difference between a spotted green puffer, a green puffer, and the spotted
in your LFS can be confusing, as well as harmful to your puff. These
three species bear a major similarity in that they seem to have the same
markings. Luckily, there are some differences as well as similarities.
Ok, so they
all have spots. They all have the same placement of dorsal, anal
and pectoral fins. Their colors are similar and they share that "cute"
look. If you look closely, however, they are easy to tell apart.
the spotted Congo Puffer
one to differentiate from the others is t. schoutedeni, the spotted
Congo Puffer. The spotted Congo puffer has a distinctive "club-like"
shape to its body (just imagine the tail as the handle), with a drastic
drop from belly to anal fin. Additionally, it's not as fluorescent
green as the other two, tending toward a brownish background for its spots.
What really separates t. schoutedeni from the others is the backward-pointing
spines that it has on its belly. These are especially visible when
the spotted Congo is puffing (they stick out). Even when it's not,
however, the spines are still apparent on its underside (although not near
its mouth). You may not be able to see these spines from the pictures
(they rest pointing backwards, toward the caudal fin), but if you observe
them in person you'll be able to make them out.
the Green Puffer
the Spotted Puffer
leaves the last two to figure out. These are a lot more similar,
but have one major distinction. The difference between the two is
in their body shape. T. fluviatilis (green puffer) exhibits
a torpedo shaped body, with a longer sloping head and back region.
The slope of its body is gradual, almost elongated when compared to that
of t. nigroviridis. T. nigroviridis (spotted green
puffer) has a balloon-like quality, with a very rounded body. If
you look at their mouths and follow the general shapes they have, you'll
see how much rounder T. nigroviridis actually is. It also
has eyes placed closer to its mouth and a rounder, shorter "nose".
that even though T. nigroviridis on the right is full of food, it
still doesn't have the abrupt slope from belly to tail of t. schoutedeni.)
Additionally, T. fluviatilis will tend to exhibit
a "shinier, more discrete, consistent" (coloration with) "smaller
dots." (Fenner, 2001)
Why is this
important? T. fluviatilis is a brackish water pufferfish.
nigroviridis can handle small amounts of salt (they actually do better
with some salt), but is considered a freshwater fish. T. schoutedeni
is a purely freshwater fish, so you shouldn't give it any more salt than
you would another freshwater species.