Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Freshwater/Brackish Puffers 3

Related Articles: Freshwater/Brackish PuffersAlone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Green Spotted Puffers (GSP's), The Arrowhead Puffer, Tetraodon suvattii, miraculously malicious, True Puffers, Puffers in General, 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: BR Puffers 1, BR Puffers 2, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Behavior, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Reproduction, Brackish Water Fishes in General, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, FW Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Behavior, FW Puffer Selection, FW Puffer Compatibility, FW Puffer Systems, FW Puffer Feeding, FW Puffer Disease, FW Puffer Reproduction, Green Spotted Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Takifugu ocellatus. Rolf Bandsma photo. 

Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)  SW/BR/FW   12/9/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<All good.>
I have come across an interesting and seemingly rare puffer for sale. Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca).
<Does turn up very occasionally in the UK trade, mostly at the stores specialising in oddballs; I've seen them at Wildwoods for example. A second variety, known as the Golden Milk Spotted Puffer, is also traded, which may or may not be a regional or colour morph of the same fish.>
I have a tank available in my fish room. I can't find much at all by way of information about this fish?
<Very few people have kept it. I haven't, for a start!>
I saw you made brief reference to this fish in a PFK article.
Do you know much in terms of care requirements?
<Very similar to the standard issue GSP, though potentially much larger, up to 30 cm. Much more peaceful towards its own kind though, but still a fin-biter, so tankmates should be chosen with care. Might work okay in a jumbo reef or FOWLR system alongside suitably punch, fast, and robust fish such as Sergeant Majors and Damselfish that would hide among rocks when resting. Otherwise very undemanding; hardy, euryhaline, eats all the usual meaty foods. Wild fish probably consume a lot of algae, too, so stuffing some Spirulina flake into, say, mussels would be a good way to keep their vitamin levels topped up.>
Also is £140 an OK price?
<About right. It's never cheap, but is very beautiful.>
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks Neale that’s really helpful. He’s in freshwater at the moment - what sort of salinity is required and how is best to ease him in to it?
<Oh, they're nominally marine fish, but completely euryhaline coastal fish, meaning move in and out of freshwater and saltwater habitats all the time. Juveniles are common in estuaries, and adults seem to be all over the place, from the freshwater part of estuaries all the way to offshore reefs. Good water quality and an alkaline pH are probably more important than the precise salinity. I'd probably keep a youngster around 1.003-1.005, aiming for 1.010 upwards by the time it's above, say, 8-10 cm.>
Could I keep him with. GSPs or figure 8s whilst he is small?
<Definitely worth a shot, and similarly, adults might be tried with the less aggressive Arothron spp. All the limited accounts of this species in captivity seem to agree with the general idea it's non-aggressive, just nippy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thank you .
<Most welcome.>
If they are constantly moving between freshwater - could I have a go at keeping it in freshwater- or is that not worth the risk?
<Short term, probably fine. I mean, I've kept Arothron hispidus juveniles in hard freshwater -- but that's another story! Regardless, if you're forking out £100+ for a fish, you'd not be wanting to take too much of a gamble! I'd certainly keep the pH and hardness high, and ensure good water quality. Probably better to add even a little salt, to start with. 1.003 would be ample for juveniles, and easily tolerated by brackish water tolerant plants. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks - sorry last question - how best can I introduce salt without killing my filter bacteria?
<In stages! From freshwater to 1.003 there'll be no noticeable effect.

There on upwards, do small changes, wait a couple of weeks, do the odd nitrite or ammonia test, and act accordingly. Since these puffers are euryhaline, you may choose to grow the fish onto subadult size in low-end brackish, then simply convert the tank to marine -- complete with skimmer and live rock -- on a Sunday afternoon, the puffer sitting in a large, securely covered bucket until you're reading to acclimate it to full marine conditions. The live rock will bring in the entirely new batch of bacteria required for filtration, as per setting up a reef or FOWLR system. Klaus Ebert of Aqualog fame says you can chuck euryhaline brackish fish into marine conditions instantly, but I'm a little kinder, and suggest plain vanilla drip acclimation across, say, an hour. Either way, these fish can, do experience such things in the wild when the tide turns. Cheers, Neale.> 

150l puffer tank       5/28/18
How are you?
<All good, thanks.>
I am setting up a new tank and wanted to check with your expertise before I proceed - hope you don’t mind!
<Fire way.>
I have now set up a new 150l.
<Good size.>
I want to put in medium-large-ish puffers.
<Ah, well, not really big enough for multiple puffers, except perhaps the fairly tolerant Carinotetraodon irrubesco, Dwarf Puffers, and perhaps a small group of South American Puffers. A singleton 'lurker' puffer in the 10-15 cm size range could work too.>
I’ve called a round all my local fish shops and my current option is:
One shop has in 4 twin spotted puffers (8-10cm) which I understand are nearly fully grown (probably two thirds of their full size).
<A group is not going to work in a tank this size.>
The shop have had them in for a few months in a tiny tank and therefore feel like it would be good to take them.
<Not necessarily. Purchasing fish, even if you mean to 'rescue' them, is taken by the retailer as a sale. Hence, the likelihood is that the order for multiple Tetraodon leiurus will be repeated again. If the fish languish in the retailer's tanks for some months, they'll be seen as a failure, and won't be re-ordered.>
My thought process is that it would be ok because :
Water quality - I have a good external filter with 11-12x flow rate per hour. I plan to do twice weekly water changes (15-20%) but probably do 3-4 times weekly in the first few weeks. The shop is apparently feeding them twice a day on bloodworms/mussels/prawns (I’d probably throw in a cray fish or crab on occasion for their beaks). This sounds like a lot of food though maybe it should be reduced to once a day but that may increase aggression?
<Possibly, but it's sex hormones and their innate behaviours that cause aggression. This species is not social, and should not be treated as such.>
Aggression - the shop have had them in for a few months and there has been no aggression between them. I know these are generally aggressive but if they have been fine with each other for now then I don’t see that this should change. Plus a group of 4 means aggression will be spread.
<Indeed, if you had a couple hundred gallons it might indeed be worth a shot. But 150 litres/30 gallons? Bit tight.>
Swimming space - no issue as these are more of a ‘lurker’ fish. Not quite as inactive as a humpback but nothing like some of the active puffers.
Ultimately I think this could be a good option but wanted to check with you :-)
<I would not do this without a concrete Plan B, i.e., 3 more tanks at your disposal to handle the puffers should things go wrong. Moving the fish to a new tank could easily trigger territoriality. It's really very difficult to feel comfortable that this plan will work.>
<Most welcome. I would try posting this idea up at ThePufferForum; they're very experienced, and might well offer a second opinion, or at least some work-arounds that might be useful. Cheers, Neale.>

New Puffer Owner - 06/27/07 Hi, <Hi Maria> Sorry about the delay. Tank stats: Size: 10 gallon <Needs 30g minimum as a 6" football-shaped adult.> pH: 7.2<Should be around 8.> Alkalinity: 180 Hardness: 75 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 40 <Needs to be kept below 20.> There is no salt. <You need marine salt & a hydrometer to measure it.> Tank mates: Two Neon Tetras, one Red-finned Shark and one Dwarf Clawed Frog. <They will become dinner. I'd guess the frog will go first. None of them will appreciate any salt at all.> It's possible I've mis-identified the puffer. He does look just like the GSP but the attendant said all of their fish were freshwater. <Most stores keep brackish fish in freshwater & many mislabel them as freshwater fish. A large percentage of fish store employees know nothing about puffers.> He hasn't shown any signs of aggression. <He will! One day you will only wake up to 1 fat puffer. Thank you! <Please read the article I previously linked you to.> This is an addendum to the message I just sent: I've read on the FAQs page that a black belly is a bad sign. Well, his belly is black but he's been eating freeze-dried shrimp all day. Has a little potbelly as I type this. <He needs a varied diet of crunchy foods. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/ > A possible issue is that the tank is located at my office and I've just been told that the boss's kids have been hitting the glass to make him puff up. The fish and I are only here until the end of the week. Should I strangle the kids anyway? <You have my permission! As long as you are moving the puffer home, I'd set up his permanent home of at least 30g (mine was very happy in a 55g though). Be sure to cycle it 1st or add Bio-Spira for an instant cycle. Add it directly to the filter, immediately before adding the fish. The reason for the black belly could be the high nitrates. Lots of other great articles to read in that Library linked above too! ~PP> Maria

Mixing Puffer Species  9/26/06 FW, Br to SW incomp. Hello, <Hi Nina, Pufferpunk here> I am writing in hopes that someone can help me out. We had purchased 6 puffers about 1 1/2 weeks ago. 2 dwarf, 2 figure eights and my favorite, 2 green spotted. <You are keeping 3 different species of puffers that have 3 different water requirements & grow to 3 different sizes.  Dwarf puffers only grow to 1" & are strictly freshwater puffers.  F8 puffers grow to 3" & require low-end brackish water (a specific gravity of 1.005).  GSPs grow to 6" & require high-end BW (SG 1.010-1.015) & prefer marine conditions as adults (1.018-1.023).  The GSPs are extremely aggressive & become killers as they mature.  The DPs are nasty lil fellows that will nip at the more mellow F8s.> We added the aquarium salt, the "good bacteria" and what-not. <Aquarium salt is not the proper salt for BW fish.  You must use marine salt & measure it with a hydrometer or refractometer.  If the "good bacteria" you used was anything else other than Bio-Spira, then your tank is not cycled at all.  Everything else is junk & will actually hurt your tank, as all you are adding is dead bacteria.  Also, if you use any large amounts of salt w/your DPs it will kill them.> We've been feeding them a combination of the flakes along with the freeze dried brine shrimp and well... a snail that wasn't meant for food purposes. <Puffers are crustacean eaters.  Flakes are rarely eaten by them & brine shrimp isn't very nutritious.   Here is a good article on feeding puffers: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html > Anyway, we noticed that the larger of the 2 green spotted, "Shark Bait" as we call him, started to develop something like a pinkish growth within his tail. Neither of the two are/were as active as the figure eights. The other green spotted began to stay towards the top of the tank, close to/behind where the filtration system was. We made sure that they had enough food when we went out of town for a day. <No need to overfeed your tank like that.  They can certainly go without food for several days & skipping feedings is actually good for them.  They can only eat so much & what is left over will just foul the water.> When we came back, the green spotted was dead. Needless to say, we were pretty hurt and worried. We've also noted that the pink area on Shark Bait has grown a bit and it seems as if some of his tail is gone. If anyone can help out in any way we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance. <My 1st suggestion to you would be to get 3 separate tanks for your 3 different species of puffers.  DPs require 3-5g ea.  F8s require 15g for the 1st & 10g for every extra F8.  Adult GSPs require 30g (minimum) each.  You can cycle with Bio-Spira & then get them in the BW puffers in their required Sags (raising the SG only .001-.002/week).  Check out www.thepufferforum.com & read everything you can in the Library there.  As far as the puffer's tail, it was probably caused by stress to it's immune system by being in an uncycled tank without proper salt.  Add Melafix to it's water, while doing water changes beforehand.  I'm afraid if this housing situation isn't remedied soon, they will all perish.   ~PP>    Nina

