (apart from chasing each other around the tiny tank I unfortunately have for them for now).
<They look fine. Puffers overeat given the chance. They only need enough for their bellies to be very slightly rounded. If they look swollen, they've eaten FAR too much. A portion about twice the size of their eyes is ample. Feed as much as you can with thiaminase-free foods like cockles and tilapia fillet. Minimise the use of thiaminase-rich foods like mussels, prawns and shrimps. Pond snails are a good food. Tough snails (like Malaysian trumpet snails) can be smashed with a stone before feeding.
Vitamin-enriched wet-frozen brine shrimp is sold for marine fish can be used for puffers, and these make EXCELLENT additions to their diet. Because they're carnivores puffers easily become weakened over time through a lack of vitamins. The idea you can use market shrimp as a staple food, for example, is extremely misleading. Do read:
But you also want some crunchy food; snails are best, but the "legs" from unshelled shrimps are another good source of crunch. These wear down their teeth.
To be fair, this species isn't very prone to excessively long teeth, but it does happen.>
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New to f8 puffers   10/13/11
Hi Neale...thanks so much for the transition advice.
<No problem.>
I am from South Africa so the metric system is my home.
<A lovely part of the world!>
I have fed them snails once so far, and I have been alternating between frozen bloodworm and frozen krill.
<These are both very popular foods with puffers, but bloodworms don't contain much "goodness", so be aware of that fact. Small morsels of tilapia fillet for example would provide excellent protein without any thiaminase, so if you can get tilapia, freeze a small piece, and cut off a sliver as/when required.>
I have only had them for 4 days, and obviously learning a lot. So I'll stock up on more of a variety. I am finding a problem on who eats faster than the other though. Two of them munch up tons before any has settled at the bottom for the bumblebee gobies and the third puffer who usually prefers hanging out behind the foliage near the pump. The greedy ones seem to beat the rest to the food and I don't want the others to starve. I'm hoping a bigger tank will do the trick and then I can pop bits of food close to each fish to eliminate any theft. I hope you guys won't get sick of me, but I have a feeling I'll be e-mailing you a lot about things.
<We're happy to help. But you might also want to make yourself known to the fine folks at The Puffer Forum, a good place to pufferfish expertise.>
Cheers for now.
<Cheers indeed! Neale.>

Re: New to f8 puffers 14/10/11
Hi Neale again
I'd like to read an explanation on why figure 8's need so much space since they are such cute little fish.
<Well, "cute" doesn't mean much biologically! They're territorial, aggressive fish once sexually mature at about 6 cm/2.5 inches in length. Adults will bite one another leaving obvious circular scars. So the space is needed for each puffer to feel secure and have space to get away from rivals. On top of this, they're very inquisitive fish that spend much of their time foraging by looking at surfaces like rocks and plant leaves. They swim up and down, side to side, examining very closely everything they see. This is one reason they're so damaging to other fish -- to them, another fish is simply a moving meal to be eaten whole or one bite at a time! So they need a big tank with stuff for them to explore without getting bored. Finally, puffers are extremely sensitive to dissolved metabolic wastes -- ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Nitrate is the stuff that builds up between water changes, and above 20 mg/l, there's severe risk of health problems like Pop-eye and Dropsy. So, you need to keep a small fish in a big tank to ensure water quality is very good. In fairness, puffers are basically hardy animals, but they're fish you want to plan around carefully.>
People keep asking me why I'm getting a bigger tank for such little fish.
<Same reason you'd provide the right conditions for any animal. It's what they need. 20 gallons is adequate for one Figure-8 and a group of 4-6 Bumblebee Gobies. A bigger tank might allow more puffers or gobies.>
And I don't know what to say. I haven't actually found a reason on the web'¦ maybe I'm searching the wrong key words so I'm coming to the pro. What say you?
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New to f8 puffers  10/16/11

Hi Neale
I have now got a 30gallon tank from my brother in law.
He has got bits of coral along the base of the tank instead of some other gravel or sand. Will this be ok for the puffers?
