jay

transcript

  • [6:07:52 PM:] <craig> Good evening everyone, welcome to Live! Fishchat!
  • [6:08:08 PM:] <craig> Tonight our guest speaker is Christine, talk about Figure 8 Puffers.
  • [6:08:16 PM:] <craig> When ever you are ready Christine. :-)
  • [6:08:19 PM:] <Christine> Thanks Craig.
  • [6:08:28 PM:] <Christine> Hello everyone! Thanks for coming out! Tonight I will be talking about the fascinating Figure Eight Puffer - Tetraodon biocellatus hailing from Southeast Asia.
  • [6:08:41 PM:] <Christine> The Figure Eight Puffer is also referred to as the Eyespot Puffer Fish (biocellatus means "two eyespots").
  • [6:08:57 PM:] <Christine> These monikers derived from the two distinct dark spots ringed with bright yellow - one on each side of the fish below the dorsal, and again a pair on the caudal peduncle of the puffer. And, of course, this puffer is further adorned by the prominent figure eight on the immediate dorsal.
  • [6:10:21 PM:] <Christine> sorry, little glitch there..:)
  • [6:10:34 PM:] <Christine> It is important at this point to distinguish between the Figure Eight Puffer and the Ceylon puffer, which tends to be classified under the same Latin name and has the same prominent figure eight on the immediate dorsal.
  • [6:11:01 PM:] <Christine> However, these two fish are slightly different. The Ceylon puffer will grow to 6 inches, while the Figure Eight Puffer will grow to a maximum of 3 inches. There are also distinctive differences in the markings of these two fish.
  • [6:11:21 PM:] <Christine> To differentiate between the two, here is a link to a picture of the Figure Eight Puffer: http://www.aquazoo.co.uk/Page.cfm/Type=Fish/ID=365
  • [6:13:20 PM:] <Christine> And here is a picture of the Ceylon puffer: http://site.yahoo.com/ekkwill/ceygreenpuf.html
  • [6:13:41 PM:] <Christine> On the Ceylon puffer, notice the absence of the eyespots below the dorsal fin and instead it is mottled with spots along its flanks. Ceylons are often sold as Figure Eights, so best to make the distinction unless you are prepared to house a 6-inch puffer in lieu of a 3-inch puffer.
  • [6:14:13 PM:] <Christine> Sometimes you may see a puffer with an incomplete or a misshapen figure eight, but as long as it has the two eyespots on each side below the dorsal you can probably consider it to be Tetraodon biocellatus and reach only 3 inches full grown. Thus, the immediate dorsal figure eight is not the best indicator of species, the eyespots are.
    Due to technical difficulties, Jessica had to take over for Christine for awhile.
  • [6:25:59 PM:] <craig> Jessica is going to resume Christine's chat. :-)
  • [6:26:11 PM:] <Jessica> give me a sec
  • [6:27:40 PM:] <Jessica> Puffers in general are certainly unique in their appearance. Their flabellum-like fins allow them to smoothly swivel and hover around the tank. Their adorable faces are so full of expression that you can almost attribute specific emotional countenance to them. And of course, their rolly polly appearance makes them irresistible to just about any hobbyist.
  • [6:28:00 PM:] <Jessica> Puffer fish have the remarkable ability to inflate themselves. They do this by rapidly swallowing water and retaining it in the first two-thirds of their stomachs. Having no ribs and being equipped with stretchy collagen fibers in their skin, puffers are able to balloon up to 300% of their original size.
  • [6:28:21 PM:] <Jessica> This inflation instinct is a defense mechanism against predators. If looking bigger doesn¹t deter a predator, the hardened spherical puffer makes for difficult swallowing. Some puffers may even wait to inflate themselves until they are in the throat of the predator, essentially choking their enemy.
  • [6:28:42 PM:] <Jessica> There is much to debate over whether the Figure Eight Puffer is brackish or freshwater. This debate probably stems from the fact that, in the wild, Figure Eights are found in both conditions. It seems that they wander into both types of water in search for food. It is accurate to say that the Figure Eight puffer can survive in freshwater, brackish, and even marine conditions.
