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FAQs about all Puffers  2

Related Articles: Puffers in General, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, (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: Puffers in General 1, Puffer Identification, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Compatibility, Puffer Selection, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Most infectious disease results from cumulative environmental and/or nutritional insults. Here, a puffer is suffering from "fungal" (mostly bacterial) infection.

Sweet Puffer vs. EVIL POWERHEAD     2/6/20
:(.... Two days ago, i <I> witnessed something i don't ever want to see again.
it was so heart breaking. I walked into the living room where our 190 Gallon saltwater tank is. We have a Wrasse, a Trigger, a Clown fish and a Snowflake Eel. I look over and see this white thing attached to the center of power head and its spinning so incredibly fast. It didn't quite click that something was wrong but i knew it wasn't supposed to look like that.
So i called for my boyfriend and asked him "UH, What is that white thing spinning in the tank? Its attached to the power head." When I saw his reaction i knew it was our beloved "BP" or "Big Puff".
<Oh, poor thing!>
We immediately unplugged the power head and once he stopped spinning he was puffed up and wasn't really moving, i am assuming because of how dizzy he was.
<Why does your power head had no strainer on??>
After about 30 seconds or so, he wiggled himself free. This poor guy, both of his eyes are white, but you can still see his pupils underneath, and its moving. It almost looks like it keeps trying to adjust or focus. His spikes at the front of his face are still raised two days later. His skin has now turned white.
<Any idea on how much time it was stuck?>
My boyfriend built a small acrylic box with 1.5" diameter holes on each side so that fresh saltwater can circulate.
<Good move>
We had to put him in the box because he was trying to swim around and kept bumping into all the live rock and it was scraping up the white parts on his eye. Making it look like it was peeling. My question(s) is do you think its better to let him roam free in the tank?
<No, I think it is better to isolate it.>
Is the being in the box stressful? Is there any possibility that he'll will survive this?
<Hard to know... besides what you can see, It very likely have internal damage caused by the suction power of the pump.>
From my description of his eyes, does it sound like he can see at all or does it sound like he's probably blind? What can i do to help him? Move him to a QT tank? I'm afraid his wounds will become infected and make things worse for him.
<I suggest moving it to the quarantine tank ASAP, let it there with very dim or no lights at all. At this point, just hope for the best, but from your description of its condition, this fish may be a goner.>
I'll be awaiting your reply.
Thank you,
Paris Towner
<The best luck for you guys, please do keep us posted. Wil.>
Re Sweet puffer VS EVIL POWERHEAD       2/7/20

I just wanted to update you, Big P passed away yesterday.
<Sorry for your loss>
I wanted to let you know so that other fish owners could be responded to instead of trying to help me. Thank you anyway. I adore your website. It’s all so informative. Thank you for donating your time to help us all out!
<Thanks for your kind words. Cheers. Wil.>

Fiji Puffer... something     10/12/11
I have a Fiji Puffer that I bought 1 month ago and was doing fine up until yesterday I noticed his eyes seem to be cloudy and he is looking pale and hanging out in the corner of the tank a lot. Not sure what to do for him if anything.
<When in doubt: water change!>
The only change in the last couple of days is that we did do a water change. Any idea's what is going on with him? Victoria
<Uhh, not w/ the paucity of data proffered. See WWM re the family... health, systems... Bob Fenner>

Puffer Books and Information.  1/29/10
Hi there,
<Hello Sabrina,>
I was wondering if you could help me. I have looked all over but haven't been able to find any books which deals exclusively with puffers.
<There aren't any books dealing just with marine aquarium puffers.>
I am wanting one which covers the Arothron family.
<The Aqualog book on the "Pufferfish of fresh and brackish waters" by Klaus Ebert covers at least some Arothron spp., since several species enter brackish and occasionally freshwater habitats. But while the pages dealing with pufferfish diet and behaviour are as applicable to marine puffers as freshwater ones, most of this book is concerned with freshwater and brackish water species. It is also primarily an identification guide, with only pages 7-15 covering pufferfish husbandry. My own Brackish Water Fishes book has a whole section on brackish water puffers, including Arothron hispidus, but again, from the perspective of the brackish water fishkeeper.>
Are there any that you know of? If so please let me know... these guys are my love and passion and though the net is helpful I know there has to be more information out there. I have checked on some of the fish forums but
no dice.
<Funny you sent this query along. I've been wanting to write a book on the whole pufferfish group for quite some time, and even sent a book proposal off last week!>
Thank you for your time.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Tetrodotoxin   4/19/07 Just a short note: While reading the daily FAQs (as usual) I recognized in a mail I answered the name of a puffer toxin has been changed from "Tetrodotoxin" to "Tetraodotoxin". I am aware that the name should be derived from Tetraodon (four teeth), which is the scientific name for a puffer genus, but the scientists, who discovered the toxin in 1909 named it "Tetrodotoxin" (they were Japanese and Tetrodon was used in that time just as often as Tetraodon). So, this is the official name of the substance used in toxicology internationally. When talking we use the abbreviation TTX anyway. Cheers, Marco. <Thank you for this Marco... Little doubt this error is of my origination, perpetuation... I likely accepted a mis-spelling into this computers spellchecker dictionary. Bob Fenner>