Also, since I live no more than 5km from the sea, can I get actual sea water instead of using marine salt mix, and use that to get to the right salinity?
<You can, from a good clean source. But remember, real seawater contains plankton that dies in aquaria -- and quickly in brackish conditions! -- so that's dead stuff polluting the tank. I've used real seawater in brackish tanks and never really noticed any problems, but your own mileage may vary.
He has been maintaining his parents marine tanks for about 15 years now and said there's a beach no one goes to that he uses to get salt water, so it's cleaner than the tourist beaches.
Thanks in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Figure of 8 puffer fish, teeth reading   -- 7/14/10
Hi, I have had figure of 8 puffer fish for about a year, regularly feeding them bloodworm, Krill, shell on prawns and muscles and of course snails.
But Around 2 weeks ago I noticed a vertical split down the centre one of the puffers beaks, It fed okay up untill now, but the beak seems to be overgrown, and the puffer keeps pecking at the gravel and ornaments. I have heard that you can file the beaks down, Have you got any tips on how I would do this?
<Oh yes. Please read here:
and the linked FAQs file in the series above>
Please help I dont want him to starve!
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Blenny Aggression...And A Brackish Puffer In A Marine Tank - 01/10/07 Hi there! <<Hello!>> I have looked online and consulted with various people I work with (a large public aquarium) and cannot seem to find a solution to my problem so maybe you can help, or have a different perspective. <<Let's see what I can do...>> I have a bicolor blenny, a red firefish, and a figure-eight puffer in a 20 gallon, as well as a decorator crab but I doubt he figures into this equation. <<Something to mention here...Tetraodon biocellatus is a "slightly brackish water" species and will not fare well in the long-term in a full-strength marine environment.  This species is also best kept as single individuals (it will eventually bite/kill its tankmates), and though a small species (to less than three inches) it likes having some room to roam with minimum recommended tank size being 30-gallons.  You can find much more information re this species by perusing our articles and FAQs.  A good place to start is here, following the associated links in blue:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fig8pufffaqs.htm >> And yes, I know the figure eight is usually brackish... <Not usually...is>> All that considered here is my question.  The blenny is getting aggressive with my firefish.  It is not at feeding times, so I doubt the theory that he isn't getting enough to eat.  I thought it could be a territorial/spatial issue. <<Very likely this "is " the issue>> I had one big pile of live rock, so I split it into two piles thinking that maybe the blenny would pick one to call his own, but no luck. <<This tank is too small...does not afford enough "separation">> He swims between the two like he owns it all. :) <<Indeed...these blennies generally occupy relatively small territories on the reef (sometimes smaller than a square meter...but still larger than a 20-gallon tank) and will defend vigorously from perceived invaders>> I have thought about splitting it into three piles, but not sure if this would help. <<probably not>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<I'm afraid your best option is to remove one or the other>> And just as a side note, no one else in the tank is involved in this dispute. <<Not surprising...only the blenny and the firefish would compete for the same food items/occupy the same niche on the reef.  Nemateleotris magnifica is a peaceful (conspecifics aside) almost timid fish that can be difficult to keep under the best of conditions.  The continued aggression from the blenny will likely result in its demise>> Thanks a lot! Robin <<A pleasure to share, Eric Russell>>

Puffers teeth too long, need filing?   10/5/06 I have several puffers and have had them for about three years. <<What species, and how are they kept?>> One of my figure 8's teeth grow much faster than everyone else's, faster that crustaceans can grind them down.  Do you think it would be possible to hold the fish and sand them down a little at a time with a very fine finger nail file? I couldn't find anything else about this technique. Maybe you've heard of someone trying this. <<Is common, and posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm>> Thanks, Phillip. <<Glad to help. Come check us out at www.pufferresources.net for more info on your puffers! Lisa.>>

