Animal Stories - People Talking About Puffer Fish


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Dale Roller - 2010-03-30
I bought three Green Spotted puffers at Walmart and placed them in my 9 gallon BiUbe reefone aquarium. I have learned this is way too small for them, but they seemed to do fine for a year. I had them at my mom's house for a few months and she kept leaving the lid off the tank. Two GSPs jumped out and died. The last GSP is in my bedroom and has been alive for almost two years now. I need to find tankmates for him. I would like a couple of brightly colored cichlids or 1 more puffer and a bumble bee gobey. The tank is brackish.
I usually just feed him dried Zoomed Red Shrimp. They are big and crunchy. They also enjoy the occassional mealworm or waxworm. I want to try feeding him a cricket next. I can't find any small snails nor is there anywhere around here with ghost shrimp. Salem, Oregon.

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  • John Green - 2010-04-05
    You don't want to put any other fish in with your puffer try to get a bigger tank for it they do just fine by themselves but if you want another then get a bigger tank. Too small of a tank stresses them out and will kill them try for at least a 29gallon it will help then you can get 2. I have had my 2 for 4 years in a 29gal. and they love it as for tank mates every thing else besides puffers will get eaten believe me I've seen it first hand even cichlids and cichlids are fresh water tropical fish.
  • stacy - 2010-04-07
    My husband and I just purchased 2 gsp's 2 weeks ago at wal-mart. Try looking up petco.com or petsmart.com for the the shrimp, you may be able to order it online.
  • tony - 2010-04-21
    You don't want to put cichlids with puffers. Try angelfish or gouramis, that's what I keep my 2 puffers with. Cichlids are too aggressive and should be kept with others of the same size and temperament.
  • Nick - 2010-05-07
    You definitely need a bigger aquarium. You must look at how the big the fish will get when it reaches full maturity, not how big it is now. The green spotted puffers will push 6 inches usually. You puffer will require a much larger tank. It is not best to associate GSPs with other fish. It is not a community fish. If you are adamant about giving it some tank mates, then first off, you have to get a 35+ gallon tank. Gouramis are a terribly idea for a tank mate being that they are strictly freshwater. Angelfish will have the same problem as well. It is not wise to mix freshwater and brackish water, hoping things will work themselves out. Doesn't work that way. Puffers, when little, require the specific gravity around 1.008. As they get older and bigger, you should begin to move that number up. Gouramis, Angelfish, or any freshwater fish for that matter will not be able to tolerate the salt content and will die if not already from the puffer's abuse on them. Try to find brackish water fish that require the same hardness, specific gravity, temperature, ph level, etc... as the GSP. Look up the Archer fish and scats. That will take you in a better direction for possible tank mates. The only other piece of advice I can give is...WATER CHANGES, WATER CHANGES, WATER CHANGES! Puffers produce a ridiculous amount of waste themselves and if you add tank mates, it will get worst. 50% a week. 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon (when they are younger). Also remember that when you move to a brackish water tank the rule of 1inch of fish per gallon changes. It moves to about 3inches of fish per gallon, which means less fish, bigger tank, obviously. Good luck.
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Randy - 2010-03-21
Its long message but a good note for any FISH LOVER. So for 1 1/2 yrs I have had a 55 gal. tank with a green spotted puffer that lives with mostly chiclids 9. Which are not real agressive ,but can be when food is fed. Also a red scat, a heavy armored yellow striped catfish & I am not sure how its still alive or why they dont kill it off ,but a black fin tetra. All in which are fine well fed, plenty of hiding spaces and different lighting which actually helps in thier behavior ive noticed calming them down. Its like a black light really. My lights are on timers 3 setting Natural florecent then my black light comes then blue LEDs for moon lighting at night which will go off at 3 for complete darkness. I have lots of rock and plant which i change ,move & stack differently 3 to 4 times a year so it doesnt get old for them they start over in finding and moving gravel to make for new homes.I started my tank off with 6 cichilds and slowly added in 2s or 3s to prevent any one fish from trying to claim the whole tank as his and to keep a new comer from not being alone when being introduced into the tank, which I think helps reduce from being picked on. Also I would try and add new homes for any new fish to reduce fighting for a home or teroritory. Also high temps for cichilds can cause them to bring out their natural behavior to be agressive in mainly for more control of sections if not the whole tank. My tank is at 77 degrees. And my fish are very active so i pick out very active and agressive fish cause that suits my tanks community. So know your fish.
I have had many types of fresh & salt water fish for years since i was 12 & 24 now. I can truly say that fish have personalities & that some like others and some dont.Might be when it comes to space, fish size or sinroity. Thing is you will never know how they will react to one another. I had 2 oscars living with a 15 inch freshwater eel which ate fish like the ocars. people at the store said it wont work out but i had them for yrs. I had peiranahs living with cichlids fine but note that provide housing for the fish, like rocks,plants ...ect. You never know but your fish just might work out. Think of the fish of the same speicies that kill one another. Whats up with that its just some fish of the same color, size dont like the other still because its just that fishes way of things and never know but might change. Hope this comes to show that you and some one else might have the same size tank and fish but one is having problems with fish killin fish. Might be because of how he sat the tank up with only one fish maybe two or how he picked out the most aggressive one in the tank at the store cause of its activity.Those might of been the down fall of having a peacful tank so dont turn down the little guy in the corner of the tank if the tank at home has that peaceful enviornment cause he would probly fit right in cause he might carry the same personalty of the fish in which you already own. Same goes for saltwater but risking more money for maybe at a shot for a non reef safe fish like a coral beauty to actural not eat the reef ive taken the chance and was completely fine because you never know. Not saying tho that some fish have bad habits tho but some dont of the same species. HOPED this helped some people out! Fish help me cope and feel less stressful at times so I am a big fan of the little guys and hope others enjoy thier pets as much as i have enjoyed mine.

