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Amazon Puffer Fish Journal


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Hello everyone,

I just ordered a group of 5 Amazon Puffer fish that should arrive tomorrow. Since it seems like I may be the first on this forum to buy these fish, I thought I would start a journal about them so I can document everything I learn along the way.  This is my first delve into the world of puffers and since I only have 1 tank, I elected to go with the "community" puffer. 

These puffers will go in my planted 75G tank. They will be housed with 10 Neon Tetra, 8 rummynose Tetra, 8 Panda Cories, 1 gold ram, 1 Julii Cory (rescue), 1 Bristlenose Pleco, and 2 Pearl Gourami.  The Pearl Gourami are the only fish that I think might have issues living with the puffers as they are slower swimming and have nippable fins. I thought about rehoming them but figured I'd give it a shot and I can always move them if it doesn't work out.

Based on research, Some possible issues that might occur:

1) Parasites: Given that they are wild caught, Amazon puffers often come with parasites or other issues. To combat this, I plan to treat with Med Trio upon arrival.

2) Picky eaters: I have frozen blood worms and Frozen Brine Shrimp ready. I am planning on getting some frozen beefheart to add to this mix. I will also try repashy mixed with crushed oyster shells to try to get a harder food in their diet to wear down the beaks.  I will also occasionally feed live mealworms or some snails if I can find some for cheap. I have been told that I should mix up the foods so they aren't completely reliant on one type of food in case that food becomes unavailable for one reason or another.

3) Glass surfing: I have read that this particular species sometimes glass surfs ALOT and if this becomes an issue, I plan to black out the 2 sides of my tank. This supposedly cuts down on the reflections and allows the puffers to relax.  Just like the Gouramis, I am going to give the puffers a chance prior to just blacking out the sides.

I am very excited about these fish and can't wait for them to get here.  I also hope that some of you will come along for the ride with me.

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I have pea ouffers and figure8. Pea puffers I got were tankbred and does not show any parasitic symptoms.

my figure 8 might have parasites tho he does not look so but you never know. I took the risk and chose not to deworm but if he seemed to have any visible symptoms I would. His poop is great (what am I saying…), and his belly looks totally fine.

mine was glass surfing like crazy att the store and it was the only one doing it out of the group of 16. I got this one and he kept the same behavior for a while but after a couple days he quit almost totally. Now he knows me, comes to glass ask for food. An actual water puppy

D22FF861-52AF-4F45-83FF-614910741BEB.jpeg.887fcff595fcae9e82f78434c4bdc3a0.jpeg

Coverin sides did not work for me to stop his glass surfing. Two things worked: adding lots of branches, a cave, plants. And instead of target feeding directly, making him search and find food and be excited about it. He swims around check the gaps and corners try to find the white worms around leaf litter look below the branches try his own ways to find and eat it. Glass surfing seems to be more of a boredom thing. Decorate a lot, spread feeding to at least twice a day and turn it into an entertainment for it

Oh, and %100 check thepufferforum. It is a gem. Full of people with puffer experiences. I found so many good guides about my puffers and peoples own experiences

Edited by Lennie
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THEY HAVE ARRIVED!!!!

They look active and healthy in the bag. I’m going to get them acclimated and then I’ll try to video their release.  For warning, I’m going to pour the water from the bag into my tank. My Puffer Sensei @mountaintoppufferkeeper told me that keeping them submerged is important and since I’m going to treat the tank anyway, I feel like the risk in minimal.

IMG_5873.jpeg

IMG_5871.jpeg

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Few Hour Update:

I fed blood worms about 30 minutes after they were released and only 2 or 3 of them ate at all and honestly it may have been the same one I saw 3 separate times.  I saw 2 graze on a worm or 2 but only 1 had a fat belly after the worms. None of them came to the cube to eat it while it was still frozen, the ones that ate just happened to be in the right place at the right time as some worms drifted by.

Now there is a lot of glass surfing going on. They are all on the left side of the tank where the flow is the weakest just going up and down. Some are doing it casually while others are doing it frantically. When I walk up to the tank, they all swim away from the glass but return to surfing as soon as I leave.  I have also turned the light off to help them settle but it had no effect on the glass surfing.

I plan to try to feed another cube of frozen bloodworms this evening to hopefully get at least SOME food into all of them and then start the Med trio in the morning. I will give them until the end of the treatment to get more comfortable and cut down on the glass surfing or I will have to try to blackout the sides. I may also add a powerhead to increase the flow. 

If anyone has any other ideas, I am all ears.

