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FAQs about Brackish Puffer Reproduction

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Spotted Puffer  6/17/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm a thirteen year old who started Spotted puffer fish about a month ago for the first time (I'm used to amphibians). <I love frogs!> I started with two puffers but, one of the two was either killed or caught a disease shortly after a day at my house. Later, I bought another who also died, and finally I stupidly bought another which I gave away after about a week. <It's always a good idea to thoroughly research a species you are interested in BEFORE purchasing it.  Especially a wild-caught fish.> It has been two weeks since I have had two in the same aquarium and I was giving up but, then I noticed that one of the two puffers that I bought at the beginning that had lived through the entire time was swollen on the belly and I'm not sure whether it has an illness or if it is pregnant after all , I'm not sure whether one of the puffer I had was a male and had sexed in the past. <I highly doubt your puffer is pregnant.  It is very difficult to breed them & they need perfect conditions for that.  1st of all, there are several puffer with spots, so I'd like you to identify your puffer here: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/index.htm  There is lots of good puffer info on that site too.  Once you have a proper ID on your puffer, I can help you further on care.  1 thing I cannot stress enough, is not to put a puffer in a "clean", uncycled tank.  Do you know about cycling a tank?> Looking for any advice. Thanks Leo <Good luck with your puffer friend.  ~PP>

Pregnant Puffers? (1/5/04) <Hi! Ananda here at the keyboard...> Recently after buying four green spotted pufferfish (I've only had them for about two weeks), I noticed that one of my fish's underside has swollen as if pregnant. <I doubt that it's pregnant... even if you have an adult puffer, and juveniles are more commonly sold.> The fish hangs out near the bottom of my medium sized tank under crevices made by the rocks in the tank. If this fish is pregnant, there most likely is not a father to the fry living in the tank, having bought the fish only a little while ago. I really worry about the health of the fish, and I hope you can ease my mind with some tips on what to do. <Puffers often come into the country with intestinal worms or other parasites. I suspect this may be the case with yours. I would use a preventative round of de-wormer for all of your puffers. Pufferpunk prefers Discomed, which includes Levamisol, Piperazine, magnesium sulfate, and neomycin sulfate. Also note that green spotted puffers are brackish fish, and if you don't have enough salt in your water, the puffers may react poorly. Keep an eye on their belly barometers: the amount of grey on the belly is a good indicator of stress.> Thank you, Rachel <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Spotted Puffers <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> How does one tell the difference in sexes among green puffers and green spotted puffers??? <<Sexual differences in these are internal, no way to tell from the outside.>> I cant find breeding/sexing information on this breed of fish anywhere... perhaps you know or will know where to look.  ~Thanx!! Alecia <<Cheers, J -- >>

