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FAQs about Small Puffer Dentistry

Related Articles: (Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk), 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. NastyPuffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: FW Puffers 1FW Puffers 2, 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,

Hard-shelled foods, substrates to chew on will help you keep up with your Puffer's twelve step maint. program. Acroporid and Xeniids together... Note the apparent water movement/current. Wakatobi pic.

Fahaka teeth problem      11/27/18
Hi Neale!
How are you?
<Hello Nathaniel. All good here.>
Great news - my Fahaka is getting big - like 8 inches!!.
<They do grow fast.>
I've had him for a number of months now and he's been happily feeding on frozen cockles (NOT in the shells). He usually eats 10-15 a day with 1 day off a week. (plenty of heavy filtration and a decent sized tank - so no worries there!)
The only problem is, I can see his teeth getting bigger. At the moment he has no problems eating but I can imagine in the future it will be a problem.
<Indeed. Without lots of crunchy food, this is probably inevitable.>
I have only fed soft foods as he wasn't big enough for shell-on foods at first and showed on interest in small snails.
<Snails will be eaten if the puffer is hungry enough. Besides molluscs, do also try unshelled shrimp and crayfish, or even the legs from cooked crabs and lobsters.>
I have now tried to introduce him to shell-on foods and he looks at me as if to say "what do you expect me to do with that? Give me some proper food!"
<"Hunger makes the best sauce.">
I have tried, mussels, clams and snails and not one of them was touched. I have even tried smashing them before putting into the tank to help him out but still no interest.
<One possibility is to smear foods into something like a pumice stone or artificial lava rock, such the puffer will have to work at the rock to extract the food.>
I have ordered some half-shell clams and plan to starve him for maybe 2 days and try those.
<Should help, but if partially shelled, the puffer may simply suck the meat off the shell.>
Do you have any other suggestions?
<Hope the above helps. Otherwise dentistry may be in your future. It's not difficult, but easier avoided. Cheers, Neale.
Fahaka teeth problem      11/27/18

<Nate; I'd like to add this article on WWM for your perusal/review:
Re: Fahaka teeth problem    11/29/18

Thanks Neale!!
<Most welcome.>

Ms-222 dose     10/19/12
I have a small saddle valentini puffer need to trim teeth have Finquel ms-222 how much do I use in a gallon of water thanks for your time DonaldT
<Mmm, I'd put the string: "Finquel ms-222 dosage" in your search tool/s and read a bit. My fave input here:
"for ornamentals". Bob Fenner>

Figure 8 puffer issue.   11/10/11
Hi guys,
I stumbled upon your site while looking for an answer to my question. I have a 20 gallon tank with artificial plants and a fake cave. Occupants are 1 sail fin plecostomus (4"), 1 tiger plecostomus (2"), and 2 figure 8 puffers (2.5" & 1.5"). Water was just changed two days ago and maintained at same brackish level as before, about 1tbsp/gallon. Water was also tested and my levels are all good. I've had all the fish for almost two years and noticed the smaller puffer started getting thin within the last month. Both puffers teeth were long so I trimmed them this evening. Big guy came through ok but Lil guy isn't doing so well. Acting very lethargic and shows no interest in eating now even when snails were added. I scooped him into a fry net so that he wouldn't be bothered and the current wouldn't push him around so much. At closer inspection, it looks like he is unable to close his mouth. This was the second time I've trimmed their teeth and didn't really seem to any trouble either time. Any suggestions?
Aaron S.
<Hello Aaron. This pufferfish species needs brackish water. If you're adding at least enough marine aquarium salt (not "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt") for the Figure-8 Puffer, then your Plecs would be stressed or dead, as would the snails. So we can be fairly sure that this is the problem.
Move the catfish and snails to a freshwater aquarium. Then raise the specific gravity of the water in your pufferfish aquarium to SG 1.005, which is about 9 grammes/litre (1.2 oz per US gallon). Use a hydrometer to check the specific gravity, bearing in mind that SG 1.005 is the correct specific gravity at 25 C/77 F, which is the temperature the hydrometer will be calibrated to, and also the right temperature for this species. The fact your smaller puffer has long teeth has more to do with diet than anything else, but shouldn't cause him to become lethargic unless he's starving.
It's a chicken/egg situation -- if the puffer won't eat his snails because he doesn't like his environment, he can't wear down his teeth and they'll become overgrown. Nonetheless, the teeth issue is misleading here: without confirmation you're maintaining these fish at not less than SG 1.005, then my money would be on lack of salinity being the prime issue. Hope this clears things up. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Figure 8 puffer issue.  11/11/11

