Animal Stories - Puffer Fish

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Lil Bit and SE - 2010-08-09
I have been going through some stuff with these little puffers and am wondering what I am doing wrong. I feed it meal worms shrimp as well as snails. I started out with one I called Ribbi. She was a playful little thing. I got her at wal mart. I didn't know much about the fish so I kept her in a tank that was WAY too small in which the wal mart guy said was alright. I had to change her water everyday to every other day. It was crazy but she hung in there with me through it all. After doing just a little research on line I went out and bought a ten gal tank fungus clear and parasite clear. Thankfully I already had the salt. I don't know however how much salt to add to a ten gal tank. Sadly the fungus clear or something killed my little Ribbet after her and I went through hell together. She was fine until I put her in that green water, which may I say wasn't green until I added the fungus clear. I now have bought another fish and would like someone to reply or comment and let me know. I have a ten gal tank with a water filter. How much salt do I need to add and do I need to put any fungus clear in there in which I swear I believe killed Little Ms. Ribbit. Oh and what does murky water even mean. I have put in there seeds to grow my own plants I have a little bit of stuff in there for the fish to play with and do plan on buying more. Its was a long journey and huge learning experience with Ribbit, in which I loved very much but I hope to do this right this time any pointers. Please help... And to that wal mart guy I'm with you man I thought about that before I even found this page. I agree wal mart should not sell these fish. They're horrible about it. Again Please help..

