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FAQs about True Puffer Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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 Compatibility, Tetraodont Selection, Tetraodont Systems, 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

An unwelcome creepy-crawly in marine aquariums... An unidentified Isopod. Pic by Brad in Basalt

Puffer will not eat     11/18/17
Hi Bob and Team, as always thanks for the great advice you give. 15 days ago I got a 7.5" golden puffer. It was supposed to have been in someone's tank for 2 yrs, but I believe it has not been and am pretty sure it was wild caught Hawaiian and not eating so the person sold it to me.
<Mmm; not Hawaiian. I dive there frequently... had to look up on Fishbase.org though. Not found there>
It started in QT but didn't move and tucked it's fins in a ball so after a bit, I put it in my 180 predator display.
<Oh! Might be intimidated here>
Water parameters are good- 5 to 10 ppm nitrates, salinity 1.025. Large sump with a monster skimmer & water changes every 2 weeks of 25%.
It has no tankmates to bother him, just 2 lg eels that stay in their tunnel except every 3 days they come out to eat, a sm green spot puffer that eats and is full and doesn't do much. It's skin and appearance look good, it's thin and it's color is lighter that usual, it does swim around the tank a bit and sit on things.
I've read tons of your FAQ's on puffers not eating and have tried every food I can think of- live mussels/clams/oysters on half shell, silversides, algae wafers, krill, squid, shell on shrimp, live emerald crabs, hermits, small marine snails, fish chunks, scallops. Been to a couple stores to get ghost shrimp & peppermint shrimp but they've been out. Found some peppermint shrimp I'm picking up tomorrow to try live food. Spent a lot on food options and willing to do about anything to get the puffer eating. The puffer will look at food but not eat it at all. From reading FAQ's I have an idea of how to force feed.
<Mmm; I'd still keep offering the assortment you list for another few weeks. Really; these fish (Arothron puffers period) can go w/o food for a long time>
At this point should I force feed a mash of food, vitamins, and perhaps garlic guard that are recommended in FAQ's? Or anything else I can try?
Should I see if it eats the peppermint shrimp before force feeding, or try force feeding first?
<I'd hold off for now>
P.S. I wrote about an orange shoulder tang with an eye problem a while ago and followed your advice. The fish has recovered, is in my large reef system and is fat, healthy, gobbling food and begging for food! So thanks!
<Ah good. Please write back in 2-3 weeks w/ an update Flo. Do try the open bivalve/s, shrimps... w/ a food/stimulant product soaked in a few minutes ahead of offering. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Fish stopped eating      9/26/16
I have a 1000 litre tank housing two porcupine puffers, a guinea fowl puffer, a small moray eel and a Foxface.
<What species eel?>
They have been together for over two years now. I feed them a wide range of seafood and also pellets.
<What kinds of seafood exactly?>
In the last month they all turned off eating for some reason and didn't seem happy.
Water tested out fine on different test kits.
<Please send parameters>
I also carried out a few large water changes. All fish returned to normal after a few days except for the guinea fowl puffer who hasn't eaten in a few weeks now and is not swimming around as much as usual. I'm just curious to what could have happened. None of the fish are showing signs of disease or parasites. Any advice would be helpful at this moment. Thanks Tim
<I would try soaking some food in garlic mixes from your LFS. Send parameters and maybe some pictures. The puffer could be sick and it may not be visible. Cheers, Gabe> <<Maybe poked by the Foxface.... RMF>>

Crawfish as puffer food       3/9/16
Well Mr. Bob, So sorry I forgot a question on my last post.
<Ahh; better to do as you are here: separate out by topic, subject>
I am from the deep south. I live in Mo now. But it is crawfish season and I am having some shipped up from La for a crawfish boil.
<Oh yes! Am a giant fan... of Procambarus clarkii; as pets and fab food items>
I read on here freshwater foods ain't good for puffers but the articles I read all pertained to live fresh food. Does that include crawfish?
<These are fine for marine puffers... a bit messy; and better to use "just molted" ones... or recently molted; and remove uneaten body parts so they don't rot, decompose>
I was going to give them a good ro soak and freeze. It would not be a main food source. I know... Diverse foods, lol. If you are around Mo after lent come on over for a cold beer and a good old fashioned crawfish boil!
<Ah, much appreciated. Have tried to have these in Cal., but not the same.
Once when giving some talks in Louisiana; saw actual billboards advertising boil spice products!>
If ya are nice I'll make you the best Hurricane you ever had! Yeehaa!!Stace
<Again; thank you for your offer. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Stars and Stripes Puffer Spinning       3/5/15
Hi! I have a 125 gallon tank with ammonia levels at 0ppm, nitrates at 0ppm,
<Really? No detectable NO3?>

nitrites at 0ppm, pH at 8.3 and salinity at 34ppt. In the tank I have a Stars and Stripes Puffer (about 4 inches long) and a Blue Spotted Grouper (about 5-6 inches long). I’m working on getting a bigger tank. The tank has been setup for about 5 years. Yesterday I noticed that my Stars and Stripes was spinning in circles clockwise with tail tucked alongside his body,
<Not good... I see the likely reason below... nutrition>
then he would slowly sink down to the bottom and rest on the bottom. Today he is still spinning in circles but mainly resting on the bottom until I fed him then afterwards went right back down. However, he is eating fine, color is normal, and breathing is normal. I feed them both silversides, frozen krill and half-shelled wild caught oysters.
<See WWM re feeding Tetraodontids and the article by Marco on Thiaminase>

My Blue Spotted Grouper is acting completely normal. However, I have noticed that sometimes the two get into little fights (I guess over territory and hiding places). I was just wondering what you thought it could be. Any help is greatly appreciated! I don’t want to see my baby suffer.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
re: Stars and Stripes Puffer Spinning       3/5/15

Hi again! Do you think once I change the puffers diet I can save him?
<It is possible; yes>
If so how long do you think I have (time wise) to do this?
<Can't tell; months likely>
I really don't want to lose him!
Thanks again! Jessica
<Welcome. BobF>
Arothron hispidus feeding question,,, third time's a rdg. charm hopefully        3/5/15

Hi there!
<Jess... w/ a famous name for us here in San Diego... Horton Plaza, Balboa Park...>
I have an Arothron hispidus? and I have had him for about 3 years in a 125 gallon tank. I am currently feeding him fresh/frozen littleneck clams, silversides, and fresh/frozen oysters. I was just wondering if I should be
feeding him something different. I have frozen calamari rings, is this something that I could feed him as well?
<Ah no... better to select a bag of "frozen seafood" for human consumption.

Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/TetraodNutrDisF.htm
I know that puffers have a problem with Thiaminase and want to make sure
that I'm giving him the right nutrition.
<Welcome. B>

Dogface Puffer Diet 7/27/13
Good afternoon. We are going to get a dogface puffer soon and I was wondering, what kind of crabs would be best for him to eat?
<Mmm, most any that are "small enough" for you to break up, freeze, pieces that are of good size for it>
He is rather small right now. Maybe a couple inches long. Are purple shore crabs beneficial for him?
<Ah yes. I would freeze ahead of offering; lest you introduce pests, parasites>
 If not, what are the best kind of crabs to feed him?
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

White Clams... Feeding Tetraodontids      6/16/13
I recently got a 4 or 5 inch Dog Face Puffer. I hear about and see the tooth that needs hard things to wear down. I went to the supermarket and bought some white clams.
<Frozen I hope/trust; not live>

 I put them in a bucket of saltwater for a bit and put a couple in the tank. The puffer does not seem to be interested in them.
Do I need to crack open the clams (they are not sealed and seem to sometimes stick out their foot)
<... You may well have to open a few... to train the fish>
  I had to buy a dozen so I gave some to my LFS and kept 6. I put the other 4 in my sump. I am unfamiliar with clams so I was wondering if it is ok to keep them or just crack them open to feed the puffer. It seems to defeat the purpose of the puffer using his tooth on the shell.
The puffer eats shrimp and crab meat mostly
<... see WWM re Thiaminase. This is a poor diet; will greatly shorten this fish's life>

that I buy from the grocery store. I soak in some Selcon vitamins a couple times a week. I bought some live feeder shrimp also that I know the fish all liked but this puffer is not much on hunting, he just likes me to feed him with my feeder stick. He seems to eat two or 3 bites and then goes off to his favorite cave he shares with a small snowflake eel so I'm guessing he is getting his fill. I feed the fish a few times a day. I read your link on puffer fish but just not clear about the clams and if I should keep them in the tank if the puffer does not eat them.
Thanks for sharing your smarts about this not so easy hobby!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: White Clams     6/16/13

"<Frozen I hope/trust; not live>"
They were live white clams, is it a problem to have them in my tank?
<Possibly... search, read on WWM re. B>

Puffer Vegetarian    10/31/12
Hello Crew,
I have a Dog Face puffer about 6-7 inches in size from the local lfs. Normally I ask to see them eating first but had been waiting for one to come along for a long time. It looked healthy and has been doing great ever since adding him to my 180 (after quarantine) however the only thing he will eat is my New Life Spectrum pellets
<Not a good food, but a great food in my estimation. See WWM re Pablo Tepoot, my background w/ this product>
and he will destroy them all day I have tried silversides, raw shrimp, and scallops but he won't eat them although my snowflake eel will gladly take any of those. Should this be a concern I feel like he should be eating a lot more then pellets.
<Not a concern I assure you. The NLE Spectrum product is a complete diet... akin to the best dog and cat foods... Your fish can live indefinitely on the one staple>
So what gives?
<And the food is very palatable... Delicious to fishes>
I know the NLS pellets aren't vegetarian by the way and they are quite good as a staple for my tangs just not sure about the puffer and what to do here. Advice? For now have bought the large 3mm version of the pellets and am feeding. him with those.
<Don't be concerned... I wouldn't be... Oh, and I feed my fish systems just Spectrum, and have for many years. Bob Fenner>

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>

Reticulated pufferfish is constipated?    10/3/11
Hi, I have a reticulated pufferfish in a 100g tank with an eel.
<Mmm, what species? You realize how large this puffer can/does grow?>
Water levels are normal but nitrate/nitrite/ammonia could be present, since I haven't done a water change in 3 weeks. So my pufferfish rectum is actually out and exposed, and you can see the waste in his rectum. It is like a lump where his anus is. This has been going on for 2 days now. His stomach doesn't seem bloated and I didn't feed him the day before this happen, so would it still be constipation?
<More like a prolapsed anus... Put this term and the word Puffer in the WWM search tool... located on every page>
He only eat mussels and shrimps,
<A poor diet... See WWM re Thiaminase issues>
and for the last month I've been feeding him 2 mussels a day(sometimes he would go a day without eating, because I didn't get a chance to feed him).
What is wrong with him, and how can I fix it.
<... see your statements above. You know naught re water quality... poor nutrition... needs more room...>
I've had him since he was a baby and he's over a foot long now. Losing it would suck, its the best fish I've ever owned.
I appreciate the help.
<See the above, search, read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reticulated pufferfish is constipated?
Hey, thanks for the info, the pufferfish just pooped out the waste that was stuck in his rectum. The waste was a solid piece (not usual) and it was kinda hard. Does this mean that his illness is starting to alleviate? Also about his diet, what should I feed him? My pufferfish would only eat shrimp or mussels. I've tried squid, fish, and other stuff but he refuse to eat anything besides live crab/crawfishes or frozen mussels and shrimp.
Thanks for the help. WWM is the best place to look up info on pufferfishes btw, kudos to you guys =D
<Do please read where you've been referred. BobF>

Converted crayfish to saltwater, as food for Tetraodont    4/6/11
Dear WWM crew,
I have a question that I am having a great deal of trouble finding information about online or on WWM. I purchased a freshwater crayfish today at my super market for a dime; I took him home, dripped him for several hours, and placed him in my marine tank with 2 Saddle back Clown fish (aprox 2-3 inches) and a Dog face Puffer (aprox. 4 - 5 inches). My intention was for the puffer to have something different to eat (he does not like muscles,
clams, live shrimp, squid...he seems to only like Krill or dead shrimp if I hand feed him).
<A poor diet... trouble in the longer haul. See WWM re this fish/species feeding, thiaminase...>
Well, the puffer just looks at this crayfish like it's a monster (it's about 3 inches) and will not touch it. My question is this:
If the crayfish stays alive and active (which he has been for about 5
hours now), is he a threat to my 2 clowns or my puffer?
<Maybe the Clowns; but I strongly doubt this Cray will live for long>
I appreciate your advice and I apologize if I overlooked an article already addressing a similar situation.
Thank you,
~ Nick
<Welcome. BobF>