Thanks for the quick response. I'll have to check gravity. Only thing that bugs me with the whole situation is that he won't close his mouth. He was swimming around in the fry net this morning acting much mire alert. I tossed a couple freeze dried krill in which is what I usually feed them if not snails...they cleaned the tank of those so I started a breeder tank. He tried to eat and did the normal attack and jerk movement but couldn't bite the food or at least keep it in his mouth since it's stuck open.
<Dislocated jaws are common among fish that fight by locking jaws, such as cichlids. But that likely isn't the issue here. Pufferfish fights reveal themselves as circular bites on the flanks and missing bits from the fins.
Once jaws are dislocated, there's not much you can do. If the fish can't feed, euthanasia is usually what needs to be done.
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Figure 8 puffer issue.  11/11/11

Thanks. They pick on each other occasionally but never seen them fight it lock jaws. I figured it'll come down to euthanizing him. I'll keep my eye on him for the next couple days though before I make that decision. Sad cause these are the first two we've had for this long and we're definitely attached to them. Thanks again for all the info.
<Glad to help, and sorry about the unfortunate situation. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Figure 8 puffer issue. 11/11/11

Thanks again for all the help. Lil guy decided early this morning to start his permanent weekend. Passed away some time before I could euthanize him this morning.
<Too bad. Sorry couldn't be more helpful. Good luck with the remaining fish, Neale.>

South American Puffers 10/8/2010
Hi folks!
On the 1st October I acquired 3 SAPs. They didn't eat until the 7th October - finally!
<Picky, were they? Odd. Bloodworms are their favourites, whether live or wet-frozen.>
I have a few questions for you and while I know you are all incredibly busy, I would really appreciate a response. I live in Ireland and until I happened on your website I didn't think I was going to get my questions answered.
I dropped in a small Ramshorn snail, just a bit bigger than the size of the SAP eye. The SAPs have ignored it all week. The snail must think it is Christmas! One puffer swam up to it last night and I thought "yes!" but he sort of stopped, looked at it, backed up and swam around it. Is there anything I can do to coax them into eating it? I obviously want to help keep their teeth ground down.
<Ramshorn snails aren't popular with these puffers. Mine never ate them.
The best are Physa and Physella spp.>
Secondly, do you have any photos of an SAP that needs dentistry?
<Oh, you'll know it when you see it. We're talking buck teeth! Let's say your specimens are 5-6 cm long, which is about the average for adult specimens in captivity. The beak will protrude maybe 1-2 mm beyond the lips. Any more than that, and they're overlong. There's no need to cut them right away, but if the SAP has trouble eating, then it's time for some dentistry.>
I know that I will eventually have to trim their teeth and I've read up loads on the actual procedure. It doesn't sound as scary as I initially thought! I'm just incredibly confused about when its the right time to
trim. I can see my boys teeth but they're not "bucky" yet. I guess I want a photo of when its time to trim so that I know I'm not trimming too much too soon. I don't want to leave them with no teeth as such!
<Shouldn't be a problem. You're really only nipping off the very edges, the points, maybe 1 mm or so of the top teeth, and maybe a little bit off the bottom teeth.>
Sorry, this email is probably really confusing! I've tried to word it as best I can.
Lisa from Ireland.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: South American Puffers, dentistry... now anesthetization, not euthanization w/ Clove Oil 10/10/10

