Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Freshwater Puffer Behavior

Related Articles: The Nice Puffer: Colomesus asellus , the South American Puffer by Neale Monks, Freshwater PuffersAlone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Freshwater to Brackish Puffers, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Family Tetraodontidae, (Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk), Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: FW Puffers 1FW Puffers 2, FW Puffers 3, FW Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Selection, FW Puffer Compatibility, FW Puffer Systems, FW Puffer Feeding, FW Puffer Disease, FW Puffer Reproduction, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Disease 2, BR Puffer Reproduction, Puffers in General, True Puffers,

In a word, "nasty"... picky, mean, biting...

Fahaka Puffer Fretting  3/19/07 Hey guys, <Hey yourself, Pufferpunk here.  Didn't they teach you to use capital letters at the beginnings of sentences in school (also when using I as a pronoun)?  Never mind the punctuation...  Kidding aside, we have to correct all that, before these letters are posted in our FAQs.  That sure is a big time waster for me.  Next time, please review your letter before sending.> <<Nuff' said? Yeah. RMF>> I have recently moved my fahaka puffer from a 55 gallon with a 7 inch Ceylon and a 3 inch GSP, into a 36 gallon bow front by himself.   <Hmmm... you may find those two puffers left in the 55g to become quite crowded, when the GSP catches up with the Ceylon.  They should be in practically saltwater by now, too.  General minimum recommendations for those species is 30g (GSP) & 40g (Ceylon).> The thing is, he used to be very active in the slightly brackish 55 gallon tank and now that I moved him into the 36 gallon he stays in the same spot all day.  I see him move around sometimes but its only once a day maybe and I have him in just about complete  freshwater now. <When I moved my fahaka from his 55g into his 125g tank, I thought he'd be happy but he moped around & wouldn't eat for 3 weeks!   It's just how they are--moody beasts.  He probably doesn't like the smaller tank, either.> As an experienced aquarist I first checked water conditions and everything is perfect and where it should be. No nitrates, nitrites or anything. <That's odd... an established, cycled tank should have some nitrates.  How was the tank cycled?> I'm wondering if there's anything wrong with him or is it just that he's not moving as much because he's by himself and there's no one for him to antagonize anymore? <Good thing you moved him.  I'm afraid as he matured, he probably would have killed the other two.  How big is he now?  You do realize they grow to 18" & require a 120g minimum tank?  They grow quite quickly too.  Mine grew into his 125g within 2 years, at 10" from a tiny 1" puffer. Your help would be greatly appreciated, losing this puffer is not an option for me as I will do anything possible to keep him going. <Start saving for a much larger tank for this giant, along with a ton of filtration for the bio-load he's going to produce.  Look at www.thepufferforum.com, for more discussion on puffers.  ~PP>

Re: Fahaka Puffer Fretting. Cycling a FW Puffer Tank & BW Puffers  3/20/07 Ok, so there are some nitrates in his tank but not enough to be afraid of. I also know about the size issue as I already own a 16  inch fahaka that's currently kept in a 200 gallon. So the tank issue is not a  problem as I currently am waiting to move and put him into a 150 all by himself as his current tank will soon turn into a ghost shrimp tank, (I. E) puffer food.   <Great!> I didn't know that the Ceylon and GSP should be in saltwater by now though. <See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm > The issue concerning how I cycled the tank was that I put water from the 55 tank and  put it into the 36 and let it cycle for about a week doing two water changes in between to get the salt content lower. <There is nothing in using water from an established tank that can cycle a new tank.  I don't see how his tank could possible be cycled in that way. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/water-filtration/fishless-cycling/ > If its his mood that's the problem that's not unexpected at all, as he had been sharing a tank with a 5 inch yellow peacock cichlid since day one and three months later I cant even find a scale from the darn thing. So my main concerns now after you telling me this is, what do I do with the freshwater fish that are in the Ceylon and GSP's tank <Either set up a separate FW tank or find another home for them.  That tank is going to be too small for the 2 (adult) puffers, never mind more tank mates.> and how long should I wait to seriously act on his disgruntled mood and further investigate the situation. <1st thing I'd do is add Bio-Spira to the tank to cycle it instantly.  Keep an eye on water parameters.  You didn't mention how large the puffer is, so I can't tell if tank size is the issue.  Is he eating?  ~PP>