The Puffer Store  9/18/06 Hi Bob, Hope all is well!  My pufferforum got together with Cafepress to sell a few puffer items.  See: THE PUFFER STORE  Could we advertise this at WWM?  We have the WWM banner displayed on our homepage.  Since we're only making $1/item, we don't plan to make much--just enough to run the forum.  I wouldn't think of keeping any of it, especially since the folks that work for me do way more than I do at The Puffer Forum.  We were even dreaming of making enough to have a booth at IMAC!    Thanks, Jeni            THE PUFFER FORUM <Mmm, I'll ask DennisG for a space for you if you'd like... you're welcome to the one they always offer to WWM. Will post this message and a banner on our puffer pages if you'll send along a logo for same. BobF>

Puffer and a lack of apostrophes, grammar problems!    3/31/06 I've searched much of you puffer FAQ and have come across similar  questions, but not totally what I have got. My tank's been set up for about  a year as of now. I have a snowflake eel, Lyretail wrasse, niger trigger,  and a Dog faced puffer (my major concern). For a week or so he's been  acting strangely, he's stopped eating and constantly swims into the back  of the tank by the overflow. He just doesn't seem to want to eat, yet he is not  losing weight or activity, but this is not normal for a puffer not to eat at  feeding time. <Will in time> The puffer also pulls back his "lips" and He is also sucking  in his fin occasionally, I've seen u guys suggest its gill flukes. All levels  seem to be fine as I've been testing and changing water daily trying to rid  of this problem. The thing that worries me most though is the feeding  habits seem to have spread to the trigger and eel, the wrasse is fine  though. There also seems to be a little white fuzzy algae like thing  growing on nonliving rocks and ornaments.                     Any help on fixing this problem would be greatly appreciated.                                                      -Dylan     <Keep reading... and thinking re your circumstances here... and learn to/use your spelling/grammar checkers. Bob Fenner> Puffer with a cold?   1/18/06 I have had my stars and stripes puffer for 2 years. He never turns down food. A week ago he stopped eating. <Happens> I've tried everything. I've checked the parameters, done a water change. Two days ago he started showing signs a mucus coming out of his nostril, first the left now both. none of the aquarium stores know what it is or what to do. Any suggestions would be helpful. Also what vitamins would you suggest. Thank you Paulette from Iowa <Mmm, Paulette... see WWM re Puffer Feeding, Tetraodont Feeding... consider the possibility of force-feeding. Bob Fenner> Puffer not eating, aquarist not reading   1/14/06 Three days ago my juvenile puffer started sitting on the bottom of the tank and breathing heavy.  He is in a 29 gallon tank with a juvenile niger trigger (both are going into my larger tank when properly cycled). The filter is penguin dual BioWheel...it is for a 55 gallon. <Too small system, incompatible...> They have been in there for a few months.  Trigger is fine, but the puffer has went from sitting on the bottom breathing heavy to moving around, mouth wide open, breathing heavy. Ph is 8.3, Am is 0, Nitrate is 10, Nitrite is 0.  He won't eat his krill at  all or Mysis or anything.  I have been doing a 20% water change every month to month and a half. I have Maracyn freshwater from my other tanks, and it says it is for gill disease symptoms like the puffer has).  Can I use it or do I need something else? Or, do you have any suggestions? Any help would be great. <Yep. Read... on WWM re Puffer Systems, Feeding... Bob Fenner> Puffers, Feeding, Quarantine, Reading.... 10/19/2005 Hi I <Please remember to capitalize your "I"s.  Takes time to correct these.> just recently received a dog face, porcupine, and spiny puffer from a mail order site on the internet. I have a 120 gallon tank with some damsels and 2 triggers. <Far too small for this much life; and, depending upon your triggers, perhaps VERY incompatible life....  Uh, and you seem to imply that you did not quarantine these animals??> The new puffers will not eat anything. I have tried freeze dried krill, frozen krill, shrimp, crawdads, frozen brine shrimp. Nothing seems to work. I just had one death after a week. The spiny puffer died. <Many possibilities aside from simply starving....  quarantine is more than essential with new livestock....> Please help, I would like to save my dogface and porcupine before it is too late. Is there anything I can do to get them to eat or any food they can't refuse? <Might try live ghost shrimp - though I must point out that, with established aggressive feeders (triggers) in the system, the puffers may simply be outcompeted for food.  I would urge you to immediately remove the puffs to a quarantine system for feeding, observation, recuperation....> Also I did just have my water checked they said it was good. <Never rely on what "they said"....  Your next investments should not be livestock, but your own test kits; this is as essential as quarantining new livestock.> Also I heard garlic drops might initiate feeding, is this true? <Possibly.  Soaking food in garlic and vitamin supplements is often a good idea with new additions, but it will not solve your root problems of overstocking and possible incompatibility.> Please help fast, they're getting skinny.  Jeff <Please do yourself and your livestock a huge favor and begin reading; most everything you ask is already archived:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm .  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Fugu questions 8/18/05 <Hi there!  Heather (LinearChaos) here> At my LFS there are 4 3" Takifugu rubripes.  They are in horrible condition.  Instead of being green with neon orange they are silver and a dingy brick red. <The Takifugu rubripes is not a puffer that is sold in the trade, this is actually a species that is eaten as a delicacy in Japan.  The puffer you are describing is the Takifugu ocellatus.>  They are also ungodly cheap ($15 a piece).  <Wow! That is cheap!>  I was wondering for now would a 30 gallon tank be big enough for now.  I have no problem upgrading later.  I have no experience with these guys.  <No, this species is extremely aggressive toward their own and 4 in a 30g won't last but a week.  They'll nip each other to death almost immediately since they will not be able to get away from each other in that size tank and cannot establish territories.>  I am aware of how hard they are to keep in captivity.  Also there is very little information on these puffers.  Do you know what salinity, hardness, temperature, etc... they prefer.  Any help would be great.  <I have successfully kept 3 of these puffers in an established full marine environment for over a year, the salinity is 1.019 and the temp is 82*F.  The tank is 55g and is heavily stocked with live rock to break up the lines of sight as much as possible to reduce aggression.  Please, if you are unable to care for these puffers appropriately do not purchase them.  ~Heather> Logan