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  • Aaron - 2010-08-29
    I'm not sure about the other stuff but I heard you add a table spoon of salt for every 5 gallons.
  • Tyler Swaggerty - 2010-09-07
    Hey I'm sorry to hear about Ribbi, i have two green spotted puffers Tough and Puff. I work at walmart and agree with you 100%. I got lucky with my two but after that I went back and what I saw was bad, there were at least 10 in one 5 gallon tank they are all sick and the filtration system doesn't work in half of the tanks.
  • hermione - 2010-09-13
    You need to put two tablespoons in for a ten gallon tank, one for a five gallon tank I hope that helps you out. And I'm sorry to hear about little ms. ribbit.
  • Experienced Fish Owner - 2011-09-04
    First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your fish. The one problem is... Wal-mart
    (no offense wal-mart people ) But, really. All their fish are sick there. 1 time, before I had a saltwater tank, I bought an angle fish late at night, came home put it in a big enough tank, I woke up and it was dead.
    My Wal-mart stopped selling fish, After they realized how cruel and bad fish owners they are. (No offense wal-mart people) Anyway, you don't have to put fungus clear in there. That's my opinion anyway.
  • Levaron - 2011-09-09
    I have also started w/ walmart puffers, most of the puffers already have severe fin and tail damage when you buy them. They are not captive bred so the shock from being removed from the wild even as tiny babies and thrown into a tank and then removed and shipped off STRESSES them out. Most people notice fungus appearing very shortly after adding them to thier tank. The majority of time it is the injuries they sustained getting infected. Your best and healthiest bet is to NOT use chemical med or h2o treatment stay with the salt. The salt is also good to use in tropical tanks, stress reliever and help the healing process, they will also rapidly grow fins back. The brand of salt I use it "Jungle" for water quality Aquarium salt. Instructions say add 1 LEVEL tablespoon per 10 us gal. I also feed him flakes in the am, brine shimp in the afternoon and frozen blood worms in the evening. Do not ever put a frozen cube in your tank hungry fish can get frost bite. So I put the frozens in a small dish w/ h2o to thaw them first. I hope this helped you, don't give up a puffer is well worth the efforts. 80)
  • Alex Mikell - 2011-09-28
    I hve two gsps.(green spotted puffers) and the thing about these puffers are you can't use aqaurium salt as it doesn't have the right nutrients they need. You need instant ocean mix. It's actual sea salt you can mix with water. It helps your puffer heal and makes them more happy but you have to acclimate them slowly. They need at least 30 gallons all to themselves but you can have more than one puffer in the same tank but you must make sure that they don't pick on each other. Some cases they do but most the time they get along great and they are very sensitive to water and water changes. You have to make sure you have them in a controlled tempature or they will stress and turn all black and go into water shock. All puffers are very intelligent and have their own personality and some of them like a certain color that calms them when there scared or sick. As for the fungus clear you could use it but you can't have your puffer in the water they need clear perfect water at all times or you take a risk of your puffer dying or getting their selves sick and stressed which leads to bad things. I hope this helps you.........
  • jordan king - 2011-10-04
    Hello There, I’m sorry about your little GSP but unfortunately I don’t know much about buying form Wal-Mart, but I have heard so pretty grim stories about that place. In the UK, My pet store is pretty reliable, so buying from there wasn’t a problem. Now I have 5 GSP's and they are all really healthy and loving life. It’s better to buy them as small as you can get them so that when adapting from the stores water to your own then the puffer won’t be too stressed out. if you have done your research , you will know what I’m talking about when I say "The Grey Belly". The puffer fish is one of very few who you can tell is majorly stresses by the colour of its belly. It will start by getting lines round the edges of its spotted back that then will spread over the belly if left untreated. This is commonly causes by ammonia or nitrate/s. this could have been why yours has died... Are you positive you put the right amount of treatment in to your tank? Now, murky water/cloudy water is a commonly used phrase which is exactly what it says on the tin, (cloudy water). Depending on how much you fed your puffer could also contribute to the ammonia in the tank as puffers are very messy eaters and any leftover food will deteriorate over time. What I have done to combat this is add a few bottom feeders in to your tank. Make sure all lights are off as the puffer will at first go for the new fish thinking it is food. These fish are so fun to have because they have the mannerisms of a dog. If you puffer starts lying on the floor for large amounts of time, then you could have another problem. This could be either the water is slowly killing him (Do a 70% water change straight away) or a dietary problem. These fish are mainly carnivores but can sometimes pick at vegetation, so what you can do is make up a meal for them. A trick I uses it to break open a muscle, and remove it. Keep that on the side you will need it. Then cook some peas, move the skin and mush up. Add some cucumber and place in the muscle. Now get some frozen blood worm / Brine shrimp (or muscle) and cut the cube in half. Put one half back. Then place it inside the muscle too. (You might have to get a fairly big muscle to do this but it all depends on how many you have). Your puffer should now eat a nice healthy diet.
    Now salt! Biggest waste of time! I stressed for hours and hours looking for precise measurements for them. All you need to do is get some tonic salt from your local pet store and put some in every time you do a water change. Like the others have said, about 1 table spoon per 5 gallon is fine. They only will get ill after they have matured.
    Real plants are a really great thing to have for puffers as they do love to peck at them so expect a few holes in them, i also recommend you get fine grained gravel as when the food settles, and the puffers will search through the gravel if they get hungry. They can’t do that if it large/heavy gravel.
    These puffers are pack fish and not many people realise this when buying them. In the wild they work as teams in order to catch prey. So it is advised for the social reason to get 2 or more. This may require a bigger tank.
    I’m sorry I have waffled on but I love these fish and I found it incredibly hard to get the information i needed so I have tried to give you a basic outline of key points you need to know in the long term about these fish, by all means if you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them.
  • Alex Burleson - 2011-10-04
    Dear 'Lil Bit and SE'

    I am so sorry for your loss. Walmart is not the best place to purchase fish, and other aquatic friends from. Their animals are poorly taken care of by staff not educated to properly care for those animals.

    While salt is minute to freshwater fish, puffers are generally regarded as brackish water fish meaning they live in water that contains an additional amount of salt that normal. If you are adding salt, be sure it is aquarium salt specified for aquarium use. Add 1 1/2 cups of salt per ten U.S gallons.

    Continue to do 25% water changes per week. This should improve water quality, and health of your fish.
  • Elaina Russell - 2011-10-18
    You need to buy a hydrometer. this measures the salinity in the water. Use sea salt not just aquarium salt. Most pet stores carry both. I use 'Red Sea' salt. Not using the 1st item and not knowing about the second not (the sea salt) was the reason I lost my 1st Puffer. Swim and learn! Good luck!
  • jimmy - 2011-12-26
    ok I see alot of people saying to use like a tbl spoon of salt per 5 gallons of water, I assume they are talking about aquarium salt. That won't work. What's worse is most of these people seem to know what they are talking about they don't. As for salt I use instant ocean about half a cup per gallon.
  • Scott Emberly - 2012-02-06
    Way to small for puffers do research before buy in pets your only making them suffer
  • bearcat223 - 2012-02-08
    I have only had my puffer for 2 weeks then it got ich. I tried to cure him with Ich Guard like the guy at Walmart said to do after 2 treatments my puffer died. I should have read the back. gsp fish dont have scales which means they can get chemical burns pretty easy so you want to make sure to use something safe for scaless fish like ich gaurd 2
Sarah - 2012-02-16
I have recently added a green puffer to my aquarium and my parrot fish tried to eat it since then the parrot fish has turned very pale and looks generaly unwell could this be because of the puffer fish and if so will it survive

