Animal Stories - Spotted Green Puffer

Animal-World Information about: Spotted Green Puffer

The Spotted Green Puffer is a very popular attraction and the most commonly available freshwater puffer fish!
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Anonymous - 2011-04-20
I am a beginner to the world of fish, and I think I know what I am doing, but want it to be verified.

Here's my setup: 30 gal tank with 2 Sunburst Mollies and 2 sunset platies. I have the temp controlled at 72-78 degrees, I have some big rocks (one big enough to provide shelter), and a few plants, as well as a Chinese dragon bubbler.

Here's my question: I added a Green Spotted Puffer to the mix. Is that ok? I went to WalMart, and their fish fact tag says that the puffer will be ok with Mollies. He seems to be swimming around the whole tank, not bothering other fish, but I am worried about it after reading this website. Any suggestions?

Also, you might not be able to help on this, but my male Mollie keeps picking on the female. I was told to expect them to mate, but it looks more like torture and not mating. It could be that I am a beginner (outside that of a Beta) and just do not know what to expect. Any help here would be appreciated as well!

Thanks in advance!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-20
    You can click on the links attached to provide you with more detailed information on the fish you have selected. Just a note to say that it is recommended that if you have other fish with a Pufferfish, you have at least a 50 gallon tank. The puffer fella likes to nip at fins. He is not supposed to be agressive and he is supposed to get along with other fish but you need a larger tank. You need a bit of vegatation there for the fish to hide and play in, whatever. Two mollies mating (movie on U-Tube) looks like the guy is trying to slam her, push her and shove her. Weird to see but it must work. Now maybe yours are fighting so watch the movie and then you'll know for sure. Looks like they were fighting to me too.
  • Anonymous - 2011-04-20
    Hmm. I wasn't told that I would need a 50, but that could be the case. The little guy has been in the tank for about 3 hours now, and he is starting to warm up to it. He swims around a lot, and doesn't seem to bother other fish. He was almost completely grey when I added him, but now his head and some of his body is back to Green. I have a 10 gal that my Beta is currently residing in that I could move him to. I bought some live plants tonight as well, so within a few weeks I should have some more greenery. I currently only have plastic plants, good ole WalMart doesn't say anything about live plants being a necessity.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-21
    Yep, the information says if you just have the puffer, then a 20 gallon tank is fine but if you are adding (or have) other fish, you would need at least a 50 gallon. Puffer fish also need something to wear their teeth down so snails or some such other hard food. The 10 gallon tank is too small for the puffwer, definitely too small if there is another fish in it.
    Did you find the move on Mollies on U-Tube? There is one on just gold fish also. Strange.
    Yes, you need some plants. Have fun and enjoy. Remember all these fish are going to get bigger. The mollies will probably go 4 - 6 inches.
  • Anonymous - 2011-04-21
    Yes. Well, I took Mr Puff to Petco and donated him. I decided that I didn't want to ruin his little life just because I jumped in without surveying the water first. I think once I am out of an apartment and have my bigger tanks I will go get another puffer and try again. Thanks for all your help!

    Oh, random question. How many more fish can/ should I put in this 30 gallon? Currently I have 2 Mollies and 2 Platies. Thanks!
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-21
    I am responding to the other email which tells me you took the puffer back. You are asking how many additional fish you can put in a 30 gallon tank with 2 mollies and 2 platies. If you think 1 inch per gallon (just as a rule of thumb) and subtract out for gravel, decorations etc a 30 gallon should leave you with about 27 gallons of swiming area. So the two mollies are 12 inches (as adults) and the two platies are 5 inches (as adults) which equals 17 inches. So you can add two other compatible fish whose adult size is not greater than 5 inches each. OK? Yeah probably best to take back the puffer. Good thinking on your part.
  • Dioafui - 2011-05-09
    You're fine, but the male fish will chase the female to death. You should have at least three females per male, because of his desire to pro-create. I don't know about puffers, but you spelled betta wrong.
  • nic - 2011-08-05
    Here's where you went wrong. NEVER buy fish from Walmart they are cruel to their fish. They all have an illness and are not healthy fish and Walmart does not have any idea how to care for fish. They just want to make money. I had gotten a mollie and it had 50 babies and think first about how big each baby gets. hope this helps.