Urgent help needed....Puffer not eating 7/17/05 Hello: I have a black dog-faced puffer about 6-7 inches long.  I have had it for about 2 years now.  I have a 50 gallon main tank and the puffer is the only inhabitant with live rock and sand.  About 8 weeks ago it got ick and I moved it to a 29 gallon quarantine tank.  I raised the temperature to 85C and lowered the salinity to 1.012, gave it garlic with its food (chopped prawns and Mysis shrimp).  The ick was gone. <And the fish's health?>   The puffer was ick free for about five weeks with no re-occurrences. I brought the salinity back to 1.023 I kept the puffer in the quarantine tank because I want the main tank to be without any fish for about 2 months (just to be on the safe side) to get rid of the ick. Last week I transferred the puffer in the main tank.  Parameters in the main tank were all normal.  Its been 15 days since he last touched food.  I saw him excreting some sand couple of times.  Since he rests on the bottom most of the time, he might have swallowed some.  The other day I noticed something strange in his behavior.  When I turned on the light, he started swimming pretty rapidly at the surface of the water.  I thought that the water might be lacking oxygen.  So I connected the sponge filter with the power-head from the quarantine into the main tank to increase the oxygen flow and he stopped doing that.  The LFS owner told me that sometimes he gets marine puffers in his store and depending on their stress levels, some of them don't touch any food for up to 3 weeks.   The flow is pretty decent.  The temperature is about 85F.  All the levels are OK.  The salinity is about 1.022   All the other levels are OK Ammonia - 0, nitrite - 0, ph - 8.2, nitrate - <25 He looks and acts very normal.  Gotten a bit skinny and sits on the bottom quite a bit, otherwise is pretty normal but is still not eating. Thanks in advance for your help.  Any comments will be appreciated Al <Please... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself... Bob Fenner>

Using WWM Hello, I have a spiny pufferfish that has stopped eating. he has devoured food right out of my hand for months until a couple of days ago when he started approaching the food in the same way but not eating it. it seems like he cannot open his jaws or maybe has gas or an object in his throat. I can see into his mouth and it doesn't appear that his teeth are overgrown unless they are out of view... any suggestions would be appreciated... Thank You, Ashley <These are posted on WWM... Bob Fenner> 

