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FAQs about all Puffers  1

Related Articles: Puffers in General, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, BoxfishesPuffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey, (Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk),

Related FAQs: Puffers in General 2, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Compatibility, Puffer Selection, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

A male Blue Boxfish, Ostracion meleagris, in captivity

Puffer question This may be a silly question, but can porcupine puffers have no teeth? <Mmm, they definitely do have formidable teeth... the order the puffers are part of is Tetraodontiformes ("four teeth")... you can sometimes see these plates when they press their mouths against something> I have owned my puff for about 5 months now, and I cannot see any teeth in his mouth, nor will he eat anything that has any type of shell on it. no clam, definitely no snail, and his shrimp has to be peeled or no deal. are his teeth simply too small to see? is it even possible that his teeth are not there or could he be sick? I would appreciate any help or suggestions you could give me. thank you very much. <Do keep offering these hard foods... unless this fish is suffering from its teeth actually overgrowing (Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm) it can/should consume these foods in time. Bob Fenner> - 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 -- >

Sphoeroides testudineus >Hello and thank you in advance for your help. You guys are wicked awesome!  I have what I believe to be a Sphoeroides testudineus puffer fish. It was caught locally in a casting net while I was fishing. He is only 3/4 inch long. I added it to a tank that I house locally caught fish & "critters" in.  My question is: If he dies in the tank, can he poison the other inhabitants? >>Not sure, but do read the link I've provided below. >When he gets bigger, will he eat my anemones, crabs, sea urchins, star fish? >>I would say count on it. >I also have shrimp, but they are basically food for the others.  I continue to supplying live shrimp to the tank. Do you think a stingray or an octopus would get along with him?   >>I would worry about him having a go at the octopus, not sure at all about the stingray. >I'm concerned that a future octopus would eat him and become poisoned. Thanks! >>I can't say that's not a possibility, it's also possible he may be fond of octo himself.  Try this link, and Google some more if you're a mind to.  Marina

Pufferfish Yields Human Gene Clues <Neat... wondered why I'm so rotund! And my cousin with those buck teeth, mmm. Bob Fenner> WASHINGTON (AP) - Sequencing the genes of the pufferfish is yielding clues to the more complex human genetic makeup. While pufferfish, or Fugu, is a delicacy in Japan, it has interested scientists because it has the smallest genome of any vertebrate. In sequencing its genome, researchers at the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif., discovered that the pufferfish has about the same number of genes as humans, but without most of the repetitive so-called "junk" DNA that fills out the human genome ( news - web sites). That helps scientists identify genes that are obscured by the repetitive and non-coding sequences in the human, researchers said. The findings are reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science. By comparing the human and pufferfish genomes, the researchers said they have been able to predict the existence of about 1,000 human genes that had not been previously identified. The functions of these hypothetical genes are not yet known, but being able to sort them out from the junk DNA is a step to determining what they do, the researchers said. "Comparative genomics programs like the Fugu project are a key to understanding the biology of the human genome," Joint Genome Institute director Eddy Rubin said in a statement. "As historic and important as the Human Genome Project ( news - web sites) is, it's only the first step in determining how genes work - and why they sometimes don't work they way they should." Dr. Samuel Aparicio of Cambridge University in England noted in a statement that when the puffer and human genomes were compared, the researchers found 961 cases where there was a match in the human that didn't overlap an already predicted or known gene. "This flags up for human geneticists the position of potentially novel human genes in the human genome," he explained. The JGI is operated by three Department of Energy ( news - web sites) laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore in California and Los Alamos in New Mexico. It is also studying the genomes of other animals as well as plants and fungi. Joining in the work on the pufferfish were the Singapore Biomedical Research Council, United Kingdom Medical Research Council, Cambridge University in England, Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Wash., Celera Genomics (news - web sites) of Rockville, Md., and Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City. James W. Fatherree, M.Sc. www.fatherree.com/james

Oh Bob...Help!!!! (trauma to Puffer) I hope you can help Bob. When I came home from out of town my seven inch Arothron Meleagris puffer was stuck to my power head. I've never experienced this incident in the five years I have had him. I turned off the power head and still took some effort to retrieve him. He could have been stuck for a few days. It was his rectum area that was stuck. I put some VitaChem and immunovital in the water my only resort to help, since he had a few open sores. Now the next day I have noticed that his entire tail has deteriorated. The outside skin is completely gone exposing his flesh and tail bones. I can't bare to look at him. Is there anything I can do or is he just suffering. He acts like he is trying to be normal. He swims but does not use his tail. With such an effort to survive I hope I can help him. If he was panting on the bottom of the tank I would have to put him out of his misery but he is fighting. Please help. Thank you, its nice to have you out there. <Exposed flesh and bones is not a good sign for potential recovery. The most humane way to euthanize a fish is to catch him and place him in a bag in your freezer. Fish, not being warm blooded, will begin to slow to the point of finally just shutting down. It is supposed to not be painful. In the future, there are various methods of screening powerhead intakes; filter sleeves, cut sponges, bioballs. It is also possible your puffer was affected by some other malady and that made him weak enough to be captured. Sorry for your loss. -Steven Pro>

