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FAQs about Brackish Puffer Feeding

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Snails in one tank to provide food for my puffer?  5/24/10
Hope all is well, I have a quick question. I have two tanks, one is a 55G freshwater tank with a few different types of catfish and a spiny eel.
All levels are zero and water quality is maintained by doing weekly water changes. All the fish are doing well and healthy. My other tank is a 20G brackish aquaria with a Figure 8 puffer and several bumble bee gobies.
That tank too has all zero levels and water quality is maintained by doing weekly water changes.
My question is this, can I put a snail or two or three in my 55 gallon freshwater tank to supply my puffer with enough snails for food?
<Worth trying... I'd look for "Ramshorn" species myself...>
I was going to setup a snail only breeding tank but am now thinking it may be beneficial to have some snails in my 55. I don't want them to take over and wasn't sure if this is a sound idea. How fast will these things propagate?
<More or less continuously if mature... but you'll not be able to grow enough to produce all food for this puffer>
Is it a good thing to have some snails in my 55G tank for cleanup and what not?
<Not really... Snails are problematical for a few reasons; the most significant for being vectors of many fish and human diseases... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I'm scared that if I put a couple in, the next thing I know my 55G tank will be crawling with them and no matter how fast I remove and feed them to my puffer it won't be enough to keep up with how fast they multiply. Or do you think setting up a separate snail nursery is a better idea?
<Read on! Bob Fenner> 

Re: Puffer and Brackish Tank query. Marilyna pleurosticta food, system -- 06/11/07 Hi <Hi.> I have some follow up questions on the puffer that you guys help me ID. First off... the puffer seems to be doing fine active and curious. I think he is bored cause he seems to swim left or right and up and down on one side of the tank. Is that normal behaviour or he is just bored? I caught him biting the heater once or twice also. <He might be bored. You could change the decoration and see if his behaviour changes. Be careful, larger puffers have crushed heaters with their teeth.> His appetite seems to have declined. Last 2-3 days he doesn't seem to attack the piece of prawn that I have been giving to him. <Don't overfeed him. Just feed until his belly is rounded, not bulged.> Originally, I used to give him cooked or boiled prawns and that would not even reach the bottom of the tank. I switched it to raw.. <much better> and he seems to eat it .. but not in the last 2-3 days. I do weekly change from 40-50% water change. There has been no change in the water parameters from the time I have added him in the tank for like 4-5 weeks ago. Do you know why his appetite may have died down? <My first guess is overfeeding as long as the water parameters are fine (nitrates<<30, no ammonia/nitrites).> I have tried mussel also but he didn't seem to fancy that very much. <New food sometimes needs some training.> I have tried those 2 food types. Any suggestion? <Squid, shrimps, crabs. Soldier crabs are commonly eaten by them in the wild.> Also how big do they get? What could their maximum size be in the wild and/or aquaria? <6 in., 15 cm.> You guys have suggested that the puffer I have is a Marilyna pleurosticta. <Pretty confident about that.> Also you have advised previously that they are a marine puffer. How long can he stay in brackish water. (He is brackish cause it was sold to me as a fresh water with gravity of 1.004 he is now in 1.006 and continue to increase it weekly as you guys have advised). <Not known for sure for this species. Considering experiments with its relatives (Takifugu), which are also more or less euryhaline, some weeks.> Or could they stay in brackish water and just restricts their full capability. <Possible, but improbable. If you did not overfeed him, his loss of appetite could be a first sign of a lack of salt in his tank. If its condition seems to decline (e.g. colour changes, lethargy) you may have to put him into a marine tank with a few hours of transition in a bucket.> Or is this bad for their health. Does it shorten their life span? <Probably yes. While they enter tidal flats and estuaries they mostly inhabit shallow coastal waters.> Do you know of any websites that may have further reading on these puffers. Fish Atlas online of some sort maybe? <No. At least one member of http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ has this species as written previously, there is also lots of information on puffer care, diet and training.> Last question, I have a brackish tank which is located outdoors on the Veranda with a roof, but it does captures some sunlight (I do cover it with a sheet to reduce the sunlight absorbed in the mornings)... But I still have algae issues.. usually within a week of cleaning they show up. I do use an aquarium algae treatment. <I'd skip that and since you seem to be close to the source try to get some brackish water plants to out-compete those algae.> But I was thinking of using a pond algae control medication. Are the pond medication more concentrated than normal tank algae medication. <Many different products.> Can I use this on my tank with the following fishes. Archer Fish, Mono, Scat, Mudskipper and bumble bee goby. I'm concerned that it may affect the mudskipper mostly due to it being scaleless...? <I wouldn't.> What would you suggest as a better solution? <Permanently reduce the sunlight, decrease nitrates with water changes and try to get some brackish water plants.> Thank you very much. Wil. <You are welcome. Marco.>

Puffer Care & Feeding  11/9/06 Hi, <Hi Christina, Pufferpunk here> I have a green/gold puffer that is about 3/4 of an inch long. <By your description, I am thinking it might be the green spotted puffer but it might also be a dwarf puffer.  You can look here for proper ID: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/?sid=2e4443f5da7cc80865ecbedfc44ba28e > It lives in a 29 gallon tank with 3 rasboras, 3 German rams, 1 loach, and 1 dwarf Indian Botia.  The tank is quite heavily planted and the puffer seems to spend most of its time amongst the plants. <Typical behaviour of a dwarf puffer.> I never see him eat anything, he never comes up to the surface and I worry that the other fish are eating all the food before the puffer can get any.  I never see the other fish pick on him or vice-versa.  I feed them all flakes, freeze dried brine shrimp and frozen food.  I've had the puffer for a little over a week.  Do you think he is getting enough food?  Is there something else I should feed him? <Puffers do not eat like regular tropical fish.  Here's an article on feeding puffers: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html Feel free to poke around at that forum too!  Either way, whether it's a freshwater dwarf or the brackish green spotted, puffers do not belong in a community tank & will eventually nip/bite/maim/kill your other fish  ~PP> Thanks, Christina

