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FAQs about True Puffer Systems

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 Feeding, Tetraodont Disease, Tetraodont Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Arothron mappa (Lesson 1831), the Map Puffer. Indo-Pacific. To twenty-seven inches. Needs a system of hundreds of gallons.

Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)  SW/BR/FW   12/9/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<All good.>
I have come across and interesting and seemingly rare puffer for sale. Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca).
<Does turn up very occasionally in the UK trade, mostly at the stores specialising in oddballs; I've seen them at Wildwoods for example. A second variety, known as the Golden Milk Spotted Puffer, is also traded, which may or may not be a regional or colour morph of the same fish.>
I have a tank available in my fish room. I can't find much at all by way of information about this fish?
<Very few people have kept it. I haven't, for a start!>
I saw you made brief reference to this fish in a PFK article.
Do you know much in terms of care requirements?
<Very similar to the standard issue GSP, though potentially much larger, up to 30 cm. Much more peaceful towards its own kind though, but still a fin-biter, so tankmates should be chosen with care. Might work okay in a jumbo reef or FOWLR system alongside suitably punch, fast, and robust fish such as Sergeant Majors and Damselfish that would hide among rocks when resting. Otherwise very undemanding; hardy, euryhaline, eats all the usual meaty foods. Wild fish probably consume a lot of algae, too, so stuffing some Spirulina flake into, say, mussels would be a good way to keep their vitamin levels topped up.>
Also is £140 an OK price?
<About right. It's never cheap, but is very beautiful.>
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks Neale that’s really helpful. He’s in freshwater at the moment - what sort of salinity is required and how is best to ease him in to it?
<Oh, they're nominally marine fish, but completely euryhaline coastal fish, meaning move in and out of freshwater and saltwater habitats all the time. Juveniles are common in estuaries, and adults seem to be all over the place, from the freshwater part of estuaries all the way to offshore reefs. Good water quality and an alkaline pH are probably more important than the precise salinity. I'd probably keep a youngster around 1.003-1.005, aiming for 1.010 upwards by the time it's above, say, 8-10 cm.>
Could I keep him with. GSPs or figure 8s whilst he is small?
<Definitely worth a shot, and similarly, adults might be tried with the less aggressive Arothron spp. All the limited accounts of this species in captivity seem to agree with the general idea it's non-aggressive, just nippy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thank you .
<Most welcome.>
If they are constantly moving between freshwater - could I have a go at keeping it in freshwater- or is that not worth the risk?
<Short term, probably fine. I mean, I've kept Arothron hispidus juveniles in hard freshwater -- but that's another story! Regardless, if you're forking out £100+ for a fish, you'd not be wanting to take too much of a gamble! I'd certainly keep the pH and hardness high, and ensure good water quality. Probably better to add even a little salt, to start with. 1.003 would be ample for juveniles, and easily tolerated by brackish water tolerant plants. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks - sorry last question - how best can I introduce salt without killing my filter bacteria?
<In stages! From freshwater to 1.003 there'll be no noticeable effect.

There on upwards, do small changes, wait a couple of weeks, do the odd nitrite or ammonia test, and act accordingly. Since these puffers are euryhaline, you may choose to grow the fish onto subadult size in low-end brackish, then simply convert the tank to marine -- complete with skimmer and live rock -- on a Sunday afternoon, the puffer sitting in a large, securely covered bucket until you're reading to acclimate it to full marine conditions. The live rock will bring in the entirely new batch of bacteria required for filtration, as per setting up a reef or FOWLR system. Klaus Ebert of Aqualog fame says you can chuck euryhaline brackish fish into marine conditions instantly, but I'm a little kinder, and suggest plain vanilla drip acclimation across, say, an hour. Either way, these fish can, do experience such things in the wild when the tide turns. Cheers, Neale.> 

Puffer proofing. Internal pump placement, use concerns       3/9/16
Mr. Bob and crew, Haha, I ain't finished bugging you yet about the puffer I plan to purchase ;)I did decide on which species to get. I am going to get a dog face puffer for my tank which is 150 g. 29 g refugium, and about 30
gallons in the sump.
<A good choice>
Will be the only fish.
<Mmm; I'd add more>
My question is... I can Not figure out the best way to puffer proof the power heads.
<Really just complete, and possibly enlarged intake screens. Some units these can be purchased for; others you have to fashion... Hide behind rock, drill and fit PVC etc., cover in large-cell foam...>
Omg! Too many horror stories about that! Some suggestions are sponges, but with their curious nature that sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I thought about lighting grate. I think people call it egg crate?
<Yes; another good choice>
I could build a little cage around my power heads?
<Yes; or maybe use more, smaller volume/suction pumps>
The squares look awful big. I dontbknowcwhat size the fish will be when I finally purchase it. I did find a product for crafts called Darice 7 plastic mesh. It is 7 squares per inch. I am waiting for an email back and hoping they will tell me what it is made of.
<Something chemically inert>
I know what it do with the cords.
<Set these underwater units just below the surface... with the cords out... this is the best placement... AT the air-water interface, for moving the most water...>
But can't figure out the safest for my power heads. Hee hee I had ordered some Hydor 3250 gph but whoa! What a sand storm, lol I tried some 1950 but not enough flow.
<Again; consider using multiple units>
I am considering the.. I think they are 2200 or something like that. Maybe once I build a safety over the power heads I can use the 3250's. I bought a wave maker and will start off with them at minute intervals just in case so
the little fellow could escape if needed. Maybe that should be 30 seconds?
<Shorter... 15 at most is what I'd use>
I am setting up a 40g qt. I bought a large sponge filter which is seeding in the sump. I bought a bio wheel 350 but have no place to put it on the 150 to seed. Can I cut some aquarium foam and put in the sump.
Sorry for the long post. I just thought you might be missing me..lmao!!HaVe A hApPy DaY :)Stace.
<And you. Bob Fenner>

Question for Neale Monk' BR stkg., Arothron env.       4/5/15
Neale, my name is Mark and I am converting a 125 gallon aquarium from freshwater to brackish and would like to use the following parameters:
1.010 sg, crushed coral, rocks and boxwood, stocked with Sailfin mollies, Orange Chromides, and a small Dogface puffer.
<Cool. Do bear in mind adult Dogface Puffers are more marine than anything else, though they are very tolerant animals
The tank has a few mollies in it now for the conversion. Now my questions are; 1) I have read the Orange Chromides can have a sg of up to 1.012. Can I keep the puffer and Chromides happy at 1.010?
<Yes and yes. Orange Chromides don't enjoy higher specific gravities than that though. It's debatable whether they're truly brackish water fish in the wild; some recent work suggests they're more freshwater with brackish water tolerance.>
I know any fish could be at risk with the puffer especially the mollies but that aside, is it possible?
<Dogface Puffers aren't particularly "bitey" and much less nippy than, say, Green Spotted Puffers. Indeed, Arothron generally are considered fairly good additions to community (marine) aquaria.>
2) I also read to raise the salinity at a rate of .002 sg per week until I hit the desired amount. Do you agree?
<In so far as this won't upset the filter bacteria, yes, sounds about right. But the fish won't care, and Sailfin Mollies for example can switch between marine and freshwater using nothing more clever than slow acclimation in a bucket across half an hour.>
3) is crushed coral okay to use as a substrate?
<Yes. Buffers the pH nicely while it's clean. Doesn't look especially authentic though, and for a more mangrove appearance, you might want to mix it with plain silver sand and even a bit of gravel. A few smashed up mussel and oyster shells will look good in there, too. Experiment a bit in the kitchen, and when you find a mixture that works for you, go for it.>
I have read as much of your work as I could find on the web but I guess I want some confirmation on my plan and if it is okay. I really want to keep the Orange Chromides and DF puffer together if possible.
<While the Dogface is young, yes, this should be fine. Longer term you would probably want more robust, larger-sized tankmates, whether high-end brackish (Selenotoca for example) or hardy marines (Damsels, Snappers,
Thank you very much for your time!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Question for Neale Monk (RMF, thoughts re: Arothron)       4/6/15

