Pufferfish and butterflies in a reef tank??

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alexjauregui97

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Hey all you hobbyist, so I’ve always wanted a porcupine pufferfish in my tank but I have a reef tank and we all know or at least they say pufferfish and coral/inverts don’t go together but when I look on YouTube or other videos people managed to keep a porcupine puffer in their thriving reef tanks. So why does my local fish store tell me I can’t have a puffer in my tank?? Have any of you guys managed to keep a puffer in your reef tank? If so what did you do, I’ve heard you have to buy a baby puffer and train him to eat food you feed only? Is this easily doable with out it eating all your coral or inverts? I’m seriously thinking about trying it

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NeonRabbit221B

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They say that so they don't have angry customers coming back angry if the puffer sees every coral or invert as a snack. Keep them well fed and you might not have a single issue. My valentini was a great addition besides the fact it decimated my snail population and nipped at a monti once. No experience with porcupine though.
 

Mr_Knightley

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Puffers (especially the larger species such as Porcs) are highly opportunistic when it comes to feeding. They naturally nip at the rocks all day every day, so even if you keep it "well fed" it will nip the rocks and may hit a coral every now and then. Another issue is that, even if it didn't nip the rocks or your coral, you would need to supplement the diet of the fish with something like Plaster of Paris or stones coated in food, because the fish need to grind down their teeth constantly (like a beaver) and if they start eating, say, free floating pellets, their beak will begin to grow too long and will have to be manually cut. Also, just because you've seen a few successful tanks on Youtube doesn't necessarily mean that success is common. Keep in mind, there are tens of thousands of saltwater fishkeepers out there. A handful of successes showcased on Youtube don't represent the whole picture of the hobby, and more often then not people will do what you wish to and have their reefs trashed by their new pet. The whole thing is a risk that honestly isn't worth taking, in my personal opinion. But, I also don't like puffers all that much so I may be a bit biased.
The previous commenter mentioned that your LFS said that to cover their butts, and while that may be true, any good LFS is going to try and guide their customers towards success.
Butterflies are a completely different story, because in the wild they literally only eat coral. They have no clue how to eat from the column and often starve in home tanks before you can wean them in to prepared foods. Can it be done, with both puffers and butterflies? Absolutely, I've seen it firsthand many times. But I've also heard far more "Oh no! My puffer is eating my ___! HELP!" stories than successes.

Forgive me if this was a downer, my only purpose was to be as realistic as possible. As always, do what you want, but do keep in mind the risks you are taking by making this purchase, both for your coral and potentially for the fish in question.
Have a nice day and God bless!
 
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alexjauregui97

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Puffers (especially the larger species such as Porcs) are highly opportunistic when it comes to feeding. They naturally nip at the rocks all day every day, so even if you keep it "well fed" it will nip the rocks and may hit a coral every now and then. Another issue is that, even if it didn't nip the rocks or your coral, you would need to supplement the diet of the fish with something like Plaster of Paris or stones coated in food, because the fish need to grind down their teeth constantly (like a beaver) and if they start eating, say, free floating pellets, their beak will begin to grow too long and will have to be manually cut. Also, just because you've seen a few successful tanks on Youtube doesn't necessarily mean that success is common. Keep in mind, there are tens of thousands of saltwater fishkeepers out there. A handful of successes showcased on Youtube don't represent the whole picture of the hobby, and more often then not people will do what you wish to and have their reefs trashed by their new pet. The whole thing is a risk that honestly isn't worth taking, in my personal opinion. But, I also don't like puffers all that much so I may be a bit biased.
The previous commenter mentioned that your LFS said that to cover their butts, and while that may be true, any good LFS is going to try and guide their customers towards success.
Butterflies are a completely different story, because in the wild they literally only eat coral. They have no clue how to eat from the column and often starve in home tanks before you can wean them in to prepared foods. Can it be done, with both puffers and butterflies? Absolutely, I've seen it firsthand many times. But I've also heard far more "Oh no! My puffer is eating my ___! HELP!" stories than successes.

Forgive me if this was a downer, my only purpose was to be as realistic as possible. As always, do what you want, but do keep in mind the risks you are taking by making this purchase, both for your coral and potentially for the fish in question.
Have a nice day and God bless!
This is great info I do appreciate you taking the time to talk and informing me
 

ReefHog

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I've been keeping Porcupine Puffers for the better part of 30 years or so. In that time I've had four. None of my Porcupines ever chomped rocks. Don't know why. I've seen lots of them do that. I don't believe Porcupines beaks grow in the same way or as fast as other Puffers. Still I feed off and on using custom made tweezers that have files epoxied to the tips to help grind their teeth/beak. My last one was in a sort of mixed reef for 8 years. No SPS but plenty of softies and LPS. He never payed any attention to the corals. He did pay too much attention to the shrimps and crabs. All fish have different personalities and while mine didn't bother corals, I've heard stories about ones that do. But even if he were to nip or chomp at some corals, chances are he won't hit on all of them. Since you already have the reef, you'd be taking on that risk. Also, Puffers eat a lot and poop a lot. You will need very good filtration to keep nutrients at an acceptable level for the corals and to keep algae under control. Lastly, the larger puffers like the Porcupine grow quite large and need a large tank. Below is my guy grinding his teeth on the feeding tweezers.

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