My GSP isn't eating! - 6/5/2006 Hi! My name's Emily and I recently purchased 3 Green Spotted Puffers (all about 1" in length) from a local fish store. Before deciding on the GSP I did some research on your website, which has been extremely helpful (thanks!). I set up my tank quite a while before I actually got the fish (about 2 weeks). <<Did you do a fishless cycle during this time?>> For the time being the fish are living together in a 30 gallon tank ( I already have plans for separating them as they grow a little bigger) with many fake and live plants along with rocks to hide in. 2 of the three fish (Huey and Louie) have been doing very well and have had great appetites from day one. The third of the GSP (Dewey) has barely had an appetite at all, normally he'll swim up to the food yet swim away almost immediately uninterested. The first thing I suspected was the water itself, but after doing some tests I found my SG to be about 1.009, ammonia was 0, nitrites were 0, and nitrates at about 17. All of those, from what I've read, seem fairly normal. <<Nitrates are higher than I run in my GSP tanks, but not too bad.  What plants do you have actually living in 1.009?  Although you plan to upgrade, 3 GSP's in a 30-gallon is just too overstocked.  I kept two 1' GSP's in a 75-gallon from purchase, and they are still there, quite happy.  I'm an advocate of starting fish in their permanent home.  How slowly did you raise the SG?  What SG was your LFS keeping them in?>> The temperature of the water has stayed between 78-80. I've also been feeding Huey, Dewey and Louie different types of food to see if that might be the problem. Like I said, Huey and Louie have been eating almost everything I put in the tank. (I've tried live bloodworms, snails, freeze dried krill and even flakes although I know that's not the best food for them) I read that you've actually used food from the grocery store (like shrimp) for your puffers but I wasn't sure if that was a good idea yet since the fish are still so small. <<Sure it is!  Just be sure to offer smaller pieces than you would to a larger puffer.  My GSP's diet consists of a large (~70%) portion of snails when they are under an inch.>> Besides his/her eating habit, Dewey hasn't shown any other signs of an illness. Is it possible Dewey is just stressed from the transition of pet store to my tank? <<Certainly, yes.  Also, being in the 30-gallon with two other more boisterous fish is adding to his reluctance/ability to eat.>> All of the puffers appear to be in a fine physical condition (no missing fins, black/grey bellies, over grown beaks or any deformities).  In fact, I made a point at the fish store to pick fish that were active and responsive to me (a tip I got off your site!).  I've already grown attached to them and don't want anything to happen to Dewey! Is there a certain type of food you might suggest? Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated. <<Try feeding the 2 more aggressive eaters at one side of the tank, and Dewey at the other.  A product like Garlic Guard can help as well.  A 100-gallon+ tank is in your near future, I hope.>> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Puffer Feeding Strike, Possible Lock-Jaw 1/27/2006 Lisa, I'm writing for your expertise again! <<I will try to help!>> My son's little puffer fish is still alive. <<Good to hear.>> He has moved it into another less populated tank and has treated the water with the iodine supplement as recommended on the bottle. <<What size of tank is he in now?  How was this new tank cycled?>> It's still alive and happy to see anyone who visits the tank.    It has stopped gasping for breath and appears to feel ok, but it's still not eating.   Don't know what's keeping it going.   When food is dropped in, it sees it and seems to go for it, but doesn't eat it.    Now we're wondering if it has a goiter or a growth or something. <<Is there anything visible that suggests this?>> My son has offered various foods to entice it.   Is there any vitamin or liquid food supplement he could inject into its mouth? <<A garlic additive can induce feeding.  How long has this hunger strike been?  Do go to www.thepufferforum.com for force-feeding tips if necessary.>> The mouth does seem to open ok...at least it looks like it does.  It's just so heartbreaking.  We're wondering if anyone can treat fish. <<Sure, you can.>> What would you do? <<Keep up the iodine, water changes, and proper housing arrangements.>> Thank you again! <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>> Puffer food 3/22/05 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am new to the realm of frozen fish food. Are there any amazing tips for breaking up one of those frozen cubes? (I have heard tales of amazing handy food that isn't in cubes and is easy to break off, but I'm at the mercy of my LFS here.) <Not exactly. Most of my puffer's food comes either from my local grocery/produce store (in the fish dept), or live/freeze-dried, from the LFS> My green spotted puffer is under two inches long and so I can't just toss the whole serving of food into the tank. From what I've read refreezing is bad, so I have been keeping the unused portion in the 'fridge instead of the freezer. I am wondering how long I can let it sit there. In one response ("Feeding with frozen food") Anthony expressed some concern over a hobbyist who was taking a week to go through a cube of thawed food; I've been giving the remainder of the cube to my scavengers after 48 hours in the 'fridge. Am I being too cautious here? How long would you keep the food? <Sorry, I have so many fish, no food goes to waste here, so I really couldn't tell you for sure. I'd agree, 24-48 hrs tops though. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm > Thanks very much, Catherine P.S. Please tell me that I just need more fish and tanks so that I can use a whole cube at once. I'm looking for any excuse. <Um... Puffers ARE really cute! I have 13 of them! ~PP>

Food for Puffers 3/19/04 Thanks for the response back. You say that I can get this food at the Grocery store? What is it called? Is this product in a shell so that it will help my puffers beaks?  Thanks, Tony  <One of the most difficult aspects of keeping these special fish is their diet. All puffers are predatory fish and need hard-shelled, meaty foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Like rabbits, their teeth grow constantly and can overgrow enough to cause starvation in the fish. Puffers eat crustaceans in the wild. Foods for smaller puffers are frozen/freeze-dried krill/plankton, gut-loaded ghost shrimp, glass worms, crickets, worms and small snails (the size of their eye). Snails are an essential food to a puffer's diet, especially when small. Many serious puffer keepers breed their own snails.  As your puffer gets larger, there are many more crunchy foods for them to eat. Larger puffers will eat cut-up pieces of scallops, shrimp, crab legs, whole mussels, clams, oysters, squid, lobster and crayfish. Mine love to chase live crayfish, fiddler crabs and gut-loaded ghost shrimp. I gut-load (pre-feed) my live food with algae wafers, so my puffers get their veggies. I buy most of these foods at the fish department of my grocery store, freeze and later thaw in warm vitamin water as needed. Smaller puffers (under 2") need to eat every day, skipping one feeding/week. Feed them until their bellies are slightly rounded. Medium sized puffers (2-4") should be fed every other day. Larger puffers (4-6) should be fed every 3-4 days. You may find this schedule difficult, as puffers are very adept at begging for food! Feeding puffers every time they beg will cause fat, lazy fish and eventually you will be killing them with kindness. ~PP>

Figure 8 Puffer a Little Long in the Tooth?  8/12/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have just gotten a figure 8 puffer.  It looks good, eats well.  And this just may be normal, put it always looks as if its mouth is just slightly open.  I know that they have to grind down their teeth and all of that but this is a baby (about 2-2.5 inches long) I think, and I would assume that the teeth have not had enough time to grow out of control.   <Actually, these puffers only grow to 2 1/2-3", so yours is almost an adult.  Get a bright flashlight & look close at it's teeth.  Do they look like a beaver?  How is it eating?  Here is good info on trimming puffer's teeth: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1085932782.>   Also, are there any strange or unusual fish or creatures I could put in the tank (20 gallon long, Brackish).  My husband wants a catfish, but the only brackish one I could find gets way to big.  I plan to get at least one bumblebee goby.   <In a 20g cycled tank you can keep 2 F8s & a few bumblebee gobies, or 1 F8 a couple of BBGs & a couple of knight gobies (cute fish!).   Thank you so much for your time and the website.  It is wonderful. <Thanks a lot!  Here's a great article on your puffer: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml  ~PP> Michelle

Thawed Bloodworms 7/4/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My sister brought me some frozen bloodworm for my puffers.  It thawed on the way, a 2 hour drive, so when she arrived I popped it in the freezer.  Now I am wondering if its safe to use now? <As long is it didn't start to smell, they should be ok.  Make sure to rinse them in a brine shrimp net to get all the "juice" off them before feeding.  this will just add nitrates to your tank.> Thank you and kind regards, Susi. <Hope you fish enjoy their nutritious meal!  ~PP> Puffer not eating 3/16/04 Hi, <Hi Pufferpunk here (thanks that's much better!)> <Marina thanks you kindly as well> I had a puffer for about 2 years with no problems, when around December he just quit eating. I was feeding him krill and ghost shrimp. He started losing weight so I called the aquarium store I deal with and they suggested testing the water, so I took a sample out to them and it tested just fine. <Fine means nothing. You need to ask them what the ammonia, nitrItes (should be 0 at all times), nitrAtes (should always be <20), & pH (should be around 8) are exactly. What is fine to a LFS may not be fine for your puffer.> They then suggested antibiotics, which I did try, with no luck. <Antibiotics for what disease? You should never medicate a fish just because it looks off, especially a puffer, as they are extremely sensitive to meds.> I lost him around January and wasn't going to get another since I had been very fond of him. As it turned out I was at the fish store (the one I do business with) and they had a very good looking large puffer that I decided I had to have. I brought him home and put him in a 80 gal. tank, with 2 large Frontosa, 2 small Frontosa and 4 cichlids (medium). He seemed to be active, but I hadn't seen him eat. I called the store and the person said sometimes it takes about a week or more for a puffer to adjust to his new home. It has been almost 2 weeks and I still haven't seen him eat anything. He seems fine, moves around the tank and has good color. Should I continue to just be patient and keep feeding the krill and shrimp, or do I have a problem that I need to rectify? <Puffers are wild caught & definitely should be quarantined, before adding to your main tank. I need to know those same water parameters mentioned above & what kind of puffer it is. Look here for ID: http://home.messiah.edu/~dw1178/pufferlist.htm. Wild caught fish are used to eating live foods, so you can try worms, or gut-loaded ghost shrimp. The cichlids may bee too fast/aggressive for your puffer, as puffers swim slower & won't be able to get to the food fast enough. Most puffers are best in species only tanks. ~PP> 