<<Don't think that Arothron can live permanently in too-dilute seawater. RMF>>
Thank you for your response! Just for clarification, can the dogface puffer live in these conditions for life?
<Probably, but I've not done that. To be clear: these puffers are adaptable and probably euryhaline to some degree. In the wild they certainly move about between reefs, seagrass meadows and estuaries. But can they live indefinitely in brackish? I simply don't know. I'd guess middling brackish conditions 1.010 upwards would be okay, provided hardness and pH were
appropriate. Do recall that in the past it was absolutely standard to keep fish-only marine systems at SG 1.018, which is about 75% normal marine salinity. This was for damsels, lionfish, etc., so I'm sure Arothron hispidus would be absolutely fine in such conditions for life. But below that... a mystery.>
If not, then What is the lowest salinity for life that the puffer could thrive in if not full marine? I also have read the Volitans Lionfish can tolerate low salinity but I can't find any info as to how whether or not they can thrive in low salinity.
<See above.>
What is your feeling on this fish as it pertains to living in perminate lower salinities and how low that salinity might be? Thanks again.
<When I bought my juvenile specimens back in 1990 they were being sold as freshwater fish, and I've no doubt at all these fish are incredibly tough.
I'd experiment with them at SG 1.010 with a clean conscience, knowing full well that they'd show gradual symptoms of stress if they weren't happy -- they wouldn't suddenly die. I'd be looking out for subdued (dark) colours and lack of appetite. If neither was apparent, I'd be happy that my pufferfish were thriving.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question for Neale Monk (RMF, thoughts re: Arothron)       4/6/15

Well yes, Bob, agreed; but what would be “too dilute” in this instance, for a demonstrably euryhaline, lagoon and estuary dwelling coastal marine species???
Cheers, Neale
<I had tried to find a simple/r one or two ref. to add... Even "true salty" (euryhaline) vs. steno- organisms that make their adult lives in full-strength seawater suffer in less dense water. I have never encountered the genus Arothron as adult, full-time residents in brackish settings. Am not (of course) stating that they don't, but only that this has not been my first or second hand (reading) experience. Too dilute would be anything below 1.022 or so. BobF>
Re: Question for Neale Monk (RMF, thoughts re: Arothron)       4/6/15

Yet how to explain the “standard operating procedure” of yesteryear when species such as this were kept at SG 1.018? Was often stated to be less stressful, kidneys having to work less hard… that sort of thing.
<Ah yes; I sense our thoughts are confluent>
So far as reading goes: do review Klaus Ebert, Aqualog pufferfish book… Arothron hispidus said to be healthy “a long time” in brackish (by which the author seems to mean half-strength seawater) though not permanently.
As stated in previous comments: I would not have a problem keeping a youngster thusly (quite possibly more natural than fully marine conditions for such) but once half-grown, say, would acclimate to near-marine… SG 1.015 upwards… and be prepared to either trade in (for another youngster) or move to fully marine.
Cheers, Neale
<And you. Bob>
Re: Question for Neale Monk (RMF, thoughts re: Arothron)       4/6/15

Thank you both for your insight. I agree that it is more natural to migrate this puffer to full salt over time, but also believe that there is nothing natural about keeping fish in a small glass box. That said, I do try my best to ensure the fish I keep are healthy and hopefully happy. If I am understanding you correctly, the safe answer to my question about keeping a dogface puffer healthy in 1.010 SG for long term or maybe for life is that it should gradually be migrated to marine over time. However, I guess the real answer is, who knows since no research has been done. I will take your advice Neale and start a youngster in 1.010 and keep a lookout for stress and he grows. Worse case for me is I get another saltier tank for him. What a great excuse for a new aquarium! I think this will be a unique and fun setup (for a while at least). Thank you again for the help and I sincerely appreciate the dialog.
<Most welcome. Good luck with your project; maybe let us know how things turnout a year or two from now?
Cheers, Neale.>

New tank build... Large marine fish stocking/systems     4/14/14
Hi guys hope all's good, I upgraded my tank to 150 or so UK gallons or to you guys across the pond 187 US gallon's (60"x 30"x 24") about a year and a half a go but I have a few fish that I know will need a bigger tank in time, they being my Stars and Stripes puffer 7" and my emperor angel 5",
<Oh yes>
I'm planning on upgrading my tank hopefully by the end of the year to a 96"x26"x24" or 96"x30"x24" and was wondering would this size of tank be suitable for both these fish when they reach adult size?
<Yes; likely so... to some degree; though not as much as for most freshwater organisms; marine fishes can be stunted size-wise to their environmental limitations>
I was also looking to add some other bigger fish like the sailfin tang and maybe 1 other large angel but if that's not possible then no worries my main concern is that the tank I'm upgrading to would be able to house my two current fish for their entire life, I would greatly appreciate your expert advice on this.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Eating Corals    11/28/11
My Arothron hispidus is eating the fake corals.
<What they do at times>
Despite trying a varied diet this animal continues this behavior. We previously had a mappa that
would do the same and who eventually died of impaction. I greatly appreciate any suggestions!
<Time for different decor... perhaps a much larger system. Bob Fenner>

Puffer problem, Tetraodontid, env.
Dear WWM.......
I have a Stars and Stripes Puffer........
Previously healthy, living for 4 years in 55 gallon tank with one other fish.
<Mmm, really, this puffer (should by now, through growth) needs a much larger volume>
Have not introduced ANYTHING new to tank, not even live rock or gravel for years.
Recently noticed Puffer rubbing on the live rock. Thought nothing of it because he's a bit of a "spaz", but now see a skin eruption on his jaw line about 3/4 of an inch from his mouth. The spit is a perfect dark ring with a dark center spot with five white speckles inside of that (definitely not Ich). I thought, at first it was an open wound, but under closer inspection see that it is completely smooth like the rest of his skin.
Eyes clear; appetite great, activity level is as usual.
What is this and what medicine can I apply to the water?
<... likely environmental stress as a term... Again, this fish has been 'bonsai'ed' by life conditions>
Thanks, in advance, for any guidance you might offer.
Best regards,
Lisa Crugnola
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above; particularly nutrition/feeding, and disease. 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.>

Henis and Pufferfish, FO stkg., incl. Nasos, Tetraodonts   3/28/10
Hello! I have a 120 gallon fish only tank that has been up for a little over four years now. I currently have a 8-9 inch unicorn tang,
<Really needs more room than this>
12-13 inch stars and stripes puffer,
<This too>
and a 4-5 inch lawnmower blenny. Everyone gets a long famously and even when I had some Sailfin tangs everyone got along well. Unfortunately my Sailfin died at the whim of the intake for my filter
<Mmm, doubtful. Zebrasoma are powerful swimmers and very aware of their worlds>
and are no longer present. Today in my LFS I saw a pair of Henis that I would like to add.
<Mmm, no. You don't have room here. Psych- or physiologically>
I've read that they are timid and my puffer can be territorial, but is there a chance of this working if I do things slowly? Thanks P.S. They're the acuminatus variety.
<I'd be shopping around, or planning on building a larger system; even for just what you have now. Bob Fenner>

Puffers Space and the WHY??   1/31/2010
Hi there,
I was following a conversation on one of the fish forums about the different Puffers and the space needed for them. Everyone had a thought and a few of them were even convincing but I'm not sure that they are true or right.
The Question
Why does a Arothron stellatus (Starry Puffer) require so much more tank space than the Arothron mappa (Scribbled Puffer) when they get to be about the same size in an aquarium?
Thank you.
<Mmm, they don't... A. stellatus tops out at about 48 inches (yes, four feet) in length, A. mappa at a relatively paltry 27 in the wild; the former grows much faster. Please read here:
and search WWM as directed before writing us. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffers Space and the WHY??   1/31/2010
Hi there,
Sorry, I believe I was unclear in my previous email. I know that in nature Starry Puffers get to be around 4 feet long. However from the little information I have found states that in captivity they only grow to be about 2'6", and I was wondering why they need so much more tank space than the Mappa Puffer who gets to be about 2'2". Is it the stunting that can happen?
<A likely plausibility, yes>
Is it to allow for the possibility of 4 feet though it is unlikely? Or is the information I read here http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=15+39+263&pcatid=263 incorrect?
Thank you for your time
<I don't think this information is inaccurate... Mmm, likely there are very few Star/Stellar Tetraodonts in captivity (or the wild) that exceed the stated length... and the largest Map Puffer I've encountered in public and private aquariums was about 14" overall... BobF>

