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Green Spotted Puffer Fish Care, Feeding and Tank Setup

Eric is an aquarium enthusiast with over two decades of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish.

A Green Spotted Puffer Hunting a Snail

A Green Spotted Puffer Hunting a Snail

The Green Spotted Puffer Fish

The green spotted puffer (GSP) is a fish with unique needs and care requirements. Their spotted yellow-green backs make them an attractive choice for home aquariums, and their interesting behaviors will separate them from most any other fish you have ever owned.

In the wild, green spotted puffers (Tetraodon nigroviridis or (syn) Dichotomyctere nigroviridis ) are found in Southeast Asia where they inhabit rivers and estuaries. In captivity, unfortunately they are often the victims of poorly educated pet shops and aquarium owners.

Perhaps more than any other fish species, GSPs serve as an example of why it is so important to research aquarium fish before bringing them home. In this case, failing to do so can result in the demise of your puffer and perhaps all other fish in your tank.

If you currently have one of these little dynamos in your possession you are probably here to learn more about how to care for your puffer.

If you have yet to bring a puffer into your home, read this article thoroughly and think seriously about whether or not you want to make the commitment. If you choose to do so and follow through, you’ll finding puffer ownership to be highly fun and rewarding.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should be practicing proper aquarium maintenance in any tank you own, but this is especially important with the green spotted puffer. Understanding puffer behavior, care, and tank requirements will go a long way when it comes to making sure your puffer lives a long and happy life.

This guide is intended to serve as a basic introduction to green spotted puffer care and to help you avoid many of the common mistakes made by first-time puffer owners.

Green Spotted Puffer Tank Mates and Tank Size

In most cases, tank mates are not advisable when keeping a GSP. The green spotted puffer is a highly aggressive fish that may attack and kill any other fish or critter in the tank. Many puffer keepers feel they should not be kept with any other fish species or even other puffers.

It is usually wise to keep a GSP alone in a single-specimen tank. They do not belong in a community aquarium, even as juveniles, and even if the pet store said they are freshwater fish. They are not, and even keeping them with other aggressive tropical fish is asking for disaster.

Some puffer owners keep a pair of puffers in a tank 55-gallons or larger, and some owners even have success keeping their puffer with other fish species that tolerate brackish water. However, the potential for conflict always exists whenever your puffer is housed with other fish, and the risk hardly seems worth it.

How big does a green spotted puffer get?

GSPs are thick, powerful fish that require a lot of space. Although they only grow to around six inches in length as adults, the minimum tank size for a single puffer is 30 gallons. However, 55 gallons is preferred and will allow your fish optimal room for swimming and exploring.

Green spotted puffers kept in aquariums require brackish water through most of their lives. In wild conditions, they start in freshwater and migrate to brackish or marine conditions as adults. As far as you are concerned, this means you are likely going to have to increase the salinity of your tank water as your puffer ages.

Green Spotted Puffer Supplies

You’ll need a few specific items to ensure proper aquarium setup conducive to a healthy puffer. While regular gravel substrate is fine, some keepers like to use crushed coral to keep the pH levels of the tank water within the right parameters. As with any aquarium, it is smart to have a water-testing kit to makes sure you are on the mark.

You also need a supply of marine salt. Don’t confuse this with the aquarium salt used as a conditioner for freshwater tanks. Marine salt is used for saltwater aquariums, and you’ll want to keep it in bulk bags.

One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a hydrometer. These are inexpensive devices used to measure the specific gravity (salinity) of your tank water, and it is a key to ensuring you are creating the right brackish environment for your fish. Young puffers require a specific gravity of about 1.006, where adults need a reading of about 1.02.

Basic Water Parameters for Green Spotted Puffer

  • Temperature: 78-82°F
  • pH: 7.5-8.5
  • Specify Gravity Range: 1.004 - 1.022
  • Weekly water changes to keep water clean

An Adult Green Spotted Puffer

Bringing Your Puffer Home

Be sure to ask the store what type of water your puffer is housed in when you purchase it. This is very important as a starting point for putting together your GSP’s new home. Often stores keep them in fresh water as juveniles, and this is important to know.

