How to Care for Your New Dwarf Indian Puffers
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Appeal. Here’s another fish on the “cute crew.” You find them in retailers’ tanks at about the size of a pregnant pinto bean plus tail and eyeballs. They really are little cuties.
Origin. As you might suspect from their name, these tiny guys come from India. We see more and more imports from India these days.
Drawbacks. Not pricey at all, your main problem with Indian dwarf puffers has to be their diet. If you feed only flakes or pellets, about 5% will survive – if you are lucky.
Size. Get out your micrometer. Indian dwarf puffers usually mature (one year of age) at an inch or a little over. Some few attain a massive 1.5 inches. The good news? You need not worry about stunting these mighty mites by keeping them in a too small aquarium. The bad news? Small tanks demand more attention than large tanks.
Space. You keepers of mini-fishes and owners of small tanks will love Indian dwarf puffers. This does not mean you can put a dozen in a one-gallon pickle jar (assuming you could find one of these near antique aquatic accessories). In spite of their mini-size, they need elbow room.
Groups. Many keepers of dwarf puffers report that they argue a great deal among themselves. The young ones get along just fine. In fact, they hang together in small clusters.
Sexing. Mature males have a “ line” (actually more of a row of spots in a line) that runs the length of their bodies. Females are covered with random spots and get plumper. They both plump up at feeding time.
Water. Indian dwarf puffers fare fine in freshwater. They do not need brackish water like most puffers. However, we do add salt to their water: one quarter-cup of NaCl per ten gallons of water. We add this much to bout half our fishes – especially livebearers.
Water Changes. They seem to enjoy water changes. We give ours a third to a 50% water change weekly.
Tank Décor/Security. Add plenty of plants and other décor to their tank. As your Indian dwarf puffers approach sexual maturity, they grow scrappier. Caves, crevices, and crannies provide security for those less inclined to fight for their place in the sun.
Tank Mates. Avoid slow moving fish with long, flowing tasty tails. We keep ours with fish that eat similar foods -- bumblebee gobies, flounders, dragon gobies, and half-grown mollies.
Food. Got a snail problem? Your Indian dwarf puffer will solve it. No snails? We haven’t found a flake or pellet that catches their fancy (yet). However, they love blackworms as do the tank mates we keep them with. They grudgingly eat frozen brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms.
Breeding Reports. We’ve never bred Indian dwarf puffers. If you give them plenty of cover and bump the temp five to ten degrees, they will figure it out themselves. The babies need newly hatched baby brine shrimp and microworms.
Inquisitive. You’ll notice your Indian dwarf puffers are very aware of what goes on outside of their tank. They watch you as you watch them. Some fish (angels) always rush to the front because they want fed. Indian dwarf puffers seem more curious than hungry.
Camera Shy. The little rascals like to watch you, but they do not like cameras. As the camera approaches them, they move to the back of the tank or hide behind whatever they can find. They do not sign autographs either.
Indian dwarf puffers make cute, easy to care for, and intriguing small tank
occupants. (You will need more than a two-inch bowl to keep them
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