- Diodon nicthemerus? - I am looking into information about the Diodon nicthemerus. I have Googled it and found a few things online and on fishbase.org, but I was wondering if this puffer is sold in the aquarium trade. It seems to get to a max of 15 inches with most being around 11 inches which seems a great trade on a pufferfish that is smaller than the Holocanthus and the Histrix and even the Liturosus. Has anyone seen the so called slender- spined puffer in the aquarium trade?  <Nope.>  Is there a reason why its not seen?  <Given its distribution - south Australia - it's likely too remote an area from normal collection zones to be imported in any great quantities.>  I'm in a small town so Holocanthus is pretty much it for here.  <The Diodon holocanthus is circumtropical, so it's just easier to find, get a hold of.>  Fishbase does say that they are seen in groups instead of being loners on the reef, but there isn't much on them to really help me.  second question, does any of the divers have pictures or a greater idea for setups for a natural porcupine puffer habitat?  <They are reef fish... any reef habitat will do.>  I am sure my puffer is a holocanthus as the spines are longest on the head, but I do want to set things up as close as possible to a Caribbean reef where they are.  <Sure.>  I only have two overdriven NO fluorescents, over the 55 it is currently housed in while I'm building his permanent home (in a 120 to 160 depending on how much acrylic I mis-measure ) so I can't do a lot of corals or other high light items but I do want to give it a good setup. Thank you for your help in advance for any help you can offer.  Btw I Googled pics and ideas for their habitat but only came up with rocky habitats and a lot of cover. nothing really on plants and other things. <The Caribbean is mostly sponges and gorgonians. There are some corals, but being a frequent diver off the south east coast of Florida I can tell you, gorgonians outnumber just about everything by a large margin. Cheers, J -- >

Keeping Puffer fish 1/19/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk again> What do you mean a pH of 8? I have never heard of measurement referring to pH. <Maybe you're from somewhere else than I (USA), but pH here is measured by numbers, 7.2 being about neutral.> The pet store was out of Beadlet anemones, Thanks for the advice. Why would a puffer attack a sedimentary fish? <Sedentary fish don't move around much or they rest a lot, making them easy targets for aggressive biters.> Sorry for all the questions, but with your profile of 11 tanks and so many brackish water fish I'm confident that your advice is of good standing. <Thank you for your confidence.> I don't know if it's a crush coral sediment or not, but the bags it came in said Ultra Reef Marine Sand. <That looks like it might be just plain sand. I would think if the sand you were using was aragonite, your pH would be much higher. ~PP> Your Friend, Brackishbeast 

Spots or Spines?  10/21/04 <Pufferpunk again> That's interesting that all puffers have spines.  Can you feel them?   <I have, but you would have to stroke backwards & try not to stress him.> He lets us pet him, but I haven't touched him when he's showing the spots.  Can the dogface puffers change their colors?  The white spots are the same shade as his regular markings.   <Many puffers change their shading a lot.> Off the subject is it possible to sex puffers?   <Most puffers are impossible to sex, including dogface puffers.  ~PP> Puffer Problems (4/5/2003)  Hello,  Just this past week (4 days ago) I purchased a Porcupine Puffer, <Congrats! Very fun and personable fish> approximately 3" long, from my Local Fish Store. I have him in my newly set up (approximately 3 months ago) aquarium with 4 blue damsels (4 of 6 from original starters). The Aquarium specs are as follows:  Aquarium: Sea Clear II 100 Gallon But holds only approximately 65 gallons after gravel, rocks etc. Back integrated filter (bioball) Filter pad media (glove type over plastic frame) Activated Charcoal (Water runs over). <Almost identical to the system I had my porky in> One powerhead at top to move water. Gravel is coral approximately 3/4 to 1" thick. Rocks are LFS rocks with holes for fish to swim through. Some make pseudo caves.  Salinity: 1.021  Ph: 8.2  Ammonia: 0  Nitrite: 0  Nitrate: 5ppm  <Excellent water parameters>  My questions are as follows....  1/ What type/size protein skimmer do you recommend? He is a real pig when he eats! <You'll definitely want to invest in a skimmer, as they ARE pigs! I recommend an AquaC Remora skimmer, as I've had great luck with mine. www.marinedepot.com  has good prices on them - and get one with a MaxiJet, not a Rio>  2/ I am feeding my Puffer dried Krill. Is this an acceptable diet? My LFS says yes. Your FAQ seem to say no. He spits out the flake I feed the Damsels. <Dried kill is a fine supplement, but making a staple of one food is not recommended. Definitely vary the diet with snails, frozen shrimp, 'shellfish', diced fish, and other seafood, as well as the various frozen fish foods. Another dry food I've found porkys like is Tetra Jumbomin>  3/ My Puffer is active mostly only when he eats or is hungry. I presently feed him one small Krill (maybe 1/2 - 1" sized, broken in two) twice a day. Once in AM and once in PM. He has a good appetite. But the rest of the time he seems to sit on bottom 15% of the time or remains at top (very close to water intake to filter system) hardly swimming 80% of the time. Other 5% he is active. <Newly introduced pufferfish often behave this way, but keep an eye on him> He will perk up if you come to the glass for a short time. <"Feed me!"> Can you tell me if this is normal behavior. <I have seen similar behavior in all newly acquired pufferfish. Give him a week or two> I am especially concerned about the hanging at the top almost all of the time. He does not seem to be gulping air or anything. <Again, expected in a new puffer - allow him to adapt to new conditions, but do keep a watchful eye on his health>  4/ Can I add a couple of basic clowns to the mix of fish? I do not plan on having more then 6 or 7 fish total. What about a Yellow Tang? <With ~65 gallons of actual tank water, I would not add any other fish. Yellow tangs get quite large, and definitely wouldn't be recommended in a tank that size, especially with a porky - they can get 20", and might even end up outgrowing your current tank>  5/ Does my Puffer need a cave? If so, what kind do you recommend? He tends to stay in the open now.  <Once adapted to his new environment he won't want to hide>  I enjoy this Puffer very much and would really hate to lose him. <My favorite fish as well>  Thank you very much for your help!!  <Anytime> Jim Adolph  <M. Maddox>

