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Dwarf Puffer setup questions


tithra

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My LFS is going to have dwarf puffers in stock on friday. This has been a fish I've had an eye out for for a long time now, and I am seriously toying with getting some. I have done some reading and I think I have a general handle on their needs, but I'm wondering if anyone who has these guys or who has kept them in the past wants to give the basic run down and any tips/advice?

I have a 40 gallon or a 20 long that I could make available to them (I'll move one of my bettas to a 5 gallon). I'm leaning towards the 20 gallon, and am thinking either a male and female or 2 females and 1 male (from what I read 1 male to every 2-3 females is recommended, and at least 5 gallons per fish is recommended). I have snails readily available in all my tanks at this point (I must have gotten lazy and let some through at some point). Tank is heavily planted and has a heater etc. etc.

Thoughts? Advice? :)

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:clapping:

I'm so excited for you! I know Fang has one :)

Please span us with pics!

I'm still on the fence a bit, but probably falling to one side lol. I've really wanted these guys but could never find them locally so it's super tempting.

I don't see Fang here that often these days, maybe I'll facebook stalk her if she doesn't see this :P

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They have so much personality packed into a tiny fish! If you decide to get them, you'll fall in love. I've had two of them now, but not at the same time, so I can't speak much on aggression. As long as it's a busy tank, and you break up their lines of sight, you should be good though. :) It's so fun to watch them hunt snails too. And yes, post pics if you get them!

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Oh how fun! They are the CUTEST little things with their goofy smiles. No helpful words other than good luck and I'd love to see photos once you pick one to care for.

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I've had them and loved them. I don't have much to add that you probably haven't read on the internet thus far. The only thing I would say, is that if you have 2 males, they can be pretty nasty to each other. Other than that, I loved them.

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Went to get my puffers today and they didn't come in the shipment! Have to wait until next week!

a4uqyzy7.jpg

I posted on a puffer forum asking a question about sexing juvenile puffers and was told I could have 8-12 in a 20 gallon! I was actually made to feel kind of silly for only wanting 2-3, because I'd have trouble finding them [emoji14] this info honestly doesn't seem right to me though so I'm sticking with 2-3.

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Went to get my puffers today and they didn't come in the shipment! Have to wait until next week!

a4uqyzy7.jpg

I posted on a puffer forum asking a question about sexing juvenile puffers and was told I could have 8-12 in a 20 gallon! I was actually made to feel kind of silly for only wanting 2-3, because I'd have trouble finding them [emoji14] this info honestly doesn't seem right to me though so I'm sticking with 2-3.

Haha that is hilarious :lol: well now you started the bug now I'm in trouble... I'm gonna get one two I just dirt my tank but it failed so I'm chucking the substrate and adding light white sand and heavily planting it :) I think I'm gonna get one maybe two puffers but my tank is 28 litres or 7.3 US gallons can't wait to get mine son I need to start a thread I think to show the progress of the tank etc. :) Edited by goldfishfanforever
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How exciting if you get them next week.

Love the sad face photo but then you got happy for your delivery of plants. Too cute.

Lol, I was so mad but then was met with plants on my doorstep which made me feel much better [emoji14]

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Cool! Does your local fish store sell them? Mine claimed today that they always have carried them but I've never seen them there before.

I saw some type of puffer but they can get tons of fish in the aren't a chain store and are really knowledgeable and can get shukins (I asked if they would be able to get them in and they said yes but they haven't ever had them in), arrowanas (regularly have in), red bristlenose and other cool fish in so they should be able to get dwarf puffers :)
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I see that LFS carry a lot of juvenile ones together in a tank, but as they mature, they supposedly tend to get much more aggressive. A friend of mine had two in a 10g and one ended up killing the other, so I'm quite sure that their territorial behavior is not just myth or exaggeration.

There probably are people that are lucky, similar to how it is with bettas. Some manage to keep a nice sorority, others end up with a massacre.

