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FAQs about Tetraodon mbu Puffers Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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Mbu puffer     4/15/20
Good morning. I had emailed you guys a few weeks back when I had just purchased a Mbu puffer.
<I do recall, Sony.>
He/she is about 3-4 inches. Color is great, swimming a lot, eating everything. Frozen clams, cocked crawfish, freeze dried krill (all soaked it vita chem) and live ghost shrimp. About 4 days a go he stopped eating and he doesn't swim around as much.
<Eating comes naturally to pufferfish. If they refuse food, always assume it's environmental before you do anything else. As you probably know, puffers are more sensitive to medications than many fish, so you want to avoid medicating where possible. While not especially sensitive to water chemistry variation, puffers do require good water quality, in particular, the usual zero ammonia and nitrite, but also low nitrate (certainly below 40 mg/l, and ideally below 20 mg/l) as well as high oxygen levels.>
I put him in a box to see what his poops might be or if parasites came out I could see before another fish tried to eat it. Also it was meant to medicate his food and allow him to eat it before another fish tried to.
<Mbu aren't really sociable fish, so there's really no point keeping them with tankmates. Your life will be immeasurably easier if you keep them on their own. Reduces the risk of either infecting the other with parasites, obviously, but also makes treatment easier.>
I had asked you guys a few weeks back if I should medicate him/her with PraziPro even though there was no indication to. Well I started the treatment 3 days ago when the personality changed.
<Why are you assuming intestinal worms? Praziquantel treats worms. That's all. Signs of worms include loss of weight despite eating, evidence of worms or their eggs in the faeces, or even visible worms emerging from the vent. While worms are fairly common parasites, they rarely explain sudden changes in behaviour and/or rapid decline in health. Indeed, wild fish likely carry a few worms quite often, and the worms are normally kept in check by a healthy immune system, so don't cause any health issues.>
First I changed the water 60% and then started the treatment. In these 4 days he still hasn’t eaten.
<See above. You have provided no information on the environment. Let's recap. Tetraodon Mbu is a giant species from deep rivers and large lakes. While your juvenile is still relatively tiny, he looks a lot bigger than a Corydoras in your photographs, so I'm going to assume a standard length of at least 12 cm/5 inches. Aquarium size for such a specimen should be at least 250 litres (66 US gallons) and optimally at least 350 litres (100 US gallons). Water chemistry should be middling, between 5-15 degrees dH, and around pH 7. Water quality must be excellent, with no ammonia or nitrite, and the nitrate should be as low as practical. Water turnover rate should be very high because these puffers are highly sensitive to low oxygen levels -- I'd suggest a water turnover rate of at least 8, and preferably 10 times the volume of the tank per hour. In other words, if the tank is 66 US gallons, you'd need a filter with a pump rated at about 528 to 660 gallons/hour. If your aquarium doesn't match these criteria, that's the first thing to fix.>
I’ve tried works and frozen krill. I’ve tried garlic soaked clam. He won’t eat.
<Appetite returns when stress is removed. The fish doesn't look obviously sick, but he does look dark and stressed. Review the tank, and act accordingly.>
Stomach is slightly sunken in. Color is still great and only poop that was suspicious I’m including in this post. What should I do?
I’ve done water change. Salt and PraziPro. All 4 days ago. -Sony
<Hope this helps. Do, please, read about this extremely demanding species. Randomly medicating if you have no idea of the problem will achieve little, potentially do harm. A single course of Praziquantel isn't a bad idea, and shouldn't do any harm, but this isn't always the case with fish medications -- copper and formalin being especially toxic to puffers. Cheers, Neale.>

My MBU Puffer stop eating, please help!      5/1/13
I have a MBU Puffer around 15 cm long. Since last 2 weeks. it stop eating, but its belly is round and it keeps deep breathe. and it always stay in the bottle of the tank. my tank is 180 L big.
<Won't be large enough in time; maybe not now>

 there are not too many fishes in it. I changed  1/4 water every 2 weeks or 3 weeks. I don't know what's wrong with it. Can you please help me to heal it? I attached its pictures in the email.
Thanks a lot
<Need more information: re water quality, what you're feeding, and more.
This specimen seems "bummed out" (depressed); very common. Do read here:
and the linked files above, particularly "System FAQs" and "Feeding". Bob Fenner>

