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FAQs about Green Spotted Puffer Compatibility

Related Articles: Green Spotted Puffers, Alone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, The Arrowhead Puffer, Tetraodon suvattii, miraculously malicious, Freshwater/Brackish PuffersTrue Puffers, Puffers in General, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffy & Mr. NastyPuffer Care and Information

Related FAQs: GSPs 1, GSPs 2, GSP Identification, GSP Behavior, GSP Selection, GSP Systems, GSP Feeding, GSP Disease, GSP Reproduction, BR Puffers 1, BR Puffers 2, BR Puffers 3, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Reproduction, Brackish Water Fishes in General, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes


Green Spotted Puffer - Clownfish Compatibility     7/2/17
Good afternoon,
<Hey Joel>
About two years ago, I purchased a Green Spotted Pufferfish and have been keeping him in a 29 gallon brackish aquarium (currently about 1.010). I do weekly 25% water changes and provide a variety of foods: tilapia is about
50% of it due to lack of Thiaminase, but supplemented with shrimp, clam, and calamari pieces, with offerings of dried algae on some of the "off feeding" days. He hasn't grown as much as expected, though, and currently is about 2.75 inches.
Over the past 6 or 8 months he's also exhibited symptoms of being bored/restless. Combined with the smaller size (one < 3 inch fish in a 29 gallon tank isn't much to look at), I've been thinking about upgrading to a larger tank, perhaps 40-55 gallons, converting to full marine, and adding in a damselfish or small, odd numbered group depending on species.
<Mmm; well, first off; didn't realize the scientific name had changed for this species: Dichotomyctere nigroviridis (Marion de Procé, 1822), Spotted green pufferfish... Am hoping Neale (Monks) will chime in; but as far as I'm aware, this fish is not totally marine, but brackish. And Clownfishes are full concentration marines>
Most of the advice I've seen in the GSP Compatibility page suggests some have success with Humbugs and Dominoes. However, my GSP is on the smaller side and is fairly timid for a GSP, so I'd be concerned with them as tankmates. My understanding is some of the clownfish species may be more moderate in terms of aggression, particularly if a system contains only one specimen. Granted, I have read Pufferpunk's notes that Tomato Clowns have roughed up her GSPs in the past.
Are there any clownfish you would suggest investigating here?
I have been looking at Ocellaris Clowns but would like a second opinion.
Thank you for your time,
<I'd go with either Ocellaris or Percula Clowns if trying any; and tank-bred specimens at that. These are hardier for aquarium use, and more easy going. Bob Fenner>
/Neale     7/2/17
<<BobF's right in that the species formerly known as Tetraodon nigroviridis, according to some authorities now properly called Dichotomyctere nigroviridis, is a brackish rather than marine puffer. Indeed, wild-caught specimens seem to be invariably collected in rivers rather than the sea. That said, aquarium specimens don't usually do well kept in freshwater indefinitely, while their maintenance in marine systems (as adults, at least) does no harm and may actually be easier thanks to the use of protein skimmers and live rock to keep nitrate levels low. Regardless, I'd not be keeping small specimens in fully marine conditions, or even high-end brackish systems, simply because there's no pressing need to do so, and if they are having to osmoregulate 'harder' than they would do in the wild, that's a stress factor that's easily avoided. Once the fish is upwards of 3-4 inches, then sure, I might think about transitioning it to marine conditions. As always with puffers, companions are hit-and-miss, and will depend very much on the specimens you've got. Some cohabit nicely with robust marines -- damsels, tangs, snappers, and so on -- while others are as nippy in marine tanks as they in any other sort of aquarium. I'd love to be able to deliver a promise here that species X will do fine, but that's not the way puffers work. So while the larger, more robust Premnas clownfish might be about right given space enough to feel secure themselves, but I'd be leery of combining them with the smaller and more easy-going Amphiprion species. Certainly, combining a pufferfish with smaller tankmates is always risky, and you need tankmates that have not only size on their size but also the speed and the personality to handle occasional problems. General purpose damsels fit the bill nicely, Stegastes-type things, while Sergeant Majors in particular striking me as the sort of very shallow water damsels that I've seen living alongside marine puffers around jetties, harbour walls, rocky reefs and so on. Indeed, Sergeant Majors aren't fussy about salinity and can thrive perfectly well down to SG 1.018, all else being equal, which would suit your GSPs rather nicely too. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Green Spotted Puffer - Clownfish Compatibility     7/2/17

Thank you for your quick reply! I will do some additional research on the subject prior to moving forward with any plan. Hope you both have a nice day.
<Thank you Joel; you as well. BobF>

Green spotted puffer, comp. stkg. f's     5/25/16
I bought two from a local pet store when u hold it up to light it has a pink circle towards the back on one side in the dark or up to light u can't see it...what is and does it need to be fixed and how?
<A photo would help. But almost certainly a bite mark, or at least the remains of one. If it's the size of their jaws, then that's a good clue!
GSPs (and puffers generally) don't coexist well in small tanks, so at the retailer they often bite one another. Their skins are leathery and tough, so these scars usually heal up just fine. Provided the water is brackish -- not freshwater -- your GSP should heal up quite quickly. No real need to add medication beyond the marine aquarium salt (SG 1.003 or 5-6 gram/litre at minimum). Do bear in mind that two adult specimens might work in a tank from 55 gallons upwards, but these fish aren't "social" in any meaningful sense, and once they become sexually mature males (presumably) can be very
territorial, if not downright hostile towards one another, so do keep an eye on them.>
Thank you
New puffer owner
<Welcome. Neale.>

Green Spotted Puffer... comp.        11/11/15
Good morning everyone! Thanks for all the help you've contributed (to me especially) over the years. I have a quick GSP question. I got this little guy after my best friend impulse purchased him/her. (I will refer to it as he) He promptly got banished to the equivalent of standing in a corner...of course he was sold as a freshwater fish ��. His crime was promptly killing several or her other fish (surprise, I told her, that's what Google is for). He was labeled a murderer and I took him.
<Actually, most GSPs aren't psychopathic. It's just that pufferfish bite things that might be edible. In the wild that could be snails, plants, corals... whatever. Normally fishes would swim away before they were in range. But in an aquarium that can't happen, and puffers can/do bite other fish. Usually just a nibble of the fins out of curiosity, but a bite's a bite, and can easily be fatal for small or delicate fish. So while GSPs aren't community tank safe, it'd be incorrect to label them as murderers as such. They can and do work quite well with fish able to handle themselves and more to the point, cognizant of what pufferfish are. So Damselfish for example work quite well with GSPs in marine aquaria. They know what puffers are like, they make it very clear to the puffer that they aren't edible (they're pretty feisty animals themselves) and the puffer takes the hint (they're quite smart fish).>
Right now he is currently housed in a 30 gallon brackish system. There are approximately 4-5 Molly's with him. He is still small and I KNOW he must have the 30 all to himself, but I am doing the best I can at the moment.
I set the brackish up just for him, and the Mollie's have never looked better. Anyway, my question or comment was this: my puffer has never, in my presence, attacked, maimed, chased, or killed any of my other fish/mollies. No aggression at all.
<It may well be that he's settled, well fed, and learned (again, stressing they're smart) that you offer plenty of yummy food that doesn't swim away or fight back. Like lions at the zoo, he's become lazy. I wouldn't stake the house on it, but if your Mollies don't show any signs of being upset, I'd not go out of my way to move them just yet. In groups adult Mollies can actually be quite pushy, even aggressive in the case of the males, so things might work out. But do PLEASE keep a close eye on things. Give the GSP plenty of high-fibre foods like krill and brine shrimp so he feels full, rather than pure protein (chunks of shrimp meat for example) that are kind of like "empty calories" to humans. You know how you can eat a giant bag of nacho chips and still feel hungry, but a few cooked vegetables make you feel much fuller -- it's that kind of thing. Krill, lancefish, and really anything with the shells and bones still in the food are ideal.>
In fact, he tends to shy away from them, but they don't cause him any distress. They don't chase him or pick at him. However, I have noticed that the Mollie population is at a slow roll, no longer the explosion that it once was. I don't know if the brackish system has anything to do with it or if puffer only snacks when I'm not in the room.
Why would a notoriously aggressive fish like the puffer suddenly become a docile cute little helicopter?
<They're not intrinsically aggressive. They're territorial (so males probably are feisty towards one another) and they're opportunistic (if it looks edible, have a bite and see if it). With few natural predators (inflatable and toxic) puffers can "chance their arm" as we say in England, having a nibble at anything just in the off chance it's worth eating. But few are, as such, territorial psychos in the same way as Mbuna cichlids or solitary piranhas. For sure not community fish, but can and do work in mixed species tanks on occasions.>
I thought that perhaps when she purchased him, his environment was not very good, and they probably fed him just flakes and he could have possibly been starving, thereby killing several of her fish. But everything I've read so far hints to that they ARE aggressive. Any thoughts?
<Yours match mine. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Green Spotted Puffer...       11/11/15