Puffer question Hello, I keep getting conflicting information on this. I am trying to find out if a spiny box puffer (Chilomycterus schoepfi) and the dog face puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) release poison under stress or when they die. Some websites say yes, some say no. I was wondering if you guys knew. Thank You, Jonathan <it's actually a weird sort of answer... It depends on how long the fish have lived in captivity.  the longer the puffer/boxfish lives in captivity the less toxic it becomes.  These fish create their neurotoxin thanks to their choice in diets.  snails, crustaceans, etc...  Once placed in the home aquarium the humans are unable to duplicate the exact meals they would eat in the wild.  and their toxic levels decrease.  At one time the aquarium hobby thought that marine puffers would shed this poisonous mucus sporadically threw out it's life and kill the tankmates.  which kept many people away from these amazing fish.  They realize now that the toxin is held within the skin more so than on it,  also the gonads, and liver of the fish.  The real threat is other tankmates nibbling on the body after the fish has died.  I know many sights have said both yes and no... and ironically the are both right.  I have seen a large recently wild caught puffer die in a tank, and other tankmates became sick.  while I have seen puffers that are 10 years old die in a tank and the other tankmates seem totally unaffected. Here is a article on puffers that I think you might enjoy. deals with puffers, but makes mention of poisons and dangers. http://reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm Thanks, -Magnus.>

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> Puffing Puffer 12/11/03 <Hi Erin, Pufferpunk here> I have a porcupine puffer, a valentini puffer and a goby in my tank.  Last night my porcupine puffer puffed for no apparent reason.  The other fish were not even near him and the water quality seems to be well within normal range.  He did this about four months ago also.  It leaves me wondering if he is puffing more often and we are not seeing it.  We have had him for about a year.  It is about 6 inches long right now.   <As long as the water parameters are ok & the tank is large enough I wouldn't be concerned.  Sometimes it seems they just do it for fun, attention, or practice.> We are feeding him krill, and a total of 2 ? cubes of formula 1 & 2 a day (for all three fish). I had asked my local store about it last time he did this.  They said if everything seems good, he could be puffing to either get more attention or more food.   We increased his food then and a couple of times since then.  I hesitate to increase it again in fear of over feeding.   <Might I also suggest you vary his diet more.  Pretty much anything you can find in the fish dept of your grocery store (except fish) is good.  Especially hard-shelled foods to keep his beak trimmed.  Clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, crab legs, crayfish, squid, etc.  I freeze & thaw as needed in warm vitamin water.> Do you have any insight into why he is puffing? Erin <I hope this helps--Pufferpunk>

Mexican blow fish, botetes al sur Some friends recently brought  us back some fish from Rocky Point, Mexico.   The local person they bought the fish from called it "chicken fish", but the real name is blow fish (according to the local).  We barbequed it and it really did taste like chicken, and was delicious.  We have since heard that blow fish is highly poisonous, but have only been able to find information on Japanese blow fish.  Are the Mexican blow fish as poisonous as the Japanese ones?  We have more in the freezer, but aren't sure if it is safe to eat. Thank you very much for your time and attention to my questions. <I would not eat this fish... it likely is generally safe to consume... given careful cleaning (not nicking the organs and cooking all with the skeletal muscle), but not "worth the risk" in my estimation. Bob Fenner>

Musical Puffer's Organs Or "How Does a Puffer Puff?" Dear sir <Hello! Ananda here today...> I'm Farzad Shadpour, a student of Industrial design in Persia. I'm looking for some information about the organs of "Diodon holacanthus" that help it tack water inside it's body and get big. <Presumably, D. holacanthus (the porcupine puffer) inflates in much the same way other puffers do. Here's one good site: http://biomechanics.bio.uci.edu/_html/nh_biomech/pufferfish/puffer.htm Can you guide me how to get these information? <I usually use Google, and look at the first several links -- if those aren't getting close to what I want, I try different search terms. For example, to find this one, I used puffer inflate as search terms. There was a link to this article in the second page listed. --Ananda> regards Farzad Shadpour.

