Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Freshwater Puffers 2

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, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Brackish Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. Nasty(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 3, W Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Behavior, 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,

A brackish water Tetraodon biocellatus in captivity

Dwarf Puffers 4/24/04  Hi there!  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I have two dwarf puffers (T. trav.) in a small tank (aprox 40 ltrs), which I actually bought especially for them. I took them off my local fish retailer as they couldn't sell them, not knowing anything about them. Obviously, being such a small tank its a little (approx 17"x12"x10") difficult to clean, so to help me along I bought 4 Bronze Corydoras. These cleaned the tank well, but were getting nipped by the puffers. I thought this might be a risk, and ended up transferring them to my large 96ltr.  <That makes your tank only about 3 1/2 gallons. Your puffers really require at least 2-3 gallons each. No wonder they were picking on the Corys!>  The question I have for you is this: is there a bottom feeder I can safely keep in the tank with the puffers that wont get its fins eaten that won't outgrow it?  <No way, in a tank that size. You really need a larger tank for those puffers. As you can see, the tank cannot support 2 messy eating, heavy waste producing fish (even for tiny guys) in a tank that small. That's why it's so hard to keep clean. If overfed slightly, the water would foul quickly enough to wipe out your puffers in a very short time. At least 5gal is necessary to support 2 dwarf puffers & that would be without any tank mates.> Also, I believe that both puffers are female, would introducing a male (as I intend) stop them being so anti-social? I know puffers are fin-nippers, but they chase each other about quite a lot. I've included photos of both, in case it helps. I was also wondering if you could just confirm the identification.  <I'm sorry, but to ID your puffers I would need a clear, bright photo of their tummies. Here's a great site on them & how to ID: http://www.rr.iij4u.or.jp/~kohda/en/en-dwarfpuffer.htm  & a site just for dwarves: www.dwarfpuffercom.>  Many thanks, Liam  <Good luck with your puffy friends! ~PP>

Male-Female Ratio for the Dwarf Puffers?  5/1/04 Thanks for the advice, it has been heeded. Could you advise me on the best male: female ratio for the dwarf puffers? <Best is 1 male to 2-3 females, or all females in a smaller (<10g) tank.  ~PP> Cheers, Liam

Dwarf Puffers 4/16/04  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  Please help me if you can. About 2 weeks ago I got to freshwater dwarf puffers. They are in a 29 gal. tank with other fish silver dollers(2) and tetras and loach (clown). I have read that they need brackish water, but was told they did not by the pet store I got them at.  <The store was right. Dwarf puffers (Carinotetraodon travancorius), are strictly freshwater fish. See: http://www.rr.iij4u.or.jp/~kohda/en/en-dwarfpuffer.htm  Are these your puffers?>  I did not know that they had teeth and need special food to keep them worn down. <Yes, all puffers have a "beak" & like rodents, need hard/crunchy foods to keep them from getting overgrown. Tiny snails, blackworms (actually have a crunchy outer skin) & plankton are good foods for smaller puffers.>  They are very small about the size of child's pinkie nail. So please tell me how to care for the little guys-girls. I have a 20 gal. tank I can turn into salt tank for now if need be, but the are doing well in my all fresh water tank. Can they live out there life there?  <I see many problems here. 1st of all your silver dollars will get 5" & clown loaches close to 12"! Something will have to be done with them when they get larger. I suggest at least a 55g tank for them. Another problem is, your puffers are shy & slow on the uptake when it comes to competing for food. I'm afraid the others (especially the piggy silver dollars) will out compete them for eats. That's why puffers are best in species only tanks. ~PP>

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> Puffer Fish and Companions Hi, <Hello, Pufferpunk here> I have recently purchased a green spotted puffer.   <Cool fish!  I have 2 6" adults that live in a SW tank.> He is living alone with tonnes of tank space in a brackish tank.   <How high is the SG?  As they grow to adulthood, their SG needs to go up towards high-end BW & then they even prefer SW as adults.  Also, you need to feed your puffer hard-shelled foods to keep it's teeth trimmed.  Smaller guys (<2") can eat small snails, krill, plankton & maybe even be able to pick at a mussel.  Larger puffs (>2") can pretty much eat anything you find at the fish dept of your grocery store (except fish).> I also have a convict tank.  I have 1 convict (all convicts are kept in fresh water) that is not fitting in and was wondering if he could be gently conditioned to brackish water, and if he would be a suitable companion for my puffer or if the puffer would simply kill him.   <They may get along ok (mine live w/some very tough damselfish), but convicts are strictly FW fish & as I said before, you will need to be raising the SG way beyond what any FW fish could handle.> If they are incompatible could you suggest a few species that would co-habit well , or is this type of fish better kept along at all times.   <My 2 GSPs have always gotten along & I added a Ceylon (T Fluviatilis) to the mix.  Along w/damselfish, clownfish & even some very smart hermit crabs.  I do occasionally find a few damsels missing though.> Also is there a type of Algae eater that could live in the brackish tank without becoming dinner?    Not really, especially at the higher salt ranges.  You will need to your own maid service.> Any input would be great.   Thanks! <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Freshwater puffers in this tank? <Hi! Ananda here today...> I've got a 72gal freshwater tank heavily planted which currently houses 7 clown loaches (1"-4"), a few frisky yo yo loaches, bristle nose Plec, and a 5-1/2" red tailed black shark that's quite aggressive although the loaches hold their own and sometimes give him a bit of grief back. <Okay... (though you will, eventually, want a larger tank for the clown loaches...)> I'd like to add a fig-8 or Indian dwarf puffer to the tank but had a concern as to the compatibility of it. <I would not add either of those two species to that tank.> All the info I could absorb tells me that it would be fine in my semi-aggressive tank although a lot of the info I can find on these puffers ranges from them being semi-peaceful to a semi-terror. <Yep, depends on the tankmates and on the individual puffers.> I also find conflicting info on the correct water parameters of the puffers especially the fig-8 which shown as freshwater many places and brackish other places. <Yep, the jury is still out on that one. Most people I know who have them keep them in light brackish conditions: specific gravity of no more than 1.006.> My tank holds a constant PH of 6.8 during the day and goes up to 7.1 at night due to CO2 injection, I add very little salt at water changes, and sometimes use peat to soften my water. Which of these puffers if any would be happy in my tank? <I would not try to keep any puffers in that tank. Another thing to consider is that some puffers will munch holes in the leaves of various plants. If you would like puffers, I would suggest devoting a tank to them. --Ananda>

Puffer ich Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a green spotted puffer in a 25g tank, brackish water. <Sounds like a good start.> One of his eyes has gone all cloudy, his back tail is breaking apart and has lots of white would looking spots all over the body, he is eating fine any ideas, I just did a 25%water change today after noticing the Nitrite Levels were at 8.0 <Ouch! I would do additional water changes to get the nitrites down to *zero*. How long have you had this tank?> I also have a baby moray eel in the tank and a red eye puffer, both of which seem fine, the eel looks like he has white spots on him too but its hard to tell. <Red eye puffers are notoriously bad tankmates. It will need its own tank.> No other fish just the three in the tank. <Okay. Depending on what your specific gravity is at, you should consider raising it a few points. That should take care of the ich.> Please help!!  Novice Puffer keeper! <Do check out the brackish forum on the WetWebMedia forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ...Ananda>

Pregnant puffer? <Hi, Ananda here tonight...> Hi, We've had two green spotted puffers in our tank for about a year now and about a week ago we noticed that one is looking quite pregnant.   <Hmmm. How large is the puffer? As adults, they are at least 4" long.> If it is indeed pregnant how do we keep the other fish in the tank from eating the eggs that will be laid or the fry eaten?   Joan <Almost nothing is known about the breeding of these fish. I'm not certain that there are any records of them breeding in captivity. Please do get back to me with more details about the fish, tank, and water quality (every single thing you can measure) -- I fear the puffer may not be healthy, but if it is and you truly do have a pregnant puffer, the data will be valuable. --Ananda>

Figure 8 Puffer not eating <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> Ok...I've had 2 figure 8 puffers in a 5 gallon tank for about 2&1/2 months now. <Hopefully they'll get a bigger tank when they need it. :) > Both were doing great till just recently...I just added a Pleco because my tank was getting green...also I added a couple of small snails...the little round ones with a slight point.. <Those are "pond snails", and the ones that my puffs prefer.> Well the snails bee-lined it for the top of the tank...and I haven't seen them since....I don't think they ate them though...I think they may be on the inside of the hood. <Possibly the particular snails you got were a little large for the puffers. If that is the case, you can always put the snails in their own container and let them breed. Just feed them some (slice of cooked veggie works) and change their water when you change the puffs' water.> So anyway ..my problem is...that over the las 4 days or so...one of my puffers isn't eating very much...and just hangs out at the bottom a lot....he swims around like normal otherwise but looks like he might be starting to starve. I feed them freeze dried blood worms. <Do try other foods -- freeze-dried plankton should be a hit with them, as well as shrimp tails (you eat the main part of the shrimp, but leave some meat in the tail portion and leave the shell on). And check out the assorted "Puffer Feeding FAQs" on the WetWebMedia site for more ideas.> They're both about an 1&1/2 in size....when is it a good idea to start feeding them snails?. I think they may be too small right now to eat them. Any info you could give me would be helpful... <They need smaller snails. :) I raise my own in several different tanks, since they came in with plants and I just let them go and breed. Then I pull snails out for the puffs. Otherwise, try some other foods. Best of luck... --Ananda>

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>

Cramming a freshwater dwarf puffer into a 30g tank? (08/07/03) Hi WWM, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have a 30gallon freshwater aquarium.  I've been reading about dwarf puffer being the smallest is the most non-aggressive puffer.   <Ooooh...I'm not certain that is the case. There's a reason you usually don't find other fish kept with them at fish stores.> I have 2-dwarf Gourami, 2-kuli loaches, 4 clown loaches, 1-albino catfish, 3-dwarf frogs, 6 guppies, 3-serpae tetras, 2 balloon mollies, 1-filter shrimp.   <Yikes! That's a bit much already. The clown loaches will *definitely* need a larger tank in the future, and the catfish probably will, too, depending on the species. And some types of frogs may decide to munch on your fish when they grow up...I would keep an eye on them and consider moving them to a different tank.> I want to know if they puffer will be ok with my other fishes.   <Not really -- the puffer will 99% probably not eat flake food. They usually ignore the stuff, often wasting away in pet stores that will not take the extra expense to feed them the meaty frozen foods they must have. Also, I've never met a puff who wouldn't nip a fin, given a fin to nip. (Hmmm. Say that five times fast.) With mollies, those fins are going to look like tasty treats to the puffer.> I feed a alternating diet of bloodworms, flakes and bites but don't mind going all bloodworm as it's has more protein.   <Unfortunately, the rest of your fish need a varied diet -- mollies especially need their greens to stay healthy.> I have lots of plants and places of the puffer to hide and really want to keep a variety of species in my aquarium.   <You already have quite the variety of species...more than most people I know.> Please let me know.   <Do get a new tank for dwarf puffers, should you decide to get them. The fins you save may be your...fishes.> Thank you for your time. Cheers, Rick Fung <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Adventures in feeding green-spotted puffers (07/30/03) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> Hey nice website you all got here, but anyways after I gave away my other fish I bought two spotted puffers a few days ago and they're doing ok. After I got the tank ready and put them in there I wanted to feed them so I put the flakes in. <Very, very few puffers will deign to eat mere flake.> Man they chased ever one flaked but didn't eat so I went and look them up on the net and click the first page on there. That's when I found out that they prefer live food but the website didn't elaborate on it so dumb me I left it at that and got off and back to my tank. I had two fiddler crabs left from the give away, I wanted to keep the huge male but didn't real didn't care about the female after I found out that they can't be bred in captivity so I decide to put the sacrifice the female and put in with the puffers and see what happens. <I'm betting the puffers enjoyed their dinner guest.> One of the puffers stared picking at it and chased it throughout the tank and it got a pick at it again and something floated in the water next to them all of a sudden and fell in the rocks so I came closer to see what it was and it ended up being a leg of the crabs. Right after I realized it was the leg the same puffer came up and at it whole, man that was interesting. <And one puffer had an oddly-shaped belly, I'm sure.> So that same puffer was tearing into the crab and the other one was being sort of a scavenger and the one the was doing all the work sort of picked it but didn't hurt it and when it was done he let the other eat the rest. <Could be that one likes crab better than the other. They seem to have individual preferences, sometimes -- of the five puffs that I have, exactly one will eat squid.> A day later my parents buy 5 of the same fish and brought them home to feed the puffs put they didn't pay attention to the name of the fish so I don't exactly know the name of the fish, but I know that it's a community tank fish. All of them are not as big as the puffers (1.5-2 inches give or take) so I put them in the tank with the puffers so they could eat. So far the puffers have eaten 2 of the fish and they seem ok. <I'm not a fan of giving feeder fish of any sort to puffers. Feeders can carry disease. The puffers need foods with shells.> Today I research more and found out about their eating and want to know if the puffers will be ok with what I gave them so far. <Skip the feeder fish. You can also feed them shrimp tails -- I keep the main part of the shrimp and give the puffs just the shell-on tail section. Ordinary pond snails are a good food for them, and they're usually free for the asking at the fish store. Do read up on the various puffer feeding FAQs, including the ones for marine puffers. Hmmm. One thing to avoid giving your puffs is freshwater mussels -- they are known to carry a puff-deadly disease.> I am very interested if they are going to have babies or not, so how do you tell from male to female puffer fish? <There is no officially recognized way to tell the males from the females. It is extremely unlikely that they will spawn in your tank.> I am going to try to find some blood worms but in the mean time, is ghost shrimp and female fiddler crabs ok? <Okay, but expensive. Do feed the ghost shrimp before you give them to the puffs, as ghost shrimp alone are not particularly nutritious. --Ananda>