Help!  Green spotted puffer won't eat! 6/14/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two green spotted puffers that were living in an 8 gallon tank.  After looking at your site I realized this was way too small and I've since transferred them to a 36 gallon.   <Good idea!> While still in the 8, the smaller of the puffers had stopped eating.  He's continued this way for the two days he's been in the new tank.  When I first noticed this (still in the 8), I checked the water and found that the nitrates were around 20.  I had forgotten to put in a new filter that I had bought and a few hours after installing it, they were down to 5.  I thought this would solve the problem but nothing has changed.  The fish in question has always been darker than the other... seems to like playing chameleon.  But he started lying on the bottom of the tank, very dark in color, and breathing heavily.  There were very dark spots on his  belly, surrounded by grey instead of the usual white.  Sometimes his top fin would be folded against his side and I even thought it was missing for a while.  When he swam around, he would seem to bump into things, including  the other puffer.   <These are all symptoms of possible ammonia/nitrIte poisoning.  I would take some water into your LFS for further testing.  You test kit may be off.> The other one doesn't bother him even when this happens... the big one is greedy about food but has never nipped the little one as far as I know.  After moving both fish into the 36 gallon tank, the smaller one got more lively and his colors brightened a lot.  But today he's looking darker and lying around in little craters in the coral, breathing heavily again.  It's not as bad as it was in the other tank, and it's not as often.  He's not folding his top fin down against his side any more either.  But he still won't eat!  He hasn't shown any interest in food for about five days now.  I've tried krill, shrimp, snails... all his favorites.  Even if I bring the food down to the bottom and hold it in front of him, he completely ignores it.  He's starting to look a bit skinny... what can I do?  What could it be that's affecting one fish and not the other? <Some fish are just more sensitive to water changes/conditions than others.  Why does my husband get a cold & not me?> Here are some pictures of the little guy.  If you need any more, let me know. http://www.rahenna.com/temp/puffer/ <Awwww, he looks sad.> I'm new to keeping fish and even though I've read a lot on the site, I may not explain things well or have done things right.  If you need any more information from me or want to know exactly how I did something, just let me know. --Jaime <Have you read this? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm> More information (sorry if this is overkill but just in case it can help)...  The new tank was established with Bio Spira two days ago.  Right now the pH is 7.8 (same as the old tank), the ammonia is 0, the nitrites are 0, and the nitrates are 0.   <Hmmm, no nitrAtes huh?  In an established/cycled tank, there are always some detectable nitrAtes.  Either your test is off, and/or you tank isn't cycled.  When did you buy the Bio-Spira?  It has been out of stock for quite some time now & I've been told that whatever supply is sought out, may not be viable anymore.> I have been using one tablespoon of salt per 3 gallons of water.  I've bought a floating thermometer that's supposed to measure specific gravity as well, but it's for marine tanks and I can't get a reading with it; the water comes to the 1.000 line.   <What kind of salt?  You should be using marine salt.  If you read the article, at <2", your puffer should be in a SG of 1.005-8.  It takes a CUP of salt to raise the SG .005.  No wonder it doesn't register on your hydrometer.  Get a fill-up type hydrometer, that measures smaller amounts of salt.  SeaTest & Instant Ocean are good ones.> Back when I had the puffers in the smaller tank, I had an anubias plant (I think that's what it's called) in with them.  The smaller one really loved it but kept biting holes in it.  It got so bad that I had to remove the plant to keep it from being totally destroyed.   <Puffers are used to finding snails to eat on plants.  Hence the bite marks.> The fish seemed to get depressed after that, so I put a fake plant in so he would still have somewhere to hide.  It was made of a hard-ish plastic and he scratched himself on it.  There was a white line along the side of the top fin, the same one that he started folding down when he started to ignore food.  I don't know if that might have anything to do with what's going on now, but... <Yes, lack of decor maybe part of the problem.  Puffers prefer heavily decorated tanks.  Check out my puffer tank: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918  Please let me know how he progresses.  ~PP>

Starving something... <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I have a GSP that I recently acquired from a pet store. <Do you mean green-spotted puffer, or green star polyps?> I have tried feeding him Frozen brine shrimp, dried shrimp, tiny guppies, and even fw pellets, but the little guy still won't eat. <I'm going to guess it's a puffer.> What should I try next? Please help, Joe. <Freeze-dried krill and plankton, or frozen/thawed bloodworms... and if he *still* won't eat, then try live ghost shrimp or live blackworms. You might also try frozen seafoods, like shrimp tails (you get to eat the shrimp), squid, crab, etc. Another thing to try is pond snails, which should be free from the pet store, as they're usually considered pests. Those are the snails with the sort of rounded shell with a slight point. Baby rams horn snails would be fine, too, but avoid the cone-shaped snails. --Ananda> 

Feeding  Puffers Feeder Goldfish <Hi Connie, Pufferpunk here> I read the Q&A on feeding GSPs, but it did not answer my questions and I was hoping you could.  I have 3 GSPs, Puffer (3 ½'), Speedy (3') and Baby (2'), and I have acclimated them all to Brackish water. Their diet is wide and varied.   ghost shrimp snails guppies goldfish <Bad idea> live bait <Bad idea> slugs beetles occasional night bug that has the misfortune to land in the tank.. lol Dry foods consist of: Krill blood worms black worms plankton and anything else that happens to be around when they are bored. Basically, I have had my GSPs since they were under 1" and have raised them on anything and everything, so they are not very picky anymore..  However, I have noticed that Speedy is partial to the snails and ghost shrimp, Baby is partial to bloodworms and snails, and Puffer enjoys a good chase with the guppies and goldfish.. but will gobble down anything that puts up a fight.. LOLOL  Recently I was told that it was NOT good for them to eat goldfish.  In fact the poster stated that they believed it was unhealthy for them.  Is this true?   I found this hard to believe.   <Yes this is true, that's why fish are not on the list of foods.> I have had Puffer for over 7 months and have fed him goldfish since he was 1', he has never had a problem with it.   <7 months is a relatively short time in the 10+ years of this fish.> I always quarantine my live food for over 3 weeks and treat the quarantine tank with multiple types of medications to ensure the live food is not infected with any types of diseases.  I raise my own guppies, ghost shrimp and snails and will probably start a goldfish breeding tank as well as soon as I clear up this question of whether the goldfish are healthy for my GSPs or not. <1st of all, I can tell you that the person that told you about not feeding these fish to your fish has about the same knowledge of puffers as myself.  I'd believe whatever she tells you.  Most puffers (other than ambush predators) eat a staple of crustaceans in the wild.  I never, ever feed any of my puffers fish and that means no feeders, no tank raised fish, NO FISH...this is because even though they may be conditioned to eat fish in the wild they're not conditioned for the bacteria, parasites, and diseases that come along with both feeders in poor habitats and tank raised fish. There are a lot of people who feed their fish fry that they've raised themselves and I still wouldn't do this because as tank bred fish they may still have a different bacterial make-up then the foods that my puffers would be receiving in the wild. Since there isn't anything in fish that my puffers aren't getting elsewhere (I use liquid vitamins in my puffers frozen foods) and their teeth are in check with the other live shell fish there's absolutely no reason for me to be giving my puffers fish. I seldom loose a fish and it's never to disease (knock on wood), but it's your call. With the gamut of foods available to your puffer, why take the risk?  ~PP> Thanks for your help.  Connie Taylor

Feeding the Green Spotted Puffer (T nigroviridis)  8/28/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I've been reading around on various sites and it seems one of the suggested foods for the Green Spotted Puffers are snails.  So I've got some general questions: 1) I've not been able to find any LFS stores in Colorado that sell snails--do you know of any on the internet I can order from? <Most LFS won't be selling these snails.  They should happily give these "pesky" pond snails away, as most folks don't want them in their tanks.  They come in on live plants, so look in those tanks 1st.  I've spent hours picking hundreds of snails out of tanks in some of the larger pet shop chains.  You may also find them for sale on Aquabid.  A lot of us puffer keepers breed our own.  See: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/foods/snails.htm> 2) I've been feeding my GSPs frozen blood worms and brine shrimp.  There was a site that said to help trim their teeth I can buy cuttle bone for parakeet and put that into the aquarium for them to grind their teeth down.  Do you know if that is true? <I doubt your puffer will bother with the cuttlebone, but it is a good source of calcium for the snails, if you plan to breed them.  Just tie it to a rock so it will stay down.  The snails & other hard-shelled food should do the job of keeping their beaks trimmed.  BTW, brine shrimp are mostly water & not very nutritious.  There are 2 great sticky here on the care & feeding of your GSPs: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=brack> Thanks, Nick Nguyen <Enjoy your cute fella, they can live quite a long time & give you hours of entertainment!  ~PP>

