Green Spotted Puffer Fish
You Just Got A Green Spotted Puffer Fish...
You are in for a real surprise if you just got a green spotted puffer fish from Wal-Mart or pet store, thinking that these cool fish are just like any other fish, right?
My experience has been that these fish are very intelligent, and I think they act a lot like dogs. They will happily greet you with very expressive eyes, and will take food from your hand, just watch out for their sharp teeth. Also, they have unique habits that make them a joy to watch. As you will read later, they sleep at the bottom of the tank.
The advice given here is strictly from personal experience with these fish and my friends at a local pet shop. Keep reading to learn more about the green spotted puffer fish, a unique pet and what it takes to keep them alive and happy. With such a unique fish, you will certainly want to keep it in good health.
Oddly, the extra work and care is worth if for these interesting little creatures.
Everything you wanted to know about the Green Spotted Puffer Fish
First off, green spotted puffers are brackish fish. Even though many pet stores sell them as freshwater fish, they are not by any means. When keeping your puffers, you must be sure to have some salt in the water to keep them alive.
Puffers are pretty hearty but require some basic care that need to be addressed. Puffers can even survive in fresh water for some time, but in fresh water, they won't thrive and will eventually die.
I add aquarium salt, and usually keep the salinity between 1.005 and 1.015. In addition, watch out for "salt creep". As the water evaporates, the salinity of the water will increase, so keep an eye on your new hygrometer, and if the salt content gets too high, add fresh water or water with a much lower salt content.
Puffer fish have a very nasty sharp beak which he uses to crack off bits of coral, tear apart plants, and take chunks out of aquarium materials. The beak is actually fused front teeth which in nature the puffer uses to crack open mollusks and crustaceans. If your puffer doesn't have something hard to eat every once in a while, the teeth will continue to grow, and eventually they will interfere with your fish's ability to eat.
Green spotted puffers have an attractive coloration that attracted me to them originally. Under normal conditions, the back of the puffer is a deep green with black spots all over it, with a white belly. This is normal coloration, but like the chameleon, the puffer can change its colors as he or she sees fit. Sometimes instead of a creamy white, sometimes they will have a completely black belly, and the spots and colors on the back will fade to very pale. They will also sometimes have spots on his back and a black belly. If your fish has a black belly all the time, he is most likely sick, but if he changes all the time, he's a healthy little guy.
Puffer fish spend a good deal of time sleeping at the bottom of the tank. That is, until you pay attention to them. The rest of the time, they swim around in the tank exploring and nibbling at stuff, every once and a while ripping off chunks of plants and filter downspouts.
Puffer Care Item #1
Get A Larger Fish Tank
Puffers require a larger tank. The "recommendation" is 30 gallons per fish. The green spotted puffer can get up to 6 inches in length. So if you have a smaller tank, (less than 5 gallons), consider an upgrade- if not a 30 gallon tank, which can be expensive, (over $200) perhaps the more affordable Marina Style 20 Deluxe Glass Aquarium Kit - 20 Gallons to start with. The reason for the large tank has to do with the fact that the puffer makes a great deal of ammonia waste that can build up fast in a small tank and kill your fish. They are also very sloppy and messy eaters, which contributes to more food waste decay.
This tank kit has the right combination of a powerful enough filtration system along with enough space for a small puffer. As it grows, you will need to eventually upgrade to a 30 or 50 gallon tank.
You can see a 30 gallon tank at this Amazon link (tank only) 30 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium - Regular
You can see a 50 gallon tank at this Amazon link (tank only) 50 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium - Regular
Puffers do not get along with many other fish, although tank mates consisting of bottom feeders might do okay in some cases. Smaller fish will get promptly eaten by puffers, so the best choice for any other fish is going to be another puffer. The only issue then is you will need an even larger tank.
Puffer Care Item #2
Get The Right Salt...Marine Salt
Although they can live in freshwater, this causes stress and premature death for the puffer. The remedy is to add marine salt, one of our favorites is Aquarium Systems Instant Ocean Aquarium Saltyou want to make sure to read the instructions to add the right amount of salt to your water. This particular brand is used by public aquariums and research facilities.
Puffer Care Item #3
Keep an eye on the water quality
Most of all, you want to keep an eye on the water quality. We use Seachem Prime this product is an "All-in-one" product that conditions existing water or new tank water to eliminate harmful chemicals, pollutants and ammonia. This product is also helpful in maintaining the slime-coat of green spotted puffers.
Puffer Care Item #4
Monitor your water quality
Make sure your spotted green puffer is happy in its watery home. You can do this by monitoring your water quality especially the ammonia level. Like we mentioned, puffers generate a great deal of ammonia, so its important to periodically test the level of ammonia, to see if you need to add any conditioner to the water. We use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals 401M Salt Water Aquarium Master Test Kit for Testing High Range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Levels This has everything you need to make sure your puffer stays healthy. A black belly is a sign of distress, a sign of poor water quality.
Puffer Care Item #5
The right food
Green spotted puffers love many kinds of food and need shell-fish to keep their teeth in shape. Yes, these fish have teeth that if not kept ground down, will grow much like a rodent and impede their ability to eat. You can feed them a host of different foods including:Small snails-Very good food sourceGhost shrimp-They love shrimpSmall, live fishShrimp pellets
Spotted puffers are omnivores, they will also go after green plants and make small round holes in the plants. A variety in your puffer's diet will make for a happy fish!
Puffer Care Item #6
A Black Belly???
You might notice that your puffer has a black belly. What does this mean? For the most part, from my observation, a healthy fish will vary its color. Sometimes the belly is milky white while other times the belly is black. From what I have read, this is normal, as long as the black belly is not constant. In that case, experts suggest that your puffer might be sick, or in distress. The most common remedies for this are:
1. Test the water for ammonia- change water or condition if necessary.
2. Make sure your puffer is eating the food you are presenting and change diet if needed. Remember, they prefer live food.
3. Perhaps the tank is not large enough- increase its size and/or rearrange the habitat.
These are common cures to a chronic black belly. Please leave a question below if your puffer has other ailments.
Remember, These Fish Live In Salt Water
Puffers might be living in a freshwater environment when you purchase them, you will need to move them into a salt water medium to avoid stress and death of the fish.
The Green Spotted Puffer Fish In Action - If you don't have one of these fish, what are you waiting for!
Check out these videos about the GSP, you can see they have a great personality and are a cool fish worth the extra effort to care for.