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FAQs about Tetraodon fluviatilis (Ceylon, Green) Puffers

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T. fluviatilis in captivity... hard, alkaline freshwater as juveniles to mildly brackish as adults.

Re: green spotted puffer help!  Now Topaz puffers   5/16/18
Hi Neale,
Whilst still deciding whether to add the figure 8’s. I’ve found a pair of Topaz puffers. I understand these are v similar to the green spotted and therefore may do better with my GSPs?
<Yes; virtually identical in terms of size, behaviour, diet, etc. Taxonomically, real scientists consider the two species almost impossible to separate by looks alone, hence their reliance on DNA markers instead. Hobbyists are a little more confident, but you'll find some specimens on sale with markings that might be suggest either species, so there probably is some patterning and colouration overlap between them we don't always take into consideration.>
Do you know much about their aggression level?
<Variable, much like GSPs. Some specimens fairly easy going, others more snappy. The average specimen is probably a bit more aggressive than the average GSP, but there's not a huge amount in it.>
The ones I have found are c 4-5inches vs. the GSP’s that are currently around 2 inches. I assume this wouldn’t work due to size difference?
<It's worth a shot if you had some egg crate you could use as a divider if things didn't work out. Depends a bit on the size of the tank too. In theory, the two species will cohabit given space, though neither is what you'd call sociable.>
I really like them so thought I’d email you on the off chance you know more about them and can comment in compatibility and whether I can make it work. I am aware various different species are called topaz so I have included a picture below to help. As you can see they look awesome :-) but don’t want to buy them if they’ll likely demolish my GSPs!
<Definitely photos of what the hobby calls the Topaz Puffer, Tetraodon fluviatilis, yes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help!   5/16/18

It’s a 120 litre but I plan to upgrade in the next year or so - would that be too small and asking for problems or Ok to try?
<I'd not be keeping a 4-inch/10-cm pufferfish in a 120 litre tank, unless perhaps if it was one of the inactive 'lurker' species. 120 litres/25 gallons isn't a huge volume of water, and while it's fine for one or more juveniles, by the time you start adding near-adult specimens, water quality management is going to become much more of a challenge. Egg crate or similar (e.g., tank dividers sold for cichlids) are useful with aggressive fish if you can't be 100% sure they'll cohabit. Approach with caution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help!    5/16/18

Thanks Neale - I'll avoid them then for now ��
<Cool. Cheers, Neale.>

"Topaz" Puffer  6/13/05 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm not sure if I'm through to the right person but I am looking for advice  on my Topaz puffer fish.  If I am through to the correct person please can you email me so I can then return with the question. IF not then please can you inform me who I might need to speak to regarding feeding my fish. <Common names are not the best for identification of puffers.  Generally that name is labeled on the Tetraodon fluviatilis.  You can go here for more info: http://www.pufferlist.com/  HTH, PP> Thank you, Jae

F8 Not What it Seems (really a Ceylon puffer) Puffer 3/7/04 <Hi Jeff> Here are some other pics of the puffy. I'm not sure if its easier to see him on these or not. <Your puffer is not an F8 (T biocellatus) It is a Ceylon puffer (T fluviatilis) This fish is to be cared for exactly as a green spotted puffer (T nigroviridis).  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  The only difference in your fish is that it will grow to 7-8" & need at least 30g.  Definitely looks like internal parasites.  I would  treat with Discomed & get the salinity up.  Try raising the temp to get him to eat.  Do that according to the article.  How big is your pufferfish?  Sorry if you told me already.  ~PP>

