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FAQs about Puffer Compatibility

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

Related FAQs: Puffer Behavior, Puffers in General 1, Puffer Identification, Puffer Selection, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Sharpnose puffers may be small, but they can be feisty, biting machines. 

Triggers... Some... always a risk... With Clams? Maybe as food items. With Lions and other sedentary Scorpaeniforms? May well get nipped, stung, even eaten. With Anemones, other Cnidarians... not unless the system is huge, the stinging-celled animals expendable.
With "Clean up Crew Animals?" Yummy!

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>

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>

Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12
Dear all,
I have a beautiful, 6 inch dog face puffer fish in a 400 litre plus tank with two bird nose wrasses (one male, one female) and a spots and stripes puffer.
<Yikes... this tank size is just about minimal for the first three... but the latter needs more than twice this size just for its self ultimately>

  They have all shared the tank from new for approximately six months without any real issues.  For reasons above my expertise, I encountered what I think was a PH crash that contributed to a flare up of Ich.
<Happens; environmental (along w/ nutritional et al.) issues are often triggers of such outbreaks>
  I have been treating the whole tank using the hypo salinity method, raising the temperature to eighty-two degrees.
<... see WWM re. This approach works very rarely>
 I have gradually reduced the temperature back to the optimum levels now and I am happy to report all fish have responded well. A couple of days ago I noticed that the dog face puffer had started to display aggressive behaviour towards the other fish and also toward me when approaching the tank.
<I suspect the sub-clinical Crypt presence is irritating this fish>
 I have had to segregate him from the others to reduce the risk of injury to all inhabitants.  I have covered his section of the tank to allow him to hopefully settle down.  Can anyone offer me some clues as to what may be going on as I am not a fish psychologist and cannot figure out for the life of me why his temperament should have changed so dramatically.
<Well, puffers, actually most all members of their order
(Tetraodontiformes) are "unpredictable"... can/do "cross the line"...>
Salinity is currently 0.011, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Ammonia 0, PH 8.1, Temperature 79 degrees.
Kind regards
&<I encourage you to read (on WWM, elsewhere) re other approaches to Crypt treatment... perhaps boost all's immune systems, add a useful treatment to foods (quinine compound/s)... The hypo is hard on the fishes and won't eliminate the parasite. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

Thank you very much for your quick response.  I have now (today) started the slow arduous process of increasing the salinity back to optimum parameters, but the fish in the first instance seemed to have responded extremely well, no spots on body for near on two weeks (not to say they will not reappear as I have read several times to maintain low salinity for 3 to 4 weeks) and all seem perkier.
<A three-four week exposure to "lower" specific gravity shouldn't mal-affect most marine fishes; longer I wouldn't do, but have friends (e.g. notably Lance Ichinotsubo, co-author of a recent book on marine fish health/disease, and owner-operator of a aquarium service co.) who do keep their spg low all the time for their non-invertebrate saltwater systems>
However by the time I have raised the salt back it will have been approximately that length of time so here's putting the theory to the test.
I did however combine this with two fresh water dipping sessions in Cuprazin to try and get rid of the little nasties on the skin but since this contains copper I did this carefully and with a great deal of reluctancy, hence only two dips. With reference to the tank ( not to shoot the shops (deliberately plural)), this was the size they recommended I was also going to have a porcupine at the time but decided against it due to their temperament (sounds like a good job I did). I have read many of your blogs in my pursuit for knowledge and yesterday read some correspondence referring to a book that you have written.  Could you please provide me with the title so I may make a purchase.
<I have penned a few, but the one you refer to is almost certainly "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist"; the only such in-print work I've been involved in that went to a second edition>
 I have just two questions remaining at this point. Firstly even though I have read many reports regarding the effectiveness of hypo salinity why do you consider this to be of no use?
<Mmm, not of "no use", but disappointingly of very low "success rate"... In almost all cases, the Cryptocaryon et al. return in time>
Secondly but more importantly what size of aquarium would you recommend for my little ones as I feel reluctant (the spots and stripes is only 3" long at the moment, and I am being generous at that) to let any of them go and do not really fancy multiple aquariums (my living room is just not big enough I'm afraid).
<IF planning on keeping this large Tetraodont for the long/er haul (years), I'd be planning on a 200 gal./800 litre for a year or so from now... and something even larger still for years going forward. I have seen this species attain eighteen inches in length in captivity and two feet in the wild. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

I have managed to locate your book, it was really easy to find too.  Will be purchasing one today.  Can you recommend the best reference options available to date for diagnosing disease ( in particular puffer) or is there  a section dedicated to this in your book as this is not detailed in it's description?
<Mmm, yes. Ed Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment". Pricey in print, but am given to understand it can be downloaded as an e-book for reasonable cost. BobF>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    9/25/12

Thank you for your assistance thus far.  I will also purchase this item too. Mr. dog face seems to be more settled today. I am beginning to think that his tantrums predominantly seem to relate to feeding time as he normally interacts with all his tank mates very well. Since he has been separated from the others he no longer needs to compete for food, hence an upturn in his temperament is being observed.  I suppose time and further observations will tell. This little chap has always been happy to see me and eats from my fingers on a daily basis. He also seems to enjoys a tickle or two when I am cleaning the tank which includes sitting in my hand, aah!
I really hope he returns to his former self soon as I miss the interaction.
 I will be looking for a bigger QT tank than I currently have as a more permanent back up in case he starts to behave aggressively again when placed back into his usual quarters.  It would be a shame to permanently isolate him though.
Any further comments you have will be greatly appreciated.
<None at this time>
Kind regards
<Cheers, B>
Re: Dog face puffer aggression    10/1/12

Thought you might like an update on my dog face puffer.  He has now been returned to his tank mates and the salinity is being progressively increased.  I am pleased to say that his tantrums ( probably not tantrums) now seem to have subsided and he is feeding from my hand again.  He looks a lot happier now.  I have been feeding all the fish with a multi vitamin and happy to report that to date no signs of Ich can be detected on any fish. I would like to thank you for all your support during this stressful time.  I would also like to ask if you could recommend a tropical fish book for my daughters boyfriend as he has also acquired the fish bug and has just purchased a 3" tank of his own.
<Mmm, there are a few: For freshwater I take it? Please refer him to here:
For marine, I'm partial to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist">
 I am not too bothered about the price as quality of information is of more important. I would like to give this as an Xmas gift.
<Ahh! Excellent choice. Bob Fenner>
Karen B

Puffer stung by a lion fish treatment 9/23/11
Hello Gang,
I have a question that is more of general interest that actual experience.
A number of people have requested aid for their puffers because of a lion fish sting. I KNOW this combo is not a good choice, but was wondering what the treatment would be. In humans it is heat / hot water. Would that work with fish for a "dip"?
<No. It works on humans only to the degree heat denatures the proteins that make up the poison. It isn't a cure as such, and reduces rather than stops pain.>
Or would it just add to the trauma?
<Assuredly yes. The heat required would "cook" the Pufferfish.>
Any thoughts on secondary infections and antibacterial treatment?
<Yes; don't combine the two species. They don't belong together and aren't safely kept together. If you keep them in separate tanks you should find things work out beautifully. Couldn't be simpler.>
Thanks in advance
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Puffer stung by a lion fish treatment 9/23/11

Hello Neale,
Does that mean there is no known treatment?
<Not for a stung fish, no. Even for humans, it's a case of pain management, and the fact we're that much bigger means we're less likely to be permanently harmed or killed by Lionfish venom. The fact Lionfish shouldn't cohabit with Puffers has been firmly established now, and while the combination has surely worked on occasion, experienced aquarists recommend against it. Accidental stinging isn't the only or even main problem; feeding is. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Puffers and Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, comp... as food    1/23/10
Hello All,
Quick question for you guys/gals. In a 100 gallon tank can Puffers of any variety (tank size appropriate of course) be kept in the same tank with a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp with out fear of it being eaten?
<Not really, no. Shrimps = pufferfish food. Kind of like grass and sheep, gazelles and lions, or ramen noodles and teenagers. One eats the other.>
Maybe if it has plenty of crabs and snails that it could eat it would be ok?
<Good luck on that... you'd be adding crabs daily to keep up with the average Arothron appetite.>
Puffers are my great love however I worry that my Cleaner Shrimp will meet his end. Your thoughts are trusted and respected greatly.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Greetings and Happy Holidays to the Crew!
<Hello Audreylee, and the same to you.>
I have a 10 inch long Stars and Stripes Pufferfish who first of all does not interpret a white flag as a sign of surrender.
I tried to clean the front of my tank with a simple wet washcloth and his spikes began to show and his size increased. Simple word of warning to Puffer owners. But I am in need of removing very unsightly (and still a little meaty) clam shells from my aquarium. The rest of my fish are primarily herbivorous and have shown no signs of helping me out. I've been shopping and have been unable to find suitable gloves to protect the little bit of my hand that goes in with the net and when I try to put seaweed clips in my aquarium. The sort that are thin plastic are easily to find but I need something that will GREATLY reduce the chance of a rather bloody looking aquarium.
<I am not aware of any glove that is 'puffer resistant' and would not leech either metals or other potential toxins into the water. Simplest is not to use gloves at all, but rather keep your hands out of the tank as much as possible. I would suggest aqua-tongs:
They come in different lengths and are very useful in getting things out of the tank easily.
Also a fan worm question, will my puffer eat the largest of fan worms? Half an inch in diameter or more?
<Yes, and then beg for more.>
<We have a small section on bites here for you to peruse.:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/woundbitef.htm >
Thank you!
<My pleasure>
Re: Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Thanks for the fast reply!
<Hi Audreylee>
After reading the bit of information there it spurred a question into my head. Supposing I do get bitten doing whatever, how do I best coax my puffer to let go of whatever he bites?
<Generally, they will let go on their own (and with puffers, taking a small piece of you with them). That said, the worst thing you can do is to jerk your hand away quickly - that will only make the bite worse.>

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.>

Compatibility - triggers, puffers 05/30/2008 Hi Guys, <<And ladies I hope....Andrew with you this evening>> I just have a quick query; your website has been really useful but I just want to ask something specific. I'm considering a marine FOWLR setup. I have fallen in love with three fish, and I just wanted to know 1. would they get along and 2. what sort of a tank size would best fit these guys (I'm guessing pretty big, but would like to see if it is within price and room!) The fish are a Pinktail trigger, a narrow-lined puffer (Arothron manilensis) OR dogface; both are cute, and the last is the fuzzy dwarf lionfish that's just too... fuzzy to resist. Could these three ever get along and in what size of tank? <<Three very nice fish indeed. I don't see any problems with the puffer and the trigger in a tank of about 200 gal plus ( they both can get pretty large, especially the trigger, which can reach about a foot, sometimes a little more, and about 3/4 of a foot for the puffer, in captivity)...I would not add a lion in with these due the to the aggressive nature of them, and I feel the Lion would ultimately meet its demise through harassment>> Thanks a lot in advance, your website has been such a great resource Jo <<Thanks for the questions, please do read more on these species here, including linked articles and FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/melichthys/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrochirus.htm Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Puffer with cleaner wrasse, incomp. 05/14/08 First off I love your site and the great information you provide. My problem is that I was given a dog face puffer without the luxury of having my QT tank set up. I wasn't planning on any new fish so it is in the garage. I acclimated him over the course of an hour and he was fine going in. The other tank mates merely swam over to check him out then went about their business. That is, everyone but the cleaner wrasse. I have had him for over 2 years and he does a great job in my fowlr. Any cleaner shrimp would be toast with my SF eel, niger and blue throat triggers. The wrasse won't leave him alone and he is starting to turn dark and act stressed. <One of them has to be moved, stat.> I built a wall of sorts on the back side of the tank for him to hide and turned off the lights. At last look he was very dark and staying on the substrate. I know that puffers have sensitive skin but can he withstand the wrasse? <No> I really don't want to get rid of my wrasse ( even if I could... he is some kind of fast ! ) but I don't want my puffer suffering from an overzealous cleaning. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks ! <Move the puffer, trade it, give it away. Bob Fenner>

Tank Troubles, Porcupine puffer aggression, 5/12/08 My porcupine puffer is too aggressive he and the snowflake eel have lived in peace for a while now about 9 months my LFS told me a powder blue tang is aggressive enough to hold his own in this tank. I am working on getting a larger tank (150) but the tang seems to be taking a beating and has a few scrapes on his face. He has been removed from the tank for now but what is the best treatment for his scrapes? <Good water quality and high quality foods, watch for secondary infections but otherwise I would let it heal on its own.> I am worried because the worst of them are on his mouth. Thanks for any help you can give them. <If this aggression continues they fish will need to be separated permanently. Depending on the species the 150 may not be large enough, some species commonly referred to as "Porcupine Puffers" get HUGE.> <Chris>

