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T. biocellatus, the Figure 8 Puffer is another one of the most commonly
sold puffers. There have been many scientific names assigned to this puffer
over the years, but currently T. biocellatus is the valid name. As
you can see from the above photos, two variations in pattern exist. The first
two photos are of the pattern type with no strong 8 on the back. The second
two photos are of an individual with the 8 pattern. Note that the pattern
on the dorsal region does not extend beyond a certain line on the side of
the fish. T. fluviatilis, the Ceylon or Topaz puffer has spots extending
below this line. Also, the clear ocellations (eye spots) at the caudal fin
(tail fin) and dorsally at the adipose fin are specific to this species. Biocellatus
- two spots, aptly describes these markings.
These are the first puffer fish I obtained. Commonly available with the Green
Spotted, many people find this to be the puffer that sparks their interest
in this group of fish. These fish stay relatively small, I have rarely seen
an individual be 3 inches total length, though occasionally I have seen one
about 4.5. As with the Green Spotted (GS), this fish may be peaceful
in a community setting, or with a group of other Figure 8's, but that situation
will deteriorate with maturity. They are predators, and will defend territory
and food sources. One of my Figure 8 was killed by another in my tank, prompting
me to separate them.
Much contention is out there about the water parameters that best suit this
fish. I have chosen to keep a light brackish, ranging from 1.004 to 1.008
salinity. There are mollies in the tanks as well, serving as dither fish and
general maid service. The brackish suits them as well. My Figure 8's have
shown an odd selective trait with the Mollies. Any fish that is primarily
white or orange in colour is attacked by them. Also, any fry produced disappears
rapidly. The black and wild type colours are left alone. This may be an oddity
that only my fish posses, but is worth mentioning, especially since I believe
it to be associated with the colours of the typical foods I provide. Red,
orange and white being the typical colours for the shell fish I feed out,
it sort of makes sense.
There are no external differences in the genders. If you have individuals
known to be the same age, the females may exhibit sexual dimorphism, being
larger than the males. At this time, all fish are wild caught, there is no
captive breeding program.