Moving a Puffer  9/25/06 Hi Again! <Hi Suzie, Pufferpunk here> Thanks for your help in previous times. In the next month we'll be moving across town, not a big drive. Read through your moving aquariums handout. Found it very helpful. Just wanted to ask if there are any specific parameters on how to move pufferfish himself--whether to bag him or bucket him. I understand netting is not a great thing with pufferfish. Just want to make sure his travel is safe as possible. We'll most likely set up a new house for him and cycle it before his arrival instead of transferring the old. We will transfer the old media and all that jazz. Thanks so much for your insight into puffer moves! Take care, Suzie <I would catch him in a container & transfer in a bucket.  More than likely would bite through any bag.  ~PP>

Remember me? I'm the guy writing a book about pufferfish - 05/16/2006 Hey, My name is John Jansen, remember me from IMAC? I was the kid who is friends with Jeni and Jager, and I am from the puffer forum. I was the guy writing a book about pufferfish, I showed you a few pages from the book while I was there. The book is coming along nicely, I've gotten quite a few nice photos to use from nice people. :) <I do remember you John, but don't think we ever got around to looking at your book efforts> I remember you saying that you might be able to get the book published for me? <I definitely will help you, as I consider this topic/subject of necessity> So, my question was, what exactly does the publishing process involve? <There are a few ways to go about this... with pros/cons to each. You should "shop this work around"... with TFH, perhaps Microcosm by itself... And take a go at detailing what it might cost to "go it your own" with printing, promotion, sales, fulfillment. Whatever route you go, you should retain universal rights, ask re royalties... I encourage you NOT to sell the work outright. That is, to hold out for a royalty situation, such that the project will pay you as long as this work remains in print> I will be able to send you the finished book,( except that page in the front of every book with the legal stuff etc in it.) when its ready, although I am not sure when. <It might be best to just send parts along... to myself, others whom you have confidence in have capacity with written English, some familiarity with the subject material. That way we can right suggested changes, return to you for your consideration, amalgamation> Will it cost me money to get the book published? <Mmm, yes... someone has to pay... for production, shipping... warehousing, fulfillment (filling orders, collecting and disbursing money... You can "sell" this/these parts of the work to others, and you'll skip out on possible lack of sales, but then you won't earn as much money as you would if you did more of it yourself> What photo resolution will you need for each pic? <Mmm, may I ask what software you intend to use to do the lay out here? I have used Adobe's products, but many folks like Quark, Quark-Express...> I've gotten a few really high res pics, but a lot of them are low res, so I may have to re-contact the people for the originals. and hopefully those will be the right resolution. <I would make, keep a list of these contributors handy... You may need to contact them for better scans or borrowing originals. In the meanwhile, keep taking/making pix yourself> well, I hope that I sent this message to the right place, and I had a lot of fun meeting and talking to you at IMAC! regards, -John <I do hope your work sees print... and I will continue to help you, Bob Fenner>
Re: remember me? am the guy writing a book about pufferfish   5/17/06
Hi Bob! <John> Thanks for replying so fast! I've sent a few pages around to Jeni, Lisa brown, and some other people I know on TPF. I take non-credit art classes at a art college, and I know some of my teachers quite well, and one of them turns out to be a professional editor :) I am sure he will be able to help me edit this thing, because I am not good at English! <A learned trait... yours will become more proficient through applied interest> I am using Adobe Photoshop for the graphics/photo layout, and M. word for the text. I previously had been cutting and pasting the text from M. word to Pshop, but I ran into a problem: Text does not print at all well when resized and saved to a image. So I believe I am going to need Adobe illustrator to do the final layout, <Do see their "In Design" or the MAC "Quark" products for actual layout... am going to CC JasonC, LorenzoG and AnthonyC here re their input... as they're more familiar...> but unfortunately I do not have illustrator, although one of my teachers does, so I may have to spend a lot of time at his house or something.   Do you know what the minimum photo resolution will have to be? <I would scan all at a minimum of 300 dpi... I currently do what scans I do at 4k dpi... most all pix are going/coming the digital route...> Hmmmm, I could try self publishing first, although I doubt that I have the funds for it. The only reason I have Pshop is because my parents are very supportive. <We can/will talk re... If WWM/myself deem that this work will be a commercial success, we may well offer to produce it, help in its promotion, sale, distribution... and pay you a royalty per copy. As stated, all this rests upon the apparent "worthiness", potential sales that the work would generate> I will put together a few finished pages to send you, although the text may not look nice because it will be coming from Pshop. I have the entire outline done, quite a few roughs, and about 12 finished pages, other then the need for higher resolution photos! <Mmm, most important to see finished sections... for now, the foreword/introduction, and Table of Contents... and a working bibliography if you have this keyed> should I keep sending all my messages to this address? <Yes, this is fine, best> thanks for all your help! -John <A pleasure to share/live vicariously through your project. Bob Fenner>

Re: remember me? I'm the guy writing a book about pufferfish  - 05/17/2006 Hi, Hmmmm, I'm not sure about the photo resolution. The resolution coming from the photos from my camera aren't even worth mentioning, although I have taken a few with my brothers camera. the ones from my brothers camera I think are 180dpi, and the file size is 1.5 mb. <The file size is fine for many purposes, the resolution, not> I'm not sure if that will be good enough, otherwise every photo in the book may have to be request photos. Currently I'm working out quite a few photo requests, from various people/websites. <Good... do keep good notes re> oh, forgot to say this in the original message, I am also good friends with Lisa Brown! ( she actually threatened to send ninjas to abduct me if I didn't say this...J/K) <Heeeee!> I am not really sure what you meant in the last part, about the forward/introduction and working bibliography. you want me to send you those pages? most of them are not edited yet. <Yes... when they/these are edited> for photo credits, I am planning on putting a caption near each photo, with that persons requested credit. I am sure there will be a special thanks and bibliography section too. <Good> I included a reduced quality version of the cover, and I will finish putting together one of the sections to send to you too, although it will not be "fully" finished, because I still need the photo originals. -John <Yes. Bob Fenner>

Re: remember me? I'm the guy writing a book about pufferfish  - 05/17/2006 Attached is a nearly finished section. I it is the third section, called "the puffer confusion" detailing how to ID the most commonly confused puffers. coming before this section are "external anatomy" and before that, the introduction. I have not yet put together a table of contents, although I do have the outline, which I could type up and send, to give you a basic idea of what's in the book. <A good idea... this is a primarily important part of this and all printed works... Many folks read these sections... and decide (or not) to buy, read...> The only things I still have remaining for this section is to get the full-res versions of the BW/marine puffers, and I still have to contact the people about using the target puffer pics. hopefully I will be able to get high enough resolution pictures. <I will gladly allow you the use of my puffer pix... will send you a copy of all scans on my return to the mainland next month> The text portion of this section is finished and has been edited by me and a few other people. well, let me know what you think of this section, as well as the cover in my previous message. -John <Very nice thus far. Will send along my specific input on your work. BobF>

Improperly Housed Puffers - 2/21/2006 Hello <<Hello Jeremy.>> I have recently come across your site searching for questions about my puffers water condition. I have 3 GSP and 2 Fahaka puffers (all are in the neighborhood of 3.5 inches long) in a 46 gallon tank (tall corner unit) with a Penguin BioWheel 200. <<Your Fahaka's needs freshwater, and a 125 gallon tank each, while your GSPs need high-end brackish water, and 30 gallons PER fish.  They are not compatible, regardless of aggression, as they need entirely different water parameters.>> I have had them in this tank for about a year now and they all seem to get along just fine, no problems with aggression towards each other. <<See above.>> Recently I have been having problems with my tank looking cloudy, more like a white haze. My water parameters are as follows Ph 7.8, Ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, and nitrate 20ppm.  Specific gravity is 1.006. <<Your Fahaka's need 100% freshwater, and the GSPs need much higher SG.>> I do 20% water changes every week and clean the gravel. The water turns cloudy after about 2 days or after I feed them. I feed them 3 cubes of bloodworms every other day. <<Inappropriate diet.  These guys need shell fish/snails/crunchy foods.>> The water starts to clear up but when its time to feed them again its gets cloudy. Any suggestions on what might be causing this condition? <<You have some really problems on your hands I fear!  Please start by reading here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/introtogsp.html, and visit www.thepufferforum.com for proper information on caring for your puffers.  This tank is not only way over-stocked, but filled with fish with differing water needs, none of which are being met.  Hope to see you at The Puffer Forum.>> Thanks, Jeremy <<Good Luck.  Lisa.>>

Takifugu ocellatus, Better for Eating? 10/26/05 <Hi Alicia, Pufferpunk here> I've been trying to research this fish the past few days and I noticed a blog on Ask Jeeves that brought me to your site. <Glad you found us!> I was wondering if you could possibly point me in the right direction for getting specifics on keeping this species. I've searched most the web and know the basics (what fish base and the like has to offer) and I've spoken with hobbyists on the matter, but no one has really given me much to work with. Any help you can offer me on the matter would be greatly appreciated and I promise to spread the word through what branches are available to me so we can start keeping this beautiful fish alive in out tanks and stop dragging them out of the environment. <I'm sorry there really isn't much info to spread. Even the foremost experts on puffer keeping (Dr Klaus Ebert-author of: The Puffers of Fresh and Brackish Waters & Robert T Ricketts-author & puffer keeper of almost 50 years [& my puffer mentor]) have not been able to keep these puffers alive in captivity for more than a few months. I have been keeping track of a few folks that have had a little longer success than them, only to lose their puffers suddenly. They seem to do best in marine conditions, with pristine water & plenty of room. These puffers seem to be thriving one day & dead the next. Go to www.thepufferforum.com & do a search there. There are a few folks that have kept them for a while & you could try to pick RTR's brain a little there too. It is sad that there is no hope for this species, as for their beauty, they will constantly continue to be remove from their environment to a sure death sentence. ~PP> 