Puffer Problems and Overstocking 3-4-08 I have been looking on your website for two days and I got some information, but I was hoping if I tell you the story you might have a more clear answer. I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with about 120 pounds of live rock. I have 2 maroon clownfish 1 Sweetlips 1 lawn mower blenny 2 sharp nose puffers 3 green spotted puffers 1 yellow tang 1 anemone 1 Foxface 1 dogface puffer and lasting 1 porcupine puffer. <First things first…This tanks is incredibly overstocked!! Half of this list would be more applicable. Second, you never ever want to combine anemones with puffers due to their curiosity and tendency to nip at things that spark their attention. One nip to an anemone can be the end of a puffer. > I just moved the tank last month and have had some trouble with the nitrate level since, as of today my levels were, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, ph 7.8 and nitrate 80. Off the charts almost. <Due to overstocking.> That being said, two days ago I introduced a new porcupine puffer into my tank. <Was he quarantined first?> It was smaller by about half. I noticed the new one was chasing my OG around the tank and I said I would give it overnight and if they were not getting along by then I would take it back. <Combining multiple species of puffers will most often lead to aggression. You have 4 different kinds here, so there are always going to be problems unless you remove some.> The next morning (yesterday) I found my OG puffer breathing very heavy at the bottom of the tank, he was not responsive to my touch or net. I removed him from the tank and put him in a bucket with a pump to get him more oxygen. This seemed to work as he perked up and started swimming and got his color back after about three hours I put him back into the main tank. That is when I noticed he was running into things, first he went to the top of the water line and gulping air, then calmed down but still is running into stuff, his eyes are moving around but he can't see. I put him in an iso net as I don't have a hospital tank right now. I am using ich-attack and MelaFix right now and I have done a 30 gallon water change tonight. <Ich isn't his problem and medicating unnecessary will do more harm than good seeing as puffers was very sensitive to medications. I cannot stress enough about quarantining new fish before adding them into your main tank. New fish, especially porcupines carry parasites and other diseases that can harm or kill your other fish. You need to see about getting him into a quarantine tank a.s.a.p. Do 50% water changes in your main tank every other day for at least a week. I would see if a local LFS can take some of the fish out of your tank. I know it will be hard to part with your friends but if you do not lower the bio-load then they will surely perish. Your high nitrates are due to too much feeding and not enough water changes. The reason why the puffer responded positively when you removed him from that main tank is because it was like a breath of fresh air for him. Placing him back into the bad water caused him to go bad to feeling bad again. I think once you remedy this water and overstocking situation, things in your tank will be much better.> Please let me know how to help him he is my favorite fish. Thanks so much for your time. <You're welcome and good luck. ---Yunachin> Holly

Lionfish got bitten by a puffer 01/22/2008 Hey crew I like the web site very informative. <<Hello, Andrew here. Thank you for the comments>> I got a 29 gal saltwater tank for Christmas I let it sit and run for a week before I got any fish. <<Did you cycle the fish tank? This process usually lasts for around 4 - 6 weeks>> I have a aqua clear filter, a crushed coral base, undergravel filter and a single powerhead. Also a couple of dead rock, a single 2.5 lbs live rock, and various plastic plants and, a plastic log in it. I got a Volitans lionfish, a chocolate chip star first. <<Unfortunately, the lion fish will be too big for your tank, I would advise a tank no less than 50 gallons to house this>> Great fish love them. Everything is fine with the tank so far has had 2 water changes, and is awesome. Well now I got a black clown fish on Friday, and he is adjusting well and the lionfish don't seem to mind him either. Well today I got a puffer , big mistake there, read online that they are fin nippers, but was told by LFS that it would be ok. <<Hmmm.. the things they will say to create a sale>> Well unfortunately I got to watch as my lion was harassed, and eventually got a fin nipped, so my question is, will the fin grow back? <<Providing good water quality and diet, yes>> It is a long fin that got nipped down to the first red band. I feel so bad about it too. I have the puffer separated in a 5 gal tank am calling the LFS in the morn to see if I can exchange it for something else. But I figured if any one knew you all would any info you can give me in this matter would be very appreciated thanks. <<Would need to know which puffer it is you have. I think your making the right decision to take this fish back for your tank size, not suitable. I would also, as mentioned above, either exchange the Volitans or provide a larger aquarium>> <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Re: lionfish got bitten by a puffer 01/22/2008 Hey Andrew thanks for the info. <No problem at all Sara>> It was a porcupine puffer, and I know the tanks to small but will have to do for now. Here soon I'm going to get a 40 gal going and move the fish to it and set my smaller one up for a small reef tank, but eventually I will have a 50 gal for the lionfish. I named him Simba btw. I'm glad to here that it should grow back, and once again thanks for the info, its good to know you guys are here to ask, and that you know the answers to our questions. <<We all enjoy helping and do our best, glad we could help.. Simba...hmmm...reminds of The Lion King. Convenient..>> <<Thanks and all the best. A Nixon>> Keeping Puffers with Clams? No Way! 11/26/07 Hi all, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 65 gallon tank, currently with a Volitans and blue spotted puffer (I know a new tank is in my future). I was wondering if there were any tricks to train a puffer to leave my crocea alone? Clam is about 5-6 inches and puffer is 3inches, lion is about 4 inches. Normally my puffer just picks at the rocks but has just recently started picking at my new clam. I love both tank inhabitants and would hate to have to get rid of either so any help would be greatly appreciated thank you. <Clams are a natural food source for any puffer. Puffers are not puppies, they cannot be trained to leave their yummies alone. One of the 2 will have to go. ~PP> Tag from Doodles & Daydreams

Which puffer for these triggers?   4/21/07 Hi everyone, I would firstly like to say what a truly fantastic website this is - after many hours of searching on the internet this really does seem to be the best source for reliable, detailed information. <<Why, thank you.>> I am about to purchase a 100 gallon tank, and intend to put a clown trigger, and a Picasso in there. However, I was intending on firstly putting in a puffer, although I'm not sure which type would be aggressive enough to stand up to the likes of a clown. <<Your tank is just too small I'm afraid.  The clown gets to 16", and the Picasso to ~12".>> Thank you very much, Gerald. <<Glad to help. Lisa Brown.>>

Re: Which puffer for these triggers? 4/26/07 As I have not yet purchased the tank, could you please recommend a more suitably sized set up? <<It is always best and FAR cheaper to make a purchase of a tank that can house your fish for life right away.  This prevents you from *buying up* the tank, will help prevent stunting from the get-go, and in your case ease aggression.  That said, the clown alone needs at least 135 gallons, add the Picasso and another unknown puffer into the mix, and I wouldn't go smaller than 300 gals, likely larger.  Please know that mixing these predators may or may not work in the long run; best to add the clown last.  Lisa Brown>> Puffer and BTA as Tank Mates?  4/18/07 Hi again, <Hello, Brenda here>   I had another question, this one about my Saddled Valentini Puffer.  He lives in a FOWLR tank with a fuzzy dwarf lionfish.  I have been considering a BTA, and the puffer tank is the only one without corals so it seemed to be a good choice for the anemone. <Puffers and anemones should never be kept together.> I have read that every puffer is different and some may not pick on coral and inverts but others will.  I know that my puffer will eats snails, but there have been polyps and 2 small mushrooms that appeared on the rock and he has never bothered those.  I guess my question should be:  Is there some way to know if my puffer will kill a BTA without just putting one in there and waiting to see? <It is safe to assume here that it will nip at the anemone.> I would rather not risk the life of the anemone without some assurance.   This might sound stupid, but what if I put a fake anemone in there and see if he chews on it?  (don't laugh)  I'm hoping that you have a better suggestion. Carrie <My only suggestion here is to avoid this combination completely.  Brenda> Puffer Eating Serpent Star 4/13/07 I may of missed something in the compatibility area but Ill ask anyway.  I have a puffer fish new to the tank and a serpent star a big serpent star lovely tank cleaner. <Not for long most likely.>  Tonight we saw the serpent star crawling and noticed the tips of his arms were missing or broken.  Does the puffer usually do this or is he just being aggressive or what. <The star is a nice easy meal.> My main question is the puffer really doesn't seem like he's all that interested we tapped on the glass and he kind of strolled away calmly and then came back nipped and swam away slowly.  Any insight would be welcomed specifically on the decision of do the brittle star and serpent star leave the tank all starfish leave or are they fine.  Thank you for your reply. <The puffer will likely consume most/all invertebrates that it finds.  Is one of their food sources in the wild.  Will likely need to be separated if you want to save the stars.> <Chris>

Hello/Goodbye to shrimp, snails... with SW puffers, sys. mostly I guess     1/14/07 Hello I wrote a few months ago, I just wanted to say Thank You and that I have a 75 gallon tank 3 1/2 foot wide with 45lb. live rock 1 maroon clown and 3 damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp and 5 turbo snails. <Ok> I got 2 baby puffers 1 month and 1/2 ago and they seems so far to get along with all my other fish <fishes> and; also I have 2 anemones and 1 coral flower rock <? Not sure what exactly this would be..>, My puffers play with all my fish and love the cleaner shrimp. <What species puffers are these? Your tank is woefully small for the adult sizes of most marine puffers...> I do have 1 question, I was wandering why sometimes I get brown stuff I think called red slime on my glass ?   <Brown and/or green algae on the glass, or 'diatoms' are not the same as what is known as red slime algae, or Cyanobacteria. If this brown is only appearing on your glass, then this is normal and to be expected. The easiest solution to this is to purchase a magnetic glass cleaning device. Cyanobacteria typically infests sandbeds and rocks, as well as glass and pumps... just about any surface it can get itself onto! Oftentimes Cyanobacteria is a sign of a tank cycling through its normal algae phases, or a coupling of over feeding and under circulating. Read here for more information on Cyanobacteria, to determine which your tank contains: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > I put the turbo snails and it seemed to work well so far, my water is perfect other than the nitrates being just at the okay level, already done a water change with osmosis. <Okay level doesn't really tell us much. Real numbers are more important here. If you are testing with some sort of dip strip test kit, go ahead and ditch it. They are notoriously inaccurate.> is there anything I need to know at this point, Is there more I should know to maintain good water quality and health for my tank? maybe add something else or should I just maintain for now? <You don't mention what type filtration is provided on your aquarium, nor how much flow is maintained. If you don't already utilize one, a vegetable refugium/filter is always a great, beneficial addition to a tank, which not only increases filtration and stability, but also provides the benefits of addition of more water to the running system size as well as providing a safe haven for microbiota. Another worthy addition, if you don't already have one would be a quality protein skimmer. Beyond this, just executing standard water changes, and monitoring testing results should be sufficient.> thinking about getting a turbo sterilizer, Is this a good thing to get? <There is much conflicting information regarding UV sterilizers and marine tanks. My personal recommendation is to save your money unless you find an absolute need for it.> Thanks ICE <Hope I've helped you here! -JustinN>

Evil Clownfish!  1/6/07 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Have been a big fan of your website!   <Thanks, me too!> I just recently introduced a stars and stripes puffer about 3 weeks ago.  I also have a tomato clown that does not seem to want to leave him alone.  The tomato will charge at the puffer and hit him and then the puffer will roll over to his side and this just keeps happening all day long.  What should I do to make the clown leave the puffer alone?  I don't want the puffer to get to stressed out to where he gets ich.  Please Help!! <Not only will this effect your puffer's immune system by stressing it out but it will probably stop eating (if it already hasn't).  I had a clown with my puffers & it chewed their tails to a stub!  I suggest finding another tank for the clownfish to live in, if you want to keep the puffer.  For more info on puffers, go to www.thepufferforum.com  ~PP>

Re: Mixing in a Moray - 11/02/06 Hi Bob, <<Eric here, stepping in for Bob who as you might be aware, is out diving the globe with "off-again on-again" net connectivity>> Thanks for the reply.  Was also wondering if a 210 would be too small for a Tesselata or could he live comfortably in it even when he reaches full size? <<Would be fine for a while, but these eels can exceed 10 feet in length (becoming very aggressive in the process)...it would warrant more than a six-foot tank at maturity, in my opinion>> Also how do you find puffers (dogface in particular) get along with lions?  Some people say they do great and others say the puffers just chew all their spines off and beat them up.  I know puffers like to pick at things but in general do they get along together with lions? <<Not a good mix.  I see many instances where hobbyists are having problems with lionfish, and lo and behold, there's a puffer in the tank>> Thanks again for any info you can help me with. <<Pleased to share.  Eric Russell>>

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

Flounders and Puffers, not  9/28/06 Crew,    <Ben>   I have a question concerning with flounders. Will puffers pick at them like they do with stingrays? <Yes> And do they need a sugar-fined sand bottom? <Is best for most captive species, yes> They need the requirements like stingrays do right?    <Similar, yes. BobF>   Ben