Re: Fretting Fahaka  3/20/07   3/21/07 Ok, so if the tank is not cycled, what do I do with the fish in the mean  time? <I'm assuming you're speaking of the fahaka tank?  Test the water daily, for ammonia, nitrites & nitrates & do huge daily water changes, if necessary, to keep them as low as possible (ammonia & nitrites should be 0 at all times).> To answer the question of him eating, he is eating and every ghost shrimp I put in there disappears within the day. <Ghost shrimp are basically non-nutritious, unless gut-loaded with food.> Also where do I get this Bio-Spira stuff, because I called three local fish stores and none of them have it and can this stuff be put in with the fish in it?   <Yes, you should do a large water change & add it to your filter. If you cannot find it locally, do a search, there are many online stores selling it.> I am somewhat perplexed on what to do, as I'm already starting to acclimate the other tank to a higher salt content. <I'd wait until your FW fish are out of there, before raising the SG.  Also, don't raise it more than .002/weekly water change or you will crash your system.> I have a divider that I could use but I don't want to short the other puffers of their well deserved space. <I doubt there'd be any way, short of siliconing a piece of glass across the middle of the tank, that would prevent salt from mixing into the other side.> On the matter of size, I would say that he is about 3 inches. <Won't last in that 36g tank for long then, growing about 1/2" per month.> Also I'm not sure if the puffer that I think is a GSP, is actually a GSP, because his blotches are much larger than regular green spotted's and I thinking that it might be an ocellated puffer.   <Takifugu ocellatus are a metallic green with bright round orange spots on it's back.  They are much more torpedo-shaped & have a longer snout than a GSP.  They really don't resemble GSPs at all.   Look here for ID: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/?sid=25b4c1cb72b4f21631afc47bbbf1d7f4 > Another issue concerning that tank is ever since I moved the fahaka, the so-called GSP, shall we say, has also began to bottom dwell with no fin movement and only perks up and goes belly white during the night or whenever I add salt to  the tank.  Never in my four years of keeping puffers have I ever experienced odd  situations like these and am very concerned, as every puffer owner is, when their little buddy goes ill or gets pissed.   <Check the water parameters in that tank too.   See: www.thepufferforum.com, for more info.  ~PP> Thank you so much for your help!

YouTube / Short clip of DOT, our Pustulatus / Cross River Puffer - 10/01/2009
Hi Bob,
<Hey Lars!>
hope you´re well!
<Thank you my friend>
After cleaning the tank yesterday I´ve decided to come up with another clip of DOT today.
Feel free to watch it right here:
Hope you like!
<Very nice videography, sound... Can't believe the fish doesn't eat the Cardinals! Will share. BobF>

Re: YouTube / Short clip of DOT, our Pustulatus / Cross River Puffer - 10/01/2009
Hi Bob,
thanks for your immediate feedback.
In general, Dot is dangerous but does not kill its tankmates (except when they're ill or lethargic). But he would eat fingers if on the meal table ... ;)
Nevertheless he's a real great and symphatic guy ...
<Heee! Keep your eye on your fingers in his tank! BobF>

