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Pea puffer tank mates


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Small snails will be food for them I breed pest snails for their main diet. I had them(3) in a 20G tall with cherry shrimp for months and they never bothered them. It was a heavily planted tank. This is them feeding on snails.4961B41F-98EE-4C7B-ADA8-AF12DA213D1F.jpeg.6b4295815417649b9176b8b70fdb7579.jpeg

My research says cherry shrimp are good tank mates as well.

Then now live in a 125G community tank with over 200 shrimp and many other spices and so far no problems. I have a journal page that has a detailed description of it if your interested. In my signature click the link for My Aquatic Vivariums.

On 10/17/2021 at 1:00 PM, DannyBWell said:

Has anyone been successful in keeping pea puffers In a community setting. I impulse bought a pea puffer and the only tank I have open when it's done quarantining is the tank I had planned on being a shrimp tank would they be ok together?

Tank size and plants, hides all that might make a difference if they will get after them

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I think there’s a huge difference in their behavior depending on how many are in the group, what size tank, and what your other inhabitants are.  They have definitely been known to make a snack out of shrimp and they adore eating snails.  They will pick at large snails enough to prevent them from eating and you will notice tiny divots out of the margin of the snails foot (ask me how I know).

They tend to behave much worse in a small group and seem to do best in a good sized group.  I’m beginning to think they should be community fish but only in a large tank.  I’m hearing the best success stories for about 40 gallons or bigger, but no flowing fins like bettas or guppies, etc.

My 8 adults are not all happy in a 20 gallon long (30” x 12” x 12”, about 79 ltr, and 80 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm).  A couple of them hide too much and are a bit off color.  They will be moving to a 29 gallon (same foot print but taller, about 110 ltr) as soon as it’s ready - likely another week or so.

I tried some ember tetras as dither fish with poor consequences for the tetras.  I also have less otos and less Amano shrimp in the tank than I started with.

A single pea puffer is not likely to be a good choice for cohabiting with dwarf shrimp, IMO. In my experience, they tend to be cranky and take out their aggression on tank mates.  They really are tiny predators and their nickname of murder beans is appropriate.

Check my signature link for the saga of “Bad Pea Daddy”.

Edited by Odd Duck
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On 10/17/2021 at 10:22 PM, DannyBWell said:

@Odd Duck I got ember tetras with the puffer good thing I didn't quarantine them together!

Might have done fine in QT.  The embers were in there for a couple months before one disappeared, then another, then 2 more before I could catch them out.  It was only a span of 3 days from when the second one disappeared that I went from 10 (often only able to count 9), then suddenly 8, then 6.

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On 10/20/2021 at 8:33 AM, David Olszewski said:

I recently acquired some pea puffers myself and I've been wondering what sort of clean-up crew might do well (survive) with them?

I'm a fan of the orange mexican crayfish and have been considering adding one just for flavor and because I don't see how the puffers could cause it any harm.

You might actually be onto something there.  They would be big enough to fend off puffers.

The big risk is that pea puffers tuck themselves into plants and sleep at night and I’d worry because the crayfish hunt at night, don’t they?  I’ve never kept crayfish but that’s what I’ve read.  And I know the puffers would be very vulnerable at night.

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On 10/20/2021 at 9:33 AM, David Olszewski said:

I recently acquired some pea puffers myself and I've been wondering what sort of clean-up crew might do well (survive) with them?

I'm a fan of the orange mexican crayfish and have been considering adding one just for flavor and because I don't see how the puffers could cause it any harm.

Yup! They do great, as do adult ghost shrimp. In my experience, no matter the snail size, they'll always get picked off. But! those crayfish are prime.  On a side note, I had a planaria worm infestation and threw in a betta to handle the pests and all was well. 

 

 

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On 10/22/2021 at 10:19 AM, DTC512 said:

On a side note, I had a planaria worm infestation and threw in a betta to handle the pests and all was well. 

A Betta splendens in with your pea puffers?  And no nipped fins on the Betta?  That would be extremely unusual.  Reports from the wild noted semicircular pieces missing from fins of fish in any areas where there were pea puffers found and stomach contents showed pieces of other fish fins inside the pea puffers.  I can’t remember where I found that study (I think it was a link on a pea puffer specific forum) and I haven’t been able to find it again.

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My pea was on his own for the first year or so, besides the temporary roommate/snack snails. I accidentally added a few very tiny endler fry with a scoop of snails one time and, to my great surprise, he has no problem with them. I'm guessing this is the exception rather than the rule, but they coexist well in a little 10 gallon.

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On 10/23/2021 at 7:44 PM, Odd Duck said:

A Betta splendens in with your pea puffers?  And no nipped fins on the Betta?  That would be extremely unusual.  Reports from the wild noted semicircular pieces missing from fins of fish in any areas where there were pea puffers found and stomach contents showed pieces of other fish fins inside the pea puffers.  I can’t remember where I found that study (I think it was a link on a pea puffer specific forum) and I haven’t been able to find it again.

It was a female nemo koi betta. She was in there for about two-three days, eating the planaria. Once I noticed the worm problem was handled, I returned her to her tank. And no, no nipped fins. I guess I have some docile peas, they seem intimidated by her/ curious more than anything. 

