Animal Stories - Puffer Fish

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jenna d - 2008-10-26
My first puffer died within 3 days. Got another within that time, but the first was dead before they got acquainted. The second is strong but I learned a lot here about water change. I am feeding flake food and have it with a bottom feeder and an algae eater. I got another puffer yesterday and she doesn't seem like she's gonna make it. The 2nd one bit me and my husband didn't believe it until he read this site. It's only a 5 gallon tank. We just want a fun aquarium and don't plan on adding any others. Suggestions.. jenna

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Dear Jenna,

    Here's some necessary tips to keep your puffers healthy. First, they are brakish fish, meaning you have to add sea salt to your tank making a salinity content of 1.009. You can get something from the fish store to test the salinity in your tank. They can't survive in fresh water long. You also need to feed them frozen blood worms (their favorite) or frozen krill, or brine shrimp. You're temperature in the tank should be approximately 78 degrees and make sure you add a water conditioner to remove chlorine from the tank. Also important, you need to feed them frozen half-shelled clams. This is very important as the puffers will bite on the clam shell and keep their beak/teeth trimmed down. If you don't do this, the puffers will eventually not be able to eat as their teeth/beak will grow and they won't be able to eat,l resulting in death. Also, puffers are very aggresive and usually will kill other types of fish in the tank. You should talk to a fish store to get more information on keeping puffers, but what I mentioned is pretty much the basics to keeping them alive. Good luck. Laura
  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    One more thing Jenna, You need a much larger tank, 20 plus gal. And I would only keep puffers only in it as they will usually kill your other fish.
  • joe - 2010-08-10
    Puffers may not be the right fish for you.
  • Anonymous - 2010-08-28
    Maybe you should try feeding it something like a night crawler or blood worms. Some like to eat those because they are omnivores(eats plants & meat).
nick - 2009-04-19
To the person with the comment about the belly changing to black. A friend of mine had a spotted puffer for a couple of years that would regularly change his belly from cream to black, like a chameleon they change color as they see fit(so I'm told). I just bought 2 spotted and a figure 8 today, very excited to have these little guys.

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  • Turner - 2010-04-14
    Bought my little SGP and two days later saw him curled up and black...Thought dead..Then a couple of hours later he was green and spunky. He does this several times a day. So weird. Chameleon? What is going on? Would love to know. He is nippy and scares the other fish. (gold fish) when he's out and about. He's just darlin though and quite the showfish for friends.
  • Chels - 2010-05-07
    GSP fish bellies change to black when they are stressed or upset about something. It is like their own little mood detector. I think it is the coolest thing. I have one that we call moody because he constantly has some splotch of black somewhere on his belly and quickly changes to complete white when we feed him or visit him. Just think of your gsp's belly changing color its own little was of communicating with you.
  • Puffsta - 2010-07-25
    Thank you so much for that info. I have been wondering and couldn't find anything about it and thought he kept getting sick but I started noticing that it would change several times during the day sometimes too. I think that is right about their mood and chameleon-ism. Mine's seems to be more mood and maybe stress from what I have noticed. He clears right up after I feed him or different things.
  • geo - 2010-08-17
    I don't think it so much that they are stressed more chilled out or like a child that dose not get there own way (in a boo ,in a bad mood ). I have had my gspf for 18 months and are doing v well. Fed on frozen bloodworm, frozen krill and fresh water snails (separate culture tank )for up keep of beak ,but they really love cooked and cooled mussels. I am currently at specific gravity of 1.014 but raise and drop this weekly or monthly as it would in wild plus will kill of parasites that get used to certain levels of salt. I may have a breeding pair as one has very swollen belly looking forward to seeing eggs. Hope that anyone who buys these fish enjoy them as much as I do.
sabrina - 2010-08-12
I also have a couple of adorable puffers. If someone could answer me this? I would really appreciate it. How often do you feed a day, and can you overfeed?

Genna - 2010-05-19
I just bought two of these little guys at Walmart (gasp!) They're in my ten gallon tank with the fancy guppies that I've had for a while. So far they seem to be adjusting happily and have shown no aggression towards the other fish. I've wanted them for a long time and I'm anticipating they'll do well! (Regardless of people saying they'll attack all of the guppies and they'll never survive in a tank larger than 40 gallons). Just thought I'd post this...I'll update as well!

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  • nine - 2010-06-13
    Hey me to I've got one at walmart they are really cute but aggressive it killed my brothers fish in a day wow cute but mean =]
  • Johnny - 2010-06-15
    Same for me think I am going to get another one see how it goes.
  • pufferlvr - 2010-06-15
    They should be in a 50 gallon tank if you have two puffers and other fish species. 10 gallons is too small.
  • erin p - 2010-06-27
    I've got 3 and they share a tank with platies and sharks seems to be a good combo. Had other fish to start but every night one disappeared, thought it was the sharks but one night I watched from a distance with a small flash light and it was one of the puffers, every night he attacked another fish till all of that breed was gone. Seems to be happy now. I think they were being clinqy and not including him... so he killed them. lol
  • Puffsta - 2010-07-25
    LOL. I had mine in with guppies and just like they said, one by one my little Verde ate the guppies. The biggest he saved for last of course and that one lasted about the longest. If they get quite a bit bigger than your gsp they might just have a chance. I have had my puffer for about a year now. Just like she said they bite them in half and then devour them. :) They are predators, you know! I can't comment about the tank size though but they will eat the small fish when they get bored or hungry or crowded. Very playful and curious though. I also got mine at Walmart and he was just fine but like a predator some of them had chomped fins so I just picked the healthiest one with all it's fins and brought him home!
  • pufferlvr - 2010-07-30
    Paul- I'm really not sure why he would be inflating and then deflating but that line is called a stress line. Puffers get it when something in their tank is not right. How big is your tank and how much salt do you use? Also, try feeding your puffer frozen brine shrimp or other crustaceans as well to offer a variety of frozen food
    Savanna- I would get a 20 gallon tank if you are going to have one puffer. For two you will need a 30 gallon. You can buy their food frozen at Petco. Fish flakes DO NOT WORK even though Wal Mart will tell you to buy them. They are great fish Im glad you are getting some!
    Josh- I would recommend a salt level of about 1.12 when the fish are oung and then as they get older gradually increase until you have appx 1.2. You'll of course have to buy a hydrometer.
    Here is a new website I found today and really like. Surprisingly she has a whole section on Walmart and GSPs!
  • Sherry - 2010-08-08
    I also purchased my 2 puffers from Walmart felt sorry for them. I have them in a 20 gal with an algae eater and they are doing great. I get the feeder snails for them and they love them along with freezed dried medley in a can. They seem to be happy and love attention, weird. Good luck to all who have these wonderful little puffers, just remember to change 50% of the water monthly I do and no issues so far.
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matthew - 2010-03-06
How big do Amazon puffers get?

