Puffer Habitat How/What? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Puffer Habitat How/What?

I have a 6 gal Nanocube on order. I decided to set it up just for dwarf puffers and haven't a clue as to what they need or how many you can put together. Right now I have one in a 12 gal nanocube and one in a 5 gal regular tank hoping they'll eat my snails.

They are SO cool they get their own tank. Anyone here an expert?

Many Thanks,
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2005, 03:44 AM
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Once my plants get established I'm putting a few in my tank as well.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2005, 03:54 AM
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Also check out these places for good puffer info:
The Puffer Forum
The Puffer List
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2005, 05:04 AM
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I dont claim to be any expert, but I have been keeping DPs for over a year fairly successfully. Just an idea, keep about 1 dwarf puffer for every 3 gallons. This is the planted tank forum, so I assume you will be planting the nano fairly well. As sad as it is to have such a small fish in a relatively (to their size) large tank, that is the best for them.

They are fin nippers, so its reccomended to keep them in a species tank, and also, if you want to have shrimp, dont spend too much money/become too attached; they will pick on/eat it. I have been lucky, after finding a mysterious ghost shrimp in my tank over 2 months ago, its still there, chewing away at the algae.

My 10gal tank has 3 DPs, 3 Ottos, and the ghost shrimp. There are tons of plants but its not over crowded.

Dwarf puffers also have a very unique personality; but they can be a pain to other inhabbitants. Ottos are pretty good tank mates, so in the 6 gal you could probably have 1 or 2.

Good luck in your puffer adventures, they are such a cool fish to keep in a planted tank. Infact they are what drew me to the planted tank scene.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 02:55 AM
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My Experiences with Dwarf Puffers

I have kept puffers with greater and lesser success for a year now. The tank is a 3.3 gallon (i think) column from Pier 1 Imports. It has a small submersible filter a Novation 210. I cut down the impellar to minimize output. I also use a moified spray bar that helps to diffuse the output flow in a few directions. In addition due to the small surface area I use an air stone with a very restricted output. The tank is planted with Java Fern, Java Moss, and Duckweed. The substrate is bio-active black gravel. The residents of the tank currently are as follows 4 puffers, 2 Ottos, 3 Cherry Red shrimp, and 2 Amanos. The tank is obviously a little over burdened right now but my favorite LFS was moving and I couldn't resist picking up the two additonal puffers. I don't feed the puffers in any convetional way. I add black worms to the substrate in mass once every few months. The puffers eat whenever they want. Hungry puffers hunt all the time. Happy puffers swim most of the time and hunt about twice a day. At least that 's how it seems to me. Additionally by recommendation from azgardens.com I stocked the tank with scuds which the puffers also seem to like. I also added smaller organisms when I intially set up the tank like Rotifers and Daphnia as well as the Scuds. I purchased them from a company called Jones Biomedical which no longer supplies their "fresh water mix" (I'm not sure that was the name exactly) unfortunately. And from time to time I add snails from a home tank. This is my office tank. Right now I've reached a pretty good place with this tank where I all I really do is add tiny cut up strips of Nori once a week (for the shrimp and to promote bioactivity in the substrate) and top up the water as it evaporates. In addition I did some wild collecting of some plants that shortly died and ended up with an interesting flat worm and a larger earthworm like worm. The flat worm lives on top of the substrate and occasionally swims around and freaks people out. The earth worm is very long and thin and stays in the substrate. I think they serve a really good purpose to agitate the substarate in ways that the smaller organisms cannot and to break down wastes and create "fertilizer". Lately I add fish food from time to time for the plants in line with the Diane Walstead way of tank keeping. Every once in awhile I add a few watered down drops of a trace element fertilizer. For awhile I was killing off puffers fiddling with a DIY C02 system. But as soon as I gave up on it the puffers were fine. I have had no problem keeping them with shrimp as was previously mentioned . They also seem fairly social to me so I would avoid keeping less than two. They also seem to be more stimulated as a group of four. If you have any questions or comments please post. One other thing I'd mention is that if posible get them from an LFS as opposed to online. I've had better luck with them when they weren't Fed-exed.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 04:14 AM
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Can you clarify the type of worm you are putting in the tank periodically? You said "blackworms" but I am concerned that a common name like that could get me the wrong type from a store. Maybe a picture if you have one? Also what is the "Nori" stuff?

My experience: I had 2 puffers in a nano with a couple of ghost shrimp. The puffers ignored the shrimp, but the larger puffer was constantly harassing the small puffer. Came home one day and found this harasser dead, no idea of cause, only symptoms had been eyesocket redness for a 2 days before death. The surviving puffer is still going strong, swimming/eating/active etc. I have since removed the ghost shrimp and put in a handfull of cherrys. He ignores them. I found one dead cherry so far, but I think it was a shipping related death as he had only been in the tank a couple of days.