My panda puffer has swallowed a rounded piece of dead coral  3/1/11
Hi crew,
I am concerned for my panda puffer; it has swallowed a rounded piece of dead coral that fortunately was polished. I hope that it will not make him internal injuries. How can I help my fish?
<Really only being patient, time going by>
Do you think that it will expel naturally. The piece was large enough to pass by his mouth! Yesterday, the fish has eaten normally but today it is a little lethargic. Today it has done a little poo.
Thank you for your support
<This too should pass in time... I've seen puffer species eat a bunch of hard, unusual materials in the wild... Bob Fenner> 

Dogface Puffer, teeth, fdg. cockles     2/22/11
Would like to thank you for some recent great information which has resulted in one very happy puffer.
Have been reading your Puffer pages bit by bit and have just got to the dentistry page.
I picked my Dogface up about 3 months ago from LFS and he had been returned from another tank so I don't really know how long he has been in captivity. Therefore I also don't know what he s been eating.
I now know I need to give him food with shells on as I really don't fancy the dentistry route.
I bought some cockles in shells but he just swam after them and didn't attempt to open them. Are they too big or should I just leave them longer in tank ?
Can you tell me what you would give him and where they can be purchased.
He s about 6 inches now and large teeth already but no problems at all eating .
<Hello Gary. Generally, puffers will only put into their mouths stuff they know they can chew and crack open. You could try smashing the cockles with a hammer first, so the puffer only has to crack fragments of shell rather than the whole thing. Your specimen is still very small, and at that size you may find small mussels, small crayfish, and whole shrimp perhaps a bit easier to work with. Cheers, Neale.>
Dogface Puffer feeding 1/25/11

Got some good info off Neale the other week about food for my puffer.
<Glad to help.>
All I am wondering now is how much I should be feeding him.
<Tricky with puffers, but a daily ration about twice the size of their eyes usually works well.>
One minute I think I am giving too much , next too little.
<The belly might stick out a little bit after a meal, but they shouldn't look bloated.>
I would say he is 4-5 inches long and I am feeding him on cockles
<These can be used every day.>
<Not so often, maybe 1-2 times per day, because they contain thiaminase.>
occasional prawns
<As with the mussels, they contain thiaminase, so shouldn't be too much of their diet. Together, thiaminase-rich foods should be much less than half their intake. Of course, if you use a marine vitamin supplement that includes vitamin B1 to compensate for the thiaminase, you can use any of these foods as often as you want.>
and just got some lance fish.
<Usually these are safe to use. Tilapia is a good, cheap alternative -- buy fresh from grocery store, cut into strips or chunks, then freeze in aluminium foil, and break off however much you need each day.>
I tend to give him 2 items at a time and feed him twice a day.
<By all means feed daily, but don't feed too much at any one go.>
Keep reading they are big eaters but I am totally guessing at the minute.
<They do gorge, yes, but that isn't what they do in the wild, where they are more like grazers. Indeed, much of what they eat has low calorific content, so they eat a lot throughout the day to compensate for that. In any case, the issue with puffers isn't that too much will kill them directly, but that too much food will be [a] a waste of money because it'll be excreted as is; and [b] too much food will ruin water quality.>
Thanks for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface Puffer feeding 1/25/11
Thanks Neale,
And yes didn't want to feed too much due to water quality issues.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Puffer food    3/28/11

Spoke to you before and have had some good advice.
Just wanted to check on some food I just bought for my Dogface.
Trying to give him plenty of shells to chew on but am struggling a little.
Have just bought some shell on prawns.
Just looking now home and the description is Coldwater prawns and cooked.
Is this ok ? Ingredients just says 98% prawns plus salt.
<Very likely so; though not as a full-time, exclusive diet. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
and the link to "thiaminase" when you encounter it. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer food  3/28/11

Thanks Bob
<Welcome Gar>
That was the good advice I had.
Feeding cockles mussels and small fish. Prawns like mussels the occasional treat.
<Ah, good>
Just wasn't sure as it said coldwater and cooked.
<Uncooked is fine, perhaps even better nutritionally, though there is some "back-trade" with the cooked being less "messy">
Don't want to get into dentistry down the line so trying to feed food with shells.
<And you, BobF>

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>

Dogface puffer, hlth., sys., nutr.   -- 12/20/10
I recently moved from a 25 gallon to a 115 gallon tank.
and bought a dogface 2 weeks ago.
<Will do much better in a bigger tank than 115 Imperial gallons. Realistically, 200 gallons is nearer the mark. These fish do grow very big, very fast. They're also very active.>
Everything been fine until today. He looks really ill, not eating and keeps screwing his face up....and moping about behind the live rock.
<Indeed. While Arothron species are extremely hardy in many ways, they're easily stressed by the poor conditions they themselves create thanks to their large size and massive appetite. Review aquarium size relative to the Arothron specimen you have, with a fish bigger than, say, 15 cm/6 inches needing a much bigger tank than you have. Do please read here:
That's a thorough review of the genus and its specific requirements.>
Did water tests and my nitrites were up to 0.3
<Stop feeding! Check filtration is matured and working. Maintain filters as required, adding secondary filters if necessary. Let's say you're aiming for a turnover of 10 times the volume of the tank per hour, the minimum for this sort of puffer, you'd need a pump rated at 10 x 115 = 1,150 gallons/hour. A protein skimmer is essential because of all the nitrogenous material dumped into the tank whenever you feed your pufferfish.>
Realised my external filter which I moved over from last tank (while my trickle filter matures) had been unplugged.
Did water change and have filter running again now.
All other fish well.
<Other fish'¦?>
Thought it may be food as he eats prawns and dillies that others don't get.
<Hmm'¦ earthworms and prawns are reasonable foods, though Bob F. would probably warn you away from terrestrial protein sources on principle. As for prawns, while fine as a treat, they are rich in thiaminase, and shouldn't be used more than once or twice per week. Gut-loaded live river shrimp are better. Otherwise, concentrate on thiaminase-free foods: cockles, tilapia fillet, certain types of squid.>
Maybe a prawn was off ?
<Possibly, but usually fish reject rotten seafood.>
Any ideas of what it could be or any treatment I could use ?
<More likely environmental. Review the tank, tankmates, filtration. Check water chemistry, salinity is adequate. Oxygen is a key limiting factor, and external canister filters remove oxygen, so without sufficient circulation in the tank, you can easily end up with low oxygen conditions likely to stress your puffer. Their small gill openings mean they find it hard to breathe "deeply", yet their oxygen demands are very high because they're so active.>
Also is it true that if he died he can pollute the whole tank fatally ?
<Potentially, but any dead fish can do that. If you're asking if the poisons in a puffer's tissues leak out after death and kill the livestock, no, that doesn't normally happen. Boxfish can secrete toxins through their skins, but puffers don't.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Thanks for the rapid response.
<You're welcome.>
I have a Tunze protein skimmer running and 2 2000 lph pumps and 1 2500.
<6500 litre/hour is about 1400 Imperial gal/hour; should work, but don't be overly trusting in what you've got going on here. Keep a close eye on oxygen concentration and nitrate level.>
He now seems to have gone a really dark colour and looking pretty grim in fact.
<Arothron hispidus will change colour dramatically when stressed. I bought my first specimen as a FRESHWATER fish, and while they were a very subdued colour under such conditions, once moved to a brackish water aquarium they perked right up. These are very hardy animals. What are its tankmates? How are they behaving? On paper at least, Arothron spp. are among the tougher marine fish, and some of the few species to be kept successfully for 5+ years in captivity back in the 70s and early 80s when marine fishkeeping was still in its infancy. If the other fish look happy, then yes, consider diet and/or poisoning as possible issue -- note than puffers tend to be acutely sensitive to copper, perhaps more so than most other commonly kept fish. On the other hand, if everyone is off their food, then something else
is likely going on.>
Has been fed almost exclusively on prawns....About 2 a day....not good.
<Indeed not. Tilapia fillet and cockles are the two ideal staples for bigger specimens. Very young ones enjoy bloodworms, but the degree to which these are healthy for marine fish is debatable, though it's worth stating that juvenile Arothron hispidus live in estuaries and rivers, so insects probably are part of their natural diet. They're also herbivorous, so some green foods, e.g., cooked peas, should be provided.>
Thanks anyway and I'll see how he goes but gone bad very quickly so not overly optimistic.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Yes all tankmates healthy and eating
<That's helpful to know.>
Scared to tell you what they are , as due to some bad advice I am overstocked. All very small now (1-2 inches) but will be doing some rehoming in the future.
<Ah, yes, it would indeed seem so.>
Dragon wrasse'¦.
<To about 20 cm; not a bad aquarium fish for rough-and-tumble systems alongside large puffers.>
Emperor Angel
<Not a great companion for the wrasse, but might work with the puffer, given space. Do bear in mind these angels are strongly herbivorous, and their diet needs contain lots of fresh greens as well as sponges, rather than generic fish foods.>
and Regal Tang,,,,
<A notoriously difficult species to maintain, and do be aware than both angels and tangs expect to be top dog in reef tanks, and I tend to recommend people keep one or the other, not both.>
with a sandwich goby.
<Do you mean Jam Sandwich Goby, Valenciennea helsdingenii?>
Do please read Bob F's pieces on these species, and follow the links for more information'¦
Actually left a small part of his prawn yesterday which I had to fish out. Maybe bit dodgy.
Surprised at the speed of illness though....Keep thinking he s dead then his eyes move....Nothing else at all and he s not changed position for a couple of hours.
<If he's eaten something bad, there's not much you can do beyond ensuring optimal environmental conditions. I'd expect him to recover, all things being equal, though it may take a day or two before be perks up again.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer - 12/20/10

Cheers Neale thanks a lot.
<You're welcome.>
He has actually moved now so fingers crossed.
Yes jam sandwich goby. Only got him today as I cant have a clean up crew due to wrasse and puffer so thought this might help a bit.
<Redundant. Clean-up crews are specifically for use in reef tanks, where it's difficult or impossible to move rocks and siphon out detritus. In EVERY other type of aquarium, it's ALWAYS better to physically remove waste because that'll reduce the amount of nitrogenous material in the water.>
Do feed frozen tablet greens and also Nori on a clip.
Struggling a bit for Angel food but got some ocean nutrition formula 2 pellets which seem to be good.
<Yes; do look at specific Angelfish frozen food mixes. Sponges are an important component.>
All fish are eating variety of foods and well. Mysis brine shrimp krill Nori formula 1 and 2 plus live brine and a marine mix tablet. Will eat flake too but don't tend to use it.
<Flake can be good, but variety is often important in terms of greens, sponges, crunchy shells, and other components your fish require.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on Pomacanthus diet?)<<no>>
Thanks again Neale
Puffer as normal this morning , Made up really thought he was a goner till I spoke to you.
<I see.>
Just fed him 2 dillies (all I have at the minute ), Snowed in now but think LFS does a frozen cockles.
<Good. So do many supermarkets; Waitrose for example has them regularly, and buying a batch from there will usually be cheaper than buying them at the pet shop. Ask for some that are still frozen, pop them into an airtight container in the freezer, and defrost as required! You could actually get everything you need from Waitrose: cockles, tilapia fillet, mussels, squid, prawns. Be sure the thiaminase-containing foods are used sparingly, and that's a balanced diet right there!>
Prawns will become just an occasional treat. Tend to struggle a bit with selective food. Have seen an ocean nutrition one containing sponges on the net but cant get any in England.
<Ah, while sponges are nice to have in the diet of Pomacanthus species, it's the green component that's essential. Look at the marine fish foods like "Vegetarian Diet" from TMC that include cooked spinach and algae alongside various small invertebrates. Sushi Nori sheets can be picked up in British grocery stores very inexpensively, and if you happen to have an Asian supermarket nearby, 10 sheets will only set you back about £1-1.50 (supermarket prices tend to be slightly higher, £1 for 5 sheets being typical). Anyway, this stuff is readily accepted by Tangs and Angelfish. Asian supermarkets will also have other types of algae on sale, and these can be experimented with as you wish. Organically-grown lettuce and spinach may be useful foods, though their nutrient content are probably not very high. Bob is somewhat hostile to the use of terrestrial plants in the diet of marine herbivores, but my experience and observation is that used sensibly softened, organically-growing plants cause few problems; they do at least contain fibre and some vitamins, so while not a substitute for marine algae, they are useable supplements that helps to keep marine herbivores "regular", and avoiding constipation probably has a big impact on how well such fish absorb nutrients from their other meals. In other words, even in England, it should be possible to get ALL the foods your marine fish need from the supermarket, even if your local pet shop doesn't carry everything you need!>
<Do have a peruse of the WWM pages on Angelfish diet and P. imperator generally, here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on Pomacanthus diet?) - 12/20/10
Thanks for that. I am fine with the angel diet now anyway. Will pay a visit to the supermarket for puffer food once this snow and ice clears.
Merry Xmas.
<Glad to help, and happy holidays yourself. Cheers, Neale.>

