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!
Latest Animal Stories
Stephanie - 2010-09-16
I've notice that in the mornings when I turn my tank light on, my puffer is a darker color. This morning when I went to turn the tank light on, he was sitting against the filter sucker, and I freaked thinking he was dead. I pushed him off of it, where he sat in a plant for five minutes, then gut up and turned back to bright green. He ate just fine, when I fed frozen blood worms to the tank ten minutes later. Whats going on?

Mike - 2009-11-29
I have had two green spotted puffers for close to two years now and they are so much fun to watch. I originally started with one that I put in a 72 gal bow front aquarium with several much larger aggressive fish thinking that he should do well. The next morning I woke up to a group of large fish huddling in the corner looking much the worse for wear with my little puffer happily swimming around the rest of the tank. Instead of returning the vicious little cartoon character I set up a 29 gallon tank for him and got him a tank mate both of which get along great. I eventually bumped the tank up to brackish conditions and have since moved it up to a full marine tank, where they seem the happiest so far, and added other saltwater fish and they all get along well. I do make it a point to keep them well fed. My little Maroon clown fish even hangs out with them because no one in the tank will mess with them, not even my larger Niger Triggerfish. I'm in the process of setting up a 100 gallon saltwater tank to move them all to.

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  • nemirn - 2010-08-20
    Any other tankmate candidates beside the maroon clown or Niger Trigger?
  • Olivia - 2010-08-22
    How many times do you feed them? And has your fish ever just sat at the top of the water, not belly up but just sat there. I just got mine two days ago and I love him to death and I really really don't want him to die because he was the most healthy looking fish there [walmart]. I've spent so much money on decorations and a new filter and air pump for this tank I've had for the longest time. I ask you this because you seem like you would know a lot about them and seem to have had them the longest. I'm very new to this.
  • hermione - 2010-09-13
    I love this particular story. But I own a green spotted puffer fish and have him in with my powder blue cichlid in a five gallon tank. And they do just fine together but I'm still wanting to know more about the little cartoons we call green spotted puffer fish. If you know much more about this little guy let me know.
Marie - 2010-08-08
I bought two puffer fish (green spotted) for my tank to eat all the little snails that had over-populated the tank before. I found out later how aggressive they are, and was given the advice to put them with African Cichlids, which I did. At first they worked well together, even with the larger Cichlid being the bully of the tank. Now both of them hover at the tip of the tank, with their noses in the corner. I don't know what happened! I just changed the water two days ago, and added salt (maybe I didn't add enough?) and give them a freeze-dried medley of red shrimp, krill, and mysis shrimp. I also give them bugs like roly polies (pill bugs) every couple of days for the crunchy part of their diet. But, they seem to be having a harder time lately eating- so maybe their teeth are too long? I need help!

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  • Shabibbles - 2010-08-19
    Your local pet shop needs a smack up side the head for telling you they are compatible fish.

    GSP's will want brackish conditions, almost full marine when they mature. Cichlids don't mind marine salt THAT much, but the levels where you should have it bouncing at for the GSPs to be happy is higher than they (the cichlids) will be healthy at.

    Go back to your LFS an give them trouble. GSP wants 1.008-1.020 SG.
  • Tyler - 2010-09-07
    These fish are a high maintenance fish. If you don't feed them snails or other shellfish every so often their teeth will grow to the point that they can't open their mouths. If this happens the only option if to set up a second container, a large bowl with water close to the same temp. as the tank. Put 4-5 drops of clove oil in the water, it will put them to sleep for 5 minutes or so (only keep them in the clove oil mixture for a minute). Then you can they use a net to pick them up and trim there teeth with clippers. Be careful not to nip their mouth. Teeth grow back, the mouth won't. To wake them up put them back in their normal tank, they should wake up in a minute or two.
Angel - 2010-08-08
I have 2 GSP that I purchased from Walmart several months ago. I have them both in a 20G tank. One of mine started losing its color and wouldn't swim as much, kind of layed around on the bottom of the tank and in the plant. The other day I found it laying on the ground, not moving at all. I was upset because I thought the poor thing had died. Then I noticed it's eyes would move side to side even though the fins weren't. Next to "her" were A LOT of eggs! Since then I notice she will stay close to them. From what I can figure, the other one must be a male. His color is the same and when she leaves the nest, he stays and guards it. It is actually pretty neat to watch them. They work together to protect the eggs. Whether or not they actually hatch is a different story, but at least they seem to be trying. I will let you know if we end up with babies. Not sure how long this process takes. Excited, none the less:)