How big will that puffer get? (09/17/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here today with the puffer questions...> I have been looking around researching the porcupine puffer and I have found some say you need at least a 240 gallon, they can grow 3 ft long and the some say they can grow 6 inches at the max. <*blink* Six inches? I've seen porcupine puffers bigger than that at a local fish store.> This site http://marinedepotlive.com/653674.html says the porcupine puffer max is 6 inches and they sell them too! What's true and what's not? <That fish is Diodon hystrix, aka the spot-finned porcupine puffer, which is not the same fish that is commonly sold as a porcupine puffer -- that's Diodon holocanthus, aka the long-spined porcupine puffer. A Fishbase.org search on D. hystrix says that these guys get to be almost 3' long! That's almost twice as big as D. holocanthus. Perhaps their web site means the ones they sell are a maximum of 6" long? In any case, they should be informed.> I have a 75 gallon SW (Just set up, currently no inhabitants) I plan to get a clown, snowflake eel, porcupine puffer, and a yellow tang. Would this be big enough in the long run to house these fish for the rest of their lives? <Not in my opinion. It would be big enough for most clownfish, but the tang and puffer should have more swimming space.> Is it overstocked? <Not while they are juveniles.> Is there any problems with the mixing of these fish, like will they all get along? <It will depend partly on which species of clownfish you get, and on the personalities of the individual fish, but I think you will be okay.> I have live sand and plan to put in live rock, will the puffer eat the rock or sand? <He just might munch on the rock a bit, but that's usually not a problem.> I am so sorry for asking so many questions, <We are happy to see people asking questions when they're doing research before they get their fish!! Much easier all around than waiting until your fish have problems!> I just want to make sure I make the right decision when stocking my tank and do not want to kill any fish. <And we want to help with this -- that's why we're here.> I appreciate any possible help you could give me, this means a lot to me. Thanks <You're quite welcome. Do read up a bit more on the different types of clownfish. When you've narrowed the field down to a few choices, do email or post on the WWM chat forums (http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/) and see what the people there suggest. --Ananda>

Puffer ID How is it going hope all is well with everyone at Wet Web Media. I think maybe you guys have not been receiving my E-mails because I have been sending you this question but have had no response. Usually I see it the next day on your site oh well hope you'll receive this one because this question has been killing us. <I apologize, don't know what happened to the first two?!> My girlfriend and I are into this hobby together and we enjoy going to pick out different fish together. We bought this unusual puffer and we don't know how to identify it. We have tried searching through websites but have found no solid information that will assure us to what kind of puffer this is? The puffer has the same exact body structure as a Dog face but the color is what is weird. <Well, this is a start, suspect that it is of the genus Arothron.> The color is mostly black but with white or grayish splotches everywhere on his body, His eyes are a gold color, and his fins are mostly white but have a haze of yellow on them. <Check out this link: http://www.fishbase.org/Eschmeyer/CurrentSpeciesList.cfm?genusname=Arothron&genusOP= EQUAL&speciesname=&speciesOP=EQUAL&curr_genus=Arothron It lists all the fish of the genus Arothron, along with a picture of each. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of them fit your description more or less. Now, if you could get a digital photo of it, we'd be able to give you a much better guess.> They had other puffers of the same kind at the LFS where we purchased him but some of them where just straight black with white fins. The best guess that we have come up with is it is some kind of other dogface or it is a guinea fowl puffer. <With some of these critters, the color and patterns they display are highly variable from fish to fish, definitely going to need a picture> The LFS did not know anything about this fish please help us identify it we are both very curious as to what it is. <See if you can find out where it was collected.> Also will this puffer change color appearance during different stages of its life living in an aquarium? <Likely not, but since we still don't know what it is, who knows?> Thank you for your time and your help is much appreciated. <Hit us back with a picture that shows the entire body from a side view and you should be all set. -Kevin>

