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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Compatibility

Related Articles: Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: Diodontids 1, Diodontids 2, Diodontids 3, Burrfish Identification, Burrfish Behavior, Burrfish Selection, Burrfish Systems, Burrfish Feeding, Burrfish Disease, Burrfish Reproduction, Puffers in GeneralPuffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True Puffers, Freshwater to Brackish Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Need to be kept with peaceful, non-aggressive feeders... to get their share of foods.

With Lionfish species?
Not a good idea... eat all the food, possibly the Lion/s. Maybe get poked...
Whack, bam, pow!

Moorish Idol; porc. puffer incomp.     7/5/18
I purchased 2 Moorish Idols after determining they seemed viable based on appearance and eating habits. After acclimation into the main tank, they were doing amazing.
<What are you feeding them, for how long have you keep them?>
After a short time, I witnessed my porcupine puffer bite directly onto the face/beak of one. By the time I ripped the lid off and grabbed something to interrupt, the puffer had caused a serious amount of physical damage to the Idol. His lips and such are missing. I separated the puffer last night as well as the injured Idol. I fully expected it to be dead this morning. To my surprise, it wasn't. Will the tissue regenerate?
<It will, in time>
Is it likely the porcupine puffer will strike again (attack the other healthy one) if released?
<Besides the fact that the Puffer is an aggressive fish and will “attack” again as soon as it is put back in the tank, I give you very few odds with your Idols as these are a very delicate species and in the best of the cases, will only live for a few months in captivity, even in the best of conditions. I am sorry to disappoint you but if you see these beauties for sale it’s because people buy them, not because they thrive.>
Thank you so much.
<You´re very welcome, Wilberth.>

My New Pufferfish/es; comp. w/ Muraenids    6/18/17
Hi Crew, your advice has been helpful in managing my tanks and your website is so full of great info! But I haven't seen this question, thus the question.
I am adopting 2 puffers. One is a porcupine puffer and the other is a dogface puffer. They will go with my snowflake and zebra eels.
<Mmm; am hoping the Puffers don't go after the Morays.... biting them, stealing all foods>
They are at least 6-7 years old and the previous owner had them 6 years.
They are both about 5 inches long. Do you thing they will grow much more at their age?
<Well, they can; given good water quality, food....>
Just planning for future tank size if needed because right now they are going into a 180 gallon. I also have a 300 gallon so I'm fine upgrading tanks if I need to, just trying to plan it out a bit. Thanks!
<Do keep your eye on all when you feed, or go by the tank. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis Angelfish     3/16/16
Hello there. I need some help with treating an eye injury in my porcupine puffer. He was totally healthy until yesterday. When I got home from work
I noticed him sitting in a little hiding spot in the rocks rather than greeting me like normal. I also noticed my Annularis angelfish being dominant to him (swimming into him and briefly nipping at his face - my puffer backed away). I haven't seen this before. I'm not sure if the Angelfish did this damage to my puffer or if it was monopolizing on the situation. Regardless, I put a 55L plastic bin with holes drilled in it in my tank (180 gallon) to isolate the pufferfish.
<Good move>
Puffer's eyes are cloudy white and have what look like injuries on them.
<How long have you had this puffer? Might be parasitic involvement here... Trematodes, possibly Crypt>
Sorry I don't have a picture. The whiteness is more on the bottom half of the eyes. The skin directly below the eye is also slightly damaged (white). It looks like the other fish picked at him (from the bottom
direction) over and over and injured his eyes/skin below the eye.
He was in isolation overnight. When I checked on him this morning he was pretty similar except the bottom of the eyes seems to be "sagging" slightly. He can't see well and bumps off the walls of the container, and
since his eyes stick out that's the part that keeps bumping things. I'm not sure how to keep his eyes from contacting the walls.
<Me neither>
I'm concerned about a secondary bacterial infection developing. Is there an antibiotic I can give him orally (he's eating very well) so I don't have to isolate him in a quarantine tank?
<None that are effective unless the fish is eating; can be introduced via foods>
Or, I do you recommend I quarantine him and treat the water with antibiotics or copper?
<? For what? I would not simply expose this animal, system w/o a purpose>
Please advise for the best course of action to help him heal and recover.
<The usual: Reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisF5.htm
see the linked files above? Disease by Category? Social, Trauma.... read
Very concerned fish owner.
<And the Angel and Puffer will have to housed separately. Bob Fenner>
P.S. Water quality:
180 gallon
76 degrees F
Salinity 1.0225
PH - 8.1
Carbonate Hardness: 15dkh
Phosphate = 0.25
Ammonia and Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0.3 (I did a 10% water change the night before his eye got bad - trying to bring this down).
Re: Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis Angelfish      3/17/16

HI Bob. Thank you for the prompt reply. I've done a lot of reading. Your website is a wealth of information!
<Ah yes; many hours have gone into WWM>
I've had the puffer for two weeks. The fish store I bought him from had him for a month prior and he seemed healthy (I had my eye on him for a while and they held him for me for a few weeks), so I'm skeptical that it's
a parasite, especially with how quickly this happened (in a 8 hour period).
<Well; I wouldn't discount the possibility entirely. Some do show up very quickly (clinically)>
For now I'll keep him in my main tank, but in the isolation bin and continue with daily 10% water changes to get the nitrates down. I've also kept the lights off so the tank is not so bright.
He is still eating great.
<A VERY good indication of health; recovery>
Do you have a recommended antibiotic I can feed him while he's still in my main tank to prevent a secondary bacterial infection, or will even edible antibiotics wipe out my biofilter?
<Some anti... microbials, -biotics more than others. I'd rather you soak, lace the foods with vitamins, HUFAs, probiotics... there are such prep.s available commercially... Selcon, Micro-Vit....>
I've been feeding him Hikari brand frozen clams on a half shell. Also bought some raw shrimp from the grocery store (mainly to feed my zebra moray eel) and sometimes the puffer grabs pieces of that.
<Mmm; Oh, see this below.... Please read on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning>
Are these okay to continue feeding on a regular basis, or do you recommend adding something else to their (both puffer and eel) diet to make sure they're getting enough Thiamine vitamin and not too much thiaminase?
<Oh! Yes... fish, fillet or whole small>
Crab leg pieces?
<Invite me over!>
Selcon soak?
The angel is going back to the fish store because this tank was set up specifically for my puffer. :-(
<Ahh; this is the better choice>
Thanks again for your time.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Web burr puffer mating behavior.      7/5/15
Thank you for taking the time to help me with my problem. I have a 700 gallon saltwater, fish only tank. I have a sailfin tang, yellow tang, blonde Naso tang, baby clown trigger,
<Yikes.... keep your eye on this fish... may turn very aggressive>

Fiji puffer, porcupine puffer, and web burr puffer. All parameters are healthy, ph 8.4, 76 deg Faren,
salinity 1.022.
<I'd raise this... see WWM Re>
For the last six months or so my web burr puffer has been acting aggressively towards the porcupine puffer.
<Happens; on an individual basis... puffers are like "Malawi" Cichlids in this regard... and like them, will often cease if crowded w/ more puffers>
He swims put to my porc, and places himself on top of the porc and appears to be trying to push him down. My porc gets angry, and they start fighting, and after the web burr gets bitten by my porc, he swims away. It is very unusual, and actually
seems like my web burr is trying to mate. My web burr does not do this with any other fish in the tank. I have had the porc for about 7 years, and the web burr for 4.5 years so they have lived happily together for many years.
I just do not know what to do or how to help.
<As stated, perhaps adding yet another Diodontid, Tetraodontid>
It happens regardless of whether they are hungry, the lights are on/off, salinity...I am really starting to worry because it is not getting any better, and I am afraid my porc is starting to get stressed and my web burr always has healing bite marks. Any suggestions or information would be very appreciated.
Thank you,
Mona Daneshi
<Do consider the addition; really; to diffuse aggression here. Bob Fenner>

Dying Naso tang... Dead Diodontid in sys.        2/5/15
Hi, I had a porcupine puffer fish die on me as he got stuck down my overflow pipe,
<Should have been screened>