Thanks for that folks, its really settled my worries. One more question and then I'll leave you in peace. :-) I've worked out that most places advise 3 cups of tank water and then 3 drops of clove oil. I've worked out that over here 3 cups is about 1.5 pints.
<I find the actual amounts vary. Four drops in a litre usually does the trick, but you might get by with a bit less or else need a bit more.>
My question is, would a medicine dropper work for measuring out the 3 drops of clove oil? I obviously don't want to use too much or I'll have a dead SAP on my hands. :-(
<Not much risk of that. Clove Oil is a sedative that kills fish through suffocation. Provided you use small doses, and immerse the fish for only short periods, the risk is negligible. To kill a fish, I find I need
something like 30 drops in a litre, and the fish needs to be immersed for several minutes.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Dogface Puffer...Stressed or Sick? Canthigasterine dentistry   10/22/09
Thanks again! I'll leave you alone after this, I promise. And thank you for calling me young...am just old enough to start to appreciate that... ;)
I think that I'm going to try to find space/power to set up my 29 again, and then I figure I'll probably move the eel into that by himself until I can find a better home for him.
<Good idea>
Do you think this will be adequate for at least a few weeks reducing stress/problems in the 55 or am I just wasting effort when I should really just try to trade him to the LFS or someone in the position to put him in a bigger tank.
<May "buy" you a year or so. Worthwhile in my value reference system>
I'd much rather not get rid of the puffers as they do have such wonderful personalities (although of course they'll need to be rehomed too, hopefully when this move happens I will have space for the massive tank that I'd like to have).
I've also been comparing pictures of Valentinis, and I think that my poor guy's beak may very well be too long for him to grind down himself (I have never seen him eat a crab, snail, or even live rock...he just watches the crabs from inches away). He also was a "gift" from Petco (more of a project than a present....). I've spent the day reading about puffer dentistry and it seems very straightforward to clip his top beak, but I am understandably
terrified of hurting him.
<Canthigasterines are very tough. A Dremel tool or such is easier here to use than clippers.>
As far as I know there is no one in my area that has any marine veterinary experience so if it has to be done, I think that I'm going to have to man up and do it myself. Everything seems to point to him having too long a beak, I've attached the best (and compressed!) picture I could snap of it. To me his top teeth look far too rounded to do any damage.
Do you think I'd be doing the right thing?
<I do>
P.S. I know the crabs and snails are just snacks, but if they're healthy for the puffers and the girlfriend likes watching them crawl around, what's
$1.99 here and there for so many to be happy :D
<Frozen, defrosted assorted seafood (in a bag at your food store) is better. BobF>

