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FAQs about Freshwater Puffers 3

Related Articles: The Nice Puffer: Colomesus asellus , the South American Puffer by Neale Monks, Freshwater PuffersAlone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Brackish Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. Nasty(Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk), Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: FW Puffers 1FW Puffers 2,  FW Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Behavior, FW Puffer Selection, FW Puffer Compatibility, FW Puffer Systems, FW Puffer Feeding, FW Puffer Disease, FW Puffer Reproduction, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Disease 2, BR Puffer Reproduction, Puffers in General, True Puffers,

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South American Puffers 10/8/2010
Hi folks!
On the 1st October I acquired 3 SAPs. They didn't eat until the 7th October - finally!
<Picky, were they? Odd. Bloodworms are their favourites, whether live or wet-frozen.>
I have a few questions for you and while I know you are all incredibly busy, I would really appreciate a response. I live in Ireland and until I happened on your website I didn't think I was going to get my questions answered.
I dropped in a small Ramshorn snail, just a bit bigger than the size of the SAP eye. The SAPs have ignored it all week. The snail must think it is Christmas! One puffer swam up to it last night and I thought "yes!" but he sort of stopped, looked at it, backed up and swam around it. Is there anything I can do to coax them into eating it? I obviously want to help keep their teeth ground down.
<Ramshorn snails aren't popular with these puffers. Mine never ate them.
The best are Physa and Physella spp.>
Secondly, do you have any photos of an SAP that needs dentistry?
<Oh, you'll know it when you see it. We're talking buck teeth! Let's say your specimens are 5-6 cm long, which is about the average for adult specimens in captivity. The beak will protrude maybe 1-2 mm beyond the lips. Any more than that, and they're overlong. There's no need to cut them right away, but if the SAP has trouble eating, then it's time for some dentistry.>
I know that I will eventually have to trim their teeth and I've read up loads on the actual procedure. It doesn't sound as scary as I initially thought! I'm just incredibly confused about when its the right time to
trim. I can see my boys teeth but they're not "bucky" yet. I guess I want a photo of when its time to trim so that I know I'm not trimming too much too soon. I don't want to leave them with no teeth as such!
<Shouldn't be a problem. You're really only nipping off the very edges, the points, maybe 1 mm or so of the top teeth, and maybe a little bit off the bottom teeth.>
Sorry, this email is probably really confusing! I've tried to word it as best I can.
Lisa from Ireland.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: South American Puffers, dentistry... now anesthetization, not euthanization w/ Clove Oil 10/10/10

Thanks for that folks, its really settled my worries. One more question and then I'll leave you in peace. :-) I've worked out that most places advise 3 cups of tank water and then 3 drops of clove oil. I've worked out that over here 3 cups is about 1.5 pints.
<I find the actual amounts vary. Four drops in a litre usually does the trick, but you might get by with a bit less or else need a bit more.>
My question is, would a medicine dropper work for measuring out the 3 drops of clove oil? I obviously don't want to use too much or I'll have a dead SAP on my hands. :-(
<Not much risk of that. Clove Oil is a sedative that kills fish through suffocation. Provided you use small doses, and immerse the fish for only short periods, the risk is negligible. To kill a fish, I find I need
something like 30 drops in a litre, and the fish needs to be immersed for several minutes.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: South American Puffers   10/17/10

Ok, so I said no more questions, I lied. Sorry! :-)
I have 3 South American Puffers. They've come on leaps and bounds since I got them. 1 eats from my hand or tweezers. The other 2 prefer to eat from the aquarium floor. The same 2 won't touch snails at all, no interest. I crushed a small Ramshorn snail between tweezers this morning (vile!) and the friendly SAP gobbled it up. Strange'¦.
<Not unusual at all. I have three SAPs, one of whom liked cooked peas. My impression of these puffers, and indeed puffers generally, is that individual puffers vary in their food preferences.>
My question is, when do you know how much food is enough? Do you feed until they have a chubby belly? I feed frozen krill, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, raw prawn weekly (all defrosted of course) but I never really know how much is enough. I tend to stop when I see their bellies starting to swell.
<That's perfect. Healthy puffers have bellies that look slightly convex. If they've eaten too much, the belly pops right out like they've swallowed a ball. If there are snails in the tank, it's unlikely your puffer will starve -- if it's really hungry, it will eat small snails. That said, mine never showed much interest in Ramshorn snails, which may taste bad or something. Physa and Physella spp are much better.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: South American Puffers
Neale, you're a star!
<Modesty forbids further comment'¦ Cheers, Neale.>

Amazon Puffer, sys., gen.  09/29/10
Hello WWM, My name is John, and this is the first time I have visited your website and sent you guys (and girls) an email!
<Welcome to WWM!>
I have a couple personal tank questions that revolve around the Amazon Puffers!
<Very nice fish. Do start reading here:
So my question is that due to their 'relatively' smaller size compared to other fresh water puffers like Dwarf Indian Puffers, could you keep 2 of these SAP's in a 20 gallon, pretty heavily planted tank with the middle
being open swimming space?
<Would they live in 20 gallons? Yes, probably, but it isn't ideal. These fish are HYPERACTIVE. The front of the tank should measure at least 90 cm/3 feet from left to right, and you'll find them swimming against that pane of glass most of the time. The key thing to know about SAPs is that they are migratory. Most other freshwater puffers are territorial: they have a patch of area they defend against other pufferfish. SAPs live in loose associations and migrate between rivers and lakes each year. They are not territorial and they do not guard their offspring. So their behaviour is completely different to that of most other freshwater puffers. Really, even a big aquarium is too small for them, and the best you can do is give them
enough space that they can swim about freely.>
I've read that the minimum size tank for one should be about 15 gallons.
<That's a bit tight to be honest. Who said this? Given their size, you should certainly allow 4-5 gallons per specimen in terms of stocking, but the tank itself should measure about 90 cm/3 ft across, and I'd consider
anything less than 30 gallons just too small.>
I do know that they typically are messy eaters, so I was planning on adding another 20 gallon filter in addition to the one that I already have (my current one is a 20 gallon Aqueon Power Filter). Another idea that sprouted off was, might it be beneficial to move up to a larger tank size to something in the high 20's- 30's?
My main concern with this is that my stand that my 20 gallon is placed on is very sturdy but has about 4 inches of extra room on the sides before it would be off the stand, thus leaving minimal options as for a larger tank.
<Indeed. Don't overload any stand!>
For a final question (sorry about this big mess of questions haha) I was wondering if a small or medium sized armored Pleco would be suitable for an algae eater?
<Yes. Although SAPs are nippy, and they harass slow-moving catfish such as Corydoras, I've had success keeping them with nocturnal catfish that hide in caves, including Panaque, Ancistrus, and Synodontis.>
Also for a scavenger to pick up extra pieces of puffer food, would the Banjo Catfish be alright considering it too has some protection with its bony plating (and yes I notice they too grow about 5 inches)?
<Would be a poor choice. In a large aquarium, if you really wanted scavengers, fast-moving loaches such as Yo-yo Loaches would be infinitely preferable. Corydoras and indeed anything dozy that just sits there will be nipped.>
I know all these fish grow about 5 or so inches big and probably all of them or even a couple of them might even be too much for a 20 gallon tall aquarium, but alas this is why I came to you guys!
<Hope this helps. Given the size of your aquarium, I'd nudge you away from SAPs, and perhaps towards a singleton species with personality, such as Tetraodon cutcutia or the brackish water Tetraodon erythrotaenia. A pair of Carinotetraodon irrubesco might be an option too. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Amazon Puffer    9/29/10