South American Puffer Problems  05/23/09
I was wondering if someone could give me an answer on what to do with my South American Puffer (approx 1.5 inch long)---he's acting 'strangely' but does not appear to have any diseases. He paces back and forth all day long across the back of the tank chasing his reflection (my F8 did this too but wasn't so focused on himself---this puffer does it so much he ignores food etc type thing and am worried about his mental health)
<Sort of normal -- this is a GREGARIOUS and highly active species; keep in groups (at least two) and provide ample swimming space (more than 1 m/3 feet swimming "length" in the tank, plus strong to very strong water circulation). This is a highly migratory species in the wild that largely ignores plants, caves, etc. but does want, need swimming space and water currents.>
I am a rather experienced fishkeeper and have kept other 'oddballs' and bred/kept most of the big cichlids so am familiar with water chemistry etc. In my early days I kept what I now believe was a figure eight puffer, and as I (now) know his water conditions weren't perfect I lost him (but he was a very eager eater and very personable, unlike this puffer).
I have had the SAP for a couple of months and noticed steadily that he is becoming more and more picky with his food because he's so busy zooming over the back of the tank. When he finally stops to eat something his attempts are rather half-hearted and it seems like his mouth is too small to bite the krill bits effectively (he can however eat a Colorbit whole) and spends a lot of time taking little bites and then spitting it out... he used to eat bloodworm but stopped but he likes shrimp pellets. At first I was worried about his teeth but I checked them too and he can really gorge himself when he feels like it... so I don't think they're the problem yet.
<Can be a picky species, but a little starvation works wonders; my specimens don't eat Mysis and Krill if given Bloodworms earlier that day, but if not given Bloodworms for a day or two, they build up quite an appetite and will eat anything. A combination of Bloodworms, Mysis, Krill, Chopped Cockle and Chopped Prawn should provide ample nutrition; also offer snails regularly, ideally Physa species and other small varieties.>
His colour is fantastic (nice bold black/yellow with a nice white belly), he shows no signs of ich etc and is always swimming around, fins nicely intact. He exhibited this frantic pacing when I first brought him home (he had come down with Ich) but I treated him and the white spots cleared up. I thought this might be a second episode so I netted him this morning and looked him over---nothing.
<Is a nervous species...>
He lives in my SA community tank (40 gallon long) that runs at between 82 to 84 (usually stays at 84) I know this is very warm but every time I try to adjust it someone gets ill so I've left it alone. The tank is filtered by a Rena xp3 that is crammed with sponges, ceramic rings etc. (possibly xp4) which I clean every month (never have I ever changed any of the media-- I just rinse it in a bucket of tank water, refill the filter with new dechlorinated water) and then hook it up again. I change at minimum 25-30% percent of the water every two weeks, (I'll do more if they've eaten more etc.)
<Isn't an ideal community species, but given the right tankmates, can be kept with other fast-moving fish; will nip Corydoras, Platies and other slow/stupid fish.>
The tank has a plain sand substrate that is home to god knows how many Malaysian Trumpet Snails. It is planted with Bacopa moneiri, wisteria (some floating), some plant I cannot identify and hornwort (which basically just floats around) and there is a single Zoo Med Flora-Sun Bulb on the tank which runs for about 10 hours a day. There is plenty of green algae on the walls of the tank but I leave it be except to clean it off the front.
The water straight out of the tap is ammonia-less and nitrate-less, with very little chlorine and it's very soft (I don't know how soft but that's what the LFS said) with a PH of about 7. At last check (two days ago) the tank water tested at 0 ammonia and the nitrates between 5-10.
<South American puffers will adapt to Rio Negro type soft water conditions through to slightly brackish conditions at the Amazon estuary; on other words, provided not exposed to sudden changes, are largely indifferent to water chemistry.>
The tank inhabitants are as follows:
-1 female blue ram
<A poor choice, but more because Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is difficult to maintain at anything other than very soft, very acidic, very warm conditions.>
-1 SAP
<Add at least one more, ideally two more.>
-12 Serpaes
<Should be fine; similar temperament in some ways.>
-6 bronze cories (5 regular, 1 albino)
<Pufferfish food... have tried to keep SAPs with Corydoras multiple times, always the same nipped fins.>
-2 new juvenile Uaru (1 is about 2 inches the other appx 4.5 and both are happily eating my plants)
<Oddly perhaps, robust cichlids can work well, but Uaru might be nipped, so observe.>
No one appears to be getting harassed to the point of stress (occasional chasing between the non-puffer residents but no one appears to be bothering the SAP)
<Most fish ignore puffers.>
I am guilty as charged with having an overstocked tank but a new much larger aquarium is in the plans very soon. In the meantime I figure the water is good and everyone seems happy.
In the next couple of days I plan to add on another filter for increased oxygenation and turbulence plus filtration, I will also purchase a spare tank to set up as QT/hospital tank. I will pick up some live ghost shrimp and whatever other goodies I can find to tempt him to eat.
<Would concentrate on water turnover where SAPs are concerned; eight times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour is a good starting point.>
I have read that SAP's are a rather 'social puffer' and are nervous when kept singly. If so, would adding more SAP's once the larger tank is running a good idea? Will this calm him down?
<Yes; when kept in "swarms" they are significantly less nervous.>
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
<Do see my other thoughts, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm >
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: South American Puffer Problems  05/23/09
Hi again,
I just have a few follow-up questions about creating a suitable tank for the SAP. Regarding the female ram she is in very good colour and lays eggs regularly and is from a local source rather than imported, but should I remove her anyway?
<Possibly; ample reports that Mikrogeophagus ramirezi do not do well under "ordinary" conditions from Baensch onwards.>
I have seen her chase the SAP away from food sometimes.
<Seen similar.>
Also, the cories are getting nipped pretty good but being a cichlid keeper I'm used to catfish being in less than excellent condition appearance wise so it didn't occur to me that there might be a problem (they're not hiding... just look kinda like they've had a buzz cut)... I may well take them to the LFS tomorrow and trade them in, so my question is what other SA catfish/bottom feeder inhabitant would be a good replacement for them?
<My own SAPs work well with Synodontis nigriventris, Panaque nigrolineatus, Garra cambodgiensis and Acanthocobitis rubidipinnis.>
As far as turnover tank-wise, is it simply a matter of how much water is circulated through the filter (.i.e a question of numbers of gallons per hour) or active current in the tank or a combo of both?
<The first should determine the second; a decent filter with a high turnover rate should provide sufficient water current. May help either having one internal or hang-on-the-back filter at each end, or otherwise an external canister with the inlet at one end and the spray bar at the other end. SAPs are not a difficult species, and will adapt to almost anything, so work around your budget and preferences.>
I definitely will be adding at least two more SAP's as you suggested... if I can find them, the one I have now was a lucky find and the last one in the tank.
Thanks again for all your help
<Happy to help! Neale.>