I don't know how he managed to get in the overflow box and sucked into the pipe but I tried my best he was eating last night when he got stuck despite having been blown around the tank moments earlier. He had visible injury signs and I couldn't bring myself to euthanise him in the hope he may live.
<Likely poisoned the system (as Diodontids can/do); I'd change out most all the water, add chemical filtrants... you've read on WWM re?>
Anyway, this morning I woke up to find my Naso tang stuck up against a rock near where the puffer lay dead. I immediately fished the puffer out (we're talking about 6 hours since he last ate and I went to bed) he also got stuck to the power head but is swimming about well every now and then between breaks. I tried to feed seaweed and Spirulina but no luck. His tail has gone a funny colour at the end.
Can you see how it has gone black as well as yellow?
All the other fish are fine at present,
<At present>
a similar sized yellow tang is fine as well as the smaller fish. Do you think maybe the Naso has picked at the puffers corpse and become poisoned?
<Not picked up... the toxin is in the water. ALL are being poisoned>
Thanks for your time
<READ, understand, act. Bob Fenner>

My Porcupine Puffer     7/4/14
I read many concerns and responses about people and their puffers on your website and I'm curious, if I keep my puffer fish fed, will he still attack any other fish or anemones/coral I put in my tank with him?
<Mmm, most species, specimens, no. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer is ...poisoned? Another Siganid incident, incomp.     3/16/14
I have a porcupine puffer and a foxface Rabbitfish in a 110 gallon.
They both were doing great until last night. I heard a commotion of some sort in the corner of the tank.
By the time I got over there, whatever was going on was over, but my porcupine was puffed and sitting on the bottom of the tank. He is much paler than normal and now lays on his side on the bottom.
Did the Rabbitfish poison him? How can I fix it?
<Maybe... I'd separate these two of course... but really, just time going by, good care will see if the Diodontid recovers or no. Bob Fenner>
Please and thank you!

Porcupine Puffer, hlth., comp.     1/10/13
What happened to my friend "Hap"? I am so sad! He lives in my son's tank.
<Mmm, something/one's been "after" it; of there's been a precipitous drop in water quality...>
Today his eyes started looking hazy. Tonight he was swimming along and all of a sudden seemed to struggle then floated to the top if the tank with this "bubble" attached! It looks like there is a hole in his side!
<Yes; physical trauma>
 He is normally in an 80 gallon tank with a lion fish, a grouper, a star fish, live rock and small corals. I don't think he is going to make it through the night.
Jenni Edwards
<Number one candidate is the grouper... next, a poke from the Lion... perhaps just a bad run-in w/ the corals... this system needs to be much larger... You need to move the puffer now to convalesce. Bob Fenner>

Re: Porcupine Puffer    1/10/13
Thanks Bob. We moved him last night, but he didn't make it. I grew up "going fishing" with my Daddy in the creeks and lakes for dinner. Never thought I would get so attached to a darn fish!
But here I am feeling like I lost a good friend. Your site is amazing. I will learn from it and maybe get my own tank just for a puffer.  ~ Jen
<Real good. BobF>

Helping a friend; stocking     11/6/12
Hey guys, I recommended your site to a friend who started up a marine tank a few months ago but he was unable to get in touch because of computer troubles so he has asked me to get in touch, his query is could he put a harlequin tusk fish and a porcupine puffer in a 155 UK gallon tank?
<Should be compatible, fine in this volume>
His tank dimensions are 60x30x24, he has read through some of the FAQ's but would like to know before he went ahead and added them, do you think this tank have enough space for these fish, I read the tusk gets to 10 inches max and the puffer will get to 12 inches,
<About half this length in this sized system in captivity>
but I wasn't to sure if they would be ok or not, our tanks are the same size and I had said I would like to add a tusk so I think I've put him in the mood and he really wants one now but I get a lot of my info from your site so since you guys are the experts he would like to know what you think and would be glad of any info.
<You're welcome Steven. Bob Fenner>
Re: Helping a friend    11/6/12

Thanks for the reply Bob, I think my friend is happy enough with the news, the LFS told him they could fit in his tank but I've been down that road before and been sold fish that are way to <too> big for my tank and fish that I had no business keeping, bit you learn from your mistakes, I think that's why he decided to ask me as I'm always reading up on these things and I don't really go by what the LFS says regarding which fish to put in my tank, one thing I forgot to ask Bob was is his system big enough and have enough space for these fish to live a long healthy life with his other fish which are green Chromis, anthias, yellow tang and fox face Rabbitfish and a radiant wrasse or will they be cramped?
<Not too cramped>
Sorry for not asking this in my last email I was in a bit of a rush when I was sending it but I'd kick myself if I didn't ask and I'd rather he knew what he was doing and have a healthy system with fish that will be happy, thanks again Bob.
<Was in the UK this AM, now Paris... BobF>
Re: Helping a friend    11/7/12

Thanks again for your help Bob, he'll be happy to know he can keep these fish no problem then, 
<Well, not likely a problem I hope we can settle on>
 Again sorry for emailing you especially when your on holiday, hope you got to visit Ireland on your travels when in the UK, the weather's not the best <Had been up in York the last week... quite cold!>
but it's a nice place to visit as is Paris, but thanks again Bob, enjoy your holiday.
<Thank you Steve. Tara, BobF>

Mixing a Diodontid and Stomatopod!    3/24/11
I have an 8 inch porcupine puffer in a 90 gallon tank.....and in another tank I have a 7 inch mantis shrimp. I am wondering if I can keep these two together in the 90 gallon tank? Thank you in advance for your reply!
<Mmm, not a combo. I would try... Too likely the Puffer will prove too curious and end up getting whacked! Bob Fenner>
Thank you! I think I will keep them how they are! I wouldn't want my poor Spike (puffer) to get a good whackin!
<Me neither! Cheers, BobF>

Re: Spiny Burr skin advice, and now comp.    1/21/11
Thank you for the response which had made me feel easier about the health of my fish and hopefully help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.
<Welcome, and thanks>
In regards to the shellfish, I am offering this once weekly.
<Ahh, this is fine>
I stated in the previous email that the Burrfish was "my latest and final addition" but after a visit to my LFS I saw a Niger Trigger and a Dogface Puffer, which got my brain ticking. I have looked over the compatibility pages within your site and both fish appear to be compatible with my current residents, given appropriate space.
Do you think adding one of the said fish could work?
<The Dogface more likely than the Odonus>
or would space be an issue due to the forthcoming adult size my fish will reach?
<More likely temperament rather>
I also would not be adding to the tank until the Burrfish was back to full health.
Thanks again for your time.
<IF you get the Niger, do add it last. Bob Fenner> 

Burrfish in a Predatory Fish-Only tank 2/19/10
Hi Wet Web Media.
My Dad has a 125-gallon tank with a Coral Catshark, a Snowflake Moray Eel, and a Bass of some sort that we caught at Jones Beach.
<This tank is already overstocked. You will need more room as these fishes, particularly the Shark, get larger>
The tank is run on 2 box filters, 1 Sand-Shark internal power filter, 1 Cascade 300 internal power filter, 1 Fluval 104 canister filter, 1 Fluval 105 canister filter, and 1 Fluval 304 canister filter. A large amount of Cherrystone and Little Neck clams serve as biological protein skimmers.
<Not skimmers, no>
There is only 2-3lbs of Live Rock, as using live rock is something new to us. There is small hermit crab shell with 3 feather-duster worms of 3 different species, and Monti Cap, and a blue Zoanthid.
<Wow, you must be on top of water quality, maintenance>
Since the tank has very little action, we plan on buying a Striped Burrfish for the tank.
<I would not>
We've had multiple puffers of the family Tetraodontidae, and none of them have ever harmed the corals, but  the
Striped Burrfish will be our first puffer from the Diodontidae family. I'm worried that it will have different habits-will it harm the corals?
<Possibly, yes; and chew/bite the two bottom dwelling fishes>
Even more concerned about-will it harm the feather-dusters? Oh and what is the best food for it?
The fish in the tank are fed with Silversides and occasionally marine flake food for the bass.
<It must be small currently>
I'm not worried about the eel-it hasn't touched another fish in 5 years. The shark has always eaten other fish, as he is nocturnal, but has launched at the bass even while the lights are on. Will the puffer get stressed easily and hurt itself by blowing up if the shark launches at it?
<Might well spell the end for both>
I have read somewhere that Burrfishes are nocturnal themselves, but I'm not sure. Please help me out.
<You've obviously done some reading here... I would be remiss to encourage this placement however small the present occupants are... Do you have plans for larger quarters? Bob Fenner>
Re: Burrfish in a Predatory Fish-Only tank -- 02/19/10

