This dwarf pufferfish, Carinotetraodon travancorius, is the smallest pufferfish in the world (at least in the aquarium hobby). There are some other pufferfish spieces could be regarded as "dwarf", such as the South-Ameriacan puffer, but, it is the most common (at least in the pufferfish mailing list) to refer to this pufferfish as "Dwarf Puffer". My first dwarf puffers were about 1.5cm long when I bought them in 1999. I couldn't keep them more than 2 years, but they had got 3cm long in the 2 years. They begun breeding a half year after I got them. Now (Dec. 2001), I'm keeping 2 of the second generations and some of the third generations.
I got many helps in breeding dwarf puffer from former members of the Pufferfish mailing list. I quoted an message about the scientific name posted by Manuela on the Pufferfish mailing list. I'm borrowing great pictures of microorganisims from Wim van Egmond.
Body shape is as photo. Color of eyes can changes to black, blue-green and dark orange by the reflection of light. Each eyes move any directions independently. The mouth pouted a little is normally half-opened and is occasionally opened widely - yawning. Each fins except tail fin is moving busily. The tail fin can be opened like a secter and be closed like a tail of tadpole. She in this photo has dark green spots and small dots on the yellow back. But they can changes the color of their back to light-brown, and can fade the color of these spots.
I had not known proper temp. and pH of water when I started keeping this fish. Temp. of my heater always was fixed at 27°C(80°F), but in this summer, it raised over 30°C(86°F) once in a while. I thought it's bad for the puffers and I searched the information within the Internet. I found some descriptions such as "22°C - 29°C", "around 25°C", "weak alkaline - weak asidic", and so on. This fish seems to be well in wide conditions.
It's most favorite food of my puffers. They jumps to eat it. I've feeding it
to them once or twice a day since I started keeping them.
I can NOT recommend it because many people claim that it can be a carrier of bacterial infections. I feed live tubifex bought from a reliable shop to them occasionally (twice at a month or so).
I've read that the term 'live bloodworms' often means live tubifex in the U.S., but that I mean now is true live bloodworms (midge-fly larvae). I bay it from a local FISHING shop (not a fish shop). It has been sold as a bait. It's pretty bigger than frozen one. My puffers seems love to eat it as well as frozen one.
Snails seems to be a good live food for puffers. Many members of the
Pufferfish mailing list uses it as puffers food. I'm keeping pond snails in
other tank (Bee-shrimp tank) as puffers food, and I've tried it to my puffer,
But I myself have never seen that my puffer eating it. But it's also true that
no snails appears in my planted tank.
Mine ignore flake foods.
If you kept another fish with dwarfs, they dwarfs eats a fin of another fish when they got hangry.
Here in Japan, they are refered as "Abeni puffer". But nobody, at least peoples I asked, knows what "Abeni" means, fish shop clearks so, another pufferfish homepages so and aquaristic magazines so. It's simular pronounciation as a French word "avenir" for Japanese. Maybe the name was given by exporter/importer or someone in distributions, but It's still mistery.
In Ian's Homepages (U.K.), they are refered as "Dwarf puffer", and also several synonyms. Another homepage says they are called "Malabar pufferfish" in India. "Malabar" looks like a place name in Kerala state, southwest India ("Travancore" is also place name in Kerala state.). Also I found the name "Malabar-Kugelfisch" and "Zwergkugelfische (dwarf pufferfish)" in a German homepage.
I had been not sure what exactly is the scientific name of dwarf puffer. I found some different names such as Tetraodon travancorius,Tetraodon travancoricus,Monotretus travancoricus, Monotetrus Travancoricus and so on in the Internet and in a Japanese aquaristics magazine. But now I realized my dwarf puffers are "Carinotetraodon travancorius" and also there are two spiecies (at least now) in so called "dwarf puffer".
Thanks: The descriptions below (written
in Italic letters) are quoted from the messages on the ONEList Pufferfish
mailing list with the agreement of Manuela who posted this.
Message-ID: <m11aifX-000K0gC@fwd11.btx.dtag.de> <m11dGCh-0004ofC@fwd03.btx.dtag.de>
The travancorius has been defined as Monotreta (a subgenus of Tetraodon) travancorius - which surely isn't right. It must be a Carinotetraodon becauso of the combs and the sexual dichromatism of the males that is similar to the lortedi; no other pufferfish does have this.
There are two variations of the travancorius: the one you keep
with big spots at the side and small ones on the back; and one I do keep with big
spots at the side and on the back.
*)The 'comb' (or 'crest') means that swelling part appears along the black
line of male's belly when he is threatening others or is in courtship
The imitator has been defined correctly as Carinotetraodon. But it isn't clear now
if the travancorius and the imitator are the same species (different colour vari-
ations) or not. I think that there won't be a scientist soon who will try to find
this out. But it is known that they are imported from different places, so both
things are possible.
