Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about True Puffer Compatibility

Related Articles: Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: True Puffers 1, True Puffers 2, True Puffers 3, Tetraodont Identification, Tetraodont Behavior, Tetraodont Selection, Tetraodont Systems, Tetraodont Feeding, Tetraodont Disease, Tetraodont Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Arothron nigropunctatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801), the Blackspotted Puffer.

Some of the Moray eels, Butterflies, Hawkfish, Tangs, Triggerfish, Dwarf Angelfish, any of the bigger Blennies, a Harlequin Tuskfish, Wrasses, Filefish and one of the tougher Clownfish.
Crabs, Shrimps, Seastars?  Likely food

My New Pufferfish/es; comp. w/ Muraenids    6/18/17
Hi Crew, your advice has been helpful in managing my tanks and your website is so full of great info! But I haven't seen this question, thus the question.
I am adopting 2 puffers. One is a porcupine puffer and the other is a dogface puffer. They will go with my snowflake and zebra eels.
<Mmm; am hoping the Puffers don't go after the Morays.... biting them, stealing all foods>
They are at least 6-7 years old and the previous owner had them 6 years.
They are both about 5 inches long. Do you thing they will grow much more at their age?
<Well, they can; given good water quality, food....>
Just planning for future tank size if needed because right now they are going into a 180 gallon. I also have a 300 gallon so I'm fine upgrading tanks if I need to, just trying to plan it out a bit. Thanks!
<Do keep your eye on all when you feed, or go by the tank. Bob Fenner>

Puffer tank sizes       2/11/16
Hi Mr. Bob and crew, I am doing a lot of research on my next acquisition.
<Really? Searching or re-searching?>
I have a lot of time due to setting up a qt, cycling a new tank for the geriatric fin friends and redoing the 150g for a puffer. (new skimmer, added a 29g refugium, rearranging rock, new power heads..etc)I am finding so many different tank requirements for the different species.
<There are many such requirements as INDEED there are different species.
Some fresh, some variably brackish, others entirely marine!>
Give me a suggestion :)I want one of the personable species that can live its life in a 150 gallon.
<All posted, archived on WWM, elsewhere>
I read the porcupine gets too large.
<There are other Diodontids; most all could/would live for years in a 150 if started small-ish>
But even the others seem to get huge. Is there one that can live in my tank happy. I read they can live 10-20 years.
<Yes; tis so>
It will be the only fish in the tank. I will not be upgrading tank size.
I am also reading on feeding etc to take care of my fish. I know you are going to tell me to keep reading ;-)
<Is a fave response>
I will. But a suggestion in species would be appreciated. Have a great day! Stace
<A re-reading then: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm
similarly for other puffer families.
IF you're set on having a Burrfish species... Note that the "maximum size" listed on WWM (and many other places, like FishBase.org) IS the biggest any specimen has been acceptably recorded. Max. aquarium size will likely be no more than half this in standard length. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer tank sizes      2/12/16

Thank you for the reply, yes I am researching.
<Original experimentation...>
When I noted the different tank sizes for different species, I should have clarified different tank sizes for each of the different species I have been researching. Some say 125 some say 180 and even some sites may say 75g for a particular species.
I am not set on a porcupine puffer or burr fish. I want the most suitable species that can live for decades in what I have.
<Many choices... amongst all families of Puffers>
I will try to choose wisely so I am not asking in 2 years why my fish is sick and the most common reply on here which is, "That tank is too small for that fish."I was hoping a simple reply such as look at the immaculatus (example) then I would have happily chosen that fish had you suggested, or any other you suggested. I asked you as you have noted, most probably the swimming habits etc of different puffer species. I personally have no idea why one puffer who may get 1 foot and another who may get 1 foot require different tanks. I will keep researching. Have a good, Stace
<A Diodon species will go here indefinitely.... You "need" to be told? Okay; get a Diodon holacanthus; right now!
Re: Puffer tank sizes      2/12/16

Ps.. I am a tad offended. I have been searching, researching or re-searching. I don't care what you call it. If I had not been re-searching then I would not know what a cockle is.
<Mmm; well; I was hoping you were doing original research and could inform me, the readers of WWM on the subject... What you DO find out, compile, please do share with us>
I had never heard of them before, or thiaminase problems, or lock-jaw and dental problems. I have been looking where to find cockles, mussels, crabs, prawns etc to be shipped to me. Then I read they have to be rinsed well and frozen. Then thawed for my fish. Yes Mr. Fenner, I am searching. I am searching for a suitable fish for my tank and a suitable place to find him food! I did find cockles at Citarella's in NYC. Have a good day sir!
<And you, B>
Re: Puffer tank sizes      2/12/16
<Ho boy... sorry for the misunderstanding>

My goodness you are a tough cookie. My first email asked for a suggestion.
That is different than being told. Many questions on your site, people state their stock and ask for suggestions for another fish. They get answered politely. I asked you for a suggestion since I respect y'alls opinion. I don't deserve to be treated like an ignorant child. I will stick with your books. I ordered, Livestocking, Pico, nano etc...today from Amazon since I am setting up my first reef system in a 40g. At least in your books you don't come across as rude, snobbish and impatient. Don't
worry, I will never bother you again!
Apology to Mr. Bob       2/15/16

Mr. Bob, We had a bit of miscommunication last week over a puffer fish acquisition. You apologized for the miscommunication even after I said some not so nice things. I too would like to extend my heart felt apology.
<Ah; gladly accepted>
I get too sensitive. I ain't making excuses nor want any sympathy. It is just an explanation to my attitude. I am extremely agoraphobic. I am so scared of people I have to take heart medication to keep adrenaline lower.
<I too take too many pills daily. To lower my blood pressure... some are def. "mood modifiers"... Which I detest>
The only people I talk to are people online. That is no excuse for getting perturbed when I've a question.
<Agreed; and again; was just hoping to have you report from your re/search what you discovered. To share>
You were right. I need to choose my own fish with my own due diligence. I thought it would be cute to have you choose a species. I am going to name him Bob :)I am going into my puffer acquisition as if I am buying a puppy.
<A good comparison I'd warrant. These are very personable, intelligent animals>
I am putting a lot of work into upgrading the tank and filtration (as learned here along with proper diet) I intend on emailing you in 15 years and telling how 'Bob' is doing :)I have learned so much from you. I am so proud of my almost 10 year old clown, (Elmo) my 10 year old starfish, (Star) and 5 year old clown (Maxine)Your works strive me to be the best I can be for my fin friends.
<Ahh; so deeply gratifying to read; realize>
They are not 'just fish' to me. They are my beloved pets. Thank you for the many articles I have read, the books, the access to read others questions.
I am looking forward to getting my livingscape for the 40g. It should be here in a few days! My hubs burnt my other books :(He is a wee bit protective when he thinks my feelings are hurt. On the bright side, now I can buy the updated Conscientious Marine!!!
<Heeee! It is much improved. I finished the draft of the first edition in.... 1995! Some improvements since then.>
I am too excited about that! He has been warned to leave my books alone!
Hurt feelings go away, books are forever! Thank you for the knowledge you share and my deepest apologies for being too sensitive and over reacting. Your fan always, Stace
<Very glad to "hear" from you. Let us start anew. Bob Fenner>
Mr. Bob/puffer; sel., now poss. article!       2/16/16

I am sorry I accidentally deleted your last email before replying. You said you would be interested in my writing an article about my experience in choosing a puffer,
<Ah yes; in particular the criteria you settle on (e.g. the size, shape of the system)>
and doing due diligence for whichever one i choose. I would love to write an article about my experience. It will be about 2-3 months before I can get an article written.
<Mighty fine. If you'd like, I will supply you pix (gratis) and help you to possibly sell the work into the pulp 'zines first>
I still have 2 months before the actual purchase of my fish. I am cycling another tank and will be doing more reading in the mean time. Thank you for all, Stace
<Thank you. BobF>
Puffer companions for 150g    3/12/16

Mr. Bob,
This should be my last question regarding the puffer acquisition.
Last email I stated it would be the only fish, Arothron nigropunctatus. You said I could add more.
<Yes; I certainly would>
System is 150g, 29g refugium, estimating 25 g in sump. I came up with these additions and numbered stocking order which will be done very slowly although my tank is well established. The refugium is new. Please make sure
I will not be stocking heavy. Sailfin blenny (Salarias Fasciatus) 1st5 Chromis (Chromis Viridis) 2ndHawkfish (Neocirrhites Armatus) 3rdFoxface Lo (Siganus Vulpinis) 4thPuffer (Arothron Nigropunctatus) last
<These should all get along; make for an interesting display>
Thank You so very much for answering all of my questions the past month or so. I am sure I was a pain at times.
<Mmm; more of a joy than negative>
I now know why so many times you would say to keep reading. I learned more than I would have had you just answered my questions.
<Ah yes>
I feel armed enough to give my puffer The care it will need, but continue to read so I can keep learning. Also I am enjoying, "Livestocking Pico.."I already have my plans for the 40g reef I am starting, so shouldn't be bothering you about that ;-)
<Heee heee!>
unless I have some dire emergency. Take care and as always, have a great day! Stace
Ps, I wasn't kidding about naming the Puffer after you but his name will be Captain Bob, heehee
<Now that's more like it. Cheers Stace. B>