  • [6:28:55 PM:] <Jessica> However, for the puffer to THRIVE versus merely survive, most sources (including myself) posit the need to keep Figure Eights in slight brackish water with a specific gravity of 1.008 - 1.012. Although, some sources imply that Figure Eights do not seem incredibly finicky over an exact specific gravity as long as its within the brackish realm.
  • [6:29:10 PM:] <Jessica> For the Figure Eight Puffer, brackish water appears to facilitate an extended life span and less susceptibility to disease and infection. Some reports boast an 18-year life span in light brackish conditions!
  • [6:29:27 PM:] <Jessica> The Figure Eight, like other puffers, require some special feeding considerations. The Figure Eight Puffer will not normally accept flake. Live or frozen foods are necessary, this includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, etc.
  • [6:29:47 PM:] <Jessica> Some treats can also be purchased from your grocery store, such as clam, squid, or shrimp. Be sure to freeze these foods (to kill any harmful bacteria) and then let them thaw before feeding. Also, be sure to remove leftover food when the puffer has had enough. The puffer will quite literally eat itself to death.
  • [6:30:11 PM:] <Jessica> A puffer less than one inch can be fed once daily. A puffer more than an inch should only be fed once every two days. It is imperative to not succumb to the habitual begging of these adorable fish and overfeed. It should not be fed until it reaches a beer-belly or a 9- months-pregnant appearance. Feeding sessions should end with merely a tiny potbelly.
  • [6:30:28 PM:] <Jessica> Note: my 1.5 inch Figure Eight Puffer¹s belly is plump enough after 3 or 4 bloodworms - just to give you an idea of how much you should be feeding. It is difficult to watch the belly go flat for the rest of the day while he persuasively begs for food. But, best for his health and longevity to not overfeed.
  • [6:30:49 PM:] <Jessica> Some opt to feed their puffer insects found around the house or in the backyard. I refrain from this practice for fear of the puffer lethally ingesting traces of pesticides or outdoor fertilizers the insect may have come in contact with.
  • [6:31:07 PM:] <Jessica> A staple of the puffer¹s diet is hard-shelled foods - snails, mollusks, and crustaceans. Pond snails are probably the easiest to obtain and breed in home aquariums. Malaysian Trumpet Snails¹ shells are often too tough for the Figure Eight to break through.
  • [6:31:36 PM:] <Jessica> A general rule is to feed your puffer snails no larger than its eye. Otherwise, it may have a difficult time cracking through the shell. It is quite the sight to watch a puffer attempt to crunch on an oversized snail - as it attempts to bite down, the slippery snail shoots out of its mouth and across the tank.
  • [6:31:51 PM:] <Jessica> These hard-shelled foods are needed to wear down the bony plates or teeth: two upper, two lower, fused together giving a beak-like appearance. The puffer¹s teeth grow continuously (like a rat¹s) and need constant grinding down.
  • [6:32:15 PM:] <Jessica> If these hard-shelled foods are not provided, the teeth will overgrow to the point of an inability to eat and inevitability starvation. Offering 1 or 2 snails 3 times a week is enough to prevent this.
  • [6:32:31 PM:] <Jessica> Puffers are considerably intelligent fish. Thus, a visually and spatially complex environment is needed to keep them stimulated and happy. This means that tank décor should be made up of breaking lines with minimal clear lines of sight through the tank. There should also be a few caves for security.
  • [6:32:52 PM:] <Jessica> I'll let you take it from here :-)
  • [6:33:12 PM:] <Christine> thanks:) I'm sorry folks
  • [6:33:18 PM:] <Christine> If the tank is not visually complex enough, the puffer will swim up and down the glass at a chosen spot in the tank. This behavior can be compared to a caged tiger pacing its inappropriately sized cage.
  • [6:33:42 PM:] <Christine> In this case, more décor with breaking lines or even a larger tank may be needed. This "pacing" behavior is not necessarily an awful thing, but it probably does indicate that the puffer is not stimulated by his environment and in essence is not happy with his home
  • [6:34:04 PM:] <Christine> There are a few plants that will grow in light brackish water that can help add complexity to the tank environment. I have had success with Java fern, Java moss, and Crinum Calamistratum. Others assert success with Jungle Val, Crinum Thaianum, and Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle).
  • [6:34:24 PM:] <Christine> Be sure to acclimate these plants to brackish water slowly over the course of a few weeks to a month. An immediate transition from freshwater to brackish could quite possibly kill the plant.