Sick Jade Puffer  1/18/04 <PP here again> Pufferpunk - Thanks so much for your response... Unfortunately - I don't think my puffer is doing very well.  I put her in her own tank (it is a small one) I added about a 1/4 of tank water then added fresh water with about 1/2 to 1 tsp of the salt I got at the store I bought the puffer.   <Aquarium salt, or marine salt?  You really need to ID this puffer for me to be able to help you better.> The puffer looks okay off and on (looks best when I add the salt but I'm afraid to o.d. on the salt - is that possible?).   <You can add as much as 1tbsp/gal of marine salt (to start), if it is a brackish water fish.  It will need to go much higher in salt content eventually, if it is the puffer I think it might be.  SW as an adult.> She swims around dazed and delirious and she goes from bright to dark and seems to be gasping with her mouth wide open (but she is swimming better then the other day when she was bumping into everything). <Gasping can be a sign of ammonia poisoning.  Check the water parameters.  If you don't have a test kit (get one), you need to take the water into your LFS to be tested--now!  Add an airstone for more O2 exchange & easier breathing.  Is there a filter on there?  Even a sponge filter will help.  Add gravel from the other tank.  I would have filled at least half of the tank water with the old tank water so as not to shock the fish with different conditions.  Add Melafix to the water. It's a tree tea oil solution that will make the fish feel better & help with it's skin.  Do 50% water changes to keep the water fresh.  If the ammonia or nitrites are above 0, do them daily."   oh yeah I don't know if it is skin that is peeling off or what but on her stomach what I see looks kind of like fuzzy lint - it is white in color (not yellow like I read about velvet).  Is there something else I should be doing?? <Start w/the salt, Melafix & water changes & see if that helps.>     THANKS  De <I hope he's better soon--PP>

Problem with Jade Puffer  1/14/04 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I tried to send an email earlier and was unable to confirm if it went - so I apologize if this is the 2nd. <I don't think we got it, at least I didn't see it.> I have a new tank (2weeks) with 1 jade puffer, 2 rosy barbs, 1 sucker fish.   <Jade puffer?  Common names are difficult to ID with puffers.  Is it a Ceylon puffer (T fluviatilis)?  See: http://www.pufferfish.co.uk/aquaria/species/pufferfish/types/ceylon.htm> I noticed the other day that the puffer and 1 rosy barb had white spots on their fins and treated with rid ich for 3 days (removed carbon from filter as advised).  today is the 4th day and fins look clear but noticed that puffer looks bad - stomach is dark and swimming like he is blind.  bumping into the sucker fish and decorations in tank as well as swimming up to top of tank and slamming into the rocks on bottom when coming down - I swear it is like he is blind....  Could this be a water imbalance??  Can these symptoms be reversed or do you think he is really going to stay like this??   <Puffers are scaleless fish & have no gill covers, hence are very sensitive to meds.  Actually, I never use meds for ich.  Just large water changes, raise the temp to 87 & add salt (1tbsp/5gal).  Get those meds out by adding carbon & doing a large (50-80%) water change.  Also, if you do have a Ceylon puffer, it is a brackish water fish that will prefer saltwater as an adult.  Mine is in SW now.   It will also grow to 7-8".  It needs to eat crustaceans as a staple diet, to keep it's teeth trimmed.>   Also, water is at 78 degrees.  Please respond soon - I want to save my puffer...  Thanks, De <Good luck with your puffer--Pufferpunk>

