FAQs about Tobies, Sharpnose Puffers
Related Articles: Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and
Information, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo,
True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers,
Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John
(Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers
Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,
Related FAQs: Tobies 1,
Tobies 2, Toby Identification, Toby Behavior, Toby Compatibility, Toby Selection, Toby Systems, Toby Disease, Toby Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer
Selection, Puffer Behavior,
Dentistry, True Puffers,
Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Boxfishes,
The presence of other life may
Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny
<Hi Leanne! Wil this morning.>
I appreciate the time you guys take to respond to us novices. Your forum
contains a wealth of information! hope you can provide some insight as I have
spent the best part of the past 4 hours researching this to no avail.
Firstly the setup..
I have a 300L marine aquarium with approx 40kg of live rock, sump/refugium with
skimmer and return pump and timed LED lighting. The water parameters are
<We need more accurate info on your water parameters(numbers).>
All our crew are small in size, there are two clownfish, two Blenny, one Picasso
Trigger, Banana Wrasse, Banggai Cardinal, Three Spot Damsel, Coral Banded Shrimp
and three Pyjama Cardinals.
Here’s a photo with most of the crew..
My daughter bought a Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) for me about
11weeks ago from our LFS. ‘Fatso’ adapted to his new home extremely well and
began eating food right away and nibbling at the rocks and took a liking to my
Zoas and small snails/shrimp we ‘had’ in the tank.
<It needs a more complete/balanced diet. Green stuff (algae)must be included on
The last 24hrs has been stressful (for me), he looks extremely skinny and I’m
worried he is not eating properly. Nothing has changed in the tank or the
environment he is in. I don’t know what to do. I have attached before/after
pictures of him, Fatso looks anorexic.
<Yes, it looks emaciated. >
Apologies for the poor quality, he hides in the cave so lighting is poor.
Please let me know if this is normal and if not what can I do to help him.
<No, this is not normal, have you notice any aggression by other tankmates,
maybe your Picasso trigger? >
Re Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny
Sorry! I forgot to include his current diet. Other than eating my beautiful Zoas
and nibbling at live crabs & snails, Fatso is fed frozen Mysis shrimp and a mix
of frozen marine food (purchased from LFS) and fine diced squid.
<Ahh ok... still needs more greens on its diet and vitamin supplements.>
Re: Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny
Wow! Thank you so much for a super quick reply!
<You´re very welcome Leanne!>
How do I get more greens into Fatso? Is there a plant or coral I could introduce
into the tank which he could eat or would a frozen ‘Marine Green’ food suffice?
<Caulerpa algae may be introduce in the tank for "Fatso" to nip at constantly,
There are different brands of nori such as TLF "Sea Veggies", that you can
easily put in an algae clip. >
What supplements do you recommend? I’m in the North West of Australia so the LFS
is limited to what it stocks but I can order from online stores.
<I personally use: Selcon, VitaChem, Kent´s Marine Marine C and Seachem´s
Vitality; soak the food a few minutes before feeding or just add directly to the
Thank you once again, I really appreciate your response.
<Glad to help>
<Kind regards. Wil.>
Valentini Puffer with Lump in Neck Area
I hope you can help me. My Valentini Puffer showed up with this lump on
the left side of her neck 2 days ago. She is in a 30 gallon tank with 1
Lawn Mower Blenny. Initially, I thought it might be air or she picked at
a snail, but it has not gone away, nor has it increased in size. It is
the lump right under her chin. I tried the burping method (lightly
grasping her body with nose up) and was getting ready lightly run my
fingers down her torso, but she puffed up and I have never seen her do
this, so I released her quickly and then was not able to grab her again
without stressing her out.
PH - 8.2
N02 - 0
N03 - 0
30-50% weekly water changes with Kent Reef Crystals and Prime. Tank has
been set up 8 months. Some SPS coral frags, frogspawn and a couple of
mushroom frags. Live rock & sand. Lots of Nassarius snails.
She still eats great ( homemade mixture of frozen squid, clams, muscles,
shrimp, scallops, silver slides, peas, Nori and vita Chem all blended up
and frozen). Once a week, I give her a clam or muscle on the half shell
to aid her teeth. Poop is normal and she is acting like she always has.
Any help would be most appreciated!
Thank you & Best Regards,
<This looks like a common goiter... of times effectively treated w/
simple iodide/ate addition to foods. I'll mention the SeaChem product
And please do search on WWM w/ the simple term: goiter for more. Simply
lace/soak foods with a drop or two ahead of offering, and hopefully this
cyst will recede in a few weeks. There are other possibilities/causes;
but these call for more risky treatments. Bob Fenner>
|Re: Valentini Puffer with Lump in
Thank you very much for your quick reply. That is what I thought it
might be, but couldn't find anything solid info to support it. I will
get this iodine
<Note: instead you want an ionic form of Iodine; Iodide... a different
oxidation state. Lugol's Solution will do if you can't find, don't want to
order the SeaChem or other commercial preparation>
today and try to get rid of it. Thank you again.
