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FAQs about Brackish Puffer Compatibility

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Umm, first of all:

1) Know your species... are they even brackish water?
2) Know their growth rate and ultimate size... Do you have enough room?
3) Know their dietary requirements... Are you able, willing to supply them?

Neons Gone!!!!! In with a brackish puffer... eaten   10/13/09
Hi all. My name is Gerard.
<Hello Gerard,>
I really need some help here. I have a figure 8 puffer and had 10 Neons in the tank.
<You do realise these fish cannot be kept together? Figure-8 puffers (Tetraodon biocellatus) are BRACKISH water fish. They need to be maintained in a brackish water aquarium around SH 1.003 to SG 1.010.
For some years there was confusion over this, possibly because Figure-8 puffers were mistakenly identified as Tetraodon palembangensis, a truly freshwater fish. In any case, Figure-8 puffers need brackish water, whereas Neons need soft water, so there's no overlap. Pufferfish also tend to be non-social fish, at best they're territorial, at worst they're predatory.
Figure-8 puffers are nippy and somewhat territorial, and best kept either singly or in groups of 3+. Do read here about puffer behaviour:
I woke up yesterday morning and 8 of them had vanished. I mean not even a fin left. Now I thought that my wife took them out to give to her sister for her tank......but this is not so.
<Somewhat mysterious. Of course, a big Pufferfish will eat small Neons.>
Sorry wife. So this morning I wake up and I find that the other two are now also GONE!!! what is going on?? At the pet shop I was told to feed the fish every second day with flakes or pellets and bloodworm twice a week for the puffer. not more than that otherwise the tank water will go off because bloodworm is very high in protein, so the puffer would eat what the others eat (terrible spelling sorry).
<Pufferfish need crunchy foods, not flake.
Offer them things like unshelled prawns, woodlice, small snails, chopped squid, krill, and so on. Avoid freeze-dried foods (these seem to cause constipation). Focus on fresh or wet-frozen foods. Don't feed them live feeder fish!>
At another pet shop I was told that the puffer only eats bloodworm and to feed it once a day????
<Why are you relying on what pet stores tell you? Would you listen to what a car salesman said? Or someone selling clothes? Of course not; you'd do your own research and make your own decisions. There is plenty of
information on this puffer species here at WWM.
I'm 50 bucks down overnight and a very empty looking fish tank..... Please could someone tell me the truth. I don't know who to believe.
<Luckily for you I write about brackish water puffers, and even have a book about brackish water fishes that you might want to buy or borrow from a library. So you can trust me!>
When you go back and off load your frustration...... it's always something you have done... Eagerly waiting for a response Kind regards Gerard
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Neons Gone!!!!! 10/13/09
Hi Neale, yes thanks for the quick response. Please tell me , could that puffer have eaten all 8 and 2 the following night??
<Yes. Puffers will eat a lot of food! In the wild they eat "poor quality" food, meaning their food contains a lot of shells. So they have big stomachs, and need to eat a lot of food across the day to get all the energy they need. In an aquarium they are given soft, good quality food, so seem very greedy. Their instinct is to fill themselves up on whatever they can find; if that happens to be a bunch of small fish, particularly dead
fish, then that's what happens. I should say that Figure-8 puffers do not normally eat fish, not in the wild and not in captivity.>
That really baffles me. oh and what is the difference between brack and soft water?
<Brackish water is what you have in an estuary. It is half seawater and half river water. In the aquarium, for the Figure 8 pufferfish, you would add 9 grammes of marine salt mix (like you'd use in a marine reef tank) per 1 litre of water. Do read in particular here:
Soft water is water with low levels of hardness. It was what you find in rivers hundreds of miles inland, like in the Amazon or the Congo. You *cannot* keep soft water fish and brackish water fish in the same
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish - Puffer Compatibility  4/12/09
I currently have a 55gal tank, with 2 fish - a rather large and well-fed goldfish, as well as one medium sized Pleco.
<Sounds nice, assuming the tank is warm enough for the Plec (you can't keep a Plec in an unheated aquarium).>
Yesterday, my teenage daughter, on a lark, bought a puffer fish from Wal-Mart. The puffer is maybe an inch and a half long.
<Take it back. For a start, most of the Puffers sold are brackish water species, most commonly the Figure 8 puffer (Tetraodon biocellatus) and the two Green Spotted Puffers (Tetraodon fluviatilis and Tetraodon
nigroviridis). So these simply cannot be kept for more than a few months in freshwater tanks. There are true freshwater puffers in the trade, but these are either nippy, aggressive, or both.>
I really don't want to get a new aquarium for the puffer, but I also can't let her keep it in the small bowl she's currently using.
<Take it back.>
Can the goldfish and puffer coexist peacefully??
Or do I need to find another option?
Thanks for your help.
<Your daughter has to take back the fish. She needs to learn to research the needs of the fish before spending money. In other words, a lesson in responsibility! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish - Puffer Compatibility - 4/13/09
First off, thanks for the quick response!
<Happy to help.>
You pretty much confirmed what I told her - but she's a teenager, and the last person on earth she'd listen to, is her dad!
We'll find a new, appropriate, home for the poor puffer today.
As for my goldfish and Pleco - the tank is plenty warm.
<Hmm... by which, you mean the tank is consistently at 22C/70F or more? I only mention this because a lot of people buy these Plecs assuming they'll be fine in a coldwater tank, and they won't be.>
They've both lived together for a little over 4 years now, and are thriving.
<No, doesn't sound like its thriving at all. At 4 years old it should be full size, which means 45 cm/18 inches. You mentioned yours was "medium sized" which simply shouldn't be the case after four years. So something is amiss. Lifespan when properly kept is something over 20 years, and these animals are legendarily tough, so signs of "sub optimal" maintenance won't always be obvious. If your fish is still happy sixteen years from now, please let me know, eh? But honestly, if your house is centrally heated to the minimum temperature mentioned above, you'll earn all kinds of good karma by adding a heater. Goldfish, by the way, don't mind warm water at all, and Fancy Goldfish will actually do much better than otherwise.>
Thanks again, and have a great day!
<You're most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish - Puffer Compatibility - 4/13/09
Wow... and I thought he was so happy!? I do have a heater, but I don't keep it very warm - usually around 68. The aquarium is in a cooler part of our basement.? I'll turn the heater up and see how he likes it.
Thanks again.
<Very good. But don't go bananas! Stick the heater in at its lowest setting to begin with, and each day thereafter turn it up a notch. Goldfish aren't happy above 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) so don't turn the heater up too high. Cheers, Neale.>

Milk-Spotted Puffer, sys., comp.   4/14/09
I recently brought a milk-spotted puffer and all i know is that he is a marine fish that can live in brackish water, i brought him in fresh water but i am rising the salinity of his water at .002 per week, its currently
at 1.005.
<Chelonodon patoca can be acclimated to any salinity you want, even fully marine conditions, in the space of an hour. Like most euryhaline fish, it's highly adaptable to rapid environmental changes. On the other hand, your filter bacteria won't tolerate big salinity changes, so you need to make changes slowly enough the bacteria don't die.>
in his tank i have some dead coral, plenty of river rocks and some holey rock with silver sand for substrate, is all that suitable?
<Pretty much, yes. I'd be careful with lava rock type things that have a rough texture because puffers can scratch themselves quite easily, but otherwise sounds fine.>
I also wanted to know all of his proper water conditions, i know ammonia, no2 and no3 shouldn't be present at all but what should my ph, KH and GH be?
what salinity would be ideal for him?
<Much like the Green Spotted Puffer. Your species, Chelonodon patoca, will thrive from SG 1.005 to 1.025. The pH should be high, between 7.5 and 8.2, and the hardness should be "hard" to "very hard" on whatever scale you're using. As for carbonate hardness, the marine salt mix you add should take care of this, but you're aiming for about 10 degrees KH upwards.>
and temp?
<Middling; around 25 C is fine.>
i also have a red scat in another tank and was told they could go into the same tank together is this true?
<Chelonodon patoca is a notorious fin-biter; it's best kept either alone or with its own species (it seems to be quite peaceful, other than being a biter). Some folks have kept them with Scats, Monos, etc., but there are no guarantees, and lot depends on the Pufferfish itself, the size of the tank, and how well your fish are fed. When hungry, Puffers tend to bite more
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mollie population control - Puffer? 7/9/08 Good morning Crew, <Hello> As always thanks for the advice. My question is near the bottom, the rest of this is describing my setup, water parameters, and stocking so you have complete information. <Ok> I am looking for a good method of population control for my Mollies. After much reading about F8, GSP and dwarf puffers I can't find an answer to say if they would be good for my purpose. <Most likely not.> My tank is a 46 gallon bowfront, heavily planted and slightly brackish (SG 1.003~1.004 using instant ocean). PH 7.5, ammonia and nitrites stay at 0ppm, Nitrates 10~40 depending on when the last water change was, GH around 12, KH around 9. Plants are Amazon swords, Water Wisteria /(/Hygrophila deformis), and something else I got from a friend but never looked up the name. 2 WPG for 8 hours a day, with 4WPG for 2 hours in the middle of the day. Substrate is red Fluorite. Filter is a Fluval 405 canister packed with 3 layers bio media and one layer of filter floss outputting through spray bar. The population consists of 3 Otos, <Will suffer in these brackish conditions.> 5 adult swordtails, 8 adult female Dalmatian mollies, one large and happy male molly, and an every growing population of baby swords and mollies. Of course there is also a good population of snails, not out of control, but persistent. Everybody gets algae flakes and some sea weed sheets along with the occasional blanched veggie to eat. Currently, I am moving 20 or so fry at a time to a 5 gallon tank until they get to be juveniles about 1/2 inch long, then I give them to a co-worker to feed to his Oscar. <Ok> In an ideal world, I would like to have a tankmate for the mollies and swords that would eat the small fry but leave the adults and plants alone. Would be great if it would also eat some of the snails, but they are not a large concern. <Probably more than any one fish can do.> NOW to the question... Would some form of puffer work with this setup without tearing up the plants or harming the adults? Reading the FAQ and articles on the GSP and F8 they like slightly more salt, but might be happy. Obviously I would want one that doesn't get to big, so a dwarf might be better? <Can be mean little suckers/fin nippers, best housed in species specific tank. I do keep a F8 puffer with a couple mollies, but I have been very lucky that he has a less aggressive personality than many other F8s, but he does not touch the fry either so no real help. GSPs prefer more brackish to marine conditions and have also been known to be problematic fin nippers.> If I am totally on the wrong track with puffers would you suggest something else that might work? Thanks Robert <For some unknown reason today I decided to re-visit Neale's very excellent book Brackish-Water Fishes so I am going to blatantly steal a few of his ideas. (Sorry Neale) For want you are looking for Knight Gobies come to mind, along with a few of the Rainbow species than can do well in lightly brackish water. If you can find Orange Chromide they may also work well.> <Chris>