Puffer who wants to eat all day? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> Hi I have two puffers both spotted puffers. One swims around a lot and its color is very bright and healthy the other puffer sits at the bottom most of the time and when he swims his belly is dark kind like dirty. But after swimming and eating food it clears up and its color changes. Is this normal? <That's a sign of stress. What are your water quality parameters? (temp, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, specific gravity) How big is the tank? Do you have enough "furniture" in the tank so that the puffs each have their own little safe places? Puffs get bored, too -- consider rearranging their furniture when you do a water change. Without more info, it's tough to make a diagnosis. --Ananda>

Disoriented puffer (07/27/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have had a Tetraodon fluviatilis puffer for about 1 month. He's been doing well - eating mosquito larvae, slugs & Spirulina flakes.   <Do try to give him snails, shrimp tails, and other shelled foods on occasion -- he needs to keep those teeth worn down!> I went a couple of days just feeding flakes (had guests in "his" room).  I fed him a small slug this AM which he ate enthusiastically.  Now (7 PM) when I went to check on him he was near the filter intake, seeming weak and disoriented.   <Not a good sign. Where did you get the slug from?> The aquarium light was on and the water temp around 86 degrees, so I turned off the light and added fresh, cooler water.   <Do be careful not to take the water temp down too fast or too far... I would leave it at around 82 to speed up the lifecycle of whatever bug he's caught.> The water in the tank has been supplemented with liquid cichlid lake salt (sg is approx. 1.004 - I have been gradually increasing it).   <Sounds good. I usually use plain old Instant Ocean (marine salt) -- the chemicals in cichlid salt are slightly different than the ones in marine salt, and the marine salt is closer to what the puffers get in the wild. Besides, marine salt tends to be cheaper (economies of scale, and all that.> What should I do?  Thanks, Donna <You might check your water parameters: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate... keep an eye on the little guy. Change the carbon in your filter and do a water change. Is your puff's belly its normal white, or grey-edged, or grey? Let us know... --Ananda>

Egg-heavy puffer? (07/24/03) <Hi! Ananda here with the puffers this afternoon....> Hi I have two figure eight puffer fish.   <So do I. :) > I was wondering if you could tell me about them laying eggs.   <Very little is known about these species' reproductive cycles.> One of my puffers got really fat overnight and it looks like she is gonna burst.  Would this be eggs or what.   <I would suspect other things before eggs, which would be unlikely to develop overnight, I think. Did it perhaps overeat? Also, I've heard of at least one instance where a puffer had gas. Another possibility is that it's stressed and puffing up (unfortunately, I can't describe exactly how that looks on a figure eight, since I've never seen that species puff up). How long is the puffer?> Can you send me pictures of a Pufferfish that is gonna lay eggs.   <Alas, no...but a photo of your puffer would help.> And what do I do to keep my other fish from eating the eggs? <Probably remove either the other fish or the eggs from the tank. I'm not yet convinced that the puffer is egg-heavy...> Please help me and e-mail me back.  Thank you so much Brandon and Amanda <You're welcome. --Ananda>

All Puffed Up! I am not yet an owner of a puffer fish and was looking into buy an figure 8 puffer fish so I was wondering is a  5 to 10 gallon tank way too small for a pufferfish. <Well, I'd be hesitant to recommend either size tank for these freshwater puffer fish for a long-term situation, but I'd look into a larger tank. I think that you could keep these guys in there for a while, but be prepared to move 'em on to larger quarters in the future...The can get a bit quarrelsome with each other from time to time!>

Figure 8 puffers in a community tank? Or with Oscars? (06/29/03) Dear wetwebmedia crew, <Hello! Ananda here tonight...> We have a 55 gal tank since December (Christmas present) for our 9 years old. <Cool.> We got totally hooked to it (more than her). <I'm not surprised. :-)> In any case, we manage to get 6 black widows, 6 guppies, 4 rainbow sharks, 2 sucker fish, 2 angel fish, 4 tin foils, a bunch of neons, 2 mollies (Dalmatians). <Yikes! Too many fish...> The tin foil got so big, we had to give them away to a friend's tank, as they ate the neons one after the other. <Yep, they'll do that. Tinfoils get huge, quickly -- as you found out!> We replace the neons and add up a beta (purple, gorgeous)  and a bunch of other neon as well as two angel fish. So far so good. Then my husband got us two blue gouramis. <I've heard reports of gouramis not playing well with angel fish -- but others say they have had no problems with that combination. Keep an eye on them...!> Meanwhile the  2 angel fish grew a lot !! After a radical water change (algae) we lost a rainbow shark. <If you must do a large water change, very carefully match the temp and pH of the new water to the old water.> Going to the pet store for a remedy for algae, my husband came back with 2 figure 8 puffers. <Uh-oh, I think I see where this is going....> It was love at the fist sight as they do look like cartoons fish !!! After two days, all the neons were missing, and the little bit I got cleaning out the tank was "little pieces of neons". <Yep. I think it's the red stripe or something. Many puffers seem to go nuts over red food.> I blame the puffers, my husband blame the water change !! <Could be either, or both. Neons are rather sensitive.> Anyhow, wanted to know a little bit more, I went again (thanks for previous advise) on your site and realize that puffers do it neons !! (even though the angel fish got blame for it). <Sometimes, angel fish will eat neons too. I suspect some gouramis might be opportunistic eaters, if the size difference between them and the neons is sufficient.> So far everybody is getting along fine, and has their own little life and territory problem, but every morning, this the first thing we check and every body is till there !!! <Read up on puffs....those guys are fin-nippers, and the fish you have...well, those fins are going to look like tasty puffer treats!> ... Until one of the puffer went belly up !!! <Ack!> and the other one was nowhere to be found. Fast remedy, my husband came back from shopping w/ 2 more puffers, and guess who is coming around.. the missing one. <NOT a remedy. Please try not to buy 'replacement' fish until you know why the fish being replaced has died, so you can correct the situation. Your remaining fish will thank you for it.> So now we have 3 figure 8 and then I read all that stuff about them being aggressive and all, unless they have "meaty food". So I go and gave the whole gang, dry blood worms. <Um...not exactly a "meaty" food, as they're freeze-dried -- do check the assorted Puffer Feeding FAQs, both marine and freshwater/brackish. Which reminds me -- these puffs should have a bit of salt in their water, and none of your other fish are salt-tolerant. These guys need their own tank!> Not one of them touch the bottom (where the puffers hang around) as the mollies and black widows and guppies went for the run  and all food was gone !!! <I'm not surprised. Until you can get them a new tank, you're going to need to feed them food that will sink slowly -- try some frozen bloodworms. Your puffs (and every fish else) will go nuts over those.> Reading a little bit more, I give them frozen shrimp ..... nothing happen, except that the frog (I forgot we also have a frog) started to have dinner and the mollies and gouramis fought for the other pieces... <If there's a bait shop near you, pick up a small container of "red worms". At least around here, those are the smallest size of earthworms. Your puffs will go nuts over them.> Then I read again and discover puffer and Mr. stupid and realize that may be my puffers are also stupid as they scan the bottom of the tank all evening and do not see the shrimps !! <I've had both figure-8 and green-spotted puffs for a couple of years, and the figure-8s seem to get more excited about worms than snails and crustaceans. They still need to eat the hard-shelled foods, though. Also, were you cutting the shrimp into smallish pieces for them?> Will it take hand feeding ? <In a tank this full, it might -- but do try the other things I've mentioned.> To make a long story (sorry) short, my husband birthday is coming up, and as he is longing for "Oscars" and other aggressive fish, will it be ok to move the puffers with the Oscars ? <Um. Oscars get *big*. I would suggest waiting on the Oscars and just getting him a new tank setup for the puffers.> The difference in size is a little bit scary to me ! So my daughter (and I) can keep this lovely peaceful, fish loving, getting along tank, and he can have his fierce aggressive tank all for himself. <My suggestion would be to hold off on the Oscar tank until Christmas....> A (short) answer to this long story will be greatly appreciated. <Um...do short sentences count??> Great web site, I recommend it to all my friends in the fish loving world, Patricia <Thanks for the vote of confidence! Please do join the crew of puffer fans and freshwater fish fans on the WetWebMedia chat boards at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ... --Ananda>

Figure eight puffers: weird thing in mouth? (06/19/03) Hello, <Hello! Ananda here today, having solved the browser problem....> I have a question regarding figure eight puffer fish.  I have a small aquarium which I keep on my desk at work.  I have had 6 puffer fish (only 2 at a time) in the past five months, all but one have died.  I keep the temperature appropriate and I feed them blood worms.   <First, I'm betting your tank is too small for your puffers. Second, they need far more than blood worms to survive! They need a variety of foods, including hard-shelled foods to wear down their teeth. Puffer teeth never quit growing, so they need to munch on snails, shrimp shells, and the like to keep their teeth worn down. Do check out the assorted Puffer Feeding FAQs on the WetWebMedia site (both the freshwater/brackish and saltwater FAQs will have useful information).> What I have noticed in the five that have died, and am currently experiencing in the last remaining puffer, is when I first got them, their mouths opened and closed repeatedly as they swam, very aggressive at feeding time and reactive to outside movement.  I understand that these are normal characteristics of this fish.  As time went on, it appeared as though their mouths closed up, no longer moving.  It looks as though there is something jutting down from the top of their mouth causing the opening to be very small.   <That would be their overgrown tooth! At that point, you may need to very carefully do some puffer dentistry to save the fish. Using a high-quality cuticle scissors, snip off the point of the tooth while the puff is completely underwater. You will need to hold the puff, who will probably puff up. Do a search in the brackish forum of the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for more details about how one forum member did puffer dentistry on her little guys.> When this first starts to occur, they try to eat but the food can't pass through the small opening.  Eventually, they don't try anymore until they die 1-2 weeks later. Have you seen or heard of this before?  Please let me know. Thank you, Kathy <You need to immediately start feeding these guys some hard-shelled foods. If your current puff's teeth are too long, they may need dentistry before they can eat the hard shells. But get some pond snails -- the tiny ones that show up with the plants at most fish stores, not the huge ones or the cone-shaped ones. And shrimp tails work well. Puffers are cute, but really need the right foods! --Ananda>

