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Puffer food tank


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I've been thinking about getting a Fahaka puffer but I'm worried about where I'm going to get all the shelled foods without breaking the bank. My thought was to have a snail and crayfish tank but when doing research I couldn't find anything specific to just keeping and breeding them for food. I'd like to hear your ideas on how you would set up a puffer food tank. IE size, number of snails and crayfish to start with(never kept crayfish) any other food I could grow in there? What types of cheap food I could feed the snails/crayfish. Filtration. Do crayfish need pristine water? Do they tolerate nitrates well?  Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

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On 1/26/2022 at 4:45 PM, Dancing Matt said:

I saw that @mountaintoppufferkeeper is culturing dwarf crayfish along with other live foods in their post (below). Would just snails and crayfish shells be hard enough to help file down puffer teeth?


My fahaka was a fan of ramshorn snails, mts, mystery snails, and cherry shrimp before moving out to a permanent home for a friend who wanted a fahaka and had a bigger tank. I assume that snails and crayfish work for keeping their beak trimmed. The ramshorn were the primary food sources up to its departure at 6" or so and i had plants to allow for the cherry shrimp to escape and hide. My plan following that was mystery snails and crayfish but i never got that far with that puffer.

To the best of my knowledge crayfish are mostly scavengers that eat anything but if I am planning on using them as a food source I would view the food they eat as nutrition for my puffer; if its not good enough for my puffer its not good enough for the food culture I am feeding them. 

I have just started on the dwarf crayfish path ( about 4 times the size of a cherry shrimp as adults). I do have berried females and soon to be full with the crayfish version of shrimplets... crayfishlets?

If crayfish are legal in your area, my process is to keep the crayfish species similar to cherry shrimp. Neutral ph good mineral content, caves or tubes to molt in, plants to provide cover, decent food quality, a variety of foods to gutload them. The dwarf crayfish culture tank is a polyculture with ramshorn snails and neocaradina.  It is a 26"x18"x15" tank full of java moss and subbwassertang with a box filter that has crused coral for buffering. I feed shrimp foods, spirulina flake, nano blocks, pretty much everything and the colonies just grow. 

Ramshorn are pretty good puffer food for me they reproduce fast and grow like crazy on spirulina flake and any other quality food you have. My personal experience is they should work for a good long while with a fahaka. I could not get the mystery snails going but figured those could work for the life of the fahaka with adult mystery snails being my staple shelled food for the adult fahaka. 

I also culture earthworms for puffers which i would bet would be a food for a fahaka as well as insects and clams with a vitamin soak. 

In my opinion a puffer can eat its body weight in a sitting and especially when growing. I likely could not have too many snails or grow enough of the crawfish / shrimp to make that more than a once or twice a week food. 


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