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FAQs about Tetraodon mbu Puffers Identification

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FAQs on: Mbu Puffer Behavior, Mbu Puffer Compatibility, Mbu Puffer Selection/Stocking, Mbu Puffer Systems, Mbu Puffer Feeding, Mbu Puffer Health, Mbu Puffer Reproduction, & FW Puffer FAQs 1, FAQs 2FAQs 3, FW Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Behavior, FW Puffer Selection, FW Puffer Compatibility, FW Puffer Systems, FW Puffer Feeding, FW Puffer Disease, FW Puffer Reproduction,


African Yellowtail Puffer... ID, fdg... FW?   10/26/07 Hi Guys, I bought a 2 inch African Yellowtail Puffer about a month ago. I have been feeding small live fish which he would eat voraciously. One day, almost overnight, it seems like he could no longer eat properly. For the last week he has been hanging out on the bottom and occasionally swimming around looking like he is very weak. I noticed that it looked like he had problems trying to eat anything. What could be the problem?? Thanks Peter <Hello Peter. I have absolutely no idea what an "African Yellowtail Puffer" is. Perhaps Tetraodon mbu, since that's from Africa and has a yellow tail. I just hope not though, because it is a very difficult (read: almost impossible) animal for the home hobbyist to look after. For one thing, it is extremely sensitive to poor water quality. Zero ammonia and zero nitrite go without saying, but nitrate needs to be as close to zero as possible, and certainly not above 20 mg/l. Next, it's huge. I mean gigantic. In the wild, these fish get to over 60 cm (about 24") in length (excluding the tail fin). Some captive specimens have grown even larger. In terms of aquarium conditions, this demands a tank of the largest possible size, probably something upwards of 1000 litres (over 260 US gallons). Admittedly, yours will take a few years to get to full size, but still, you do need to have a plan. I'd actually argue they aren't aquarium hobby fish at all. Anyway, when a puffer stops feeding, you know something is very, VERY wrong. Normally they are swimming dustbins that will eat until they can't move. Your first problem is feeding the wrong food. Never, EVER give feeder fish to a puffer. Not only is it not required, but it is actually hazardous. Goldfish and minnows, for example, contain thiaminase (which breaks down Vitamin B1) and large amounts of fat (that cause problems with the internal organs). The correct diet for all puffers, repeat ALL PUFFERS, in captivity is a variety of the following: mussels, pond snails, krill, unshelled prawns, bloodworms, earthworms, river shrimps, and clams. Many also enjoy (and probably need) some amount of green food too. Tinned peas seem to go down well with many pufferfish. Puffers also need to be fed in small amounts. The goal is to feed once a day, or every other day for big (~10 cm/4") specimens. Each time, the fish should eat no more than enough to slightly fill out the belly to a gently convex shape. Puffers will eat until they swell up like bowling balls; that is not good for them! Also check water quality. With Tetraodon mbu especially, any amount of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate will sicken the fish. So instead of trying to ram more food down their throats, when these fish go off their dinner, do a 50% water change. And then another! Give it a couple of days, and then try something small and tasty, like a river shrimp or half a mussel. Above all else, worry more about water quality than food. When the water conditions are right, your fish will start feeding again. Hope this helps, Neale>

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