Tossing your new fish into a brackish setup when it is used to freshwater would be a shock to its system, and potentially disastrous. If it lived in freshwater at the fish store, you can start it in freshwater and gradually increase the salinity with each water change.

You should never add a GSP, or any fish, to an uncycled tank. If you don’t know how to cycle your tank you need to do some research and make sure this is accomplished before you bring your new fish home.

Because most puffers are wild-caught, be on the lookout for parasites. Ask the fish store if they have taken any steps to combat any parasites their fish may have, and be prepared to dose your baby puffer with the appropriate medication if necessary.

Here are a few more points new puffer keepers should be aware of:

  • GSP’s are known to make a mess when eating. Be prepared to clean up!
  • It’s not a bad idea to over-filter your tank. You can choose a filter rated for a larger tank, or you can use two smaller filters that in conjunction will move more water than a single filter.
  • Plan to perform partial water changes on a weekly basis. About a third of the total volume of water in the tank should be replaced with clean water.
  • Do not add sea salt directly to your tank as it may harm your fish. Mix it with clean, freshwater in a bucket and allow it to dissolve before adding it to the tank gradually.
  • You will need to rely on artificial decorations as few widely available live plants thrive in brackish water. Consider aquascaping with plenty of tunnels and caves for your puffer to explore.
  • Some puffer keepers like moving the décor of their tank around every few weeks, giving their fish a new environment to explore.

Puffer Feeding

What do green spotted puffers eat?

Your GSP will not eat flake food like typical tropical fish. You will need to feed meaty, frozen foods such as blood worms and krill. Thaw the food in tank water before offering it, and make sure you only add as much as you puffer will eat in a few minutes.

Green spotted puffers are notorious hunters, and feeding food such as live ghost shrimp will give your fish some stimulation it can’t get from frozen foods.

Do green spotted pufferfish have teeth?

No, but they do have a bony plate in their mouth that grows continuously. Wild, adult puffers eat crustaceans, and foods with hard shells are an important part of their diets. Without hard foods to wear the plate down puffers may eventually become incapacitated to the point that they can no longer eat.

You won’t feed your baby puffer shellfish of course, but you are going to want to start it off eating snails fairly early. Pond snails are pests, and if you’ve ever had them in a freshwater aquarium you know how hard they are to get rid of. These are the critters your puffer will munch up if you give it the chance.

The fish tanks in many pets stores have all the snails they can stand, and if you ask nicely they are often willing to give them to you for free.

A juvenile GSP stalking a ghost shrimp. It's hard to see the shrimp so look closely!

A juvenile GSP stalking a ghost shrimp. It's hard to see the shrimp so look closely!

Raising Snails as Puffer Food

Instead of running out to fish stores for snails all the time, you may find it worth your while to breed your own. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you need is a 10-gallon tank with basic filtration, lighting, and substrate and you are ready to build a snail colony to harvest for your puffer’s feedings.

Breeding snails is very easy: Add a few to a tank and within a couple of weeks you’ll have baby snails everywhere. Pond snails are willing to eat almost anything, but you need to feed them algae wafers and plenty of veggies so they provide quality nutrition for your puffer.

Care for your snail tank just as you would any fish tank, and be sure to perform partial water changes weekly. Pond snails are pretty hardy, so you aren’t likely to kill many even with poor tank maintenance, but once again you want to make sure the snails you feed your puffer are as healthy as possible.

You should aim to feed snails about the size of your puffer’s eye. Any larger and he won’t be able to crack the snail’s shell. With a little perseverance, he may still be able to get the snail out of there and eat it, but he will miss out on the benefit of the hard shell wearing away at the plate in his mouth.

