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The Stars and Stripes Puffer is commonly referred to as the Whitespotted Pufferfish, or Hispid Pufferfish. It is named appropriately because of its unusual markings of stripes over the top of the body and the spots on its underside making a very attractive and striking pattern. It also features a beak-like mouth that has teeth in both upper jaw as well as lower jaw, is fused into two plates. Like all other puffers, it can also inflate its body with water or air to intimidate predators. Once the Stars and Stripes Puffer inflates its body, it would appear twice its original size so that the predator can not even engulf it. The Stars and Stripes Puffer can grow to be 18 inches and should be kept in a tank no less than 150 gallons. Be sure to provide plenty of live rock as well as offer hard shelled Shrimps often to keep teeth worn down or be sure to trim teeth as needed. Using a container with water as opposed to a net when removing or transferring any Pufferfish is crucial to avoid ingestion of air.
Once acclimated, the Stars and Stripes Puffer is a hardy fish that needs minimum maintenance and makes a good choice for any aquarist. The Stars and Stripes Puffer should not be exposed to air while handling, as the ingested air is too tough to expel and makes it difficult to survive. Since the Stars and Stripes Puffer may eat invertebrates found in a reef tank, it is not well suited to the reef aquarium. It feeds on a variety of foods including algae, coral, sponges, starfish, mollusks, anemones, urchins and other invertebrates. The Stars and Stripes Puffer is nocturnal hunter just like other puffers, and would nip at slow-moving fish and long-finned fish, but is not aggressive with others in its own family. It is not at all reef safe species and should not be kept in a reef tank.
The Stars and Stripes Puffer should be fed with large chunks of meaty foods such as krill, raw table shrimp, squid, clam and mussel. It is also a good idea to occasionally supplement with some type of herbivore diet. It thrives well in a temperature range of 72-78° F and pH of 8.1-8.4.
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