Pufferfish follow-up The puffers and scooter blenny have been together in the tank for approximately 9 months. Neither species bother with each other (for now). <I'm glad... but it is an unnecessary risk> The narrow lined puffer did get bit by the dog face, first time in a year. <no worries... happens once in a while, but they are tough!> While examining the narrow lined puffer I noticed a yellow tint (like the color of your water when the charcoal filter stops working) to the otherwise lighter grayish colored areas of his body. Is this normal? <could be...very high degree of color variation among "dogface" puffer species> I also noticed that the narrow lined anal and dorsal fin were edged in black, with no fraying. Is he sick?  <not a symptom of a specific pathogen... but admittedly odd if it is not a color change. At times I've seen something similar on harassed fish. Is this one the low man on the totem pole?> I attempted to get pictures with digital camera, not very good clarity. <please call again. Anthony>

Re: Porcupine Puffer Male/Female? Hey, sorry for msg' ing you a lot! <<JasonC here, giving Bob a break >> I've decided to get rid of my boxfish, she is disrupting the tank too much.. <<ok then...>> But something weird has happened (been a weird week in general for my fish) ... My new puffer, looks as if it is pregnant, it has a rather noticeable bulge in her stomach near her back end. It is not on the outside of her body (i.e. tumor, etc..), its on her inside, it really resembles another fish that has eggs inside.. <<Puffers can also look like this when they've had too much to eat. Certainly no guarantee that this will be eggs. >> Would you be able to get me some information on what puffers look like pregnant, what I should do if she lays eggs, how many eggs will she have, what I should do to look after them.. <<You could probably "get" as much information yourself by taking advantage of Google or other Internet search engines.>> Just if she has eggs, I want to be able to have some babies. I am willing to devote all my time to this, thanks for any information!! <<While an admirable pursuit, I would ask you: are you still working with the 33g tank in your original email? If so, I would caution you that any successful spawn of eggs into fry will likely get "lost in the shuffle" as your tank is already crowded with two puffers, even sans boxfish. At the very least you will need a separate facility in which to raise the eggs.  Now I have no experience with this personally, and certainly have no data as to whether or not puffers recognize or care for their offspring, but... there is probably more of a chance of puffer fry becoming puffer food in a tank of this size than there is for the fry's survival. I would urge to do some more research, and perhaps investment into facilities to bolster success in your endeavors.>> Yours Truly, Colin Davis <<Cheers. J -- >>

Re: Porcupine Puffer Male/Female? Ok, thanks a lot for the information. I've searched google and all of the other engines, and I have come up with no information. The puffer has looked like she does now for quite a while, so I don't think she has over ate, but it is a good possibility.. <<well then... time will tell.>> I have a 20 gallon tank for a fresh water fish right now, but I am in a rush to get rid of him anyways, so I will still continue to work on that. <<may not be large enough, need an environment more stable, perhaps more suited/specialized for raising fish fry.>> But if in anyway you could provide me with any more information, it would be very greatly appreciated, thanks again. << best suggestion for this would be for you to procure the materials in the bibliography at the end of the following page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm - Cheers - J-- >>

Puffer Eyes Dear Rob First off - brilliant website, keep up the good work. You seem to be the only person around who is really informative, so I was wandering if you could help me? <Thank you my friend, I will try> I work for a natural history film unit based in the UK and am currently doing some research on Porcupine Puffer fish. At present I'm searching for information about the eyes of this fish and why they need to be so large. Is it anything to do with the fact that, by having large eyes, when they puff up, their vision is not so dramatically reduced? Furthermore is their eyesight any good? <Mmm, interesting questions... I suspect that the larger eyes, their coverage in field of vision, capacity for independent view have much to do with predator detection... as you know they're exceedingly slow movers underwater (compared with potential and real predators)... the enhanced sight (day and night) grants these fishes (more than one species) more time to react.> I hope you can help me with these questions. Regards, Tom Howden <I am literally full of speculations. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

RE: porcupine puffers Dear Bob Good to hear from you, thanks for getting back to me so quickly, most appreciated. It's important that we get the info from people who know what they're on about as our clients - National Geographic - are really particular on facts, so getting the word back from people like your self is really handy. Thanks again. keep up the good work! <Will endeavor to do so my friend. Bob Fenner> Regards, Tom Howden