Puffers & goldfish?  7/13/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just purchased a FW puffer from Wal-Mart (yes I know, not a reliable source) all it said for care was to feed it flake food and tank mates was goldfish.  Well,  brought the cute little guy I am assuming is a green spotted puffer by the pics I have seen on your site.  He is spotted with a little yellowish/greenish glowing area on his head.  I put him in my 44 gallon tank, which is kept very clean (almost like there is no glass there).  I also purchased six very small goldfish for my sons baby water snake.  I keep them in the tank and just take out two at a time for him to feed to the snake.  My problem is, shortly after putting the fish into my tank which already had three fancy fan tailed gold fish, small, medium and extra large, two loaches and two small suckerfishes, the tank became cloudy. The tank is more than adequate to keep him in, he look like a tiny fish in comparison <There are many things wrong here.  1st of all, how "clean" are you keeping that tank?  Are you cleaning it out totally, every time you clean it?  Goldfish are messy fish & produce high amounts of ammonia & other waste, it is recommended to do 90% weekly water changes on their tank, not completely cleaning out everything every time.  They also need heavy filtration.  The other problem I see is GF are freshwater coldwater fish & the GSP is a brackish tropical fish.  The puffer will not be able to handle the ammonia & other toxins produced by the GF.  The fact that the tank became cloudy, makes me believe it is overloaded & not cycled properly.  That tank is probably only able to support the fish that are already in there.  Read the info on goldfish & also about cycling at WWM.> So it wasn't a room issue and I feed twice a day.  I added only him and not the water he was in in the bag from the store. Well, he just went belly up when I thought he was fine. I am upset, he was a cute little guy and I was interested in getting more. The other fishes are fine but one of my goldfish, the medium one, has a bloody scale on his side, could this be form the puffer? <Bloody scales are from bacterial infection, due to poor water quality.  The tank may look clean, but could be high in toxins like: ammonia, nitrItes & even nitrAtes at high levels can be dangerous.  Large water changes, good filtration & test the water often for the above parameters.  Try adding Melafix to the water for the bloody fin.> He never had that problem before and there are no other aggressive fish in the tank.  What made the tank go cloudy?  It was crystal clear for a long time up to the point the puffer was put into the tank. <Cloudy water is a bacteria bloom, usually do to an uncycled tank or by adding too many fish at one time, it can cause the system to "crash".> I am really interested in getting another puffer but only if I can get some advice on what happened and what I can do in the future to keep these fascinating fish. <Puffers are difficult fish to keep (especially BW ones) and are not for novice fishkeepers.  Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  ~PP> Thanks again for your time and consideration, Michele

Puffer Parasite? 5/13/05 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My name is Cullen and last week I broke the cardinal rule of research before purchase. I've been keeping freshwater tanks for a couple of years now, with a fair amount of success and very few casualties. Last week while at the pet store, looking for a small ornamental fish for a newly cycled 2.5gal, my girlfriend fell in love w/ a small leopard puffer. I bet you can guess which fish we came home with.  <Can't blame her there, they are cuties!> So here I am with this very interesting little fish, with very special needs. I knew before the purchase that puffers were BW fish so I've begun slowly bringing the salt content up, the LFS of course had him in FW.  <Not all puffers are BW fish. You should properly ID him here: http://www.pufferlist.com/ > Now after combing the puffer posts on your site (GREAT BY THE WAY!) I have some questions. Question 1, What is the difference between marine salt and standard aquarium salt that is produced from salt water? <Aquarium salt is sodium chloride. Marine salt is usually a composition of sodium chloride and some other stuff (depending on brand) like calcium, magnesium, chlorine, strontium, potassium, boron, fluorine and sulfur to simulate natural seawater, which is best for BW fish.> If I make the switch to marine salt with my next water change will the change stress the fish? <No (if your puffer is BW), just start adding marine salt to your next water change. Most folks really don't add very much salt at 1st. You'll need a hydrometer to measure it. Start at a SG (specific gravity, a measurement of salt with a hydrometer) of 1.002 & raise the SG .002, every weekly water change. Make sure to dissolve the salt in a bucket, before adding to your tank. For a rough estimate, it takes around a cup of salt/5gal, to raise the SG .005. Check the SG in your tank a few hours & the next day after adding salt, to be sure.> Now my second question comes directly from information I obtained on your site, I was not aware at the time of purchase that puffers are wild caught fish, this worries my slightly because I've noticed my little puffer's back seems to have a bit of a curve (to the left). I know some internal parasites can "twist up" a fishes spine so to speak. Should I be worried?  <Although a bent spine can be caused from starvation due to internal parasites, it may or may not be. You can treat for IPs just in case though. I have had much success with Discomed, by Aquatronics, but since the company has be out of business for a while, you may be hard-pressed to find some. My biggest concern is that you may be keeping this fish in the 2 1/2gal tank you mentioned. Even a juvenile needs at least a 10g tank & 30g, as a 6" adult. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm > I've fallen in love with this little guy and want him to live a happy, healthy, long life... I've already started preparations to set up a 20gal BW tank for him. Thanks for the help. <Please try to get him into the larger tank as soon as possible. You can instantly cycle it with Bio-Spira. ~PP>

Question About my New Puffers, and Who's Eating all my Plants? I love your website, and all the info you have there, it's all really helpful. I absolutely love puffers, and keep mostly them. I still have a few questions regarding my fishies and their tank though. If you could reply I would really appreciate it. How to start... Dunno. Sorry if start rambling, I'm a bit sleepy. 20 gallon tank, Whisper filter w/ bio filter-sponge thingy, submersible heater, 76-78 degrees F, live plants (flat leaf and grass), and a rock bottom (hope I don't hit it with the new fishies), and I can usually keep it at 7.0-7.2 pH, 0 ammonia, 0, NO2 with weekly 30% water changes. They lived as fresh water fish for 2 mo after I bought them until I learned the puffers are brackish, so now they have some sea salt mixed in. I started with: 2 figure 8 puffers, 2 red skirt tetras, 1 Cory catfish and something they said was an upside-down catfish but isn't (I think it was an angel cat?) I have had 2 Bala sharks and 3 iridescent Cat fish that have died over the past 5 mo.  I assume that is due to the new brackish environment? < Could be but difficult to tell.> Who is eating my plants? < Probably the Synodontis (upside down catfish).> I have gone through over a hundred bucks replacing them. I thought it was the angel cat (since he's grown the about 2 inches in the past 6 mo) so I returned him, got new plants and they are still being eaten (though not as much). Is it the Cory cat? < Corydoras catfish are not plant eaters. I would suspect the Bala sharks.> Why do they eat the plants? < Bala sharks get big and have big appetites.> At dinner time all the fish swarm the brine shrimp, and are all fat. They all "lost the weight" by the next morning. Which brings me to my next question. One of my favorite puffers is always fat, he is the aggressive one that usually gets all the food and I figured that is why, so I net him and let the others eat before he gets dibs. I think it works? when he eats, he is so fat he is almost a sphere...he looks so silly. The next morning he is normal at his head (not fat anymore) but has "saddle bags" at his rear...really fat and getting fatter. Can fish get small bowel obstructions or constipated? < Absolutely.> And how do I fix him? < Smaller more frequent feedings scattered over the tank.>  He seems happy as usual. but I never see him poop...I usually see the other fish going. and What is a better diet, brine shrimp or bloodworms? One store raised them on brine, another on shrimp. < A varied diet on flake, pellets, live and frozen is best. Brine shrimp is not very good for them because it is nutritionally low. The bloodworms can actually be too rich and cause problems too.> Well, I just got 2 new green spotted puffers, and their tails are pretty well beat up... one won't use his right pectoral fin because it is close to being gone, like his ventral fin. Both of their dorsal fins are kind of chewed, and their tail fins look horrible, some how they can swim normally.  My original figure 8s looked like that, but the grew back beautifully. How long does it take to grow back? Anything I can do to help them grow back faster? How did that happen? do figure 8s and spotteds mix well socially? < Puffers really don't get along too well with other puffers. They all have sharp teeth and don't hesitate to use them on one another. Warm clean water will help the healing process.> And I have a question about our goldfish tank too (this is a separate tank from the brackish)...they all died, why?!?!? they were all feeder fish, and grew about an inch since I got them 8 mo ago. Everyday one has died until now. I am left with the smallest 2. They all looked healthy... no spots, Ick or cloudiness etc. on them until I found them floating or wrapped around the filter. Except the last fish...he had spots eating his fins away and flaky cloud looking eyes. So I tried medicating them for fin rot. Water tests were all ok too. Does this mean death if I buy my son more goldfish? He (4 yrs old) is devastated that he lost 12 goldfish already. < The ammonia and nitrites should have been zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If the fish are overfed this would cause internal problems that would be difficult to detect. All the fish food should be gone in two minutes once each day.-Chuck> 