As always, thank you Neale.
Now...what about this "trimming of the beak/teeth" on GSP? I would have asked earlier but totally forgot. I'm unsure as to when (age) it should be done, how...and who (me??).
<No age as such... necessary if the beak is overgrown, causing problems at feeding time.>
Ugh, I don't know if I can handle that. I hate causing any and all sentient beings distress!
<A healthy instinct. Hmm... do read Jeni's take here:
My approach is more or less the same:
Cheers, Neale.>

Wal-mart, Bailey Bro.s... mis-sold/selling GSPs! Incomp.    10/4/11
I bought two Green Spotted Puffers from a Wal Mart approximately three weeks ago. Having not done research I thought I could put these so called freshwater fish in my 50 gallon community tank.
<Definitely not!>
I set them up in a 4 gallon holding tank while I researched them. Low and behold these brackish little aquatic fish could not be included in my 50 gallon community tank. I also have a 20 gallon but its used for my 4 small fancy Orandas so that left me with my ten. They were approx 1.5 inches when purchased and now are approximately 2 inches. I keep it brackish at about a teaspoon a gallon.
<Adequate for a few weeks or a couple months, but you will need a more accurate and generous approach to making brackish water before long.>
I will be purchasing the salt measurer soon.
<A hydrometer? The floating glass ones are cheap and work fine for this sort of thing.>
I have a 50 gallon Marineland filter. They seem great.. Now my one puffer is very happy always a bright green dot on his head. The other more timid though neither fin bite yet. Today my shy one was the color of my sand and seemed sluggish. When I fed the nightly bloodworms he at first showed no interest and then seemed to enjoy the hunt after they had been dispersed all threw the tank. My question is how long can I keep these guys in this tank.
<The change in behaviour could very easily imply it's about time to rehome them! Puffers have amazing appetites when happy, but they can switch off
completely if they're stressed or feeling rough. So set about your upgrade plan as soon as possible. I'd kick off by simply raising the salinity to SG 1.005 right away, by doing a series of water changes every 2-3 days where you replace 20% of the water with brackish water at SG 1.005. That's water with 9 grammes marine salt mix per litre of water (about 1.2 oz per US gallon). Note that "aquarium salt" or "tonic salt" aren't what you want here. You want the same stuff used in marine aquaria.>
Also was my one puffer sleeping perhaps? I feed shrimp pellets in the a.m.
Snails three times a week with ghost shrimp and then bloodworms at night.
Is that complete or should I weed out ghost shrimp cause of disease at pet stores.
<With puffers, variety is the key! Shrimp and mussel are okay, but contains Thiaminase, so shouldn't be used too often. Once a week is fine. For the other meals, use food that doesn't contain Thiaminase. Tilapia fillet and cockles are two very cheap options you can buy from grocery stores and Asian food markets. What's called "fortified" or "vitamin enriched" wet-frozen brine shrimp is another good food.>
Also sometimes the rest in the sand.
Other than being pale they never go dark in color. Should I take these little changes more serious cause of tank size although all my levels are fine?
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Question: Housing GSP with Dwarf Lionfish 10/5/10
Hello WWM!
<Hello Kasey,>
I have a young (one inch) green spotted puffer in a temporary ten gallon setup that I'm using to acclimate him to saltwater,
<I'd tend to keep juveniles in brackish water for a while, and not move them to marine conditions until they're about half-grown.>
and I'm interested in also keeping a dwarf lionfish but I'm living in an apartment now and don't have the space or the funds for three 30+ gallon tanks (I already have one 30 gallon planted). I read an article on this site by Damien Wagaman about the importance of keeping puffers individually, though the green spotted puffer was listed as a possible exception and I've been searching the internet up and down for information on whether a GSP can be safely housed with a dwarf lionfish.
<Actually, GSPs are rather variable in temperament and generally do best kept alone or with their own kind. There are other puffer species I'd look at if I wanted to keep them with tankmates. South American Puffers for example are nippy but not aggressive, so can't work with fast moving barbs and tetras.>
What little bit I have found is highly contradictory. Some report success and some say to avoid it like the plague.
<Indeed. Lionfish generally tend to get nipped by puffers, so this isn't a combination I'd recommend.>
When I plugged the search terms into your Google search bar the only reference I found to keeping the two together did not relate specifically to their actual compatibility, and so it was never mentioned whether this match was a good one. So can they be housed together or should I give up on the lionfish?
<I'd give up.>
If this combination is an appropriate one, what tank size would you advise for both to be comfortable? So far I've held off on buying the GSP's permanent tank because I haven't finished researching the possibilities for tank setup. Therefore, I'm in a good position to accommodate them both if they can in fact live together.
Thank you very much,
<GSPs do much better kept with "punchy" Damselfish such as Humbugs and Dominos. These Pomacentrid give as good as they get, and provided they're given space -- 55 gallons or more -- and plenty of live rock for cover, the Humbug and the GSP should come to some sort of arrangement without too much blood being spilt on either side. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question: Housing GSP with Dwarf Lionfish (RMF?), comp.    10/6/10

