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FAQs about Tetraodon suvattii Puffers 

Related Articles: T. suvattii, Green Spotted Puffers, Freshwater to Brackish Water Puffers, (Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk),

Related FAQs: 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,


Gut loading worms... for food, FW    10/28/11
It it necessary?
<Generally not.>
<If they worms are stored for a while in a compost heap or wormery, you could add fish flake to the medium, and the worms would ingest that as they go along. But being quite a balanced food because they're gut-loaded with decaying plant matter anyway, worms are okay just as they, perhaps augmented with seafood from time to time for any other vitamins or minerals that might be missing. Whole lancefish and jumbo krill for example would be good sources of calcium.>
I'm currently feeding my Tetraodon Suvattii and a few others exclusively earth worms. I'm sure its possible to break him of the habit of eating them
but he has really locked onto worms as his primary food.
<Risky; when fish become hooked on one food, you can have problems should that food become scarce.>
In fact I overnighted my discus in his tank after a heater failure and he totally ignored the discus after a tasty worm nightcap.
I currently employ a system where I occasionally cut lengthwise down the worm and push in dry Hikari food. I know its grisly but it works and I want to raise an uber pig nose puffer !!
<Quite so.>
Worms currently are just easy and I'm looking to make them as nutritious as possible.
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gut loading worms   10/30/11

Fortunately fishing bait is never in short supply around here! I find that worms are always available. Nevertheless, I am toying with the idea of an under the sink wormery full of the highest quality worms! I probably need to get out more
<There was one Nebraskan Governor who's wife was into breeding worms, which she did in the governor's mansion. Can't remember which one.>
Settle a debate for me Neale, a young T Suvattii needs to eat a big red worm: 1. every other day or 2. once a day.
<Either. Provided your puffer maintains a healthy body weight, i.e., it's belly is slightly rounded and convex, then you're feeding it the right amount. Feeding small meals frequently may be beneficial in terms of water quality because it minimises the risk of a fish not eating everything and that uneaten food sitting about in the tank rotting. So while your puffer might "gorge" itself on a single large prey item every few days in the wild, that isn't what I recommend or do with my own predators. If nothing else, small, frequent meals ensure they're always looking for more food, and that keeps them alert and interested. As I sit here, my Ctenolucius are splashing about at the top of the tank trying get my attention! Of course, large predators like your puffer can easily go 2-3 weeks without food, which is great for vacations.>
Thanks man.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Breeding Tetraodon suvattii  10/23/11
Hey gang, I've been reading some reports online of folks who have had success breeding T. suvattii. I thought it was impossible to sex these fish. Am I correct in assuming that to get a breeding pair you get a large tank with a lot of hiding places, put in two fish and pray that they are male/female and form a pair. And then pray that they don't kill each other if they have a marital dispute.
<Correct. There is a fairly detailed account in the Aqualog book on pufferfish. Compared to some of the other "lurker" puffers, Tetraodon suvattii isn't especially active or aggressive, which makes maintenance in groups comparatively easy.>
I'm quite attached to my T. suvattii and am not interested in excessive risk to him. But I also like the guy enough that I wouldn't mind getting him a little action.
<Guy or gal who can tell?>
And truth be sold tank bred T. suvattii would be easy to trade for a bit of store credit.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Breeding Tetraodon Suvattii
Really? I thought that they would have a high chance of going at each other hammer and tongs.
<Indeed. You did notice I said *compared to other lurker puffers* rather than, say, compared to Neon Tetras! They are still territorial and aggressive fish. It's just that their modest size, inactivity, and
comparatively less aggressive nature means that in a really big tank it's possible to keep multiple specimens. I'm not sure there's a guaranteed aquarium size for 3-4 specimens, but it would definitely need something around the 75, 100 gallon mark. Growing juvenile specimens up alongside one another would be important too. Let them pair off themselves, and remove surplus specimens if they look like they're being persecuted. Males will probably tolerate females rather better than other males, so with luck
you'd end up with a single male and then one or more females. Provide lots of hiding places so lines of sight are interrupted. Basically much the same thing you'd do when breeding an aggressive cichlid species like Midas or Dovii. There used to be a fairly detailed article up at The Puffer Forum by a chap called Ian Jefferies, but for some reason it's vanished. You could stop by that forum and ask where it's gone. There's also an account on the TFH Magazine web site, here:
Mine is pretty aggressive. Like reincarnated serial killer aggressive. And at night under red lights I have observed him patrol the bottom of the tank.
<Quite so. Simply dumping a mature female into a tank with a mature male (and possible vice versa, too) would be insane. So again, you'd do what you'd do with cichlids. Use egg crate to divide the tank, move all the rocks about to break down the territories, and give them a few weeks where they can see and smell one another, but can't actually touch. With luck, the female will fatten up with eggs, and the male will show pre-spawning behaviours like nest building and displays. Carefully remove the egg crate, and watch what happens. Be prepared to isolate them if necessary, and quite possibly, the female would need to be isolated after spawning anyway if the male decides the tank isn't big enough for the both of them. To be honest, I'd sooner buy a group of juveniles a couple inches long and rear those to sexual maturity, than try to start with two adults. Yet again, just like you would with aggressive cichlids.>
You've never steered me wrong though. I'm going to give it a spin.
<Good luck. The good news is that this species has been spawned repeatedly, so it's doable.>
Thanks man.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Tetraodon suvattii Puffer 1/23/08 Hi, <Hello, Pufferpunk here> I have a Tetraodon suvattii and I have had him for 8 months now. Within the past week his abdomen became swollen, he stopped eating and has become very lethargic. He has also become very dark in color which is unusual for him and only rests on the bottom of the tank. He has this habit of eating the pebbles in the tank (it is mostly sand) he either spits them out or passes them; however he has done neither in this case. I am not sure whether it could be constipation, the pebbles or possible impaction (can they even become impacted?). Any theories and solutions would help. <We have found there are several questions that routinely get asked in order to help diagnose problems. If you can have that information to begin with in your query, we'll be able to help right away (if we can!) without having to wait for you to post the info we need. 1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers. 2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include algae eaters, Plecos, everything. We need to know what you have and how big the tank is. 3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc) 4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so. Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference. We want to help and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster. Since these puffers are supposed to live in sand substrate, there should be no reason they should get clogged up with it. How deep is the sand? Do you mix it thoroughly every week, before water changes? Have you observed the fish pooping? How did it look? I'd start treating the tank with Epsom salt: 1tbsp/10g. Write back with responses to the questions above & I'll see if I can assist your puffer further. ~PP> Thanks for your time. - Ursula