Hello Bob.
Thanks for the help.
Yes we do plan on shifting up to a new size soon. At least 300-gallons, for the home-built wrought-iron stand we have is actually built for a 300-gallon.
<Nice project>
The problem is its hard to find one for free-my Dad drops off motor boxes to the local eBay store, and when something pops up that my dad can use, he'll be able to get it for free. Its how we got the 125gallon. Recently he
tried to get a 300-gallon and found 1, but it's side shattered. The clams are temporary until we can find a skimmer rated for 300-gallons in the same fashion. My dad works a little differently-he mixes salt straight into the tank and uses untreated tap water that has run for a minute.
<Gosh; please tell your dad that this was also my practice in the aquarium service business many years ago>
The eel is at
least 7-years-old, the bass has been growing quite fast, he's about 4-1/2 inches instead of 2 inches when we caught him last summer, and the shark is 17-inches and was bought about 2-years ago. When we move up to 300-gallon,
my Dad has plans on getting another shark after we go to 300-gallons-he specifically wants a banded bamboo shark egg. My dad doesn't test water chemically-he smells the water for nitrites and nitrate, detects the ammonia
<Mmm, I can sometimes detect ammonia olfactorily, but I don't know about the others>
by the amount of bubbles on top of the tank, and has never done anything for pH testing, but has lots of calcareous rocks, crushed coral for the substrate, and a few seashells. The salt-level, though, is detected with both a floating hydrometer (which also does temperature, even though the heater also has a thermometer) and a swing-arm hydrometer. The most recent puffer, a Blackspot dog-face puffer, never harmed the shark or the eel, or the invertebrates. Is the Burrfish different than regular puffers in these habits?
<Not really... Diodontids are just as "unpredictable" though>
Or is my dad's tank reversing backwards and the invertebrates should have been long gone with the puffer?
<Am surprised they are doing well with the bioload you list>
My dad has plans on the puffer and he's already been talking to the pet stores that carry them. If there's anything
that can happen that's really bad please let me know before me buys a Burrfish!
Thank you,
<Nothing "all that bad", other than setting up a crash... they can/do release toxic substances into the water if very upset, or worse, die and decompose w/o prompt removal. Again, I'd wait, add more filtration, circulation... and keep your eyes peeled for that larger tank. BobF>

Pufferfish with cleaning crew, as food items?  11/27/09
I am considering getting a small porcupine puffer,
<Hope it is a big tank because they don't stay small for long.>
but the thing is it will be in a tank with a sand bed and a cleaning crew of various inverts including some snails, a starfish some tube worms, and a urchin, possibly looking to add a shrimp or two (probably not possible with the addition of the puffer though).
<All potential puffer food.>
But I would expect that the puffer would eat all of these.
<Very well might.>
What I am interested in finding out is what would be a good cleaning crew to go in with the puffer fish, bearing in mind that as of now i so have some algae and deep substrate that will definitely need sifting.
<You might get away with some sand dwelling snails like Ceriths or Nassarius, but even these may end up as dinner to the puffer eventually.
Most effective cleaning will be you ultimately, most inverts will eventually end up being eaten by the puffer as it grows.>

Puffer ate my Chromis! & Stocking question 4/3/2009
Hello from Florida and thank you for all you do for the saltwater keeper community, I cannot tell you how many times I have had your website's search feature save me from making utterly stupid mistakes with my tanks.
<Hi Dante, thank you for the kind words. This is Mike, also from Florida.>
A truly wonderful website and a most knowledgeable and helpful staff of experts. I tried to find answers for my questions through the web and by reading 4 different books but just can't seem to find answers, so here I am risking asking a stupid question.
<The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.>
Here are my tank's basics:
110 gallon "tall" tank that is 48" wide and 30" tall.
120 lbs live rock
3" aragonite substrate
30% Water change every 2 weeks.
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5ppm
Temperature 78F
Ph 8.2
Additives: CaribSea Purple Up
Wet/Dry Filter with bioballs
In the Sump:
Coralife 125 Needle wheel skimmer
1.5 Kg of Seachem Denitrate
1 liter of Seachem Purigen
1 liter of Marineland Black Diamond
1 Polyfilter.
<Thank you for the detail, it makes it much easier to troubleshoot problems.>
26" Zebra Moray Eel ((Gymnomuraena zebra)
3" Porcupine Puffer (Diodon holocanthus)
5" Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
4" One Spot Foxface (Siganus Unimaculatus)
1- 0.5" Blue-Green Reef Chromis (Chromis Viridis)
1-1" Blue-Green Reef Chromis (Chromis Viridis)
Running for 4 months
My fish are quarantined by my LFS in a separate system as a favor from the owner.
2 weeks ago, I added 15 Chromis weighing the possibility of adding too many with the safety numbers provide from the Puffer and I ended up wrong.
I took the risk because in my opinion there just wasn't enough activity in the tank. Puffer ate 8 of them and gave heart attacks to 5, leaving only 2, one of which is one of the smallest ones. The 2 that are left swim in front of the puffer and all around him and he doesn't seem to care. Any insight as to why he has spared 2 of them?
<He hasn't gotten around to eating them yet. Do make sure you are feeding your puffer the appropriate foods, it can help with aggression issues.>
I really like the variety that the smaller fish bring, could I add 2 or three aggressive damsels, or would they also become lunch?
<Depending on the size and\or temperament, it is a definite possibility.>
Additionally, I cannot decide on what to finish stocking with. I like the Niger Trigger but it gets too large and would eat the Chromis, a Maroon Clown would beat up the Chromis or damsels (if I add them), a Coral Beauty angel or fire angel seem too delicate, Heniochus butterfly also seems too delicate. Another tang would fight with my yellow.
< I agree with, though a large enough Maroon Clown could probably hold its own, they are more aggressive than other Clowns and get to 6" in length.>
Those are the fish I've been looking at. Is there any possibility that any or some of them could work out well? I do not want fish that won't be active, hide, sit on the substrate all day, get too large for me to properly care for them, will eat my fish, or will fight with and kill my fish. It seems I may have to get rid
of the 2 remaining chromis and not get damsels to go the predatory fish route, or be super diligent and take a risk by going the delicate fish route.
<I would return the Chromis (if you can catch them)>
I am responsible for my current and future fish for being taken from the ocean and I want to provide the best care possible. Any suggestions at all would be wonderful. I am stumped, please guide me and help me avoid making a mistake with stocking my fish tank. Any other suggestions you may have about my setup would certainly be welcome.
<Any tankmates for a Puffer need to be able to defend themselves, unfortunately, this limits what you can put in with them. I think a larger Maroon Clown, perhaps a pair, without an Anemone would be appropriate
I am not fond of Damsels personally, I find they get too belligerent over time to anything, up to and including you.>
Thank you so much, and you have my greatest respect as the experts that you are. Thanks again for
providing such a great resource to us all.
<My Pleasure, do write back if you have other questions..
Re: Puffer ate my Chromis! & Stocking question 4/3/2009

<Hi Dante>
Thank you so much for such an incredibly quick response. I will try to remove the Chromis today and spare their lives. I will also have my LFS order me a maroon clown to start the quarantine.
<Very Good>
Just one more question. Am I correct in assuming that the other possibilities are out? In other words, the trigger gets too large and aggressive.
<Too big, Yes>
The coral beauty, and Heniochus are just too delicate & high maintenance, or would large ones likely do well? Would another tang would probably just create conflict with my current one, regardless of size?
<Not so much delicate or high maintenance, although some of them are, but more apt to get beaten up by the Puffer. The problem with adding another Tang is it will get larger - thus overcrowding your tank.>
I've read countless profiles and compatibility info as well as FAQ's and possible diseases on these species and that's what they seem to convey. I would really like more color and movement in my tank but don't want to doom a new addition due to my ignorance. Thank you so much for your help and support.
<My Pleasure>

Lionfish and Puffer 3/7/09 I am wanting to put a lionfish and porcupine puffer in a 75 gallon tank. <Really?> I read on your site that the puffer will eat the lions fins, <They can, will.> but I also read on your site that if you get them and the lion is bigger and you introduce them at the same time they are fine together. <Possible.> What do I do? <Fairly simple here, these cannot be kept together in a tank this size of tank. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm> ~ Cari ~ <Scott V.>