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-16
    In defence the puffer fish can release a toxin which is poisonous.
jim - 2009-06-14
From the research I have done, the GSP likes brackish water the best and thus their belly will whiten up. Get a hydrometer and measure the salinity. I purchased the Deep Six Hydrometer from my local store. Prices vary wildly as my store charges double on everything I have priced. I have seen these advertized on the web for 7.95 + shipping. On the PLUS side, it is nice to be able to walk into the store and have my questions all answered, water tested, etc. Brackish water measures 1.001 to 1.016. A good range seems to be 1.014 to 1.016.

Ashley - 2010-04-13
My 2 1/2" green spotted puffer Sushi (full marine) has this really weird habit of shying away from hands. Doesn't matter who it is, she just hates hands! lol anyone else see this? It's a rather odd, yet cute habit when she tucks in her little tail!
And for some saying their puffers nipped their freshwater fish's fins, I think I have the theory as to why: Freshwater fish are tank bred and raised, meaning most have no idea as to what a predator is. When a predatory fish (gsp) comes into the mix, most don't know how to defend themselves except to try and hide or bolt away, Meaning the puffer can and will catch and/or nip fins. Most marine fish are wild caught or tank raised for a while after being caught. They know what predators are and had to live with, learn to escape, and defend themselves since birth. When I added a Heniochus Butterflyfish (a VERY peaceful species) after having Sushi in the tank for about a year, she tried to nip at the long streamer that's his dorsal fin, but he wouldn't allow it and gave her a "dominance push" backwards showing that's not okay. It was rather cool to watch and she hasn't bugged my heniochus, or any of my fish for that matter. I think that saltwater fish know how to defend themselves better than freshwater fish do, hence they're less likely to get nipped or caught as puffer food.

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  • Alicia - 2010-04-22
    My puffer shys away from hands too! I found that moss balls are very useful. She uses it as protection when my friends come over and stick their hands all over the glass.
  • henry - 2010-05-01
    I got 1 at wal-mart and he hates to see my hands too. He will start to swim fast and jump around he's a spaz.
  • Nick - 2010-05-07
    Java moss is the preferred plant for GSPs. It is one of the few plants that survive in brackish water. Though...the closer you move towards full salt, obviously plants become less of an option for shelter. Use coral and live rock then. Puffers absolutely love little caves or cubby holes. It is natural for puffers to be scared of us. We are huge compared to them and not to mention they do understand that a hand entering the water and moving stuff around isn't normal in their aquatic environment. All fish have fear of humans to a certain point. Some just freak out more than others. Puffers are extremely sensitive fish. If you want your puffer to be less fearful, do what I do. Hand feed your fish. Of course before and after you do this, clean your hands! I give them frozen krill as a treat. I hold the krill by the tip and dunk it under the water. Just keep still as much as possible so that they understand you are not a threat. For the first couple times, don't let your fingers penetrate the surface. Just let the food go through. They will still see your fingers cause they will be in their cone of vision, but without entering the water, they see you as less of a threat. Good luck.
Jessica - 2012-01-05
I'm worried about my 1.5 inch GSP Delilah. I have recently moved her into a 10.5 gallon tank from a 8 gallon tank. I feed her meal worms, snails and blood worms occasionally. Her personality has changed- she has lost her attack when eating and now hardly eats because she seems as though she has no energy to do so. Her teeth have grown quite a bit to not eating the snails so I had to clip them myself with cuticle clippers after I had sedated her in water with clove oil and still she is not eating any better if at all. I don't know what to do please help us!

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  • Scott Emberly - 2012-01-31
    buy live clams and you may have to trim the teeth if they are long or it will die from starvation
alize becerril - 2011-11-11
I have a 20 Gallon tank with two guppies and a very big apple snail. Would a GSP be good in that? Also would it eat my snail or guppies?