Green Spotted Puffer questions 10/31/04 Hi Pufferpunk (I'm assuming) <Got that right!> My brother just informed me we have a 30 gallon tank so that's going to be my puff's new home after it is cycled.  But for now I don't have a tank that is cycled so I was wondering if you have any recommendations on how I can keep my puff until the tank is ready.  Right now he's still in the 3 gallon one and he seems to be ok but the ammonia level is way too high :/ ... pH, nitrites, and nitrates are good. Salinity is .005 <You should also cycle your tank at the same SG.  See if you can get a hold of some Bio-Spira to instantly cycle the 30g.  I don't see how the puffer will last long in the tiny tank.> The reading for ammonia was 8ppm, which makes me wonder why my puff is still alive.   <Not for much longer, I'm afraid...> However, I did some reading and I know ammonium is non toxic while ammonia is toxic but the test will read high if either is present.  Do you recommend getting that Ammo Lock to convert the ammonia to ammonium?  The guy at the fish store said I shouldn't because it doesn't really fix the problem or something.  Although now I'm thinking even though it doesn't fix the problem with the ammonia/um at least it's not in a toxic form. <Non-toxic ammonia is definitely better for your fish, but you will still be testing positive for ammonia.  I think large daily or 2x daily water changes (80-90%) are in order here.> Anyways, I got the Stress Free and Stress Zyme (made by aquamarine pharmaceuticals) in hopes that it might help.  I just put it in tonight. <That's Aquarium Pharmaceuticals> The fish store guy told me a bunch of stuff but I wanna know from you guys what I should do because it seems like they don't really know what they're talking about. <Yeah, is that the same guy that sold you the puffer for an uncycled 3g tank?> I also bought the aquarium salt but I was reading and I noticed that marine salt is different from aquarium salt.  I was just wondering what the difference is (out of curiosity)?  I originally made the tank with Hawaiian rock salt, which is basically salt from the ocean (not sure if you're familiar).  So I guess I'll return the aquarium salt. <You must use marine salt for BW & SW fish.  Everything you ever wanted to know about salt: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/salt.shtml> Last thing ... I noticed my puff has been spending a lot of time in the top corner of the tank.  I was wondering if he might be sick.  He only started doing that in the last 24 hours.  I put in some fake plants and he hung out in them for a while but now he's back in the corner.  I was reading that when a fish gets ich they go to the top of the tank ... but he doesn't have any white spots or films as far as I can see. Any recommendations? <Ammonia poisoning will make your poor puffer feel poorly.  NitrIte poisoning isn't far behind. Try adding an airstone, as 02 will get depleted in there.> As far as his belly, his belly is almost always white but his sides often go from white to black throughout the day.  Normally white in the morning and as the day goes on his sides start getting darker. Oh and what should I use to defrost frozen food?  I read something about vitamin water but how do I make the vitamin water?   <Buy any liquid vitamins you find for sale at the aquarium store & add a few drops into the water you defrost the food into.  Leave for at least a few hours, or even overnight in the refrigerator.  I suggest feeding extremely minimally, as not to add any extra waste products to that tiny tank.> Thanks a lot for all your help.   -Tersha <Get Bio-Spira in the larger tank, so you can get the puffer about of the 3 gal as soon as possible, or I'm afraid you will loose it. Try ordering Bio-Spira here http://www.fishstoretn.com/  ~PP>

Figure 8 Puffers--A Brackish Water Puffer  9/12/04 Dear Crew <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Over the past eight months, we had fish as pets, learning new stuff, and one day we finally found puffer fishes and we ended up setting up a new tank for them.  So far so good, but we have three of them and one I guess, is trying to setup dominance over the others, so I called Petco, where I got them and they suggested feeding them everyday so they will stop nipping each other, but it seems like the dominant one always nip the others after feeding... :( I do not want them to keep getting stressed and die, so please help! <1st of all read this wonderful article on F8s: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml This should answer all your questions on the care & feeding of these great pets.  I am concerned that you said you set-up a new tank for your fish.  Did you cycle it 1st?  How large is the tank?  F8 puffers require at least 10g/puffer.  Puffers personality vary from fish to fish.  Some may be very mild-mannered, while others may be killers.  If you have a killer, it must be kept singly, or it will kill their tank mates.  You just never know with puffers...  ~PP>

Figure 8 Confusion 5/29/-4 Hi! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have read several conflicting issues about the figure-8 puffer, Tetraodon biocellatus, and I guess that you guys are my most reliable source of fish info. Firstly, how big do they grow to? Some sources say they max out at 6cm, while others say they get as big as 20cm. Are figure-8s poisonous? <These puffers grow to 2 1/2-3".  You'll have to do the conversion, sorry.> Do they carry the same neurotoxin "tetrodotoxin" as their saltwater cousins? Fishbase.org says that they aren't dangerous at all. <Only dangerous if you eat them.  They carry their toxin in their skin & organs.> And lastly, are these puffers strictly freshwater, or do they need a little bit of salt in the water to thrive? <They are healthiest in low-end BW--a SG of around 1.005-10.  Here's a great article on them, written by a man that has been keeping puffers for over 40 years: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml> Thanks in advance. Andrew Lee <You're welcome & enjoy your puffers.  They're great little fish!  ~PP> Puffer's a Chameleon!  3/21/04 OK, thanks. When I'd raised the salinity it went to 1.004, so I removed some and started at 1.003. I will raise it to 1.004/1.005 next week. <Sounds like a plan!> My puffer seems a little weirded out, normal? But, the thing is, he has been changing colors like crazy! My girlfriend was like, "he is all whitish, he doesn't look too good, what's up?!" so I go over, and he comes up to me and before me eyes he changes back to his yellowish with spots?!?!?! I saw him, he had almost no spots and was an off white color, white, but more an eggshell or so, different than the white of his belly. But when he saw me and came over, he straight changed in front of my eyes! Never seen that before! What's up with that?! <It's totally normal for a puffer to change colors & spots.  They are masters at disguise & will try to blend in w/their surroundings.  Do you have light-colored gravel?  That may make them paler.  Also puffers are extremely sensitive & moody, which also shows in their coloration.  Don't worry, unless it's tummy stays black all the time & they stop eating.  ~PP>

Puffer Doing Great!  3/22/04 No he seems normal, just the crazy color change. He may be a little lazy because I left for the weekend and of 3 ghost shrimp, one ended up having babies, so I'm still pulling those suckers out. I only feed GSP 4 or 5 times a week, he gets lazy otherwise. So the color change is normal? Awesome. And yeah, I read that if their belly starts to turn dark, not good.... his/hers/its is pure white... probably due to my 3 a week emails since I got it,... Thanks PP....   <No problem, that's what I'm here for--puffers are my passion!  ~PP>

Please help make my puffer site #1!!!! Please help make my puffer site #1!!!! Click on the Aquarank banner & vote for The Puffer Forum. It only takes a second to do this daily---Please! ~Jeni The Puffer Forum http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi Pufferpunk's Tanks http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918 <Will post on WWM... be careful what you wish for... Bob F>

Inflated Puffer 2/08/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk to the rescue!> I recently purchased a spiny puffer, and when they put him into the bag to take home he injected some air. <Yes, puffers cannot be caught with a net.  They must be caught with a bucket for that exact reason.  Never mind, trying to get those spines out of a net!> How do I burp him? I've tried holding him mouth up in the water and massaging his back, but he just inflates. The air is trapped back by his tail. Please Help! <Puffing is a defense mechanism brought on by fear and stress.  It is not good for your puffer to inflate itself.  Never take your puffer out of the water!  It can puff with air and may never recover.  I have had some success in burping a puffer, by holding it vertically, head up, completely under water and gently shaking it by its tail until the air is released. You can also try stroking it's belly, trying to bring the trapped air towards it's mouth.  It's ok if it puffs again under water, because the water will replace the air & can be more easily released by the fish.  A puffer with air inside cannot right itself and will die.>   thank you. <Good luck ~PP>

Powerhead puffers (01/16/04) Hi Ananda, <Hi!> Since you always remember who I am because of my playful puffers, I thought you might enjoy seeing them in action. <Oh cool!> I woke up this morning and Little Mickey, the smaller green spotted, and Grumen, the figure 8 were having fun in the powerhead.   <I'm so glad they still enjoy this.> Grumen always gets a little nervous when I am so close to the tank, you can tell by the way he stopped what he was doing to keep an eye on me.  Little Mickey could care less.  Unfortunately, none of the puffers use the pipe I put in there, but the knight goby does.   <That's cool too.> The pictures, of course, aren't as good as seeing them live, but I hope you enjoy them. <Oh, definitely!> As always, thanks for your advice, Dave <Thanks for the photos! --Ananda>

Figure 8 Pufferfish Ok. I have looked everywhere for information on the figure eight puffer and didn't see any information on this. I have only one question; do they really puff up like other types of puffer fish? <Yes, all puffers puff, for reasons of threat, fear & stress.> They look really awesome and I probably will still eventually get one, but if they puff up, that would be a pretty cool addition. <It is extremely stressful for puffers to puff.  Please don't attempt to get them to do it.  The fish has to be very frightened to puff.  Here is a good article on F8s: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml Here's an article on how puffers inflate: http://biomechanics.bio.uci.edu/_html/nh_biomech/pufferfish/puffer.htm  Although this is about spiny puffers, all puffers have spines (F8's are tiny) & all puff the same way.> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Puffers, molly fry, and more (10/28/03) [previous message] """Actually I'd stay longer to say more, but my mollies have just started to shoot out fry and I have to catch them and separate them before they can eat anymore.   <Well, now we know that you don't have a pair of males! :-) > I don't know what you people do to catch fry, but I'll be damned if there is anything better than a turkey baster for catching those little things, lol. <*blink* Three years of keeping mollies and catching molly fry, and that never even occurred to me...I use a couple of nets.> Robert *Turkey basting the baby mollies* <Truly, some excellent ideas come from people who are do not know what they are supposed to do. Thanks for the idea! --Ananda>""" [end previous message] I must admit, after seeing that response, I bust a kidney laughing. <Which is about what I did when I read about the turkey baster! :-) > To be honest, those two I had WERE males, since I was confusing the caudal fin with the anal fin. <Ah, gotcha.> My biology knowledge from back in the high school days is escaping me. <Quick! Go chase it, catch it, and tie it down! ;-) > The mollies were actually female silvers, hand picked since I could see that they were pregnant. <The only way to be sure you're getting mollies that really are female, as opposed to largish immature males...> They are all in the 55 now, but I'm still one female short. Honestly when I noticed the fish looking like they were in a feeding frenzy, I took a closer look at them swimming after fry. Whilst I sat there looking at all the fry hiding in corners and tight spaces, I couldn't figure out how to get them out to save them. There lying against the side of the aquarium was the turkey baster, which I had used to suck up sand to make decorative waves amongst on the bottom of the aquarium earlier. <Uh-hunh, playing in the tank again, hmmm?> You could just imagine the eyebrow lift as the thought struck my mind. o.O So taking the baster I just stuck it in the corner and *thoop*, three fry in a single shot. (Great minds at work... turkey basting fish). I got about 15 of them into the separator chamber and left them in there, since I had to go to class. Sadly though, somehow the chamber was dislodged from the side and had drifted under the power filter flow by time I got back. <Doh!> The chamber was knocked under, and by time I got back I only found 4 still alive and hiding. So they were moved over to the 10 gallon where the puffer and the gobies still reside, although they leave the fry alone. The pufferfish seems more interested with scrounging around for food, although he won't touch a snail on the ground if it's not crushed first. He is still too small to pick them off the wall so the only way of getting him to eat them are to crush the snails and drop them right in front of his face or let them float on the surface. He's getting about one or two snails a day before breakfast and dinner. <Sounds good for a spoiled little puff. :) > Ok, now I have looked at the spotted green pufferfish on Fishbase, and something seems wrong between looking at the online ones and the one I have. You won't be able to tell by the pictures but mine looks like he has more of a beak or extension of his jaw area, instead of a regular slope. He looks more like a ball (hence the name Meatball) than the footballish look, and the kicker is he basically NEVER fans out his caudal fin. <Mine don't, either.> He only does it when he's completely stopped in the water, and that is a very rare occasion in itself. He always keeps it squinched when he uses it like a rudder. <Yep, sounds familiar!> Ok, here are the pictures, although they probably wont help as much. <You've got a healthy-looking Tetraodon nigroviridis in your tank. --Ananda>