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 stung by Lion? Happens   6/11/06 Good Morning Crew! Two days ago my daughter was watching the tank and told me, "Mom, the Lionfish just collided with the Puffer and I think it got stung." <Yikes...> and I thought nothing of it. I came home yesterday and this is what my Puffer looked like (see attached)! <I see it, but can't move, place... is a write-protected .pdf...>   It is a 100 gallon tank with a  Queen Angel, <This species needs more room...> the Puffer and a Dwarf lion, <Not compatible... as you now know> all small juveniles about 3 inches. There is also a 1-2 inch mantis shrimp in the tank from the live rock.  Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrates about 15-20. It has been established about a year. Could it be that the Lion stung the puffer or maybe it had an encounter with the mantis? <Could be either>   Is there anything I should do for the puffer?   I thought about Epsom salts, but there doesn't appear to be any swelling.  He is acting normal (other than avoiding showing me the wounded side) and eating like a pig as always!  Thanks guys (and girls!) <The Epsom might be about the best idea... but at this point I would just hold off. The Lionfish should not be housed with the puffer. Bob Fenner>

Arothron and SPS - 5/2/2006 Hello All, <<Hello Craig.>> I am interesting in purchasing an all black Arothron nigropunctatus to place in a 200 gallon tank (after a vigorous 4 week quarantine period) with my other fishes. <<Sounds nice, and it's nice to hear QT!>> All my other fishes are reef safe, and my bioload will not be upset by this fish. <<OK<> Once he has been acclimated to his new diet (four daily mixed pellet feedings of Thera+A and Vita-Diet from two different auto feeders; 3 times weekly homemade frozen with Mysis, Cyclop-eeze, Natu-rose, Spirulina, Selcon, vita-chem, Nori, krill, plankton, squid and clams; live Mysis and copepods from refugium as well), I would give him at least 6 months to love his new diet. <<Do be sure not to over feed, and offer plenty of crunchy foods to wear down his dental plates.>> Then comes the idea that I have been playing around with--adding two or three different colored plating species of Montipora capricornis and a nice yellow specimen of Porites cylindrica (I do have the proper lighting and more than enough water movement).  I would appreciate any comments on chances of success, or modifications to improve on any chances of success.  I do not have to have these corals, but they are my favorite and it would be great to add them to my tank with all of my marvelous fishes. <<Corals and puffers together is always a gamble.  Some will chomp them to bits, others will never touch them.  The entire family is quite curious, and will sample/chomp on many things.  My best advice to you is to watch closely, and be prepared to choose one or the other, should a problem arise.  You may have better luck adding the Arothron after the corals, as to not highlight their addition/existence.  Also note that shrimps, bivalves, clams and such will more than likely fall prey to the puffer in no time.  All that said, ultimately it is up to the fish how tolerant/intolerant they are, and if you do decide to go this route, it's your job to be prepared to remove the puffer or the corals to other proper accommodations if need be.  Good luck my friend!>> Thank you for your comments.  I appreciate your time and knowledge. -Craig <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Puffer Compatibility - 3/21/2006 Hello <<Good Morning!>> I was wondering if I could keep a Valentini Puffer, Green Spotted Puffer and a Stars and Stripes Puffer together in a 50 gallon saltwater aquarium with live rock, sand and crushed coral.  Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks. <<No, these puffers get too big to house them all together in a 50-gallon.  The GSP needs 30-gallons MINIMUM alone, and I personally think a 50-gallon is much better for a single GSP.  Lisa.>> Puffer/boxfish/lionfish - 3/6/2006 First off I would just like to thank all of you at wetwebmedia for having such a great website with every possible answer to every possible thing which has to do with what we all love most, fish. I'm sure just about everybody asking you a question compliments you on your site, so I will get right to my points. The majority of my questions have probably already been answered. I have a 75 gallon set up right now with a nice 6-7 inch long lion fish (about 10 inch wide fins) and a Striped Dogface Puffer (still rather small 3.5 inches) My first question is how would a 5 inch Spiked Boxfish be in this aquarium? <<Absolutely not.  Your puffer needs a MUCH larger tank as it is.>> I talked to my nearest saltwater store and they said it would be a good combination, mainly because all 3 fish tend to be slow moving and not aggressive towards fish that cant fit in their mouths. <<Most puffers find lionfish fins too hard to resist.>> My next question deals with feeding My Lionfish. Can I get by with just feeding him live ghost shrimp? Along with live brine Shrimp as well? <<No, both of these foods are very poor nutritionally.>> I am asking this because as dumb as I sound, I really don't like taking a part in having other fish be killed even though it's what happens in nature. I would just feel better off letting him eat live Ghost/Brine shrimp instead of Guppies/Mollies. I have Guppies and Ghost Shrimp in the tank right now and he probably ate 15 Guppies within a 10 minute period. <<Feeder fish are a bad choice as well.  They carry disease, and are malnourished when purchased.  Search on WWM for feeding suggestions.>> My next question has to do with any helpful advice you have towards trying to steer the lionfish away from live and start feeding him frozen instead. I am sure you have a link on the website already about this question. So I am sorry I am asking it again. <<Read on WWM>> My last question has to do with the growth rate of the Striped Dogface Puffer. I have had this little fellow for a little over a month now, and he might be getting a little more round but does not appear to be getting any longer yet. I read they reach around 10 to 12 inches in length. <<He needs to be moved to larger quarters ASAP to avoid stunting.>> Again thanks a lot guys for your time and I am sorry about the questions I asked that you have already answered. Hope to hear back from you soon. <<Enjoy your research. Lisa.>> - Peter Puffer Systems, Comp.  2/14/06 Hello my fellow fish friends. Hope all is well. <Hi there, Leslie here with you this glorious morning. All is well in my world thanks for asking!> My question is this I have a dogface puffer he got sucked up into a powerhead on 2-9-06. <Oh my so sorry to hear that. I keep my power head intakes covered with sponges for just that reason. The sponges would need to be cleaned on a regular basis.> I have been treating him with Melafix and Pimafix in a hospital tank, yesterday he took a nip at some food on the bottom of the tank, first time I have seen him attempt to eat since the accident, so I'm hoping he will pull through. < I hope so as well.  These guys typically have very good appetites but can go on hunger strikes if stressed. Eating is always a good sign. Continue to offer him a variety of meaty seafoods with a vitamin supplement and perhaps some Beta Glucan, which is excellent for the immune system. You can find this at most health food stores > When he gets better and after a couple of months to get his strength back, would I be able to get another puffer of the same type or a different one like a porcupine puffer. His house is a 220 gallon tank with 3 domino damsels and a 4 inch lion fish,( who no matter what I try, or additives on the food will only eat ghost shrimp which I don't know is good or bad in the long run.) <That is a nice size home for your puffer. Keeping Puffers together can be tricky. The folks who manage to pull it off are those who have larger tanks and vary the species.  So you would be best to try a puffer of another species rather than another Dogface. I don't have much experience with Lionfish.  Care not to over feed and a varied diet is always best. Have a look at these articles….. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaq2.htm> Then I would also like to get a Niger trigger fish if possible down the road. <That should be fine.> Thanks for your input on this. Have a good one. <Your most welcome and I will thanks, Leslie!> My puffer bit my eel  12/13/05 Hello wetweb. <Holy hello it's Michael Maddox with you today - have had zero time for 'ol WWM as of late :(> I'm hoping you can suggest some remedies to help my poor snowflake eel. He was burrowing under the rocks in the tank and   scraped himself up pretty good. Most of these wounds were healing, but the other day my stars and stripes puffer decided to bite him.   Now the poor eel has a couple of puffer mouth sized wounds on his back and they're not looking so great. Do you have any suggestions   for treating these wounds. I'm moving him to an isolation tank, but i think his wounds could use some more active treatment as opposed to   hoping they heal. <I would treat him with a broad spectrum antibiotic (make sure to dose appropriately and do not cease treatment early per mfg instructions) and keep him well fed.  Provide him places to hide (PVC tubes work perfectly) and monitor the water quality carefully.  He should heal fine.  Might I recommend putting him in a separate aquarium, and\or finding one of them a new home in the future?  I can guarantee you this will happen again> thanks <Anytime> Dan <M. Maddox> Lionfish/Puffer question 11/27/05 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two requests. I have searched your site to determine if lions and puffers will eat corals. <Lions-no, puffers-yes.> I have an established 55 gal tank with beautiful live rock and sand and have a Foxface. I have some mushrooms, bubble coral and xenia in my aquarium already. The mushrooms and xenia are reproducing like crazy. I know the Foxface will be all right, I'm just wondering about the corals.  Could you please recommend a lion and puffer? While the Volitans is beautiful, I am more inclined toward the fuzzy dwarf lion. I really like the dogface puffers. But, I am considering either the porcupine or stars and stripes puffer. <Puffers are not reef safe. You tank isn't large enough for any of the ones you have mentioned either.> I want to be responsible and make sure that my aquarium will house these fish without any problem. <Stick with the dwarf lion. ~PP> Regards, Fawn  Mixing Tobies, Tetraodonts - Don't Do It  11/7/05 Hello, Is it possible to keep a saddle Toby and a green spotted puffer in the same SW tank at 40 gallons? Mark <Possibly, but not recommended. Canthigasters and True Puffers in the wild are rarely found in close association (unless paired)... More often bite, chase each other off. 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> 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> Puff Compatibility Hi, <Hello, Justin here.> I have a Arothron Reticulated puffer in my 100 gal Fish Only tank, I have 3 large pieces of dead coral spread out in the tank. So far it is just the puffer, tang and the percula. I want to add either another puffer or a zebra moray.  <Well you are pushing the limits with the fish you have. That puffer and the tang both get big and both are too big for that 100 at full size.>  The problem with the moray is I really don't have that much of hiding places in the tank for the moray, is this a necessity?  <No, but it does help the moray feel safer when its body is not exposed, I see mine swimming around at random times in full view, and not had any trouble with the puffers bothering it.>  When reading about puffer compatibility on your site I came across some contradicting information, some say never keep more then 1 puffer together in the same tank and others say you can keep more then one puffer if they are both Arothron since the Arothron generally for the most part peaceful to other puffs of the same group. Is there a safe statement that can be made about puffer and puffer compatibility, is there a high percentage of success and is it worth the risk? Thank you <Well For a tank your size I would not put in anything else, though a Moray eel might be ok, IF the filtration can handle it. As far as keeping more than one puffer together, it depends mostly on the puffers personality, not the species or type. I keep a small porc at 4" that is a real scaredy cat in with a very active Green spotted puffer at 4" for now as they get along fine. But they wont stay together once the porcupine gets bigger than 6". If you were to upgrade tanks to a 180 or a 240 I would say two peaceful Arothron puffers would be fine. They have to be the same size though or fighting or bullying will occur eventually. Hence the warning to keep them separate usually. It is worth the risk, if you can afford to buy another tank if the fish don't play nice so you can keep both. Otherwise id let it go.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Puffers and starfish I recently purchased a sand sifting starfish without realizing that they are not compatible with puffers. I have a saddleback and was curious why these would be problematic to each other. I do realize that they will nip at other fish and invertebrates but did not think the sand sifter  was in its fooooood chain. <Jose, most invertebrates are not safe with puffers.  It's not worth taking the chance.  James (Salty Dog)>