Figure Eight Puffer Fry Hello again Mr. Fenner, I hope you are doing well. I am writing to seek some advice about one of my quarantine inhabitants. I want you to know I have done all of the research I could get my hands on, and have exhausted all of my theories. I am getting somewhat desperate here. <Let's jar your memory, give you a bit more to cogitate furiously with> On October 24th I received a call from my LFS about a nasty torn finned Figure Eight Puffer (Tetraodon biocellatus) they needed help with. I have little experience with fresh to brackish water fish, but was happy to see what was the matter. I went down there that day to see the puffer. The staff expressed to me that they felt the puffer was pregnant. How they came to that conclusion I do not know. :) I had no reason to doubt their concern, so I told them I would take her home and see what happens. She was about 2 1/2 -3" in length and beyond the norm for puffer chubbiness. It's fins were torn quite badly (I am convinced it was shipped and bagged with others of it's species)  <Common, and common result> but she ate well and adapted to my QT tank without incident On November 2ed almost over night, her belly darkened and had 2 distinct lumps. One below it's mouth and 1/4" below that, a much larger darker swell. I did all of the research (asked on WWF and Ananda was quite helpful) <As I've seen> I could, and honestly became convinced it could not be a pregnancy. Bloat? Naww.. she swam around like she owned the tank and ate like a mad fiend. Five days ago I awoke to go start my morning tank chores to find one very FAT mama puffer and 5 little babies hiding behind a banana leaf plant. I put the puff fry in my nursery tank and proceeded to freak out at how large mama was. Calmed down some and guessed she ate the rest of the family. :) <...! Are you sure these are puffer babies? All tetraodontiform fishes are oviparous... not livebearers... Takes two to tango, with pelagic period...> I have tried everything under the sun to get these little fry to eat. I am down to 3 fry now. They are about 1/2 the size of an eraser on a # 2 pencil. So cute they will drive a person crazy. I have tried newly hatch brine, and Mysis, slurry of all sorts of ingredients, baby snails and SMALL pods from my refugium are all that seem to sustain them. Now they seem to have lost interest in that and are rather lifeless. I think another puff fry is going to be lost today because it is bottom dwelling and looking rather sad. I add a low dose of vitamin supplements to their water as well. Water quality for the fry and mama are all good. Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate 0, temp a balmy 80*, soft water flow. 2 of the three do look somewhat active, but how to stimulate their appetite is at this point unknown to me. Any suggestions are beyond welcome! <Live baby brine shrimp... which you can hatch out... but for now which you can have your LFS strain out (with a fine mesh, usually white in color, net under their larger net...) Now about mama. She is looking to have signs of bloat now. She will not eat, hardly moves. I thought I would give a Epsom salt treatment a try, but I have a nagging suspicion that it was birth her fry. any trauma related to it that is causing this reaction. Is it at all possible for infection to accrue, as I have seen with marine fish, after birth?  <Yes> I always hesitate to give any kind of chemical treatment without a firm belief in the cause of the illness. I am not sure about the presumptions I am making. She was fine the day of and the day after her birth. It sounds like an infection setting in to me. <Which hopefully can, will solve itself with time, good general care> Again, if you have some thoughts as to what might be at play here for both I am all ears. I hope I gave all of the information needed. I have the fry and mamma's plight well documented so if you need additional information I would be glad to supply it. Forgive me for the long post. Hope to hear back from you soon. I wish I could repay you for your time and effort. Happy Holidays Lenore <No worries re notions of remuneration. My "pay" is manifold in your, others involvement in life, concerns even just here, let alone the obvious good exercised else... Don't consider that there is much more to do than you have mentioned... if/when the young are a bit larger do try a glass dish on the bottom with some Tubifex/tubificid worms... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Figure Eight Puffer Fry Mr. Fenner, Okay, I thought I was freaking out before, now I think it can be called going crazy. Not puffer babies?? ::insert hysterical laugh:: What the heck could be going on that I could misinterpret this. I am 99.9% sure that the puffer in my QT is in fact a figure eight. The babies are small, but I swear to you on all that is holy that they look to be a miniature of the puffer. <Amazing... strange> Good grief, not live bearers. That's great. ;) Okay, now that I am thinking that my .1% might be a big factor here. Could you suggest a possible other fish (similar in appearance to the figure eight?) that I would mistake as a puffer? <More likely... that whatever young they are were transferred in the bag, introduced into the system in some other way... these do look like very small versions of the "parent" I trust> I will try the baby brine once again and cross my fingers that they will take to it. Thank you for your obviously much needed help. :) Lenore <A pleasure, yet mystery for sure. Bob Fenner>

Green/gold puffer Robert,  first off, a very informative sight. <Where? Oh, you mean site...> Next, a question which no one at the pet store could answer. I bought a freshwater green/gold puffer. All was well until she (I am assuming it is a she) got sluggish. A couple of days, she was hanging on, not doing too well. However, I noticed a small bubble egg-sack with eggs inside. It was laid on the slant of a rock. My questions are : does this sound like an egg-sack? <Maybe, but not of a puffer> also, does this breed lay pre-fertilized eggs?  <No, egg scatterers, no parental care... eggs float about in the epipelagic environment...> or does the male come  and fertilize after?  <They spawn (release their gametes/sex cells) into the environment after a bit of "courting-dance"> it seems that throughout the past days, the eggs are getting more white (or yolky?) <Likely "fungussing"... if these are eggs (from somewhere), they are "going bad", decomposers consuming them> for now, I have removed the dead puffer and all other fish to see what happens. I have a real small tank (under 5) and want to see if they will hatch (or if they are even fertilized) Also, how long approximately does it take from lay to hatch? I appreciate your expertise, Glenn <Do you have any snails in this system? Other sorts of life? Bob Fenner

Re: green/gold puffer Robert thank you for the response. here is the thing...there were only two other animals in the tank. One a guppy which the sack is bigger than, and a snail smaller than half a pinky-nail....Leading me to believe that it was the puffers work. These are the only three to have ever inhabited the tank. Now, the sack is in there alone. Any ideas? <Hmm, think this may be that small snail, or perhaps others hiding in your substrate... Next most likely possibility, an insect (from outside the tank) using your system to reproduce... next category? Algae of different sorts that look "egg sack like"... Have you got an inexpensive microscope (up to fifty power?) or friends in a bio. lab with same? Perhaps a closer look would be revealing. Bob Fenner>

Re: green/gold puffer I've got a microscope...ill take a look. thanks for your help. <Ah, and likely a doctorate in invertebrate zoology! Make it known if I may be of assistance my friend. Bob Fenner>

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