Lionfish/Boxfish Compatibility -- 03/07/09 Hello Crew, <Kevin> First off, love the site is a huge help. <Ah, good> Currently in the process of establishing a new tank. It is a 4x2x2 and will contain two ribbon eels and two dwarf fuzzy lionfish. <Mmm... Kev... Ribbon eels are very hard to keep... and Lions are too likely to spine/sting them...> I have spent a lot of time preparing myself and my tank for these two especially the eels. I have noticed that on the compatibility chart on LiveAquaria.com *linked from a previous FAQ* (www.liveaquaria.com/general/compatibility_chart.cfm) that the boxfish is compatible with eels and lions. <Mmm, somewhat... but not really... Like all "puffers", too likely to sample/bite both groups of fishes> I suppose my question is simply, how can this tiny little fish <Which species? Some Ostraciids get feet long> be compatible when everything I have read tells me the lion will eat whatever will fit in its mouth, which would be easily be the boxfish? Thanks in advance Kevin <I'd re-think this entire stocking plan... It won't work. Bob Fenner>

Solar Wrasse in a Puffer Tank  ~ 01/12/09 Hello, <Hello Jessy here> I am about to purchase a Solar Wrasse to replace my Coris that bellied up this weekend. <Sorry to hear. My Coris is one of my favorite fish> The question that I have, will the Solar Wrasse and my puffer get along? Right now I have a 30 cube with my porcupine puffer and a clown (soon to be upgraded to a 90 bow front)...The puffer has eaten a couple of fish when they were sleeping, he never bothered the Coris because he would ditch in the sand at night. I have read that Solar Wrasses do not go to sand but rather find a hiding place in the rock? <You are right that the solar wrasse sleeps in the rock and the Coris sleeps in the sand. I would assume that if the puffer can fit it in its mouth the fish will be in danger sleeping in the rocks. Just as all your other fish have fallen victim to the hungry puffer. It will be at your own risk that you add this beauty of a wrasse> Any suggestions would be fantastic. Thanks. Timothy N. Wells <Regards, Jessy> <<This system is too small for this Puffer alone... will very likely damage any other fish. RMF>>

Dog faced / Porcupine puffer, comp.  06/30/08 Hello, I have a 10cm dog faced puffer just finishing quarantine and going into my 900 gallon main tank. <Finally a Dogface puffer in a tank with sufficient size!> I have also bought a 25cm porcupine puffer which will of course be going into the quarantine tank once vacated by the doggie. In addition to the main tank, I have a 185 gallon tank on the same system. Will I be able to put the puffers together in the main tank or should I put one of them in the 185g tank? The main tank is very under stocked so there is a lot of room. <I am assuming your porcupine puffer is a Diodon holocanthus (?). Unless you have an unusually aggressive Porcupine puffer (or extremely nippy Dogface) they should get along fine in your main tank, especially since the larger fish is added last. I would certainly watch their first meetings and feedings, though.> Thanks again, James. <Cheers and good luck. Marco.>

Spiny Box Puffer and Radiata Lionfish, in/comp.  4/11/08 Hey folks, My name is Jordan and I'm new to marine aquariums but I learned early on that homework is a crucially important role in the well being and longevity of your fish and aquarium. <Hi Jordan, Pufferpunk here. Well put!> Anyway, I've been searching all over the web and I've so far gathered only speculation not much personal experience so here goes: Question: Are Spiny box puffers compatible with Radiata Lion fish? <I kept my juvenile Spiny boxfish (Chilomycterus schoepfi), with a dwarf fuzzy lion in a 40g tank & they ignored each other. As far as the Radiata lionfish , are you sure you'll be able to find one for sale? The Radiata Lionfish is not available in the shops as often as other Lionfishes and because of this is more expensive and highly sought after by saltwater hobbyists. Radiata Lionfish are very similar looking to the Antennata Lionfish (Pterois antennata) but is distinguished by the horizontal lines on the caudal peduncle. Lionfish in general are usually fairly hardy but they do need excellent filtration and highly oxygenated water provided through the use of powerheads and airstones. My other concern would be that Spiny boxfish have a poor rate of survival in captivity, due to most coming in with severe internal parasites (needing to be treated several times to totally irradiate them) & then getting them to eat. You may have a difficult time getting your Radiata lionfish to start eating also.> System Information: I have a 75 gallon tank with an Emperor 400 filter, 100 LBS of sand substrate (50lbs non live sand underneath 50 lbs of live sand.) 50 lbs of live rock. Will continue to add porous non-live rock. The tank is in day 6 since I've added the live rock. It is still cycling. I will cycle for about 3-4 weeks to allow for the die off to be filtered out and the ammonia levels to stabilize. My water clarity is crystal clear SG is at a stable 1.023 and pH is sitting at an optimal 8.3. Running a particulate filter and after week one I will add the carbon filter in addition to the particulate. I will add the live rock nutrients in week 2 to allow for better live rock health. <Not necessary.> I have a single runner light set up with a full spectrum fluorescent bulb. A foot long bubbler tube on the back glass of the tank centered behind the rock. <A freshwater HOB filter isn't generally on a marine tank, unless you want to use it for chemical filtration. I suggest a good protein skimmer instead.> What I'm thinking: Since the lionfish enjoys darker environments and the puffer fish enjoy brightly lit aquariums, I'd do a semi-opaque plastic insert in half of the bulb runner to dim down half of the tank. <Better idea: Radiata lionfish are nocturnal in the wild and like to hang out in caves and crevices so it's a good idea to try and replicate this in the home aquarium. Create a cave with the live rock in your tank to make them feel secure. Once they are acclimated to the tank and more comfortable with their surroundings they should come out more and hide less.> I was planning on having clown fish in the tank for about 2-3 weeks prior to adding the puffer and lionfish to ensure a stable bio system and that the tank is well established. <Not necessary if you are regularly testing the water. Ammonia will spike, then nitrite & after the nitrate spikes & ammonia/nitrite are 0, you can do a large water change, bringing down the nitrate & add your fish.> If it turns out that they will co-habitate well, I will add them into the tank together on the same day. For diet I was thinking of feeding them saturated brine or ghost shrimp (I've heard ghost are equally viable for marine or fresh water) for their staple. The only thing I can think of is that the puffer would eat all the shrimp before the Radiata would have a chance to feed. Also they will grow to similar size and the other fish that I would add would generally be no smaller than 4" ideally. <Live foods are a good start to getting these fish to eat, as this is what they are used to in the wild. You really need to get them onto more nutritious meaty (dead) foods (& crunchy foods, for the puffer's teeth) ASAP. This can be time-consuming, as you will have to bounce foods off a thread for each of these fish for some time, before they recognize it as food.> Also, in the future I will be adding more porous non-live rock into the tank to create more hiding places and even add a few slab rocks to allow for caves. <I'd get that decor (cave) set, before adding the fish.> The other fish I would add into the tank would be Damsels any non-aggressive species larger than 4" to avoid them becoming din-din for the Radiata or the puffer. <Anything smaller than the lion can become a potential dinner.> At smaller sizes I'm sure that the 75 gallon tank would be sufficiently large to cut down on territorial disputes. I am intending to upgrade to a 125/250 gallon tank a year or so down the road also. I generally do not want fish larger than 1 foot so the community would be a large community of 4-6" fish in exception to the puffer mayhap a second stripped burr fish (which I'm positive you know is the same thing as a spiny box puffer.) <My concern would be that the puffer can grow to a foot & will create quite a large bioload in any tank. I highly suggest plumbing in as large a sump as you can fit & include a well-functioning refugium. It is not recommended to keep 2 similar puffers together in the same tank. 1 spiny & 1 smooth (like a dogface) would be better.> I am looking for personal experiences more than speculation. I am looking forward to the feedback, as your site is very helpful. Thank you. <I recently had to give up my Spiny boxfish. I rescued it at a tiny 2' & knew I'd never have sufficient room to keep him. I have kept many, many puffers in my time & this fish was by far, my favorite of all time! The friendliest, most personable, CUTEST puffer, I've ever had the joy of having in my care. He never killed any of my shrimp, snails or crabs & never was hassled by the dwarf lion. Stating that, every puffer is different. Puffers are known for their constant fin-nipping, especially of fish with long flowing fins. Be warned'¦ ~PP>