Figure 8 puffer teeth  12/18/08 I have a figure 8 puffer who is going on almost 4 years. He seems as if he has beens starving for quite some time ( a month or more). He started out in brackish water when he was young and has moved to saltwater over the past 2 years. <Never heard of this species being kept in seawater!> He has been living with a maroon clown who is pretty docile in a 30 Gal saltwater aquarium. <Staggered, to be honest. Are you sure this is Tetraodon biocellatus, the Figure-8 puffer? Does it really have the tell-tale pair of circular yellow markings on each side of its body, one close to the tail, one further forward and a bit above the midline? Tetraodon fluviatilis (up to 15 cm/6 inches) is easily confused with Tetraodon biocellatus (up to 7 cm/3 inches).> Puffer has been eating dried krill for most of his life - a few fresh snails, but doesn't like any kind of pellet or flake food. <Normal.> I believe his teeth are too long and this is why he is starving. I recently tried feeding him frozen bloodworms. He went after them but since he couldn't open his mouth, he sucked them in through the side, however they got pushed right back out. I assume because he couldn't chew them or keep them in his mouth. I've called pet stores that told me he was too old or that his teeth were too long but that there was nothing they could do about it. I've also read on your site that figure 8 puffers are not among the puffers who need teeth trimming. I believe there is something that is keeping him from getting the food down since he still seems interested in eating. <Jenni Tyrell has written a piece on trimming teeth. It isn't difficult. The only thing I'd disagree with her on is the use of the net to grip the fish, I'd sooner use wet hands, on the assumption wet hands are less likely to damage the fish than a coarse net. But regardless, her overall description of the job is clear and useful. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/smpufferdentistry.htm Honestly, while it looks scary, it's actually not that difficult if you sedate the Puffer first and have all the tools handy. You'll be done in under two minutes, and the fish will be swimming about normally in ten.> Any help would be much appreciated. He sticks around the top of the tank, somewhat aloof, but he doesn't seem to have lost too much energy, he's just really thin and gets a dark belly often. Thanks! Annie <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Figure 8 puffer teeth 12/20/08 Thank you~ <Most welcome.> I think you are right, that he isn't a figure 8 puffer, but a spotted puffer. <Easily confused.> I've seen fully grown spotted puffers in marine water at World of Fish and they say it is healthy for them to be in that environment when they are older. He's been fine for a long time in there and my friend had one in sea water as well - it lived to at least 5 years old. Not sure if there is a big difference between figure 8 puffers and spotted puffers, when it comes to marine waters, though. <So far as I know, Figure-8s, Tetraodon biocellatus, cannot be kept in seawater. They really only need slightly brackish water (around SG 1.003-1.005) to do just fine. Green Spotted puffers and Ceylon puffers (Tetraodon nigroviridis and Tetraodon fluviatilis) seem to do best at middling brackish conditions around SG 1.005 upwards. They don't need to be kept in seawater, but many aquarists find they do well in seawater, and high salinities make protein skimmers and live rock useful elements of their maintenance.> I trimmed his teeth today as per your advice and it worked great. He hasn't eaten yet, as I'm hoping he just doesn't know that he can eat yet. Maybe I'll try some ghost shrimp, see if that temps him. Any suggestions in getting him to eat again? <He may just be a bit stressed from the experience. Don't worry about this too much: in the wild, Puffers get "grabbed" and then spat out once they puff, so being handled by you isn't something completely alien to them. But he should settle down eventually; likely will have done so by the time you get this reply! Try offering some seafood of some kind; prawns, squid and mussels all work well. Live food is great though, and things like river shrimp or glass shrimp should be consumed quickly, if they're small enough.> Again, thank you for your help! ~Annie <Glad you were able to "bite the bullet" and get the job done! I'm sure your Puffer will quickly settle back down. Cheers, Neale.>

Uneven tooth growth on puffer  2/23/09 Dear Crew, I have an adult puffer fish that looks like the picture below (a pic I found on the web, not my actual guy) [image: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v732/moistgreentoast/Rizzle.png] My puffer is about 3-4 years old (I bought him from a friend a few months back). Something I have noticed is that while he keeps his bottom tooth(?row of teeth) an even length, one top tooth is getting super long, and only one side is staying trim with the krill I feed him. He also only eats out the one side of his mouth. Because of this, his mouth is getting lopsided, and I quite concerned about the uneven growth. Since snails and krill aren't doing the trick, is there a way I can file the one tooth down by hand, but without scaring the poor thing. He will feed from my hand, though I've never tried to net him. I appreciate any suggestions you may have for the dental health of my favorite cute fish. Skye <Hello Skye. Yep, dentistry is doable! I've got some instructions of how I do it here: http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Projects/pufferdentistry.html The puffer in that photo is Tetraodon nigroviridis, one of the brackish rather than freshwater species. It's a nice beast, but does need quite crunchy foods. Whole crayfish, snails, partially pulverized clams/mussels and so on should help. Krill is a bit soft. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: overstocked office tank syndrome... Puffer teeth trimming  03/11/09
Hello saviors,
<Lady Marian>
I have attached some pics of the Sharpnose Toby/puffer, the eel (I
believe now he's a spotted moray...and somewhat blind??),
<Does happen at times>
and my tank in general. I think it may be smaller than what I was told!
<Mmm, a rough estimate of volume can be had by measuring the inside/outside dimensions (in inches), multiplying the length, width, height and dividing
by 231 (the number of cubic inches approximately to a gallon)>
Maybe some advice here on removing some of the rock, and also this kid who was doing water changes put a bunch of plastic crap in there too (all the colorful decor).
<Sells... Can be removed the same way it was all put in...>
As for my overgrown toothy puffer/Toby, I asked the people at my fish store (again, I don't trust them farther than I can throw em...) and of course they have no idea about puffer dentistry.
<Did you read the citation on our site? Oh, I see this below>
They suggested I just hold the puffer and file the teeth,
<Mmm, I'd use a power tool (Dremel or equivalent)... and have a friend's help holding the fish...>
as sedation would be too traumatic. Well apparently having someone hold the little guy was enough trauma and he immediately began to puff (and he has NEVER done this, that I've ever seen in the almost 9mos-1 year that we've had him). I immediately let him go and he deflated right away. (And the fish store guy said it was ok to have him puff, as it makes him "easier to hold'!) So, I followed the instructions with the clove oil, and he did not puff once. I was terrified, however, and only trimmed off a little bit. As you can see by the before and after pics (the before is the close-up, after is the head on pic...kinda fuzzy but you can see the new space between the top n bottom jaw), there is a little gap now, and as soon as he came to he was just nonstop opening and closing his little mouth, almost seeming to enjoy the freedom of movement. Although he was still able to eat before I trimmed him, he definitely didn't have the ability to open and shut his mouth like he does now.
I may have to trim more, but I'm hoping I got it enough to where a crunchy food diet will help him do it on his own.
I was NOT a fan of having to sedate or handle him!!!
Looking forward to your input as always
<Do keep an eye on that Clown Trigger in this system as well... They often "turn" on their tankmates w/o warning. Bob Fenner>