Hi Neale!
Thank you for the response. I'll wait until after college to get the lionfish, then. I'm already a newbie to saltwater and so I don't want to push it, so I'll probably avoid adding other fish altogether, though I do
really like humbugs.
<They're fun fish, but can be little terrors in community tanks!>
I've heard different things on when and how to acclimate GSPs to saltwater too, so I'm glad you said something about it. He's is still at a SG of 1.009. Should I just leave it there or bring it back down?
<I'm sure he's right as rain. In fact he'll be happy there for his entire life.>
Also, when he is fully converted to saltwater, I wanted to try my hand with corals and maybe an urchin or a starfish.
<All these are GSP food.>
I read that he should be okay with the corals if I'm careful to choose ones that don't wave around and tempt his appetite (is that true?),
<It's an expensive gamble. I'd start with live rock, see if he's a biter, and then maybe add one or two small mushroom polyps or something.>
but I wasn't sure about the other two. Logically, it doesn't *seem* like he'd go after an intimidating-looking ball of spines,
<Unfortunately, echinoderms are precisely what pufferfish evolved to eat.
Whether GSPs will eat them I can't say for sure -- wild GSPs apparently eat crustaceans, fish fins, and plant material -- but I wouldn't put it beyond the realms of possibility. Among other things, puffers will blow out jets of water to upturn spiny animals, and then bite at the soft underside.>
but I wouldn't have thought he'd go after something as spiny-looking as a lionfish either so I wanted to ask someone who knew what they were talking about just to be sure. I don't want anyone to get eaten!
<The thing with puffers generally is they bite first, ask questions later.
It's not wise to buy a puffer imagining you can keep anything with it. They have few natural predators, and because of their strong beak, almost anything is a potential meal. While their curiosity and lack of fear makes them fun pets, it also makes them dangerous to anything kept with them. In very large tanks GSPs can work great with Damsels, Scats, Monos, Snappers, Wrasse and other large, pushy fish. But it's always a gamble.>
Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hoping to add GSP... incomp., sys.... reading   3/9/10
Hello and thank you in advance for your time,
<Happy to help.>
I have a 39 gallon freshwater aquarium set up right now with about 20 guppies (correct ratio of male to females for breeding), a Pleco, bamboo shrimp, Ramshorn snails, and some failing gold Inca and black mystery snails.
<None of which are suitable for life alongside a GSP. Green Spotted Puffers are *brackish* water fish that need to be maintained at around SG 1.005 when small, and anything from SG 1.010 to full marine conditions once adult. They are omnivores that eat shrimps and snails, and wild fish at least include fish fins on their diet, so anything kept alongside them is likely to be nipped. These are very much personality fish you buy expressly for maintenance on their own. That said, some success has been had mixing them in marine tanks with feisty Damselfish and the like.>
I have learned since the purchase that apple snails are not necessarily the best to keep because of the hibernation period they need, and I will be returning them to the LFS. Anyway, in a few days I would like to add some GSP's, 2-3 depending on your recommendations.
<Not with the livestock you have.>
I am hoping to be able to breed the guppies and snails quick enough to sustain the puffers and maintain my breeding stock of guppies and Ramshorn snails.
<Won't work. Unless you have a pond, you'll never produce enough live food for a Pufferfish. Be under NO illusions here: in an aquarium as small as this, any shrimps and snails will be eaten (or at least damaged). As for the Guppies, they'll probably be nipped and eventually eaten, but this sort of behaviour does seem to vary from Puffer to Puffer.>
I will be supplementing with additional food sources, frozen brine shrimp most likely,
<A treat, not a staple; contains almost no nutrition at all.>
and I am ok with adding in as many snails as I need to (I work at a Pet Store, so they are free), and hopefully only a few guppies a week.
<What's with the feeder guppy mentality? Puffers don't need to eat fish, and any Guppies cheap enough to use like popcorn will be maintained under fairly dismal conditions.>
I am aware that the bamboo shrimp is not going to last to long with the puffer, but I will be giving him the best life I can until this point.
<Won't work this way. The poor Atyopsis will be pecked, worried, subject to amputations by the puffer for weeks if not months before finally being killed.>
Do you think that this would be possible.
<Not a snowball's chance in Hell.>
Right now a separate feeder tank is not an option.
<Least of your worries.>
Another question I have is, can the Pleco be slowly moved into brackish, as I will be switching to brackish once the puffers are in the tank (waiting because I know that no store keeps them in the correct, brackish, conditions and they will be coming from freshwater.)
<No. Plecs can't be kept at the brackish water salinities Green Spotted Puffers require.>
Looking forward to some insight.
<Certainly provided. A terrible idea you have here. Back to the drawing board with you!>
Teach me well, because as I said I work at a Pet Store, and unfortunately I often have to do a lot of studying outside of the training that I get at work to get the knowledge that I feel I need to pass on to customers.
<A laudable intention.>
I think it goes without saying that I am fairly new to aquatics as a whole, but I am a sponge for knowledge, so teach away.
<Have done so.>
Studying the rest of your site as you read,
<You would do much better thinking along the lines of a freshwater puffer species. A small group of South American Puffers could coexist with a Plec (I have mine with Panaque nigrolineatus) though Guppies will certainly be nipped. As for snails and shrimps, these are mere pufferfish food, so any combination of the three is doomed, like keeping pigs with truffles.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hoping to add GSP, foods, live fish as foods,  3/10/10
Thank You so much for the speedy reply, was not expecting that. Wow, where to begin. I completely agree, back to the drawing board it is.
<Indeed! But happy to help.>
Just to verify, it is an moral question when it comes to feeding live fish, is it not?
<Both. In terms of morals, it's certainly cruel and unfair on the prey. In the wild prey animals have space enough to avoid predators most of the time, something that doesn't happen in an aquarium. Also, wild versions of Goldfish and Guppies are not deformed, so they have subdued colours for camouflage, and the right shape for swimming, neither of which holds true for the farmed versions of these fish. Finally, we don't really know whether death by ingestion is painless or not, and there's science either way when it comes to whether fish can feel pain or not. Almost no predatory fish in the hobby needs live fish as food. So all things considered, it's morally difficult to justify feeding live fish to most predators.>
Or do you advise against it for some other reason?
<Yes. There are several practical issues. Firstly, cheap "feeders" commonly introduce parasites. Anything cheap enough to be a feeder won't have received much in terms of healthcare or water quality. Secondly, certain feeders (specifically Goldfish and Minnows) contain thiaminase and large amounts of fat. Thiaminase leads to Vitamin B1 deficiency, and there's ample evidence now that this is a major problem for predators in the wild and in captivity. Bob Fenner has established that *the* major cause of premature mortality among Lionfish is the use of Goldfish as feeders, with all the specimens he's autopsied having unnatural amounts of fat around the internal organs. Finally, there seems to be a link between aggression and the use of live food, with the predators that settle best into community systems being the ones fed fresh or frozen foods instead. In short, if you can get a predator onto non-live foods, you're not only going to save massive amounts of time and money, but you'll also be providing a better, healthier diet. To the folks who think they're losing half the fun, let them instead concentrate on teaching their predators to become hand tame.
My Ctenolucius gar for example feed from forceps, and that way I can show off what a good fishkeeper I am whenever people come to visit!>
I guess it makes sense that even once the puffer has had its fill he would bother the ones that weren't lunch.
<Actually, animals, especially puffers (and of course humans too!) will eat much more in one sitting than they need to. Overfed puffers put a tremendous strain on the filtration system, with issues such as nitrate levels and background acidification coming into play. It's best to feed modestly, small amounts, perhaps daily, perhaps less often when the fish is mature.>
It seems that I'll be needing another tank.
<For GSPs, yes. They're best kept alone, with their own kind, or in a tank that might ultimately be converted to a marine system so you can add Damselfish.>
My thoughts were, to escape the issues involved with the commercially sold feeders, rosy reds, comet goldfish, etc, such as diseased unhealthy fish, that I would try to breed my own.
<Almost never worth bothering with. By all means have a tank of snails in the yard, and use these as often as you want. But don't go out of your way here. You can maintain pufferfish perfectly well on foods from the grocery store. Unshelled shrimp, squid, cockles, tilapia fillet and so on all make good staples. Do read Marco Lichtenberger's excellent piece of thiaminase though, so you can choose the right seafood:
You want to limit thiaminase-containing foods to the minority portion of the diet.>
Guppies because of the quick reproduction and hardiness of the fish, as well as their tolerance of salt when introduced gradually to their existing freshwater tank, and their ability to live in brackish water.
<This is true, but fancy Guppies are less productive than wild Guppies, and neither matches Mosquitofish. In any case, you won't be able to produce these in anything like the numbers you're imagining.>
I am willing to do what it takes to keep all of my fish happy and healthy, including the ones intended as feeders, however short or long they would be living in my tank. And as you said, the one cheap enough to feed are kept in dismal conditions.
My guppies were kept in our community tanks under prime conditions, not the feeder tanks, which is why I would feel safer feeding them to the puffers than the feeder tank fish, which unfortunately are kept under fairly dismal conditions, mainly massive overcrowding =(. I didn't design the store, I just work there. I thought maybe the guppies outnumbering the puffers would make it possible for them to still breed, but I thought wrong lol.
<I fear so, unless the tank was 1000 gallons! I've seen Guppies kept with Piranhas in zoos, but beyond that sort of scale, this just doesn't work.
It's been tried many, many times.>
What would you recommend for feeding puffers than if not live fish.
<For juveniles, wet-frozen krill, Mysis, chopped cockle and mussel, and things like the legs from unshelled shrimps are all ideal. Woodlice (what Americans call Roly-polys I believe) also go down well, and of course any snails of suitable size, such as Physa spp. Adults will eat much the same thing, but for economy's sake you'll probably want to scale up to chunky fish and seafood: cockles, mussels, squid, crab legs, whole shrimp, tilapia fillet, etc. Again, snails of suitable size are good. There are some puffers that take dried foods like algae wafers and marine fish chips, so you might try these, but generally flake and pellets are ignored (though two of my six puffers enjoy Hikari Cichlid Gold).>
I've seen it all over the web that brine shrimp are appropriate (explanation, not defence of the issue),
<Baby brine shrimp (nauplii) are excellent, but adult brine shrimp contain very little in terms of vitamins. You can buy wet-frozen fortified brine shrimp that have vitamins added, and these would be a good addition to the diet of any fish.>
as well as thousands of videos of puffers eating live food, but obviously you can't trust everything you see. As I said I get all the Ramshorn snails that I want for free.
<Well they're excellent, so long as they're from a fish-free pond. Anything collected from a pond with fish runs the risk of introducing internal parasites.>
As to why GSP, we had some come into the store for adoption and I fell in love.
<They are lovely fish, to be sure.>
They were used to freshwater, coming from Wal**rt, but didn't seem to be doing to well in our tanks, low ph I think.
<Likely so, or something similar.>
I was planning on bringing them home but unfortunately they didn't make it at the store. I don't know about where you are, but here they are always sold acclimated to freshwater, and I wanted to give them a chance to thrive by slowly moving them over to brackish.
<Sometimes sold as "freshwater" fish here too, but thankfully not by the better shops.>
As you said these fish are full of personality, and they stuck in my head from the moment I saw them.
I am dreadfully sorry about the small amount of knowledge that I have coming from the LFS. I am new there, but I wouldn't say that anyone has any more knowledge than myself at the store.
<I'm glad you've established your niche and you're willing to work at it. I hope you'll be able to share your knowledge with your colleagues and your customers.>
What would be some good staples to read so that I can educate myself and my coworkers in the fish we sell (all freshwater, mollies, platys, guoramis, goldfish, Plecos, swords, etc. as well as African, Oscar, blood parrot, and just recently flame mouth cichlids.)
<We do have a listing of books that those of us here at WWM have found useful and recommend to others, here:
Unfortunately the store has a habit of hiring folks off the street with very little experience and then training them, but I feel our training should be much more extensive.
<I agree.>
I will be speaking to my GM about possibly requiring some sort of outside training beyond what corporate sends us.
<There *are* courses for tropical fish shop specialists out there, at least here in the UK, and the shops often display certificates to show that their staff have completed these courses and "raised their game" to the next level. That's something I think reflects well on any store.>
Thanks again, cruising your site as you read,
<Glad to help. Enjoy your fishkeeping and your work! Cheers, Neale.>

