I heard it is not so often that a puffer spawn in a captivity. They spawned after about a half year since I got them. There is summary of what happened in the spawning season in this page. I'm happy if this would be help who intended to breeding dwarf puffer. They keep spawning even now, I will add the progress to this page.
I had kept six (two males and four females) dwarf puffers since April, 1999. When I brought them in my tank, they seemed to be just like kids, were one or one and half centimeter long. At first time, they all were in the Tank 1. Tank 1 was not densely planted then, had a few plants and two 10x10cm stones in it. When I saw courtship behavior first was about five months later (Sep. 12, 1999). A male has following a female after and snuggling to her. I saw such activities every day after the day. One day, two males did fights very hard. I thought if one might kills the other, so I bought a new tank (Tank 2) and did isolate three (a male and two females) of them to the new tank. Soon after the day, I saw spawning and then found a egg in the Tank 1. A few days after, I found eggs in the Tank 2. They seemed to get into spawning season at the same time.
Courtship Behavior and Spawning
I saw a courtship behavior at a day a half year after I started keeping them.
Male's Behaviors in Spawning Season
This section is described that the behavior and the appearance of male dwarf puffer in spawning season except courtship behavior and spawning mentioned above. Both male and female does something had never ever seen in spawning season.
Doing Serious Fight With Another Male
I saw such a fight once, then I worried that if the two males would being together as they are, they would doing fight to death, so I moved the one male and two bride candidates to the other tank. Because of this, I'm not sure whether they do fights to death or not if they were in a same tank for a long period in a spawning season. But I can say it should be considered that separating males in the season. The fight is as follows:
Two males started pecking each other (that is a little fight as usual). A few second later, they two males transformed flatly as if his body was pressed from the side. (this photo had been taken when he started such a transformation and would fight with the other one on the other side of the partition. this was taken at another day.) They ran on the same circle about five rounds. Then they clashed. One bit left side of belly of the other very hard and they gone down behind a mass of willow moss. A few seconds later, they got out of the moss and gone away. After that, I looked at left side of belly of one was bitten, there is something like a wound or wrinkle.
I set a breeding box in the tank and put the one was bitten into the box. Next day I set a partition in the tank and separated each one male and two females to half tank. At last, I set up a new tank and moved tree of them to the tank.
Photo: Two males are going to start such a fight.
Eating Less Amount of Food
Males does not jump to food and eats less amount of food than females.
Until evening, both males and females swims peacefully. From evening to night, males will starts patrolling around a tank (especially around a mass of willow moss) and drives out females very hard from there. Females did often hide behind a leaf of plants.
Keeping Strong Wariness
Every time I get close to the tank, Males do react (get away) extremely. On the other hand, Females doesn't react such.
Place to Spawn
In case of mine, almost all spawning was done in/under a mass of Willow moss(Fontinalis antipyretica). It was done rarely by a stem under a big leaf of Anubias Nana. I think the place they will spawn is :
In my puffer tanks, willow moss is rounded softly and has just been placed between stone, filter pipe and back wall of the tank. It's convenient to pick the eggs up and maybe it would be a good hiding place for fry. But willow moss would be dying gradually because of lack of light.
New egg is about 1mm, transparent, has no adhesion and has a little white part.
A small number of eggs I found were wind eggs (were cloudy white).
Hatch and Larvae
In case of mine, eggs hatch for about 5 days (27°C). At the time this photo was taken, the fry keep still with such a pose for about 20 seconds or so, then got off the egg, swam toward surface and sank to bottom.
Newly hatched fry is :
Fry (Within a Week)
For about four days, they start to swim. They are almost still yet, but sometime run through the bottom of tank and hover nearby willow moss. Appearance is exactly different when they hatched. At first, eyes can be seen clearly, black dot is in the center of gold or light brown eyes. And They can already moves eyes like adult dwarfs does. Outline of body would be as fish. Fins can be seen too. Maybe fins can already moves because they can hover. Brownish color of body gone as compared with when they hatched. At this time, they doesn't eat yet.