I think the bottom line is that puffers are one of the most personality-variable aquarium fish: Some are terrors of the tank and others are peaceful and curious. Eating habits tend to vary greatly as well, I hear of some puffers eating flake food, while mine won't touch anything floating on the surface, even a live insect.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 07:01 PM
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Live Foods

When I first started with puffers I went out and bought frozen Blood worms. My puffers weren't that interested although they did peck at it but most of it just seemed to dissolve and spread out all over the tank. They seemed to much prefer live worms from my LFS. The two types of worms I have had success with are Black worms (Lumbriculus I think) and "Blood " worms which are red and aren't blood worms at all but actually tubifex worms.The funny thing was when I started with live worms I would drop them in every few days and hide them in the office frig in a yogurt cup. I talked to someone at one of the better LFS's in Ny and he poo pooed live worms "I tried them but they enede up living in the gravel". After awhile I realized that worms living in the gravel were exactly what I wanted. The puffers were free to hun to their hearts desire. There was no territoriality or "feeding frenzies" like when I dropped in food (live or frozen) so agression was reduced. The puffers fed themselves when they wanted to. They weren't obsessing about their next feeding or pandering to me when ever I was around. They were free to act naturally. Also it was much easier for me to just add worms every few months and the worms reproduced so that I was buying less worms. I really have to give credit to azgradens for getting me into live foods. They are big fans of just populating the tank and letting nature take it's course. They also gave me a great tip about turning off all water agitation (bubblers and filters) for two hours in the sixth hour of your light cycle. This promotes uptake and my plants seem to have responeded well. The puffers seem to like the change in tank turbulence too. Seems to stimulate hunting. I can honestly say that switching to live foods has made for happier less aggressive more natural puffers. Out of sheer laziness I cultivated live foods in the tank and it seems to work the best all around.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 03:12 AM
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Hyppophagy, thanks for the reply and info. I am very interested in this "live worms living in the tank as self propogating food source" strategy. I am planning on moving my puffer tank to the office, and I have been worried about the weekend, with no food available. I considered an auto feeder, but they dont touch flake food so what can I do? Your info makes me a bit more comfortable. I am also gonna give the 2 hours of dead water a try as well, I think my puffers are irritated by the constant current.
Couple of questions:
- What was the "Nori" stuff you referred to in your first post?
- Do you think couple of dozen live blackworms or tubifex dumped all at once in the tank would allow them to reach the bottom, burrow in, and start this cycle?
- Any idea of the effect that cherry shrimp would have on this cycle?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 02:02 PM
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Nori is the seaweed wrapper around sushi. You can buy it in big flat sheets. It's actually a macro algae and my shrimp (amanos, cherries, even the scuds) love it. It really brings the red out in the Cherrys (at least that's what I've always attributed it to. I guess its a ntural source of iodine perhaps) I cut it into 1cm sized squares and put in about a teaspoon full. It also breaks down in about a day and forms a nice mulch over the substrate, a good place for worms and other smaller organisms to live. I went on a two week vacation and had no losses. After my experinces I can probably say that you can't put too many worms in. I once put in a whole portion and the substrate looked like it had a sea of flowing red grass for weeks but it seemed to have no other ill effect. Of course I guess at a certain point the wastes produced by the worms could become detrimental. A couple of dozen worms should be fine to start. Be sure to rinse the worms out well before you put them in the tank. I've been told that black worms are better for your tank than "blood" worms but I've had both with no noticable difference. I 've had Cherries in my tank for as long as I have had it and as far as I know they have no effect beyond eating scraps and algae etc.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 04:33 PM
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My dwarf puffer will only it the frozen "blood" worms available from my LFS. Haven't found a source for live worms yet. He ignores the dried versions completly.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 07:12 PM
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Dwarf puffers are very territorial and need a bare minimum of 5 gal per fish. They also need lots of caves and hiding spots, with a lot of live plants to distort view of one another, I would suggest Java moss and really puffy plants. Dps thrive best in a tank by themselves, and although some people have success putting them with cichlids, it is not recommended. DPs love hunting small snails and small fish. Feed them live blackworms, bloodworms, krill, brine shrimp, etc. They are very people-oriented and get to know their owner and will follow you around the tank. They will come up to your hand if its inside the tank. Not recommended if you just want something pretty to look at, they spend most of the time hiding or hunting. These are educational and very interesting fish, but require alot of maintenance ( 50% weekly water changes, feeding 1-2 times per day - small amounts, getting baby snails for the tank, etc.). If you have any more questions please let me know.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 11:25 PM
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I have a dwarf puffer in the office. Snails work well as they stay alive and feed the puffer during the weekends. I would not try an automated feeder.

I've had two dwarf puffers and they each liked to eat completely different things. They both got Internal Parasites, and I couldn't seem to cure them though. I don't know what I'm doing wrong in that regard.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 11:38 PM
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Generally as someone said in the above post, dp's probably need close to 5 gallons per fish. But, they also need fairly planted tanks to break line of sight from other dp's if you're planning to keep more than 1. From my experience, in a 10 gallon you would be pushing it if you have 3, or 4. Additionally, if you can I would get anywhere from 3-5 females for 1 male. I've seen females aggressive too - with dp's they're very... distinct in character so you never really know what will happen. I've fed dp's a wide variety of food ranging from ramshorn snails, blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood worms. In my experience, they loved the live blood worms the best. They did eat the snails, but not entirely - I've noticed they suck/chew (?) out the snails and leave the shells of the larger snails.

I've read mixed observations in regards to trimming dp's teeth. Some say they do, and some say that with dp's you don't have to trim them. I tried to feed them snails that were the size of their eye, which is actually harder than you think since it's so small for you to attract them. But if you're a good 'feeder' and the dp's begin to recognize you as the owner, they usually crowd to the front of the tank when they're hungry, and you're in the same room.

Hope this helps.
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