Puffer Compatibility, GSPs   11/21/09
Hi Crew! I have two green spotted puffers that are about 2-3 inches long and I've had them for about a year. I just upgraded their tank to a 60 gallon and was hoping to be able to put a couple more fish in the tank. Already in the tank with the puffers is a green chromis and a tiny scooter blenny. I am thinking of adding a pearly/yellow head Jawfish and a Jewel damsel.
<This last can become quite testy>
I think the damsel will be fine since I've had one before, but I'm not sure about the Jawfish. Are they going to compete for food and/or hiding space?
<All will, but with spot/direct feeding your Opistognathus aurifrons (I take it) should do fine>
I only have about 20-25 pounds of live rock right now (4 medium sized pieces)
<Mmm, need a bunch of mixed grade substrate for the Jaw... Please read
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PearlyJawSysF.htm
and the linked files at top>
but I'll be getting more in a few weeks. There are also plenty of fake plants and a couple fake decorations to hide in (2 are logs with holes to hide in) to last until I can get more live rock. Do you think adding the two fish is going to be too much for the tank?
<Mmm, nope. the GPSs may be nippy, but all here are/will be aware, fast enough to evade them>
Thanks so much!
P.S. Forgot to add that NONE of my fish are territorial in the least.
They're actually hand friendly, so I'm not worried about anyone getting nipped.
<Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Green spotted puffers, sys., comp.    8/29/2009
Hi I just recently set up a 45 gal freshwater aquarium and wanted to know if it were at all possible to keep the puffers as strictly freshwater fish
<No, not Green Spotted Puffers, no. Both Tetraodon nigroviridis and Tetraodon fluviatilis need to be kept in a brackish water aquarium.>
and if so can they be housed with chiclids.
<Generally, no, cichlids make poor companions for cichlids. I have kept both South American Puffers (Colomesus asellus) and the Red-tail Puffer (Carinotetraodon irrubesco) with certain cichlids in a large aquarium, but realistically, most people find the combination of cichlids (which are territorial) and puffers (which explore and bite everything) a bad idea.
Pufferfish are simply much better kept in their own quarters, perhaps singly, or if you have space, in groups. They are certainly very entertaining fish, and usually quickly become tame. Cheers, Neale.>