Edited by NOLANANO
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Amazon Puffers

Evening check in:

the puffers have been glass surfing quite a bit but I’ve noticed that it’s gotten better as the day has gone on. Not as frantic and they will explore occasionally. I linked a video  above which is just a cut up of short videos I took all day.

The puffers were definitely much more interested in the food during the second feeding. I fed both frozen bloodworms and frozen brine shrimp. They only ate the bloodworms and completely ignored the shrimp. We will have to make an effort to get them onto other foods but I am happy they have at least one thing they will eat.

One of them is, idk if braver is the word, but more interested in exploring for sure. I saw him hunting for lack of a better term. Snails are kind of expensive around me as far as a food source but do y’all think that they would eat ghost shrimp?

Im just trying to find a way to encourage the hunting behavior. I’ve read they are mostly bug eaters in the wild so maybe it won’t work but I might give it a shot.

Edited by NOLANANO
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Hey, again. You may find the following links helpful. Their f8 and general puffer guides were very helpful to me.

Colomesus asellus care guide:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/puffers-in-focus/sap/

Also to understand puffers in general:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/puffer-care/inside-the-mind-of-a-puffer/ 

 

About your ghostshrimp question:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/ghostshrimp/

About feeding puffers:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/problems-feeding-your-puffer/

 

I fed mine a piece of raw prawn today and It loved it. I mainly got it to cycle my new reef tank project you know about, but got 3 extras to try for the puffer. Maybe you can try it? Im not sure if the shrimp outer shell is tough enough to help with the teeth tho as a replacement for snail or anything with a tougher shell to control teeth growth

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On 2/8/2024 at 12:23 AM, Schuyler said:

They're supposed to be social, right?

Have you seen them interact with each other yet?

One of them is much more curious than the others. I would say that he is on the smaller side so maybe its a pecking order thing but one has been checking out the other fish and really exploring the aquarium. The other 4 have mostly been glass surfing. Its kind of strange because its a methodical glass surfing, not a frantic one. BUT my lone Gold ram thinks its a puffer fish now. She has taken a liking to her new tank mates. She follows them around and inspects their behavior. Its not aggressive at all and sometimes the puffers will nip at her to back her off but she just backs up a little bit and keeps inspecting.  From what I have watched and read; I need to get these guys past the glass surfing stage before I see much social behavior. 

Morning Update:

I started the med trio this morning and will not be feeding for the next 4-7 days. hopefully they will be more accepting of foods other than blood worms after they fast for a bit. I want to try live meal worms but kind of think I should try brine shrimp first to see if I can get them to eat something other than worms. But maybe I just need to try blood worms again? I think I need them to recognize that I provide the food so they will come right up to me. I think then I will have a better chance at getting them to try new foods. 

If anyone has thoughts, please let me know.

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On 2/8/2024 at 1:39 AM, Lennie said:

Hey, again. You may find the following links helpful. Their f8 and general puffer guides were very helpful to me.

Colomesus asellus care guide:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/puffers-in-focus/sap/

Also to understand puffers in general:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/puffer-care/inside-the-mind-of-a-puffer/ 

 

About your ghostshrimp question:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/ghostshrimp/

About feeding puffers:

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/

https://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/problems-feeding-your-puffer/

 

I fed mine a piece of raw prawn today and It loved it. I mainly got it to cycle my new reef tank project you know about, but got 3 extras to try for the puffer. Maybe you can try it? Im not sure if the shrimp outer shell is tough enough to help with the teeth tho as a replacement for snail or anything with a tougher shell to control teeth growth

Lennie, I appreciate you friend! Always going out of your way to provide good sources!

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On 2/8/2024 at 6:40 AM, NOLANANO said:

BUT my lone Gold ram thinks its a puffer fish now. She has taken a liking to her new tank mates. She follows them around and inspects their behavior.

It's so funny when fish do that. I wonder what's going on there when they do that.

On 2/8/2024 at 6:40 AM, NOLANANO said:

If anyone has thoughts, please let me know.

I would try giving them anti parasite meds directly in their food. I've also had good luck with garlic getting fish more interested in food.

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On 2/8/2024 at 6:03 PM, NOLANANO said:

Lennie, I appreciate you friend! Always going out of your way to provide good sources!

That website is a gem. It is just usually hard to find it when it comes to seeing it between all those popular fish care pages. I found it by a chance
 

I hope it helps

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Post | Pufferfish Worldwide (pufferfishenthusiastsworldwide.com)

I came across this very detailed Amazon Puffer Care guide and thought I would add it to this thread.  This was buried in a thread from 2022 on the Puffer fish forum that Lennie suggested.