Which Snails for Puffers?  4/2/4 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I read that puffers should not be feed Malaysian trumpet snails because the shells are too hard and might chip the puffer's teeth. <Absolutely correct.> Are there any other types of snail that should be avoided? Mystery snails are very common, are those okay? <The pesky snails that come on most aquarium plants (pond snails), are best for smaller puffers.  The rule of thumb is to feed them the size of the puffer's eye.  I find loads of them at PetSmart, but most LFS will appreciate you picking them out of their tanks.  Many of us serious puffer keepers, breed our own snails.  Even a 2g Betta bowl will do (the Betta won't mind).  Here are a few links to snail breeding: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/foods/snails.htm & http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/snailsforpuffers.shtml Thanks <You're welcome & good luck with your slimy endeavors!  ~PP>

Which Snails for Puffers? 4/2/4  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I read that puffers should not be feed Malaysian trumpet snails because the shells are too hard and might chip the puffer's teeth.  <Absolutely correct.>  Are there any other types of snail that should be avoided? Mystery snails are very common, are those okay?  <The pesky snails that come on most aquarium plants (pond snails), are best for smaller puffers. The rule of thumb is to feed them the size of the puffer's eye. I find loads of them at PetSmart, but most LFS will appreciate you picking them out of their tanks. Many of us serious puffer keepers, breed our own snails. Even a 2g Betta bowl will do (the Betta won't mind). Here are a few links to snail breeding: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/foods/snails.htm & http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/snailsforpuffers.shtml   Thanks  <You're welcome & good luck with your slimy endeavors! ~PP>

Snails for Puffers  4/7/04 <Hi Pufferpunk here.  I need to start out by requesting proper capitalization & punctuation of your letters, as this is posted on our website & I have to fix it before sending it on.  This takes precious time away from answering other peoples questions.> Hi I just bought 2 figure 8 puffers today and I love them. <F8s are some of the prettiest puffers I have.  Here's a great article on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml> I have them in a 10 gal tank and there doin great.  I bought some frozen brine shrimp to feed them. <Brine shrimp is ok for a treat, but not very nutritious--mostly water.  One of the most difficult aspects of keeping these special fish is their diet. All puffers are predatory fish and need hard-shelled, meaty foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Like rabbits, their teeth grow constantly and can overgrow enough to cause starvation in the fish. Puffers eat crustaceans in the wild. Foods for smaller puffers are frozen/freeze-dried krill/plankton, gut-loaded ghost shrimp, glass worms, crickets, worms and small snails (the size of their eye). Snails are an essential food to a puffer's diet, especially when small. Many serious puffer keepers breed their own snails.> Then I read on this site that they need something hard to eat for their teeth to wear down.  I read that snails are a good thing to feed them and I have a spare 2 gallon tank up in my attic and I was wondering how do I breed them? <Here are some good links on that: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/foods/snails.htm  & http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/snailsforpuffers.shtml> Because my pet store it kinda far away and I would just like to breed the snails in the tank.  Is a 2 gallon tank big enough for breeding them? If not what is a good size? <that's a perfect size to start your snail farm.> Thanks for all the help! <One more thing, just to be sure you know, puffers must be introduced into a fully cycled tank. Please do not cycle your tank with puffers in it, or any other fish for that matter. Fishless cycling is quick and doesn't do harm to a living thing. If you already have your fish in an uncycled tank, then you can also "instant cycle" with Bio-Spira. Aragonite or crushed coral substrates are helpful, to maintain a stable alkaline pH of around 8. Enjoy your new friends!  ~PP>

Puffers Compete for Food  3/1/04 Hey there again. <Hey there again yourself!> Had one more question. <Sure> What do you recommend for feeding the puffers when there are other fish in the tank? The others tend to like the shrimp and bloodworms and all that too, I wanted to make sure that the puffers were getting enough when they do eat. <Please tell me again--how large is the tank, how many fish (what kind ) & how big are they?  ~PP> Thanks

Feeding Green Spotted Puffers 2/29/04 Great article, thanks! <thanks a lot!  ~PP> Now about the snails: I have 3 pond snails I'm trying to get to breed. It's only been 2 weeks so I'm sure I need to give it more time. I'll be adding 2 more snails this week to try and up the chance. Try raising the temp in the snail tank.  If not (just a bowl, or something too small) just be patient.  Supplement snails from as many LFS as you can get to.> But, what size snails will a puffer (GSP about 2.5") eat? I figure I can give him one the smaller ones I have just to tie him over till I get some snail babies. Yes? No? <Usually, the rule of thumb is snails as big as their eye, or you'll have to crush them a little (yuck!).> I've had him/her/it on a ghost shrimp, blood worm diet. those don't grind down the teeth do they? Anything else besides snails that will work till my "breeding program" comes thru? <You can try all sorts of things from the fish dept of your grocery store.  Small mussels, pieces of crab legs, shell-on shrimp, small crayfish, fiddler crabs, etc.  Happy dining!  ~PP>>

Tap Water for Puffers? 3/1/04 The large puffers I feed every other day or so, as I read. The little guy eats once a day. They tend to sneak some of the food for the other fish but not much. After 5 minutes I clean out what I can with a net. <Try feeding less amounts, so none is left over.  Pieces can still float into plants & between decor.> Ill do the water changes and keep you posted. Do you have any advice for an easier way to filter our tap water? I've been using a regular tap filter, but it takes ages for the water to go through. <I fill my tanks directly from the tap (no filter).  I add drops of Dechlor directly to the tank before filling with 80 degree water.  ~PP>

GSP Questions 2/23/04 <Hi Tim, Pufferpunk again> I didn't know about all of those foods. What foods can I find at my LFS that I can feed him?? <For smaller puffers, crickets, worms, krill & plankton should be found at your LFS.  Most of the food my puffs eat, I find in the fish dept of my grocery store.  I freeze & thaw in warm vitamin water as needed.> The snails are currently in the tank and he is free to eat them as he pleases. I don't know how I can control how much he eats. <Most serious puffer keepers keep a separate tank for snail breeding.> The tank is a freshwater tank and he seems to be doing fine now. <Mostly sold as freshwater fish, they are really a brackish water species. Born in FW, they migrate through the estuaries (streams) between FW lakes and the ocean, to live out their adult lives in saltwater.  Although you may hear these fish do fine in FW, they will grow larger, have brighter coloration, suffer less disease and live longer in higher salinities.  It is our duty as fish keepers to keep our friends in the best possible conditions for their health and happiness> Is it normal for them to want their picture taken???? Mine does. If I bring the camera near the tank, his little yellow spot gets huge and really bright and his belly gets snow white. <He probably thinks you're going to feed him.  They are great beggars!> Also, are they sensitive to certain colors?? I put a little glass dome in the bottom of the tank on it's side for him to make into his home because I read on some sites that they like to live in caves and drift wood. The thing is red and he doesn't really seem to like it. Any info on living quarters for him would be greatly appreciated. <I've never noticed my GSPs hanging out in caves.  Although they do a lot of investigation of the decor, they mostly swim out in the open.>    He is in a 30 gallon tank with 1 painted glass fish, 1 hatchet fish, 2 tiger barbs, 3 zebra Danios, 1 fish (not sure what it is. It is clear with black tips on its fins), 1 Gourami, 1 red tailed shark, 2 Cory cats, 1 small angel fish, and 1 pleco. would it hurt to put salt in the water for the puffer. <None of those fish will appreciate any kind of salt.  Eventually, your puffer will do severe damage to the angelfish, Hatchetfish, & any other fish not fast enough to get away from puffer teeth.  Puffers are best kept in a species only BW tank.  Please refrain from purchasing painted fish.  It is cruel to the fish & doesn't last anyway.  See: http://www.canadiangoldfish.com/dyed.htm Your puffer is going to grow to 6" eventually & require at least a 20-30g tank.  I suggest you set-up a separate (cycled) BW tank for him.> Thanks, Tim <Give your puffer the best care & it will reward you for years to come! ~PP>   