Re: concerned about my puffer... trimming teeth  9/25/08 thank you so much! I have read over all the links and I am working on my aquarium. Daily water changes, marine salt and i have gotten some cycle. He finally started swimming around today instead of just laying on the bottom of the tank. However he still can not use his back fin. I don't know if he is eating. The snails are in there if he wants them. He won't take the food that I try to hand feed him. There is still the problem with his teeth. I have looked over the dentistry page and I don't feel like i would be able to trim his teeth down. I called around to some places to see if they can do it, but the only worry I have is causing my puffer stress. I don't want to make him suffer. Again I appreciate your help, because I had no idea who could help me! <Glad you're feeling better able to care for your pufferfish. Trimming pufferfish teeth is not at all difficult. I've done it many times. Start by putting a litre of aquarium water in another container. An old ice cream carton is ideal. Add 2-4 drops of clove oil. Stir well. Catch your pufferfish. Keeping the pufferfish in the net, lower it into the container. After about 30 seconds to a minute it should be sedated. It doesn't need to have completely stopped moving, but does need to be dozy. Now, using wet, bare hands firmly but not forcefully hold the pufferfish. Contrary to Jeni, I recommend AGAINST using the net. The oils on your hand are not toxic to fish and won't harm them; by contrast, coarse netting can do serious damage to fish, and is a common reason for Finrot and Fungus. Anyway, turn the puffer upside down and clip its upper jaw with the cuticle clippers. Then rotate the puffer and clip the lower jaw (if required, often it isn't). Do less rather than more: all you need is to take off the worst of the overbite each time, and it's better to repeat the process on consecutive days as your skill (and confidence!) improves than to do too much at once and end up cutting the skin. Realistically, the job is quite easy, and there isn't much scope for error if the puffer is well sedated. Once you're done, put the fish back into the net, and then carry it across to the aquarium. Hang the net in the outflow to the water current for a minute or so, and Mr Puffer will be buzzing about in now time. The whole process should take a few minutes, max. It's honestly not that big of a deal, but I would recommend a "dry run" first time around, just sedating and then waking up the puffer, skipping the actual cutting. Fish are more durable than we think, and can hold their breath out of water for quite a long time, so you aren't rushed. Handling the fish out of water for 30 seconds is no danger at all. As always when handling animals, be bold and confident, and don't dither! Cheers, Neale.>