Puffer Bite, BR    9/2/07 Hello, <Kimberly> My Figure 8 puffer has sadly lost an eye due to a bite from another puffer. <Mmm, what re the system these are in?> I have isolated her in a breeder tank so as not to stress her by moving her out of her current water parameters. She is currently in mid-brackish (1.010) salinity. <Mmm, not "mid"> (I have other puffers with higher salinity requirements so I tried to find a happy medium salinity-wise) After this incident (and if she makes it), she will be kept singly, in her own tank with 1.005 salinity) She is still alive and seems to be breathing normally. For most of the day, she was lying on her side and occasionally swimming in circles. Just tonight she started swimming normally again but is not eating. It looks extremely painful. Is there such a thing as a pain reliever for fish? <None that I know of unfortunately> What can I do to ease her pain, help to speed the healing process and prevent infection? <Good maintenance... frequent, partial water changes, the use of a bit of activated carbon in the filter flow path... Addition/soaking of foods in HUFAs and vitamins mix...> Thank you for your time, -Kimberly <Welcome my friend. You might find solace in chatting with fellow Puffer keepers on the Puffer Forum, http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/. Bob Fenner>

Combining Puffer Species  3/18/07 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have 2 dwarf puffer fish and 2 green puffer fish.   <By "green puffer fish" I assume you are speaking of the green spotted puffer, Tetraodon nigroviridis?> Can you suggest a fish that would be compatible with these fish, that would help keep the algae down in my tank? <You are keeping 2 completely incompatible puffers together.  The tiny dwarf puffer is strictly a freshwater fish.  The "green" puffer will grow quite large (6"), become very aggressive to the point of murdering those cute little dwarves & require high-end brackish conditions.  I'd rethink your fish so far, before adding anything else. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm Also check www.thepufferforum.com for more information on puffers. As far as your question, puffers are very aggressive fish.  Even the dwarf puffers have been known to take "rides" on fish 10x their size.  They have however, been tolerant of Otocinclus catfish in their tank for algae duty.  The GSPs will have to be housed separately from your dwarf puffers.  There really aren't any cleaners that will survive the high-end BW conditions they require or the wrath of puffer teeth.  ~PP> Thank you

Mixing Puffer Species  10/30/06 Thank you for your prompt response and this information. We have 5 Green Spotted Puffers. 3 are 1 1/2 inches (Lumpy is one of these) and 2 are about 3/4 of an inch. We also have 2 yellow-green dwarf puffers that have been with us for 9 months. <So there are 2 different species, 5 green spotted & 2 dwarf puffers?> They all get along very well in our 55 gallon tank.  We have not found any fin nipping. <Not for long!> We keep the salinity at about 1.005-1.007, using a mix of aquarium salt and sea salt. <Dwarf puffers are strictly a freshwater species & should not be kept in brackish water.  I killed my 1st 2 that way.  Brackish water should be made with marine salt only.> The nitrite and nitrate levels are almost always perfect, though the water is naturally hard due to being in Phoenix. <"Almost always perfect" still doesn't tell me anything--no different than "fine".  Ammonia & nitrites should be 0 at all times, nitrates should be <20, pH should remain steady--around 8 for BW fish & 7.2 for FW.  Hard water is fine.>.   Are there any parasite treatments that would get rid of the worm without harming Lumpy? <Like I said before, if you kill the worm inside the fish, it will die & rot inside your fish, killing the fish too.  It is best to keep the fish separate (30g minimum for a GSP).  That would still leave you needing to find a much bigger tank for the other 4 , as 30g each is the minimum for them--that means a 120g tank as they reach adulthood. I would also put the DPs in a freshwater tank of their own.  A 5-10g would be perfect for the 2 of them.  As the GSPs mature, they will get quite aggressive, killing most of their tank mates.  You can imagine what a 6" killing machine might do to a 1" pea-sized puffer! I have a segregator I can use but it would still use common  circulation for the filter. <No good.  Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm Also visit: www.thepufferforum.com for more info.  ~PP>> Beth Friedman

Tankmates for Brackish Puffers   9/30/06 <Hi Kellee, Pufferpunk here> Right now I have a brackish 75 gallon sand bottom tank with one green spotted puffer, one figure eight puffer and one bumblebee goby.  They are all juveniles and get along very well (for right now!).  They were introduced to our tank at the same time, however all three lived in different tanks with clear dividers in the pet store.  We have owned them for one week.  Can we add to our tank any other fish, and if we can, what kind?   <I suggest putting the F8 & BBG in a separate tank (15g should suffice), since they prefer low-end brackish water, then as your GSPs mature (in a couple of years), you can keep them in marine conditions & maybe add a few damselfish & a tomato clownfish. For more info see: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/introtogsp.html > Are there any brackish water plants that will survive? <In your F8 tank you might have some luck with java fern, java moss, Vallisneria & a few more.> Also, we don't know much about snails except we do know we need to include them for the puffers.  What type, how often, and how does it work? <Pond snails are good for young puffers--about as big as they're eye.  You may need to crush at 1st, for them to recognize them as food.  For more feeding ideas: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html  Feel free to root around that forum for more puffer info!  ~PP> Thank you so much!  Kellee

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

Snails as Cleaners in Puffer Tank  8/4/06 Pufferpunk (& Crew), After the Puffers have been thoroughly acclimated to brackish environment, do you think it would be possible (I guess it is possible... is it practical?) to acclimate some of the smaller marine snails from my Reef Tank clean-up crew to the lower salinity of the Puffers aquarium or am I better off trying to acclimate fresh water snails to the higher salinity?  I would think the latter (freshwater snails) would be more prone to osmotic problems, but .. what do I know! <smile>  What do you think? <Neither will work as clean-up crew, as snails are puffer food!  ~PP> Thanks, Roy Roy