Re: My MBU Puffer stop eating, please help!     5/1/13
Thank you for your email.
I feed conch and shell to my MBU puffer.
<.... read where you've been referred. This is too likely a Thiaminase issue. B>

 Usually when it see the shell in my hand, it will knock the tank glass with its teeth and open its mouth to eat it.
Now it doesn't pay any attention on the conch or shell. what can I do for it?
Hope to hear from you soon.

Poorly Mbu Puffer Fish... env., nutr.     3/7/12
Hi, hope you can help!
<I as well>
I have a Mbu Puffer called Polo who is roughly 24" in size and it has not eaten anything for over half a month. It hasn't lost much weight yet (it was always fat looking even for a Mbu), but it's now starting to get thinner.
It has these quite large pink-ish lumps near it's top fin (see attached pics). From what i can make out it seems to be Lymphocystis, and as far as i know there's no way to treat this?
<Mmm, indirectly... improving water quality, nutrition...>
 But it's usually not fatal and can clear up itself? I think the Mbu has often had these lumps since i got him about 2 years 5 months ago, and they have almost completely disappeared at points in time, and then come back, but now it looks worse than usual.
I keep the Mbu in a 1150 Litre tank (252 UK Gallons), which has two large and powerful Fluval FX5 filters
<May need more...>

 and rubber air tubes that run the length of the tank. Nitrates and ammonia are the lowest colour on the colour chart i use to compare.
<NO3 needs to be under 20 ppm, and zip/nada/zilch for NH3>
 Temperature is 26c, and i do 30% water changes roughly every 10 days. It shares the tank with 2 common Plecs,
<Mmm, watch these... esp. at night>
a Siamese Tiger fish, and some smaller cichlids... probably not the best combination, but no other fish ever bothers the Mbu in any way, although I'm planning to remove the cichlids. And no other fish has ever had the lumps that the Mbu has.
The Mbu mostly eats Mussels and Prawns daily, and i know these contain Thiaminase,
<Yes... I'd switch these out for other foods>

but only discovered this lately so since then I've been trying to feed it other things like Tilapia and Cockles. But for 2 years it's mostly been eating Mussels and Prawns! Which I'm sure hasn't helped, wish i knew sooner.
<Me too>

Any food i put in the tank the Mbu will just completely ignore. It usually eats well, but at some points in time it's gone for up to 10 days without eating that much and then returns to normal, but apparently this is quite normal behaviour for Mbu's. Apart from now it's never gone for over 2 weeks without eating nothing at all. Apart from the lumps by the top fin i cant see anything else wrong.
<Externally, macroscopically>
 I've put some ESHa 2000 and salt in the tank but neither has helped so far.
<And will not>