Snails for Puffers 2/07/04 Wow! That was a fast reply. <Pufferpunk again, I'm always here!> I was still on the brackish site reading up another fish. :) OK, so  I get to start cycling a new tank to move the little guy into. <Try Bio-Spira for instant cycling.> A big future tank is no problem ---he just needs to start small. I've got the whole range from 2 1/2 gal up to 180gals. <180 would be great!> I'm also learning to work with acrylic so I can build my own tanks in the future. <cool!> (I've got  small lungfish that need something other than a big, deep rectangle to live in one day!) Fortunately, I found your site before I purchased any other monster puffers! <Sounds like you can handle them, as long as you can afford the filtration & electricity!> One will be enough for now. As for the snails...would Malaysian Livebearing snails work? I've got TONS of them in my other tanks and they need thinning out. <Malaysian Trumpet Snails' shells are too hard for puffer teeth.  They have been known to crack their teeth.>   Thanks for the instant answer! Goodnight. ---Tam <Good morning ~PP>

Feeding Puffy 2/01/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My puffer that I have had since august has only ate pellets. I tried feeding flakes and silversides but he wont eat them. So he has been eating pellets straight for 6 months and now it looks like he is bending back his lips and smashing his tooth into the tank wall. I also have seen him eat some red algae. Today I noticed that he started to eat the live Rock! <Puffers will try to eat he creatures living in LR.> I think he is trying to breakdown his tooth by eating harder foods. <Puffers have 4 teeth that look like a "beak". It will continue to grow (like a rodent's), unless he eats a consistent diet of hard-shelled foods. I would think pellets would help, but IMO that is not a varied enough diet for a puffer. They eat crustaceans in the wild. Puffers rarely eat flakes & only ambush predators (the kind that bury in the sand) will eat fish. I feed mine pretty much whatever I can find at the fish dept. of my local grocery store. Clams, oysters, mussels, crab-legs, scallops, squid, crayfish & shell-on shrimp. I freeze it all & defrost in warm vitamin water, as needed.>  What should I try, clams? All I do is go to the store and buy dead clams and put them in the tank? I don't have to break them up or anything? Thanks <good luck with your puffer's new diet. ~PP>

Portly Puffers  1/29/04 Hi all: <Hi Mitch, Pufferpunk/Jeni here> I believe that this question should be addressed to Jeni since it concerns puffers. <Awwww, shucks!> We, like you, love the porcs. I have been doing some reading on puffers and came across a website that suggested that overfeeding is a primary cause for puffer deaths. The puffer can suffer from fatty liver disease, as their body simply cannot process the abundance of food in an efficient manner. <Don't know much about that.> The website suggested that once the belly bulges, you have already surpassed the recommended feeding amount. This reminded me of the first porc that we had about 4 1/2 years ago. It succumbed for no apparent reason, no indication whatsoever of disease, so perhaps it was due to this fatty liver condition. <Although I own no porcpuffs, a few of my puffers have been accused of looking a little portly, some may even say zaftig, but I prefer pleasantly plump.  See: http://fishgeeks.com/members/pufferpunk/GSP-green%20cup%20coral.jpg & http://fishgeeks.com/members/pufferpunk/GSP.jpg.  (These are immediately after feeding.)  All joking aside, I do feed them well, but only every 2-4 days.  They don't seem to be able to get their streamlined waistlines back. I have no problems keeping my Fahaka  & arrowhead/pignose puffers streamlined.  See: http://fishgeeks.com/members/pufferpunk/All%20His%20Glory.jpg  Some of my South American & F8 puffers have consistently bulging tummies.  I have even searched their tanks to see if any tankmates were missing, because they were still rotund even after skipping a couple of days' feeding.  I'm not sure why even so, some of the same species in the same tank look just right.  Here are some comments from my friend & puffer mentor, Robert T. Ricketts, who has been keeping puffers for over 40 years: "I am one of the "lean horse for a long race" people, definitely.  Some fish I can control well, others I have less success keeping lean.  I have one species of Synodontis cats that I cannot keep svelte no matter what I do - I just hope that they are both females and loaded with eggs, otherwise they are unhealthy.   Ditto for puffers.  For me GSPs are hard also.  Fahakas and the Mbu were not, they could be kept in shape, as can SAPs.  Figure-8s are individual, some "want" to be chubby, other no problem to control (male/female? I wonder).  Ceylon's tend to chubby for me, but that has been a long time ago now, I'm unsure how hard I was trying.  The long-ago cutcutia never were chubs.  The lurkers are easier than the active hunters. I feed to slight belly bulge, and not again until that is down.  Perhaps this is part of why my fish tend to need to be singletons - they are hungry and grouchy and mean. ;) I do believe that most captive fish under-exercise (part on my current in the tanks neurosis) and severely overeat.   The siblings of my Mbuna that I gave to friends are long dead, some of mine are still here, mid-teens." I was just curious as to your thoughts. Thanks, Mitch <I hope we don't need Weight Watchers soon!--PP>

Puffer Teeth  1/16/04 Hi Pufferpunk <Hello again> Another question - would trying something like cuttlefish bone like the type used for budgies be safe to do? <You could try soaking it in clam juice, but I really doubt they'll chew on it.> I cannot get shrimps around here and the smallest mussel is 1.5 inches long so far too big for them they would eat themselves to death. <Believe it or not, puffers do stop eating when they're full.  since their stomach is what they fill w/water to puff, it does expand a lot w/food.  Just skip 1-2 days after a huge feeding.  A small mussel would be good for their teeth.> I feed my fish frozen red mosquito larvae, Mysis and krill Pacifica but the krill this time is very small - is this the krill you mean? <Krill or plankton.> I dare not try trimming their teeth as they hate being caught and I am scared the stress will kill them.  Do you by any chance have a picture of what the teeth should look like normally and what is overgrown? <It's pretty obvious, see: http://www.lmas.org/library/dentistry.htm this is a large SW puffer, but there are before & after photos.  Once the teeth are overgrown, there's nothing else you can do but trim them.  This is part of the problem of keeping puffers in captivity.> They are in brackish water which varies each time I do a water change which is approx every three weeks and I always wear rubber gloves whenever I put my hands in their tank so as not to contaminate the water with any residue of perfume or soaps etc and the same for cutting up their food. <Great!> I also vacuum up their poo twice a week (their is never any left over food!!) so I think that is why I have managed to get these two to live so long as the couple I had before died after a few weeks with brown tummies and curling up a lot of the time. <Keep up the good work!--PP> Thanks again, Wendy

Depressed Puffer? 12/27/03 <Hi Shawn, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering if my puffer fish is depressed or sick he just stays in a corner of my tank and he will not eat now what do think is wrong with him. The nitrate, and the PH, Ammonia, is fine. <Please answer a few questions for me--What kind of puffer?  How long has the tank been set up?  What kind of foods are you offering it?  Any decorations?  Any tankmates?  Any salt?  What exactly are the ammonia & nitrite levels?  Answer these & I'll try to help--Pufferpunk>

Starving Puffer 12/19/03 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a green spotted puffer fish along with gourami's.  I have been feeding them flake food.  The puffer started to get skinny, mouth would not open but would still swim around.  I looked at a web page and I found out that I was starving the fish.  I went to the store and bought some blood worms.  He is still not eating, although very aggressive toward the food.   My question is can I save the fish?  Will the mouth open again?   <If you are keeping this fish in freshwater, this could be a big part of the problem.  GSPs are high-end brackish water fish that prefer saltwater as adults.  Mine are 6" adults & live happily in SW. They need a 10g tank if <2", any larger they need a 20-30 gal tank.  They are best kept in species only tanks, as a healthy puffer will attack/maim/kill their tankmates.  They need serious filtration & pristine water conditions (no ammonia or nitrites), w/weekly water changes (I do 50% on all my tanks).  Once a fish has starved, serious medical problems can arise.  Try feeding your fish live foods, especially small snails (about the size of his eye).  Hex-a-Mit sometimes will help w/appetite.  You could also try adding vitamins to the water.  Your 1st duty to this fish is to give it the proper conditions, which means returning your FW fish, or setting up a separate BW tank for your beloved puffer.  Of course, you need to cycle it 1st.  You can always instant cycle a tank w/Bio-Spira.  Here's a good site on pufferfish: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/index.htm Thanks, Timothy <Good luck in saving your puffer--Pufferpunk>