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  • Carolyn - 2010-08-09
    I just bought 4 gsps and 2 of them are little. I've been researching them for the past 5 days now and man......... they are something else. How old or long/big do they need to be before I add salt? Two of them are under an inch and the other two are 1 &1/2 inches to 2 inches. Also I have them all in a 10 gallon tank together. How big should my tank be at this point? They are doing well at this point and I've had them for almost a week. My littlest one wasn't eating and I bought some shrimp pellets and krill today and now it's eating but not much.. its color has improved but no big belly yet.
  • Anonymous - 2010-08-17
    That is wonderful and ever so exciting! Have you tried taking some pictures to share with all of us?
  • Anonymous - 2010-08-19
    You should DEFINITELY document this.

    Almost all puffers are known to NEVER breed in captivity. If you can manage this, you may be the first.

  • jamie - 2010-08-29
    I am experiencing the exact same thing. I got two of these fish and one still has a white belly, but the other one has turned black and just seems to lay around all depressed. I thought it had died so I went to scoop it out, but started moving as soon I touched a couple of times. They definitely gotta have their sleep. But it is still concerning about the one getting darker and not very active. So how are your fish doing? I would sure like to know if they are still alive and doing well, or if I should be planning a funeral?
  • kklove - 2010-09-06
    My gps are doing the same thing but this is not the 1st time.
jenna d - 2008-10-26
My first puffer died within 3 days. Got another within that time, but the first was dead before they got acquainted. The second is strong but I learned a lot here about water change. I am feeding flake food and have it with a bottom feeder and an algae eater. I got another puffer yesterday and she doesn't seem like she's gonna make it. The 2nd one bit me and my husband didn't believe it until he read this site. It's only a 5 gallon tank. We just want a fun aquarium and don't plan on adding any others. Suggestions.. jenna

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  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    Dear Jenna,

    Here's some necessary tips to keep your puffers healthy. First, they are brakish fish, meaning you have to add sea salt to your tank making a salinity content of 1.009. You can get something from the fish store to test the salinity in your tank. They can't survive in fresh water long. You also need to feed them frozen blood worms (their favorite) or frozen krill, or brine shrimp. You're temperature in the tank should be approximately 78 degrees and make sure you add a water conditioner to remove chlorine from the tank. Also important, you need to feed them frozen half-shelled clams. This is very important as the puffers will bite on the clam shell and keep their beak/teeth trimmed down. If you don't do this, the puffers will eventually not be able to eat as their teeth/beak will grow and they won't be able to eat,l resulting in death. Also, puffers are very aggresive and usually will kill other types of fish in the tank. You should talk to a fish store to get more information on keeping puffers, but what I mentioned is pretty much the basics to keeping them alive. Good luck. Laura
  • Laura - 2010-03-10
    One more thing Jenna, You need a much larger tank, 20 plus gal. And I would only keep puffers only in it as they will usually kill your other fish.
  • joe - 2010-08-10
    Puffers may not be the right fish for you.
  • Anonymous - 2010-08-28
    Maybe you should try feeding it something like a night crawler or blood worms. Some like to eat those because they are omnivores(eats plants & meat).
nick - 2009-04-19
To the person with the comment about the belly changing to black. A friend of mine had a spotted puffer for a couple of years that would regularly change his belly from cream to black, like a chameleon they change color as they see fit(so I'm told). I just bought 2 spotted and a figure 8 today, very excited to have these little guys.