Puffers Fighting Hello WWM Crew. I (and my fish) would like to first thank you very much for your valuable service. I have written to you in the past, and your guidance turned out to be invaluable in helping me solve past problems. The fact that you do this in your spare time is a testament to your love of all things aquatic. I applaud all of you. <Thanks very much for the compliments :)> The reason for today's correspondence is that I just witnessed my porcupine puffer attack my dogface puffer. I happened to walk into the room with the tank, and I noticed my porcupine aggressively swimming into the corner near the left overflow. I was immediately curious, because I have never seen this kind of behavior from him before. I was shocked to see the dogface puffer come shooting out from the corner and franticly swim across the tank to the other side. Coincidentally, the lights came on at that moment, and I could see bite marks on the dogface in several places. They weren't open wounds, but rather outlines of a bites showing up as the white underskin that I can only describe as looking like the elastic in the waistband of a pair of underwear. I have noticed these spots all over the skin of the dogface before after he has puffed up, and I am assuming it is simply the characteristic of his skin structure that allows his skin to stretch. What concerns me is that I have seen these bite-like marks on the dogface before, but did not know what had caused them. The two fish are generally peaceful towards one another, although I have seen behavior from the porcupine that could be considered the showing of dominance. This would include swimming up to the dogface and then holding a position in the water column right next to him. I have also noticed that the dogface swims with his tail curled up quite often, which is something that he never did when he was in his old tank. <Not uncommon at all, I've never known pufferfish to live together in peace for any length of time. They'll apparently ignore each other, sometimes for years, then one will turn on the other and they will fight to the death. My advice is to separate them ASAP> My tank measures 7' long, by 18" wide, and is 18" tall, and is approximately 117 gallons. All water parameters are just fine. The tank has been set up in its current location for a little less than one month after a move from my previous house. At my old house, the tank had been set up for over four months with only the porcupine puffer in it, along with a 15" snowflake eel, a 24" zebra eel, and a Valentini puffer. The dogface puffer was in a smaller tank. I decided to put everyone into the big tank at the time of my move. Both puffers are approximately 5.5", and there are several live rock caves where they can find shelter, but for some reason everyone wants to hide in a large pile of Tonga branch rock, including the eels. <Your aquarium is too small for the eventual size of the porcupine, but the dogface would fit in there nicely at it's adult size. I would look into getting your porcupine a new home> Before purchasing the two puffers, I did extensive research on your site, and much of the information indicated that these two species usually coexist without much trouble. My situation has found that to not be the case with my two individuals. <With pufferfish, it's totally dependant upon each puffer's personality. Some are relatively docile, some will attack anything in site. As I said, I've never seen puffers coexist long term (years) peacefully and I don't recommend it to anyone> I am very concerned about one puffer killing the other over the long term, especially considering that they are going to double in size over the next couple of years, and territorial battles will become even more of a consideration. My gut feeling is to remove one of them from the tank and either return it to the LFS, or set up another tank. I hate the thought of returning one to the LFS where it might be purchased by someone who is ignorant to the needs of the animal, and it will suffer. However, I already have three tanks up and running, on of which is currently quarantining a 4.5" bridled Burrfish that I intended to add to the tank. I now have concerns that he might be attacked also once added to the tank. <I would put the Burrfish in with the dogface and I doubt you will have much of a problem between the two. As for the porcupine, definitely find a new (and larger if possible) aquarium for it> Any advice that you could give, or personal experiences that you could share would be appreciated. <I love pufferfish, and this is all from personal experience - somewhat distressing personal experience when I was more ignorant in the way of puffers than I am now!> Lou <M. Maddox>

Puffer Compatibility (1/31/05) Hi Crew <Leslie here representing the crew today.> Great site, thanks for all the info. My question is fairly basic but I get various answers dependent on which fish shop I am visiting (not unusual and the answer is normally what they need to get rid of that week...) <That's too bad.> I have a 7inch fairly mature Dogface puffer and have had him for over 6 months. He is happy and healthy and always a joy to see however I am worried that maybe he is a bit lonely (one big tank all to himself), should I get him a companion and if so what would you recommend? <A companion would be fine but isn't necessary.> He is fairly large so would have to get a similar sized fish but have no idea where to start. <Have a look at this article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm , particularly the Behavior: Territoriality section. In addition you can peruse the Puffer Compatibility FAQs here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm  Depending on the size of your tank you may want to consider a Triggerfish, Angelfish or Tang paying particular attention to choosing one of the easier going species in these groups… perhaps a Bluechin Trigger or Purple Tang. One of the larger algae eating blennies would be a plus. I have a Zebra Moray eel in with my Puffer. They are quite impressive and interesting but are nocturnal. I use moonlights so I can enjoy his antics after the lights go out. A Goatfish or Rabbitfish would also good choices. One of the bigger wrasses like my all time favorite…… Harlequin Tuskfish would be an interesting and colorful addition. The Australian specimens are usually more brightly colored. Another puffer is also an option with the best chances for compatibility being a different species, either a little bigger or smaller.> I would prefer something that matches his temperament and is not going to cause him any stress as he was the reason for getting the tank in the first place (I could not resist his pleading eyes in the shop lol).. <Wise and considerate decision. I can relate to being captivated by these irresistible and charming fish. I found myself in your shoes a few years ago when the bright golden eyes of a velvety black dogface puffer caught my attention in my LFS.> Kind Regards, Leigh Tomlinson <Hope this helps and kind regards to you as well, Leslie>

- Snack food - Hey pros, Can we put a medium sized hermit crab in with a small Porcupine and small Dogface puffer?  Puffers are 4". Thanks <Sure, you can put the hermit crab in there, but... its chances of living for any amount of time are remote. Cheers, J -- > - Dogface Puffer and Slug - Hey there <Hey!> Got a 4" Dogface Puffer last week, and wondering if he will be ok with the slug in our tank that eats all our Brown algae? <Probably not in the long haul... but there's always a chance.> Slug is also about 4" long (light green and very textured.. not sure what kind he is)  and usually very active, but not so much since we got the Puffer. <You may find it changes its regimen to nocturnal.> We don't want the Slug to be killed / eaten, and he does a great job on cleaning our tank. <Well... it breaks down like this. Puffers are very inquisitive fish, and are known to sample most everything including the hand that feeds them. On the other side, we have the nudibranch, and quite often these don't taste very good... so... does the puffer "know" this already? Perhaps... Will the puffer take a sample? Perhaps... Time will tell, and no guarantees.> Thanks! <Cheers, J -- >

- Cow Fish? - Hi. I am always getting info from your website but couldn't find the answer to my question this time (it's a first) I was wondering if a cowfish would get along with a crimson red starfish, two clown fish and a cleaner shrimp. I've always wanted a cowfish but I'm not sure if it would be safe with what I've got I might get some coral too would the cow fish be ok with them. <Think the cowfish will do fine, although it may at some point go for your shrimp as snack food. Other than that, these are generally peaceful and entertaining fish.> Thank a lot Andy <Cheers, J -- > Dwarf Lionfish, Porcupine Puffer and Inverts (11-11-04) Hello to all at WWM! You all provide a wealth of much needed information to many beginning aquarists like myself and are worthy of commendment many times over. thanks, thanks, and triple thanks! <You are most welcome and thank you :)!>  I've read over other's questions regarding lionfish/puffer compatibility, but did not find any info regarding my specific circumstance.  I recently added a juvenile 2 1/2 inch puffer to my 90 gallon fish and invertebrate tank. <Utto! Puffers and inverts are not compatible.> He's already fully acclimated, feeding on frozen foods (krill, bloodworms, brine, etc.) and swimming along happily with everyone else in the tank... < Please review the information on feeding marine fish, puffers in particular.> Brine shrimp is essentially void of nutrients and blood worms are not a marine protein.  Marine fish need marine sourced proteins.  He will need lots of meaty seafood including some with the shell to help keep his teeth plates from over growing.>   1 small white/green bubble tip anemone 1 large rose anemone colonial hairy and regular mushrooms 1 large feather duster 2 inch gold stripe maroon clown bi-color blenny 3 inch Foxface lo 2 1/2 inch yellow tang 3 scarlet hermit crabs 1 large hermit crab 1 turbo snail 2 cleaner shrimp       I guess I got lucky because he even lets the cleaner shrimp hop on and clean him (I was told to watch out for them because he may make them lunch), and I have yet to catch him nibbling on my invertebrates (I read in Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist that a puffer's taste for invertebrates may be a concern) <Your inverts are at risk including the shrimp. IME it will only be  a matter of time before your Puffer begins to sample the goodies in your tank. My advice to you would be to move the Puffers or the inverts. You need to decide whether you want a invert/reef tank or a FO tank, you cannot mix the two. >   Judging by his friendly demeanor, do you think my porcupine puffer will get along with a dwarf fuzzy lionfish that is the same size as hopelessly inevitable?  < It's hard to say....puffers and lionfish are generally not recommended as tankmates. There is the risk that with time, size and comfort in your tank, your Puffer will nip at the spines and fins of the Lionfish, not a risk I would want to take. It is best to research your tankmate choices prior to purchasing the fish to be sure the mix is appropriate and you can provide all the tank inhabitants with an environment that is safe and conducive to health, well-being and thriving rather than surviving. > Cheers!, Jacqueline from California   < Cheers to you as well Leslie also from California >

Puffer Compatibility We finally purchased our "last" addition, a dogface puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) to our tank (50 gallon, running for a year now). <You need at least a 125g for all of these fish>  This has always been my favorite fish, and I waited until I was absolutely sure the tank was set before purchasing him.  The tank mates are:  Huma Trigger (Earl), True Perc (Charley) (currently on his way to his own tank), and a Foxface (Frances) (Siganus vulpinus).  We had expected some "difficulty" from our Huma, but the trouble has been with the Foxface. He has always been such a docile fish, but not anymore.  He will display his fins whenever the puffer is around and chase him literally all around the tank. The puffer has been eating extremely well, and has been acted quite curious in his new tank.   Meanwhile, the Huma could care less about this new addition.   We were told by our LFS that these guys would be okay together.  My question is this, is the behavior of the Foxface due to the addition of the puffer and nothing more? (We've had the puffer now for four days)  Or do we have something to worry about? The Huma, Foxface, and Puffer are pretty much all the same size - 3.5".  <If you were to get a larger tank that territorial behavior would most likely disappear.  These fish tend to want to establish their won territories which could be large in size.  Good Luck!  Heather> Pardon the "hurricane" names, but with the exception of the puffer, the rest of these guys made it through the four hurricanes here in Florida! Thank you for your help. Allison D. Fralick

Sharpnose Puffer, Shrimp Disappearance and Nipped Fins (9/30/04) Can you help? <I hope so :)> We have got a docile tank containing a sharpnosed puffer (not sure what species but has green eyes, yellow tail fanned, black and white zebra stripes with blackish dots) and a cleaner shrimps. <Well actually you do not have a docile tank. Puffers are predators > Please see the following article for more detailed information.... Puffers in general http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm Sharpnose Puffers http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobies.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobyfaqs.htm > Today 1 of the shrimp has disappeared and the puffer has a big belly. hmmm. should they be mixed? <Nope definitely not. Most Puffers will eat cleaner shrimp>   Also I have noticed very slight nips in the tangs fin and clowns fin. would the puffer eat shrimp and nip other fish. <Yes,  most of the Sharpnose Puffers are known to be fin nippers.> We were told they were safe as they were Toby variety. <I don't mean to be harsh but you were mis informed. > Is there anyway we can avoid these deaths and nips.   < You could place a tank divider in the tank but most do not find that an esthetically pleasing option. I don't think you have any other choice but to either separate the Puffer or remove  him.> Here is a link to Puffer Compatibility   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm We feed Mysis shrimp and marine mix. <These are good foods but more variety would be better have a look at this article for more options...... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm HTH, Leslie >

Lactoria fornasini Hi all, quick question...will the little thornback feast on my arrow crab, cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs and corals if I keep it well fed by me? I'm hoping it may be ok but I think I'm asking for trouble... <My personal opinion is that you are just asking for trouble somewhere down the line.  Sorry to say. MacL> Thank you for such an informative site! Glen in Ontario. Puffer companion & Lionfish lighting What would be a good tankmate(s) for a grown Porc. <Exactly how big is your puffer?> Puffer residing in a 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 24") as much as I love him, and know that he's enough fish for a 180, I'd really like to have more than 1 fish in the tank. Would a Picasso Trigger and or Yellow Tang be out of the question? <The big thing is getting them of a comparable size so they could compete for food and not be considered food.>  I am also very concerned about lighting on my 180 gallon Lionfish only FOWLR tank. I need to know if 320 watts of VHO lighting in a 180 will damage my Lions eyes? should I stick with subdued standard fluorescent lighting instead? <You can have strong lighting IF you provide places the lion can get out of the light, caves and overhangs seem to work best for that purpose.> Both my 180's run 55 gallon sumps with a ASM G-3 skimmers and live rock rubble as the only filtration. Thanks again!!! <Good luck, MacL>

Who's Afraid of Clowns? I have an 8" masked puffer (Arothron diadematus) in a well furnished 90 gal- alone!  this is because I adore him and my experience tells me that the utmost caution is needed when selecting tankmates in even the most docile communities else tank mates soon become snacks. so I really want to add another fish with a little bit of color and an equally charming personality and I have become fixated on clown triggers.   of course I had to pick one of the most aggressive types of fish and one of the rudest species in the bunch.  if I add a very small clown trigger am I testing fate?  would a Picasso trigger be equally as risky?  or can these fish mix, assuming I keep a watchful eye? thanks. Reuben Hello Reuben, This puffer will attain a decent size, big enough to warrant having that tank all to himself. One of the last fish I would consider putting in with him is a clown trigger. Clowns almost always end up needing a tank of their own, and when they DO work out long term in a setting with multiple fish, it's almost always in a very large tank. Remember that aside from being very aggressive, clown triggers attain a size approaching 2 feet in the wild - 20 inches or so actually. In captivity they max out much smaller, but can be relied upon to reach a size of 15" or so. Much to large for your 90 gallon, even if he was by himself. A MUCH better choice would be a Huma Huma trigger. Triggers of this genus are much smaller, and they grow VERY slowly. Annoyingly slow actually if you're trying to grow up a show specimen. Good news for you though! They are much less belligerent as well. Start with a small individual, and you should be good to go for quite some time. The trigger itself will never outgrow that tank. One warning though, keeping only two fish is often a bad recipe for a tank of any kind unless you have a pair. One fish will always be dominant, and will often badger the other fish relentlessly with no other fish present to take out it's aggressions. Nothing is all the time though, and if you start out with a small trigger, you may not have any issues. Try a 3" Huma Huma or Rectangulus. Nothing left to say but, give it a try! Good luck Jim***