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.>>

Mixing Puffer Species  1/15/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk again> My 55 gallon has been running for well over 3 months now, and I make water changes weekly.  It's very well cycled, and I have never once lost a fish due to my own negligence.  The overcrowding of the 55 was temporary, only long enough to test and level water. My 60 gallon is new, yes, but not uncycled.   The only fish that have ever died in my tanks have died from illness and infections brought home from crappy LFS, never from poor water or being uncared for.  I did what I could for the Target (could not find a picture of him on the site you sent me to, but this was the type: <a href=" http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/Fishindx/puf-leir.htm">here</a>). It says on every site I've found about any Target that a minimum of 30 gallons is recommended, yet hospital tanks should be 10-20 gallon tanks.  I had him in a very cycled, very stable 10 gallon hospital. He may very well have died from ammonia/nitrite poisoning that occurred at the LFS, since that tank wasn't very clean (I had to do what I could to help the fish, since the LFS wasn't doing anything at all) and the owner had flat out said that tank was past due for a water change. My Ceylon puffer is in the 60 with an F8, and both are doing fine.  I bought a new Target for my 30 gallon, and he is healthy and hunting goldfish and guppies.   <Fish are not a good diet for your puffer.  They are crustacean eaters & need their crunchiness to keep their teeth trimmed.  Feeding a consistent diet of fish will cause liver disease.> pH levels only jump during water changes, since the water where I live is extremely hard, and it levels out in less than half an hour.   Minimum tank size for Ceylon's that I've come across are 30 gallons.  Having him in a 60 gallon with the Ceylon while he's still a small baby is not going to be a problem, correct?   They both seem to love each other, and are quite content.  Nothing else is in the tank with it. <F8 puffers are best kept at a SG of 1.005.  <A 4" Ceylon isn't a "baby".  It is already 3x the mass of the F8.  A Ceylon that size would be best kept at a much higher SG (around 1.015-18).> My 55 gallon is under reconstruction, since it seems that system did crash, but not for reasons you gave me.   <If you had any detectable ammonia or nitrItes & you added fish such as puffers (which are messy eaters & high waste producers), it could topple the biological balance you have in the tank, as it was not completely established in the 1st place.> My Fluval 204 decided to shut off last week (which was the cause of the GSP and Ceylon to try and get air from surface and get air stuck in stomachs), leaving only the undergravel to work half-assed.  I operated on my Fluval, and am going to do the 80% change you suggested to me, leaving my Synodontis and Pleco (with misc. guppies, goldfish, shrimp and snails) in there to recycle the tank for a few weeks. <I suggest adding Bio-Spira to help out the cycle.  I don't like cycling with fish.> A couple quick questions, though. I want to wean my 60 to a full saltwater tank within the next few months or so, with my Ceylon in it (since he's already about 4 inches or so).  What are the first steps I need to take to begin the process?  When do I put the SW substrate into the tank?   <You can add crushed coral or aragonite now.  Same for the F8.> When is the best time for a UV Sterilizer, Skimmer, etc?   <UV Sterilizer isn't necessary.  A skimmer will start to skim at around 1.018> How often do I add salt to wean it, how much, and what's the best brand? <You can start raising the SG .002/weekly water change.  You'll have to do some math.  For a fish only tank, you may use whatever marine salt is on sale.> Thanks for your answers to my last questions.  Sorry if I seem a bit short; I work and come home to my tanks, servicing them and medicating (if necessary) daily.  Hundreds of dollars have been dropped to make my tanks the best they could be.  My kittens are even ignored these days, since my tanks require more attention.   <Boy, does that ever sound familiar!> There has never been an issue that was caused by the quality of the water, foods, etc.  I get offended when it's even suggested. <Even the more conscientious aquarist can still make mistakes.> The GSP died because the Fluval I have either jammed or my cats knocked into it (I really don't know why it stopped), causing the intake to .. stop intaking water, causing the whole filter to shut off.  The 55 half-crashed, but I think I got it up in enough time to save most of the good stuff (no fish died).  I am working on that tank today.  The 60 gallon is brand new in the sense of newly-cycled; water levels are sturdy and good, and the two puffers seem to be doing just fine (I've had puffers in the past that definitely let me know when it was time for a water change or pH adjustment).   <Good luck with your puffers.  Be sure to check out www.thepufferforum.com & The Library there.  ~PP> Thanks again. Elizabeth Mixing BW & FW puffers  1/11/06 Matt Pace here, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have recently set up a 20 gallon mildly brackish tank with Aquaclear 50 gallon filter and air stone. I have 17 bumblebee gobies, 2 Siamese algae eaters, and did have 2 figure eight puffers. <What do you mean by "mildly brackish"?  What is the specific gravity?  Are you using marine salt?> One died day 2 (ammonia spike) and the other has thrived. <Hmmm... not cycled before adding fish, or overstocked?  It is already overstocked as it is...> I would like to either add another figure eight or a couple other dwarf puffers. <Absolutely not!  That tank is good to support the BBGs without the puffer.  You need to thin out the inhabitants in there.  Either return the puffer, or return about half the BBGs.> What types of dwarf puffers are compatible with figure-eights? Which would be better? <None> I also have a CAE in another tank. It is a ten gallon and I bought him when I did not know what I was doing. Since he is getting larger and I am afraid he will suck on my gouramis and tetras, Could I move him to the brackish tank (via drip acclimation method)?  Would he get along with puffers, SAEs, and little gobies? <No, it is a FW fish, not BW.  Neither is the SAE--it belongs in FW.> Otherwise I have to send him back to pet store. <Looks like you have several fish to send back.> I have read they get nasty as they get older and harass flat bodied fish. Since there are no flat bodies in my brackish tank and it is supposed to be somewhat of an Asian river/mangrove swamp biotope, I though it would work. Any and all advice would be appreciated. <You cannot mix FW & BW fish.  It will stress them out, compromising their immune systems, causing disease & early death.  You also should not overstock tanks, especially BW & SW.  Generally, A F8 puffer needs a 15g tank for the 1st puffer & 10 additional gallons for each added.  If you want other tank mates, then you need to go larger.  Thin out your stock of gobies & you should have a nice tank of puffer & gobies.  Don't be surprised though, if the goby population dwindles, as I started out with 8 & my F8s have eaten all but 1.  Puffers need a cycled tank & pristine water conditions.  Here's a good article on your puffer: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/f8puffer.html.  Check out that forum for more puffer info.  ~PP> Later, Matt Pufferfish Aggression  1/4/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk again> Our green spots are the most passive of the puffers we own... <They are juvies now... Just wait till they mature & one morning you wake up with maimed or dead fish.> We have the salinity levels between what the figure eights and greens spots need and there is a level which both can live in. We bought all the fish in 1.010 and that is what they are now in... <Figure 8s are best kept at 1.005 for life.  GSPs will eventually need marine conditions.  LFS rarely know what is best for puffers.> This particular green spot has gotten sick on several occasions where as the other green spot and the figure eights don't get sick. The red-eye and the dwarf are now in their own tank. <You're not worried about the red-eye killing the dwarf?  Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  The species are not to be mixed.> The first time the green spot got sick he had gill disease and this time he had something that medications did not cure... So far I have found that the most aggressive of all is the red-eye, contrary to what every website I have read has said. <It is possible that your red-eye is the more aggressive lorteti. They are almost impossible to tell apart.  As you have already witnessed, puffers have their own personality & levels of aggression.  Hence keeping species & sometimes individuals separate.  I know of puffers that had previously gotten along with it's tank mates, only to wake up one morning to it being the only survivor of a massacre.  Have you read the profiles & articles I linked you to?  I highly suggest that you do.  They are written by the top puffer experts in the world!  ~PP> Pufferfish  6/3/05 Pufferfish Aggression  1/4/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk again>   (Hi, Person e-mailing you last time and this time is not the initial e-mailer) Our green spots are the most passive of the puffers we own... <They are juvies now... Just wait till they mature & one morning you wake up with maimed or dead fish.>   (The green spot is almost fully grown) <<Um, quote from the 1st post "I have in a 29 gallon, 2 green spots, 2 figure 8's, 1 dragon fish, and 1 dwarf puffer. All are juveniles except dwarf."  If your GSP is an adult 6" puffer, then that tank is definitely too crowded!>> We have the salinity levels between what the figure eights and green spots need and there is a level which both can live in. We bought all the fish in 1.010 and that is what they are now in... <Figure 8s are best kept at 1.005 for life.  GSPs will eventually need marine conditions.  LFS rarely know what is best for puffers.>   (Didn't get any info from any LFS's being they know nothing... Apparently neither do forum runners) This particular green spot has gotten sick on several occasions where as the other green spot and the figure eights don't get sick. The red-eye and the dwarf are now in their own tank. <You're not worried about the red-eye killing the dwarf?  Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  The species are not to be mixed.>   (The red-eye only goes for BIGGER fish... He does not mess with dwarves or guppies) <<Yet...  Dwarves have been known to take "fin rides" on fish 10x their size!.>> The first time the green spot got sick he had gill disease and this time he had something that medications did not cure... So far I have found that the most aggressive of all is the red-eye, contrary to what every website I have read has said. <It is possible that your red-eye is the more aggressive lorteti. They are almost impossible to tell apart.   (It was sold as a Samphong... AKA Red-eye red-tail)   <<So now you trust your LFS to properly ID a puffer, after saying "Didn't get any info from any LFS's being they know nothing"?>> As you have already witnessed, puffers have their own personality & levels of aggression.  Hence keeping species & sometimes individuals separate.  I know of puffers that had previously gotten along with it's tank mates, only to wake up one morning to it being the only survivor of a massacre.  Have you read the profiles & articles I linked you to?  I highly suggest that you do.  They are written by the top puffer experts in the world!  ~PP>        http://www.pufferlist.com/pufferlist2.htm <<Great site.  The owner of that site is one of the Administrators of my puffer site, The Puffer Forum>>>        http://puffernet.tripod.com/ <<Absolutely worst website about puffers on the net!>>        http://boeing_dude.tripod.com/id194.htm <<Incorrect on a lot of info here too.  The GSP is Tetraodon nigroviridis, not T fluviatilis.   They do mention "aggressive and are territorial. Few other fish can be kept with them due to this temperament" & "notorious fin nippers and can be killers."  Very true. The T biocellatus (figure 8) does not grow to 8", nor do they need a 50g tank.  They probably have them confused with the true T fluviatilis, which does grow to 8".  They also recommend tank size for the T Mbu is 75g & I can guarantee you--minimum for these fish is 300+.  Same thing for the Fahaka puffer.  They recommend a 50g tank for a fish that grows to 18"!  Mine was moved into a 125g at 9".  Believe what you wish--it's your tank.  I have written the most commonly referred to Green Spotted Puffer article used today.  I have also written all the puffer profiles in the recently released, Encyclopedia of Exotic Tropical Fishes, published by TFH.  I own the #1 pufferfish website in the world.  You might want to check that out, before doubting my experience with these fish.  Like I said, your tank, your fish, do what you wish with them.  I guess you know something I don't.  ~PP>> Mixing Puffer Species  1/2/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have in a 29 gallon, 2 green spots, 2 figure 8's, 1 dragon fish, and 1 dwarf puffer. All are juveniles except dwarf.    A few days ago I found and brought home a "Samphong" (?) puffer (guessing a female red eye red tail) from LFS that did not have much or actually any info on. I added this little devil to my happy community of peaceful friends and have had nothing but regrets and troubles since. The Samphong immediately bit both of my greens, killing 1 within 12 hours and 1 figure 8. Needless to say the hell raiser was quarantined as soon as i could get the net in my hand. The deceased within 30 minutes of the attack was swollen on entire side of bite. My figure 8 victim is doing ok.. Now to my main problem. My other green spot has become lethargic and not eating. As of this morning, 3 days since attack, he is now getting fin and tail rot. I am now treating with Anti-Fungus, a product of Aquarium Products and Mela-Fix by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I am wondering if I am doing the right thing or if you have any other ideas of how to treat. <The 1st issue I see, is that you are mixing fresh, low-end-brackish & high-end brackish water species.  The 2nd problem I see, is that you have several species of different aggression & sizes, all in the same tank.  The dwarf only grows to 1", while the F8 (low-end BW fish) grows to 3" & the most aggressive of the 3, the GSP, grows to 6" & requires high-end BW (preferring marine conditions as an adult).  By keeping these exotic fish in conditions other than what are best for them will compromise their immune systems, causing the least bit of stress to make them sick.  I would get these fish into separate tanks with the proper parameters ASAP.  The DP can live in a 5g tank.  F8s are best with 15g for the 1st one & 10g for each added.  You can keep the dragon & the F8 in the 29g.  GSPs need 30-50g each, as adults.  I would separate them ASAP or you will witness more deaths.  If you need to cycle new tanks, you can add Bio-Spira, for an instant cycle.  As you have seen what can happen when you don't research a species 1st (all new fish should be quarantined also), you can check out puffer profiles at www.pufferlist.com.  There is great info & excellent articles at www.thepufferforum.com.  Be sure to read the F8 & GSP articles in The Library.  For the Dwarf puffer, you can go to www.dwarfpuffers.com.  After moving your GSP, start raising the SG (specific gravity, measured with a hydrometer or refractometer) by .002/week.  You must use marine salt.  Aim for 1.008-1.010 for the GSP (raising it higher towards adulthood) & 1.005 for the F8.  Keep using Melafix & Pimafix on the sick fish.  ~PP> Thank you, Philip