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  • Logan - 2010-04-29
    Did you introduce all of the fish, including the puffer, at once or could you add some with the puffer later on?
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CJ - 2010-03-20
I have a spotted green puffer fish, bought him from a wal-mart in Texas. I've had him for already 8-9months, very lite maintance being that I have a bottom feeder.They both eat bloodworms (freeze dried),other than that, I enjoy the way it looks and its funny round shape

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Matthew - 2010-03-18
Man this fish is a sleeper. When the light is on he's real chill an minds his own buis. However when the lights go out he's on killing spree for anything that moves. be careful!

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Racheal - 2009-03-08
I saw Green Spotted Puffers at a store a few weeks ago and I thought they were adorable! I finally bought two last night. I put them in my 55 gal. aquarium with a 14" Pleco, 2 large fantail goldfish, 2 large moors, 2 1" fantails, 2 Cory catfish, and 4 Gold Claw crabs. The (not-so) informative tag on the Puffers at the store said 'may nip fins.' I thought they would be fine, as they are only about 1" big themselves, and the goldfish are quite lively. Our tank is well planted, with several decorations that provide hiding. I woke up this morning and the 2 small fantails have hardly any fins at all! All 4 of the larger goldfish have been significantly chewed on, 2 of them have very little tail left. I netted the Puffers and they are sitting in a bucket. A local pet store said that they would take them off my hands, but without reimbursement. I really like the fish, but I did not realize that 'may nip fins' meant that they would viciously devour the other non-aggressive fish. Would they do okay in a bowl with an aerator?