The Mbu i have is a lazy one, it lays around much of the time but used to get excited for food and would often swim around in the mornings or when the sun is out. Now it lays around almost 95% of the time but when it does swim it looks ok, the swimming isn't out of balance or anything but seems a little like it's not got much energy. Should i put the Mbu in another tank?
<I would not...>
I only have another spare tank that's about 200 Litres
<Too small>
 so it's extremely small, which is why I've not moved it. The other alternative would be my bath which is over 400 Litres. I don't know what else i can do? Should i take him out the tank for a quick salt bath?
<No; of no use. I would soak new foods, read here:
in a commercial vitamin and HUFAs product. Search on WWM re these terms and the brand: Selcon, Micro-Vit...>
Thanks for your time, i know you must get tons of emails.
<Thank goodness, that for the 30-40k users per day, only a small part of one percent... the site is intended (designed, engineered) to be a reference, not a bb. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tetraodon mbu... overgrown teeth   -- 06/10/10
My Name is Franky from Hong Kong, my family new member "Tetraodon mbu". I search all information from the website regarding the Tetraodon mbu how to feed. I think my MBU was overgrowth the teeth, how can I do for this?
Thank You very must for your advance.
Best Rdgs
<Hello Franky.
What you do will depend on the size of the pufferfish. Do read:
I do hope you understand how difficult these fish are to maintain. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Tetraodon mbu, hlth., fdg.    12/22/09
I'm looking for some help with my freshwater mbu puffer fish, I think he may have impaction from a cockle shell.
<Oh? What makes you think this? It's unlikely a pufferfish will become constipated because it's swallowed a piece of shell. For one thing, they evolved to eat precisely these types of foods. The acidity inside the gut should further break down any shell material that wasn't chopped up by the beak, so given time, shell fragments should pass out without too much bother. If the pufferfish isn't eating, it's much more likely that there are other problems than this.>
We have tried Epsom salts with very little results, he isn't eating where as before he was like a dustbin.
<It's a sad but true fact of life that virtually no home aquarist can provide the right conditions for Tetraodon mbu. In other words, almost all specimens sold in pet shops die prematurely. These puffers are very sensitive to high levels of nitrate, essentially anything above 20 mg/l, and for long term success nitrate levels should be less than 10 mg/l. On top of that they are also sensitive to water without enough oxygen. It's difficult to say precisely what adult Tetraodon mbu needs to survive in captivity, but we are talking about tanks measured upwards of 500 gallons in size, and filtration systems rated at not less than 8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Such systems are incredibly expensive and really only viable in public aquarium settings.>
he's not himself he keep's pulling his eyes inside his head, he's up and down the tank then just lie's there. Is there anything you could suggest?
<Do start by reading here:
Then check water quality; you need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate levels less than 20 mg/l. Water chemistry is not critical, but moderately hard, slightly basic water is probably the optimal simply in terms of stability.
Diet should be varied. Carnivorous fish can suffer vitamin deficiencies very easily because the popular foods -- mussels and prawns -- tend to contain a lot of thiaminase. Cockles (Cerastoderma edule) don't contain thiaminase.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.> 

Mr. MBU  1/18/09 Mmm, no accompanying text, message? BobF.

Re: Mr. MBU 1/19/09 Hi Bob, Sorry about not having the text in the pictures I sent. My name is Ed I have been though a lot with the little MBU. He was about 3 inches when I purchased him 4 months ago and now is about 8 inches. His water quality has been really good in his 200 gallon tank with Nitrates at 10, for over a month now. He has his own MySpace page with a video. <A celebrity!> My wife likes to video him for her UTube page. The MBU likes to watch videos of himself on her phone, he will come to were her phone is and watch it. <What a ham!> From his attitude after seeing another MBU on the phone I do not think he would do well with another one in there with him. <Ahh!> One thing I found interesting was he has after eating gone to his hiding spot and regurgitated and slowly eaten his food again, almost like there was competition for his food, but there's not. Here are some links to the crazy fish. _http://www.myspace.com/443998993_ (http://www.myspace.com/443998993) _YouTube - momsyz450roost_ (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=momsyz450roost&search_sort=vide o_date_uploaded) <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mbu sys., fdg., worms...  1/2/09 Hello everyone, <Hello again!> Thanks a ton for all the answers Neale! <Most welcome.> My MBU seems so much happier in his 200 gallon than his 100. <'Tis the nature of the beast.> His Ick is all gone and the water is nice and stable. It appears that using the one established Eheim 2050 along with the other 2050 and the FX5 made the cycle as short as about a week. <Sounds about right.> My ammonia and nitrite went there way to a max of 1 ppm now 0 and then my Nitrate is at 10. I have found that Mr. MBU has a crazy appetite now, It seems so evident now that the puffer really likes his hiding space! I covered both ends of the tank and only the front open and he seems very at home. <A healthy puffer is a hungry puffer, so if he's always greedy, that's a very good sign. Wild fish do spend most of their time close to hiding places, and despite being able to "puff up" and equipped with deadly poisons, puffers don't normally go about looking to be bitten! They're slow swimmers and generally keep an eye open for trouble, ready to dart away into their chosen refuge.> I wanted to mention to anyone interested that I found a bag of seafood melody at a local Sam's store with shrimp, muscle, clam, octopus, squid and some stuff I have no clue and tossed but otherwise he loves the food for $10 for a couple pounds. <Ah yes, often recommend precisely this type of "seafood mix". Economical and healthful. It's entirely possible to maintain large carnivores like puffers entirely on foods sold for humans, significantly reducing costs.> My question is I have seen 2 worms in his cage at about 8mm long hair thickness wiggling around in the water column. I searched and did a good vacuum job. Is this nothing to be worried about like I have read? <Likely just nematodes, and all they're doing is eating detritus. Nothing to worry about unduly. Helminth parasites (i.e., worms) don't generally go from their free-living stage to infecting fish within aquaria, though they may do so in ponds. Usually when aquarists observe worm parasites -- almost always Camallanus -- the fish has been infected at somewhere outdoors like a fish farm or the wild. By all means siphon out the worms if you object, but otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much. Most aquaria contain thousands if not millions of non-parasitic nematodes, they're just usually too small to see. Cheers, Neale.>