On 9/29/2010 4:11 AM, WetWebMedia Crew wrote:
I need to start off by thanking you so much for the information on the Amazon puffers! Really big help, and also for other more suitable recommendation of different types of puffers!
<Glad to help.>
Which leaves me with another question.
Since the Amazon puffers are typically meant for larger aquarium (even though they can 'live' in a smaller one) you mentioned a type of freshwater puffer in which can be kept in pairs called Carinotetraodon irrubesco!
<Pairs is perhaps over-egging the pudding. Let's say that if you have one male and one or preferably more females, they generally get along given space. Allow about a square foot of space per specimen, with a cave in each area that individual fish can call home. Doesn't have to be a cave-cave; a piece of lava rock, a hollow ornament, or even a dense clump of Java fern will work just fine.>
This sparked my curiosity and thus I was wondering if you can give me what ever information you can give me on these puffers as I will be searching the internet as well! So anything on temperament, size, compatibility (with their own species, as well as with others), health and general care, etc!
<Seek and ye will find:
Also another piece I penned, here:
The tank size I wish to use for puffers is still the 20 gallon tall, and I will most likely be adding another filter. Thank you so much once again!
<Carinotetraodon is an excellent species, arguably more compatible with other fish than any other puffer in the trade. Well worth hunting down. Hardy, easy to keep. A bit shy in small tanks, but otherwise a very nice fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Carinotetraodon species (was Re: Amazon Puffer) 01/10/10

Well thank you for these websites! I'm sorry to say, but like a river, my questions keep flowing. From what I have read there are a couple species that are similar yet different from one another. 1. Red tailed puffers- which have a noticeable red tail, I also read are more on the peaceful side, but should still be kept cautiously. And the other main species being # 2. Red eyed puffer- The more aggressive of them all, which can easily be compared to Indian dwarf puffer. I noticed that on the one website that you suggested they said that the /Carinotetraodon irrubesco/ is generally a more personable fish as far as behavior go's. So with this in mind would an 'ideal' or 'safe' setup idea be my 20 gallon tall tank with fluorite clay based gravel, planted with various plants and driftwood, caves and such to break up different territories sound like a good idea to you in your _opinion_? If so would a male with two - three females be a suitable sense
of stocking? If i was to do the lesser of the aggressive species /Carinotetraodon irrubesco? /I apologize for all the questions, but asking someone with experience is one of the best things you can do in my opinion!
<The plain vanilla Red-Eye Puffer Carinotetraodon lorteti exhibits variable levels of aggression but the males do tend to be quite aggressive and territorial. Specimens from Vietnam are said to be less aggressive than those from Thailand by Aqualog in Germany. I can't comment to that because I've not kept this species for very many years. On the other hand Red Tail Puffers Carinotetraodon irrubesco are usually quite peaceful, though occasional specimens are fin-biters, and the males of course are territorial, if not especially bad tempered. A single male and two females of this species should be okay in 20 gallons, though a "long" rather than "tall" tank is obviously better, given surface area is the key thing for territories, not water volume. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Carinotetraodon species (was Re: Amazon Puffer)

Such a big help! That sums up my main question about these kinds of puffers as of right now (haha I'll be back!). Thank you very much once again!
<Glad to help. Have fun! Cheers, Neale.>

Puffer fish questions
I bought a couple of Amazon puffers i was wondering are they poisonous if eaten?
<Yes; they contain saxitoxin. See 'Eating habits: are we safe to consume freshwater puffer fish from the Amazon region in Brazil?' Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 12: 153-155. This
paper is available online; I've added the link to the Wikipedia page:
what might happen if eaten might they kill?
<Does rather depend on how much was eaten, what tissues were consumed, and how long the animals were in captivity (pufferfish apparently lose their toxicity within a period of months from being captured, apparently because they need to eat bacteria in the wild to synthesise the poisons).>
and what are the kinds of puffers that are poisonous if eaten.
<It appears that most, perhaps all, puffers are toxic to some degree. Do not eat them, and do not allow other fish to eat them!>
kind regards.
<Cheers, Neale.>

South American Puffer Problems  05/23/09
I was wondering if someone could give me an answer on what to do with my South American Puffer (approx 1.5 inch long)---he's acting 'strangely' but does not appear to have any diseases. He paces back and forth all day long across the back of the tank chasing his reflection (my F8 did this too but wasn't so focused on himself---this puffer does it so much he ignores food etc type thing and am worried about his mental health)
<Sort of normal -- this is a GREGARIOUS and highly active species; keep in groups (at least two) and provide ample swimming space (more than 1 m/3 feet swimming "length" in the tank, plus strong to very strong water circulation). This is a highly migratory species in the wild that largely ignores plants, caves, etc. but does want, need swimming space and water currents.>
I am a rather experienced fishkeeper and have kept other 'oddballs' and bred/kept most of the big cichlids so am familiar with water chemistry etc. In my early days I kept what I now believe was a figure eight puffer, and as I (now) know his water conditions weren't perfect I lost him (but he was a very eager eater and very personable, unlike this puffer).
I have had the SAP for a couple of months and noticed steadily that he is becoming more and more picky with his food because he's so busy zooming over the back of the tank. When he finally stops to eat something his attempts are rather half-hearted and it seems like his mouth is too small to bite the krill bits effectively (he can however eat a Colorbit whole) and spends a lot of time taking little bites and then spitting it out... he used to eat bloodworm but stopped but he likes shrimp pellets. At first I was worried about his teeth but I checked them too and he can really gorge himself when he feels like it... so I don't think they're the problem yet.
<Can be a picky species, but a little starvation works wonders; my specimens don't eat Mysis and Krill if given Bloodworms earlier that day, but if not given Bloodworms for a day or two, they build up quite an appetite and will eat anything. A combination of Bloodworms, Mysis, Krill, Chopped Cockle and Chopped Prawn should provide ample nutrition; also offer snails regularly, ideally Physa species and other small varieties.>
His colour is fantastic (nice bold black/yellow with a nice white belly), he shows no signs of ich etc and is always swimming around, fins nicely intact. He exhibited this frantic pacing when I first brought him home (he had come down with Ich) but I treated him and the white spots cleared up. I thought this might be a second episode so I netted him this morning and looked him over---nothing.
<Is a nervous species...>
He lives in my SA community tank (40 gallon long) that runs at between 82 to 84 (usually stays at 84) I know this is very warm but every time I try to adjust it someone gets ill so I've left it alone. The tank is filtered by a Rena xp3 that is crammed with sponges, ceramic rings etc. (possibly xp4) which I clean every month (never have I ever changed any of the media-- I just rinse it in a bucket of tank water, refill the filter with new dechlorinated water) and then hook it up again. I change at minimum 25-30% percent of the water every two weeks, (I'll do more if they've eaten more etc.)
<Isn't an ideal community species, but given the right tankmates, can be kept with other fast-moving fish; will nip Corydoras, Platies and other slow/stupid fish.>
The tank has a plain sand substrate that is home to god knows how many Malaysian Trumpet Snails. It is planted with Bacopa moneiri, wisteria (some floating), some plant I cannot identify and hornwort (which basically just floats around) and there is a single Zoo Med Flora-Sun Bulb on the tank which runs for about 10 hours a day. There is plenty of green algae on the walls of the tank but I leave it be except to clean it off the front.
The water straight out of the tap is ammonia-less and nitrate-less, with very little chlorine and it's very soft (I don't know how soft but that's what the LFS said) with a PH of about 7. At last check (two days ago) the tank water tested at 0 ammonia and the nitrates between 5-10.
<South American puffers will adapt to Rio Negro type soft water conditions through to slightly brackish conditions at the Amazon estuary; on other words, provided not exposed to sudden changes, are largely indifferent to water chemistry.>
The tank inhabitants are as follows:
-1 female blue ram
<A poor choice, but more because Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is difficult to maintain at anything other than very soft, very acidic, very warm conditions.>
-1 SAP
<Add at least one more, ideally two more.>
-12 Serpaes
<Should be fine; similar temperament in some ways.>
-6 bronze cories (5 regular, 1 albino)
<Pufferfish food... have tried to keep SAPs with Corydoras multiple times, always the same nipped fins.>
-2 new juvenile Uaru (1 is about 2 inches the other appx 4.5 and both are happily eating my plants)
<Oddly perhaps, robust cichlids can work well, but Uaru might be nipped, so observe.>
No one appears to be getting harassed to the point of stress (occasional chasing between the non-puffer residents but no one appears to be bothering the SAP)
<Most fish ignore puffers.>
I am guilty as charged with having an overstocked tank but a new much larger aquarium is in the plans very soon. In the meantime I figure the water is good and everyone seems happy.
In the next couple of days I plan to add on another filter for increased oxygenation and turbulence plus filtration, I will also purchase a spare tank to set up as QT/hospital tank. I will pick up some live ghost shrimp and whatever other goodies I can find to tempt him to eat.
<Would concentrate on water turnover where SAPs are concerned; eight times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour is a good starting point.>
I have read that SAP's are a rather 'social puffer' and are nervous when kept singly. If so, would adding more SAP's once the larger tank is running a good idea? Will this calm him down?
<Yes; when kept in "swarms" they are significantly less nervous.>
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
<Do see my other thoughts, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm >
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: South American Puffer Problems  05/23/09
Hi again,
I just have a few follow-up questions about creating a suitable tank for the SAP. Regarding the female ram she is in very good colour and lays eggs regularly and is from a local source rather than imported, but should I remove her anyway?
<Possibly; ample reports that Mikrogeophagus ramirezi do not do well under "ordinary" conditions from Baensch onwards.>
I have seen her chase the SAP away from food sometimes.
<Seen similar.>
Also, the cories are getting nipped pretty good but being a cichlid keeper I'm used to catfish being in less than excellent condition appearance wise so it didn't occur to me that there might be a problem (they're not hiding... just look kinda like they've had a buzz cut)... I may well take them to the LFS tomorrow and trade them in, so my question is what other SA catfish/bottom feeder inhabitant would be a good replacement for them?
<My own SAPs work well with Synodontis nigriventris, Panaque nigrolineatus, Garra cambodgiensis and Acanthocobitis rubidipinnis.>
As far as turnover tank-wise, is it simply a matter of how much water is circulated through the filter (.i.e a question of numbers of gallons per hour) or active current in the tank or a combo of both?
<The first should determine the second; a decent filter with a high turnover rate should provide sufficient water current. May help either having one internal or hang-on-the-back filter at each end, or otherwise an external canister with the inlet at one end and the spray bar at the other end. SAPs are not a difficult species, and will adapt to almost anything, so work around your budget and preferences.>
I definitely will be adding at least two more SAP's as you suggested... if I can find them, the one I have now was a lucky find and the last one in the tank.
Thanks again for all your help
<Happy to help! Neale.>