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  • Turner - 2010-04-14
    Bought my little SGP and two days later saw him curled up and black...Thought dead..Then a couple of hours later he was green and spunky. He does this several times a day. So weird. Chameleon? What is going on? Would love to know. He is nippy and scares the other fish. (gold fish) when he's out and about. He's just darlin though and quite the showfish for friends.
  • Chels - 2010-05-07
    GSP fish bellies change to black when they are stressed or upset about something. It is like their own little mood detector. I think it is the coolest thing. I have one that we call moody because he constantly has some splotch of black somewhere on his belly and quickly changes to complete white when we feed him or visit him. Just think of your gsp's belly changing color its own little was of communicating with you.
  • Puffsta - 2010-07-25
    Thank you so much for that info. I have been wondering and couldn't find anything about it and thought he kept getting sick but I started noticing that it would change several times during the day sometimes too. I think that is right about their mood and chameleon-ism. Mine's seems to be more mood and maybe stress from what I have noticed. He clears right up after I feed him or different things.
  • geo - 2010-08-17
    I don't think it so much that they are stressed more chilled out or like a child that dose not get there own way (in a boo ,in a bad mood ). I have had my gspf for 18 months and are doing v well. Fed on frozen bloodworm, frozen krill and fresh water snails (separate culture tank )for up keep of beak ,but they really love cooked and cooled mussels. I am currently at specific gravity of 1.014 but raise and drop this weekly or monthly as it would in wild plus will kill of parasites that get used to certain levels of salt. I may have a breeding pair as one has very swollen belly looking forward to seeing eggs. Hope that anyone who buys these fish enjoy them as much as I do.
sabrina - 2010-08-12
I also have a couple of adorable puffers. If someone could answer me this? I would really appreciate it. How often do you feed a day, and can you overfeed?

Genna - 2010-05-19
I just bought two of these little guys at Walmart (gasp!) They're in my ten gallon tank with the fancy guppies that I've had for a while. So far they seem to be adjusting happily and have shown no aggression towards the other fish. I've wanted them for a long time and I'm anticipating they'll do well! (Regardless of people saying they'll attack all of the guppies and they'll never survive in a tank larger than 40 gallons). Just thought I'd post this...I'll update as well!