African Yellowtail Puffer... ID, fdg... FW?   10/26/07 Hi Guys, I bought a 2 inch African Yellowtail Puffer about a month ago. I have been feeding small live fish which he would eat voraciously. One day, almost overnight, it seems like he could no longer eat properly. For the last week he has been hanging out on the bottom and occasionally swimming around looking like he is very weak. I noticed that it looked like he had problems trying to eat anything. What could be the problem?? Thanks Peter <Hello Peter. I have absolutely no idea what an "African Yellowtail Puffer" is. Perhaps Tetraodon mbu, since that's from Africa and has a yellow tail. I just hope not though, because it is a very difficult (read: almost impossible) animal for the home hobbyist to look after. For one thing, it is extremely sensitive to poor water quality. Zero ammonia and zero nitrite go without saying, but nitrate needs to be as close to zero as possible, and certainly not above 20 mg/l. Next, it's huge. I mean gigantic. In the wild, these fish get to over 60 cm (about 24") in length (excluding the tail fin). Some captive specimens have grown even larger. In terms of aquarium conditions, this demands a tank of the largest possible size, probably something upwards of 1000 litres (over 260 US gallons). Admittedly, yours will take a few years to get to full size, but still, you do need to have a plan. I'd actually argue they aren't aquarium hobby fish at all. Anyway, when a puffer stops feeding, you know something is very, VERY wrong. Normally they are swimming dustbins that will eat until they can't move. Your first problem is feeding the wrong food. Never, EVER give feeder fish to a puffer. Not only is it not required, but it is actually hazardous. Goldfish and minnows, for example, contain thiaminase (which breaks down Vitamin B1) and large amounts of fat (that cause problems with the internal organs). The correct diet for all puffers, repeat ALL PUFFERS, in captivity is a variety of the following: mussels, pond snails, krill, unshelled prawns, bloodworms, earthworms, river shrimps, and clams. Many also enjoy (and probably need) some amount of green food too. Tinned peas seem to go down well with many pufferfish. Puffers also need to be fed in small amounts. The goal is to feed once a day, or every other day for big (~10 cm/4") specimens. Each time, the fish should eat no more than enough to slightly fill out the belly to a gently convex shape. Puffers will eat until they swell up like bowling balls; that is not good for them! Also check water quality. With Tetraodon mbu especially, any amount of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate will sicken the fish. So instead of trying to ram more food down their throats, when these fish go off their dinner, do a 50% water change. And then another! Give it a couple of days, and then try something small and tasty, like a river shrimp or half a mussel. Above all else, worry more about water quality than food. When the water conditions are right, your fish will start feeding again. Hope this helps, Neale>