It is diffcult to sex young dwarf puffers, but if your dwarf puffers grown enough, you can sex them easily by the following way:
"Brown virtical line"…When a male doing courtship behaviour or other aggresive work, this line got dark brown and thicker. When not so, got light brown and thinner. Left:Normal time, Right: When he threatening another.
"Wrinkles behind eyes"…Two males of mine has this (and females hasn't), but It may just be an indivisuality.
"Body shape of female"…female
is rounder than male. Especially spawning season.
In general, almost all kind of puffers is fin nipper. Or large spiecies can eat another fishes. Dwarf puffer is tiny but is also fin nipper. They nips a caudal fin (tail fin) of another kind of fish and even fellows. They does it when they are hungly, so you can keep another some kinds with them if you could feed enough and didn't make them hungly.
In my experience, Otocinclus can be kept with them. At the first time I introduced Otos into the puffer tank, dwarf puffers nipped the caudal fin of Otos. But gradually Otos would swim away when puffers come around thier backward. Otos might learned from the pain...? Now, they have getting along (or ignoring each others).
I heard it is not so often that a puffer spawn in a captivity. They spawned after about a half year since I got them. There is summary of what happened in the spawning season in this page. I'm happy if this would be help who intended to breeding dwarf puffer. They keep spawning even now, I will add the progress to this page.
I had kept six (two males and four females) dwarf puffers since April, 1999. When I brought them in my tank, they seemed to be just like kids, were one or one and half centimeter long. At first time, they all were in the Tank 1. Tank 1 was not densely planted then, had a few plants and two 10x10cm stones in it. When I saw courtship behavior first was about five months later (Sep. 12, 1999). A male has following a female after and snuggling to her. I saw such activities every day after the day. One day, two males did fights very hard. I thought if one might kills the other, so I bought a new tank (Tank 2) and did isolate three (a male and two females) of them to the new tank. Soon after the day, I saw spawning and then found a egg in the Tank 1. A few days after, I found eggs in the Tank 2. They seemed to get into spawning season at the same time.
I saw a courtship behavior at a day a half year after I started keeping them.
This section is described that the behavior and the appearance of male dwarf puffer in spawning season except courtship behavior and spawning mentioned above. Both male and female does something had never ever seen in spawning season.
Doing Serious Fight With Another Male
I saw such a fight once, then I worried that if the two males would being together as they are, they would doing fight to death, so I moved the one male and two bride candidates to the other tank. Because of this, I'm not sure whether they do fights to death or not if they were in a same tank for a long period in a spawning season. But I can say it should be considered that separating males in the season. The fight is as follows:
Two males started pecking each other (that is a little fight as usual). A few second later, they two males transformed flatly as if his body was pressed from the side. (this photo had been taken when he started such a transformation and would fight with the other one on the other side of the partition. this was taken at another day.) They ran on the same circle about five rounds. Then they clashed. One bit left side of belly of the other very hard and they gone down behind a mass of willow moss. A few seconds later, they got out of the moss and gone away. After that, I looked at left side of belly of one was bitten, there is something like a wound or wrinkle.
I set a breeding box in the tank and put the one was bitten into the box. Next day I set a partition in the tank and separated each one male and two females to half tank. At last, I set up a new tank and moved tree of them to the tank.
Photo: Two males are going to start such a fight.
Eating Less Amount Of Food
Males does not jump to food and eats less amount of food than females.
Until evening, both males and females swims peacefully. From evening to night, males will starts patrolling around a tank (especially around a mass of willow moss) and drives out females very hard from there. Females did often hide behind a leaf of plants.
Keeping Strong Wariness
Every time I get close to the tank, Males do react (get away) extremely. On the other hand, Females doesn't react such.
In case of mine, almost all spawning was done in/under a mass of Willow moss(Fontinalis antipyretica). It was done rarely by a stem under a big leaf of Anubias Nana. I think the place they will spawn is :
In my puffer tanks, willow moss is rounded softly and has just been placed between stone, filter pipe and back wall of the tank. It's convenient to pick the eggs up and maybe it would be a good hiding place for fry. But willow moss would be dying gradually because of lack of light.
New egg is about 1mm, transparent, has no adhesion and has a little white part.
A small number of eggs I found were wind eggs (were cloudy white).
|New eggs - almost transparent||After a day - get light brawn and eyes(?)||After two to three days - expands light brawn part||After four days - almost light brown|
In case of mine, eggs hatch for about 5 days (27°C). At the time this photo was taken, the fry keep still with such a pose for about 20 seconds or so, then got off the egg, swam toward surface and sank to bottom.