GSP Issues, beh., comp.   7/16/09
Hi WWM Folks!
I have a Green Spotted Puffer issue. I have two GSPs (one is 2" and the other is 2.5") The have been together (alone, no other tank mates) peacefully in a 10g aquarium for the last 6 months.
<I see... they must be getting pretty big by now.>
Because I love my fish, 3 months ago, I began prepping a 150g marine tank for them as I knew from reading on this site that they would need lots of space.
<Indeed; 50-odd gallons for two specimens seems to be the going rate. Does depend on the fish, with some GSPs (perhaps mature males?) being more aggressive and intolerant than others.>
I have been cycling this big tank with a dozen or so 1-2" mollies (also doing very well) for a few months and the numbers look great. I gradually increased the GSP's 10g tank to 1.020 over months of water changes and the GSP seem to be thriving and getting along fine. No chasing, no tail bending, no dark colors, just peace and quiet.
So, two weeks ago I moved the little buggers over to their new 150g salt tank (1.020 also) to stretch out and enjoy their new vast playground, lovingly designed just for them, complete with lots of sand, crevices, holes, caves, and plastic plant hiding places, etc. To my complete shock, they can't stand each other now!
<Unfortunately, quite a normal reaction. There's a theory called "Dear Enemy" that says territory holding animals tolerate familiar neighbours because they are perceived as less of a threat, since everyone already has a territory, there's nothing worth fighting over. But an unfamiliar animal is worth being hostile towards because it might not have a territory and may well be more of a threat in terms of access to females or resources. This has been studied with various animals including fish, and seems to explain things like why cichlids in fish tanks tolerate one another when they're brought up together, but if a new fish of the same species is added, everyone attacks it. Just so in your case with the GSPs: In the 10 gallon tank, everyone matured together, and the size of the tank probably made it difficult for any one fish to establish its territory completely securely anyway. So a certain level of tolerance existed. In the bigger tank, the two GSPs were now "strangers in a strange land" and immediately set about staking their claims to territories. They were no longer Dear Enemies but rivals, and while you might hope they'd recognise one another, for territory-holding animals it is probably true that the individual and his territory are one and the same thing, so even if it's the same two fish, with two new territories in place, they're effectively strangers. Male GSPs defend the eggs and the fry until they're free swimming, so you can fully expect cichlid-like behaviours from them.>
Neither one of them seems to give a hoot about the herd of mollies zipping about. The larger puffer spends all day stocking the smaller puffer and the smaller puffer spends all day trying to elude the larger puffer, spending most of his day hiding in the rocks. The smaller puffer even tries to hide in the school of mollies only to be singled out and chased around mercilessly again and again. GSP seem to be a very visual hunter because the mean big guy can spot the shy little guy no matter where he hides. Will this work out??
<Wouldn't bank on it; you could try adding a third specimen to break the dynamic, and prevent any one fish from being bullied constantly.>
It has been two weeks with no change. Also, when he is not chasing the smaller puffer, the large puffer spends a lot of time swimming up and down back of tank as though bored or stressed even though there is a plethora of stimulating tank décor and no one bothering him. Both have great color and seem physically plump and healthy, in fact seem to be growing larger exponentially over just the last two weeks!
<Often happens when moved from a too-small tank to a good sized one.>
Could the higher salinity cause more aggressive behavior in these GSP?
<More to do with sexual maturity. I'm not a huge fan of keeping GSPs in fully marine conditions, though I admit many people do; realistically, anything around SG 1.010 is ample, and perhaps optimal, given that there really aren't *marine fish* as such.>
Is 150g too big?
Is it too small for 12 mollies and two small puffers??
<Plenty of space for them, and perhaps one or two more GSPs if you wanted to add them.>
Should I let them duke it out? May the best puffer prevail?? Please advise!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 75g stocking question, GSP comp.  7/31/08 Thanks, Chris. <Welcome> Keep up the good work, crew! <Will do.> Any other ideas as to what I could stock in that 75g if I moved my GSP over to it? <Its up to the puffer really, no hard and fast rules here about what they will accept in the tank with them, if anything at all. Start poking around here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm for a start.> <Chris>

GSPs & Butterfly Goby (Neovespicula depressifrons)   4/24/08 <Hi again, Scott> Thanks for the reply. I think I had an overprotective mother type situation, because the patch does in fact seem to be going away on its own. <Good news!> I am keeping two GSPs in the 30 right now but plan to upgrade to a 55 gallon when I move if I feel that the two fish will get along ok together or stay out of each others way, which ever works. Right now the smaller one is no more than 1 1/2" max and the bigger one is maybe 2", but I think smaller, I am guessing. <They really should be moved into larger quarters soon. If they have been paired together as juveniles, there is a pretty good chance they will get along into adulthood.> The butterfly goby is bigger than the smaller GSP but will eventually be moved into something else when the SG gets up there. I wonder if you know anything about that fish actually, I have found very little information on it, I can't even find a scientific name on it, but I guess it is sold as 'butterfly goby' in the US. What I did find listed it as brackish, which is why I got it. Anyway thanks again. <Here is what I found on the goby: http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/aquaria/brackfaqpages/Predatory_fish/(4k)butterfly-go.html ~PP> Scott

Can my green spotted puffers be dangerous to my kids? 04/04/08 Hello, <Hi.> I recently bought two green spotted puffers and my wife and I have been doing some more research on them. I have been unable to find out if toxin in these puffers can harm my kids through casual contact. Obviously we don't allow our kids to eat aquarium fish but if they get their hands in while I'm not looking and touch the fish and stick their hands in their mouths, is there any risk? <I think thats not likely. While they can emit tiny amounts of their poison to tell possible predators that they dont taste well, in contrast to some other puffers there is no report on people having problems from simply handling Green spotted puffers (which are among the most common puffers). Anyway, to be safe Id not allow kids (or adults) to touch the fish, also because of their slime coat, which might be disturbed, scratched away by fingernails. Id explain to them that they as well as the fish might get sick. Also, its important to keep the hand out of fish tanks as much as possible to avoid the introduction of unwanted substances like fats, oils, heavy metals. If you have to grab into a fish tank, wash your hands without soap before you do so, or if you have to use soap, be sure to remove it completely before grabbing into the aquarium.> If there is we will have to get rid of these extremely cute pets that both our children love. <My choice here would be to clarify that they should not put their hands in there for the sake of the fish they love. Also, when the puffers grow, they can deliver a painful and bleeding bite. Large puffers (larger than an adult Green spotted puffer) have bitten of entire finger tips. They are (like other fish) simply no animals you should pet.> One other question, the puffers are still small, about 1 1/2 to 2" in a 10 gallon (for now) with brackish water at 1.006, should I up the salinity to 1.012? <1.006 is okay.> Also my LFS recommended live feeding my puffers, is this necessary? <No. Green spotted puffers generally accept a wide range of dried, frozen and fresh foods.> Right now they are on PE Mysis, with bloodworms and an occasional snail from my community freshwater tank. Is this diet varied enough? <Sounds good. See http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/ for further ideas.> Thanks for your time. <No problem. Cheers, Marco.>

Can my green spotted puffers be dangerous to my kids? 04/04/08 Hello, <Hi.> I recently bought two green spotted puffers and my wife and I have been doing some more research on them. I have been unable to find out if toxin in these puffers can harm my kids through casual contact. Obviously we don't allow our kids to eat aquarium fish but if they get their hands in while I'm not looking and touch the fish and stick their hands in their mouths, is there any risk? <I think thats not likely. While they can emit tiny amounts of their poison to tell possible predators that they dont taste well, in contrast to some other puffers there is no report on people having problems from simply handling Green spotted puffers (which are among the most common puffers). Anyway, to be safe Id not allow kids (or adults) to touch the fish, also because of their slime coat, which might be disturbed, scratched away by fingernails. Id explain to them that they as well as the fish might get sick. Also, its important to keep the hand out of fish tanks as much as possible to avoid the introduction of unwanted substances like fats, oils, heavy metals. If you have to grab into a fish tank, wash your hands without soap before you do so, or if you have to use soap, be sure to remove it completely before grabbing into the aquarium.> If there is we will have to get rid of these extremely cute pets that both our children love. <My choice here would be to clarify that they should not put their hands in there for the sake of the fish they love. Also, when the puffers grow, they can deliver a painful and bleeding bite. Large puffers (larger than an adult Green spotted puffer) have bitten of entire finger tips. They are (like other fish) simply no animals you should pet.> One other question, the puffers are still small, about 1 1/2 to 2" in a 10 gallon (for now) with brackish water at 1.006, should I up the salinity to 1.012? <1.006 is okay.> Also my LFS recommended live feeding my puffers, is this necessary? <No. Green spotted puffers generally accept a wide range of dried, frozen and fresh foods.> Right now they are on PE Mysis, with bloodworms and an occasional snail from my community freshwater tank. Is this diet varied enough? <Sounds good. See http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/ for further ideas.> Thanks for your time. <No problem. Cheers, Marco.>