  • [6:34:49 PM:] <Christine> The Figure Eight puffer is said to be milder in terms of aggression compared to most other puffers. Normally, the Figure Eight puffer does best as a single specimen in its own tank - a minimum of 10 gallons, although 20 gallons is probably more appropriate considering the space it may require to provide the aforementioned complex environment the puffer needs.
  • [6:35:17 PM:] <Christine> Some hobbyists declare success in keeping Figure Eights in community tanks and/or with conspecifics. However, predicting success depends on a host of factors including individual personality of the fish, degree of complexity in the tank environment, tank size, etc. Also, these proclaimed successes are probably prone to diminish because as the fish ages, it generally becomes more aggressive.
  • [6:35:45 PM:] <Christine> Impeccable water quality for the puffer is a must. It is intolerant to Ammonia and Nitrite, while Nitrates should be kept relatively low. The F8 is not real finicky on the Ph level - anywhere between 6.5 - 8.2 has been cited.
  • [6:36:02 PM:] <Christine> Little is recorded about breeding the Figure Eight Puffer in captivity. In the wild it is known that they are bottom spawners, the male protects the eggs, which then hatch after about a week.
  • [6:36:19 PM:] <Christine> In closing, in case I2019ve convinced anyone that the Figure Eight Puffer is a must have, there are a few things to look out for upon purchase2026
  • [6:36:37 PM:] <Christine> If the store is keeping the Figure Eight in freshwater, acclimate it slowly to brackish water, raising the salinity by 0.002 a week. If the store is already keeping it in brackish water, try to match that specific gravity at home (make only slow and small adjustments if needed).
  • [6:37:02 PM:] <Christine> Next, look for a healthy looking white belly. Do not purchase a puffer whose belly is darkened or concave - in this grave condition, Figure Eights are said to be difficult to bring back to health if they even do recover. The belly should be white and flat (or a little plump if just fed).
  • [6:37:33 PM:] <Christine> Try not to pay much mind to torn fins and bite marks. This is to be expected from several aggressive fish being in crowded conditions. All the ones I have seen in stores are in this beat-up condition, but do recover rather quickly once brought home.
  • [6:38:02 PM:] <Christine> With its fantastic personality, the Figure Eight Puffer gives new meaning to the term "pet fish". Definitely one of my favorite fish thus far.
  • [6:38:22 PM:] <Christine> That's it folks! Ty for sticking it out with me LOL
  • [6:38:34 PM:] <Jessica> thanks so much christine :-D
  • [6:38:42 PM:] <craig> Jessica is going to handle Q & A tonight.
  • [6:38:45 PM:] <Christine> thank you for stepping in with help
  • [6:38:48 PM:] <craig> Thank you Christine.
  • [6:38:52 PM:] <Christine> np
  • [6:39:19 PM:] <Jessica> ok, if you have a question tye: /query jessica I have a question. or doubleclick on my name and type "i have a question"
  • [6:40:40 PM:] <Jessica> you're up, betsy :)
  • [6:41:01 PM:] <Betsy> Size difference aside, is ther any dramatic difference in tempermant between the 3" and the 6" puffer?
  • [6:42:05 PM:] <Christine> Not that I have read. They both tend to be cited as less aggressive as far as puffers go
  • [6:42:13 PM:] <Christine> However, one other notable difference I didn't mention
  • [6:42:29 PM:] <Christine> the Ceylon tends to lose color as it ages... the F8 will not lose its color
  • [6:43:26 PM:] <Jessica> ok, well i'm going to go ahead and open up the floor, thanks christine, for an excellent presentation :-D
  • [6:43:31 PM:] <Christine> They are probably variations of the same species, hence the confusion
  • [6:43:45 PM:] <Christine> Excellent? *Laugh* I ruined it!
  • [6:43:49 PM:] <Betsy> Do your puffer(s) show a definite preference as to type of snail?
  • [6:43:58 PM:] <Christine> I'll be suprised if you ever invite me again!
  • [6:44:00 PM:] <Betsy> (other than non mts?)
