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FAQs about Freshwater Tetraodon schoutedeni Puffers

Related Articles: Freshwater PuffersPuffers in General, True Puffers, Brackish Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. NastySmall Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk),

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Schoutedeni puffer advice; fw puffer stkg f'      8/3/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<Hanging in there!>
I hope all is well, I recently purchased a 5-foot 500 litre aquarium that I have just set up to begin cycling.
<Nice.>
I would like to keep a group of reasonably sized freshwater puffer fish in this.
<A group of pufferfish... setting yourself a challenge there!>
From my research it seems the schoutedeni are the only ones that get to a decent size (6 inches) and can be kept in a group.
<Possibly true, but this species is so infrequently kept that really solid evidence either way is lacking. >
Firstly - how many do you think I can keep in this size tank, would I get away with 8?
<Theoretically, yes. With a maximum length of maybe 10 cm, these fish aren't especially demanding in terms of space. That said, even allowing for their reputation for being peaceful, I don't know anyone who has kept a group of adults, so who knows for sure how well sexually mature specimens get along?>
I appreciate they are very expensive, but also very hard to come by.
<Indeed; their home territory is basically a war zone in the Congo region, so exports are extremely infrequent, to say the least.>
In fact I cant find a single shop in the UK that has them!! (except one fully grown one in a shop in London for £450!!). Do you happen to know where I can get these from?
<The wholesaler Aquarium Glaser, among others, have exported them occasionally. So they're on the 'lists' of fish retailers can get. In the UK at least, you'd want to contact one of the stores known to be able to get rare fish, and take it from there. Keith Lambert at Wildwoods is my "go to" person for oddball freshwater stuff. If he can't source something, it's probably not available. Even better, he ships fish mail order if you don't happen to be anywhere near Enfield, London. I also just had a quick look on the TropicalFishFinder.co.uk site, and they list Tetraodon schoutedeni as being in stock at Maidenhead Aquatics @ St Albans, so that might be worth a call too. So far as I know, the MA chain doesn't do mail order, but on the plus side, if you have an MA nearby, they should have access to the same wholesalers.>
Do you have any alternative suggestions for what puffers I can keep? I'd like a group of at least 6 reasonably sized.
<Some aquarists with really big tanks have kept the 'lurker' puffers such as Tetraodon suvattii in groups, because they don't move about much. Indeed, when not eating they don't really do anything. So they're not a lot of fun, to be fair. There's also the South American Pufferfish (Colomesus asellus) that gets along with its own kind very well, to the degree it's more nervous kept singly. Of course it's hyperactivity and nervousness diminishes it's character a bit compared with other species, and its tendency towards overgrown teeth may make it more challenging to keep. But still, it's a cheap, hardy species worth considering. Maximum size is around 8-10 cm, and it's also fairly compatible with other active fish (e.g., tetras) as well as catfish (such as L-numbers), so works well in carefully planned biotope tanks. It'd also be remiss of me not to mention Carinotetraodon irrubesco, a charming species that's small (5-6 cm long, at most) but very peaceful by puffer standards. You could keep 3-4 pairs in a tank your size without trouble. They're reasonably tolerant of other fish too, though odd specimens do behave like little bitey psycho fish -- though personally I do wonder if these reports mostly refer to similar species such as Carinotetraodon boreensis and Carinotetraodon lorteti that may look the same but behave very differently. My experiences with both Carinotetraodon irrubesco and Colomesus asellus were entirely positive, and I regard them as the closest things to 'community' puffers.>
On the topic, is there any other particularly interesting non-puffer fish you can suggest that get to a reasonable size and can be kept in a large school?
<Do see above. Even where you keep placid puffers, you want fast-moving midwater fish that avoid trouble if they need to (e.g., Danios and tetras), and retiring catfish that stay out of trouble by hiding (such as L-numbers or Synodontis). Loaches tick both boxes, so they're often good choices too.>
Or smaller fish that are interesting that can be kept in a massive school?
Thanks!!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18
Thanks again for your advice
<Welcome.>
I have found somebody that has 5 that are about 4-5 inches.
<Holy cow!>
He is a private individual and is moving house and can’t take them with. He has asked for £500. Based on your experience do you have any idea what a fair price would be for these?
<That's not a bad price at all for five more or less full grown specimens! Juveniles could easily go for anywhere between £50-100; they're really that rare in the trade. You could haggle I suppose, but if these genuinely are Tetraodon schoutedeni, if you turn him down, it's unlikely you're going to see them anywhere else for a while. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18