Dragon Eel, Dogface puffer, Volitans Lionfish (mix) question... Earl Clay Tres chimes in!      9/28/15
Hey guys. Long time reader, first time questioner here.
About a week ago I introduced a 18" Dragon Eel and a 6" Dogface puffer to a 150 gallon tank without any other fish.
<Be sure to use a powerful skimmer and possibly mechanical filtration for these messy carnivores. Fascinating but messy!> The next day I added a Volitans Lionfish to the tank that was slightly smaller than the puffer.
<This is likely to be a dangerous mix. As you mention, a puffer can be a fin nipper and worse...eels and lions are relatively slow, low-key animals who are easy pickings for a puffer. Puffers (and Tetradontiforms generally) are smart, relative to fish, and have personality. This can backfire when they realize they are in there with two captive compatriots. Those teeth are well equipped for tearing up soft skin, fins, and even biting through the spines of a lionfish...neither of which are likely to outmaneuver a puffer long-term. If the puffer decides to get mean, neither of those fish has any protection from it. A
puffer can be like a battering ram with a beak and 6" is big enough to be ornery and set in its ways...time will tell how this particular one will act. I have met several people with nasty scars from puffers and triggers.
Keep an eye on your fingers. ;) >
The eel and puffer acclimated very well and began eating and swimming in the open within a day. They even for lack
of a better term, "cuddle" together throughout the day and the puffer even sleeps in the same cave as the eel. <Based on your decor/rockwork in my experience, fish, especially largish ones that may have a harder time finding good cover than typically smaller ones might, will gravitate toward the same "best" cover.>
The lionfish on the other hand was very timid and wouldn't eat for 5 days.
<Not unusual, I recommend having the source of purchase feed a lion and see what or if it's eating. You may have to wean
it off of live food. I have had luck with mysis shrimp for this.>
Last night we found the lionfish with bites taken out of his belly, and unfortunately he has passed away.
<Sorry to hear it. The "forensic case" is clear here.>
We believe it was the puffer that did this, not the eel.
<Simple enough to tell: what do the bites look like exactly? Pointed teeth or a "beak"? Pictures would help here...I recommend taking some post-mortem photos or even putting the fish in a freezer (!) if you want to resolve these mystery murders or diseases more concretely.>
I have read on your site, unfortunately after the fact, that puffers can nip at lionfish fins.
Is this amount of aggression towards the lionfish normal, though?
Are the puffer and eel really "buddies" at this point, or are they displaying some sort of "dominance game" with each other? <Fish act like "dive buddies" all the time for a variety of reasons. I suspect at least part of it is as I referred to before, they are both doing the same things for similar reasons and their "hanging out" is a natural result. How much does the eel move around the tank? They are normally pretty sedentary and should hole up in a semi-permanent home. This seems like they are simply new fish to the tank that are investigating, taking advantage of the other's discoveries (escape routes, discovering food).>
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Evan.
<Sad to hear of your loss but with experience comes knowledge. My advice is to study up as much as you can, especially with large possibly volatile predators, before adding a new fish. WWM has some pretty in-depth info on triggers and puffers. Another key thing with these guys is order of introduction: least to most "mean".
The lionfish should have gone in first, then the eel, then the puffer imo.
The idea is to let the more timid or vulnerable guys to establish themselves first and also when the new ones come along they have not already entrenched themselves in a tank they consider their turf to defend.
I hope this helps! -E.C.3>

Re: Dragon Eel, Dogface puffer, Volitans Lionfish question       9/30/15
Thank you for such a quick detailed response...I greatly appreciate it.
<Glad to help> I have enclosed a photo of the lionfish (post-mortem). As stated before, both fish eat like pigs. Is it possible to overfeed the eel like the puffer?
<That is an issue. Eels should eat every 3 days or so.
Target fed with a feeder stick, ideally chopped up into strips. Luckily puffers will go to town on the same kinds of food so that's a bit of convenience...I have always supplied most of the food for those who eat large, meaty stuff via simply dicing various raw frozen seafood (shrimp, squid, clam) and supplement it with Selcon every so often...better food for far less money). But target feed eels if necessary and only 2-3 times a week.> Dragon Eel has a few "regular" spots it hangs out in. Some it is completely covered, and others only partially. He comes out as if to "say hello" whenever you approach the tank. This is the main reason bought this specimen, for his personality.
<All sounds great!>
He does not hide all day and move only at night...he acts the same in my tank as he did at the LFS. The puffer will come greet you also, and rests in a few regular spots through out the day as well as free swimming in the powerheads.
<Settling in well. There is that puffer personality...they learn faces and will beg like dogs.>
Should I for the safety of the Dragon Eel and return the Dogface Puffer?
<I would weigh your desire to keep the puffer vs. risk and keep close observation if you decide to try it out.> I hear many different views on species only tanks for Dragon Eels vs. compatibility with larger aggressive fish. <Check out the f.a.q.s on WWM, there are several people's experiences with this same issue.>
More fuel for the fire...would a 6" Humu Humu Trigger be a time bomb to ad, with or without the puffer? Thanks again for your time and insight, Evan
<A puffer and a trigger is a pretty good combo, they are rough customers who can hold their own. I may be biased because Hawai'i's state fish is my favorite marine animal :) Humus are known to be generally laid back for Balistids. At any rate I would combine those two with little worry. The eel on the other hand, is the issue and the real concern is still the eel/puffer situation. Up to you but were it me I would consider what a dragon eel usually costs in $ and weigh that risk, as noted. Something quicker moving yet not too vulnerable to being snagged by a piscivorous eel would be a goal to shoot for imo.>

<From your photo here I am guessing it was the puffer. The eel would have gone after the lion to eat, the puffer may have done it due to their sometimes more "hostile" behavior. My bet is that the puffer is the offender. (Bob?)
<<Could have been either one.... likely the Puffer would have kept eating. RMF>>
 Personally I would return the puffer and go for a trigger (preferably one of the calmer more easy-going but tough species, see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/rhinecanthus/index.htm
Then monitor as I've mentioned. Another alternative would be to put the dog face (and any other aggressors) into a floated "time-out" container inside the tank where they can see and smell each other but not get into contact.
This will often calm the aggressive fish down after some time, a week or two. I call it the penalty box. You may have a little trouble finding a container sizable enough for that particular fish...Bob recommends a plastic straining colander such as for pasta. I have also experimented with those old-fashioned laundry baskets cut up and rugged with foam or whatnot to keep it afloat. Zip ties are your friend here. This tactic is a good one for introducing possibly hostile rowdy tankmates to an established tank and good to have in your arsenal at any rate. Please let us know how it goes/what you decide.>

puffer compat.     4/27/14
Hey there Bob,
About two weeks ago I order some fish for my 60 cube reef tank online. When the order came in, it also contained a guinea fowl puffer which I did not order. When I called about it, they said it was a mistake, and that I could just keep it.
So I put it in my 155 fowlr, which also has a midnight puffer (black dog face). They are about the same size, but the last couple days, the Guinea Fowl has been chasing, biting and holding onto the midnight puffer.
Is this something that happens in beginning, and once they establish hierarchy, goes away?
Or should I go ahead and throw the midnight on craigslist?
I do not see any visible wounds from the "bite" but not sure long term if there can be ill effect.
<Have to be separated. B>

Puffer compatibility... Tetraodontids in a 180; spg in gen.    10/12/13
Hello WWM,
<Hey Danny>
Is there any reason to think that a Stars and Stripes puffer will not get along with a Porcupine Puffer in an uncrowded 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium? 
<Mmm, yes; have seen both these species, and other Tetraodonts tussle in such volumes... Usually not in several hundred gallons though>
The Stars and Stripes is about 5 inches long and has been in the tank for roughly one year.  The Porcupine is a bit bigger (6 inches) and would be the new addition, along with a Raccoon Butterfly.
Lastly, I keep my specific gravity at 1.018 to 1.019.  The fish seem to do well at that level.  Any issues with a lower specific gravity for the Porcupine puffer or the Raccoon butterfly?
<Well; times were (decades back) that our retail stores and service accounts were kept at artificially low spg..s; and am familiar (have friends) with large maintenance jobs that keep theirs even lower continuously... IS cheaper salt wise, more DO, less parasitic issues...
Reef systems and ones with much live rock I'd keep NSW (Near SeaWater) strength... 1.025-6. This is gone over/archived on WWM...>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake and Puffer Compatibility     6/10/13
Hi Bob and Crew:
We introduced a 14 inch Snowflake Eel into a 100 Gallon tank with our Dogface Puffer last night.
<Mmm, not really compatible... hard/er to feed the Echidna in the system w/ the puffer, and the latter could bite the Eel>

This is a FOWLR, 0 Ammo, 0 Nitri, 5 Nitrate. The Puffer has existed alone for about 2 years. I moved rocks, etc when adding the Snowflake and the lights are off. These are the only two animals in the tank.
It appears there is some aggression, or struggle for dominance. Everything I see on your site shows compatibility should be fine.
<I hope/trust not "everything...">

The eel has, on a couple of occasions, approached the puffer with his mouth open and drawn back at the last second. It appears he goes after him for food and then realizes that he is too big. The Dogface is about 4-5 inches. In turn, the puffer has snapped at him a few times. Other times they appear to cross each others paths just fine. Is this likely an initial acclamation issue; or, do you think we have an individual showing above average aggression?
<I wouldn't place these species in a system of this size together...>
My hope is that you will tell me they are "learning" to coexist.
<They may learn to get along... just make sure that both are getting foods>
if I need to remove the animal, I certainly will. Thanks, as always, for your advice!
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Arothron hispidus, comp., sys.    6/3.5/13
Hi there Crew, I was thinking of getting a stars and stripes puffer.
<Grow to very large... need hundreds of gallons of space:
 I know they are a messy fish and require a superior skimmer and great water conditions. I also know they are more peaceful puffers compared to others. My question is I have a large rose bubble anemone, with a pair of tomato clowns hosting it. Do you think the Anemone is safe or is it future puffer food?
<Not safe likely... in time this puffer would probably consume all. I'd look for a smaller species>
Thanks and always love your site! Becky
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Re: re: Stars and Stripes puffer, bully      6/6/13
Hi guys
I just got a reply from Bob the other day to an email I sent a few weeks ago so thanks for the reply and help Bob and just to let you know that my emperor is doing fine now thanks to a good water change, the large White spots on his/her body have gone and it's bright colour is back again and it is back eating and back to being the boss
<Ah, good news>
 but you also warned me about my stars and stripes puffer maybe intimidating the emperor, well I have just noticed one of my lyretail Anthias has a chunk taken out of it's back (the Anthias seems to be doing fine he's eating and swimming around) and the only fish capable of doing that would be my puffer, is this typical puffer behaviour?
<Unfortunately, quite common>
 I have a few small fish in the tank that i don't want the puffer making a meal off, and even though he is one of my oldest and favourite fish I don't want him killing all my fish, is there a possibility that this could happen and if so do you think I should hand the puffer back to my LFS?
<Mmm, is there room for another tank?>
Also do u have a section on your site on how to set up a quarantine tank?
<Ah yes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
 I have a spare 2 foot tank that I want to turn into a quarantine tank.
Again sorry for all the questions but as always your great help is also greatly appreciated.
P.s sorry if the start of the email seems as if I'm being a little sarcastic i really was and am grateful for the response and the help :)
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Re: re: Stars and Stripes puffer, bully
Re: Re: re: Now large puffer donating     6/6/13

Hi Bob
Unfortunately I don't have another tank and i wouldn't have  the room for another good sized tank as much as I would love one, the tank I have now is 5x2x2.5 it's 187 gallons (US) which, if the puffer reaches it's potential 50cm, will eventually become too small for him, I'm reluctant to hand him to my LFS as he is a good size and  I think most the time they see £ signs and will sell a fish to anyone regardless of the size of their tank or their experience keeping certain fish, although I don't know many people with a large predator tank either so It looks like I have a job on my hand to find him a suitable home but hopefully I will, so as always it's been a pleasure Bob and thanks again for your help.
<Ahh, Craig's List there in the UK, or alternatives: http://forums.eukhost.com/f21/craigslist-alternative-uk-6169/
are what I'd try. BobF>

