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Since I'm going to have to put Blitz down soon, I've inevitably been wondering what to do with an empty tank. The thought of dwarf puffers came up, and since then I've been hooked on the idea. I already know the care for them and what they need, what I'm asking is how people who have had both bettas and dwarf puffers think they are different. Who is more interactive, who is "smarter"? Post your opinions here, I'd love to read them!
 

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Phew, for a second, I thought you were going to put them together!! Glad that isn't the case!

Dwarf Puffers are fantastic but they aren't as outgoing as Betta's are and at first, they won't be as interactive either. It can take quite a while for DP's to become accustomed to their new place, from a couple weeks to a couple months even! Giving him/her a nicely planted tank with lots of cover will help them settle in along with at least some interaction daily until he learns you are food giver and associates you with good things instead of bad.

So if you aren't into a fish that isn't immediately outgoing and ready to go, then don't go with a DP. If you don't mind waiting a while and getting to know the fish, then a DP will be perfect!
 

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My husband has a dwarf puffer and 1 betta of his own (I care for them, and yes they are in separate tanks), and I have 6 bettas of my own.. every fish has a different personality in both species.
My husband's dwarf puffer was a bit of an [censor]. he's in a 12g long and started with 2 females.. which he harasser into jumping to their deaths =.= For the longest time he was fairly skittish though he knew the few feeding devices used and would swim over to them. He was horrified of the camera/phone (camera) and not remotely interested in "follow the finger" or even a finger wiggle "hello" in his direction.. but after my husband had his betta female's tank setup next to the dwarf puffer the puffer has warmed up a bit to more interactions. We think he's curious about "that other fish" and sees she is not scared of "the fingers" so now he's not (as much) either... He's fun to watch eat live black worms (have my own culture bins) like spaghetti and hunt and eat snail btw.
As for bettas with 7 in the house there's a range of personalizes, sme more aggressive to inquisitive to just plain always hungry to timid/placid. All the bettas are use to me and my husband and do well with interactions (some do follow the finger, all enjoy finger wigglings in their direction and direct attention) and even allow us to pet them (we wash our hands first). They love seeing new things (I try to show them something different each week.. a pen, a soda can, a flower, a toy, random stuff to look at and either flare at, flee from, or just investigate through the glass.

Over all bettas are more like dogs, wanting your attention and curious about new things. While puffers are more like a mostly feral (or outdoor only) cat.. understands you=food and likes that but not huge on socializing and play.

So long story short pretty much what lil' said in her last 2 sentences.
 

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This is my current dilema! I can't decide (I might do 2 tanks and do one of each because I have no self control...) I'd love to hear more people's personal stories! Also what all should/do your puffers eat? Would a diet of bloodworms and snails be okay? (I don't think culturing black worms is for me..)
 

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Some dwarf puffers (my husband's) refuse to take frozen foods and only eat live things.. So the one in this house gets ramshorn, pond, bladder, and mts snails (mts rarely as they tend to burrow under the substrate before he finds them in the densely planted tank) and black worms. I actually did a quick write up in another thread on black worm culturing as I do it now:

With a little bit of $ put into initial setup, black worms are an easy culture.
12g starlie bin (home depot $8) filled abut 4-5 gallons
1 6500k 13 watt cfl bulb (home depot 4 pack $5)
1 clamp on reflector lamp (home depot $9)
light timer (home deport $4-analog style)
floating plants (for me a mix of salvinia minima, riccia, duckweed, hornwort, and some other unknown low light stem (might be pearl weed?)) you can add other low light plants but blackworms prefer darkness over light so a thick batch of floaters are recommended
fill bin about 1/3-1/2 with water, dechlorinate, add floaters (should cover at least 1/2 of the surface to start-will fill in), put bulb in lamp clamp lamp to bin rim, plug lamp into timer, set for 14 hours of lights on, plug that into an outlet, add worms (I put in about 1/3 lb per a bin and let their #s grow) and you're done.