Dragon puffer, sys., comp.  -- 02/18/09 Hello, <Hi.> My name is Rachel, and I work at a fish store. We have had this dragon puffer for so long. <This is a common name for Monotrete palembangensis.> He's fresh water, all alone in his own tank. I would like some info on him. I have a 55 gallon for him. <The volume is OK.> Will he need salt in his water? <No.> Will he be ok in just RO? <No. Plain RO water is too soft, has no carbonate hardness, will result in a dropping pH if not changed very often.> What kind of substrate? <Gravel or sand, whatever you prefer. This species does not borrow.> Will he like live plants in the tank? <Yes, as a lurker he'll enjoy them as cover.> How can you sex a dragon puffer? <Although they have been bred in captivity, they cannot be sexed for sure. The females generally seem to have a slightly larger girth when carrying eggs.> Will he be okay with faster tank mates? <Cannot be said for sure. Most other fish will end up as meals for this partial piscivore.> Can I find him a friend or will he kill that new friend? <Most likely the latter. If you are thinking about a second M. palembangensis you'd need a much larger tank, introduce them both together.> Please help I love this little guy and would just love him to live at my house. I already have a 20 gallon community with 4 dwarf puffers, 2 f.w. goby's, 6 Glowlight Danios, and 1 Cory cat. also another 55 gallon with a red eared slider and Pleco. I would like some information on the dragon puffer if you have any. <Feel free to send in more questions. Searching the net for Monotrete palembangensis or the older synonym Tetraodon palembangensis will bring up more hits.> Thank you so much for your time. Thank you, Rachel <Welcome. Marco.>

Anyone know of a good online freshwater vendor? Tetraodon miurus (Congo puffer)  10/23/08
Looking for Tetraodon miurus (Congo puffer) and wondering if anyone knows of a place online that sells one? (LFS don't exist here).
<Where are you? In England at least these puffers are fairly common, and places such as Wildwoods will sell them mail order. Elsewhere you might want to ask on one of the puffer-oriented forums. Cheers, Neale.>

Confused!  Puffer ID, Tetraodon, Colomesus, GSP gen. care...  10/23/08 My Amazon puffer did NOT look like the ones in Google images or yours, So I looked and found the green spotted puffer (*Tetraodon nigroviridis)* to match my own. I previously asked questions so I must re ask due to Wal-mart telling me wrong. <Tetraodon nigroviridis is usually distinctive: luminous green-yellow body colour covered with lots of small, circular black spots. It is often confused with Tetraodon fluviatilis, a species with a more greenish body and irregular black spots on the flanks and a few large saddle-shaped patches on the back. Then there's Tetraodon biocellatus, the Figure-8 pufferfish, which has two pairs of distinct yellow-ringed black spots on the flanks; two such spots on either side of the dorsal fin and another two on the caudal peduncle (the "tail"). The Amazon Puffer Colomesus asellus can be confused with these fish, but the important differences are that it has black a series of saddle-like patches running over the back and a distinctive black spot on the underside of the caudal peduncle. All of these, except Colomesus asellus, are brackish water fish.> I have Him in well planted (lots of hiding spots and open water) with 2 Juv African Cichlids, All very young. I do have ghost shrimp about 10ish for a snack and to clean up all in a 29 Gal. They RARLEY nip at each other which shocked me. Should I add another fish or is this enough? <Tetraodon spp. are not gregarious and do not need tankmates of their own kind or other species. Tetraodon biocellatus is sometimes kept in groups, and being rather small, they tend to get along fine unless ridiculously overcrowded. Tetraodon fluviatilis and Tetraodon nigroviridis are a bit more territorial, but in large tanks (upwards of 40 gallons, usually) it is possible to keep two or more adults. Both Tetraodon fluviatilis and Tetraodon nigroviridis are confirmed fin-biters, so just because they're fine with your other fish now, don't expect that to last. Wild pufferfish of these species eat the fins of other fish, and so it's a question of instinct.> What age does this puffer "puff"? <They don't, unless scared. Because of the risk of swallowing air, this isn't something to encourage, even putting aside the very idea of deliberately scaring a fish to make it do something!> What kinds of snails do I feed it? <Any of the right size.> How do i go about trimming the teeth if they over grow? (many people have many different views (even weird ones). <Do review the article on Colomesus asellus I referred you to last time. Jeni Tyrell has also written an article on this topic at WWM, though she and I differ in opinion on the use of nets to hold the puffer. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/smpufferdentistry.htm > What fish are compatible with my group? Should I add another Puffer? <Puffers of this type are best kept alone or with their own species. For a start they need brackish water, which reduces your range of options. But even allowing for that, these fish are biters. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i6/lonely_puffer/lonely_puffer.htm > Is there any "hard shelled Critters I could feed it to dull the teeth? <In theory yes there are: snails, unshelled prawns, small mussels, etc.> How big do they ACTUALLY get (many websites are different? <In captivity, expect at least 12 cm, and I've seen numerous specimens around 15 cm.> Why is it called the green spotted puffer when there not really green spots..? <Tetraodon nigroviridis does indeed have a green body with black spots.> How come many Petshops and Wal-mart mislabel there fish? <No idea.> Sorry if some of these questions seem obvious, but many websites, pet stores are telling me differently, I saw an artical in a fish magazine with Mr. Fenner (SP?) Which led to me saying you know this website might be the "truthful" one. So please help me out thanks SO much, Kurt Meissner! Future Sociologist and Marine Biologist. (horrible spelling) <Happy to help. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm Much written about these fish here at WWM; do read, enjoy. Cheers, Neale.>