Thanks Neale, the owner has sent a video of the fish, the video was too large to send so I have screenshotted some pics of the fish into a word document and attached- do these look like real schoutedeni? They do to me but would like a second opinion.
Thanks
<Tetraodon schoutedeni is most likely to be confused with Tetraodon nigroviridis, both of them having circular spots on their bodies. The most immediately obvious difference is that Tetraodon schoutedeni has reddish eyes, whereas those on Tetraodon nigroviridis tend to be golden.
Furthermore, whereas the spots on Tetraodon nigroviridis tend to be discrete black circles, the spots on Tetraodon schoutedeni are more closely packed, almost like 'crazy paving', especially on the dorsal surface. The back surface of Tetraodon nigroviridis is also more iridescent golden on most specimens, unlike the dull, often mottled colours on Tetraodon schoutedeni. While both species tend to swim with the tail fins closed, the tail of Tetraodon schoutedeni is often reddish-brown but without speckles or spots, whereas the tail fin of Tetraodon nigroviridis tends to be clear, but with some spots or speckles apparent, especially towards the base. Do also look at the 'tentacles' by the nostrils. On Tetraodon schoutedeni these are very long and narrow, whereas those on Tetraodon nigroviridis are much shorter and broader, like spoons. This difference is very obvious and very reliable, but do look at photos on Google to know what you're looking for! Supposedly, Tetraodon schoutedeni has more obvious spines, including particularly long spines on the belly, whereas the skin of Tetraodon nigroviridis is much smoother, though a few bristles or pimples may be apparent here and there. The pictures you sent me are a bit small to be definite, but it certainly looks like they have reddish eyes, which is promising! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18
Thank you :-)
Kind regards,
Nat
<Most welcome and hope you're able to positively identify the puffers to your satisfaction. Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice       8/10/18
Hi Neale,
Quick question further to your email below. Is it possible to mix Carino tetradon irrubesco with Amazon puffers in the same tank?
<Yes; kept two pairs of Carinotetraodon irrubesco alongside three Amazon Puffers in a single 180 litre tank without any problems at all. The two species barely notice each other. I did have lots of plants, especially floating plants though, and Amazon Puffers will spend most of their time at the surface if they can, hunting for food! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: schoutedeni puffer advice       8/10/18

Thanks! Could I put some dwarfs in there too? Or no because they are a bit more aggressive even if smaller?
<Dwarfs as in Dwarf Puffers? Carinotetraodon travancoricus? Nope. They'd either be two nippy, or too easily bullied. Either way, best kept on their own. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice     8/14/18
Hi Neale,
<Nathaniel,>
I followed your advice and have a very similar setup (2 pairs irrubescos in a 200L) and bought 4 Amazon puffers yesterday.
<Nice!>
The amazons are going a bit mad, swimming along the back glass side to side endlessly.
<This is what they do.>
I know they can be a bit erratic like that.
<Yes. These are open water, migratory, river-dwelling Puffers that don't lurk. They're more like Danios or Silver Dollars than regular Pufferfish.
Open water, strong water currents, and floating plants are what they like.
At night they do hide among the plants though.>
Will that settle?
<Eventually they become less hyperactive, but they're always swimming.>
They have been doing it for 24 hrs!! The water is fine and the tank is well planted.
<Cool.>
Would adding another 2 (so a school of 6) help?
<Whether they're really schooling fish is unknown to me, but they certainly appreciate being with their own kind, and show few, if any signs of aggression.>
Or will they calm down after a few days?
<Somewhat.>
I'm worried that they are very stressed/nervous.
<Yes and no. Yes, they're spooked now, but once settled in, they remain a bit frenetic. Cheers, Neale.>
Now: South American Puffers; was RE: schoutedeni puffer advice     8/14/18