Pea Puffer Black Eyes Sits on Bottom 5/8/2009
I have one little pea puffer in a 2.5 gallon tank
<Too small... While it's often said that Dwarf Puffers only need 2.5 gallons each, that ignores the fact you need a certain amount of space simply for an aquarium to be stable and easy to maintain. Unless you're prepared to set up a tank 8-10 gallons in size, don't bother keeping Dwarf Puffers. They're very sensitive, and when crammed into these tiny tanks, rarely live long.>
with a PH of 7.8 that is heated and filtered. He does not seem to be eating, and lurks around the bottom of the tank, swimming around VERY occasionally. In the off chance that I am able to find him, I have noticed that his eyes are much darker than they were when I first bought him.
(I've had him for about 2 weeks).
<Not a good sign; check the water quality (at least the nitrite). Buy a bigger aquarium. I can promise you that in a 10 gallon tank this little guy will pep right up. Now, you're going to tell me the pet shop assured you this aquarium would be fine. They were wrong. Any aquarium book would tell you what I'm saying, and especially books about pufferfish!>
He has lots of live plants and I used AquaSafe, Nitraban, and a small trace of aquarium salt in the water.
<Doesn't need salt.>
I feed him frozen brine shrimp and dried blood worms. Any suggestions?
<Bigger tank. Failing that, take the pufferfish back. A 2.5 gallon tank is useless as far as keeping fish is concerned, but you could keep some Cherry Shrimps in there if you wanted. One reason we tell people to read before
they spend their money is precisely because of this problem: the money spend on 2.5 gallon tanks is money poured down the drain.>
Thanks for all you do!!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Weird Puffer/No Info 10/22/07 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> We just noticed today that one of our puffers has rolled up into a ball and is ignoring everything we do. Its mouth also looks really white and it isn't opened like the others. It still swims around when bothered a lot though. Any idea what is wrong with it? Is it just being stubborn or is it just because it hates me? <Fish don't hate people, no matter how we mistreat them. I have absolutely no info here to go on. Water parameters: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH? I don't have any idea what species of puffer this is or even if it's fresh, brackish or marine. Tank mates? Tank size? Water change schedule? Please throw me a bone here. ~PP>