Terodotoxin 10/27/08 Hi! I'm setting up the tank for Tetraodon nigroviridis. <A nice brackish water pufferfish. Do read the articles on this species here at WWM, such as this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/gspsart.htm> And I would like to ask you how serious is the poisoning issue for me as a fishkeeper. <It's a non-issue.> Is it dangerous only if I eat it, or also to touch it? <Pufferfish actually use a range of poisons, not just tetrodoxin. But in any case the poisons are within their bodies and only a threat to animals that eat them. Moreover, in captivity they become steadily less poisonous because the pufferfish themselves don't make the poison themselves. Like vitamins to humans, pufferfish get their poisons from things they eat, specifically algae. Because these algae aren't present in the aquarium, the puffers lose their toxicity (though the speed at which this happens varies).> Thank you for your help. :) Zuzka <Cheers, Neale.>

Keeping fresh water puffer fish, 8/24/08 Hi, I have just brought 2 fresh water puffer fish and added them to my tank which has been set up for around four months, the set up is all fine. <What species of puffer? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm .> The question is this- I have noticed that our bigger fish and loaches have had their fins nipped. It has only started since we got the puffers a couple of days ago. I haven't seen them do it so maybe they do it at night? <Perhaps, but unless you are watching the tank 24/7 it could be happening during the day as well.> As I have seen them go up to other fish and not attack them. I was wondering if this nipping will stop after a while when they learn that the other fish are not food or will they just keep doing it till the fish get infections and die?.. <Most likely this behavior will continue.> Would keeping the puffers fed once a day stop them from testing out the fish's fins? <Probably not, the behavior is most likely not due to hunger.> Do you think I should either get them a separate tank or take them back to my fish shop? <That is up to you.> Thanks for reading this and replying. Great website too. Chris <Thanks, but please spell and grammar check next time before submitting a query, we have to correct this before it gets posted.> <Chris>

GSP in a community FW Tank  1/12/07 Thanks for responding. When we bought our puffer, we were told that these could live in fresh water. <As per most uninformed LFS.> Oops. Anyway, ours is about 2 years old and 2.5 inches long. It's in a thirty gallon tank with a dozen other fish. <I believe it should be larger by now.> It has never had a problem with the others (nipping wise). <Extremely lucky.> I'm using the Eclipse in-hood filtration system and I rinse and re-use the filters for about 3-5 weeks. Water changes are about the same. <Weekly water changes are recommended for all FW fish.> I tested the water two days after a water change using a Mardel 5 in 1 test strip. <Not the best test results from these.  I recommend Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Master Test Kit or buy each liquid AP test separately.> Although the nitrite levels were well within the safe range, the nitrate levels were very high (80 ppm). <Should at least be <20, <10 is best.> The total hardness test was in the moderate range but the buffering capacity is very low. Also, the pH is down around 6.4. <Brackish fish prefer a pH of around 8.  Quite a huge difference.> As far as food, what would you recommend? <Please read the previous recommended feeding articles & GSP article I linked you to.  I highly recommend getting your puffer into it's own 30g (min) tank & start raising the salinity as per the GSP article.  Also follow recommended substrate to raise the pH & keep it steady.  No mention of how the teeth look?   For more puffer info: www.thepufferforum.com.  ~PP> Star

Nile/Fahaka Puffer, Tetraodon lineatus  11/14/06 <Hi Jo, Pufferpunk here.  I have corrected all your improperly capitalized words, so we can present this email to our FAQs.  Next time it will be sent back for you to correct!> I bought a Nile puffer 3 days ago and was really badly informed by the shop. I wish I had looked on the internet first! <Did they tell you it will grow as large as 18" & require a minimum of a 120g tank within 2 years?  They grow fast!> They told me it would be fine to fill up the new tank with water from my other tank with various tropical fish and put the puffer in the tank the same evening. I now know the filter wouldn't have matured and now my puffer has a cloudy looking eye and isn't moving much. I've tested the water and the NO3 is on 0 and the NO2 the others seem fine too. I'm not too great on the technical side so if you could explain in a way I would understand I would be very grateful. <For cloudy eye (due to poor water quality--fish don't get sick in healthy water), add Melafix.  The bacteria you need to cycle a tank does not live in the water.  It lives on the surfaces of the  tank.  Mostly in the filter material but also on gravel, glass, decor, etc.  You can squeeze the "dirt" from your older filters into your new filter to help the cycle along.  You should be doing 50-80% daily water changes, until your tank is cycled.  After the tank is cycled, do 50% weekly water changes.  My best suggestion would be to add BIO-SPIRA to your filter, to "instant cycle" your tank.  I highly recommend this.  It really is not a good idea to cycle a tank with a puffer at all!  They have no protective scales or gill covers.  Very sensitive to ammonia/nitrites.  How large is the puffer & what size tank is it in?  For more info on your fish, go to: www.thepufferforum.com  ~PP> Thank you, Jo

Auriglobus modestus  8/31/06 Hi there, <Hi Leanne, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased 2 Auriglobus modestus (aka. golden or bronze puffer) from my LFS, one is 2.5" and the other is 3".  They seemed very active in the store and ate with vigour.  The second day home they seemed to lose interest in food.  I have tried frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried krill, live rams horn snails and (because this is what the LFS was feeding) live feeder fish.   <Get those diseased feeder fish out of your tank!  Your puffers are mostly crustacean eaters.  On food for puffers: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html > They showed a bit of interest in the krill this morning (day 4) and the feeder fish has a little of his tail nibbled on, the only other tank mate (besides the feeder fish) is a tiger barb who has resided in that tank for over a year.   <As soon as your puffers get comfortable in there, the barb will be toast.> They are in a 10 US gal tank, temp 73F, water parameters are:   nitrate 30ppm, nitrite 0ppm, hardness 120ppm, alkalinity 180ppm, and pH approx 7.2.   <I'd get those nitrates <20 with some water changes.  Temp should be 78-82F.  They really need 20g each.  I kept one quite happily with a large royal pleco, in a 50g tank.  Be sure the tank is heavily decorated with lots of broken lines of sight, to prevent intraspecific aggression.> LFS said to add 1/2c. aquarium salt to lower the hardness but it was my understanding that these are full freshwater puffers and the directions on the box said 1 tbsp/5 gal so a 1/2c.  Seems a lot.   <That makes absolutely no sense at all.  Adding salt will make your water harder.  They need no salt.> I have been doing daily water changes of 1/3 to 1/2 in attempt to lower the nitrates but they haven't moved, LFS said the   levels are high because of all the rain we have been having. Could   the nitrates be the reason they are not interested in feeding?  If so  how can I lower the levels, would bottled distilled water work?   <Your nitrates are high but  really aren't at toxic levels yet.  Are you cleaning the gravel & filter media?  The puffers are in a tank that is too small for them & may just be sulking (puffers do that a lot).  It takes a few days for puffers to adjust to a new environment.> The  substrate is small gravel (the kind you can buy anywhere in any color)  and I just added a sword plant yesterday.  They seemed alot happier  with the plant in there, they circle around it or rest in the leaves.  Any suggestions you have that will make my puffers happier would be greatly appreciated. <Here is a profile on your puffer: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php?g2_itemId=48  Check out that puffer forum too.  ~PP> Leanne Where to find the T. palembangensis?  07/02/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am looking for a humpback puffer.  Is that the same as a dragon puffer? <Both are common names for the Tetraodon palembangensis.  AKA King Kong puffer.> Where can I find one? <I see them for sale here: http://www.aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/puffer_fish/puffer_fish.htm  You can also post in the Wanted section here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/portal.php Be sure you have a cycled 40g tank ready for one.  No tank mates.  For more info on the species, check www.pufferlist.com.  ~PP>