Sleeping Puffer?  9/30/06 <Hi Amy, Pufferpunk here> I have had this figure 8 puffer for only 2 days and I noticed that today he went to the top and cocked his tail to the side and slowly fell to the bottom.  I thought he was dead but in less than a minute he started swimming again.  I was wondering if this is odd behavior or if it is natural? <It should be one of 2 things.  This is the way a puffer acts when it's sleeping.  It also acts that way when it's sick/dying.  If your puffer swims & eats normally, you should assume it is sleeping--as long as it's not doing this a lot.  Are you keeping it in brackish water with marine salt?  Is the tank cycled?   Check out this article on them: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html.  Feel free to look around that website for more info on puffers.  ~PP> Thanks, Amy

Let Sleeping Puffers Lie...  9/2/06 Wet Web Media, <Hi Daniel, Pufferpunk here> I have a Figure 8 Pufferfish exhibiting really strange swimming behavior. For example, whenever I come to the tank after having been away from it for any length of time, I find him in a corner or next to an ornament vertically (head towards the gravel) or generally leaning against things upside-down. The past few days he seemed to right himself soon after I would approach the aquarium but just tonight he had a lot of trouble doing what looked like stabilizing himself horizontally to swim. He's still eating but I think there's something really wrong with him. <Not to worry, he's just napping.  He may have just been in a deeper sleep the last time you woke him. If his water parameters are good (ammonia & nitrite 0, nitrate <20, pH steady, around 8) & he's eating, then he should be fine.  Check out www.thepufferforum.com, for more info.  ~PP> Daniel I can't believe I ate the whole thing!  Re: help! My figure eight puffer is sick 8/8/06 Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I've spent hours on your site and can't find an answer so I'm not sure where else to turn.  I have a fairly small (maybe 2 - 3") figure eight puffer. <That's almost an adult.  They only grow to 3".> I've had him for about a month.  All of the levels in his tank (freshwater) are normal.  I do a 25% water change weekly, adding 1 tbsp. aquarium salt per 10 gallons of water, taking into consideration evaporation and the fact that salt doesn't evaporate. The tank is planted with 4 different live plants and has a pretty large hidey-hole cave as well as a smaller cave. Puff's diet consists of frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp and live snails once a week. Up until a week ago he was eating with no problems.  He never once bothered his tank mate, a male Betta fish over food or considered Betta to be food! <That's hard to believe!  Puffers love snacking on long fins.> A week ago on Friday he made a pig of himself and ate 12 of the little "no bigger than a pencil eraser" snails in one 24 hour period.  After that he started acting strange. He started hiding under the filter instead of coming over to the corner of the tank "flashing" his teeth at me. He completely ignored any and all blood worms and brine shrimp. Today was snail day and I put two snails into the tank.  He swims over to where they're at and hovers as if he's "guarding" them from the Betta, but he has only nudged at one of them twice, instead of hitting at it like he usually does. When he's not doing that, he's so close to the substrate that it looks like he's just lying there on the bottom of the tank.  His belly looks larger than I would expect after a week of no food, but it's not swollen or distended. His underbelly is still a nice white, but under his bottom lip it's a bit dark, almost like mottled looking lipstick.  The same discoloration is around his bottom fin.  I'm at a loss. Betta is fine, the tank readings are normal and I'm worried that my little puff is a goner!  Any help or suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated.  Out of all three of our tanks, puff is our favorite fish. <It sounds to me like your puffer went on a snail binge.  It's probably constipated.  Try adding a tbsp Epsom salt/5 gal to his tank.  You fish will be a lot healthier & live much longer (up to 18+ years) if you kept it in brackish water though.  They prefer a specific gravity of 1.005.  A rough estimate of MARINE salt added to make that, would be about 1 cup/5gal.  Also, a substrate of crushed coral or aragonite, to keep a steady pH of around 8 is best.  For more info on your puffer, see: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html check out other posts about your puffer at that forum too.  I'm sure your puffer will be feeling better soon!  ~PP> Thanks ... Kim

