Pea Puffer, How Do You Feed When You’re Away For A Week Or Two?

FishMich
  • #1
Hello There,

We originally got a 10 gallon tank for my son to raise platy fry. But the fry were all eaten before we even got back with the tank from the store. I’m pretty sure my platy won’t have any sperm packets left to breed. She’s been separated from any males for over 6 months now.

So, now my five year old son is really, really wanting to keep a pea puffer or two in this 10 gallon once I finish fishless cycling it.

Chatted with a LFS employee who keeps several pea puffers herself. She says she breeds ramshorn snails in a large mason jar with a sponge filter, and feeds her pea puffer 12-15 little snails a day.

So the problem that I’m worried about, is how on earth am I going to feed live snails to the pea puffer while we’re away on a week or two week long vacation? We don’t have anyone that can come and feed the fish and change the water. With our other tanks, we just crush up pellets and flakes and use an auto feeder with the lowest opening set to release food. They’ve been fine after our last 9 day trip.

Is there any way to keep and feed pea puffers and go away on week long holidays? If it’s not really possible, then I’ll break the news to my son that our family isn’t compatible with a pea puffer.
 
alykat
  • #2
I’ve had nearly completely self sustaining pea puffer tanks. (Feeding wise I mean- maintenance never stops with these guys). If you get a self sustaining colony of pest snails going in your tank your puffers will have endless food supply.

If you have enough mature snails and enough hiding places then a couple of pea puffers will keep their population in check but will not eliminate them, certainly not in a week or two. I’d get the snails going first and then add in the puffers.

Imo 12-15 snails a day is quite a feast for a pea puffer. I imagine on the tanks I added snails to (those without sustaining colonies) I might’ve average 2-3 per day. Although their diets were supplemented with other foods as well so it’s hard to get a consistent estimate.
 
FishMich
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I’ve had nearly completely self sustaining pea puffer tanks. (Feeding wise I mean- maintenance never stops with these guys). If you get a self sustaining colony of pest snails going in your tank your puffers will have endless food supply.

If you have enough mature snails and enough hiding places then a couple of pea puffers will keep their population in check but will not eliminate them, certainly not in a week or two. I’d get the snails going first and then add in the puffers.

Imo 12-15 snails a day is quite a feast for a pea puffer. I imagine on the tanks I added snails to (those without sustaining colonies) I might’ve average 2-3 per day. Although their diets were supplemented with other foods as well so it’s hard to get a consistent estimate.
Thanks! What other foods did you use?
 
sloughdog
  • #4
Following this thread....I’m pretty new to keeping pea puffers too and from what I’ve been reading alykat is spot on.

Other foods I feed my puffer include artemia and bloodworms. Mine prefers the artemia over everything though.
 
Miaw
  • #5
In my big tank I am working on creating a self sustaining population of scuds. I have them breeding in an invert tank and I am using a turkey blaster to blast them under driftwood, behind the filter etc. I believe I already have a self sustaining MTS population in the tank. Judging by the pea puffers going to the toilet they are eating more than just blood worm. They will go to the toilet sometimes and it is black - the colour of MTS.

They readily eat scuds when they see them too. Scuds are great you can get yourself a little tank (I even had a 7L "betta" tank with the light (sold separately) and heater and sand with them breeding - no filter), and give them some substrate. I don't even know what they eat they just do, and breed I retired my "betta" tank (i.e. poured the entire contents including the substrate into my big tank). The fish ate well that day!

But you can try the same thing as me, putting them into your tank targeted at places they should be able to hide and thrive, then occasionally venture out to become lunch.

My scud breeding tank is a Ciano Aqua 20 Aquarium with LED Lights & Filter BLACK, with soil substrate , a heater, a nice size sponge filter. Currently it houses 100s of scuds, maybe 100 red cherry shrimp, several ramshorn snails, MTS etc. Cheap and cheerful! Tempted to set up another next to it!
 
Mary765
  • #6
It's not just feeding you need to worry about for puffers, do you know about their tank decoration requirements?
 