South American Puffers  3/28/06   Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a new tank all set up and I have decided that I would really like some South American Puffers (Colomesus asellus). I have read that these are okay with other fish and wondered if anyone had experience of setting up a multi-species tank with them? <I have kept them with larger cichlids.  They will pick on smaller, slow-moving forth, or fish with long fins.  Here is an excellent article on them: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/sapuffer.html >> Any suggestions on companions would be greatly appreciated. I am also wondering if you know good UK suppliers of food for these fellas? <Sorry, I'm in the US.  You can post your inquiry in the "Wanted" section of this forum; www.thepufferforum.com.> The tank is 100 x 45 x 40 and has a Rena x3 canister on it. It's quite well planed but no fish as yet. (And the plant can go into another tank if they will cause problems for the puffers). <I'm assuming that centimeters?  They require 15 gallons for the 1st one & 10g for each added.  Heavily planted is great.  Be sure to read the articles on rearing snails at TPF.  If they don't get a constant supply, their teeth are the fastest growers of all puffer species.  There is an article on Puffer Dentistry in the Hospital Forum.  They are best kept in a species only tank.  ~PP> Thanks, Faye Penny Mixing Puffer Species  1/2/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have in a 29 gallon, 2 green spots, 2 figure 8's, 1 dragon fish, and 1 dwarf puffer. All are juveniles except dwarf.    A few days ago I found and brought home a "Samphong" (?) puffer (guessing a female red eye red tail) from LFS that did not have much or actually any info on. I added this little devil to my happy community of peaceful friends and have had nothing but regrets and troubles since. The Samphong immediately bit both of my greens, killing 1 within 12 hours and 1 figure 8. Needless to say the hell raiser was quarantined as soon as i could get the net in my hand. The deceased within 30 minutes of the attack was swollen on entire side of bite. My figure 8 victim is doing ok.. Now to my main problem. My other green spot has become lethargic and not eating. As of this morning, 3 days since attack, he is now getting fin and tail rot. I am now treating with Anti-Fungus, a product of Aquarium Products and Mela-Fix by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I am wondering if I am doing the right thing or if you have any other ideas of how to treat. <The 1st issue I see, is that you are mixing fresh, low-end-brackish & high-end brackish water species.  The 2nd problem I see, is that you have several species of different aggression & sizes, all in the same tank.  The dwarf only grows to 1", while the F8 (low-end BW fish) grows to 3" & the most aggressive of the 3, the GSP, grows to 6" & requires high-end BW (preferring marine conditions as an adult).  By keeping these exotic fish in conditions other than what are best for them will compromise their immune systems, causing the least bit of stress to make them sick.  I would get these fish into separate tanks with the proper parameters ASAP.  The DP can live in a 5g tank.  F8s are best with 15g for the 1st one & 10g for each added.  You can keep the dragon & the F8 in the 29g.  GSPs need 30-50g each, as adults.  I would separate them ASAP or you will witness more deaths.  If you need to cycle new tanks, you can add Bio-Spira, for an instant cycle.  As you have seen what can happen when you don't research a species 1st (all new fish should be quarantined also), you can check out puffer profiles at www.pufferlist.com.  There is great info & excellent articles at www.thepufferforum.com.  Be sure to read the F8 & GSP articles in The Library.  For the Dwarf puffer, you can go to www.dwarfpuffers.com.  After moving your GSP, start raising the SG (specific gravity, measured with a hydrometer or refractometer) by .002/week.  You must use marine salt.  Aim for 1.008-1.010 for the GSP (raising it higher towards adulthood) & 1.005 for the F8.  Keep using Melafix & Pimafix on the sick fish.  ~PP> Thank you, Philip

Colomesus psittacus I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank with the following fish: 5 green barbs, 2 Bala shark, 3 dwarf Gourami, and 2 Suckermouth cats. I just bought 3 Colomesus psittacus which the aquarium store said were compatible with my set up and would only grow to 4-6". (tank has small pebble base, lots of plants, large rock formations and driftwood.) The information I have been able to find on this fish is conflicting. Are they freshwater or brackish? <Actually kind of both... found along Atlantic coast and inland waters... please see here on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID= and the Freshwater Puffer FAQs on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm > Will they become aggressive? They are fairly peaceful now. I don't want to have these little guys either get hurt, or harm my other fish. Thanks, Happy Holidays, Elizabeth <I've had good luck with this species leaving most everything else alone (unlike so many other freshwater to brackish puffers), and all but your Gouramis are fast, smart enough to stay/get out of their way. I would just keep them fed (meaty foods daily) and keep an eye on them. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Fugu questions 8/18/05 <Hi there!  Heather (LinearChaos) here> At my LFS there are 4 3" Takifugu rubripes.  They are in horrible condition.  Instead of being green with neon orange they are silver and a dingy brick red. <The Takifugu rubripes is not a puffer that is sold in the trade, this is actually a species that is eaten as a delicacy in Japan.  The puffer you are describing is the Takifugu ocellatus.>  They are also ungodly cheap ($15 a piece).  <Wow! That is cheap!>  I was wondering for now would a 30 gallon tank be big enough for now.  I have no problem upgrading later.  I have no experience with these guys.  <No, this species is extremely aggressive toward their own and 4 in a 30g won't last but a week.  They'll nip each other to death almost immediately since they will not be able to get away from each other in that size tank and cannot establish territories.>  I am aware of how hard they are to keep in captivity.  Also there is very little information on these puffers.  Do you know what salinity, hardness, temperature, etc... they prefer.  Any help would be great.  <I have successfully kept 3 of these puffers in an established full marine environment for over a year, the salinity is 1.019 and the temp is 82*F.  The tank is 55g and is heavily stocked with live rock to break up the lines of sight as much as possible to reduce aggression.  Please, if you are unable to care for these puffers appropriately do not purchase them.  ~Heather> Logan

Problems with South American Puffer 3/4/05 <Pufferpunk again> Tank is much smaller than that - just over 10 litres (about 3 US gallons I think). <Poor puffers! SAPs are the most active FW puffers (bar one other FW species). They need plenty of room to swim. Mostly you will see them scanning back & forth along the glass, unless plenty of decor is in your tank.> They were originally bought on advice from a fish shop that they were OK puffers to add to a community tank. We brought them home and quarantined them in the small tank for about 3 weeks, then added them to the main tank (approx 35 US gallon), but they didn't seem at all happy there, so we extracted them and moved them back. <Maybe they were pacing the glass & you mistook that for unhappy? That's just what they do. See: Here.> They have seemed happy since, and the LFS told us the small tank was OK. Maybe they were being overly optimistic. <I just don't see how they could be happy in a tank that small. Maybe the small size of the tank, prevented them from swimming the way they usually do, so they seemed "calmer"?> No tank mates, just the two puffers. They don't have any trouble getting to the food usually - we feed them on frozen bloodworm, with live stuff sometimes. Have not heard of feeding them on snails before now. <An extremely important food in any puffer's diet, or their teeth get overgrown, especially this particular species.> That's a very interesting link - I haven't seen anything like that before on fish the size of ours. I found your page with the Dremel suggestion, but we'd be more likely to accidentally decapitate the fish with a Dremel than do any good. That said, there's no visible enlargement of the teeth like the one in the picture. From reading all the pufferfish pages on wetwebmedia, the other thing that looked like a possibility to me was lockjaw. We have only really fed them bloodworm, having tried a couple of other things when we got them that they refused to eat. No-one ever recommended snails to us... <Try krill/plankton. I have never heard of lockjaw on FW puffers. Is the puffers mouth locked open or closed? The teeth can actually grow so long they will cut into the mouth, preventing them from opening & closing it. Look closely, with a bright flashlight. I still think this is the problem.>  Nitrite and ammonia both zero, nitrate not tested recently, but we do regular water changes, so should be OK. Water is soft, about pH 7.2, and kept at about 26 degrees C. Looking at the link I'm really not sure - ours look more like the "post-trim" version, no visible overgrowth like in the first picture. I only found your website yesterday, and I think we've had less than wonderful advice regarding these fish from the two fish shops we've been two. I have been told by one that our current problem could be due to old age - as dwarf puffers like ours typically only live a couple of years. I suppose that might be true, but I do find it a little hard to believe given that they can apparently grow up to 15cm long. Perhaps tank size is a reason ours haven't grown a lot? <Your puffers are, no doubt, stunted in that tank!> Anyway, I think it's probably too late to help our sick fish, but I'd like to be able to avoid repeating any mistakes in future. <I've always been surprised, how quickly a skinny, long-toothed puffer started eating after teeth trimming. If you do find that this is the problem, I would suggest NOT using clove oil for tranquilizing the fish, as it may be too weak to bounce back. Just trim without it. Either way, they really need a bigger tank. ~PP> 