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  • Alex Burleson - 2011-11-12
    A Green Spotted Puffer, would most likely attack your snail. Additionally, it could attack your guppies as well. Those are not ideal tank mates for a puffer. While Puffers are exciting fish to have, they can be quite aggressive.
  • sharon - 2011-11-15
  • Mel - 2012-01-11
    I will say this, I work at Walmart in the Pets department. We are currently selling GSP and they don't do to well with us, for one they are in a very small tank (prolly 10gal) there is like 7 of them in there, plus there is about 10 African Ciclids in there as well. I feel bad for them and I find it cruel to keep them in that sort of condition. Their fins are all bitten off and they are so stressed out that all they do is hang out at the bottom of the tank with this very sad expression on their faces. I really wish there was something I could do. If I was allowed to have fishes where I live i would buy em all out and put them all in they're own private 20gal aquarium. I don't know what to do for the poor guys.
  • Alex Burleson - 2012-01-11
    A Green Spotted Puffer would most likely severely harass, or damage your snail. Additionally, as they are calculating fish, they could potentially harm your guppies. To create a beautiful environment in your twenty gallon, consider choosing a few fish from each of the following species. Please note, that you are not limited to these species of fish:

    Cardinal Tetra
    Boseman's Rainbowfish
    Yo-Yo Loach
    Cherry Barb

  • Jay - 2012-01-26
    And the GSP will end up dying as it is a salt water fish.
Melissa - 2012-01-24
This comment is for all the people that are concerned about the green spotted puffers changing color. I am not an expert, so this is me sharing my experience with them. I have 3 GSPs...Larry, Mo and Curly. I have had them for over a year and they were very little when I got them. They are now big and plump, look very healthy and have beautiful fins. I do not believe that every time they change color, that they are stressed. Every night when I shut their light off, they will calm down, go down to the bottom, and each one finds a place to 'sleep'. They get very pale, lose most of their spots and rest on the bottom of the tank in the sand. If you walk by, or turn on a light in the room, they will wake up and instantly regain their spots and color within seconds. I think they change color sometimes when they are calm. Just my opinion...

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-01-24
    It is more than your opinion. It is your observation and a good one and i thank you for it.
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maria - 2007-08-13
I have two amazon puffer fish in a 90 litre tank. at the moment they are young and about max. 5cm long. i feed them on bloodworm and their teeth are growing, but when i try to feed them snails they are scared of them, or loose the small ones, and i find the snail dead and uneaten later. i think this is only because they are still babies. They get along well, although sometimes they fin nip or fight over their food. this is only very rarely and most of the time they are good friends. they rest together at night at the bottom of the tank. i worked with them for a while at a pet shop, the fish are wild as they cannot be bred in captivity and come from South American rivers such as the Napo River where they are naturally found under floating plants in little schools.

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  • javin - 2011-02-21
    Live in salt or freshwater:please please PLEASE REPLY?
  • Anonymous - 2011-03-10
    I just got a pufferfish today so I'm not that sure how to take care of it so anyone have any pointers?:)
  • Kate - 2012-01-10
    Freshwater. Also, please only buy fish AFTER you've researched them. You'll get stuck with a lot of things you never wanted if you don't understand them. :)
jon - 2011-12-21
I'm a first timer, how hard are these fish to take care of and maintain in an aqurium with 1 or 2 other friendly fish?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-21
    Puffers are not known for their gentle temperments. They are agressive and will usually do some damage to other fish in the tank. They also release a toxin if frightened by another fish. They aren't for a novice so I would wait and gain some experience before trying this guy out.
  • Alex Burleson - 2012-01-09
    Puffers can be quite aggressive. They're not very difficult to care for, however they can be aggressive towards other fish in the aquarium, and they will vehemently attack snails, and other invertebrates in the aquarium such as shrimp. I would not recommend keeping them with basic community fish.
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steven - 2010-06-12
It is very cute. but manage to keep one in a tank. It is as described, fierce towards it owns kind, and chasing each other. Anyway, for feeding, it eats on its own food. They seldom go on top to get food, eat food on the bottom. They mostly prefer live food, baby shrimp, and snails. Gosh!, it was to clean up the snails in my tank at the first place... but all the snails were gone within a week after I got a puffer.

I might think of some other food for this tiny thing.

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  • E. Lewis - 2011-12-03
    Awesome, thank you

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