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How many pea puffers in a 10 gal??

  • Only one pea puffer.

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  • No pea puffers, you need a 20 gallon tank.

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I’m new to this forum, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes I may make. I am getting a 10 gallon tank, and was going to go with something simple, but then I discovered Pea Puffers! Very cute! I have kept bettas in the past, but have not really truly done any fish keeping.

So, now to my question: How many pea puffers could go in my tank? I’m planning on buying new gravel/ substrate / rocks, so I am open to whatever they need. I also am planning on planting it well and putting in some holed rocks for some fun for them. Diet will be snails & freeze dried blood worms. Sorry I’m blabbering, just so many questions!

So…
1) how many pea puffers, if any?
2) is there a certain substrate/ gravel/ rock they enjoy at the bottom?
3) Should I go species only tank or will they be Ok with zebra danios? I was just gonna go pea puffers, but ???
Thanks in advance! Appreciate all answers!!!
 

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1) how many pea puffers, if any?
Typically 2-3gal per pea puffer when maintaining a group.
2) is there a certain substrate/ gravel/ rock they enjoy at the bottom?
Fine, soft sand. These guys would typically have a muddy bottom in the wild. They can sometimes startle and dive into the substrate.
3) Should I go species only tank or will they be Ok with zebra danios? I was just gonna go pea puffers, but ???
Normally recommended for species only tank as they will nip slow movers/long-finned individuals. You'll need to do your research here and choose with care. As with just about everything, there will be outliers.
 

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Here is what SeriouslyFish has to say about them: Carinotetraodon travancoricus (Dwarf Puffer) — Seriously Fish

I’ve kept them before and adored them, but they are threatened now due to overcollection and habitat loss, so I am reluctant to recommend them unless can find tank-bred specimens. Aquatic Arts has them occasionally.

You may be able to get away with more than one in a very heavily planted 10-gallon if only one is male. But they’re very difficult to sex as juveniles. Your odds of success will greatly increase with a 20 gallon.

This is because they can be territorial, but also because they are very messy eaters and need a variety of frozen or live food. People feed them bloodworms, and they love them but that can’t be all. They also love black worms and mysis IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1) how many pea puffers, if any?
Typically 2-3gal per pea puffer when maintaining a group.
2) is there a certain substrate/ gravel/ rock they enjoy at the bottom?
Fine, soft sand. These guys would typically have a muddy bottom in the wild. They can sometimes startle and dive into the substrate.
3) Should I go species only tank or will they be Ok with zebra danios? I was just gonna go pea puffers, but ???
Normally recommended for species only tank as they will nip slow movers/long-finned individuals. You'll need to do your research here and choose with care. As with just about everything, there will be outliers.
Ok! Thanks! I will make sure to keep this is mind when buying sand/ keeping puffers!! Thanks!

Here is what SeriouslyFish has to say about them: Carinotetraodon travancoricus (Dwarf Puffer) — Seriously Fish

I’ve kept them before and adored them, but they are threatened now due to overcollection and habitat loss, so I am reluctant to recommend them unless can find tank-bred specimens. Aquatic Arts has them occasionally.

You may be able to get away with more than one in a very heavily planted 10-gallon if only one is male. But they’re very difficult to sex as juveniles. Your odds of success will greatly increase with a 20 gallon.

This is because they can be territorial, but also because they are very messy eaters and need a variety of frozen or live food. People feed them bloodworms, and they love them but that can’t be all. They also love black worms and mysis IME.
Ok! Thanks! I will try to find tank bred, I believe the shop near me has them too. I cannot get a larger tank, but I will ask the shop if they can tell me the genders. I appreciate your reponse!!


Thanks to all!

New Questions:
  • Are these guys fish that do better in odd numbers or no?
  • Tank decor—- I was thinking on getting some holed rocks for them…Will this make them happy? Or should I skip this?
  • Plants—- Any DP favorites?


Thanks to all!!!

Follow up question—- will fake coral hurt their fins/ change the water?? Thanks
 

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Here is what SeriouslyFish has to say
I cannot recommend this site enough. Create an account and get customizable units displayed too. Virtually all of the information I initially responded with, I found here.

Are these guys fish that do better in odd numbers or no?
To expound on @Bootsy and my earlier response regarding stocking. Males will fight over space, so in a 10gal tank any more than a single male will typically lead to continuous aggression. You could possibly have a very heavily planted 10gal and manage to get two males to get along, but it's crap shoot. Better in a 10gal would be one male and like 3 females. I do not believe odd/even will matter. Only that you have a dominate male who essentially says "these are my girls and no one else can get close." They are a shoaling fish. Meaning that they hang out together in a group. So the more eyes on the look-out the more safety they feel and finally the more social interaction you get to watch.

As far as plants and decor, basically anything that's breaking up large open spaces will make them feel more at home. Rocks with holes will be fine. Floating veg is helpful too like a frogbit or water lettuce. They're only gonna hide in the plants mostly. If you want them to breed though, a moss will help.