Spawning "Target" Pufferfish  4/2/07 Hello Friend <Hi Paul, Pufferpunk here> I am hoping you can help.  I have successfully raised many species of pufferfish but always kept my fish alone.  I recently purchased 2 target pufferfish about 3.5" long.   <The actual species referred to as the "Target" puffer, really hasn't been seen around for quite some time.  there are many of what we refer to as the "target group".  Check for ID here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/?g2_GALLERYSID=20f33226b7c92397f4e8b8d0897e5f86  > After a couple of days of shaking their bodies on a particular plant leaf, I just noticed about 200 eggs on the leaf.  This is four days after seeing them shake on the leaf.  They are reddish brown.  One puffer guards the leaf at all times and will not let the Pleco or other puffer get close. <Congrats!  That's the daddy puff (or Puff Daddy ;) ) guarding the eggs.> I just want to know if these eggs have a chance of hatching and if so what I need to do now and after they hatch to ensure they survive.  I have found very little info on breeding puffers and none on breeding target/twin spot puffers.  Please if you have any advice for me to save these eggs it would be greatly appreciated. <I suggest contacting Rocker at this forum: www.thepufferforum.com.  He has had great success rearing fry from his freshwater T. suvattiis.  There is also a breeding forum you can post in there.  ~PP> Thank you so much, Paul

Tetraodon suvattii Tankmates  1/5/07 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am still trying to decide what to put in my new 46 gallon tank, and am very interested in the pig-nose puffer (Tetraodon suvattii).  I looked on pufferlist.com--I know what the fish needs.  What I am wondering is if it can be kept with fish that are too large for a potential meal? I don't want it ambushing everything in the tank. Some fish I was considering would be a large Gourami or two, and possibly a Ctenopoma acutirostre (Spotted Climbing Perch).  Would a good option be an African Butterflyfish? It would never encounter the puffer since it would hang out at the top and the puffer would spend most of it's time at the bottom. If the puffer could co-exist with the Gourami and Spotted Climbing Perch, would they all be ok with the African Butterflyfish then? <The T suvattii is a natural fish eater.  It tears flesh off fish.  Anything you put in there with it, is a potential meal.  ~PP>                                                                Thanks