Puffer Tankmates thanks for the information.  I would have certainly hated to watch my beloved puffer succumb to the aggression of a clown trigger I raised.  good news about the Huma Huma trigger, though, which is an equally attractive and lively fish.  I do have one other question, however.  when you mentioned two fishing being a recipe for disaster, the whole scenario immediately made sense- only one other fish in the tank to beat up.  so what I am understanding is that I need a larger tank (I was actually considering purchasing a 220 for a newly renovated room anyway) and another fish.  do you have any recommendations?  perhaps another puffer of another species? thanks again. Reuben ***Hey Reuben, In a 220 gallon tank, all kinds of possibilities open up. Other puffers, triggers such as the Niger, groupers such as the miniatus or argus (blue dot), larger angels such as the imperator, wrasses such as the dragon wrasse or harlequin tusk. There are MANY options. Myself, I'm partial to groupers, and would never set up a large, multi species fish only tank without one. Jim***

Marine Puffers.... again (8-14-04) Hi again, <Hello> Sorry for all the questions. < No worries, that is what we are here for> How big do the dog faced puffers get in captivity? Depends on which species, but generally about 10 to 12 inches. > Would they leave small fish alone? Perhaps.....but most likely not. They are predators.....most will tell you eventually they will snack on them. >    Would a valentini puffer be better with smaller fish? Yes better ....they can however be fin nippers, so avoid slow moving fish with long fins.> The tank size is a 70 gallon. <Nice size> Could I keep 2 Valentini's in a 70 gallon? No you will probably not be able to keep 2 together  unless you come across a male/female pair, as they may fight conspecific males. > Thanks for all the info and sorry if I bothered you! <Your most welcome and it was bother at all, Leslie>

Puffer ID and Compatibility (8/13/04) Hi <Hello there> I was hoping you can clear something up for me. < Sure I can try >   I  recently bought a second hand tank which came with two fish. It was bought to go with my Porcupine Puffer.  I thought the fish .....a puffer and lion would go well.  I was told the puffer was a dogface however when we went to collect the tank the puffer had not been well and was very dark <These fish do have the ability to darken which serves as camouflage, usually occurring in the evening, when stressed  or threatened. > now she is better and I have been trying to find out what she is as she isn't a dogface. I think she might be a Stars and Stripes.  Can you please let me know from these links what you think. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v366/snoopy_145/fc604c3d.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v366/snoopy_145/lola2.jpg   <Well I think you have a Arothron reticular is, the Reticulated Puffer, from the Indo-west Pacific. They get to be about 16 inches in length in the wild. > And from your experience how big she will get and their temperament. < I personally do not have any experience with this particular Puffer but my guess would be they would get at least a good 8 to 10 inches in captivity, perhaps a bit bigger, depending on what and how often they are fed.  The Arothron genus for the most part has nothing but exemplary personalities. > They fought for 1st hour they where together but now seem to have come to an agreement. <Not uncommon.  You will find mixed experiences if you read about keeping more than one Puffer in the same system.......some have great luck others do not. In part this will have to do with whether you are keeping the same, similar or different species as well as the temperaments of the individual fish. Keep a close eye on them and if the aggression continues you can rearrange the decor and if that does not work remove the aggressor to a quarantine tank for a few days, sometimes that settles them down a bit. They may continue to squabble at meal time so be sure to provide plenty of food and if this does occur I have found releasing food into different areas of the tank, when the fish are not to close together sometimes helps. > Thanks A Lot, Shelley <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Puffers in a reef tank 8/6/04 Hello, I am interested in turning my 75 gallon FOWLR tank into a partial reef with a few corals. The problem is that I have a small 1 inch dogface puffer. I have heard of successful mixing of corals and puffers and I was wondering if you have also heard of it. I was considering buying a small mushroom as a test to see if he would eat it, but I wanted to check with the experts (you guys) first. Thank You <I would not consider puffers to be at high risk for picking on corals.  They are very risky with inverts like shrimp and crabs.  Best Regards.  AdamC> Puffer Problems (8/5/2004) Crew, <How goes it, M. Maddox here this morning> First off great site <Thanks!> my first question is concerning how many fish I can store in my tank. I have a marine aquarium (Uniquarium, Clear for Life, 60 Gallon) with the whole set-up in the rear (I am sure you are familiar with this tank) with a newly added Uniquarium Protein Skimmer.  <I assume that's the acrylic model with a built in wet\dry filter?  Google didn't reveal show anything...> I have read on your site and others that usually tanks can hold 1 inch of fish per 4-5 gallons of water. However because of the design of my tank my local fish store owner said I could hold 1 inch of fish for every 2 gallons. Is this true?  <IMO inches per gallon is not a good way to determine what can be kept in captivity.  Instead, determine the adult\maximum size of what you want to keep, and stock accordingly; i.e. you wouldn't want to put a 12" fish in a 60 gallon aquarium, even though technically it's 1" of fish per 5 gallons of water> Currently, I have one Anemone Clown, 2 Damsels, 1 Dogface Puffer, 1 Huma Trigger, and one Blue-Spotted Puffer.  <Your system is already overstocked.  Also, by blue spotted puffer do you mean a true puffer or a sharp nosed puffer?    Common names aren't always that much help>  This leads me to my next question, can the two puffers coexist? <Possibly, but not in an aquarium that small> I have had the dogface for quite sometime and he has gotten along with the others quite well. I recently bought the Blue-Spotted Puffer and as soon as I put him in the tank I could sense the dogface was not too happy to see him. <To be expected, especially in so small an aquarium> An hour or so after first introduced the dogface snapped at the blue spotted puffer while not looking and bit his tail (sounded like someone cracked their knuckle). Afterwards they would swim one another and everything was ok. I thought it was a sign that the dogface was showing the blue-spotted who was boss (given he is .5x bigger). In any case in the morning I noticed my dogface (attacker) had been bit on his tail (surprising) and I wasn't sure who it was. Later tonight I have witnessed many occasions of the blue-spotted now attacking him trying to continually bite the dogface's tail (which he curls it in an effort to protect). The weird thing now is that the once aggressive dogface has become a passive and will not retaliate. What do you think is going on? Do you think this dispute between them can be handled with out one of them dying? <Most likely one will kill the other...I advise returning the new puffer ASAP, and look into acquiring a larger system in the future for your trigger> Also I read in a another QA on this site that the dogface could release toxins in the water, is this really true? <Most species of puffer flesh is poisonous, but as far as I know they cannot actively release toxins like boxfish> Thanks again and super resource. <No problem, good luck, and return the new puffer!> Art Yang <M. Maddox> Why puffers don't tolerate cleaner wrasses, PP's turn Hi crew <Hi Lorenzo, I'd like to know why puffers don't tolerate cleaner wrasses (Labroides dimidiatus)? <Wrasses have to pick at the skin of fish to remove the parasites and that can be painful for some fish. Puffers generally don't do well with wrasses because they have very sensitive skin.> I had two Labroides in my tank (250 gallons) who were keeping to nip my poor white spotted puffer. I had to take off them from my tank because my puffer was very afraid and irritated. Now I'd need to put back Labroides because my fishes have many parasites on their bodies and gills. <Your best move would be to move the puffers into a separate tank or use something else, for instance cleaner shrimp to remove the parasites. Generally they are a bit easier on fish like puffers than a cleaner wrasse is.> How can I do? Thanks a lot for your help! Best regards Lorenzo

Why puffers don't tolerate cleaner wrasses, MacL's turn Hi crew, <Hi Lorenzo, MacL here with you tonight.> I'd like to know why puffers don't tolerate cleaner wrasses (Labroides dimidiatus)? <Puffers have very sensitive skin and cleaner wrasses picking at them bother puffers.> I had two Labroides in my tank (250 gallons) who were keeping to nip my poor white spotted puffer. <Probably really irritating his delicate skin. I'm guessing he hid a lot.> I had to take off them from my tank because my puffer was very afraid and irritated. Now I'd need to put back Labroides because my fishes have many parasites on their bodies and gills. How can I do? <Perhaps you should consider some cleaner shrimp or other types of cleaners that might be a bit easier on a puffers skin. Or remove the puffers into a separate situation.> Thanks a lot for your help! <Good luck and let us know what you decide. MacL> Best regards Lorenzo

Cowfish safe corals and diet 8/1/04 Hi. I have a cow fish in a tank that I want to add some corals to. The tank already has a Goniopora and some kind of stony honeycomb brain coral which the cow leaves alone. I also had a Sarcophyton which died due to a temperature spike and the cow also left that alone. However, I replaced the Sarcophyton with a Lobophytum and the cow has started to nibble on it. <These fishes are known to be risky, but mostly with crustaceans.> I know cowfish are not considered to be reef safe, and I've already discounted any coral that needs to be fed meaty chunks as the cow knows all about that and takes the food straight out of their stomachs, but I was wondering if there are any corals that would be unlikely to end up in the cow's stomach? Would I have a better chance with stony corals? <So called "SPS corals are probably safe, and meaty large polyp stonies are probably at the greatest risk.> Another question I have relates to an answer on the Q&A a few days ago that said that cowfish need greens as well as meaty foods and most die due to malnutrition. I feed mine a variety of meaty foods as well as fish pellets that contain algae and I occasionally give him a sheet of Nori. I've had him for many months and his condition is good but I don't want to slowly starve him. I feed enough for him to eat in a few minutes, twice a day. Does the diet I have described sound sufficient to you? Thanks for your help. <Variety, variety, variety!  Quality, quality, quality!  Frozen Mysis, frozen foods containing algae, high quality pellet foods (look for few or no non-marine ingredients).  Best Regards!  AdamC> New Puffer Companions Hello, <Hi, MikeD here>     I just purchased what I think is a 10" Guinea Fowl Puffer (Arothron meleagris) from a show tank that it has been in for 4 years. He is very active and is always hungry!<That definitely sounds like an Arothron of some type> The tank he came from had plenty of tankmates and I would like to add one more fish in my 110 gal.<How many do you have now and how long has it been set up? Also, is it a reef tank w/corals or primarily a fish tank?> Would a Stars and Stripes Puffer be possible<Most Arothrons don't fight, but the key word here is MOST, and it gets messy fast when they do, much like "Gladiator Does a Home Aquarium"> or maybe a Queen or French Angel of the same size?<Both angels get even larger, actually ARE somewhat aggressive and territorial plus often only do well in tanks that have been set up for at least a year.> What would you suggest ? He has a grey body with yellow lips and a yellow tail  with blue trim, the body is the same as a Masked Puffer!<This sounds a lot like Arothron immaculatus, the Immaculate Puffer>

Fish aggression? Hi friends, <Hello there> I have a 90 g. SW tank with a valentini puffer "Nurmal", flame angel "Hot lips" and neon goby "Goby1Kenobi". <Good names> The puffer had ich the first week I got him, I hadn't quarantined him so I removed him from the main tank and treated him with formalin and hyposalinity for a month). After a month of QT ich free, I reintroduced the "Nurmal" back in the display tank. I'm really worried about him. He's still eating well but breathing very heavily all day; even when he's sleeping...He paces back and forth along the tank, although that behavior is subsiding somewhat. <If he/it's eating all will likely be well> These are the same signs he showed before the ich appeared. It's probably related to a big puff up he had at the beginning of the week. Should I put him back in QT just in case, or wait until the telltale ich spots appear? <I'd hold off for now> Alas, another disappointment today. My flame angel has really taken to the puffer, and follows him everywhere. The flame is usually scared of her own shadow, so I find this social behavior odd for her (she chases the neon goby off constantly when he follows her!) The puffer doesn't seem annoyed with this tagging along in the least, but I noticed a crescent shape bite on the flame's dorsal fin! After the bite occurred, the flame is not fazed or stressed at all; quite the opposite, she seems to be dangerously close to the puffer all the time! She brushes her tail against him, sometimes on purpose(?) and I even saw her gently pick at his side (maybe removing parasites?)-the puffer was very still. <Keeping ones "enemies" close is often a good strategy> I'm not sure if she's asserting her territory-it doesn't seem like it. She seems friendly and not aggressive, and he for the most part ignores her. It's a huge tank for such small fish and yet she keeps hanging around him! I don't know if I should return the puffer to the LFS. I really love the little guy but don't want to risk injuring the flame:(((( <I'd wait on the Flame Angel/Puffer liaison as well. Perhaps a nice long walk, some fresh air will calm you. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Problem, New Cleaner Wrasse 5/4/04 Hi, your site is great and a big help to us fish keepers. <Good Evening Leslie here with you tonight. Thank you; it is a pleasure to help!> I have a little problem with my dog faced puffer, <Utto> last week I added a cleaner wrasse and ever since he has changed to a darker color and spends most of his time sat in the corner. <I suspect your Puffer is trying to be inconspicuous.... by blending into the rock and sand. Cleaner wrasses and gobies are not recommended tankmates for Puffers. The incessant pecking is often stressful and to much for their sensitive hides. The Labroides is doing his job very well and my puffer seems to pose for him as do the rest of the fish, the only problem is that every so often the wrasse picks a little too hard and the fish chase him a bit but always go back for more. As a marine biologist myself this suggests that the wrasse is just hungry and the fish are 'too clean' so I have made sure there is plenty of food in the tank. <These fish do not fare well in captivity and are better left in the ocean for many reasons. Please have a look at this article Cleaner Wrasses in the Genus Labroides here..... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm Is there anything you could suggest as of why my puffer seems down? <My guess is he does not like being picked at> My nitrate is also a little high, about 15-30, I'm doing plenty of water changes but struggling to keep it down. If you do not already have a protein skimmer I would strongly suggest one. Some other interventions include adding some additional live rock and some macroalgae for nutrient export.  > Also what would you say to a porcupine puffer as a little tank mate? <Little? Not for long. This would really depend on just how big ....big enough is. Definitely not until you have a handle on those nitrates. These endearing fish are hard to resist. I know they are one of my favorites. They are quite messy eaters and big waste producers. You are already having trouble keeping your Nitrates below 30. If you add another Puffer it will unfortunately only get worse. > The tank is big enough and is fish only. <Big enough? I have seen and heard some interesting assessments of big enough over the years. I guess this would depend on just how big your tank is and what other fish are already present.  A general stocking rule for Puffers is 10g of water to each inch of fish.  Each of those fish will eventually be a foot or more depending on the species you are keeping. So unless the tank is 200+ gallons or the Puffers are small and you plan on a bigger tank in the near future this would not be recommended. > Thanks for your time. Phil. <You are most welcome! Leslie>