When your GSP is a baby it can eat every day, but as it gets older you should move to an alternate day feed/fast schedule. As your puffer gets older you may want to try feeding clams, crabs or shrimp. Never leave uneaten food in the tank to decay and do your best to remove any shells that are left behind. Uneaten bits of food will pollute the tank water, making a toxic environment for your fish.

It is important to note that sometimes it seems like puffers don’t have an off switch when it comes to eating. They will continue to eat as long as the food is available, and their bellies will blow up until they look like pudgy little balloons. This is kind of comical, but never let it go too far. Be aware of how much food you are giving your fish, and do not let him overeat too much.

Green Spotted Puffer FAQ

Are green spotted puffers freshwater fish?

GSPs can live in freshwater as juveniles but must eventually become acclimated to brackish conditions as adults. Acclimation should be done slowly over time to be sure not to cause undue stress for the fish.

Can green spotted puffers live in saltwater?

While most puffers live in brackish water, some puffer owners keep their adult fish in full marine setups. Again, this is a change that should occur slowly over time, so the fish has a chance to become acclimated.

Are green spotted puffers poisonous to humans?

Many puffers, including the green spotted puffer, are poisonous to humans and other animals if eaten due to toxic substances they produce. However, they do not attack other animals through the use of venom or poisonous substances.

Are green spotted puffers aggressive?

Green spotted puffers are highly aggressive, and there is a good chance they will attack and kill any other fish in the tank with them, including other GSPs. For that reason, most puffer keepers house their fish in single-specimen tanks.

What can live with a green spotted puffer?

Despite their aggressive nature, there are stories of GSPs living with other fish that can tolerate brackish conditions such as black mollies. However, these situations are exceptional. In some cases, two puffers may live in the same tank provided there is ample room and decorations that limit visibility.

Do green spotted puffers puff up?

Yes. When GSPs become frightened or agitated, they “puff” by filling their bodies with air. Never make a puffer do this intentionally. Puffing is a defense mechanism and the last resort for evading predators. It is highly stressful for the fish.

How do you handle a green spotted puffer?

Handling your puffer is something you should never have to do. Once it is in its new home, it should stay for the rest of its life. However, practically there may come times where you need to move your fish tank. In those rare cases, do not net your fish. Instead, herd it into a good-sized container and scoop it out along with the tank water.

Why is my green spotted puffer turning black?

When puffers turn black, it is a sign of stress. While the stress may or may not be warranted, it is felt by the fish all the same. If your puffer always has a gray or black belly, it may be a sign that something is wrong in the tank, and it is time to review tank management practices.

How long do green spotted puffers live?

GSPs can live for over a decade, so if you keep your puffer healthy, it is with you for the long haul! Some puffer keepers report their experience with their fish as more like owning a dog or cat than a fish.

Additional Green Spotted Puffer Care Considerations

As you can see from this article, owning and caring for a green spotted puffer takes a bit more time and energy than just about any other aquarium fish. You need to make sure it has the appropriate tank set up, water parameters, and food, and if you let things slip if can be curtains for puffer.

If you really feel a GSP is the fish for you, don’t let any of this scare you off. They are among the most rewarding and enjoyable fish to own, and worth the extra work. However, if you are new to fish keeping you may want to start small with a betta fish or other tropical species.

For those who are ready, good luck caring for your green spotted puffer!

Green Spotted Puffer Poll

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 06, 2020:

@Arianna - Always add salt to a bucket outside the tank and allow it to dissolve. Never put it directly in the tank.

How much depends on how old your puffer is and what kind of water it is in now. Young puffers smaller than three inches usually do fine in freshwater. If you increase salinity too abruptly it can be harmful.

You need a hydrometer so you can measure the specific gravity. Have you measured the water it is in now? If it is freshwater and old enough you'll want to add salt very gradually with each water change, slowly bringing the water up to 1.004 over time.

Your hydrometer is your most important tool. Use it wisely.

