Black Dogface Puffer
Black dogface puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus
Just as the name suggest, the Black Dogface Puffer is a darker variant of the common Dogface Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus. All the Dogface Puffer variants are similar to ordinary Puffer fish, and if your Black Dogface Puffer becomes frightened it will inflate its body to twice its normal size in a typical Puffer fish way. Puffer fish inflate them self in order to look bigger in the eyes of its attacker. Avoid scaring your Black Dogface Puffer; since air can get caught inside the fish when it inflates it self and this air can kill the fish. Black Dogface Puffers kept in aquariums are wild caught, since we still do not know how to breed Black Dogface Puffer in captivity.
The Black Dogface Puffer is renowned for its charming personality, and it is a very individualistic fish. If you keep several Black Dogface Puffer fish you will probably soon notice that each fish has its very own personality and individual characteristics. It is however not a good idea to keep several Black Dogface Puffer fish in the same aquarium. You should also avoid keeping your Black Dogface Puffer with other Dogface Puffer variants, such as the Stripped Dogface Puffer. Black Dogface Puffer can sometimes been successfully kept with other Puffers, as long as you avoid the Dogface ones. Even more suitable companions for your Black Dogface Puffer are large Wrasse, large Angelfish, Trigger fish, and some Tang species of suitable size. If your Black Dogface Puffer is young it should only be kept with docile and non-aggressive species, since a young Black Dogface Puffer fish is easily frightened. If your young Black Dogface Puffer feels insecure or harassed in the aquarium it might refrain from eating and begin to starve.
Even an adult Black Dogface Puffer can sometimes stop eating in the aquarium, or eat very little. The first thing to do when you notice such behaviour is to check the water quality. Poor water quality is one of the main reasons behind attacks of anorexia in Black Dogface Puffer fish. As mentioned above, a Black Dogface Puffer can also loose its appetite if it feels stressed in the aquarium. Unsuitable aquarium companions can stress the Black Dogface Puffer fish tremendously. An aquarium set up with few places to hide and seek shelter can also make the Black Dogface Puffer feel insecure in the aquarium, and a combination of harassing companions and no places to hide is naturally even worse. A loss of appetite will also usually occur when your move the Black Dogface Puffer to a new environment, but as soon as you get your Black Dogface Puffer to start eating in its new home it will be easy to feed. When you buy a Black Dogface Puffer fish you should always ask the fish keeper to feed the fish while you are watching. This way you can make sure that the Black Dogface Puffer eats. Your Black Dogface Puffer fish will do best on a diet of marine meaty foods, such as shrimp, clams, crabs and marine fish.
In the wild, the Black Dogface Puffer is found in salt waters. Their natural environment stretches from Japan to east Africa and south Wales, Australia. Black Dogface Puffer will usually leave corals alone and can be included in a reef setup, but since the Black Dogface Puffer is very aggressive it should not be kept with smaller reef species. The Black Dogface Puffer is not a suitable choice for your first salt water aquarium, since they can be somewhat tricky to keep for a novice salt water aquarist. You should ideally acquire at least some experience with easier salt water species before your get your first Black Dogface Puffer. The Black Dogface Puffer prefers a salinity of sg 1.020-1.025, and the pH should be kept between 8.1-8.4. Recommended water temperature is in the 24-27°C (74-80° F) range.
Since the Black Dogface Puffer can reach a size of 33 centimetres / 13 inches it will require an aquarium of at least 350 L / 90 gallons. As mentioned above, keeping two Black Dogface Puffers together is usually not recommended. They are very territorial and will fight a lot and even kill each other if kept together. If you have a very large aquarium, 6000 L / 1500 gallons or larger, it might however be possible to house two Black Dogface Puffer in it, since they can claim their own territories. In this case, you must decorate the aquarium carefully and offer natural territorial borders for the Black Dogface Puffers. Suitable aquarium decorations can make it possible for them to stay out of each other sight. You should however be aware of the ever present risk of them killing each other, and monitor their behaviour carefully. It is advisable to avoid this type of experiments with the Black Dogface Puffer unless you have an extra aquarium ready for emergency rescues.
Black dogface puffer swiming near the bottom of the aquarium.
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