<Please do report back your further observations, findings. BobF>
Canthigaster papua diet 2/21/13
You guys have been very helpful to me in the past, so I'd like to run
another question by you. I have a c. papua currently in quarantine,
scheduled to be added to my 90g FOWLR in about two weeks. So far, he has
basically ignored the NLS pellets that I've been giving him in the
morning, but pigs out on anything frozen (1/6th of a Mysis cube, mixed
stuff, etc., usually soaked in Selcon).
He's only about 2" long, and to me appears to be in very good shape, but
I worry that I'm not feeding him enough, since he really only eats once
<Why not twice?>
Should I be giving him something a little meatier in the morning?
I just started adding Nori to his diet, which I was surprised to see him
like (enough to play tug-of-war with me over it!). I do plan on giving
him some kind of shelled seafood or snail once or twice a week to help
with the teeth.
<A good idea>
Overall, how does this diet sound? Any changes you'd recommend?
<Sounds mighty fine. I'd just increase the frequency>
<A hu'i hou, Bob Fenner>
Blue Spot Puffer Fish, fdg. -- 12/29/11
I recently bought a blue spotted puffer fish
<Is this a Canthigaster species? A Toby?>
while I have done some research on them he was a bit of impulse.
I asked the LFS to feed him so I could make sure he was eating. Well
the guy came back with live feeder fish, I cringed because I know
better than to feed them those! Well he said he has been eating frozen
to but I figured he could be trained so I bought him. He has been
eating flake and frozen Mysis, but is not much on the frozen sea food
mix I bought from the grocery store. I believe it because the Mysis and
flake move about like live food.
I was wondering if live glass shrimp or fresh water snail would be good
to keep his "teeth" or "beak" down.
While all the research I have done it mostly show information on larger
puffer fish. I was not expecting his mouth to be so small. If glass
shrimp or freshwater snail will not work to wear down what are
some suggestions you guys might have.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobyfdgfaqs.htm
Re: Blue Spot Puffer Fish, fdg.
Yes he is a Toby I know that the larger ones you can
feed clams and cockles. What would be the best thing to keep a Toby
puffers "teeth" down?
<Ahh, smaller gastropods (snails) and bivalves, and crustaceans in
the shell. Bob Fenner>
Toby picky eater 1/29/11
Thank you in advance-- your pages have answered many questions for me
in the past, and I am a huge fan of your work.
I have a 55 gallon fish-only tank with live rock, three damsels, two
Ocellaris clowns, a flame Hawkfish, five little hermit crabs and five
Nassarius snails, and for a month now, a 2.5-inch Hawaiian
white-spotted Toby (C. jactator). I do a 50% water change once a
<I'd do two 25% percentages twice>
Until recently I had a C. solandri who thrived for five years on flake
(Formula One and Prime Reef) plus once or twice weekly frozen cube
Marine Cuisine (brine, krill, Mysis).
My new Toby won't touch the flake or the Marine Cuisine, but he
also won't touch (or he will mouth and then spit out) defrosted
Carnivore Creole (squid, octopus, clam, scallop, fish + vitamins and
garlic), and he ignores clams on the half shell.
He also hasn't touched the snails or the hermit crabs (he pecks
them, particularly if I hold them up, but hasn't seriously tried to
He loves krill though--
I feed him 1/2 of a frozen krill two times a day. I know from your
site, however, that this isn't enough to meet his nutritional
I'm not sure what to do.. I haven't been able to find anything
about puffers and tobies not liking clams.. I have tried fasting him
for a day or two, but I haven't had the heart to try more.
Also, I have read that jactators can be especially prone to nip fins,
especially if underfed, and I am terrified of that starting and then
becoming a habit. My specific questions are:
1) I've tried fasting and foods with garlic.. Do you have any other
recommendations for him to eat a more varied diet, specifically to get
him to eat clams?
<I'd leave off w/ the clams, mix in a successively larger
percentage of New Life's "Spectrum" pelleted food w/ the
2) How long is it okay to leave a clam in the tank before pulling it
out? I don't leave them in for more than 6 hours.
<A day or so>
3) Is there any ballpark figure on how long it is 'safe' to
fast a Toby, for their health and the heath of their tank-mates
<A week or two>
4) I'm also wondering, is a whole krill a day for a small puffer
over-feeding? Or under-feeding?
<Look to the animal's "tummy" and general
Thank you so much for your time, and any advice you have is greatly
<Glad to assist you, Bob Fenner>
Sharpnose puffer; diet & dis. -- 01/05/10
I have a spotted Toby, and I am not sure of the exact species name. It
is either a (Canthigaster spp.) or (Canthigaster amboinensis). He looks
like your website photo of "Ambon Sharpnose Canthigaster
amboinensis" which has iridescent blue spots on his body and blue
stripes around his eyes.