    p.s get live plants like water sprites
  • brookes - 2013-03-17
    thats not true i bought mine from walmart and it was a little agrisssive at the first 4 days then it got calm it was just scared thats all. all i got to say is love your green spotted puffers. i mean who can't love that little pug face of there'!
  • Merida DunBroch - 2016-01-31
    If the male molly is just chasing the female you have nothing to worry about. It's perfectly normal.
Mary - 2012-01-20
I have a 10 gallon tank along with 5 goldfish, I've got hiding spots and decor and fake plants. I was at Walmart and saw the litter spotted green puffer. The lady in the fish department gave me very little info on him. She said he eats just flakes, and use the aquarium salt. I bought him and the Jungle aquarium salt. Thankfully I still have a can of blood worms to hold him over besides the flakes until I go buy some other foods/snails for him. Little did I know what I was getting into. What kind of snails would I buy to feed him? I'm going to go buy some real plants for him to nibble on too. Do you think my little guy will survive in my tank?

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  • Editor's Note - 2012-01-20
    Spotted Puffers (Tetraodon nigroviridis) from Walmart are typically brackish water and will not survive, sadly in your tank. Puffers are referred to as 'aqua dogs' due to their personality, and the fact that they chew on whatever they can. Keep your wires out of reach. They will grow up to 5' and they are semi-aggressive. They really need their own tank and brackish water is not too hard to keep, sort of between salt and fresh. As little juveniles, like many fish, they are found in fresh water, then migrate to estuaries, or brackish water. If it is still young enough to deal with the fresh water, it will go after your goldfish.

    I would suggest buying another tank for your puffer if you are in love with it, and look up a little more information and your puffer will reward you with years of companionship. They do need to be entertained too! If you don't want to do all of this, then I would say to return the puffer to the store.

    If you want a TRUE FRESHWATER puffer, they are out there, just do the research before buying, and even then, do not put in with goldfish. Hope that helps and have fun with your spotted aqua dog!
  • Mary - 2012-01-20
    They are not gold fish but *GLOfish* their little neon tetra sort of fish and I've been keeping a eye on them and they seem to be getting along. I do plan on getting him a 20gal tank tomorrow just for him. He is quite adorable and I do want to keep him, Hoping he lives and heals because his fins are severely chewed up. I read they are omnivorious and need alot of meat like live crustaceans and freezed bloodworms or shrimp and snails to keep there teeth in check. He's only a inch big right now, would anyone recommend what to feed him till he gets bigger?
  • Jay - 2012-01-26
    Mary, those glow fish will be a meal soon. The amazon puffer is a brackish water fish when young then requires full marine conditions when fully grown. Despite what you read online most puffers are salt water fish. In the long run your glow fish will be eaten or killed and the puffer will die from living in the wrong environment. This is what happens when you buy fish from the know nothings at walmart.
  • Scott Emberly - 2012-01-31
    Hey I just did a bit of homework after purchasing probably the same freshwater puffer. I already have salt as well as brakish water but they need snails clams and other hard shelled live food to trim there teeth or they will grow to long to eat an die or if you are brave enough you might have to trim the teeth they also like brine shrimp as a treat as well as frozen blood worms
  • kyle - 2014-03-08
    Please help I just got 2.
  • RJ - 2017-07-11
    South American puffers, aka Amazon puffers, are fully FW fish. Spotted Green puffers (the common T. nigorividis) start fresh, but quickly need fairly heavy brackish conditions.
  • Zoe - 2018-08-18
    Hi. South American Puffers or Bumble Bee Puffers aren’t fully fresh water, they live in and tolerate quite well, brackish conditions up to 1.005 throughout different periods of their lives. 😊
Anon Anon - 2016-03-09
I have 4 f8 puffers, 3 BB gobies and a GSP in a 36 gallon. They all get along famously. My Ammonia and Nitrite levels are at a consistent 0ppm, but my nitrate levels can get high sometimes. I have a fx6 canister filter which filtrates 400 gallons per hour (GPH) and another filter filtrating 200 GPH. I have only put RODI water in my tank pre-mixing 3/4 of a cup of instant ocean in every 5 gallons as I do water changes. This keeps my water at a constant ~1.010 specific gravity. The temps are naturally at 80 degrees F because my wife keeps the heat on in the house, so even though I have an immersible heater set at 75 F, it rarely turns on. So far all ocupants seem to be loving life, although one of my F8s is anti-social. My GSP thinks he is an F8 and schools with them all without fail. Im hoping things stay peaceful, but of there are any signs of aggression, I will take appropriate measures (i.e. buy a bigger tank). Does anyone with more experience think my setup is doomed to fail? I know they should have more space, but I am consistent with my water quality and I keep the nitrates at or near 0 with testing and water changes.