Pignose Puffer--Substrate  7/21/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I read an article from The Puffer Forum that said for brackish tanks you could use mineral mud, which you can find cheap at a hardware store, can you use mineral mud if you have a Pignose puffer, if not is there a specific sand you would recommend? <I'm not sure what article that was (since I own that forum).  Play sand from the hardware store will work, as long as you stir thoroughly, before every weekly water change, to prevent anaerobic (toxic) bacteria pockets from forming.  ~PPP> Breeding Tetraodon suvattii 7/25/06 Hi, <Hi Karina, Pufferpunk here> I have a pair of Arrowhead puffers (Tetraodon suvattii). Are shrimp about 5-7cm (with shell) enough to keep their teeth in shape or do they need harder shells as well? <"People" shrimp are good but puffers need a varied diet.   See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html > The couple is spawning :-), <Congrats!> if the juvenile survive, what would be good for their teeth? I plan on hatching brine shrimp to start with but suggestion on what to give later is very welcome. <Ahhh... herein lies the problem of breeding puffers. Puffer fry are almost too small to see with the naked eye.  VERY difficult to feed!  I know of many that have gotten their puffers to spawn & hatch fry but they are almost impossible to feed.  The puffer fry are way smaller than newly hatched BBS.  One of the other problems is aggression.  The baby suvattii will kill each other, if not separated as soon as they have teeth.  This means 100s of small & then medium sized tanks, for rearing them.  Another problem folks are running into, is the parents eventually killing each other.  There is a fellow at www.thepufferforum,com, that has had some success at breeding these puffers but none of the fry successfully grew to adulthood.  If you are successful, I wouldn't worry too much about food for their teeth when young.  Here's an excellent article on puffer foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html  ~PP> Regards Karina, Denmark

Tank Size for Arrowhead Puffer  7/10/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here.> What is the recommended tank size for an arrowhead puffer? I have a 55 gallon right now. <This puffer is an ambush predator.  It stays buried in the sand or in a cave, most of the day, waiting for food to swim/walk by, then darts out & grabs their unsuspecting prey.  This means that a 55g would be kind of a waste of room, unless you wanted to plant it nicely & use it as a display tank.  Another problem with a tank that large is that they prefer about 3" of sand to burrow in.  Sand has to be thoroughly stirred every week, before water changes, so as not to develop anaerobic (toxic) pockets of gas.  A PITA in a 55g tank.  I'd say a 30g would be nice for this fish.  More info on this species at www.pufferlist.com & www.thepufferforum.com.  ~PP>

Pignose Puffer For Sale?  7/7/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Do you know where I can find a pignose puffer, all the sites I have been to have them but none in stock. I was wondering if you knew of any better sites? <Well, this fellow has one for sale but I think he's in Canada: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4170  Have you tried Aquabid?  ~PP>