<Feel free to send a clear picture (side view) for a proper ID if
I have had him or over 4 years and he is the only fish that has lived
through many fish kills when I had problems establishing my tank. I
call him Job. He has never nipped at other fish and has an amiable
personality. He is not aggressive at all. He eats the ghost shrimp I
place in the tank for his feeding, yet he also eats flake food and
My 50 gallon tank is now well established with live rock and live sand.
I have 2 filtration systems (hanging and under cabinet canister) I
change my filters (charcoal filters, Algone, Chemi Pure) when necessary
according to directions. I also have a protein skimmer, UV filter,
temperature control system, and 4 water flow jets.
I have 1 Pencil Sea Urchin, 8 Mexican turbo snails, 2 sand sifting
starfish, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 8 small blue legged hermit crabs, and 2
small emerald crabs, all of which help clean the tank from algae and
<Great your puffer leaves them alone, many would not.>
I also have 1 Yellow Belly Pacific Blue (Regal) Tang, 1 Percula Clown,
1 Royal Gramma, 1 Neon Goby, 1 Zebra Goby, 2 Blue Chromis, 1 Six Lined
Wrasse, 1 sand sifting goby (Watchman), 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Midas
Blenny, 2 Firefish Gobies (1 red, 1 purple). All of the fish are less
than 3" in length, except the tang which is about 6"; There
are also small corals in the tank (1 Yellow Leather, 1 Red Brain, 1
Moon Brain, 1 Trumpet, 1 Blue Mushroom, and 3 Ricordeas. I have
coralline algae on the live rock.
<In the 50 gallon tank? I'd check the water parameters. Bad
appetite can be related to bad water parameters.>
All of the fish seem healthy, however the Toby has not been eating well
in the past few weeks. I keep ghost shrimp in the tank for him to eat,
yet have had to hand feed him frozen shrimp in the past few days in
order to get him to eat.
<In a diet consisting mostly of shrimp you puffer needs vitamin
additions, esp. vitamin B1, but also others.>
He has always been tame and does not puff up when hand fed in the tank.
I do not use nets on him. For years, he has come up to my hand when I
place food in the tank. However, lately, his coloring has faded (more
gray and less vibrant) and he rests vertically against the glass in the
tank constantly. He has gotten smaller in size and his skin on his
sides seems to hang down which look like fold lines. His tail is become
frayed. (See photo).
<No picture attached.>
None of the fish bother him. The only fish I have a problem with is the
tang because he is so much larger than the other fish.
<Too large in my opinion for this tank.>
When the fish are fed, the tang hordes the food and eats as much as he
can, taking away the food from the other fish. I have had to segregate
the tang when feeding the other fish.
<Would be best for him and the other fish if he would leave.>
I found a bristle worm in the tank a few weeks ago and removed it. I
checked the tank substrate and rocks for more worms and have not found
any more. There were clear tunicates in the protein skimmer and some
green hair algae on the back glass which I have had to clean recently.
I don't know if bristle worms, tunicates, or hair algae are the
cause for the Toby's demise.
I read one of your posts regarding "Puffer Care and
Information" and it stated that puffers can be susceptible to
parasites. I do not know if this is his problem and if so how do I get
rid of the parasites on him?
<Cannot be excluded by now.>
Can I place him in a quarantine tank with a copper or other
<I would not treat without knowing for what.>
Please respond. I do not want to lose my favorite fish. Thank You.
<Check your water parameters. See if the nitrates are above 20-25
ppm, if so do a larger water change or a series of smaller water
changes to dilute possible pollution. Also, consider if the tang can
leave your tank -- it's too large and during feeding time a problem
for the other fishes. In addition, stuff you Toby with vitamins at
every feeding and feed it more often until he hopefully recovers. Only
if more specific symptoms for a disease occur, which allow a diagnosis,
I'd treat him with meds. Cheers, Marco.>
Valentini Puffer Not Eating, Tried Everything, env.
<Evening, Mike here>
I got my Valentini Puffer a week ago, and have been feeding him twice a
day little pieces of shrimp. Two days ago, he stopped eating. I came to
your website and found that shrimp is a bad food source, so bought some
squid and seaweed.
<Variety is key, and I'm glad you are researching proper
He refuses to eat those, as well. I tested my water conditions and had
0ppm for ammonia and nitrites and <10ppm for nitrates. The salinity
is at 1.02.
<SG of 1.02x?>
The ph is a little low at 7.8.
<That's pretty low...raise it .1 per day for the next 5 days to
Nothing has changed in my conditions since I first got him. I tried the
technique where you soak food in
garlic, but he still wouldn't go for it. His teeth don't seem
too long, either.