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  • Dan - 2016-03-10
    Sounds like you are doing a great job! How are your pH, GH, and KH levels? By using RODI water you are pulling minerals and buffering elements out of the water. Make sure that these levels are appropriate and kept constant. As for nitrates, I suggest that you substitute some of your biomedia with Seachem Matrix. After a few months you will see your nitrate levels drop off. This is very porous, and holds denitrifying bacteria inside in an anerobic state. Keep up with the weekly water changes.
  • Anon Anon - 2016-03-27
    Hi Dan, thanks for the reply. I use some buffering powder made by API that brings the PH to 8.2 and says it brings the aqua hardness to the appropriate levels, but I do not kb9w anything about KH or GH, so Im glad you mentioned it. I have upgraded them all to a 60 gallon 48" long aquarium recently. They all seem happy, but they have been pacing he glass alot. I think they are stressed from the move. They all have white bellies as well as vibrant colors too, so I think they will get used to their new home. Do you have any recommendations for keeping the right KH and GH? I have a product called R/O right by Kent Marine, but didnt think it was necessary thanks to the instant ocean.
Anonymous - 2016-03-05
Hi, I was just wondering where you could get a puffer fish, because I went to Walmart and they didn't have them.

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  • Dan - 2016-03-09
    Check the yellow pages or search online for a family owned aquarium shop. Stay away from the big box stores! Their staff is severely under trained, and they don't get the best quality fish in stock. Any local fish store should be able to help you get your puffer. They have very special needs, and tend to be rather aggressive toward other fish. That varies by species. Plan carefully before you acquire one of these. Read a lot online, and ask for advice from an aquarium shop owner who has been in the business for a while.
Knife Fish Lover - 2014-11-12
Can a green spotted puffer live with:1 half banded loach,1 silver dollar tetra,2 corydoras cats,1 ocellated synodontis cat,1 BN Pleco,1 yoyo loach,1 male betta (veiltail),and 2 tadpoles?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-11-13
    I'd say read the social behaviors section for the Spotted Green Puffer on this species page, read about each of those other fish too, and then use your best judgement.
  • MattMal88 - 2015-06-22
    I would not recommend you put a puffer in with your betta. I learned this the hard way when I added a figure 8 puffer into my tank that had a male betta in it and it tore it's fins to shreds which lead to the death of my betta. They are notorious fin nippers and will love the flowing fins of your betta.
Steve Bussard - 2007-02-14
Temperments very greatly with these guys! Most are very subdued and just plain happy go lucky. I have 2 of these guys in my 90 gallon with several other fish, all MILDLY agressive. When first introduced to the tank they nipped at the fins of my angel, but after approximately a week, they left her alone. Some don't stop and do need to be placed in their own tank, but most will do very well in a comunity tank as long as the tank has fish agressive enough to set these little guys straight. Other than that, they are a very cute, fun, friendly, smart, and entertaining fish to care for. I personally would put their temperment in a class similar to an oscar, but of course on a much smaller size scale. I suggest anyone that wants an easy to care for, fun to watch fish, get at least one of these cuties.