Several web pages even recommend 10g per puffer, so I really would stick with a small number, just to be on the safe side. Lots of plants, but with you that won't be a problem ;)

I don't know how young the puffers at your LFS are but I found sexing them rather easy. The ones at my LFS are about 5/8 of an inch. I think the easiest way is to look for the "wrinkles" that males have on the side of their face. Even young specimens tend to have obvious wrinkles. This article really helped me :)http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/V4I1/sexing_puffers/Sexing_The_Dwarf_Puffer.htm

When it comes to filtration, these guys are not the best swimmers and can get exhausted easily if there is too much current, or not enough plants etc to break the current. Since I use an internal filter, I actually unplug it over night to ensure some resting time for him.

Snails alone will not make proper diet. These tiny guys do not crunch whole snails up like bigger puffers do, but pull snails out of their shells. Mine ignores any snail that is 1/4" and larger. His favorite size is a bit over pinhead. In addition they crave bloodworms.

I tried other frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and white mosquito larvae but he really does not care for them.

Snails also are often not fully eaten.

A lot of times the puffer will literally only manage to decapitate the snails or bite a fatal chunk out of them as they try to retreat into their houses, and then you have about half a dead snail rotting in the substrate.

I also think mine is an exceptional derp, because if he misses a snail, and it manages to crawl away and up the sides of the tank or the plants, he will completely ignore it. :doh11: So I had a small ramshorn snail lay EGGS in my puffer tank...

That is one of the reasons why I decided to go with bare bottom for mine, it makes it much easier to find and remove the snail remains.

Unfortunately it seems that most DPs come with a load of parasites. Even though I prazied the heck out of mine (salt should be used only up to .1%), he still seems to have a problem with internal parasites. Even though my guy eats like a horse, he has gotten super skinny. I read up and people recommend to actually treat new DPs not only with prazi, but also with metronidazole due to the parasite issues many seem to have.

The metro will have to be used in the water, since it's not really working in their food.

What else.... Some people say that puffers are ok with peaceful "larger" fish. "Larger" means anything over 1", but small enough to not see the puffer as food. Coridoras, otocinclus, BN pleco, a school of tetras or minnows... just in case you decide to go with only one or two puffers and want to add a bit more other life to the tank. I have also seen videos where people keep them together with mature apple and nerite snails.

Water needs to be very clean, they are supposedly more sensitive to nitrates etc. Pretty much the same as you'd do with bettas, and again stable parameters are better than ideal but bouncing parameters.

Overall, DPs are awesome. I love these guys! Spunky and cute and fun to watch. Kind of like a betta from space. Mine recognizes me and follows my face when I move in front of and above his tank, because apparently my face means food.

I hope you can get some soon! :)

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Jess, we've worked out a substitute for the Jungle anti-parasite that I think actually is better than those unpalatable pellets. :D

If you ever want them, just ask Helen. She has the latest recipe. :)

Lisa, and where are YOUR puffers? :rofl

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I see that LFS carry a lot of juvenile ones together in a tank, but as they mature, they supposedly tend to get much more aggressive. A friend of mine had two in a 10g and one ended up killing the other, so I'm quite sure that their territorial behavior is not just myth or exaggeration.

There probably are people that are lucky, similar to how it is with bettas. Some manage to keep a nice sorority, others end up with a massacre.

Several web pages even recommend 10g per puffer, so I really would stick with a small number, just to be on the safe side. Lots of plants, but with you that won't be a problem ;)

I don't know how young the puffers at your LFS are but I found sexing them rather easy. The ones at my LFS are about 5/8 of an inch. I think the easiest way is to look for the "wrinkles" that males have on the side of their face. Even young specimens tend to have obvious wrinkles. This article really helped me :)http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/V4I1/sexing_puffers/Sexing_The_Dwarf_Puffer.htm

When it comes to filtration, these guys are not the best swimmers and can get exhausted easily if there is too much current, or not enough plants etc to break the current. Since I use an internal filter, I actually unplug it over night to ensure some resting time for him.

Snails alone will not make proper diet. These tiny guys do not crunch whole snails up like bigger puffers do, but pull snails out of their shells. Mine ignores any snail that is 1/4" and larger. His favorite size is a bit over pinhead. In addition they crave bloodworms.

I tried other frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and white mosquito larvae but he really does not care for them.

Snails also are often not fully eaten.