FishMich
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Following this thread....I’m pretty new to keeping pea puffers too and from what I’ve been reading alykat is spot on.

Other foods I feed my puffer include artemia and bloodworms. Mine prefers the artemia over everything though.
Sweet, thanks!

In my big tank I am working on creating a self sustaining population of scuds. I have them breeding in an invert tank and I am using a turkey blaster to blast them under driftwood, behind the filter etc. I believe I already have a self sustaining MTS population in the tank. Judging by the pea puffers going to the toilet they are eating more than just blood worm. They will go to the toilet sometimes and it is black - the colour of MTS.

They readily eat scuds when they see them too. Scuds are great you can get yourself a little tank (I even had a 7L "betta" tank with the light (sold separately) and heater and sand with them breeding - no filter), and give them some substrate. I don't even know what they eat they just do, and breed I retired my "betta" tank (i.e. poured the entire contents including the substrate into my big tank). The fish ate well that day!

But you can try the same thing as me, putting them into your tank targeted at places they should be able to hide and thrive, then occasionally venture out to become lunch.

My scud breeding tank is a Ciano Aqua 20 Aquarium with LED Lights & Filter BLACK, with soil substrate , a heater, a nice size sponge filter. Currently it houses 100s of scuds, maybe 100 red cherry shrimp, several ramshorn snails, MTS etc. Cheap and cheerful! Tempted to set up another next to it!
Oh, very interesting! Thank you!

It's not just feeding you need to worry about for puffers, do you know about their tank decoration requirements?
I’ve only researched online, so from what I can tell they like a heavily planted tank. Is there anything else I need to know?

The other question is, can they go a little longer than a week without a water change? The longest time we’ve been away this year was for nine days. I did a 50% water change the night before we left and then another 50% water change when we got back. Parameters were 0/0/10 after our vacation. Would a 10 gallon tank with one or two pea puffers and snails and plants (it would be my first planted tank) be ok for about 10 days without a water change?
 
Mary765
  • #8
Yes they do like heavily planted tanks! All that you need to know otherwise (par parameters and such) is that if your puffers ever start looking bored or glass surfing then you need to re-areange your tank or add more plants/decor in. If you plan to have 2 puffers then you will need a lot of places where they can hide from one another and a lot of tall plants/decor to break their line of sight.

Provided you have a very large and underpowered filter, you should be ok. For a 10 gallon I would use a filter for at least a 15 gallon in your circumstance. In my 5 gallon tank (which will house a puffer) I have a 5 gallon filter on 24/7 and another 5 gallon filter on all the time except night (it's very noisy I cannot sleep with it on, hence the other filter)

If in doubt put in some prime water conditioner just before you leave and do a large (50%) water change. The Prime will ensure that even if your parameters go wrong whilst you are away, they will not harm your puffer.
 
alykat
  • #9
Thanks! What other foods did you use?

I’ve fed puffers pretty much every frozen fish food there is. My favorite were blood worms (and I would add some vitamin additives to make them more nutritious) and frozen brine.

They love live food and will eat pretty much anything that moves (hence why they’re not recommended for community tanks), but I get the feeling that you’re looking for a streamlined puffer-keeping experience and live foods are not at all mandatory for these fish.

Provided that the tank is well cycled and has adequate filtration they should be okay for ten days without a water change. Plants are great for puffers and will help keep the tank oxygenated and parameters in check. However you can get away with any type of decorations you prefer- live or not. Just make sure you have enough so that the puffers can get out of each other’s way.
 
FishMich
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thank you everyone for taking the time to help us. My five year old just realized that he doesn’t want to see the pea puffers eat live snails. So he said he will wait until he is a grown up and it won’t bother him so much to see the snails get eaten. Apparently, he thinks he’ll be calloused by then and snail deaths won’t bother him, lol.

Now, he wants to move over the corydoras habrosus from our first tank to his 10 gallon and we’re looking into Emerald Dwarf Rasboras.
 

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