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  • Sarah Wheeler - 2014-07-23
    Aw that is so cute haha, before when we got a betta, we put him with some goldfish and of course he attacked. We caught him with a nat and held him in the net against the tank wall(no harm done just trappin him for 1 minuete).  everytime he flared we did this and t would spook him a bit. eventully this betta lived with several goldish and other types of fish and didnt bite anymore! We put this to the test with my green spotted puffers witch i was new at. when a puffer bit another puufer or fish we net him for a min. after that the puffers live with minnows (yes still brackish waters) and other fish and dont bite them! the good thing is they still eat live worms and snails but dont hurt any other fish.
  • ryan brown - 2014-12-27
    does anybody know if they can be raised in fresh water for 2 years or so?
  • Clarice Brough - 2014-12-27
    I'm guessing that 2 years in a freshwater tank is not ideal. Although their adult size can be over 6' they can reach maturity when they are just over an inch. This suggests that the juvenile stage, which is the only time they can tolerate freshwater, is a fairly short amount of time. A brackish water tank is not really difficult to provide but the tankmates also have to have some salt tolerance.
Daisy - 2013-03-19
Hello. I have a green spotted puffer fish. I have had him for a year now and he seems to be doing fine! He gets along with my other fish (1 molly and 2 Bumble bee gobies) Could I add another fish? Such as another Goby?

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-03-19
    Really depends on the attitude of the puffer.
  • Quinlynn - 2013-04-04
    Yeah but I heard that you could put stuff in the water or on the fish to help them heal along with their fins.
  • Quinlynn - 2013-04-04
    Yeah but I heard that you could put stuff in the water or on the fish to help them heal along with their fins.
  • Aaron - 2013-08-11
    They can be in either fresh, salt or brackish water. Just put some salt in the tank with them, it's easy to figure out it alleviates (removes) the stress from the fish. Mine gets along with bumble bee fish too that's in my opinion because they hide and stay low to the ground and blend in, and they are also fast so the puffers can't catch them. Once I hade a puffer with a Black moore (goldfish) they got along great then one day I put a fiddler crab in there. He nipped at the black moore and because of that my puffer killed the crab immediately.
Heidi - 2014-03-16
Hi! My husband and I have been the proud owners of a green spotted puffer (Penelope) for the last two years...we raised her in a 6 gallon fluval edge...which I know is way too small for her, but she's always been a very happy fish with a very white belly. We've also always just put aquarium salt in her tank...never marine salt. We've recently moved her to a much bigger 25 gallon tank. And she seems unhappy. Any suggestions? Also, do you think we should transition her to marine salt? We want her to have the longest and best life that she can't have...we are VERY fond of her! Thanks so much!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-03-20
    Sometimes a new enviroment can cause some stress, and that may be why its acting unhappy. But if its eating, that's a good sign. These fish do need a much more brackish water as they get older, with a salinity of 1.018-1.022 for an adult, this is almost a full saltwater environment. You can get a marine salt at a pet store, which may be helpful as they include trace elements that are essential for saltwater fish.
  • keyonne - 2014-03-26
    How tall is it?
  • Cindy Smith - 2014-05-18
    My green spotted puffer recently refused to eat for almost a week because I took out an aquarium decoration. I thought it would like more room to swim. Did you take out anything that was in the old tank? I put the decoration back and it started eating the next morning. Crazy fish. Its name is jaws because it ate the other fish.
Sarah Wheeler - 2014-07-23
I also want to know a very good list of medicines to have for future refrences that are PUFFER SAFE! ive bought alot of medecines and in teeny tiny letters it will say "do not use on scaleless fish) or that sort. Please tell me your favorites whats worked for you and why you reccomend it and what it does thanks! ^___^

Floveme - 2013-10-12
Help! My green spotted puffers eyes are yellow! I can't find anything about the coloration and wanted to know if it's normal?

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  • Sarah Wheeler - 2014-07-23
    They should be yellow but the really weird thing is I had a green spotted puffer(my favorite ive ever had) he died recently ;"( his name was smoochy and his eyes were blue,not cloudy eye but just, blue. I thought it was the weirdest thing ever and can find nothing at all on th internet about this.