Nile Puffer losing color and becoming listless   9/16/07 We've had our Nile puffer for about a month. Tupac was doing great in the 20 gallon tank he calls home, until we did a water change two days ago. We emptied out about a third of the water, replaced it with water and conditioner and biological treatment. Since then he's been pale, appears to be ?breathing? in a labored fashion, hangs out at the bottom of the tank behind the décor, and doesn't interact with us as he usually does. We had the water tested yesterday, and there's a slight trace of ammonia, although (we've been told) not enough to bother him. Because of the ammonia's presence, we added a bit of a different conditioner yesterday and today, and plan to do the same tomorrow. But Tupac still remains unhappy. What can we do? Please help. We have very little experience with this type of fish and  have become very attached to him. <Greetings. Tetraodon lineatus are -- like all freshwater puffers -- very sensitive to ammonia. The reason yours is "out of sorts" is almost certainly because of this. In the long run, the fish will die. A pufferfish aquarium should have consistently zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. There's no safe levels of either other than zero, this point cannot be stressed too strongly. Let's recap the basics. This is a big pufferfish (around 30-40 cm in captivity) that needs a suitably large aquarium (around 300 litres, 75 US gallons being about the minimum). Filtration should be appropriate to the size of the fish, producing not less than 4x the volume of the tank in turnover. In other words, for a 300 litre tank, the filter should have a turnover of 1200 litres per hour or more. Water changes must be generous, around 50% per week, if not more. A suitable dechlorinator should always be used, and if your local water board uses chloramine in the water supply, choose a dechlorinator that neutralises chloramine as well. Water chemistry is relatively unimportant as this species is found in a variety of fresh (and to a less extent brackish water) habitats, but ideally you want neutral to slightly alkaline, moderately hard freshwater. These are difficult to look after, and I'm afraid failure to cover any of these bases inevitably ends in the death of the fish. I hope this helps. Good luck, Neale.> Re: Nile Puffer losing color and becoming listless  9/20/07 Very helpful info. Thank you so much for your help. It appears we were overfeeding poor Tupac. We cleaned the tank and filter and have cut him back on the munchies. Your quick response was reassuring and helpful. <Cool. Just keep on top of water changes, and make sure ammonia and nitrite stay at zero. Do that, and your fish should recover quickly. They're nice fish, but difficult to keep. So do things "by the numbers". Cheers, Neale>