Porcupine puffer (Diodon holacanthus) compatibility  3/9/08 I have a 6" Porcupine puffer that I've quarantined for approx. 2 months (he went thru a bout of ick but now he's cured). He is eating very well, very alert, and looks good. Question: I have a 500 gallon FOWLR tank w/ 700#'s live rock (w/ 160 gal sump with huge skimmer) with the following harmonious inhabitants - 3' Snowflake eel, 2.5' Zebra eel, 5" Gray angel, 5" Chrysurus angel, 5" Blueface angel, 4" Koran angel, 5" Rectangular trigger, 7" Guinea Fowl puffer, 12" Lionfish, 6" Bird wrasse, 8" Desjardini tang, 4" Vlamingi tang, 8" diameter Cortez stingray (rock bed elevated off sand bed by 6" throughout the tank's 10' length), and a 12" Broomtail wrasse. Do you think the Porcupine puffer would make a compatible addition? <I do> I know that nothing's guaranteed, and I've heard that these puffer types are susceptible to ick, but if everyone settles in and gets along, I thought the tendency toward ick would be minimized and this puffer would make a good fit. What do you think? Thanks in advance for your advice. <I am very glad... makes two of us, little doubt... that you quarantined this puffer. It should go fine with the animals listed, in this sized volume... Bob Fenner>

Chilomycterus antillarum (bridled Burrfish) compatibility -- 03/07/08 Hi Crew <Rob> I have used your site for many hours of research and have even asked a few questions so I am hoping you can help me out. I recently acquired a Bridled Burrfish approx 3 inches long <Wow, small> he was at the LFS looking very sorry for himself with a very concave abdomen, my wife who is a veterinary nurse felt sorry for him so he was duly bought home to live in a 500 gallon (UK) . He is feeding well and actually tells you he is hungry and will practically eat out of your hand!!! <Yes... intelligent fishes (Tetraodontiforms)> Anyway my question is (well my wife wants to know) is can we get another of these fish as there was still one at LFS who was in slightly better condition but whom my wife is worrying about. We have read up about compatibility with other fish but cant find anything about two burrfish living together thanks in advance. Yours Rob Hill <Two should be fine in this volume, starting at this sort of small size. Bob Fenner>

Sick Porcupine Puffer... maybe poked by a Lion, reading    9/28/07 Hi, I have a 100gal. tank with a porq puffer(3 in), <Will need more room...> 2 yellow tang, and a sm red Volitans lionfish. The lion (King) and puffer Dave) seem to be best friends and are always around each other. Over the past few days i have noticed Dave hiding a lot and only coming out when its time to eat, but my main concern is two spots or regions on his sides that seamed to have just appeared. The spots are about the size of a pea and one is light grey and the other is dark grey. <Mmm, might have gotten poked by the king> the spots look as if his skin is dying. I have checked my water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph...ect) <No such word... etc., short for et cetera res, is Latin for "and other things"...> and they are all fine. I have since put him in a QT and i am wondering what I can do to help him or what is wrong. Also all the other fish are fine. Thanks <... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisFAQ2.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Problems Feeding My Lionfish (Puffer/Lionfish Incompatibility) -- 05/08/07 Dear Bob, <<Hello Jason...Eric here this A.M.>> I recently acquires a Lionfish and a Porcupine Puffer. <<Neat fishes...though not really compatible>> My problem comes in at feeding time. <<Indeed>> The Puffer eats everything I put into the tank so the Lionfish doesn't have a chance to eat. <<Just one of several reasons these two species do not do well together in typical home displays>> Any suggestions as to how I can distract the Puffer from taking everything away from the Lionfish?  At one point the Lionfish was ready to suck in a prawn  and the Puffer practically took it out of the Lionfish mouth.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Jason <<Obviously, the best solution is to have these fishes in separate systems.  Failing that, you can try fabricating/inserting some type of divider (a piece of acrylic sheet) at feeding times to 'corral' the Puffer away from the Lionfish to give the latter time enough to feed.  Do also keep an eye on these two, especially for signs of fin damage on the Lionfish as sooner or later the Puffer will likely begin to chew on its tankmate..  Regards, EricR>>

Coris, Porc Puffer comp.  - 1/22/07 Hi there! <Hey, Gary! JustinN with you today.> Can you please confirm or refute the following statement.  It will go a long in deciding if a Red Coris wrasse would be compatible with my porcupine puffer.  Thanks! <Ok> "Any fish or animal ( including a Red Coris) that buries in the sand can inadvertently be bitten by a puffer. It is their natural feeding/hunting instinct to blow the sand at night and look for food. Many buried wrasses have fallen victim to a puffer's teeth". <Confirmed, my friend. -JustinN> Gary

Porcupine Puffers (Diodon holocanthus) and selecting compatible wrasse    1/5/07 Hey guys, <Hey Gary!> I'm looking for a wrasse that would be compatible with my porcupine puffer. <Porcupine Puffers (Diodon holocanthus) may nip or attempt to eat smaller active fishes.  I would avoid smaller wrasses such as Fairy (Cirrhilabrus) and Flasher (Pseudocheilinus) wrasses.> Would a Lunare wrasse be a good tank mate with my Porc?   <Yes, I think this would be an appropriate choice, assuming this is a fish only system and your tank is at least 75 gallons.> The Lunare wrasse is beautiful and has lots of personality, but it seems that they also have a bad reputation as a nasty fish.   <Obviously there are many variables.  But I think as long as the Lunare (Thalassoma lunare) is not housed with smaller fish, or fish that are similar in shape and size it should be okay, but it goes without saying that any new introduction should be carefully observed for any type of problems.>    Thanks for your advice and guidance.   <Welcome, good luck!  -Mich> Gary

Adding Puffer with an Aggressive Fish  1/3/07 <Hi, Pufferpunk here I have had my hippo tang (Dory) in a 125gal FOWLR tank for over a year now.  She  is 6-7 in long, eats like a pig, & gets along with everyone in the tank, including a Foxface, Naso tang, Achilles tang (who will be traded as soon as I can catch him for chasing the Naso), flame angel & Lamarck angel.  I added a 4 in Porc puffer a couple of days ago after he finished his stint in the QT.  The main part of his diet consists of frozen or freeze dried krill which he eats with gusto.  When I feed him in this tank, Dory the Pig wants in on the action and tries to take his food & nips at his tail.  My puffer doesn't like this too well & hangs out in his own little cave most of the day, until feeding time, but swims around freely at night.  Is there something I can do to make feeding time easier on my puffer or will Dory chill out when she gets used to the newcomer (or he bites back)?  Thank you. <Your puffer will grow to 12" requires a minimum of 100g of room for himself. Adding more fish, would require a bigger tank. Adding him to a tank with an aggressive fish is a bad idea.  They don't swim as well as more streamlined fish.  They like a quiet, non-aggressive tank to live in.  He may always be bothered by Dory & might eventually stop eating if having to constantly compete for food.  Also, a consistent diet of krill will cause nutrition deficiencies, causing lock-jaw in puffers.  He must be fed a varied diet of crustaceans: squid, clam. oyster, shrimp, etc.  You have a decision to make here...  ~PP>

Porcupine puffer? Feeding, comp., sys.  11/12/06 I have a 75 gallon wet/dry w/sump have 3 damsels 2 purple tip anemones and 1 coral rock that comes to look like flowers moving then goes back into the rock  I have 45-50 lbs. of live rock in the tank also, I want to put a Porcupine puffer in there about 2-3 inches long, everyone tells me the porcupine puffer will kill my coral and 2 anemones, is this true? <Is a possibility, yes> I asked before I purchased them if I could put that with a porcupine puffer before I bought them and still now they tell me I can, can I ? also a pet store will not! sell me the porcupine puffer fish  they have had for 1 week now, they tell me they don't know if it ate or not, then they put live shrimp in there, the puffer looks at it , but he won't eat it, then he goes up and down  the side of the tank? is there a reason for the up and down up and down the tank? is it sick? or maybe wants a different food? <Might be reacting to its reflection... see WWM re Diodontids and marine puffer feeding...> my water is osmosis, the nitrates and ph and everything is good, but I want to add the porcupine without it having any problems. thanks, ICE <Will outgrow this size system as well... If it were me/mine, I'd look to other species. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer? Feeding, comp., sys.  - 12/29/06
<Hello, Mich here.> happy to announce I have 2  porcupine puffers and they get along well with each other and all my other fish and don't bother anything yet   lol <"Yet" being the key word here!  -Mich>