Figure 8 Puffer Question - 6/6/6 Dear WWM Crew, <<Hi Ronald.>> Thank you for this great source of help.  I recently moved the inhabitants of my 37 gallon hexagon tank into a 75 gallon tank.  I have the 37 gallon tank in my office and would like to restart it with something different, and I am considering a Figure 8 Puffer. <<Very cool puffer.>> I have read the articles on your site and it seems that they do best as the only Puffer in the tank. <<Figure 8's in general are better with their own kind than some other species.>> My question is, are there any other fish that I could add to the tank with the Figure 8, or would he need to be the only fish in the tank. <<Some recommend Bumblebee and Knight gobies, but it is really hit or miss.  Orange Chromides are my choice, but not for the 'tall' style tank you have.>> I realize that they are a brackish fish, and I am looking forward to using some of the decorations from my old marine tank. <<In your tank, I'd think two figure eights and perhaps some gobies will be fine.  Check out www.thepufferforum.com for more information on caring for your puffers.>> Thank you for your advice. Ronald Boudreau <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Figure Eight Puffer - Bored?  4/29/06 Hello WWM Crew, Thank you so much, Bob Fenner, for your very helpful response to a previous question I had sent in with regards to my Columbian Sharks. They are really thriving. <Actually, Pufferpunk here today.> I do have another question but this time about my F8 puffer. First a brief history. My F8 and Columbian Sharks (Hexanematichthys seemanni) were in a 20 gallon tank together but my F8 bit off all the sharks' fins. My sharks are now in a separate tank, the brackish water of which is gradually being to marine levels as the sharks grow. <Great, I hope much larger...> At first my naughty F8 was delighted when my sharks left his tank - he swam all around the tank investigating every nook and cranny. However, a couple of weeks later and ever since then, he has been swimming up and down the same area of glass. So I decided to add more decoration to his tank in case he were bored. To no avail. So I decided to completely change the decoration. The decoration now includes large live java ferns throughout the aquarium with large rocks placed here and there and a large piece of driftwood that he could swim under - but doesn't. I've tried to make his tank exciting for him. The tank is cycled and at a specific gravity of 1.005. 20% water changes are done every 2 to 3 days, ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, nitrate is under 20, kH is 80 (although the colour on the test for 40 is so close it is hard to tell which it is), and pH is 7.4 (but again I find it hard to tell which colour it is closest to, so it may be 7.8). <It sounds like you are taking excellent care of your puffer!  To keep the pH at a steady level of around 8, it is recommended to use crushed coral or aragonite substrate.> My puffer eats well and always has a very slightly rounded belly. His colours are vibrant and his underbelly is white. So he seems very healthy. I wonder if you would have any suggestions on how to make my fish's life more exciting? Do you think that maybe he didn't like the 'sharks' but would still like some other company? Perhaps another F8 or some other brackish fish? <You don't have room for another F8 but you could try a few bumblebee gobies. You can't always trust a puffer though--even the more mild-mannered species, like the F8.  I have 2 F8s in a 29g, started out with 6 BBGs & now have 1.> If so, what fish would you suggest?  I certainly don't want them to suffer the same peril as the 'sharks'. <Exactly what I was saying--you just can't trust a puffer!> And would another F8 be okay in the 20 gallon or should I get a larger tank and if so what size? <15g for the 1st F8 & 10g for every 1 added.> Do you think there is some decoration missing from my tank that would interest him more? <Many folks have added Habitrail tubes to their tank.> Sorry about all these questions. I do feel at a loss right now. I really do value the excellent information and help that you provide us on your incredible website. As I mentioned in my previous  e-mail, I have spent hours and hours and hours and hours reading your site.  You really do provide a wonderful service and with such excellent expertise. Thank you so much. <You're doing a great job--stop by  at www.thepufferforum.com for some more puffertalk!  ~PP> With much appreciation, Sandra Treating Puffers with Ich  3/24/06 <Hi Brolin , Pufferpunk here.> I recently (over a week ago), purchased 3 figure-eight pufferfish from Wal-Mart.   <I wouldn't purchase toilet paper from them.> I know but I couldn't stand seeing such wonderful fish waste away. <Just encouraging them to buy more, since they see these fish sell.> They were already covered in ich.   <Never buy sick fish.> I chose three that seemed to have lots of energy.  I have cured ich in fish before and figured I could do the same with these puffers.  I have tried so many combinations of treatments and none have seemed to work.  I have been treating them with Quick Cure Ick (a formalin and malachite green solution).  I've added salt and raised the temperature and increased aeration, to prevent anoxic conditions.  