I've done everything I know to do, and I'm am looking for more
<Puffers go on hunger strikes, usually when stressed by something.
In this case, it's probably the water conditions - remedy your
parameters and your puffer should begin eating again. Remember, the
adjustments shouldn't be too rapid>
He is looking very skinny now, so please respond quickly!
<If he was healthy to begin with he can last two weeks easily, so no
Thank you for your help!
<Anytime - Mike Maddox>
Valentini Puffer Problem - 07/03/09
I have a valentini puffer named Stanley. He is roughly 4 years
old. He is normally a very happy, social fish but this morning he
is acting a little strange. He is swimming in a vertical
position. He is literally swimming around the tank with his nose
pointed toward the sky. In addition, he has a gray swelling on
his ventral side, just anterior to his anal fin. (Looks like he
<Hmm... no, not as such; rather, looks simply very
underweight. He looks a prime candidate for the quarantine tank,
where I'd be fattening him up on a rich diversity of seafood:
squid, prawn, cockle, scallop, even small bits of white fish.
Most anything from the Sushi bar will do, but do remember not to
overdo things rich in thiaminase, as these can cause long term
So while prawns and mussels are good sources of protein, balance
them out with seafood that doesn't contain thiaminase, such
as cockles and squid.
Since you've had him a while, an obvious couple of questions
to ask is how much he's been eating, and what have you been
As he swims around the tank his posterior end bumps into things.
Also he seems to be sitting on rocks. Granted, I have seen him
sleep before, but he never rests on rocks in the middle of the
day. Maybe it could even be considered rubbing. He has what looks
like gray spots on the right and left side of his beak. From my
reading, that seems to be stress lines.
<Colour looks about right, he's just rather
"bony", so underlying structures like muscles may be
Stanley was just transferred into the tank two weeks ago. No
problems, mushrooms and other fish doing fine. I have a goby and
a bulldozer shrimp in the tank with him (they get along okay, and
the other fish appear to be fine, although i don't see them
very often.) The tank dined on bloodworms last night.
<Bloodworms aren't really the ideal thing for Canthigaster
puffers, though they like them, and really do need a richer, more
marine-based diet. I'd be looking more towards krill, mysids,
chopped cockle, minced squid, and other such frozen marine foods.
Conversely, brine shrimp, though widely offered, contain
virtually no useful nutrition, being almost entirely
Puffers also need some greens, whether Sushi Nori, blanched
lettuce, or even cooked peas and algae wafers (puffers generally
enjoy these last two items). Puffers that don't "get
their greens" may well be prone to vitamin deficiency, and
at the very least, we know they can't synthesise the toxins
for which they're famous. I know Bob recommends the use of
vitamin additives to meaty foods (brands such as Selcon) and that
may be as good a way as any to ensure an optimal diet for those
opportunistic, omnivorous fish we call Puffers.>
Stanley is pretty awesome, hate to have anything happen to him.
What do you think is up, and can i do anything to help him? Thank
<Do read here:
Re: Valentini Puffer Problem - 07/03/09
Thanks for the help...
I knew at one time that he was larger in the belly, but was told
that I was overfeeding him.
<Puffers generally are "big eaters" that thrive best
when given "a little, but often". Their mode of
swimming isn't very efficient, and they are rather active, so
I guess they use up those calories faster than many other
fish of similar size.>
I will go buy him some seafood today. Won't be too hard as I
am in south Louisiana.
I don't have a quarantine tank, would it be okay to leave him
with the goby and bulldozer shrimp? or does he present a clear
and present danger to them?
<He'll likely ignore the goby, assuming the goby spends
most of its time hidden. As for the shrimp, it's always a
gamble with puffers; shrimps are dinner, but the larger species
may be robust enough not to be viewed as edible. If he hasn't
bothered the shrimp thus far, you're probably fine.
Conversely, it's hard to imagine the goby or the shrimp
competing too strongly against the puffer at feeding
Thanks again for the advice. I doubt I would have any fish
without the help of your website.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Jewel Puffer Trouble
I got a Jewel Puffer
<A Toby, Canthigaster solandri I'll assume>
about 5 days ago from a friend of mine with 3 other fish that it lived
with for about a year. The puffer looked very happy in my tank that has
a lot of established live rock and water conditions that are also good
I fed it Newlife Spectrum 1mm sinking pellets and it would eat the most
out of all the fishes in my tank. It looked very hungry.
<May need to be "weaned onto" this fine food... Such
animals largely consume animal flesh in the wild>
3 days later I noticed that the stomach looked a bit funky in that it
looked like there were irregular bulges around the stomach. 2 Days
after that the stomach now looks like it's swollen but smooth but
bloated. Hope this makes sense.