Puffer Dear Mr. Fenner, Before I ask my question I must say what an awesome site you have. It is truly remarkable. Well on to my question... I bought what I believed to be 3 Green puffers, Tetraodon fluviatilis at my LFS in mid November. I kept them in a 20 gallon long tank with good water quality, ph, GH... etc. I also kept them in brackish conditions of .007 salinity (The hydrometer was hard to find, since most start at .01).  <Sounds good so far> Well all was well with all but one of the puffers. He constantly kept trying to chew on the glass and would use bursts of energy to shove his face on the glass. I thought it may be because of the slight difference in the water quality (I tried to match the water quality of the LFS as best as I could). The salinity they were kept in was about .004; I gradually raised it to .007 within a few days. After a few weeks their color turned brighter and they have come to know and "tolerate" me. Except for one of the puffers, he never ate food off my hand and would only eat the food when I dropped it. His odd behavior with the glass did not change till now, though no discoloration or irregular swimming has occurred. I have checked your site and others and have come to the conclusion that the 2 puffs that like me are t. fluviatilis, though the glass eating one is a t. nigroviridis. The nigroviridis has a much rounder face and mouth compared to the other 2, and the coloration on the other 2 puffs is much darker brown than the t. nigroviridis. I went to the LFS to check where these 3 puffs originally came from but he didn't know.  <Not surprising. These Puffers are wild-caught, and frequently mixed species... and as you know, not easily told apart> I was hopping I would be wrong so I was wondering if this can happen? Can LFS' retrieve two different breeds of puffs?  <Yes... you ought to see some of the "miscellaneous" mixes of Corydoras, small Tetras I've helped put away (from import) years back... hard to tell what was intended to be in which box/bag!> I really don't want to return any of them, nor do I want the nigroviridis to remain in an environment he cannot tolerate for long. Can I keep them in freshwater with a little salt or keep them in a salinity of about .003 - .004? Please help Thank You <I would keep your spg at near 1.005 here. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Spotted Puffers <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> How does one tell the difference in sexes among green puffers and green spotted puffers??? <<Sexual differences in these are internal, no way to tell from the outside.>> I cant find breeding/sexing information on this breed of fish anywhere... perhaps you know or will know where to look.  ~Thanx!! Alecia <<Cheers, J -- >>

T. fluviatilis or not T. fluviatilis? Esteemed Mr. Fenner, <Steamed, like rice?> I have two spotted puffers sold to me as Tetraodon fluviatilis, when I bought them both looked similar and I requested the liveliest of the bunch. The pet store had them in brackish water and being impatient I brought them even though the tank I had cycled at home was freshwater (a little salt). I raised the salinity in the 20gal. tank to 1.002 while I acclimated the puffers to the new temp. in their little baggie. This being done I guess I crashed my bacteria because it was touch and go with ammonia and nitrate levels for awhile and the tank was cycled for 2 weeks and both levels were 0 before I added more salt (and puffers).  <Yes, astute of you to notice> Anyway, now the ammonia and nitrate are fine: temp.78, pH 8.0, sal. 1.002. But one puffer seems much happier than the other...his belly is always black I read here about the color of their bellies changing and it does for one but the others stays black. Black belly is also much rounder and I suspect that I have two different kinds of puffer, maybe one fluviatilis (brackish) and one nigroviridis (freshwater)? <Maybe... I would like to suggest another more likely possibility. That one is "happier" than the other... or reciprocally, that one is making the other miserable... typical amongst these species> The pet store says that they could be different but could offer no suggestions for keeping both happy in the same tank. Should I try to take the balloon shaped one (I suspect nigroviridis) with the black belly to a freshwater tank? How would I do this without killing the fish? <You need to ascertain the species definitively... do take a look through the pix on fishbase.org re... and re switching, acclimating them to other spg/salinities, can be done (slowly) over a period of days to weeks... by water changes, addition of less or more salty make up water...> Also I notice that one has a pattern of very small spots or specs (not disease) tapering off into the tail while the other has a "clear" tail, I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere as a possible way to tell these two apart but...Please help me make these fish happy. Thanks, Tim <Again, very observant of you. The markings are likely more to do with stress than species differences. I would separate these two. Bob Fenner>
Re: T. fluviatilis or not T. fluviatilis?
Thank you for the quick reply, I will begin separate the two and see what happens. The fish with the black belly actually seems to bully the lighter one a bit... Thanks again, Tim <Yes... understood you to state this... yet it may well be the more stressed individual of the two just the same... as you'll see. Bob Fenner>
Re: T. fluviatilis or not T. fluviatilis?
Mr. Fenner, I separated the two and put the one I thought might be T. nigroviridis in freshwater. The result has been dramatic. Like two different fish. The LFS said to just lower the salinity in the brackish tank and "let them adapt" but I thought they were a bit flippant about the whole issue, hopefully all fish will remain happy as they are. Thanks for your help. Tim <A pleasure my friend. Delighted to read of your diligence. Bob Fenner>