MBU puffer outgrowing tank >Hi there, >>Greetings, Katy, Marina here. >My beloved MBU Puffer is outgrowing his tank (3ft), he is now about 10 inches long.  We are thinking of upgrading the tank one more time to a 5/6 ft one, however, we do realize we won't be able to keep him forever.  The Aquatic Center we bought him at would take him back (for a credit note at 1/3 third his worth) but there he would just be sitting in another small tank, and how much longer until he outgrows that?! >>Indeed.  For those of you who will soon be reading this, it pays to research.  Katy, I will be using this query for 'teaching' on the site.  The following may sound quite harsh, but it is intended to educate others only, NOT to admonish you.  Get the largest tank you possibly can.  6' minimum, and wide rather than tall. >So, the question is, do you know of someone with a suitable setup to take him on? Private or maybe an Aquarium we can donate him to where he can grow to his full potential and basically live happily ever after? >>Unfortunately, Katy, I personally do not.  If there is someone who reads this and they know they can suitably house a 3' long puffer, hopefully they'll let us know.  Public aquariums and zoos are absolutely INUNDATED with requests from people wanting them to house their pet fish.  It is rare that they can take these animals.  I would suggest that you have two options (barring an unexpected, large inheritance): Post your problem on one of the internet aquatic forums, or humanely euthanize the fish. >As you have guessed I am not after selling him.  I'd love to return him to his natural habitat, but can't quite afford it. >>This practice cannot be discouraged enough.  There are many reasons why, but I'll give you two that I think are good enough.  First, as a captive fish, the puffer has been exposed to pathogens that may not be present in his "native" habitat.  Returning him there could ultimately be disastrous to that environment as a whole.  Second, as a captive fish, he is ill-equipped to go into a natural environment and fully compete for food and territory.  He could likely be doomed to die, either from inter/intraspecific aggression, predation, or starvation. >Maybe a stronger warning as to how fast and how BIG they grow should be put out! Let's face it, who can accommodate a 3ft fish? >>What is more in order is to remind people to *research* BEFORE they make a purchase.  Actually, I find I cannot emphasize this enough.  I do hope, when you're in your LFS, that you remind others that they would do well to research. >According to [the establishment] where we bought ours, we should have been able to keep him for years before he became too big. Right! >>Ultimately the responsibility lies with the person who decided to purchase an animal they knew they couldn't house for life.  Since it seems you knew the animal would become so large that you wouldn't be able to house it, I don't quite see the difference between sooner vs. later.   >>If, however, the difference is that you expected to have time to acquire/create better housing for the animal, then I would pose that you may still have some time, you're getting a larger tank as it is and may be able to milk it for all it's worth.  I would also suggest slimming his feeding, just a bit, to see if that helps to curtail his growth rate.  It seems that you may be TOO good at what you're doing!  Please understand that I really don't mean to be harsh, but because this will be posted on the Daily FAQ's I feel it's very, very important for others to read this and learn, before they go and make a similar mistake.  According to the information on our site, this puffer reaches to just a bit over 2'.  So, you might be able to house him and keep him to his old age. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm >Many thanks, Katy <-- just wanting to do right by him >>Best of luck to you and the puffer.  Try as I've suggested, and hopefully your pet can live out his years with his original owner.  Marina <-- keeping her fingers crossed for you both!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarf Puffers? Not quite... (04/21/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight.> How many dwarf puffers can be "happily" kept in an eclipse 6 gallon tank? <I would go with one male and three or possibly four females.> Only dwarf puffers would be kept in the tank. <Okay. You'll need to be careful not to overfeed, or you'll get algae. If you do get algae, use an old bank card/credit card to scrape it off the tank walls.> Do they get along with each other?  Do they like company of their own kind? <To some degree, yes. You'll notice I mentioned one male and multiple females -- that will keep the aggression level low.> Thanks for your help. Mary <You're welcome. BTW, there are people on the WetWeb chat forums who have dwarf puffers... check it out. --Ananda> Mbu Puffer $ Sing along now: "How much is that puffer in the big tank?" (04/18/03) <Ananda here tonight, with apologies to puffers and doggies in windows....> Hi, My name is Peta Greenway, and I was wondering if you could give me an idea of the retail value of my 18"-20" Mbu Puffer?  People keep inquiring about purchasing him and I have no idea what he is worth. <My goodness, that's a big one.... A bit of research found a 4"-5" Mbu going for $87.50 (though that etailer's prices run high), and one person paid £80 (about $126) for a 10" Mbu. But I found no prices for Mbu puffers anywhere near the size of yours. I think you would be completely justified in asking $200 or more for him.> Also, do you know (rough ballpark) how many large Mbu's are out there? <Probably extremely few! The largest Mbu I found mentioned online was 15".> I have been trying to find other owners to compare notes with. Thank You, Petapyropeta@******.com <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Freshwater dwarf puffer not eating <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have had this pair of freshwater dwarf puffer fish since February and all was fine until several members of the tank came down with ich. It is a ten gallon tank and I treated them with quick cure for 5 days and everyone recovered nicely. <I'm glad that you got rid of the ich, but what you didn't know is that puffers often don't tolerate ich medications very well.... should something like this happen again, you'll want to treat the fish in two tanks: one for puffers and scaleless fish, one for scaled fish. The scaleless fish get half-doses of medication for twice as many days. I wish the companies that make ich medications would tell you this on their packaging!> Following that I changed 1/3 of the tank water and reinstalled the carbon filter. <I would change another 1/3 of the tank water.> Since then one of my dwarf puffer fish has stopped eating. <Before or after you put the carbon filter back on the tank?> It has been 5 days now. He lingers at the top of the tank and is breathing heavy. His coloration is off. His belly is very white and his spots have gone dark brown. He now primarily sticks to one spot at the top of the tank. He is showing no other signs of illness that I recognize. I have been feeding the puffers both frozen bloodworms as well as the freeze dried variety. They have had no interest in any other food that I have introduced to them. <Try live blackworms and live brine shrimp. Bounce the live brine off of his head, if you need to. I mean that literally: use a pipette (or eyedropper) and add a few of the brine shrimp so that they hit the puffer. They won't hurt him. But hopefully they'll annoy him enough to get him to eat them. I once had to do that with a knight goby to get her to eat.> The tank temperature is at 78 degrees and yesterday I added two teaspoons of aquariums salts to ease his stress. None of the other fish in the tank have bothered him- he is not picked on. What should I do for him? Please help! Lauren Hall <I've heard of this sort of problem with dwarf puffers before: they seem to be fine, and then they suddenly stop eating, for no apparent reason. One theory I've seen is that it's a puffer-specific parasite. If that's the case, moving the dwarf puffer to a hospital tank and treating him with an anti-parasitic medication may help. [No hospital tank? For a dwarf puffer, anything big enough to hold a gallon -- or even a half-gallon -- will do in a pinch. To medicate in such a small container, you'll need to dose via solution. Very carefully measure 10 parts of dechlorinated water into a container (presuming the fish medication dose is based on one tablet/capsule per 10 gallons). Add the tablet or the powder from the capsule and get it dissolved in the water. Then dose one part of the solution per gallon of water in the hospital container.] Hope this helps!! --Ananda>

Target Puffer tankmates question??? (04/15/03) Dear WetWebMedia, <Hi! Ananda here today with the puffer questions...> I have recently purchased a Target Puffer (about 3 inches long) and currently have him in a 20L tank.  He is the only fish in the tank and I am interested in adding another fish or two to it.   <Bad idea -- these guys are quite aggressive.> The fish store stated that the puffer was purchased by someone else a few days earlier and that it was returned because it ate everything else in the previous owner's tank (I'm assuming he had small fish).   <Maybe.> My question is this, in your opinion, what kind of fish could I add to the tank that you think would be safe from his aggression.   <In a 20 long? Not much... I don't have personal experience with this particular puffer, so you might try asking on the WetWebMedia chat forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk> The tank is freshwater, 20L, sand bottom, various dried coral and barnacle throughout for hiding places (My wife likes the tropical look, even though it's freshwater).   <Both dried coral and barnacle can have rough/sharp edges -- very bad for a scaleless fish. The could easily cut himself on the coral and possibly the barnacle.> I was thinking something along the lines of a shark or something else that is a little aggressive, fast, and doesn't have showy fins.   <It would need to be more than a little aggressive to keep up with this fish, I think.> Also, I've had the fish for almost a week now, and the only thing he seems to like is live brine shrimp, which isn't a problem, but I thought variety was better... he doesn't go for pellets.   <Brine shrimp are fish junk food -- useful to entice the fish to eat, but they'll starve if that's their daily diet. I've never met a puffer that would eat a pellet. They eat things like freeze-dried or frozen/thawed crustaceans, worms, and live snails. It's important that they get shell-on foods that they can crush; their teeth just keep growing and need to be worn down through use. Check out the various puffer pages on the WetWebMedia site for more info on what they eat and why.> Any thoughts or insight are greatly appreciated!!!  Thanks for all the great things you are doing for the fish lovers community! <Thanks for the kind words. --Ananda> Sincerely, Ray (NJ)

Puffer looks blind (04/14/03) Hi Bob, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I need HELP, or rather,  my little puffer does! he hasn't been eating well lately, and he looks like he is just picking at his food, but i had a closer look, and it looks like he has cataracts or something, as one of his eyes looks slightly cloudy. Water conditions are stable, and i know he is hungry, as he gets excited when he smells the food in the water. just that he doesn't seem to be able to see it and find it. <Cloudy eyes are most commonly attributable to poor water quality. You say your water conditions are stable, but what are they? What are your water parameters? (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, specific gravity, etc.) Come to think of it, what kind of puffer is this?> he has lost weight, and spends the night lying down on the substrate, and it appears he is ventilating quite heavily. how can i care for him? <First off, do a water change. Diluting any ammonia/nitrites/nitrates in the water can only help. Aside from that, I need to know what type of puffer this is before making any specific suggestions... this might have been caused by a bacterial infection.> I've recently put live Tubifex in a feeder cup for easier access, but he doesn't seem interested.. should i try bloodworms? he just swims around and sometimes bumps into things. I'm at a loss. any suggestions would be most appreciated! <Have you "trained" the puffer to take food from a worm cone? If not, you might try using shrimp or perhaps freeze-dried or frozen/thawed krill. He should be able to smell it. Hold the piece steady so the puffer can munch on it moving it every time he touches it. --Ananda> cheers Marcus Tan

Re: My puffer looks like he is BLIND (04/15/03) Hi Ananda, <Hi again!> Sorry I wasn't more specific, but I was really at a loss.. it is a Palembang puffer (according to the LFS i bought it from) <Commonly called a figure-8 puffer here in the States.> and when I wrote to you, I had just moved it to my hospital tank. <Oh, good.> I changed the water in the original tank only a day before, so the tests I did when I noticed the problem were not conclusive of anything, but I suspect my undergravel filter was to blame, as I had that running for about 6 months, and in that time, I'd not been able to do anything more than regular water changes (20% every 3 days) the tank is pretty small, about 6-7 litres, but well aerated, and planted, and the water changed regularly. <Too small a tank for this puffer... even with fairly large and quite frequent water changes.> I think my mistake was in not cleaning the substrate regularly, as after I moved Fugu out, i cleaned it with a siphon, and it was full of muck. more than I could imagine would be there. <Yup. Puffers are messy fish, thus the need for a bigger tank and more filtration than you might need for other similarly-sized fish.> but all the while, the water was clear... <Unfortunately, clear water does not necessarily mean good, healthy water.> So anyway, since moving Fugu, he has picked up a bit, and seems a little more energetic, but is still having trouble finding the food. I'm trying to hand feed him, and he manages about 1-2 freeze dried bloodworms a day, which hope is enough. <Depends on how big he is, but I doubt it, unless you have bigger bloodworms than I've seen around here...do try to feed him something larger, or feed him more frequently. Also, feed him from the exact same place in the tank, every time. You might also consider using something to hold food there.> Any idea if his sight will ever return? <Time and pristine water quality may help... will pass this along to others for their opinions. --Ananda> marc

Upgrading tank for puffer, need list of possible tank mates Hey there. <Greetings I'm very sorry for the delay in replying, our resident puffer expert has been ill so I'm filling in for her as much as I can.> I am upgrading from a ten gallon to a 55 gallon tank for my cutcutia puffer. He is about 3 1/2 inches long.  I plan to use the ten gallon to breed small snails and guppies for my puffer to munch on as well as a hospital/quarantine tank should anything go wrong with my 55 gal.  (I also have an 8 gal to transfer the guppies to when quarantining and hospitalizing other fish) <Very good, I'm sure he'll be thrilled with the new home and diet!> I'd like to know possible tank mates for my cutcutia.  I've read that they are aggressive fish but that with plenty of room, tank mates will do fine. I'd like to know a few good kinds of stock and the numbers of each that would complement my puffer.  I plan for this to be a freshwater tank.  With somewhat limited funds/experience I'd like to stick with hardy fish that are easier to keep alive and thriving, as I am a beginner for large aquarium fish.  I plan to stock the tank slowly and I'd like a possible schedule or two if you have the time.  (i.e., set up tank, cycle with species A) for two weeks, add puffer, wait a minimum of two weeks, add species B)...  blah blah until I have a good number of livestock for my tank.   <Some good fish would be some of the fast moving fish like Danios, Barbs, Rainbow Fish, and Sharks. Stick with the larger species of these to prevent your puffer from seeing them as food. Maybe go with 4-5 Giant Danios and 4-5 Rainbows. Or, you could do a school of 8-10 Tiger Barbs and 4-5 Rainbows and they would look really nice. Due to the aggressiveness of most puffers, it's best to add them to your tank last. Basically, cycle your tank with something pretty hardy. You could use some tiger barbs for this but I would recommend going with goldfish and then trading them back in when your tank is cycled. Then, over the course of several weeks, add your other fish, finally adding the puffer as the very last fish. Do keep an eye on him and be prepared to separate the fish if he's being too aggressive. > I want to include some small snails and plenty of ghost shrimp for variety in his meals.  Also, I LOVE puffers but I don't know of any in my area (other than the one I just bought) so I would basically have to order any exotic fish online.  Also, which online dealers would you recommend I try to find the fish you suggest? <Take a look at our links page, there are a lot of retailers listed there.> Also, the number I've heard on the average lifespan of a puffer was in the teens.  Is that accurate? <I'm not really sure on this. Run some searches at http://www.wetwebmedia.com to see what you can find.> Thanks sooo much, Jessica <You're welcome! Ronni>