<Mmm... could you send along images?>
Today the puffer started hanging out at the bottom of my tank under a
side of a rock and just stayed there like it was trying to relax with
very little movement. I thought it was dying so I would try to get it
and then as it swims out it looks totally normal(it's behavior) but
then goes back to finding a place where it can settle and not be
Right now it's resting his large swollen belly on a rock and just
chilling in the same spot. What should I do?
<Try other meaty foods, perhaps laced/soaked in appetite/vitamin et
al. supplement (e.g. Selcon)>
I read the many questions you answered on the FAQs but didn't want
to stress out my puffer(using the methods to expel air out of his body)
if that wasn't the case. Did he just eat too much?
<Maybe this or something that just didn't "agree with
her/him"... from the live rock could have come a myriad of
indigestible to toxic materials>
Thanks for your help!
<The meaty foods... Mixed in time with more and more Spectrum. Bob
Valentini puffer food 06/04/09
<And gals Nat>
Thanks for all your help in the past, your advice is invaluable.
I have scoured through the site and also have bought Bob Fenner's
book but I haven't been able to find the answer to my question.
We have a valentini puffer and he has a really good appetite, with
really distinctive (and effective) begging behaviour. The only foods
however that he eats are defrosted brine shrimp and krill which I
usually soak in
Lipovit. We have tried feeding him new era marine pellets which he
largely ignores and now recently some formula 1 flakes which he totally
<Mmm, yes... Canthigasterines really only eat/get nourishment from
meaty foods generally>
Is his current diet of 'live' foods balanced enough for his
<I'd add a bit of fish flesh... perhaps frozen/defrosted
Also the other thing is that we would like to start him on the formula
1 flakes because it would be easier to feed it to him when we go on
holiday as opposed to live foods which would require someone to come in
every other day and feed it to him, which is a bit difficult (we have 1
of those holiday feeders which runs on a timer).
<Mmm, best here to make labeled (by the date) pre-measured frozen
food packets for the "baby sitter's" use>
We don't really know what to do because he is not interested in the
flakes at all. My partner says that we should hold off on feeding him
the brine shrimp and krill and continue with the flakes, hopefully he
will get so
hungry that he will have no choice but to try to the flakes.
<Not likely to work>
I feel slightly bad doing this though as he seems so hungry. Also there
is the concern that if we persist with the flakes he will start
munching on the cleaner and fire shrimp and double his attack on the
<Much more likely>
What do you suggest?
<To expand the diet as stated>
Many thanks for your help.
<Certainly welcome. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Valentini Puffer Not Eating 1/10/07 <Hi
donna, Pufferpunk here> Hi, I hope you can help me. My
Valentini puffer hasn't eaten in 4 days. I don't notice
any sign of illness (like ich or spot on it) I usually feed it
shrimp brine. <Brine shrimp> It seemed to like that but
recently it's refusing to eat anything. It just swims around
when I feed it and it looks like my puffer is looking for
something else to eat. In my tank I also have a clown fish, 6
line wrasse, yellow watchman goby and a damsel. The other fish
are all fine and eating. I wish I can read it's mind what my
puffer is thinking . Please help and reply Asap! I don't know
how much longer can it last, cuz it's looking thinner from
not eating. <First of all, brine shrimp is basically
non-nutritious, being about 97% water & almost no protein at
all. You must feed your puffer meaty, crunchy foods. See:
Here's an article on getting your puffer to eat:
Be sure to check your parameters: ammonia/nitrite (should be 0 at
all times), nitrate (<10)& pH (around 8-8.3). Puffers are
sensitive fish & if their parameters are off, they will not
eat. One more thing, take a look at his teeth. You have been
feeding him soft food & puffers need crunchy foods to keep
their teeth trimmed. Please do a search on puffer fish dentistry,
if necessary. ~PP> Thanks, Donna
Re: Valentini Puffer Not Eating 1/10/07
<Hi again Donna> Thank you for your help. I will try to
give my puffer other food. Last night I give it some frozen
shrimp without the shell but it didn't seem to like to eat
that either. Should I get shrimp with shell on it instead? Thanks
again! <Although shell-on is a better "crunchy" meal
for your puffer's teeth, I don't think with or without
the shell matters as far as the fish's tastes. Your puffer is
wild-caught & probably isn't used to eating foods that
don't move. Follow that 2nd link I gave you on how to entice
your puffer to eat dead foods. ~PP> Donna
Re: Valentini Puffer Not Eating 1/11/08 Hi
it's me again. <Hi Donna> OK, I got the parameters and
it turns out my nitrite is 0.5 and everything else is okay or
normal. <I would prefer you don't use terms like
"okay or normal". They mean nothing to me. I also need
to know the exact ammonia, nitrate, specific gravity & pH.