Do I Have a Miurus or Suvattii Puffer?  2/2/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I recently bought a 3-inch puffer from my LFS, who sold it to me as a "Miurus puffer." Of course I did a small amount of research before buying it and figured it would make a perfect addition to my heavily planted 55 gallon. pH 6.8, KH 5, temp 78 degrees F, NH4 0, NO2 0, NO3 10-20, PO4 .5-1 ppm. I use fluorite as my primary substrate, mixed with 20 lbs of sand and another 20 lbs of pea gravel. <Sounds like you could use at least another 20lbs of sand in there for comfortable burrowing.  It may try to dig up many of your plants in the process> The tank offers little room for the puffer to bury itself but it has found its way to the floor, beneath the Ammonia gracilis, where there is more space between the stems. <It would be happier if it could burrow up to it's eyeballs, for a better ambush on it's food.> The tank has about two dozen various tetras, another 40 shrimp, two dwarf frogs and many Ramshorn and Malaysian Trumpet snails. <All future puffer food!> I'm hoping the fish can fend for themselves, especially the Siamese Algae Eaters, which I absolutely require for obvious reasons; also, that the shrimp, snails and white clouds will breed fast enough to sustain their numbers ... they're all reproducing already. <Not a chance in Hades.  All will be in your puffer's tummy in now time!> My question: Can a Miurus "Congo" puffer have an arrowhead? Isn't that a trait of Tetraodon suvattii or the "arrowhead puffer"? I think I have an arrowhead puffer, not a Congo puffer. <You are correct.  The Suvattii will also have a longer snout.  See: www.pufferlist.com, for pics.> Seems their behavior/requirements are similar. Good thing. No need for a picture. It definitely has a bold, black arrow on its head. <If you value your other fish, I'd get that puffer into it's own tank ASAP!> Whomever I get this time, Wet Web's the best! I use your site, as well as Bob's and Anthony's books as absolute references for my reef and it's good to see your freshwater sections are growing substantially. If you need a plant/discus guy ... I know someone who really likes what Wet Web's all about! <Thanks! If you're interested, send us an email with your bio & we'll see if we can get you started.  ~PP> Thanks, Adam Re: Tetraodon suvattii (Pignose/Arrowhead Puffer)  2/3/06 Thanks, Pufferpunk. <You're very welcome!> I've looked over pufferlist.com and agree with all your good advice. I should clear an area for my puffer to bury itself. I knew beforehand that my new puffer would eat anything that got in its way, hoping many of the shrimp, especially, that hide in the plants would stand a better chance of surviving. <I don't think much will survive your puffer's hunting skills.> I find the tetras' behavior in general to be pretty boring and am willing to sacrifice them for the puffer's benefit. <Be sure not to depend of the other fish as the sole supply of your puffer's diet.  Try to get it eating hard-shelled "dead" foods.> I hope it becomes as personable as people say.  If I don't want the puffer to burrow, will it affect the puffer's health and eating habits? <Could stress it a little.> I haven't seen it eat yet, though it's been two days. Digging in my substrate will release a lot of excess nutrients that should cause an algal bloom (green water). I don't want that, for sure. <The problem I have found with having a deep sand substrate--it needs to be thoroughly stirred weekly (even under plants), before water changes or anaerobic (toxic) pockets will form.  Then, when your puffer goes digging around in there, the bacteria will be released.>   Otherwise, the puffer should love its new tank - beats a 20G with sand any day! It even swims around and reminds me of a little whale. <Yes, they are quite graceful> Also, is it natural to have several small white spots on its body? Not ich, definitely. Doesn't look like lymphs or fungus either. More like a natural occurrence like one sees in tree frogs. <More than likely--it's small spines.  ~PP> Adam Tetraodon suvattii Hi, I recently purchased a pig-nosed puffer (Tetraodon suvattii). Every website I visit that does have info about her (there are very few) is contradictory. Some say they're harmless to larger fish, & some are saying they'll kill everything in my tank.  <Mmm, both are factual statements... some specimens, some situations, the larger freshwater Tetraodons "get along"... and, in others, become true terrors> Some people are telling me they're sedentary, & some say they should be in the top 3 of the most aggressive puffers. I was told at the shop where it was purchased that they are from completely freshwater, no salt is necessary.  <This may be so> There was a FW snowflake eel (Echidna rhodochilus) in the tank with the puffer at the shop, & I bought it too. Now it has a mucus-likes whitish slime on its skin. I am slowly adding brackish salt to the tank, but I don't know how much this puffer can tolerate. I also have a yellow-tailed Chalceus & a parrotfish <Really? Maybe what is called a "Parrot Cichlid"> in there. Thanks ahead for your advice, Jeni <Please take a look on our site re these fishes. The Freshwater Morays: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm and Chalceus on the characiform fishes areas. Bob Fenner>

Article Submission I have recently been told by Jeni Tyrell (PufferPunk) that Wet Web Media is looking for articles to publish in their magazine.  I am interested in writing an article about the arrowhead puffer fish.  Would this be an appropriate topic for this magazine?  If so, how do I go about submission? <Submissions can be made here. The payment is $200 upon acceptance. Bob Fenner> Heather Cooan www.aqua-addiction.com

Puffer Breeding ?? Hello, Thanks for your Website and your fast replies to my questions. I've learned a heck of a lot. I have an adult arrowhead puffer and I want to breed him (or her) in the future. How would I go about doing that? First of all you can't sex puffers so would I have to keep buying them until they breed? They aren't cheap. Also, what size tank would you recommend? And is there anything specific I should know about the babies, or better yet, is there a good website that can tell me all this so you don't have to? Thanks a lot! Eric <Hey Eric, check out this site http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=91&thread=8676&msRange=15 this is a conversation with a person who has actually spawned this species.  Good Luck! Heather>

Puffer Question Hello, Thanks guys for answering my quick question. I have a T. suvattii who is about 5 inches long, not including his tail-fin. I have read about feeding him different things, including frozen shrimp from the grocery store. I tried it out and he loved it! I thawed it in his tank water first and then used a long plastic fork to wave it in front of him, and sure enough, he attacked it vigorously. My only question is if it is OK to feed shrimp to him, being that it is marine and he is freshwater. It's much cheaper than other live foods, not to mention easier, but if it could hurt his digestion it isn't worth it. If it's bad, do you have any other suggestions? I'm currently working on keeping ghost shrimp to gut load and breeding snails. Thanks a lot! Eric <Hi Eric, you are doing great with the shrimp.  This is a great food to feed your suvatti, you could also try mussels, squid, live crabs, crab legs, and krill.  This particular puffer is a stealth hunter and in my experience does not respond to snails, so good luck with those. Heather>