Puffer Dentistry, anaesthesia for fishes    11/30/08 Hello crew, I have written in the past regarding my puffer and have received valuable advice; thanks! After doing some research on PubMed for the use of clove oil vs. MS-222 as anesthetics for puffer dentistry, I came across this paper (though not peer-reviewed) and thought you may be interested. The study is a comparison between the two drugs and the efficacy of clove oil as an anesthetic for Zebrafish. http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089%2F154585404774101671 Perhaps it may help others to know the results of such an experiment when treating their puffers. Kayla <Hello Kayla. Thanks for the heads-up on this article; very interesting indeed. This is a subject close to my heart. A few weeks ago I wrote a piece for WWM reviewing current (scientific) thinking on fish euthanasia, much of which is at odds with the common practise seen among aquarists. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm This upsets me, to know that many people who genuinely care for their fish end up killing them in painful ways even while trying to end their suffering. It's high time the hobby tackled the subject of fish anaesthesia and euthanasia head on. In any case, the use of clove oil has been around a while, although in relation to pufferfish dentistry it's interesting that some authors don't mention it. The Aqualog pufferfish book for example describes dentistry, but without any mention of sedatives. Now, it is possible to argue this both ways. Pufferfish have evolved to cope with being bitten and then to escape. When gripped they go into a specific "mode", eventually puffing up if they aren't let go. While unarguably stressful, one could make the case that any short-term stress of being held is perhaps less than the stress of being held in a bowl of sedative-laden water for X minutes. So provided you gripped your puffer quickly, trimmed its teeth, and then let it go, would that be any worse than what would happen to it in the wild when some fish bites it and then lets go? For my part, I do use clove oil, and recommend others to do so as well. My feeling is that most aquarists find trimming puffer teeth difficult, and anything that allows them to take things slowly and thereby avoid injuring the puffer (e.g., cutting its lips instead of its teeth) has to be considered a positive thing. Cheers, Neale. (RMF, any thoughts on fish anaesthesia?)><<I've used Quinaldine, MS-222, soda water/Alka-Seltzer and Clove Oil at times... the first two with the most consistent success. I too am glad for this reference... that Clove Oil/Eugenol should be found safe/effective at the stated dosages, MO, and have acceptable recovery times... in controlled experiments. BobF>>

Puffer Teeth, GSP  2/17/08 Hello Crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I tried doing some Green Spotted Puffer dentistry, man is that hard to do on a little one inch slimy fish! <Hmmm... never found puffers to be very slimy. More like sandpaper.> He had a big point on the bottom teeth, the tops had a little point also. I snipped both little points but he is still having problems with things sticking to or in his teeth. Do I need to use a little file on them or did I do something wrong? <Maybe you didn't cut them short enough. Did you pull back the lips to see the true length of the teeth? Did you cut straight across?> I need to get him (Icarus T. Fish) a bigger tank but I am trying to move and $$ are tight. I rescued him from Wal-Mart. He was the only one in the tank, the others had passed away. =( <By "rescuing" fish from Wal-Mart or any other store that treats their livestock poorly, you only encourage them to purchase more. Best to support a LFS that does right by their fish, than encourage bad stores to restock.> So far, the only thing he wants to eat are the ghost shrimp and a meal worm (which sticks in his teeth). <Ghost shrimp must be gut-loaded with healthy foods, before feeding them to your puffer. Mealworms have an outer skin (Chiton), that is extremely difficult for a puffer to digest.> I have to catch him and take the thing out of his mouth. I have some snails in there but they are to big for him to eat. I can't find small ones anywhere. <Try crushing them.> I tried blood worms but he won't eat them either. The ghost shrimp LOVE the blood worms. <Well then, at least they are gut-loaded after all.> I even put a little neon tetra in there. I thought he might eat that but he just likes to watch that fish. <It's not good to force a FW fish to live in BW, I'd put the neon in a FW environment.> I have a mussel in the tank but "ICKY" just turns his tail to that and swims away. <Be sure to remove after about 15 minutes.> I have even tried the frozen krill. He will nip at it but that is about all. I even soaked a piece in some garlic water but he didn't show any more interest than before. Is there something else I can try? Here are a few puffer feeding articles for you to read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/> Thank you for any help you can give me. I did get the clove oil and cuticle nippers and tried the dental procedure. I just wonder if I did it wrong. <It's hard for me to tell without pictures.> Have a great Puffer Day! <Good luck with Icky, I'm sure he'll be eating soon. ~PP>