  • [6:44:12 PM:] <Christine> Malaysian Trumpets are difficult for them to crusk
  • [6:44:15 PM:] <Christine> *crush
  • [6:44:32 PM:] <Jessica> christine, you are invited whenever you want to be here :D
  • [6:44:36 PM:] <Christine> I have only fed mine pond snails, so nothing to compare it to
  • [6:45:07 PM:] <Christine> there are other hard shelled foods you can offer for grinding down the teeth that they will absolutely go nuts for
  • [6:45:20 PM:] <Christine> shellfish and clams to name a few
  • [6:45:41 PM:] <Christine> bust the clam open and throw it in, but again, watch for the swelling of tummy and remove the rest
  • [6:46:04 PM:] <Christine> these guys are really messy eaters too, and stuff like clams and shellfish will leave a horrible mess
  • [6:46:19 PM:] <Christine> all the more reason for gravel vac and water change, perferrably right after these treats
  • [6:46:30 PM:] <Betsy> They remind me of hamsters and wood/salt blocks.
  • [6:46:43 PM:] <Christine> hehhe, they are soo awesome
  • [6:46:49 PM:] <Christine> little aliens
  • [6:47:28 PM:] <Betsy> Do they prefer sand substrate or gravel like substrate?
  • [6:47:34 PM:] <Christine> This 41st transcript is going to look like a mess when you post it Craig!
  • [6:47:43 PM:] <Christine> They enjoy a finer grain substrate
  • [6:47:55 PM:] <Christine> some will bury themselves in it with only their eyes poking out
  • [6:48:06 PM:] <Jessica> hehe
  • [6:48:13 PM:] <Christine> Have never heard of an F8 doing this though
  • [6:48:20 PM:] <Christine> GSP do though
  • [6:48:26 PM:] <Christine> I think its a hunting tactic
  • [6:48:52 PM:] <Christine> another hunting tactic is spitting a stream of water
  • [6:49:05 PM:] <Betsy> So this is a fish that definitely prefers the solitary life, even around it's own kind?
  • [6:49:06 PM:] <Christine> they will do this at some rocks or some structure to lure out prey
  • [6:49:35 PM:] <Christine> I have read some instances of a group of them being together. This is in a larger tank. I would say 2 to a 30g
  • [6:49:46 PM:] <Christine> Or at least 10g a peice
  • [6:49:59 PM:] <russ> My knowledge about puffers has always been on the weak side. This was a great presentation
  • [6:50:37 PM:] <Betsy> So when they're hungry, they turn into a water fountain?
  • [6:50:44 PM:] <Christine> In community tank successes, people have found that a solitary F8 will harass the community fish, however, if you give him some conspecifics to harass, he will leave the others alone
  • [6:50:51 PM:] <Christine> heheh some do Betsy
  • [6:50:56 PM:] <Christine> Not F8s though
  • [6:51:03 PM:] <Christine> F8s are not really active hunters
  • [6:51:26 PM:] <Christine> I've given them convict fry and they try a few times to catch the food, but then give up quickly if the fry is too fast
  • [6:51:43 PM:] <Christine> another thing about f8s in community tanks...
  • [6:52:27 PM:] <Christine> if 1 f8 shows aggressive behavior, it is best he is removed as he will continue to show it -- in other words, once turned aggressive, there's no going back no matter what community you move it to
  • [6:52:58 PM:] <Christine> a delayed thanks Russ:)
  • [6:53:17 PM:] <russ> :-D
  • [6:54:06 PM:] <Betsy> This implies to me that the aggression is a learned behavior rather than instinctual- like fighting cocks that cannot be returned to the barnyard once trained.
  • [6:54:08 PM:] <Christine> I should have included all of this in my presentation, but I really didn't think the pc was going to hold up well, and I downsized the document. Lo and behold the pc did go whacky
  • [6:54:27 PM:] <Christine> well, they are aggressive from the get go to conspecifics
  • [6:54:50 PM:] <Christine> some say this can be decreased by feeding more, however, there is a fine line between decreasing depression and overfeeding
  • [6:55:04 PM:] <Christine> overfeeding puffers can cause irreversible liver disease and eventually death
  • [6:55:15 PM:] <Christine> did i say depression? LOL
  • [6:55:21 PM:] <Christine> depression = aggression
  • [6:55:27 PM:] <Betsy> So are the fighting cocks, though. Another good example of this is the pit bull, a naturally aggressive animal that once trained to fight cannot surpress the training and not attack.