I do a 50% H2O change if not once a day, every other day but the cysts on the fish have seemed to double the in the last two days.   <Bump that up to 80% daily.  Bare-bottom tank is best.> The fish still have a tremendous appetite, so I feel that there is still hope. <That is a good sign.  Sometimes it looks worse, before it gets better.> I was thinking about switching aquariums everyday until the fish are cured and thoroughly clean the previous tank but I didn't want to stress the fish out more and make them more susceptible.   <That does sound stressful.> I also have Clout, but it says not to use it on scaleless fish.   <I wouldn't use it then.> I was also wandering what kind of filtration would be good to have going?  I am currently running an undergravel filter with a power head and a power filter with just a fiber cartridge, no activated carbon. If I switch aquariums, should I just not use any rocks or substrate? <Bare bottom, simple filtration is best for a QT.> Please help!  I truly appreciate it, and so do my fish!! <Sounds like you are doing everything possible for these poor fellas.  Check here, to see if you missed anything: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9 Check out that forum too!  ~PP> Thanks and God Bless, Brolin Evans

Care & Feeding of Figure 8 Puffer  3/19/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased a figure eight puffer at Wal-Mart for my son and I.  We  have another tank with an Oscar and Pleco. I bought our figure eight without doing the proper research. After bringing him home I started looking on the net and realized I didn't have the right foods for him. I have read some of your answers for what to feed, the problem is I don't know where to get the food.   <Appropriate Puffer Foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html> I live close to a river and see small snails all the time.  Will these be ok? <I wouldn't suggest feeding these directly to your puffer, although they would make excellent breeding stock.   Breeding Snails: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/basicsnail.html & http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/basicsnail.html > Also  I would like to buy fast breeding snails but don't know what type of snails they are. Please help Bubbles (that is what my son named him) or he is going to starve. <Figure 8 article: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html   Also, check out the puffer forum those articles are in.  ~PP>

Keeping mollies in Saltwater  3/19/06 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering what mollies could be  kept in full salt water. <Yes they can.  You must acclimate them slowly or start them in freshwater & raise the specific gravity no more than .002/week.> Can you keep figure 8 puffers in full salt water? <F8 puffers are best kept in low-end brackish water, of a SG around 1.005.  See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html > What about feeder guppies? <Guppies are freshwater fish.  HTH ~PP> Thanks for the  help.

Care & Feeding of Figure 8 Puffers  2/19/06 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm looking into getting figure eights but I want to make sure everything is right, like what kind of salt and to make sure I have set up my tank right. I have asked around at the LFS and they tell me to use aquarium salt, But other people say to use marine. The LFS said I should have about 1 teaspoon to every 5 gallon is this right? <You must use marine salt & measure with a hydrometer.  After some experimentation, I have calculated I use around a cup of salt/5gal to make a SG (specific gravity) of 1.005 (rough estimate).  That is where they seem to be most comfortable & live longest.> I have been looking info up on the F8s all night and just want to know how to start and maintain a brackish water tank. Thank you for your help. Love the site. <Check out this article on F8s: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html.  Check out the puffer site that article is in too!  There is great info on the special food they need to eat to keep their teeth trimmed & plenty of folks to talk to about your puffer, before & after you purchase it.  ~PP> Figure 8's with Ick  2/10/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just  lost a figure out to Ick a few days ago, and I got two  more that I set up in a separate tank until I completely get the other  one clean.  My two new ones now are starting to get Ick and I  tried the Ick Cure (blue stuff) on the last guy and it did  NOTHING.  I noticed the pet store I work in carries a medicine for ornamental fish that is suppose to kill all parasites and Ick, would  that be a good thing to try?...if not what should I do because I don't  want to loose another puffer, especially not within a week of buying  the 2 new ones? < http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9  ~PP> How Many Puffers can a Pickled Person Pick?  1/6/05 Hi Guys, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was just wandering how many figure 8 puffers one can keep in a std 3 ft (about 90L) aquarium. Great Site. <Well, since I'm in the US, I've converted that to about 23 gallons.  You can keep 2 figure 8s in there.  Here's a great article on them:  http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html  ~PP> Howard Snoyman