Also wanted to link this med trio thread I started because it answered a bunch of questions:

Med Trio Question - General Discussion - C.A.R.E. (aquariumcoop.com)

Below is the actual Med Trio Article. Figured it'd be nice to have it all in one place in case someone is looking for it on this thread:

How to use the quarantine medication trio | Aquarium Co-Op FAQs (aquariumcoop.com)

Edited by NOLANANO
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Day 3 update:

I was planning on waiting a week to do an update but there was a major breakthrough. The glass surfing has greatly decreased and the puffers are now exploring their environment. I think they are hungry cuz we haven’t fed them since day 1 and it mostly looks like they are hunting.

The only fish having issues with the puffers at this point is the cories. They don’t seem to love the puffers and are much more agitated than they used to be pre puffers. I havent seen any damage done but I have seen a puffer or 2 chase the cories away and one even nipped at a Cory but didn’t pursue it once it went away.  I will monitor this situation and remove the cories if it doesn’t settle or fish start getting hurt.

Edited by NOLANANO
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Day 6 update: No pics or anything today, just want to provide an update about my observations thus far:

1) The puffers are doing great, healthy and swimming around. They still glass surf some but its methodical, not frantic and its not all the time so I am happy with that.  I ordered a small power head that I will put in the tank to try to increase the flow for them.

2) I think the cories are settling a bit but they definitely were not fans of their new tankmates right away. Whether it was being chased or seeing other fish glass surf, they began glass surfing quite a bit and were found swimming in the middle and upper portions of my tank much more often than they had in the past 2 years that I have owned them.  I think they are starting to settle and calm down but I still see the behavior a bit more than previously. I have seen the puffers chase them off when they get in their space but they don't follow the cories, just run them off and go back to whatever they were doing.

3) One of the puffers has started chasing my Pearl Gourami around a bit. This one seems worse than the cories because he does in fact chase the gourami. So far there are no visible fin nips so my hope is that he will lose interest in time. I am prepared to re-home the Gourami if it doesn't seem like its happy or if it seems like the chasing will never stop. This is the fish I was worried about most when I got the Puffers so its not really a surprise.

4) After I finish their prophylactic treatment for parasites I will start the project of introducing new foods to them because right now, I can only get them to eat bloodworms. Its not like I have tried much more than that given that they have been fasting during the majority of their treatment anyway but based on how the frozen mysis shrimp went, I think there will be a learning curve. I am going to try both ghost shrimp and live meal worms and see how it goes. I think live foods might get them to branch out a bit more. If they don't eat the shrimp then I am ok with having some pet ghost shrimp in the tank anyway. I also want to start introducing Repashy mixed with crushed oyster shells. Dan from Dan's fish said he just dropped some in with other foods everyday and within 7-10 days, the puffers started to eat it.  I think I will try to use a feeding bowl for this as I don't want oyster shells all over the place. At least at the beginning because I am sure I will have to pull out uneaten repashy for the first week or 2. I want the repashy and oyster shells to work because I dislike the look of snails and don't want them in my tank. No offense to anyone who like snails, its just different strokes for different folks.

Edited by NOLANANO
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Day 8 update:  it’s a sad day, it’s a bad day. We lost one of our guys and we are down to 4 puffers. Let’s all take a moment of silence for our loss….

I'm not sure exactly what happened. I think they were all fine and looking healthy and I also think I had 5 live puffers when I began my water change to dilute the meds. I’m not sure though cuz I didn’t count but I definitely didn’t see any puffers floating. I’m not sure if the water change itself stressed him or if he was just pinned behind something so I couldn’t see him dead but he was a floating, lifeless bubble. I netted him and tried to look for any sign of life but he was gone.

the other 4 are all healthy but I did notice that I have 2 that gorge themselves until their belly is really full and then 2 that don’t eat as much. I did make sure to watch all 4 eat at least one blood worm though. I don’t think the 2 eating less have overgrown teeth but it’s kind of hard to tell because they are so small. The mouths of the 2 eating less don’t look any different than the 2 that eat a ton. I will continue to monitor this and see what happens.

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They look great ! Bummer on the loss. Sometimes one is lost it in an otherwise healthy group up of puffers us here in the first months.

That is normall without any clear cause in the rare occurance of it happening. I have not kept amazons but some of my individual puffers vary in food preference and will not eat as much or any of one food shape or color as the other members of the colony. 