Domino Puffer: mystery fish (04.02.03) I'm hoping you can help. <Me, too...Ananda here tonight> I wanted to know if there is anything special about my "domino puffer" I just obtained from the LFS. I currently have a 180G semi-aggressive tank which I know he'll do fine in. In fact, I just noticed him trying to "eat" the decorative rock (non-live). I believe that he's just eating the algae on the rock or sharpening his teeth? <Could be he's eating the algae, eating some critters that have moved into the rock, or maybe just grinding his teeth down.> Since I can't provide a pic, I hope my description is enough. He's jet black, smooth (no spikes), with a white spotted tail. His eyes and fins are also white. He's currently about 5-6". Tried looking for information on this guy to determine his specific diet (i.e. does he need squid over crustaceans or algae) and habitat (i.e. open space or more territory rock). <Not a fish I can identify from a description, I'm afraid... here's what Anthony told someone looking to ID a tetra -- it applies equally in your case: "...browse through our archives at www.wetwebmedia.com to find your fish or a similar fish. Take note of similar genera and then carry them over to www.fishbase.org to search a huge database for the species you seek." I also hit the Google image search pages.>   He's a beautiful fish! Thanks, Craig <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Puffer compatibility... (03/13/03) Hi, I posted this below, but want a fast reply because I have to check on the fish tomorrow morning.   <Ananda here, a bit bemused because I saw responses on the forums that were time-stamped several hours earlier than I saw your email here... that's one of the reasons I keep mentioning the forums!> If you have any info, please help.  Thanks. <Here are the links to your two related posts and their answers: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=8102 (with the first response moments after you posted) and http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=2&thread=8096 (just my short answer so far, since you also have a thread in the 911 section)... note that most of the forum diehards read all the forums related to their interests -- and in several cases, try to read every post -- so you don't need to post the same thing in different forums.> I need some information on compatibility. I have had a gentle dogface puffer for many years and its tankmate (a very aggressive porcupine puffer) just died. Today I went out and bought a beautiful Red Sea masked puffer, which is a little bigger than the one I already have in the tank. I was told that the masked puffer should be gentle. At the store, it shared the tank with a few smaller, non-aggressive fish. Well, I put him in the tank and soon after, it started chasing the smaller dogface, at times trying to nip at it. He seems aggressive (or maybe just excited), but I am told that this is odd behavior. I covered the tank with a blanket so it's dark and I'll check on them tomorrow morning. Should I be worried? <Watch them closely, especially since you did not quarantine the new puffer. And do read up on puffers in the FAQs. And the forums. :-)  --Ananda>

Puffer Chew Toys? Dear Crew <Scott F. your crew member today> We love your sight and find it extremely useful. <Actually, I find my sight indispensable, and this web site is pretty useful, too! Scott F., messing with you today (couldn't resist!)> We suspect at the moment that our puffer fish (two inches in size) has attacked our maroon clowns (a true pair) and has bitten large chunks from their fins. <Yuck!> The clowns seem okay at the moment, but puffer is becoming increasingly stressed and territorial. Therefore, we need to establish why this has happened all of a sudden.  In order to prevent this from happening again, we think maybe we should remove the clowns from the tank. However, we really are reluctant to do this as they're such beautiful fish. <Well, it may be wise to remove them, at least on a temporary basis, until they heal> In order to help you draw some conclusions, I have listed details of our tank set up and the other fish. 50 Gallon tank Water conditions: Ammonia Nitrite 0; Nitrate 10; pH 8.4; Salinity 1.022; Temperature 78 to 80. Filtration: Prism - HOT hang on tank skimmer- Eheim - 2226 Mechanical Chemical Filtration with UV Eheim wet dry - 30 pounds of live rock, plus 2 rocks with polyps on Inhabitants: Leaf fish, has been weaned on to frozen food (river shrimps). He's about 2.5 inches long, fairly placid and has lived in the tank the longest - 5 months.  He also jumps about quite a lot... is this normal behavior? <These are slightly wacky fish, so I wouldn't rule out any bizarre behaviors from them!> Fuzzy dwarf lion fish.  He eats frozen and live shrimp, seems very self sufficient and has a good nature. He's about 1.5 inches long and has lived in the tank 1 month. <Keep an eye on him, so he does not become the next "chew toy" for the puffer.> True pair of maroon clowns. Female approx 1.5 inches long and male about 1 inch.  Lived in the tank approx. 2 months  Fromia monilis sea star... he's cool! <Yep! But another potential "chew toy"> Approx 10 hermit crabs varying sizes and sea snails <They'll be snacks soon for the puffer...Keep an eye on them> Wee puffer has lived in the tank approx. 3.5 months We really would welcome your thoughts and comments as to why the clowns have been attacked, and how best we can deal with the situation. <Well, a lot of it depends on the species of puffer that you have. The Canthigaster species, in particular (and others, too) are notorious for nipping and picking on their tankmates...Some don't, but most do...And this behavior will not get any better, in my experience. Frankly, it may be the puffer that needs to be moved to his own tank...He's not gonna be a model citizen any more, I'll wager. As Ananda would tell you, puffers are awesome fish, but they do have habits and special needs which must be addressed when considering them for inclusion in our tanks...> Many thanks for your help. Kind regards, Laura Weston <Thanks for stopping by! Do consider another tank for this little guy...probably the best way to overcome this problem, IMO. Good luck! Scott F>