It'd be hard to say what your decor is made of and if it is freshwater safe. Is it fake like looks like coral or fake like meant to act like coral too?
 

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Follow up question—- will fake coral hurt their fins/ change the water?? Thanks
If it's made of plastic it's fine. If it's actual coral that is dead it will change the water condition. I think you will find in your research with people that have actually kept them is that in a 10 gallon you will be limited to one and they do not tolerate any other tank mates. Some people report them accepting tank mates when they are juveniles but as they get older they will attack and kill anything else in their tank. I would not trust a fish store to sex them unless the person you are talking to is a breeder. As mentioned you can put them together if you have enough females but finding that situation is what is difficult.

Also you mentioned rocks with holes. Make sure it's an inert rock and not live rock or Texas holy stone which will change your water parameters.


Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some people report them accepting tank mates when they are juveniles but as they get older they will attack and kill anything else in their tank. I would not trust a fish store to sex them unless the person you are talking to is a breeder. As mentioned you can put them together if you have enough females but finding that situation is what is difficult.

Also, you mentioned rocks with holes. Make sure it's an inert rock and not live rock or Texas holy stone which will change your water parameters.

Ok! Thanks.

I cannot recommend this site enough. Create an account and get customizable units displayed too. Virtually all of the information I initially responded with, I found here.

Okay, Thank You! I will read the article carefully later :)


According to seriously fish, I could keep three pea puffers. If I were to get them sexed, could I keep one male and two girls? Or three girls?

Second question::: If I get one pea puffer, would it be active? I really want a fish that will not hide too much (I know pea puffers can be hiders, but at least in a group I will see them a bit... will that be the same for one??

My goals with fish are obviously to make the fish happy, but I also hope they will be active. I heard that they recognize you and "beg"?


Thanks to all :) I appreciate all your responses.
Thanks for all answers!!!!
Also, I just noticed the pole----- Thanks to whoever for voting!!
Two pea puffers...Male and female, right?? Or female and female?
Thanks!
 

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If it's hiding at the LFS then it will likely hide at home. If you want lots of activity you only need to have a routine and limit your speed around the glass. These guys will happily ping pong around the tank without much prompting. They're little chunkers and swim like bumper-cars steer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If it's hiding at the LFS then it will likely hide at home. If you want lots of activity you only need to have a routine and limit your speed around the glass. These guys will happily ping pong around the tank without much prompting. They're little chunkers and swim like a bumper-cars steer.
Oh!! Ok! Thanks! Sorry to be a bother, but what do you mean by "have a routine and limit your speed around the glass"? Like, don't tap on the tank or anything? Or don't walk by the tank? I'm willing to do anything for active dwarf puffers. Thanks!!

(Just wanted to say thanks to the next person who voted on the poll.)
Thanks :)
 

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I have three pea puffers and two dwarf mexican crayfish in a 5 gallon planted aquarium with Immor-tech's "ledge" structure and everyone seems very happy! My puffers are the cutest ever.. they hangout together and then explore and come back! But there's definitely enough hidey-holes for everyone to get away from each other if need be..
Plant Flower Nature Botany Vegetation

Please excuse the water quality, it's still a little murky from today's water change but you can see my little dudes on the left!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have three pea puffers and two dwarf Mexican crayfish in a 5 gallon planted aquarium with Immor-tech's "ledge" structure and everyone seems very happy! My puffers are the cutest ever.. they hang out together and then explore and come back! But there's definitely enough hidey-holes for everyone to get away from each other if need be.. View attachment 1035126
Please excuse the water quality, it's still a little murky from today's water change but you can see my little dudes on the left!
Oh my goodness your tank is so nice! Love the succulents!! What plants are in your tank?? Love to use yours as a model, just change decor & gravel & minutes crazyfish. But will look into the crayfish! Thanks!!! Also, do they like to sit on your white rocks?? Thanks!
 

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It's no worries. You had mentioned wanting the fish to be active. I assume you mean so that you can watch them. To that end, take care around the tank, move slowly, step lightly, etc... This will help to keep your fish at ease and help you limit "spooking" them. Trundling up to the tank and swinging your big gob down from on high is a sure-fire way to get'em to hide on you. :)

Certainly you can walk by, but if you're after a show? Sit back with a coffee or whatever your poison.

On the other hand, keeping a stool nearby and feeding them from a sitting position will almost certainly afford you a better view and them more comfort. Especially at the onset.Try to keep a routine with regard to feeding. IME the fish recognize 1) The big shape close by means food. 2) If I swim here I get the food first. The rest is self fulfilling.
 

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Oh my goodness your tank is so nice! Love the succulents!! What plants are in your tank?? Love to use yours as a model, just change decor & gravel & minutes crazyfish. But will look into the crayfish! Thanks!!! Also, do they like to sit on your white rocks?? Thanks!
Thank you! That's Windelow Java fern and moss (I call it monster moss because it promises to take over everywhere I put it but its probably Christmas moss). The puffers swim around the Java ferns on the ledge but generally rest in the top corner or on the moss!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's no worries. You had mentioned wanting the fish to be active. I assume you mean so that you can watch them. To that end, take care around the tank, move slowly, step lightly, etc... This will help to keep your fish at ease and help you limit "spooking" them. Trundling up to the tank and swinging your big gob down from on high is a sure-fire way to get'em to hide on you. :)

Certainly you can walk by, but if you're after a show? Sit back with a coffee or whatever your poison.