High dKH & dKH: effectively brackish? Hello there from Chicagoland, <And hello back from Chicagoland! Ananda here tonight, out in the burbs...> I have a 30l freshwater tank containing a knight goby, an emerald Cory, and a Kuhli loach. My water is as follows. Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: very near 0 pH: 8.2 dGH: 26 deg. dKH: 12 deg. <Just for comparison, in the western burbs, I'm at pH 7.8, dGH 8, dKH 12. You're going to want to check your phosphates, too. Mine are 0.8 out of the tap according to the SeaTest kit.> I know it depends on what kind of fish you keep, but isn't this pH level generally a bit high? <Your goby will be fine in that. I have two knight gobies right now, both female, and I've had a pair that bred in these conditions. If you got the other fish locally, they should be fine, too.> What about the hardness, it seems like I'm keeping a  brackish tank. <Close to it! That's why your knight goby is doing well. In acidic, soft water, these fish die. In hard, alkaline water, they do okay, even without salt.> My fish seem healthy, but I'm looking to get the tank as comfy as possible for them. Also, is it possible to keep figure 8, or spotted puffers in freshwater? My LFS who sells them says it's fine, but they are a brackish fish.. right? <Yup. Figure 8 puffers prefer lowish brackish levels, while spotted puffs prefer somewhat higher brackish levels. I'm concerned that Kuhli loach would look too much like lunch to a worm-loving puffer!> I really don't want to go brackish because of the limited selection of fish compatible. <That's actually the main reason I went brackish... I was so totally confused by the selection of fish! The "limited palette" of brackish fish isn't as small as you might think. It includes most Rainbowfish and livebearers, for example.> I really love puffers, and I know they wouldn't get along with my current community, but I'm looking down the road a bit. Any help would be excellent. <Check out the WetWebMedia chat forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk. We've got more Chicago-area fish keepers and a thread or two about local fish stores on the boards.> Thanks for a great site. You make no money from us, yet you give us the absolute best advice. Our LFS makes tons of cash from its' customers, but will tell you anything to make the sale... Thank God for you guys.  Dave A. <Thanks so much for the kind words! They are very much appreciated. --Ananda>

Sick Green Spotted Puffers (08/31/03) Dear Bob, <Hi! You get Ananda tonight...> Thank you for your interesting Web Site. <You're welcome.> I live in Cape Town - South Africa and I am in desperate need of your help. <My puffers and I are here to help.> I have 3 Spotted Green Puffers. They are beautiful little creatures. I have had them now for 6 weeks. Last night I noticed that all 3 looked bloated. Their eyes have become cloudy, and they are swimming around very slowly, bumping into things, and will not eat anything. They are grayish underneath and have become a strange yellow/orange faded colour. <Many of these behaviors/symptoms are indicators of poor water quality. I would do a 30% water change tonight and another one tomorrow. What are your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings? Ammonia and nitrite should be zero, and nitrate should be less than 10 in a healthy tank.> This morning I found one resting on top of the water. He had died........very upsetting. <Sorry to hear that...I know it's hard to lose a puff.> The other two are even worse. In the tank with them, I have one scat and one goby, who both still seem in perfect condition. <Different fish have different ways of reacting to poor water quality.> There is beach sand, which I washed thoroughly at the bottom, and two plastic plants which they seem to enjoy hiding in. The salt content in the tank is sitting at 1.02 and the temperature is sitting at 26. <26C is about 79F, which is a little on the low side for these guys. I'd raise it to about 27C. My puffs are happier when their tank is at about 81F (~27C).> Only the puffers have been affected. What do you think it can be..... Can I still save them? <I think so, if you act right away. You might increase their salinity a bit, too, with the water changes. I'd shoot for about 1.006 within a week or two. The goby should be able to handle that (what kind of goby is it?), and the scat won't even flinch.> Many Thanks Steven <You're welcome, and keep me posted. --Ananda>

Diet for a Small Puffer (08/31/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda and the puffers here tonight...> I understand from many many website that puffer fish needs shell food... <Yup. Snails and crustaceans are their favorite foods.> However, my puffer is only 2CM to 2.5CM and the mussel or whatsoever shell "mouth" will be close when we buy from the market so how do they feed on the meat inside the shell is even bigger than the fish? Some suggested cracking the shell first but does that make my tank very messy?? <I bet it would! Skip the mussels, especially if they're freshwater mussels (which can harbor puffer-harmful parasites). I would switch to snails for your little guy. You should be able to get pond snails for free from your local pet-fish store; they often come in on the plants.  You can even start up a small "fish bowl" to breed snails for your puff. Another food that is good for small puffs is shrimp tails in the shell. First, you get to eat the best part of the shrimp. Then leave a bit of the shrimp tail in the shell, freeze it, and then drop it in with the puffer. The tiny, tiny ends of crab legs might work for this, too, though I haven't tried that.> Currently I am feeding dried shrimp so is that ok for the teeth?? <Sure, though depending on the type of shrimp, it may not be enough to keep his teeth worn down and it might not be as nutritious as you'd like. I'd suggest getting some fishy vitamins (I use Dick Boyd's). Thanks! Regards, Jensen Wee <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Diet for a sick puffer Hey, <Hey hey! Ananda here today...> I think I have a green puffer. I'm not sure if that's the type but here's a pic of it. http://i.xanga.com/mzscandalous/Nick%20Jr.jpg <Well, it's a green-spotted puffer, and he needs help. His belly should be white! A puff with a dark or grey belly is a stressed, unhappy, or sick puff.> Well, I bought it a couple of days ago and it was fine until I added large rocks into the tank. <Uh-oh. What kind of rocks? (What do they look like, if you aren't sure of the type?)> The workers at the fish store told me it's a fresh-water fish. <"Bzzzz, wrong answer" to them.> But when I read the frequently asked Qs & As, it might be a Brackish type fish. <Yup, it is. He needs some salt in his water. Get a SeaTest hydrometer (the only one that reads the lower values) and some Instant Ocean.> Well, it stopped eating after I added the rocks in and it developed black spots on the white dorso area.   <Dorsal is on the back of the fish, ventral is on the belly of the fish, so I think you mean ventral area.... Anyhow, that's not good. Where did you get the rocks?> It hardly swims and it just lays around the bottom of the tank all day. I use to have it in a really small tank but I moved it into a 10 gallon tank since my friend told me it needs more space. <Yup, your friend is right about that one.> Please help. I really don't want this fish to die. <Me neither.> I've also been feeding it frozen brine shrimp because they recommended it at the fish store. <Brine shrimp can be compared to junk food, and not favorably. Your puff needs a better diet -- he's been underfed for a while. It might be easiest to with some shrimp tails -- you eat the shrimp body, puff gets the shrimp tail, in the shell. He should also get some snails -- the freebie pond snails from the LFS are ideal, and you can raise them in your little tank. There's a lot more on what you can feed puffers in the Puffer Feeding FAQs, found under both the brackish puffer and marine puffer sections on the WWM site. To find them, use the Google search tool at the bottom of the Daily FAQ page and look for "Puffer Feeding FAQ".> Please reply soon and sorry if I'm bothering you about this. <We are here to be "bothered". :-) Also check out the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk -- often, you can get a reply faster there, since you don't have to wait for an email to travel the net. And I check the forums at least a couple of times a day.> Thanks. Kathy <You're welcome! --Ananda>
Re: Diet for a Small Puffer (09/01/03)
Hi, Thanks for your reply.. <Ananda here again, and you're welcome.> One more thing <<I would switch to snails for your little guy. You should be able to get pond snails for free from your local pet-fish store; they often come in on the plants.  You can even start up a small "fish bowl" to breed snails for your puff.>> But the snails I see here are rather big .. like the shell can be 1CM in diameter?? is this type of snail small or big?? <That particular snail might be too big, but you could always toss one in with your puff and see what he does. If you get a bunch of snails, you can raise your own, and give your puff the smaller ones. Just put them in a container with water and feed them daily. You don't have to feed them fish food; you can give them slices of boiled veggies. When you do a water change for your puff, do a water change for them, too.> Thanks a bunch! Cheers, Jensen Wee <You're welcome! --Ananda>

Puffer care shopping list (09/01/03) Hey, <Hey! Ananda back again...> Thanks for the quick reply. Well, the rocks are pretty big with algae growing on them but I already took them out of the tank. I got them from the same fish store that gave me the wrong information about my fish. <Urk. I would not want to put them back in the tank for a while yet.> Now I think my fish also has ich because it has white stuff growing on its tail. <Yep, sounds like ich. Salt will fix that.> I can't go to the fish store till tomorrow because its Labor Day today. Can you give me a list of everything I should buy so I don't have to make several runs to the store. <Sure! Hmmm...another thing to write up for the WWM site.> I know that I need to buy a different type of food, snails, some salt, and the SeaTest hydrometer. <That's really about it, but here are a few more details.... Food: frozen uncooked shrimp from the grocery store works; he might also like squid (grate it while it's frozen). (Only one of my five puffs likes squid, so don't get it unless you like it, too.) Also, pond snails, or baby Ramshorn snails, which *should* be free. Do not get him the cone-shaped snails. For a treat, he'd probably love frozen bloodworms (I prefer the Hikari brand); a "worm cone" makes it easier to feed those (drop a small chunk of the frozen stuff into the cone, and the worms won't make a beeline for the filter intake). For freeze-dried stuff, you can wait a bit and order from online; it's significantly cheaper that way. Salt: Instant Ocean is just fine for puffers. The garlic oil may also be available at the grocery store... you want to get the gel caps that are intended to be a human nutritional supplement. Check out this thread for another discussion on puffers, including a link to what I'm talking about when I say "garlic oil": http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=12165&start=0&trange=15> I mean, I only have one fish in the tank so should I go out and try to find another one so it wouldn't be so lonely? <Not when he's got ich!!> Sorry if I sound dumb about this, its just this is the first time I'm taking care of fish. Thanks. -Kathy <You're welcome -- and you have a head start on many fishkeepers since you're doing research! :-) Also, do check out the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk -- we have several experienced and novice puffer keepers on board. --Ananda>