GSP tankmate question   2/3/08 Hi all, I have a question about a possible tankmate for my GSP "Poofy". <Generally Tetraodon nigroviridis and Tetraodon fluviatilis do not do well with tankmates. The best companions are their own species, particularly when reared together. In big tanks they sometimes work nicely with Green Chromides, Scats, etc., but a 30 gallon just isn't big enough for that. It's also worth remembering that in the wild alongside the invertebrates and plants these pufferfish normally eat, they also take the scales and fins from larger fish.> I am considering getting another GSP of about the same size, mine is 2.5" now. I have him in a 30 gal, with SG 1.016, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and 0 Nitrate( at least measureable), the substrate is crushed coral aragonite and I have a rock cave , fake mangrove root, and a bunch of fake plants. for filtration I use a HOT Magnum 250 canister and I recently replaced a second HOT mag 250 with a CPR Bak Pak skimmer using a Maxijet 1200 pump. Works pretty good so far. My question is can I add another GSP since mine has been alone for over a year? <It's a gamble. Certainly worth a shot, but there's no guarantees at all. Some specimens are quite territorial; perhaps the males?> I wasn't sure if he would tolerate it or if he would be too territorial. <Simply no way of knowing.> Thanks for the help, I have learned tons of things on here from freshwater to reef, and learning more everyday. Terry <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: compatibility and beginning a SW tank, now BR, GSP  10/24/07 <Hello again!> I just wanted to say thank you to Brian G for answering my questions. My GSP (I named him Spooky) is doing very well and is quite personable! I have decided to make the 29g aquarium his new BW (solitary) home. <I think you made a very wise decision!!! Good luck and take care of Spooky.> Thanks again, <You're welcome! -- Brian Griffin> Leslie

Goldfish, Puffers, Eels and Algae Eaters... Some incomp. tank mates for a Green Spotted Puffer 05/13/07 Hello, <Hi Dany. Marco here.> I am new at having a puffer in my fish tank. I bought a Green Spotted Pufferfish today and  I didnt know that they were so complicated to own until I started looking up what they eat. Can you please list some of the things they eat? (I fed him some Gammarus shrimp and he seemed to like them very much) <Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/green_spotted_puppies.htm, which will probably answer all of your questions with regard to your puffers proper diet and care.> I was wondering if it was okay to have my puffer in the same 10 gallon tank as my Goldfish, Peacock Eel and Algae Eater. I was also wondering what other fish I could put in there without having conflicts. <No. Goldfish are cold water, Peacock eels need fresh water or brackish water with a low salinity and your puffer needs medium to high salinity brackish water. In addition, the puffer might pick the dorsal and caudal fins of the eel. There are no algae eaters in trade regularly that are from the same salinity as your puffer. The 10 gallon tank is too small for your puffer. I would not put any tank mates in there at all, but rather consider upgrading.> Thank you for all your help. <You are welcome.> Dany

Re: Some incomp. tank mates for a Green Spotted Puffer II 05/13/07    5/15/07 Hello again, Thank you for your help, Marco. <You are welcome.> My Green Spotted Puffer is very small, about the size of a quarter, and right now I can only afford another 10gallon tank. So, if I decide to keep him instead of trying to give him back to the place I bought him at, would he be okay in a 10gallon tank for now? (I am 15yrs old and I am new at the whole fish thing. <As long as he is alone and given his small size, it may work for a few (5-6) months if you provide pristine water quality (read about cycling, filtration, brackish water). Remember he will reach 6 in a few years and already produces a lot of waste. Giving him back until you can afford and maintain a more appropriate tank would be the alternative, but I understand you are attached to the fish.> I have a job babysitting, but I dont work much and only get paid $20 when I do. I almost couldnt afford the fish and stuff I have now. He hasnt nipped at my eel, and he seems to be doing ok, right now. I understand I would need marine salt...right? And a better variety of food for him. <Yes and yes.> I love Spot (my puffer) and I really want to keep him.   <If you really want to keep him, start saving money for a larger tank with about 30 gallons. You should have read more about the requirements of your fish before you bought them. Since you are new to the hobby, read as much as possible.> Thanks. Dany. <Cheers, Marco.>

Black Fin Sharks and Dwarf puffers. Combining FW, BW & Coldwater Fish  4/22/07 <<Please see the further notes below in doubled carats. BobF>> <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have 1 black fin shark <Columbian shark (Arius jordani), <<Hexanematichthys  seemanni>> a schooling, brackish fish that can grow to 18".> and 2 puffers <Dwarf puffers?  As per your subject line.> <<See the graphic... not Dwarves, but GSPs>> and then 2 feeder fish <Feeder goldfish?  Bad idea to house them with tropicals.  They prefer colder water (the others need a heater) & are high waste (ammonia) producers--not healthy for the other inhabitants.> that they seem to be friends with in a way. I was wondering if I could put marine salt in there for puffers too. Dwarf puffers (if that is the species you really have), are strictly freshwater fish.> I have aquarium salt. <You were correct in your 1st choice of marine salt for brackish water.> I was also wondering if I could put a fine sand in there for the puffer--half sand and half rock? There's a photo of how they look. <Sand really isn't necessary for those puffers.  Your bigger problem lies in the fact that you are combining FW, BW & coldwater fish.  Please separate them into 3 different tanks or rehome some of them.  You didn't mention how large your tank is but maybe the above info will help you to decide which to keep.  The puffers can be kept in the smallest tank of the 3 species, requiring 3-5g each.  Both the "shark" & goldfish will outgrow a 10g tank.  Here is where you can find more info on puffers: www.thepufferforum.com ~PP> <<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... You do have an unsustainable mix of coldwater freshwater (the goldfish) and tropical brackish to marine (the rest) species here... and need to decide which one to keep... and start saving for larger quarters... Bob Fenner>>

GSP & Snail Tank Mates  3/29/07 <Hi Regina, Pufferpunk here> Can a GSP be housed with a large turbo snail? <I assume you are speaking of a green spotted puffer?  Is in saltwater?  Puffers are snail-eaters.> Can this GSP be placed with larger fish? <Depends on the fish & the size of the tank.  GSPs are notorious fin-nippers & should be kept with fast-moving fish.  Size may not matter.> I was thinking of putting a GSP in my QT tank that's empty now. Is it possible that <a> new fish would be ok for 2 weeks to <in> QT before GSP starts picking? <I'm not sure I understand your question.  Do you want to QT other fish in the tank with the GSP?  They probably will get picked on in a bare QT & in small quarters.  Please do not rush a juvie GSP into SW.  ~PP> Regina Norton

Valentini puffer and a GSP 10/10/2006 I wanted to know if I could have both valentini puffer and a spotted puffer in the same tank. <<Spotted Puffer is very vague. Do you mean a Green Spotted Puffer, Tetraodon nigroviridis?>> I have a 55gal fish only tank <<While it is possible, these are very aggressive animals, and unfortunately your tank is just too small.  The GSP will grow to 6 not including tail and will love that tank all to itself! Come check out www.pufferresources.net.  Lisa.>>

Snails as Cleaners in Puffer Tank  8/4/06 Pufferpunk (& Crew), After the Puffers have been thoroughly acclimated to brackish environment, do you think it would be possible (I guess it is possible... is it practical?) to acclimate some of the smaller marine snails from my Reef Tank clean-up crew to the lower salinity of the Puffers aquarium or am I better off trying to acclimate fresh water snails to the higher salinity?  I would think the latter (freshwater snails) would be more prone to osmotic problems, but .. what do I know! <smile>  What do you think? <Neither will work as clean-up crew, as snails are puffer food!  ~PP> Thanks, Roy Roy