Re: Puffers Space and the WHY?? 2/1/2010
Hi there,
Sorry, I believe I was unclear in my previous email. I know that in nature Starry Puffers get to be around 4 feet long.
However from the little information I have found states that in captivity they only grow to be about 2'6",
<Still hardly a small fish! We're talking tanks measured in gallons by four figures rather than three. Tetraodon mbu is a freshwater species of comparable size, and it needs something like 1000 gallons.
That's a freshwater species, and while quite widely sold, VERY FEW specimens make it to anything like a normal lifespan. Their mortality rate in captivity is quite high. A marine species will be even less tolerant of variation in water chemistry, and even more demanding in terms of oxygen and water quality.>
and I was wondering why they need so much more tank space than the Mappa Puffer who gets to be about 2'2".
<Do remember that the volume of a fish, and therefore its demands in terms of oxygen and filtration, increases as a cube of length. A fish 2 inches long has a volume eight times that of a fish 1 inch long. Put another way, a Great White Shark has about the same length as 120 Neon tetras laid end to end, i.e., both are 180 inches worth of fish. Which do you think needs a big filter? More water? More oxygen? Very big fish are massively demanding in terms of resources.>
Is it the stunting that can happen?
<Fish grow throughout their life, but the rate at which they grow depends on their age (they grow fastest when young, and only very slowly once sexually mature) and their environment (food, water quality, etc.). For a variety of reasons, including genetics, fish don't commonly reach their maximum size. The biggest Great White Shark for example is over 20 feet in length, but an average specimen will only get to about 15 feet. This isn't stunting, it's just variation, and it is commonly seen in animals with constant growth (like fish) compared with determinist growth (like us, we reach full size after a few years, then stop growing). So, taking Arothron hispidus, while its maximum length is reported by Fishbase to be 120 cm, its common length is 54 cm, about two feet. That is an insanely large animal for a home aquarium, and arguably not even a viable one.>
Is it to allow for the possibility of 4 feet though it is unlikely? Or is the information I read here incorrect?
<It's not a bad estimate, but do remember they're SELLING fish, so they're going to put the best spin on things. I'll refer you to such examples as gas mileage for motor cars, and number of servings on cereal boxes. Not technically misinformation, but easily misunderstood. There are numerous much better Arothron species out there, and given the fact this species is so aggressive and not suitable for community tanks, you're going to end up with a one-fish aquarium. Arothron hispidus is considerably more sociable, and the brackish water species of medium size, like Tetraodon nigroviridis, are even better pets.>
Thank you for your time
<Cheers, Neale>

Dog-faced puffer question; comp.; sys. -- 03/12/09 Hi guys, <Hi Marcy.> First of all, thanks for all your hard work and great information. Your site has been enormously helpful for me in starting out with research for my first marine aquarium. Hopefully the questions I have in mind won't be too tedious or beginner-y for you :) <Certainly not.> I have a 48-gallon bowfront tank which has just finished cycling, and I'm planning out how I'd like to stock it. Right now all I have are 2 hermit crabs and 3 damsels. I've fallen in love with a fish at my LFS and am wondering if I can buy it. I've read (and very much enjoyed) the article on your site regarding puffer care, by John Champlin, but am wondering about the dog-faced puffer. The article doesn't mention whether that particular kind of puffer can be kept with longer-finned fish like lionfish (or dwarf lionfish, which is more likely for me). <Can work with a very docile specimen, but chances are quite high the Arothron sp. puffer will bite the fins.> Also, while I've seen elsewhere that a dogface puffer requires a larger tank than mine, that article doesn't specify. <Did you look here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm .> This is my biggest concern, although the LFS has it in a much smaller tank and it seems happy. <Seems is the probably right word.> They also have assured me that it will be fine in a 48-gallon tank, but since you all have a more objective stance I would really like to know what you think. <I think you'd need a tank of at least twice this size to keep a Arothron nigropunctatus in the long run. A four inch specimen will be okay in a 48 gallon tank, but these puffers are no slow growers and will reach 8 inches to one foot in an aquarium. Also, they eat a lot and are consequently producers of copious amounts of waste. You'll need a very good skimmer and enough live rock or a deep sand bed in addition to larger water changes.> I would love to have this fish, as he is super cute and friendly, but not at the expense of his health. <If you have no definite plans for a larger tank, I'd skip this puffer. Smaller puffers comparably 'cute' come from the genus Canthigaster. Tetraodon nigroviridis is a fresh to marine medium sized puffer fish, which is also often kept in marine tanks successfully. A combination of any puffer with a lionfish cannot be recommend without expressing reservations, though. It's often tried, it sometimes fails.> Also, while I'm emailing I may as well ask: in stocking my tank I would, if at all possible, like to avoid the typical clown-fish-and-yellow-tang-with-starfish sort of lineup, and was wondering if there are any more unusual/interesting/funky fish you can recommend that would be alright for a beginner. For example, I love the way a panther grouper looks, but of course it would get far too large. <Wise decision.> And flame scallops look amazing, but I understand they're very finicky (and would be a pricy snack for the puffer if I can, in fact, have him). Any advice at all is appreciated! Thanks :) ~Marcy <There are so many choices of unusual marine fishes, I have no idea what might be available where you live. Have a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm and the two other index pages. The linked FAQs on compatibility and system will help you to rule out possible choices. One oddball fish that can be recmmended to beginners is this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pholodichthyidae.htm , a pair should work in your tank, beware they are diggers, so if you don't like a sand storm once in a while skip them. Cheers, Marco.>

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

"Stars and stripes" puffer... sys.  1/12/2008 Hello WWM Crew! <Kathryn> My husband and I are in a dilemma and not quite sure what action we should take. We are currently "foster parents" for a 4.5 inch stars and stripes puffer. My boss' wife works at a veterinarian's office and they had the puffer in a tank in their office. The puffer was almost constantly in a "puffed" state due to the dogs and children fascinated with the tank. <Maybe this tank was "too low" to the ground...> The office was tired of dealing with the fish and had plans on flushing it. <?!> Needless to say my boss' wife rescued him just in time. Knowing that we are SW hobbyists he brought me the fish in Tupperware, covered with tinfoil, and with a battery powered air pump. <Ahh, excellent> We had no idea what to do with him, but we have managed. We temporarily set up a spare 29 gallon (I know, WAY too small) just for him and then logged on to learn. We have puffer proofed the tank by cordoning off the pump, filter, and heater with egg crate. We have been feeding him shrimp and clams and he is eating (and wasting) well. <Ah, good> Now for the dilemma. the more we read, the more we realize that we will not be able to provide the type of environment he needs. We absolutely love his personality but we cannot afford to buy and set up the large tank that he needs (we currently have one 29 gal fish only and are slowly working on rehabbing a 60 gal cube). <... as you're very aware, also will be too small> We thought about taking him to the LFSs, but they are chain stores whose fish always look ill and inactive. We also thought about donating him to our local "Gulfarium", but I have heard rumors that they do not take care of their animals as well as they should. <Mmmm> Do you know of any ways to find a reputable rescue? <Craig's List is my best next chance... to find a more local earnest hobbyist...> I don't want to give him to someone who won't take the time to learn about his needs. We are located in the panhandle of Florida in Navarre. Any help or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks- Kathy p.s. We LOVE your site and it has been a wonderful resource for us beginners. <Ahhh! A pleasure to serve, share. Bob Fenner>

Re *"Stars and stripes" puffer... sys. 1/12/2008 *Hello WWM Crew! <Kathryn> If you still have her address tell her to Google Suncoast Aquariums, a reputable shop in the area. I believe the owner Eric love close to her. Paul P <<Unfortunately we do not retain folks email addresses... (neither post them unless specifically requested)... but will post this near hers in hopes that it will be seen. Bob Fenner>