Dogface Puffer Nutrition -- 03/18/10
I've been feeding my 7-8" dogface puffer clams, shrimp, oysters and squid.
I'd like to get him to munch on the larger NLS pellets. The problem is he doesn't look at these as a food source. They just fall around him...even landing on his head...but he has no interest in them. I don't think he realizes it's food. Do you have any suggestions on how to get him to try the NLS pellets?
Thanks, Robert
<Mmm, yes... mix these pellets in/amongst the meaty foods, and slowly decrease the percentage of the latter. Don't be overly concerned re a feeding strike... Puffers can/do go long times sans feeding. Bob Fenner>

Sand And Clams From Galveston Beach/Foods/Feeding 1/24/10
Hi there,
<Hello Sabrina>
I am getting a Dogface Puffer this week and wanted to ask a few questions.
My first question is about feeding.
Galveston beach is kind of dirty as we have days when people aren't allowed to swim do <due> to bacteria in the water.
1. Would feeding my Puffer clams from Galveston be toxic?
<Leave the clams where they are. You may introduce bacteria or an unwanted disease into your system.
Read here and related articles/FAQ's as to feeding puffers.
2. Would gathering the clams and putting them in a new tank with clean water and allowing them to filter feed for a while (a month or more) help lower any toxicity in the clam?
<Best to buy frozen sea foods from the supermarket or prepared foods for this purpose.>
Also I was thinking about getting sand from the beach to renew my existing sand and wondered if Galveston sand would be toxic to my fish.
<Would not do this as well for aforementioned reasons.>
3. Will adding sand to an already set up tank cause the tank to recycle?
<Use packaged coral sand for this purpose, no beach sand, and no problems.>
If so regular water changes would be in order but I wanted to ask so I would be prepared.
Thank you for your time. It is greatly appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Sabrina Roschbach

Dogface Puffer inhaled large piece of squid   9/2/09
I was feeding my fish with a rather large piece of squid.
<Best to cut up...>
My trigger and puffer were taking small bites while I was holding the squid. Then, out of nowhere my Spanish hogfish came out & lunged for it pulling it from my grasp. He let it go and my puffer somehow just inhaled it with one gulp. This happened 4-5 days ago. The last 3-4 days my Dogfaced puffers behaviour has dramatically changed. He just mopes under the rock the whole day. He was quite active before this incident. Has little to no appetite as well. Today I noticed that he does not even open his mouth. Do you think that the large amount of squid he inhaled is causing some type of problem and what can be done about it?
<Really best to just wait... "this too shall pass"... Bob Fenner>

Puffer Feeding Question 1/24/09 Dear WWM crew, I have two (2) questions for you today. Although I did find some information on the site pertaining to my first question, the information was conflicting; thus I want someone to clear this up for me, if possible. First, I want to feed my Dogface Puffer (and Rectangular and Bluethroat Triggers and Miniatus Grouper) fresh (not live) saltwater food. I bought some clams and cocktail shrimps at my local fish store. However, I am worried about introducing bacteria/parasites via these foods. Is there anything I can do to eliminate or at least minimize the chances of this? <Yes> Here is what I did, am going to do: 1) Rinsed clams (after opening them slightly)/shrimp for 15 minutes (to get rid of dirt, chemicals, etc.) 2) Left in freshwater for 1 hour (to kill saltwater parasites) 3) Froze and will keep frozen for 1 week before feeding (to kill anything else) Is this a good method or should I just buy frozen food at my LFS (which is supposed to be UV treated)? <This is a very good protocol. You should have minimal risk of trouble thus> Second, I know that larger puffers (and Groupers) need to be fed about twice a week. I currently feed my fish every day. How can I feed my other fish (Triggers, Emperor Angel, Tomato Clown) daily, and not feed the Puffer (and Grouper)? Do I have to distract the Puffer? <Yes... perhaps with a smaller bit of food in an opposite corner... the good use of a "feeding stick" to deliver foods to their intended recipients> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As always, thank for all the time you contribute to the hobby. <Certainly welcome. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Starved dogface puffer; rather Amyloodinium -- 09/24/08 We have a dogface puffer named Sammie who up until recently was perfectly fine. <How long do you have him? Tank size? Water parameters? Any changes within the last weeks? Need more information to help you.> We went out of town for 3 days. When we got back (yesterday) the person who was supposed to have fed our puffer forgot to do so. <No problem for an Arothron. They can go without food for weeks.> Ever since then he has gone down hill. <Any new fish within the last 4 weeks?> He ate the first day we got back. When we went to feed him today he is covered completely in a white film, and he is laying on the bottom of the tank in a corner. He refuses to eat and every now and then he flinches or jerks around as if he is uncomfortable. He looks as if his breathing has slowed and he's very lethargic looking. <White film, lethargy are typical symptoms of an Amyloodiniumiasis, but intoxication can have similar results. Let's exclude the latter first. Check your water parameters (pH, nitrates, ammonia, temperature) to exclude some toxic environmental conditions. Ensure enough gaseous exchange happens (skimmer, surface current). If you believe anything toxic (not so aquarium safe decorations?) could have been introduced to the tank remove it, do a large water change and filter with fresh carbon. If toxins can be excluded treat for Amyloodiniumiasis. This disease can kill fish within 24-48 hours. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the linked FAQs for diagnosis and treatment.> I believe he released some toxin because our yellow tang and clown fish have both died on the same day. <He cannot kill other fish with his toxin as long as they do not eat him, he's not a boxfish. They most likely were suffering from the same disease/condition.> We are thinking of a FW dip for about 10 min.s. <I thought you supposed he was starved? How would a dip help in this case?> What else can we do. I am frantic with worry. If Sammie dies it will break my heart! Thank you, Ashley <Good luck. Marco.>

Stars and Stripes Puffer refusing to eat    8/12/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello, Mike here this morning> My formerly "hungry-all-the-time" Puffer, Blinky, is seemingly depressed and not eating at all. The trouble started when I took down a partition separating my puffer who was residing with two small damsel fishes from a seabay clown, small Pseudochromis and several crustaceans (protecting the crustaceans from my hungry Puffer). I took the partition down because the crustaceans died and I decided to give the Puffer more room to move (since he used to be very active). <How large is the aquarium?> After a few weeks I noticed the seabay being very aggressive with the puffer at feeding time, nipping at him and stealing his food. Then I started to see the clown actually attack, head-butting the puffer in the stomach when he tried to eat his krill off the floor of the tank. He was able to eat it as it floated down, but once it hit the floor it belonged to the seabay. The seabay also cowed and dominated him throughout the day and I even noticed him cringing when she would swim up and shake her tail in his face. <Time to separate> The puffer started eating less and less, finally taking the food in his mouth and spitting it out. I moved the seabay to my hospital tank (also noticing that her eyes are beginning to pop and was told that she has a bacterial infection and needs to be treated with antibiotics). I was wrong in thinking that the elimination of the seabay would dramatically help the puffers appetite so I began to suspect the length of his teeth. <A possibility...> Two days ago I undertook the ordeal of cutting his teeth (following the instructions in small puffer dentistry). I did not us the clove oil, not knowing if he would withstand being "put under". I accomplished the trimming but had to spend the next 4 hours removing the air bubble created by the procedure (also following a variety of instructions from the web). No air bubble now, shortened teeth and now he will not respond to food at all and hides when I hang in front of the tank for too long. I even put a live coral banded shrimp in the tank with him for feeding inspiration and NOTHING! <Well, this is a very stressful procedure, so normal behavior may not occur for 1-2 weeks> I am thinking that he may have a the same bacterial infection that the seabay has; is that possible? Or does it just take time to recover from the dental procedure. <Your puffer will be much more susceptible to disease due to the stress of the dental procedure. I would have told you to wait and make absolutely sure that the teeth were too long, but too late now. Is your puffer showing obvious symptoms of a bacterial infection? If so, treat in a separate QT tank> Help! I am really at a loss. All water parameters are good and I keep a very clean tank. I have had this puffer for 1 1/2 years and this is VERY different and unusual behavior for him. <So is the dental treatment he just underwent. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm regarding feeding - hunger 'strikes' of 1-2 weeks are nothing to worry about as long as the animal was healthy to begin with> sorry for the long email, but thought behavior background might help. <Some, though I think we all know what normal puffer behavior is. Water params and tank size would have also been helpful> Thanks, in advance, for any suggestions you might have. Lisa Crugnola <Give your puffer time, he should be fine. M. Maddox>

Stars and Stripes Puffer refusing to eat part II - 8-13-08 Thanks Mike! <Anytime> What would be "obvious symptoms" of bacterial infection? Please be specific. <Well, you said you have a clownfish you diagnosed as having a bacterial infection, and suspect the puffer has the same infection - obviously these symptoms would be the same. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trupufdisfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm for all the information you need. In general, look at the eyes of the puffer - if they're milky or filmy rather than bright and clear, that's your first sign - please read links above> I think moving him to QT might risk another air bubble incident so since I only have two small fish in the tank (55 gallon) with him would it be advisable to move them, leaving the puffer in place and treating the entire 55 gallon set-up? <You're going to kill all of the beneficial bacteria in the tank, as well as any live rock you have. I'd move the puffer without removing him from the water and transfer to QT. By the way, your puffer will eventually outgrow your 55, though you should be able to get a few years out of it> How should I proceed with the treating of the tank, what type of antibiotic should I use, if necessary and warranted? Specific names of medicine and instructions would be greatly appreciated. <Seachem and Mardel both make excellent medications, and can be purchased in at your LFS or online. See their websites for more info (The Seachem site has excellent product info...start here: http://www.seachem.com/products/medications.html. Medication choice depends upon symptoms presented, which you haven't included information about> Thanks again, <Anytime. If you still have questions, please try to describe to me exactly what you're seeing on your puffer (not behaviorally) and I will try to narrow down what the cause may be. However, you're likely to find the information in the links provided - please spend a few hours perusing> Lisa <M. Maddox>  

Narrow Lined Puffer Eating Habits 1-7-2008 <Hello Yunachin here to help> Your site is very helpful and I have learned so much but I can't find anything about my Narrow Lined Puffer's eating habits. He is about 8 months old and had been a very good eater and friendly pet. Always begging for food and enjoying every ones company until about 2 months ago when he got a severe case of ich. I treated him with daily fresh water dips 5-10 minutes each time. He actually seemed relieved by the FWD's and did not mind them at all. I also treated him with Cupramine. About 10 minutes later he seemed blind and looked like death, breathing hard and staying at the bottom of the tank. <When you used the Cupramine did you have the puffer in quarantine? How long did you treat him for? Did you monitor your copper levels when you were dosing him?> My LFS told me after seeing pictures of him, to medicate him with Melafix and then Metronidazole. He came through it but went on a hunger strike for 7 weeks! I tried force feeding but he just threw it up or puffed up in fear. <Wow!> The main tank is 55 gallon with a canister filter, 60 Berlin protein skimmer and two air jets. He previously ate a wide variety of krill, frozen shrimp, whole cockle and other frozen fish along with Formula One pellets and veggies. He finally started to swim around the tank without bumping into things and began to eat small pellets from the bottom of the tank. It has now been two weeks of this and he will now only eat large Formula One pellets. He refuses all of his favorite foods. I tried soaking the frozen cockle, shrimp, crab, krill etc in garlic but nothing works. I am afraid he will get lock jaw or die from malnutrition. <Have you tried a feeding utensil? For example waving it in front of his face to allure him to bite the food? May I also suggest some dried seaweed? Also I would give blood worms a try considering they are small like the pellets and he may take a liking to them. They have great vitamins and nutrients to help him get back on track.> I love Puff ( so original I know) but want him back to his old self. I added a school of Chromis, a pair of percula clowns, a coral beauty angel and two pajama cardinal fish recently and this is when he started to eat. <How big is Puff? How many Pseudochromis do you have? It seems like this tank is a little overstocked.> I plan to get a 125 gallon tank if he gets back to normal but is there anything I can do to get him to eat like he should and get his personality back? I test and maintain my tank well with frequent water changes and my water quality is very good. <What are your water parameters?> Any ideas would be very much appreciated. I had no idea I could become so attached to a fish! <Glad to help, Yunachin> Patti

