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    F/W Puffer Introduction + Reference Guide [BETA]

    Discussion in 'Puffers' started by Fat Homer, Dec 13, 2018.

    1. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      *** This list is a work in progress that requires some fine tuning and possible updating. So as updates are made the title will be updated with a new version number at the end.

      Table of contents:
      (click on the title to fast track to the required descriptions)


      - Introduction to Puffers

      - Brackish Puffers Commonly Mistaken as “Freshwater” species

      - Carinotetraodon Travancoricus (Dwarf / Pea Puffer)

      - Carinotetraodon Irrubesco (Red Eye, Red Tail Puffer)

      - Carinotetraodon Salivator (Red Eye Puffer)

      - Auriglobus Modestus (Avocado Puffer / Golden Puffer)

      - Colomesus Asellus (South American Puffer / SAP)

      - Tetraodon miurus (Congo Puffer)

      - Monotrete Baileyi (Hairy Puffer)

      - Tetradon Palembangensis (Humpback Puffer / King Kong Puffer / Palembang)

      - Tetradon Suvatti (Pig Nose / Arrowhead / Mekong Puffer)

      - Tetraodon Abei

      - Monotrete Turgidus (Brown Puffer)

      - Monotrete Cambodgiensis (Fangs Puffer)

      - Monotrete Cochinchinensis

      - Tetraodon Schoutedeni

      - Tetraodon Pustulatus (Cross River Puffer)

      - Tetraodon Lineatus (Fahaka Puffer / Nile Puffer)

      - Tetraodon MBU


      - Commonly mistaken species comparison photos

      ***Disclaimer*** This list should only be used as a reference. Some of the information with regards to sizes may vary from person to person and individual puffer, but i’ve tried to make sure all the information and photos in this thread are as accurate as possible.

      If you find any information to be incorrect or in need of updating, please send me a PM (with link to source) and i'll look into it ASAP. Thanks!
       
      #1 Fat Homer, Dec 13, 2018
      Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
      triiiangle likes this.
    2. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Quick introduction to puffers:

      Coming in a variety of sizes ranging anywhere from under 1” /2.5cm for species such as the common dwarf puffer to over 2’+ / 60cm+ for the MBU, these fish make up a group as diverse and interesting in character as they do in size.

      With their well known snail hunting capabilities, comical appearance and inquisitive nature, puffers are among some of the more popular and well-known group of oddballs in the aquarium trade, though they are quite often sold to people without being properly warned on how to properly care for them or the risks they can pose to a persons community tank.

      Being scaleless fish, they are very sensitive to bad water quality, high nitrites, ammonia and certain meds... add to that, the fact they have messy eating habits and produce a fair amount of waste can really cause havoc for the ill equipped aquarium. Therefore a well-established, over filtrated tank is always going to be recommended to ensure your puffer(s) long-term health and happiness.


      Few extra pointers for the first time puffer keeper:

      ŸA lot of puffer species are wild caught due to them not having been successfully bred in aquariums, so it’s always best to quarantine any new arrival to check for possible internal parasites and other problems before releasing them into their final display tanks even if they look healthy at first.

      ŸBeing wild caught puffers are very susceptible to Internal Parasites, so if the puffers in the stores tank look extremely emancipated it maybe best to pass on buying them for now. Since a lot of the time, if they’ve reached that point it maybe hard for them to recover unless you’ve had some experience in dealing with sensitive fish that may have internal parasites prior to purchase.

      So if they look like the below photo, its a definite pass imho.
      SICK PUFF2.jpg

      Where as this other one still looks like it stands a good chance with some TLC SICK PUFF.jpg

      One last thing to keep in mind, especially for larger puffer owners is that they can pack one hell of a bite and will very rarely, if ever, be recommended for a community tank due to the damage they can do to their tankmates.

      Each of them comes equip with very sharp beak like teeth, and even the smaller species can be quite nippy doing their share of damage. Larger species on the other hand can easily take large chunks out of their tankmates or even the un-suspecting keepers fingers / hands.

      However, with the correct precautions and care taken, puffers can be one of the most rewarding oddballs to keep, especially as they start to recognize you as their keeper and greet you every time you walk by their tanks.
       
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    3. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Below you’ll find photos of the top 3 most commonly sold as Freshwater Puffers, which in reality require anywhere from low end brackish to full marine conditions to really thrive and survive long term.

      -----------------------------------------------------

      Scientific Name: Tetraodon Nigroviridis

      Common Name: GSP / Green Spotted Puffer
      GSP.jpg

      Required salinity Level: when young 1.006, where adults need a reading of about 1.02

      Why its often sold as freshwater: These puffers actually do venture back into freshwater to breed, so when fisherman collect them from these lakes and rivers they automatically consider them as freshwater fish.

      -----------------------------------------------------

      Scientific Name: Tetraodon biocellatus

      Common Name: F8 Puffer, Figure 8 Puffer
      F8.jpg

      Required salinity Level: 1.005

      Why its often sold as freshwater: These puffers live in low salinity rivers and lakes and are therefore often considered to be a freshwater species, when infact they don’t do well long term without some salt.


