The Longhorn Cowfish is a spectacular specimen, having a unique look, coloring and interesting movements that are mesmerizing! This little guy will eventually grow to 20," needing a tank that is at least 250 gallons. Keep with peaceful fish that will not stress them out, since they will poison the tank when they are stressed or if they die. A really good filtration can help in that area, as well as having another tank set up to transfer all inhabitants if that does happen. Have plenty of carbon standing by as well as media that can filter out toxins if this happens. Cowfish nibble on tube worms and if they settle in they will live a long time, dining on veggie matter and meaty foods. Being slow eaters, other fish should not outcompete them for food like large wrasses. They are best for intermediate to advanced aquarists since they have a hard time in the beginning of their captivity.
The Porcupine Pufferfish grows to one foot and needs a 180 gallon tank as an adult. They are the closest thing you can get to a doglike personality in a fish! They will also, like a dog, chew on cords, and may need to be dewormed! These smart fish will learn who you are and that you have something to do with food! Feed them at least 3 times a day with veggie and meaty foods including hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth. They will try to eat smaller active fish and may nip others. They spend most of their time under a ledge or in a crevice during the day, and come out in the evening. Do not catch with a net, nor tease to inflate, since that can cause them to have air trapped in the alimentary tract. They are also prone to ich, so have treatments available for the inevitable breakout. Best kept by an intermediate aquarist.
This aquarist has provided his little water dog, the Porcupine Puffer with hermit crabs to help wear down his teeth. This is one trait they share with rodents! They need to chew on hard things to wear them down, otherwise, the aquarist will have to cut them down. Why? If they grow to long, the fish will not be able to close their mouth or eat and can starve to death. Provide your 1 foot long adult with a tank that is at least 180 gallons. Do not tease them to inflate. Besides being cruel, it can cause health problems that can lead to their death.
This Dog-Faced Puffer is the epitome of "adorable," which is a term not often used with fish! They have an endearing face and act like dogs! They do need to be dewormed, tend to chew on cords and airlines, and like to spit water out of the tank to get your attention! These little puppies grow to just over 1 foot and need a 150 gallon tank. Dog-Faced Puffers also come in various colors such as black, yellow or orange! They are not recommended in a reef tank, however benefit from hard shelled crustaceans like hermit crabs to eat and help wear down their constantly growing teeth. Prone to Crypt, keep the tank at 82˚F to help keep this parasite from taking hold. They can be housed with other pufferfish that are not more aggressive than they are. Use a container to transfer it, not a net.
The yellow version of the Dog-Faced Puffer is not the easiest color morph to find! They have the same great personality as other large puffers and need a 150 gallon tank with lots of hard shelled prey to keep their "beak" or fused teeth from growing too long. They are a joy to keep and can be kept with other pufferfish that have the same or more mild temperament.
As seen in the additional comments, this beloved puffer is doing well after his procedure. They need to be sedated with 3 drops of clove oil per liter of water and behavior needs to be observed. This is the only time it had to be done in the 4 years she has owned her puffer and states that he is doing a better job of keeping his own teeth ground down these days!
This is one of the other rarer black color morphs of the Dog-Faced Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus. The species name makes one wonder if the first one found was black from the latin root work nigro for black. No matter what color they come in, they are, well, cute fish! They have personalities like dogs and in many ways can be as challenging as dogs! Keep cords and airlines out of bite range, and cover your heaters to prevent them from biting and breaking it out of curiosity. Provide hard shelled prey to keep their teeth worn down, because having to trim them is not a walk in the park..... thats what you do with a real dog!
Don't have a 150 gallon tank for a 1 foot puffer? Try out a little water pup in a smaller package, the Canthigaster solandri, or False-Eye Puffer; also called the Spotted Toby or Blue Spotted Puffer for obvious reasons. The members of this genus are known at Tobies or Sharpnose puffers and have similar needs as their large brethren! Fish only tanks are best and only pair up if they are a known male and female pair in a tank that is at least 50 gallons. Offer shelled inverts to help them wear down their teeth which continue to grow. Like a real dog, they may need to be wormed, tend to chew cords, and like some dogs, they do nip! If your other fish have circular holes in their fins, that is your Toby being a bad boy! Avoid fish with overly flowing finnage. They will eat algae, including coralline species, which will help wear their teeth if it is present on live rock. They will not bother large stinging anemones, but will eat any stony corals, starfish and most inverts.
The Striped Burrfish or Spiny Box Puffer, is much less easy to care for than pufferfish. On the positive side, they only reach about 9.8" and are best kept in a fish only tank that is 180 gallons or more. They tend to be reluctant to feed and tend to waste away. Smaller specimens are a little easier to acclimate and feed if other tank mates do not out compete it for food. Deworm them upon arrival to increase their chances. Avoid bottom dwelling fish, slow-moving fish or long finned fish. They will not bother others in it's family and needs lots of swimming space since they are found in seagrass meadows. Provide a 180 gallon tank and feed them meaty marine foods including hard shelled shrimp and hermits to help wear down their teeth.