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>

Aquarium service woes... (03/24/03) Ananda, I write you with a heavy heart.. On Thursday the Aquarium Service came and were supposed to replace the heater and the eclipse filter on the Mbu Puffer's tank. The young man took it upon himself to put salt in the tank thinking he was salt or brackish. Mbu "Simon" was dead in 2 1/2 hours.. We came in at 6:pm and he was on the bottom his gills barely moving and covered with white looking powder. We did a 3/4 water change he was dead before we got through. He has been so happy and colorful all day. I wish I had stayed home to make sure all had gone well.. He was 7 inches long.. The owner of the company will be compensating us. His employee argued with me on the telephone the next morning and told me that we did not know what we were doing, that all puffers required salt and the puffer died because we had him in fresh water. He did this in front of his co-workers, who were mortified. The owner called my husband and they both cried on the telephone. It was a very painful death for Simon and I will never forget what happened. We are getting another Mbu Puffer this weekend. He is smaller 4 inches. He has a cute personality and he will be in our family for a very long time. From now on when the Aquarium people come I will be home and will monitor what they are doing.. I will never forget Simon. The technician was fired from the company.. Thank You, Vivian <I am so sad to hear about this. I will post it in hopes that another such tragedy might be prevented. Thank you for writing. --Ananda>

Help!!  South American Puffer Illness (and sometimes the forums are faster than the emails...) (03/13/03) Hi there, HELP!!! <Ananda here tonight, as the puffer patrol heads south...> I was checking out the site (excellent) and hoped you could help me.   <I recently got done reading the forums... where I posted an answer to this very same question. Here's the link: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=8101 :-) > I have a 1 ½ inch South American Puffer that I purchased in November.  It has generally been very active and healthy.  My setup is a ten gallon tank and the only tankmate is a chocolate albino pleco which is about 2 1/2 inches long.  My tank conditions are generally about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, around 1.002 salinity, PH of about 7.4, and based on tests conducted by my pet store my ammonia and nitrate levels are "normal" (I don't know the specific values but could find out).  I have bio-wheel filter and little rocks as opposed to gravel.  I usually do a water change, about 40%, every few weeks and the last one was maybe 6 days ago.  I usually feed my puffer freeze dried krill.  He generally refuses dried blood worms (though he used to love them?), dried brine shrimp, or even frozen food (haven't tried live food).   <Snails. Puffs go *nuts* over snails....> This morning I looked in the tank and noticed that the puffer is very lethargic.  He seems disoriented and he shows no expression.  He has some stool hanging out from his behind and his body seems slightly thinner and gaunt. He has little in terms of other physical signs except for maybe dull coloration and maybe slightly cloudy eyes.  This evening I tried feeding him krill and he made a pathetic attempt at going for a piece but couldn't get up the energy to get any of it. <Not good... more ideas in the response I posted.> This morning, I frantically ran to the store and picked up some medicine.  I administered Maracyn, Two-two, and Melafix (tea tree oil) to the tank. I also raised the temperature of the water a few degrees and added some more salt to the water.  I haven't yet noticed any improvement.  I also took the pleco out of the tank in case he tries to bully the puffer. <Good idea.> I'm trying to figure out if this is a water quality issue or a disease.  Are the rocks maybe trapping some nitrates or ammonia, causing the levels not to be recognized by the tests?  Have I changed too much of the water?  Too little?  Have I kept too little salt in the water?  Is this an infection or maybe a parasite?  Is the stool thing an indication, I haven't noticed it before?  I'm racking my brain for answers??!! <My ideas are posted, and others will chime in with their ideas...> Any help you could provide would be GREATLY appreciated!!  Thanks and great job on this site!! Frank <You're welcome, and thanks! --Ananda>

Aliens masquerading as spotted green puffs who won't eat snails!! (03/13/03) <Ananda here on the early-morning shift of the puffer patrol....> I recently purchased a 2.5gallon tank to raise small snails for puffer food, but I am noticing that they're not really eating them! <Someone call the Alien Registration Office... that's very, very odd... you're sure they're puffers, right?> I placed a few in my puffer tank one by one and watched them peck at it a few times, then let it sink to the bottom. I made sure I was giving them Ramshorn snails and not the cone shaped ones. <Sounds good...puffers would generally rather have round coiled rams horns than spiral pointy unicorn horns....> Do you think maybe the snails are too big for them (they're really small, but not small enough to just inhale)? <Ah. This is a possibility. The snail has to be small enough to fit in the puff's mouth all at once, so they can crush the whole shell. It must be something about wanting to eat the whole snail at once and not leave behind any good parts for any of the other puffers...?> Or do you think the MelaFix I put in my tank (I'm treating cloudy eyes) is somehow affecting their preference for food (though they still love the plankton and shrimp I'm feeding them)? <I think I told someone tonight that cloudy eyes are most often caused by poor water quality...so if I didn't tell you before to check your water quality, I'll tell you now. Melafix won't hurt, but might not help much. But then again, considering the smell of Melafix, it just might be throwing your puffers off their food. Meanwhile, plankton and shrimp are good for them, too.> Please help me help my little guys!!! <Anytime. Well, almost... gotta sleep sometime.> And thanks a bunch!!! <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Breeding snails for puffer food (03/10/03) hi there! <Hi! Ananda here on the puffer patrol tonight...> I am considering breeding snails to feed my spotted green puffers. <Good idea.> Can you tell me what the best type of snail to breed would be... <I use the small nuisance snails that are free from most fish stores... some are small rams-horn snails, others are round with a bit of a taper on the end. Avoid the ones that are cone-shaped.> How many snails I need to purchase initially... <Purchase? None, hopefully. I'd take as many as the fish store will give you, depending on the size of tank you have.> what size of tank/container they should be kept in... <As small as a gallon, depending on how many snails you want and how many puffers you have -- I have a 5.5 gallon tank as full-time snail farm.> Whether it needs filtration/aeration... <Yup, and water changes, too -- though you can use the old water from your puffer tank as new water for the snails.> And does it need to be covered? <Only to keep the evaporation down. You don't have to worry about the snails crawling around outside the tank. My snail tank is open-topped.> your advise is greatly appreciated! Irene <A couple of other tidbits: you don't need any substrate at all in the tank. In fact, using substrate will just make it more difficult to get the snails out. Do vacuum the crud off the bottom of the tank when you do a water change. And you will need to feed the snails -- old fish food, frozen/thawed vegetables, etc. --Ananda>

A newly acquired cutcutia puffer (03/07/03) <Hello...Ananda here on the puffer patrol...> Hi, my name is Jessica and I've recently acquired what I believe is a common puffer.  (cutcutia)  The people I bought him from said he was a clown-nosed puffer but I've not found that name online.  I believe based on research that he is a cutcutia.   <Okay...> Right now I have him in a completely freshwater ten-gal aquarium with a filter, a underwater heater, a couple of fake plants, and some gravel.  I'd like to know everything about this fish if possible.   <Hmmm... My usual research about fish starts at www.fishbase.org, entering the species name... the search results should give you several possibilities. Check them, and you can get some information. Then check the list of common names and note those down. Next, hit Google and do a search using the genus and species and check out those results. Follow that up with a search using some of the common names. Do that and you'll know as much or more about this particular species than I do. :-)> In particular I want to know if this is an optimum set-up for him.  He is I believe around 3 1/2-4 inches long right now.  I'm feeding thawed frozen blood worms and am considering adding the occasional feeder goldfish and some possible small salad (for human consumption) shrimp.   <Skip the feeder goldfish -- they can be carriers of disease. Further, the scales aren't good for the puffers. Do feed him snails: the little roundish (not cone-shaped) snails, usually available free at the fish store, since they come in on the live plants. For a real treat, put a live ghost shrimp in his tank.> All I've really had experience is with bettas so this is a huge change for me.   <Yup. Puffers have very different requirements than bettas -- but both like bloodworms!> I am very excited about this fish and would love to know as much information about his care as possible.   <Search the web. You should find anecdotes from people who have kept this fish. Also check out the WetWebMedia chat forums (http://wetwebfotos.com/talk); we have a bunch of puffer fans on the boards.> Also, I do not know how old he is but I was told he should mature at 5 inches in length.   <Fishbase agrees...well, in metric.> How old might he be and how old is the average lifespan of a cutcutia? <I am not sure. I have green-spotted puffers that are smaller than yours, and I think they are about 2 years old. I have read of some puffers living into their teens.> Also, will I need to increase the size of his tank?  (I'm a student with limited funds for tanks, etc.)   <I understand. I think he would be okay for a while in a 10 gallon. I would like to see him in at least a 15 gallon standard tank, which is a bit longer than a 10 gallon tank. Better yet, a 20 gallon long tank would give him more room to swim. (I've seen these for about $25 at the chain stores.) You might want to set up a small tank or other container -- a five-gallon bucket or even a new plastic trash can would be fine -- as a snail farm. When you change the water in your puffer's tank, put the old water into the snail farm.> Thanks so much, Jessica P.S.  Is there any way to tell whether my puffer is male or female?   <Not really.> Plus, any and all odd/interesting facts would be much appreciated. <Someone should write a book on puffers... meanwhile, search the web. --Ananda> 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

Figure 8 puffers (02/20/03) I have two in a 10 gal tank.  They were doing fine until we added two Monos and a Bala shark(?). <Hmm. A Bala shark is a freshwater fish; if you're talking about a brackish fish, perhaps you have the "silver shark catfish"?> Soon after adding the new fish, one of the puffers stopped eating.  This has been going on for about 2 weeks, or we just don't see it eat.  Then it started getting grey and black markings on its white underside.  Now the other has grey on its underside, but not as much.  This second one has also kept on with a healthy appetite. <Do try to entice the fist puffer to eat, with snails, shrimp, bloodworms, other puffer treats...the grey is the calling card for puffer stress. The black markings are more worrisome. Do check all your water parameters and do a water change if you see any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate.> We set up a 40 gal brackish and transferred the Monos and shark to it, thinking the puffers would do better, but it did not seem to make a difference.  I have absolutely no idea what I should be treating them for. <Possibly something the monos and shark brought in... I would go back to the fish store and check their remaining stock to see if they are healthy. The presence of the other fish in their tank may have been the initial stressor -- do the puffers have hiding spaces in their tank?> We did move the puffers into the 40 gal tank with the others thinking more room might help.   <It might, or not. If they do not improve, consider moving them back to their more familiar quarters.> Your help is appreciated! <You're welcome. --Ananda><<... this tank is too small, psychologically and physiologically... for this livestock. RMF>>

Re: puffer with black spots hi.. your site has been very helpful. i have a green spotted puffer that looks like it got the ich....doesn't seem as energetic and also noticed where his white belly starts...black specs???? he's in a freshwater tank ph like 7.2 7.6... should i do a saltwater dip on this fish??? how would i do this.. <Hello, It is hard to say without a picture.  If the spots are raised then it may be the Turbellid parasitic at work (Black spot).  Possibly treat with formalin, but I would make a positive ID before any treatment.  Check out the link below.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >

Questions on South American Freshwater Puffer Hi there, <good evening> I have a few questions.  First, I read the following on your website: "Again, on the negative side for aquarists is these fishes possession of tetrodotoxin, powerful poison to ward off would-be predators. A problem at times for ones that die, dissolve w/o notice in aquariums, and at times simply release same into their waters. Do not disturb. " <I would not worry too much, unless you plan on eating them.> I have no plans to eat my pets naturally, <Oh, ok.> but I worry about skin contact with their water.  Are these fish actually known to release their poison into the water in which they live?  I have also read that puffers read in captivity are found not to have poison in their systems as it is actually created by a food that they eat in the wild. <not sure if this is true with puffers, I have heard this is true of the poison dart frogs.> Secondly, I am having difficulty varying the diet of my puffers.  I believe the LFS fed them blood worms exclusively, and as such I have been unable to get them to eat anything else.  I can get two out of the three to eat M.Y.S.I.S shrimp, but they turn their noses up at brine shrimp, glass worms, beef heart, plankton, and anything else I've thought to feed them. <Mysis shrimp are a good start, I would not worry about the brine.  It is ok to starve them a little if you have to.> I have two concerns with this.  The first is that  I was told a diet high in blood worms would result in bloat.  Can puffers get bloat, and will too many blood worms cause it? <blood worms should not cause bloat, but a lot of dry food eaten quickly can.> What are the symptoms of bloat? <The fish will become bloated and have problems swimming, you would notice the change in appearance and behavior.> My second concern is their teeth.  I know they need to eat foods with shells in order to keep their teeth in check.  Is there anything else I could try feeding them that would help wear down their teeth? <snails.  If you have any friends with freshwater plant tanks, I'm sure they would be happy to share.  Otherwise check with the LFS, they usually have some in their plant tanks.  Take a look through our puffer FAQs for more info.  -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm > Thanks! Laura Hardie