Dogface puffer missing his tail    11/4/12
Hello WWM,
I have been searching your site of late but have not been able to identify exactly what is going on with my Dogface Puffer. The puffer is about 3.5 inches long and resides in a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium. His tankmates are a Maculosus Angel, an Annularis Angel, a Lunare Wrasse, a Maroon Clown, a Flame Hawkfish, and a Coral Beauty. He is fat, active at feeding time and at night, eats just about everything I put in the tank, and seems to be pretty healthy with the exception of his tail.
My puffer looks like someone chewed off his tailfin.
<Might have... it wouldn't have disappeared on its own... The prime suspects are the large angels and Premnas>
From what I can tell he does not have fin rot, as his entire tailfin is gone. There appears to be rather extensive tissue damage (ragged, torn tissue), although I have never seen another fish biting or harassing him.
<Going on when you're not looking>
Does this sound like a bacterial infection/Finrot, or is it more likely the result of aggressive behavior from a tankmate?
<Almost assuredly the latter>
Should I be worried about a secondary infection from the tissue damage?
<Not if the animal is eating/healthy and there's no evidence otherwise; but it should be moved elsewhere, lest it be the recipient of further harassment>
The puffer's behavior seems very normal, but his tail really looks horrible. Is there anything I should be doing other than regular water changes and providing a proper diet?
<Move it; or the perpetrator/s>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stars and stripes puffer, comp.      10/6/12
Hi guys, I have a question about the stars and stripes puffer and their compatibility with lion fish, I have had both a puffer and 3 fuzzy dwarf lions in my tank for almost a year and was horrified when earlier I saw my 6 inch s&s puffer munching in half one of my lions,
<Mmm, yes... not actually uncommon>
I'm not to sure if the lion was dead or not before he ate him in half but in pretty worried for the safety of the other lions & all my other fish, they are in a 187 gallon tank which I just upgraded to a few weeks ago so their is no problem with space but this has got me worried, I don't want to lose any more fish so could anyone tell me what I should do, I've kept marines for 5 years and have never had this happen with any fish, any help would be great.
<Do? Well, be aware that this large Tetraodont can and will bite/consume slow fishes, invertebrates (have seen/photographed them eating Seastars, crustaceans, mollusks in the wild). Bob Fenner>

Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12
Dear all,
I have a beautiful, 6 inch dog face puffer fish in a 400 litre plus tank with two bird nose wrasses (one male, one female) and a spots and stripes puffer.
<Yikes... this tank size is just about minimal for the first three... but the latter needs more than twice this size just for its self ultimately>

  They have all shared the tank from new for approximately six months without any real issues.  For reasons above my expertise, I encountered what I think was a PH crash that contributed to a flare up of Ich.
<Happens; environmental (along w/ nutritional et al.) issues are often triggers of such outbreaks>
  I have been treating the whole tank using the hypo salinity method, raising the temperature to eighty-two degrees.
<... see WWM re. This approach works very rarely>
 I have gradually reduced the temperature back to the optimum levels now and I am happy to report all fish have responded well. A couple of days ago I noticed that the dog face puffer had started to display aggressive behaviour towards the other fish and also toward me when approaching the tank.
<I suspect the sub-clinical Crypt presence is irritating this fish>
 I have had to segregate him from the others to reduce the risk of injury to all inhabitants.  I have covered his section of the tank to allow him to hopefully settle down.  Can anyone offer me some clues as to what may be going on as I am not a fish psychologist and cannot figure out for the life of me why his temperament should have changed so dramatically.
<Well, puffers, actually most all members of their order
(Tetraodontiformes) are "unpredictable"... can/do "cross the line"...>
Salinity is currently 0.011, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Ammonia 0, PH 8.1, Temperature 79 degrees.
Kind regards
&<I encourage you to read (on WWM, elsewhere) re other approaches to Crypt treatment... perhaps boost all's immune systems, add a useful treatment to foods (quinine compound/s)... The hypo is hard on the fishes and won't eliminate the parasite. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

Thank you very much for your quick response.  I have now (today) started the slow arduous process of increasing the salinity back to optimum parameters, but the fish in the first instance seemed to have responded extremely well, no spots on body for near on two weeks (not to say they will not reappear as I have read several times to maintain low salinity for 3 to 4 weeks) and all seem perkier.
<A three-four week exposure to "lower" specific gravity shouldn't mal-affect most marine fishes; longer I wouldn't do, but have friends (e.g. notably Lance Ichinotsubo, co-author of a recent book on marine fish health/disease, and owner-operator of a aquarium service co.) who do keep their spg low all the time for their non-invertebrate saltwater systems>
However by the time I have raised the salt back it will have been approximately that length of time so here's putting the theory to the test.
I did however combine this with two fresh water dipping sessions in Cuprazin to try and get rid of the little nasties on the skin but since this contains copper I did this carefully and with a great deal of reluctancy, hence only two dips. With reference to the tank ( not to shoot the shops (deliberately plural)), this was the size they recommended I was also going to have a porcupine at the time but decided against it due to their temperament (sounds like a good job I did). I have read many of your blogs in my pursuit for knowledge and yesterday read some correspondence referring to a book that you have written.  Could you please provide me with the title so I may make a purchase.
<I have penned a few, but the one you refer to is almost certainly "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist"; the only such in-print work I've been involved in that went to a second edition>
 I have just two questions remaining at this point. Firstly even though I have read many reports regarding the effectiveness of hypo salinity why do you consider this to be of no use?
<Mmm, not of "no use", but disappointingly of very low "success rate"... In almost all cases, the Cryptocaryon et al. return in time>
Secondly but more importantly what size of aquarium would you recommend for my little ones as I feel reluctant (the spots and stripes is only 3" long at the moment, and I am being generous at that) to let any of them go and do not really fancy multiple aquariums (my living room is just not big enough I'm afraid).
<IF planning on keeping this large Tetraodont for the long/er haul (years), I'd be planning on a 200 gal./800 litre for a year or so from now... and something even larger still for years going forward. I have seen this species attain eighteen inches in length in captivity and two feet in the wild. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

I have managed to locate your book, it was really easy to find too.  Will be purchasing one today.  Can you recommend the best reference options available to date for diagnosing disease ( in particular puffer) or is there  a section dedicated to this in your book as this is not detailed in it's description?
<Mmm, yes. Ed Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment". Pricey in print, but am given to understand it can be downloaded as an e-book for reasonable cost. BobF>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

Thank you for your assistance thus far.  I will also purchase this item too. Mr. dog face seems to be more settled today. I am beginning to think that his tantrums predominantly seem to relate to feeding time as he normally interacts with all his tank mates very well. Since he has been separated from the others he no longer needs to compete for food, hence an upturn in his temperament is being observed.  I suppose time and further observations will tell. This little chap has always been happy to see me and eats from my fingers on a daily basis. He also seems to enjoys a tickle or two when I am cleaning the tank which includes sitting in my hand, aah!
I really hope he returns to his former self soon as I miss the interaction.
 I will be looking for a bigger QT tank than I currently have as a more permanent back up in case he starts to behave aggressively again when placed back into his usual quarters.  It would be a shame to permanently isolate him though.
Any further comments you have will be greatly appreciated.
<None at this time>
Kind regards
<Cheers, B>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    10/1/12

Thought you might like an update on my dog face puffer.  He has now been returned to his tank mates and the salinity is being progressively increased.  I am pleased to say that his tantrums ( probably not tantrums) now seem to have subsided and he is feeding from my hand again.  He looks a lot happier now.  I have been feeding all the fish with a multi vitamin and happy to report that to date no signs of Ich can be detected on any fish. I would like to thank you for all your support during this stressful time.  I would also like to ask if you could recommend a tropical fish book for my daughters boyfriend as he has also acquired the fish bug and has just purchased a 3" tank of his own.
<Mmm, there are a few: For freshwater I take it? Please refer him to here:
For marine, I'm partial to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist">
 I am not too bothered about the price as quality of information is of more important. I would like to give this as an Xmas gift.
<Ahh! Excellent choice. Bob Fenner>
Karen B

Guineafowl Puffer, fdg., comp.    8/22/12
I recently added a Guineafowl Puffer to my tank. He's been eating well and hunting for things to eat since I put him in. I'm not worried about his health but I do have a question. Today, I noticed he was pooping out some  Chaetomorpha Algae. Is this normal?
<Not abnormal>
 I've never had any fishes eat it in bunches. It seems like he ate quite a lot as he was going at it for some time. I've been feeding him; Krill, Clams, Muscles, Silversides, and he's ate some Coral frags that I had in the tank. Thanks for the help!
<Puffers (like myself) are opportunistic omnivores... and this one, very much so... eats quite a bit, and grows quite large. Bob Fenner>

dogface with Firefish      8/14/12
I have a Firefish, Naso & sailfin tangs, pink tail trigger, 2 clowns, Foxface, melanurus wrasse, molly in an 187 gal. tank (plus a coral beauty still in QT). I'm thinking about getting a dogface. I'm wondering what's the probability of it eating the Firefish. Thanks, Adrian
<The puffer and trigger might eat a Microdesmid, Molly, and the Clowns.
Probability... maybe .5 over time. Bob Fenner>

Stars and Stripes Puffer/Puffer Compatibility 12/22/11
Hi there everyone, Its Jim again.
<Hello Jim>
I was up at my lfs yesterday. They had a Stars and stripe puffer there. He is about 1.5". I know what kind of eaters these guys are, and how fast they grow. I have a 180, and still currently looking for a 250 or bigger. This is probably a really dumb question. I was thinking of putting him in my 180, but the problem is I have snails, shrimp, and crabs. Do you think if he got put in there being as small as he is he will not kill my Invertebrates?
<I wouldn't chance it.  Odds are your inverts will slowly disappear.>
Is there any record of a puffer not eating Invertebrates?
<None that I know of.  I might add that this species of puffer is not the easiest to care for.  I'd make sure it was eating good before I brought it home.>
 I have a blue throat trigger and he literally wears a halo, but I also know if he does not get fed well, he will find other ways to eat. I hope you are all ready for the holidays,
<I'm ready.  James (Salty Dog)>

Henis terrorizing a Tetraodontid    11/21/11
I Have 3 Heni Butterflies in a 400 gallon tank nipping the fins off of a Huge "floating Head" Stars and stripes puffer. I think they may be cleaning him to death. Have you heard of this before?
<Mmm, yes... or driving away a potential predator>
DO you have any suggestions?
<Yes; they have to be separated. The sooner the better>
I have treated for Flat worms and Bacteria and the fish still pick???
Helpless in Detroit...
<No use treating. Move out one or the other. Bob Fenner>