ANY amount of nitrite is toxic to your fish & would
definitely make it not feel like eating. If you are showing
nitrite, your tank is not cycled properly. Please tell me how you
cycled your tank. How large is the tank? What filtration are you
using?> So do you think I should change 25% of the water and
add aquarium salt? <Aquarium salt? Why? Are you using marine
salt to make your marine water or aquarium salt? Are you using a
hydrometer or refractometer to measure the salinity? I definitely
think you should do 25% water changes daily, until you can get
the nitrite to stay at 0. I really need to know what your other
parameters are though.> I also bought some other kind of food
but Puffer is still not eating. Help!!! <Can't really
blame him right now. ~PP> Donna
Proper feeding of Canthigaster solandri 9/19/06
Hi, Crew. <Dan> I'm getting conflicting answers
from the FAQs and from my LFS (Aquatic Warehouse in San Diego) <Ah,
yes... know the store... some fine folks there> regarding feeding my
new baby puffer (named "Toby" -- I know, not very
original...). <Heee> Anyways, I know he is an omnivore, and feeds
with gusto on the Mysis, macroalgae, Nori, and other mixed marine foods
that we provide. He also spends a fair amount of time
picking at the live rock. So far so good. <Yes> The
LFS claims that he will not require additional "tooth
grinding" food, as the live-rock-picking will keep his chompers
happy. <Likely so> From the FAQs, however, it would appear that
weekly hard-shelled things would be Very Good. Can I get
some clarifications on this? Thanks much, Dan <More tooth-wearing
material might help, though as stated, with your live rock material,
not likely necessary. Bob Fenner> Feeding Sharpnose
puffers 4/14/06 Hi WWM crew: <Alex> I
recently purchased two sharpnose puffers. One is Canthigaster valentini
and the other is Canthigaster solandri. I have always been told that
they told be fed clams and mussels still in the shell or raw shrimp or
crab with their exoskeleton still attached in order to wear down their
teeth. <Can, yes> My question is, do they have to be fed with
those item all the time? Or just once in a while? Can frozen Mysis
shrimp help wear down their teeth too? Thanks <Once in a while
(weekly let's say) is fine. Mysids don't have much of a hard
exoskeleton. And lastly, I would not place two Tobies (unless they were
a "pair") in the same system, unless it was very large
(hundreds of gallons), just in case you're doing this, or others
reading here might not know. Bob Fenner>
Valentini Puffer with a picky appetite 3/14/06
Greetings Crew, <Eric> Let me first start off by saying that your
site is wonderful and has provided me with a great deal of
information. However, now I have sort of a problem that I
can't seem to find the answer for in the posts. I have a
29 gallon fish only tank that I have had set up for about 5 months now.
In it I have a chocolate chip starfish, a clown, and two shrimp. About
a month ago I purchased a Valentini Puffer and introduced him to the
tank. <Surprising that it has not "picked" on your shrimp
and star...> He is very small, only about 1"- 1.5", which
is actually the reason why I got him. I didn't want to
crowd the tank. Anyway, he was lively at the store and I
watched them feed him before purchase. I noticed at first
when I got him home that he was very lethargic and just laid around the
tank a lot, but I learned from your site that this is normal activity.
<Yes, can be> Lately he has perked up and started swimming around
a lot more, especially when he sees me approaching the tank. <Good.
Food conditioned response> His eyes are clear and he seems to be
very healthy. But now I have another problem. I can only get him to eat
brine shrimp. He has a very large appetite and absolutely
devours all brine I put in the tank, but he will not touch any other
offerings. I have tried frozen krill, dehydrated freeze
dried mysis shrimp, and various types of flake foods. <Do keep
trying these... mixed in with less and less Artemia... this animal will
not starve I assure you> Even though the brine I feed him are
encapsulated with multi-vitamins, I fear that he is not getting all the
nutrients he needs. From what I have learned from your site, brine
should only be fed as a treat and do not hold a lot of nutritional
value. <Generally not in the longer haul> I want to provide him
with a variety of foods that will keep him healthy. I was
just wondering if you could recommend any other foods or feeding
methods that may help me get him to eat a more varied
diet. Thanks in advance for the help!! Eric <Mixing the
foods and "holding out" will win the day here. Do keep an eye
out for the ultimate bite marks... Bob Fenner>
Diet for a small puffer Hello everyone, <Hi!
Ananda here today...> Your FAQs page is one of the superb
places I've seen on the net! Its been the creamer of my cappuccino
during my coffee breaks. <Glad to hear it! ...make mine a
double mocha...> The last info exchange I had was from Magnus.
Its about my Valentini (Tamblot is the name) who murdered my
clown. < :-( > Anyway, the heartaches of everyone at
home are gone. And in fact, Tamblot has all their attention now.
<Puffers are very, very good at doing that.> He is being
fed alternately with Tetra Doro Marin and locally prepared fish
pellets. He also have a weekly dose of liquid fish supplement. Right
now, I am planning to introduce more varieties into his diet.