Puffer Fish Hi there, I have recently acquired a figure of 8 Puffer fish that appears to have settled into my 3ft fish tank quite nicely.  My big concern about these, is there actual size they grow to a lot of off books I have read state that they grow to only 3 inches whilst others are saying 6 - 8 inches can you please confirm which one is correct. Thanks, Neil Greenhalgh <Hi Neil, Sorry for the delay, your post got moved around due to a computer failure. Here is the poop on your figure 8 puffer. "Tetraodon biocellatus Tirant 1885, the Figure Eight Puffer. Asia: Indochina, Malaysia and Indonesia. Freshwater; pH range: 6.5 - 7.5; dH range: 5.0 - 12.0. A fish-biter. To a little over two inches in length. Aggressive fish tanks only." Hope this sets you right!  Craig>

- Decor for Spotted Puffers - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Hi, I recently bought five very small green spotted puffers. I have looked all around for information on them. <Did you check our site and the FAQs stored there? We archive a lot of questions about these. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm > Up to now they are doing fine in a 20 gallon tank but all i have is a piece of drift wood. I am not very sure of what habitat i should imitate for them to be happy, if caves or rocks or a very heavily planted area or free space. <Perhaps a little of all that, except for the heavily planted tank... a 20 gallon tank is too small for that.> All the sites i have been to contradict each other. <Not uncommon at all.> I would appreciate your suggestion. Also is it recommendable to use pebbles as gravel or sand in a freshwater tank? <Sure. Many options here... read on.> thank you <Cheers, J -- >

FW puffer killed 2 goldfish Hey... <Hey yourself. :-) Ananda here, answering the puffer questions.>   I just separated the 1.5 inch blowfish to a fish ready 20 gal. tank.  It was green with black dots, but now it's all dark purple with a small green spot on it's head, and not moving.  I put a very small piece of tuna in with it.  Can I leave it be? <First of all, this may not be a freshwater puffer. From your description, this sounds like a green-spotted puffer, which is a brackish-water fish. These fish normally eat mollusks, shellfish, snails, and the like. These fish can change colors when resting or hiding. Do check to see that the fish's belly is still bright white; grey indicates stress. The fish should be happy in the 20 gallon tank, presuming you can meet its needs. Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm. --Ananda>

"Black River Puffer" again <Ananda here answering the puffer questions> I sent a message on a black river puffer (the name I got from the store ) and I finally got a decent pic. could you help me better identify it and tips on sexing them. <From your photo, I think I have narrowed it down to a couple of candidates: Tetraodon leiurus, or possibly Tetraodon cutcutia... the former is actually called the "black river puffer" on occasion. Puffernet has a good photo here: http://puffernet.tripod.com/leiurus.html (or for the T. cutcutia, here: http://puffernet.tripod.com/cutcutia.html). However, your puff is quite dark, in comparison with these photos, so I'm not 100% sure of this ID. Sexing either species is tricky at best.> also he never moves around much, he's only been in my tank for 2 days but even at the store where I got him from he didn't move much. <Hmmm. Generally, a puff that has darker-than-normal coloring is not a happy/healthy puff. Do feed him good I don't think he's sick because I been watching him at the store for about 2 weeks before I bought him and I asked if the were giving any medication and they said no. pat

Puffer Twitch <Ananda here answering the puffer questions...> I have a green spotted puffer which I just acquired today, my question is concerning the new one although, I must first tell you what happened with my former puffer. I had purchased one in early December and had him for 2 weeks till he died. <Sorry to hear that.> After a week of having Cazmo he developed this twitch like seizure like action. Soon after he started to be very disoriented and running into the gravel. Looked like a plane that was out of control.   <Can be a sign of something toxic in the tank... Are you using a water conditioner that treats both chlorine and chloramine?> He had salt in the water for him, and he ate just fine before this got bad. So I looked at some web sites and came to the conclusion that he had some sort of internal bacteria of some sort. I read that Maracyn II (cant remember if that is correct) <Probably Maracyn II> would fix it.  So i went to the fish store and they gave me a more generic version called tetra-cycline. <Tetracycline is a completely different drug, but is also used for bacterial infections.> I administered the drugs to the tank and at the last day of treatment he died.  So I waited till after Christmas to try again with a new one.  Today I put him in his new home, and he started to do the twitch. <Did he start to twitch immediately when you put him in the tank? If so, it sounds like it is definitely something in the tank and/or filter. I would remove the fish from your tank to a quarantine tank -- or any other clean container he will fit in, if you do not yet have a quarantine tank. Then clean and sterilize the tank, filter, gravel, and all decorations. Read here for more details: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/disnfecgerfaqs.htm> I can not figure out what is going on in my tank that is causing this problem. <Whatever it is, it has stayed in the tank since your first puffer, thus the necessity of sterilization to get rid of as much of the cause of the problem as possible.> The tank is fairly new, but it has been running for about a month and 2 weeks.  He has no tank mates right now.  And I had my water tested and it showed up ok.  What is causing this?  I do not want to lose this one too!   <It is difficult to say with certainty exactly what is causing this. If the puffer's twitchiness continues after he is in a cleaned/sterilized system, please let us know. --Ananda>

Puffer Twitch I have a green spotted puffer which I just acquired today, my question is concerning the new one although, I must first tell you what happened with my former puffer. <You should have researched enough to know that puffers, in general, are really not very hardy...particularly the green puffer You setting yourself up for failure> I had purchased one in early December and had him for 2 weeks till he died.  After a week of having Cazmo he developed this twitch like seizure like action.  Soon after he started to be very disoriented and running into the gravel.  Looked like a plane that was out of control.  He had salt in the water for him, and he ate just fine before this got bad. <Just the pains of dying!> So I looked at some web sites and came to the conclusion that he had some sort of internal bacteria of some sort. <Who knows?> I read that Maracyn II (cant remember if that is correct) would fix it.  So i went to the fish store and they gave me a more generic version called tetra-cycline.  I administered the drugs to the tank and at the last day of treatment he died.  So I waited till after Christmas to try again with a new one. <I suggest trying a new species of fish> Today I put him in his new home, and he started to do the twitch.  I can not figure out what is going on in my tank that is causing this problem. <Maybe not the tank...The fish is suffering from a terminal case of fragility> The tank is fairly new, but it has been running for about a month and 2 weeks. <It probably needs to be set up longer to stabilize. I assume that you have tested all of your water parameters and everything is as it should be?> He has no tank mates right now.  And I had my water tested and it showed up ok.  What is causing this?  I do not want to lose this one too!   <Good luck! These fish just aren't very hardy for anyone. Beautiful? Yes. Delicate and fragile? Yes. Die easily? Yes. David Dowless>

Up late stressing about my four Corys <Ananda here this late night/early morning, fielding the puffer questions...> I just did what now seems to be a very stupid thing. I had an overflow of snails so I read all about loaches and went to the local aquarium store to buy myself a small pack of them, having read they where a schooling fish. I was a little nervous about this and was easily manipulated by the evil aquarium experts?  .   <Always stick to your guns when you have researched something...keep in mind that the people at the store are trying to sell you something and that non-commercial web sites about fish generally have the fishes' best interests at heart.> Anyways they told me I would be better off buying a single Puffer fish, and after asking what fish I already had in my aquarium told me to add a teaspoon of rock salt per gallon of water to my aquarium. <Knowing you had Corydoras catfish? Shame on them!!> It has been a little over a week now and my Cory Catfish are not eating, and I just read that Corys can not tolerate salt, <Usually not well at all. I would do a 50% water change with no salt in the new water.> but I now have a green spotted puffer fish as well. <Cute and intelligent fish, requiring salt as they mature.> Tell me how to safe my fishies without buying a second aquarium please.  :(    <Oh my. That is difficult, because the puffer needs salt, and the Corys can't tolerate it. Very young green-spotted puffers (under 2" in length) can tolerate freshwater for short periods. But your long-term solution is another tank for the puffer.> <Best wishes, Ananda>  

Green-spotted puffer questions Greetings, <Hello! Ananda answering the puffer questions today...> After having seen a green spotted puffer (Tetraodon fluviatilis presumably) at the LFS and instantly becoming a huge fan, <They are cute.> I am considering adding one to my 40 gallon community tank. <Generally not advised. First, these fish are brackish, requiring some salt in their water. Second, they are just not community fish....> From what I have read thus far, I do not think there will be a compatibility problem with existing tank mates as they are mostly larger, semi-aggressive, and / or fast. <That's what I thought when I got my first puffers. I was wrong, and my puffers are now in their own tank.> (1 x black molly, 1 large platy, a enthusiastically breeding pair of Plecos, a tiger barb, and 2 striped Botias.) > the puffer's viewpoint: "So many fins to munch on!" Puffers especially enjoy nipping big showy fins, like the ones on the molly. And I would definitely not add a stress-inducer like this to a tank with happily breeding Plecos.> The slower moving Botias are my biggest concern, but I do have alternative homes for these should harassment become a problem. <It would likely become a problem.> I am greatly concerned about the safe handling of puffers and especially the possible threat of poisoning (mainly to myself.) Given the general absence of information regarding safe handling, I am assuming that no particular precautions are really necessary other than normal 'sanitary' measures one would normally follow during tank handling. <If you follow those precautions (i.e., washing hands well before and after working on the tank, wearing gloves if you need to put your hands in the tank) and don't eat the puffer, you should be safe.> Nonetheless, the eventualities with such a potentially lethal poison do concern me. Not that I would ever fathom trying to eat my pet, <Ah, good> but fish do get sick and die. <Sad, but true. However, I have read about green-spotted puffers that lived into their teens.> If and when this should happen, what to do?  I have read that dead puffers do secrete their poison, and that they can also secrete in self defense, although the later through suicide if nothing else.  I suppose this would also kill tank mates, but what if it doesn't? <This is another very good reason to keep puffers separate from other fish.> I have no experience with puffers, and given the apparent popularity of the fish in the hobby, I assume overall it is safe. <As long as you respect the fish and their environment, yes.> I haven't read of any aquarist's death or poisoning, <...at least not from keeping pufferfish.> but I fear the more experienced hobbyist know something vital that I don't, and would definitely like to set a precedent. Your response and advice to a rookie would be very much appreciated. <Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm and follow the links. And join us on the WetWebFotos chat forum -- we have several puffer fans on the forum.> I'd like to wish you and your colleagues all the best in the new year. <Will pass this on...> Sincerely yours, Richard O. <Hopefully, you can get a new tank for a puffer. Regards, Ananda>

- Freshwater Puffer Treatment - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have two green spotted freshwater puffers. One has been in the 40 gal tank about a month now and seems to be having difficulty with his eye. He had ick (some on the eye as well)  and was treated with Maracide for 5 days. It didn't work so I gave it a day and treated it with quick cure this seemed to get rid of the ick however while it was being treated for ick I noticed what seemed to be pop eye and so after quick cure I started the tank on Maracyn.  Now after five days of treatment it still has a cloud in the one eye that had had ick on it. Any advice where to go from here? <Yeah... provided the parasitic problems are dealt with, I'd stop treating the tank. Give the eye time to heal on its own. Pop-eye is usually the result of injury/trauma to the eye itself so that treatments like Maracyn and the like will do little to nothing to solve the problem. I've also heard of using small amounts of Epsom salts to help the fish regulate its fluids, but I'd wait for a little while [a week or so] before giving this a shot. Cheers, J -- >

Puff Daddy! Hi there, Thanks tons for the advice on the puffer, I'm afraid it was too late though. <Sorry to hear that. Sometimes, animals don't make it despite our best intentions, I guess> I'm starting again, but I would like to know if I could put 2 green spotted puffers in a 55 litre tank with a bumble bee goby? <I think that they would be okay for a while, but they may require larger quarters at some point. You'd want to keep an eye on the goby to make sure that the puffers are not harassing the goby excessively> Would it be the same salinity and temp as was for figure of 8 puffers? <That would be fine, IMO><<Low amounts of salts for Figure Eights, please. RMF>> Cheers, Tom Hird <Good luck with your new fishes, Tom! regards, Scott F>

Puffers Hello again, First of all, I'd like to say thanks for responding so quickly! I've been following your advice, but ran into a few problems here and there. I tried talking my LFS, all 4 of them, into ordering puffer fish and none of them would do it. Not even for a sale! <hmm, I'm sure they have their reasons.> This I really don't understand, but whatever... So it looks like I'll be buying 5 of the Dwarf Freshwater Puffers online for my 20 gallon tank. I'll be running it between fresh and brackish, just because the real scientific webpages I've seen have recommended that for their health & eating habits. <If they are Tetraodon travancoricus, then they are a true freshwater puffer.> pH will be 7.0-7.5, normal. Temperature at a constant 79*F. Now, there's one other thing... Tank mates! I'm thinking the best mates for such a small tank with 5 of these puffers would be one Blue Crayfish and two Synodontis Eupterus Catfish. (The catfish on their site can be found here: http://www.aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/scavengers/scavengers.htm#top2 , and the Crayfish are here: http://www.aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/misc_critters/critters.htm#top2 ) If these guys don't get along, I'm lost. In that case I guess it'll be a FW Dwarf Puffer tank only, and I'll put the two cats and the Crayfish in the tank with my two Kenyi. *sigh* Puffer fish are a lot of work already! Thanks SO much again, Tyler <Hey Tyler, I would keep the puffers in a tank by themselves, they are quite aggressive when they want to be.  You will start finding puffer size chunks taken out of the other tank mates. -Gage>