Dragon Wrasse and Dogface Puffer. Comp. rdg.    6/15/11
Hi WWM crew,
I have the 2 above named fish in a FOWLR.
I know they will eat small inverts but was wondering if there was anything that neither fish would harm
<... in the way of? Please read re both species (Compatibility FAQs) on WWM. Please read here re:
I`ve done some research and was thinking maybe a few mushrooms to brighten up the rock.
<These would likely be left alone>
Also how would a large Tiger Cowry or Tuxedo Urchin fare ?
<Too likely poorly>
Any other suggestions appreciated ?
<For you to read what is archived on the site>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11
<Hello Gary>
I have a Dogface Puffer in a FOWLR and this week was giver <given> a cleaner wrasse. Yes he`s very annoying.
Been reading the solutions on your pages.
Struggling to catch wrasse and don't want to lose puffer.
Might the behaviour quieten <quiet> down with time ?
The wrasse eats greedily out of the water column so will he start to leave the puffer alone or must he be removed ?
I have a reef tank with 3 Tangs in ....Would the wrasse be better in there if I can catch him. I already have cleaner shrimp in that one...Would that be a problem ?
<Gary, based on your information, the Cleaner Wrasse is likely trying to "clean" the puffer and will cause no harm. Although rarely offered in the trade, you very well could have a False Cleaner Wrasse (Aspidontus taeniatus) which mimics the Cleaner Wrasse but instead of servicing an infected fish, it actually removes small hunks of flesh from the fish. If so, I would remove this fish.
See here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sabertoothblens.htm.>
Thanks and regards
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11- 2/12/11

Thanks James,
<You're welcome, Gary.>
Yes I am aware of the mimic (Blenny ?) but this is the wrasse.
He is trying to clean puffer but is really stressing him. Going a really dark grey colour at times.
Sorry a bit vague earlier but Bob Fenner wrote in your puffer pages that the wrasse and puffer are not compatible as the puffer`s skin is quite tender and the constant attention of the wrasse is too much so one or other should be removed.
I meant I didn't want to rehome puffer and can't catch the wrasse at present to rehome him.
I have seen film of them together in the wild but was really just wondering if the wrasse would not clean quite so much if well fed anyway.
Maybe when settled things would improve.
Hope this is clearer.
<Yes, it is. I originally answered this query based on Cleaner Wrasse behavior. Puffers are definitely not my area of expertise and I will ask Bob to comment here on your above statement.
And thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
<<Ah yes. Labroides in small volumes, with "few customers" can be very bothersome; particularly as Gary points out w/ fishes such as smooth puffers, with their delicate skin. I would be separating these two. Bob Fenner>>
Puffer/Cleaner Wrasse Query
Hi Bob,
Would you please look at the query in the draft folder and comment.
I answered what I could but hoping you can comment on the gent's referral to something you wrote re puffer/Cleaner Wrasse compatibility.
Thank you, Bob,
Puffer/Cleaner Wrasse Query
Hi Bob,
<Ahh, have done so James. B>
Would you please look at the query in the draft folder and comment.
I answered what I could but hoping you can comment on the gent's referral to something you wrote re puffer/Cleaner Wrasse compatibility.
Thank you, Bob,
James Puffer/Cleaner Wrasse Query
Oops, forgot to mention, I did not send the query out.
Oops, forgot to mention, I did not send the query out.
<I also did this... B, of at times, strong intuition>
Re: Puffer with wrasse
Thank you very much!!
<Thank you James>
Re Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11- 2/12/11- 2/13/11
Thanks James and Bob,
<You're welcome, Gary.>
Yes I have decided I want to remove wrasse and return him to LFS.
Any tips on catching him?
<Hee, hee. Definitely a net in each hand, try to corner/trap. Do read here as well.
I am the worst fish catcher in history.
<Next to me.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11- 2/12/11- 2/13/11- 2/14/11

Thanks again James....
<You're welcome, Gary.>
Read the fish catching pages.
Was thinking to move my live rock and leave about a quarter of the tank free ...move the wrasse to that end with food then block it off.
Just read about the fish trap made from a soda bottle.
Which method do you think would be best for this fish.
If using the trap , would I just put the normal frozen food floating in bottle.
<I would start with the least disruptive. Try the bottle first, wrasses are very inquisitive and it may just go in to nose around. If that fails, your above method would be my next bet. I've been in this hobby over 30 years and the only easy fish I ever caught was a dead one.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11- 2/12/11- 2/13/11- 2/14/11
Thanks James....Sounds best route to me too.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Puffer With Wrasse/Labroides/Compatibility 2/11/11- 2/12/11- 2/13/11- 2/14/11- 2/15/11
Hi James,
<Hello Gary>
Just a final thank you.
Trap was set at 12 o clock and fish was residing in LFS by 2.
<I'll be darn, good for you!>
Used a slightly smaller bottle than suggested as wrasse was a lot smaller than other fish and it worked a treat.
The fact he was so nosey helped too.
<Yes, very inquisitive.>
Thanks again and thanks to EricR for the written article.
<Will pass along to Eric.>
Best regards
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Gary and Percy the happy Puffer.

Puffer compatibility  1/26/11
I have read the articles on Puffers and was still not clear on this.
Would a Golden Puffer get along with a Dalmatian Puffer in a 250 gallon tank.
<Likely so>
I already have the Golden Puffer, and he is very passive towards other fish, however he is the only puffer. I may be mistaken but I think they are both Arothron nigropunctatus.
<Can be; yes. There is a danger in using "just" common appellations>
Your clarification here is greatly appreciated. In an article on WWM by John Champlin it appears he indicates this passive family can be housed with other puffer species, but can it be housed if the Golden and Dalmatian are the same family?
<Yes... in most cases. There is some individual variability; greatly discounted w/ (larger) space>
Thank you for your continued dedication to the hobbyist.
<Is our place. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer won't eat   1/21/11
Hey crew
I recently purchased (almost 24 hours ago) a Dogface puffer. He/she's about 3" long including the tail and is in with a harlequin Tuskfish (4.5"), niger trigger(4"),
<May not "get along" with this fish>
goldbar wrasse(5") and a yellow tang who is 6"
<Nor this>
in a 150 gallon tank(US) with protein skimming. The yellow tang threatens the puffer when he/she(the puffer) goes near the tang's territory with his acanthus. Also the puffer won't eat anything. I know he/she probably won't eat anything in the next 24 hours when you acclimate them but also seems to have slightly overgrown teeth. The reason I assume this is because he/she goes to the side of the tank and seems to be "biting" the glass or his/her reflection.
<Likely interacting w/ its reflection... but perhaps trying to escape>
The others don't bother him/her. Also when the yellow tang threatens him/her, his/her tail goes to the side of the body, like a submissive gesture I suppose.
Thanks a bunch!
<... this fish really needs to be put elsewhere... At least for now. See WWM re the family, en toto.
Bob Fenner> 

Adding a Dogface Puffer? 1/13/11
Hey fellas,
<And gals Connor>
I am wondering if I could add a Dogface puffer. I have a 150 gallon aquarium with a 40 gallon sump(don't know if it matters),
<Oh, it does!>
approximately 160 lbs. of live rock, a protein skimmer and lots of flow. My livestock is a Yellow Tang (6"), Harlequin Tuskfish (4.5"), Niger trigger (4" including tail lobes) and a goldbar wrasse (5"). The tank has been setup for a year now.
<Should fit in behaviorally... I do hope you have sufficient filtration, maintenance...>
Thank you
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

puffer & trigger compatibility?   12/21/10
Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!
<And to you and yours Nick>
First off, I want to apologize if you received this e-mail numerous times; my computer is being temperamental! That said, I always value the advice I receive and read on your site and today, am in need of some advice. I have been volunteering at a local fish store (primarily with marketing, not selling the fish) and have grown quite attached to two of the fish there; a Dog-face puffer (small '¦at the moment) and a blue throat trigger (also small for now). Both of these fish have been in the store for about two months and I am strongly considering 'adopting' them to put in my 90 gallon (just live rock and a few damsels at the moment however, the tank would be devoted solely to these two fish and perhaps a dwarf angel or
maroon clown).
<Should all get along... The Clown being the more aggressive/territorial>
My first question is rather or not these two fish are compatible with each other?
<Yes; a high likelihood>
Secondly, shouldn't they (especially the puffer for his 'teeth') be eating crustaceans?
<This, or other "hard" foods, yes>
I have been feeding both of these fish for the past month and they will only eat pellets, frozen muscles (cubes), and Krill. I have tried feeding them crab legs from the grocery store, whole muscles, and small live inverts, but they want nothing to do with any of that. I have read that it is important for puffer fish to eat hard foods to keep their teeth from overgrowing; how can I coax him (I have also tried adding garlic to these foods)?
<By keeping at offering a mix of "shelled" foods>
Lastly, I was reading a section about puffer fish bites. Is it typical for them to be aggressive toward their owners?
<Mmm, not usually>
Both the puffer and the trigger I have been caring for eat food from my hand and when they see me,
they swim to the water's surface and let me 'pet' them (which makes me want them that much more)'¦is this abnormal of these fish?
<Not unheard of>
Thank you for your advice,
~ Nick
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

puffer and shark compatability 6/7/10
Hello crew! I recently noticed a small mappa puffer in a LFS and decided to research. I had a. Stars and stripes puffer before and had it with a med horn shark with no problems. After doing the research and watching the fish for a few days I decided to get it. I was thrilled to bring it home and after acclimating it in to my 240g with my small male horn shark (the 720g is in the works) he swam around a bit but then almost immediately after swimming by my shark began to bite him and went for his eyes. I quickly removed the puffer with no damage done! However I was wondering if there was anything I could do to keep him or simply take him back? Any advice? He is currently in a 55g QT system and doing well. I really want to keep him but I can't if he means risking my sharks health. What should I do? Any puffers I could try? Again I had a stars and stripes before with no issues but I guess its hit and miss like with some triggers. Any advice would help. Thanks Andre
<I say return the puffer... The danger that the shark might go after it is too great IMO. Bob Fenner>

Dogface puffer, sys., comp. of Rhinecanthus...  3/2/10
<Hello Erica>
I really need your help I have a 200 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump a commercial protein skimmer because my Dogface Puffer makes a mess in my tank
<Yes, indeed!>
but with the commercial skimmer which is huge it makes a big difference.
list of tank mates
Dogface Puffer
Banded Goby
Powder Tang
Clown 3"
Well I was given as a gift a Humu Trigger 1.5" <too small IMO> my question is will this fish do ok in my tank without hurting my 5" Puffer all of my water specs are perfect
<Really? If you know they are perfect, then you must know the numbers, so writing them down should not take too long at all...>
I test my water every day. <? Diligent indeed! I only test every two weeks!> My tank has been setup for 3 yrs.
<Mmm, I would be wary of putting these two together. It is far more likely to get picked on by the Puffer at this size than the other way around. You might be ok, but at the very least you are looking at some serious food input/ outputs (and the related issues associated with this) once these fishes reach the 8 inch or so mark... not too long down the road either. I would think twice about this one.>
<No problem, Simon>