Porcupine Puffer Compatibility - 8-14-2006 Hi. We were wondering if you could help us with the planning phase of a new tank. <<I shall try!>> We did check the forums, but could not figure out for sure if this mix would work together. We are moving to a new home and are going to be acquiring a new 180-gallon tank with sump to replace the current 55-gallon tank. Currently we have a porcupine puffer (2 1/2"), devil damsel (who is actually very passive), <<May not be with age.>> Domino damsel (who will be returned), a globe urchin, and a hermit crab. The puffer is quite passive and has not harmed the inverts (although we are prepared for the possibility). We are trying to figure out what to mix with our current collection. We were thinking of a lunar or green coris wrasse, coral beauty, flame angel, yellow tang, and a regal tang. Would this all work together? <<The angels will likely fight, as may the tangs, or all of them with each other.  Do be sure to add them at the same time to have a chance at peace.>> Our Puffer's safety is paramount to us and we do not want to add anything that will harm him. <<He is quite small now.  For him to 'rule the roost', allow him to grow some.  Also be aware that he poses a threat to your other fish.>> Do you think that this would be enough fish, or do we have room for more? Do you have any suggestions for what else we could add? <<I personally like species tanks for my puffers, but perhaps a school of Chromis.>> Thanks for all your help, your web site has been a great assistance to us. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Pam & Tobe

Ptereleotris evides (black Dartfish)  immunity to Porcupine Poison?   7/16/06 Hi, <Hello there> the question I have is short, the reason is not. I will add the reason just in case I am on the wrong track. <Okay> Q. Having trawled around the Web & your as always excellent site I cannot confirm a suspicion, If the Black Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides) is known at all, to be resilient or immune to the Porcupine Puffer's toxin (released when stressed)? <Mmm, don't know> The reason for this question is that this morning I woke up to a tank of dead fish. The porcupine puffer was stressed but the two black Dartfish were fine. <Interesting... could be that they were the smallest... had/have the largest percentage gill surface area... more sedentary/less need for dissolved oxygen...> Tank: 90ukgal - 3 year old Filters Fluval 404 on spray bar, Fluval 304 & LAC 828 Vecton UV15 sterilizer Deltec MCE 600 (considering changing due to bearing noise problem) Lid houses 2 T5 lights & Marine blue Live rock, 3/4" to 1" sand, no corals RO changes Water quality spot on bar 1mg/l Phosphate (before water change) Fish established 1- 3 Years: 5" Pink tail Trigger - RIP Cleaner Wrasse - RIP 4.5" Blue Cheek Goby - RIP Two 4" Monos - RIP 4" Sailfin Tang - RIP 5" Birdnose Wrasse in final transition from female to male - RIP 5" Porcupine Puffer - now RIP Two 3.5"-4" Black Dartfish - fine (now, just incase, in other marine tank) Circumstance: On light feeding last night I noticed two light rocks out of position (dislodged) - so I repositioned. This morning I awoke & found all but the puffer & Dartfish dead (Pinktail was floating). At 80 degrees F & a topped up water level to the spray bar, <He's likely the one who was "bothering" the puffer> I initially wondered about oxygen depravation. <Me too> After a couple of phone calls once the dead were removed, I setup a hasty water change & did 30% approximately 40 min.s later. <Good move> As my one available QT tank was set for freshwater due to an ongoing ammonia problem in my Discus tank (due to a piece of wood in the inlet tube of my Eheim Wet/Dry making it run low - still awaiting it to cycle as do daily waterchanges) & the other QT tank is rearing toadfish; I shot down to my LFS and got some more carbon media. When I left the Porcupine was still stressed, when I got back he was slightly puffed up & RIP. On removal he was coated in slime (I assume another toxin release) & the same rocks were dislodged again. <Strange about the rocks...> So far I assume a toxin release (some of the RIP fish were agape - & fairly quick after feeding last night as two out of 4 defrosted frozen shrimp were still left; a big oddity), but to my amazement the Dartfish were fine/happy??? Taking no chances (I do anything to help my fish) I transferred them into my reef tank (open topped with 6" rise above the water, I will be watching for jumps till I can be sure of the other tank). <Good> I am told the carbon should clear up the toxin now, but still wonder about the tough little Black Dartfish. <Me too> Any input would be greatly welcome/appreciated. Ed <It may well be that microdesmids are more "immune" to tetradotoxins... or perhaps it was/is something to do with gaseous exchange at play here. If it were me, mine, I would likely change about all the water out of the contaminated system... for general purposes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ptereleotris evides (black Dartfish)  immunity to Porcupine Poison?  7/18/06
Hi Bob Fenner, <Ed> Cheers for the reply. Water is being changed + new carbon (again) & new PolyFilter (told it would be a good idea - certainly no harm). <Agreed. Bob Fenner> Thanks    Ed

Puffer and red Volitans   03/07/06 Hello, I have spent many countless days/nights searching through your site, and i believe now it is unavoidable* (at least i think it is) but to ask you the ?  is there anyway i can keep my porcupine puffer with a Volitans lionfish.  <Not a good idea. Have seen done (successfully and not) many times... but two real problems. One that the Puffer might bite (but good) the Lion, and more commonly that the Lion will have great difficulties feeding with the Puffer there...> I personally did not choose the combination but my wife who went to a certain (very educated I must say, educated as most common betta owners) LFS name specific PetCo, <"It's the people, not the store name"> no need discriminate etc., but anyhow i have a Volitans with a porcupine and i am wondering if there is any way that i can make them coexist, i understand its the porcupines nature to nip at long fins, so i am looking for a way to sell the Volitans, or provide a comfortable (safe) environment for both of them.  The tank that the Volitans and the porcupine are in is a 75 gallon <Will ultimately be too small for either> with a divider in the center (estimated 37.5 gallons each) far to small for each of them individually. In other words what actions can i take to give them a happy environment? <Really? Two larger tanks... see what we've both written above> (in addition i have tried to sell the Volitans but there is not a high demand in my area) any help/suggestions appreciated Ryan <Classifieds, Craigslist... signs up at the local fish stores, a call to local marine clubs. Bob Fenner>

Longspine Porcupine Puffer Q 8/24/05 Hey, I have some questions on Longspine Porcupine Puffers. I have looked through so many books.. first most of them don't have info on Porcupine Puffers, but they do other ones... okay getting to the point... I wanted to know if a Porcupine Puffer could be reef safe. <Define "safe"... can/will eat most any sedentary invertebrate... and fishes for that matter... big waste producers...> some books so not recommended... others say "caution", mainly because they eat inverts.. ok (sorry about all the info) but I was also told just keep an eye on clams. (which I have). Well to my point once again... I bought a porcupine Puffer today and put him in my Reef tank, b/c his tank isn't ready yet. and so far he's just swimming around... up and down the glass. He hasn't touched or bite anything yet.. so I guess I see tonight if he nips at clams.. YAY for me.. but ok.. wanted to know if you think they can be reef safe.. and if not, why? Thanks for reading what I had to say, and please respond when you can, Thanks a lot, Steph <Bob Fenner>

Hungry Puffer 8/15/05 Hi.  I have a 55 gallon FO tank.  I have a porcupine puffer (4-5 inches now) who has eaten my two damsels over the last week. <Happens...>   I also have a percula clown and a small yellow tang.  I added the puffer about 6 months ago and at the time of purchase was unaware how large it would get. <Pays to investigate...> I then figured I would keep it until it outgrew my tank. <... dismal> Maybe that time is now.  I really don't want to return him to the LFS but it may be in the best interest of the remaining fish. <Yes... and the puffers> I have been feeding the puffer more in hopes of keeping his mind off the clown.  Will this work? <To some extent... but all are likely mal-affected by declining water quality as a consequence...> What do you suggest?  Also if I do return the puffer could I replace him with a Niger trigger <Not a good choice, your system is too small, the fish too aggressive> or would he go after the clown too?  I hope to upgrade to a larger tank (125 I hope) in about a year. Would he be OK in a 55 until then. Thanks, Chris <No... Enjoy investigating your choices... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer problem... just crowding 7/18/05 Hello, I have 2 porcupine puffers they are between 5 and 6 inches long in a 50 gallon tank. I have had them since they were 2 inches long and now they are fighting a few times a week. Is this normal???? <Mmm, yes> Is it a feeding issue? I feed them frozen krill everyday. Can you help? Thanks, Tony <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffersysfaqs.htm and on to and through the linked files at top where you lead yourself. Your animals need much more space... and to be separated... Bob Fenner>