Spectrum for Puffers? Hi Bob, I'm wondering if you could find out if Spectrum has been "tested" on freshwater or brackish puffers. I'd love to find a nutritionally-enhanced pelleted food that my puffers would eat. They've turned their noses away from a dozen different things I've tried, including pellets with shrimp, krill, and other typical puffer favorites, so I'm a bit skeptical that they'd eat the Spectrum. --Ananda <Am cc'ing Pablo Tepoot here (the owner, manufacturer of Spectrum foods). I recall he did have some good-sized marine puffers living on his pelleted foods... but did not have any freshwater or brackish animals at his home/farm as far as I recall. From what I've observed re the line, I would be very surprised if these other puffers did not accept the food. Pablo? Bob Fenner>

1 more puffer ?....for now :) I just have one more puffer related question, for now  :) <Don't worry about it, as long as you keep learning.>   We fed them some shell on shrimp, which they just loved, but I wanted to know about other foods for them also....what about the "cubed" frozen bloodworms? I heard that the brine shrimp don't give enough nutrients <true> so to use bloodworms or the shrimp or krill....is this ok? <Sounds good.  I pretty much feed mine anything I find at the fish dept of my grocery store (except fish).  So you're keeping them?  What are your plans for them?> Pufferpunk

Little eating machine (09/17/03) Hi there, <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon.> My figure 8 puffer won't stop eating on his own. <That's not that unusual...> I've sent you a picture of him, but you can't really see how all the food bits make lumps on his belly in the picture. <Perhaps not, but I can imagine... My puffs will get lumpy-bellied, too, if I mis-count and give them too much krill (though mine do tend to stop on their own, fortunately).> It would take him several days to come down from this size.   <My goodness. I think you are probably overfeeding him. Mine would get back to normal by the next evening.> I don't see any pictures of puffers online that are this fat. Is this ok? I don't mind feeding him all day if it is good for him.  thanks, Dave <Feeding him twice a day should be sufficient...but I would cut down a bit on the amount you are giving him. --Ananda>

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

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

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

Puffer can't/won't eat (03/11/03) <Hi! Ananda here on the puffer patrol today....> I'm really having a problem with a figure eight puffer fish I have. I've had him for the last two years and not run into a hitch. He lives with two other fish- another brackish figure eight and a brackish spotted puffer. <One of the few puffer combinations I know of that can be maintained for any length of time... I have both types in the same tank, too.> Right now he seems to be on a hunger strike - this is the first time but he hasn't been eating normally for a week now. He is looking really thin- the second half of his body is barely thicker then nickel and his upper half looks very bad too. He does seem to try to eat but most of it just drifts out of his mouth after a while. <Sounds like he may not be able to chew -- do check the length of his teeth. If they're too long, you may need to clip them. A pair of good-quality nail scissors can help.> I have seen him eat some food and he still acts very interested but he's still as thin as a before. I want to try to force feed him for now to try to keep him from wasting away the rest of the way but I don't know if that would be good to do since he looks like him might break if I try to touch him (that and i don't know how to force feed). <I'm not much of a fan of force-feeding. Try giving him some food that he doesn't need to chew -- frozen bloodworms and live blackworms are always a hit with my puffs -- and see if he can keep those down.> Also I would love to have a hospital tank but I don't have one and I doubt if it would be worth the time to cycle a new tank. <Since you typically medicate a hospital tank, you usually kill off any beneficial bacteria that may have established themselves in the cycle. So there's less need for cycling a hospital tank, more need for daily water changes. And any container that is big enough for the puff to swim around in and contain an airstone can be used as a hospital container in a pinch.> If u can help me keep this guy alive then your my hero and his hero too. I know I'm supposed to be trying to feed him more tempting foods (I looked through all the faq's u had for an answer and I'm still not sure of the answer) <Bloodworms, blackworms, snails, ghost shrimp, cocktail shrimp, krill; sometimes Mysis shrimp, squid, clams...check the saltwater Puffer Feeding FAQs for more ideas.> but he acts just as interested in any food as any other time- he just can't keep enough in to get a whole meal. <Try using a different approach: keep food in his tank at all times. The best way to do this would be in a separate tank. I'm thinking bloodworms or blackworms in a worm feeder, or live ghost shrimp, or snails would be the food to use with this approach.> if my answer is to force feed him I'm going to need a link to a site that can tell me how to do that for a puffer fish. <Eh, I'm not finding one that gives specifics... but here's what I'm inferring from posts about same: you would need to do is get a syringe (no needle necessary) and fill it with a slurry of food and a good vitamin supplement (Bob mentions Boyd's VitaChem as a favorite). Then catch and hold the puff underwater and put the end of the syringe into his mouth. Use the syringe to shoot the food into his stomach. More comments on force-feeding puffers here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm> And thank you very much for your time. Please try to email me back as soon as you can. <You're welcome. --Ananda> Green spotted puffer with swollen jaw (02/28/03) <Ananda here with the puffer questions....> I have a Green Puffer, t. fluviatilis, and he's been sick on and off for a month. He's in brackish water (about 1.008). We've been fighting high nitrates for quite a while, and about 1 month ago, his cheeks swelled up really big.  We moved him from a 100gal tank to a 10gal tank for treatment. I looked up some information on the web and put him on a 5 day round of Maracyn-Two which helped almost immediately. <I'm curious what kind of filtration you have on this tank. The best way to control nitrates in a brackish tank is usually through water changes. Or, you could adapt a marine idea and connect a heavily planted refugium to the main tank. I would try ordinary corkscrew Val's; I have some in 1.004 right now and they don't seem to mind the salt at all. (Acclimate the plants to brackish water fairly slowly.) This would also be an excellent snail farm.> But 1 week ago, his left jaw/cheek swelled up again and the Maracyn-Two is barely helping.  He stopped eating 2 days ago (his diet is mostly frozen krill) and spends most of his time at the bottom of the tank. His color is off- he's almost always dark, and is totally non-interactive which is abnormal. He has bouts of itchiness where he'll frantically scrape his face along anything he can, but those are less frequent since he's been on meds (for 4 days). <It sounds like he might have some sort of gill parasite. See if you can get a look at his gills. You may need to carefully catch him and hold him pointing away from you; he may puff, so make sure his head is under water. I would start him on an anti-parasitic medication.> Do you have any suggestions for treatment and for keeping nitrates down (he eats any plant we put in his tank)? He looks miserable. <Aside from the above, start varying his diet. Since he's eating the plants, try including some green stuff in his diet. Other things to include are snails (the little roundish pond snails, usually free from pet stores), various shellfish, ... more in our puffer FAQs in the brackish sections. And do more frequent water changes!> Thank you very much <You're welcome. --Ananda>

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

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

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

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

Re: Diet for a Small Puffer (09/01/03) Hi, Thanks for your reply.. <Ananda here again, and you're welcome.> One more thing <<I would switch to snails for your little guy. You should be able to get pond snails for free from your local pet-fish store; they often come in on the plants.  You can even start up a small "fish bowl" to breed snails for your puff.>> But the snails I see here are rather big .. like the shell can be 1CM in diameter?? is this type of snail small or big?? <That particular snail might be too big, but you could always toss one in with your puff and see what he does. If you get a bunch of snails, you can raise your own, and give your puff the smaller ones. Just put them in a container with water and feed them daily. You don't have to feed them fish food; you can give them slices of boiled veggies. When you do a water change for your puff, do a water change for them, too.> Thanks a bunch! Cheers, Jensen Wee <You're welcome! --Ananda>

New Puffer fish My husband recently bought a puffer fish from our LFS. They called it a puffer, and upon closer questioning, called it a green spotted puffer. It was recommended to us by the same LFS to control snails in our tank. Ours is a freshwater aquarium and home to five neon tetras and a couple of catfish. They assured me it will be fine in our six gallon freshwater tank, but upon looking at various websites, I have my doubts. <Your doubts are warranted. He will need specialized care; some salt in the water, larger tank, will probably eat the neons eventually, etc.> This puffer has gone thru many many snails in the two days we've had him. In fact he's eaten them all and now I'm scavenging snails from the tank filter. As usual, dad and the kids have brought home a new pet, and mom gets to figure out how to keep him alive and hopefully happy and healthy. So, should I return him? Also, what to feed (the store gave us frozen baby brine shrimp to feed him, but he's completely uninterested - they're obviously too small for him, although the tetras were in heaven). <Frozen Mysis shrimp and/or plankton would be better.> Any advice is appreciated. I've looked thru your website and it's very helpful. However, now I'm inundated with often conflicting info and I need to go straight to the horse's mouth. <Take a look here for a lot more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm> Thanks so much, Julie Billington <Welcome to the hobby, Steven Pro>