Re: Narrow Lined Puffer Eating Habits   1/8/08 Hi Yunachin, Thank you so much for your help. With all the questions you have I am amazed at your quick response. I noticed Puff had ich shortly after purchasing him. At that time my tank was fully cycled.( Unfortunately I did lose a few damsels and one Clarkii clown in the process of cycling the tank.)<There is a great article that deals with fishless cycling here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/water-filtration/fishless-cycling/,> Because I had only a yellow tail and domino damsel when I got him and he looked healthy and ate so vigorously I did not quarantine him. I won't do that again! <We all make mistakes, it's ok!> He had been at my LFS, (not a chain pet store). LFS had him in a separate tank for a couple of weeks so I thought it would be okay. He was about 3" long. A couple weeks later he did get ich and I treated him in the display tank with the damsels who showed no sign of ich. I used Cupramine as follows: Daily fresh water dips 5-10 minutes. Removed carbon filters from canister filter 2 drops per gallon the first day then repeated dosage 48 hours later and left it that way for 2 weeks. I had the LFS test the copper levels each of the 2 weeks and then did a 40% water change and LFS tested the water again for the 3rd time and said test showed no copper. Replaced carbon filters. <Good to hear> He looked great and was eating again and a happy camper for a couple months. The LFS had a beautiful Teardrop Butterfly about 4" that they had about 5 months and it was very healthy. I had them test my water and I tested it as well before buying the Teardrop Butterfly. All was great and he was getting along with Puff and the 2 damsels. The following week I bought an Angel that had ordered and the LFS quarantined it for me. Two weeks later I put it in my tank and all seemed fine. Six days later the angel and the teardrop butterfly died the same day. < The Teardrop Butterfly can be sensitive to ammonia levels and bacterial infections as well as when it ages can become quite difficult to get to feed. Some angels can also be hard to keep.> The LFS store felt as horrible as I did and credited my angel purchase which was about $150.00. <That is good to hear!> I could not see any ich or anything else wrong with them. It happened so fast. I kept my water quality at: Nitrite NO 2 = 0-0.5, Nitrate NO 3= 0, Ammonia 0, Alkalinity/Buffering Capacity 240-300,pH 8.0-8.4.( I find it hard to maintain 8.4 Ph.) <Check out this information and see if it helps with the PH issue; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mphprods.htm > About one week after that I noticed Puff not looking so good. Blotchy and bumping into things in the tank, eyes a little cloudy, and now not eating much. I took a picture of Puff to LFS and they thought he should be treated with Melafix and Pimafix. <Did they make any suggestions as to what they 'thought' was wrong with him?> I was back to Puff and the damsels so I treated him in the display tank with Melafix : Removed carbon filter a added 1 tsp per 10 gallons and dosed daily for 7 days then I did a 30% water change and check water quality. Puff still looked the same so I then treated with the Pimafix 1 tsp per 10 gallons each day for 7 days and then did another 30% water change. Water quality was back to normal NO2, 0 NO#, 0Ammonia 0,ppm, 300, pH between 8.0&8.4. Puff looked good but would not eat. I read everything I could find on your website which I spent hours on late into the night many nights and weekends. You have such great information. I learned Puffer fish can go on hunger strikes for weeks but after about 7 weeks I tried the force feeding and no response. He was not happy with me at all. I do water changes often to keep the water quality up. But after the FWD's and treatments I think he is afraid of people now. <I don't blame him.> I am so bummed out for him. You asked about a feeding utensil. Yes I did try that but he moved away every time. I tried several different foods mentioned on your site including seaweed veggies, broccoli and other greens. <Try some mashed up banana, I have used it to get picky Moorish Idols to eat, just don't make it a staple diet.> I have 9 small Chromis. When I got the Chromis Puff started to eat the pellets. I think he saw them trying to eat them floating on the top of the water and would nip at them because the pellets are large. He will then bob to the top and pick them off one at a time until they are gone. <Well at the least he is getting some nutrition from the pellets. I would soak some of the pellets in some vitamins to ensure he is getting all that he needs until you can get him on some more of his favorite foods.> He doesn't bother any of the Chromis or other fish at all. He is now about close to 5" long. He rarely swims like he did before with his tail wide and beautiful. Nor does he beg for food. I planned on getting a large tank for him and keeping the 55 gallon for the added fish I now have. I don't know if I should do that now or not. It is a huge commitment I will gladly make if he comes through this. He will not eat the whole cockle that he loved. It's as though he has lost his sense of smell??? He will swim right by it. He doesn't bump into anything and his eyes are bright blue and clear. Could he just be depressed? <I think it is possible he is a little shy due to all that he has been going though. The good thing is, from what you have told me, he has good color, and he is eating something. Does he greet you at the tank? Does his stomach look sunken in? Let's try the pellets soaked in vitamins and possibly the banana and see how he does from there. Keep me posted and feel free to ask any more questions you need to.> Thanks for your help. <You're quite welcome, Yunachin> Patti

Re: Narrow Lined Puffer Eating Habits 1-8-08 Hi Yunachin, <Hello again> Wow you are quick! Puff doesn't greet me anymore; however, he doesn't swim away when he sees me now! Baby steps I guess. I'll take what I can get with all he's been though. <I am glad to hear it!> The LFS thought he had a parasite or blindness from the ich. He no longer has a sunken look like he did after starving himself for so many weeks. He is now looking rounded out and a little longer than he did before. <This is a good sign.> When he does swim and fan his tail he is beautiful. Even though he is not brightly colored like some fish, he is beautiful to me. My son, who gave me the love of keeping a saltwater tank, thinks he is getting a little chubby all of a sudden. He does not see him daily as I do. It has been so gradual. But now that he is eating he pellets at least he is much better. I know he can't survive on just this food so I will get the vitamins and try soaking the pellets in them and also try banana. <I am happy to hear Puff is doing better. Is seems as though he is getting back to his normal self every day. Feed him daily for now and until he gets a full rounded, (sometimes a little lumpy with the pellets) belly. Then you can return to your normal feeding schedule when you feel confident that he is eating different foods and getting all of his much needed nutrition. Also, I am confident that you can set up your larger tank for Puff and when it is fully cycled he will have a nice happy home to explore.> Again thanks for all your help. <You're welcome! Good Luck with Puff! --Yunachin> Patti

Re: Narrow Lined Puffer Eating Habits  1/9/08 Hey there Yunachin, <Good Evening> Just a quick thank you for your advice and encouragement. I will set up his new much larger tank. I can't yet decide on 125 gallon tank or larger in size yet. I don't want to under size the tank as I want this to be his permanent home. <The minimum size tank that these fellows need is 100 gallons so 125 will be perfect for him.> The space I have is 5'X5' and I would like to keep the depth at about 12". Do you have any suggestions on how many gallons I can or should go for? Is this depth possible with a fish that will grow to 12"? I can put the tank in another location to get a deeper depth if that is really what he needs. <I think a 125 with the dimensions of 60x18x24 would be perfect.> Again thanks for your great advice and quick response. <You're welcome, glad to be of help and good luck to you and Puff! --Yunachin> Patti PS: If anyone out there in Wet Web Media has a narrow lined puffer my email is psantrizos@yahoo.com. I don't see many questions/.info from people on this type of puffer fish. <<Mmm... do a search on WWM using the name Arothron manilensis... RMF>>

