Question about puffers?

  • #1
I have always loved puffers! For graduation I might get myself a new tank. I know they should not be kept with other types of if, but I was wondering if any species of puffers could live together? And how are puffers in groups/what is the recommended group size? And any other information would be nice like tank size, filter type, plant preference, etc. I'm leaning towards dwarf puffers, figure 8 puffers, common puffer, green spotted puffer, or amazon puffer.

Also I thought figure 8 puffers were brackish but I've been seeing them listed as brackish and freshwater, what is they're preference.

Feel free to show off your tanks and lovely puffers! Thanks for the help and advice
  • #2
MJDutI is our puffer guy here, lol.
  • #3
lol, thanks Anders. Smiths, while I do NOT consider myself an expert on puffers by any means, I do have experience of keeping them and extensively researching them over the past couple years. Plus I've been a member at the Puffer Forum awhile. As I could probably write you a novel, I'll try to sum up as much as I can and if you have specific questions just let me know.

IMO, the best beginner puffer is a pea puffer, carinotetraodon travancoricus. While no puffer is really a beginner fish due to them being more sensitive to ammonia and such (hardy, but scaleless), possible aggression, diet, etc. These fish are small (no more than an inch!), hardy once acclimated, can possibly be kept in groups, and you don't have to worry about their teeth growth. For a tank size, I'd personally suggest 5G for each fish. I myself would feel comfortable keeping 2 in a 5G, but I would not advise this normally. Filters, just use whatever you want, but puffers are one of those messy fish where over-filtration is recommended. I would heavily plant the tank, or at least with decor. Plants have their obvious benefits but puffers just need things to explore or they can get bored and pace the glass, which is mildly funny, but also somewhat sad.

If you keep a group, you want things to break up lines of sight and also for safety spots. IMO, start with one puffer. If you go with a group, try to stick with females, they are fairly easy to sex too. If you wanted a male, I would do only 1 M and have at least 2 F. Males tend to be the more aggressive ones. Which leads me to my next, and possibly biggest thing to share - puffers are insanely individualistic. You could get a harmless darling fish (like mine), or a mean killing machine (like my other). I always tell people, as awesome as these fish are, just have a backup plan just in case.

Their diet is the the tough part. Sometimes these fish can be picky. They also can NOT live off flakes or pellets, even if for some miraculous reason they eat them. They do Not need snails but should eat them, worms are a hit. I use live blackworms and frozen bloodworms for the bulk of their diet. You can try shrimp too. My last bit of advice, look into getting a treatment for IPs (internal parasites). This sounds much worse than it is. The treatment is easy, however most puffers, being wild-caught, will have these. Look for a puffer with a round stomach (not fat), and not sunken in. It should also be white. And obviously look for any other signs of stress or sickness.

As far as the other species:
*Common puffers are actually not as common as their name implies. I don't know too much about them so I would check online, or at the Puffer Forums "Puffer Pedia" for basic care. They are not small fish.
*Green Spotted Puffers (GSPs) are best long-term in marine environments. They are also known for their aggression so don't plan on keeping them with much, if anything. Also not a small puffer.
*Amazon puffers, or SAPS (South American puffers) are cool little bumblebees and are really the only species that prefer to be in groups...crazy right? However, their biggest drawback, and it's a big one, is they are also known for having their teeth grow the quickest of any puffer species, even with a crunchy diet. If you are comfortable doing puffer dentistry, which I would like to try one day, then go for it. I would suggest nothing smaller than a 40G breeder for a group of 3 because they are highly active fish.
*Figure 8's are awesome, and the next puffer on my list (hopefully soon). They tend to be one of the friendlier species, don't grow larger than 3", but are low-end brackish fish. BW is nice because fish can handle mild swings in the SG. Plus marine salt will benefit the fish in numerous ways, including killing off lots of normal uglies you may see in FW, such as Ich.

My 2 cents. Any questions, let me know.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you so much!
Can any of them live together as ling different species of puffer together?
And under your picture it was you're form Stamford, I live in New Haven! Small world.
  • #5
I wouldn't advise mixing species. The only videos (not many) I've ever seen of this are with pea puffers and some rare, and gentler, red-eye dwarf species, such as irrubescos. One, good luck finding one. Two, still a big risk. Plus a 1" puffer and a 3" puffer is a Huge difference. In theory a lurker who waits for prey in the substrate could work with an open water active puffer around the same size, but even this leaves you with limited species. But to save you and the fish headaches, don't do it.

Ah, another CT person, nice! Any good stores up there? This is a long shot but, if I set up my 20G long for a Figure 8 I would have to get rid of my Borneo puffer. If you are at all interested I'll keep you in mind if it happens. He's also the topic of my only blog.

I'll post some pics of my puffers the next couple days. Should be some in my photos in my profile.

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