  • [6:55:36 PM:] <Christine> the neuropsychiatrist in me comes through LOL
  • [6:56:09 PM:] <Christine> makes sense
  • [6:56:10 PM:] <Betsy> What reactions do you usually get from people when they see your alien fish?
  • [6:56:18 PM:] <Christine> ohhh they love it
  • [6:56:47 PM:] <Christine> the best thing though... maybe not a good thing but when I first got my little guy he didn't respond to the bloodworms and shrimp I put in
  • [6:57:20 PM:] <Christine> didn't recognize it as food, so I trained him to follow my finger on the glass and sure enough he would find the food if I directed him towards it
  • [6:57:44 PM:] <Christine> well now, when I put my finger up to the tank, he nibbles at my finger through the glass! He's associated my finger with food.
  • [6:57:54 PM:] <Christine> I'm afraid to put my hands in there!
  • [6:58:05 PM:] <Betsy> hmmmm- tasty. I would wear gloves while gravel vacing.
  • [6:58:06 PM:] <Christine> Company loved this trick
  • [6:58:25 PM:] <Christine> I have stopped doing this for awhile now, but its engrained
  • [6:58:34 PM:] <Christine> never been bit though
  • [6:58:44 PM:] <Betsy> My fish routinely taste my arms while in the tank, but they don't have big teeth like yours.
  • [6:58:49 PM:] <Christine> and i've heard of people feeding their puffers by hand without any injuries LOL
  • [6:59:10 PM:] <Christine> so, i'm not too too afraid
  • [6:59:20 PM:] <Christine> Honestly, I really don't like being touched by my fish
  • [6:59:26 PM:] <Christine> It freaks me out
  • [6:59:29 PM:] <Betsy> It freaks me out a little, too.
  • [6:59:32 PM:] <Jessica> lol
  • [6:59:35 PM:] <Jessica> i love it ;-D
  • [6:59:57 PM:] <Christine> my convict attacked my hand the other day, I screamed and my husband ran into the room, he thought I was being murdered
  • [7:00:01 PM:] <Betsy> I have one particularly agressive fish, Hannibal the man eating barb. Right about now, I'm really glad he's not Hannibal the man eating puffer- ouch.
  • [7:00:10 PM:] <Christine> hehhe
  • [7:00:14 PM:] <craig> First time pinkie rasped my arm I jumped and spilled water all over the place..
  • [7:00:42 PM:] <Christine> yup, spilled water with me too, accompanied by a blood-curdling scream
  • [7:01:05 PM:] <Betsy> (Now the rest of the barbs are beginning to school around my arm and take little tastes as well, following Hannibal's example)
  • [7:01:45 PM:] <Betsy> If you tried to keep any kind of shrimp in your tank, would they likewise be considered food?
  • [7:02:23 PM:] <Christine> Well, first of all, this is a brackish tank, so I'm not sure what shrimp would survive...
  • [7:02:37 PM:] <Christine> that being said, F8's will definately eat them if they can catch them
  • [7:02:42 PM:] <Betsy> I'm not either, I'm just curious as to the extent of the voracious appetite.
  • [7:03:02 PM:] <Christine> oh yes, they will die of gluttony if provided the means
  • [7:03:23 PM:] <Christine> and this is often the case with the amount of F8s sold... they are overfed to death
  • [7:03:46 PM:] <Christine> They never stop begging and if the aquarist does not practice a little self-control...
  • [7:03:48 PM:] <Betsy> If only we could all go out that way....
  • [7:03:52 PM:] <Christine> lol
  • [7:04:21 PM:] <Christine> there has been instances where their tummy will actuallly split open
  • [7:04:29 PM:] <Betsy> ewww
  • [7:04:45 PM:] <Christine> this would take a lot of food though given the elasticity of thier skin
  • [7:05:02 PM:] <Christine> Get one Betsy, you'll be pleased!
  • [7:05:30 PM:] <Christine> they get to know their owners very well. A great PET
  • [7:05:31 PM:] <Betsy> unfortunetly, I lack the brackish tank.
  • [7:06:05 PM:] <Christine> :)
  • [7:06:12 PM:] <russ> Christine, what would be a good substrate for F8s?