Newly hatched fry is :
For about four days, they start to swim. They are almost still yet, but sometime run through the bottom of tank and hover nearby willow moss. Appearance is exactly different when they hatched. At first, eyes can be seen clearly, black dot is in the center of gold or light brown eyes. And They can already moves eyes like adult dwarfs does. Outline of body would be as fish. Fins can be seen too. Maybe fins can already moves because they can hover. Brownish color of body gone as compared with when they hatched. At this time, they doesn't eat yet.
For about five to six days, they grows about 3mm. Time to be still would be shorten, they swims around almost all time (except sleeping time). Sometimes they eats white tiny (2mm long) creatures like a earthworm. They chases baby brine shrimps, but doesn't eat yet.
In my tank, two fry died on a heater. Maybe they were burned by heater when they sat on it. Heater cover may not work due to the size of fry. In my case, I moved the heater to just below exit of water from filter.
Fry a week after hatching start feeding baby brine shrimps. How much they fed could be seen by looking at the belly of them. It will turn orange in color when they got fullness. This photo is fry ten days after hatching.
Fry a few weeks after hatching can kill fry a few days after hatching. (I'm not sure if they 'ate' them or not.)
Fry will be the same body shape as adult when about a month after hatching. The spots on back would be clear. But the back doesn't get yellow yet and belly doesn't get perfect white yet (orange color of brine shrimp in the stomach could be seen through.). They would be able to feed a smaller bloodworms and a tiny cut of tubifex worms.
Fry in this age, when they were hungry, can kill fry a few weeks after hatching by biting off. I'm not sure if they 'ate' them or not. Separating bigger fry and smaller fry is necessary.
Fry of dwarf puffer would feed brine shrimp for a week after hatching. They feed only moving food for a few weeks. They would feed (small) frozen bloodworms for a month.
A Group of Paramecium
Copyright © Wim van Egmond
Infusoria, in general, has been used to feed to very tiny fry of fishes such as a fry of betta. 'Infusoria' is a general term for many kind of microorganisms, such as paramecia, euglena, desmids, rotifers and so on. I cultured infusoria using a piece of cabbage and a few drops of milk, but finally didn't feed it to the fry because I heard on Pufferfish mailing list that many kind of infusoria can kill young fish. And the other reason I avoid to feed them is that It can pollute tank water. Actually, that's dirty and smelling bad, of course!, that's just rotten cabbage. But I also head Paramecia can be fed to sensitive fish. It can be cultured easily as follows:
Thanks: I quoted the following descriptions from the message posted by Manuela in ONEList Pufferfish mailing list; Message-ID: < m11aifX-000K0gC@fwd11.btx.dtag.de >
You could get paramecia if you take a bit of hay and let it rot in water (rain water, no tap water because of the chlorine); after a few days or weeks there will be tiny white spots which move - these are the paramecia. You can feed them with a few drops of milk and keep the culutre so for years without breeding other microorganisms by accident.
Another option of very small foods are water insects such as water flea(daphnia), Cyclops and Grindal worms. Cyclops is used as fry food generally, can be caught at a pond and be cultured, but in case of mine, they raised naturally in the tank. I'm not sure whether that is a water problem or not. But I think they came from Willow moss that I put in the tank. I had found them in the tank once, but they disappeared later. I'm not sure, but think the fry ate them up.
Copyright © Wim van Egmond
Liquid Fry Food
You may also use liquid fry food. I couldn't use it because can't found ones here in Japan.
Newly Hatched Brine Shrimp
Fry would feed newly hatched brine shrimp for a week after hatching.
Tubifex worms (cut to two or three mm long)
Fry would feed a small piece of tubifex worms for about two weeks after hatching.
Frozen Bloodworms (about 5mm long)
Fry would feed bloodworms for about a month after hatching.
In Here, My tanks keeping dwarf puffers in are displayed. No! As you can see, this is never a kind of "My proud tanks!!" :) I'm just willing to show you what kind of tanks my puffers bred in there.
At the first time, all six dwarf puffers had been kept in the Tank 1. Two 10x10cm stones, Binchotan (Japanese charcoals has effect of cleaning water) and a few plants (Anubias nana, Limnophila sessiliflora...) had been used as decollations then. The photo was taken recently. A mass of willow moss is laid behind stone near the center back.
A half year later, I moved three of them (a male and two females) to the new tank, Tank 2.
When first fry hatched, I set up the Tank 3.
|Tank 3 (Fry tank)||
|Ian West's Homepages||Ian West's pufferfish homepages.|
|Puffer Fish Lair||Shannon's pufferfish homepage.|
|Tom's Place||There are the great guidances for keeping pufferfish on the AquaSource Online Magazine.|
|Yahoo! Pufferfish Group||have 400+ members (I had gotten many informations from the list)|
|WORLD of FISH||
MICRO Homepage of
Wim van Egmond
|Tiny creatures such as microbe.|
Sorry for the insufficient explainations above. The only one English word which I know for introducing these web sites is "GREAT!!".