Mixing Puffer Species  1/2/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have in a 29 gallon, 2 green spots, 2 figure 8's, 1 dragon fish, and 1 dwarf puffer. All are juveniles except dwarf.    A few days ago I found and brought home a "Samphong" (?) puffer (guessing a female red eye red tail) from LFS that did not have much or actually any info on. I added this little devil to my happy community of peaceful friends and have had nothing but regrets and troubles since. The Samphong immediately bit both of my greens, killing 1 within 12 hours and 1 figure 8. Needless to say the hell raiser was quarantined as soon as i could get the net in my hand. The deceased within 30 minutes of the attack was swollen on entire side of bite. My figure 8 victim is doing ok.. Now to my main problem. My other green spot has become lethargic and not eating. As of this morning, 3 days since attack, he is now getting fin and tail rot. I am now treating with Anti-Fungus, a product of Aquarium Products and Mela-Fix by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I am wondering if I am doing the right thing or if you have any other ideas of how to treat. <The 1st issue I see, is that you are mixing fresh, low-end-brackish & high-end brackish water species.  The 2nd problem I see, is that you have several species of different aggression & sizes, all in the same tank.  The dwarf only grows to 1", while the F8 (low-end BW fish) grows to 3" & the most aggressive of the 3, the GSP, grows to 6" & requires high-end BW (preferring marine conditions as an adult).  By keeping these exotic fish in conditions other than what are best for them will compromise their immune systems, causing the least bit of stress to make them sick.  I would get these fish into separate tanks with the proper parameters ASAP.  The DP can live in a 5g tank.  F8s are best with 15g for the 1st one & 10g for each added.  You can keep the dragon & the F8 in the 29g.  GSPs need 30-50g each, as adults.  I would separate them ASAP or you will witness more deaths.  If you need to cycle new tanks, you can add Bio-Spira, for an instant cycle.  As you have seen what can happen when you don't research a species 1st (all new fish should be quarantined also), you can check out puffer profiles at www.pufferlist.com.  There is great info & excellent articles at www.thepufferforum.com.  Be sure to read the F8 & GSP articles in The Library.  For the Dwarf puffer, you can go to www.dwarfpuffers.com.  After moving your GSP, start raising the SG (specific gravity, measured with a hydrometer or refractometer) by .002/week.  You must use marine salt.  Aim for 1.008-1.010 for the GSP (raising it higher towards adulthood) & 1.005 for the F8.  Keep using Melafix & Pimafix on the sick fish.  ~PP> Thank you, Philip

Sulking Mbu Puffer 6/29/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hi, I wondered if you can help me?  I have had my Mbu for about a month and is about 2 inches long.  When I first got him, he seemed quite happy swimming around at the front of the tank and was eating every day. The last couple of weeks he has retreated to the back of the tank and wont come out, he still eats but only if I put the food at the back with him. I have checked the quality of the water myself and also had my local fish shop do the same and everything checks out fine with the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate being 0. <If the tank is established (cycled), you should be seeing some nitrAtes.  How was the tank cycled?  How large is the tank?  How large of a tank are you expecting to put that monster in, in a few years?> I was told that he might be lonely as he was in the tank on his own so I put 5 zebra danios in with him but nothing's changed. The only other change I have noticed is that he was darker in colour when I got him but is now a lot lighter. <Many puffers change hues as their moods change or to match the colors surrounding them.  What foods are you offering him?  Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=150  There are several Mbu owners at that site.  ~PP> I'd appreciate it if you could help.  Matt  

Puffers and acrylic tanks?  7/14/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I currently have my 3 inch Porcupine Puffer house in a 90 gallon glass tank. I am curious if he will need a bigger (125 gallon) down the road? if so, I have heard that Puffers can TRASH acrylic tanks by "glass surfing"? do puffers need to be in glass only to prevent them from scratching acrylic? <I have never heard of this "glass surfing" you speak of.  I know of many people keeping puffers in acrylic tanks with no problems.  ~PP>  

Puffer "Glass Surfing" P-punk--  7/15-04 Thought I'd respond to your response.  As a longtime LFS worker and salt service dude, I can tell you this does indeed happen.  Though infrequent, it seems to be primarily due to the puffer's aggressive reaction to its own reflection in the acrylic (and thus is usually a temporary problem, though in some of the cases I'm familiar with, it has gone on long enough to produce ample scratching to the tank in question).   <Thanks of informing me of this.  I had no idea this could happen.  You learn something new every day...  ~PP> Best, Derek Milne P.S. Hi to Scott F. too-- hope my Bodianus is thriving in his reef!