BW Puffers w/FW Fish?  9/6/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. I have two spotted puffers which I was told needed brackish water. I also have serpae tetras and dwarf platys (possibly mollies?). I wanted some advice on what would be a good salinity level for all the fish I have. <Sorry, but it is not possible to mix FW & BW fish.> I also have a crab and two tiny fish that I believe are guppies (not fancy). <Crabs are puffer food.> Any suggestions?  I really like the puffers because they help with my snail problem. And they are cute too. <If you do really have green spotted puffers (Tetraodon nigroviridis), then you will be needing 30g/fish as they grow to 6" adults.  I'd find another home (or set up another tank) for your other fish.  The puffers will soon torture & kill them. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm & www.thepufferforum.net  ~PP> Thanks for the help, Anastasia

Save the SAP's  11/12/2005 Hello, <Hello> I am having a problem with my South American puffers (SAP's). I recently purchased 2 new SAP's to be added with the two that I already have. I noticed the last 2 days that they all have small tiny white dots like small air bubbles all over their skin. I have tried to get a really close look at them, and from what I can tell, they are not micro bubbles. <No quarantine tank? How long have the new inhabitants been in the tank?>  My largest SAP also has pink/red around his mouth, fins and tail and seems to prefer to only navigate his way around the tank with one side fin and the other tucked against his body).  Could you please provide any insight as to what this may be (disease, parasite, etc)? I have checked through the forum as best I could and could not find anything else like it. <Well, based on this description it sounds like you have two problems. The first sounds like freshwater ich. It is fairly easy to treat with a good medication like formalin.  You must have another tank though to treat the fish in separate from your main tank. Please see our FAQs on hospital tank setup. The second problem is the wound or infection on the mouth and gills. It may be stress related, however if it does not improve after treating the ich, a broad spectrum antibiotic will help. Once again please treat in a hospital tank.> My system is as follows. -55 gallon tank housing 4 South American puffers, 1 Palmyra (dinosaur) eel, 1 pleco, 1 tiger barb -recently added African driftwood (3 weeks ago)  <Very tight stocking list for these fish. The pleco and the eel will get rather large and the puffers generally do better without extra fish with them. They are notorious fin nippers.> -added some fake plants from storage to the tank (cleaned them off with just water. could I have not cleaned them off very well??) (2 weeks ago)  -15 gallon water changes for the last 3 weeks (normally 15 gallon changes monthly...ouch!) <This should be closer to 30-50% weekly or at least every two weeks. Unless you use a veggie filter or other high grade filtration system the water quality is also playing an issue in how the fish are doing health wise.. Puffers need pristine water, and they foul water quickly.> -ph 8.0, ammonia 0, nitrites .5 (possibly from me doing a complete clean of AquaClear 500 and killing all biological matter in the unit 3 weeks ago), nitrates 0 <Yes, and no, much more likely that your tank is over crowded with so many heavy waste producers and the tank does not have enough filtration to handle the load. > -recently added 2 SAP's and three tiger barbs (pleco killed 2 barbs) (all 5 new fish added 1 week ago) -added new carbon to system to clear the brown coloration from the driftwood ( 1 week ago) Up to this point, they have all been healthy fish ( the 2 SAP's are three and a half yrs old). They are all eating well. Could it be an External parasite? Should I add some freshwater salt (how much salt??) and increase temperature of the tank? If you need any other info, let me know.  Thank you! Jess <Well Jess, the best thing to do with all new fish is to quarantine them for 4 weeks or so. Especially puffers, since they are wild caught fish (The dwarf puffers being the notable exception to the rule as many are bred commercially.) Having that many fish in that one tank with such minimal filtration is not good either. Please look into either taking a few fish back, or upgrading to better filters and increasing your water change routine. Check our FAQ's here for help with the mountain of ways to treat your problems. Also please see www.thepufferforum.com for a host of puffer information specific to your SAPs as well as many informative articles on treating diseases. I as well as Jeni (Pufferpunk) reside there and are able to go into much greater depth with these issues than one email will cover.><Justin> 

Figure 8 & Dwarf Puffer Questions  6/13/05 Hi! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I asked a question a couple of weeks ago and you were so helpful, but now I have another. I bought 2 F8 puffers as babies. They are in a 10 gallon tank. I knew they would need a bigger one at some point but thought they'd be fine for a while. They were about 3/4" when I bought them, now a month later they are 1"-1 1/2".  What's more, one of them is getting much bigger than the other. I am astonished at how fast they are growing. <with only 2 of them, one may be getting more food as there is usually an aggressor.> So on Friday I am going to get a 30 gallon for them. I also want to get another F8 to spread aggression and perhaps equalize their growth. <Like I just said!> You may remember one of my puffers was nick named Pufferpigger, she's the fat one.  I think a 30 gal will look pretty empty with only three 1-2" fish in it. So I was wondering what fish you would recommend keeping in this tank. I read that you have bumblebee gobies, and knight gobies in your tank. How many would you suggest? Are there any other species that would thrive (not survive) with my puffers, keeping in mind the puffers happiness is absolute? I will live if my puffers can't have friends, but I'd like them to. <I think a pair of knight gobies & half dozen BBGs should work out fine.  Try to get larger BBGs, as the knights will eat anything that can fit into their mouths.  I've seen them gobble up full grown crickets with no problem.> Also, I think I will add dwarf puffers to the 10 gal. How many do you recommend I keep? I read that I could do up to 5 with a ration of 1 male to 3 females, should I only keep 4, or can I do 1 male and 4 females? Would they be happier with extra space? <The usual recommendation is 1DP/3gal but you may be able to get away with 3 females & 1 male.  A great DP site to check out: www.dwarfpuffers.com.> Thank you so much for your time, knowledge and for passing your puffer loving infection to all :) <Absolutely!  Have you been to The Puffer Forum?   http://www.thepufferforum.org/  ~PP> Nicole

Mixing Puffers, Other Species  6/2/05 Hello Pufferpunk, you're awesome! <Awwww, shucks.> Now, I was wondering what you thought of this possible mix in a brackish set-up: 1 F8, 2 Bumblebee Gobies, 1 green scat, and a Mono or maybe an Orange Chromide?  You are the best person I know to ask, thank you for your time. <Certainly not all of those in a 20g tank?!  Scats grow as large as your outstretched hand.  Monos grow to a foot & are schooling fish.  A Chromide & F8 may get along.  I think a better combo would be 2 F8 puffers, a pair of knight gobies & 4 bumblebee gobies.  That would make for a very nice tank.  Just make sure the tank gets cycled before adding any of those fish & do 50% weekly water changes.  ~PP> Lisa Bad Advice about Puffers 3/16/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was fooled by a pet store employee. I bought a figure 8 and a leopard puffer. They said that they would be fine in my 55 gallon together and with my pleco, my 2 African frogs and a few barbs. The leopard bit the leg off my frog and keeps beating up on the figure 8. <No surprise there at all.> I have no more tanks to separate them. Could I just give the leopard a new home and keep the Figure 8? I really want to get more fish but I fear their lives with the leopard in there. But if I do that will the figure 8 just eat everyone in the tank?  ~*Tara*~  <The leopard, or green spotted puffer (Tetraodon nigriviridis), is an extremely aggressive fin biter. The F8 (T biocellatus) is a little more mellow, but has issues with the same. Both are actually brackish water fish. The nigroviridis, prefers high end BW & SW as an adult. You can read about them here: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=brack.  Neither of those fish will work in your tank. ~PP>

