Tetraodon nigroviridis Puffer Fish Lair

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T. nigroviridis, the Green Spotted Puffer. One of the most commonly sold puffers, often they are only about 1 inch total length in the stores. Another puffer with confusion around the scientific name, the most common error being T. fluviatilis, which is an entirely different fish, the Ceylon or Topaz.

This species is aggressive. Peace may be had in a community environment while they are juveniles, but as they mature, the predator instinct becomes paramount. The individual above is a classic example. Raised by a person in a community Fresh water tank, he was moved to a salt water environment on the advice of an aquarium maintenance provider. Though the suggestion was good, these fish do like salt water as adults, the fish was very methodical about taking the fins off of all the other beautiful SW fish in the tank. Including a large bat fish. So Mr. Green Spotted was traded in to the LFS. At a healthy 6 inches total length, and about 2.5 inches wide, he is a formidable puffer. He also was not showing his lovely markings at the store, and remained very black in appearance. So, no one wanted to buy him. I traded in an aggressive catfish from one of my community tanks for this wonderful fish.

He has his own tank, marine salinity with a skimmer and a Penguin biowheel set up. He has sugar sand substrate in which he loves to partially bury himself. He will attack anything you put in the tank. Including my hands! He will also leap out of the water almost completely if he thinks I have food. The picture above with him at the surface is right before a large leap. He spits water at me too. a true character, and a real piggy eater, he has quickly earned a spot in my heart. I am happy to have him out to pasture in my home. I suspect he is at least 7 years old based on the LFS's account of the original owner's experience.

Many people experience a loss of the bright yellow colour as their GS puffers age. I do believe that keeping them in very heavy brackish to full marine salinity will allow them to shine their best. When they are comfortable and in the proper water parameters, the colours are nice and bright. This puffer will be dark, even on his belly when he first wakes up, or after resting behind his large rock. But after a few moments of swimming at the top and begging for food, he is brightly coloured again, with a pure white belly.

This species is very prone to ich (AKA White spot disease). Another reason to keep the salinity high enough to not allow that parasite to get a foothold. Often, entire shipments come through that are riddled with parasites and disease. On our email list, waves of concerned puffer keepers come to us for advice. You can almost see the pattern of the shipments. A salt water bath upon reaching home with a new GS may go a long way towards preventing the parasites from winning the battle.

At this point, all specimens of this species are wild caught. There are no good visual cues for sexing this species, though some people believe there are body shape differences in the genders. To my knowledge, no one has successful captive bred this species. I suspect that the environment cannot easily be provided by aquarists to mimic the natural conditions this puffer needs to breed. Especially with the adult's affinity for SW conditions, I suspect that the fry are microscopic and need to use the ocean water columns to feed on planktonic life. More than likely, eggs are laid at a certain time of year where the fry will wind up inland at a specific time where a food source small enough is available in the estuaries and streams.