- [6:07:52 PM:] <craig> Good evening everyone, welcome to Live!
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [6:25:59 PM:] <craig> Jessica is going to resume Christine's
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [7:06:24 PM:] <Christine> as I said, definatly sand or finer
- [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,
- [7:07:45 PM:] <Christine> that would be the perfect size.
- [7:07:56 PM:] <Christine> Make sure you get an F8 and not
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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 :-)