Tetraodont... hlth, sys.  -- 1/04/08 Today when we feed my dog face puffer we walked out of the room and some how he got stuck to the filter. <Mmm, something wrong here... a healthy puffer can/will not get stuck... unless the intake wasn't screened> My boyfriends daughter started screaming that the fish was dying and when we walked into the room he was stuck and was almost as big as a tennis ball, I have never seen him this big. It looked as if he was about to pop., he was about 4 times his normal size. After we unplugged the filter he started to deflate, and has been swimming around a little bit. His skin looked almost like it had white little bumps, but they have pretty much now gone away. Is he going to be ok? thanks Kaytea <I do hope so... I would make sure the intake/s are screened, increase the size of said screens. You might try using the search tool on WWM re similar instances. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tetraodont... hlth, beh.   1/5/08 ok, so literally after I hit send, I looked up and he was all puffed up again! I have no idea why this is happening. Is there a reason this could be happening? What would cause this? <... Please... read where you were referred to... http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm toward the bottom of this sub-index. RMF>

Re: Tetraodont... hlth, beh.   1/5/08 Thanks so much, he was fine this morning and has been swimming around and eating like normal :) <Ah, thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Re: Tetraodont... hlth, beh.  1/6/2008 Thanks for all your help, I read all the info. This morning he was jerking his body around and like coughing, when I came back into the room he looked a little smaller and it looked like he had possibly coughed up alot <No such word> of food, from the day before? It didn't look as if it was poop. Then I feed him a little bit of krill this afternoon, and right after he ate it looked like bumps in his stomach and then he went and sat at the bottom and started closing one eye ( he does this sometimes....why?) now he has just been laying at the top of the water, and looks a little stressed out. Is it possible my fish has parasites or something? <I'd keep reading. B>

Stars & Stripes Puffer & Tank Size 12/15/07 Good afternoon WWM Crew, <Hi Todd, Pufferpunk here> I have a 10 inch Stars & Stripes Puffer by himself in a standard 135 gallon tank. Is this tank too small? He darts across the tank & smash into the side from time to time. He seems to move around pretty well otherwise. I've read that they need at least a 100 Gallon tank and maybe as much as 200+. If this tank is adequate for now, how big would he have to be in order to have outgrown it? <Since this puffer can grow to 19", it will eventually need a huge tank due to its size. 300+ gallon tanks are highly recommended. Minimum Tank Size: 180 US Gallons. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/Marine/A_Hispidus/ ~PP> Thank you for your time. Best regards, Todd

Help! Emergency!... puffer caught on intake... env.  -12/14/07 Hey Crew, please help me! I just came home to find my dogface pufferfish stuck to a pump! He's in terrible shape! I'm sending along a picture. What do I do? Help!! **sad** Christopher <Mmm, first off: Screen the intake/s! So this doesn't recur... Next, there is not much to actually "do" re the current injury... But good general care. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and the files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help! Emergency! -12/14/07 Thanks for the reply Bob! I'm happy to say Doggie is looking a LOT better today. Now just looks like he has a black eye! Poor guy boxing all evening! I told him he should've taken up golf! Hehe, thanks again Christopher
<Welcome Christopher. BobF>

Dogface puffer tank requirements? 12/01/07 Hello again! <Hi Joe, Pufferpunk here> I am wondering about the dogface puffer. I am looking to setup a species specific tank for a lone dogface puffer. I have seen different suggestions about tank size and I do not trust people who actually sell the fish. What is a realistic size tank for this guy? <There are many species of Dogface (Arothron) puffers. Do you have an idea which one you are interested in? Here are profiles along with recommended tank sizes of a few species: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/Marine/ > I have been keeping GSP's for a few years now with great success and I feel ready to add another addition to my home. <That's great you are having success with GSPs. They are a wonderful fish & can live into their ripe old teens. ~PP> Joe

Hiding dog face puffer and ammonia -- 07/26/07 Thank you in advance for you time and expertise. <Hope I can help.> My tank is a 55 gallon FOWLR (planning to upgrade to 125 ASAP) <I hope so. Have you ever seen adult dog face puffers?> with a HOT Remora protein skimmer. Specific gravity 1.021 <I'd raise that.>, PH 8.4, Ammonia 10 <That's a serious problem if true, even 0.10 would be concerning.>, Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, CA 460, KH 9. It is stocked with 1 Blue Damsel , a Foxface Rabbit Fish, and a Dog Faced Puffer. My problem (if in fact it is a problem) is after 4 weeks of constantly swimming out and about in the tank my Puffer is staying inside my old ship decoration except when he comes out to eat. Up until this week he has been very active and swimming along side the Rabbit Fish throughout the entire day. He did sit on the protein skimmer pump after eating but never stayed in the ship. I'm not sure if the Puffer and Rabbit fish are friends or just keeping an eye on each other <Likely the latter>. There does not seem to be any aggression. In fact the Rabbit Fish has started spending more time in the ship with the Puffer. Is it possible I'm reading this wrong and the Rabbit fish is irritating the Puffer? It just seems strange that after roaming the tank comfortably for a month he would take to hiding. I was feeding him a couple of pieces of krill every day but changed to every other day because of nitrate and ammonia numbers rising. Could the change in feeding cause this? <Ammonia is very toxic and must never be in a tank with fish. Possibly the reason for unusual behaviour (although some puffers may hide half of the day). See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm for solutions. Act as soon as possible.> What other foods do you suggest to give a bigger variety? <Krill is not sufficient as the only food item. Try mussels, clams, prawns, squid and other types of frozen sea food. Add some vitamins now and then.> Could that also be a problem? <Yes. Unvaried diet will probably lead to deficiency related diseases.> He did eat one of my crabs this week and up until now he had not paid them any attention. He looks great and has a great appetite. I love this fish and don't want anything to happen to him. Not only has he become the center point of my tank but it has caused the Rabbit Fish to be more visible and lively. Lamar. <Address your ammonia issue, change the diet and upgrade your tank and you will probably (and hopefully) have a happy puffer again. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Puffer ID'¦ Marilyna pleurosticta --05/09/07 Hello Marco, Bob, <Neale> I wanted to make a quick comment about Marilyna pleurosticta and adapting it to brackish water. Like virtually all brackish water fish, these animals should acclimate within hours between fresh and fully marine water. In the wild they may have no choice, especially if they live in estuaries. I've frequently adapted euryhaline fish between fresh/salt water in 60 minutes using a variation of the drip method. Frank Schaefer (in the Aqualog book) describes dumping scats straight into seawater from freshwater as being essentially safe (though I dare say a bit of a shock for the poor fish, like going into the freezing cold from a warm house!). The problem with focusing on acclimating fishes to different salinities is that you miss the real problem. When you change the salinity in an aquarium, it is the *filter bacteria* that suffer, not the fish. Changing the salinity from freshwater to SG 1.005 is fine, but above that the filter bacteria die. So the tank begins cycling again. However slowly you make the change, because the bacteria aren't adapting but dying off and being replaced by something else, you have to cycle the tank once the critical threshold of salinity is reached. Below SG 1.005 there aren't any salt-tolerant bacteria, and above it the freshwater ones will be dying off rapidly. The safety zone where both bacteria will be functioning, if there is one, is small. Really, the best option is to move the sensitive brackish water fish to the quarantine tank, raise the salinity in the brackish water tank to where you want it, and cycle the tank with, say, black mollies.   Mollies are bullet-proof in brackish water and make excellent cycling fish. Once the tank is cycled, move the puffer (or moray eel, or whatever) out of the quarantine tank and into the brackish water via  the drip method in a bucket. Problem solved, with no stress on the delicate fish. Cheers, Neale <Thank you... Will share with Marco, all. BobF>