Puffers in Tight Quarters 3/3/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hello, I've got 3 GSPs, 2 at about the same size and doing fine but I also have a little tiny one too (a pup) and it will swim around like a mad man but MOST of the time it just sits at the bottom of the tank like its almost afraid of the others or like its sick. Any suggestions on what's happening?  <The larger 2 most definitely could be picking on your little one, but I couldn't tell for sure, without your posting water parameters. Ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes, pH, SG?> Also I noticed my Mono had like a scratch on him near his dorsal fin but not actually on the fin. Do you think one of the puffers attacked him? They're in a 15 gallon tank but I'm getting a 36 gallon tank soon. Will this help? <A larger tank would help, but a 36g tank is not large enough, if you planning on keeping the puffers to maturity, as they grow to 6" & need at least 30g each. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm.  The mono will get bitten by the puffers. They also are schooling fish that grow to 1 foot. I'd upgrade that tank as soon as possible! ~PP>

Green Spotted Puffers 2/24/04 Dear Crew: <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased 2 small FW Spotted Puffers at my local fish store. After introducing these fish into a 38 gal. tank w/Cichlids, they were attacked by 2 of the bigger fish. The bigger fish did no damage to the Puffers. Soon after the attack the 2 larger fish were floating on their bellies. I filed a complaint with the store, but nobody could answer my question. Are these fish poisonous to other fish? <Yes, in addition to the fact they have very though skin, they can puff to 5x their normal size & produce prickly spikes to make a very unpleasant meal, their skin & organs are also poisonous. Have you ever heard of eating fugu? 1% death rate, among folks that eat it. Your LFS also mislead you about their being FW. These are high-end BW fish that require SW as adults. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  If these are the only fish left in your tank, you can now make it BW. ~PP> 

Mixing Puffer Species 5/30/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 Gallon tall Hex tank, fully cycled, with a Biowheel filter. I have let it cycle over the past several weeks and in that time I have grown a nice amount of aquatic plants. <What do you mean by cycle? Are there fish in there or just plants? Without fish to produce ammonia or another source of ammonia, there is no nitrifying bacteria.> Now for my question. I was originally going to stock the tank with a few dwarf puffers (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) and an Otto. I have since fallen in love with both the South American (Colomesus asellus) and Figure Eight (Tetraodon biocellatus) Puffers. The tank is full freshwater right now. I was wondering if there is anyway to house 2 of these types of puffers together. I hear conflicting things about the required salinity for the figure 8, and just as often I see it listed as freshwater, hence my confusion! I have read that the South American and Dwarf Puffers can be housed together, and was wondering your what your recommendations for stocking ratios and such are.  <F8s are indeed BW fish, so those 2 species cannot be mixed. I would stick with a species only tank for a 20g. Either 2 F8s in a BW environment, or 2 SAPs in FW.  With F8s you could keep a few bumblebee gobies or w/SAPs you could keep faster moving fish, like danios & maybe some Corys.> Thanks so much for your time, you are truly an amazing resource! <That's what we're here for! ~PP>

Mixing Puffer Species 5/31/05 Pufferpunk, Thanks so much for the quick reply, <Sure!> By 'cycled' I mean that I allowed the nitrifying bacteria to build up by having my niece's goldfish in the tank for a few days several weeks ago.  I took her out, and now she's no worse for wear.  The ammonia, then nitrite spiked and has since leveled out (meaning both at 0, nitrate low).  <I'm sorry to say that if there have been no fish in there for over 24-48 hours, the tank has to be cycled again.  There has been no "food" by way of ammonia, to keep the bacteria alive in your tank.  You can always buy Bio-Spira at the same time as your fish, to "instant cycle" your tank.  Just do a 90% water change before hand.  I'm afraid cycling w/GF can also add certain diseases that other fish can't handle, to your tank.> I have decided to stick with a freshwater set-up, and I was wondering if mixing dwarf puffers and South American puffers would work.  <The vicious biting dwarves have caused problems for my SAPs, even in a much larger tank--I don't suggest it.> If not I think I'll stick to my original plan of dwarfs and an Oto.  Thanks again, I really appreciate it! <Good idea!  Should be a nice, interesting tank.  For info on DPs go to: www.dwarfpuffers.com  ~PP> Tank Mates for the Green spotted Puffer  10/31/04 <Pufferpunk here> I'm new to the aquarium hobby, but loving it.  I have a tank with three green spotted puffers.  I would like to diversify.  Are there any other types of fish that can cohabit with puffers without becoming a meal? <I really don't suggest puffers at all, for novice fishkeepers--especially the brackish water ones.  Have you read this article about them? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  Everything you need to know about them is in there.  ~PP>

Bossy Puffer  10/26/04 <Pufferpunk here> I ignored you warning about my GSP "Pongo" being too aggressive for my F8, but now "Munk" (he has the scream face on his back) the F8 is pushing Pongo and eating almost everything I throw into the tank. I don't think this is that bad of a problem now I'm sure if the GSP was hungry he would push back but I though to cut down on hostility could I re-arrange the tank plants and drift wood? I'm sure this isn't the biggest case of civil disturbance you hear its more like sibling rivalry but any ideas would be nice. <You're GSP may be less aggressive as a juvenile & could possibly starve, if you don't give him a chance to eat.  Moving the decor around may help, but you might just have to separate the two.  You can also try feeding at opposite ends of the tank.  ~PP> Thanks

Mixing BW Puffers in a 20g Tank <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have started my 20 gal brackish puffer tank with a medium GSP and a figure 8.  I can already tell the GSP is a little more pushy than the figure 8. When I chose my next two puffer should I exclude getting another GSP or the less aggressive figure 8, and what would be the ideal choice to have a happy tank? Thanks for your website <1st of all I need to request that when writing your emails, please use proper capitalization & punctuation.  I have to correct this myself, before sending it on to the FAQs at our website.  I'm not sure I understand your question.  Are you adding 2 more puffers to your 20g tank?  As you have already noticed, the GSP is too aggressive to house with the milder F8 in such a small tank.   As the GSP gets larger & even more aggressive, it will only get worse for the poor little F8.  Also, a 20g tank really isn't big enough for an adult (6") GSP.  What I'd do is find a home or return the GSP & get 1 more F8.  Only 1 F8/10g.  Here's a great article on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml  ~PP> Figure 8 Pufferfish  6/23/04 Hey Again! <Hey again yourself!> Geez, that was a fast response! <I'm on the ball today!> I have one more quick question. Would it be alright to add one of those suckerfishes (I can't think of the name.. but they are the ones who swim around and suck up all of the algae and stuff in the tank) into the tank? <The "suckerfish" you are talking about is a freshwater fish & doesn't like salt.  It's called a Plecostomus.  If you plan to keep these puffers for any length of time, they are best kept in brackish water.> Or would a snail be better, since a suckerfish lacks the protection from the Puffer? <Puffers eat snails & they don't like salt either.> Oh, and you're right. Figure 8's are cute! And I've got somewhat bad news.. I think he died. He hasn't moved lately.. <Sorry to hear that.  Did you get the water tested?>   Well, thanks for the help for my next fish! <Make sure & read that article I linked you to.> Btw, how long has your Pufferfish lasted? Do you also have a Figure 8? <Yes, I have 3 figure 8 puffers.  I've only had them for about a year, but they can live 18+ years if cared for properly. I have a total of 14 puffers in all   ~PP> Keeping BW & FW fish together  4/27/05 Hello: <Hi, Pufferpunk again> Thank you for all your help. My LFS has steered me VERY wrong, leading me to believe my cichlids (electric yellow, jewel, blue Johanna <I think>) are brackish water fish...... <As I mentioned before, cichlid salt is not the same as the marine salt, used to make BW.> OPPS, I also have 2 GSPs. My question is, although I know GSP's Like full SW as adults will they survive in a light brackish tank i.e. 1.004-1.008?   <As juvies yes, but your other fish won't appreciate those conditions.  Also, as they get older, they will get meaner & bother your other fish (fin-nipping, possibly killing).  For GSPs to thrive (not just survive), they will need a much higher SG.  Not necessarily SW, but high-end BW.  One of the he reasons for getting it up to SW is, that a protein skimmer can then be utilized, which is a great filter to use for fish.> I would love to keep them and the cichlids together, I now have a 30G hex BUT looking for a 55-75 G Tank. <You'll need at least a 55, just for the puffers as 6" adults.> MAN, I started out with guppies. LOL! The money adds up.  VERY addictive. <Boy, are you ever right!  I now have 9 tanks & 15 puffers!.  Please don't keep FW & BW fish together.  ~PP> Thanks again for the help I am slowly learning and appreciate the advice. Mike