Mbu Puffer, fdg... sys.      7/17/07 Hello Crew, my name is Kevin. <Hi Kevin, Pufferpunk here> I have a Mbu puffer fish that measures about 7 inches, in a 100 gal tank with several species of cichlids. <You are aware of this fish's potential size & that he will need a MUCH larger tank (1,000 gallons is recommended)?> He has not eaten in at least 6 weeks. I have done everything, water changes, <How large, how often?> adding salt, offering crayfish, crabs, snails, shrimp, to no avail! Before he stopped eating I tried to feed him some dead crayfish that I had frozen that he was very hesitant to eat, so I think that may have something to do with it. Please let me know what I can do to fix this before he dies. <Have you checked his teeth to see if they might be overgrown?> I have also treated the water with Melafix since, it has worked with so many other problems. <Can't hurt... I really can't give you any kind of diagnosis, without knowing the exact ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH levels. In the meantime, check this Mbu profile: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/Freshwater/T_Mbu/ and please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=150 Your input will be much appreciated! <Please write back with more info. ~PP>

MBU Puffer not eating.. read: stunting - 8/9/2006 Hello, I saw your post on FAQ's for MBU puffers and had to get in touch with you.  I also have a Tetraodon MBU and I was having some problems feeding him. I have  had him for about 8 months and he currently lives in a 30 gallon tank by himself. <<Just for the record, you do realize that your puffer will grow to 30' (two and a half FEET) or more, and will need a 1000-gallon (one thousand US gallons) tank? I would say he is about  4-5" long now. <<He is likely stunted already.  Please look into housing this giant puffer properly, or donating him to a public aquarium or research centre, even another aquarist that can.  It infuriates me that pet stores sell these monsters without educating people on how enormous they get.>> When we first bought him the aquarist told us to feed him freeze dried krill and we have been feeding him this throughout. <<An all-krill diet is not sound.  Try crab legs, snails, shell-on shrimp, cockles, clams, mussels.>> Recently it seems  he has developed an aversion to this food. <<Common when fed only one item.>> He is  going up for the food, takes a bite and than doesn't touch it.  I have tried to feed him shrimp, silversides, scallops.  He does not even move towards  them. <<Give him time to get hungry, try a garlic additive, or try dangling it around to have it appear live.>> My water has been tested and everything is normal. <<Actual numbers are helpful.>> The temperature is at 82 degrees F. <<A little high.>> The pH is around  8.0-8.1.  These are the conditions that he has been in from the start.  There is also no salt in the water. <<That's good.>> Physically he looks very healthy (well rounded). No signs of fungal or bacterial infections, no signs of starvation, and he has the drive to eat.  So I guess my questions is: How do I get him to eat other foods, is he disinterested or is there something else that I am missing?  If I have left anything out please feel free to contact me via my email.  I will appreciate any help. My other thought was that he could possibly have a parasitic infection.  His anal region is black. <<My guess is this poor puffer has stopped eating due to severe stunting and improper diet.  Eating means growing, and he has no room to.  Please take what I say about the size and tank requirements of your puffer seriously. I can tell you love him, so lets try and house him in a way that will not end in death prematurely.>> Thank you. Jawad <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Mbu Puffer - 5/11/2006 Hi , <<Hi Paul.>> I have a juvenile Mbu puffer about 6in at the moment and he hasn't eaten for going on 3 weeks. He still has his bright colours and his eyes are very alert. There doesn't seem to be any markings or visible illness on him. He just sits on the bottom of the tank lopsided and occasionally has a brief swim round.  I read that some of the smaller puffers can get air bubbles in there stomachs and require burping, could this be the case here? <<Possible.  Read here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html. Are your water parameters in check (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)?  Your Mbu will not be 6' for long.  They grow to almost 3 feet (72cm), and require a tank of at least 1000 (yes a thousand!) US gallons (833 UK gallons) to sustain them properly for their entire life cycle.  I surely hope you are prepared/up for the challenge! Hope you can help, Paul ( Huge puffer enthusiast) Sheffield, England <<Glad to help. Lisa (also a huge puffer enthusiast.  Come see www.thepufferforum.com.). Toronto, Canada.
Re: Mbu Puffer - 8/11/2006
Water quality is fine. I don't know how many gallons my tank holds its 6ft by 4ft by 4ft in depth which was bought specially for the Mbu, will this be ok? <<That works out to ~718US-gallons.  200-gallons too small in my opinion, but certainly MUCH better than most.  If you pay attention to water quality and water changes as he grows, along with perhaps a large veggie filter, I think you'll do fine. Lisa.>> Thanks Lisa <<You're welcome :). Lisa.>>