Arianna Morlatt on August 05, 2020:

Could you please tell me how much instant ocean sea salt to add to my 29 gallon aquarium for my green spotted puffer fish, thank you

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on December 04, 2019:

@Waterkeeper - Thanks for the kind words and for your suggestions. I appreciate it!

WaterKeeper on December 03, 2019:

Article is spot-on, in my opinion. Perfect basic advice for anyone considering a GSP (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis) as a pet. And make no mistake about it... these fish are “pets” in a very true sense. I’ve been keeping them for years and can attest to the intelligence of these fish!

This is why I would also recommend some sort of stimulation for a GSP. I give ours empty pill bottles with a stainless bb or two inside. WARNING: If you give them a toy like I describe, they will make noise! Sometimes, a LOT of noise! If that’s a problem, do as the writer suggests and simply rearrange the tank (I would recommend doing it at every water change), as this will stimulate GSPs as well.

To the author, thank you for taking the time to share this. These are special little fish, and too many suffer and die due to a lack of solid, accurate information like you have provided. A+

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on November 29, 2019:

@Gretchen - I'm a little confused about what kind of puffer you have. Dwarf puffers are freshwater fish. Green Spotted Puffers can live in marine environments. GSPs need hard-shelled foods to wear away the plates in their mouth. Dwarf puffers can typically eat softer foods more often.

In any event, before taking drastic measures, maybe try presenting some different foods that might get him excited. Snails. Live shrimp. I don't know how you could force feed a puffer. :-(

Good luck!

Gretchen 6554 on November 27, 2019:

I own a dwarf green spotted puffer. His name is georgie. Ive hzd him for 6 years and hes done great. Suddenly hes become erractic. He swims as if in a daze. Hasnt eatten for 2 days almost shows little to no interest. One minute i think he might go for it, blood worm cube, then he just swims passed. Ive treated w melafix and pimafix. When melafix is put in the tank he has a reaction like its causeing discomfort,not the pimafix. Im at a loss. I dont want to loose him. Hes a real joy and, honesttly a good friend.

Almost like a dog!! Lol what can i do? Suggestions? Is there someway i can force feed so he doesnt get too weak.georgie has been in a marine tank all his life

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 19, 2019:

Hi Iraj - I appreciate the feedback, but believe I did cover those points you mentioned.

I said in wild conditions puffers start in freshwater and migrate to marine conditions as adults. I said to increase salinity as the puffer ages. I said to use marine salt not aquarium salt. I even mentioned that many puffer keepers house adults in full marine setups.

Iraj Gardner on July 18, 2019:

Another article which falsely claims that adult green spotted puffers need "brackish" water - WRONG!!! What they need is gradual addition of marine salt (NOT "aquarium salt" which is for freshwater tanks) as they get older, until they're in full marine. Full marine means adding a protein skimmer to the tank as well as cured live rock, as freshwater filters don't cut it and puffers need heavy filtration since they're messy eaters.

I have a GSP who has survived for 2 years so far. Why? Because he's in a FULL MARINE setup. That's what these guys need as adults. Keeping them in brackish water is NOT ENOUGH SALT for an adult and they will die young. Speaking of brackish, never use aquarium salt - use marine salt because it adds minerals and electrolytes to the water.

The rest of the article is excellent and contains a lot of good info not found on other sites. I only wish the author could correct this misinformation about "brackish", because Green spotted puffers and their cousins the Dwarf or pea puffer are both in decline in the wild because of the pet trade. They can't be bred in captivity (dwarf puffers only breed rarely in captivity). So every puffer who dies due to incorrect advice in articles like this one means one more puffer taken from the wild to replace it.

Beginner puffer owners and fishkeeping novices should avoid this species anyway. Instead I recommend freshwater species like the dwarf puffer (great for nano tanks, I have 5 in a tank) or the Amazon puffer. The Amazon is less aggressive and can be kept communally in a community tank with fast swimming species. In fact this species does better when there are three or more. Communal puffers are even more interesting to watch than those which should be kept alone.There's also the Figure 8 puffer which can be kept in trios and can live in fresh or low brackish water.