Re: New Puffer fish Thanks so much for the quick response! We got him/her some freeze-dried shrimp and some frozen brine shrimp. He liked the frozen shrimp and loved the freeze dried shrimp. I probably overfed him because I was so happy to seem him eating. The tetras continue to be impressed with the new additions to their diet. We're now scraping our pennies together for a 20 gallon tank. My main concern now is whether the catfish will tolerate the salt in the tank. <It depends on the species of puffer and how much salt you will have to add to keep him happy. Most fish will be ok with 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water. It is a pretty standard recommendation for various health reasons. It would be best when you get the 20 to keep both tanks up and separate the fish. Neons in one and the puffer in another.> Thanks Again! -Julie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Puffer teeth Hello Mr. Fenner. Well....seems my green puffer's teeth have grown too long. He can still eat, and I'm feeding him snails regularly, but they don't seem to stop the growth. I've looked through your website and can't find an actual description for grinding down your puffers teeth (I apologize if I somehow missed it).  How can I file down my puffers teeth. <I assume that you browsed the FAQ's on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm... beyond that it is about as simple as it sounds. A rotary tool (Dremel tm, or the like), a gently handled fish wrapped in a towel wet with aquarium water, a helper or IV drip raining saltwater in the gills for the short time that it takes (be sure not to stress the puffer when caught for the procedure). I'll make sure Bob gets this message with a request for a possible referral to published info(?) from the puffer queen (Kelly J). Kindly, Anthony Calfo> Thank you, Mark Keusenkothen

Questions on our Leopard Puffer (Help) Hi, I have a couple questions about my puffer. We have one puffer in a 10 gallon tank with 3 mollies. We feed the puffer frozen shrimp brine, but I recently learned that puffer fish eat snails as well. So I went to the pet store and bought a white snail to feed it. The puffer won't even touch it. Do the puffers need to eat the snail shells to file down their teeth???  <yes... critical!> How do I get it to eat snails?? Is it the wrong kind of snail??? <try the common nuisance (small brown) pond snails found of live plants (just look in most any sale tank of live plants at the LFS...these snails are not for sale species... they are usually a nuisance). The marketed snails (for sale species) are often too large or too hard for small puffers> My next question is about heavy breathing. Our puffer looks like its having trouble breathing. It also sits on the bottom of the tank, but when you walk up to the glass it starts swimming around. Also I noticed it changes colors a lot. It turns a dark green and gets black patches or areas around its mouth. Is this normal??  <your puffer needs brackish water... have you added and measured the salinity of your tank with a hydrometer?> We change our water regularly and are other fish are fine. <"other fish" sounds scary... brackish puffers are best kept in a species tank because of their special needs and aggression which becomes quite severe with age (not the least of which includes biting the eyes out of other fish in time!)> The water temp. stays between 76 - 78 degrees. We also put a little marine salt in the water for the puffer and the mollies. We are confused. <please buy and use a hydrometer if not doing so already (else adding salt is pot luck). And it sounds like there is much you still need/would like to learn about puffers. Please explore the following page and links at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm please be sure to follow and read the links to FAQ's...they can be quite illuminating!> Please Help Thank You Deidra / Nolan <best regards, Anthony>

Haven't a clue (Starving brackish puffer on its last fin) hello there. first let me say that I am a bit nervous to ask any questions... <No need> after reading some of your responses*l*hopefully, you won't make me look like a complete idiot who hasn't fully researched the whole situation.  I have had fresh, brackish and marine water fish for about seven years-although, do not consider myself an 'expert'- <Me neither> and never have I encountered a "sick" fish quite like this. let me also say that my water qualities are up to par. now here is my situation-please, don't be brutal- I have a figure eight puffer who is about three years old. he has no visible signs of illness no redness, no spots, no nothing). he has not eaten in several weeks. I have tried everything. at first he would eat and then seem to vomit it back up the food would be covered in mucus like stuff) he was very active and then he became very still when he started vomiting. since then he has stayed on the bottom of the tank and in the past week he has rolled over to his back. it is like a sick puppy dog, when he sees me look in at him, his fins start moving and his eyes roll toward me, but still he doesn't move or roll over to his belly. I had asked someone else for help and they said it was more than likely old age.  I have to agree, but he said to make things dark and calm for him he's in a tank by himself). I thought he would die rather quickly, but he has not. he is literally starving to death and it kills me to see him suffer. please, tell me if you think he is sick or just old and god forbid, if I can't do a thing to help him. thanks for your time, Hon. sincerely, veronica <I would very likely try force-feeding this fish... with very small, cut up meaty foods... with the animal out on a wet towel... and possibly try "lacing" the food (maybe on the second day/try) with a vitamin prep. (and possibly Flagyl) material. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Diets (FW/Brackish) Hey guys, I recently bought 4 dwarf puffers and am keeping them on a diet of mainly snails. I was wondering if these puffs will eat newly hatched baby brine shrimp/Artemia?  <perhaps as frozen cubes... a somewhat nutritious food, but still should not be any significant part of the diet...much better foods to be had. Do offer a variety of meaty frozen foods like Mysid, shrimp, shredded krill, clam, squid...so much more> And what other live foods can I feed these guys?  <live ghost or grass shrimp are fine food when the puffers are big enough> Lastly, I wanted to get a slow moving freshwater fish so the puffs can just nip on the fins whenever they're hungry, any suggestions? <part of me suspects that this last question is serious, but most of me hopes you are just joking. There is a distinct difference between offering appropriately selected/sized live prey as part of a diet in stark opposition to an inappropriate (oversized, slow, etc) for the inhumane torture of another living creature. I would be surprised if you were an aquarist that lacked what I thought was inalienable empathy for all living creatures. And for the benefit of all reading this post, let me state for the record that I have no qualms about feeding live prey to captive predators conditionally. I am not a "bleeding heart liberal" or "tree-hugging eco-Nazi" or anything of the like...heehee. In fact, as a lifelong companion of exotic predators... I suspect that I have a stronger stomach for the natural order than most. Not the least of my distinguished guests was a 14" Burmese python that ate small farm animals (admittedly frozen most always). But a slow moving meal of a fish for your puffers is not only cruel to suffer a slow death, but irresponsible to your favored fishes as the prey will be stressed and quite vulnerable to an infectious disease which could ironically spread to your puffers. No, my friend...I am not aware of a suitable live fish for this purpose. Yikes! Best regards... please do keep reading and self-educating for the benefit of all. And I'll be sure not to fall asleep or look slow if I'm ever a guest in your house <smile>. Kindly, Anthony>

Big teeth, skinny puffer Hi Bob, just came onto your amazingly informative and meaty website. I've had my college son's recycled fish for about 3 years, two green-headed puffers about 3 inches long. No problem with the tank, their care or anything else as they seem to be very hardy. They've lived on a diet of snails and Gambusia from my water lily ponds outside....but lately, I see that one of the puffers is much skinnier than the other and cannot eat as quickly and efficiently as the other little blimp. In fact, his "smile" is exaggerated, those big teeth looking like a Colgate commercial. <Likely there is some negative interaction between these animals... you might try two feeding areas... some sort of ready meaty foods like cocktail shrimp pieces, live snails, frozen worms of any fish food sort... placed at either end of the system at the same time> I've read about filing the overgrown teeth of puffers. These are pretty small fish. I don't think a Dremel would work, but then, what do I know?! <Can work... but for small puffer species and individuals, it's fine to provide hard foods and let them "whittle down" their teeth on their own> I've asked my Vet, the aquarium guys and no one knows how to approach filing the teeth of such wee puffers. In fact, I've been advised several times to just flush the fish down the toilet since they're inexpensive fish.....and to get new ones!  <I'd flush that idea... Talk about the "toilet assumption", "out of sight, out of mind", sheesh> Okay, no. What would His Holiness the Dalai Lama say to that?!! <Ask him, or read his writings. Am sure he would not agree with such a careless practice> So, what can you kindly advise me as far as helping Mr. Skinny Smiley out? Thank you for your dedication and kindness. Robin <Do look into "hard" foods, growing snails, adding dried wood, other decor to allow the animals to chew their teeth down. Bob Fenner>

