Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

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Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:13 pm

I have reclaimed an article I wrote a long time ago when I got my Sabahensis, thought it might be of use if someone comes across one again. Ive posted it in brackish but I successfully kept it in FW but this seems the best place for people starting out if they acquire one.
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:14 pm

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Tetraodon Sabahensis


If you come across a puffer in a local fish shop that looks like it could be either a Tetraodon Nigroviridis or a Tetraodon Fluviatilis but at the same time neither, then you could have stumbled across a Tetraodon Sabahensis.


In the fish shop:
Usually they are labelled as Giant Spotted Puffer or Indian Giant Puffer when being sold; they are generally pretty big at around the 6” mark. Smaller specimens have yet to be confirmed seen in local fish shops.

General Description:
The body shape is very similar to that of the T. Fluviatilis, however the body markings do not match either that of a T. Fluviatilis or a T. Nigroviridis. This fish has labyrinth markings fairly similar what you would see on a Tetraodon Mbu, there is generally a vivid yellowy green flashing of colour on the top of the head, the eyes are quite far set apart but, the tail has black speckles and generally the belly is quite dark in colouration.

Initial Problems:
These fish can arrive in quite a sorry state with bite marks, chunks out of tails, cloudy eyes etc…. but the biggest problem is that these fish seem to suffer from is internal parasites which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible,

If after a feeding the belly is thin and sunken the next day, then it’s a good bet that there is a parasite problem which needs to be treated. Until treatment takes place, feed daily to keep up the puffers strength.

After the parasites have been eradicated, this puffers belly will stay rounded for a few days after a feeding.

You may also see a few lumps on the puffers back and sides that are black in colour, I have no idea what they are but they seem to disappear on their own. If you see any cysts on the skin which grows then the head falls off, maintain excellent water quality and treat with a little Melafix and Pimafix and the skin should heal up nicely.

Tank Setup:

Size/Layout:
A tank around the 40 gallon mark makes a good home for a single specimen. Tank length is important as it is a very active puffer so look for something in the region of 4ft (48 inches) in length. This puffer swims at all levels of the tank and is most active in the upper regions so ensure that the upper areas of the tank are clear of décor and plants to allow for free swimming.

Water Parameters:
There is very little information about water parameters for this species. When these fish are sold in local fish shops they are generally in a very low end brackish environment (1.004). Initially I kept the specimen in 1.004 for a month and then began to raise the salinity until it reached 1.010 at which it remained for a while. I saw no difference in activity or behaviour at the higher salinity so reduced the salinity back down to 1.004 at which it has remained for several months with no problems.

This specimen seems very adaptable to salinity and may do equally well in high end brackish as it does in low end brackish. I have not attempted to keep him in pure freshwater so have no data on this but as he does so well with a minimal amount of marine salt I see no reason to try it at the moment.

The Ph of the tank is around 8, my tap water is on the hard side and it seems to suit this species.

Substrate:
I have used an Aragonite sand substrate but this puffer doesn’t seem to be too fussy, it doesn’t bury so gravel, crushed coral or aquarium sand should work just as well.

Decor/ Plants:
Large pieces of rockwork to provide caves/retreats, fake mangrove roots and fake plants have all been tried. Too many large fake plants that dominate the tank seems to reduce activity but provided the décor provides an interesting aquascape it should be fine with or without plants.

Personality:
This puffer has a big personality, it may be quite withdrawn while it initially settles in to its new home but as it becomes more used to you, its personality and interaction with its owner grows. Make sure the fish is in a room that gets plenty of use. It has a tendency to nip at things to see what they are, especially when tank maintenance is happening having a nip at gravel syphons and potentially your hand so take care as this puffer has a formidable set of teeth hiding in that mouth. It can get very over excited at feeding times literally coming out of the water in anticipation for food splashing water everywhere.

When the room is not used it may be quite inactive and just rest on the bottom, do not worry too much about this, they come alive when it spots someone.

The Black Belly:
Since I have had this particular specimen, it has always had a black belly, this can usually be a sign of stress in puffers but in this case the colour of the belly seems to be dependent on lighting levels. In very low light the belly becomes white, the current tank light is only a small 15w tube but this still seems to be too much to maintain a permanent white belly.

Image

When resting this species can turn completely black, resembling a lump of charcoal, it can be quite worrying the first time you see this but it is nothing to worry about as it wakes up its returns to its normal striking patterns.

Tankmates:
I have not attempted keeping any tankmates with my particular specimen however; other specimens have been kept with both T. Nigroviridis and T. Fluviatilis in the same tank at higher salinities. With the speed at which it dispatches whitebait anything too small would undoubtedly become a snack.

Feeding:
This puffer loves to eat and will beg constantly for food but resist the urge to give into the begging.

I have found that small foods are often ignored by this puffer so bloodworm, Krill, Mysis Shrimp and finely chopped foods are best avoided unless you fancy cleaning up a lot of uneaten food.