On the other hand, keeping a stool nearby and feeding them from a sitting position will almost certainly afford you a better view and them more comfort. Especially at the onset.Try to keep a routine with regard to feeding. IME the fish recognize 1) The big shape close by means food. 2) If I swim here I get the food first. The rest is self fulfilling.
Ok! Thank you! This is why I am so interested in pea puffers, because I love how active and amusing they can be!

Thank you! That's Windelow Java fern and moss (I call it monster moss because it promises to take over everywhere I put it but its probably Christmas moss). The puffers swim around the Java ferns on the ledge but generally rest in the top corner or on the moss!
Ok thanks. I will see if they have those plants at my stores.

Which of these is better?
One male— two females
One male— three females. (Seems overstocked, but is this ratio best?)

Thanks to all!! Learned so much on this thread.
 

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One male and two or three females would get ideal, I think.
I've kept four pea puffers in a thickly planted 10 gallon with no issues, but I was never good at sexing them.
I would not keep danios with them, especially in a 10 gallon which is really too small for danios at any rate.
I have kept dp's in larger community tanks for years with no issues with the right tank mates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh Ok! Thank you! I will go with three or four total then. I plan on planting it densely. I am now thinking that I am going to do a species only tank, but what are some examples of “right” tank mates? Thanks!!!! Your response helps a lot!!! So excited for puffers!! Planning everything is so fun!

Thanks to all!

Just wanted to ask if pea puffer owners could post pictures of tanks :) Thanks! I google tanks but most of them just zoom up on the puffer or are very advanced looking :). Looking for plant placement ideas :).
Thanks to all! I super duper appreciate any pictures!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving—— Thankful for people on this thread :) (very corny but true)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi! I’m looking for sand because that’s what was said to be best for pea puffers, but all the sands I see are either expensive or murk up the water or are hard to clean. I was originally going to go with “Quikrete Play Sand” but heard play sands are super hard to clean. So what are the best sand substrates? Thanks in advance!
 

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I keep two pea puffers in a heavily planted 10 gallon with driftwood loaded with anubias, floaters and a lot of moss on the bottom. I would be reluctant to go higher. There's enough cover for the two and likely a third, but at feeding time they can mean with each other and it'd be harder to feed three in a 10 gallon.

Mine only eat live food and OCCASIONALLY frozen-thawed food. Don't bother with dried bloodworms. If you can't commit to live or frozen, skip these fish now. I highly recommend that you FIRST get yourself a source of live food that you can successfully culture (brine shrimp, grindal worms) long term BEFORE you get your pea puffers, because chances are high you'll get one that won't eat frozen-thawed and it'll quickly waste away.

Don't think for a second you have enough snails to keep them alive. I have a 20 long full of snails and that didn't last long. Raising snails to feed puffers is a whole different setup. You can't just casually have snails in a tank and expect them to produce fast enough to feed your pea puffers.

I also worry about their status in the wild and only "adopted" free puffers from local fishkeepers who didn't want them any more.

Play sand is a great substrate. You will have to rinse almost any sand you buy. It's part of the deal.

I don't recommend any rocks or decorations with small holes, because puffers are incredibly slow feeders so a bunch of their food falls to the bottom and you don't want them getting stuck in those holes.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okay. Thank You.
After reading this post a few times I think I'm going to have to reconsider pea-puffers. I think these fish are very cute, but people in my household object to having any live pet food/ frozen pet food. I may be able to win them over, but my hopes aren't high. They were okay with a snail tank but in the fridge/ freezer was a big no. I will be reading some articles now to figure out what I'm going to do. Pufferfish was always a dream of mine, but I am not sure.
Thank You for the information. Appreciated.
 

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Okay. Thank You.
After reading this post a few times I think I'm going to have to reconsider pea-puffers. I think these fish are very cute, but people in my household object to having any live pet food/ frozen pet food. I may be able to win them over, but my hopes aren't high. They were okay with a snail tank but in the fridge/ freezer was a big no. I will be reading some articles now to figure out what I'm going to do. Pufferfish was always a dream of mine, but I am not sure.
Thank You for the information. Appreciated.
I'm sorry to hear that. Do they know what frozen fish food looks like? It's very discreet and clean. I put my frozen fish food packages in a Ziplock bag.

I've been keeping fish off-and-on for 30 years and my pea puffers have been the most challenging fish to feed. I've kept wild-caught native fish that easily converted to frozen food, pellets and flake.

My pea puffers don't eat any dried foods and one won't eat any frozen-thawed foods. I raise daphnia outdoors from spring to fall, and am raising grindal worms indoors for them now. Grindal worms are incredibly easy to culture.

Good luck.
 
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