Lonely Dwarf Puffer? 4/19/04 Thank you Pufferpunk for your help! I was surprised to receive your reply so soon. <Sure, that's what I'm here for. If it sounds like a life or death emergency, I try to get to it right away!> I tried doing what you suggested but he didn't make it after all... I hope it wasn't the salt that killed him :( I added a little cos I thought it'll help him respond better to the medicine.. You can be sure I wont make that same mistake again!  <After the mistreatment he had, I doubt a little salt did him in.> And yes I do plan to go give the seller a good piece of my mind!!  <The owner has the power.> I'm wondering if you can help me again.. should I purchase another companion for my 1st dwarf puffer (A)... The seller (that same fella who puffed my new puffer (B)!!) told me he'll do fine with my other fishes --- 2 bat fishes (Platax boersi) and 6 clown loaches, and didn't warn me that the dwarf puffer could go around nipping slow fishes, (his endless pecking drove my bats quite batty!!!), so now he's in his own tank.  <Huh? Did you say bat fishes? Those are strictly Marine fish! You have them in freshwater??? See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spadfsh.htm  You're also aware that clown loaches grow to 12"?><<Actually, ephippids are brackish as small/juveniles. RMF>> I'm worried that he's too lonely... do you think he'll be fine or should I get him a companion? How big is your lone puffer's tank. If it is at least 5 gal, you could add another 1 or 2, making sure you have all females, or only 1 male. You can tell how to sex them here: http://www.rr.iij4u.or.jp/~kohda/en/en-dwarfpuffer.htm > I'm really sorry for the long email... hope you'll have a wonderful day. <Thanks, you too! ~PP>

Tank Mates for Figure 8 Puffers?  11/29/04 <It's me, Pufferpunk again!> Guess I'll get a bigger tank!! You are right - my fault for not looking deeper into these fish -- So can I put another fish in with the F8 puffer? What type?? I'm headed to the library after work today ... <I have a lovely 29 g tank with 3 F8s, 2 pairs of knight gobies & 6 bumblebee gobies.  A 30g long tank would be even better for that combo.  ~PP> Thanks Pufferpunk -- Looks like I will be getting a bigger tank!! <Come & join us over at www.thepufferforum.com!  ~PP>

Puffer wins the battle, loses the war... Betta loses overall I need some help. <Will try> I just got my 2nd Betta fish. I also got a 10 gallon tank and some small fish. I was told I could put a Betta in the tank and they should be fine. Well I didn't know that I had a little puffer fish that was a semi aggressive fish in there. I think he (not sure who did it) destroyed my Betta's tail. <Almost 100% sure> The puffer died and not sure if that is why but a little glad he did if it was him cause that was not nice. <It wasn't nice or mean, just the nature of a puffer> Now the Betta is all sad and hides all day and I have not seen him much. Don't know if I should take him out cause the mean fish is dead. I don't believe it will grow back right? <Sure, he can regrow his fins> I don't know what to do or if he is going to die or what. <No promises, but if the only thing damaged is the fins he has a good chance of living. Add about 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the 10 gallon to stop any infection from getting a foot hold. Keep his water clean by changing about 2 or 3 gallons of water a week> When the lights are on it doesn't seem like anyone is bothering him. <Good> But at night when the light is out I am not sure. <Unless you have a catfish, they all sleep at night> I really do think it was the puffer because no one bothered with him. What should I do. Will he die? Is he depressed. <Maybe a little hurt, not depressed> Can I help him. I feel so bad. He can swim but try's to dig his head in the rocks to hide. Please tell me what to do. Thanks Kerry <Hi Kerry, Don here. If you keep your Betta's water very clean and fresh and add the salt he has a good chance of living. BTW, your pufferfish was not being mean. He was being a pufferfish. I don't want to make you feel bad, but the meanest thing that happened was putting the Betta in with him. Please research any animal you may want before you buy it. When we take any animal into our care we become responsible for their health and well being. Nothing we can do now except learn from this. Pufferfish are very smart, and aggressive, fish with a really great personality. They make great pets. But it is their nature to nip at long fins on slow swimming fish like your Betta.>   

Re: Betta's Tail Eaten by Puffer  11/01/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm sorry about the Betta fish where the puffer ate the tail.  I did take him out and put him in a little bowl.  Is he is pain?  Where can I get the salt?  Please tell me what I should do. <Your Betta is best in a tank of 2-3 gallons all by itself.  If you can find Melafix, that should repair it's tail.  You can add a teaspoon of table salt to it's water.  Make sure you use dechlorinator in his bowl.  I don't think he is in any pain, but is very uncomfortable.  You should never keep a puffer with any fish with long fins.  Actually, most puffers are best kept alone.  What kind of puffer do you have?  How big is the tank & what other fish are in there?  ~PP>

Green Smelly Water        Hi, again. <Hi, Don here today. Just got done reading your earlier questions to get up to speed with the advice given by Jorie and Mike D.> Well, I didn't know that about being able to tell about how far along a fish is in pregnancy. As you probably can tell I am a beginner at all this. <As we are all/were> I just want to try to do things right, I am very much an animal lover and I don't want to hurt any animal (fish or otherwise) in any way. <Agreed>         To answer your question on the 2 green-spotted puffers I just got, no they have not killed each other yet. <"Yet" being an important part of that sentence. Some will get along fine then one day you wake up to only one puffer> Actually, they seem quite content with each other. The only time they show any slight irritation with each other is when they eat. All they do then is if one is going for food that the other one is trying to get, it will chase the other one off a little bit. Other than that they are always by each other. I do plan to move them to a bigger tank in the near future, but right now they are both small and have plenty of room to swim and play and eat. <They will grow to about 6" and need brackish to full salt to live a healthy, full life. Read here for more info from Pufferpunk, our keeper of all puffer knowledge. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm >        Thank you for the compliment on my persistence. I don't work and I always wanted to have an aquarium full of fish (and now I have 4 aquariums) and like I said before I love animals of all kinds. <An aquarium "full of fish" is not a good aquarium. Much better to have a few well kept "display quality" fish then a bunch that are small and unhealthy from overstocking> Oh, by the way still no babies, but that's ok she will eventually have them. <Yep, I assume you are referring to the guppies from the earlier post here>            Sorry, I do have another question. <No problem> I am looking to give a home to 11 different varieties of goldfish. I can't keep them, I am having trouble with my 55 gallon tank that I have them in. My water is always green and smells horrid, <If it smells bad to you, imagine what your fish are thinking> I was told that the goldfish are the reason the water is like that. <Yep, Too many of these large waste producers> I have to change the water at least 2 -3 times a week to keep the water from smelling so bad and to keep the ammonia levels down. I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands <Ouch, I understand the pain> and I just can't keep up with that tank. Do you know how I can try to find them a home? I am not looking to get any money off of them, I just want them to go where they will be taken good care of. I have tried calling a few local pet stores but they said they weren't interested. Again sorry for taking your time up, I just finally found someone who knows what they are talking about. Trust me I have gotten some really bad advice. <Wow, eleven goldfish in a 55 would be a challenge. Look into a Python siphon system. It hooks to your tap and will both drain and refill your tank. No more bucket lugging and lifting. Even has a gravel vac nozzle to get all the waste out. I'm sure it will save you a lot of pain in maintaining four tanks. But you still need to lower the number of fish in the 55. Just take them to the LFS, don't call ahead. I'm sure they get that call several times a week and have been told to say no. But if you just show up with some nice fancy goldfish, I bet they take them. As to the green, smelly and ammonia tainted water, you are under filtering and over feeding. Even if you are feeding the fish the perfect amount to thrive, it's too much for your filter to process into nitrite, and finally nitrate. Reducing the bio load, cleaning the gravel and adding more bio filtration will clear the tank. I like Marineland's Bio Wheel design. They take a little work to maintain, but do a great job of removing ammonia and nitrite. But even the best filter will not slow the water changes needed for this many goldfish. You'll still be doing 2 or 3 a week to control nitrates. Lowering the number of fish and removing waste via a gravel vac will help greatly. Don>     

Mixing Puffer Species  3/14/04 <Hi Kerri, it's Pufferpunk here.  I need to start out by asking you to use proper capitalization when necessary in your questions.  All these correspondences are posted on our website & I have to spend precious time rewriting your emails, taking time away from answering other questions.> Hello!  I have 4 freshwater puffers.  2 leopards, 1 figure eight, and 1 South American.   <Hmmm  It sounds to me that you have 2 FW puffers & 2 BW puffers.  You can start out by reading these articles:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm   http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/sapuffer.shtml> They all share a 55-gallon together with a feeder guppy surprisingly.  They all get along well, but I've been told not to mix puffers with other fish because of how aggressive they are towards others unlike them.  The difference with the guppy is he's been there all along.  What kind of fish, if you know of any, can I put in with my little buddies??   <After all that reading you may have some different questions after you split these 3 different puffers into 3 different tanks.  The 55g would be good for 2 adult "leopard" or green spotted puffers.>  Also, my 2 leopards have been particularly friendly with each other.  Now, when I first got "Cosmo" (he/she) was the last addition, "Cosmo" tried to run the tank.  But sooner or later he became friendly and now they all get along.  However, the past week "Cosmo" and "Hootie" my other leopard, have been particularly friendly with each other.  I have a rock formation in case they want to hide, and they take turns guarding the rock, and they chase the others away.  One, will guard the rock for so long, then the other will guard.  and then they'll both go under there and sort of "play" with each other.  I don't know exactly what to call it because I've never seen my puffers act like this.  Is it possible they're mating?? Or could they all-ready?   <I doubt that.  It sounds like a territorial dispute. Puffers need a heavily decorated tank with lots of broken lines of sight.> Your site is awesome.  <Thanks!> I've been searching for so long on a good site where I can find FAQ's about my fish.  Thanks a bunch for running such a great site!  =)  Kerri <You're welcome.  I hope this info isn't too disappointing to you.  If you follow the info on the articles I linked you to, your puffers will live a long, healthy & happy life!  ~PP>