I also recommend that readers google "puffer forum" as there's a very good forum available where you can ask questions and get advice from experienced keepers. Puffers are much different from other fish and sadly it can be hard to find accurate information about them.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on November 14, 2018:

@Angela - I've never used Bio-Magnet so I can't answer that unfortunately. As for the slimey stuff, it sounds like it could be white algae (look for some images online and see if you agree). If so, you may be able to deal with it simply by managing waste and light levels in the tank a little more closely. Good luck!

Angela Jones on November 13, 2018:

I have a GSP & have had him for almost 2 yrs. I recently changed his water n all,but now i have this clearish white gel slime like stuff in his tank. It kinda looks like wet stringy paper towel underwater. Lol! But what can cause this? And when i changed his sand,i did not get to put the Bio-Magnet solution before i HAD to immediately put my GSP in the tank,can i add that now diluted? Or will it hurt my GSP?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 05, 2018:

@Resa - How is his color? I'm wondering if he's showing any other signs of stress. You said his dental plate is okay, so I assume he's been eating crunchy foods that keep his beak trim. You didn't mention what you are feeding, but maybe try some different food options.

Resa on October 03, 2018:

So ..... I've had my GSP, Billy for over a year now.. Smooth sailing.

He's full marine already ..... haven't had any trouble.. until now... He's not eating.... and idk why.. it doesn't looke like his beak is over grown. His water is all where it's suppose to be. Even changed it and did amonia tabs just to be on the safe side .... any suggesetions?

Heath Edward on September 09, 2018:

I have been keeping Green Spotted Puffers on and off for over 20 years now. It's been my experience, every time, that while GSP are aggressive, they become peaceful when they are well fed over a period of time. I am currently keeping 2 in a 40 gal "breeder" style tank, absolutely no trouble between them. But I do keep a bunch of rock and shell and fake plants to help them keep their own space for themselves.

nosekb on December 19, 2017:

This is in reference to Lauren from 7 weeks ago. A UV light will help with cloudy water. If you have more then one tank the stand alone light are great. Most of my filters have them built in but I have several smaller tanks and just move it around as needed. UV lights to me are a must have with any fish tank, Just don't over use them. 24 to 48 hours of use will kill must out brakes

Jay on November 18, 2017:

My puffer loves tropical fish flakes but he really loves to eat other little fish like baby gold fish or even little chunks of chicken. He eats anything that moves and arouses his appetite/ haha

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 30, 2017:

Hi Lauren - Is it possible you are overfeeding the puffers, especially if you are giving them something like bloodworms very often? I could see it would be easy to overfeed when you have three in the tank and you're probably concerned that everyone is getting enough to eat. Maybe try cutting back a bit and seeing what happens. Good luck!

Lauren on October 29, 2017:

Hello! I have had 3 puffers in one tank for a few months now and it has been great. A recent situation has occurred though... our tank water has become a cloudy white and we are concerned it may be a bacterial bloom but have no idea how to fix this problem. The tank is set at the correct temperature, doesn't get too much lighting, is cleaned every single week (if not more), the puffers seem happy and energetic still, but I am concerned that things are going to go south soon. What could this be? What are your suggestions?

Linsy on October 17, 2017:

Thank you! Very helpful :)

Jacob on August 27, 2017:

They are cute and very interesting fish, but i don't have place to have that big aquarium. Maybe, one day i will have a big, 200 litres aquarium and this puffer but i don't know...

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 02, 2017:

@Blossom: If you are worried about your puffer getting bored you can re-arrange the tank every time you do a cleaning. When you say you are getting more I hope you don't mean more puffers. They can be aggressive toward each other, and you will want to stick with one per tank.

blossom on July 01, 2017:

On of my puffer fish spots go kind of greyish white. It clears when he's eating, and when he see's me. Do you think I just need to provide more decoration? I do plan on getting more anyway, but is it from lack of entertainment?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on May 27, 2017:

@Eden: It probably means he's stressed, but it is odd that it would happen at a specific time of day. Can you correlate anything else with that time of day? Feeding time? Sunlight hitting his tank? People coming home and making a lot of noise, etc?

