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Old 12-16-2003, 12:13 AM   #1
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Trimming puffer teeth

I am definitely going to start a puffer tank! But I am still debating between which puffers to get. I'll have to special order them from somewhere (do you think my LFS will do it? or would it be easier to buy online?) since all my LFS has are GSP. I'm debating between SA puffers and Dwarf puffers.

The SA puffers (from what I've read) seem more peaceful so I could keep some other fish with them, but I read that I need to trim their teeth every 6 months. How the heck do trim a fish's teeth?? Does anyone know?

Dwarf puffers are so cute... but so little. I can keep more in the tank though. Decisions decisions! What do y'all think?
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Old 12-16-2003, 12:54 AM   #2
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from what I know about trimming puffer teeth ( and that's not that much at all)..it is more common with larger species of pufferfish.....like the fahaka, or the mbu.....

species like the SA or the GSP are too tiny..and woudl prolly suffer unduly from the handling required to sedate and hold the puffer...

just give 'em lots of snails...as they break the shells down to suck out the meat they most likely wear down their beaks...

Zach
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:41 AM   #3
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Yep, snails do the trick. I've got Dwarf Puffers and this is the remedy I use, though I've noticed that the puffers aren't always interested in the snails...

*Don't* feed them MTS (Malaysian Trumpet Snails), the spirally long snails, as these have exceptionally tough shells. Feed them your garden-variety snails, baby ramshorn snails, baby apple snails etc. fairly frequently. Setting up a small breeder snail tank is usually recommended.
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Old 12-16-2003, 03:15 AM   #4
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And I'd attempt to order through your LFS so avoid exorbitant shipping fees online...
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Old 12-16-2003, 12:19 PM   #5
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It's possible to trim an SA puffers teeth manually, and without a great deal of stress to the fish (although it was stressfull to me !) .
all you do is take a large coolwhip container, fill with tank water, add 3 drops of clove oil, add an airstone for aeration and have another coolwhip container for the puffer to "come to" in. Use a pair of cuticle trimmers to trim the beak, and voila!
it's very easy, I literally had no experience doing it my first time and I made a near perfect trim. The only hard part was making sure I had a firm grip and not crushing my puffer. =)
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:12 PM   #6
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Someone should write a book on the 1001 uses of a Coolwhip container, LOL.

Personally, I agree with the above post, I would be to traumatized to do this by hand. Feed them snails I say.

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Old 12-16-2003, 01:14 PM   #7
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Bleagh this topic gives me the chills... trimming teeth... *shudder*
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:41 PM   #8
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Eek! I don't think I could ever trim my fish's teeth... I have a hard enough time trimming my cat's nails! Snails will have to be the way to go. But even still, I read from several people that snails are not going to be enough to keep SA puffers teeth down, and regardless of what I feed, I'll have to trim their teeth. I think I'm going to go with the dwarf puffers. What do you recommend as far as good tankmates?
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:47 PM   #9
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What do they break their teeth down naturally in the wild with?
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Old 12-16-2003, 04:12 PM   #10
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If you do decide to go with a FW puffer you will have to trim its beak. Unfortunatley it does not matter how many snails you give them they have a chronic overgrown tooth problem. I tried waiting to see if mine would maybe be smart and keep his beak worn down but in the end I had no choice but to trim it as it started getting to long and he was having troubles eating. Just do as cdawson said, its a little stressful the first time but you get used to it. Don't worry about hurting your puffer they are tough little buggers. After about 2-3mins mine was swimming around and right back begging for food.
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Old 12-16-2003, 05:14 PM   #11
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What is the general "rule of thumb" for anesthatizing fish with clove oil? Would it be possible to do it locally, in the tank, with an eye dropper or something, then remove the fish? Does the amount of clove oil required vary with the size/type of fish?

Thanks,

-J
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Old 12-16-2003, 07:04 PM   #12
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The problem with adding the oil to the tank is that you then have to put the fish back in that tank... and they'll be anesthatized a long time I'd imagine... at least until it's filtered out.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodneyCK
Someone should write a book on the 1001 uses of a Coolwhip container, LOL.

Personally, I agree with the above post, I would be to traumatized to do this by hand. Feed them snails I say.

RodneyCK
In order to avoid trimming a SA puffers beak you have to feed them a constant supply of shelled foods. I recommend finding a constant supply of cheap ghost shrimp, otherwise you'll be trimming the puffers beak soon enough.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sati
The problem with adding the oil to the tank is that you then have to put the fish back in that tank... and they'll be anesthatized a long time I'd imagine... at least until it's filtered out.
That would quite possibly be the dumbest thing you could do, that would take a LONG time to completely filter out and would kill every fish in the tank. Remember, it's an oil and won't filter out. It'll continue to stay in the water column. You have to remove the fish to do this, don't even think twice about adding clove oil to your tank. It's caustic so it'll eventually kill your fish. That's why you need a separate coolwhip container to allow the puffer to return to normal before adding it back to the tank.
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:35 PM   #15
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How much should "cheap" ghost shrimp cost? My LFS sells them for about 15 cents each... is that about right?
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:44 PM   #16
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would dwarf puffers pick on/at an EXTRA LARGE apple snail? what about kuhli loaches? they have them at the lfs and they are awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
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Old 12-17-2003, 12:16 PM   #17
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Kuhli loaches and puffers are not a good mix.

Chikadee: 15 cents is pretty **** cheap, mine were 89 cents each and I thought THAT was cheap.
Get yourself a spare 10g, a small filter and add maybe a plant or two and use that as a tank for your ghost shrimp.
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Old 12-17-2003, 12:45 PM   #18
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I have a spare 10g that I'm going to use for food... can I mix snails and ghost shrimp in there? Will they bother each other at all? I'm also thinking of getting a brine shrimp hatchery. What do you think of those? Are they worth it or should I just get them from the LFS? Also, cdawson, you mentioned gutloading a ghost shrimp with algae wafers, how do you do that??
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Old 12-17-2003, 04:13 PM   #19
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i don't think that snails and ghost shrimp would have a problem living together, but i'm really not sure.
also, i was interested in getting a brine shrimp hatchery myself, but haven't yet. what i've heard is that it's easy to have the shrimp hatching after 24-48 hours, but getting them to grow to adult size suitable for eating can be just a nuisance. get someone else's opinion though since i don't have personal experience with it all!


also cdawson, i wasn't intending to put puffers and kuhli loaches together, however i'm starting a 10g planted puffer tank and i have a 29g tank with kuhli loaches and i LOVE those XL apple snails! would love to have one in my tank if it would work out
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Old 12-17-2003, 04:46 PM   #20
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