Green Spotted Puffers--Won't Slow Down  7/18/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was just wondering if you knew why one of my spotted green puffers constantly goes up and down against the glass of the fish tank. He will stop to eat but as soon as he's done he's right back at it like he wants to get out. I also have two other puffers the same as him but a little younger who never did it but there slowly starting to copy and follow him right next to him going up and down fast then slow. Its starting to drive me nuts seeing all three of them do this none stop. I have plenty of caves and coverings for them. I don't know what to do to make them stop doing this behavior. Would appreciate it if you could help me out in any way. <If you do indeed have enough decor in your tank, then I'd check the water parameters.  How big are the fish & tank?  Have you read their article on them here?  ~PP> Thanks, Jessica   

Re: GSP Wont Sit Still  7/18/04 The puffers are in size? Well, two are still real small but the one who goes up and down in the tank he is about an inch long or a little more but I got him also when he was real small. The tank they were in was a 95 gallon tank but I moved them into a 35 gallon because I thought the up and down could be because of the other fish that where in the tank.  But no still kept doing it. <Are they in brackish water?> But today the bigger puffer actually stopped and laid down on a rock for a while, but the little ones still continue. <More importantly, water parameters please?  Ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, pH?> Yes, I have read the article on them here and I have tried everything I have even read the article on them on PufferNet which has something about puffers acting like they want to escape from the tank but that philosophy also has not seemed to work as well. <I'd stay away from Puffernet.  That site hasn't been updated in many years & has a lot of misinformation there.> Was hoping you would have any suggestions on this. Thanks, Jessica <Test your water & get back to me. If nothing is wrong there, then I think they are just still adjusting to their surroundings.  To see if there is enough decor in your tank, check out mine: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918  BTW, nothing of the decor in there is real.  ~PP>

Puffer question Mr. Fenner, I have two green spotted puffers and two figure 8 puffers in a 25 gallon tank with live plants, and two filters.  There are places for the puffers to hide and they are fed bloodworms, freeze dried plankton, ghost shrimp (when they can catch them), and sometimes snails.  Several times now (once in the early morning and another time during the day) I have observed the green spotted puffers tucking their tails tightly around their bodies (looking like a little green ball) and floating at the bottom of the tank.  Both times, I have been concerned and have touched the fish with a gravel rake.  Each time, the fish has unwound and gone about his business like nothing ever happened.  Is this how these fish rest? <Yes, particularly if/when well-fed>   Is this a defense mechanism? <Perhaps... many predators key on movement... if you're still, maybe your chances of discovery are lessened> Are they sick? <Doubtful>   I want to be able to help them if they are. On another note, One of my figure 8's is much lighter than the other (he always has been) and eats tons of food when I feed the fish.  When he eats, his little stomach balloons up.  Can he overeat and hurt himself? <Not practically... this species can really gorge if/when the opportunity presents itself. Just be careful not to add too much> (if so, how would I stop this) and second he sometimes just sits at the bottom of the tank slightly off the rocks.  Sometimes he moves back and forth against the rocks as if he is itching or something.  What can I do? <Enjoy them> How often should I feed these little guys? <Once a day is fine.> Thank you!                 Matt <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Color Change Hello, I enjoy the WWM site a lot...lots of good content. <excellent> I have a question...I have a green spotted puffer (Pepito). About a couple of months ago, he started turning kind of blackish/greyish colored. What might it be? <Have you tested your water quality lately?  Are you adding salt? What is the spg?  These puffers are ok in fresh water while young, but as they grow older they should really be kept in brackish water. It could also be related to mood, diet, or just a normal color change with age.  Check out the link below and related FAQs for more information.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm > Thank you, Kristine

Spotted puff with changeable belly barometer... <Ananda here tonight....> Thanks for the reply, I'll try to move around their furniture, but I had another question referring to the water conditions...if it was water conditions wouldn't it affect both puffers and not just one? Also last night he seemed real healthy swimming around and it color really good...both eat really good...one just seems to change colors from a darker to lighter all the time. <How long have you had the puff whose belly changes color all the time? If you just got him fairly recently, it's possible he's still adjusting to the conditions in your tank. --Ananda>