      -----------------------------------------------------


      Tetraodon fluviatilis

      Common Name: Ceylon Puffer
      Ceylon.jpg

      Required salinity Level: 1.005-1.010

      Why its often sold as freshwater: Similar to the GSP, these guys traverse back into freshwater for breeding purposes. They also resemble their freshwater cousin C.Asellus and are sometimes sold under the name amazon puffer in some countries.
       
    4. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon Travancoricus

      Common Names: Dwarf Puffer / Indian Dwarf Puffer / Pea Puffer
      Carinotetraodon Travancoricus Aquarium world.jpg

      Area of distribution: Southwest India

      Max Size: 1 Inch / 2.5cm (Smallest of all F/W puffers)

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 -82.5 F / 23 – 28’C - pH: 6.5 - 7.2

      Recommended min. tank size: 5-10 US Gallons / 20-40 Liters (for a single specimen)

      Level of activity: Mid-High levels of activity / Can be territorial if kept in groups.

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: Dwarf puffers are often sold because of their snail hunting skills in planted aquariums, but will target larger snails for their meat too. So if there aren’t many snails in your tank for them to eat, supplementing their diet with fresh / frozen bloodworms or live black worms is a good idea. Other frozen food items may also be offered with varying degrees of success.

      Sexual Dimorphism:

      Males generally display a dark stripe down their white belly and show "wrinkles" around their eyes with lateral body stripes.

      (Wrinkles around the eye area and striped pattern of the mature male dwarf puffer)
      Dwarf Male2.jpg

      (Stripe running down the mature males belly)
      Dwarf Male.jpg


      Females on the other hand tend to keep their juvenile markings and will have a more spotted appearance even when mature.

      Image of a mature female - notice the more spotted pattern / rounder body and lack of wrinkles around eyes)
      Dwarf Female.jpg


      Breeding: It is possible to breed these puffers in the home aquarium without too much help from the breeder. A heavily planted / decorated 20G tank with a mix of approx. 3F / 1M combination will give you the best chances of success while preventing the male from constantly harassing a single female.

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: Can be kept in groups but should only be done so in a heavily planted / decorated tank with lines of sight broken to avoid aggression between the puffers. Adequate space and hiding should also be provided to give each puffer some territory to call their own.

      Also, if they are to be kept in a group, always try and keep more than 3 to avoid a dominant puffer picking on a single individual.
       
    5. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon Irrubesco

      Common Names: Red Eye Puffer / Red Eye Red Tail Puffer
      C Irru 02 M.jpg

      Area of distribution: Sumatra,Borneo

      Max Size: 2 Inch / 5 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 20 US gallons / 75 liters (for a single specimen)

      Level of activity: Mid-High levels of activity after lights out and during feeding / Can be quite territorial and aggressive if kept in groups.

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are active hunters and will go looking for any snails in the tank after dark but will also happily eat fresh or frozen bloodworms along with live black worms and other frozen foods / inverts.

      Sexual Dimorphism: Males tend to be substantially larger than the female and their coloration and pattern will also differ quite a lot. The male has a ridge or "keel" which it will expand in courtship or when threatened. See photos for differences.

      C.Irrubesco (Mature Male Specimen)
      C Irru 03 M.jpg

      C.Irrubesco (Mature Female Specimen)
      C Irru 01.jpg


      Breeding: C.Irrubesco have been known to breed in home aquariums and should not be too difficult given the right conditions. If this is to be achieved, its best to have a mix of 1M / 3F ratio with plenty of cover and décor for them to hide in.

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: Can sometimes be kept in groups, although certain individuals may not tolerate tank mates at all, in which case should be separated immediately and kept alone. Some keepers have reported success keeping them with C.Travancoricus and C.Asellus, although not recommended unless extra tanks are available to move any problem puffers around.
       
    6. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon Salivator

      Common Names: Red Eye Puffer
      Salivator M02.jpg


      Area of distribution: Malaysia, Borneo

      Max Size: 2 Inch / 5 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 20 US gallons / 75 liters (for a single specimen)

      Level of activity: Mid-High levels of activity after lights out and during feeding / known to be very territorial and aggressive if kept in groups (Not recommended).

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are active hunters and will go looking for any snails in the tank after dark but will also happily eat fresh or frozen bloodworms along with live black worms and other frozen foods / inverts.

      Sexual Dimorphism: Adult males possess well-developed dorsal and ventral keels on the body, which are erected during threat displays and courtship. In addition the ventral surface is red with 3-5 cross bars anterior in males, cream-colored with dark stripes in females.

      Carinotetraodon Salivator (Mature Male Specimen)
      Salivator M01.jpg


      Carinotetraodon Salivator (Mature Female Specimen)
      Salivator F02.jpg

      Carinotetraodon Salivator (Mature Female Specimen)
      Salivator F01.jpg


      Breeding: unknown?