Puffer Compatibility - 3/21/2006 Hello <<Good Morning!>> I was wondering if I could keep a Valentini Puffer, Green Spotted Puffer and a Stars and Stripes Puffer together in a 50 gallon saltwater aquarium with live rock, sand and crushed coral.  Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks. <<No, these puffers get too big to house them all together in a 50-gallon.  The GSP needs 30-gallons MINIMUM alone, and I personally think a 50-gallon is much better for a single GSP.  Lisa.>>

Attack of the Killer Puffers!  1/15/05 Hello and greeting to the WWM crew from Toronto Canada<Hi, Pufferpunk here, from Chicago> I need help With my green spotted Puffer. I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank and I just got 3 puffers yesterday. I'm noticed that they nibble on my other fish and have killed two of the already.  I just wanted to ask is there is any fish at all (fresh or brackish water) that I could put in. I have heard that they don't pick on angelfish and swordtail. Is this true? <Absolutely the worst fish you can keep with a puffer.  They like to nip on long tails & fins.  I suggest returning these fish until you have proper housing for them or they will nip/maim/kill all your fish.  Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  ~PP> Thanks a lot GSP Tank & Mates  12/16/05 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> How does this sound for my 20 gallon long saltwater Green Spotted Puffer tank: <An adult (6") GSP is going to need at least a 30g tank.  I think mine would have been happy in a 55g.  I don't suggest putting a juvie GSP into saltwater.  They should be starting out in mid-range brackish water & slowly brought up to marine conditions as they mature.> 5lbs. Live rock <Not enough to support a 20g tank.  I'd use at least 20lbs.  Also, puffers need lots of intricate decor to investigate or they get bored.> Marineland Bio-Wheel 150 <Not necessary for a SW tank.  BioWheels cause messy salt spray.  The skimmer and live rock is your filtration.> Prizm Skimmer <Prizm skimmers are junk.  I suggest a Coralife 65g Super Skimmer for a tank that size.>   Bare-bottom tank <It will be easier to keep the pH & hardness at a more steady, high level with crushed coral or aragonite as substrate (or live sand).  Also, puffers are more comfortable/less stressed with a substrate.> This tank will just have 1 GSP that I have now, are there any  other fish that I can keep in this tank? <Certainly not in a tank that size.  If you go larger than 30g, then you could try some damselfish, or a tomato clownfish.  Only with a ton of hiding places.  The puffer may or may not allow tank mates. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm   Good luck with your puffer!  ~PP> Thanks, Mark

Bitten puffer 12/11/05 Hail to the WWM Crew! <Wow!> this is my first time writing in as this is my first problem! <Good to hear!> My Green Spotted puffer has been fine ever since I got him, he feeds like a wolverine and is always happy flying round the tank. I have noticed that he has 1 single white spot on his side below his left pectoral fin. the spot is about 2-3 mm in diameter and perfectly round. I have no idea what it is, when he gets excited and his belly changes to white, you cannot see the spot anymore. This made me think it may be scar tissue that has lost the ability to change colour. <This sounds likely... but, in my experience, if you substrate is light coloured, and the puffer is healthy/happy (in brackish water), his/her belly should be white most of the time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.> Anyway, like I say, he has not change behaviour and he is still feeding can you help me to put my mind at rest? <Perfectly round marks could be bites from another puffer... do make sure the tank is large enough and there are plenty of refuges / broken lines of sight. I would still watch the fish closely just in case. I also recommend checking out www.thepufferforum.com .> Thank you TOM <You're welcome.... John> Damselfish & Green Spotted Puffers  10/4/05 <Pufferpunk again> Would there be any specific species of damselfish you would recommend?  I like the look of several, what should I look out for?  I have years and years of fresh experience, no marine. <When your puffers have grown >4" & have reached close to marine conditions (SG 1.018), you can add damselfish.  Pretty much any species will do.  Just make sure to have the tank heavily decorated, for lots of hiding places.  ~PP>

Crabs & Puffer?  5/31/05 Howdy, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am wanting to add a brackish water crab that can stay in the water all the time in my 10 gallon tank. A blue legged crab was a thought, but I'm not sure he can stay in brackish water.  The other part of the problem is that I have a figure 8 puffer in there too. I'm thinking the puffer will eat a blue legged crab even if he could survive the water conditions.  I've read plenty of websites that just say nothing can go in with the puffer (crabs and other cleaners that stir up the sand).  For a small tank with only 1 fish, I wanted some other small creatures to climb on the liverock and stuff.  Needless to say, snails are out of the question.  Any suggestions? <Crabs & snails are puffer food.  I don't suggest adding anything a puffer can eat.  There really is no clean-up crew for that tank, you'll have to do your own maid service.  In a 10g, it is best to keep the puffer alone (interesting enough tank w/just the puffer) but you might be able to get away with a couple of bumblebee gobies as tank mates.  They may get eaten though, if that is the kind of F8 you have.  You just can't tell with a puffer!  ~PP> Thanks, Brian

GSPs Living with FW fish?  4/26/05 HELLO: <Hi Mike, Pufferpunk here> I have a question about moving from BW to SW, I know from your site that GSP's like full marine as adults. I would like to keep all these fish together if I could. I have 1 Pleco approx 6", 2 GSP's (1" babies), 2 Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid (1.5"babies) and 2 Jewel cichlids (1.5"babies), I would also like to get 2 electric yellow cichlids.  Will these fish live in a SW tank if raised slowly? <Absolutely not!  All the fish you have, other than the puffers are strictly freshwater fish & will not even like brackish water, never mind marine water.  Don't confuse cichlid salt with marine salt>   If not, what is the highest SG I can raise it to keep all happy and healthy?   <Please don't even consider trying to keep FW fish w/BW-SW fish!>   My current tank (30 G hex) set up is pH 8.0, SPG 1.004,ammonia is 0 (or near 0), nitrate is 0. nitrite is good and the water is a little on the soft side (soon to add crushed coral to help).  My Filtration is 1 emperor 280 with a BioWheel and a 6" air stone bubbler. <You say your water is soft, but your pH is 8?  That's a little confusing.  You tank is already fully stocked (as far as FW fish), I wouldn't add any more, as the fish you have will grow & get very aggressive, especially if they pair up.  There is a smaller "footprint" on a hex=less swimming room.  The Pleco will definitely outgrow a 30g tank at 18".  The BioWheel isn't usually recommended for BW-SW tanks, as the salt spray from the wheel will make a huge mess.  How was the tank cycled?  You should be showing some nitrAtes & never any ammonia, ever.  I would consider cycling a different tank for the GSPs (at least 20g) & make it BW for now.  As they grow up, you can upgrade (they will need 30g each as 6" adults) & turn it SW then.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  ~PP> Thank you again for your help, Mike New Puffer fish My husband recently bought a puffer fish from our LFS. They called it a puffer, and upon closer questioning, called it a green spotted puffer. It was recommended to us by the same LFS to control snails in our tank. Ours is a freshwater aquarium and home to five neon tetras and a couple of catfish. They assured me it will be fine in our six gallon freshwater tank, but upon looking at various websites, I have my doubts. <Your doubts are warranted. He will need specialized care; some salt in the water, larger tank, will probably eat the neons eventually, etc.> This puffer has gone thru many many snails in the two days we've had him. In fact he's eaten them all and now I'm scavenging snails from the tank filter. As usual, dad and the kids have brought home a new pet, and mom gets to figure out how to keep him alive and hopefully happy and healthy. So, should I return him? Also, what to feed (the store gave us frozen baby brine shrimp to feed him, but he's completely uninterested - they're obviously too small for him, although the tetras were in heaven). <Frozen Mysis shrimp and/or plankton would be better.> Any advice is appreciated. I've looked thru your website and it's very helpful. However, now I'm inundated with often conflicting info and I need to go straight to the horse's mouth. <Take a look here for a lot more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm> Thanks so much, Julie Billington <Welcome to the hobby, Steven Pro>