<Sounds like a plan.> Fresh seafoods I should say.
<Ah...be wary. They can harbor disease or parasites that could be
transmitted to your puffer.> These are abundant around but I
don't know how to prepare such. <Freeze them for a few
days, first, to kill any hitchhiking nasties.> As what
I've read from your FAQs, shrimps, shells, squids, and such others
are good for him and for his teeth. <Yup.> But how
could I make a 3-inch fresh and kicking shrimp be a food to my 1-inch
Valentini? <Blink. A 1" puffer? No wonder he's become
the darling of the tank!> Would I just quarantine the shrimp
for a week or two and let it loose inside the main tank to let Tamblot
do the slicing? <I think I'd keep Tamblot on already-dead
food: much easier to keep a quantity on hand, that way, and easier to
control the amount he can eat.> If that's the case,
I'm afraid Tamblot would look like a broiled turkey on a
saucepan for the shrimp. <Ah, you are giving me such odd
mental images this morning....> We also have green shells and
squids (I mean the sizes of these are good for, say a fried calamari
topped with mayo). These are fresh from catch but then again how?
<For the squid, once it's dead and cleaned, freeze it, then
grate it into small shreds. I'm not familiar with green shells, but
again, I would simply(?) kill, clean, freeze, and dice the meat before
giving it to the puffer.> Hope you could suggest a few ways to
prepare these stuff as a food for my Valentini. <Giving him
the food while it's still hard-frozen can help keep his teeth worn
down, too.> Thanx a lot and more power to your team.
regards, Joebel J. Sorioso <Thanks, and best of luck with you
Toby feeding questions I've had a valentini puffer in QT
for 4 weeks now, over 3 weeks ich-free. I'm planning on introducing
the puffer in the 90 gal. display tank this week (which also houses a
flame angel, neon goby and inverts). When I first got him, he was a
really fussy eater (he was sick after all). Now he eats almost
anything. I recently stocked my tank with various macro algae-Ulva,
Sargassum and Gracilaria to provide greenery, get rid of diatom algae,
as well as providing food for my fish. I am now wondering if the puffer
will gorge himself on the algae in the display tank. He gobbles up the
bits that I have been placing in the QT. <Perhaps> Do these
little guys know when to stop eating? I don't want to inadvertently
be overfeeding him by keeping the plants in the main tank. I do
however, want him well-fed so he won't be as tempted to nibble on
my inverts (turbo snails, Strombus grazers, micro-hermits, bristle
worms). I know they might get eaten (I'm sad about this but I love
my puffer more). I'm trying to be careful about over-feeding him. I
usually feed him twice a day (a shrimp tail or ghost shrimp/Mysis or
piece of clam in the morning), then some greens at night. Is this too
much food? Lately, he's seems to have a larger appetite and is
always begging for more food. <Your Sharpnose Puffer will not likely
eat itself to death... or even to illness> Maybe I'll wind up
taking the algae out of the main tank (I don't have a refugium, but
I could put them in the QT once the puffer's out). As it is, the
flame angel doesn't really eat any of them, but the snails seem
too! Now I know why I never see SW tanks with live plants... thanks
much -Angela <Keep looking. Bob Fenner>
I have an orange tailed Fiji Puffer.
<That common name isn't seen much in the pet trade, but
typically this name is given to Canthigaster solandri, sometimes called
spotted Sharpnose puffer.> He hasn't eaten in 2 weeks and seems
lethargic. I've read other postings but haven't found any
similar to mine because my tank has never experienced infestations.
His tank mates are a Picasso Trigger and an Assorted
Puffer. Both fish are eating and responding normally in the 50
gallon tank. <Hard to tell what "Assorted Puffers" might
be, if it's another Sharpnose puffer then it isn't good cause
two Sharpnose variety of puffers in the same tank can be
bad. One will be more dominant, and the submissive one will
eat less, and not be as outgoing. Also, Triggers can be
aggressive. My Picasso wasn't bad, but a friend had one
what would pick on tankmates constantly. My biggest
concern is that a 50 gallon tank is not large enough for these
fish. The bare minimum for a single Picasso (Huma
Huma) trigger is 75, and with that and other messy fish such as puffers
you run the risk of problems with such a small tank.>
Tank conditions are ideal, 78 degrees, salinity 1.023 -- 1.025, Zero or
minimal nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. All fish enjoy eating a
varied diet of freeze dried krill, frozen brine shrimp, and live
minnows. <You should offer these fish other foods besides
this. Freeze dried Krill is good, my puffers love it,
but it's not as nutritious as offering them fresh
seafood. I purchase shrimp, octopus, squid and clams and
offer my puffers it to them once or twice a week. You
can purchase bags of seafood mixes at your local grocery story (food
for people). Plus you get to snack on it as
well. Frozen Brine Shrimp doesn't offer much of
anything in the way of nutrition. And Live minnows
aren't a good source, since these are freshwater fish, they
don't have the same nutrients and fats found in marine
fish. Plus, live fish still offer a way to bring parasites
to the tank.> 25% of tank water and filters are change every 4 weeks
or so. <This should be smaller water changes more frequently, and
make sure that you premix the water a day or two before adding it to
the tank.> I've had the Fiji for almost 3
months. The Fiji's behavior began to change after the last
tank change. I did move the live rock that he normally sleeps on.