Eden on May 25, 2017:

every time at 3:00 one of my green spotted puffers turns grey with grey spots??? i know they turn grey when unhappy but the spots turned grey too then after a while i see him go back to his usual color what does this indicate?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on April 27, 2017:

@Carol: When green spotted puffers turn black on their belly, sides or back in typically means they are pretty stressed. That tank is much too small for a pair of GSPs. I think you need to move forward with your plan to re-home them ASAP. Or upgrade to a 55-75 gallon tank for the pair, or a 29/30 gallon for a single puffer. Ideally, you should only need to change the water every-other week, but I suspect you have water quality issues going on and you may want to test the water.

Yes, they will try to eat the cherry shrimp or anything else they can. That's why they are best kept alone. A good rule of thumb is don't put any creature in the tank you don't consider puffer food.

Carol on April 25, 2017:

I recently got 2 GSPs and we put them in a 16.9 gal tank, but they eat some of the red cherry shrimps so we quarantine them. We then do some research and we decided are not ready for keeping them. So we thought to give them for someone we know.....

One of the fish's back turns darker and darker, but the stomach is still white, do you know what happened? And how many times should i change the water? Please answer me.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on April 20, 2017:

@ Cmoreno: If you intend to have a community tank, you are right: Don't buy a green spotted puffer! They need to be in a single-specimen tank or, as you've seen, they can cause quite a bit of destruction. This is why you need to do research before buying a fish.

However, many people enjoy keeping a puffer on its own, and that's fine too. You just have to know what you are getting into.

Cmoreno on April 19, 2017:

They eat everything! All other sites recommend Gobies, Mollies or even Guppies....sure....as food. Mine has eaten everything in the tank and is as fat as a pig and I can't give him away. Just don't buy one. What a waste of a tank!

Casey on February 26, 2017:

Hello I have a green spotted puffer in a 14 g bio cube along with a clown, tail spot blenny, damsel , a goby , 3 hermit crabs and a emerald crab he doesn't bug anyone. And he is a pig.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Hi Dylan! Thanks for the kind words! Setting up a green spotted puffer tank doesn't have to be that much more expensive than a regular freshwater tank. It depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.

As far as equipment in concerned, you need at least a 30-gallon tank for a single puffer (those 29-gallons are more common and just fine as well.) In addition, you just have to think about the sea salt and hydrometer, which aren't too expensive.

Food is where expenses can get a little high. Puffers don't eat regular fish food. You need to purchase frozen foods like bloodworms and krill. They are more expensive, but still reasonable. You might even find a pet store willing to give you pest snails for free.

But, you may eventually decide to breed your own snails, and so you'd have the cost of running another tank. As puffers age, many keepers give them foods like shrimp and clams, so you can see how the expenses can add up eventually.

Yes, puffers are more expensive than standard tropical fish, but I don't think prohibitively so. The tank and accessories are the same as you'd use for tropical fish (unless you planned to go full-marine someday), you need a few more accessories, and you'll spend a little more on food.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your puffer!

Dylan on February 24, 2017:

Hey Eric. I am highly highly considering getting a puffer on Monday. Saw them today and fell in love. The extra care doesn't bother me, as I've had terrariums and aquariums my entire life. Definite hobby/pure enjoyment of mine.

Anyway- was wondering... What do you think an estimated cost of getting these bad boys up and running? I have a tank lined up already. It's huge. Is it more of a just decide how much you wanna pimp his ride type of thing? Any full kits anywhere that you know of?

Thanks!