Problems with South American Puffers - II - 3/4/05 <Pufferpunk again> There are numerous plants and decorations, and they have seemed happy to wander around. <I'm glad they're happy, but 10g each is really recommended for these active swimmers.> The larger tank has an Eheim external filter, and the current seemed to bother them. We had them in there for a few days, and they just huddled in a corner and looked (to us) pretty miserable. They also didn't eat much. When we put them back in the smaller tank, they swam around more and ate without any trouble. So we checked with the LFS, and then just left them there. <It is sometimes difficult for small puffers to find food in a large tank. As far as the Eheim, you can add a spray bar to distribute the "current".> Where do you get krill/plankton from? I think I can get snails from the LFS, but I'm fairly sure they don't have krill or plankton. <You should be able to find it freeze-dried or frozen. If your LFS doesn't have it, most mail order fish supply stores, like www.drsfostesmith.com, or, I buy in bulk from http://www.jehmco.com/PRODUCTS_/FISH_FOODS_/Freeze_Dried/freeze_dried.html > Would a 15g tank be suitable? We were thinking on getting one that size for them before all this... <A 20g would be better. ~PP> 

Polka-doted Pignose Puffer 10/2/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> First I want to say thanks because I really like your site. It has some really good information and I use it for my puffer as well as my other fish. Thanks. <Thank you, we try out best!> Okay, I have a pignose puffer (suvatti) named Poseidon, who is about 5 inches long. He is in a ten gallon tank, and the pH is about 7.6 and the temp. is about 80. I don't have any other readings now as I need to get my water tested. <good idea to test for ammonia, nitrItes & nitrAtes.  A 5" puffer (which are huge waste producers) in a 10g tank, is a lot of fish!  I realize they don't move around much, but for reasons of water quality, I suggest a 20g, or at least a 15 for that puffer.  Also, I recommend 50% weekly water changes for all puffers.> But, the problem is Poseidon has a white circle mark, about 3 millimeters in diameter on his left side. Also, he has two similar spots on his right side underneath his gill. I'm worried that this is fatal, but he's had them for about 2 weeks now. Otherwise his behavior is normal. <My 1st thought is a bite from another puffer.  Puffer bites are circular & about that size.  How long have you had that puffer?  If he's fairly new, you can assume that guess to be correct.>   There is salt in the tank (1 tlsp per 5 gal), and I have an underground filter. <No salt in that tank!  This is strictly a freshwater puffer.  I also don't recommend UG filters for these fish, since they need sand to burrow in, which won't work for that kind of filter.  It also won't remove the waste particles from this fish.  Just wondering--what are you feeding your pignose?> I'm wondering if this disease can be diagnosed and if so if there is a cure. I didn't see it on your site - maybe it's uncommon with puffers? I'm thinking it is a fungus, but I don't want to jump into any medications yet. Also I heard puffers are sensitive to medicines, so I want to be careful. <True, you never want to use unnecessary meds on a puffer, especially copper!  Adding Melafix should heal that right up, if puffer bites is what you have.  ~PP> Thanks a lot! -Eric Dwarf Puffers  9/19/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have been researching puffers for a while.  Yesterday I purchased 3 small dwarf puffers (the size of a small pebble).  I have them in a 10 gallon tank for now until they grow. I have added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt and have the water temp at 80.  They do not seem to be eating.  I have tried frozen brine shrimp and pellets but they seem to be too small to eat those foods.  I was wondering what to feed the tiny guys? <Most puffers are wild-caught fish, which means they are used to eating live foods.  Mine love live blackworms--you should try those.  Once you get them eating you can try frozen-freeze-dried foods.  They also will need snails to eat, to keep their teeth trimmed.  Dwarf puffers are strictly freshwater fish & do not like salt.  A 10g tank should be fine for them for life, since they won't grow larger than 1".  Here's a great site for them: www.dwarfpuffers.com.  ~PP> Freshwater Puffers for Beginners?  9/13/-4 Hi guys, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Just to check with you, which types of freshwater puffers are suitable for beginners as I really love puffers a lot but the spotted puffers which I kept lived less than 3 weeks every time... <Oooohh, that's not good! =o{  They definitely are not FW puffers!  I guess you need much more research on them.  Read my article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm> Can freshwater puffers be kept together with blood parrot fish? <I am presently keeping South American & dwarf puffers with a parrot cichlid & a frontosa in a 50g tank.  How large is your tank?  A parrot needs at least a 30g.  Puffers in general, are really not for beginners.  SAPs need a constant daily supply of snails to keep their fast-growing teeth trimmed.  Otherwise, you'll need to trim them by hand every 6 months or so. Here's an article on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/sapuffer.shtml  You might be better off with some dwarves.  They still require special foods also, but are not as difficult to keep as SAPs.  They can get nippy though.  Here's a great website, devoted to them: www.dwarfpuffers.com.  Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  ~PP>

Disastrous 1st Tank!  8/10/04 To make a long background story short, the local pet store approved and sent me home with a disaster of a first fish tank.  They gave me a thumbs-up on putting two sunset platys, two silver mollies, and a green spotted puffer in a new 10 gallon tank.  On their recommendation, I did cycle the water 48 hours before putting the fish in using Cycle and some water conditioner.   <This will not cycle a tank.  that product is a total waste of $$$ & will actually harm the cycling of your tank.  there is dead bacteria that adds to the waste in your tank that the fish are producing.  Read: http://www.piranha-fury.com/information/default.php?id=cycling> A molly gave birth the first night though, and we now have 8 fish in only 10 gallons.  We are about a week into the tank's life and the adult mollies have become VERY active and the puffer has lost a lot of color.  We feed the mollies and platys tropical fish flakes and give the puffer either snails or brine shrimp.  Saline levels are currently around 1.008.  The ammonia level was around 2.0, but after a 35% water change its down to around .75.  The puffer seems slightly healthier now but is still grayish.  We want to let the water reach an established level, but the high ammonia seems dangerous.  What direction should I go now to save these fish?   <I would highly recommend returning the puffer.  They are definitely not community fish & they are not good fish to cycle a tank with (personally, I prefer fishless cycling).  Read this on your puffer: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm> Thanks in advance. <I really would take any advice you get from a fish store with a grain of salt.  Do as much research here in our FAQs as you can.  This is a great website full of good info here.  ~PP>