Re: Puffer ID'¦ Marilyna pleurosticta. Acclimation from fresh to marine -- 05/09/07 Hello Marco, Bob, I wanted to make a quick comment about Marilyna pleurosticta and adapting it to brackish water. Like virtually all brackish water fish, these animals should acclimate within hours between fresh and fully marine water. In the wild they may have no choice, especially if they live in estuaries. I've frequently adapted euryhaline fish between fresh/salt water in 60 minutes using a variation of the drip method. Frank Schaefer (in the Aqualog book) describes dumping scats straight into seawater from freshwater as being essentially safe (though I dare say a bit of a shock for the poor fish, like going into the freezing cold from a warm house!). <I can confirm dripping works. Have done that numerous times with different species.> The problem with focusing on acclimating fishes to different salinities is that you miss the real problem. When you change the salinity in an aquarium, it is the *filter bacteria* that suffer, not the fish. <That is exactly why I recommended a slow SG change, since the puffer is already in his display tank, which seemingly was cycled as freshwater or lower end brackish water.> Changing the salinity from freshwater to SG 1.005 is fine, but above that the filter bacteria die. So the tank begins cycling again. However slowly you make the change, because the bacteria aren't adapting but dying off and being replaced by something else, you have to cycle the tank once the critical threshold of salinity is reached. Below SG 1.005 there aren't any salt-tolerant bacteria, and above it the freshwater ones will be dying off rapidly. The safety zone where both bacteria will be functioning, if there is one, is small. <I've started with fresh and slowly raised to marine in several cases and never measured any ammonia or nitrites. Therefore, I suppose the safety zone, as you call it, is large enough, the transition in the bacteria populations transitional. If this zone really is as small as you suggest, what about tanks with a SG swinging around 1.005? Shouldn't such tanks never cycle? I had a lower end brackish tank with weekly SG variation between 1.002 and 1.007 for years and it worked well. Maybe an exception?> Really, the best option is to move the sensitive brackish water fish to the quarantine tank, raise the salinity in the brackish water tank to where you want it, and cycle the tank with, say, black mollies. Mollies are bullet-proof in brackish water and make excellent cycling fish. Once the tank is cycled, move the puffer (or moray eel, or whatever) out of the quarantine tank and into the brackish water via the drip method in a bucket. Problem solved, with no stress on the delicate fish. <Thanks for the input and description of the alternative, possibly safer method. Marco.> Cheers, Neale

Re: Puffer ID'¦ Marilyna pleurosticta. Acclimation from fresh to marine -- 05/09/07 Hello Marco and Robert, <<<Hi Neale.>>> Changing the salinity from freshwater to SG 1.005 is fine, but above that the filter bacteria die. So the tank begins cycling again. However slowly you make the change, because the bacteria aren't adapting but dying off and being replaced by something else, you have to cycle the tank once the critical threshold of salinity is reached. Below SG 1.005 there aren't any salt-tolerant bacteria, and above it the freshwater ones will be dying off rapidly. The safety zone where both bacteria will be functioning, if there is one, is small. <I've started with fresh and slowly raised to marine in several cases and never measured any ammonia or nitrites. Therefore, I suppose the safety zone, as you call it, is large enough, the transition in the bacteria populations transitional. If this zone really is as small as you suggest, what about tanks with a SG swinging around 1.005? Shouldn't such tanks never cycle? I had a lower end brackish tank with weekly SG variation between 1.002 and 1.007 for years and it worked well. Maybe an exception?> <<I agree with this, and have observed similar, and certainly recommend moving the SG between 1.008 and 1.012 for things like scats and monos. But have also heard of tanks "crash" when adjusted from freshwater to brackish. Quite how the bacteria involved are spread out across the salinity scale is a mystery to me. I also do not know if there is such a thing as "brackish" bacteria as opposed to saltwater and freshwater bacteria. Are marine bacteria euryhaline? <<<Both possible. It'd be hard to believe that such a nutrient rich environment as the (lower end) brackish waters are not settled by nitrifying bacteria. Given the number of tanks running at around 1.002-1.008 (most of the T. biocellatus tanks), there certainly are some stems (marine or brackish) in tanks that can deal very well with this range. E.g. Ebert describes his brackish puffer tanks having a SG of about 1.008 (1/3 marine).>>> Freshwater bacteria certainly die off around 1.005, but from 1.010 upwards you can swing the salinity upwards and back down pretty much without problems. <<<I think (just from empirical experience and without proper research) that when the freshwater bacteria die at 1.002-1.005, they are already replaced by other stems and that the transition as long as it is not too abrupt is not notable while SG is raised to 1.01 and above. I'll certainly try again and rethink this if necessary.>>> So somewhere in the 1.005-1.010 zone there is a hazy area I don't understand. As a default, it is simply easier to set up (i.e., fully cycle) a brackish water tank at the salinity you want, and then quickly add the fish, since the fish certainly adjust very quickly to big salinity changes, whereas filter bacteria only questionably so. <<<Certainly what I'd do, if the possibility is there. The (more or less) marine fish in question, however, already was in its (basically) freshwater display. As you say, it could be quarantined while the display is cycled at a higher SG, but the quarantine tank needs to be cycled, too. I'm not sure if the LFS that sold it as freshwater really is an option to hold the fish that long. That leaves the problem of a marine fish in a freshwater tank until the display is cycled, although I'm confident a Marilyna could endure for 3-4 weeks. In my opinion both procedures have pros and cons in this case, but likely will be successful.>>> This is especially true where you have a fish that need quite a high salinity, like SG 1.010+, rather than SG 1.005 or so. It would be interesting to know if you could use mature marine aquarium filter media to speed-cycle a brackish water filter. If they use the same bacteria, then in theory that would work. But I haven't tested it myself so can't comment. Cheers, Neale>> <<<Thanks again for the input and clarifications. Marco.>>>

Arothron nigropunctatus Fan  -- 05/08/07 Hey WWM! <Hi.> I would just like to start by saying I looove fish. <As food or pets? I'm kidding.....it can be both!> As most I started with betta fish, then graduated to fancy goldfish, and I've been loving my goldies for quite some time now. <Neat.> Recently however I've been putting some serious thought into Graduating to some more "exotic" species. And whilst at my local petshop I came acros a funny little fellow who just stole my heart. There was a dog faced puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) as my research has told me he is scientifically named. And over the last week I have been railing google trying to figure out just what I'm going to need to house one of these creatures, and possibly a blue regal tang or clownfish. <The clownfish, depending on the species is likely to wind up as a puffer chew toy or food. Arothron puffers are probably the closest thing you can find to an aquatic dog.> I've done all kinds of research, some places have told me they get to no bigger than 7 inches, others have told me they get up to 3 feet. <They can and do get quite large and very messy. If you start with a smaller specimen of Arothron Nigropunctatus I don't see him/her getting much larger than 15" in captivity.> Some places have said they need only 20-30 gallons, while others have told me  you need 150+. <The latter my friend.> I'll tell you exactly what I'm looking to achieve, and if you could either tell me straight, "this is what you need to do" (which I realize is kind of a tall order) or point me in a VERY good direction for somebody who is a complete newbie to puffer care. <First read the articles on the main site, WWM, and then check out Jeni's (Pufferpunk's) puffer-forum (use google you'll find it).> I am super enthusiastic about a dog faced puffer, and I would really just like to know the best possible way to get a suitable home for one started. (how big the tank should be? could  keep one with a tang or clown?) <Well with a tang and a puffer you are looking at least a 150 gallon tank off the bat. Both are messy so you'll want lots of water movement and huge protein skimmer.> I've got a good idea of what they eat, and how to deal with water chemistry, and most other basics. Actually I guess the biggest help you could provide me would be to answer this question: For 1 dog faced puffer, 1 blue regal tang and possibly one larger clown, how big should my tank be? <See above comments, and keep in mind the clown could be puffer food. Adam J.>

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

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

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 Re: sick map puffer (stay away from mappa puffers) Large Puffers in Home Aquariums  3/18/07 <Pufferpunk here with you again, Greg.> Would you please explain what you mean by bioload?   <Bio-load has to do with the waste produced by an animal.  Whether you have a newly cycled tank or a well established one, whenever the bio-load placed on the aquarium "exceeds" the beneficial bacteria population in it, a spiking or recycling problem of some degree will occur.  When the bacteria population out numbers the bio-load placed on the aquarium, the bacteria are able to compensate and easily consume the ammonia produced from the load and therefore the tank remains stable.  There comes a point when there is just too much waste for a smaller tank to handle. See: http://www.reefland.com/forum/saltwater-fish-only-aquariums/21161-what-your-system-bio-load.html#post151869 > I'm sure frequent water changes and a sparsely populated tank are  a good idea but it is not  helping my Mappa puffer.  It has a medical problem.  It is generally  weak looking and wants to eat but can't swallow food.  It just chews on it  until it gets tired. <This is probably lockjaw, caused by poor diet.  Do a search for remedies at WWM & also www.thepufferforum.com You may have to force-feed.> I really hate the thought of watching this beautiful fish languish and  die. <I don't blame you, it is sad...> How can I have too much bioload when all of the measurable qualities  such as ammonia, nitrite, salinity... are perfect?   <Nitrates?  They should be kept below 20.> What else is there that you classify as "bioload"?  Would addition of trace elements and vitamins be critical? <Not for a fish only tank.> If I had understood how much room this guy needed I wouldn't  have bought him or my starry puffer (he's in a different tank).   <Easily prevented by doing research before purchasing.> I believe these guys are best left in the ocean since no one is likely to give  them a proper home. <Along with countless other creatures that people attempt to keep in home aquariums, only to be under housed or improperly cared for.>   It's not like your average hobbyist is going to set up a $10,000 system and then put one fish in it.  I looked up the stats on the  starry puffer and he gets a lot bigger than the map.  I'm sure I'm not  telling you anything you don't already know but I would like to warn your  readers against buying certain puffers.  It's just not good for anybody. <I hope someone reads this & thinks twice... ~PP> <<Am sure they will. RMF>> Greg