Puffer Ails 7/10/03 Our Mbu Puffer about (12 inches in length) has decided he does not want to eat shrimp anymore. We were always supplementing snails, crawfish. He just will not eat the shrimp. He has been doing something funny with his mouth, after he has bit into something, He opens up his mouth very wide like he is trying to push something out but nothing comes out, its gives us the impression that something is stuck in his gums??? Does that make sense?? <have you checked for overgrowth on the teeth?> He has been eating the snails even though he goes through this ritual. He is not as eager to eat as he once was. We have ordered him Ghost Shrimp, Brown Snails and crab. What else do you suggest? <some Selcon to supplement the diet... also gut-loading the prey with nutritious dry foods and frozen fare that the puffer would not eat alone> My husband pet him yesterday, when he was cleaning the tank. The Mbu "Andy" started to color up and move his fins like this made him happy. I thought he would puff up and act mad but he seemed to like the contact. Cute.   He has tank mates that he has had from the very beginning. A Bala Shark "Cedric"  and 30 small Tetras. When he is finished with his food they all come over and he lets them eat what ever he was having. I don't know how long this will last but it is really cool. I'll take a picture for you guys... We were rinsing the shrimp in filtered water, we should use a little water out of his tank I guess in a cup that belongs to him do you think he may not like his food rinsed in the filtered water?? Could there be too much Chlorine?? <no worries here> We research and read and talk to people we just want to do the right things for our Mbu Puffer Friend. He has become quite the family member. We are getting him that 300 gallon tank so that he can grow very old in it.  Thanks, Vivian   <many FAQs in our archives on puffers... do browse as well http://www.wetwebmedia.com Anthony>

New Mbu Puffer  8/10/04 Hey crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> First let me point out that I think your site is fantastic.   <Well, thank you very much!> I found myself looking and learning about systems I never even thought about.  Thanks for the good info. I read a lot of great info on Mbu puffers, but found some of the eating habits and acclimation techniques to be contradicting. Just to clarify, here is my situation. <There is a lot of contradicting info on puffers in general, on the web & even more from shops that sell them.> I have a 55gal, with 2 large Tinfoil Barbs (8"), 3 Bala Sharks (ave.. 5"), 1 Clown Knife (4"), 1 large Pleco (8" need to do something here, whole other subject) and a few Tiger barbs (1") <Hmmm, sounds overstocked already!  Do you have any idea how large clown knives grow?  4 feet!  They will also eat anything they can fit into their huge mouths.  Mmmmmm, tiger barbs!  I hope you aren't going by the 1"/gal rule, that's only for 1" fish.> All except the Clown Knife have been in the tank since inception. My tank has been up and running for over 2 years now with no major problems.  I do plan to upgrade to 100-200gal in the next year, <Not nearly large enough for all those fish.  I don't think a 4' fish will be able to turn around in there.> but trying to do things one step at a time. I was ready to put a great fish, and make an investment on something special.  After research into my water conditions I found that the Mbu Puffer would be a good choice.  After talking to a few people, I got one and he is glorious.   <One of the most stunning & personable fish alive, IMO.> Anyways, while I acclimate the most expensive fish I've ever bought, I am finding myself nervous.  I was very slow and deliberate in my introduction to the tank.  He even ate about 20min after getting out of the bag--fantastic.  But has not eaten since.  I am trying with Krill, frozen and freshly thawed.  I feed my other fish in the tank a variety of flakes/Brine Shrimp/ Bloodworms and other frozen that the Mbu takes no interest in either.  It has only been 24hrs, and normally I would just let the fish be, but this time I have more invested, financially and emotionally.   <The 1st thing that comes to mind is when I introduced 4 7-8" tinfoil barbs to my large puffer's tank (12" Fahaka alone in a 125g tank) for some swimming interest.  Boy was he pissed!  It seems they were just too much & his eyes would shift back & forth angrily at them.  They would eat every morsel of food, before it would get down to him.  I had to get rid of them, for his sake.  Now all is good in his tank.  You may be having the same problem. Between the rotund, slower-moving  puffer & all the streamlined fish you have in there, who do you think is going to eat 1st?  The puffer may not want to even bother, since he is the new guy.  Another scenario I can imagine, is the puffer getting mad enough to just start taking chunks out of some of the other fish.>   My question is basically how much will he eat (4in) and how often? <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). As your puffer gets larger (even now), 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 need to eat every day, skipping one feeding/week. Feed them until their bellies are slightly rounded.> Are their any other techniques I should try when feeding him?  And at what point should I be concerned? He is moving smooth and seems OK as of yet.   <I'd be concerned when he hasn't eaten in a week or 2.  Again, I must stress, I think there is way too much competition for food in there.  Puffers are actually rather shy.> For your info, here are the basics about my water conditions.  T=77F, pH=6.9-7.0, Ammonia, nitrates-low, but known to jump (no live plants), filter-established external BioWheel with snorkel.  Bimonthly water changes (25%- probably increase now with Puffer) <You are having ammonia & nitrIte problems, because your tank is overstocked.  For most fish, puffers especially, those must always be 0!  Also, your pH is extremely low, from the huge bioload & small water changes.  Puffers prefer hard, alkaline water, with a pH of around 8.  I do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks & none of then are stocked anywhere near the capacity of yours (even before your Mbu).> Any advise would be appreciated.  Thanks for calming my nerves. <Please read this.  It was written by my puffer mentor, Robert T Ricketts, who has been keeping puffers for over 40 years.  Please reconsider your tank & inhabitants.  http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=fbp&action=display&num=1088527135  ~PP> Sean