Fish Computability 7/9/05 Hi, Sal here. <Me here, I think...> I am going to be setting up a 75 gal. fish only aquarium and I have a question what kind of clownfish would be compatible with a porcupine puffer? <I've had a larger maroon, and later on a sebae with mine for several years, with no problems.  In my experience, porcupines leave clownfish alone> Also if nothing what do you recommend for fish space? I have heard many different rules, but is it 1in. of fish per gallon, or is it 2? what are your recommendations? <Using "inches per gallon" is a horrible way to determine stocking capacity.  What you need to look at is the adult size, and the bioload.  The adult size of a porcupine is pretty large, topping out at a potential 20", but more commonly around 12" in an aquarium.  You're going to need a much larger aquarium as your fish grows.  As for tankmates, I really wouldn't put a lot else in there, as your porky will be very active and messy!  Also, when emailing us please use proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar as these responses are archived for future viewing.  Thanks - M. Maddox>

Too much flow for Burrfish? Bob, <Louis> Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions.  After thinking about my system and the welfare of its inhabitants, I finally decided to trade in my puffer, Burrfish and both eels.  It was becoming apparent that my tank ( a 117 gallon) was too small to house these animals, and I don't think that I will attempt to keep a puffer or Burrfish again unless my tank is a 240 gallon unit or one of larger capacity. <You are wise here>   It was pretty sad to do, because the Burrfish was a great fish, as was the dogface puffer.  Based on my experience with trying to keep both of these fish, I would have to advise people to not keep these two fish together in a tank. <Me too... never seen in close proximity in the wild...> The dogface, at least mine anyway, is too timid a personality to compete with the aggressive Burrfish, and I think that the personalities clashed causing stress on the dogface.  He hid in a cave quite a bit. <Bingo> I am now changing directions with my tank, and I plan on keeping soft corals and gobies.  I should be able to provide a suitable environment for these small fish and other invertebrates like clams and shrimp.  I will send in a picture when I feel that the tank is successful. <Real good> Thank you for your guidance. Lou <Thank you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer Hi, I purchased a porcupine puffer yesterday and seemed to be doing great in my tank . He appeared to be getting along with all my other fish which include: dogface puffer, yellow tang, hippo tang, Huma trigger, maroon clown, and a copperband butterfly. the porcupine is the biggest fish in the tank now. this morning I noticed that my maroon clown's fins are all frayed and looks like he has bite marks, the yellow tang's top fin is frayed and his white spine or spike is broken, and the hippo tang's spine/spike is broken as well. is it normal for a porcupine puffer to be this aggressive? <<Well, I'm not sure I would use the word aggressive, rather the word opportunistic comes to mind. For starters, these puffers are quite active at night, when most of your other fish are wedged into a nook with their tails sticking out. Next the puffer is quite a curious fish with a fondness for food, so they will sample just about anything they find, including their tankmates... just in case they want to be food. Is quite typical.>> will this behavior continue or is it just cause he is new to the tank? <<I would predict that the behavior will continue.>>  Thanks, JPK <<Cheers, J -- >>

A Tale of Tails Happy New Year, Bob! I have noticed something peculiar occurring with the 2 Banggai cardinals in our tank. Both of them have mysteriously lost about 1/2" from their tails, one on the upper portion and one from the lower. The Christmas wrasse also seems to have had a little of his tail nipped as well.  Based on the listing of our inhabitants below, I am curious as to whom you think may be the culprit, and if I need to be concerned. All three fish seem to be eating normally, and, except for the tails, have good appearances and behavior. We do notice the squirrelfish chasing the wrasse quite a bit, but the squirrel seems to chase many of our fish, including the cardinals and the Anthias.  Here are the inhabitants of our 95-gallon tank: 2 Banggai cardinals, 1 blue hippo tang, 1 yellow-eyed (Kole) tang, 1 squirrelfish, 1 clownfish, 1 Christmas wrasse, 1 porcupine Pufferfish, 1 flame hawkfish, 1 coral beauty, 1 female lyretail Anthias and 1 Foxface Rabbitfish.  Also, I am thinking about adding a longnose hawkfish and a pair of Banner Butterfly (Heniochus acuminatus). Do you foresee any problems with adding these three fish based on our current inhabitants? Any possible problems between the longnose hawk and the flame hawk? Thanks, Mitch <<Hmm, off-hand I'd suspect the Puffer... these can be wily and nippy in the cover of night... The new possible additions should go... and maybe even lessen inter-species aggression by crowding... And the two Hawks should strike a balance in your size system... If it were me, I'd start that Puffer on a steady diet of Krill (frozen/defrosted). That should take his mind off his tankmates tails... And if I were you, I'd start saving, planning for your next (reef) tank... where you can move the more peaceable animals to... as you are mixing a wide range of behavioral types... and seem ready for the personal evolution. Bob Fenner>>

Crowding Large Marine Puffers, other fishes together Hello, I've got a question about adding a new fish to my tank one day this week I am going to be getting a Mappa puffer and I was wondering how should I put him in my tank with another puffer. My other puffer is a stars and stripes and he usually don't get along with other puffers. I think the only reason they don't get along because the last puffer I tried I just adjusted him and put him in what other way should I go by doing this? <I hope this is a very large system, relative to the sizes of these Diodontid puffers... they can be mixed but the bigger the tank, the better. Please read over the sections on "Acclimation", "Dips, Baths" posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com, and consider placing a transparent (acrylic panel, sturdy, chemically inert netting...) between these two puffers for a few days... and being around when you remove it for the day to watch them> Have you ever seen the mappas do fine with other puffers because this is only a 125. The other fish is an Asfur angel and an assasi trigger. I talked to the guy at the marine center and he said he wouldn't recommend the one they have their now because it probably wouldn't last with any other fish like that is that usually true for the mappas? <If these puffers are small (four inches or less) for now (they get MUCH larger) I give you better than good odds for now... you will need a much larger system in future> The angel has been finning my puffer is what it looks like because the angel goes up next to my puffer then my puffer just takes off swimming is this stressing out or hurting my puffer? <Probably not helping it...> What should I do with the angel? <You need a larger system> Do you think he will be a problem? <Get a BIGGER TANK, or trade your livestock in for smaller species> What could I do to stop this? What other fish would you recommend in my tank for now it doesn't matter how big they will get because I will have a bigger tank with in about a year and a half? <This is too late... too long. Read over the livestock selection, survey materials on the WWM site, invest some time in reading current reference books on marine aquarium keeping, join a marine hobby club in your area, attend hobby conferences, develop a relationship with a local "marine" guru who can help guide you, join the hobby listservs (they're free) on the internet and browse them and their archives daily... open your mind to the possibilities, probabilities, potentialities of what you're doing here.... Would you like to live in a ten by twenty foot "world" with three, four other large animals? Trade these animals in... or provide them with what they need to live in the way of space, etc...Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility Hi Bob, I recently found your site and have been spending many hours reading the FAQ's section. Your definitely a first rate source for info. <Glad we have found each other> I'm setting up a 125 gallon Sea Clear system II as a fish only tank. It has the optional skimmer installed as well as 8 24" mixture of actinic, trichromatic and 50/50 tubes (Which it came with). <The skimmers on these units are puny... I would add another> I also installed a UV sterilizer for as a extra measure. The live stock I currently have are 1 blue damsel, 1 yellow tail damsel and 1 Long spined porcupine, and just about 20 pounds live Fiji rock (I plan to purchase more in a few weeks). Question 1: Will the addition of a Naso Tang, 3 Yellow Sailfin tangs, 1Emperor Angel, and 1 Percula clown be a good mix for the livestock I already have? <I would place a smaller species of Angel... perhaps a Centropyge or Genicanthus species> Question 2: Will the addition of a Copperband Butterfly eat brown glass anemone? <Likely yes... but do wait for your new live rock to cure before trying one of them... not easily adapted to changing conditions> as well as mix with the other live stock I plan to purchase? <Yes, it should> Question 3: Will a orchid dotty back do well as a later addition to the tank as well as eat bristle worms? <Possibly, but you're getting to a crowded state here with these animals growing...> Question4: What supplements other than (Kent) Calcium (for the LR) should I use for this tank? <Possibly an alkalinity booster...> Any help from you will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Steve- <You're well on your way. Keep studying... the more you know, the greater your enjoyment, appreciation and expertise at the interest will be. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish Compatibility Dear Bob, Please help me identify the "could be" reason why my porcupine died. I bought him from a reputable fish shop about five days ago along with 20lbs. cured Fiji LR, I made sure to acclimate him in his plastic bag to my system water for about 15 - 20 minutes (the pet shop were purchased is only 10 minutes away)`, then slowly added my tank water to his bag. He seemed fine. All my water parameters are good with the exception of high phosphate, which I recently added Hagen "GREEN" phosphate remover filters (I added tonight after he died). This morning he was fine, he ate and was swimming around normally. (The past 5 days I have been feeding him frozen brine and a bit of flake) I was going to start feeding him frozen krill as well. Tonight around 6pm I noticed he was breathing sporadically and his spins were a bit erect, just enough to notice. The porcupine soon started to look like he was "chocking" the he completely puffed up and then he died. His tank mates, 2 damsels, did not harass him. Could he have had some sort of parasite that caused this? I don't understand why he died. Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Steve <Very sorry to read of the loss of your Puffer. From what you relate, it does seem that this specimen was adapting well to its new home... I don't doubt the possibility of some sort of internal problem, parasitic or otherwise. More likely is the consequence of capture, handling from the wild... and even greater the chance that this specimen ate something in your system it shouldn't have (like a rock, hermit crab, shell...). You might want to dissect/have the animal dissected if this will grant you peace of mind. Otherwise, I would not be dissuaded from trying another in this system. Bob Fenner, who refers you to the Diodontid puffer FAQs on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more.>

