When it comes to feeding puffers there is no excuse to feed them a poor diet. For many puffers their meal can and does consists primarily of shellfish, crustaceans and hard shelled foods such as snails. This is the basic requirement in feeding puffers as their teeth need to be constantly worn down to prevent overgrowth. If you provide a source of ‘shell on food’ then the need to intervene with dentistry is greatly reduced. Some puffers more than others rely more on ‘hard’ foods for teeth wear than others. In my experience it seems to be the ‘hunters’ that benefit from this diet more so than the ‘lurkers’, although with puffers there is always at least one exception.
Food can be offered in a variety of forms. The most common, probably due to ease of keeping is frozen food. Provided the food is kept frozen and only allowed to thaw prior to being offered then you should have no problems with this source. People adopt different methods of thawing the food, all are as good as another. Some leave to defrost over night in the fridge, some defrost using a cup of tank water. I tend to allow a boiled kettle to cool off then pour the water into a bowl containing the frozen food. Another way is to allow to thaw using vitamin water. I always strain the water off before offering to the tank. This is a particularly good advice when it comes to thawing pre packed frozen cubes such as bloodworm. Defrost them as mentioned then rinse and strain through a fine net. This way you will ensure that you are only adding the food to the tank and nothing else that could add to your tanks bio load!
Freeze dried food is another form. This needs to be soaked prior to offering. Again using vitamin water to soak is a good idea to ensure your puffer gets a healthy meal.
Live food is another good form to offer your puffers and many examples can be offered, although feeder fish are frowned upon and can cause some problems for your puffer. Bearing in mind that the majority of puffers are not piscivores at all! If you introduce your puffer to feeder fish then you run the risk of not only introducing a disease everytime you offer one but the diet is not beneficial to your puffer as prolong feeding of fish can cause issues such as a ‘fatty’ liver and die prematurely.
Many people when offering live foods also ‘gut load’ them prior to offering. This means that for instance if you were offering a ghost shrimp, then the shrimp itself could be fed on vegetation, which in turn the puffer will ultimately receive. Also in the instance of harvesting the food yourself, care must be taken into account on the environment the food source is found. IE. that earthworms are found in an area free of pesticides, fertilizers and weedkillers etc.
As with any feeding of puffers it is important they are watched as much as possible. This will not only ensure they are feeding well but any remaining food can be remove from the tank as soon as possible to prevent water deterioration.
Below is a list of common food available to offer your puffer. Remember, your puffer will benefit from a varied diet.
- King Prawn
- Crabs and crabs legs
- Black worms
- Snails (Rocker’s Snail Breeding Article) | (RTR’s Snail Breeding Article)
- Crickets (occasionally)
- Meal worms (occasionally)
A few photographs of the food I offer my puffers
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture and description.