The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

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LadyHawk
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The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

Hello all! I have a Congo Puffer (Tetradon Mirius) named Jack, and he is the PICKIEST eater. He only wants live fish - Rosie red minnows to be exact. I've tried feeding him mussels, live earth worms, frozen shrimp, and live ghost shrimp, but he refuses to eat anything other than minnows! He has tried all the above foods, but usually chews it up, spits it all out, and then does his "Yucky Dance" (he wiggles his whole body in disgust). Because he's an ambush predator, I've had a hard time encouraging him to eat from the surface. He's lazy and want the fish to swim directly into his mouth. But he needs a more varied diet than fish - I'm raising Molly fry to eventually feed him, but how do I get him to eat other foods?? I'm at my wits end! I've never had such a picky eater! All the puffers I've had in the past have been little pigs who'd eat anything and everything. Any ideas?
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Pufferpunk
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Pufferpunk »

Yes, I have found this species to be the most difficult to get on alternative/dead foods. My 1st red one (waited 2 years to find one), only lasted 6 weeks, before it died. I did a necropsy on it & it seems to have died of fatty liver disease. Most likely due to being fed feeder goldfish for many years in captivity, before I got him. This is the reason we MUST get them on a varied diet. Although minnows are not nearly as fatty as GF, it still isn't the best diet for any fish. My recent Congo was only eating live worms for many years, as I refused to feed it fish. With great patience, I am finally able to say he will eat anything dropped into his tank.
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You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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LadyHawk
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

Thanks Pufferpunk! I train last-chance rescue dogs, so I certainly have patience working with Jack! I've tried a number of strategies to get him to eat - I may try the garlic idea. I want him to be a happy, healthy dude, and I know the importance of making sure he has a very good diet. So any other tips you have for picky eaters would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31753
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Pufferpunk »

How often are you offering food? Since this species doesn't move 90% of the time, 1-2x/week is fine for them. You may have to withhold food for >a week.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
LadyHawk
Puffer Fry
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:37 pm
My Puffers: Congo Puffer (Tetraodon mirius)
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Location (country): Minnesota, United States
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

Jack is really active - he's always hovering around the tank. Though he does bury himself when there is the promise of foods. So I usually feed him 2-3 times a week. I thought about withholding food for a short time to encourage him to eat.
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31753
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Pufferpunk »

I'd withhold food for a week & try something like an earthworm, working your way to dead foods, by bouncing it on a string.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
LadyHawk
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

Ok! I've tried the bouncy string before and he just turns his nose up at it - but I'll try it again when he might be hungrier. He's the most stubborn fish I've ever met!!
LadyHawk
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

UPDATE: Well it's been over a week since he ate, and I've been slowly introducing him to earthworms, which he hates. HOWEVER, I thought I'd try giving him raw frozen shrimp as he's eaten it before. This time I stuffed it with a shrimp protein pellet. LO AND BEHOLD, HE SNARFED IT DOWN! And then spit out the shrimp pellet. But it's a start! He did his usual "Yucky Dance" (anything that's not live fish gets the yucky dance), but he did eat it and I can make sure I stuff it with healthy supplements. Thanks for all of your help, Pufferpunk! If I give him stuffed shrimp and gut-loaded Mollies I reared myself, would that be healthy diet?
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Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31753
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Pufferpunk »

YAY! Yeah, those would be OK. You really don't need to stuff the shrimp. Just soak it in Vita-chem.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
Bleedingheartmommy
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Bleedingheartmommy »

Yay, that's so awesome to hear! Overcoming picky eating is a huge victory (in bites of course! no pun intended).

I had to tell you, the "yucky dance" pulls a deep chuckle from my belly every time I read it! If ever you get the chance to record this dance, please post for others to enjoy! Sounds like you got a decisive puffer with quite a personality,
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown
LadyHawk
Puffer Fry
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:37 pm
My Puffers: Congo Puffer (Tetraodon mirius)
Dwarf Puffer
Location (country): Minnesota, United States
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by LadyHawk »

Thanks Bleedingheartmommy!! The "Yucky Dance" is pretty hilarious! I did catch it on video too - Jack has his own Instagram and Facebook page (and has more followers than I do, for goodness sakes) so if you'd like to see it, click the link and look for the "Yuck - Mom made me eat shrimp" video.

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jackthepotatopuffer/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CongoCove

He does have quite the personality - we rescued him because no one wanted him (he was too aggressive, could only be kept in a species tank, was "ugly" etc.) but my husband and I fell in love with him instantly. He is one crabby sucker (again Jack, not my husband!), but that just makes him more endearing to us. I wanted to get him on social media to show people that fish have personalities and deserve the love and care any other pet (mammal, bird, reptile) would receive. So far he's been a hit and helping to raise awareness of rescue fish! And we spoil him rotten!
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hadla
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Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by hadla »

Rotfl! Love that he spit just the pellet out!
Never trust big puffers. The fingers you save may be your own. -RTR
Bleedingheartmommy
Figure 8 Puffer
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:39 pm
My Puffers: Honey (SIP Cantaloupe): C. Travancoricus
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SIP Orchid
Location (country): USA-Seattle, WA

Re: The Story of The Pickiest Puffer

Post by Bleedingheartmommy »

That's so amazing! I think that's a wonderful idea, and the beauty of puffers is truly in how unique every single one is. They are so intelligent, once anyone has spent some time with one of these fish it's impossible to think of them as simple creatures. Will be going to watch the yucky dance immediately!
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown
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