Puffer salt (09/01/03) Hey Ananda, <Hey there> Thanks so much for the fish advice. <Sure.> Well one more question, for the salt, can it be any kind of salt like sodium chloride? <You really want a marine salt for puffers that are from brackish waters. They include other minerals besides the sodium chloride. "Instant Ocean" is a commonly-available brand, is fairly inexpensive, and is the one used by most of the people I know for their brackish tanks. Here's a pic so you know the kind of thing I'm referring to: http://www.marineland.com/products/consumer/con_iosalts.asp > Thanks so much, Kathy      <You're welcome. --Ananda>

More on Puffer salt (09/01/03) <I forgot to mention... you don't want to put your puffer into full-strength saltwater right away. I would increase the specific gravity to about 1.004 over the course of a week or so. The best way to do that is with water changes. You take some of the water out and add a bit of half-strength saltwater in to replace it. --Ananda>

Green Puffer impulse purchase--NOW what do I do? >I just couldn't help myself... I bought 3 "Green Puffers" and I'm ashamed to say that I have no knowledge of the care and diet they need. >>Admitting you have a problem is the first step...I *think*.. naw, now you want to know, I'll gently chide you to please refrain from doing this again, and we'll move on.  However, I, too, do not know very much about these fish. >The lady in the pet store gave me about 25 baby guppies to feed them. >>If I recollect, you're dealing with a freshwater or brackish water animal, and being puffers they'll need crunchy stuff to help wear their "teeth" down (in reality they have what is called a "fused jaw", and their "teeth" act more like melon-ballers).  Shrimps and such would be my suggestion, however, I'm going to more strongly suggest you search our site for information on green puffs.  Here is a link to get you started--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm >But she said she didn't know much about them either, so she gave your address. I'm hoping you can give me the low down on these really cool fish...Quick! I have them in a 30 gallon tank. I also have a Japanese something or another algae eater, & 1 Tetra. >>I'm not sure these other fish are safe with the puffers, and I know that neither is a brackish (part saltwater) fish. >I have lots of plants and a couple of rocks.  For the Puffers' sake, I hope to hear from you soon. >>Accept my apologies for the delay, I was irresponsible with my brand new computer and went online without installing antiviral software and promptly got infected.  Your message has been sitting in my inbox for a few days now because I've been afraid to infect anyone else via email.  I believe the puffers should be started on prepared foods ASAP, and I will also send this message on to our resident brackish/puffer expert, Ananda.  Also, please visit our forums at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk and check the brackish forums!  Best of luck to you all, Marina

Feeder fish became friends with predator? I have had my brackish tank, home to my two green-spotted puffers, for a little over a year.  Until three months ago, my puffers were the only occupants.  I threw a guppies in the tank as a little treat and to my surprise, the guppy was there days later.  Not only has that guppy survived in brackish water surrounded by predators, there are now a total of four baby guppies living in this tank.  The first of the young appeared about four or five weeks ago and has grown considerably.  The other three have appeared in the last three days.  I introduced a new puffer to the tank yesterday and figured it would probably make a meal out of my unusual little friends, but he doesn't show any interest.  I do not understand.  Is this normal or as bizarre as it seems? <Does seem odd, but this is not unprecedented. Fishes to varying degrees are what humans label as "autistic", and if the "food" was in the tank ahead of the predator... it/they might well not be recognized as food items... Consider as an example the sacred cows of Hindu India... Bob Fenner>

Vacation Feeding for Green Spotted Puffer How many days is it safe to go without feeding a green-spotted puffer. He is about1-1/2 inches long & usually eats 1 small slug and 3-4 large Spirulina flakes twice daily.  I will be gone for two days and then again 1 week in Sept.   I plan on having someone come by daily to feed him in Sept., but am not sure about the weekend thing.  Thanks, Donna <Feed well a few days before the trip and I think it can get by for a couple days. Don>

- Brackish Puffer Questions - Hello again I'm sorry I have one more question. <Good evening, JasonC here... hopefully with one more answer.> Just for the health and happiness of these little creatures :) I got my water salt to 0.010 ,will that make the ph the needed level for them???? <Salinity and pH are two different measurements - a specific gravity of 1.010 is fine for this puffer... for pH you need something between 7.6 and 7.8.> What should the level be? Or does the ph need to be higher even with the ocean salt at 0.010. Is that the right number for green spotted puffers??? 2 questions 1) do they need any more ph like coral gravel or is the ph already high from the salt another on look down below <Match to the numbers I listed.> 2)what number should it say on the sea test hydrometer for green spotted puffers? Should it be 0.08?????? <1.010> Thank you so much Please don't mind the few questions I'm sorry nobody helps me with them not many people know a thing about them :) <No worries. Cheers, J -- >

Brackish corals and puffers >How much coral do you have to put in a 10 gallon brackish tank with green spotted puffers. >>None. >I never see coral in brackish tanks anywhere only in saltwater tanks. Do they like a high ph or only saltwater puffers? >>Corals like relatively high pH, and require so much for their growth that I couldn't begin to address it here.  If you're speaking of using coral skeletons in a tank with marine puffers, then I would caution against it as I have seen torn skin (they don't have scales.  Marina

Re: Mystery Disease: "Sudden Puffer Death Syndrome" Hi Ananda, <Hi again...> Here is more information. Some curators at public aquariums have had similar questions to you, and I have had the person with the most experience with the problem, respond. As far as the photo, I am trying to get another copy. We are having trouble contacting the original poster, as he is not returning e-mails for some reason. <I read some more of this, and something sounded familiar. Turns out woman person who had the photo posted once on the WetWebMedia chat forums, with the photo link when it ws working. I think I remember the photo -- it showed a large dark patch on the side of the puffer. Is that the one?> Thanks for taking the time to look into this. Here are the responses: ------------- I have a fellow aquarium maintenance company owner who recently had the same symptoms occur in a Puffer before it's death. We are pretty sure they came from the same collection sight but were collected by different companies??? <Of course, my next question is where, specifically, were they collected? It would be interesting to get more data about their original habitat.> He is doing a post mortem and I will keep you appraised. <I'm looking forward to this and hope it will provide some answers!> 1. Yes all fish were from the same source 2. 3-4 days before onset of sx <that's "onset of symptoms" for us non-medical folx!> 3. Yes same feed. A variety of fresh seafoods were offered including clam, squid and prawns soaked in vitamins. 4. Same collection area ----------- The  fish behave and feed normally up until the last 36-48 hours of life. Still normal after initial 24 hours after onset of blanching. Sometime around 24-36 hours before death feeding stops they become listless the blanching rapidly spreads from the "eyebrow" area to cover most of the body. Change to the eyes themselves are only noted within 24 hours of death when the clear part of the eyes become milky white without evidence of lesions within a few hours (very rapid onset) Blanching always starts above one eye and spreads backwards with the eye itself showing symptoms last. <The cloudy eyes with no visible parasites makes this sound more like a bacterial problem....> My fish are from the same distributor and collection area, but have had no issues with other species from the same distributor and collection area. Also does appear to be able to survive for long periods without a host. A tank had other species but no Puffers in it for fourteen days after a Puffer was lost in that tank. Another Puffer was brought to the tank for holding while the display tank was being repaired along with other species from the same display tank. Within 3 days only the Puffer was affected and died after exhibiting the same symptoms. This Puffer was 5+ years old and came from a different collection area. <I'm curious what kind of filtration and circulation equipment was used on the affected tank(s), and if either UV or ozone were used.> So it appears for some reason to be species specific. <This is not the only puffer-specific rapid-onset disease/parasite I've heard of. With some differences, this sounds like what people on the WetWeb chat forums have started calling "Sudden Puffer Death Syndrome" -- the affected puffer (typically green-spotted or dwarf) is apparently healthy, then suddenly quits eating and dies within one to three days.> All deaths have occurred in my quarantine tanks as the onset to death is so rapid and I quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. <That is good to hear.> A post mortem is being done on a recent loss today. Thanks! ********** These are the original messages posted to the CowfishandMore group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/message/2403 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/message/2442 <I will take a look and possibly post over there, too. --Ananda>

Froggy the puffer: teeth trimming/snail question; Froggy swimming oddly (03/17/03) <Ananda here tonight/this morning, after being out of commission for a couple of days. This is one big message, combined from three. > Thanks so much again Ananda. Froggy is doing ok still- not much fatter- and I'm getting the scissor type trimmers tomorrow after school... I was going to try cuticle cutters of my moms- but I'm just going to play it safe with the trimmers. <Sounds good you dont want to chance it with your moms set.> The quarantine tank seems to be cycling pretty well- I used some of the 20 gallons water supply to help it cycle and made sure the salinity matched in both the 20 and the 5.5 etc... <Easy way to start up a quarantine tank: use some water from an existing tank when you do a water change.> I was just wondering about the thing about keeping snails- I know that the snails live in the Fresh Water Plant area in Petco and I wasn't sure if they would live in the brackish water... <Some will, some wont. Keep them in freshwater, at least to start with.> Either way I'm going to try and get some tomorrow also. Nothing urgent to respond to right now. Thanks a lot Ananda- without all of your help I think Froggy would have already starved to death- his top teeth seem to go all the way down to his lower lip... Still can't get much in but he can get in the smaller brine shrimp. I said to Froggy you said hi. And he says his name is  cute and not silly.   <Sorry -- didn't mean to imply that Froggy was a silly name but that many people have either cute or silly names for their puffers. Some of my puffers have silly names (Blimpy and SmartPuff, for instance).> Hope to hear from you again. <I frequently hang out on the forums.> Bye for now. ( and thanks again and again) <Youre welcome. More to follow.> Hey Ananda- I didn't get the scissor type trimmers-I used good cuticle cutters. Froggy has good room for food to get through. I did the "operation" on him about 20 minutes ago and I just fed the puffs some frozen blood worms and some live worms. He doesn't seem to care much for the live worms right now. He hasn't eaten much - but everything he does try to eat gets through easily- although he doesn't have the best looking teeth I have seen him with. <Snails, shell-on shrimp, and hard-shelled foods will help with the teeth now.> I was really nervous about the whole thing- but I didn't even bump his lips :) He didn't puff up when I held him to clip his teeth- kind of to my surprise actually. I think he's kinda shook up though... He isn't following my finger around the glass and he is backing away from the glass a bit when I come too close... <Mine do that all the time.> I feel kinda bad about him being a little scared of me though I think he'll be more social soon. Thank you Ananda- I'll tell you how he is doing this weekend - things are looking pretty good right now though. Talk to you later, Froggy and Daniel. <The next chapter follows> OK- now Froggy ( My pufferfish) does seem to be a little fatter. <Thats good.> But he doesn't act normally at all- He can't swim very well- all the time when he tries to swim he wobbles from side to side. <Thats not good.> For the last 2 days all he has done is sat on the bottom at a 20 Degree angle - his face down and his tail kinda going up. Whenever he tries to swim he wobbles around a lot or is at a 45 degree angle ( NOSEDIVE 45- not 45 degree angle up) and when he sits on the bottom for the other 23 hours of the day all he does is move his two side fins by his gills. When ever he tries to swim and comes down back to the bottom he usually lands on his chin kinda hard. God I'm worried.... Some one please help! <Since this started after his teeth were trimmed, one possibility is that he swallowed a bit of air. You may need to burp him. Here's one of Anthony's descriptions about doing that: Gently net underwater with a soft nylon cloth net (not coarse green fabric). Securely grab the fish through the net and orient the fish tail-down/ mouth- upward. The struggle to get free will often massage a burp of air out if it exists. You should only need 5-10 seconds to complete if it will work at all. If that doesn't do it, ping/post back and well look into other possibilities. Meanwhile, you might want to read more of the FAQs on puffers I found Anthony's info in the marine puffer FAQs. --Ananda>