Multiple Puffers, Tetraodont comp.    1/18/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Andrew>
I just want to begin by saying that I truly enjoy the site, I've gained valuable information and I learn something new every time I visit. Anyhow onto the good stuff, I 'rescued' a 12" - 14" Stars and Stripes puffer from my LFS that had been in a 12" wide 37 gallon tank
for over 2 years, currently he's in my 55 gallon tank which I know is WAY too small for him but definitely a step up from where he was, I'm just waiting for the 215 gallon tank to finish cycling and he'll be moving in there. The 215 gallon tank measures 72.5x24x30 has dual 600 gph overflows for a total of 1200 gph, which flows into a 61x18x18 tall sump that contains a AquaC EV240 protein skimmer, LR and LS, and is returned to the tank via a Dolphin 3200/2700 pump with a valve to tame it's output, also next to the sump is a refugium that is fed by the Dolphin pump and flows back into the sump. In the tank there is 150+ lbs of LR and almost an equal amount of live sand, as well as two Koralia Magnum 8 powerheads for supplemental circulation. Now moving onto the question, the Stars and Stripes puffer is very happy and even wags his tail and almost smiles when I bring food in front of the tank, he has a great personality and doesn't seem to bother the other fish, I've fell in love with the Map Puffer and really want to get one, would they be okay together?
<If there's sufficient room, should be. Have seen these, other Tetraodonts together in captivity>
If so, should I try and find a larger one so that the size difference isn't too great between them?
<Better if so>
There will also be a few other fish such as a small school of Green Chromis, a pair of Black Clownfish, a lawnmower blenny, Blue Hippo Tang and possibly a few others, I'm also going to try and have snails as long as they don't get eaten, but if they do it'll be a nice little snack! I know that the Bio load is going to be extreme with 2 puffers if it's possible so do you think that the filtration can handle the load?
<Better to add some "redundant" capacity, gear...>
Along with regular maintenance of course! I apologize for my long winded email, I just wanted to include as much information as possible so that you guys could get a somewhat clear picture! Thanks again for all of your contributions to the hobby!
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner> 

Questions... Tetraodont comp.,  1/14/10
Hello There:
<Hi to you Zak>
First off, thank you so much for this site! I use it all of the time and it has been extremely helpful!
I just started off my 75 gallon tank with 80 pounds of live rock about 5 months ago. I currently have 2 Large Percula Clownfish, a Dog Face Puffer, a small African Dwarf Lionfish and a Huge Blue Starfish. They all get along just fine with each other!
<Thus far... The Lion may have a hard time getting food when the puffer is larger... and it may bite the Star>
However, I've been having a couple issues. My puffer is eating all of my snails and crabs, which I knew would happen.
<Ah yes>
Anyways, my tank is starting to get that nasty look to it due to the algae growth...which is most likely due to the diminishing population of my snails and crabs. Also, my puffer has been nipping at the ends of my starfish...which I read he wouldn't do so.
<Ah no... it will>
Is there a possible cleaning crew that I can place in my tank, that won't be bothered by my puffer?
<Mmm, your hand, tools...>
Are there any types of snails, conchs, crabs, urchins, clams or starfish out there that will work out?
<Not really, no>
I really do love this guy, but he seems to be eating everything, which is polluting my tank!
<Better filtration, circulation... maybe a trade in...>
Also, what kind of other fish would make excellent tank mates with this puffer?
<Please read on WWM re>
I want to keep him, but I'm also trying to expand my tank life.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
~Zak Johnson~
<Be reading, chatting, Bob Fenner>

Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Greetings and Happy Holidays to the Crew!
<Hello Audreylee, and the same to you.>
I have a 10 inch long Stars and Stripes Pufferfish who first of all does not interpret a white flag as a sign of surrender.
I tried to clean the front of my tank with a simple wet washcloth and his spikes began to show and his size increased. Simple word of warning to Puffer owners. But I am in need of removing very unsightly (and still a little meaty) clam shells from my aquarium. The rest of my fish are primarily herbivorous and have shown no signs of helping me out. I've been shopping and have been unable to find suitable gloves to protect the little bit of my hand that goes in with the net and when I try to put seaweed clips in my aquarium. The sort that are thin plastic are easily to find but I need something that will GREATLY reduce the chance of a rather bloody looking aquarium.
<I am not aware of any glove that is 'puffer resistant' and would not leech either metals or other potential toxins into the water. Simplest is not to use gloves at all, but rather keep your hands out of the tank as much as possible. I would suggest aqua-tongs:
They come in different lengths and are very useful in getting things out of the tank easily.
Also a fan worm question, will my puffer eat the largest of fan worms? Half an inch in diameter or more?
<Yes, and then beg for more.>
<We have a small section on bites here for you to peruse.:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/woundbitef.htm >
Thank you!
<My pleasure>
Re: Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Thanks for the fast reply!
<Hi Audreylee>
After reading the bit of information there it spurred a question into my head. Supposing I do get bitten doing whatever, how do I best coax my puffer to let go of whatever he bites?
<Generally, they will let go on their own (and with puffers, taking a small piece of you with them). That said, the worst thing you can do is to jerk your hand away quickly - that will only make the bite worse.>

My Two Favorite Fish
Dog-Faced Puffer Compatibility -- 10/19/2009

Hey Bob, (or whoever happens to get this)
<Hey Tyler! JustinN here, for the great and mighty Bob! (You'd think he'd be full of ego with all the boosting us volunteers do around here! ;)>
Have a quick question. Under any possible Circumstances do you think it is possible to house my two favorite fish? A Dog Faced Puffer and a Jawfish (no specific species of Jawfish)
<If the tank is large enough, I would think it could work -- the puffer is more likely to occupy the upper half of the tank, so their paths wouldn't likely cross real often once established.>
I was thinking with a deep enough sand base and a elaborate Rock aquascape, that would provide the Jawfish with enough cover to build a comfortable home while not pestering the Puffer?
<This sounds about right, but again, the caveat here is going to be tank size -- the Dog-faced Puffer can get up to 16 inches, so you'd need a very sizable tank to fit it comfortably -- would be a pretty lonely tank with only a Jawfish and a puffer! ;)>
Bob, your book is great! i read it cover to cover over a weekend with my highlighter! Thanks so much!
<It really is one of the best reference books around, isn't it? Let us know if you have any more questions! -JustinN>

Puffer ques., incomp. with large angel   12/22/08 HI, I have a 10" Mapp puffer that has been picked on by a juv emp. angel that recently joined him in the tank. <Happens...> The angel used to just pick at him once in a while, but it has gotten drastically worse. <These animals need to be separated. Stat!> The puffer's belly is now riddled with eraser sized bites that look like they are becoming infected. I moved him to the fug' , and he is still eating, but I am worried. I will make up a quarantine tank tomorrow. <Is this larger than the refugium? If not I would not move this fish... too likely to be even more stressful, polluted...> With out looking at the fish, can you give me some insight as to what my next step should be? A dip of some sort? <Mmm yes... and no dip. Just time going by in better circumstances> The display tank is too big to treat and filled with live rock. Because he is eating and not showing any signs of distress, I don't want to treat with anything too severe, I just need a plan of attack, as to divert any chances of this becoming worse. Thanks, Marc <Another happier place. Bob Fenner>

Livestocking/Lessons learned... Tetraodont Puffer, clean-up-crew palatability/incompatibility    12/15/08 Happy Holidays Folks, I know the answers to my questions are probably somewhere within this site... But I can't seem to find the section that sits you down and says, "It's okay, Jonny... It's a lot more work than you anticipated, but it IS worth it. Look how much you've learned, so far... Now, put the sledgehammer down". <Heee eee eee, yikes!> I had written a few weeks ago... You were very helpful in guiding me through a few situations: Overcame an imaginary bout with Crypt. I re-aquascaped and increased the depth in my sandbed to 5", in the display tank. Also increased the flow/turnover to about 20X. I also managed to kill a Foxface, Louti and Panther Groupers in the process, although the jury is out as to whether or not WWM is directly responsible for the tragedy (kidding). Since the deaths occurred in a Rubbermaid container and not in the tank... And since the Humu Trigger simply neglected to succumb to whatever killed the other fish (we never could quite figure this out - Myself and WWM, included)... And since all else was well in the tank... I decided to get some more fishes and Quarantine them (novel idea, eh?).Now when this journey began, I managed to convince my girlfriend to let me set up a little goldfish tank (I believe she may have been imagining a 10g). Through much further convincing/rationalizing/begging/negotiating, we ended up with the current 100g, 30g wet/dry sump, AquaC Remora, 100+lbs LR... She didn't like Corals or really Invertebrates. So, it was to be FOWLR. Then she saw the algae bloom. LFS set us up with two Electric Blue Hermits (this was when we had tiny Humu, Foxface, and the two Groupers. No problems with compatibility (Yet... Humu was 1 1/2"). Then we added three jumbo Turbo Snails. Girlfriend loves them. We also had a nice colony of Zoanthids that showed up as hitchhikers on LR. Then we lost the Groupers and Foxface. So, after Quarantine and verifying Tank was stable (still is - 0 for Ammonia and Nitrite, PH 8.2 and Nitrates about 10ppm), we added the one fish I truly, truly wanted... A 4" Striped Dogface Puffer. And a new 3" Panther Grouper. And a 4" Bi-Colored Goatfish. Now, the Humu is just about 2". Here's my problem... Although I was not planning on being entirely dependent on a "Clean-up Crew" for aesthetic maintenance, the benefit of those Snails was immediately apparent. And My Girlfriend has become quite fond of the Hermits. Just in case you didn't see this coming... It took the Puffer two days to find the Coral Polyps. To say that Puffers "May nip Corals" is a tad understating, in my new-found experience... Entire chunks of rock have been bitten clean off. <Ah yes> My dreaded Aiptasia (that I have not quite come to dread, yet), all gone. And, of course, the real carnage was yet to come... I awoke this morning to find a pile of Electric Blue Hermit appendages scattered across the sand. Also, a Turbo snail that had been only moderately sampled, but is still in tact. Now, I have no problem sticking with Plan A - FOWLR... A Puffer, Grouper, Trigger and a Goatfish. Heck, I may even throw in a small shoal of Striped or Domino Damsels and have a nice, well-rounded SOB-OWLR. But she likes (liked) the Hermits and the Snails. And so did I. I also wanted a Cleaner Shrimp , but that ain't a'happenin in this here arrangement. So, I guess my question is, do I get rid of the Puffer? <Likely so... or... another tank/system!> Try not to look at this just as an Aquarist, but also a conscientious boyfriend... And if I do return him, am I going to end up in the same boat as the Trigger grows in size and attitude? <Perhaps so... but less likely to a degree> By the way, so far, he has not displayed any aggression towards any fish or invertebrates... Unless you count the vendetta against the oblivious Goatfish. I am waiting to see if either the Goat will learn to stay away from the Triggers cave or the Trigger will give up on asserting himself. Am I wrong in waiting this out? <Mmm, no... these fishes are capable of said learning> There is clearly some one-sided hate going on here. I don't know what to do. Toss a coin? Two tanks of any significant size is not an option. <Rats!> Sorry, again, for incorporating my personal problems. Any arbitrary advice would be greatly appreciated. Jonny <I'd trade the puffer in likely... Bob Fenner>