- Freshwater Puffer Woes - Hi Bob, <Actually, JasonC today...> I was wondering if you could answer a few of my questions and concerns that I have regarding my green puffer. <I can certainly try.> I have had this fish for a little over a year and it shares a 20 gal tank with a Labidochromis, a blue cobalt, a bumble bee and a pleco. The puffer has given me few reasons to be concerned about it, but recently it has been acting different than it has in the past. For one thing, the fish does not swim around as much as it used to. Now the fish either sits at the bottom of the tank without moving or sits on the various rocks that are set up throughout the tank and hardly moves. In addition, the puffer has started to close his eyes, almost like he is blinking. I don't know what this is but I have never seen the fish do this before. I don't know if the fish is sick or maybe just stressed from a recent water change. <Or both... these fish are sensitive to water conditions and I'm sure over the last year all the fish in this tank have grown, which would alter your bioload, and also your water quality if you're not on it 100%.> Any advise, help or some solution that may help would be greatly appreciated. <I would keep an eye on it, perhaps isolate it in a separate system if things don't improve. You should also read through the multiple pages of FAQ's on these puffers. This is a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm > Thank you, Chris <Cheers, J -- >

Leopard Puffer In A Bad Spot? I just bought a Leopard Puffer fish 3 days ago and I tried feeding it flakes, freeze dried bloodworms, sun dried baby shrimps and frozen shrimps, but it wouldn't eat any of it, worst of all, it doesn't seem to have any interest in it. Am I giving it the wrong food? <You might want to try tempting the fish with some live blackworms...sometimes the movements can be stimulating to the fish> It had not eat for 2 days now and I'm worried. Is there a special way to feed it? <Again, I'd try some live food, at least to get the fish to start eating. If you're using frozen or freeze-dried foods, try putting the food items on a feeding stick and move it around by the fish to simulate a living creature> And whenever I lightly tap the glass around it, it swims speedily and tries to jump out of the water, what does that mean? <Just could be a typical fright reaction. Try keeping the lights more dim for a few days until he settles in> Please reply back to my email ASAP, I don't want to starve it to death, thanks for your time. <Keep trying to get this guy to feed. Don't give up...If necessary, you may have to move him to a separate aquarium to get him eating in a non-competitive environment. Hopefully, your continued efforts will pay off. Good Luck! regards, Scott F.>

Leopard Puffer In A Bad Spot (Pt. 2) Sorry to bother you again, but I have one more question. How many days can a Leopard Puffer stay alive without food? (mine is only 1.3 inches long) <Well, this really depends on the individual fish, when it ate last, and whether or not it's currently ill...basically, there is no set length of time. I've seen fishes (even small ones) last for weeks without eating before they either ate or died (all to often, a fish that goes more than a week or two without eating is difficult or impossible to "bring back"). If this guy is really not eating, you may want to consider moving him to a treatment tank, where you can dose some vitamins into the water (such as Vita Chem). This may help induce the fish to eat, or at the very least, provide some nutrition until the fish actually eats. Keep trying- don't give up! Regards, Scott F!>

Sexing Green Spotted Puffers how can i tell the difference between a male and female spotted green puffer (about 3 inches long each) and if i do happen to have one of each, how can i get them to mate? thanks Dennis <Hello Dennis, from what I have heard the sexual differences are internal, and there is no way to tell from the outside.  there's a lot of information in articles and FAQ's on our WWM site on this topic... check out the following pages and links at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufffaqs2.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Puffers on FAQ Hi, <Hello Laura> I was just doing my daily (well, since I started reworking our tank) reading of the FAQ and came across the question on puffers.  These little guys are my favorite fish, and I have kept both species of green spotted, figure eights, freshwater dwarfs, Canthigaster valentini, C. jactator, and C. solandri (have avoided the larger dog-faced and spiny marine puffs due to tank size).  I was hoping you could forward this message on to Tyler Re: what species of puffer to keep in a 20 tall and ordering puffers online. For a 20H, you could keep 1-2 figure eights (sg 1.005), 1 green spotted (sg 1.010-1.015), or 1-2 male and 3-5 female dwarf puffers (freshwater).  Dwarfs are notorious for coming in starving or with severe internal parasites (breeding them would be a noble goal considering how many are lost in the import process). <Agreed> I've seen three batches from three different sources (two different LFSs and another group ordered online for a total of 18 fish) drop like flies even with heavy feeding of vitamin-soaked, meaty frozen and live foods (these guys just won't eat dried foods, not even krill like the larger species).  They also really need lots of live plants to hide from each other when things get sticky.  Sexing can be accomplished as cited in other sources: males are not as round and have a dark brown dorsal stripe and yellow bellies.  For a first time puffer owner, I would really not recommend them because they tend to be very delicate. <Yes... need to be quarantined for weeks, fed foods laced with anti-protozoals, anthelminthics... like Metronidazole/Flagyl, Piperazine, Praziquantel... to eliminate internal parasites.>   As far as ordering puffers online, I wouldn't worry about fig eights and green spotteds if your source is keeping them in brackish but I absolutely would not order dwarfs online. These are fish you really need to see in person before you buy, and even then buying them is a fairly big gamble.  I finally got some successful ones that had been started by someone else for a few months; your best bet is probably to find another hobbyist who has been keeping them long-term. Anyways, I'm sure you guys already know all of this and just don't have time to make such an in-depth reply to every single person who e-mails you, so I hope me typing it all out will help :). <Thank you for the excellent input. You will have aided many, and saved many fishes thereby. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Laura

Re: puffer question? Hello everyone at WWM, <Hi there> I was walking in a LFS that I usually buy my fish at and came across something very interesting.  I saw what appeared to be a green spotted puffer.  To my understanding these guys get no bigger than 6".  7" if you're lucky and you raised him in a big aquarium.  Now when I saw this magnificent specimen it was in brackish water and the label read "green spotted puffer".  It had the spots and the green on the top of its head but, the only difference was this was as big as a full size Mbu puffer.  Yes, that's right it was maybe 13" long and was pretty well fed.  I have kept puffers for a while and never have I seen a GS puffer this Huge.  Is there a species that looks exactly like a GS but grows to 13" long?  Any logical explanation for this would be great thanks <Likely a "Mbu" puffer specimen. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm Bob Fenner>

Query regarding my new Indian puffer fish Hi there <Howdy> I have recently bought four Indian puffer fish, which I have housed in their own new aquarium, and they seem quite happy and alert, they are also feeding well.  My question is this, two of them have white underbellies, and the other two have slightly reddish underbellies.....is this normal? <Mmm, not likely> They are only tiny, and I believe they only grow to about 4cm (ah bless), and I would hate them to become ill because of my incompetence.  I carry out water changes (about 20%) every two weeks, as the tank is custom built to fit in my last remaining space, and they are fed on frozen (defrosted) blood worm every day.  If it helps further, they are the green kind with black spots, sorry I don't know the scientific name! <Please do take a look through the family Tetraodontidae on fishbase.org for an identification. These may be more brackish species than freshwater... and hence the discoloration might be partly due to inappropriate water conditions. Are these fish in a small system (like twenty gallons or less?). If so they may well be negatively interacting with each other... Bob Fenner> Regards, Kim

Figure of 8 puffer/green spotted puffer Please can you help me? <I will try my best!> I have 1 figure of 8 puffer and 1 spotted green puffer in s 250 litre approx. community tank with a mixture of both large and small fish including my 4 Discus which obviously means that the water is soft. They were previously together is their own tank but I thought it would be a good idea to put them in my larger tank.  The Aquatic place that I got them from said that it would be OK but I'm not so sure that it suits my dear little spotted Puffer.  He doesn't appear to be very well.  He's not eating anything anymore and one of his side fins has stopped moving or is not there at all, he is just floating around and bumping into everything.  They are both very placid fish and I don't want to lose this little guy.  Can you help?   <Were they happy and healthy in their old tank? I would move them back...pronto!> Is he in the right conditions or should I move them into their own tank again?   <Well, as sensitive as the discus are you certainly can't change their water conditions...right? If the puffers aren't going to adjust, and it sounds as if they aren't, then move them back and put something else in with the discus> What should I do to save him? <That is what I would do. David Dowless> Regards, Dena Richardson

Re: Figure 8 puffer/green spotted puffer Thanks very much for your comments David, I will have to buy another tank for the little guys and pray that the spotted puffer survives - he really doesn't look well at all at the moment.  But would the change from soft water to potentially hard do him even more hard or should I do a half soft and half hard water mix - what do you think? <I would certainly acclimate this fish slowly back to the old water whether the old water was hard or soft. Use standard procedures for acclimation...but take your time. Please don't just...drop the poor fish in the new water> Also should I put any sort of tonic into the clean system? <Don't think it would help> Regards, Dena <Have a happy holiday season! David Dowless>

Figure Eights with Ich Okay Okay...so here's the deal: I'm a college student with a ten gallon tank FILLED with puffers,  mean, I just love the goofy bastards. Okay, so, I had to go home for Thanksgiving break and I didn't know WHAT to do with the guys. I mean...I had to bring them home cause they needed to be fed...I mean what else was I going to do right. So perhaps this wasn't the best idea, but to get the home I drained the tank half way and sat with them in the back seat the entire car ride. So we were in the car for four hours, those poor guys splashing around and with no circulation like there was no tomorrow. So, I get the home, and I was in such a hurry to fix up their little home that I forgot to put anti stress coat in about half the water I put in. NEXT THING I KNOW...two of my little Figure Eights (the ones I know as Millhouse and Itchy) have these white spots on their back. Big old white spots. I don't know what's going on there, but it's really upsetting to me...a father of 6 puffers. They don't look like they're going away and I just don't know. There are 4 other puffers in the tank and they seem fine. JUST HELP ME! HELP THE PUFFERS. WHAT DO I DO...for the LOVE OF GOD WHAT DO I DO? Some people say it's ich...how do I take care of that? Thanks for your help. <Dude Bro, I hate to ask you to study while you are on vacation, but... I've got some reading for you to do.  If it is ich you will want to begin treatment with a formalin based medication.  Before you make the trip home make friends with someone at your local fish store, and ask them to pack them for the move home.  These fellas will be needing a larger home as well, they are little fish with big attitudes. disease - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm moving aquariums - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm -Gage

CO2 I moved my figure-8 puffer into the new 45 gallon tank a couple of days ago.  His color is quite pale and he is ventilating heavily.  Is this just from the stress of moving or is it possible that the DIY yeast Co2 generator has saturated the water with too much Co2; especially given that I only have a few plants and very little lighting, just one bulb (N.B. my tank has 10 ghost shrimp and a bumblebee goby; the bumblebee goby made the move at the same time as the puffer and appears to be doing quite well).  I think I will add an airstone right away to inject more air, is this a good idea?  Also, should I disconnect this Co2 generator?    A speedy reply would be appreciated.  Paul <Hi Paul, I highly doubt the DIY yeast Co2 could diffuse enough Co2 into a 45gal to harm the fish.  This is most likely stress from the move.  Check the rest of your water parameters to make sure they are all within range.  An airstone could not hurt at this point.  Eventually if/when you really get into the plants and the Co2, the surface agitation from the additional aeration might pose a problem, but right now the fish are your main concern, so I would go for it. Best of luck, Gage>

Possible Co2 poisoning in figure-8 puffer? I put in an airstone and some duckweed  and Poof seems to be doing much better, although he really isn't showing much interest in the ghost shrimp.  Oh well, I guess they can just be tank cleaners then... Thanks very much for you help Gage!  Paul <Good to hear, I'm sure his appetite will return shortly.>

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>

Compatibility Hello, I currently have a 30 gal tank set up with a couple perch and a bullhead catfish. I would like to add a freshwater puffer. Is there one I could buy that won't kill my other fish. THANKS <Not really and the fish you have will outgrow your 30 gallons if you have a true Bullhead. Most of the puffers are not really freshwater but marine/brackish.  Craig>

Re: Puffer Pictures Mr. Fenner, Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to get any pictures that you'll be able to use, then. The picture I sent you of the GSP was about the best one I was able to take. I took some more last night, but the quality won't be any better than that one. I really do wish I could help you. <You have. No worries. Bob F> Lori