My Sick Stars and Stripes Puffer... env., faux trtmt.s  12/5/06 Hi- I have a 55 gallon tank with a stars and stripes puffer he is around 4 inches long and will eventually be moved to a larger tank.) <Needs to go... now> Since earlier this year (when I purchased him from my LFS), he has been thriving. He has had a tremendous appetite and was always a pleasure to both watch and feed. However, around a month ago, he began to constantly sit on his nose. <... happens> While this did not over worry me, his appetite began to decline. <Also not unusual for Tetraodontids, other puffers> I also noticed that he was starting to have severe buoyancy problems. <A very bad sign> He could also not swim without bobbing up and down. This problem continued and has steadily worsened. I  also noticed that his fins( besides his large tail fin) have drastically decreased in size. From then to now, I, at different times, have treated this with Melanoma <...> and Rally (also used for treating parasites). <... worthless phony remedies> While there has been fin growth, other problems have developed. He now spends all of his tome floating on his back at the top of the tank. His eyes are active and he makes efforts to flip over- however, he has not been able to. Just in the past few days, I have noticed that he is bleeding from both the mouth and his fins. <.... environmental> During the time I have had him, regular water changes have been done ( and in accordance with the medicine.) The water has also recently been tested and is at near perfect salinity level (well in the safe zone.) The ammonia and nitrate are also at safe levels. Thanks for any help in trying to save my puffer. I love him dearly and hate to see him in the condition that he is in. Thanks for the help, Scott <The very best action here is to move this fish to new, larger quarters... the problems you list are likely environmental (and possibly nutritional) in origin... psychological and physiological "crowding" has led to your puffers near demise. Bob Fenner>

-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 Puffers, brackish? Can be for a short while   7/22/06 I have seen very young dogface puffers sold as "brackish" puffers at an LFS around here, only to sell more of them, since people think BW fish are easier to keep than SW. <Mmm, yes> The dogface is definitely strictly a SW species.  I am wondering if you could post a pic to me? <Of? This and other Tetraodontids are pictured here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm> You could also look here: www.pufferlist.com.  I find it rare that a SW species would breed for you (especially in BW).   <Might... if stressed... often a component in reproductive behavior...> What SG are you keeping them at?  Also, that high aggression is more familiar with true FW puffers.  I'm thinking  maybe a Pignose puffer (Tetraodon suvattii)?  They have a face like a dog.      ~Jeni/PP <Oh... sorry, see it's Jen responding to someone... just re-sent through our webmail response program. Bob Fenner> Proper steps in introducing fish... actually, plumbing help, SW stocking...    7/13/06 Hello everyone, I am in need of advice/input. <Okay> So I have been planning/running ideas through my head for the past few weeks and decided this is the best way to do this, any replies would be greatly appreciated on what to do differently or any feedback you think would be helpful. I had a 55 gallon FOWLR tank set up that got a terrible case of ich because I did not quarantine my fish. I was very new to the hobby then and know a lot more now.  I just purchased a all-glass 125 gallon aquarium. I have an oversized overflow box on it with a mega-flow 3 wet dry filter. My return pump is a mag-drive 12. That is the basic setup. <And a skimmer...?> Currently my aquarium is sitting 3/4 of the way full with water, I had to make sure my floor would be able to support it alright. <Yikes... the weight is "spread out?"... It's still level?> Tomorrow I will be filling it up the rest of the way and starting up the filter for the two week fishless cycle. My first concern is after I syphon the water into the overflow box how can I control the water level inside of my wet/dry filter? <By the total volume placed in the system... the water will drain down from the main tank...> I am a little concerned the Mag may be to powerful and just run the wet/dry low on water due to the siphon not being fast enough. <Not atypical... most such "pre-made, ready" systems are woefully inadequate in terms of plumbing size, fitting number... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Next is onto introducing my Stars and Stripes Puffer Fish. He is around the size of a football and in a tank way too small at a LFS (probably around a 30 gallon cube). <And going to be too large here... see WWM re this Tetraodont> I feel very sorry for this fish and want to get him into a bigger home. However I do not have a tank big enough to  quarantine him in. Which is why I decided to quarantine him in my display tank for 30 days before adding live sand or live rock. My reason for this is so if there is any parasites I can have the temp. high and the salinity low and they will die off with no substrate to multiply in. Also I was considering doing brief freshwater dips if he shows signs of ich. Does this all sound ok so far? <Mmm... not really... you might end up with an infested system just the same... Dipping a fish and returning it to a/the source of pathogens... doesn't work> My next question is more for down the road after my Puffer Fish has settled into his new home. What other type of fish would you suggest putting in with this guy? <In this volume? Nothing. You're topped out> I would really like to go with a very large Blue Hippo Tang but am concerned the puff will just eat him.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. <Likely would not eat such a fish, but would crowd it, poison it with its wastes> One more thing.. My mag pump has a garden house attached to it (new hose) <I would NOT use garden hose. Some are "drinking water safe", but many are not. Use virgin poly-vinyl and clamps if you must have some flexible here> that will run the water back to the aquarium. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to make the water enter back into the tank better than it just being a jet stream? I would like to spread the entry of the water out a little. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm and the FAQs files linked in this series above> Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and help! -Peter <Take your time here... I would skip on this too-large puffer... and have the floor this tank is set on checked out by an engineer before proceeding. Bob Fenner> Tank for Arothron mappa   7/12/06 Hey, I just got a Mappa Puffer fish about a week ago. He is 4" in length and is eating very well but I know the potential size for him so I was wondering  about how long a 270g. tank measuring 6x2x3' would last? <A good long while> Also I  was looking at this tank for him: _ http://www.livingcolor.com/atlantis.cfm_ (http://www.livingcolor.com/atlantis.cfm) Do you think that tank is a bad idea? The planned stocking list is - 1 Mappa Puffer fish - 1 Dog face puffer - 1 Blue Girdled Angel (Euxiphipops navarchus) <Not easily kept> - 1 Naso Tang - 1 Powder Blue Tang <Ditto> - 1 yellow tang - 1 Harlequin Tuskfish - 1 Spanish Hogfish - 1 Picasso Trigger and a Maroon Clownfish Do you think that is overstocked? <Mmm... more mis-stocked> If so which fish do you think would be   best to take off the list, and are there any fish that aren't compatible? <Please take the time to search, read re each of these prospective species on WWM... re their Compatibility, Systems, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... all posted> I  know there is a possibility for the tangs to not get along. Thank you very much for the help! - Josh A. <Read for now... will save you a good sum of money, head and heart-ache later. Bob Fenner> Dogface Puffer, Environment - 05/05/2006 Hello, my name is Jerri and I'm very worried about my dog face puffer. <<Hi Jerry.>> I had my water tested this afternoon and made sure that it was all in excellent condition before buying him today. <<Numbers are helpful.  DO remember that a puffer adds a heavy bio-load capable of crashing many tanks.>> He was obviously very stressed for a while, but I did manage to get him out for a meal and he did fine for about an hour, but he is now hiding behind a rock and his breathing is causing me to be very worried. It is very rapid. <<You should check your water quality at this point.>> My LFS has had him for awhile and I've been watching him there for a month, and he had no problems there; he was a very curious guy that never shied away, but in my tank he's completely the opposite, he is now in a much bigger tank and he is in with other fish, but he is by far the biggest in the tank and I've seen absolutely no sign of aggression from the other fish. <<You should have had this guy in QT for a few weeks before introduction into your tank.  He is likely stressed from the move, and my guess is your water quality is now an issue.>> I'm deeply concerned that he is going to stress his self to death, please help! <<Your best bet is to get him into a quiet QT tank for a few weeks.  You don't mention tank size.  This puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) grows to 10+ inches, and needs a large tank of 125+ gallons.  Visit www.thepufferforum.com for more information/help with your new pet.>> Thank You Jerri Jackson <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Dogface Puffer, Environment - II- 05/05/2006 Thank you so much for the help, and yes this guy's bio-load did crash my tank! <<You're welcome, though I hate when I'm right about bad things :(.>> I lost several small fish, the tank size is a 110 gallon tank, I have moved the puffer to a qt tank, where he has puffed up and is upside down, and I am fixing to take him back to the LFS for more experienced care. <<Ugh, no good on the upside down bit.  Does he have air inside of him? If you have a good LFS, returning him is best.>> I have to admit my LFS has been great and have walked me through every transition on this tank but I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed that I was not given a warning on this guys bio-load I had no idea that one fish could crash an entire tank in a matter of hours. <<Never underestimate the power of a puffer!>> I now have a QT tank set up and will learn from this error. <<So glad to hear that.>> Again thank you so much for your help. <<Anytime my friend.  Best of luck.  Lisa.>> Nano Pack <lunch> 4/9/06 Hi my name is mason and i have a 27 gallon nano-cube with a dogface puffer, 2 left-footed hermit crab, and 1 margarita snail. I was wondering if i can buy this pack with;           Scarlet Hermit Crab:  5    Blueleg Hermit Crab:  5    Turbo/Astrea Snail:  10    Nassarius Snail:  5    Queen Conch - Aquacultured:  2 <Hello there Mason, I don't see why you couldn't get this pack.  Some have problems with a queen conch in a tank that small.  Do your research on them on the website and then you can make an education decision on if you want to risk it.  Other than that it seems a go.  Thanks, Jen S.? <<Jen... a Dogface Puffer in a 27 gallon nano tank? And... it will eat all these... assuredly. RMF who suspects you didn't see/register the Arothron here>>       Thank You               SOLD OUT Click her to contact the site owner about this product.             --> -SW puffer in BW straits-  - 01/09/2006 Hi! <Hello Sean, Justin at your service.> Sean here with a few questions and lots of thanks (and tanks) for your website. <And the puns just keep on coming'¦'¦.  Wow.> I am a typical aquarist I think, wanted to be a marine biologist as a child but let reality catch up to me. After not having a tank for a couple years' wet web media was the best way for me to properly figure out how to set up my center piece tank, a 125 gal. Brackish community. Everything going well here for the most part, SG at 1.0015, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20 ppm. <Good Numbers, but having more info on the fish in the tank helps.> Few questions though. First, my Arothron hispidus puffer has the habit of eating like a pig sometimes (Fed various grocery store bought food like scallops, squid, shrimp, lobster with the occasional snail for teeth grinding) then hiding out till digestion. Is this behavior normal? Anything to worry about? <Hmm, great diet on it but, how long have you had this puffer in this low of a salinity?  Arothrons are a true SW fish from the get go.  If it has only been in 1.015 then its just like having it in Hypo salinity and it should be fine, but I would get your salinity up ASAP for this fish.  As for its eating habits, it is perfectly normal for it to eat and then hide out and digest for a while.  Though the salinity being low may be playing a part, just by getting that up a bit to 1.018 or higher (preferably to 1.025 but do this slowly over a period of several weeks.) it should be fine.> Also I am wondering about the time frame for converting juvenile BW fish to full salt (All my fish are those who require it)  as I have a big Precision marine skimmer waiting to go in the tank once the SG gets high enough for foam. <Get the Puffer in SW ASAP, for the other fish, if they are over 4 inches and very healthy, they should be ok in Saltwater, however be sure you ID them properly or send us the whole list to be sure you are not converting the wrong fish.> I really love the hobby; ask my GF who got a refugium for Christmas. Apart from that thanks for all your help in the hobby and helping me bring a little part of my special connection with the water home with me. I grew up in Texas and Cyprus (The country) and have so many great memories of the sea (Sea camp Galveston was one of the best, many drunken nights on the beach also). Also I plan to catch Bob when he talks at MACNA XVIII in the mall where I work. Very exciting. Thanks and sorry for the long email! Sean <No Problems on the email, sorry it took a while to get it answered, It was bouncing around the folders here looking for a Puffer person to field it. I highly recommend these two sites as well for your information gratification.  www.Thepufferlist.com  ,and www.thepufferforum.com .  Both have a wealth of knowledge and a lot of basic tips for your Arothron and any other fish you may be keeping it with.> <Justin (Jager)>

Arothron Puffer Salinity   1/18/06   Hi, I emailed previously on the brackish tank with the Dog Face Puffer (Arothron hispidus puffer. My question was answered by Justin. I really should have specified which one and my research into the subject of keeping it in brackish water. I understand your initial worry. This purchase was well researched and the fish is a juvenile of two inches so I stand by my choice of keeping it in Brackish water moving to full marine. <Can be done. Have seen the species in estuarine conditions, sewage water...> Here is some info with regards to this puffer from fishbase.org, a site I am sure you have visited many a time please feel free to research yourself if you have the time. > fishbase.org: "reef-associated; non-migratory; brackish; marine; depth range 3 -- 50 m" and also, "Juveniles common in weedy areas of estuaries (Ref. 4919)" This information was consistent with other sources, http://members.ozemail.com.au/~thebobo/trinity.htm  is a page documenting a survey of an estuary in Australia. It documents the occurrence of this species as a juvenile in estuarine environments. The Australian museum fish site also provides similar information at http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/fish/ahispidus.htm.   While I greatly respect your knowledge of fishkeeping I understand that it is impossible for one to know everything about every kind of fish, I hope you will consider my opinion and research into this subject. If you still think I am crazy then so be it but if not I hope I have added to your knowledge in a way that will allow you to better guide the many aquarists like my self who have gained so much from you site. Thanks, Sean <Thanks for the clarification, link. Bob Fenner> Arothron Puffers Stuffed into Tiny Tanks and the Newbies Who Would Do It   12/9/05 Hi, <Hello.> I am thinking about starting my first salt water tank, I have a 55 gal tank. <Good water volume, horrible surface area.> The fish that I want is a dogfaced puffer. <Large, messy, and aggressive'¦will limit your other livestock choices drastically. Furthermore when I said messy I was not kidding you will need very efficient filtration for this animal: A large protein skimmer in particular and large water change regime. Also with its potential size an adult will need a tank size more than double what you currently have,  <<Try triple.  MH>> it's hard to be specific on the tank size as many puffers are labeled with the common name dogface puffer, usually those in the Arothron sp, some get up to 18.' In all honestly I think you could set-up a much more entertaining tank with various, equally as eye catching smaller fish that will be better suited to your future set-up long term.> but being new to saltwater I don't know how many or what kind of fish that I can put in with the puffer it.. <Sounds like you are just starting out so I would definitely so A LOT of research before acquiring live stock, reading the articles here at WWM will be quite helpful as well as purchasing some books such as 'The new marine aquarium' by Mike Paletta.> will be a fish only tank.... <I would also look into the benefits of creating a FOWLR rather than a FO, (FOWLR = Fish only with live rock, FO = fish only)'¦'¦Adam J.> 

Arothron manilensis systems  9/10/05 I want someone to try and clarify something for me about the narrow lined puffer. I received a reply back from you guys about a month ago stating that this species would get way too large for a 90 gallon system. However, from reading the info listed on your site, this fish doesn't sound as if it gets to o large. From anyone's experience with this fish, what size can I expect a narrow lined puffer to reach in a tank? <Mmm, Arothron manilensis does grow to a foot maximum... in the wild... It will/would be "crowded" somewhat in a ninety... likely limiting its growth ultimately to a handful of inches shorter. Have seen this fish kept in smallish systems... would it have lived longer, better in larger? Bob Fenner> Fugu questions 8/18/05 <Hi there!  Heather (LinearChaos) here> At my LFS there are 4 3" Takifugu rubripes.  They are in horrible condition.  Instead of being green with neon orange they are silver and a dingy brick red. <The Takifugu rubripes is not a puffer that is sold in the trade, this is actually a species that is eaten as a delicacy in Japan.  The puffer you are describing is the Takifugu ocellatus.>  They are also ungodly cheap ($15 a piece).  <Wow! That is cheap!>  I was wondering for now would a 30 gallon tank be big enough for now.  I have no problem upgrading later.  I have no experience with these guys.  <No, this species is extremely aggressive toward their own and 4 in a 30g won't last but a week.  They'll nip each other to death almost immediately since they will not be able to get away from each other in that size tank and cannot establish territories.>  I am aware of how hard they are to keep in captivity.  Also there is very little information on these puffers.  Do you know what salinity, hardness, temperature, etc... they prefer.  Any help would be great.  <I have successfully kept 3 of these puffers in an established full marine environment for over a year, the salinity is 1.019 and the temp is 82*F.  The tank is 55g and is heavily stocked with live rock to break up the lines of sight as much as possible to reduce aggression.  Please, if you are unable to care for these puffers appropriately do not purchase them.  ~Heather> Logan

Re: Porcupine puffer problem 7/19/05 How big of a tank do these 2 puffers need? <A few hundred gallons. Bob Fenner> Re: puffers 7/19/05 Thanks for the info..... one more question. The larger of the two puffers for the last 2 weeks has a defined bump on the underbelly.. almost looks like its pregnant. What could it be? <Likely a growth semi-directly related to stress... Bob Fenner>

Arothron hispidus in brackish water system? (03/19/03) <Ananda here today...that's the white-spotted puffer, in case y'all were wondering.> Thank you very much for this wonderful site.  I've learned a great deal over just the last few days.   <You're quite welcome...I keep learning stuff, too, as we keep adding to the site.> I have looked for an answer to the following question but found none here. <Me neither. But then, we can't cover everything right away... :-) > In the Brackish Water Aquarium FAQ at http://users.macunlimited.net/n.monks/brackfaq.html (section (7a)) Arothron hispidus is mentioned as a puffer that adapts well to brackish aquaria.   <I'd forgotten that part. Required reading, btw, for anyone interested in brackish systems.> However, most of my research tells me they require full marine conditions.  What do you think? <When in doubt, search Fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org > How about other Arothron species, e.g. the commonly available A. meleagris and A. nigropunctatus? <Nope, neither of those two. But some of the Arothrons wander into estuaries... A. immaculatus, A. manilensis, A. reticularis, and the giant A. stellatus (that guy gets as long as a 55 gallon tank!). Of those, A. hispidus and A. reticularis sound like the most likely candidates for a high-brackish/near-marine system.> Thanks for any advice.  Until I learn more, I will not subject any Arothrons to less than fully marine water. <Sounds like a plan to me. Keep us posted on the WWM forums.> Sincerely, Nick Tempe, AZ

Puffer fish-cloudy water Hello again. My mother emailed you last week in reference to my 12 yr old dog face puffer. We had to go out of town on a family emergency and we are back now. We did a water change b4 we went and his salt was low so we brought his salt back up to the proper level. He's doing much better. His color is back to normal but he's not eating still (6 days now without eating) <Don't give up hope. Have seen species like this go w/o apparent food for weeks> and he has labored breathing, he is also swimming again too. I've done a few water changes and just did a water test. All test look good except his nitrate is high. The test kit says to put in live plants. Not sure and was going to go to the fish store to ask what to do in the morning. Also the water is still cloudy. Any suggestions to help ease him through the night? Patrice <Work on reducing those nitrates. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Arothron nigropunctatus  Hi Guys....Bob, Anthony, Steve <<Actually, JasonC this time...>> I just got back from the LFS......mistake #1 Thankfully I did not make mistake #2. They have a Black Dogface Puffer.... Arothron nigropunctatus is the species name listed on the stock list from their LA wholesaler. Don't worry I did not buy him and put him into a 25 gal tank or any other tank for that matter. I would like to put a hold on him though and set up a tank. <<If I can, I'd like to discourage you from this plan. It's going to take a month or better to produce a system suitable for housing this fish.>> He is GORGEOUS.....about 3 inches, velvety black with black speckled white fins, white speckles around his mouth and on his belly and white splotches around his gills. His eyes are golden. He looks very healthy. He is alert and active. They have had him 2 weeks. There is not a spot other than his markings on him and he is eating frozen krill. I fell in love. <<They are certainly cute.>> They suggested a 160g tank. Is this true? <<In the long haul, yes... these can get at least as big as your shoe.>> Most of what I have found says about 75g, if he is indeed the rarer black color morph of Arothron nigropunctatus. What is the smallest tank he could comfortably live in? <<Hmm... hard to say because I'm not a puffer. What would make you comfortable - living in a spacious house or a closet?>> Could I keep him in a smaller tank for a while and if so what would be the minimum size and for about how long? <<I'd start with the 75g.>> I have a garage full. What sized tank would be appropriate for quarantine right now while I set up and cycle a tank for him. <<You could quarantine in a 20-long but you'd need to be right on top of the water changes.>> How quickly do they grow? <<Depends on how much you feed.>> Do they usually reach the max size listed in the literature (11") in captivity? <<Not as often, but it is possible given the right conditions.>> What fish would make suitable tankmates? <<Other puffers or similarly tough-minded and friendly fish like a Huma trigger.>> Thanks as always for your help :), Leslie <<Cheers, J -- >>

Dogface puffer Hello all.... (four days till MACNA, woo hoo!!!!!) At what size do you suggest that a dogface puffer has outgrown it's 72-gallon tank? <IMO, at about 6".> Lately, it seems that he has been getting larger by the day (and not just more round either!) and I am concerned for his future well being. I think I know of a home he can go to if I ask, but not sure how dire it is for him to be adopted right away. He is about 7 inches in length.  <I would begin inquiring about a larger home.> Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks bunches, Kim <You are welcome. See you at MACNA. -Steven Pro>

Stars and Stripes Puffer I have been through a lot of your "puffer" information and FAQ's. I Still haven't found, (but may be looking in the wrong place), a spot that will tell me if a 75 gallon tank would be sufficient for a large Stars and Stripes Puffer, (about 10 inches long and about 8 inches around), and a Huma Huma Trigger, (only about 6 inches in length.). <Yes, both... for a period of time... as you know they will both get larger... and this system is near-crowded as is...> I currently only have 2 calico crabs, (which by the way, I can't find any information on and probably shouldn't have bought because of that but I couldn't resist), snails, 10 pounds of live rock and 20 #'s each of live sand and crushed coral. <In with the Puffer and Trigger? Not indefinitely...> I would love to be able to keep both the S&S Puffer and the Huma Huma Trigger but would like to make sure I can. I am planning on upgrading to a 90 gallon tank next year. <It would be better if this were a 150 or larger...> The LFS currently has both the Huma Huma and the S&S Puffer in the same 30 gallon tank with a very LARGE Panther Grouper. Kind of cramped I thought. <Uhh, yes... shame on them> Any advice would be appreciated. Robin <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stars and Stripes Puffer Thanks so much for responding. I know that you are a very busy person and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the time it takes for you to respond to the many e-mails that you must receive.  <A pleasure, and honor my friend.> Again, thanks and I will be thinking about the information you gave me. I think that I just might check into a tank more like 125 or 150. Thanks again. Robin <Ahh, you and your aquatic charges will appreciate it. Bob Fenner>

Is my tank too small? (tetraodont puffer) Hi Rob, I purchased my first marine set-up recently. A 27 gallon tank with internal and external filtering. Also I purchased a 4inch stars and stripes puffer. <Yikes... you likely know this Puffer species gets bigger than this tank in the wild!> The owners of the aquarium said my tank would be fine for this type of fish, but after browsing through your excellent website I am getting the feeling my tank is too small for this type of fish. Can you advise me on this as I don't want to be cruel to George the puffer. All the best Jason O'Connell <Mmm, well, George might do well for months to a few years with careful (scant) feeding if it/he's small know (let's say ten cm. or so). Do keep an eye on water quality as this tends to easily slip with such messy, meaty eaters. Puffers are quite adaptable, intelligent animals en toto... Bob Fenner> Jason O'Connell

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