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  • nine - 2010-06-13
    Hey me to I've got one at walmart they are really cute but aggressive it killed my brothers fish in a day wow cute but mean =]
  • Johnny - 2010-06-15
    Same for me think I am going to get another one see how it goes.
  • pufferlvr - 2010-06-15
    They should be in a 50 gallon tank if you have two puffers and other fish species. 10 gallons is too small.
  • erin p - 2010-06-27
    I've got 3 and they share a tank with platies and sharks seems to be a good combo. Had other fish to start but every night one disappeared, thought it was the sharks but one night I watched from a distance with a small flash light and it was one of the puffers, every night he attacked another fish till all of that breed was gone. Seems to be happy now. I think they were being clinqy and not including him... so he killed them. lol
  • Puffsta - 2010-07-25
    LOL. I had mine in with guppies and just like they said, one by one my little Verde ate the guppies. The biggest he saved for last of course and that one lasted about the longest. If they get quite a bit bigger than your gsp they might just have a chance. I have had my puffer for about a year now. Just like she said they bite them in half and then devour them. :) They are predators, you know! I can't comment about the tank size though but they will eat the small fish when they get bored or hungry or crowded. Very playful and curious though. I also got mine at Walmart and he was just fine but like a predator some of them had chomped fins so I just picked the healthiest one with all it's fins and brought him home!
  • pufferlvr - 2010-07-30
    Paul- I'm really not sure why he would be inflating and then deflating but that line is called a stress line. Puffers get it when something in their tank is not right. How big is your tank and how much salt do you use? Also, try feeding your puffer frozen brine shrimp or other crustaceans as well to offer a variety of frozen food
    Savanna- I would get a 20 gallon tank if you are going to have one puffer. For two you will need a 30 gallon. You can buy their food frozen at Petco. Fish flakes DO NOT WORK even though Wal Mart will tell you to buy them. They are great fish Im glad you are getting some!
    Josh- I would recommend a salt level of about 1.12 when the fish are oung and then as they get older gradually increase until you have appx 1.2. You'll of course have to buy a hydrometer.
    Here is a new website I found today and really like. Surprisingly she has a whole section on Walmart and GSPs!
  • Sherry - 2010-08-08
    I also purchased my 2 puffers from Walmart felt sorry for them. I have them in a 20 gal with an algae eater and they are doing great. I get the feeder snails for them and they love them along with freezed dried medley in a can. They seem to be happy and love attention, weird. Good luck to all who have these wonderful little puffers, just remember to change 50% of the water monthly I do and no issues so far.
Lele - 2010-05-31
We just bought two puffers Friday and they were fine.. and we even got water from the fish store to put it in our tank. So, we thought it would be fine to let the puffers in while cycling the water. But, I guess it was a bad idea because someone told us after it was. Then, the second or third day.. the baby puffer fish was just sitting at the bottom for a long time and til the next day.. we changed the water and it was fine again. Now, this bigger puffer fish is doing the same thing like the baby.. he looks sick... and he looks like he can't swim and just curling up like a ball and rolling around.. is this a serious problem? Also, we put like 75% salt inside the water and we just took it out because now it looks like there is too much salt. And one more question, can we just use salt + tap water for the tank or we need to purify the tap water each time we change it? Thank you so much for taking the time to help me!

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  • NZGlider - 2010-06-05
    You do need to purify the water each time before adding it to the tank as tap water has chlorine in it, which is like acid to fish. Always purify it through a filter (I use aquasana - great product for own drinking), or a good water ager. The water ager will get rid of the chlorine.
    The other thing with new tanks & tank water is that since it's 'new', there is no healthy bacteria in it.
    A good healthy tank needs the healthy bacteria as it eats the mess left by the fish. Without sufficient bacteria, the food left overs and the fish bowl movements turn the water toxic. If you cannot wait for a week or so for this bacteria to develop (best to introduce 1-3 small fish, like guppies to build up for the bacteria - they can then serve as food for the puffers, you can use a bottled product from the store like 'cycle' that will add the bacteria right away.
    When doing water changes later on, the bacteria left in the gravel should be enough to maintain a healthy level.
  • pufferlvr - 2010-06-15
    I buy purified water and then add the salt to that. I let the salt/water mix settle for 30mins and then put it in the tank with my puffers. Buy a salt reader and test the salt to an exact level. I've found that between 1.012 and 1.015 is fine. Also, if you are going to have two puffers you need at least 20 should have 50 and it should be a tank with a filter system to help with cleanliness/oxygen level.
  • Fish luver - 2010-08-02
    I actually have one myself. For saftey reasons, think of buying the same size of pufferfish next time. Your puffers should be fine, them rolling in a ball is perfectly normal, it usually means he is trying to hide from an enemy. Maybe he is seeing something that scare's him,maybe another pet if you have one:-)
joanne - 2010-08-01
Puffers are a great brackish (salt water) fish and fairly easy to keep I have two and they love eating snails but only the size of there eye prawns blood worm and meal worm and the beetles they turn in to but shell food is essential to keep there beak down to prevent over growth puffers dont eat flake food it dose nothing for them there a cleaver fish with lots of personality ,only buy a puffer fish which greets you at the tank and has a slightly round belly or you may buy a fish that wont last long and don't let nipped fins put you off a little melofix will sort that out, puffers change coulors all the time mine go from bright green to dark gray when stressing or at feeding time that's nothing to be worried about xx