Puffer, Tetraodont... feeding, hlth.   11/13/07 I have had a Guinea Fowl Puffer that is about 10" long. I bought him from a shop that took him from one of their maintenance jobs when the tank owner moved out of town. I have had him about a 1 1/2 months. He was tank established 4 years in that tank before I got him. I normally feed him krill, cocktail shrimp, crab, squid, clams, and octopus. <Mmm, not complete nutritionally> I believe the crab being such a hard meat caused the problem I am having which is a possible blow out. <?> He has a large lump pinkish in color with some chunks of something in side a sack, about the thickness of a pinky about 1/4" long. He looks as if he was trying to poop and pushing out his intestines because there is no exit or opening on the sack or whatever it is. I am wondering if I should pull on the little sack or push it in I really don't want him to die. Please help me with my puffer problem. thanks tony <Mmm, I urge patience here... Puffers do consume almost everything in time in the wild... All will/does pass... What you are seeing is likely a prolapsed colon... Just wait... may take weeks, even months with a specimen of this size... Read here for something to pass the time: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black Spotted puffer colors... nutr. and incomp. with a balistid  -- 10/28/07 Hi WWM crew! I've got a bit of a silly question! I have a black spotted puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) that is normally beige with brown around his mouth, but I've noticed that occasionally it turns completely brown. <Yes... a general mood change rather than otherwise environmentally or nutritionally mediated> In fact, I had a Black Finned trigger (Melichthys indicus) in the tank that also used to change from black to light green regularly also. <These too... and both are likely related> It (how do you sex these fish?) <As far as I'm aware, neither species can be sexed externally> died without warning one night - was eating regularly, water conditions were good. I've been feeding them uncooked shrimp & scallops that I buy in the grocery store. <Need more than this...> My question is: What do these color changes indicate? Are they upset? Hungry? Are they just showing off? <More upset likely... perhaps with each other. These species need a very good size space to co-habit happily. Hundreds of gallons.> Thanks! Anthony <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Emergent Advise for Traumatized Puffer !! Arothron reticularis refusing to eat; Ammonia issue -- 08/02/07 Dear WWM Crew: Thank you for your excellent site. <I'm glad you like the site.> I am calling on you for your expert advise regarding my 2 1/2 year old precious precocious Arothron reticularis Puffer, whom not only can I pet but I can actually pick him up out of the water to view the "other world" which he enjoys! <For future readers I should recommend here not to try this at home. Many puffers will swallow air with possibly fatal consequences.> My husband is a Thoracic Cardio-Vascular Surgeon and I am a Nurse Anesthetist <That's good, you will have to sedate your puffer if force feeding is needed.> , we are heavily educated in the medical field, we know our "Puffy" is perhaps fighting for his life and we are at a loss as what to do. I will be as succinct as possible. Currently, Puffy has not eaten for three weeks. Luckily, he was carrying a little extra weight which has been to his advantage, and he is still not too thin (this is one of the few advantages to being over-weight!) The problem arose when our professional fish caretaker and myself over-cleaned his tank. Removing old silk plants that were clogging the pumps and filters, changing the magnum and charcoal filters, and a partial water exchange. (Puffy is 12.5 inches in a 96 gallon tank, with two blue damsels.) Above tank change: July 12: everything deceivingly "looking great". *** July 14: tank cloudy, caretaker came stat, Ammonia 1.0. <Yikes. BioSpira = live bacteria from the store or live bacteria from another system's filter would have helped fast in this case.> He treated with the various enzymes/chemicals <what chemicals/enzymes?> on a daily basis, tested water daily, fasted Puffy. July 17: Ammonia 0.8 July 18: Ammonia 0.7 July 19: Ammonia 0.5 July 20: Ammonia 0.4 <An ammonia spike for five days can likely damage a sensitive fish.> July 21: Ammonia 0.0 Throughout these days Puffy's decorum, colour, etc., perfectly normal, except that he was never fed. ***another contributor to July 12 original tank change was temperature. We have been having very hot weather in Minnesota and Puffy's tank temp was in the mid-to-high 80's. I was not aware of this danger. As of 14 July we have monitored his tank temp, maintaining it at 77-79 degrees with five fans and air conditioning just for Puff. <Large puffers are very oxygen demanding. In future cases of similar temperatures ensure a high surface agitation, since hot water contains less oxygen and surface agitation increases dissolved oxygen.> July 21: tank test within normal limits, Puffy looks normal, fed one small krill July 22: all of the above except Puffy will not eat July 23: all of the above, Puffy ate 4 Spirulina discs July 24-28: all of the above, Puffy refused food July 29: all of the above, Puffy eagerly ate 1/2 small frozen grocery shrimp (thawed and well rinsed) his favourite food July 30: Nitrates at higher level <numbers are needed.>, partial water change, Puffy listing to side, somewhat lethargic, refusing food July 31: tank within normal limits, addition of First Choice Triple Sulfa ( 1 scoop/10 gallons). <Why? I guess you supposed there was a bacterial infection. Did you take any mucous or tissue samples to confirm? When using Triple Sulfa (sodium suldacetamide, sodium sulfathiazole, sodium sulfamethazine) you have to take out the coal, which otherwise will make this treatment useless.> Within 30 minutes of adding the Sulfa Puffy more perky, refusing food Aug 1: tank within normal limits, 2nd dose of Sulfa, Puffy refusing food. Today Aug 2: Yesterday and today Puffy is not listing. He does twitch occasionally, he is not listing to his side, he has his mouth open more frequently as he is breathing, he has some white, thick, edging to the fins by his gills (which he held very close to his side on July 31-Aug1, but more like normal today), his body does feel slightly more mucusy to the touch, we notice very small pin-point white bumps interspersed on his back. <Hopefully not a parasitic infection. Compare to pictures of Cryptocaryon irritans and Amyloodinium ocellatum.> Also, I purposely go through the entire feeding routine (which he enjoys and knows so well) to show him his food and to try and "prime" his GI tract...he watches me, when he sees the food he "burps" and "hiccoughs" but he cannot ingest the food. I will place it in his mouth and he will either snap his head away or take it and suck it in-and-out several times and finally reject it. We will so much appreciate any advise you can offer. (And we will certainly make a donation.) In hindsight, our good friend and very experienced fish owner, store owner, and myself, not experienced but loving Puffy, realize we simply inadvertently removed too much natural bacteria from his tank coupled by very high temperature. <One thing I am missing in this query are nitrate numbers. Anything higher than 20 ppm will weaken the constitution of Puffy and needs to be diluted with water changes. The days he had to spend in ammonia enriched water likely have affected his immune system and may have triggered a bacterial infection and possibly a parasitic infection (I hope this not the case). Provide pristine water quality and watch closely. Any definite sign of a bacterial infection (e.g. cloudy eyes) will probably need antibiotics (used in a separate hospital tank), if you observe numerous tiny white dots (Amyloodinium) you will have to treat with chelated copper (hospital tank and don't overdose). If you can, you may want to take a mucous sample or a tissue sample of the outer, white part of his fin (won't hurt the puffer) and analyse it. If Puffy does continue not to eat (I'd wait some more days, since he has eaten on July 29), you should consider force feeding with a tube (see e.g. http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8161).> When I first purchased Puffy, 2 1/2 years ago, he was less than 2 inches long, I studied your excellent website, read wonderful and sometimes very sad correspondence. At that time you often referred to a woman, the "Puffer Doctor". <Probably the PufferQueen who can be contacted via http://www.thepufferforum.com. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and the linked pages for additional information.> As a significant professional champion horse breeder for thirty years, as well as maintaining a sophisticated aviary, I was complimented by your website for some commentaries I sent to you. We will be most appreciative of any information you can give us to save our dear "Puffy". Thank you, and may god bless you. Dr. Joseph and Jackie <You are welcome. I hope Puffy gets well again. Cheers, Marco.> Crab Claw has Death Grip on Puffer! 7/13/07 Hello all, great website. <Hi, Pufferpunk here & thanks!> I researched as much as I could and could not find anything on my particular issue. I have a saltwater stars and stripes puffer. Today I just fed him his first feeder crab. Everything was fine until he went in for his 3rd or 4th strike and the crab pinched him on the face. When he backed away, the crab's claw broke off and stayed attached to his face. I resisted the urge to catch him and pull it off as I figured that would cause more damage. My questions are as follows: What should I do if anything?? <It should eventually release itself. If you feel the need to & you can actually hold the puffer down (in the water) long enough to remove the claw, you're welcome to try. I'm pretty sure this must happen in nature.> Will this cause any long term damage?? <I just fed my large freshwater Fahaka puffer a big crayfish & it pinched him several times. As soon as the puffer was able to shake off the Cray, he bit it's claws off. Puffers have quite a thick "hide". I don't see any damage on my puffer & no marks left at all.> Have you ever heard of this happening before?? <Yup, see above.> I appreciate any insight you can give me as I am pretty much a rookie with saltwater and all the knowledge I have has come from the web and friends. Oh and here is a little info about my setup: Fish with live rock (no corals) 125 gallon all glass, 2 canister filters (Fluval 405 and 403), Aquanetics 25 IL quartz UV filter, crushed coral substrate, undergravel with 2 big powerheads, Berlin protein skimmer and a powerhead running through the live rock. Currently I have 2 dual strip fluorescents with actinic and daylight bulbs, as well as moon lighting. I am actually leaving in a few to purchase a light with 4 96 watt power compacts as an upgrade. Also in the future I plan to move to an overflow/sump setup as I have heard canisters are not the best of options but I got the whole setup off of a friend for $100 and couldn't pass it up. <Great price! I'd get rid of that UG filter. I know it'll probably be difficult but it's not necessary in a SW set up. It will become a nitrate factory, unless you can do weekly gravel cleaning. As far as the substrate, live sand would have been better. Keep a very close eye on the nitrates & do water changes accordingly, to keep them below 20. You're right about the canisters--also nitrate factories. You could use them for chemical filtration, like bags of carbon, ChemiPure, Purigen, etc. A good skimmer & lots of live rock should be all the filtration you need. A sump/refugium is an added bonus.> Livestock: Yellow Tang, Blue Damsel, Green Chromis x2, blue face angel, flame angel, zebra eel (very small because I just got him) and the stars and stripes puffer. I do not plan on adding any more livestock at the present moment until I upgrade my equipment some... Thanks again for your help, I'm not overly concerned, just don't really want to put my puffer (Mr Sean Combs aka P diddy) in jeopardy. <It sounds like your puffer has a great home. Not to worry about him getting damaged by his "food". ~PP>

Dog face puffer with wart like growth is not eating -- 06/16/07 Dear WWM Crew: Long time lurker, one time poster here, but a real fan of your site and the tremendous staple you guys have become to the hobbyist. Please keep up the good work. <Will try.> I apologize for the lack of pics and the abundance of words here, but for want of a good digital camera I will have to describe these symptoms with the later. <Okay.> I have had a Dog faced Puffer by the name of (Cujo) in Hypo/QT for 35 days, now along with one small juvenile Formosa Coris wrasse. The QT is a bare bottom 20 gallon long with power filter, power head, heater and I'm using a sponge pre-filter on the MJ intake strainer that was soaked two weeks in my display for a biological filtration. I placed a small Tupperware container of Live Sand from my display in one corner of the QT for the wrasse to sleep in and PVC Elbows for the puffer. The two fish have gotten along swimmingly for the duration of the QT, each out and about, and the wrasse hitting the sandbox at lights out. The Puffer wanders about the tank all night but will not eat. With daily water changes I've been able to keep water Prams in the QT very good, near perfect 0-0-<.5 SG at 1.009 PH8.3 temp 80. The wrasse ate well right away and neither fish showed no sign of Cryptocaryon or any illness whatsoever. Because the fish looked very clean and took the slow drip acclimating well, I did not do the usual freshwater dip. I felt slowly acclimating them into the hypo saline QT water would be sufficient. However, I did notice a small wart-like nodule on one of the puffer's gill covers after I put them in the QT. I have watched this spot closely for over a month now. It is always in the same spot, never moving, and does not seem to bother the fish. The puffer has never flashed or had labored breathing. <Hard to diagnose from a description. Could be Lymphocystis (see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm ), a bacterial infection or a type of tumor. Have a look at WWM and net pictures and compare them to your puffer's bump. For a more definite diagnosis you'd probably have to sample it and consult a vet.> Other than not eating, the puffer has been very responsive. He always comes to the front glass wagging his fins like a puppy when I come near the tank. He comes so close I have been able to examine the wart closely with a magnifying glass. It actually looks like a wart, or like the little skin-tags people get, perfectly round and slightly raised. I don't think this is the problem, but might be an indicator of something else going on internally <Well possible.>. Has anyone ever described anything like this before on a Dog face? <Lymphocystis, a virus infection, can be bump-like, but has a more or less irregular shape. Some bumps on puffers were shown to be bacterial (compare http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisFAQ2.htm and scroll down to 5/13/07). Some worms even form bumps under the skin and there is also the possibility of a tumor.> Although the wrasse has been nothing short of a little pig throughout the entire QT period, the puffer has eaten nothing, zip, nada for 35 days, now. All offered foods are soaked heavily in minced garlic and Zoe. I also hang cocktail shrimp and squid on an algae clips, which the wrasse tears at with great gusto, but Mr. Cujo just sniffs at it and refuses to eat. He sometimes shows a little interest in clams on the shell. He will occasionally suck one in, chew a few times then spit it out. But I'm concerned because he is getting notably thin. <What about some live ghost shrimps? If these are not eaten, I'd try treating against worms possibly causing problems in his digestive organs. Force feeding with a rubber tube and a syringe is another possibility, which could save this specimen. It'd need to be anaesthetized.> Thinking that he might eat in better surroundings I decided to cut the QT period short and introduced Mr. Cujo and his wrasse buddy to my FOWLR tank where he is now keeping company with a Falco Hawk, a Maroon Clown and the Formosa. Almost right away the puffer began to blow in the sand as if looking for food and attacking the Live Rock. He actually bites off little chunks of the rock, crunches it up and blows it out his gills <Rules out lock jaw as a possible disease/symptom.>. He also nibbles a little at some Aiptasia and Carlupa <Caulerpa?> growing on the rocks. He also appears to be biting at his reflection on the glass especially in one area where some hair algae has grown over the glass. However, even though this behavior is encouraging, he still will not take any real food. All the other fish look great and all are eating well except this stubborn puffer. Water params in the FOWLR are 0-0-<5 SG 1.017. I've slowly been raising the SG. I usually keep this fish only tank around 1.020, (No Inverts) but had lowered it a little for the puffers' acclimation. The other three fish don't seem to mind the low salinity. Do you think I should bring it up to NSW or stop at 1.020? <I'd prefer NSW.> He is a wild caught Dog Face about 4' long, so I assume he is an adult. <Hehe... If it is a Arothron nigropunctatus usually referred to a dog face puffer it may reach a foot.> His teeth do not appear to be overgrown, that is, he has no problem biting off chunks of rocks. We've offered him everything but caviar, but so far he is still fasting. I have read it is not uncommon for these guys to go on long hunger strikes, but 35 days seems a long time to me. We have become very attached to this fish. Please advise <Try live food. If that does not work, treat against worms. If that does not improve the situation, you'll need to force feed him. For diagnosis of the bump compare to pictures or get a sample and consult a vet. Good luck, I hope he gets well again. Marco.>

Golden puffer crushing the food but not ingesting -- 04/07/07 I recently acquired a golden puffer form an online vendor when I received the fish its color seemed to be rather faded. At first the fish seemed to be doing quite well. I quarantined the fish for the first 2 weeks. <A rather short quarantine, at least shorter than the lifecycles of the most common parasites.> After seeing no sings of illness I moved the fish to my 300 gallon show tank. Once in the 300 gallon I started to notice that my imperator angel and my golden puffer where having a territorial dispute. I figured that this would subside in several days and did. On the second day of being in the 300 gallon tank the fish appeared to be eating well again with no problems. Thus I assumed that everything was fine with the fish. Well around 2 weeks ago I noticed that when the fish would eat he had a great appetite. But rather he would not ingest the food. He would chew the food and spit it out not ingesting any of it. Any ideas what might be causing this. <Puffers are messy eaters. They try food by taking a bite and crushing it. Things not liked are spit out again. Offer prawns, cockles and mussel flesh and see if you get a different reaction. Have a look at http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ to exchange with people owning the same puffer species.> I do know that their teeth sometimes become over grown in an aquarium, but this is not the case in this fish. Thanks Sean.