Tetraodontidae species?  4/28/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering if any of the following list of putter fish are in the family Tetraodontidae (also known as "true" puffer) and if ordering any of these for my home tank would pose a problem since they are poisonous? Dogface puffer Golden puffer Hawaiian Blue puffer Hawaiian Spotted puffer Porcupine Puffer Valentini puffer Black Mask-Red Sea puffer <All puffers are poisonous--if you eat them.  Otherwise, another fish would have to eat, or bite the puffer to be harmful to them.>  If you could let me know as soon as possible that would be great.  The fish is suppose to be a surprise present. <The larger problem I see is that you are surprising someone with a gift of a pet.  Very bad idea!  If you want to buy a person a gift of a fish, go right ahead, but make sure the receiver of the gift is well aware of it's needs & is prepared to care for it for the next 10+ years!  ~PP>   Thanks

Clown-Eating Puffer (4/29/04)  Hello all: <Steve Allen with you this time.>  I am writing this as a cathartic response to what happened to my percula clown this weekend. On Friday night, we had a 2 ? hour power failure. The electricity resumed at 11PM. I had not had a chance to feed the fish prior to the outage and thought it too late to feed when the power returned. So I adjusted the light timers to the proper time and the lights went off. I realized that the pump to the protein skimmer did not come back on. I was going to wait until the following morning, but then thought that I should get the skimmer up and running that night.  In the five minutes that it took for me to return to the tank from my room, our porcupine puffer had eaten the clown. <So sorry to hear.>  I have had this clown since the inception of our tank (4 ? years) and the clown and puffer had been together for about 1 ? years. <I guess the lion was just waiting for the right moment.>  Needless to say, I wanted to jump into the tank and choke the puffer until his blue eyes popped out. <Much as this pains you, he's just being a puffer.>  I was also kicking myself because if I had dropped 3 or 4 pieces of krill into the tank, this probably would have satisfied the puffer, and he would not have attacked the clown. <He'd go for it eventually.>  I have finally calmed down and wish to learn from my experience. I have read that fish can go up to one week without food and survive without too much difficulty. If I were to not feed the puffer for one week, I am afraid that all my other animals would end up as puffer pot pie! <He may eat them even if he's full. He's a predator and it is his purpose in life to eat any fish he can get his mouth around.>  Is this simply "survival of the fittest" in action? <As the saying goes, it's "nature, red in tooth and claw.">  Did the power outage so upset the puffer that he acted with malice toward the clown? <Not malice, predatory nature, eating other creatures and reproducing are their place in the web of life.>  I guess what confuses me the most is that the two fish have been together for 1 ? years and they do not ever get near one another.<Somehow an opportunity presented itself and he took it. Don't blame him. That's what he is supposed to do. Animals don't have consciences and don't feel bad for the creatures they consume. This is a purely human trait.>  Would missing one feeding result in such behavior from the puffer? <Bottom line: If you put fish that are small enough to eat in with Puffers, they'll get eaten eventually.>  I apologize for going on about this, but I was sentimental about losing one of our initial fish, the other being Anthony's favorite barking blue tang (who is very pleased about the selection of Ben Roethlisberger, by the way). Thanks for letting me vent. <No problem. I am sorry you had to witness/learn this brutal lesson in the nature of carnivores.> As always, Mitch

Dogface Puffer & More? 4/19/04 Just a couple of quick questions that need some of your great puffer knowledge! <Sure, you've got Pufferpunk here> I have a black spotted dog face puffer, who is great, is it possible to keep another puffer or cow fish with him? Its a big tank (over 300g) fish only. <I'd forget about the cowfish. Even slight bullying will cause it to release toxins into the tank. Your dogface would be ok with another dogface of maybe even a nice "prickly" Burrfish.> I was also thinking about getting a anemone but have heard that puffers are a bit partial to a few tentacles, is this true or is it possible to keep them together? <Bad idea, puffers will pick on it & they belong in FOWLR tanks. ~PP>

Plants What type of saltwater plants do you prefer for saltwater aquariums that are compatible with a Spiny Box Puffer?  <I recommend the macro algae "Chaetomorpha". With a decent amount of lighting it will proliferate quickly. I order mine from http://www.floridapets.com  M. Maddox>

Striped Puffer (Proper Tankmates)? I am in the planning stages of setting up a 180 to 240 gallon tall FOWLR set up.  It will have a sump the ecosystem style with lots of macro algae, also Planning on using a EuroReef skimmer. <sounds like it will be a good set up!  using Macro algae sumps have been proven to be very effective for keeping healthy marine tanks.  Having a skimmer will be good since puffers can be very messy fish.>        The system will be set up around a baby striped puffer Arothron something, <Striped puffer (Arothron manilensis) also called lined toadfish, are very impressive fish.  When full grown they get between 15-20 inches, and with the bright white colors, dark stripes and long tail they definitely stand out in a tank.> from my understanding its not a fin nipper and a bit shy in nature I gathered that from a forum and one mans opinion sp. <That might be the case with that one man's Manilensis, but not all are that way.  I have seen these be fin nippers in tanks, nipping at long finned slow moving fish. They are shy when small, but as they mature they become more outgoing.  they are not as intense of personality as the Porcupine puffers, but not as docile as some of the dogface puffer cousins.  These fish are easy to care for, and very hardy.  Other information you need to know about these fish.  They need to feed on meaty foods, especially some with crunchy shells so it can grind down their ever-growing teeth. We generally feed squid, shrimp (the same kind people eat), mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish to our Striped puffer.   Live fish will also be taken but should not be fed exclusively.  there is a good article here: http://reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm that talks about dog-faced puffers.  the info is very similar to the puffer you want to get, so it's something you should keep on hand.> My wife has requested a Dwarf lion and moray...I'm thinking possibly a chain link moray. <Dwarf Lion is out.  They are small, slow moving and with venomous long spins will be a temptation to nip by the puffer.  Also, with two large fish like a moray and puffer you will most likely never see the lion out of it's cave during the day.>       What I would like to know is what would be some great tank mates for him, when it comes to non reef safe fish I'm at a loss...mostly familiar with reef keeping...        Fish of interest to me would be an angle preferably a non dwarf likely a queen or blue face, or imperator...just one angel.. butterflies are of interest and tangs...I know its real general....but any ideas would be of great help... <The trick with puffers is to keep fast, large, short finned fish with them.  Or have a fish that stays tight to the ground and isn't in his swimming space like blennies.  Also it's a good idea to have fish with it that are equal in their aggressiveness.  Balances out the scale, so neither really become dominant in the tank.  Queen Angles as well as blue Face have been with Common Dogface puffers in large tanks, the people who owned the tank said that there hadn't been any problems.  though, I have witnessed some puffers try to nip at the angels fins.  Like I said each puffer seems to have their own personality.  Larger tangs work well, because they are fast enough to get away from the puffer if he should decided to nip the fins. Some Triggers are too aggressive for Arothron puffers, such as Clown triggers and Picasso.  But, given enough rockwork, and caves systems some triggers can be kept. It should be able to have their own territories with little to no problem.> thanks for taking your time to read and respond, and keep up the great work, sincerely Roy <I'm glad I could help, I love these fish, mine is quite a big member of the family.  take good care if you get one.  Good luck.-Magnus.>

Re: My Bloody Valentine Hello Magnus, <Hi Joebel> It's nice to hear from you.  Actually, it's sad to know that my saddleback died.   <Oh, I'm sorry for your loss.  Wish I could have responded sooner.> I found my saddleback one morning wiggling at the bottom of my tank.  I checked it out and found that all (literally all) its fins and tail were cut. Clean circular cut marks were found on the base of its tail and fins. <Those are the marks from a puffer attack.  They love to nip fins, in fact Valentini puffers are some of the worst culprits for fin nipping in the small Sharpnose varieties.  The small circular cuts are from the shape of the teeth of the puffer. Sadly I have seen puffers being fine with tankmates, while others of the same species will tear up tankmates for no reason.  Puffers have unique personalities, and it's hard to tell what they will be like in tanks.> I created an ICU for it hoping that my saddleback would survive such a brutal attack.  With liquid fish supplement and "hand feeding", it lasted for two days.  Later I found out that my Canthigaster Valentini was responsible for the murder. <I should have given you warnings of their personality.  here is an article on marine puffers, if you scroll to the bottom there is a quick paragraph dealing with the Valentini puffer. http://reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm>        Do you think it is safe to add another fish to my tank after such incident? <No, it's apparent that your valentini is a tank aggressive.  Once you get a larger tank, you will be able to add another clown fish or small non-aggressive fish to the tank.  but in such a small situation I'm afraid your puffer will just do the same thing.> Any suggestions? <Get a big tank going, lots of live rocks with plenty of caves and places to hide.  then you will be able to have that fish with others with no problems.  Read the article I had given you and learn what you can about puffers.> Regards, Joebel <Good luck with the puffer, and I'm sorry to hear about your loss.  -Magnus>

-Puffer checks to see of those are actual chocolate chips...- My dog-faced puffer recently attacked two chocolate chip starfish. They have numerous bite wounds, are lethargic, and not eating. Is there anything I can do for them? <Besides finding another home for the puffer? I would just leave them be, try feeding them in a few days, keep the water parameters in check, and hopefully they'll regenerate the lost body mass. Good luck! -Kevin>

Inverts for Puffers?  2/11/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 75 gallon fish and live rock aquarium with a sump and 25 gallon refugium.  My lighting consists of two standard output fluorescents.  I currently have a Cinnamon Clown, a Cuban Hogfish, and a Porcupine Puffer.  I would like to add some invertebrates, but it seems that no matter what inverts I consider, either the puffer or the Hogfish or both, consider them delicacies.  Are there any invertebrates that aren't food for my fishes?  I would really appreciate any input you can give me! <I think the only kind you might be able to get away with are hermit crabs.  I have had luck with them.  I do have many empty shells scattered about the substrate.  I don't think the puffers notice the moving ones.> Thanks! Don <Good luck!  ~PP>

Coral Banded Meal Sorry about bugging you again so soon, but I have one more quick question.  My coral banded shrimp which I've had for about 2 weeks now seems to be missing those elaborate long arms of his.  I have only seen him molt once, and he was kinda disturbed during this process--->My Valentini Puffer took a peck at him while he was shuffling out of his old shell, so he might have emerged prematurely, if that's possible.  Anyways, I'm not sure what to make of it, I noticed it only late last night.  I know he has the ability to grow them back, but is there any cause for concern?  Thanks again Peace and Chicken Grease.      -Dave H. <Dave, no real cause for concern.  I have had Coral Banded Shrimp lose arms in the past as well; they always grow back.  But, if you're fond of him, you want to separate him from the puffer.  That puffer likely WILL eat him someday.  Cheers, Ryan>