By the way great great read. Learned a lot.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 24, 2017:

Hi Hannah. Yes, if they are juveniles you want to make it a very gradual change. They don't need to be in full brackish until they are adults. You can introduce a little bit of sea salt when you do water changes. (Makes sure to dissolve it in clean water in a bucket.) As time goes on you can increase the amount you are adding until they are in brackish conditions (~1.004 - 1.022 sp gravity) as adults. Good luck!

Hannah on February 23, 2017:

Hello,

I recently purchased a pair of juvenile GSPs, they came from a freshwater tank. I would like to start slowly introducing them to a brackish tank. How slow do you have to make this process? Obviously i don't want to shock them so I take it very gradually is best?

Kieran on February 21, 2017:

Very interesting read. I bought a green spotted puffer a few years ago. It lived happily in my freshwater community tank for about a year with no aggression towards tank-mates whatsoever, it was a joy to keep. Then out of nowhere it stopped eating. I know they preferred brackish water as they grew up but I thought I could keep it in the tank for at least another year. Hopefully I'll have the space to set-up a brackish water tank in the future, I wouldn't mind giving them another go.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on January 31, 2017:

@Thomas: I'd keep a close eye on that situation if I were you, and I hope you have a really big tank.

Thomas on January 30, 2017:

I have three GREEN SPOTTED PUFFER FISH in the same tank and somehow they are getting along just fine.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on January 18, 2017:

Hi Laura. The 10-gallon is fine for now if he is very small, and the 45 will be good when he is an adult. But I don't think you'll want to wait a years before moving him over. Sooner would be better.

Laura on January 17, 2017:

I just have a question, I just recently got a GSP and he is in a tank by himself, but it is a 10 gal right now, we do not have the room right now we have two other tanks filled with other fish one is a 45 and the other is a 20. Is it alright for him to stay in there until he starts to grow a little more, he will then probably get moved to a 45 is that size okay for the Puffer or should it be bigger because in about a year we are planning on receiving a 75 gal to put all of the fish in the 45 into the 75?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on January 05, 2017:

@Dougie: Puffers "puff" as an extreme defensive reaction. You should never, ever, make them do this on purpose. In some cases it can even be fatal for your fish. Please do not try to make your GSP puff.

dougie on January 04, 2017:

How do u get them to puff up

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on December 31, 2016:

Hi Chris! One site I think you might check out is monsterfishkeepers(dot)com. It's a site that specializes in exotic fish, and there is a community there where you can discuss any questions or problems you have.

You can certainly ask me anything as well. I'll be happy to help if I can. Good luck with your puffer!

Chris LaMarre on December 31, 2016:

I was trying to find an email link to you but cannot. I wondered who you might say is the foremost authority and information on habits and caring for GSPs and do they have a website or online presence? I have so many more questions and observations I'd like to ask about like feeding alternate prey diets but didn't want to inundate you with large posts! :) Thanks!

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on December 29, 2016:

Hi Chris. That's correct - dissolve the salt in a bucket, never add it directly to the aquarium. You can while cycling the tank (with no fish of course) just be aware that the salinity of the water in your tank must be close to that of the the tank where the fish are coming from to avoid undue stress when they are introduced. Good luck!

Chris on December 28, 2016:

I read that the salinity needs to be done in a separate bucket to allow dissolving. Can this been done in a full tank during the "Cycling" process, before live fish are introduced?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on November 27, 2016:

Hi Sarena. The article you just read has the answers to your questions. In summary: Green Spotted Puffers are not community fish. They should not be in community tanks, even large ones. Also, they are brackish water fish. Sometimes they are kept in freshwater as juveniles, but need to move to brackish eventually. Do you know what type of water the fish store where you purchased them had them in? If you moved him from brackish to fresh that alone would stress him terribly.