Little red starfish help Greetings crew, I am having a bit of an issue with a little red starfish that we have. I have 4 green spotted puffers and a figure 8 puffer in a 75g - marine set up. I have converted everything from Brackish to Marine over about 10 months so I have been . They are normally well behaved but after 10 months of peaceful existence with the rest of the tank inhabitants I fear that they have decided to try to eat a little red starfish that we have. What does it look like when a starfish's health is failing? does it's outer shell degenerate in a specific area or could this be the work of nippy puffers? I understand that these species normally should not coexist but I think that I have to choose which species I would prefer to keep. I would prefer to have a more peaceful reef setup with some more delicate species like soft and stony corals I wouldn't mind giving my puffers to the LFS I got them from but my girlfriend is really attached to them. I do have a quarantine tank that I could put them in but I want to reserve that space for quarantine treatments. I don't really know what to do in this case - do you have any advice on an issue like this? What can I do to encourage the healing process of my starfish? <Hmmm. Some surprises here for both you and your girlfriend! Tetraodon biocellatus Tirant 1885, the Figure Eight Puffer. Asia: Indochina, Malaysia and Indonesia. ******Freshwater********; pH range: 6.5 - 7.5; dH range: 5.0 - 12.0. A fish-biter. To a little over two inches in length. Aggressive fish tanks only. This is true for your Green Puffers too, they are FRESH WATER and should be removed from your marine system. The QT will be too small so.... Please read about FW puffers at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm  Just one more suggestion...use Kalk in your top off daily according to daily usage (calcium test. Using it every two weeks is going to bite you one day and 1. doesn't provide enough calcium and 2. spikes your pH once every two weeks. Inconsistent and unstable...not good. Read more about dosing Kalk at WetWebMedia. Hope this helps you out! Craig

Freshwater Puffers kept as brackish Hi, I've been trying to identify this puffer for a while now, and I thought maybe you could help if I sent pictures. The one labeled fluviatilis is obviously a different one--I just sent it to emphasize the difference in snouts. <This is very likely: Tetraodon schoutedeni Pellegrin 1926. Central Africa; Congo Basin. Freshwater rivers, not brackish. To three and three quarters inches in length. Territorial with its own species. Our spiel from WetWebMedia.com which you can find on our site... or other pix on fishbase.org, Google... Note: this is NOT a brackish water species> Anyway, the unidentified puffer's belly seems to go black all the time, which led me to believe that there was too much salt in the water (1.005). I dropped it off to 1.002, and I think it likes this better, but it still hangs on the bottom most of the time, and its belly is still black more than half the time.  <These tetraodontids do spend a bunch of time "resting"... but the black is a bad sign... perhaps from kidney et al. damage from the salt exposure...> I would guess that this was the spotted Congo puffer,  <Oh! We're in agreement> but I am almost certain that there are no spikes on its belly. It also does not appear to have that drastic drop-off from the belly to the tail. One last thing--I'm not sure if this is significant, but this puff has vertical bands on its tail. <Not significant as far as I'm aware. Just variability w/in the species.> As for the fluviatilis, I got it the other day and the store had it at 1.016. <Umm, this is also a totally freshwater species... I would slowly return the system to a no-salt status> I currently have it alone in a ten gallon tank, but I'm wondering if this high a salt content will require additional filtration?  <You are wise here... do please read through our brackish offerings indexed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> I had used the tank as sort of a hospital tank, with only a small aqua clear power filter on back. I have now thrown an additional, larger aqua clear on, but I put lots of crushed coral in it to encourage extra biological filtration, which has usually helped in the past. Will this be enough filtration? <Only way to tell is testing water quality... or bio-assay/watching your livestock...> Do I need a protein skimmer? <No> Also, I noticed that you encourage live rock/sand in brackish tanks. Do I need to adjust regular marine live rock to this salinity, or can I just put it in? Thanks for the help. <We need to start further back in your aquarium history... do separate your real brackish water livestock from these freshwater species. Bob Fenner> Andy B

Non-brackish tetraodont puffer species in captivity <These tetraodontids (spotted Congo's) do spend a bunch of time "resting"... but the black is a bad sign... perhaps from kidney et al. damage from the salt exposure...> should I do anything about this, or does it heal itself? <<There is not much TO do... other than provide excellent care, > <Umm, this (fluviatilis) is also a totally freshwater species... I would slowly return the system to a no-salt status> so you disagree with fishbase or PufferNet? Actually the only indicator (of its species) I have is that the store had it at 1.016, and it seemed happy. I assumed from this that it was a fluviatilis. <<Umm, fishbase.org and I are in total agreement... don't know re other dbase...> live sand/live rock? <We need to start further back in your aquarium history... do separate your real brackish water livestock from these freshwater species.> just so you know, I do have the spotted Congo/figure eight tank separate from this other puff, which seems happy in salty water. <<Define "happy"... over many years in the trade have treated freshwater puffers with salted conditions... not good for long term health.>> I'm not sure what you mean by 'start further back in your aquarium history.' are you talking about cycling? this 10 gallon tank has been running for some time, but before I put in the new puff the tank had housed a target puffer (which had to go back to the LFS--way too aggressive) at 1.005. I didn't realize that the extra salt--from 1.005 to 1.016--would damage the bacterial population, so I've been sort of scrambling to figure out how to keep that ammonia and nitrite levels where they should be. That's when I thought adding live rock might help, but I'm not really familiar with it and wanted to check around on whether or not this would work. if not, are there any other ways to alleviate the problem without being too drastic? thanks so much for your help-- <Please read where you were sent previously. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf puffers Hi Bob. My name is James and I am looking at getting a couple dwarf puffers. <<Hi James, Craig answering your query>> I have a few questions. First off, from what I have been able to find is that they are fresh water puffers. Should I still add salt to the water? If so how much? Will I need a protein skimmer? The LPS has them listed as being brackish. If they are brackish what is the best way to release them in a fresh water tank. I don't want to kill them. My last question for now is, is there any way to tell if they are dwarfs and not juvenile green spotted puffers. Thank you for your time. James Schwab <<Sounds like fun! Please go to these links and read about puffers. Plenty of excellent info and will get you on the right track. Try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm and follow all of the available links. You can also search on specific species/types. stocking questions. Enjoy!, Craig>> 

Figure Eight puffers (freshwater, brackish...) Sometimes on your FAQ you say that figure eights are freshwater, sometimes brackish, and I've now just read you say they were possibly marine. Puffernet/Fishbase both say fresh, so which is it? <THE Figure Eight (Tetraodon biocellatus) is freshwater: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm> And does it really matter that much, provided I adjust them slowly? <It does matter. This species does not do well "kept salted", frequently perishing to a degree from weakening by being kept in salty water> The same questions applies for a new Tetraodon fluviatilis, which I just purchased today. <Please see the article cited above> Aside from this small confusion, this site has been tremendously helpful to me. Thanks! <Glad you find it so. Bob Fenner> Andy Barton

Gray sores on my poor puffer hello bob, thanks for taking the time to read my question. I recently bought a young leopard puffer AKA green spotted puffer. and have been doing my research on how best to care for him. He lives in a 10 gallon with a few ghost shrimp (which were intended for him to snack on), a juvenile Pakistani loach, a Plecostomus (sp?) and female beta. He is rather shy and scared of the beta. (I will be moving her soon) I have been gradually increasing the salt content over the last three weeks. it is now up to 1.004. He eats frozen blood worms and brine shrimp. I even set up a smaller tank so that I could bread snails for him to eat. He acts healthy, has good coloration and eats like a pig. The problem he has developed two dark grey-ish spots around the bottom corners of his mouth. I have notices them for about four days now. They are circular and the center of them appears as shallow open sores. they are lighter in the center and darkish grey on the outside. do you know what this could possibly be and how I might treat it? <Are the colored spots sort of symmetrical... about equal on both sides? This may be "nothing"> I love this little guy. out of all my fish in four different aquariums he is my favorite. please help. thank you. -David <If it were mine I'd keep on the path you're on and not worry. What you have related that you've done thus far (other than the difficulties of this being a small system) looks fine. Bob Fenner>

Figure 8 puffer Hello, I have a figure 8 puffer and had him in my African C. tank. He and my green spotted pufferfish did well in that tank for close to 6 months. They have gotten beat up quite a bit recently so I took them out. the Green spotted puffer I threw (adjusted the salinity for him in about 30 min before dumping him) into my salt water tank and he is doing great.  <Yikes... this is a quick (and dangerous) transition... likely damaging to your puffer internally... these changes need to be made over a period of a few weeks to months> I then weeks later tried the same thing to my figure 8 and he has not fared as well. His eyes got extremely cloudy and his color faded. He was only in the saltwater for a night. I then saw my poor fish in the morning and put him in my molly (brackish) breeding tank to recover. <Good move... you likely saved its life> I added some Melafix to the tank and his eyes are clearing up slightly. What should I do to further his recovery? I also thought the figure 8 could go to full saltwater. <Please read over the brackish water articles posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm The Figure Eight, Tetraodon biocellatus is actually a freshwater fish... not brackish or marine. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Chad

FW puffers Thanks so much for the quick and helpful response. However, I believe I have a problem. I mentioned the "green spotted puffers" that I got from a pet-store, but I was wrong. The store calls them "gold and green puffers," a name that I cannot find anywhere on the web. After looking into it more, I think they are dwarf puffers, or Malabars, and this means that I have a problem, because I've been adding salt.  <ahhh...yes> My question is this: how would these little fish do with my African Cichlids?  <anything beyond a species tank will be a compromise. Most all are notorious fin nippers and eye balls are fair game with slow and sleeping fishes. Really best in a species tank and not too crowded at that> So far the Cichlids haven't touched my figure eight puffers, but they're close to 2 inches and pretty thick. These dwarfs are between .5" and 1", and not very thick at all. Furthermore, would the figure eights crush these little guys? It's 55 gallons, but the cichlids pretty much own the bottom and the puffers claim the top. <alas... I can not honestly recommend such an unnatural mix> Thanks, Andy B <best regards>

Buy a puffer? Hi-  I just had a question. I would really love to buy a figure eight puffer, but right now I have 1 dwarf Gourami, 1 red platy, and a Bala shark in a 17 gal hex tank. Do you think the puffer will tolerate these other fish, if not what kind of fish would be good tank mates for a pufferfish? Thank you.  <the puffer is a completely incompatible fish for this tank for many reasons. Even small, they are extremely aggressive (known to pick the eyes out of other fishes!)... more importantly, they are brackish and need a salted (half seawater) setup. Learn more in our WetWebMedia archives starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffers.htm Please explore the FAQs and links at the top of the page. Best regards, Anthony> I would appreciate any advise you have to offer.  -Kristin 

Dempsey and Puffer problem Hello Bob, I have a 55 gallon tank setup with a Jack Dempsey, Pleco, and a Spotted Puffer. After scouring the internet for info on the Puffer I can't really figure out whether its the Nigroviridis or Fluvilitis. <Have you tried www.fishbase.org?> So with no real way to get reliable info on the type of puffer I have, I was thinking about raising the salinity of the tank a little, so I have added about one level tablespoon of salt for every ten gallons, but don't want to go higher yet without knowing if the salt will hurt the Dempsey and Pleco. <I routinely add 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons to many of my freshwater clients tanks.> If its a freshwater puffer I was hoping it would be ok with the present tank conditions, but if its a brackish species I'm not sure what to do. There's not really any info on the internet about salt for Dempseys except for salt treatments, and those are only temporary for diseases. <Your fish should be fine. -Steven Pro>

Spotted Puffers Hi there, I have a question regarding my spotted puffers.... I have had them for a couple of months now (absolutely loving them!). The first couple of weeks I had them they would not eat much, only a nibble here and there. They would swim up and down the back of the tank... almost looking like they were trying to escape. I was (of course) rather concerned, but wasn't sure if I needed to be. I did check the water numerous times just to be sure it was appropriate for them... nothing seemed to make any difference. One evening I decided to turn the tank light off to see if they would eat better in a more dim atmosphere... and wow what a difference! They both perked right up!  <this was because of the reflection (mirror like quality) of light in the tank... floating plastic plants would diffuse and refract it instead> I have been keeping the light off (with plenty of light in the rest of the room via window... not directly on the tank of course) and since their appetite has REALLY increased and they are taking full advantage of the entire tank. I must say, they are very comical to watch. The two I have also seem to be very fond of one another... never venturing very far for long without the other. So.... is this normal?  <a common situation> In their natural habitat are they more likely to be found in murky or dim waters?  <nope... the mirror effect is just freaky... the intensity of light has little else to do with the matter>  Most importantly, is this healthy? Thank you!! ~Alecia <sounds like you are both at ease now. Best regards, Anthony>