Pufferfish Aggression  1/4/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk again> Our green spots are the most passive of the puffers we own... <They are juvies now... Just wait till they mature & one morning you wake up with maimed or dead fish.> We have the salinity levels between what the figure eights and greens spots need and there is a level which both can live in. We bought all the fish in 1.010 and that is what they are now in... <Figure 8s are best kept at 1.005 for life.  GSPs will eventually need marine conditions.  LFS rarely know what is best for puffers.> This particular green spot has gotten sick on several occasions where as the other green spot and the figure eights don't get sick. The red-eye and the dwarf are now in their own tank. <You're not worried about the red-eye killing the dwarf?  Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  The species are not to be mixed.> The first time the green spot got sick he had gill disease and this time he had something that medications did not cure... So far I have found that the most aggressive of all is the red-eye, contrary to what every website I have read has said. <It is possible that your red-eye is the more aggressive lorteti. They are almost impossible to tell apart.  As you have already witnessed, puffers have their own personality & levels of aggression.  Hence keeping species & sometimes individuals separate.  I know of puffers that had previously gotten along with it's tank mates, only to wake up one morning to it being the only survivor of a massacre.  Have you read the profiles & articles I linked you to?  I highly suggest that you do.  They are written by the top puffer experts in the world!  ~PP> Color Change in Puffers - 11/26/2005 I recently bought 2 figure 8's, and by their actions they seem to be doing fine; good appetite, and very active.  When they were introduced to their first tank (44 gal hex tank), one fish was less distinctive in its markings than the other, less contrast between the yellow and green/brown.  After a time I was required to move them to a 10 gal holding tank, as they took a liking to Colombian shark fins... . <This should have been researched/expected....> This is just a temporary change until larger accommodations can be set up....  But a strange thing happened, the pale fish became more distinct in its coloration and the other became more pale (for lack of a better term). Is this stress issue, a display of dominance, sleep coloration?  As I have stated they eat well and are active (the small tank is set up to have a current, and they seem to enjoy riding it, but rest in the plants (artificial) during the nights. Their bellies are white (no darker coloration) and the mid line of their bodies does not look like a gray line.  Also the coloration of the one that is less distinct seems to become more defined over night....  If they had both reacted the same way, or showed other signs of stress or illness, I would not be so  confused.... any thoughts?   <Brian, I'm going to assume here that nothing is really "wrong"....  But to be safe, I want to caution you to test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and be sure to maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.  Fish do change color with time, and puffers are very, very expressive with color.  You've mentioned all the "problem" or "warning" colors are not present (bellies are white, etc.), so chances are this is nothing at all to be worried over.  I would hazard a guess that this may be an indication of pecking order....  but which is dominant I couldn't tell yah.  I would expect this coloration to continue to change slightly over time; you are probably more observant than many folks just in having noticed what you have.  Puffers are wonderful and exciting fish, very intelligent and enjoyable - I hope you have a great time with them!> -Brian <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Figure 8 Puffer Not Well 10/22/05 Hey! <Hey yourself, it's Pufferpunk here> I want to say that I love your site and it helped me set up my tank very well. Right now I have a single figure eight puffer, 2 clown loaches, one fan tailed goldfish and two comet goldfish. Now I know what you are going to say "Goldfish shouldn't be in there" lol They will be out soon, its only temporary I have a tank coming for them in the next day or two. <Took the words right outta my mouth! Neither should the loaches.> But these goldfish are actually doing amazing in this environment growing rapidly. <I bet your poor puffer hates it in there though...> They will be out soon though. I have a 10 gallon tank with a 25W heater (a little small I know), there is sand for substrate, a silicon anemone, medium plastic plant, plastic coral, a rock with hole in it and a small terra cotta plant pot. As well, I have a bubble wall set up under the sand. The clown loaches are acting amazing. <Are you aware that clown loaches grow over a foot?> The concern is about the puffer. He acts normal sometimes but I leave for school after feeding him in the morning and when I come home he is usually lying in the anemone or on the bottom just lying there. Is there anything wrong with him? <He could be sleeping but I'd bet anything your water isn't nearly pristine enough for a puffer to live happily in there. The goldfish are huge waste/ammonia producers & that does not make for a healthy puffer.> As well I have a filter good for 20 gals and it has BioMax in it. <Extra filtration is necessary for puffers, as they are messy eaters & high waste producers themselves.> I have had the tank set-up for 2 weeks, then I changed the substrate (learned about the toxic rocks from Wal-Mart), then it had been set-up for a week. So the filter media, plants and all have not had the bacteria disturbed. <It is best to use crushed coral or aragonite as substrate for BW fish, as this keeps the pH around a steady 8.> Is this puffer ok? I want to know what to do. I am buying a Master Test Kit soon--sorry for the lack of water quality info, I know you like to have it. I do a 20-40% change every 4-6 days. <That's helpful> The tank is very clear and no bad smells. I have had the water tested at different periods by the pet store and they said it was great water. Trace amounts of ammonia, they said extreme trace amounts, and a PH of 7.2. <There should never be any ammonia in a fish's water. PH of BW tanks should be around 8. The goldfish are causing the ammonia & lower pH.> I use aquarium salt, 1.5 teaspoons for the tank. <You must use marine salt in a BW tank. F8s like the specific gravity to be around 1.005 & must be measured with a hydrometer.> As well he seems to attack the planter and the anemone, he will rub his chin on it curl his tail and flick very fast away, like an attack. Please any help would be good. Thanks for your time, keep up the good work. <Check out this article & the forum it is in: http://www.thepufferforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=64  ~PP> 

Figure Eight Puffer - A Follow-up? - 10/24/05 Hey again! <Yup, Pufferpunk again> Thanks for the great response. Right now I do not have the resources for a brackish water tank. After Christmas maybe but definitely not now. I was wondering if taking the goldfish out would make a difference to the water quality <Absolutely!> and I also had NO idea about the clown loaches, how long does it take them to grow that long? <Mine are about 6" & I've had then for around 3 years.> When they get too big I believe I will bring them back and trade for smaller ones or some different fish. <Not to live with the puffer or goldfish, I hope.> The puffer is seeming more active since I have added the aquarium salt though but he stays near the top playing the bubble wall. <Puffers love to play in bubbles! I think the aq salt is really not making much of a real difference. You need a lot of marine salt to make BW. For example, to make a SG of 1.005 (which is preferred by F8s), it takes roughly around 1 cup of marine salt/5g of water.> And I had the water tested again, I guess the tank is close to done cycling because the ammonia is gone and the nitrites are gone. I use Cycle, the beneficial bacteria solution--I think that sped the process up. <Actually Cycle is junk & can actually slow the process of cycling down, by adding DEAD bacteria (waste) to your tank.> I read all the articles that you have linked to below and some that the linked ones linked to but I would like to know any tips about keeping him or her in freshwater for now. <1 puffer alone in a 10g tank, pristine water conditions (50% weekly water changes), crushed coral or aragonite substrate, to keep the water hard & the pH around a steady 8. Why couldn't you just add marine salt to that? I'm afraid if you don't remove the goldfish, your tank will never completely cycle.> I know that they can live in freshwater very well but I guess its better in brackish water. <If 5 years of life in FW, compared to the 18+ years they can live in BW is considered "very Well" to you...> Thanks again, I am Doug by the way and I live in St. John's Newfoundland, Canada <Get those GF out of your puffer tank! Good luck with your fish. ~PP

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