Puffing puffer 12/12/03 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am forever searching online for answers to this question: What freshwater/brackish Puffers Actually puff up like the saltwater ones do?! <All puffers puff when frightened, threatened or stressed.> My husband and I adore puffers but are not ready to take the plunge into a huge saltwater tank, so we are trying to find puffers for our fresh/brack tank that actually puff up! <What's a fresh/brackish tank?  Either it's FW or BW, it can't be both.> We recently went to a local pet store and they told us that the Green spotted puffer would puff up. Needless to say, here it is about a month later and the only time that he puffs is when he eats a lot of food! He is doing well though, and we love him, but we are still in search of a Puffer that actually puffs! I don't know if this is asking too much, but is there any way you could give me a list of puffers that actually puff, for a fresh/brack tank ? <Bad idea!  It is very stressful for a puffer to puff.  Please don't try to make them puff!  It can eventually kill them.  Also, you keep mentioning a FW/BW tank.  GSPs are BW fish that prefer high-end BW-SW as adults.  They grow to 6" & need at least a 20-30g tank by themselves.  As they get older they get very aggressive & kill their tankmates.> I WOULD BE SO THANKFUL! If not possible, could you lead me to the right path to find it myself online? < http://biomechanics.bio.uci.edu/_html/nh_biomech/pufferfish/puffer.htm> Thanks So much for having such an informative website, and so much help! Meghan~ <I hope you will leave your puffer deflated & happy--Pufferpunk> Green Puffer  Hi Bob!  My husband and I have 4 Green Puffers. Two adults, and 2 babies. One of the adult puffers fades really  bad in color. Going from his beautiful bright green, to a pale green to where you can barely see his black  spots, and then back to his beautiful green again. Is this a sign of stress? He isn't acting any different  and is eating like the fat boy he is. I am hoping that you have the answer!  Thanks!  Stephanie and Doug <Thanks for writing. Likely there is nothing wrong with the "flashing" adult puffer. These fish do shift brightness and markings with their moods... this one is likely just communicating with its kin. Do take a read over the freshwater puffer section and FAQs on the www.wetwebmedia.com site for more input on their care. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Info Hello again. Thank you very much for your advice before regarding my puffer fish. I had questions about my 3 green and black spotted puffers in a 6 gallon tank; one of them was starting to turn brown. Well, the one that was turning brown died the next morning, <Yes, sorry to learn of this loss> it was sad, but the other 2 are still ok for now. I put a couple of rocks in the tank and they seem to like that. But one is a lot bigger than the other, and is constantly starting to chase the little one around. The little one spends a lot of time hiding behind the rocks now. I am afraid that it will die. <All very typical... need larger quarters to get away from each other> It is still eating great and everything. Today I was in a pet store and I noticed that one of the tanks had little puffers the same as my small one with other bigger fish. Unfortunately I don't remember what kind of fish they were with. I was wondering if the little puffer would do okay in a 30 gallon tank that has about 5 mollies in it, a small guppy sized fish that has horizontal stripes on it, a Gourami, and 2 fish that look like bleeding hearts but they are darker shades of reddish orange. They are all pretty lively but docile in the sense that they don't nip at each other and pretty much leave each other alone. They are all bigger than the little puffer except for the one with the horizontal stripes on it. But it's an extremely fast little guy. Would the little puffer eat him? I would really like to get the little puffer out of the small tank with the mean big one in it. What do you think? Thanks! Kari <Well... the Puffer is not likely to be bothered too much by the fishes you list... in fact, the Puffer is much more likely to bite bits out of some of the new tankmates... You ought to check the physical/chemical requirements/ranges of these fishes to assure that they are mixable... maybe on fishbase.org... many of the fish species you list tolerate/enjoy hard alkaline, even brackish water, the "tetras" you tentatively identify do not... Bob Fenner>

Spotted puffer Hi I have a question about pufferfish. I bought a spotted puffer about 2 months ago and he acts and looks really healthy. The other day I noticed something strange, he turned a different shade. He was laying near an ornament I have and was really dark. When I looked in the tank he came swimming over to me like always and his color went back to his normal shade. A friend of mine has a spotted and a figure 8 and he said he noticed the same thing only one of his turns lighter. Is this normal?  <Yes, normal... but one is freshwater, the other species becomes brackish to marine with age...> Do they do this for camouflage? Or is it a mood thing? <Both as far as I'm concerned. Bob Fenner>

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