I. Feeding Your Puffers

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.


  • Mussel
  • Cockle
  • Krill
  • Prawn
  • King Prawn
  • Crabs and crabs legs
  • Bloodworm
  • Black worms
  • Siversides



  • Krill
  • Plankton

A few photographs of the food I offer my puffers

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture and description.

Snails (Ramshorn and common)CockleMussel

KrillPrawn without shellKing Prawn with shell

Freeze Dried KrillBlackwormsBloodworms


Published by

Ian Jefferies, AKA Rocker

I started out with my first fish tank quite by accident. I always used to pay interest in my mates tank when I went to his house. Well, one day he called me up saying he was splitting from his wife and the 2 foot tank had to go. That's how I started. Tank was in a mess so I gave it a thorough clean and replaced the fish and before I knew it the fish had died! Not knowing what had gone wrong I decided to try again but got help. Gradually I became hooked both on the aquarium hobby itself and the quest for knowledge surrounding the hobby. With that came an upgrade to a 5 foot tank. I ripped out the fireplace, plastered up the walls and made space for the tank. I learned about cycling and began to set up my community tank. A year or so later after the 5 foot was set up I purchased my first puffers. Two Colomesus asellus. They at the time seemed to do ok but before long they died. Again I needed answers so I started to trawl the Internet. That is when I found The Puffer Forum. I then decided to get some more puffers and make a Colomesus asellus species only tank. They lived well and it was seeing them thrive in their own tank that I was bitten by the puffer bug. I suppose the addiction really started when I saw my first tiny Tetraodon lineatus staring and following me around his tank. He was about an inch and a half long and was soon in his own tank at my home. I had problems for about a week with him not feeding so that's when I decided to actually join and post at The Puffer Forum. I got the help I needed so I decided to repay my gratitude by staying on. I am still here now in Admin status and my T. lineatus is a healthy 14" beast! Since then I have bought and been given many puffers. I have a very good friend in the aquarium trade which is always good to have. His shop has provided a few of my custom made tanks along with some of the equipment and decor. Over the years I have massed a fair collection of fresh water puffers. At the time of writing I have in my collection. Tetraodon lineatus x 1 Tetraodon baileyi x 1 Tetraodon abei x 1 Tetraodon cochinchinensis x 1 Tetraodon suvattii x 2 Tetraodon miurus x 2 Tetraodon palembangensis x 4 Carinotetraodon travancoricus x 14 Carintetraodon irrubesco x 2 Colomesus asellus x 2 I also have my 5 foot community tank and a snail breeding tank. I have 9 puffer display tanks. Over the years I have bred Angel fish for my friends shop and written a few articles for The Puffer Forum. I work full time and when I get the chance I work part time as a Rock Journalist reviewing CDs and gigs and a few interviews along the way. I love Rock music so if you want to chat to me about that then I will always welcome you.