Blind puffer (02/19/03) Hi <Hello -- Ananda here today...> I hope you will be able to help. I have a 3ft marine tank with under gravel filter run by one powerhead pump, also a Fluval 204 external filter, in the tank I have one Lipstick Tang and also my Porcupine Puffer, I have had the puffer for 1.5 years with no problems. <Oh, my. Both of these fish will need much larger quarters as they grow. Also, an undergravel filter is not the best thing for a marine tank -- there is a tendency for the gravel to trap detritus, which can cause problems. Please consider a new, bigger setup -- with live rock, a deep sand bed, and a good skimmer -- for these fish.> Then my internal pump stopped but I didn't notice (it didn't make much noise anyway) but unfortunately the external was running badly due to slime/algae build up and my nitrites went very high, I sorted the water problems out but it took a day to get to normal levels but now my puffer seems to have gone blind. <The nitrites (and probably ammonia) spiked could cause a puffer to swim as if it's blind. Do you know if the puffer can see at all? If it responds to movement outside the tank it may not be blind, but still suffering from the effects of the ammonia and nitrite. Both ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero! Anything else is not "normal". It might be that there were harmful bacteria hiding in the gravel or beneath the undergravel filter, and that restarting the filter caused those bacteria to enter the water column.> Have you ever come across this before and have you got any suggestions that i might try to see if a i can restore it's sight. <Several water changes to completely eliminate the ammonia and nitrite. If the fish still has difficulty seeing, consider a course of anti-bacterial treatment in a hospital tank.> Thanks for taking the time to read this <You're welcome. Do check out the articles and FAQs on undergravel filters and marine setups. --Ananda> yours hopefully Martin Haslam

- Puffer Fish for Cancer Pain - Hey Bob, <Howdy, JasonC here in Bob's stead while he takes some time off in Hawai'i.> I thought you may find this interesting. Trials are currently being conducted in Canada and Asia using the poison from the puffer fish. The drug has two indications one is for severe cancer pain and the other is for heroin withdrawal. One researchers involved said that the drug appears to be a medical breakthrough. The link above is to a U.K. image bank company that took an article about this project and surrounded it with pictures, you will love it. The name of the company conducting the trials is International Wex -  www.wextech.ca I work with the company in the area of communication and happen to be a hobbyist. I'm hoping you would write something about this project and post it on your site. Whatever you can do to draw attention to this product would be appreciated. <I'll put this in Bob's inbox, but in the meanwhile will post on WetWebMedia for everyone's edification. http://www.imagequest3d.com/pages/general/news/puffertoxin/index.htm  > United States trials will commence in the next 4 months. Regards Mark Butler <Cheers, J -- >

- Poison Puffers? - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Are the puffers poisonous that you get at the pet store? <To an extent, yes.> How should you dispose of them properly if they die. <Flush...> Just concerned for any possible environmental issues that may arise from a toilet burial. <There wouldn't be any environmental effects - considering the toilet either goes to the sewer or septic system... nothing in those systems is going to any better or worse off with a dead puffer floating by.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

"That's What Makes My Puffer's Eyes Blue" i would like to know why some puffer fish have a metallic eye color. is there a special reason for it. <Don't know. Will speculate that some aspect may have to do with enhanced light gathering... at night, from a wide angle... or perhaps it is so "scary" in appearance this helps to frighten away would-be predators? What else do you think? Bob Fenner>

Puffer Trauma... another intake injury I ve been referred to you by to very smart people.  Last night I arrive home late, to hear a loud noise coming from my 45 gallon tank.  When I tried on the light, my puffer was caught in my UV sterilizer pump.  normally he's around 4inches long, but when I first saw him he was the size of a baseball. The pump caught about 2 cm behind his side fin, at first he was dazed and messed up, then my lion came out and start picking on him, well i solved that and the lion is no longer in the tank.  Its been around 20 hours, he still swimming slow but is now back to normal color, only this one side is all white, looks like necrotic tissue. <May well be> He wont eat and is apparently hurt, this fish means the world to me! I have a 45 gallon, with some live rock and only 1 small star polyp, other fish include small Picasso trigger, new yellow tang, and two damsels.  I have a 15 watt UV sterilizer, back pack protein skimmer and AquaClear filter, lighting I have 440 watt ice cap with VHO's.  Please help Thank you very much <The only real course of action is to keep the system stable and optimized, and hope... plus of course put a screen cover over that pump intake. In all likelihood, if this puffer is alive at this point, it will heal... though it may not eat for several days more. Bob Fenner> David White University of Michigan School of Dentistry
Ann Arbor MI

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