That... or because her fins aren't long, they mustn't be that attractive. 

Hope that clears things up for ya. 

 

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On 11/1/2021 at 12:27 PM, DTC512 said:

 

It was a female nemo koi betta. She was in there for about two-three days, eating the planaria. Once I noticed the worm problem was handled, I returned her to her tank. And no, no nipped fins. I guess I have some docile peas, they seem intimidated by her/ curious more than anything. 

That... or because her fins aren't long, they mustn't be that attractive. 

Hope that clears things up for ya. 

 

That does make more sense, for sure.  Glad it turned out well for you.  I have a shoal that might be OK with others in a large enough tank, and a singleton that is very asocial (Bad Pea Daddy).  I wouldn’t trust him with anybody else at this point.

Edited by Odd Duck
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Someone gave me two pea puffers back in June.  I put them in my moderately planted 40 gallon breeder tank (about half of the tank is a dense mass of guppy grass, along with other plants) with pearl gouramis, serpae tetras, pristella tetras, and Corydoras trilineatus.  They seem to be doing fine, and I haven't seen any interaction between them and the other fish.

Occasionally one of them will eat a frozen blood worm, but I've never seen the other one eat.  There are three kinds of snails in the tank, along with a thriving population of neocaridina shrimp and a half dozen or so amano shrimp, so I don't guess they need additional feeding.  They certainly don't seem thin.

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@JettsPapa I’m starting to expand my ideas on how peas should be kept.  I think with an attentive and observant owner, they can be kept in a community tank with a few conditions.

1. They have enough overall space with a tank at least 40 gallons but over 55 is better.

2. They have enough other fish in the tank to simulate a more natural environment.

3. They have enough peas in the group to disperse aggression away from the “omega” fish.

4. Not too many males.

5. Plenty of “forage” meaning plenty of snails, scuds, or other microfauna for them to hunt and eat.

6. Lots of plants and/or hardscape to break lines of sight.

7. Individual personality of the peas.

I think in your case having fish larger than the peas may be helping to keep them in line.  I doubt I could safely add peas to my 100 G without risking my chili rasboras.  If I didn’t have chilis, I might get away with it.  Might be even more likely to get away with it if I added some benevolent, larger fish, like some smaller mouthed gouramis like your pearl.  The peas might not show all their natural behavior (might hide more, for instance) with a bigger fish in the tank or fewer peas, but would likely still survive fine.

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On 11/2/2021 at 8:45 AM, Odd Duck said:

@JettsPapa 

. . . The peas might not show all their natural behavior (might hide more, for instance) with a bigger fish in the tank or fewer peas, but would likely still survive fine.

They do seem to spend most of their time in the guppy grass.  I don't know if they're hiding, or hunting, or both.  I go days without seeing them, but when I feed blood worms and click the tongs in the water they come out pretty quick (even though one never eats any of them).

Would it be a good idea to add a few more, or since things are going well should I stick by the principle of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

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On 11/2/2021 at 9:32 AM, JettsPapa said:

They do seem to spend most of their time in the guppy grass.  I don't know if they're hiding, or hunting, or both.  I go days without seeing them, but when I feed blood worms and click the tongs in the water they come out pretty quick (even though one never eats any of them).

Would it be a good idea to add a few more, or since things are going well should I stick by the principle of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

It’s likely both hunting and hiding.  It’s tempting to suggest you add more, but you’re not wrong with the “If it ain’t broke . . . “ bit.  It can also be VERY challenging to add more pea puffers to an existing group.  If you have a pair, and I suspect you might if they’re both hanging out in the guppy grass, it might not work very well to add more unless you know the genders of the new peas.

While I was trying to create a shoal for Bad Pea Daddy, I ended up with 7 of 9 males.  I had to start over with juveniles, grow them up to adults, then add the new group to the existing 3 peas I kept - one male, both females.  It worked fine with all of them young adults with very dense planting and all had grown up around multiple other peas.

It didn’t work so well when trying to add Bad Dad to the shoal.  I think he had been a singleton too long since he had 2 other owners before me and was a singleton with both those owners.  I suspect he missed a step in his emotional/social development, like a feral wolfchild.  😆 

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On 11/2/2021 at 9:50 AM, Odd Duck said:

It’s likely both hunting and hiding.  It’s tempting to suggest you add more, but you’re not wrong with the “If it ain’t broke . . . “ bit.  It can also be VERY challenging to add more pea puffers to an existing group.  If you have a pair, and I suspect you might if they’re both hanging out in the guppy grass, it might not work very well to add more unless you know the genders of the new peas.

While I was trying to create a shoal for Bad Pea Daddy, I ended up with 7 of 9 males.  I had to start over with juveniles, grow them up to adults, then add the new group to the existing 3 peas I kept - one male, both females.  It worked fine with all of them young adults with very dense planting and all had grown up around multiple other peas.

It didn’t work so well when trying to add Bad Dad to the shoal.  I think he had been a singleton too long since he had 2 other owners before me and was a singleton with both those owners.  I suspect he missed a step in his emotional/social development, like a feral wolfchild.  😆 

 

Thanks.  I think I'll leave well enough alone.

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