A lot of times the puffer will literally only manage to decapitate the snails or bite a fatal chunk out of them as they try to retreat into their houses, and then you have about half a dead snail rotting in the substrate.

I also think mine is an exceptional derp, because if he misses a snail, and it manages to crawl away and up the sides of the tank or the plants, he will completely ignore it. :doh11: So I had a small ramshorn snail lay EGGS in my puffer tank...

That is one of the reasons why I decided to go with bare bottom for mine, it makes it much easier to find and remove the snail remains.

Unfortunately it seems that most DPs come with a load of parasites. Even though I prazied the heck out of mine (salt should be used only up to .1%), he still seems to have a problem with internal parasites. Even though my guy eats like a horse, he has gotten super skinny. I read up and people recommend to actually treat new DPs not only with prazi, but also with metronidazole due to the parasite issues many seem to have.

The metro will have to be used in the water, since it's not really working in their food.

What else.... Some people say that puffers are ok with peaceful "larger" fish. "Larger" means anything over 1", but small enough to not see the puffer as food. Coridoras, otocinclus, BN pleco, a school of tetras or minnows... just in case you decide to go with only one or two puffers and want to add a bit more other life to the tank. I have also seen videos where people keep them together with mature apple and nerite snails.

Water needs to be very clean, they are supposedly more sensitive to nitrates etc. Pretty much the same as you'd do with bettas, and again stable parameters are better than ideal but bouncing parameters.

Overall, DPs are awesome. I love these guys! Spunky and cute and fun to watch. Kind of like a betta from space. Mine recognizes me and follows my face when I move in front of and above his tank, because apparently my face means food.

I hope you can get some soon! :)

Thank you fang for stopping by and all the info! I will definitely be sticking with a small number, probably just two. I wouldn't want more than that anyway, plus my LFS sells them for 10.00 so I wouldn't be able to afford a whole lot more.

That is good to know about the filtration piece. And the parasites, those are two things I wouldn't have thought of [emoji5]️

I have tons of those mini rams horn snails (they are really tiny so I hope those will be a good snack) and I'm hoping blood worms will work because I don't think I can find live worms like black worms locally (although my dad just got discus so I hope maybe he'll source some live worms)

Thanks again Fang [emoji4] good to get info from someone I trust!

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Jess, we've worked out a substitute for the Jungle anti-parasite that I think actually is better than those unpalatable pellets. :D

If you ever want them, just ask Helen. She has the latest recipe. :)

Lisa, and where are YOUR puffers? :rofl

Thank you Alex! Not sure if the puffers will go for it (they are very picky from what I read) but I'll definitely give it a try.

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I did try to make gel food with repashy meat pie and metro, but he just looked at me like I'm nuts.

I couldn't get a hold of life blackworms either, but defrosted frozen bloodworms work wonderfully. Of course the puffers won't be able to eat the whole cube, but considered you have a couple of most gorgeous goldies, I doubt that the BW would go to waste :D

Gotta say thought that mine (I keep referring to mine because they too may act different depending on the individual fish, and yours might be completely different from mine in some aspects) is not too eager about motionless bloodworms.

Still, it is easy to get him interested by picking up the bloodworms with a wooden tooth pick or skewer, and either the BW will sort of stick to it and you can gently move it around near the puffer, or you just keep moving the loose BW around to make the puffers get interested.

I also read that live daphnia make good food for them, and they sell starter kits online, but I just haven't really felt like getting into setting up a 2.5 to keep daphnia in. YET. I especially don't want to get something that will only last temporarily; I'd rather like to get an actual breeding colony of daphnia going. Gotta look into that some time.

As far as the meds go, I tried dabbing up some loose metro powder with blood worms, but in that case he would not be interested at all. I guess he doesn't like the taste of the medicine. Aside from that it really is difficult to properly dose the fish with that method.
Even with the metro supposedly being not as effective in the water as ideally wanted, this is the best way for me to treat him. Due to the internal parasites he is so skinny that unless he was just fed, in top view he resembles a tiny tadpole, despite the fact that he either gets up to a dozen (!!!!) bloodworms or snails fed every day. The general feeding recommendation I find is to feed 2-3 snails or blood worms daily. :/

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