Fred from Puffernet--help needed ASAP! Hi Bob, I'm writing you on behalf of many aquarists who seem to be having similar troubles with puffers and green water in their saltwater tanks. After experiencing an algal bloom (green), their puffers are unable to open their mouths to eat. Their fish seem hungry and attempt to eat, but can't. I have never encountered this problem before when coupled with an algae bloom. <Mmm, me neither. Mysterious> The only experience I had that was similar is a friend's fish whose teeth had overgrown. We trimmed the teeth and that fish is doing fine. This doesn't sound the same, and it doesn't sound like their fish have much time. I've pasted two of the emails below: Hello, We have had a saltwater set-up for over 5 years and are currently experiencing "green water" for about 4 weeks. We have been told that what we have is an "algae bloom". After many, many water changes, we just can't get rid of the unsightly and stinky water! (I thought Aiptasia was bad!) Now our porcupine puffer, that we have had for about 7 months, is not feeding. He seems to put his mouth by the food but doesn't open it. Is his behavior from the poor water conditions? I have ordered a product called, Algone from Algone.com. Have you ever heard of it? It is suppose to clear up the water from an algae bloom. I'm very hesitant to put anything into the water, but I'm at the end of my rope! If you need more information on our set-up let me know. Or if you are to busy I understand! Thanks! Lisa Desmond    Our dog faced puffer from work cannot open his mouth to eat. He seems hungry and tries to, but can't. The tank he has been in has been green for about a month. Everything has been tried. Water has been changed numerous times, filters, etc. We have had our local fish store people here twice. They can't figure it out. The green water hasn't seemed to bother him at all, except in the last few days. Can you help? Anita <Don't know what the link between the puffer not eating and the algal bloom itself might be... But I do have numerous suggestions re controlling pest algae on our (WetWebMedia.com) site. Perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the links beyond. It may be that by improving water quality your puffer will resume feeding. Feeding strikes with these fishes are commonplace: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Trimming a Puffer's overgrown teeth Hello, This a question regarding one of my other tanks we have a dogface puffer in are 75 gallon that his teeth have over grown and can barely fit any food in his mouth at all. I have read that you suggest to use a Dremel tool or file but this fish is only about 4 inches so that isn't possible do you know what I can do about this <Four inches isn't too small to file, power tool/grind down your puffers overgrown teeth> and if I bought some hermit crabs or snails would he carve them on the shells if not I don't know what to do because he doesn't ever bite the rocks or anything. Please help me with this as soon as possible because he is getting very thin. Thanks for any help you can give me. <You might try opening a whole shellfish and see if the Puffer will take to biting the shell... Force feeding these animals isn't even out of the question. Bob Fenner>

Re: Trimming a Puffer's overgrown teeth His mouth is real small though and where can I get a tool like this from because the grinder on the Dremel tool is 3 times the size of his mouth <There are small to very tiny tools of this sort available. Do check with a hobby/crafts/model store.> also where can I get a shell fish from? <The grocers, food store... Bob Fenner>

first death in family Hi Robert, I know you are not in town yet, <Just back... 10/2> but I hope this mail finds you as soon as you get back. This is the hairstylist from Los Angeles. Today, when I came home from work, I found my big 5 Inch Porcupine Puffer in my 125g laying on the bottom of the tank and I thought let me say hi to him, but he didn't move and his eyes kinda stared and he couldn't look at me. <Uh oh> Also he had slightly light spots on his body, not on the surface, it looked like he lost his color just in one area. I tried to wake him up, because he was breathing, not heavy or anything, it looked calm, but he didn't even move when I touched him. So I moved him to my hospital tank that has excellent parameters, thank god I keep it running at all times. Anyway, within 2 hours or so he was dead. Of course I am freaked out now and when I look in my tank I see the triggers a bit aggressive and my Puffers very shy, but I don't know if I am just going nuts right now. <No need to my friend. Calm yourself> I checked my water and all levels are ok, right now I am treating this tank with Cupramine because of ich so far for 5 days, so no2 is just a bit up, no food today until it's all good again. I was considering a water change, so I checked my premixed water (ro/di + tropical marine). <Good, general practice> I had to add a bit of salt to raise the salinity, but when I checked for no2 I found a slight trace of it after I added a bit more salt. How does this happen? <Some of the salts...> So I was holding off the water change, at least for now. I checked for everything in my tank and ammonia, no2 were great, no3 too high?  Why, beats me, <Likely just some of the puffers proteins...> so I guess I'll change 20% water, copper is at 0.2-0.3 just as you say, temp was 83f, but the fan is now on full to lower it so there would be more oxygen, I measured 5mg/l, so when the water is down to 79 or 80, I'll check again. I'd love to hear your ideas, I'll prepare the funeral right now, I lit a candle for BIG PUFFY after big pussy from the sopranos) and said good bye, I'll miss the guy, he was my first fish about 6 months ago. <Sorry to read of your mysterious loss... this does happen for no apparent reason with this species> To all you people out there, I know there are so many things wrong with the world right now, but frankly my wife, my family and my fish are the ones that make me happy and feel good. I'm sad right now...god bless ALL life and I know that big puffy and my pet bird that died about 16 years ago (when I still lived in Germany) are having a big party going on. take care and I hope I'll meet you someday, to say thank you for caring. SASCHA <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>


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