Thank you!
<Most welcome.
They already looks a little bit more settled this morning (though still more erratic than most fish!).
<Indeed. These puffers will become quite tame, in fact mine would feed from food held in needlenose forceps quite happily. But they are always swimming about, like Danios, rather than your traditional pufferfish. Just accept that's how they are, and you'll find them refreshingly peaceful (if occasionally nippy) by comparison with other puffers. I call them "the nice puffers"...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm
Do note that the adult size stated in some aquarium books, 15 cm/6 inches, is wildly optimistic and probably based on a brackish water species, Colomesus psittacus, that's hardly ever traded; instead, expect SAPs to get to about half that size.>
Have a great day.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Proper Puffer ID  7/25/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a Tetraodon schoutedenti (think that is how it's spelled) <Spelled: schoutedeni> and he has had a dark grey belly for several days now.  He doesn't see as interested in his food as he used to be, doesn't seem active like he used to be.  He has a variety of food to choose from, live ghost shrimp, freeze dried brine shrimp, freeze dried krill and snails.  The PH is 7.5, and I add a bit of salt every week.  Mostly he seems to nestle into the plants and stays grey.  Any ideas on what is going on with him? <Yes, I can tell you exactly what's wrong with him, he's not a T schoutedeni, he's a T nigroviridis.  There has not been a schoutedeni sold in the aquarium trade in over 20 years!  You have a brackish water fish & are keeping it in freshwater.  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm   Also, check out: www.thepufferforum.com.  Be sure to test the water parameters for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates & pH.  ~PP>

Misidentified T. schoutedeni  7/9/06 <Hi , Pufferpunk here> We bought the above puffer fish and have been doing web searches for it all day to figure out which kind, if any, fish we can put with him.  On Google they also called him a leopard Congo or Congo leopard fish, if that's the kind we do have is that freshwater? we stupidly bought it at Wal-Mart and they couldn't give us any information other than the fact that they thought it was freshwater.  They couldn't even tell us what kind it was or what it ate and told us to buy tropical fish flakes for it but later went to a different store and bought frozen krill which it seems to love and ghost shrimp.  Any help would be greatly appreciated! <The fish you bought from Wal-Mart is a green spotted puffer (T nigroviridis)  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  There hasn't been a schoutedeni seen for sale in the aquarium trade for over 20 years.  Also see www.thepufferforum.com.  Many good articles on care & feeding of puffers.  (Please use proper capitalization in your letters.  I have to fix, before we can post it in the FAQs.)  ~PP>

Where can I buy this fish? (Schoutedeni Puffer) Do you know where I can find this fish to buy? Do you have any information on it? Books? Does it eat plants? Can I have it in a 20 gallon planted aquarium by itself? <Have a bit on this species posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm Can likely be special-ordered through a good sized livestock-carrying fish store... or a good etailer of same (links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm Not a plant eater, territorial with its own kind, so likely one to your twenty gallon system. Fine solitarily. Bob Fenner> Thanks David

Neat Puffers Hi, I don't search the web often but a friend showed me this site. I have had many puffers both freshwater and marine, so it was great to see this site on my favorite fishes. I have been trying to locate a T. schoutedeni for years now but no luck, but I noticed that the picture of it on your site looks more like mature T. biocellatus, as T. schoutedeni has red eyes and two brownish patches on it's head but otherwise looks a bit like fluviatilis. Also just wondering why no mention of T. erythrotaenia. <Just no exposure as yet> And a few years ago I saw a few puffers of a species that I have never seen in any book or magazine. I actually saw them around the same time at a couple different stores and bought one, but it died a day or two later. It was a little freshwater species, kind of greenish with a black spot on the sides behind the pectorals that are connected by a line that goes up over the back and another spot on it's back on top of the caudal peduncle, all outlined in brilliant orange. I actually have a few slides of it but only shot with natural light (and tank light) that aren't too bad. Any ideas? Is it a Chonerhinos? <Likely yes> Anyway a great website. I am using a friend's computer so if you feel like replying... it's Regards, Ron Parsons <Thank you for writing. Much needs be discussed, recorded re the tetraodonts and their captive care, behavior. Bob Fenner> 



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