Freshwater Puffers/Overheating Hi, I have a question regarding my freshwater puffers. Last night, I noticed that the tank had gotten to about 100 degrees. <Wow!> The heater was still on and it's been hot here. <Sounds like the heater broke. Strange that these always seem to break and cook a tank. I have yet to here about a heater going bad and just shutting off. They always attempt to boil the aquarium.> The fish had changed to a light yellow, completely different from their normal brown. I was able to cool the tank back down to a normal level by ice and changing the water. <While the high heat was a problem, the abrupt change made it worse.> I added stress coat and aquarium salt. This morning they still are not normal. Help. Is there any thing else that I can do for them? <Temperature changes are a trigger for Ich outbreaks in many instances.> They almost look as if they have lost their sight. Is there any hope for them? <Keep a close eye on them, be ready to treat for any possible infections, and keep things as clean and stable as possible.> Any of your suggestions are welcome. <Mostly for others, if this ever happens to you, disconnect and dispose of the heater, add a tremendous amount of aeration (adding a air pump and stone and/or turning up the venturi inlets on your powerheads), and wait for the temperature to come down on its own. Also, replace the heater with a new, high quality unit so that the temperature does not end up crashing to extreme lows either. The biggest danger with high temperatures (other than making fish chowder) is low dissolved oxygen.> Thank you, Charlene <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Regarding salt in Freshwater Puffer/Tetra Tank Hi there Bob. First off, you have a great and very informative site, but I do have one question. I have a figure 8 puffer in a 5.5 U.S. Gallon tank which is shared with one painted tetra. These 2 fish were sharing the same sized tank at my fiancé's house about 3 months ago, but they were also with 2 other puffers and 2 other painted tetras. So 6 fish in all. They frequently got ICH and the one fig. 8 I now have was constantly bullying the other 2. <A very difficult situation for them and you, to live in such small, crowded confines. Hard to keep stable, optimized> The other puffers died, I think because of stress, and the tetras went to another good home. <All reasonable> So I took "him" and the pink tetra and they are living very happily together, or so it seems! :) To my point. My question is: Should I have aquarium salt in the tank? <Mmm, not much if any... you are likely involved in a "no win" situation here with the "tetra" probably preferring relatively soft, acidic water of low salt content, and the puffer preferring about the opposite conditions (see fishbase.org on the Net re this). My real suggestion is to choose one or the other "type" of water and the animal/s that live well in it, and build your collection around this starting point> Right now there is none in there, only the freshwater and the necessary chemicals to keep it somewhat clean. <Actually, all freshwaters have some salt content... one approach to try would be to "go between" the condition-ranges of physical and chemical parameters these types of life are pre-disposed to...> I do water changes every week, siphoning the gravel and I feed freshly killed freshwater crayfish, live ghost shrimp, frozen bloodworms, freeze-dried white shrimp, (lucky fish) and the painted tetra also gets tetra-min (small pellets). <Sounds good>| So far they have not gotten sick, but from all the horror stories I see on your site, I don't want my little puffer friend to die. Sorry for such a long email, but I wanted you to know the whole story, you seem like quite an expert. Thank you very much for your time and expertise! ~Dennis <And you for sharing, writing, and doing your best to provide for your aquatic charges. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

To have or not to have (freshwater puffers) Clear Day...Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm trying to gather all the info I can on freshwater puffers. <there's a lot of information in articles and FAQ's on our WWM site on this topic... do research the following pages and the links at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufffaqs2.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm> I've recently started another tank at my house. Its a 55 gal. tank with about 9 starting fish,1 gar, 1 Pictus Cat, 3 Tinfoil Barbs, 1 Green Severum, 1 Clown Knife, 1 Head stander, 1 Kribensis Cichlid, and 1 dead Fahaka Puffer. The Puffer was fin nipping some of them , but mostly the Knife. I came home one night , and it looked like he'd puffed up from a good fight ,and died days later. Are all puffers that mischievous ?  <some are severely aggressive... most are at least nippy> Is it my tank mates I've picked? Is there any Puffers that are less overbearing? They great fish , and I'm determined to keep some.  < a species tank with puffers only is your best route for this feisty family. Be warned... most won't even tolerate each other for long!> Please enlighten me. Thanks Matthew <best regards, Anthony>

What is the title of your book? (and puffer lymph) It looks to me like you have written a book on marine aquariums (from some of the emails) <Likely you're referring to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Sold by fish shops, Amazon et al. on-line booksellers, many etailers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm> What's its title and where can I get it? I think I have two puffers with lymphocystis,  <Very/too common> but my fish have clear blisters on their fins, which is a little different from the descriptions I have read of lymph. Is there anything else this could be?  <Chemical, physical "burns", secondary bacterial (though often labeled as fungal) infection...> They look like clusters of bubbles in their fins. <Oh, this IS likely lymphocystis. Look at pix here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm> Thanks, Brenda <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Puffer Question I have two Spotted Congo Puffers. Or at least I'm fairly certain that is what they are from the description on your site. My tank is in good condition, all fish seem healthy and all readings are normal. The only problem is that last Monday I noticed one of my fish (not puffer) had ich. Which means all my fish have ich. <Not necessarily... but your system does...> So I bought Rid-Ich and used it as directed for a week. This seemed to get rid of the ich. But now I see that my two puffers are staying at the bottom of the tank, not eating as much, and are still rubbing up against rocks. They are not darting around however. My question is, does ich cause loss of appetite and non movement?<It can, but definitely the medication does.> They used to be very active but now seem to stay in the same place. I don't see signs of parasites on them and their color is still bright, most of the time. Do you think they have ich and I should continue to treat with Rid-Ich? Or any other suggestions. <I would not continue the treatment at this point, but wait a good week or two, see if other (spotty) symptoms recur... then go the "elevated temperature and some salt" treatment route for two weeks, if so. Your livestock is better not chemically treated for now. Bob Fenner> Thank you for any help, Isaac Vollaire ps. Sorry if I didn't give enough info or if anything is confusing.

Black river puffer question Hi, I have been having some problems trying to identify my new puffer. The most common names I have found are: the black river puffer, humpback puffer or red dragon puffer. Puffernet identifies it as a common freshwater puffer. I do not know whether this fish is strictly freshwater or if it's brackish or what. I am also wondering about compatibility with other fish. I have noticed nocturnal behavior also and I was wondering if there are any special steps I should be taking to provide for a nocturnal species. thanks <Mmm, please take a look on WWM here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm and the FAQs files linked... and FishBase.org with your common names... or peruse the family Tetraodontidae there. Bob Fenner>

Re: black river puffer question I checked there, but none of those match. I am attaching a picture that is definitely the same species.  <Mmm, no pic attached> I believe the correct scientific name is Tetraodon Palembangensis. The real problem I am having is identifying the behaviors and requirements of this fish. I have exhausted the sites I know of. thanks <Do keep searching the Net... with different search engines... for brackish water fishes as a search term. Bob Fenner>

Re: black river puffer question Ooo sorry about that, here it is! >I checked there, but none of those match. I am attaching a picture  >that is definitely the same species. ><Mmm, no pic attached> >I believe the correct scientific name is Tetraodon Palembangensis.  >The real problem I am having is identifying the behaviors and  >requirements of this fish. I have exhausted the sites I know of.  <Looks more like a Tetraodon leiurus to me... about same requirements for both. Bob Fenner> >thanks ><Do keep searching the Net... with different search engines... for  >brackish water fishes as a search term. Bob Fenner>

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 neon's 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. Neon's in one and the puffer in another.> Thanks Again! -Julie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Puffers Hi, I have 5 Green Spotted Puffers, 2 1/2" long. and 1 Figure 8 Puffer, 3/4" How long do these kinds of Puffer live? <Years if/when kept under properly maintained conditions> and how big can they get? <Please see the coverage on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm and the FAQs files beyond> I have them in a 77gal. I also read that they should be in 6.5 -7.0 Ph. water, Is that right? <Mmm, no... should be higher... see the brackish set-up, maintenance sections on WWM> I have kept mine in Brackish water at 81*F Ph: 8.0 for 2 years and they're doing great. Please e-mail me back, Thanks. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Dear Mr. Fenner, Before I ask my question I must say what an awesome site you have. It is truly remarkable. Well on to my question... I bought what I believed to be 3 Green puffers, Tetraodon fluviatilis at my LFS in mid November. I kept them in a 20 gallon long tank with good water quality, ph, GH... etc. I also kept them in brackish conditions of .007 salinity (The hydrometer was hard to find, since most start at .01).  <Sounds good so far> Well all was well with all but one of the puffers. He constantly kept trying to chew on the glass and would use bursts of energy to shove his face on the glass. I thought it may be because of the slight difference in the water quality (I tried to match the water quality of the LFS as best as I could). The salinity they were kept in was about .004; I gradually raised it to .007 within a few days. After a few weeks their color turned brighter and they have come to know and "tolerate" me. Except for one of the puffers, he never ate food off my hand and would only eat the food when I dropped it. His odd behavior with the glass did not change till now, though no discoloration or irregular swimming has occurred. I have checked your site and others and have come to the conclusion that the 2 puffs that like me are t. fluviatilis, though the glass eating one is a t. nigroviridis. The nigroviridis has a much rounder face and mouth compared to the other 2, and the coloration on the other 2 puffs is much darker brown than the t. nigroviridis. I went to the LFS to check where these 3 puffs originally came from but he didn't know.  <Not surprising. These Puffers are wild-caught, and frequently mixed species... and as you know, not easily told apart> I was hopping I would be wrong so I was wondering if this can happen? Can LFS' retrieve two different breeds of puffs?  <Yes... you ought to see some of the "miscellaneous" mixes of Corydoras, small Tetras I've helped put away (from import) years back... hard to tell what was intended to be in which box/bag!> I really don't want to return any of them, nor do I want the nigroviridis to remain in an environment he cannot tolerate for long. Can I keep them in freshwater with a little salt or keep them in a salinity of about .003 - .004? Please help Thank You <I would keep your spg at near 1.005 here. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: seeking your expertise! <Greetings, Lisa. Anthony> Thank you for your reply. I guess I didn't clarify....I have FRESHWATER dwarf puffers, although I do put a little salt in the water. <yes...they really aren't freshwater, but necessarily brackish> From everything I've read, they belong in a freshwater tank?  <nope...they tolerate freshwater. They are likely brackish. You have the little figure eight or spotted green puffers, I suppose? The frogs are at full size, guess I didn't clarify that they are DWARF frogs and very mellow, and do not bother them.  <yes...agreed> As long as there is no danger of the puffers eating the frogs....am I okay? <Danger Will Robinson! Hehehe... yes, the frogs will eventually get nipped/eaten. A strange mix> Could I eventually move the puffs to the 46 gallon? Or would they pick on the Jelly Beans? <please read up on this site about brackish fishes and displays... a unique and wonderful microcosm...but limited in fish compatibility> From what I hear, the frogs would drown in a larger tank. What do you think? <they are really better suited to the smaller aquaria where they can feed easier away from active community fish> Thanks! Lisa <kind regards. Anthony>

Re: seeking your expertise! True Freshwater Puffer Anthony, hope I'm not being too much of a pain... <not at all...information exchange, a wonderful thing> but the puffers are Tetraodon travancoricus (which is neither figure eight or spotted green). <ah, yes... and indeed freshwater. My apologies... 99 out of one hundred people with a question about "freshwater" puffer have a brackish species that the LFS did not know/inform them about> They are Dwarf Freshwater Puffers,  <from freshwater in India> although difficult to find on the web, <have you had the pleasure of browsing Puffernet? (http://puffernet.tripod.com)... a haven for you <smile>> they DO exist and from what I've seen they thrive and belong in freshwater. <agreed> They only reach the size of about one inch. SO since the frogs will still be larger than them, and the fish is known to be a fairly docile puffer (for a puffer),  <actually...everything I have read on the species details them as serious fin nippers with the males being especially territorial as they mature. Males have a pronounced ventral line (dark line on body flanks...where females have none... easy to sex)> do you think the frogs will still get eaten? They seem to co-exist fairly well at this time. <at least harassed eventually...more so if you have males)> I also notice that the puffers (although they are fed blood worm) eat quite a bit of the live plant in the tank also. <excellent food matter to be encouraged. Thank you for clarifying, and again...my apologies for assuming. Kindly Anthony>

Did Puffy Huff or Puff? Works on/w freshwater and brackish water puffers as well... <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels> We have a spiny box puffer fish. He is pretty small still and we had him about a month. He has been fine and eating fine but we have noticed that he is swimming weird lately. He seems to struggle to swim and swims at an angle with his tail fins upward. He can dive to the bottom of the tank but it looks like he is struggling. Does this mean that he has swallowed air? <possible but uncommon once established... usually occurs after netting out of water when sold/moved> Since this swimming problem has started he does not seem to eat anymore either. We also have some larger fish that are bothering him. The fish who are the villains are a Sailfin tang, blue tang and a Heniochus. What can we do to help puffy? <needs quarantine immediately. Ultimately may never work with current tank mates, but suffer and die if forced to do so> If it is air, how exactly do we help him release it without getting bit or hurting him? <gently net underwater with a soft nylon cloth net (not coarse green fabric). Securely grab the fish through the net and orient the fish tail-down/ mouth- upward. The struggle to get free will often massage a burp of air out if it exists. You should only need 5-10 seconds to complete if it will work at all. Quite frankly, it may not be air at all and the symptoms are general. Stressed by harassment from other fish, it could have a pathogenic infection... that is why quarantine for isolation, treatment and observation is critical to save its life>  Thanks for any help with our little guy. <please write back with a success story! Anthony>

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: