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Fahaka Puffers are molluscivora in the wild. Their natural diet consists of snails, crabs, mussels, and clams. In captivity, Fahaka Puffers eat snails, worms, crabs, and other shellfish. It is essential Fahaka Puffers eat shelled food on a regular basis in order to trim and maintain their sharp teeth. Fahaka Puffer’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. If they are not regularly trimmed they can cause problems.
The popularity of freshwater pufferfish has grown so much over the last 10 to 15 years. There is now a wide variety of species available in the hobby. From the tiny Dwarf Puffer, which reaches just 1” (2.5cm) to the mighty Mbu Puffer which grows to over 30” (75cm). There is a pufferfish to match every aquarium.
I have been keeping Pufferfish for over 10 years, and I currently have 2 Fahaka Puffers in my collection. Fahaka Puffers grow to around 18” (45cm) long and need a carefully balanced diet to keep them in the best health.
What Do Fahaka Puffers Eat?
Fahaka Puffers are hardcore carnivores. They only want to eat live (or frozen) foods. They will not take prepared foods such as pellets.
I feed my Fahaka Puffers a mix of the following;
Fahaka Puffers love to eat snails, which is lucky because snails are one of the easiest live foods for us to reproduce at home. I keep a dedicated aquarium just for breeding Ramshorn snails.
Fahaka puffers will eat just about any snails you put into their aquarium. Ramshorns are one of the easiest to breed at home, so should make up the bulk of their snail diet. They will also take Malaysian Trumpet snails, Mystery snails, and even land snails.
One thing to be aware of when feeding snails to your Fahaka Puffer is, only put as many into the aquarium as your Fahaka Puffer will eat in one go. It may seem like a good idea to put a handful of snails into the aquarium, allowing the Fahaka Puffer to eat as required.
In reality, your Fahaka will probably eat 2 or 3 of the snails, then kill the rest and leave them to rot in the aquarium, fouling your water at the same time.
Crabs are an excellent addition to your Fahaka Puffers diet. If you place a live crab into the aquarium, your Fahaka Puffer will get the chance to exercise its natural hunting instincts. Fahaka Puffers have a strong hunting instinct.
There is a downside to feeding your Fahaka Puffer crabs. Crabs have strong pinchers. A crab that is large enough can pinch on your Fahaka Puffer. It could even take your Fahaka’s eye out.
The best way to avoid your Fahaka Puffer being injured by a crab is to break the crab’s claw with a hammer prior to feeding it. If I am honest, I am a little too squeamish to do this, so I tend to only feed my Fahaka Puffer small crabs which don’t have claws large enough to cause any damage to my puffer.
Fahaka Puffers seem to relish earthworms. The great thing about earthworms is they are the ultimate free food.
You can dig them up from your yard, wash them and drop them into your Fahaka Puffers aquarium. Just be cautious to only dig them up from locations you know no chemicals have been added to the ground, otherwise, those chemicals may harm your puffer.
Do remember your Fahaka really does need a diet primarily made up of hard-shelled foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Earthworms should be an ‘addition’ to their diet, not a staple part of it.
Clams, along with snails, should form the backbone of your Fahaka Puffers diet. I buy frozen clams on the half shell either from Hikari or Ocean Nutrition. I often don’t even bother to defrost the clams, I just drop them in and my Fahaka Puffer gets straight to work on them.
Do be cautious not to feed a small puffer a large clam as it may not have the strength to bite through a clam that is too large.
Much like clams, mussels should make up a large percentage of a Fahaka Puffers diet. Mussels tend to have thinner shells than clams, so if your Fahaka is struggling to bite through a clam, try feeding him a few mussels.
Crayfish, like crabs, help to exercise your Fahaka Puffers’ natural instincts to hunt. Crayfish also have fairly strong claws, so do be cautious when feeding them to your Fahaka.
If it is legal in your state, the self-cloning crayfish is an excellent live food you can produce at home. Keep the self-cloning crayfish in a separate aquarium and feed the babies to your Fahaka. Managed properly, you will have an endless supply of live food.
When it comes to feeding our Fahaka Puffers shrimp, we have two different options. I tend to use both. We can feed frozen cocktail shrimp or we can feed live shrimp such as Ghost Shrimp. Fahaka Puffers love to eat Ghost Shrimp.
If you are feeding frozen shrimp, just drop a few straight into the aquarium and your Fahaka Puffer will quickly devour them. Cocktail shrimp can also be soaked in a vitamin supplement like Vitachem prior to feeding.
When feeding Ghost Shrimp or other live shrimp, I tend to put a small handful into the aquarium at a time. If you put too many in, there is a risk your Fahaka Puffer will eat a few, then just kill the rest and leave them.
Why Do Fahaka Puffers Need Hard Foods?
Fahaka Puffer’s teeth are constantly growing. They need to keep their teeth trimmed by biting into hard-shelled foods such as clams, mussels, and snails.
If we don’t feed our Fahaka Puffers these hard foods their teeth will continue to grow. They will eventually get to the point where they can’t open or close their mouths due to excess tooth growth. If this ever happens, we as fish keepers will be required to trim their teeth for them.
Not a job for the faint-hearted.
How Often Should I Feed A Fahaka Puffer
How often a Fahaka Puffer needs feeding will vary by age and size. A small Fahaka Puffer will need to be fed 3 or 4 times a week.
When they are growing they need lots of small meals and their food should be as varied as possible. A mid-sized Fahaka Puffer only needs to be fed a couple of times a week. They will probably have a large meal each time, then spend a day or two digesting it.
A large adult Fahaka Puffer will probably only eat once a week. It can be hard to feed a varied diet when feeds are sporadic.
To be healthy, Fahaka Puffers need to be fed a varied diet which should include snails, clams, worms, mussels, crabs, and crayfish. The more variety they receive the better the range of vitamins and minerals they will consume. This in turn will lead to a bigger, stronger Fahaka Puffer more easily able to fight off pests and diseases.