Arothron + Echinoid; no guesses for what happens next...  9/9/08 Hello WetWeb crew, <Hi,> i seem to be having a slight problem. my dogface puffer keeps taking bites out of my urchin. <Natural diet of these fish. Sea urchins are to pufferfish what mice are to cats.> i kept waving my hand in front of the glass whenever the puffer got close to him again but obviously i cant sit at the tank all day waving my hand. <Indeed not.> i like the puffer a lot and i also happen to like this urchin a good deal. the urchin has since covered itself in crushed liverock and seems to be hiding in the corner. should i be worried at all? <Well, "worried" is not perhaps the word I'd use. Arothron hispidus eats echinoderms, and indeed any and all mobile invertebrates. He'll thoroughly enjoy the tasty innards of the urchin, especially the ovaries which have a delightful texture and flavour. If you're concerned that the sea urchin shouldn't be viewed as live food, it will obviously need to be re-homed.> thanks for the help, -josh <One of those instances where reading before purchasing would have helped. Most any book should have made clear that combining Tetraodontiformes with the Echinodermata was asking for trouble (at least from the perspective of the sea urchin!). Cheers, Neale.>

Eel <comp.> and Dissolved Oxygen Problems. -- 8/8/8 Hi Crew, <Hello Adam.> Let me thank you in advance for the great site and your help with my concerns. I have scoured over your FAQs but haven't found the answers to my question. I'm a relative newbie to the marine aquarium hobby and have certainly made more than my fair share of mistakes thus far. I cycled my tank for six weeks with live rock and have had fish in there for a little more than five weeks. So my tank is almost three months old. I have had two weeks of hell with my aquarium. I have resolved most issues so I will not waste your time going over everything that has happened. I have two main concerns I need help with, but will go over the basics first. Set-up: 100 gallon FOWLR tank 2 Emperor 400 Filters 65 lbs of live rock 100lbs of sand Inhabitants: 2ft zebra moray eel 10in snowflake eel 1 1/4in dwarf lionfish <Might become prey to the snowflake, when it gets older.> 1 1/4in fu man chu lionfish 3/4in sphex lionfish 1in flame angel 2in starry-eyed puffer <Arothron stellatus? Not recommended for any tank smaller than 1000 (one thousand) gallons. This fish can reach 30 inches for sure and was even reported at almost 50 inches in nature.> 3 1/2in giant Hawkfish <When all these fish grow it will be too much for your tank. You'll likely run into water quality and stress problems.> Water Conditions: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = 15ppm PH = 8.1 Temp = 78-81F relatively constant Problem #1 Yesterday morning on my way out to work I saw my dog whining next my aquarium. I look in the tank and my zebra moray eel is not in there. Somehow he figured out how to get out of the tank, and probably fell about four feet onto hard tile. (I have since thoroughly secured my lid) <Good, that's recommended for all moray eels and most other eel shaped fishes.> My guess is he was out of the water for at least an hour but I don't know exactly. To my surprise he was still alive all be it a bit dried up and dirty. Anyways, I grabbed him ran some fresh water from the faucet over him to remove dirt and dead skin from him. He lost a lot of skin and slime. I put him back in the tank and had to go to work. When I got home he was still alive. Actually all things considered not doing too bad. He is obviously very stressed and isn't moving around much at all, but he is able to move. Considering the skin loss he hasn't lost much color, and eyes look fine. Only the very tip of his tail is whitish probably dead skin I could easily remove but I've been trying to just leave him alone and relax. All day yesterday he was breathing very heavily. Today his breathing seems to have returned to about normal. Although he is able to move, parts of his body don't look quite right. I fear he may have some internal injuries from the fall. I'm optimistic he is going to pull through, but cant be certain. <You did everything right and also your dog seems to be educated very well, because he did not kill or carry away the eel.> Yesterday I did a 25 gallon water change so I could vacuum up any excess dead skin in tank and also I figured his recovery would be aided by as high quality of water as I could provide. <Very good.> The local fish store person advised that I put this stuff called Melafix Marine into the tank to help prevent a bacterial infection on his skin. I put the first dose in there yesterday but all the other fish seemed not to like it much. I guess my question is in your opinion do you think that I should continue with the Melafix treatment? After watching my other fish's reaction to it I'd prefer to just keep monitoring water conditions and do water changes as needed and discontinue the treatment. It says that stuff is all natural and safe to use in tank but after reading your site I'm very hesitant to add anymore of it. I would appreciate any advice you could offer on this situation. <The recovery can take several months, you'll need some patience. I would not rely on the product you are using, but rather on good water quality and, when he starts eating again (can take a while, he went through a lot of stress), a vitamin enriched, varied food.> Problem #2 For the past week or so I have been noticing that some of my fish seem to have a bit of laboured breathing. <I'm not surprised seeing your stocking list and setup.> My Hawkfish especially has been spending much of his time up near the surface and filters, also I notice the flame angel and the eels poking their heads out of the top of the water. So my concern is that my tank has poor dissolved oxygen levels. <You can bet so.> But with my eels I have to keep my tank lid tight and secure. <Right. People with morays in coral reef tanks and strong illumination often apply nets, eggcrate and meshes instead of lids.> I suspect that this may be the culprit of the poor oxygen. (Actually that may be the reason the eel escaped?) <Possible, but we'll never know for sure. Does it have enough shelter? Does the other moray or any other fish stress him out?> I really have no idea how to improve this being that I have to keep the lid closed tight. I tried putting my powerhead back in the tank to improve water flow but the currents are way to strong for my small fish. <You could get two or three smaller ones with large outlets like Koralia or Tunze NanoStream models. They'll produce a soft current, but still sufficient surface agitation.> Could you please advise me of the safest and most economical way to improve my dissolved oxygen content considering my lid issues. Is there any way to test for dissolved oxygen concentration? <Yes, dissolved oxygen can be tested (e.g. liquid test by Salifert), but usually you do not need this test. What I would do is: 1: Re-think the combination and number of fish in your tank. It should be reduced. I know this is no advice one wants to hear, but believe this will be inevitable to get a stable system in your case. 2: A skimmer will drastically increase the dissolved oxygen and also reduce the organic pollution, which additionally inhibits the uptake of oxygen into the blood of the fishes. I would modify the lid to be able to use a skimmer or install an overflow and a refugium/sump with a skimmer (see WWM re). The second possibility would be more expensive, but also more beneficial. 3. Small powerheads pointing towards the surface will increase surface agitation and consequently gaseous exchange. Small diagonally arranged holes in the back of the lid as well as opening the lid, when you are at home will help to exchange the air above the water.> Thank you again for all you help and hard work! Adam <I hope the suggestions above will help. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Eel and Dissolved Oxygen Problems. + a new problem, eel/puffer incomp. incident -- 8/9/08 Hello Again Crew <Hi Adam.> Thanks for the advice Marco. I'm trying to figure out what would be best to do. <You are welcome.> I had another big problem arise last night. While my zebra eel was relaxing and recovering last night my starry puffer (Yes, an Arothron stellatus) began viciously attacking his tail areas. <A common problem of puffer/Arothron combinations, especially when the moray becomes sick/weak.> It was not like a threat display he was biting him hard, as if he thought my eel was food. I immediately removed the puffer to a trash can and put a power head in there for overnight. That was extremely frustrating being that two have lived together for almost five weeks and have never had a problem. <That's not a long time. Let's talk about successful tank mates in a year and again in a few years.> While I would like to believe this was an isolated incident that will go away if I reintroduce the puffer, my gut tells me there is no way it will work in the future. <My gut agrees. There is no chance this fish will work in your tank.> And based on your advice here is my tentative plan. 1) Return the puffer to the LFS (eliminates aggression and stress for my other fish, also he eats the most and excretes the most so removing him will reduce the bioload on my system, and like you said he will grow to be giant sized so won't be suitable for my tank in the future anyways). <I absolutely agree with you. The puffer does not fit in there.> 2) Buy a protein skimmer and figure how to outfit my tank with it (Hopefully, help with water quality and dissolved oxygen issues you mentioned). <I'd first figure out how to outfit the tank and then buy an appropriate model. See WWM re different skimmer types and models. If you have the funds available go for a refugium/sump, this will give you the possibility to apply a DSB (deep sand bed, see WWM) and increase the water volume. Other skimmers will work too in terms of oxygen and protein removal.> Sound like a reasonable plan for the short term? <Yes.> With respect to my fish combination and bioload. Like you said, yes that is the most disheartening advice to hear as I love my fish I have. I am least willing to part with my zebra eel, Hawkfish (I realize at some point he will be too big for the tank but would prefer to keep him as long as possible) and my lionfish. So maybe just see how it goes with all my fish minus the puffer? Do you think with a skimmer the remaining fish could become a stable system? <Short term: yes, but long term (when your fish are grown): no. As you note the Hawkfish will have to go, and you likely will have to choose between keeping the snowflake eel and the dwarf lion and flame angel in the long run, although the latter combination might be solved by the snowflake eel itself when it reaches maturity. I guess the eel will leave the two slightly larger lion species alone, and although their stingers are a danger to the moray, this might work.> Thanks again for your input! Adam <Cheers, Marco.>

75g stocking question, Large Puffers 7/31/08 Is there any sort of stocking option for a 75g that would include a dogface puffer or Arothron manilensis (sp?)? <Arothron manilensis. Not in my opinion, too large, messy.> If so, are there any other fish I could place with it, as well? <Both of these are pretty even tempered for puffers, but I would still be wary of small fish.> I do plan on upgrading again (don't we all?!), but I don't want to bank on that. Who knows what tomorrow brings. <Right approach, stock for what you have now.> I have a 75g FOWLR (may try my hand w/ a few leathers, etc). <These puffers may sample corals.> Wet/Dry (w/ bioballs) - maybe soon to be 20g refugium, protein skimmer and 75-100 lbs live sand, and 75-100lbs of live rock. Please let me know. Thanks <I would wait until you have a larger tank, puffers are just too big and messy. Also due to puffer's high intelligence they need more room, stimulation, that what you can achieve in a 75.> <Chris>

Dog faced / Porcupine puffer, comp.  06/30/08 Hello, I have a 10cm dog faced puffer just finishing quarantine and going into my 900 gallon main tank. <Finally a Dogface puffer in a tank with sufficient size!> I have also bought a 25cm porcupine puffer which will of course be going into the quarantine tank once vacated by the doggie. In addition to the main tank, I have a 185 gallon tank on the same system. Will I be able to put the puffers together in the main tank or should I put one of them in the 185g tank? The main tank is very under stocked so there is a lot of room. <I am assuming your porcupine puffer is a Diodon holocanthus (?). Unless you have an unusually aggressive Porcupine puffer (or extremely nippy Dogface) they should get along fine in your main tank, especially since the larger fish is added last. I would certainly watch their first meetings and feedings, though.> Thanks again, James. <Cheers and good luck. Marco.>