For about five to six days, they grows about 3mm. Time to be still would be shorten, they swims around almost all time (except sleeping time). Sometimes they eats white tiny (2mm long) creatures like a earthworm. They chases baby brine shrimps, but doesn't eat yet.
In my tank, two fry died on a heater. Maybe they were burned by heater when they sat on it. Heater cover may not work due to the size of fry. In my case, I moved the heater to just below exit of water from filter.
Fry (a Week After)
Fry a week after hatching start feeding baby brine shrimps. How much they fed could be seen by looking at the belly of them. It will turn orange in color when they got fullness. This photo is fry ten days after hatching.
Fry a few weeks after hatching can kill fry a few days after hatching. (I'm not sure if they 'ate' them or not.)
Fry (a Month After)
Fry will be the same body shape as adult when about a month after hatching. The spots on back would be clear. But the back doesn't get yellow yet and belly doesn't get perfect white yet (orange color of brine shrimp in the stomach could be seen through.). They would be able to feed a smaller bloodworms and a tiny cut of tubifex worms.
Fry in this age, when they were hungry, can kill fry a few weeks after hatching by biting off. I'm not sure if they 'ate' them or not. Separating bigger fry and smaller fry is necessary.
Fry of dwarf puffer would feed brine shrimp for a week after hatching. They feed only moving food for a few weeks. They would feed (small) frozen bloodworms for a month.
A Group of Paramecium
Copyright © Wim van Egmond
Infusoria, in general, has been used to feed to very tiny fry of fishes such as a fry of betta. 'Infusoria' is a general term for many kind of microorganisms, such as paramecia, euglena, desmids, rotifers and so on. I cultured infusoria using a piece of cabbage and a few drops of milk, but finally didn't feed it to the fry because I heard on Pufferfish mailing list that many kind of infusoria can kill young fish. And the other reason I avoid to feed them is that It can pollute tank water. Actually, that's dirty and smelling bad, of course!, that's just rotten cabbage. But I also head Paramecia can be fed to sensitive fish. It can be cultured easily as follows:
Thanks: I quoted the following descriptions from the message posted by Manuela in ONEList Pufferfish mailing list
You could get paramecia if you take a bit of hay and let it rot in water (rain water, no tap water because of the chlorine); after a few days or weeks there will be tiny white spots which move - these are the paramecia. You can feed them with a few drops of milk and keep the culutre so for years without breeding other microorganisms by accident.
Another option of very small foods are water insects such as water flea(daphnia), Cyclops and Grindal worms. Cyclops is used as fry food generally, can be caught at a pond and be cultured, but in case of mine, they raised naturally in the tank. I'm not sure whether that is a water problem or not. But I think they came from Willow moss that I put in the tank. I had found them in the tank once, but they disappeared later. I'm not sure, but think the fry ate them up.
Copyright © Wim van Egmond
Liquid Fry Food
You may also use liquid fry food. I couldn't use it because can't found ones here in Japan.
Newly Hatched Brine Shrimp
Fry would feed newly hatched brine shrimp for a week after hatching.
Tubifex worms (cut to two or three mm long)
Fry would feed a small piece of tubifex worms for about two weeks after hatching.
Frozen Bloodworms (about 5mm long)
Fry would feed bloodworms for about a month after hatching.
Tanks for Dwarf Puffer
In Here, My tanks keeping dwarf puffers in are displayed. No! As you can see, this is never a kind of "My proud tanks!!" :) I'm just willing to show you what kind of tanks my puffers bred in there.
At the first time, all six dwarf puffers had been kept in the Tank 1. Two 10x10cm stones, Binchotan (Japanese charcoals has effect of cleaning water) and a few plants (Anubias nana, Limnophila sessiliflora...) had been used as decollations then. The photo was taken recently. A mass of willow moss is laid behind stone near the center back.
A half year later, I moved three of them (a male and two females) to the new tank, Tank 2.
When first fry hatched, I set up the Tank 3.
Sorry for the insufficient explainations above. The only one English word which I know for introducing these web sites is "GREAT!!".