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Racheal,

    Puffers need at least a 20 gal tank. Here's some very important info for you. First they are brackish fish, meaning they need to have sea salt in the tank. You cannot mix them with all your other fish. You have goldfish mixed in with tropical fish and brackish fish. ok, what you need to do is seperate them. Water temp. for your tropical and brackish fish should be at 78 degrees. So make sure there is a heater in the different tanks (goldfish don't require a heater). All fish tanks need to have a water conditioner added to remove the chlorine from the water. And they need a filter to keep the tank clean. Puffers are brackish fish and require sea salt be added to a tank no less than 20 gal. You need to add one quarter cup of sea salt (not table salt) to the tank and test the water to make sure the salinity is at a level of 1.009. You can buy a cheap kit to test the water salinity at the fish store. Next, puffers need a diet of frozen blood worms,krill, brine shrimp and frozen half-shelled clams. They need the clams to nibble on to keep their beak-shaped teeth trimmed short. If the teeth get over-grown, they will not be able to eat. I suggest keeping puffers with their own kind of the same size, as they are a very aggresive fish and will most likely kill others. Forget the bowl, they'll end up dying. Hope this helps you.
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Kaylee - 2009-04-22
I have a 55 gallon tank and a 10 gallon tank. In my 55 gallon I have a baby green spotted puffer, fresh water eel, rainbow shark, algea eater and a blue cray fish. Everyone hides except my baby puffer! I recently purchased a full grown gsp for the 10 gallon and I am not exactly sure if I should put him in the 55 with the others because he is sooo big but he needs to be in a bigger enviroment. He also does not even attack the feeders that are in the 10 gallon with him. Will he kill the baby puffer and my other fish? Any suggestions will help!

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Kaylee,

    I have a large green spot puffer and just got 2 tiny babies. I had to seperate them cuz they almost got eatten. Also, you have freshwater fish mixed in with brackish/puffers. Puffers need to live in brackish water: part fresh mixed with salt water. The puffer will eventually die in fresh water. ok, so if you don't already know, here's how you mix brackish water: mix one quarter cup of sea salt, NOT table salt, per one gal of water. the water salinity should be at 1.009. You can buy something from the fish store to measure the salt content in the water. Also, get some water conditioner to remove the chlorine. The heater in your tank should keep the water temperature set at about 78 degrees. Feed your puffer frozen blood worms, krill, brine shrimp and very important frozen half-shelled clams. Puffers have beak-shaped teeth that need to stay trimmed. They nibble on the clam shell to keep their teeth trimmed. If the teeth get overgrown, they will not be able to eat. Also, puffers are very aggresive and usually eventually will kill other fish, crabs etc. They are able to actually crack open shellfish/crabs with their teeth. I suggest keeping them only with other puffers of approximately the same size. My suggestion is to follow advice on tank conditions, seperate your freshwater fish from the brackish fish/puffers. Once your puffers grow a little larger, you can introduce them to the larger one. Good luck.
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NMS - 2009-08-24
My son brought home one not long ago. It was given to him from someone that had him in a clear canister tank. I did some research and bought it flake food. We want to switch him into a larger tank but have been afraid to do the whole water switch thing. I live in Japan and the supplies on the military base I live on are scarce therefore I have to buy out in the local economy. We ended up buying natural salt with no iodine. I have no clue how much to use for the ratio or water. We set some water out in the sun (as we were told to do by a local pet store). I just went to feed it and it's color has changed from light cream/green to almost completely black. It's tail has also began to curve to one side and he is barely swimming and his head is pointing down towards the bottom of the tank. Normally when I go near the tank it bolts around and swims everywhere, but now he is barely moving. I'm worried that it is too late for him now. Any ideas on how I might be able to save him if there is infact something wrong with him? Thank you!