Dogface Puffer Tank Size and Compatibility   4/22/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a question or two about a Yellowbelly Dogface Puffer.  These things are the coolest looking fish ever. <They sure are!> I was wondering what size tank this fish could live in when it was full grown.   <A minimum of 100g, but bigger would be better. This fish can get to be a good 12 inches in length and they are not only long but wide, sort of football shaped. Tank size would also depend on any other fish you decide to keep with your puffer. The more fish the bigger the tank needs to be.> Also I was wondering what size would work for about 4 years or when would he reach full size. <Well, that depends on how big he is now. I have seen some as small as an inch in the LFS and others to 6 inches and more. Growth rates vary depending on tank size, feeding schedules and amounts, tank temperature and water parameters.> Also if there are any bold enough fish to live with him when he is full grown. <Sure there are many to choose from...some of the Moray eels, Hawkfish,  Tangs, Triggerfish, Dwarf Angelfish, any of the bigger Blennies, a Harlequin Tuskfish, Wrasses, Filefish and one of the tougher Clownfish.> Thanks Mary <Your  welcome, Leslie

Dogface puffer, comp., sys.   - 04/20/07 Hi, <Morning> I've seen a 10"golden dogface puffer in my LFS, are these fish compatible with Ocellaris clown fish? <A puffer this size couldn't really be trusted with such an attractive meal> My set up consists of a 60" x 30" x 24"(144 us gallon) tank with 3 Aquamedic Biostarr filter/skimmers, an undergravel filter with power head, sander ozonizer and live rock. Currently I have only 2 ocellaris clown fish (about 2.5"), If I add the puffer fish would I be able to keep a Harlequin Tuskfish, and a large angel (either Emperor or Maculosus) as well? I don't want to make any expensive mistakes. <All of the fish listed, with exception of the Harlequin Tusk, would outgrow a tank of this size. The puffer would need at the very minimum a 180gallon tank, the Emperor; 280 gallons and around the same again for the Maculosus. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but these really are very large fish. I would look at some of the smaller tangs as any large Angel requires upwards of 250 gallons to sustain it for any measurable time> Thanks Kev <Sorry Kev, hope I've saved you a good sum of money though. Olly>        

Arothron and SPS - 5/2/2006 Hello All, <<Hello Craig.>> I am interesting in purchasing an all black Arothron nigropunctatus to place in a 200 gallon tank (after a vigorous 4 week quarantine period) with my other fishes. <<Sounds nice, and it's nice to hear QT!>> All my other fishes are reef safe, and my bioload will not be upset by this fish. <<OK<> Once he has been acclimated to his new diet (four daily mixed pellet feedings of Thera+A and Vita-Diet from two different auto feeders; 3 times weekly homemade frozen with Mysis, Cyclop-eeze, Natu-rose, Spirulina, Selcon, vita-chem, Nori, krill, plankton, squid and clams; live Mysis and copepods from refugium as well), I would give him at least 6 months to love his new diet. <<Do be sure not to over feed, and offer plenty of crunchy foods to wear down his dental plates.>> Then comes the idea that I have been playing around with--adding two or three different colored plating species of Montipora capricornis and a nice yellow specimen of Porites cylindrica (I do have the proper lighting and more than enough water movement).  I would appreciate any comments on chances of success, or modifications to improve on any chances of success.  I do not have to have these corals, but they are my favorite and it would be great to add them to my tank with all of my marvelous fishes. <<Corals and puffers together is always a gamble.  Some will chomp them to bits, others will never touch them.  The entire family is quite curious, and will sample/chomp on many things.  My best advice to you is to watch closely, and be prepared to choose one or the other, should a problem arise.  You may have better luck adding the Arothron after the corals, as to not highlight their addition/existence.  Also note that shrimps, bivalves, clams and such will more than likely fall prey to the puffer in no time.  All that said, ultimately it is up to the fish how tolerant/intolerant they are, and if you do decide to go this route, it's your job to be prepared to remove the puffer or the corals to other proper accommodations if need be.  Good luck my friend!>> Thank you for your comments.  I appreciate your time and knowledge. -Craig <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Nano Pack <lunch> 4/9/06 Hi my name is mason and i have a 27 gallon nano-cube with a dogface puffer, 2 left-footed hermit crab, and 1 margarita snail. I was wondering if i can buy this pack with;           Scarlet Hermit Crab:  5    Blueleg Hermit Crab:  5    Turbo/Astrea Snail:  10    Nassarius Snail:  5    Queen Conch - Aquacultured:  2 <Hello there Mason, I don't see why you couldn't get this pack.  Some have problems with a queen conch in a tank that small.  Do your research on them on the website and then you can make an education decision on if you want to risk it.  Other than that it seems a go.  Thanks, Jen S.? <<Jen... a Dogface Puffer in a 27 gallon nano tank? And... it will eat all these... assuredly. RMF who suspects you didn't see/register the Arothron here>>       Thank You               SOLD OUT Click her to contact the site owner about this product.             --> My puffer bit my eel  12/13/05 Hello wetweb. <Holy hello it's Michael Maddox with you today - have had zero time for 'ol WWM as of late :(> I'm hoping you can suggest some remedies to help my poor snowflake eel. He was burrowing under the rocks in the tank and   scraped himself up pretty good. Most of these wounds were healing, but the other day my stars and stripes puffer decided to bite him.   Now the poor eel has a couple of puffer mouth sized wounds on his back and they're not looking so great. Do you have any suggestions   for treating these wounds. I'm moving him to an isolation tank, but i think his wounds could use some more active treatment as opposed to hoping they heal. <I would treat him with a broad spectrum antibiotic (make sure to dose appropriately and do not cease treatment early per mfg instructions) and keep him well fed.  Provide him places to hide (PVC tubes work perfectly) and monitor the water quality carefully.  He should heal fine.  Might I recommend putting him in a separate aquarium, and\or finding one of them a new home in the future?  I can guarantee you this will happen again> thanks <Anytime> Dan <M. Maddox> Tang Injured  11/19/05 Hi, Can you please offer some advise for my Powder Brown Tang. Last night it was  bitten by my Stars and Stripes Puffer who is much larger. They both went for the same piece of food and the Tang was bitten in the mouth. Its mouth appears to be pushed over the side and deformed and bloody. <Not good> He immediately went to the back of the tank. This morning I put some flake in and he tried to eat but his mouth does not open nor is normal. It is pushed over to the side. Is there anything that can be done to save my Tang? Please help.  Thanks... Sherry <Not likely anything can be done... other than wait, hope for some "miracle" self-cure. Bob Fenner> 

Multi-Puffers 1/4/2005 Hello <Well Hiya there.> I was wondering if I could keep a Valentini Puffer, Green Spotted Puffer and a Stars and Stripes Puffer together in a 50 gallon saltwater aquarium with live rock, sand and crushed coral. Any suggestions would be appreciated thanks <Well I would surely omit the Stars and Stripes, the potential size of this creature alone warrants at least a 200 gallon tank. As far as the other two; you're at about the minimum tank size for them. And as compatibility goes they may or not get-along. In short it's a gamble as Toby can be quite nippy at times and I have met a few GSP's who are just downright nasty as far as aggression. Adam J.>

Re: dogface w/ clown trigger?  9/8/05 Thanks a ton for your help.... we went ahead and separated the two guys, I think it's better to be safe than sorry.  The Clown Trigger is alone in a 120g and the Dog Face Puffer is in another 120 with a couple clown fish (mated pr), a yellow tang, 6-line wrasse, and a Toby (Canthigaster jactator)**sp?.  these are the permanent homes... do you think the Dog Face will eventually need a larger aquarium? he's about 6-7" right now, but I've read / heard conflicting opinions on the proper aquarium size. you're the greatest! -Liz >>>Hello again Liz! I'm very happy to be of service to you! You should be fine with that tank. These fish rarely reach maximum size in captivity anyway. Cheers Jim<<< Reef and puffer  9/5/05 Hello gurus of the wet world! You folks are my saving grace and today I am in need of a rescue... if you will. I have a 70g FOWLR and am converting it to a reef.  It has been up for 18 months and all levels are fine. The question is????????? I have a sweet spotted puffer who does not eat snails or little fishes,  I never fed her live food, she even lets me pet her.  I would like to keep her in a reef environment.  Anything I should know? I can't seem to find any info on the subject. Help! Ellen <Is this a Toby... a Canthigaster species? If so, it may only take occasional small chunks out of sessile invertebrates, eat your smaller crustaceans, worms, and mollusks... a larger tetraodont species will be more problematical... eating more, and more randomly, as well as producing large amounts of waste. Bob Fenner> Re: reef and puffer  9/7/05 Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. The puffer in question is a Arothron nigropunctatus Yes, The waste is a large quantity. I am running a Eheim pro  and the tank is clear as a bell, there is also a skimmer that is rated for a 150g. I am thinking of hooking up my Eheim 2215 as a supplement or investing in a wet dry. if I have to........ <Will need more... filtration, aeration, circulation> Space is limited. SO Guru of the deep.. how will this species fair? Ellen <Likely to munch on some of your reef... as stated previously, crustaceans beware! Mollusks, worms... even cnidarians. Bob Fenner> Blackspot puffer... ?  8/24/05 Hello guys. First I wanted to say thank you for pointing out how pathetic most LFS's are. <They, we are "all just human"...>   I've been reading your site for months, and I'm glad to have found a reliable info source.  I do have one question that I haven't been able to find an answer.  Can 2 Blackspot puffers get along in the same aquarium? <What species is this?>   And one more question if I may... I have stopped purchasing fish all together for my LFS's with exceptions of rare finds...  I bought a Mappa Puffer... (we love puffers if you cant tell) and he didn't make it.... I'm assuming from the copper treatment the LFS provided before I could get to him...  The LFS assured me that he would be fine, so when I called back to let them know he didn't make it, they asked me my acclimation procedure...  I spent about 2 hours acclimating using roughly 15% water additions to the bag every 15 minutes until the volume doubled. Then dumped half and repeated the same process.  The LFS said that that's what caused his passing.... is that true? <Doubtful> Thank you for all the help you've given me. -Mel <Most puffers are best kept one to a tank... their respective compatibilities can be read re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blackspot puffer 8/25/05 The puffers are  Arothron nigropunctatus (dog face? black spot?) I have two.. one about 2.5" and the other 6"  they are both in separate quarantine now due to an indestructible ich outbreak in 3 aquariums simultaneously... <Yikes, no fun> the 2 quarantines are 55's side by side... there is considerable excitement between the two of them, and that's why I was wondering if they'd get along together... <Maybe... but can/could change in a very short period of time> I have read conflicting opinions..... so I guess maybe just leave them separate to be safe....?  I'm attempting for the first time the 2 front attack (from WWM) for ich.... however 4 of the 6 fish in quarantine are scale less... what is the BEST alternative for copper...? <Depends... on the species involved, your set-ups, the time you want to put into probable cures... quinine drugs, simple vacuuming... elevated temperature, reduced spg... Bob Fenner> thanks again for your wisdom. -Mel