I recommend learning more about puffers before purchasing another one. They are not suitable for freshwater, community aquariums.

sarena on November 26, 2016:

Iv recently bought a green puffer fish bc iv heard that they will help eliminate snail which I have to many to count. He lasted only 2 days. I figured I got a sick one so went to get another one and purchased 3 other fish along with my new puffer. All fish are alive and doing well besides the puffer passed away today. Any advice on how to keep a puffer fish alive, please note I have a 100 gallon tank and 20 other fish who are completely healthy

Saturday, November 26, 2016

5:50 PM

Livvy on November 13, 2016:

I just got a GSP about a week ago. I live on a small pond and since it is still fairly warm out I have been going to the pond every other day and collecting snails and even clams for him. He likes the snails but he LOVES when I crack open a clam for him! These clams are the Asian clams which is an invasive species so I'm helping the environment AND getting free food for my puffer!

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 26, 2016:

Hi Justin. There really aren't any tankmates you can be certain will get along with a green spotted spuffer. Plus, there are few that can live in the brackish conditions. I know what you mean about the wasted space in the big tank. FYI - Figure 8s are a little smaller but have many of the same issues as GSPs. They are aggressive, and need brackish water, and may attack each other. If you want a community tank you might want to give on the idea of puffers. Good luck, whatever you decide!

Justin on October 25, 2016:

So are there any good tank mates for these at all or do I need to try something else like the figure eight puffers? I have a 75 gallon and I don't intend to waste all that space for such small fish.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on September 04, 2016:

That's awesome Dmitry! Nothing like fresh-caught seafood! Good luck with your puffers going forward.

Dmitry on September 04, 2016:

Have a pair of GSP for about 9-10 years in 29gallon tank. I have access to Pacific Ocean and feed them pretty consistently sand crabs, both live and frozen. Free food! And they like it.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 06, 2016:

Hi Rene. I'm not really clear on what you are describing here. Can you explain in a little more detail? If your fish is going to the surface for air there is something going on with water quality, probably low o2. How are you deciding there is enough oxygen in the tank? How about the water temp? It is summer and if the water gets too warm for him that can impact o2 levels.

Rene on August 03, 2016:

Hi, my puffers look like they need oxygen, the are in the air with their mouths outside the water. There are lots of oxygen in the tank..

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 15, 2016:

Hi CSailey! GSPs are relatively intelligent and clever fish, so in my opinion anything you can do to make their lives more interesting is worth it. As long as it fits within the parameters of smart aquarium practices of course. Keeping them occupied may also help reduce or eliminate any aggression, as you have a pair in one tank. Just judge their reaction if you make a change and make sure nothing you've added is causing them stress. Good luck!

CSailey1113 on July 14, 2016:

I have two GAPS in a 55 right now. I have two pumps that they love to play in...do you think it's worth getting a small powerhead for them?

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 06, 2015:

Mary, are you saying you have 6 green spotted puffers in the same tank? If so that's a bad idea. Even as juveniles they can be aggressive toward each other. That may be your problem. I suggest keeping one puffer and returning the rest to the live fish store.

mary on February 06, 2015:

Ive only had him two days along with 5 others and they all are doing just fine. Do you thing its possible this is happening because of the new home? Im just worried because he's the only one having issues.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 06, 2015:

Hi mary. First off, do not take your puffer out of the tank when he puffs. It's hard to know exactly he is doing this, but it sounds like he's stressed over something. I'd start from the ground up and check your water parameters, tank arrangement, his feeding schedule, filter strength (if he is healthy he should have no trouble keeping clear of the filter but if he is ill he may be struggling to stay out of the intake.), etc. A healthy puffer shouldn't puff unless it feels it is in danger, so you need to figure out what is making it feel threatened. Good luck!

mary on February 05, 2015:

My puffer fish was puffed up when I came home. I thought he was dead took him out of the tank he unpuffed. Now hes puffed up again and its been a few hours.What can I do to help him out?

MahRukh Neelum from Abbottabad, Pakistan. on February 02, 2015:

I want one puffer fish.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on January 30, 2015:

@peachpurple: Green Spotted Puffers do. They make short work of them. In fact they are an important part of the diet of young, captive puffers because their shells help to degrade the bony plate in the puffer's mouth.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 30, 2015:

Puffer fish eats snails?