Jumping Puffer! Hey Bob, <<Hello, it's JasonC today, Bob has taken off on another diving trip to some tropical place...>> I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across WWM about 6 weeks ago. This is an unbelievably informative website. <<Glad you find it useful.>> It is very discouraging to find so much misinformation, as well as conflicting information on the web in regard to aquaria. Much thanks for a Great site. I was in the process of setting up a brackish tank when I found WWM. I found all the answers on WWM that I had searched desperately for all over the web. Thanks to you, I now have a thriving Brackish tank. <<Glad to hear it.>> My tank is a 20 gallon Hex, Temp 79 degrees, specific gravity .005, pH 8.1, 1 32w 7100k & 1 32w 10000k compact fluorescence lights, etc.. I planted it with an Amazon Sword, a Pigmy Chain sword, Java fern and Java Moss, and spiralis grass, all of which are doing great. I stocked the tank with 3 mollies to help cycle the tank, then later added 2 Green or Spotted Scats, 1"-1 1/2", (Scatophagus Argus) and then 3 weeks ago I added a Green Puffer, 1",(Tetraodon fluviatilis). I feed them twice daily with either Brine, Mysis shrimp, or Blood worms, and occasionally some flakes. With the exception of the dominate Scat chasing around the other Scat, everyone is getting along wonderfully (thus far). Here are my questions: 1) My puffer, who has an amazing appetite and is very active, has recently started jumping out of the water ( there is no way for him to jump out of the tank), <<You have a lid on it then...>> and sometimes "porpoises", for lack of a better term, around the tank. This is not due to being startled although he will occasionally dart across the tank or jump if startled. Is this normal? <<I'm not familiar with the behavior, but can tell you it's really hard to know the motivations of fish.>> Could there be a medical issue? <<Could be - keep up the observation and time will tell.>> He seems very happy, and none of the other fish bully him or vise versa. 2) How long before my Scats need to go totally Marine? <<Rather than prattle on and on, I would direct your reading interests to this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Scatart.htm >> Being notorious plant eaters, Will they reap havoc in my reef tank? <<Certainly possible.>> Thanks for your help, Miles <<Cheers, J -- >>

Tetraodon fluviatilis How much salt can Tetraodon fluviatilis stand? <I would feel comfortable with as much as one level tablespoon per gallon. -Steven Pro>

Ceylon FW Puffers... actually to brackish Hello, I have two Ceylon puffers in my 55gal FW tank. We call them Jeckel and Hyde. One minute they are swimming around, or shall I say up and down, and eating like pigs, in full color. Their little bellies are white and the spots are bright. The next minute, they are laying on the bottom, all black in color and barely breathing. Once they start swimming again, their bright and healthy looking. We just don't get it. The smaller of the two is getting worse, with more down time, I think he might die soon if I don't do something. We feed the frozen brine shrimp and occasional blood worms. What could it be? Michelle <Hmm, couldn't find this common name anywhere in my feeble memory, on ICLARM's FishBase, in TFH reference works... but do know this is actually a marine to brackish water species... and that likely what is happening has to do with a lack of salt in your Puffers water. Can your other livestock tolerate much salt? Like a teaspoon per ten gallons or so of uniodized (ice-cream, kosher...) salt? Or better, the same amount from a synthetic salt mix (like for marine fish tanks)? This is what they really need. Maybe take a read through the freshwater puffers section and FAQs on the www.wetwebmedia.com site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm Sort of like you and I trying to "catch up" by drinking seawater... Bob Fenner>

Re: Ceylon FW Puffers Hi Bob, Thanks for the email, I didn't expect to hear from you so soon. The real name for the Ceylon puffer is Tetraodon, I think.  <Ah, likely T. fluviatilis... common names are actually my bane!> I don't usually use the scientific names. They resemble green spotted puffers in body shape and size. Anyway, the smaller of our two Ceylon's passed last night:( for reasons unknown. You do put the right salt in our tank after every water change, our water is brackish. As soon as the little one died, the big one started failing too. I don't no what to do:( Michelle <Any idea of how brackish your water actually is? Maybe the conductivity as a measure? I would/am still inclined to place more salt as I wrote last... Bob Fenner>

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