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

Re: Titan Trigger Hi Rob, <Hello Kel> You think I should try and put my gold puffer with the Titan? The scientific name that you mentioned below for the puffer is xanthic Arothron meleagris, correct? The puffer is 8 inches. :) Kelly <I would likely try this... for both their company, interaction... Both about the same in terms of nutrition (messy, meaty...) and temperament. The scientific name for the Guinea Fowl Puffer is A. meleagris, the term xanthic ("yellow") refers to an absence of melanin (black color) in your "sport mutation" specimen. Bob Fenner>

New Dogface! (4/5/2004)  Hi <How goes it? Michael here today>  I have really enjoyed reading your website but I have a couple questions about a my new Dog Face Puffer Fish that I just bought today but have not taken it home yet from the pet emporium because I want to make sure that my water levels are perfect. <Good idea>  I have a 92+ tank that I just bought a few days ago that has been established for at least 1.5 years and it has a 100 lb of live rock in it. It came with a yellow tang and a little fish about 2 to 3 inches long that changes colors and I don't know what type it is. <"Changes colors"?> I have been searching the site to get more info on the care and the size of a Dog Face puffer fish but aren't really getting the answers that I need so I was wondering if you can help in any way.  How big will a Dog Face get?  <Close 10-12" in captivity with a good diet and room to swim>  Will he get along with my Yellow Tang that is about 6 inches long? <Shouldn't be a problem>  Will he eat my little fish? <How little are we talking about? What species of fish?>  With the size of my tank, what fish would you recommend so that I don't get into some of the situations that I have read about on your site, with too many fish or fish that will hurt each other? <I wouldn't add much more biomass after the tang and the puffer>  Should I buy a coral rock just to prevent my puffer from getting lock jaw or too long of Teeth? <Feed him snails and he should be fine, you can always trim his teeth if it becomes a hazard to his health>  I would really appreciate any answers that you can give to me. Let me add that I had my water checked two days after putting it up and the store said that the water was almost perfect and they have not seen that from a moved tank set up by an amateur. <What are the numbers that "almost perfect" translates to? You want a fully cycled tank for a dogface, e.g.. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0-20 nitrates> I just have always wanted a saltwater tank for so many years that now that I have it I don't want to make a careless mistake seeing that nothing in a saltwater tank is cheap especially the fish! <An admirable concern and you've found the right place for info>  Thanks for your time and patience. You really seem to care about your site and that in its self can be rare. <Thank you, we try. I love the site also!>  Tammy from St. Louis, MO  <Have fun with your new Puffer, they're my favorite fish. Just make sure you have a good amount of filtration, as they're messy! M. Maddox>

Puffer Compatibility We finally purchased our "last" addition, a dogface puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) to our tank (50 gallon, running for a year now). <You need at least a 125g for all of these fish>  This has always been my favorite fish, and I waited until I was absolutely sure the tank was set before purchasing him.  The tank mates are:  Huma Trigger (Earl), True Perc (Charley) (currently on his way to his own tank), and a Foxface (Frances) (Siganus vulpinus).  We had expected some "difficulty" from our Huma, but the trouble has been with the Foxface. He has always been such a docile fish, but not anymore.  He will display his fins whenever the puffer is around and chase him literally all around the tank. The puffer has been eating extremely well, and has been acted quite curious in his new tank.   Meanwhile, the Huma could care less about this new addition.   We were told by our LFS that these guys would be okay together.  My question is this, is the behavior of the Foxface due to the addition of the puffer and nothing more? (We've had the puffer now for four days)  Or do we have something to worry about? The Huma, Foxface, and Puffer are pretty much all the same size - 3.5".  <If you were to get a larger tank that territorial behavior would most likely disappear.  These fish tend to want to establish their won territories which could be large in size.  Good Luck!  Heather> Pardon the "hurricane" names, but with the exception of the puffer, the rest of these guys made it through the four hurricanes here in Florida! Thank you for your help. Allison D. Fralick

Arothron nigropunctatus Hello! Per your suggestion I have decided to turn my aquarium into a marine setup. The 3 Mono Sebae I have already are taking it very well and almost seem to enjoy all the new things to pick at!  <excellent!> What I wanted to ask about was inverts...are there any inverts that the Dogface Puffer (A. nigropunctatus plan to get won't make quick work of? Also, I've seen some sites that say that this guy is reef-safe and just as many that say he is not.  <not really... it is likely an undue risk. All crustacea are at risk and this toothy predator will much many macros and some soft invertebrates out of curiosity/search for tasty tidbits. Not reef safe by my definition> I don't plan on trying to maintain a full reef setup, but I have always kind of liked open brain corals, would this be a one-or-the-other situation?  <yes... not safe with most sessile invertebrates> I certainly don't want to wake up some morning only to find my puffer has efficiently cleaned the aquarium out of everything! I have had brackish puffers in the past and know they are quite able (and inclined) to eat everything in sight, but is there any possibility dogface puffers are different?  <nope... thanks for asking :) > I haven't placed an order for the puffer yet, I'm still letting the Monos settle in so if you have any pointers on puffer-safe inverts and hardy corals that would be awesome!  <for what its worth... the monos aren't fully reef safe either. Keep an eye on them. But do enjoy all with lovely live rock and plants. And to solve your coral compatibility problem... what of plumbing a fishless refugium inline (upstream perhaps) to keep corals in?> Thank for all the great support! You guys are awesome! Rachael <best regards, Anthony>

Puffer's and Invert. food/tankmates I have a 90 gallon tank that has been set up for about 4 months. I let it cycle with damsels for about two months everything was great( although I had 15 damsels when I started and ended with 4). I have since added 2 yellow tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens), a clown fish ( Amphiprion ocellaris), and a Long-Spined Porcupine Puffer (Diodon holacanthus). I understand that the puffer is not good with invert's. I would like to start adding live rock and corals is this a good idea, if so how much rock should I add and how fast should it be added. >> Adding the live rock is a great idea on several counts... You won't regret it... better livestock health, easier maintenance, never ending fascination with what comes out of it. The Puffer will likely chew on bits of the live rock... and in all likelihood your corals, other invertebrates. Do start with a few hardy soft corals if you want to try your Puffer with the non-vertebrates. Maybe a leather, toadstool... Bob Fenner

Fish compatibility I have 1 Kole Tang, 1 Common Clown, 1 small Hermit crab and 2 small Green spotted puffers. I just added the Puffers yesterday, bought them on a whim at a store I had not been to ( don't know if the people are just trying to sell, not educate). Any ways, should I take the puffers back? Maybe just 1 of them? Also, I want to get a protein skimmer or a UV sterilizer. Which do you recommend? Will one help more than the other with my reoccurring ick problem? <I'd take back one of the puffers. I'd get a skimmer before a UV sterilizer. I'd get a big healthy Lysmata cleaner shrimp, or two, to help with re-occurring ich - and I'd start quarantining/freshwater dipping all incoming fish. If you have ich that periodically cycles through your tank without addition of new fish, it's established, and you have to decide whether to experiment with a cleaner, (Gobiosoma goby would work too) or remove all the fish and lay the tank fallow for several weeks to starve off all the ich... -regards, Lorenzo>

Xenia and Puffers Hi Bob, I had a couple of unrelated questions for you. First off, I have a 40g tank with a few juvenile fish in it. A Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), a Reticulated Puffer (Arothron reticularis) and a Mappa Puffer (A. mappa). I am wanting to add a Stellatus (A. stellatus) to the mix. The Reticulated and the Mappa get along well, although the Reticulated is FAR more aggressive of a fish than the Mappa. Do you think the 3 puffs would be OK together? <In a four hundred gallon system maybe... not a forty... this is way too small for what you have already> Second, I also have a 3 year old reef tank that is pretty densely stocked with fish and soft corals. I had an amazing Xenia colony that spread like wildfire and covered several rocks, eventually migrating to the highest peak in the tank and directly in front of the return outlet. The colony was doing marvelously and I was fragging it monthly to take into my LFS, but one day, out of the blue, several of the larger stalks became discolored and withered away... almost as if they had been stung by another coral or anemone. There are no other corals or anemones within range of the Xenia, however. At the same time I also lost two large and beautiful Capnella sp. which showed the same withering process and then just decayed. After that, the colony crashed and left me with 2 large stalks. The whole colony used to pulse quite dramatically as well, which has essentially stopped. So, after much research and deliberation, I began supplementing iodine (Lugol's solution). Tests prior to this (Salifert's) showed iodine/iodate levels of around 0.1-0.2ppm. I raised the level slowly to 0.6ppm in accordance to seawater average iodine levels, and noticed the Xenia began pulsating a bit more. After a few days they stopped again, and this has been going on for several months now. The colony has not grown appreciably, and I am stumped as to why. The chemistry in the tank is VERY stable, with the exception of PO4 levels of 0.5ppm which I am constantly battling due to the foods I feed the corals and fish (loads of HUFAs). I am sure the problems the Xenia is facing has to do with some imbalance, whether it be PO4 or some other trace element problem. <Yes, I agree... but what? Either something exhausted, rate-limiting... and/or (though I strongly suspect "or") a chemical interaction... maybe resultant from the other soft coral incident> Everything else in the tank is growing like weeds... I am TOTALLY stumped, and was wondering if you had any insight as to what I might search for or try in order to re-establish this stuff. Thanks a ton! Christopher Burns Curator seahorse.org <In such cases... we (lamely) move some substantial part of the colony to another separate system... in the hope/trust that "whatever" is the cause, the new circumstances will be more propitious... Otherwise, large water changes, bolstering with iodide (potassium is my fave) and activated carbon use usually resolve such problems over time. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia and Puffers Thanks for the quick reply! The fish in the 40 are at most 3" and it has a LOT of filtration. Appreciate the input, but I didn't want to give you the impression I was mistreating them! :> <I understand... and know you must be aware that the puffers grow to lengths about the length of this tank in the wild> In the reef, I am thinking about quitting the iodine supplementation, and have been running carbon full time for many months... I have just recently removed it, thinking that perhaps there was a food source being pulled out by the charcoal. <Mmm, let's not mislead browsers... activated carbon is not synonymous with charcoal> I have read that there is NO scientific evidence that even Xenia NEEDS iodine, however, there does seem to be an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence to support the need. What do you think? Also, what is your opinion on carbon use in a reef (always, never or off and on)? <Yes to both iodide and activated carbon use... on a punctuated basis... the iodide once a week in general, the carbon monthly> Thanks for your time! Chris <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia and Puffers Cheers, Bob! Thanks for the info, as always. <Be  

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: