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FAQs about Figure Eight Puffers 1

Related Articles: Alone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Figure Eight Puffers, Freshwater/Brackish PuffersGreen Spotted Puffers (GSP's), The Arrowhead Puffer, Tetraodon suvattii, miraculously malicious, True Puffers, Puffers in General, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. NastyPuffer Care and InformationPufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo,

Related FAQs: Figure Eight Puffers 2, & FAQs on: Figure-Eight Puffer Identification, Figure-Eight Puffer Behavior, Figure-Eight Puffer Compatibility, Figure-Eight Puffer Selection, Figure-Eight Puffer Systems, Figure-Eight Puffer Feeding, Figure-Eight Puffer Disease, Figure-Eight Puffer Reproduction, & BR Puffers 1, BR Puffers 2, BR Puffers 3, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Reproduction,

A Figure Eight Puffer, Tetraodon biocellatus in captivity. Yes, freshwater (as young), to brackish... with age, growth.

Brackish/ F-8 Puffers  10/4/05 Puffers were mislabeled at my LFS, and I ended up getting a juvenile figure 8. Would he be happy in a hexagon-shaped five gallon?  <For its entire Life? No not at all.>  I heard they do okay in a tall five gal., but all your forums said otherwise.  <Yes this puffer reaches a length of 3 and they like room to roam, a 30-gallon tank is suggested for an adult.>  Hope you can help. <Also please read the WWM FAQs for care as far as environment (what salinity it should be kept at and how you should adjust him/her to a new salinity) and diet is also very important as well. In the future complete your research before purchase of livestock and not after.> Thanks:) <No trouble, Adam J.>

Re: A few more questions, re F8 Puffer, adding FW fish 10/6/05 Hi again - I know I ask you guys a lot of questions, but I have a few more. Sorry. <That's what we're here for.> First off, my figure 8 puffer was healthy and eating two days ago. Last night, the power went off for a few hours and now he won't eat. His feces is pale, and the only thing I can think of is that maybe he got too cold. <I'd check to make sure his water quality is good.  Is he in a brackish tank?  Have you tried feeding him some yummy snails or shrimp?> Second, I have a 20 gal. housing a juvenile p.k. Gourami, 7 Neons, a baby platy and a mystery snail. I know the p.k. will get big, but he's small now.  Would you recommend getting any more fish, or would that be too much? I thought a gold Gourami or a Betta (my Gourami is peaceful) would be neat.  <I think you could put a few more fish in there, assuming your water quality is excellent now.  You're right.  The p.k. Gourami will need a bigger tank.  They grow pretty fast.  Gold Gouramis are often quite aggressive and will also need at least a 30 gallon tank; they can get to be about 5 inches.  Bettas are closely related to Gouramis and will almost inevitably fight with them.> Thank you for listening.  <Catherine>

Re: A few more puffer questions 10/7/05 Thank you for your advice. I've fed my puffer both foods you recommended, and he still refuses. I removed his light a day ago, and I'm going to try giving it back. He's gotten lighter in color, so I hope he snaps out of it.:(  <What is the salinity of his water?> I put a baby angel in my 20 today, and he's doing well. Everyone gets along.:)  <Angels are known to be aggressive. Most require more than 20 gallons when they get bigger.> Wish me luck. Yours, Ashley  <Good luck, Catherine> 

Distressed Puffer  10/3/05 <Pufferpunk again> It's up and moving again now! <This does not necessarily mean it's ok.  I would still like you to answer the info I asked for in our previous correspondence.  Unless your puffer was just sleeping, it could be stressed by something off in your water.> We're feeding it frozen food such as brine shrimp, blood worms and Cyclops. <One of the most difficult aspects of keeping these special fish is their diet. All puffers are predatory fish and need hard-shelled, meaty foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Like rabbits, their teeth grow constantly and can overgrow enough to cause starvation in the fish. Puffers eat crustaceans in the wild. Foods for smaller puffers are frozen/freeze-dried krill/plankton, gut-loaded ghost shrimp, glass worms, crickets, worms, pieces of shrimp, scallops, etc. and small snails (the size of their eye). Snails are an essential food to a puffers diet, especially when small. Many serious puffer keepers breed their own snails. I gut-load (pre-feed) my live food with algae wafers, so my puffers get their veggies. I buy most of these foods at the fish department of my grocery store, freeze and later thaw in warm vitamin water as needed. Smaller puffers (under 2") need to eat every day, skipping one feeding/week. Feed them until their bellies are slightly rounded. Medium sized puffers (2-4") should be fed every other day. You may find this schedule difficult, as puffers are very adept at begging for food! Feeding puffers every time they beg will cause fat, lazy fish and eventually you will be killing them with kindness.>   When we first got the F8 puffer, it got a milky white lining over its eye. This has cleared up but I'd like to find out what it is so we can avoid it in future. <This is called cloudy-eye, a bacterial infection of the eye, generally caused by poor water conditions.  Also, if your puffer isn't kept in brackish water, it will be prone to diseases.  Cloudy-eye can be quickly cleared up with water changes & Melafix.  50% weekly water changes are recommended for these messy eaters & high waste producers.  ~PP> Sexing figure 8 Puffers  8/24/05 Hello! <Hi, Puffferpunk here> A week ago we bought a figure of eight puffer and I was wondering how do you tell what the sex of the fish is? <Only the puffers know for sure, as there is no external differences between the 2 sexes.> We were thinking of breeding them but we didn't know the answer to this vital question!! <I wish you luck, as these puffers have not been not bred in captivity.> Any help would be greatly appreciated! <Here's a good article on them: http://www.thepufferforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=64  ~PP>

Color Change in Puffers - 11/26/2005 I recently bought 2 figure 8's, and by their actions they seem to be doing fine; good appetite, and very active.  When they were introduced to their first tank (44 gal hex tank), one fish was less distinctive in its markings than the other, less contrast between the yellow and green/brown.  After a time I was required to move them to a 10 gal holding tank, as they took a liking to Colombian shark fins... . <This should have been researched/expected....> This is just a temporary change until larger accommodations can be set up....  But a strange thing happened, the pale fish became more distinct in its coloration and the other became more pale (for lack of a better term). Is this stress issue, a display of dominance, sleep coloration?  As I have stated they eat well and are active (the small tank is set up to have a current, and they seem to enjoy riding it, but rest in the plants (artificial) during the nights. Their bellies are white (no darker coloration) and the mid line of their bodies does not look like a gray line.  Also the coloration of the one that is less distinct seems to become more defined over night....  If they had both reacted the same way, or showed other signs of stress or illness, I would not be so  confused.... any thoughts?   <Brian, I'm going to assume here that nothing is really "wrong"....  But to be safe, I want to caution you to test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and be sure to maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.  Fish do change color with time, and puffers are very, very expressive with color.  You've mentioned all the "problem" or "warning" colors are not present (bellies are white, etc.), so chances are this is nothing at all to be worried over.  I would hazard a guess that this may be an indication of pecking order....  but which is dominant I couldn't tell yah.  I would expect this coloration to continue to change slightly over time; you are probably more observant than many folks just in having noticed what you have.  Puffers are wonderful and exciting fish, very intelligent and enjoyable - I hope you have a great time with them!> -Brian <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Figure 8 Puffer w/Ich 5/13/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> To start things out, I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 3 fish in it (a Figure 8 Puffer, a Von Rio Flame Tetra, and a Bristlenose Catfish). I originally had two tetras, but one tetra died a couple of weeks ago from Ich. At the time I did not know what Ich was (this is my first aquarium) and I tried to fix things a little too late. But I continued to medicate my tank with Quick Cure, doing 25% water changes every day (for 14 days), I also used Maracyn and Maracyn II for freshwater fish (for the first 6 days), and I vacuumed the gravel in my tank.  Everything seemed to have cleared up, until today. I noticed the Figure 8 puffer has little white spots on his right pectoral fin and on his anal fin. It looks exactly like the spots that were on the tetra that died. The other two fish are fine and have no visual signs of Ich. I do not understand what else I need to do or what I am doing wrong. Today was day 14 for the Quick Cure so I am still medicating my tank and doing the water changes, what else do I need to do? How do I get rid of this problem before it progresses into something that I can not fix? I really would hate to lose this puffer fish, I have become quite attached to him and his personality. I would appreciate your quick response and advise to this matter. <Puffers don't respond well to meds & they can be harmful. Ich is fairly easy to cure, using high temps (86-87 degrees), salt & large water changes (80% every other day) while cleaning the gravel. In the case of your puffer, since it is a brackish water fish, marine salt is used. By keeping your BW puffer in FW, you will be compromising it's immune system, causing it to be more susceptible to disease & a shorter lifespan. See this article here.  You're going to need marine salt & a hydrometer. You can raise the SG (specific gravity, a measurement of salt by a hydrometer) to 1.002 the 1st day & then to 1.004 in 3 days. It will take roughly, a little under 3/4 cups of salt to raise the SG to 1.002. The rest will take some math, since you will be removing some salt for the water changes. Make sure to premix the salt in a bucket before adding to the tank. F8 puffers prefer a SG of 1.005. Your other fish will not appreciate any salt at all, so you need to decide if you want FW or BW fish.  I hope this helps. ~PP> 

Bloated Figure 8 Puffer Good Morning, <Hi Margaret, Pufferpunk here> In reviewing other Q&A on your web site, we are still confused about one of our Figure 8 puffer fish. There are 2 puffers in a brackish water 5 gal tank. They have been eating well since arrival (about 3 months) and appear healthy. Fish were purchased after a 1 week period of quarantine by the fish store. However, about 1 week ago one of the fish continued to have a swollen belly beyond the normal post eating period. Other changes: swimming with head down, rear up, white string with balls trailing from the posterior opening (which always seems dilated) and then today, a red ting (like blood?) from the dilated opening or back fin -difficult to sort out. Might this be worms or babies? No changes in coloration or other signs of stress. The second fish has no signs of stress or other concerns. Thank you in advance for your guidance. <Usually stringy poo can be a sign of internal parasites but also the fish would become emaciated. It could also be possible that your fish is constipated but then it would not be able to defecate. The 1st problem I see with your fish is their tank size. F8s require 10g/fish. Was the tank cycled? What are the water parameters (ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, pH, specific gravity)? Are you using marine salt? The fact that it is floating tail up, also makes me believe that it could have swallowed some air. Is that possible? Try to answer my questions & I'll see if I can help. ~PP> 

Bloated Figure 8 Puffer 5/9/05 <Pufferpunk again> Thank you for your quick reply. I will try to answer some of your other questions in hopes of giving you more info. The water condition is closely monitored. The water is at a ph 7, the chlorine, ammonia other chemicals have been neutralized, the temperature is approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the salinity is 1 1/2 tablespoons of marine salt per gallon. <Ammonia cannot be neutralized. It can only be removed by water changes or a good biological bed.> The tank has a Bio-wheel to eliminate nitrites and nitrate. <Again, water changes (50% weekly, on a properly stocked puffer tank, which means 1/10g) is the only way to remove nitrAtes. NitrItes are removed with biological filtration. Ammonia & nitrItes should be 0 at all times, nitrAtes <20 & pH should be kept at a steady 8. Specific gravity (measured with a hydrometer) should be around 1.005. It takes roughly around a cup of salt/5g to make that. You should only raise the SG .002/week though, so as not to disturb the biological filtration.> The puffers are fairly small and seem to be doing generally well in the 5 gallon tank. <How small are they?> Their diet is mainly frozen shrimp with the occasional meal of ghost shrimp to control break growth. <Frozen brine shrimp is fairly non-nutritious & should be rinsed to remove the "juice" from the mixture, as to not add more unnecessary pollutants to the water. Freeze dried plankton & black/bloodworms are a better choice. The ghost shrimp should be gut-loaded with something nutritious, as they also are mostly water (I use algae wafers, so my puffers can get their veggies).>  Some bubbles are produced in the area where the Bio-wheel dumps water back into the tank. Could the fish have swallowed a bubble of air? If the fish has a parasite, what treatment do you suggest? Is the other puffer at risk of also getting the parasite? <Is there any time the puffer has been out of water? It could have gotten air that way. For IPs I prefer Discomed, by Aquatronics, but that company has been out of business for a while. You'll have to do a search to find some. Otherwise, look here for alternatives:  http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1093270673   It wouldn't hurt to treat both of them, but I'd get everything else straightened out 1st. Read this article on F8s. > Your help is appreciated. <I'd definitely consider upgrading soon. ~PP> 

Sick F8 Puffer 4/26/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just bought 2 figure 8 puffers the other day and one of them is in bad shape. I came home tonight and he was lying on the bottom of the tank. His fins are still moving, he's still breathing, but as I'm writing this he's lying on his side and taking what seem to be heavy breaths. I did put a wooden spoon in the tank near him (to see if he was alive and also to see if he could move) and when I did he swam away like a bat out of hell, swimming fine with no problems. But then again shortly after he went back to lying on his side. The other puffer is fine, swimming and acting normal. I have no idea what could be wrong here. When I left they were both fine, was gone for about 4 hours, came home and now this. One thing to mention, he seems to be losing his color. It looks as if his spots and his over all color is 'cloudy'. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. From what I've read, my tank conditions are good - pH and all. If you could give me any advice I'd greatly appreciate it. <How long has the tank been set up?  Was the tank cycled before adding the puffers?  What are your exact water parameters?  Ammonia & nitrItes should be 0, nitrAtes <20 & pH around 8.  Does it look like there is a covering of whitish "dust" on your puffer?  Are they in brackish water?  He might feel better if you got the SG (specific gravity, a measurement of marine salt by a hydrometer) up a bit.  Read this: http://www.aquasource.org/CMS/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=103&page=1  ~PP> Thank you, Justin D.

2 Gallon Tank for Puffers?  9/10/05 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My mother was always very, very big into saltwater and brackish tanks.  She always had amazing tanks with seahorses and puffers and such.  Unfortunately, she isn't here to help me, now that I would like to start my own.  I only have a small 2 gallon tank, previously with frogs and cichlids, but for now I only want to make it brackish to hold a figure 8 puffer or two.  I have a few questions for you though.  Is it possible to have a small brackish tank?   <The only fish that you could possible keep in a 2g tank is a Betta.  Nothing else would be comfortable in there.  Even a Betta would prefer something larger.  F8 puffers need at least 10g/fish.> Do I need to have a filter and thermometer with it? <Yes, puffers are messy eaters & produce a lot of waste.  They need heavy filtration.  In addition, they are tropical fish & do need temperatures around 78-80 degrees.> Also, can damsels also live in brackish water? Please let me know...thanks! <Damselfish need a specific gravity of at least 1.018.  F8 puffers are best kept at 1.005.  There's lots more info on puffers at: www.thepufferforum.org.  Check it out!  ~PP> -Jillian Figure 8 Puffer Troubles <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hi...I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone I ask or from my searches online...and I'm really worried about my poor fish!  I have a figure 8 puffer...had him for about 2 months now.  A little over 2 weeks ago, I noticed a small bump on his side, towards his tail...still the color of his skin.  After a day or so, it disappeared, but another bump appeared on his other side.  These bumps came and went...sometimes he'd have just one, sometimes several.  Now I think the bumps are small worms under his skin that are coiled up.  Yesterday, I noticed what looked like a reddish worm over his eye...I guess what would be his eyebrow.  It was no longer coiled up...now elongated...like a regular worm.  Today, the same thing is over his lip (no longer over his eye)...and he still has a coiled up bump near his tail.  Are these worms?  How can I get rid of them or treat  him?  <Yes, it sounds like nematode worms.  I'm sorry to say there isn't much you can do about it.  This is common w/wild-caught fish.  I've heard of it often especially w/F8s for some reason.  Killing the worms will leave the dead bodies inside the fish, to rot & eventually kill the fish.  Keep it under observation in a quarantine tank, if possible.  When the fish starts to suffer you need to euthanize it.  Either place it in a baggie of tank water into the freezer, or overdose it w/clove oil.>   I've tried adding salt to the tank (1 tablespoon of aquarium salt for a 10-gallon tank)... I did a 25% water change...I'm slowly raising the temperature today to see if that works.  Should I take him out and give him a salt bath?  Or try formalin?  I also have a spotted Pimelodus catfish, dwarf Gourami, and 3 Danios in the tank.  I was also wondering if he may have gotten this through eating frozen bloodworms.. because the elongated worm under his skin looks like a bloodworm. <No, this comes from it's natural habitat.> Sorry if I'm all over the place with this.  Please help!  THANK YOU!!!! <I'm sorry for the bad news ={ Pufferpunk>

Puffer Problems 2/29/04 <Hi Jeff, it's Pufferpunk here again> Hello again. I am still having a problem with our figure 8 puffer. He goes in these spurts of acting normal or turning really black on the bottom and faded on the top and sitting on the bottom of the tank. Our other puffers are fine and eat well and all, but I'm not sure if he is even eating. <If you don't see him eating, he probably isn't.> I did a good size water change the other day, and the tank is still a little cloudy from it. Could this have something to do with it? <What's considered a good size?  I do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks.  If this is done on a regular basis it's fine, but if your fish are not used to big water changes, then you are changing the water parameters too quickly & could stress out or shock your fish.  The fact that your tank is cloudy makes me concerned that your tank still isn't cycled.  Test the water again.  What is the SG of the water?> Id appreciate any info. Thanks for all your help! JJ <Hope this helps--PP>

Puffer Fish I have a question for you. I just found out that I bought a Figure-eight puffer (even though he was sold to me as a green-spotted puffer).. anyways I did not do much research on these fish before the purchase and I am next to new at this. This is my question.. it's a pretty simple one actually. Is feeding him shrimp pellets ok? <If this puffer will eat them, sure. Do also offer some meatier fare daily... like frozen/defrosted krill, shrimps of different sorts, silversides... as it is best to keep these tetraodonts full... Please read over the "Brackish water Puffers" on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more> He seems to really enjoy them even though some people have said they have difficulty feeding puffers pellets.. <Once tried, these fish really enjoy pelleted meat-based dried foods>  the reason I am suspicious is a few web pages say I should feed him shrimp/snails to keep his teeth filed down. Is this true.. and will the pellets do that or do I need to buy the shrimp/snails?  <Hmm, well, they will/do "chew" on most any hard material in their environment to do the same... I wouldn't buy snails for this purpose, but neither would I "peel" other shelled foods> Do I need to do this when he is young.. guesstimating he is an inch in size. I rescued him from Wal-Mart and I'm sure he was fed primarily flakes in rancid water knowing them. He seems healthy in my opinion at this point but I do not have much experience with fish and disease. TTYL, James <As I say, please read over the BR puffer piece and FAQs posted on the WWM site... you need to know a few things about this animals desired water chemistry and temperament and... Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Puffers? I found your address on the wet web media site. I seen a figure eight puffer and a green puffer at the pet store the other day. The worker was unable to help me. I was wondering if you could. I would like to know what kind of things they like to eat, are they aggressive, and where could I find more info about them? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jodi > Hi there. Yes these two (really marine, though somewhat adjustable to more freshwater conditions) Puffers are eager eaters of most anything meaty. Most folks feed them "human consumption" type shrimps, fish flesh... And, unfortunately they're both notoriously "nippy"... not necessarily aggressive, but do real damage to easier going tankmates (fish and invertebrates), and thus should be housed only with "tough, mean" types of livestock... best, really in a dedicated "brackish" setting with other rough and tumble fishes, plants that can/do tolerate some concentration of salts. More information? Hmm, try inserting the word for their genus, Tetraodon, in your search engines, directories. Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Figure eight puffer Hello, <Cheerio, old sport! Anthony Calfo in your service> I have owned a freshwater fish tank of some form for many years. Whether it was 50 gallon, 20, or 10 (I have a 10 right now because of the convenience), I have never really paid attention to pH, ammonia, etc.  <like an ice pick in my ears...hehe> I use a water X and add a teaspoon of salt for every 10 gallons. <I like that part <wink>> Right now I have a 10 gallon tank that follows me pretty much everywhere.  <most people have cats and puppies for this but hey... enjoy> Today I bought a figure eight puffer, I have always wanted a puffer and finally I decided to get one, but not before asking the dealer a bunch of questions. He said that although he may get territorial, he is a good community fish.  <your dealer is a fibber <G>> He said the fish will eat flake food, which is what I normally feed my fish, but I often give brine shrimp.  <Puffers are cute, lovable and dedicated fin nippers. They also will suffer on a diet of flake and brine shrimp. As crustacean eaters, they need hard shelled foods to wear down their naturally growing teeth. Without it the teeth will become overgrown to the point where the animal cannot feed. As such flake food is too soft and brine-shrimp without enrichment (Selcon soaked and the like) is a useless fare that is essentially water made to look like shrimp. Too bad it is so well liked by fish... it is the lowest grade food. Add frozen Mysid, krill and plankton to the diet (freeze dried krill too). Some folks keep fast breeding live snails (the puffers love them!!!) to help with the teeth too> He said my salinity would be fine.  <probably although they could take and might enjoy a lot more salt to truly be brackish> Once I bought the fish and released him into the tank, everything at the moment appears to be fine. I haven't fed yet, so I don't know how that will go. I started looking things up on the net here and one guy has me really afraid. He seems to know what he is talking about, but he says that having all these conditions right is vital and puffers are very sensitive. Can you help me out a little here?  <some truth to it... they are scale less fish and as such are sensitive to water quality and medications> Also, since I have released my figure eight puffer into the tank, he has swam up and down the side wall non-stop. It appears normal, but I saw a comment somewhere saying this was a bad thing, is this true?  <common but not normal or healthy in the long run. A stress induced response to many factors (salinity, light, water quality, etc)> Please help me out, thanks. Dave <no problem my friend... much has been written on this topic. Do a search on this site (tag the bullet for WWM only under the keyword field at the bottom of the home page) and look through the archives of FAQs. Much information there. Also, look through the brackish articles by following the links from the WWM homepage as well. I suspect that you will be enlightened and able to enjoy your puffer very soon. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: live foods for figure-8 puffer How do you feel about feeding a figure-8 puffer live earthworms, crayfish, bugs, frogs or other things from outside?  Is there really more risk then with live foods from the aquarium store?   <This is a brackish water species which requires marine type foods, not terrestrial foods like frogs, worms, etc. These fish are not generalists, they eat specific foods.> Also, is it possible to find live mosquito larvae outside? <In the summer months, but not for feeding puffers. Please read the information you need at WetWebMedia.com, just type "figure eight puffer" in the google search!  Craig>

Little eating machine (09/17/03) Hi there, <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon.> My figure 8 puffer won't stop eating on his own. <That's not that unusual...> I've sent you a picture of him, but you can't really see how all the food bits make lumps on his belly in the picture. <Perhaps not, but I can imagine... My puffs will get lumpy-bellied, too, if I mis-count and give them too much krill (though mine do tend to stop on their own, fortunately).> It would take him several days to come down from this size.   <My goodness. I think you are probably overfeeding him. Mine would get back to normal by the next evening.> I don't see any pictures of puffers online that are this fat. Is this ok? I don't mind feeding him all day if it is good for him.  thanks, Dave <Feeding him twice a day should be sufficient...but I would cut down a bit on the amount you are giving him. --Ananda>

Figure 8 Puffer a Little Long in the Tooth?  8/12/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have just gotten a figure 8 puffer.  It looks good, eats well.  And this just may be normal, put it always looks as if its mouth is just slightly open.  I know that they have to grind down their teeth and all of that but this is a baby (about 2-2.5 inches long) I think, and I would assume that the teeth have not had enough time to grow out of control.   <Actually, these puffers only grow to 2 1/2-3", so yours is almost an adult.  Get a bright flashlight & look close at it's teeth.  Do they look like a beaver?  How is it eating?  Here is good info on trimming puffer's teeth: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1085932782.>   Also, are there any strange or unusual fish or creatures I could put in the tank (20 gallon long, Brackish).  My husband wants a catfish, but the only brackish one I could find gets way to big.  I plan to get at least one bumblebee goby.   <In a 20g cycled tank you can keep 2 F8s & a few bumblebee gobies, or 1 F8 a couple of BBGs & a couple of knight gobies (cute fish!).   Thank you so much for your time and the website.  It is wonderful. <Thanks a lot!  Here's a great article on your puffer: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml  ~PP> Michelle

Figure eight puffers HELP! I recently got 3 figure eight puffers and was told to add half a bag of Sea Salt (1 bag does a ten gallon tank, and I have them in a 5 gallon for now) for brackish water. After careful measuring, half a bag equaled two cups of sea salt. <I do hope you didn't add all this... unless the fish you bought were in the same specific gravity water...> From all the reading I have done in the past few days (the more information, the more confused I get), it seems this guy at the aquarium store was on crack! THAT'S A LOAD OF SALT for a small tank that's supposed to be brackish, not MARINE ! How do I fix this (even though my little guys seem fine for now, they are eating fine, maybe just not as active as they could/should be?). <I wouldn't change anything at this point. A good practice, especially when dealing with such small volumes is to pre-mix any/all new water... like for water changes... and use a hydrometer to match the spg...> I'm afraid to come home and find them belly up! One week and I'm already attached to Gholum, MeGosh and Abigor! <Hopefully the beneficial microbes necessary for filtration made the rapid ionic and osmotic transition. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Jennifer Dixon

Figure 8 puffer Hello, I have a figure 8 puffer and had him in my African C. tank. He and my green spotted pufferfish did well in that tank for close to 6 months. They have gotten beat up quite a bit recently so I took them out. the Green spotted puffer I threw (adjusted the salinity for him in about 30 min before dumping him) into my salt water tank and he is doing great.  <Yikes... this is a quick (and dangerous) transition... likely damaging to your puffer internally... these changes need to be made over a period of a few weeks to months> I then weeks later tried the same thing to my figure 8 and he has not fared as well. His eyes got extremely cloudy and his color faded. He was only in the saltwater for a night. I then saw my poor fish in the morning and put him in my molly (brackish) breeding tank to recover. <Good move... you likely saved its life> I added some Melafix to the tank and his eyes are clearing up slightly. What should I do to further his recovery? I also thought the figure 8 could go to full saltwater. <Please read over the brackish water articles posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm The Figure Eight, Tetraodon biocellatus is actually a freshwater to brackish fish... not marine. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Chad

Setting up a brackish tank for a figure-8 puffer I have bought a 45 gallon tank for my figure-8 puffer.  I am trying to set it up before moving him in.  I have heard that sand bottom and plants would make this kind of fish happy.  What kind of sand should I use? <Please see the WWM Brackish subweb. Index here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> What kind of plants should I use considering the brackish conditions (I don't think I can grow mangroves because my tank has a lid)? <Correct... unless the tank is very tall> I bought java fern, wisteria and hornwort.  The hornwort is not doing well probably because it hasn't had enough light,  but I'm concerned that if I add too much light, the java fern won't do well. <Plant the former above the latter> Should I just get rid of the hornwort?  I am reluctant to do this because I read that this plant prevents algae.   Paul <Bob Fenner>

Re: figure of 8 puffer/green spotted puffer Please can you help me? <I will try my best!> I have 1 figure of 8 puffer and 1 spotted green puffer in s 250 litre approx. community tank with a mixture of both large and small fish including my 4 Discus which obviously means that the water is soft. They were previously together is their own tank but I thought it would be a good idea to put them in my larger tank.  The Aquatic place that I got them from said that it would be OK but I'm not so sure that it suits my dear little spotted Puffer.  He doesn't appear to be very well.  He's not eating anything anymore and one of his side fins has stopped moving or is not there at all, he is just floating around and bumping into everything.  They are both very placid fish and I don't want to lose this little guy.  Can you help?   <Were they happy and healthy in their old tank? I would move them back...pronto!> Is he in the right conditions or should I move them into their own tank again?   <Well, as sensitive as the discus are you certainly can't change their water conditions...right? If the puffers aren't going to adjust, and it sounds as if they aren't, then move them back and put something else in with the discus> What should I do to save him? <That is what I would do. David Dowless> Regards, Dena Richardson

Puffers Hi, I have 5 Green Spotted Puffers, 2 1/2" long. and 1 Figure 8 Puffer, 3/4" How long do these kinds of Puffer live? <Years if/when kept under properly maintained conditions> and how big can they get? <Please see the coverage on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm and the FAQs files beyond> I have them in a 77gal. I also read that they should be in 6.5 -7.0 Ph. water, Is that right? <Mmm, no... should be higher... see the brackish set-up, maintenance sections on WWM> I have kept mine in Brackish water at 81*F Ph: 8.0 for 2 years and they're doing great. Please e-mail me back, Thanks. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

F8s in SW? 2/03/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here, remember me?  I get all these Qs now.> Hi Crew.  I've got a couple of vivacious F8's (Tetraodon biocellatus) in a 65 gallon brackish tank.  SG is 1.010 and slowly increasing.  Browsing around I saw the conventional wisdom here is that F8's do best in lower brackish (1.005).  What sort of experience is this based on?   <As you know, I'm all over the web.  I have never seen anyone post that an F8 kept in SW has died because of it.  I am not sure of the life expectancy in SW either.  I know you wanted more factual info, but I don't think you are going to find it. Just practical experience.  Mine are doing great at 1.008-10.  My friend RTR, recommends keeping them in low-end BW & has kept his alive for 18+ years that way.>   Have you experienced/heard of mortality or health problems in higher brackish/marine? <The biggest problem I see is keeping them with more aggressive SW fish.  F8s are only mildly aggressive.  Folks are always asking me about putting them (& green spotted puffers) in with their porcupine puffer.  Bad idea, since the Porc will grow 12+".>    Any studies on this?  I ask because Dr. Klaus Ebert writes in his book, "The puffers of fresh and brackish waters," that F8's have "proved hardy and resilient in brackish and marine aquaria." I just wanted to hear how you feel about that statement.  I want to convert to full marine over time.  Will the F8's thrive in SW or merely tolerate it? <I always listen to Dr Ebert & RTR.  Confusing & conflicting info, I know.  Why don't you conduct a study yourself?> Thanks -- y'all are awesome as always.  Nick (aka sixtyfivegallon) <Awwwww, shucks!  You're alright yourself! ~PP> P.S. If you want any help on putting together a brackish book, my editorial services are available.  I wouldn't be able to contribute much if any content (leave that to the experts), but I pride myself on a keen and experienced editorial eye and would love to help with such a project. <Thanks for the offer, I'll pass it on!>

Figure 8 Puffer Problems 2/29/04 <Pufferpunk here again> Hello... The last water change I did was about 50%. I usually only do a 1/4 or so change, but I vacuumed a lot this time so it was more. I only have my Test strips here right now for testing the water. It comes back with these readings : pH - slightly acidic <What pH exactly?  Puffers prefer a pH of around 8.0.  Aragonite or crushed coral substrates are used to help maintain a stable alkaline pH of around 8.> KH - moderate GH - very hard ( try to use filtered water for the tanks, but live in FL) Nitrite - 1.0 or so <Should be 0 at all times!> Nitrate - very high, at least 200 <OMG!!! Nitrates should be under 20!  You must be over feeding your fish.  Continue doing 50% water changes/gravel cleaning daily until both of those (including ammonia at 0), are what is livable to a fish.  All your levels are toxic! How much are you feeding your fish?  Do they eat all the food within 5 minutes?  How often are you doing water changes?  50% weekly is necessary for puffers.  This is definitely the problem with your fish.  Do you have salt in there?  How much?  You might want to buy some extra, because you are going to need to be replacing a lot over the next few days of water changes.> The tank has been set up since October and has had fish in it since then with little problems. What should I do now? thanks again JJ <Water changes, water changes, water changes!!! ~PP>

Tap Water for Puffers? 3/1/04 The large puffers I feed every other day or so, as I read. The little guy eats once a day. They tend to sneak some of the food for the other fish but not much. After 5 minutes I clean out what I can with a net. <Try feeding less amounts, so none is left over.  Pieces can still float into plants & between decor.> Ill do the water changes and keep you posted. Do you have any advice for an easier way to filter our tap water? I've been using a regular tap filter, but it takes ages for the water to go through. <I fill my tanks directly from the tap (no filter).  I add drops of Dechlor directly to the tank before filling with 80 degree water.  ~PP>

Figure 8 to Marine? 3/29/04  Hello,  <Hi Dave, Pufferpunk here>  I was wondering if I could acclimate a figure 8 to marine over the course of about a year. I currently have 3 F8's and 3 Green Spotteds, a shark cat and two mono argenteus in a 46 gal (to be moved to a 92 when they need it). They are all tiny right now, so I haven't brought up the gravity yet, but as they grew I wanted to bring it up to full strength marine so I can use live rock and add a few Saltwater fish, but I wanted to know how the figure 8's would react. I know the other fish are very tolerant and preferential of the higher salt as adults. I always read conflicting information about the figure 8's, and I read your site that says they prefer light brackish, but then I hear some people acclimate them to saltwater. Do you know of anyone who has done this?  <Although I have heard of F8s doing fine for short term in SW, I'm not too sure about long term. I do know that a friend & puffer mentor, Robert T. Ricketts, has kept them successfully for 18+ years in light BW (1.005-8). No one has ever documented keeping them long term in SW, so I just can't tell you how they'd fare. Here is the article RTR wrote on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml . Since F8s are only mildly aggressive, & grow to 3", while GSPs are extremely aggressive & grow to 6", I really don't recommend keeping them together as adults. Also, your tank won't be large enough for the Mono's, as they are schooling fish & would require around a 300g tank for a school of 1' fish.>  If it is possible, I prefer to do this as there are a few marine fish (wrasses mostly) I would like to add with them, and I want nitrate control without needing to use mangroves. Thanks, Oh BTW, my gravity is at ~1.014 right now and everyone seems very happy, very active, and very bright and healthy.  Dave Mencel  <I am having great success keeping my GSPs in SW. Maybe you could keep some notes, if you do decide to go ahead with keeping your F8s in SW. ~PP>

What Specific Gravity for a Figure 8 Puffer? 3/29/04  Figure 8 Puffer, what SG should I take the water to, and how big will it get? The SG should be less than  for my GSP tank, right?  <Yes, F8s seem to do best at a SG of around 1.005-8. I have brought mine up as high as 12, but usually I like to fluctuate it up & down a few points every weekly water change. Here's a great article on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml  ~PP>

How Many Figure 8 Puffers in a Tank?  11/29/04 <Pufferpunk again> Thank you so much for your help - I wish I would have found you before I bought the 2 species -- that goes to show LFS are only out to make a buck .. so can I keep 2 F8 puffers together? and how big of a tank is needed to keep them happy? <1 F8/10g is the rule.  It always pays to research a fish you are interested in, before buying it.  ~PP>

Figure 8 Puffers--A Brackish Water Puffer  9/12/04 Dear Crew <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Over the past eight months, we had fish as pets, learning new stuff, and one day we finally found puffer fishes and we ended up setting up a new tank for them.  So far so good, but we have three of them and one I guess, is trying to setup dominance over the others, so I called Petco, where I got them and they suggested feeding them everyday so they will stop nipping each other, but it seems like the dominant one always nip the others after feeding... :( I do not want them to keep getting stressed and die, so please help! <1st of all read this wonderful article on F8s: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml This should answer all your questions on the care & feeding of these great pets.  I am concerned that you said you set-up a new tank for your fish.  Did you cycle it 1st?  How large is the tank?  F8 puffers require at least 10g/puffer.  Puffers personality vary from fish to fish.  Some may be very mild-mannered, while others may be killers.  If you have a killer, it must be kept singly, or it will kill their tank mates.  You just never know with puffers...  ~PP>

Figure 8 Puffer in SW?  7/25/04 Hello! Thanks for responding yesterday! <Hi, you've got Pufferpunk here today to answer your puffer questions.> Along with the other fish I mentioned earlier, could a clown trigger, Malu anemone, and a crocea clam live together? Also, the puffers I've had my eye on looks like a brackish figure 8 puffer, but with much more white on the belly and live in saltwater. What are they? <I'm not sure which puffer you are describing.  The F8 should have a white tummy.  Some folks have had short-term success with keeping F8 puffers in SW, but we don't know the long-term affects of this yet.  we do know of folks keeping them over 18 years in light BW.  There is a larger puffer that resembles a cross between a F8 (Tetraodon biocellatus) & a green spotted puffer (T nigroviridis).  It is  called a Ceylon puffer (T fluviatilis).  It has a similar pattern on it's back as an F8, with black spots on it's sides & abdomen.  This fish is in BW when young & prefers SW as an adult.  It grows to 7-8".  Also, I don't suggest keeping puffers with clams (puffer food) & anemones.  I recently heard of a puffer biting into an anemone & dying.  ~PP> Thanks. Specific Gravity for a Figure 8 Puffer 4/5/05 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just found a LFS in the middle of know where that has figure 8 puffers!!! <Lucky you!> The thing is that they are in freshwater. I know that you need to make it .002 per week so you don't kill off the beneficial bacteria but do you possible know how much salt (tsp/tbs?) I need to add for a 20G to raise it .002 per week? <For a rough estimate: it takes around a cup of marine salt to raise the SG .002. You'll have to do some math, when you replace the salt from a water change & raise it another .002, a week later. You still need to check with a hydrometer to be sure. There are several threads on that in this forum: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi  ~PP> 

Cycling tank for puffers Hello everyone, <Hi there> I recently purchased a 20g aquarium that I was going to use as homes for 2 figure 8 puffers. I have been cycling the tank with feeder fish but I was reading that cycling the tank with feeder fish in freshwater settings is pointless for a brackish system because the same bacteria can not live brackish system that can in a freshwater system. <Mmm, semi-factual... depends on definitions... of brackish...> It makes sense but I'm not sure what to do anymore. They said something about cycling it with ammonia? Can you help me out on this?! Also would 1tbs/5gallon of instant ocean be fine to add? Thanks!  <Time to send you to our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/ see the indices? I'd read through the Brackish one... and use the search tool there. Bob Fenner>

Which Puffer, F8 or GSP?  12/25/04 Hi <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was thinking of getting a puffer (spotted or figure eight) I would love it if you could give me some tips and guide me to setting up my brackish aquarium, like what size of tank I would need, what kind of substrate, and some things to feed them. And any other thing that you could think of. If you could help it would be awesome <Of course.  2 of my favorite BW species!  Here is a great article on the figure 8 (Tetraodon biocellatus): http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml & the green spotted puffer (T nigroviridis): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  Everything you should need to know is those articles.  Write back with any other questions you may have.  ~PP> THANKS!! Figure 8 Puffer Hi Bob, I was wondering what other "mean" fish will a figure 8 puffer get a long with. Thanks! <Larger, faster, meaner types... the best really are other brackish water species... the other not-so freshwater tetraodont puffers, Monodactylus, scats, Chromides, archerfishes... you can find a bunch about these possibilities, even brackish water plants through a read through past hobbyist magazines... and goosing me to get more of my brackish pieces on our WWM site... Bob Fenner>

Puffer confusion (09/17/03) <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have had a Fig-8 puffer (2 inches) in a brackish system (29 gallon, SG=1.008, pH=8.2), with a green scat (3.5 inches ), and five bumblebee gobies.  Everything was going good for a while, until my scat became a little too comfortable, and aggressive. <They get big, too... too large for a 29 gallon, eventually.> I don't know what I was thinking, but when I was at the LFS, I fell for what they called a Jade Puffer (about 3.5 inches; also known as Ceylon puffer, and same genus/species as fig-8). <I'm not certain they're the same species... they are sometimes sold as the same genus/species and have some similarities, but are from very different areas.> I tried the new puffer in my existing tank after a slow acclimation.  Once in the tank, aggression was higher than before, but I probably should have been anticipating that, so now the Ceylon puffer is alone in a 20H.  The scat is scared for his life right? <Well, that may be getting a bit anthropomorphic, but possibly...> I know your site says fig-8's are freshwater, but I have read both sides of the matter.   <Me, too.> I would like to get rid of my scat, and go freshwater with both tanks if possible.   I would appreciate any help. Ian <Hmmm. Your bumblebee gobies are definitely brackish. If you wish to keep them, you should have at least one brackish tank. --Ananda>

Combining Puffers in One Tank  3/14/04 <Pufferpunk at your service> How will a GSP and a Figure 8 puffer get along? My GSP is real chill. <GSPs require at least 20g each.  I know it is probably small right now & looks dwarfed in a tank that size, but if you look at mine (the puffer photo in my article) you'll see how large they wind up growing.  Also, GSPs prefer SW as adults & are extremely aggressive, while F8s prefer low-end BW, they only grow to 3" & are mildly aggressive.  Not really a good match.> Also, there is a red eye puffer I want, how would he get along with my GSP?  The red eye is pretty big. <Puffers are best kept in species only tanks.  I have had success in keeping similar-mannered puffers together (GSPs W/Ceylons, or dwarves with South Americans) but in very large tanks with a heavy load of decor & many broken lines of sight.  As far as a red-eye puffer, there are many puffers w/red eyes that could be labeled as such by a LFS.  Common names are difficult to ID a fish with.  If you're still interested in this fish (in a separate tank) & you are concerned about it's care & temperament, you can look for an ID here: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/index.htm <Good luck with your puffer, I'm glad it's doing well!  ~PP>

Tank Mates for Figure 8 Puffers?  11/29/04 <It's me, Pufferpunk again!> Guess I'll get a bigger tank!! You are right - my fault for not looking deeper into these fish -- So can I put another fish in with the F8 puffer? What type?? I'm headed to the library after work today ... <I have a lovely 29 g tank with 3 F8s, 2 pairs of knight gobies & 6 bumblebee gobies.  A 30g long tank would be even better for that combo.  ~PP> Thanks Pufferpunk -- Looks like I will be getting a bigger tank!! <Come & join us over at www.thepufferforum.com!  ~PP>

Bossy Puffer  10/26/04 <Pufferpunk here> I ignored you warning about my GSP "Pongo" being too aggressive for my F8, but now "Munk" (he has the scream face on his back) the F8 is pushing Pongo and eating almost everything I throw into the tank. I don't think this is that bad of a problem now I'm sure if the GSP was hungry he would push back but I though to cut down on hostility could I re-arrange the tank plants and drift wood? I'm sure this isn't the biggest case of civil disturbance you hear its more like sibling rivalry but any ideas would be nice. <You're GSP may be less aggressive as a juvenile & could possibly starve, if you don't give him a chance to eat.  Moving the decor around may help, but you might just have to separate the two.  You can also try feeding at opposite ends of the tank.  ~PP> Thanks

Mixing BW Puffers in a 20g Tank <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have started my 20 gal brackish puffer tank with a medium GSP and a figure 8.  I can already tell the GSP is a little more pushy than the figure 8. When I chose my next two puffer should I exclude getting another GSP or the less aggressive figure 8, and what would be the ideal choice to have a happy tank? Thanks for your website <1st of all I need to request that when writing your emails, please use proper capitalization & punctuation.  I have to correct this myself, before sending it on to the FAQs at our website.  I'm not sure I understand your question.  Are you adding 2 more puffers to your 20g tank?  As you have already noticed, the GSP is too aggressive to house with the milder F8 in such a small tank.   As the GSP gets larger & even more aggressive, it will only get worse for the poor little F8.  Also, a 20g tank really isn't big enough for an adult (6") GSP.  What I'd do is find a home or return the GSP & get 1 more F8.  Only 1 F8/10g.  Here's a great article on them: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml  ~PP> Figure 8 Pufferfish  6/23/04 Hey Again! <Hey again yourself!> Geez, that was a fast response! <I'm on the ball today!> I have one more quick question. Would it be alright to add one of those suckerfishes (I can't think of the name.. but they are the ones who swim around and suck up all of the algae and stuff in the tank) into the tank? <The "suckerfish" you are talking about is a freshwater fish & doesn't like salt.  It's called a Plecostomus.  If you plan to keep these puffers for any length of time, they are best kept in brackish water.> Or would a snail be better, since a suckerfish lacks the protection from the Puffer? <Puffers eat snails & they don't like salt either.> Oh, and you're right. Figure 8's are cute! And I've got somewhat bad news.. I think he died. He hasn't moved lately.. <Sorry to hear that.  Did you get the water tested?>   Well, thanks for the help for my next fish! <Make sure & read that article I linked you to.> Btw, how long has your Pufferfish lasted? Do you also have a Figure 8? <Yes, I have 3 figure 8 puffers.  I've only had them for about a year, but they can live 18+ years if cared for properly. I have a total of 14 puffers in all   ~PP> Mixing Puffer Species 5/30/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 Gallon tall Hex tank, fully cycled, with a BioWheel filter. I have let it cycle over the past several weeks and in that time I have grown a nice amount of aquatic plants. <What do you mean by cycle? Are there fish in there or just plants? Without fish to produce ammonia or another source of ammonia, there is no nitrifying bacteria.> Now for my question. I was originally going to stock the tank with a few dwarf puffers (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) and an Otto. I have since fallen in love with both the South American (Colomesus asellus) and Figure Eight (Tetraodon biocellatus) Puffers. The tank is full freshwater right now. I was wondering if there is anyway to house 2 of these types of puffers together. I hear conflicting things about the required salinity for the figure 8, and just as often I see it listed as freshwater, hence my confusion! I have read that the South American and Dwarf Puffers can be housed together, and was wondering your what your recommendations for stocking ratios and such are.  <F8s are indeed BW fish, so those 2 species cannot be mixed. I would stick with a species only tank for a 20g. Either 2 F8s in a BW environment, or 2 SAPs in FW.  With F8s you could keep a few bumblebee gobies or w/SAPs you could keep faster moving fish, like danios & maybe some Corys.> Thanks so much for your time, you are truly an amazing resource! <That's what we're here for! ~PP>

Mixing Puffer Species 5/31/05 Pufferpunk, Thanks so much for the quick reply, <Sure!> By 'cycled' I mean that I allowed the nitrifying bacteria to build up by having my niece's goldfish in the tank for a few days several weeks ago.  I took her out, and now she's no worse for wear.  The ammonia, then nitrite spiked and has since leveled out (meaning both at 0, nitrate low).  <I'm sorry to say that if there have been no fish in there for over 24-48 hours, the tank has to be cycled again.  There has been no "food" by way of ammonia, to keep the bacteria alive in your tank.  You can always buy Bio-Spira at the same time as your fish, to "instant cycle" your tank.  Just do a 90% water change before hand.  I'm afraid cycling w/GF can also add certain diseases that other fish can't handle, to your tank.> I have decided to stick with a freshwater set-up, and I was wondering if mixing dwarf puffers and South American puffers would work.  <The vicious biting dwarves have caused problems for my SAPs, even in a much larger tank--I don't suggest it.> If not I think I'll stick to my original plan of dwarfs and an Oto.  Thanks again, I really appreciate it! <Good idea!  Should be a nice, interesting tank.  For info on DPs go to: www.dwarfpuffers.com  ~PP> Bad Advice about Puffers 3/16/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was fooled by a pet store employee. I bought a figure 8 and a leopard puffer. They said that they would be fine in my 55 gallon together and with my Pleco, my 2 African frogs and a few barbs. The leopard bit the leg off my frog and keeps beating up on the figure 8. <No surprise there at all.> I have no more tanks to separate them. Could I just give the leopard a new home and keep the Figure 8? I really want to get more fish but I fear their lives with the leopard in there. But if I do that will the figure 8 just eat everyone in the tank?  ~*Tara*~  <The leopard, or green spotted puffer (Tetraodon nigriviridis), is an extremely aggressive fin biter. The F8 (T biocellatus) is a little more mellow, but has issues with the same. Both are actually brackish water fish. The nigroviridis, prefers high end BW & SW as an adult. You can read about them here: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=brack.  Neither of those fish will work in your tank. ~PP>

Figure eight puffer fish Hi, I wonder if any one can help? I have two figure eight puffer fish.  One puffer is about three to four years old and the other is still a baby.  Both fish are kept in a Bi-orb tank, which holds around 30gallons. <I'm not familiar with the BiOrb.  Is it safe to assume that it has adequate filtration/heating/all the makings of a successful aquarium?> Lately the older one seem to swim franticly around the tank, becoming rather shy but I havent notice any flicking or rubbing against any solid objects. It seemed to eat its food but Im quite worried with this frantic darting around the tank, is it normal? <Are you adding any salt to their water, it could be cause by the lack of salt in the water as the fish ages.> Every time when I feed them, I havent seen the younger fish taking any food and it looks to me that he is getting thinner. I have tried to check for any sign of disease and I only found a small dot on the tail, which I believe it is fungus, but should this stop it eating its food? <May not be a fungus, if it is it could be a sign that something else is wrong with their environment.  What are you feeding them? How are the water tests looking? -Best Regards, Gage> I would be very grateful if any one could help me.

Puffer can't/won't eat (03/11/03) <Hi! Ananda here on the puffer patrol today....> I'm really having a problem with a figure eight puffer fish I have. I've had him for the last two years and not run into a hitch. He lives with two other fish- another brackish figure eight and a brackish spotted puffer. <One of the few puffer combinations I know of that can be maintained for any length of time... I have both types in the same tank, too.> Right now he seems to be on a hunger strike - this is the first time but he hasn't been eating normally for a week now. He is looking really thin- the second half of his body is barely thicker then nickel and his upper half looks very bad too. He does seem to try to eat but most of it just drifts out of his mouth after a while. <Sounds like he may not be able to chew -- do check the length of his teeth. If they're too long, you may need to clip them. A pair of good-quality nail scissors can help.> I have seen him eat some food and he still acts very interested but he's still as thin as a before. I want to try to force feed him for now to try to keep him from wasting away the rest of the way but I don't know if that would be good to do since he looks like him might break if I try to touch him (that and I don't know how to force feed). <I'm not much of a fan of force-feeding. Try giving him some food that he doesn't need to chew -- frozen bloodworms and live blackworms are always a hit with my puffs -- and see if he can keep those down.> Also I would love to have a hospital tank but I don't have one and I doubt if it would be worth the time to cycle a new tank. <Since you typically medicate a hospital tank, you usually kill off any beneficial bacteria that may have established themselves in the cycle. So there's less need for cycling a hospital tank, more need for daily water changes. And any container that is big enough for the puff to swim around in and contain an airstone can be used as a hospital container in a pinch.> If u can help me keep this guy alive then your my hero and his hero too. I know I'm supposed to be trying to feed him more tempting foods (I looked through all the faq's u had for an answer and I'm still not sure of the answer) <Bloodworms, blackworms, snails, ghost shrimp, cocktail shrimp, krill; sometimes Mysis shrimp, squid, clams...check the saltwater Puffer Feeding FAQs for more ideas.> but he acts just as interested in any food as any other time- he just can't keep enough in to get a whole meal. <Try using a different approach: keep food in his tank at all times. The best way to do this would be in a separate tank. I'm thinking bloodworms or blackworms in a worm feeder, or live ghost shrimp, or snails would be the food to use with this approach.> if my answer is to force feed him I'm going to need a link to a site that can tell me how to do that for a puffer fish. <Eh, I'm not finding one that gives specifics... but here's what I'm inferring from posts about same: you would need to do is get a syringe (no needle necessary) and fill it with a slurry of food and a good vitamin supplement (Bob mentions Boyd's VitaChem as a favorite). Then catch and hold the puff underwater and put the end of the syringe into his mouth. Use the syringe to shoot the food into his stomach. More comments on force-feeding puffers here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm> And thank you very much for your time. Please try to email me back as soon as you can. <You're welcome. --Ananda> High dKH & dKH: effectively brackish? Hello there from Chicagoland, <And hello back from Chicagoland! Ananda here tonight, out in the burbs...> I have a 30l freshwater tank containing a knight goby, an emerald Cory, and a Kuhli loach. My water is as follows. Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: very near 0 pH: 8.2 dGH: 26 deg. dKH: 12 deg. <Just for comparison, in the western burbs, I'm at pH 7.8, dGH 8, dKH 12. You're going to want to check your phosphates, too. Mine are 0.8 out of the tap according to the SeaTest kit.> I know it depends on what kind of fish you keep, but isn't this pH level generally a bit high? <Your goby will be fine in that. I have two knight gobies right now, both female, and I've had a pair that bred in these conditions. If you got the other fish locally, they should be fine, too.> What about the hardness, it seems like I'm keeping a  brackish tank. <Close to it! That's why your knight goby is doing well. In acidic, soft water, these fish die. In hard, alkaline water, they do okay, even without salt.> My fish seem healthy, but I'm looking to get the tank as comfy as possible for them. Also, is it possible to keep figure 8, or spotted puffers in freshwater? My LFS who sells them says it's fine, but they are a brackish fish.. right? <Yup. Figure 8 puffers prefer lowish brackish levels, while spotted puffs prefer somewhat higher brackish levels. I'm concerned that Kuhli loach would look too much like lunch to a worm-loving puffer!> I really don't want to go brackish because of the limited selection of fish compatible. <That's actually the main reason I went brackish... I was so totally confused by the selection of fish! The "limited palette" of brackish fish isn't as small as you might think. It includes most rainbowfish and livebearers, for example.> I really love puffers, and I know they wouldn't get along with my current community, but I'm looking down the road a bit. Any help would be excellent. <Check out the WetWebMedia chat forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk. We've got more Chicago-area fish keepers and a thread or two about local fish stores on the boards.> Thanks for a great site. You make no money from us, yet you give us the absolute best advice. Our LFS makes tons of cash from its' customers, but will tell you anything to make the sale... Thank God for you guys.  Dave A. <Thanks so much for the kind words! They are very much appreciated. --Ananda>

Powerhead puffers (01/16/04) Hi Ananda, <Hi!> Since you always remember who I am because of my playful puffers, I thought you might enjoy seeing them in action. <Oh cool!> I woke up this morning and Little Mickey, the smaller green spotted, and Grumen, the figure 8 were having fun in the powerhead.   <I'm so glad they still enjoy this.> Grumen always gets a little nervous when I am so close to the tank, you can tell by the way he stopped what he was doing to keep an eye on me.  Little Mickey could care less.  Unfortunately, none of the puffers use the pipe I put in there, but the knight goby does.   <That's cool too.> The pictures, of course, aren't as good as seeing them live, but I hope you enjoy them. <Oh, definitely!> As always, thanks for your advice, Dave <Thanks for the photos! --Ananda>

Figure 8 Pufferfish Ok. I have looked everywhere for information on the figure eight puffer and didn't see any information on this. I have only one question; do they really puff up like other types of puffer fish? <Yes, all puffers puff, for reasons of threat, fear & stress.> They look really awesome and I probably will still eventually get one, but if they puff up, that would be a pretty cool addition. <It is extremely stressful for puffers to puff.  Please don't attempt to get them to do it.  The fish has to be very frightened to puff.  Here is a good article on F8s: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml Here's an article on how puffers inflate: http://biomechanics.bio.uci.edu/_html/nh_biomech/pufferfish/puffer.htm  Although this is about spiny puffers, all puffers have spines (F8's are tiny) & all puff the same way.> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Figure 8 Puffers--A Brackish Water Puffer  9/12/04 Dear Crew <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Over the past eight months, we had fish as pets, learning new stuff, and one day we finally found puffer fishes and we ended up setting up a new tank for them.  So far so good, but we have three of them and one I guess, is trying to setup dominance over the others, so I called Petco, where I got them and they suggested feeding them everyday so they will stop nipping each other, but it seems like the dominant one always nip the others after feeding... :( I do not want them to keep getting stressed and die, so please help! <1st of all read this wonderful article on F8s: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml This should answer all your questions on the care & feeding of these great pets.  I am concerned that you said you set-up a new tank for your fish.  Did you cycle it 1st?  How large is the tank?  F8 puffers require at least 10g/puffer.  Puffers personality vary from fish to fish.  Some may be very mild-mannered, while others may be killers.  If you have a killer, it must be kept singly, or it will kill their tank mates.  You just never know with puffers...  ~PP>

Figure 8 Confusion 5/29/-4 Hi! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have read several conflicting issues about the figure-8 puffer, Tetraodon biocellatus, and I guess that you guys are my most reliable source of fish info. Firstly, how big do they grow to? Some sources say they max out at 6cm, while others say they get as big as 20cm. Are figure-8s poisonous? <These puffers grow to 2 1/2-3".  You'll have to do the conversion, sorry.> Do they carry the same neurotoxin "Tetraodotoxin" as their saltwater cousins? Fishbase.org says that they aren't dangerous at all. <Only dangerous if you eat them.  They carry their toxin in their skin & organs.> And lastly, are these puffers strictly freshwater, or do they need a little bit of salt in the water to thrive? <They are healthiest in low-end BW--a SG of around 1.005-10.  Here's a great article on them, written by a man that has been keeping puffers for over 40 years: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml> Thanks in advance. Andrew Lee <You're welcome & enjoy your puffers.  They're great little fish!  ~PP> Haven't a clue (Starving brackish puffer on its last fin) hello there. first let me say that I am a bit nervous to ask any questions... <No need> after reading some of your responses*l*hopefully, you won't make me look like a complete idiot who hasn't fully researched the whole situation.  I have had fresh, brackish and marine water fish for about seven years-although, do not consider myself an 'expert'- <Me neither> and never have I encountered a "sick" fish quite like this. let me also say that my water qualities are up to par. now here is my situation-please, don't be brutal- I have a figure eight puffer who is about three years old. he has no visible signs of illness no redness, no spots, no nothing). he has not eaten in several weeks. I have tried everything. at first he would eat and then seem to vomit it back up the food would be covered in mucus like stuff) he was very active and then he became very still when he started vomiting. since then he has stayed on the bottom of the tank and in the past week he has rolled over to his back. it is like a sick puppy dog, when he sees me look in at him, his fins start moving and his eyes roll toward me, but still he doesn't move or roll over to his belly. I had asked someone else for help and they said it was more than likely old age.  I have to agree, but he said to make things dark and calm for him he's in a tank by himself). I thought he would die rather quickly, but he has not. he is literally starving to death and it kills me to see him suffer. please, tell me if you think he is sick or just old and god forbid, if I can't do a thing to help him. thanks for your time, Hon. sincerely, veronica <I would very likely try force-feeding this fish... with very small, cut up meaty foods... with the animal out on a wet towel... and possibly try "lacing" the food (maybe on the second day/try) with a vitamin prep. (and possibly Flagyl) material. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Figure 8 puffer Hello, I have a figure 8 puffer and had him in my African C. tank. He and my green spotted pufferfish did well in that tank for close to 6 months. They have gotten beat up quite a bit recently so I took them out. the Green spotted puffer I threw (adjusted the salinity for him in about 30 min before dumping him) into my salt water tank and he is doing great.  <Yikes... this is a quick (and dangerous) transition... likely damaging to your puffer internally... these changes need to be made over a period of a few weeks to months> I then weeks later tried the same thing to my figure 8 and he has not fared as well. His eyes got extremely cloudy and his color faded. He was only in the saltwater for a night. I then saw my poor fish in the morning and put him in my molly (brackish) breeding tank to recover. <Good move... you likely saved its life> I added some Melafix to the tank and his eyes are clearing up slightly. What should I do to further his recovery? I also thought the figure 8 could go to full saltwater. <Please read over the brackish water articles posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm The Figure Eight, Tetraodon biocellatus is actually a freshwater to brackish fish. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Chad

Puffer <<Hi James>> I have 2 figure 8 puffers in a 10 gallon tank. One of them has developed two bumps on his body: on the side and the other on the top of his body. The water tests well for nitrite, Ammonia, and pH. Both fish eat well and move normally. The other figure 8 hasn't shown the same bumps. Do you know what these bumps might be? Other than the bumps, the fish seems fine. Thanx. -James Kim <<Likely Lymphocystis, Look at pix here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm> and these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufffaqs2.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm> I would advise more room and good filtration. These links should help, Craig>>

Figure Eight Puffer Parasite Hello Mr. Fenner, I acquired several Figure Eight Puffers for a tank that I recently finished cycling. The Puffers are the only inhabitants. I've had Figure Eights for almost a year now in another tank, so I'm pretty familiar with the usual health problems that crop up with them, since most are wild caught. One of my new Puffers was suffering from fungus, so I was treating the whole tank with MarOxy as well as Maracyn and Maracyn ll for any infection that might be present. Unfortunately, yesterday the sick Puffer took a dramatic turn for the worse and died. I wanted to get a closer look so I examined it under close-up magnification. Photos of what I found are enclosed. The images are magnified approximately 34X. <Good photo work> The parasites that I found aren't easily noticed with the naked eye. One image shows an elongated lump near the tail of the Puffer that is actually a worm living under the skin. Under magnification I could see it moving. It's approximately one inch long and 1/16" in diameter. There were A LOT of these worms under the skin on various areas of the fish. <Yes... nematodes> I was curious to see what might be lurking inside of the Puffer so I sliced the stomach open. More worms rolled out of the body cavity. These were in the body cavity and not in the intestine (I hadn't yet perforated the intestine). The photo shows one of the worms measuring between 1" and 1 1/4" in length and 1/16" diameter. Interestingly, when touched the worm retracts into a coil. <Typical> The other photo enclosed shows a yellow area that I assume is infection or irritation caused by the worms. <Perhaps> I've had no luck identifying this particular parasite. It just doesn't resemble the descriptions I have found of other worm-like parasites of fish. I'm hoping that you might know exactly what it is and also possibly recommend a course of treatment. I'm stumped! Thanks in advance. JoAnn VanDersarl <Hmm, where to start, or how to narrow down a statement here... The infestation you describe and show is likely resultant from an initial exposure from the wild... these roundworm parasites typically have "complex" life cycles that require one or more intermediate hosts... Maybe some lack in diet, environmental challenge hastened the "winning" (and ironically losing) phase of the worm parasites causing the death of their host (and themselves), but perhaps not much... It's very hard to access (unless you sacrifice and examine a significant portion of a good size sample of individuals) how much of what their parasite load is... All vertebrates (yes, including you and I) have something of such a mix of organisms living in and on us... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the FAQs beyond for more of a general understanding of the predisposition to these events. Bob Fenner>

Palembang puffer <Now synonymized as T. biocellatus> Hi Crew, I've a question.. (but don't we all) I just got a Palembang puffer, and the tank I got him from had probably 2 dozen of them all swimming happily... but I put this little chappy in a tank on his own, and he seems rather distressed, swimming up against the glass, even trying to jump.. and he looks like he's trying to escape.. is this just due to him being in a new environment? or is there something wrong with the water? I checked the ph and it seems ok... the only other fish is a tiny Pleco.  Thanks for your help <Hey Marcus, it is very possible that this is just a reaction from the stress of being moved into a new environment.  I would also test my water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, just to be sure.  Best Regards, Gage.> Marcus Tan

Live foods for figure-8 puffer How do you feel about feeding a figure-8 puffer live earthworms, crayfish, bugs, frogs or other things from outside?  Is there really more risk then with live foods from the aquarium store?   <This is a brackish water species which requires marine type foods, not terrestrial foods like frogs, worms, etc. These fish are not generalists, they eat specific foods.> Also, is it possible to find live mosquito larvae outside? <In the summer months, but not for feeding puffers. Please read the information you need at WetWebMedia.com, just type "figure eight puffer" in the google search!  Craig>

Figure 8 Puffers Will figure 8 puffers get on well with these fish. If I get two fish, will they bother each other instead of the other fish? Sucking loach Red tailed black shark Dwarf Gourami Kuhli (Eel) loach Bronze Catfish Neon tetra Zebra Danio Guppies Flame tetra > > No... these fresh to brackish puffers are "nippy", and will outright eat the Neons and guppies... and bite the other fishes as they can approach them... Bob Fenner

Re: Figure 8 Puffers Are there any other types of freshwater puffer that will get along with these fish? Thanks Tim Jeffree > IMO not really... even the truly freshwater species from the Africa and South America are fin nippers... Best kept with other similarly "mean" fish livestock. Bob Fenner

Sick puffer maybe I have 2 figure 8 puffers and 2 spotted puffers in a 5 gallon freshwater tank. One of the spotted puffers just recently started sitting on the bottom or close to it in the corner. It looks like it has a discoloration line between the white part of the belly and the spots. It is kind of a dark area, all the way around. If you know what this could be please write me back. Annie <Sounds like what folks term a "stress syndrome" of these fishes (they're brackish to marine)... with nervous involvement, parts of the body do discolor... I would read and heed the materials stored on our site re these tetraodonts: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm You need to add some non-iodized salt to the system, maybe some live rock (yes, as if this were a marine system) to speed (re)cycling in the different ionic environment... Bob Fenner

Re: sick puffer......... I am sorry to bother you again but today when I woke up my puffer whom I wrote to you about yesterday had puffy cotton like stuff on his body around his fin. Could this be something different? The per store says that its ick and I got him some "Furacyn" medicine but he looks worse today. :( Also, do I need to add salt to my tank? I mean, I have Neons, swordtails, shrimp, and baby swords. It is just a 10 gallon tank. Will the salt hurt them at all? Sorry to bother! Thanks a bunch! > <Not ich... did they ask if the appearance was white, discrete spots? Likely a secondary infection of some sort of fungus... and once again, nutrition and environmentally related.  If you can understand the following, do add the salt and amend the foods as previously recommended. No amount of medicine otherwise will stop this problem... No to adding much salt with the Neon Tetras... Please either trade the puffer in (it will eventually eat the Neons) or the Neons... otherwise, the Swords will be fine with the salt... The Puffer is a brackish to marine species and quite nippy/aggressive... with easygoing freshwater species... I would have encouraged you to leave such a fish out of your system. Bob Fenner

Sick puffer Hi, I recently purchased a figure 8 puffer that's about an inch and a half long. He's currently in a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 4 painted tetras and a ghost shrimp. He occasionally chases the shrimp, but other than that he's left everyone alone. <So far... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm> The tank has an Aquaclear 150 filter filled with the sponge and Ammocarb in a bag. The heater keeps the tank at about 78 - 79 degrees and the pH is about 7.3 . I leave the light on during the day (there's a Brazilian sword plant in the tank). The tank has cycled and I've added 2 tablespoons of Aquarium Salt.  He was eating fine for about a week (fed freeze dried brine shrimp and live blackworms twice a day) but today he refused all foods at both feedings (morning and night). He looks thinner and seems weaker (hanging out on the bottom a lot). Is he sick? Is there anything I can do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help, Eric <Your Puffer may well be sick... perhaps just not acclimated... I would try offering it other foods, perhaps a bit of cut shrimp, squid or crab meat. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick puffer Thanks for the quick reply ... unfortunately I just flushed the little fella. No idea what happened unless he wasn't well cared for at the pet store or maybe couldn't acclimate to the new tank. Thanks anyway. Eric <I am hopeful that your apparently cavalier action and message here are simply my (mis)interpretation. What did Pliny the elder write, "If a man would be unkind to his parrot (and you with a psittacine e-nomen), then why not his country...". Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Problems with a Figure-Eight Puffer <JasonC here, helping out while Bob is away diving.> Bob Fenner Hello I recently sent this message to the folks at Puffernet and they said to send my message to you. <really.> I just copied what I sent them put it on the bottom of this letter. The only thing new with my puffer is the worm looking thing in his eye was there one morning and when I got back from my run it looks like it popped out. <hmm...> My puffers eye is almost back to normal <glad to hear this.> but I worry that if it was a parasite he may have eaten again because I saw it nowhere in the tank. <may have gone into the substrate.> and he is always on lookout for food. <sounds good.> He also still has a bump on his back it doesn't look like it has moved to much. Again thank you for your time and any suggestions on what to do would be a great help. thank you ed Purdy <Ed, it sounds like you should probably take actions with copper or other similar mechanism that would kill those evil-nasties. I would suggest you read through the following FAQ on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm - from what I can gather your puffer will respond well to copper and so now might be the time to use some. Cheers, J -- >

Lymph on FW Puffer Great site. My figure eight puffer has Lymphocystis I believe.  <Very common> They are large clear bumps on his underbelly. I've asked several aquatics stores what to do, but they've offered little advice. Is there something you would recommend to treat this ailment? <If large enough, discrete... can be carefully pried off twixt thumb and a finger nail... Salt of appropriate strength/use helps, as does lacing/soaking foods with a vitamin preparation. Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner> Joe

Figure Eight Puffer Concerns >Hello I own a figure 8 Pufferfish, shortly after I brought him home I noticed that he had a bump on his back. It has continued to grow and since move. I think he has a parasite of some sort growing under his skin and don't know what to do? The parasite has since split into two or multiplied at times it looks like there is a worm in his skin. I never see it move I just wake up and it is in a different spot. It is currently in his eye and I can see what looks like a little worm wrapped up in his eye. Please let me know what you think this might be and what to do to help the little guy out. Other wise he has a great appetite swims fine and acts normal. Thanks for your time. >Ed Purdy

Figure Eight Puffer Fry Hello again Mr. Fenner, I hope you are doing well. I am writing to seek some advice about one of my quarantine inhabitants. I want you to know I have done all of the research I could get my hands on, and have exhausted all of my theories. I am getting somewhat desperate here. <Let's jar your memory, give you a bit more to cogitate furiously with> On October 24th I received a call from my LFS about a nasty torn finned Figure Eight Puffer (Tetraodon biocellatus) they needed help with. I have little experience with fresh to brackish water fish, but was happy to see what was the matter. I went down there that day to see the puffer. The staff expressed to me that they felt the puffer was pregnant. How they came to that conclusion I do not know. :) I had no reason to doubt their concern, so I told them I would take her home and see what happens. She was about 2 1/2 -3" in length and beyond the norm for puffer chubbiness. It's fins were torn quite badly (I am convinced it was shipped and bagged with others of it's species)  <Common, and common result> but she ate well and adapted to my QT tank without incident On November 2ed almost over night, her belly darkened and had 2 distinct lumps. One below it's mouth and 1/4" below that, a much larger darker swell. I did all of the research (asked on WWF and Ananda was quite helpful) <As I've seen> I could, and honestly became convinced it could not be a pregnancy. Bloat? Naww.. she swam around like she owned the tank and ate like a mad fiend. Five days ago I awoke to go start my morning tank chores to find one very FAT mama puffer and 5 little babies hiding behind a banana leaf plant. I put the puff fry in my nursery tank and proceeded to freak out at how large mama was. Calmed down some and guessed she ate the rest of the family. :) <...! Are you sure these are puffer babies? All tetraodontiform fishes are oviparous... not livebearers... Takes two to tango, with developmental period...> I have tried everything under the sun to get these little fry to eat. I am down to 3 fry now. They are about 1/2 the size of an eraser on a # 2 pencil. So cute they will drive a person crazy. I have tried newly hatch brine, and Mysis, slurry of all sorts of ingredients, baby snails and SMALL pods from my refugium are all that seem to sustain them. Now they seem to have lost interest in that and are rather lifeless. I think another puff fry is going to be lost today because it is bottom dwelling and looking rather sad. I add a low dose of vitamin supplements to their water as well. Water quality for the fry and mama are all good. Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate 0, temp a balmy 80*, soft water flow. 2 of the three do look somewhat active, but how to stimulate their appetite is at this point unknown to me. Any suggestions are beyond welcome! <Live baby brine shrimp... which you can hatch out... but for now which you can have your LFS strain out (with a fine mesh, usually white in color, net under their larger net...) Now about mama. She is looking to have signs of bloat now. She will not eat, hardly moves. I thought I would give a Epsom salt treatment a try, but I have a nagging suspicion that it was birth her fry. any trauma related to it that is causing this reaction. Is it at all possible for infection to accrue, as I have seen with marine fish, after birth?  <Yes> I always hesitate to give any kind of chemical treatment without a firm belief in the cause of the illness. I am not sure about the presumptions I am making. She was fine the day of and the day after her birth. It sounds like an infection setting in to me. <Which hopefully can, will solve itself with time, good general care> Again, if you have some thoughts as to what might be at play here for both I am all ears. I hope I gave all of the information needed. I have the fry and mamma's plight well documented so if you need additional information I would be glad to supply it. Forgive me for the long post. Hope to hear back from you soon. I wish I could repay you for your time and effort. Happy Holidays Lenore <No worries re notions of remuneration. My "pay" is manifold in your, others involvement in life, concerns even just here, let alone the obvious good exercised else... Don't consider that there is much more to do than you have mentioned... if/when the young are a bit larger do try a glass dish on the bottom with some Tubifex/tubificid worms... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Figure Eight Puffer Fry Mr. Fenner, Okay, I thought I was freaking out before, now I think it can be called going crazy. Not puffer babies?? ::insert hysterical laugh:: What the heck could be going on that I could misinterpret this. I am 99.9% sure that the puffer in my QT is in fact a figure eight. The babies are small, but I swear to you on all that is holy that they look to be a miniature of the puffer. <Amazing... strange> Good grief, not live bearers. That's great. ;) Okay, now that I am thinking that my .1% might be a big factor here. Could you suggest a possible other fish (similar in appearance to the figure eight?) that I would mistake as a puffer? <More likely... that whatever young they are were transferred in the bag, introduced into the system in some other way... these do look like very small versions of the "parent" I trust> I will try the baby brine once again and cross my fingers that they will take to it. Thank you for your obviously much needed help. :) Lenore <A pleasure, yet mystery for sure. Bob Fenner>

Puffer with problem Hi, My figure-8 puffer has a large growth on his tail just before his back fin. It looks like a blister. There is no discoloration. His appetite is fine. Antibiotics have been ineffective. What is it? How can I treat it? <Likely some sort of subcutaneous tumor... best to ignore it... chemicals won't "treat it", surgery is more dangerous, stressful than it's worth. Good water quality, feeding... will see this animal to its best health. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Paul

Pufferfish (again!) Hi Bob, Please accept my apologies for burdening you with yet another Pufferfish question! <Okay> I recently obtained an attractive 30 UK gal tank as a gift and I have chosen to be boring and fill it with brackish puffers as with all my other tanks!  <Nice gift> I have heard from various sources that keeping two puffers together results in one being dominant and bullying the other to death whereas keeping them in a small group would ease the one on one bullying as it has in my 150gal puffer tank. My proposed stocking ideas for my 30 gal is either two figure eights puffers or one green spotted puffer on its own (or if I have any luck, a Ceylon Puffer!) Would it be wiser for me to add 3 figure of eights so its more of a group?  <Yes> Or would it be better to go for just one larger fish such as a Green Spotted rather than keeping several Figure of eights together in a small tank? Many thanks for your advice once again, <Worth trying the group first. Do keep an eye out, perhaps a phone call in to suppliers for "oddball" puffers in their imported shipments... from Africa, Asia... there are very often "contaminants"... not-listed species mixed in... Bob Fenner> Kris

- Pernicious Puffer Problems - Hi wet web crew!! <Greetings, Tom, JasonC here...> I'm having problems with my puffer. I started off with 3 figure 8 puffers in a 55 litre tank. They were all fine for about a month, then the largest one attacked the smaller 2 and they both died. I kept it as just one puffer since then, but he has recently gone off his food and has started to swim at the top of the tank, head up. It looks like he is breathing in air, but he doesn't puff up. when I put some food in (brine shrimp is what he is on at the mo, I couldn't find any bloodworm) he looks at it very excited but doesn't eat it. He hasn't changed colour, still seems quite mobile and hasn't lost much weight. <Well... puffers sometime go on hunger strikes, why they do it is not easily revealed. They are also sensitive to water quality, so you might want to look there first. You should also read through all the FAQ's we've accumulated as we get a lot of questions about these fish. Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm > any advice you could give me would be very much appreciated! Thank you Tom Hird <Cheers, J -- >

F8 Tank-10/27/03 Jeni, <Hi Ryan> I want to do a tank centered on a Figure 8 puffer.   <One of the prettiest puffers in my book!> Tell me what your model Figure 8 tank would be like.  Size, substrate, tankmates if any, plants....as if you were starting from scratch. <Funny you asked.  I just had a 29g tank open up & have been wanting F8s for a while.  I have 3 F8s, 2 pairs of knight gobies & 6 bumblebee gobies.  They all get along great.  I use crushed coral for substrate & keep the S.G. at 1.008-10.  I have it decorated w/lots of places to investigate & a tall mangrove root (fake) in the middle.  I don't use live plants in BW tanks.  They are usually decorated like SW tanks, w/fake corals, etc.  You can see my F8 tank (& all the rest of them) here: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918>   On a side note, I think this would be a fun feature for WWM.  Have the expert post there model tank idea for different biotypes. <Cool idea!> Thanks, Ryan <You're welcome, Jeni (Pufferpunk)>

Puffer Tank Set Up Questions Jeni, <Sorry, Jeni's moving...Ananda here today...but I'll keep this around so she can answer it when she gets back.> I want to do a tank centered on a Figure 8 puffer.  Tell me what your model Figure 8 tank would be like.  Size, substrate, tankmates if any, plants....as if you were starting from scratch. <Hmmm. Probably a 75 or 90 gallon tank, for five Figure 8s. I would set up a modular, Habitrail-like system for them to explore and swim through, along with assorted rocky nooks and crannies for them to hide in (no sharp stuff in the tank). I'd want to be able to rearrange stuff pretty easily. Breaking up the sight lines is a key feature of this tank: the puffs should be able to swim into places where none of them can see any of the others. The substrate in the main tank is sand. Filtration is pretty heavy-duty: a wet/dry filter, which feeds into a refugium full of Vallisneria for nitrate reduction. The refugium is also the snail farm, with lots of pond snails for the puffers. The substrate in the refugium is Fluorite. The refugium is lit on a reverse light cycle with T5 lighting and good reflectors. I'd ask the people on the WetWeb chat forums for suggestions on pumps & stuff. I'd put SCWDs on the returns so the puffs can play in the outflow, and probably include a couple of powerheads, too, with the intake guards securely fastened on the powerheads.> On a side note, I think this would be a fun feature for WWM.  Have the expert post there model tank idea for different biotypes. <That does sound like a cool idea. I'll pass it on and see what happens....> Thanks, Ryan <You're welcome! --Ananda>

Those Tetraodon corr.s Jen/PP, have made most of the suggested changes you sent along ayer, but am finding a conflict with T. biocellatus. Fishbase. org lists it as a FW species: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=25175&genusname=Tetraodon&speciesname=biocellatus Can you find me a ref. to otherwise? Thank you, Bob Those Tetraodon corr.s Hi Bob, I thought there might be  a conflict w/that one.  I have a friend Robert T. Ricketts (perhaps you know him?) who has been keeping puffers for over 40 years.  Almost everything I know about puffers I owe to him.  Here is his article about F8s: FIGURE 8 Comments by RTR on the subject: Fishbase always cites their references.  For the F8 and the GSP, the ecological info is from Rainboth, W.J.  1996.  But I have not looked up the original citation.  Fishbase is a compilation of data from any or all that site being the population center for that particular fish, or a stray from other habitats, or a fringe population with marginal survival prospects.  The distribution and ecology of these fish has not been studied widely as they have no economic importance.  Reports include them mostly as found here and there, but they are rarely key species in studies. Those indigenous groups using tropical fish collection as an income supplement are not literate populations.  Collections tend to be seasonal (water and weather conditions permitting) and time-available from other activities.  The collected specimens are pooled and later transported to a "wholesaler" or agent who arranges transport and handling to a population center or abroad.  The paper trail, if any, is not detailed or particularly accurate.  By the time the creature passes through an importer in the States or elsewhere, the a regional wholesale distributor, then the LFS, it is highly unlikely to have traceability back to even the country of origin, much less finer-grained data. Without some non-trivial economic importance, fieldwork is too expensive to be supported.  What little information we have that is really useful tends to come from talented individuals, such as Dr. Ebert on puffers, who happens to have a personal affinity for a group or family of fish, and has made enough side notes and generated enough personal experience to compile some publication for hobbyists after years of field work on other topics. Several individuals have done similar works on Rift Lake fish, Rainbowfish, etc.  Those reports are our only real and valuable ecological source data." Robert And again on the same subject: My personal experience with these fish is that they do best in light brackish water (~1.005) over aragonite substrates (to support the high pH), with no exposure to unoxidized metabolites, and minimal exposure to nitrate (<20ppm).  Under such conditions I expect them to live 15-20 years.  In FW conditions I have never had one survive more than a few years, and they have been subject to chronic or repeated cornea and skin problems.  YMMV, but I would never put one of these fish under my care into FW. When Dr. Ebert's book came out, one of the things that delighted me most about it was that this fish, along with the GSP, were both noted as doing far better in brackish conditions.   Both of those observations matched my own. I have no way of knowing whether or not the fish we see in the trade are collected from the inland areas reported on fishbase, or from coastal, estuarine, or mangrove areas and potentially represent different populations.  My personal experience does not at all agree with the fishbase report.  But then they list the fish as being an algae and plant eater as well (from stomach contents).  Obviously they have missed the experience of seeing these fish feed in captivity - algae or plant material is ingested routinely, along with the mollusk or small crustacean feeding on it.  So there they are not incorrect as much as they misunderstand and misinterpret, or simply have never observed either in the wild or captivity, the dynamics of feeding for the fish." Robert I completely agree w/RTR.  I have read over & over, circumstances where a person's F8 was failing, only to be put into BW & start to thrive.   I also wanted to remind you that the green spotted puffer (t nigroviridis) is a high-end BW puffer that prefers SW as an adult.  There is also a t nigroviridis shown in the disease portion said to be a FW fluviatilis. It might also be a good idea to mention in that section, the high probability of puffers coming in w/internal parasites.  I Usually wind up treating most of them w/Discomed.     Jeni <Jen/PP & Robert, I will amend our brief information on this species to include this note, and post all for others edification. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

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