Mappa Puffer--Feeding, Tank Size  3/15/07 <Hi  Brian, Pufferpunk here> I have been trying to locate some reliable info on the Mappa puffer but it seems to be difficult to come by. <Stunning fish!> A local wholesale importer has a small (3") Mappa in stock that he offered at a ridiculously low price compared to other vendors. I would love to buy this fish and eventually make it the show piece of a tank. I have a few questions that I was hoping you could answer for me. How fast would this fish be expected to grow (per year for example)? <A fish that should eventually attain the huge size of 26 inches, will probably grow that large within 3-4 years or so.  Generally, they will grow quickly at first then slow down at close to adult size. Sorry, I can't give you exact growth times, as it is determined by quality & frequency of feeding & tank size it has to grow into.  A fish in captivity should grow larger than in the wild, if housed & fed properly.> Also, are there any corals that could go in this tank or would they just become food? <I definitely wouldn't chance anything you like, with a puffer.  Mushrooms, xenia have seemed to do OK with puffers.> I have read that puffers in general consume soft corals. What frequency should a growing puffer be fed at? I have read mixed reviews ranging from small portions throughout the day to every other day. <1x/day for a juvie, skipping 1 day per week.  As it grows larger, less frequent feedings are necessary.  I feed my 12" puffer 1-2x/week.> I have also read mixed reviews on their aggressiveness. Any thoughts? The marine center states that these fish are somewhat secretive and shy for puffers and in small tanks they will not do well (even when they them self are small). Other sites have stated that they are a more aggressive puffer. Can you shed any light on this? <You can never tell with a puffer.  Aggressiveness can come out at any time in it's life.  I just read a question from someone that had a puffer living with a clownfish buddy for years, that just up & ate it one day.  Shyness will have a lot to do with it's decor & swimming room.  They prefer a heavily decorated tank & plenty of room to explore.> As for a QT period, should it be a standard 4 weeks? <That will be good.> Would a 10g tank be sufficient for a 3" individual for QT? <20+g would be preferable.  10g would be quite stressful, IMO.> I read that puffers are prone to internal parasites. How do you detect internal parasites, other than noticing the fish not eating? <Eating, getting fat, then skinny again--not holding it's weight.  Stringy poo.> I think my final question is in regards to the tank size for this particular puffer. I would like to do a step approach for this fish, meaning starting out with a 40-50g tank and moving up as it grows. <Won't last long in there...> I am not prepared to go out and buy the 180g tank (plus equipment) for it right now. Would this be ill-advised? I sincerely appreciate all of the help you can provide me. <Scott Michael, in his Marine Fishes book states: MINIMUM tank size requirement is 240 gallon. I would recommend no smaller than this - more in the line of 300-500 gallons... the key is the water volume to handle the bioload of this large, predatory fish.  ~PP> Brian Wilson My Stars and Stripes puffer quit eating about 7 weeks ago. MY Guess is... Overstocked, Under housed  3//15/07 <Hi Greg, Pufferpunk here> My Stars and Stripes puffer quit eating about 7 weeks ago.  I didn't  think it was a problem because I know true puffers will do that from time to  time. <"True" puffers?  Are there any other kind?>   When my map <Mappa?> puffer and my Panther grouper started to act the same way, I got concerned and set up a hospital tank.   <Wow, you have a lot of potentially huge fish!  How large is your tank?>   All three showed some deterioration of the fins, <Water quality issue.> so I started treating with Maracyn and lowered the salinity a little (maybe to .016).   <More stress to the fish.  Hyposalinity is for treatment of external parasites.  Sounds like large water changes, much larger tank & better filtration would have been the best course of action.> The Stars and Stripes died in a couple  days.  After three days the map looked more like his old self.   <Sure, less bioload.> The colors looked good again but he can't seem to eat.  He tries (not enthusiastically) but can't seem to swallow anything.  Today is the last day of the Maracyn treatment.  It seems to have helped the fin rot.  My tank is very stable but the nitrates are always high because I have so many  big carnivorous fish.  Someone had said that fish may lose their appetite in the presence of high nitrates.  I don't know. <You have partially answered your own question.> Maybe too long  without variation of the diet?  I feed a lot of krill mostly because I'm  too lazy to prepare a different diet.  Any advice would be appreciated. <Many puffers develop lockjaw from a diet of only krill.  Puffers, like most fish, need a varied diet.  Puffers especially, need a varied diet of crunchy foods.  From your nitrate issues, somehow I don't think it's just your fish's menu you're just being lazy about.  Please consider that you are responsible for the life of a fish that has been removed form the ocean.  In your care, it should live into it's teens & grow larger than in the wild (26").  A Mappa puffer's MINIMUM tank size requirement for an adult is 240 gallons. I would recommend no smaller than this - more in the line of 300 - 500 gallons... the key is the water volume, to handle the bioload of this large, predatory fish.  Added tank mates would require even a larger tank.  Until then, water changes, water changes, water changes, until you can properly care for this fish.  ~PP>   Thanks, Greg Re: My Stars and Stripes puffer quit eating about 7 weeks ago. Puffer's Tank Size  3/15/07 Thanks for the help.   <I'm trying...> My tank is 300 gallons and I have a 400 acrylic I will fill someday for the map if it lives.  Sorry, Mappa.   <Glad to hear that.> It just doesn't make sense that all of my other fish (Golden puffer, Narrowlinned toadfish, Black and Dogface puffer, Porcupine puffer) are so incredibly healthy.   <When I gave you the minimum tank size, that was just for 1 Mappa puffer.  Adding tank mates, would add to that size.  You have way too much bioload in that tank, unless all those fish are really small.  There is also a lot of competition between many aggressive fish in there.> I will certainly do a lot of water changes to try and rectify the  situation but I have had enormous nitrate levels in the past and still had  healthy fish.  I once changed out my entire water supply except for the  sump and my nitrates still tested at 90ppm.   <Are you using RODI water?  Do you have a refugium?> I'm not proud of that but to me it seemed to demonstrate that nitrates are not all that critical to a fish  only tank.  I was hoping for some magic medicine that might fix my favorite fish but until then I will do daily 20% water changes.   <"The solution to pollution is dilution."  A huge tank for all those fish (we're talking close to a thousand gallons or more), many, many lbs of live rock & a huge refugium, to control nitrates.  These fish will become very stressed out.  They are territorial & need their "space".  Please look here (& elsewhere, if necessary) for minimum tank sizes for your fish.  The amount you see is for per fish, not a combination of fish: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/Marine/ ~PP.   Thanks, Greg

Feeding new Puffer and Black Lionfish food from the Atlantic Ocean    10/3/06 Dear WWM, <John> We recently (yesterday) purchased a Dogface Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) and a Black Lionfish (Pterois ~ antennata/radiata) <Neat animals> In order to offer proper sustenance to the Puffer, I am wondering if it is acceptable to feed live caught crabs, clams, mussels from the Atlantic Ocean. <Mmm, yes... with some provisos... that you understand the possibilities of introducing pathogens, pests and pollution mostly> We live very close to beach here in North Carolina and have access to such prey items right out the back door.  I know that these prey items are not indigenous to the Puffer from a species perspective.  Is that a problem? <Not this, no> I am concerned that not being able to offer crustaceans to our Puffer may lead to lectures from the Fish Dentist that I would prefer to avoid. <Heeee. Possibly> Concerning the Lionfish, I basically have the same question about feeding small minnows (Popeye Mullet, Menhaden) caught locally.  Ironically, in the September issue of North Carolina Wildlife Magazine (http://www.ncwildlife.org/pg09_NCWildStore/pg9a1.htm) there was an article on Red Volitans having been found off the coast of North Carolina. <Umm, yes...>   Much to the surprise of marine biologist.  So, does this in itself make it okay to feed indigenous prey? <Is okay> I also rather suspect that Mr. Fenner may point out the possibility of introducing parasites, pollutants, and other problems into the system? <Am ready for my holiday now... whenever you're ready to step in... Thank goodness!> Is that a real possibility or one that could somehow be minimized with something akin to a fresh water dip of the prey items before introduction? <Yes, and yes... even freezing/prep.> One more quick question on the Lionfish, I am having a very hard time classifying it.  The fish is almost completely black and white.  At first I thought radiata but, the absence of the two horizontal stripes on the tail seems to rule that out.  But antennata, doesn't seem correct as our fish has plumage almost completely up the spines.  Should I just classify it as a Pterois Volitans? Until yesterday, I had never seen one like this. <Almost assuredly this is a dark form of a Pterois volitans> Last but not least, I want to offer a very appreciative thank you to the WWM team.  Especially Mr. Fenner.  Thanks to him I have suffered many sleepless nights from reading and reading and re-reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. <Yikes... sorry about that/this. Bob Fenner> Thanks,

-Feeding a Dog Faced Puffer-  - 09/03/06 <Evening Kat, you have Justin, one of the resident puffer guys.> I have a DFP that the previous owner was feeding two tiger prawns a day to. Now that he is with me, he's thoroughly spoiled with muscles, clams, squid, the odd prawn too!. <Good to hear.  A varied diet is one of the best things you can do for a puffer other than clean water.> After reading the puffer forum, I'm still a little unsure of how often to feed him. He is between 9-12 inches long and has a good sized belly!  I think that he is about 2 years old...but I will check on that to make sure. All the help you could provide for his care would be greatly appreciated. I'm already sooo attached to him! Kat <Well Kat, I am a former admin on TPF, so I'm sure their info on your DFP is good stuff.  Feed it every 48-72 hours at his size.  They do not eat all the time in the wild, and you will replicate its natural feeding habits better doing that.  Also alot more fun to watch when they hunt. Otherwise, keep the water as clean as possible, with overly powerful filtration and a very good skimmer.  And find it a 125 gallon or larger tank for its life minimum and you'll be set.  Also at 9-12 inches this guy is well over 2 years old.  probably closer to 5 or 6, maybe older.  They live to be around 20, so you'll have it for quite some time :)  Also check out pufferresources.net for more info on this guy . Lovely picture, glad to answer an email that isn't one that is ill.> <Justin>

-DFP Feeding Part 2-  9/3/06 <Kathryn> Justin, thank you for replying so quickly! My guilt is setting in...he's begging to be fed! <They are very good at doing that, but not giving in is the best thing you can do for it.  There is a reason they are called dog faced puffers, they are VERY good at being cute and begging.  Enjoy the DFP, hopefully it will live long and hit its 15"+ size in your care.> <Justin>

-DFP Feeding Part 3-  9/3/06 <Kat> Hi Justin...one last thing about Kirby...you mentioned a larger tank...like a 125. am I looking for length or depth? this will make a big difference in my purchase...does he need 6 feet, or is 4 feet and deep okay? <A 6ft by 18inch deep tank at the minimum is a good choice.  a 6ft x 2ft deep tank or a 180 gallon tank would be perfect.> Kat <Justin> Dogface puffer won't eat, crowded, teeth overgrown/ground down... no useful info.   8/14/06 Hi, I am very concerned about the fact that my dogface puffer he is about 4 - 4.5 inches long and he has not eaten in 2 weeks today.  He is in a 55 gal <Too small> tank with a maroon clown that is about 3.5 inches long and a lion fish that is about 11.5 - 12 inches long. <Way too small> I have had all three fish in the same tank for about 2 years and haven't ever had one problem. <You are now>   I clean the tank my self all the levels are good <Like the prez, non-informational> and the lion fish and the clown are both eating and acting and eating as they normally do.  The dogface puffer swims around some then he just goes and lays on one side of the tank.  He has no white spots on him and no white film over his eyes.  I feed him dried jumbo krill, small snails, and live clam.  He will not touch it I have even got some garlic extract and soaked the food to make him want to eat and he will not. On one side of his mouth his teeth were overgrown a little. <This could be it> When he would open his mouth that side wouldn't open.  Yesterday I put him to sleep and trimmed his teeth thinking that because he couldn't open on one side is why he wouldn't eat, but today he still will not eat. <Takes a while...> I don't know what else to do and I don't want him to die I am very attached to him.  How long can he survive without eating?  PLEASE HELP Dawn <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. I urge patience, and a much larger tank. Bob Fenner>

Dog Face Puffer... beh., fdg., dis.   8/12/06 Hello - I have a 7 year old Dog Face Puffer (Rover).  About a week ago he became bloated and would not eat.  This has happened one other time (about two months ago) and he seemed to work himself through it.  I'm guessing he was constipated.  This time, after a few days of his being bloated, I called the vet to come and check him out.  He was scheduled to come out the next afternoon.  I had to call and ask him to come earlier because he had built up so much air that it was blocking a small piece of one of his eyes. He also is generally lethargic. <Periodic, common behavior in Tetraodonts>   He rests against different items in the aquarium as well as on the bottom.  If I open the lid, he will start swimming around. The vet came out, trimmed his teeth (they were very long and Rover had no interest in snails or live rock) and squeezed his midsection to help encourage him to go to the bathroom. <Good techniques>   I need to mention that I have noticed in the past weeks that when he does go to the bathroom, it is whole pieces of krill.  While Rover is not as puffy now, he is still puffy and still has no desire to eat. <Give this fish time>   I have tested the water and the readings are as follows:  PH - 8.6; NO2 < 0.3 mg/l; and NH3/NH4 - 0 mg. None of the other fish (Tang, Clown Fish, Trigger and Damsels) seem to be having any issues.  Because my vet is not an expert, he has a call into a doctor in one of the Carolina's.  That doctor is out of town and will not be back until the 08/15.  His associate has not returned his call and my vet will be out of town for two weeks starting Monday.  I am at a loss and I hate seeing him miserable.  I would appreciate any input and/or suggestions. Kristine <Best to try to be patient here. Puffers are tough... and yours will likely be fine in time. Bob Fenner>