Large meaty foods like whole Mussels, Shrimp/Prawns, Cockle in shell and Whitebait are all taken with relish; it is not a fussy eater so if it’s large and meaty give it a go. Its favourite food is undoubtedly Cockles in their shells and once it has eaten all the cockles it will then systematically crush the cockles shells up into tiny pieces. This is great for their teeth, however if you keep one in an upstairs bedroom don’t feed cockles late in the day or you will spend the rest of the night thinking someone’s breaking in as it crushes cockle shells up into the night.

Conclusion:
There is still some debate at whether these particular puffers are just a regional variant of a T. Fluviatilis or T. Nigroviridis and they have yet to scientifically confirmed as adult Tetraodon Sabahensis, there is a small description of this species in Ebert’s Aqualog and a picture of what is believed to be juvenile specimens but regardless of what they are, they are very interesting and rewarding puffers to keep.

Image

Addition: Keeping in Freshwater
After writing this article and trying various SG's I decided to keep dropping the SG until he was in freshwater.I left in the aragonite substrate and ocean rock decor to keep the water a bit harder than it normally would be out od the tap. I saw no change in his behaviour, appetite or health. I maintained him in freshwater from then on and never had a problem. If I was to come across another one, which would most likely be sold in a low end SG of 1.004. I would leave it in that for a month while the fish settles in to its new home and then begin to drop to fresh.
Last edited by Hilly on Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:32 pm

I'd like to add this to our Library.
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!"

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Hilly
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:41 pm

Course you can Jeni, can you leave it here as well. I may add some amendments, havent read the thing for a long time.
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Pufferpunk
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
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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
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:56 pm

I'd prefer to keep it one place. You could link to it whenever you need to. I'd like to move it to Article Submissions when it's ready, let me know.
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!"

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Hilly
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:01 pm

Ok ill add a FW bit to it, then it will be ready, ill drop you a PM when its done, it will give me something to do tomorrow at work.
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by cswank » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:12 pm

Thanks for this, just discovered that my alleged GSP is actually a Saba.
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My Puffers: 1 x GSP/possible Saba puffer (born late 2009/early 2010) - Troll (Whoops, I fed the troll.)
1 x fat freckled frog (not sure what he is, just that he is fat)

2 x DP
1 x Bumblebee Goby
2x African Dwarf Frog

2 x Halfmoon Betta

10 x assorted guppies
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by cswank » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:17 pm

I've seen a few different statements on the length of a fully grown Sabahensis, do you have a confirmed length?
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:19 pm

Well its not a definitve yes, im not in the scientific field of fish, these are just my personal experiences with this puffer, the quest for more knowledge continues and only by sharing it will we build a more informative profile for care.

Post some pics up if you can cswank.
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:24 pm

cswank wrote:I've seen a few different statements on the length of a fully grown Sabahensis, do you have a confirmed length?
i would say average 6" or so for body add another 1/2" on for tail. Mine was pretty much full size when I got him, didnt grow any more just got fatter from the skinny state he was in.
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
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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: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Pufferpunk » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:34 pm

That doesn't sound any larger than the GSP then.
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!"

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Hilly
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Tetraodon Sabahensis
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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:39 pm

Some pics ive seen look bigger than others so it may vary but limited information from real subjects makes my sizing a guestimate.
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cswank
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My Puffers: 1 x GSP/possible Saba puffer (born late 2009/early 2010) - Troll (Whoops, I fed the troll.)
1 x fat freckled frog (not sure what he is, just that he is fat)

2 x DP
1 x Bumblebee Goby
2x African Dwarf Frog

2 x Halfmoon Betta

10 x assorted guppies
Location (country): Quad Cities, Illinois, US
Contact:

Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by cswank » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:53 pm

This thread is about my puffer, pics are inside.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22007
Image

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Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by Hilly » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:14 pm

I'm gonna be honest, im unsure on that one, but then its small and I bought mine big. I think its too soon to tell, however thats not to say youve not got something a little different from standard. For now I would treat as anyone would treat a Ceylon/GSP of that size and see what he grows into. There are pics of this family of puffers and you look at them and think what the hell is that, the markings dont match what I expect. Only time will tell. Either way its a nice looking puffer. Its a case of wait, feed, let him grow and enjoy him.
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cswank
Puffer Fry
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:12 pm
Gender: Male
My Puffers: 1 x GSP/possible Saba puffer (born late 2009/early 2010) - Troll (Whoops, I fed the troll.)
1 x fat freckled frog (not sure what he is, just that he is fat)

2 x DP
1 x Bumblebee Goby
2x African Dwarf Frog

2 x Halfmoon Betta

10 x assorted guppies
Location (country): Quad Cities, Illinois, US
Contact:

Re: Tetraodon Sabahensis Overview/Article.

Post by cswank » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:04 pm

I don't know if GSP's darken in lighter conditions or not as well, but I've noticed that my puffer has a stark white belly in the morning (shortly after I turn the lights on) and the later it gets, the darker his belly and fins get. This time of night, his fins are dark gray and his belly is pretty dark as well. His pattern gets notably darker at night to as well I think. I don't know if that helps the diagnosis as to what he is or not, just thought it might be pertinent information.
Image

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