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Hi, when the puffers belly turns black and stays black, it means he's sick. If his belly turns black and then goes back to cream he's ok. The sea salt portion is one quarter salt per one gal of water. the salinity level should be at approximately 1.009. you need to get something from the fish store to measure the salt level in your tank, it's super easy. Don't know why you would need to keep water out in the sun. You do however, need to get a water conditioner to add a few drops to your tank to remove any chlorine from the water. You also need a filter to keep tank clean, and a heater to keep tank temperature at around 78 degrees. For feeding, flake food is not enough. you need to feed frozen blood worms (they love) or frozen krill, brine shrimp along with frozen half-shelled clams. They need the clams to chew on in order to keep their teeth from overgrowing. If the teeth get overgrown, they won't be able to eat. I hope this info will help you and your puffer. I just love the little guys. Also, suggest puffers be kept with their own kind as they are very aggresive fish.
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Mike - 2009-09-08
I got 2 GSP 6 Guppies 1 spotted catfish 1 shrimp and 2 Clchlid in a 29gal tank 4 days ago I set up 6 days ago. My baby GSP went after the guppies and shrimp the fist day the next day my Clchlid were dead from stress I was told (came in from FL that day). 2 days later I picked up 1 more shrip 2 red tall sharks and 2 red tall silver dolors. My GSP were scared at first but the tank is a family now and they all get along. I did see one of my red tall sharks(looked like it was cleaning my GSP) and my GSP black spot went gray then back again afert he left. The only thing is he still looks a little grey compared to my other GSP. I added more salt in my cup in the water and he went in that and his spots got darker black. They all look happy together and they eat flake food and dried shrimp. Any help and info on what I my be doing wrong or right please email me my 1st tank on my own.

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Dear Mike,

    First, you are mixing fresh water fish with brackish fish. Cant do this. All your fish in your tank are freshwater, your puffer is brackish, meaning it needs to be in partly salty water. Here's what you do. seperate your fish. The puffer needs a salinity water of 1.009. You get this by adding sea salt to your tank and measuring the salt content. You can talk to someone at the fish store about what to purchase to test your water for the proper salt level. Puffers eventually kill most other types of fish as they are aggresive and I suggest you only keep puffers with puffers. You need a heater in your tank with a temperature of 78 degrees. you need to add a water conditioner to remove the chlorine from the water (As with almost all fish, you need a water conditioner and heater/filter) Feeding the puffer: feed frozen blood worms, krill, brine shrimp, shrimp and very important - feed frozen half-shelled clams. The puffers have teeth with need to be kept trimmed. They do this by nipping at the clam shells. If their teeth overgrow, they will not be able to eat. Good luck to you.
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Julie - 2009-10-16
I just got the spotteed green pufferfish the other day and now he seems to be swimmin horizontally, butt in the air, and face down.. ALL the time now and im starting to worry =[....could you tell me what could be possibly be wrong?he has one other tank mate and i plan to get more.. the other tank mate is a tettra..i had gotten 2 tetra but buy the time i got homw he had killed the other one and eaten him to shreds...hes seems lifeless but he is truly really alive....could the temp of the water be to cold?

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Julie -

    Puffers are brackish fish, meaning you need to add sea salt to your tank keeping the salinity at 1.009. Talk to someone at a fish store about whats going on. The temp. should be at 78 degrees approximately. Their food should be mostly frozen flood worms, krill , brine shrimp and especially frozen half-shelled clams, so the puffer can keep his teeth trimmed by chewing on the shell. If their teeth become overgrown, they can't eat and will die. Also, they are very aggresive fish and will most likely kill other types of fish. I suggest you keep only puffers in the tank. Get some good advice from someone from the fish store.
  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Julie, Your tettras are fresh water, arn't they? your puffer is brackish. The two need different water - one fresh, one salt.
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Tammy Burroughs - 2009-12-09
Hi, I have a GSP that is starting to have problems. His tail looks swollen and also looks like its rotting of at the end. Any suggestions will be truely appreciated!
Thanks

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  • yulian - 2010-02-17
    hi there i think i know i think it is tailrot improving water conditions would be great and if you have him in freshwater changing him to brackishwater would be even better i know this by experience with my green spotted puffer.
  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    hi, talk to a fish store and get some meds, be careful not to overdose your tank. Sounds like tailrot. Get some expert advice from a fish store.
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