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What to Feed Pea Puffer Fry and Adults

Pea puffers (also known as dwarf pufferfish) are a species of tropical freshwater fish endemic to the rivers, lakes, and estuaries of southern India. If you’re planning on keeping or breeding pea puffers, you may be wondering what to feed both fry and adults in captivity?

Pea puffers are carnivores and need protein-rich food to thrive in captivity. Meat-based live edibles such as snails and insects as well as frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms are all good choices. Fry should be fed infusoria until they’re big enough to eat meaty foods or hunt for food on their own.

Now that you know pea puffers need meaty foods, both as babies and adults, let’s explore this topic together in more detail. We’ll learn at what age youngsters can be weened off infusoria and offered live or frozen edibles, if they’ll eat dry or flaked goods, and how long they can go without being fed.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about how to properly feed your pea puffer pets, then let’s begin!

What do Baby Pea Puffers Eat?

Baby pea puffers will eat infusoria (minute freshwater life forms such as ciliates, protozoa, and unicellular algae) when they’re newly hatched. When they become juveniles, they’ll eat baby brine shrimp, young daphnia, and micro worms until they’re big enough to hunt for pest snails on their own.

How Often do You Feed Baby Pea Puffers?

Baby pea puffers should be fed small amounts of frozen brine shrimp (that’s been thawed and cut up in advance) once or twice per day. You don’t want to overfeed them so be sure to offer just enough food to be consumed in a one-minute time-period. Overfeeding youngsters is detrimental to their health.

Do Pea Puffers Eat Baby Brine Shrimp?

Yes, pea puffers will eat baby brine shrimp, especially as juveniles. Adults will also eat frozen brine shrimp and blood worms as well as live blackworms and pest snails. Mosquito larvae is another preferred edible. Basically, any meat-based edible that can easily fit into their mouth is fair game.

Do Pea Puffers Eat Dry Food?

No, pea puffers typically won’t eat dry food. They’re predators and prefer to hunt for their food. They’ll accept frozen meaty edibles but discard pellet foods. They may eat dried foods like Hakari Bio-Pure Freeze-Dried Bloodworms or Brine Shrimp since they resemble meaty edibles when they sink.

Can You Feed Dwarf Puffers Fish Flakes or Pellets?

You can try to offer your dwarf puffers prepared fish flakes or pellets, but they likely won’t accept them. Freeze-dried options like brine shrimp or blood worms are more nutritious and will help sustain them for longer. That said, live and/or frozen meaty foods best and should make up most of their diet.

Will Pea Puffers Eat Crickets?

Pea puffers will eat crickets along with a variety other insects like mosquitoes. Being carnivorous in nature, this species will feast on just about any meaty edible that can easily fit into their mouths. They’re predacious and like to hunt for food. They’re also opportunistic and won’t forgo an easy meal.

Can Pea Puffers Eat Mealworms?

Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle and can be fed to pea puffers in moderation. This meaty option is more of a treat than a meal and can be offered to pea puffers once a week. It’s important that you chop the mealworms up small enough so your pea puffers can easily consume them.

Will Pea Puffers Eat Vegetables?

Yes, pea puffers may eat vegetables on occasion, but greens should only makeup a small portion of their diet. Pea puffers are carnivores and need meaty foods that’re rich in protein and essential nutrients. Offering them a few veggie options once or twice a week is fine but keep their diet mainly meat based.

pea puffer eating

What Types of Vegetables Can Pea Puffers Eat?

Pea puffers will often munch on algae and plants. Greens that look like plankton and other vegetation growing wild in their natural habitat will typically be eaten including lettuce and spinach. Introducing a few greens into their diet helps to ensure they get all the nutrients they need for optimum health.

What Types of Snails do Pea Puffers Eat?

Pea puffers are predatory fish and as such, will hunt and eat snails or other small crustaceans inhabiting their environment. Pond snails, land snails, bladder snails, ramshorn snails, Malaysian trumpet snails, and even tiny mystery snails, and unwanted ‘pest’ snails will quickly be devoured in a community tank.

Will Pea Puffers Eat Scuds?

Yes, pea puffers will eat scuds. Scuds are minute shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the substrate. Since pea puffers are predatory fish, they’ll hunt and eat almost any tiny creature, scuds included. Scuds are pests and can easily overtake an aquarium so pea puffers can help keep them from over-populating.

How Long can Dwarf Puffers Go without Eating?

Dwarf puffers can go 5 to 7 days without eating. If well-fed, their protein-rich diet can sustain them for almost a week, should you need to leave them alone for a while. Since overfeeding isn’t recommended, once per day feedings with just enough food to consume in a 2- to 3-minute time-period is all they need.

Though this species can go without eating for an extended time-period, it’s important to note that they should be fed daily with both the right type and amount of food. If you plan to be away from your pet fish longer than 48 hours, try to find a trusted friend or family member to feed them for you.

What is the Best Food for Pea Puffers?

The ‘best’ food for pea puffers includes a variety of meat-based options. Frozen brine shrimp and blood worms are good examples. Chopped up squid and mealworms, clams, krill, and even mosquito larvae will all be accepted.

Live foods like blackworms and pest snails are also good food sources since this fish is predacious and likes to hunt for its meals. A few vegetables can be offered (on occasion) as well including cut up lettuce and spinach. Greens such as algae and plants growing naturally in the tank will also be munched on.

The idea is to provide an assortment of mainly meaty edibles to ensure your pea puffer pets are getting all the nutrients they need for a long and healthy life. Too much of the same food not only limits the nutriment values but also may becoming boring after awhile and thus ignored by your fish.

How do Pea Puffers Hunt for Food?

Unlike larger pufferfish, pea puffers won’t bite through the shell of a snail but rather attack the snail’s soft spots like the legs and then suck the snail from its shell. Small crustaceans like crabs and shrimp are also at risk of being eaten by pea puffers if they share the same aquatic environment.

Pea puffers are aggressive and territorial and have been known to nip at larger, slow-moving tankmates if overcrowded or underfed. Therefore, it’s important you keep them well fed in a large enough tank to help reduce their hostile tendencies.

Why is it Bad to Overfeed Pea Puffers?

Overfeeding pea puffers in a confined environment is a bad idea. This is the leading cause of poor water quality and can stunt their growth as juveniles. It can also result in loss of appetite, cause colors to fade, and increases their risk of disease.

Final Thoughts

In summation, pea puffers are carnivorous and prefer high-quality, protein-rich foods. Live snails and black worms as well as frozen brine shrimp and blood worms are recommended. Baby pea puffers will dine on infusoria until they’re big enough to eat frozen food or hunt for snails on their own.

I trust this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby.

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