Bloodworms -- possible cause of puffer loss? (03/17/03) <Ananda here this morning...> Hi. I just lost my three puffer fish. <Sorry to hear that.> They had been fine for a while and all of a sudden, the other day, they started dying.  I'm wondering if the frozen bloodworms I'm feeding them have anything to do with it.  Like maybe there's too much protein in the tank.   <Unlikely that the food itself was the direct cause of it. However, it's easy to overfeed, and excess proteins in the tank can decay into ammonia/nitrites/nitrates -- and high levels of those can cause fish death. Without more information on your tank, it's impossible to say with any certainty what the cause of death was.> Any help is greatly appreciated. <Do look over the puffer articles and FAQs... both marine and freshwater/brackish, regardless of which type of puffer you had. Much of what has been written applies to most puffers. Thanks, Angie <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Puffer can't/won't eat (03/11/03) <Hi! Ananda here on the puffer patrol today....> I'm really having a problem with a figure eight puffer fish I have. I've had him for the last two years and not run into a hitch. He lives with two other fish- another brackish figure eight and a brackish spotted puffer. <One of the few puffer combinations I know of that can be maintained for any length of time... I have both types in the same tank, too.> Right now he seems to be on a hunger strike - this is the first time but he hasn't been eating normally for a week now. He is looking really thin- the second half of his body is barely thicker then nickel and his upper half looks very bad too. He does seem to try to eat but most of it just drifts out of his mouth after a while. <Sounds like he may not be able to chew -- do check the length of his teeth. If they're too long, you may need to clip them. A pair of good-quality nail scissors can help.> I have seen him eat some food and he still acts very interested but he's still as thin as a before. I want to try to force feed him for now to try to keep him from wasting away the rest of the way but I don't know if that would be good to do since he looks like him might break if I try to touch him (that and I don't know how to force feed). <I'm not much of a fan of force-feeding. Try giving him some food that he doesn't need to chew -- frozen bloodworms and live blackworms are always a hit with my puffs -- and see if he can keep those down.> Also I would love to have a hospital tank but I don't have one and I doubt if it would be worth the time to cycle a new tank. <Since you typically medicate a hospital tank, you usually kill off any beneficial bacteria that may have established themselves in the cycle. So there's less need for cycling a hospital tank, more need for daily water changes. And any container that is big enough for the puff to swim around in and contain an airstone can be used as a hospital container in a pinch.> If u can help me keep this guy alive then your my hero and his hero too. I know I'm supposed to be trying to feed him more tempting foods (I looked through all the faq's u had for an answer and I'm still not sure of the answer) <Bloodworms, blackworms, snails, ghost shrimp, cocktail shrimp, krill; sometimes Mysis shrimp, squid, clams...check the saltwater Puffer Feeding FAQs for more ideas.> but he acts just as interested in any food as any other time- he just can't keep enough in to get a whole meal. <Try using a different approach: keep food in his tank at all times. The best way to do this would be in a separate tank. I'm thinking bloodworms or blackworms in a worm feeder, or live ghost shrimp, or snails would be the food to use with this approach.> if my answer is to force feed him I'm going to need a link to a site that can tell me how to do that for a puffer fish. <Eh, I'm not finding one that gives specifics... but here's what I'm inferring from posts about same: you would need to do is get a syringe (no needle necessary) and fill it with a slurry of food and a good vitamin supplement (Bob mentions Boyd's VitaChem as a favorite). Then catch and hold the puff underwater and put the end of the syringe into his mouth. Use the syringe to shoot the food into his stomach. More comments on force-feeding puffers here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm> And thank you very much for your time. Please try to email me back as soon as you can. <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Green spotted puffer with swollen jaw (02/28/03) <Ananda here with the puffer questions....> I have a Green Puffer, t. fluviatilis, and he's been sick on and off for a month. He's in brackish water (about 1.008). We've been fighting high nitrates for quite a while, and about 1 month ago, his cheeks swelled up really big.  We moved him from a 100gal tank to a 10gal tank for treatment. I looked up some information on the web and put him on a 5 day round of Maracyn-Two which helped almost immediately. <I'm curious what kind of filtration you have on this tank. The best way to control nitrates in a brackish tank is usually through water changes. Or, you could adapt a marine idea and connect a heavily planted refugium to the main tank. I would try ordinary corkscrew Val's; I have some in 1.004 right now and they don't seem to mind the salt at all. (Acclimate the plants to brackish water fairly slowly.) This would also be an excellent snail farm.> But 1 week ago, his left jaw/cheek swelled up again and the Maracyn-Two is barely helping.  He stopped eating 2 days ago (his diet is mostly frozen krill) and spends most of his time at the bottom of the tank. His color is off- he's almost always dark, and is totally non-interactive which is abnormal. He has bouts of itchiness where he'll frantically scrape his face along anything he can, but those are less frequent since he's been on meds (for 4 days). <It sounds like he might have some sort of gill parasite. See if you can get a look at his gills. You may need to carefully catch him and hold him pointing away from you; he may puff, so make sure his head is under water. I would start him on an anti-parasitic medication.> Do you have any suggestions for treatment and for keeping nitrates down (he eats any plant we put in his tank)? He looks miserable. <Aside from the above, start varying his diet. Since he's eating the plants, try including some green stuff in his diet. Other things to include are snails (the little roundish pond snails, usually free from pet stores), various shellfish, ... more in our puffer FAQs in the brackish sections. And do more frequent water changes!> Thank you very much <You're welcome. --Ananda>

What to do with the old puffer tank? <Ananda the puffer nut here...> I currently was using a 5 gallon eclipse tank to house my puffers and new I have to buy a bigger one so I purchased a 10 gallon tank. <Good to hear...this will be your first of several tank upgrades if your puffers do well.> I removed them from the 5 gallon tank and washed out the tank and cleaned it. I am currently going to use it for a hospital tank when needed. <I commend you on that decision!> To make a long story short I took out all the rocks because I needed it for my 10, and one day I started to notice these white floating worms, they are very tiny you really have to squint to see them. I thought well maybe I should shut it down because its my 5 gallon and I am not using it right now. <If you do shut it down, consider keeping the bio-wheel in your new tank so the bacteria don't all die out....but see below for another suggestion.> in the bottom of the five gallon it looks like little bits of un eaten food. what do I do? <I would rinse the gravel and use the tank for a snail farm. Get some basic pond snails from your local fish store or pet chain store; they should be free. I'm talking about the little tiny ones that seem to be on the sides of most tanks, but not the ones that are cone-shaped. Put them in your five gallon tank and let them reproduce. Then you can feed them to your puffers. If you do need to use the five gallon tank as a hospital tank, you can remove most of the snails (they'll be fine in a bowl, jar, or whatever for a bit) and then add the patient. Then when you move the patient back to the main tank, you can clean and disinfect the hospital tank (but not the bio-wheel!) and put the snails back in. More on puffers here and on the linked FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm ....  --Ananda>

Re: Snails 4 puffer food Hi Guys! <Ananda here today (one of the gals...)> I'm raising common pond snails to feed to my puffers.   <Kudos to you for doing this for your puffs.> These were a "gift" from the local PetSmart shop.   <Yep, that's where I got mine.> All is going well in the two gallon crock in which they are living with some gravel, banana plants, and pennywort.   <Sounds like snail heaven to me.> They have laid masses of eggs,  However my concern is with a worm like parasite I observed swimming in the water this morning.   <If possible, remove it.> How would it be possible to treat the snails without harm to them?  My puffers are healthy and I'd like to keep them that way!   <You could try removing as many snails as possible to a different holding container and then treating the snail tank with a general anti-parasite medication. Otherwise, you could simply tear down and disinfect the gravel, plants, and tank. Your puffers are definitely more important than the snails!> Thanks for your time! Troy <You're welcome. --Ananda>

White Rings on a Sick Puffer <Ananda here, fielding the puffer questions...> I need to know what is wrong with my puffer, no website OR person has been able to tell me what is going on.  My green spotted puffer is getting dark on its dorsal side and has white rings, I am very concerned seeing as how I haven't had him for long and I just recently (TODAY) found someone to ell me that those are bad, and not meant to be on the fish (after days of searching).  I NEED to know how to fix this!!!! Bob <Hmmm. Are the white rings raised, sunken, or flat on the skin? Depending on which, this could be a result of several things. Chlorine or chloramine in your water that wasn't neutralized by your dechlorinator can cause round white patches that look slightly sunken in the skin. Raised white rings may be indicative of a parasite. How large are the rings? Are they all the same size? Are they present only on the body, or are there similar things on the fins and tail? Puffers change color quite a bit, for camouflage and mood as well as stress. What color is the puff's belly? Also, how old is your tank, and what are your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and temperature readings? Perhaps there are some environmental factors at work here... --Ananda>

Puffers hanging out by the carbon <Ananda here answering puffer questions...> I have 2 spotted green puffers...  At least once a day (usually @ night w/ the lights on) they like to hang out right under the carbon cartridges at the top of my riser tubes...  why do they do that... <Not sure, but given the question below can hazard a guess... you may have water quality problems. The area of the tank near carbon cartridges may have the cleanest water in your tank. I would suggest a water change as soon as possible, with more frequent water changes in the future. I would also suggest you get additional filtration to supplement your undergravel filter. Puffers are messy fish, so you should "oversize" the filtration on your system, i.e., get filtration rated for a tank larger than the one the puffers are in.> Also, why to they get pale (grayish) in color from time to time? <Grey on a puffer belly is an indicator of stress. If you're referring to the colors on the back of the puffer getting pale, that can be caused by camouflage attempts, boredom, or even mood changes!> thank you!   Dionisi <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Figure eight puffer fish Hi, I wonder if any one can help? I have two figure eight puffer fish.  One puffer is about three to four years old and the other is still a baby.  Both fish are kept in a Bi-orb tank, which holds around 30gallons. <I'm not familiar with the BiOrb.  Is it safe to assume that it has adequate filtration/heating/all the makings of a successful aquarium?> Lately the older one seem to swim franticly around the tank, becoming rather shy but I haven't notice any flicking or rubbing against any solid objects. It seemed to eat its food but Im quite worried with this frantic darting around the tank, is it normal? <Are you adding any salt to their water, it could be cause by the lack of salt in the water as the fish ages.> Every time when I feed them, I haven't seen the younger fish taking any food and it looks to me that he is getting thinner. I have tried to check for any sign of disease and I only found a small dot on the tail, which I believe it is fungus, but should this stop it eating its food? <May not be a fungus, if it is it could be a sign that something else is wrong with their environment.  What are you feeding them? How are the water tests looking? -Best Regards, Gage> I would be very grateful if any one could help me.