As for food there are plenty of options.. I choose the no cost one-brown paper from brown paper bags and brown packing paper. If you use paper towels don't use white ones-those are bleached and bleach is bad for them, would have to be organic paper towels. I've read they also eat fish/invert corpses (mind ammonia spikes from this though) and tossed in a dead shrimp once.

To feed fish push floaters out of the way and either siphon into a bowl/container, pipet, or suck up a needle-less syringe and feed.


The alternative to the bins with plants and a light is daily or every other day 100% water changes with worms in tupperware/smaller containers. Using Seachem Prime can bind ammonia up to 48 hours so washing can be every other day but its a pain and you can loose worms down the drain. You don't wnat to leave worms in small containers for sevearl days the ammonia will kill them and they dissolve.. the smell is so bad if you can stand it you could work cleaning bed pans and diaper duty at a nursing home with no problem.
Keeping them in something similar to a 'natural habitat' (plants to absorb ammonia and light to keep plants going) is much easier imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
lil, that was the same thing I was thinking the title sounded like after I was done writing it...I should have put some sort of disclaimer!
I think I'll be okay with having to wait for the dp to become used to me, I was kind of hoping for an experience different from having a betta, it seems it'll be a good choice. Aurora, have you ever tried to feed the puff flightless fruit flies? Do you think it'll go for them?

This is the tank I'll be putting the dwarf puffer in, minus Ivan of course. He'll be moved into another 10 gallon. I'm going to add a few more decorations and caves once I get the dwarf puffer, but is this all right for the puff for now?
 

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Looks beautiful! Yeah, it should be fine for a Puffer. Much like Betta's; they each have their own personalities as we've mentioned so one may love this kind of space while another may want more plants and hides! So you'll just have to gauge it when you get the fish :)

I love the sand mixture and the spiderwood! Fantastic feel!
 

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lil, that was the same thing I was thinking the title sounded like after I was done writing it...I should have put some sort of disclaimer!
I think I'll be okay with having to wait for the dp to become used to me, I was kind of hoping for an experience different from having a betta, it seems it'll be a good choice. Aurora, have you ever tried to feed the puff flightless fruit flies? Do you think it'll go for them?

This is the tank I'll be putting the dwarf puffer in, minus Ivan of course. He'll be moved into another 10 gallon. I'm going to add a few more decorations and caves once I get the dwarf puffer, but is this all right for the puff for now?
I've not tried flightless fruit flies.. I was going to have a dart frog viv and get them but I decided the viv was too much work and ditched the idea before buying flies. If the surface agitation/water movement is minimal to non while feeding I'd think they could go for flies, have to train them where the feeding spot was. Tank looks pretty good, I'd add some more plants around the sides just to give more hiding/exploration places (I like densely planted tanks) but it will do fine as is.
 

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I don't have one but I've read up on them. I decided to skip it after reading up on their care. They are more complicated to care for and if not given live snails to eat their teeth need trimming. There is a dwarf puffer forum which I won't link to directly but if you just google dwarf puffer forum you'll find it.

I highly suggest joining that forum or at least reading thier stickies before getting one. They do look really cute but bettas are simpler.

If you can afford a least a 55 gallon and have time and space for it my expanse into a personable fish was a blood parrot. They can live 10 years so care is long term committment. They are shy at first (at least a month) but once they know you are their caretaker they are very interested in you. Mine sits by me in the tank and watches me read. I've noticed she recognizes fish images on my computer and reacts to them. She comes out when the door shuts after I've come home and rolls on her side like a dog to greet me ( or you could say she is performing for food). Like bettas they usually peaceful can have an aggressive side. Tanksmates if any should be carefully chosen. You are better off getting one that is still a baby and if you desire tankmates get them at the same time. I'll share more if you let me know you are interested. Otherwise check out the puffer forum so you can compare betta and puffer care.
 

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Dwarf puffers do not have a beak that needs trimmed down by munching snails. That's the salt water variety you are thinking of. Though dwarf puffers still do enjoy eating snails, they don't need them.
 
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