  • [7:06:24 PM:] <Christine> as I said, definatly sand or finer substrates
  • [7:06:34 PM:] <Christine> they like to bury themselves in it from time to time
  • [7:07:02 PM:] <Christine> I've read about F8s (and puffers in general) eating small peices of gravel... not sure why though
  • [7:07:18 PM:] <Christine> I don't think this does them any harm, it either passes or regergitates it
  • [7:07:30 PM:] <russ> thanx. I have almost an empty 12 gal Eclipse. I may just get one little F8 for it:-)
  • [7:07:43 PM:] <Betsy> well, my son seems to find rocks tasty, too.
  • [7:07:45 PM:] <Christine> that would be the perfect size.
  • [7:07:56 PM:] <Christine> Make sure you get an F8 and not a Ceylon
  • [7:08:24 PM:] <russ> It has 2-3mm grain size gravel in it now. Blasting sand/pool filter size
  • [7:08:34 PM:] <Christine> Perfect
  • [7:08:52 PM:] <Christine> Some F8s when you get them, need a little training to eat food thats not live
  • [7:09:03 PM:] <russ> its about the size of the lower case 'e' in your name.
  • [7:09:33 PM:] <russ> I have re-house a fat Yoyo loach though
  • [7:09:44 PM:] <Christine> That would be just fine... they are really Ok with any substrate, but finer is perferred
  • [7:09:48 PM:] <Christine> hehhe
  • [7:10:27 PM:] <russ> tank is already loaded with Java Fern, Java Moss, and bunches of driftwood
  • [7:10:30 PM:] <Christine> I strongly recommend
  • [7:10:37 PM:] <Christine> perfect
  • [7:10:56 PM:] <Christine> he will let you know if its not complex enough for him
  • [7:11:26 PM:] <Christine> My puffer tank has breaking lines bottom all the way to the surface
  • [7:11:37 PM:] <Christine> crinum calistriatum is a great plant for this
  • [7:11:38 PM:] <russ> What about water current in the tank. Mine always seems a bit on the strong side, even though I can control its direction, I can't control the overall output
  • [7:12:13 PM:] <Christine> their tiny fins (especially as juveniles) make it hard for them to struggle through too strong a current
  • [7:12:37 PM:] <Christine> if he seems pushed around by it, you may have to make adjustments... sponge perhaps
  • [7:12:44 PM:] <craig> Russ, what kind of output (nozzle, waterfall, etc) does the filter have>?
  • [7:13:00 PM:] <russ> I'll figure something out. I'mm leaning more and more toward a F8 :-)
  • [7:13:31 PM:] <Christine> A note about the chronic swimming up and down the wall behavior...
  • [7:13:54 PM:] <Christine> the location of the current seems to predict what spot they choose to do this
  • [7:14:09 PM:] <russ> Craig, its an Eclipse system. Has movable nozzel type output, but not completely tubular. More like a small trough
  • [7:14:14 PM:] <Christine> if you move the filter over, they will choose a spot furthest away from the current
  • [7:14:41 PM:] <Kimrin> lol, Russ, I didn't know they moved! never moved mine
  • [7:14:57 PM:] <russ> can't move filter. its all built in
  • [7:15:01 PM:] <Christine> Guys, I have to attempt to go and fix my computer.... I'm terribly sorry about the timing of this
  • [7:15:09 PM:] <Kimrin> Christine, great presentation, I learned a lot
  • [7:15:10 PM:] <russ> they rotate:-)
  • [7:15:38 PM:] <russ> it was presented none the less, and the information was excellent!
  • [7:15:38 PM:] <craig> Christine: Don't sweat it, you did fine.
  • [7:15:39 PM:] <Jessica> lol, you did wonderfully, though.
  • [7:15:43 PM:] <Jessica> technical problems happen
  • [7:15:49 PM:] <Jessica> thanks again
  • [7:16:06 PM:] <Jessica> if you want to do another presentation, i'm all for it ;-D
  • [7:16:17 PM:] <Christine> no problem, hope to do this again sometime, hopefully on Rostrata, or convicts, something...
  • [7:16:19 PM:] <russ> Yes, thanx again Christine. You may have just talked me into a puffer :-)


 

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