Adult dog faced puffer - 8/10/2006 I have had a dog faced puffer for about 5 years.  He's always been healthy and very active.  Kept in a 120 gallon tank with no other fish.  Purification system was fed RO Water and had an ETSS protein skimmer, a Eheim canister filter.  Tank has about 50-70 pounds of live rock. In mid-may we had a flood which caused us to move the tank.  We moved the puffer, much of his rock, the filters onto a 72 gallon tank for about two weeks while we rebuilt the area around the 120. Once done, we put him in a new 120 with a new skimmer.  His old filters and added a Fluval 404 (mainly for easier carbon changes) that I had laying around. He seemed fine for a month.  At this point we did some dental work on his too-large beak (few drops of clove oil, quick Dremel tool work).  It went remarkably well and he demonstrated a larger appetite after this and showed no signs of trauma. <Oft times takes a while to show... weeks> Fast forward two uneventful weeks... Over the last two or three days he suddenly became a bit lethargic and the last two days has had a bit of a film over his eyes and body.  He now passively rests on the bottom of the tank.  My LFS is a very good fish/reef only store, but they are small and closed for a week long trip, <Wow! Impressive!> leaving me with no local support.  I'm extremely concerned and not sure what to do.  I've never had a fish with ich or any other infection before, though I've kept fish or reefs for about 15 years.  Nitrates showed high, with Ammonia, Nitrite, salinity all being within norms. <Mmm... very likely nothing to be overly concerned about here> Cash isn't really an issue, but I'm not sure what my options are.  At the moment we're purchasing some store-made water from another LFS on the shot that the elevated nitrates may be coming from our new RO system which has no de-ionizer (the old one did).  About to do a 15% water change to see if it has any effect at all. Any help would be tremendously appreciated. -Jason <I would do "nothing"... Almost assuredly this puffer will recover, return to its cheery former self. Please read here in the mean while: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm and the many puffer, Tetraodont linked files above. It is my hope that by perusing the concerns, efforts of others you will be more encouraged, understanding of the situation. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Dogface Puffer  5/25/06 Hello - <Hi Kristine, Pufferpunk here> For the first time, my puffer (Rover) was not interested in eating his krill. He normally takes it from my hand but was taking extra pains to avoid it today.  He did eat a bit of a veggie cube. He is actually in my office suite.  The office he is in became vacant two weeks ago.  Is it possible he is depressed? His tank is being cleaned today in case that is the problem but I'm concerned that it may be because his teeth have become too long.  What do I need to do for him? <If you are only feeding him krill, there is a possibility that he could be having nutrition problems, even causing lockjaw.   See Feeding your Puffer: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html If overgrown teeth is the problem, see Pufferfish Dentistry:   http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm> He is my buddy and I would hate for anything to happen to him so any advice would be appreciated. <Be sure to check the water parameters, as if they are off, this can cause loss of appetite.  Puffers are messy eaters & high waste producers.  Even in SW, 50% weekly water changes are recommended.  Unless he's a very small puffer, he should not be fed daily.  Puffers are sensitive creatures & do occasionally go on hunger strikes.  If it lasts more than a week, you can try adding a garlic solution to his food/water, to enhance appetite.  ~PP> Kristine

Golden puffer Feeding - 5/1/2006 Hey guys, <<'¦and girls! Lisa here.>> I just recently added a Golden Puffer (Arothron meleagris) to my aquarium. <<After QT, I trust? ;).>> I have a 120 gallon FO tank with a Picasso, Tusk, Volitans lion, Blue face angel, and a Snowflake eel. <<You are over-stocked.  The trigger and puffer will find your lions fins irresistible in time!>> The puffer seems to have been interested in eating, and chewing on prawns when I feed them, but he doesn't seem as though he's consuming the food. More tearing it up and spitting it out. Am I wrong or should I try to feed him something different? <<You should make the puffer's diet as varied as possible, incorporating much crunchy food to wear down dental plates.  Often puffers have that chew and spit type of eating, which is why they are considered such messy fish.  Are his teeth over-grown? Thanks, Samuel <<Glad to help, Lisa.>> Hard beak...hard question   3/3/06 Hello Crew, <Daniel> This is a question about a dog-faced puffer. I have been to www. thepufferforum.com and I've read your site's article on puffer dentistry and finally I've searched a few pages on the puffer FAQ. Maybe if I had searched page number 15, ehh? <Perhaps> So my puffer is approx. six inches in length, is very healthy and seems to be content. He has learned to spit water at me to get an extra treat and that is part of my question. <Am spitting my coffee at the computer screen... Where's my treat?> My tank over one year ago was treated with chelated copper and sat dry for over six months. I've used Chemisorb (spelling?) <This is it> and Polyfilters to soak some of that up, but any invertebrate I drop into his tank to wear his beak down dies in 10 minutes or so. <Mmm, something else> I am attached to my puffer and don't want to risk taking him out to use the Dremel. Ideas? <Foods don't need to be live...> My second question is I have also read from www.thepufferforum.com's library that in the wild, most don't eat every or even every other day. <Very likely so. Have seen some quite thin ones in the wild> Would I be simulating a more natural environment by feeding him 3-4 times a week? <Or even less frequently, yes. Highly suggested. For large specimens, once, twice a week is about right. Bob Fenner> Puffer Feeding Strikes  12/10/05 I have a dog face puffer, porcupine puffer, dragon wrasse and an algae blenny in a 185 gallon tank (water quality is good). <In the future exact readings would be much better.> All fish have been healthy and happy up until yesterday when my dog face went down hill (fast). <Sorry to hear that.> He is usually begging for food and the first one to eat. Most times I have to fool him with my finger so the rest of the fish can eat and he wont explode. But last night he didn't come out from his cave when I got home and didn't even look at the food.  <Hunger strikes are not uncommon with Arothron puffers.> I have been feeding all sorts of different things (at different times of course) for instance ghost shrimp, Mysis shrimp, prawns, crabs and on occasion live feeder fish.  <Skip the feeder fish in the future.> Just recently I started him on clams from the local fish market.  <Feed them occasionally with shell on to wear down his teeth.> Today his belly is swollen (2 to 3 times its normal size) with lumps (looks like he ate marbles), he is hanging on the bottom of the tank with his tail curled to his side and he is much darker in color. <Sounds like a bloating problem, possibly from overfeeding.> I suspect one of two things (maybe its neither) I hope you can clarify what the problem is and how I can fix it. 1. He started acting sick the day after his first clam. I froze it for a week as someone suggested but then I read some where else I should put it in salt water when I get them home from the store to extract any toxins which I did not do. <The freezing method is fine.> 2. We had a real cold spell the night before he got sick and the temperature in the tank dropped from 75 to 72 in a matter of 12 hours. <Yes that's not a good swing, could have stressed the puffer into a feeding strike.> Any information you can give will be appreciated very much. I really adore this little guy and I hate to see him not feeling well. <I would skip his feeding for another day and see if this helps with his bloating problem, then begin offering food again, not uncommon for feeding strikes to last over a week or even 2, so don't worry just yet. Other than that I would search through WWM re: puffers/feeding strikes for more insights.> Thank you, <Welcome.> Leslie <Adam J.>

Dog Faced Puffer Fish  10/21/05 Hello there, I have a problem with my puffer "Fat Albert"  He has been with us now about 4 months.  He lives in a 280gal tank with only another puffer - I believe he is a Stars & Stripes, lots of live rock and a piece of plate coral that was purchased  for him to pick at, which he loves to do.   When he came home it didn't take him long to own the tank. He seemed to be doing really well.  The only trouble was finding something that he would eat.  Will not touch pallets, <Too woody... Heeee!> bloodworm, crab. shrimp,  the only thing that he will eat is mussels which he devours within minutes.  "Fat Albert" and his little mate share the mussels. He also eats seaweed if I put it in the mussel shell. We do put bloodworm in because the smaller puffer does eat anything.  Everything seemed to be going fine.  He had even started to hand feed (still well under the water surface). Until four days ago, he has placed himself sideways on a rock ledge and does not move, except his eyes.   He has also stopped eating. When the lights go off he moves only to be front on to the tank instead of sideways, he might come off his ledge but only just. I have no idea whats happened.    All the water tests we have done are correct to the readings that you post on your site. Temp is constant. I have read that they do go on hunger strikes for what ever reasons but not to swim. <Both do occur> He looks quite strange he seems to be sucking his tummy in.  When he is sideways you can see what appears to be circles protruding through his sides.  Does that sound really strange,  Last night I was watching him and thought he looked like he had goose bumps. <Just internal parts...> Temp was perfect. Most confused and worried I have waited a long time for him. Hubby has a reef tank and wouldn't let me buy one for that tank (understand why after watching him smash his through is own coral) so had to start my own tank,  waiting waiting waiting for everything to be perfect before he could come home and now I don't know what I've done wrong or how to fix it for "Fat Albert". Please can you give me some advice.... Maz - "Fat Albert" <Mmm, perhaps a good idea to try appetite stimulants (vitamins) added to the food (soaked) and tank water... Chemical filtrants (my choice? Boyd's Chemipure) in the filter flow-path... raising the specific gravity (if not already at 1.025)... general clean-up, of skimmer, larger water change... and patience. May have an internal/parasitic complaint that you could/can treat with vermifuge, anti-protozoals... Bob Fenner> Dog Face Puffer  9/20/05 Hi, my name is Michelle <Hi, Adam J here to help> and I have a dog face puffer.  I have had it for a year with another puffer and a lionfish.  He has stopped eating and has gone from grey to yellow. I have tried to feed it various things and it will not eat.  His teeth are completely exposed and he acts like they are stuck. <I fear this may be the problem.  It sounds from your description that your puffer's teeth are overgrown.  Is not so much that he won't eat but more than likely he can't eat.  This is very common of Puffers in captivity.  Puffer's teeth are much like our own fingernails and continue to grow.  In the wild puffers keep their teeth worn down by eating animals with hard-shells such as bivalves and crustaceans.  In captivity however if not offered foods with hard shells such as crab legs, whole shrimp and oysters (with shell on) the teeth grow unchecked.  It appears puffer may need minor dental surgery. Please read this link for an explanation http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm>   I do not know how to help him. <The link provided above will show you how to help him as well as avoid this in the future>    Thank You, Michelle <Anytime, Adam J>