<"Tank Change" meaning that you literally changed the tank
around, or that you changed the water in the tank. If it was
after a water change, then it could be that the new water might have
had a difference in it's chemistry compared to what was in the
tank. I check alkalinity and other levels in my mixes before
adding them to the tank. If you changed the fish to a
new tank, then it could be difficult for it to adjust. Make
sure that there is enough territory for these fish, that they all can
claim a spot of the tank as their own.> The fish get
along. The trigger nips once and a while at both fish but never
breaks the skin or continues for a period of time. <Chances
are high that it might nip when you aren't around as
well. The fish doesn't have to break the skin to disturb
the other fish enough to not eat.> Any thoughts on what could've
caused the puffer to stop eating and become less responsive?
<Sounds as though he's being bullied. I had a small
dogface puffer that did the same thing, it turned out that one of the
clown fish that shared a tank with it was constantly pestering
it. Once I removed the aggressor, all was fine. I
suggest you start setting up a quarantine tank and let it get ready
just in case you need to move this puffer out. perhaps once
he is out he will start eating.. or you can move the aggressor there
and see if the puffer improves.> He is relieving himself on a
regular basis so I was thinking he might be eating something
else. <puffers pick at stuff on the live rock. Mine
love to eat almost everything possible.> He also does seem a bit
more bloated but he does not have any spots or change in color that
would indicate parasites, disease, or injury. Thanks! <My guess is
he is being picked on by something. that is what it sounds like to
me. Separate them if you can and see if it
improves. Also another trick is to buy some live
snails from your local reef shop and feed them some live
foods. I've "cured" many a depressed puffer by
feeding them that. it's like giving chocolate to a 6 year
old. Good luck. -Magnus> Valentini Puffer Long in the
Tooth 1/9/05 Hi! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I've got a quick
question about my Valentini Puffer. I've had him for
nearly one year in my 44 gal FOWLR. His tank mates include a
blue devil damsel, a longnose hawkfish, a false percula and then two
inverts: a coral-banded shrimp and a cleaner
shrimp. Recently I've noticed that my puffer has had
trouble eating. I associate this problem to his fused beak
forming an 'over-bite' of sorts making it difficult for him to
open his mouth wide enough to swallow most food pellets. The
puffer is approx. two inches in length and I feed him once a day
alternating between 'Formula Two Marine Pellets' and frozen
cubes of 'Hikari Mega-Marine Cubes' (too many ingredients in
cubes to list). I do not believe this to be a matter of
'lock-jaw' as I've read about on your site, just big
teeth. What do you suggest that can be fed to him to file
down the beak, keep in mind his mouth can't open very
wide. I've read about people feeding clams and prawn
(what's this by the way) to their puffers, if this would be an
appropriate food to reduce his beak, would I just feed him the tender
meat inside of the shell? Thanks in advance for all your
help! Peace and Puffer Grease <Once your puffer's
teeth are overgrown, no amount of crunchy foods will
help. Here's an article on proper feeding of puffers
& trimming their teeth:
hope this helps! ~PP> -David Valentini puffer and
coralline algae 19 Jan 2005 Hello, <Hi Paul, MacL
here with you.> I recently added a Valentini Sharpnose Puffer to my
125 gallon FOWLR. Since introduction a few days ago this little guy has
done a number on my coralline algae. He is constantly nipping at the
live rock, and has cleared off a good portion of the algae. I have
attempted to feed krill, Mysis shrimp, and Formula One, but nothing
seems to appease him like the beautiful algae. <I think you need to
get him some algae based foods, like Nori or formula Two that is algae
based. Hopefully that will get him started on something else besides
your coralline. Unfortunately once they start it is very very hard to
get them to stop.> I was wondering if he was going to continue in
this manner until all coralline is gone, or do you know of some other
foods to try? <Look for foods with Spirulina, perhaps some flake
with it in it. Let me know if it works. MacL> Thank you for your
time Paul,<Thank you Paul> Toby (puffer) benthic feeding
habits 2/9/05 I have a Canthigaster valentini that on occasion will
pick at/eat sand. Is this natural? <Quite natural... they even rasp
the mucous off the base of polyps and anemones> All water
parameters/maintenance in perfect condition. No disease. No stress from
other fish. <No worries> He eats well otherwise. Regards, Mike
Rivera <Keep observing/enjoying my friend. Anthony>