Golden Puffer COMMON NAME: Golden Puffer SCIENTIFIC NAME: Antron meleagris FAMILY: Tetraodonitidae SIZE: Can reach max size of 19.7 inches REEF COMPATIBILITY: No, will eat many types of sessile invertebrates MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: 75-100 gallon. Must have a good protein skimmer RANGE: Indio-Pacific, Gulf of California to Ecuador DIET: Carnivore WATER CONDITIONS: Must maintain stable water conditions. SG 1.020 to 1.025, Ph 8.1-8.4, Temp 72-78 degrees CARE LEVEL: Moderate. Is a fairly hardy fish once it is settled. · The Golden Puffer is often hailed as the Holy Grail of the puffers. It has a puppy dog like personality and from my experience enjoys interacting with humans. They require a large aquarium with lots of open swimming room. It is said that when this fish is first introduced to the aquarium, it will be rather shy and tend to hide until comfortable. Goldie (my golden) seemed to settle into his new home rather quickly. They are also known as Guinea Fowl or a Spotted Puffer. They will go through different color phases in its life-cycle. There are two main phases. The first phase is the black phase, where the coloration is black with white spots. As it matures it will enter into the golden phase where it becomes a golden tan color with white spots. One interesting point to note on this particular puffer is that they will not go through these phases while in captivity. If captured in its black phase it will remain black. These are a relatively hardy fish, however like many puffers they are prone to ick. It is very important that the water conditions are pristine to alleviate any added stress to the puffer. As a general rule, puffers do not tolerate ick treatments very well. Goldens lack pelvic fins, but still is a very agile swimmer. They will use their strong pectoral fins to propel themselves around. They also have a fused beak like structure that they use to crush and chew food. It is important that these fish are provided shellfish and rock to grind these structures, as it can easily become overgrown which will prevent the fish from being able to eat properly. They are carnivores and require a large variety of meaty foods. I make my own fish food for Goldie as it is easier and cheaper than the prepared predator foods. I have chopped up shrimp, crab, cod, scallops, clams and squid which I soak in vitamin C and selcon. They are messy eaters and thus an effective protein skimmer is necessary. Puffers are so called puffers due to the fact that when frightened or distressed they will inflate to over two-times their size. Puffers should not be exposed to air because ingestion of air is difficult to expel. If the fish has ingested a large quantity of air, the owner might have to “burp” him to remove the air or else it could be fatal. It is also important to not make your puffer puff up, as it is very stressful on them. The Golden Puffers tolerate a wide variety of tank mates, however due to its size careful consideration should be made in regards to the selection. Goldens will eat many sessile invertebrates and can intimidate other peaceful fish. In a large enough tank, more than one Golden can even be kept together. Personal Experience: This is a very fascinating fish with a great personality. My LFS has had several in their store, and I have always been drawn to them. They literally are like puppies. Goldie will always come up the glass of the tank whenever I approach. Whenever I place my finger on the tank, he will open his mouth and place his beak on the glass where my finger is. We play a little game where I move the finger over the tank and he follows. I currently work from home and his tank is set up in my office. He is constantly watching me as I work (as is my peacock mantis in another tank) You should have your tank covered as these fish will “spit” water at you during feedings or when playing. They also like to splash around when you approach. They are voracious eaters and are always begging for more food. As mentioned earlier, golden puffers are messy eaters and will spit the food that they do not want out….almost at you! I found it was much cheaper to make my own food for him as he does not like finer pieces of food and will not bother with them. I have given him whole clams and raw shrimp to help grind down his beak. I currently have a turbo snail and a golden headed sleeper in the tank with him. I have heard of some people being able to keep some soft corals with goldens and I plan to gradually add some mushrooms and polyps. I frequently do water changes on his tank, about 10-20% weekly to keep ammonia and nitrates from building up. I have an ASM skimmer and a Coil Denitrator on his tank. As these fish are more prone it ick, I am moving my UV sterilizer from my reef tank to him.