Re: big teeth, skinny puffer thank you, Bob, I will try all the tips you've provided. I agree that the big puffer is aggressive towards the skinny one. Putting myself in the skinny one's place, I can see that constant "bullying stress" is probably the number one reason for the problem.  <Well put, agreed> No matter how many snails or Gambusia I feed them, the big one zips over to try and claim them all while the little one zags out of the way. I will fix that situation today and begin providing wood, etc., for their small but formidable teeth. Thanks again, Robin <Please make it known how all proceeds. Bob Fenner>

Figure eight puffer Hello, <Cheerio, old sport! Anthony Calfo in your service> I have owned a freshwater fish tank of some form for many years. Whether it was 50 gallon, 20, or 10 (I have a 10 right now because of the convenience), I have never really paid attention to pH, ammonia, etc.  <like an ice pick in my ears...hehe> I use a water X and add a teaspoon of salt for every 10 gallons. <I like that part <wink>> Right now I have a 10 gallon tank that follows me pretty much everywhere.  <most people have cats and puppies for this but hey... enjoy> Today I bought a figure eight puffer, I have always wanted a puffer and finally I decided to get one, but not before asking the dealer a bunch of questions. He said that although he may get territorial, he is a good community fish.  <you dealer is a fibber <G>> He said the fish will eat flake food, which is what I normally feed my fish, but I often give brine shrimp.  <Puffers are cute, lovable and dedicated fin nippers. They also will suffer on a diet of flake and brine shrimp. As crustacean eaters, they need hard shelled foods to wear down their naturally growing teeth. Without it the teeth will become overgrown to the point where the animal cannot feed. As such flake food is too soft and brine-shrimp without enrichment (Selcon soaked and the like) is a useless fare that is essentially water made to look like shrimp. Too bad it is so well liked by fish... it is the lowest grade food. Add frozen Mysid, krill and plankton to the diet (freeze dried krill too). Some folks keep fast breeding live snails (the puffers love them!!!) to help with the teeth too> He said my salinity would be fine.  <probably although they could take and might enjoy a lot more salt to truly be brackish> Once I bought the fish and released him into the tank, everything at the moment appears to be fine. I haven't fed yet, so I don't know how that will go. I started looking things up on the net here and one guy has me really afraid. He seems to know what he is talking about, but he says that having all these conditions right is vital and puffers are very sensitive. Can you help me out a little here?  <some truth to it... they are scale less fish and as such are sensitive to water quality and medications> Also, since I have released my figure eight puffer into the tank, he has swam up and down the side wall non-stop. It appears normal, but I saw a comment somewhere saying this was a bad thing, is this true?  <common but not normal or healthy in the long run. A stress induced response to many factors (salinity, light, water quality, etc)> Please help me out, thanks. Dave <no problem my friend... much has been written on this topic. Do a search on this site (tag the bullet for WWM only under the keyword field at the bottom of the home page) and look through the archives of FAQs. Much information there. Also, look through the brackish articles by following the links from the WWM homepage as well. I suspect that you will be enlightened and able to enjoy your puffer very soon. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: live foods for figure-8 puffer How do you feel about feeding a figure-8 puffer live earthworms, crayfish, bugs, frogs or other things from outside?  Is there really more risk then with live foods from the aquarium store?   <This is a brackish water species which requires marine type foods, not terrestrial foods like frogs, worms, etc. These fish are not generalists, they eat specific foods.> Also, is it possible to find live mosquito larvae outside? <In the summer months, but not for feeding puffers. Please read the information you need at WetWebMedia.com, just type "figure eight puffer" in the google search!  Craig>

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

Puffer Fish I have a question for you. I just found out that I bought a Figure-eight puffer (even though he was sold to me as a green-spotted puffer).. anyways I did not do much research on these fish before the purchase and I am next to new at this. This is my question.. it's a pretty simple one actually. Is feeding him shrimp pellets ok? <If this puffer will eat them, sure. Do also offer some meatier fare daily... like frozen/defrosted krill, shrimps of different sorts, silversides... as it is best to keep these tetraodonts full... Please read over the "Freshwater Puffers" on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more> He seems to really enjoy them even though some people have said they have difficulty feeding puffers pellets.. <Once tried, these fish really enjoy pelleted meat-based dried foods>  the reason I am suspicious is a few web pages say I should feed him shrimp/snails to keep his teeth filed down. Is this true.. and will the pellets do that or do I need to buy the shrimp/snails?  <Hmm, well, they will/do "chew" on most any hard material in their environment to do the same... I wouldn't buy snails for this purpose, but neither would I "peel" other shelled foods> Do I need to do this when he is young.. guesstimating he is an inch in size. I rescued him from Wal-Mart and I'm sure he was fed primarily flakes in rancid water knowing them. He seems healthy in my opinion at this point but I do not have much experience with fish and disease. TTYL, James <As I say, please read over the FW puffer piece and FAQs posted on the WWM site... you need to know a few things about this animals desired water chemistry and temperament and... Bob Fenner>

Eating Problems Hi there, I just browsed through your FAQ page and I think you may be the only one to help me. I have a common spotted puffer (the brackish variety), about 1.5in. long in a 10 gal. tank. Actually, there WERE two of them...unfortunately I fell for an undergravel filter system which, because it trapped all the waste, caused my nitrite levels to skyrocket. (strangely, the ammonia was fine) Daily water changes did nothing to alleviate the problem, probably because the readings were way off the charts. The one little fellow died as a result (I think that's what it was, anyway). Not wanting to kill another, I took the whole system out and replaced it with a canister filter (Aquaclear). The powerhead from the undergravel is still in there (with a small Quickfilter) for extra movement and hopefully so a biological filter will develop in there.  <Yes> The nitrite levels are fine now BUT, and here's my current problem: the fish won't eat (at least not the way he should). Even in the cruddy water, he ate like a pig, but now he just picks at his food. Furthermore, he likes to explore the tank a lot (tons of rock-caves), and every once in a while, he disappears behind the powerhead. Whenever he reappears from there, his belly is completely black. After a couple of minutes, he'll go back to a nice bright white (belly) but I am a little worried. Could he just be moody (as was suggested by the LFS)?  <Yes, likely so> Also, I put a java fern in there, hoping it would live, and so far it's looking pretty good (except when he tears chunks out of it). I read that it is a good idea to make plant matter available to them as food every once in a while. Does this go for all puffers? <To some extent, yes> My species? He seems to love it (at least he did, when he still ate...). Besides the plant, he gets a variety of silver sides, brine shrimp, salad shrimp (the little ones from the supermarket) and blood worms (all frozen) and (when I can get them form a reputable tank) live snails. He hasn't had snails lately, but he's not interested in any of the other stuff. Any ideas?  <Likely no problem here. Some residual reaction from the nitrite poisoning... and these puffers do go on feeding strikes for no apparent reason from time to time> Also, I'm getting conflicting info on the salinity levels: some say 0.800, others 1.005 and others again 1.020. Mine is at around 1.008-1.010. Could this be the problem? <Could be a contributing factor... the high side I'd use is 1.010... low 1.005> How quickly should I elevate salinity if it's too low?  <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bracmaint.htm> The LFS had him in water which was barely spiced. Anyway, could it be that he's still getting used to the new system?  <Yes> Is he, maybe lonely?  <Not likely> I know they're supposed to get nasty as they get older but these two seemed to play really nicely together. I plan to get him another buddy but not until I get everything straightened out perfectly. I'm still doing frequent water changes, but I test for levels first so I don't stress him unnecessarily. He gets treated with StressCoat (when necessary) and I add Stress Zyme with every water change. Also, my pH levels are right around 7.0. <Should be a bit higher...> Again, I've gotten conflicting info on ideal levels, but the general consensus seems to be that it should be a little more alkaline. I didn't want to mess around with too many things at once, but could this be the solution for my problem? <Once again, likely a contributing factor> (If so, how quickly do I change the pH level?) Anyway, I think I've written too much but I'm hoping you can give me the info I need. Many thanks, Nina <Do read over the WetWebMedia.com re pH/Alkalinity in freshwater systems. Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer Eating Problems Very grateful for the quick and helpful response. He IS eating now, just not as quickly as he should. Again, thank you very much. Nina <Good to hear/read of the improved appetite. Should continue to do so. Bob Fenner>

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