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  • Anonymous - 2010-08-04
    Can get up to 5 inches.
Animal-World info on Spotted Green Puffer
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Lele - 2010-05-31
We just bought two puffers Friday and they were fine.. and we even got water from the fish store to put it in our tank. So, we thought it would be fine to let the puffers in while cycling the water. But, I guess it was a bad idea because someone told us after it was. Then, the second or third day.. the baby puffer fish was just sitting at the bottom for a long time and til the next day.. we changed the water and it was fine again. Now, this bigger puffer fish is doing the same thing like the baby.. he looks sick... and he looks like he can't swim and just curling up like a ball and rolling around.. is this a serious problem? Also, we put like 75% salt inside the water and we just took it out because now it looks like there is too much salt. And one more question, can we just use salt + tap water for the tank or we need to purify the tap water each time we change it? Thank you so much for taking the time to help me!

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  • NZGlider - 2010-06-05
    You do need to purify the water each time before adding it to the tank as tap water has chlorine in it, which is like acid to fish. Always purify it through a filter (I use aquasana - great product for own drinking), or a good water ager. The water ager will get rid of the chlorine.
    The other thing with new tanks & tank water is that since it's 'new', there is no healthy bacteria in it.
    A good healthy tank needs the healthy bacteria as it eats the mess left by the fish. Without sufficient bacteria, the food left overs and the fish bowl movements turn the water toxic. If you cannot wait for a week or so for this bacteria to develop (best to introduce 1-3 small fish, like guppies to build up for the bacteria - they can then serve as food for the puffers, you can use a bottled product from the store like 'cycle' that will add the bacteria right away.
    When doing water changes later on, the bacteria left in the gravel should be enough to maintain a healthy level.
  • pufferlvr - 2010-06-15
    I buy purified water and then add the salt to that. I let the salt/water mix settle for 30mins and then put it in the tank with my puffers. Buy a salt reader and test the salt to an exact level. I've found that between 1.012 and 1.015 is fine. Also, if you are going to have two puffers you need at least 20 should have 50 and it should be a tank with a filter system to help with cleanliness/oxygen level.
  • Fish luver - 2010-08-02
    I actually have one myself. For saftey reasons, think of buying the same size of pufferfish next time. Your puffers should be fine, them rolling in a ball is perfectly normal, it usually means he is trying to hide from an enemy. Maybe he is seeing something that scare's him,maybe another pet if you have one:-)
joanne - 2010-08-01
Puffers are a great brackish (salt water) fish and fairly easy to keep I have two and they love eating snails but only the size of there eye prawns blood worm and meal worm and the beetles they turn in to but shell food is essential to keep there beak down to prevent over growth puffers dont eat flake food it dose nothing for them there a cleaver fish with lots of personality ,only buy a puffer fish which greets you at the tank and has a slightly round belly or you may buy a fish that wont last long and don't let nipped fins put you off a little melofix will sort that out, puffers change coulors all the time mine go from bright green to dark gray when stressing or at feeding time that's nothing to be worried about xx

chandler1310 - 2010-07-28
I wanted to get one of these gsp's today from walmart, and there were some that looked sort of black. Is that a bad thing? And also how small of a tank can you have that the fish is actually gonna LIVE in? The biggest one they had was 10 gallons but we almost got a 3 gallon one. So far from what I've read on here it needs to be 10g or bigger. But I'm not too sure. Also where do you get the shrimp and stuff from? I'm really glad I came on here and got info...if I hadn't I might have killed a poor puffer! Please help if you know any answers to my questions:) thank you:)

Jake - 2010-06-24
"I'm getting some of these lil' guys to cycle my 40G breeder saltwater tank."

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  • brandon - 2010-07-22
    These fish will never live through a cycling process... They are very susceptible to ammonia poisoning... why don't you just go to home depot and buy the pure ammonia to cycle your tank the fishless cycle way. Its cheaper then buying fish to do it for yah and then causing permanent damage to your fish.
Johnny - 2010-06-13
I just got a gsp and he lives with a betta and many fish he is very gentle and gets along with all of them he loves to eat his ghost shrimp. He's the coolest fish I have ever owned..

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  • cedric - 2010-06-16
    Won't be long they eat guppies, I just fed mine smaller guppies they bite them in half and then consume.
  • Lizzy - 2010-06-24
    Better watch out with that betta in there, he might die from stress put on by the betta.
  • zach - 2010-06-27
    Be careful with keeping him with your betta he might try and eat it. My 2 puffers ate all the fins right off my betta he is ok but I had to move him to a different tank.
  • Paul - 2010-07-15
    Do you give your gsp live or dead ghost shrimp?

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