Submitted by Terrance
Scientific Name: Tetraodon Nigroviridis
Common Names: Leopord Puffer, GSP
Category: Puffer species
Temperment: Very aggressive; all puffers have different personalities though, so you may get a shy or nice GSP (a very unlikely thought). A single puffer inside a tank by itself is strongly recommended. One active GSP inside a large tank will be very entertaining.
Potential size: 6.5-7.0inches; 2-3 years for a young GSP to reach full size if raised properly. The older they get, the more aggressive they will become.
Water Region: GSP swims at all levels of the tank
Activity: Very curious and swims all over the place; will exhibit territorial behaviors
Lifespan: >15 years if kept properly
Salinity: High-end brackish and full marine water, but full marine water recommended. Keeping high-end brackish water is costly since you will need to change 50% of the water EVERY WEEK. If you keep your GSP in full marine water, then you could get live rocks, refugium, and skimmer for MONTHLY 30-40% water changes. Salt cost a lot. Monthly water changes will be a lot cheaper than weekly if you end up keeping your GSP for over 15 years.
Color: white/yellow under belly; green back with black dots. A black underbelly could indicate stress from poor water quality, diet, or inadequate tank size. Ceylon puffers are often misidentified as GSPs.
Sexing: not possible to differentiate male and female with naked eye
Tank Size: 30min is the general consensus; however, it is too small for a full grown GSP. They grow at least 6inch long and are too active to keep in a 30min tank. Aim for a tank that is at least 3ft long and 40+ gallons for ONE puffer. The bigger tank will help make room for live rocks (if you decide to go full marine water), which helps with filtration. Remember that a bigger tank is always better for saltwater setups. Optimum tank size for a single specimen is better than the 40g minimum tank size.
Tank mate: Again, single puffer inside a tank is always recommended. Very few tankmates can be recommended since you are taking this fish from fw
over the span of 1-2 years. GSPs are often said to accept tankmates if introduced at a young age since GSPs are less aggressive at a young age, so its another reason for owners to get marine water when the GSP is still small. A decent candidate would be a Ceylon puffer since they also go from freshwater to bw/sw
; however, mixing species of puffers is never recommended. You can do live plants, but you will eventually have to take them out for the brackish and saltwater. Unless you have another fw
tank, then I would completely skip live plants.
Tank Setup: so now you have the big tank for you gsp. now you need to always remember putting a lot of stuff inside your tank. From a bystander's view, the tank would look overcrowded which is perfect for the GSP to explore. But also keep open space around the top/front of the tank for swimming space. Again, GSP's are very active and curious.
Since GSPs are recommended for full marine water (and if want full marine water), you will need to plan to buy a skimmer and refugium in the future. Please do research about refugiums and skimmers. There's too much info about them to include in this post. Both of those items basically helps filter your water and keep it super clean, which is why you are able to keep water changes to once per month.
Filtration: should be at least 10x the volume of the tank. Most FW
setups will have HOB
filtration, but it will need to be replaced by a powehead and refugiums in the future saltwater setup. Saltwater with live rocks and reguium setups need filtration at least 15x the volume of the tank (including the water coming in/out of the refugium)
Acclimation: Match the aquarium water with the LFS
water. If your GSP is being sold in brackish water, then try to match it. If its in freshwater, then start your tank in freshwater. Water condition for GSPs:
Less than 2inches - FW
2inches to 4inches - moderately BW to high-end brackish
4 inches - ok for full marine water
Not much is known about keeping small GSPs in full marine water, but most of what I hear is that they do just fine. As long as you are moving toward high-end brackish water, then you will be ok.
Remember to slowly acclimate your tank water every week. I recommend raising the salinity level by 0.001 PER WEEK. This is where I think salt cost will start to climb because you need to do 50% water changes every week until you reach full marine water with live rocks, refugium, and skimmer.
Please use marine salt like Instant Ocean.
Diet: Carnivore and should be fed crustaceans only (worms are acceptable). Snails are good since they are easy to feed. Raw frozen shrimp, mussels, clams (any crustacean) at the grocery store is also good since they have NO CHEMICALS in them. Just thaw the shrimp with your GSP's aquarium water before feeding. If you buy live food at the grocery store, then freeze them for 1 week to kill the bacterias. Feed schedule:
3inches or smaller: feed once a day for 6 days out of a week
3inches to ~5inches: feed once a day for 3 days out of a week
bigger than 5 inches: feed once a day for 1-2 days out of a week
Puffers will constantly beg for food, but please do not feed them more than recommended. They can eat until their stomach explode. When feeding once a day, give them enough food until their belly is slightly rounded. If the GSP's stomach looks like half of a ball, then you have overfed your puffer.
Care: Proper feeding like described above. Keep the water clean with no ammonia/nitrIte and <20ppm nitrAtes. Do 50% water changes if you do not have live rocks, refugium, and skimmer. If your GSP is swimming up and down the glass tank, then it is either bored from their environment or don't have enough swimming room.
Breeding: University of Florida have been able to breed these species of puffers. Not very much is known at this point since I have not done more research about this topic.
Comments: I keep hearing about people buying/keeping GSP, but very few people know how to prolong their life up to 15+ years or even grow them to max size. Please post any additional helpful information.
Sources: The Puffer Forum • The Puffer Fish Care Community