Tang vs. Puffer? (1/11/04) Hi, I am having a problem with my stars and stripes puffer. <Arothron hispidus?> I think the other fish in the tank are picking on him, the puff is about 4 inches so he isn't that big at all. <Not compared to the 18-19" he could grow to.> I have noticed scratches on him, which I think are from the yellow Hawaiian tang. It seems as though the tang is going up to the side of the puff and using his body to push the puff up into the rocks and wall. I also have noticed the puff is scared to come out for his normal feedings now after being bullied. <I would be, too.> The tang hasn't bothered him before I don't think and is basically the same size as the puff. <Could be that the tang is deciding he wants more space.> The other tank mates are 5 damsels, who occasionally get behind the puff and try and nip at him and the puff snaps back, a black and white striped clown, who keeps to himself, and the infamous tang. <I don't know how large your tank is, but that's somewhat common damsel behavior from what I've heard.> I feel really bad because the puff is not aggressive at all and won't defend himself. <Your puffer's defense mechanism is puffing, which is usually done to deter predators -- and the tang does not generally qualify as such.> The tang was always shy until today. <Well, at least when you were watching....> What should I do? Thanks <You need to separate the two. --Ananda> Dogface & spiny box puffers together? (1/7/04) Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a golden dog faced puffer Arothron nigropunctatus. (spelling, sorry) <You were very close -- had an extra n which I removed. Kudos for knowing the Latin genus/species name, since that makes it clear which fish you have, making it much easier for us to answer your questions.> This fish is the only fish I have in a 75 gallon tank. I was wondering if a spiny box puffer would get along with this fish. <It's possible. Do note that these are among the more difficult ones to keep. They have a reputation for refusing food in captivity.> I love puffers, but I hear they fight. <Sometimes; it depends, somewhat, on the individual puffers. If you choose to try one, when you are ready to add the new puffer to the tank, rearrange the tank and make new caves. Feed your existing puff very heavily. While he's resting, divide the tank with a piece of egg crate aka light diffusing grid (ask for egg crate at a Home Depot, Loews, or the like, and they should know what you mean). Then add the second puff. If the two puffers end up trying to get at each other through the egg crate, they would likely fight if left in the tank together. If you have a local retailer you can work with, you might set something up in advance so that you can do this on a "trial" basis.> I'm trying to find a tank mate that might be compatible. <Dogface puffers are among the mildest of the bunch. If you're looking for another puffer, the most-likely-to-be-compatible type is the porcupine puffer -- but you would need a much bigger tank as the porcupine puffer grows. I'd actually suggest something other than a puffer for a 75 gallon tank. You might consider one of the milder triggers, or Rabbitfish, or perhaps one of the small tangs.> Thank you for your help.  Liz <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Triggers & Cows (1/4/2003) Hey guys, great website.  I had a quick question , Can a Humu trigger and a cowfish get along in a tank?  Thanks a lot, Jon <In a word, no. Triggerfish are aggressive feeders that will pull the food right out of other fish's mouths. I see this daily. They need to be with other aggressive feeders that can stand up to them (like my Snowflake Eel.) The cowfish will not be able to keep up. Additionally, if (when) the Trigger stresses it too much, it will release its toxic slime and everything in your tank will probably dies. Read more about cowfish on WWM. How big of a tank are you planning? Both of these fish get very big. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Puffers + coral = puffers, usually Hi, would you consider the Golden Arothron Puffer coral-safe? Thanks, Adam <Hi Adam, Ananda here... generally, Arothron puffers will happily munch on corals. They *may* leave some soft corals alone, but hard corals will most likely get munched-on.>

Puffer + Cleaner shrimp?? (12/16/03) Hello, Big fans of the site  =) <Hey, I resemble that remark! Ananda here...apologies for the delay; I just saw this.> We are keeping a 54G swim tank of fish we saw while snorkeling in Tahiti. We realize that as the fish grow, we will have to remove some of the inhabitants due to overstocking. <Good that you know it now...do consider setting up a "tank fund" at the bank now!> Filtration: 1) Fluval 303 powering a reverse flow UG filter; <Not my first, second, or even third choice for filtration in a saltwater tank. Do read up on these in the WetWebMedia pages.> 2) ViaAqua Multi Skimmer (protein skimmer/UV/power filter). <This is something I have no experience with, and I haven't seen it either, so can't comment on... are you getting dark skimmate, at least 1/4 cup, daily?> Salinity: 1.018. Temp: 76. Status: cycled. Live Rock: 1 lg & 2 smaller pieces. <Initial suggestions: raise the specific gravity to at least 1.020, get more live rock, ditch the undergravel filter....> Inhabitants: 3" porcupine puffer (name: Mr. Puffer/Puff Daddy  =); 2" Humu Humu trigger; 2 2" threadfin butterflies; 1 3" Heniochus butterfly; 2" yellow tang; 1.5" brackish spotted puffer; <How's he doing in this specific gravity? (If he's stressed -- check the belly barometer for grey/dark markings -- try putting him in a tank with a lower specific gravity. I have yet to find any hard data about when in their life cycles the spotted puffers move into near-marine conditions, like those you have in your tank.) Do realize that he's probably going to end up chasing those long fins on some of the other fish.> 1" yellow tail blue damsel; chocolate chip star; several snails & hermit crabs (for janitorial services & food supplement). <Glad you realize the latter. Hmmm. Start tank-shopping now; I think you're already overstocked.> Everyone is happy in this tank & has been for about 6 weeks, we feed a wide variety of frozen Mysis, frozen brine, live ghost shrimp, frozen ghost shrimp, krill, seaweed, flake & plankton. <Yummy.> We are working on a small ich outbreak. The fish do not appear to be in distress, but the spots are visible. We have read extensively on this and have treated mainly by lowering the salinity to 1.012, raising the temperature to 81 and performing daily small water changes to skim off parasites from the bottom. <Ah, good. Drop the salinity a bit more, to 1.010. Do you have a refractometer?> We have added Greenex 2 times. <Eek! That will likely kill all the inverts and the live rock. And I've read reports of it killing the fish, as well.> We did some 1/3 salt and 2/3 fresh water dips on fish that had the most spots. <You really can go with all-fresh-water, as long as you adjust the pH to what it is in your tank. That's less harmful by far than a brackish dip that has a different pH from the main tank.> The 2 worst infected were removed to a hospital tank for copper treatment, did well & were returned. We almost have this beaten by now. <Okay...keep in mind that the absence of spots does not mean the absence of the parasite from the tank!> Would it be safe for the puffer to add a cleaner shrimp/wrasse for the duration of this outbreak? <Nope. The cleaner shrimp would likely get eaten, and the wrasse would likely fare poorly.> The butterflies lean up against the live ghost shrimp as if waiting to be cleaned. We are fully aware of the danger to the shrimp, but are mainly concerned with the puffer (he's one of our best friends  =)  we have heard that cleaners might bother the skin of the puffer. <After you deal with the ich, use some heavy-duty chemical filtration to get the gunk from the Greenex out of that tank. I would try a good activated carbon first, then a Polyfilter. Then you could split the puffers and trigger off into their own tank and get a couple of cleaner shrimp for the other tank. (The live rocks you have are likely dead...but could probably be used in the puffer/trigger tank, where the inverts are going to be snacks anyhow.)> Thx!!! You're the best  =) <Thanks so much for the kind words. --Ananda> Michael & Patty Phx, AZ

Angel and dogface... is the angel acting the devil? (10/16/03) Hi there, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have searched your site (which by the way is fantastic!) until my eyes have hurt and I have not seen what I am after so I am just gonna go ahead and ask. <That's what we're here for... thanks for the kind words about the site.> I have a Dogface Puffer, about 5 or so inches in length. I have owned him now for approximately 7 months and have not had a single problem with him. He is in a 150 gallon tank with a Queen Angel and Niger trigger. The tank has been up and running for close to 1 1/2 years. <Cool. I'm glad you've got a good-sized tank for them...you might, eventually, need something bigger for the queen angel and the Niger trigger. The angel can get to 18"; the trigger, 20".> Just 3 days ago I noticed that the Queen was "picking" at the underside of the puffer. I thought this was odd since the puffer is supposed to not taste very good, but I have also heard that the Queen Angel will also act like a cleaner fish and pick at parasites, is this true? <My first reaction was "*blink* Say what?" But I hit the Dailies page, dutifully typed "queen angel" (with quotes) in the Google search box at the bottom of the page... the first hit is the main queen angel page. I read that, then went to the FAQ, did a page search on the word "clean", and found this tidbit from Anthony: "...many such Angels eat parasites (as cleaner fish) as juveniles, mucho algae as subadult and anything they darn well please as grumpy adults...." So now my question is, how big/old is your queen angel? Is it still in the juvenile stage? Or does it have adult coloration? If it's an adult, I'd put this down to aggression rather than cleaning.> Upon closer inspection of my Puffer I noticed a small white spot on his belly, almost like he had rubbed himself on something. The next day when I fed them he did not eat like his normal self and perched on one of the powerheads. <Hmmm. A safer perch, perhaps?> I kept my eyes peeled for any other signs, nothing appeared until yesterday morning when I noticed on the base of his dorsal fin a weird white pattern of spots, very condensed. Then he swam past and showed me his other side and just along his jaw line was about a 1/2 inch long by an 1/8 inch width this same pattern of white spots, again very condensed. The strange thing is that they are indented, not like ich which looks like someone has "salted" the fish. I have never seen anything like this. <I have seen white, indented spots only twice. Once was from a bite...the other was when I used the wrong water for top-off of my brackish puffer tank. It hadn't been dechlorinated (Doh!) and the puffers had a few spots like this, but scattered around their bodies. (Fortunately I hadn't used much of the tap water, and I caught it fairly quickly!) But if this is only on the puffer, I'm thinking it's more likely a symptom of bites.> I moved him into a 35 gallon hospital tank yesterday morning with a dose of receiver II in it. <That's a product I've not heard of before... what company makes it? All my Google searches are turning up radio and GPS products.> I have yet to treat him with any meds, because I am unable to find any info on what this is or might possibly be. He is not breathing hard, his other tank mates show no signs of illness what so ever. <I would consider using Melafix to prevent any secondary infection...beyond that, it sounds like a wait-and-see situation. Feed him good stuff, preferably soaked in Selcon.> As for the water, all checked out A-OK except for my ph being low (which I began buffering prior to any of the spotting on the Puffer.) and as for food, well they get the best I can afford. On a regular diet of Formula 1&2, frozen; krill, Mysis, silversides, Spectrum Thera+A pellets and then from the fish department at the grocery store they are fed Sea Scallops, Tilapia, Prawns, Clams and Squid and also get an every other daily dose of dried seaweed suction cupped to the side of their tank. <Can I come over for dinner? ;-) > I was thinking vitamin deficiency, but where would that come from??? <If your puffer is eating both the Formula 1 & 2, and the Spectrum, and the veggies, I can't imagine.> I am at a loss, unless perhaps the Queen Angel has been picking on him in a really particular pattern?   <Sounds bizarre, but I can't think of anything else that would make sense.> I am going crazy trying to figure out the best way to help my "Chompers". He is my lil buddy. I hope y'all can help out. Thanks so much. Lindie Montgomery <I do hope this helps, and invite anyone with any more ideas to send us an email! --Ananda>

- Canary Wrasse Disappearance - Hello all: I just added 2 canary wrasses to my 125G FOw/oLR. As the tanks at the LFS did not have sand beds, both wrasses happily dove into the gravel when introduced on Sunday afternoon. Both made an appearance on Monday afternoon and both ate well. However, I have not seen either wrasse since Monday. I read the articles on the website that stated that these wrasses may hide for two or three days, but this time period seems unusually long. <Not for new introductions...> How are they surviving if I feed the tank while they are buried? <They are likely going hungry for the moment.> Do you think that they will appear in due course? <I do hope so, but you might also check the floor behind the tank. These fish can fly through the air with the greatest of ease... need to keep your tank well covered to prevent accidental loss.> As always, your input in valued. Thanks, Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

- Expensive Tastes - Jason: Thanks for your reply. <My pleasure.> The mystery has been solved... my porcupine puffer saw both of these fish as an opportunity to satisfy his hunger pangs. <Oh bummer... those puffers do things like that. Sorry to hear of your loss.> Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

Whitley Boxfish Hi Bob.. <You get Ananda at the keyboard today...> Can you give me any info on the Whitley boxfish, I have been offered a m/f pair and was wondering if there was any special requirements... i.e. food, are they reef safe?? etc <The official name is Ostracion whitleyi. They might be reef-safe, but they are definitely not invert-safe: most boxfish will munch on invertebrates. They stay small, for boxfish, but I'd still have a tank of at least 75 gallons for a pair -- bigger, if you have other fish in there. And that could be a danger: these fish, if stressed, may release ostracitoxin, which could wipe out a whole tank....> have found the www has very limited info <I would suggest heading over to the Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ to see if anyone there has first-hand experience with these guys.> many thanks in advance... Nigel <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Blackspotted and Masked Puffers Hello.. <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have a Blackspotted puffer now in a 125 gallon tank if I get a masked puffer will the two get along? I know some puffers will not, please help. Thanks Pete <Puffers are such individualistic fish that the two may get along -- or not. It will probably depend somewhat on what else is in the tank, how long the Blackspotted puffer has been in the tank, and other factors. That said, I think I would want a bigger tank before introducing another puffer that can get to be a foot long. --Ananda>

Puffer time bomb? (08/22/03) Hello, <Hi! Ananda here this morning, wishing the so big worm was something I could feed to my fish...> I've had a Green Spotted brackish puffer [Tetraodon nigroviridis] in my saltwater aquarium for about a year now. It's gotten along just fine with my Longnose Butterfly, and my clownfish. I felt that since I have a 55 gal. tank, I could add another fish. <Hmmmm. Maybe.> So, I've recently added a Potter's Angel to my selection.  He's thriving quite well, but he seems to have a beef with the puffer. <And all the puffer really wants is krill, not beef....> If the puffer comes near him, he'll chase the puffer back to the opposite side of the tank. He's not picking at the puffer's fins, but he's making a point to intimidate the puffer. When it boils down to it, my question is whether or not the brackish puffers have the same tendency to release their toxins like the "True Puffers?" I've looked all over the place trying to locate a site that gave some information on the subject, and I've come up short. It would be greatly appreciated if you could give me some insight. Thanks,  Tim <I've done a bit of research into this, and I seem to remember reading that the puffers do secrete a bit of toxin on a constant basis. So keep fresh carbon in a filter on that tank! For more info, do look up Tetraodotoxin on good search engine. --Ananda>

"Puffer eats coral?"  "Yup, they do that..." (07/30/03) Hi and thanks for listening.   <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I'm wondering if you have an idea why my striped puffer takes bites out of a certain coral in the tank.   <Because it's one of his natural foods. Out of curiosity, which coral is he munching on, and which ones does he leave alone?> Water is good, food is varied and enriched.  s he perchance filing his "beak?"   <Well, sort of -- his "beak", as you call it, is *designed* to eat corals like the one he's munching on.> Thanks, Debbie <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Re: "Puffer eats coral?"  "Yup, they do that..." (07/31/03)
Hi again Ananda! <Hi!> Wish I could answer which coral he's biting; it's just a dead decorative coral and I haven't been able to identify what it was.   <Ah. In most cases, I would steer people away from using coral skeletons. But since you already have them and your puff is munching on them....> It's white, porous, and shaped like a soaked lettuce might be with layered spirals of plates. <Could be any number of species... I can picture which one this might be, but my mental picture has no caption. Maybe someone else will know which type it's likely to be.>   He leaves the (also dead) blue corals alone as well as the columnar styles and lacier styles. I'm not worried about him doing it, unless it's too often, although the first time I heard the loud CRUNCH I admit I jogged into the room to see what happened.   <Oh, my, I can imagine. Goodness knows, I'd run, too!> On another note, how does one support y'all financially, as I would like?   Debbie <On the Daily FAQ page, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, click on the "Amazon Honor System"/"Click to Pay" link underneath the Google search bar, and go from there... many thanks. --Ananda>

Puffer Ails 7/10/03 Our Mbu Puffer about (12 inches in length) has decided he does not want to eat shrimp anymore. We were always supplementing snails, crawfish. He just will not eat the shrimp. He has been doing something funny with his mouth, after he has bit into something, He opens up his mouth very wide like he is trying to push something out but nothing comes out, its gives us the impression that something is stuck in his gums??? Does that make sense?? <have you checked for overgrowth on the teeth?> He has been eating the snails even though he goes through this ritual. He is not as eager to eat as he once was. We have ordered him Ghost Shrimp, Brown Snails and crab. What else do you suggest? <some Selcon to supplement the diet... also gut-loading the prey with nutritious dry foods and frozen fare that the puffer would not eat alone> My husband pet him yesterday, when he was cleaning the tank. The Mbu "Andy" started to color up and move his fins like this made him happy. I thought he would puff up and act mad but he seemed to like the contact. Cute.   He has tank mates that he has had from the very beginning. A Bala Shark "Cedric"  and 30 small Tetras. When he is finished with his food they all come over and he lets them eat what ever he was having. I don't know how long this will last but it is really cool. I'll take a picture for you guys... We were rinsing the shrimp in filtered water, we should use a little water out of his tank I guess in a cup that belongs to him do you think he may not like his food rinsed in the filtered water?? Could there be too much Chlorine?? <no worries here> We research and read and talk to people we just want to do the right things for our Mbu Puffer Friend. He has become quite the family member. We are getting him that 300 gallon tank so that he can grow very old in it.  Thanks, Vivian   <many FAQs in our archives on puffers... do browse as well http://www.wetwebmedia.com Anthony>

Sphoeroides testudineus >Hello and thank you in advance for your help. You guys are wicked awesome!  I have what I believe to be a Sphoeroides testudineus puffer fish. It was caught locally in a casting net while I was fishing. He is only 3/4 inch long. I added it to a tank that I house locally caught fish & "critters" in.  My question is: If he dies in the tank, can he poison the other inhabitants? >>Not sure, but do read the link I've provided below. >When he gets bigger, will he eat my anemones, crabs, sea urchins, star fish? >>I would say count on it. >I also have shrimp, but they are basically food for the others.  I continue to supplying live shrimp to the tank. Do you think a stingray or an octopus would get along with him?   >>I would worry about him having a go at the octopus, not sure at all about the stingray. >I'm concerned that a future octopus would eat him and become poisoned. Thanks! >>I can't say that's not a possibility, it's also possible he may be fond of octo himself.  Try this link, and Google some more if you're a mind to.  Marina

Tryin' With A Lion Gets Tougher With A Puffer! (Compatibility) Gentlemen, <Scott F. today! I don't know about the "gentleman" title, though! LOL> I have a 72 gal. FOWLR setup with an Emperor 400 Bio Wheel and an Aqua C Remora skimmer. The tank has been set up for 5 mos. Water parameters are all fine but nitrates have been around 35-40ppm for 2 mos. Have started using RO water to help with nitrates. Water changes are 20% monthly. <Not a bad technique...However, with a dependence on mechanical filtration, I'd use more frequent water changes (my geeky 5% twice a week)- they really do work wonders, and the results over the long term will be noticeable. Your idea of using RO water is a good one, and can really help reduce nitrates. Another idea would be to utilize a deeper live sand bed (3-4 inches plus), and frequent cleaning and/or replacement of the mechanical filter media. Use a good quality carbon and/or PolyFilter. Clean that skimmer often and make sure that it pulls out a lot of gunk every week.> I have a 20 gal quarantine setup for before adding to the 72. <Awesome! A perfect size...and a big help in being a successful aquarist!> My question is, would a fuzzy dwarf lion and a porcupine puffer be ok in this setup. <Well, I'd have to say no. I suppose that there is a chance that they would be okay for a while. However, the porcupine puffer, cute and relatively friendly though it may be, can be a danger, even to a lionfish. They certainly can harass, or possible injure a fuzzy lionfish! They tend to "sample" lots of things in an aquarium as potential food sources, and this may include the lion! Besides, the porcupine puffer can get HUGE, and needs a very large tank for successful long-term  maintenance. On the whole, I'd keep one or the other. Perhaps a coupe of lions, instead?> There are plenty of caves and nooks and crannies in the 70 Lbs of live rock in tank. More rock will be added a little at a time. All rock has grown purple coralline and seems to be ok. I also have a1 inch sand bed as I did not like the looks of a 5-6 inch deep bed. <Ok, then...I'd reduce it to 1/2 inch or less. The rule of thumb seems to be 1/2 inch or less, or 3 inches plus...> Also would removing the two Bio Wheels help with the nitrates, or should I let the tank mature longer. <I'd take some of the steps outlined above...Perhaps even consider modifying to a sump setup at some point. These guys are massive waste producers, and you need to configure your system to handle the metabolite production of two big eaters/excreters!> I found your website about 2 months ago and have to say that it is the best that I have found. Thanks, Mike Usher <Glad that you enjoy the site, Mike! I think that you have the potential for a great setup there! Just remember to think long term. and think about nutrient export processes to bring down the nitrate levels in the system. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Coral beauty beats up porcupine puffer? Whaaaa?!! I recently purchased a coral beauty <Good lookin' fish>, and a while after that, after some research and a LOT of questions added a porcupine puffer. OK well the thing is, they were fine until about 8 days after i put the PORK in and i started to see the Pork's skin looking as if it had been torn off. Well jumping to many conclusions i thought it might have been a disease, i have been doing water changes on a regular basis and all the water perimeters are fine. Before taking him out i saw my coral beauty go up and bite him, and it looks as if she is the culprit in this mess....so my question (finally hehe) is this normal/common, or do i just have one evil coral beauty??? <Yes, coral beauties are generally passive with fish other than centropyge angels.> what would you do? <Well, make sure that the puffer wasn't already sick. Any fish will take advantage (much to our dismay) of a sick critter. If the puffer was hurtin' then it is likely that the angel was simply capitalizing on a weak tankmate. Darwinism at its best. -Kevin> Thank you much, Karie

False Percs: Tasty treats for a puffer? Dear Bob (or Anthony) : <How 'bout Kevin?> I have checked WWMedia for info and could not come up with a conclusive answer,  Will a valentini puffer be okay with two b/w ocellaris clowns in s 30 gallon tank w. gravel <If the valentini is small and the clowns are already established it should work, but keep in mind that the puffer will outgrow the tank and the clowns may become a snack down the road.> , LR and Fluval 404?  The clowns stay pretty much in 1/4 of the tank.  I have ordered one, just wanted to check with you learned guys. <Always ask before ordering. Hopefully the critter you get will be small (preferably smaller than the clowns) and you will have no problems! -Kevin> Thank you both Connie

MEAN PUFFER Hi there, I just bought an orange bar wrasse and finished his QT time.  I added him to the main tank yesterday and all seemed well.  Today he was lying on his side and there was some bleeding from his middle.  I believe he was attacked by another recent addition, a Hawaiian dog faced puffer.   The wrasse couldn't right himself and I netted him and put him back in QT, but although he's alive and will thrash a bit when netted, he flips upside down and just lies there.  I'm wondering at what point a fish should be considered beyond salvage?<well from what you are telling me, it sounds like your wrasse is going to perish (depending on how deep the bite was, Puffers do have some pretty sharp and powerful teeth/jaws)> I'm also wondering if the aggressiveness of this puffer (he bit my porcupine puffer in  the eye a few minutes after entering the main tank - it was luckily just a scratch - the  eye is clouded in the spot but the puffer still seems to see from it and is quite active and feeding happily).
<would get rid of the MEAN dog-faced puffer ASAP>
Is this normal for a puffer? <Most puffers don't attack other similar sized tankmates> He makes my triggers look positively tame!  He'll fight for food directly with my large Picasso trigger, and even tried to steal some from a feeder that my Volitans was approaching (the lion is almost full grown, so he got the fish with little effort but EVERYONE leaves him quite alone except this puffer). My problem with tank mates is finding ones confident to feed among the wrasses, triggers, etc. and one that doesn't kill my existing fish!  I think the reef was easier!
<I would not keep the dog-faced puffer. He is small now and is very aggressive-what happens when he gets to a foot in length and is this mean? Good Luck with your aquarium, IanB>

Puffer Snacks! Hi folks!!! <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> My fianc?and I have a porcupine puffer, had it for about a year.  We got it as a baby and it is now quite big I would guess between 3-4". <They grow up fast, huh?> It left invertebrates alone until recently (now they are snacks : ) ) and eats the food we give it voraciously.  Other tankmates are a princess parrot, bicolor blenny, bicolor Pseudochromis, baby Royal Tang and a juvenile Half-Moon angel. <I hope it's a large tank! Some of those fishes get quite large...and nasty!> We recently put in a small (baby size) ocellaris clownfish and it has disappeared from the tank.  We've looked everywhere and can't find it.  I'm certain it's dead as it was not a shy fish and was visible frequently (common hiding spots yielding nothing, not even remnants).  Is there any way that my porcupine could have eaten it? <Well, yes...I had a friend who foolishly kept a tank full of about 8 or 9 2" plus Domino Damsels with his 5" Porcupine Puffer. Every night, a damsel or two would vanish! After losing 5 or so, he finally got the idea that this was not a good combination!> We've had other small fish that is has left alone which is why I'm baffled!! <Well, the blenny is better at hiding than the clown, and the Pseudochromis is a pretty good swimmer. Remember, clownfish are typically pretty poor swimmers, and can be quite vulnerable to attack at night, when they usually settle down near or on the substrate...> I'd just like to know if we need to keep this in mind when adding small tankmates!  Thanks for your help!! <Very good idea! These cute puffers are pretty good eating machines! They can ingest a fish that's surprisingly large...Be aware of this when stocking your tank! Otherwise, you'll be providing him with some pretty expensive snacks! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Lisa

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