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: Can sometimes be kept in groups, although of the red eye species, these are among the most aggressive and therefore not really recommended even for a species only tank unless extra tanks are available if problems arise.
       
    7. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Auriglobus Modestus

      Common Names: Golden Puffer / Avocado Puffer
      auriglobus-modestus-2.jpg

      Area of distribution: S.E. Asia - Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam.

      Max Size: 4 Inch / 10.5 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 20 US gallons / 80 liters (for a single specimen) although some records show that they prefer to be kept in groups of 3 or more, in which case a larger more adequate space should be provided.

      Level of activity: Very active hunter.

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are active hunters be constantly looking for any snails in the tank. Other accepted food items can include: Live and frozen foods, freeze-dried krill, frozen shrimp, ghost shrimp (gut-loaded).

      Sexual Dimorphism: Unknown

      Breeding: Unknown

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: While not the most aggressive puffer, can still be quite nippy towards its own species as well as others and should be kept alone.

      It should also be noted that this species of puffer may also succumb to overgrown teeth if they arent given enough crunchy foods and may therefore also require teeth trimming down the line.
       
      #7 Fat Homer, Dec 13, 2018
      Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
    8. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Colomesus Asellus

      Common Names: South American Puffer / SAP / Amazon Puffer
      Sap 01.jpg

      Sap 02.jpg

      Area of distribution: Peru, Colombia, Brazil.

      Max Size: 3 Inch / 7.5 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 20-30 US gallons / 80-115 liters (for a single specimen) although some records show that they prefer to be kept in groups of 3 or more, in which case a larger more adequate space should be provided.

      Level of activity: Very active hunter, constantly on the move.

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are active hunters be constantly looking for any snails in the tank. Crunchy foods should also be given everyday to help control with beak growth. Other accepted food items can include: Live and frozen foods, freeze-dried krill, frozen shrimp, ghost shrimp (gut-loaded).

      Sexual Dimorphism: Unknown

      Breeding: Have been known to breed in home aquaria if you manage to get male and female.

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: C.Asellus are well known for having over-grown teeth problem as they grow up regardless of how often they are fed a hard shelled diet and therefore may require manual trimming of their teeth if this happens. So if you plan on buying one of these puffers, be sure to first read up on our guide in the forum SAP Teeth Trim No Sedatives 201 to make sure you're up for the challenge is it arises.

      On the upside, records have shown they actually prefer being housed in groups of their own kind, and may also tolerate fast moving / non-aggressive tankmates (given they don’t have long flowing fins).
       
    9. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Tetraodon miurus

      Common Names: Congo Puffer
      Congo1.jpg

      Area of distribution: Central Africa : Congo Basin

      Max Size: 6 Inch / 15 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 30 US gallons / 115 liters (for a single specimen)

      Level of activity: Lurker (although activity levels vary from puffer to puffer).

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are Piscivores by nature and opportunistic feeders, who like to ambush prey from below as they pass by. So they will NOT hunt snails and prefer a meatier diet of frozen foods such as clam meat / fish / mussels / FD Krill / Shrimp etc.

      Sexual Dimorphism: Unknown

      Breeding: Unknown

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: They can come in a variety of colors from molted, tan white, to shades of brown or even red.

      They also like to bury themselves under the substrate, so having a fine sand substrate without any sharp edges will make them feel more comfortable.

      Highly Aggressive and should be housed alone.

      Red color variation of the Tetraodon miurus.
      Congo2.jpg
       
    10. Fat Homer

      Fat Homer Mmmmm... Doughnuts
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      Scientific Name: Monotrete Baileyi

      Common Names: Hairy Puffer
      Hairy Puffer.jpg

      Area of distribution: Mekong river basin

      Max Size: 5 Inch / 12 cm

      Water Temps+ Parameters: 74 - 80F / 23 – 26’C - pH:6.0 - 7.8

      Recommended min. tank size: 25 US gallons / 95 liters (for a single specimen)

      Level of activity: Lurker (although activity levels vary from puffer to puffer).

      Care: As with any scaleless fish, they are extremely sensitive to bad water quality and puffers are considered very messy eaters, so care should be taken to always clean up any leftover food items and to ensure your aquarium has suitable filtration to handle their bio load.

      Diet: These puffers are Piscivores by nature and opportunistic feeders, who like to ambush prey from below as they pass by. So they will NOT hunt snails and prefer a meatier diet of foods such as clam meat / fish / mussels / FD Krill / Shrimp, Nightcrawlers etc.

      Sexual Dimorphism: There have been rumors that the “hairier” the puffer the more likely its male, but this have never been confirmed to be true.

      Breeding: Unknown

      Extra notes / pre-cautions: This particular species of puffer has often been reported to puff up for no apparent reason in the aquarium, much to the entertainment of their owners. So if you see this happen with yours, you can take it as normal unless displaying other stress related behaviors such as glass surfing.

      Highly aggressive and should be housed alone.
       

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