Combining Puffers in One Tank  3/14/04 <Pufferpunk ar your service> How will a GSP and a Figure 8 puffer get along? My GSP is real chill. <GSPs require at least 20g each.  I know it is probably small right now & looks dwarfed in a tank that size, but if you look at mine (the puffer photo in my article) you'll see how large they wind up growing.  Also, GSPs prefer SW as adults & are extremely aggressive, while F8s prefer low-end BW, they only grow to 3" & are mildly aggressive.  Not really a good match.> Also, there is a red eye puffer I want, how would he get along with my GSP?  The red eye is pretty big. <Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  I have had success in keeping similar-mannered puffers together (GSPs W/Ceylons, or dwarves with South Americans) but in very large tanks with a heavy load of decor & many broken lines of sight.  As far as a red-eye puffer, there are many puffers w/red eyes that could be labeled as such by a LFS.  Common names are difficult to ID a fish with.  If you're still interested in this fish (in a separate tank) & you are concerned about it's care & temperament, you can look for an ID here: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/index.htm <Good luck with your puffer, I'm glad it's doing well!  ~PP>

Maid Service for GSP tank?  3/12/04 OK, my GSP has never been happier since I have followed your advice. <That's great!  Always glad to hear of happier puffers!> I can already notice his (her?) behavior and coloration improvement. A couple more questions.  Are there any small scavengers I could add to my 20 gallon tank that the GSP will get along with?  Are hermit crabs scavengers? I read in your article that you tricked the GSP to allow the hermits. <Hermit crabs great scavengers, but are strictly saltwater.  My adult GSPs are in SW now.> I have read that some catfish (Colombian shark, white tip shark cat) will do fine in brackish, but they would seem to get too big for a 20 gallon tank with my cute little puffer, and I want my GSP to reach full size (how big will it get?) <With the proper care, GSPs can grow to 6".  (Mine are that size now.)  Those catfish grow to 18".> Also, how can you tell the difference between male/female GSP? <Only the puffers know for sure.> How would a puffer do with a butterfly fish? Do the butterfly fish tolerate brackish? <Nope, they prefer soft water, the opposite of BW.  As it says in the GSP article, "Because of their aggressiveness towards tank mates and the high amount of salt they prefer, there are not many fish that can live with them as companions in general, or for clean up."  Not many fish can go through the extreme salinity changes necessary for a GSPs life & be able to stand up to their teeth.>   -Logan <You'll just have to do your own maid service.  I'm thinking of trying some hardy starfish next though.  ~PP>

Puffers Eat Crabs?  3/11/04 Thanks Puffer Punk. I think I'm in love with you. hehehe :) <Awwww, shucks!  I think my hubby might have to move over !;o)> Seriously, you've helped me out a lot. <Great!  Puffers are my passion.> One more thing, will a puffer eat a fiddler crab? <Crustaceans are what puffers eat.  My larger puffs eat them on a regular basis.  Smaller puffs could certainly do some damage to them.  ~PP.>

Freshwater Puffers and Goldfish?  6/14/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm by no means an expert but so far have had about 20 years of luck tending to tropical fish and goldfish.  My son has a couple (2) of fresh water puffers.  I don't know the species.  They are light yellowish-green with black spots, and about 1.7 inches long.   <Sorry to have to tell you this, but your son's puffers sound like green spotted puffers.  They are brackish water fish, which prefer saltwater as adults.  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm> Lately, I've resorted to just goldfish tending, which are doing great.   <I love those fish too, especially calico Orandas!> The "BOY", who is now a teenager, isn't the best caretaker of his fish so I thought about putting the little "puffers" with the goldfish.   <OMG!  Please no!  Goldfish are messy, heavy ammonia/waste producers.  (So are puffers, for that matter.)  GF are COLDWATER fish & you must never put tropical fish in with them.> I have observed them being quite aggressive toward shellfish such as crayfish, which they dearly love to feed on.  The "BOY" loves to capture the wild crayfish and feed them to the puffers. <Yes, crustaceans are their natural food.> I guess what I want to know is can freshwater "puffers" live in the same type of water as goldfish, and if they are fed properly, will they harm the goldfish? <As I said before, no way.  And yes, puffers are aggressive fin-biters, that are best in a species only tank.> Thank you for any insight! Kirby Luke <Good luck with your cute little brackish water fish.  Everything you need to know is in the article I linked you to.  ~PP>

More GSP Qs 2/24/04 OK. Cool. The tank is going to be for the puffer. What could I put in with him? <At a tank that size & the aggressiveness of the puffer, I'd say none.  Eventually, he'll need a larger tank.  If the tank is large enough & heavily decorated with lots of broken lines of sight, you may eventually be able to add a few fish.  The problem is, there are very few fish that prefer the changes in salinity that the GSP does.  They go from low-end BW when juvenile <2, (in a specific gravity, or SG of 1.005-08), at 2-4, medium BW  (SG 1.010-15) and adult >4 SW (SG 1.018-22). Even so, I do still find a few missing fish occasionally in my GSP tank.  I have damselfish & a tomato clown living with my adults in SW.  ~PP> Tank Mates for GSP? 2/23/04 1 Spotted Green Puffer + Electric Blue Lobster in 20 gallon? <Bad idea.  GSPs' staple foods are crustaceans.  Lobsters' staple food are fish.  One will eat the other, depending on who gets who 1st.  Puffers usually sleep on the bottom of the tank.  This makes it easy pickings for the lobster to grab.  An adult GSP can make an easy meal of a blue lobster & even a juvie puffer could rip off a claw or 2.> 1 Spotted Green Puffer + 1 Jade Puffer in 20 gallon? <If by "jade" puffer, you are speaking of the Ceylon, or Tetraodon fluviatilis, then they may get along as tank mates.  They both prefer saltwater as adults & are of similar temperaments.  I have 2 6' GSPs living with a 5" Ceylon right now.  The GSP needs at least 20g/fish, as it grows to 6".  The Ceylon needs at least 30g/fish, as it grows to 7-8".  There's not enough room for both in a 20g.  Also, there's always a chance you get a aggressive killer as a puffer (especially the GSP) that won't tolerate any tank mates of any kind.> Thanks. -LH <You're welcome.  GSPs are one of my favorite puffers!  If you have any other questions about their care & feeding, I'll be happy to help.  In the proper conditions, these puffers can give you enjoyment for 10+ years!  ~PP>

Lobsters & Puffers 2/24/04 Thanks for the advice. One more for you: <Sure, Pufferpunk here again> Electric Blue Lobster vs. Clown Loaches? Basically, I have this lobster in a tiny tank, less than 10 gallons I imagine. I have a 20 gallon that has my Green Puffer, and a 29 gallon with a couple angelfish, 2 clown loaches, a pleco, and an Indian perch. <Your puffer will be ok alone in a tank that size.  It should be in brackish water now.  The angelfish will grow as large as your outstretched hand, Clown loaches & Plecos grow 12+".  The perch grows 6-10" & is a coldwater fish.  I think you've got some problems there."  The lobster grows to 4-5" & needs a 15-20g tank.  It is a scavenger, but will eat anything it can catch in it's claws.>    I'd like to move the lobster to one of those, but as you stated, it seems he and the puffer just ain't gonna work out, especially if I'd like to get the "jade" puffer (as they have him listed in the store). Suggestions? <Again, I will remind you, the GSP will grow to 6" & need at least 20g for itself.  The "jade" puffer (is this it? http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/types/ceylon.htm) grows to 7-8" & needs at a 30g for itself.  Together, I wouldn't put them in anything less than a 40g tank.> Thanks once again... <You'll need to figure somethin out here, soon!  ~PP>

Puffers & Gobies? 2/08/04 Hey thanks PP! <Sure, anytime!> Thanks for your wisdom on water - I am actually waiting for my mangroves to arrive and will get them going first... ONE MORE QUESTION But I was thinking about having 1-2 puffers (green or figure 8) and a few knight gobies. Is this a dangerous mix? Will one eat the other? <I am having success with figure 8s (T biocellatus) living with bumblebee gobies & knight gobies. I even have a dragon goby with them & so far, so good.  I was a little concerned about the dragon, since he is more sedentary than other gobies.  GSPs (T nigroviridis) on the other hand, are way to aggressive (at least as adults) to live with slower-moving fish like gobies.  Even at 2", I never seemed to keep gobies with my GSPs.> OR Would a Goby/Fiddler crab arrangement work better? <Crabs will eat anything standing still. Males have the larger  claw (cooler-looking IMO). You might be able to try females.>   If so, would it be a bad idea to use bog-wood for the fiddlers to crawl out of? <As long as they can't crawl out of the tank.> Just figuring it may take some time for the Mangroves to make a root labyrinth (by the way do these guys (puffers, gobies or fiddlers eat mangroves?????) <No> I just liked the idea of a natural filter... Thanks again! John <Sure, sounds like a fun tank! ~PP>