New Mbu Puffer  8/10/04 Hey crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> First let me point out that I think your site is fantastic.   <Well, thank you very much!> I found myself looking and learning about systems I never even thought about.  Thanks for the good info. I read a lot of great info on Mbu puffers, but found some of the eating habits and acclimation techniques to be contradicting. Just to clarify, here is my situation. <There is a lot of contradicting info on puffers in general, on the web & even more from shops that sell them.> I have a 55gal, with 2 large Tinfoil Barbs (8"), 3 Bala Sharks (ave.. 5"), 1 Clown Knife (4"), 1 large Pleco (8" need to do something here, whole other subject) and a few Tiger barbs (1") <Hmmm, sounds overstocked already!  Do you have any idea how large clown knives grow?  4 feet!  They will also eat anything they can fit into their huge mouths.  Mmmmmm, tiger barbs!  I hope you aren't going by the 1"/gal rule, that's only for 1" fish.> All except the Clown Knife have been in the tank since inception. My tank has been up and running for over 2 years now with no major problems.  I do plan to upgrade to 100-200gal in the next year, <Not nearly large enough for all those fish.  I don't think a 4' fish will be able to turn around in there.> but trying to do things one step at a time. I was ready to put a great fish, and make an investment on something special.  After research into my water conditions I found that the Mbu Puffer would be a good choice.  After talking to a few people, I got one and he is glorious.   <One of the most stunning & personable fish alive, IMO.> Anyways, while I acclimate the most expensive fish I've ever bought, I am finding myself nervous.  I was very slow and deliberate in my introduction to the tank.  He even ate about 20min after getting out of the bag--fantastic.  But has not eaten since.  I am trying with Krill, frozen and freshly thawed.  I feed my other fish in the tank a variety of flakes/Brine Shrimp/ Bloodworms and other frozen that the Mbu takes no interest in either.  It has only been 24hrs, and normally I would just let the fish be, but this time I have more invested, financially and emotionally.   <The 1st thing that comes to mind is when I introduced 4 7-8" tinfoil barbs to my large puffer's tank (12" Fahaka alone in a 125g tank) for some swimming interest.  Boy was he pissed!  It seems they were just too much & his eyes would shift back & forth angrily at them.  They would eat every morsel of food, before it would get down to him.  I had to get rid of them, for his sake.  Now all is good in his tank.  You may be having the same problem. Between the rotund, slower-moving  puffer & all the streamlined fish you have in there, who do you think is going to eat 1st?  The puffer may not want to even bother, since he is the new guy.  Another scenario I can imagine, is the puffer getting mad enough to just start taking chunks out of some of the other fish.>   My question is basically how much will he eat (4in) and how often? <One of the most difficult aspects of keeping these special fish is their diet. All puffers are predatory fish and need hard-shelled, meaty foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Like rabbits, their teeth grow constantly and can overgrow enough to cause starvation in the fish. Puffers eat crustaceans in the wild. Foods for smaller puffers are frozen/freeze-dried krill/plankton, gut-loaded ghost shrimp, glass worms, crickets, worms and small snails (the size of their eye). As your puffer gets larger (even now), there are many more crunchy foods for them to eat. Larger Puffers will eat cut-up pieces of scallops, shrimp, crab legs, whole mussels, clams, oysters, squid, lobster and crayfish. Mine love to chase live crayfish, fiddler crabs and gut-loaded ghost shrimp. I gut-load (pre-feed) my live food with algae wafers, so my puffers get their veggies. I buy most of these foods at the fish department of my grocery store, freeze and later thaw in warm vitamin water as needed. Smaller puffers need to eat every day, skipping one feeding/week. Feed them until their bellies are slightly rounded.> Are their any other techniques I should try when feeding him?  And at what point should I be concerned? He is moving smooth and seems OK as of yet.   <I'd be concerned when he hasn't eaten in a week or 2.  Again, I must stress, I think there is way too much competition for food in there.  Puffers are actually rather shy.> For your info, here are the basics about my water conditions.  T=77F, pH=6.9-7.0, Ammonia, nitrates-low, but known to jump (no live plants), filter-established external Biowheel with snorkel.  Bimonthly water changes (25%- probably increase now with Puffer) <You are having ammonia & nitrIte problems, because your tank is overstocked.  For most fish, puffers especially, those must always be 0!  Also, your pH is extremely low, from the huge bioload & small water changes.  Puffers prefer hard, alkaline water, with a pH of around 8.  I do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks & none of then are stocked anywhere near the capacity of yours (even before your Mbu).> Any advise would be appreciated.  Thanks for calming my nerves. <Please read this.  It was written by my puffer mentor, Robert T Ricketts, who has been keeping puffers for over 40 years.  Please reconsider your tank & inhabitants.  http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=fbp&action=display&num=1088527135  ~PP> Sean Feeding Puffers Wild-Caught Crayfish Ok?  8/7/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have several FW puffers.  There is a creek behind my house that is loaded with crawdads.  My puffers love crustaceans.  My question is, Is it safe to give these wild crawdads to my puffers?  If so, is there any kind of prep I would need to do to them to make them safe?  I have heard that if you are going to eat them, you should put them in clean water for a day or two & clean out the creek water & any debris.  Are there crawdad diseases that would be dangerous to my puffers?   I would appreciate any help you could give me. <The chances are really poor for transferring active pathogens from a crayfish to BW fish.  To FW fish it is likely to be higher, depending in part on how long the Cray is held in fishless QT.  Direct transfer of wild-caught anything from native waters to tropical tanks is IMHO a moderate risk proposition - meaning that if you do it often (routine feeding during capture seasons) sooner or later you will introduce something - which may be trivial, or may be major.  If you have the facility to quarantine more than one batch separately, their odds are much improved.     The same applies to LFS crays - they have been captured (from breeder ponds?), held for shipping, shipped, distributor (possible but not always) holding, then LFS tank - that is non-trivial QT in itself, 4-5 minimum tank/vessel changes over days to weeks.  It would have to be a very hearty pathogen to make it through that.  True wild-caughts are more likely to have crayfish parasites (very common on the East Coast anyway) which can be visible on the crays.  But those do not infect/infest fish - they just make you wonder what else the critter is carrying. Thanks, Jackie <I hope this helps.  BTW, what kind of puffers do you have?  Join us at www.thepufferforum.com.  ~PP> Puffer Long in the Tooth  7/26/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a figure eight puffer and he is about 2" and from the day that we bought him he has had a large beak. We have just started giving him snails to eat. <Once the beak is overgrown, no amount of food will help.  Hard-shelled foods are fed as a preventive to keep their teeth trimmed.> How often can we give him snails to eat? <With a normal sized beak, 1-2x/week is fine.  I actually don't feed mine many snails.  My F8 puffers eat krill, plankton, blackworms & earthworms, small mussels & shrimp tails.> Will this be enough to trim his teeth? If not how do we get rid of the beak? We had heard that some people cut them, how they do it I have no idea but if possible we would like to avoid this. <Once the puffer's beak is overgrown, it must be trimmed.  See: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital> Please let me know I would appreciate it we get pretty attached to our fish. <Me too!> Thank you and God Bless Jessica Garcia <Good luck with your puffer's dentistry.  ~PP> Fish as Gifts?  7/20/04 Hi PP, <Hello> Thanks again so much. I'll let y'all know how the "surprise" went in September. <I just got another post from a native of the UK at my puffer forum, http://puffer.proboards2.com.  I started a thread there about puffers in the London area. "Hi, I live in London.  The best place to buy puffers here are from the chain of shops called Maidenhead Aquatics. There's quite a few around London. Their website is www.fishkeeper.co.uk, there's map showing all their stores. But best one is in Guilford just outside London, that's where I bought my Mbu puffer. The staff there specialize in puffers." TP <I would go to my puffer site & keep an eye out for more info there.  Have fun shopping!  ~PP>

Green Spotted Puffers--Won't Slow Down  7/18/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was just wondering if you knew why one of my spotted green puffers constantly goes up and down against the glass of the fish tank. He will stop to eat but as soon as he's done he's right back at it like he wants to get out. I also have two other puffers the same as him but a little younger who never did it but there slowly starting to copy and follow him right next to him going up and down fast then slow. Its starting to drive me nuts seeing all three of them do this none stop. I have plenty of caves and coverings for them. I don't know what to do to make them stop doing this behavior. Would appreciate it if you could help me out in any way. <If you do indeed have enough decor in your tank, then I'd check the water parameters.  How big are the fish & tank?  Have you read their article on them here?  ~PP> Thanks, Jessica   

Re: GSP Wont Sit Still  7/18/04 The puffers are in size? Well, two are still real small but the one who goes up and down in the tank he is about an inch long or a little more but I got him also when he was real small. The tank they were in was a 95 gallon tank but I moved them into a 35 gallon because I thought the up and down could be because of the other fish that where in the tank.  But no still kept doing it. <Are they in brackish water?> But today the bigger puffer actually stopped and laid down on a rock for a while, but the little ones still continue. <More importantly, water parameters please?  Ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, pH?> Yes, I have read the article on them here and I have tried everything I have even read the article on them on PufferNet which has something about puffers acting like they want to escape from the tank but that philosophy also has not seemed to work as well. <I'd stay away from Puffernet.  That site hasn't been updated in many years & has a lot of misinformation there.> Was hoping you would have any suggestions on this. Thanks, Jessica <Test your water & get back to me. If nothing is wrong there, then I think they are just still adjusting to their surroundings.  To see if there is enough decor in your tank, check out mine: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918  BTW, nothing of the decor in there is real.  ~PP>


Puffers and acrylic tanks?  7/14/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I currently have my 3 inch Porcupine Puffer house in a 90 gallon glass tank. I am curious if he will need a bigger (125 gallon) down the road? if so, I have heard that Puffers can TRASH acrylic tanks by "glass surfing"? do puffers need to be in glass only to prevent them from scratching acrylic? <I have never heard of this "glass surfing" you speak of.  I know of many people keeping puffers in acrylic tanks with no problems.  ~PP>  

Puffer "Glass Surfing" P-punk--  7/15-04 Thought I'd respond to your response.  As a longtime LFS worker and salt service dude, I can tell you this does indeed happen.  Though infrequent, it seems to be primarily due to the puffer's aggressive reaction to its own reflection in the acrylic (and thus is usually a temporary problem, though in some of the cases I'm familiar with, it has gone on long enough to produce ample scratching to the tank in question).   <Thanks of informing me of this.  I had no idea this could happen.  You learn something new every day...  ~PP> Best, Derek Milne P.S. Hi to Scott F. too-- hope my Bodianus is thriving in his reef!

- Info about Tetraodon suvatti - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> Been reading your site for quite some time now, very informative on all aqua subjects....love your site ! :) I'm looking for more info on a puffer "Tetraodon suvatti", the arrowhead puffer/pignose puffer.  I tried google-ing your site or the web, but I couldn't find much info.  Have you had this puffer before? <No.> My LFS had 2 in, they sold one the first day. Then the other one was kept with a clown knife (4"), 4 red snakeheads (5") and 2 lung fish.  Yesterday when I went by to check it out again, it's now in it's own tank - he killed every other fish!!  Yeah, so....all I know now is that he'll be quite aggressive, no tankmates. <Well... I think like many things, your mileage might vary. Like most puffers, they will eat most anything that fits in their mouth, but for the most part are 'supposed' to be peaceful. Of course, the puffer might not have read the same books I did so...>  But I would like to know if they're freshwater or brackish? <Freshwater.> What temperature should they be kept in? <Tropical temperatures - 75-80F> ( my house is pretty hot during the summer, it could get to 29/30 C with just room temperature) And tank size? <As large as you please... seeing as this one might end up being kept singly, you probably don't need anything too large, a 55 would be excellent. These fish only grow to about 4.5". You might consider a sand bottom as these fish bury themselves to hide and wait for food.>  Kevin <Cheers, J -- > 

Puffers Hi Guys! Hope you are all keeping well. You have helped me with various queries in the past. I have just seen the cutest little pygmy puffer fishes in my LFS. I would dearly love to give a few of them a home but know nothing about them. You may recall that we currently have a small tropical tank and a large reef tank, so we are not new to fish, just to puffers. Unfortunately, I cannot find any information about pygmy puffers in any of our books although I am guessing that the care for them is similar to that of their larger cousins. I want to make sure I can make them happy before bringing them home. I do understand it will require a species only set up. Any advice you can give regarding these mega cute little fishes would be much appreciated. Many thanks! Lesley <Not sure if you are talking about freshwater, saltwater, or brackish, but these links will give you a start http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobies.htm and then follow onto the linked FAQ files. -Steven Pro>

Pygmy Puffers Hi Steven Thanks for the very prompt response. The links you provided are very helpful - thanks. To the best of my ability, I think the pygmy puffers are T. travancorius (sp?) and/or cf. travancorius. It would appear that they are freshwater but can "survive brackish". They are about the size of my thumbnail! From further reading, I understand that they eat bloodworms and snails (which is handy since my tropical tank has an abundant supply it seems), but are there other foods they might like? I don't want them to suffer from any malnutrition etc. <Do archive the site looking for additional food recommendations. Also, try the chat forum http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ for ideas from your fellow fish keepers. -Steven Pro> Again, as always, many thanks.

Tetraodon leiurus  6/17/04 Hi there! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm doing an animal care and aquatics course at my college and for my course I have to do 8 weeks of work experience. I'm doing my work experience at my local aquatics center <How fun!> and am interested in getting a twin-spot puffer/Tetraodon leiurus. I have a brand new tank that I can keep him in on his own (I hear they are an aggressive puffer!) but I have a couple of questions before I set up the tank and get him. <My 1st suggestion is to make sure the tank is fully cycled, before putting him into a new tank.  You never cycle a tank with a puffer!  I'm sure there is lots of info on fishless cycling at WWM, but her is an excellent article: http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm> The twin-spots at the aquatics center I'm working at seem somewhat 'inactive'. There are 3 of them and they all just huddle at the bottom corner of the tank and I don't think I've ever seen them move! They ARE awake because I can see their little eyes moving about and watching me when I go to see them. They SEEM otherwise in perfect health and are nice and rounded like they should be, so I don't think it's because they are diseased. Could this behaviour be due to lack of stimulation? They have a completely bare tank with nowhere for them to hide away and I was wondering if this might be the reason why they just huddle together and stay in the corner not moving?  <This is probably because they are nocturnal feeders & are mostly active at night.> The tank I would set up for one would be far more interesting with all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. Would a stimulating environment change his behaviour? Because I'd hate to have a fish that did nothing all day! <All puffers (& fish in general) are happiest with places to hide out in & decor to swim around.  They feel much safer & will usually come out more, knowing there is shelter nearby.  T. leiurus like caves. One way you may see them, is to put a red light on them at night.> Oh yes.. and is it OK to keep them with plants in the tank or will the plants be wrecked? <Most puffers will tear up live plants, since in nature, this is where they find snails for food.  You will notice perfect circle shaped, puffer-sized bites on them.> Many many thanks for your time and congratulations on such an invaluable resource website! <Why thank you!  Come on over & join us at www.thepufferforum.com.  ~PP>

Re: my puffer <Ananda here tonight, answering puffer questions...> do you have any info on black river puffer? is it a fresh or salt water fish? <This is probably Tetraodon leiurus, aka the target puffer. It is a freshwater and brackish fish. More info about them here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=16134&genusname=Tetraodon&speciesname=leiurus, and do check out http://chunkypuff.net/projectpuffer/pavilion.htm for photos of various species and information on same. And the puffer info on WetWebMedia starts here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm. Enjoy! --Ananda>


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