New Mbu Review (03/21/03) Hi, <Hi. Ananda here today.> We are the proud parents of a beautiful Mbu Puffer.   <And here we missed the baby shower.> We briefly have put him in a 37 tall (he is 7 inches) we are having a 135 delivered and set up with an established filter system tomorrow. <The 135 is a good starter tank for a fish this size... you are making plans for that 300+ gallon tank you're going to need when it gets to its full-grown length of 26 inches, right?> My question is last night my husband was on the other side of the mirrored side of the tank. He adjusted the heater and this scared the Mbu, "Simon". Simon moved so fast across the tank I could not believe it. <Despite the fact that they swim like tugboats most of the time, puffers can move amazingly fast when they need to.> He bumped into the other side of the tank. He hit so hard. He then sat on the bottom of the tank and I noticed blood coming from his left gill every so often. After about 1 minute this stopped. <Ouch! Sounds like the fishy equivalent of a bloody nose.> This morning and afternoon he is swimming and is colored up beautiful. Do you think this hurt him? This was really scary. <For him, especially!> Please let me know what you think? <Keep an eye on him. If there will be movement near his tank when the people come to set up the 135, cover his tank with a blanket so he won't get startled.> Also we have fed him mystery snails and shrimp.. <You don't have to use mystery snails; ordinary pond snails will work fine, too. You might want to set up a snail farm tank. Check out the article here: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/snailsforpuffers.shtml> My husband says its ok to take the shrimp out of the freezer and leave in the refrigerator for a few days and feed it to him. <Sort of like leaving bread out on a plate for a few days before you eat it....> I say no, its not safe. Better to take the shrimp out the night before and feed the next day.. <I just take the shrimp out of the freezer and drop them into the tank. (Though I have to chop them up a bit, first; my puffers are little guys.) Hard and crunchy foods mean more wear on his ever-growing teeth. Do vary his diet a bit more; check out the puffer feeding FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm ...Also check the various puffer FAQs, including the marine ones -- your puffer is closer in size to marine puffers than to the more common fresh/brackish puffers.> Help... Vivian Rahman <Have fun with your new family member. --Ananda>

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