Puffer Fish Teeth  2-14-08 Hello Crew, I love your website, it is wonderfully informative! I am wondering about the Small Puffer dentistry, "Toothache Kit" that is in the picture. Is that what was used on the puffer, or did you just use the Clove Oil and the nail clippers? I don't know if my little green puffer needs a tooth job, but he gets things stuck in his teeth. I have had to catch him twice now and remove the worm, or ghost shrimp part that he couldn't "Puff out" of his mouth. He squeaks a little, but didn't puff up, which made me happy. Thank you for your time, Penny <Hi Penny. For a "pufferfish dentistry kit" people have their own variations, but the plain vanilla kit that works is clove oil, cuticle (not nail) clippers, and a 1-litre plastic container. Fill the container with water from the aquarium, add the clove oil, and stir. Get pufferfish in net, place net in litre tub, and wait for fish to settle down. It doesn't get completely anaesthetised; rather, it simply slows down and becomes easier to hold with less pressure, which means it's easier for you to work without harming the fish. Clip the teeth with the cuticle cutters, and then remove puffer in the net back to the tank, and place in the water current so it gets lots of fresh water. After a couple minutes, let it swim free. I personally found it useful to do a "dry run" without the cutting, just so I could get over the catching and sedating and then re-awakening the puffer. Once you get a feel for that, it's less stressful for you when you add the cutting to the process. And as ever with animals, if the owner is less stressed and more confident, the animal reacts much more positively. Cheers, Neale.>

Trimming Puffer Teeth 6/7/07 Hi, <Hi Kim, Pufferpunk here> You guys have provided me with an enormous amount of help in the past and I thought I would pass along some information about a fairly obscure topic that is very difficult to find an answer to on the web. <OK, thanks!> A while back, I had a problem with my puffer teeth growing too long. I found information on your site for trimming large puffers teeth by using a Dremel. <Kelly Jedlicki's article.> This was not going to work for my small puffers as I was afraid I would take their whole head off with such a large tool! <Hmmm... I gather you didn't find the one I wrote? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/smpufferdentistry.htm> I finally found a safe way (by combining info from your site and a few other sites) to trim their teeth and just wanted to pass the info along as I have run into quite a few people who did not know what to do with their growing puffer teeth and even some who had their puffer die because they were no longer able to open their mouth to eat. I have done this 5 or 6 times with complete success. I have done it on both my figure 8 and my green spotted puffer. I purchased Finquel from Doctors Foster and Smith's website and I use a 1/4 teaspoon of the Finquel and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (to stabilize the ph, this is a crucial step) in a gallon of their own aquarium water. I mix it well with a plastic spoon and then add an air stone. I then add the puffer and in about 10 minutes or so (actually about 13 minutes for my figure 8 and 8 minutes for my GSP--it's funny how their tolerance varies just like people). They are just about out cold and then I wrap them in a hand towel soaked in aquarium water and trim their teeth with a pair of cuticle scissor (the fancy kind that retracts when you release the handle.) Be very careful not to cut their skin (I never have but always fear that I will.) I then place them in a gallon of regular tank water that I have set aside previously. After letting them return to normal, (don't freak out, they will act dead and then jumpy when coming to,) I release them back into the tank with a set of shorter teeth! Hope this helps some puffer lovers. <Thanks for the suggestion of using Finquel. This is the same is the same tranquilizer that Kelly has been using for 10 years on larger puffers, mentioned in the article you read. What I didn't know was that this is offered by Drs. Foster & Smith. As far as I know, she was getting it from her vet. I will post the availability of Finquel on my pufferforum & this letter will be posted in our FAQs, so I hope more folks will be aware of it's availability. ~PP>
Re: Trimming Puffer Teeth 6/10/07
Dear Pufferpunk, I never have read your article. I wonder why I was not able to find it? <<RMF does too... is linked in many places... Google et al. directories crawl our sites in real time...>> It is comforting to know that I have been doing it right! <You did great. > BTW, when I saw that it was you that responded to my email, I was like, oh boy, I'm not telling her anything she doesn't know! You're other articles have been invaluable to me and I really admire your knowledge on my favorite little creatures. <Fantastic, that's why I write them. ~PP> -Kimberly

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