Re: skipped the clown trigger Is there a non-invertebrate sand-cleaner that would come survive my Huma trigger and Holocanthus puffer? <A few family choices here... Look at the Mullids, Goatfishes. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock, Nitrate I am very new to saltwater tanks, and I have a few questions. <Okay> First off I have a acrylic hexagon tank (about 18 gallons) with one porcupine puffer, about 4.5 inches long, and one blue damsel. The porcupine puffer is a very messy eater and the damsel doesn't seem to help much. <Not "its" job> Do you know of any small scavengers that wouldn't be eaten by the porcupine puffer? <Not really... in this setting... the size, shape of the tank... are too limiting... it's too small for the puffer alone in reality> I have about 1.5 pounds of live rock. I was wondering if it really does remove nitrate from the water, and if you would recommend getting more live rock. At what nitrate level do you recommend doing a partial water change? Thanks, Ariel <More live rock would help, and I would do regular water changes (likely 20-25% every two weeks, with pre-made water... Please read over the following parts of our website on water changes, puffers...:http://wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm, http://wetwebmedia.com/water.htm And live rock, nitrate FAQs...Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffers I assume that Bob is out diving now (I'm so jealous, maybe next time he would pack me in his suitcase  <Do have some pretty good size luggage...> so I can go too!) so this is for Zo. <Not to pre-empt that bad boy, but am not outtahere till tomorrow AM...> I good friend of mine has her heart set on getting a porcupine puffer fish. We have been tank and accessory searching and she has found a 54 gallon corner tank that she loves. It has a built in overflow with holes drilled in the bottom of the tank. Is that an ok shape for a puffer or do they need more side-to-side room?  <Should be okay for a couple of years> I told her that she needs a heck of a filtration system as puffers are very messy eaters and she has decided to get some live rock for biological filter (we know that the puffer will snack on it but she doesn't care much about inverts right now) and a really good skimmer, maybe an ETSS or such, opinions?  <All good ideas... but the skimmer, I'd save a few dollars and settle on just a HOB model like a Turboflotor, CPR Bak-Pak or Aqua-C Remora... or something equivalent> And finally she would like the puffer to have a tankmate. Maybe a trigger, or an angel?  <A tang would be better... like a Yellow, Zebrasoma flavescens... not a trigger, too mean... and large... and the Angel would likely hide in this size system (could only have a Dwarf variety due to volume)> She wants to do this right and I want her to be successful as I have been with my little 46 gallon.  <I will help you... this is my desire as well> Thanks for any advice you can give. As always, keep up the good work,  Olivia Guthrie <Please introduce your friend to our site (www.WetWebMedia.com) and have her contact me if she has questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer/herbivores I have a year old, 45 gallon marine tank with a Porcupine Puffer, a tomato clown, a Cheekspot wrasse (I think) <Does it look like Halichoeres hortulanus pictured here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm> and about 25 pounds of live rock. I'm running a Fluval 302 canister filter, a 9 watt UV sterilizer, red sea hang on protein skimmer, and two power heads for circulation. I need herbivores! About 2 months ago I lost my yellow tang to ick :-(. I'm not sure I want another, the one I had was so aggressive and territorial! I'm planning on going to my LFS this weekend to get a hippo tang, (this tang is less aggressive and territorial then the yellow?), but thought I would check with you for a second herbivore that will go with my current livestock. <For small algae of most kinds consider a Tang of the genus Ctenochaetus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm> Eventually I would like to get a bubble tip anemone for my tomato clown, and possibly a snowflake eel. I would like to keep the tank load light, and keep my algae under as much control as possible. I toss in about 15 hermit crabs every 3 or 4 months, but they end up as midnight snacks for the puffer, and the wrasse too probably.  <Yes> I have tried to keep turbo snails and Astrea snails, but for some reason they just keep dying. Is this common?  <Under some circumstances> Is the puffer eating these too? <Very likely> Any advise you have will be much appreciated. <Read here re algae eaters for marine systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm and consider the species listed there. If this is mainly a "filamentous algae concern" get one of the two blenny species listed... Also, peruse the "algae control" links/sections... there are many ways to curtail pest algae in captive systems. Bob Fenner> Rebekah Dupre

Diodon holacanthus, appetite for destruction!! Hi Robert, my newest addition to my tank is "Canth" a 4" Diodon holacanthus. He's terribly cute, even without his tail. I must report however that his last problem would be eating!! He's successfully taken out half of the pajama cardinal fish population(2 fish) in one day, this a mere 24 hours after eating about 7 goldfish (bad combo I know, I thought they'd be too big for him). He's also tried so far unsuccessfully to devour everything else in sight. Rocks, fingers, decent sized yellowtail blue damsels, tomato clowns, and any unlucky feeder fish who ventures into the system, no one seems safe. He's a strange, yet endearing little character, who has been known to puff up (very much unprovoked) at will, and perform all sorts of aquatic acrobatics. In short, I'm in love, but I can't stand the thought of devoting the whole tank to this ferocious little angel- faced demon. What short of some large pelagic marine mammal will be safe from that ravenous appetite? (Also I'd like him not to loose any more body parts of his own). Thanks for the insight. -Ben PS: for your peace of mind, the rest of his peace loving tankmates are going back to the pet store tomorrow (those who make it through the night anyway) <Mmm, this does appear to be an extreme case of a puffer "eating everything, everybody"... sometimes over a period of a few weeks, such individuals will "slow down" and learn to take just certain preferred foodstuffs... otherwise, it's the "Bass and Triggerfish" possibilities for tankmates... fast, smart, otherwise unpalatable life that can/will not be eaten. Some examples of this more tough fare can be found under "Bass", "Triggerfish" on the WetWebMedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

Puffer vs. Puffer Hello Bob, I'd like to thank you for all of your help in the past and hopefully you can help once again. Just got a dog face puffer and introduced him into a tank with a Niger trigger, porcupine puffer, Koran angel and bird wrasse. He's half the size of the porcupine and the porcupine has been taking advantage of this. He's bitten him numerous times and the dog face has big round bite marks that look like outlined circles on his skin. He has places to hide and has been doing just that. Its only been two days but he's been beaten up pretty badly. He still makes attempts to come out from hiding but one look at Mr. Porcupine and back to his hiding place. Do you think that he can survive in this tank?  <Likely not... once this sort of "bullying" is established, puffers can be merciless, unending in their heckling... A mechanism for assuring forage between/amongst similar-niche using species. Unless you have a huge (hundreds of gallons) system, I would separate these two immediately> If so, is there any medication I can give him to help him heal from all the bites? <Best to soak the animals food in a liquid vitamin supplement. Perhaps try one of the popular "tonics" like Aquarium Pharmaceuticals "Melafix". Puffers do have amazing "powers of regeneration". Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Ben Ventura

Fish Compatibility <Anthony Calfo here in your service> Can you keep a Burrfish or porcupine fish in a twenty long <tank is too small for either one of these fish alone... Burrfish are not at all hardy anyway... please do avoid> with a fire goby, scissor tail goby and a purple Firefish, <in most parts of the world... the above listed fish are considered "bait" for Pufferfish. Please consider a good marine aquarium reference book to help you through the wonderful maze of questions you have as a beginner. Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine aquarist, Dick Mills The Marine Aquarium and Mike Paletta's The new Marine Aquarium are all good choices to start with> some other like shrimp and crabs in a reef tank if so what species and any special requirements? <none of the fish you mentioned above are suitable beginner fish... I'd recommend you start with more durable fish at first like clownfish. Anthony>

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