Dogface puffer  9/7/05 Hi found your site today!!! Love it!!! We have a 75 gallon tank with two lions, a dog face puffer, and a wolf eel which was previously a reef tank and still have live rocks in tank. We have a trickle filter and protein skimmer. Is there any additional filtration that would cut down on the time between water changes. <Mmm, yes... most any additional filtration, of all modes would help here... but... what you really need is a much larger volume system> Also, we've heard of double osmosis systems that we could use to make our own salt water at home. Is this necessary or is there any easier way, like store bought water that could be used with our oceanic sea salt mix? <There are a few inputs, things to say... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself>   What is the typical size for a dog face in captivity and will our tank be large enough for our current stock? <Mmm, likely six to eight inches... more than a foot in the wild, in large systems in captivity. It will be much better off in a bigger (twice plus the 75) system>   I read about people hand feeding their puffers.  Are they actually reaching into the tank? <Sometimes yes... take care... sharp teeth... and your lions...> Our puffer is very friendly and we have touched him but I don't want to stress him or do anything wrong but of course I want to maximize my relationship with our fish.  The last thing is our eel and puffer rub on each other a lot. They both seem to enjoy it but should we be concerned about an aggression problem that we are not recognizing. <Mmm, more likely friendly than agonistic. No worries. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Blue Dogface Puffer Not Eating (7-9-05) My wife and I have a 125 FOWLR setup.  It has been up and running for over three months now.  We have had a Picasso trigger in there for about a month. He is only 4 inches at the moment. Yesterday, we purchased a Yellow Tang (5 inches) and a Blue Dog Face Puffer (4-6 inches). After we acclimated both of the new fish, we placed them in the aquarium.  In under an hour, the tang was doing fine.  The dogface just hid behind some live rock. He would come out occasionally, and then right back to the hiding spot.  This morning, the tang and trigger were feeding, but the puffer has no interest in food, although he was out and about.  First question is:  Have you ever heard of a blue dogface puffer? <No not that I have heard of. However, there was a discussion back and forth about blue porcupine puffers. I was told by a LFS that some of these new puffers were coming in. I was curious but had never seen or heard of this color variant. I emailed the rest of the crew inquiring and the general consensus was that the fish must have been dyed, although the LFS did not believe this to be true. A. nigropunctatus is the species most commonly referred to as dogface puffer and these fish have several color variations including black, gray, golden and a splotchy mix thereof, but I have never seen or read about a blue color. So my guess is the fish has possibly been dyed.> The second question is:  How long should it take him to feel comfortable enough to feed? <It is always a good idea to ask to see the fish eat prior to purchase. That said, he may just need some time to acclimate to his new home. Keep the activity around the tank to a minimum and perhaps reduce the lighting for a few days. These guys are known to go on hunger strikes and can if previously well nourished and in good weight survive quite a while off their feed. Continue to offer him a variety of meaty fresh and frozen seafoods daily. I have had the best luck tempting reluctant feeders with krill and believe it or not lobster. The local Asian market, if you have one nearby, is a great source for a variety of seafoods.  Try clams, squid, oysters, shrimp, small crabs, prawns, or any other meaty seafood (excluding freshwater fish and mussels) Trader Joe's is another excellent source for reasonably priced frozen seafood. If he's still being stubborn, give some small live crabs, snails, or even ghost shrimp from the local fish store a shot. Ghost shrimp should be gut loaded first by feeding them with a high quality flake food prior to feeding them to the puffer. They are usually kept in freshwater tanks, so drip acclimating them to saltwater prior to feeding them will prolong their survival in the puffer's tank. If all else fails the next thing to try is some fishy 'junk food', AKA live brine shrimp. These may induce a feeding response when nothing else has. However these nutritionally void little shrimp should be saved as a last resort.  Be sure to stay on top of you water quality.> I am an engineer at a local hospital, and I also take care of the marine aquariums we have there. <Excellent, what a nice aspect of your job!> The hospital has a rather large dogface (normal brown/yellow coloration). When he was introduced to his aquarium, he was eating the same day. <I think most do, they are typically pretty good eaters.> Any info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <You're most welcome. Hope this was helpful and best of luck with your new Puffer, Leslie> P.S. I would love to see a photo of this fish.

Stars and Stripes Puffer Hello, I have searched through the FAQs and can't find any problems that match up with mine exactly, hope this isn't a duplicate. <Okay> I am purchasing a tank from another hobbyist and he is including all livestock in the tank. Everything is eating and looking good except for the puffer. It is a Stars and Stripes puffer and he has a larger lump or bump or bubble under his chin. Also, the current owner says he hasn't eaten in almost 4 weeks. He appears to be swimming quite well and active around the tank, but won't eat. I can not see anything wrong on his skin, although the current owner says he sees patches (I just don't see them). The only thing the current owner has been feeding the puffer is dried krill. I went and bought some frozen shrimp and fish that the LFS recommended and I will try that on the puffer tonight. I will also try to test all water conditions ASAP on the tank (I am still in the process of buying the tank). <Okay> Do you folks have any recommendations of where to start trying to help this fish? Symptoms to look for or the next best step with this limited information? I'll attach a picture of the fish, although it doesn't show the lump under his chin very well. <I would not be (overly) concerned re the bump/cyst... will come/go or not of its own accord. I would try adding a bit (a level teaspoon per ten gallons) of Epsom Salt to the system, offer some other foodstuffs as you've done... opened clams, mussels, claws/legs of crabs, lobsters... soaked in Selcon or equivalent... Is this tank too small for this specimen, species? This could likely be a factor here as well.> Is there anything I should try when I move the tank this weekend or next? Halting the move is not an option since the seller is moving in 2 weeks. If water conditions are bad, is it terrible to do a full water change with the filtered sea water I can get in San Diego? <Not a tremendous problem... there are shops that sell same, or will sell you water out of their systems... Go see Ron Elander of Octopus' Garden and mention my name if you have difficulties> Thanks for anything you can offer! David <I would buy and move all w/o reservation. Bob Fenner> 

Porcupine Puffer I have been sifting through your website trying to find a good diet for my puffer. I keep reading that these fish are supposed to eat snails, crayfish, and other hard-shelled crustaceans, but my puffer does not seem to want to eat anything other than guppies and goldfish. I have tried cutting up squid, silversides, and shrimp. He will not eat anything that is not running away from him. Any advice? <I would first try some live ghost/grass shrimp. These are excellent. You could also probably get some small snails from your local fish store. These many times come in as unwanted hitchhikers on freshwater live plants. I also like to develop a routine for feeding finicky fish. Keep any live food in a separate container. That way the fish can only eat when you feed it. Then use a net to scoop up an add its favorite food, in this case guppies or goldfish. After they associate the net with food and come running whenever they see it, slip some other items in there. Many times they are so excited they swallow anything. I have used this method to train lionfish to eat prepared cubes of frozen foods. -Steven Pro>

Dogface puffer not eating (07/24/03) <Hi! Ananda here with the puffers today...> My dogface puffer that I have had for 2 years has stopped eating for about a week. <Hmmm. It is not unheard-of for these fish to go on a "food strike". What are you feeding him?> All my tank stats are where they should be and no signs of parasites or bacterial infection. I tried feeding him different foods but he just doesn't seem interested any suggestions would be appreciated <Do check out our assorted Puffer Feeding FAQs, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm ...also, check the length of his teeth! If they are overgrown, so that your puffer cannot open his mouth very far, you may need to do some puffer dentistry. If that's the case, let us know... --Ananda>

Porcupine Puffer Troubles Boogiechillin on Aquaria Central recommended I email you... <<Don't know Boogiechillin personally, but appreciate the recommendation... JasonC here.>> I have been having some troubles with my Porcupine Puffer. He *can't* eat.... He seems unable to suck the food into his mouth... I don't think it is the case, but I guess it is possible that he has beak overgrowth. <<It's the most likely explanation given the signs you describe.>> First, is there any way to determine this by physically looking at the fish?! <<Should be obvious that it really can't open its mouth.>> Or just guess that the reason he stopped eating. <<This is certainly possible - puffers are known to go into a funk and not eat for days to weeks for reasons only known to the puffers. As quickly as they stop, they start eating again.>> The real question here is, how would you correct beak overgrowth? Is there a way to file it down without harming the fish? <<There is a woman known as the Puffer Queen who routinely will anesthetize her puffers, remove them from the tank and then use a Dremel tool to file their teeth down. This is probably the best solution...>> My puffer does allow me to "pet" him, and "cup" him while he is in the water. So I would possibly be able to hold on to him and attempt to file down the beak....let me know your thoughts....you can see my thread on Aquaria Central: http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/html/Forum5/HTML/004511.html <<There is a little more on the Dremel method here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/allpufferfaqs.htm >> Thanks for your time! <<Cheers, J -- >>

Marine/Brackish/FW puffer with pinched tummy I have a fresh water puffer that has been acclimated to saltwater. It is a spotted puffer. The problem is the fish is about 2 inches and it belly looks pinched. I have tried Maracyn I&II, copper, Organi-cure. This fish as been acclimated for 1 year. >> Neat, this animal no doubt came from marine, brackish to sewage water in the wild, survived the move and being plunked into fresh, and now you've got it back into salt! Some tough customer! I wouldn't worry too much about the pinched appearance (many puffers look this way in the wild, until they get their occasional large meal!), nor treat it with any sort of chemical medication. If you want to see it really round, do try offering it a fabulous meal: a largish shrimp (even one for human consumption, or a large frozen/defrosted Krill, they really like these), or a whole-opened clam from the super market... You'll be surprised and no doubt pleased by your now-plump puffer. Bob Fenner

Puffer Teeth <Uhhh. I'd better let Bob answer that one when he gets back from Asia. Mid-June sometime! -Lorenzo> I have a little green spot puffer with "fangs!" I've heard that I could trim them myself but I'm not sure how to go about it. He's beginning to have trouble eating and I don't want to lose the little guy. Any help you could give me would be appreciated. Thanks! Tiffani <Some folks do Dremel tool to hand file some "bucky" puffer teeth... but in many cases these fishes will do this themselves... Provide yours with a "chalky" type of small shellfish (like a cockle) and you should see improvement over time. Bob Fenner>

Dogface puffer problem Robert: I have a 35 gallon saltwater fish tank, fish only. Currently I only have one dogface puffer in the tank. The levels are all in range, but the puffer has stopped eating and become very lethargic. I know puffers go on hunger strikes, however, he is also not nearly as active as in the past. I have had this fish for approximately 6 months and this is the first time he has done this. He typically eats right out of my hand and allows me to touch him. Recently he feels slimier than usual. What can be causing this, if anything? Please advise. <Hmm, could be a (latent) parasite... expression of an internal infectious disease... perhaps this animal "swallowed something" (like a rock, a bug that fell in...)... perhaps the result of a cumulative nutritional deficiency... Most likely this is "nothing", however, if it were me/mine, I would do a series of substantial (20%) water changes, return the system's specific gravity (if it's not 1.025 or so)... do add a vitamin supplement to the water and the offered foods... and keep offering food daily, but remove it if not taken in a few minutes. Good luck. Bob Fenner> John

Help my Puffer Please! Dear Bob, I am so sad that my poor little Puffy is sick. He has been with me for about 6 months and he was doing great till about 2 weeks ago. He all of a sudden cannot eat. He tries and tries but only comes to the food and then retreats as soon as the food goes near his mouth. I have a guy who takes care of my fish tank and he thinks it may be a calcium deficiency from only eating krill. I have tried crushing it into smaller pieces but he cannot seem to get it in his mouth. Otherwise he is acting fine, he responds well when he sees me and has no unusual spots. I hate seeing him suffer and I love him like "normal" people would love their puppies. Please help me figure this out. I will try anything at this point!!! I have started adding liquid calcium to the tank. Its 92 gallons and all my other fish are doing great. Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Karin <This is not an unusual situation, as you will find by reading the FAQs about puffers on out site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferFAQs.htm Please have your service person contact me if you don't feel up to force feeding your puffer... and possibly Dremel-tooling its teeth down... likely they are overgrown and at least contributing to the present trouble. You'll need to secure a plastic baster, cannula, what have you, tube with a bulb on the end for the force feeding... a meaty mash laced with a liquid vitamin preparation (baby vitamins or ones designated for pet-fish), and a bit of mashed up garlic (fresh is best)... do this every three days for three times... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Spotted puffer Hi I have another question about Pufferfish. I noticed my puffer was not eating to well , been feeding him just regular fish food flakes <These will not sustain Puffer species> so today I bought him some snails and some frozen prawn shrimp . He loved the prawn , tore it up like he was starving. Are those good things to feed him on a regular basis? <Yes> Should I feed him that on a daily basis? <No, need to vary diet with other meaty, fresh, frozen, prepared foods> If so how often? Also after eating his belly got swollen , how long will it stay like that and should I wait till his swelling goes down before I feed him again? <Wait. Bob Fenner>

Blackspotted puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) Good evening, I have two questions about this fish: 1). Can he live happily on a diet that consists of uncooked prawns/shrimps+nori, both soaked in Zoë and Zoecon overnight? He does not accept ANYTHING else.... <I would either look about, try other foods... or learn to "stuff" the prawns with other meaty foods... Not good for any animal to have such a restricted diet> 2) Is it at all possible that the Blackspotted might be sexually harassing my spiny puffer (Diodon holocanthus)?  <Not likely sexual, but harassment just the same, yes> They are the same size... I know it sounds weird, but the Blackspotted gets on top of the Spiny when the lights go out, and they swim up and down the tank as if they were mating. Sometimes during this adventure Spiny gets inflated into a ball (sign of threat that he tries to protect himself from, I guess). Any advice will be appreciated. <Enjoy them! Really, nothing too strange going on here... the group of fishes that includes the Puffers (the Tetraodontiformes, encompassing the Triggerfishes...) are "smart", social animals in many ways... These two are just friends. Bob Fenner>

Striped Puffer Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 3 in. striped puffer, Arothron . I looked up info on your site and it only said gets to 6 in. in aquariums. Have you ever kept this puffer? <<I have not, I have kept other puffers, but not this one.>> Do you know what I should feed him? I am feeding him krill, Mysis, brine, formula 1 and 2, is this good? <<Yes, that is all good.>> Also, can you gives me specific tips that you know on this puff? <<Sure, those krill should be whole krill - is good for puffers.>> Thanks! <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

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