Re: New Puffer fish Thanks so much for the quick response! We got him/her some freeze-dried shrimp and some frozen brine shrimp. He liked the frozen shrimp and loved the freeze dried shrimp. I probably overfed him because I was so happy to seem him eating. The tetras continue to be impressed with the new additions to their diet. We're now scraping our pennies together for a 20 gallon tank. My main concern now is whether the catfish will tolerate the salt in the tank. <It depends on the species of puffer and how much salt you will have to add to keep him happy. Most fish will be ok with 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water. It is a pretty standard recommendation for various health reasons. It would be best when you get the 20 to keep both tanks up and separate the fish. Neons in one and the puffer in another.> Thanks Again! -Julie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Brackish corals and puffers >How much coral do you have to put in a 10 gallon brackish tank with green spotted puffers. >>None. >I never see coral in brackish tanks anywhere only in saltwater tanks. Do they like a high ph or only saltwater puffers? >>Corals like relatively high pH, and require so much for their growth that I couldn't begin to address it here.  If you're speaking of using coral skeletons in a tank with marine puffers, then I would caution against it as I have seen torn skin (they don't have scales.  Marina

More GSP Qs 2/24/04 OK. Cool. The tank is going to be for the puffer. What could I put in with him? <At a tank that size & the aggressiveness of the puffer, I'd say none.  Eventually, he'll need a larger tank.  If the tank is large enough & heavily decorated with lots of broken lines of sight, you may eventually be able to add a few fish.  The problem is, there are very few fish that prefer the changes in salinity that the GSP does.  They go from low-end BW when juvenile <2, (in a specific gravity, or SG of 1.005-08), at 2-4, medium BW  (SG 1.010-15) and adult >4 SW (SG 1.018-22). Even so, I do still find a few missing fish occasionally in my GSP tank.  I have damselfish & a tomato clown living with my adults in SW.  ~PP> Lobsters & Puffers 2/24/04 Thanks for the advice. One more for you: <Sure, Pufferpunk here again> Electric Blue Lobster vs Clown Loaches? Basically, I have this lobster in a tiny tank, less than 10 gallons I imagine. I have a 20 gallon that has my Green Puffer, and a 29 gallon with a couple angelfish, 2 clown loaches, a pleco, and an Indian perch. <Your puffer will be ok alone in a tank that size.  It should be in brackish water now.  The angelfish will grow as large as your outstretched hand, Clown loaches & Plecos grow 12+".  The perch grows 6-10" & is a coldwater fish.  I think you've got some problems there."  The lobster grows to 4-5" & needs a 15-20g tank.  It is a scavenger, but will eat anything it can catch in it's claws.>    I'd like to move the lobster to one of those, but as you stated, it seems he and the puffer just ain't gonna work out, especially if I'd like to get the "jade" puffer (as they have him listed in the store). Suggestions? <Again, I will remind you, the GSP will grow to 6" & need at least 20g for itself.  The "jade" puffer (is this it? http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/types/ceylon.htm) grows to 7-8" & needs at a 30g for itself.  Together, I wouldn't put them in anything less than a 40g tank.> Thanks once again... <You'll need to figure somethin out here, soon!  ~PP>

Tank Mates for GSP? 2/23/04 1 Spotted Green Puffer + Electric Blue Lobster in 20 gallon? <Bad idea.  GSPs' staple foods are crustaceans.  Lobsters' staple food are fish.  One will eat the other, depending on who gets who 1st.  Puffers usually sleep on the bottom of the tank.  This makes it easy pickings for the lobster to grab.  An adult GSP can make an easy meal of a blue lobster & even a juvie puffer could rip off a claw or 2.> 1 Spotted Green Puffer + 1 Jade Puffer in 20 gallon? <If by "jade" puffer, you are speaking of the Ceylon, or Tetraodon fluviatilis, then they may get along as tank mates.  They both prefer saltwater as adults & are of similar temperaments.  I have 2 6' GSPs living with a 5" Ceylon right now.  The GSP needs at least 20g/fish, as it grows to 6".  The Ceylon needs at least 30g/fish, as it grows to 7-8".  There's not enough room for both in a 20g.  Also, there's always a chance you get a aggressive killer as a puffer (especially the GSP) that won't tolerate any tank mates of any kind.> Thanks. -LH <You're welcome.  GSPs are one of my favorite puffers!  If you have any other questions about their care & feeding, I'll be happy to help.  In the proper conditions, these puffers can give you enjoyment for 10+ years!  ~PP>

Green Spotted Puffers 2/24/04 Dear Crew: <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased 2 small FW Spotted Puffers at my local fish store. After introducing these fish into a 38 gal. tank w/Cichlids, they were attacked by 2 of the bigger fish. The bigger fish did no damage to the Puffers. Soon after the attack the 2 larger fish were floating on their bellies. I filed a complaint with the store, but nobody could answer my question. Are these fish poisonous to other fish? <Yes, in addition to the fact they have very though skin, they can puff to 5x their normal size & produce prickly spikes to make a very unpleasant meal, their skin & organs are also poisonous. Have you ever heard of eating fugu? 1% death rate, among folks that eat it. Your LFS also mislead you about their being FW. These are high-end BW fish that require SW as adults. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  If these are the only fish left in your tank, you can now make it BW. ~PP> 

Redtail Catfish death, is a GSP the Culprit? Our South American Redtail Catfish looked like it went into shock, and eventually died awhile later. We have a green spotted puffer in the tank too, is the puffer poisonous, and could he have killed the catfish? The catfish was a very good size, a lot larger than the puffer. Ricardo & Stephanie <GSP's are not "that" toxic... the cause of death very likely unrelated. Most often Phractocephalus die from mis-feeding (feeder goldfish, or choking on another too-large, spiny fish), or "jump out"... Bob Fenner> 

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

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

Hurt puffer......... Hello! I have a spotted green puffer. He is in a freshwater tank with female swordtails and guppies. I feed the other fish tetra color and I feed him brine shrimp pellets. His tail is curled up and his left fin is starting to rot it looks like. Not like Ich but just deteriorating. I have only had this tank set up for a week and the day after I got the tank set up I had baby swordtails. My fish went through a lot of stress separating the babies from the tank so that is probably the cause of this. What could be wrong with him? Ich? Fin rot? Maybe just a fight with another fish? :(  I love my fish so much and I don't want to loose any! :) PLEASE help me?!?! Thanks so much! > <Likely the tail curling is nothing (this is what these puffers do) but pectoral fin is trouble... and likely due to being in a strictly freshwater environment (this species is actually more marine) and a too-limited diet... I would add "some" salt (a teaspoon per gallon ultimately... a teaspoon per day until you reach this amount... if you have no plants... or other livestock... the swords are fine... that are salt intolerant. And do look into other frozen, freeze-dried foods like Tubifex, mysids, krill, bloodworms... for your puffer. These two changes will reverse the current trend.  

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