Great thread Im learning quite a bit about amazons from you 

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Day 10 update:

Beefheart might be made of puffer crack. I’ve never seen all 4 attack anything like they attacked frozen beef heart. 4 big fat bellies when they were through. I’m very happy to have something they love that I know I can get all 4 to eat.

i also tried live meal worms this morning. I dropped 3 in and at first my rummynose tried to eat them but couldn’t break through their exoskeleton and eventually gave up. The meal worms settled at the bottom and I just left them there to see what would happen. When I returned 20 minutes later, only 1 remained and one of the puffers was going at it. I’m not sure if he ate all 3 or if a few different puffers each had one but it was encouraging that meal worms could eventually work for these guys. It’s also a crunchy food that will help trim the beaks a bit.

I need to figure out a way to get some greens in the diet. I may try the veggie repashy if I can get them to eat the grub pie repashy. Which I will try tomorrow.

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I mixed together done Repashy grub pie (insectivore diet) and what I thought was crushed oyster shells when I purchased it but turns out it’s something called poultry grit. Below is a picture of the ingredients. I haven’t put it in my tank yet, do these ingredients seems ok?

I don’t think much of any of the grit will actually be ingested. The puffers will just scrape the repashy off the rocks and hopefully grind their teeth on it. I plan to use a feeding bowl and remove whatever isn’t eaten within an hour or so.

im tagging a few people that seem to have a broad range of knowledge. @mountaintoppufferkeeper @Lennie @Odd Duck @anewbie @Guppysnail @tolstoy21

 

IMG_5948.jpeg

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@NOLANANO the grit has lots of probiotic organisms and a little vegetable oil. It is my understanding that is more to aid poultry in digestion of foods.  

I have never tried grit. I would guess that  could negatively impact water quality with the microbes and oil it contains and would not acomplish the beak wear on the puffers.

I have only done the flake form of oyster shell. That will say 100% oyster shell on ingredients normally. I think the flake mixes well in the repashy here i prefer it to the other non flake versions which are basically just chunks

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On 2/19/2024 at 3:56 AM, NOLANANO said:

I mixed together done Repashy grub pie (insectivore diet) and what I thought was crushed oyster shells when I purchased it but turns out it’s something called poultry grit. Below is a picture of the ingredients. I haven’t put it in my tank yet, do these ingredients seems ok?

I don’t think much of any of the grit will actually be ingested. The puffers will just scrape the repashy off the rocks and hopefully grind their teeth on it. I plan to use a feeding bowl and remove whatever isn’t eaten within an hour or so.

im tagging a few people that seem to have a broad range of knowledge. @mountaintoppufferkeeper @Lennie @Odd Duck @anewbie @Guppysnail @tolstoy21

 

IMG_5948.jpeg

Hello,

I also have no idea about this product and whether it is suitable for the tank use/fish health.

Do your puffers accept repashy/commercial foods? Or will it be your first try?

I tried feeding a piece of raw prawn and pest snails. A piece of raw prawn worked for the first time but he lost the interest in the second feeding. If he has a chance, he just didnt bother destroying the shell but sucking the food from the opened ends. He has always been crazy for pest snails and they were the only ones my puffer was interested in chewing the shell of to reach the food.

I also got frozen littleneck clams. Thawed and opened them in half, but he was not really interested, I had to take the uneaten food after some time. My LFS fed them mealworms but I dont think think they are good in terms of nutrition based on my little research and if they are even good for them in general. 
 

Other than these, different earthworms and whiteworms were happily accepted. I had a couple neocaridinas in the tank but I have seen him trying to make a move only once, and he failed. Shrimp just got away easily. I have not seen him eating any neocaridinas in the 3 week period but long time might changed things. At least I had an opportunity to have neocaridinas as a cleanup crew because puffers are messy eaters!

And lastly, he accepted frozen spirulina brine shrimp cube happily.

The guy I shared above sadly failed the observational quarantine period and I lost him 😭. So I didnt have a chance to try more food. I have no idea why, but yea, the batch at the lfs also looked horrible when I visited while mine remain okay during that time. It was only a one day thing. Hope yours do much better

I got my lesson and these sort of fish that require constant live or frozen food are not really my thingy with this size. Some people like this “hunting the prey” action but it made me feel bad. So I am not planning to go back to puffers other than keeping my peas
 

My captive bred pea puffers have been doing great and happy at least but their food range is usually much different due to the size and teeth growth not being a big factor.

So yea, I had nothing really worked other than pest snails in terms of teeth control sort of food.

Edited by Lennie
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