More Pignose Puffer (T suvattii) Problems Hello, <Hi, it's Pufferpunk again) Thanks for your reply last week. I have the pignose puffer with the white spots on him. I figured out that it is fungus by looking at pictures of fungus online and comparing. So I bought MarOxy by Mardel and used the recommended dosage yesterday and again this morning. Now, though, the fungus is worse and it is growing off of him about a half-inch long. Otherwise, his behavior is normal. Should I continue with the medication? Should I change the water and change medications? I'm getting very worried. Thanks, your help is appreciated. <Do you ever see him hanging out by the heater?  This may have caused the initial problem.  You might want to get a cover for it. See: http://www.aqua-addiction.com/forums/index.php?s=083f74272c7f36849e32b197851f9ff1&showtopic=6879  As far as getting rid of the fungus, I would continue with the Maroxy, but also add Melafix & Pimafix.  If that doesn't work, use something stronger (sorry, I don't know a whole lot about meds).  Make sure you keep the water pristine & do bi-weekly water changes, so as not to stress the puffer w/any waste build-up.  I hope your puffer feels better soon.  ~PP> -Eric

Re: Article Submission Here are the photo's to go along with the arrowhead article, courtesy of Wyatt Peterson.  Is there any other information you need from me? Thanks! Heather Cooan <Thank you and Wyatt. Any other articles in the works? Perhaps one on Figure Eights? I placed your article (Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm), links, and "What's New on WWM" yesterday, and mailed you a check... and will place the pix with credit to Mr. Peterson later today. I do encourage you to sell this work to the hobby magazines as well and will help you if you'd like in this endeavor. Bob Fenner>

Tetraodon suvatii Hi, I recently purchased a pig-nosed puffer (Tetraodon suvatii). Every website I visit that does have info about her (there are very few) is contradictory. Some say they're harmless to larger fish, & some are saying they'll kill everything in my tank.  <Mmm, both are factual statements... some specimens, some situations, the larger freshwater Tetraodons "get along"... and, in others, become true terrors> Some people are telling me they're sedentary, & some say they should be in the top 3 of the most aggressive puffers. I was told at the shop where it was purchased that they are from completely freshwater, no salt is necessary.  <This may be so> There was a FW snowflake eel (Echidna rhodochilus) in the tank with the puffer at the shop, & I bought it too. Now it has a mucus-likes whitish slime on its skin. I am slowly adding brackish salt to the tank, but I don't know how much this puffer can tolerate. I also have a yellow-tailed Chalceus & a parrotfish <Really? Maybe what is called a "Parrot Cichlid"> in there. Thanks ahead for your advice, Jeni <Please take a look on our site re these fishes. The Freshwater Morays: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm and Chalceus on the characiform fishes areas. Bob Fenner>

- Info about Tetraodon suvatii - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> Been reading your site for quite some time now, very informative on all aqua subjects....love your site ! :) I'm looking for more info on a puffer "Tetraodon suvatii", the arrowhead puffer/pignose puffer.  I tried google-ing your site or the web, but I couldn't find much info.  Have you had this puffer before? <No.> My LFS had 2 in, they sold one the first day. Then the other one was kept with a clown knife (4"), 4 red snakeheads (5") and 2 lung fish.  Yesterday when I went by to check it out again, it's now in it's own tank - he killed every other fish!!  Yeah, so....all I know now is that he'll be quite aggressive, no tankmates. <Well... I think like many things, your mileage might vary. Like most puffers, they will eat most anything that fits in their mouth, but for the most part are 'supposed' to be peaceful. Of course, the puffer might not have read the same books I did so...>  But I would like to know if they're freshwater or brackish? <Freshwater.> What temperature should they be kept in? <Tropical temperatures - 75-80F> ( my house is pretty hot during the summer, it could get to 29/30 C with just room temperature) And tank size? <As large as you please... seeing as this one might end up being kept singly, you probably don't need anything too large, a 55 would be excellent. These fish only grow to about 4.5". You might consider a sand bottom as these fish bury themselves to hide and wait for food.>  Kevin <Cheers, J -- > 

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