Puffer confusion (09/17/03) <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have had a Fig-8 puffer (2 inches) in a brackish system (29 gallon, SG=1.008, pH=8.2), with a green scat (3.5 inches ), and five bumblebee gobies.  Everything was going good for a while, until my scat became a little too comfortable, and aggressive. <They get big, too... too large for a 29 gallon, eventually.> I don't know what I was thinking, but when I was at the LFS, I fell for what they called a Jade Puffer (about 3.5 inches; also known as Ceylon puffer, and same genus/species as fig-8). <I'm not certain they're the same species... they are sometimes sold as the same genus/species and have some similarities, but are from very different areas.> I tried the new puffer in my existing tank after a slow acclimation.  Once in the tank, aggression was higher than before, but I probably should have been anticipating that, so now the Ceylon puffer is alone in a 20H.  The scat is scared for his life right? <Well, that may be getting a bit anthropomorphic, but possibly...> I know your site says fig-8's are freshwater, but I have read both sides of the matter.   <Me, too.> I would like to get rid of my scat, and go freshwater with both tanks if possible.   I would appreciate any help. Ian <Hmmm. Your bumblebee gobies are definitely brackish. If you wish to keep them, you should have at least one brackish tank. --Ananda>

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>

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

Spotted puffers I just purchased 3 small spotted puffers for my 30 gallon hex tank. puffers are about 1" to 1 1/2" long. how many can my 30 gal hex accommodate and what is the preferred list of food for them? josh Nichols <these adorable little creatures are extremely aggressive to each other and to other fish as they mature!!! They will literally pick each others eyes out. I'll be surprised if you keep three in this 30 unscathed for more than a year. Much has been written in the FAQs and beyond on our WetWebMedia site. Please do peruse starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm Please be sure to explore the links for the FAQs near the top of the page. Best regards, Anthony> Spotted puffers I just purchased 3 small spotted puffers for my 30 gallon hex tank. The puffers are about 1" to 1 1/2" long. How many can my 30 gallon hex accommodate and what is the preferred list of food for them? Josh Nichols <Well Josh, shame on you for not asking those questions before you purchased them. Please see here regarding their care and growth http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm -Steven Pro>

Re: Green Spotted Puffer Problems Please explain to me again why the fish we have are not compatible with each other. <Please see the previous four emails. There is not much else I can add.> The catfish is a pictus by the way. They all get along fine <For now> and are very healthy especially since the very unfortunate passing of our pufferfish. Their water quality has been perfect, at a pH of 7, neutral. <There are many other aspects of water quality beyond pH; presence of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, dissolved organics, hardness, oxygen, etc.> I understand that the loaches prefer acidic water and others alkaline but I have been told by other sites that as long as there is a neutral pH that pretty much all fish will adapt to and be healthy. <Fish can adapt to this middle ground, but it is not the best situation for them. It is a compromise where all live but none thrive.> I have owned pictus cats before and they have never shown aggression as someone mentioned previously. <They are capable of eating small fish.> Even in a 55 gallon tank. So except for the size of tank, why are they not compatible? Sorry to be confused. <If you are truly confused, I am sorry. We have given you the best advice we can. There is nothing more to be added at this point, but I get the distinct impression that you are not confused, you merely do not like our answers. You mention searching other websites and finding information that supports what you want to do. There is nothing else to say now. You have the information. Make your own decision. -Steven Pro>

Re: Green Spotted Puffer Problems If it was because I did not like your answers I would not even bother asking. I find that quite a rude response to someone trying to get information from all available avenues. <I have no problem with people searching out all available means of education and them making an informed decision about their situation. I find it rude and a waste of our time for someone to come back with the same question five times for the same answer.> Who is to say that all of your information is the end all be all anyway. <I never said it was. I can tell you factually how large each of those fish reaches as an adult and that a 20 gallon tank will assuredly stunt their growth and kill them.> You site should be dedicated to helping people pursue this hobby <Our website and the Q&A is available to help others help themselves.> and not try to make them feel inferior because you think you have more knowledge. <I never meant to make you feel inferior. I was just tired of repeating myself.> I represent the majority of people out there. I can assure you that most novice fish owners do exactly what the pet stores say. <Absolutely correct, but in the face of conflicting information based on the actual, undeniable adult size of your animals, you continue to doubt our collective advise to this day.> I being more than a novice pet owner know there is a middle ground between you and the pet stores. Both on opposite extremes. <I would not say that. I think many times we agree with good stores. Not all stores are bad. There are many excellent fish stores with highly trained and knowledgeable staff.> For example you say that our clown loaches need a 125 gallon tank to be "happy". <Perhaps I should have stated it differently. It will need a tank that size to turn around.> Well, I am sorry but if you are truly a fish advocate you would know that for them to be truly "happy" you would not take them out of the wild in the first place since the are all wild caught. <I am not a fish advocate. I am an industry professional, advocate, and mentor.> Again there has to be a happy medium. Anyway Steven, since you have chosen to be disrespectful I would appreciate you forwarding any future emails to your co-workers. <Do not worry, I will avoid you like the plague.> I do value some of the information I have been given but your attitude is totally unprofessional. <I found you repeatedly returning saying (to paraphrase) "So and so said I could do it. What do you think now?" disrespectful and a tremendous waste of our time. Sincerely, Steven Pro>

Figure 8 Puffers Will figure 8 puffers get on well with these fish. If I get two fish, will they bother each other instead of the other fish? Sucking loach Red tailed black shark Dwarf Gourami Kuhli (Eel) loach Bronze Catfish Neon tetra Zebra Danio Guppies Flame tetra > > No... these marine/brackish puffers are "nippy", and will outright eat the neons and guppies... and bite the other fishes as they can approach them... Bob Fenner

Re: Figure 8 Puffers Are there any other types of freshwater puffer that will get along with these fish? Thanks Tim Jeffree > IMO not really... even the truly freshwater species from the Africa and South America are fin nippers... Best kept with other similarly "mean" fish livestock. Bob Fenner

Freshwater Puffers? I found your address on the wet web media site. I seen a figure eight puffer and a green puffer at the pet store the other day. The worker was unable to help me. I was wondering if you could. I would like to know what kind of things they like to eat, are they aggressive, and where could I find more info about them? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jodi > Hi there. Yes these two (really marine, though somewhat adjustable to more freshwater conditions) Puffers are eager eaters of most anything meaty. Most folks feed them "human consumption" type shrimps, fish flesh... And, unfortunately they're both notoriously "nippy"... not necessarily aggressive, but do real damage to easier going tankmates (fish and invertebrates), and thus should be housed only with "tough, mean" types of livestock... best, really in a dedicated "brackish" setting with other rough and tumble fishes, plants that can/do tolerate some concentration of salts. More information? Hmm, try inserting the word for their genus, Tetraodon, in your search engines, directories. Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Figure 8 Puffer Hi Bob, I was wondering what other "mean" fish will a figure 8 puffer get a long with. Thanks! <Larger, faster, meaner types... the best really are other brackish water species... the other not-so freshwater tetraodont puffers, Monodactylus, scats, Chromides, archerfishes... you can find a bunch about these possibilities, even brackish water plants through a read through past hobbyist magazines... and goosing me to get more of my brackish pieces on our WWM site... Bob Fenner>

Puffers and Lobsters (freshwater) Hi, I've got a freshwater lobster that's about six inches long. I keep it by itself in a little fishtank, because it used to nip my catfish. Could I introduce some little figure eight puffers or green spotted puffers into the tank?  <I wouldn't... they're likely to get eaten at night> I'm afraid that either the puffers would get eaten, or the lobster would get eaten. Do you think that it'd be a safe combination? Also, do you know how long the lobster can live for? <A few to a handful of years. Bob Fenner> Thanks Tim Jeffree

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

Pufferfish (again!) Hi Bob, Please accept my apologies for burdening you with yet another Pufferfish question! <Okay> I recently obtained an attractive 30 UK gal tank as a gift and I have chosen to be boring and fill it with brackish puffers as with all my other tanks!  <Nice gift> I have heard from various sources that keeping two puffers together results in one being dominant and bullying the other to death whereas keeping them in a small group would ease the one on one bullying as it has in my 150gal puffer tank. My proposed stocking ideas for my 30 gal is either two figure eights puffers or one green spotted puffer on its own (or if I have any luck, a Ceylon Puffer!) Would it be wiser for me to add 3 figure of eights so its more of a group?  <Yes> Or would it be better to go for just one larger fish such as a Green Spotted rather than keeping several Figure of eights together in a small tank? Many thanks for your advice once again, <Worth trying the group first. Do keep an eye out, perhaps a phone call in to suppliers for "oddball" puffers in their imported shipments... from Africa, Asia... there are very often "contaminants"... not-listed species mixed in... Bob Fenner> Kris

- Pernicious Puffer Problems - Hi wet web crew!! <Greetings, Tom, JasonC here...> I'm having problems with my puffer. I started off with 3 figure 8 puffers in a 55 litre tank. There were all fine for about a month, then the largest one attacked the smaller 2 and they both died. I kept it as just one puffer since then, but he has recently gone off his food and has started to swim at the top of the tank, head up. It looks like he is breathing in air, but he doesn't puff up. when i put some food in (brine shrimp is what he is on at the mo, i couldn't find any bloodworm) he looks at it very excited but doesn't eat it. He hasn't changed colour, still seems quite mobile and hasn't lost much weight. <Well... puffers sometime go on hunger strikes, why they do it is not easily revealed. They are also sensitive to water quality, so you might want to look there first. You should also read through all the FAQ's we've accumulated as we get a lot of questions about these fish. Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm > any advice you could give me would be very much appreciated! <Cheers, J -- >

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