FW puffer killed 2 goldfish Hey... <Hey yourself. :-) Ananda here, answering the puffer questions.>   I just separated the 1.5 inch blowfish to a fish ready 20 gal. tank.  It was green with black dots, but now it's all dark purple with a small green spot on it's head, and not moving.  I put a very small piece of tuna in with it.  Can I leave it be? <First of all, this may not be a freshwater puffer. From your description, this sounds like a green-spotted puffer, which is a brackish-water fish. These fish normally eat mollusks, shellfish, snails, and the like. These fish can change colors when resting or hiding. Do check to see that the fish's belly is still bright white; grey indicates stress. The fish should be happy in the 20 gallon tank, presuming you can meet its needs. Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm. --Ananda>

Spotted Green puffer issues... Aloha Webcrew... <Ananda here, answering the puffer questions.> Terrific website... I have found more info on your site compared to any other out there.... <Thanks, and glad it's helped.> Part of my question was answered by your FAQ area on the puffer fish... I have 4 spotted green puffer fish in a long 30 gallon tank (which gives them plenty of room to hang out together or get away from each other)...  I also have 3 green Chromides in the tank with them and 1 huge algae eater (big so they won't eat it)..   <How large are these fish currently? The green Chromides will need a much larger tank eventually, as they get up to 16" long.> All of my puffers look very healthy and swim around a lot (up and down and from tank end to tank end)..  There is something up with one of the puffers though...  He lays on the bottom of the tank quite a bit... He loses all of his spots and turns pretty dark, almost like he is hiding from everything and trying to get some rest...   <Do you have plenty of stuff for them to hide in and swim through in the tank? Is this puff getting enough to eat?> When he feels like it, he does get up off of the bottom and starts swimming with the other puffers... They all seem to like being together... Once he starts swimming, you can see his belly is pretty black from tail to mouth... <Not a good sign at all.> If you come to the side of the tank and give him some attention, the black almost all goes away and his spots come back immediately.... <Puffers are some of the most intelligent fish out there. Paying attention to him is reducing his stress level.> I read on your site that the spots can go away for mood or camo, but what about the black belly?  I have read on many sites that a black belly means they are sick... If that is the case, why does it come and go? <Is the puff's belly truly black, or is it grey? Grey is a sign of stress, and I have seen that come and go quickly. The black, however... do check the feces of this fish and the others in your tank. They should be uniformly dark-colored. If the feces from the puff in question are different, the fish may have intestinal worms or parasites.> The tank is a brackish water tank... I have some synthetic salt in the tank as well as aquarium salt... <What specific gravity level are you keeping these fish at? Also, if you have any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate reading, do a water change as soon as possible and increase the frequency or amount of your regular water changes.> None of the other fish show signs of being ill and the one that I'm concerned about doesn't have any signs of Ick or anything else....   <Which is why I'm suspecting a possible internal problem.> The puffers eat pretty well.. I let a bunch of small goldfish swim around and they eat them whenever they are hungry...   <Please desist with the goldfish immediately. These are NOT good for your puffers' health! The scales on the goldfish are relatively large, and feeder goldfish are notorious for carrying diseases.> I also feed them frozen brine shrimp and crawdads every now and then... <Do consider adding snails and other more puffer-appropriate foods. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm for info on puffer foods.> Any advice on my little puffer would be greatly appreciated... Keep up the great work on your website... <Will do.> aloha for now Gary <Aloha. --Ananda>

Green Spotted Puffer Mr. Fenner, Sorry to bother you yet again with one of my questions.  I've been reading over the FAQs re: brackish puffers.  I have a green spotted puffer about an inch long.  I got him at Petco from one of the marine tanks.  I knew he was a brackish puffer, but they had had him/her...it for about two weeks in the marine tank before I bought him.  I've had him for about 5 weeks now, and is doing great.  He actively swims, eats like there's no tomorrow, and before they died, harassed my domino damsels.  Is it OK to keep him in my marine aquarium.  I keep my SG about 1.023.  Like I said he seems to be doing fine (getting fat).  Once again, great website and thanks! <Please do take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm re a positive identification of your fish. I have seen brackish water species kept for good long periods in "straight" seawater with no apparent harm, HOWEVER they almost all "do south quickly" losing weight, setting at the bottom, perhaps dying of physiological difficulties within hours to a day or two... so, do keep a close eye on yours, and be ready to move it (in the hopes of its recovery) should you see it suffering, or dead. Bob Fenner> Vince Gibbens

Re: Puffers on FAQ Hi, <Hello Laura> I was just doing my daily (well, since I started reworking our tank) reading of the FAQ and came across the question on puffers.  These little guys are my favorite fish, and I have kept both species of green spotted, figure eights, freshwater dwarfs, Canthigaster valentini, C. jactator, and C. solandri (have avoided the larger dog-faced and spiny marine puffs due to tank size).  I was hoping you could forward this message on to Tyler Re: what species of puffer to keep in a 20 tall and ordering puffers online. For a 20H, you could keep 1-2 figure eights (sg 1.005), 1 green spotted (sg 1.010-1.015), or 1-2 male and 3-5 female dwarf puffers (freshwater).  Dwarfs are notorious for coming in starving or with severe internal parasites (breeding them would be a noble goal considering how many are lost in the import process). <Agreed> I've seen three batches from three different sources (two different LFSs and another group ordered online for a total of 18 fish) drop like flies even with heavy feeding of vitamin-soaked, meaty frozen and live foods (these guys just won't eat dried foods, not even krill like the larger species).  They also really need lots of live plants to hide from each other when things get sticky.  Sexing can be accomplished as cited in other sources: males are not as round and have a dark brown dorsal stripe and yellow bellies.  For a first time puffer owner, I would really not recommend them because they tend to be very delicate. <Yes... need to be quarantined for weeks, fed foods laced with anti-protozoals, anthelminthics... like Metronidazole/Flagyl, Piperazine, Praziquantel... to eliminate internal parasites.>   As far as ordering puffers online, I wouldn't worry about fig eights and green spotteds if your source is keeping them in brackish but I absolutely would not order dwarfs online. These are fish you really need to see in person before you buy, and even then buying them is a fairly big gamble.  I finally got some successful ones that had been started by someone else for a few months; your best bet is probably to find another hobbyist who has been keeping them long-term. Anyways, I'm sure you guys already know all of this and just don't have time to make such an in-depth reply to every single person who e-mails you, so I hope me typing it all out will help :). <Thank you for the excellent input. You will have aided many, and saved many fishes thereby. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Laura

Puffer questions Hey there, <Hello> I have been keeping fish for a few years (I'm 16, been doing it since I was 10), I have a 10 and 20 gallon tank. The 10gal. has had the same pair of male and female Kenyi Cichlid in it for 3 years now, and they're doing great. The 20 gallon (tall) is currently empty, but cycled and ready for brackish, FW, or even marine. I've been doing quite a bit of research on Puffer Fish lately, and I'm extremely interested in getting one, or really, a small school if suitable. None of my LFS's have any species, and don't intend on stocking any in the future (Hmm, I wonder why). <That's odd, did you ask them?  They are all the all the rage around here, northern Cali.> Now, there is a place that I've found called www.aquariumfish.net, which deals in online orders. <I have no experience with these folks, but from reading their site they do guarantee the fish to arrive alive, or it will be replaced, the shipping cannot be refunded, and that is far more expensive that the fish I was looking at.  I do not know about their acclimation procedure, but apparently it works for them.  Read over their warranty and shipping information and email them with any concerns, if you cannot find the fish in your area it might be worth a shot.> Man, this email is getting long already, so I'll try and keep it short :) <no worries, I can talk about fish all day> I was just wondering: 1) What (in your opinion, please) are the best species of Puffer Fish to put into my 20 gallon tank? Disregard water type, I'm just stuck on the issues of certain species growing to be too big, being territorial with each other, and snappy if kept in numbers. <most puffers are snappy, in a 20gal I would go with Indian Dwarf puffers (Tetraodon travancoricus).  They are a true freshwater puffer.  If not the dwarfs, I would look into the figure eights or green spotted puffers.> 2) Depending on what kind of fish (1), is it a wise idea to buy them from an online source? They are in San Diego, CA and I am in New Jersey... I just don't know if this is 'acceptable' for puffer fish, since I've never dealt with them before. I've kept brackish and marine fish in that particular tank, also. So I know how the tank handles a load, etc. I just need suggestions! <I would be concerned with ordering fish online, San Diego to Jersey is a long trip and the weather this time of year is not always pretty.  I would try to sweet talk the LFS owner into ordering the puffers.> Aren't you glad I asked before I went on and bought them? :) <Is that because you are responsible, or because you cannot find them? Just kidding.  It is always wise to do your research before you make your purchase, last time I bought a fish without researching I ended up with a Parachromis dovii, needless to say, my 125gal now belongs to him.> Thanks SO much, Tyler Silhan <check out the links below for more info on puffers, Best Regards -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm http://puffernet.tripod.com  >

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: