Yes, they do. Puffer fish (or blowfish) make interesting aquatic pets, and require a varied diet to ensure they stay healthy.
As omnivores, puffers eat almost anything you offer, including crabs.
However, their love for meaty crabs goes beyond flavor.
This article discusses why puffer fish eat crabs, and how to feed them. We also share other tips to help you take good care of your pet fish.
Why Do Puffer Fish Eat Crabs?
Yes, puffers can eat crabs.
Crabs and unshelled shrimps are their top meal choices for more than one reason. The delicious seafood, while nutritious, also provides dental health benefits for blowfish.
All species of puffer fish have “four teeth.” These teeth are “fused” to create a beak-like jaw. These teeth grow continuously and need regular trimming.
Eating crustaceans can help scale down the puffer’s beak naturally.
Overgrown beaks prevent blowfish from opening their mouth wide enough to eat. This can lead to malnutrition and various health risks.
How Do Puffer Fish Eat Crabs?
National Geographic states that large species of puffers use their beaks to “crack open” shellfish. The “hard beaks” allow puffers to munch on these crunchy delicacies.
A puffer fish can do the same inside a tank. It’s why you should feed your pet unshelled, whole crabs.
Eating hard-shelled food naturally trims and wears down a puffer’s teeth. Their dental health will decline without a steady diet of crabs or other crustaceans.
You may need to consult a vet for assistance in trimming their large beaky teeth.
Do All Species of Puffer Fish Eat Crabs?
Yes and no.
Most puffer fish are omnivores, and they can eat crabs. Yet, a puffer’s age, size, and species determine dietary needs.
For instance, young puffers might find it difficult to crack open a crab’s tough shell. Adult puffer fish with fully-developed teeth won’t experience this problem.
It’s best to consult a vet or aquatic pet expert before feeding your puffer. Find out if your pet can eat unshelled crabs beforehand.
Doing so reduces the risk of health issues caused by a poor diet.
The Full Diet Plan: What Else Do Puffer Fish Eat?
In the wild, pufferfish eat a varied diet of algae and invertebrates. They are natural predators and feed on what they find.
They prefer the same seafood variety when kept as aquatic pets.
We can divide their food preferences into three categories. It depends on how you serve the food.
The key lies in creating a well-balanced diet to promote the puffer’s dental health and overall wellness.
- Fresh Food
When it comes to fresh food, shellfish remains the number one choice for feeding puffers. These sea creatures are divided into two classes; crustaceans and mollusks.
Marine biologists classify crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp as crustaceans. While oysters, scallops, mussels, clams, and cockles are part of the mollusk class.
Squids, octopuses, and snails come under the mollusks category.
Adult-sized puffers enjoy devouring crunchy unpeeled shellfish served whole. If you own a smaller species or young puffer, we suggest feeding them freshly diced shellfish.
You can balance their diet with other types of puffer-friendly fresh food.
Common options include:
- Algae wafers
- Small fish like whitebait
You can chop or dice the food into an edible size. If you’re confused, do a test.
Feed your fish large chunks one day and smaller pieces the next day. Observe how your puffer fish responds to determine the best size for your pet.
- Live Food
Puffers enjoy variation in their diet.
You should feed them live food occasionally. You can introduce crayfish, shrimp, aquatic snails, or crabs into the tank.
Ensure they are well-sized and parasite-free before adding them to the aquarium.
Hunting live food inside the tank satisfies your puffer’s predatory instincts. It also makes their feeding schedule fun and prevents your fish from feeling bored.
Do note that feeding live food can be slightly risky. Contact a trustworthy vendor to ensure you receive a fresh supply of disease-free live creatures.
Compare customer reviews to seek credible suppliers. You can also ask local pet shops for recommendations to make an informed decision.
- Frozen Food
You can feed puffers frozen seafood if fresh food is unavailable. Before serving the food, you need to defrost it.
Many pet owners use 1-2 cups of aquarium water to thaw the frozen meat. It allows you to bring the meal to an optimum temperature.
Also, it ensures the tank’s water quality doesn’t change when you feed your puffer.
What Type of Frozen Food Can You Feed Puffers?
While frozen shellfish make for an excellent meal, puffers will eat other food too. Frozen salmon and bloodworms are the top substitutes for shellfish.
They are nutritiously-rich and tasty.
Salmon, in particular, promotes puffer fish’s vibrant color due to its high carotenoid levels. Studies observe that carotenoids are eco-safe supplements for aquarium fish.
How to Feed Frozen Food
You should dice the frozen food into digestible cubes.
You can also shave off frozen fish chunks using a grater before thawing them. Grating frozen food allows you to maintain a portion-control diet for puffers.
That way, you’re less likely to overfeed them.
A Quick Look at Popular Food Choices for Blowfish
In a nutshell, puffers eat crabs, shrimps, oysters, and other shellfish. You can also feed them conventional fish food like bloodworms, frozen fish, and aquatic plants.
Balancing plants and meaty fish feed works best. It ensures your puffers receive essential nutrients through their daily diet to stay healthy.
Also, remember to add an adequate amount of crunchy food to naturally trim their teeth.
FAQs: Feeding Tips and Care Guide
Knowing what to feed puffer fish isn’t enough.
To raise healthy puffers, you need to develop a healthy feeding schedule. Learn what they need and what to avoid during mealtime.
We answer your burning questions related to the puffer fish diet below.
Q. How Often Should You Feed Puffer Fish?
WikiHow recommends feeding puffers twice or thrice a day. If you opt for three feeding sessions, do so in the morning, midday, and night.
Proper intervals will allow your puffer fish to digest the food naturally.
Serve the food in an appropriately-sized portion.
If your puffer doesn’t finish its meal, remove the leftover food. Otherwise, it might rot and pollute the fish tank. Your pet either has a full stomach or can’t eat large portions of food.
Feed it less in the following session. Continue the same routine for a week.
If it still refuses to finish its food, inspect the aquarium water. Unfavorable ammonia levels, excessive nitrates, and the wrong water temperature can affect the fish’s appetite.
Making necessary adjustments can help.
Consult a vet if the poor eating habits continue.
Q. Do Puffers Eat Commercial Food for Aquatic Pets?
Puffer fish can adapt to an aquarium diet once it feels safe inside the tank. That includes eating flakes and fish pellets.
Yet, they can’t live on a pellet-rich diet alone.
Commercialized fish food doesn’t have enough nutrients. It is also not crunchy enough to file your fish’s beak-like jaws.
Due to this, you need to ensure your pet receives a fair amount of shellfish and plants. Otherwise, you will need to visit a vet for dental maintenance and nutrient deficiency issues.
Q. Does Your Puffer Need Supplements?
Shellfish contain high levels of thiaminase. Excess intake of this biochemical can prevent puffers from absorbing vitamin B1.
Daily consumption of shellfish can cause a nutrient deficiency in some puffer fish.
You can prevent this by pre-soaking thawed food in vitamin solutions containing the necessary nutrients. That will ensure your pet receives enough nutrition.
Aside from this, you can serve mixed meals to balance out the natural supply of nutrients.
Q. Do Puffer Fish Eat Tank Mates?
Raising crustaceans with puffers—like small, cleaner shrimp or crabs—remains taboo in aquaculture. Nothing can stop a blowfish from eating these species when it gets hungry.
Other aquatic creatures are also at risk if you keep them with puffers.
Since most puffer fish are predominantly predators, they will snack on other fish. Some species of blowfish are also very aggressive and territorial.
These traits make puffers unsociable and hostile tank mates for other aquatic pets.
Puffers will hurt their tank mates in a fit of fury or hunger. They might eat small fish or bite into the fins/tails of bigger tank mates.
That means your blowfish will eat tank mates, regardless of the size of the co-inhabitant.
However, experienced owners manage to take care of a community fish tank that includes puffers. In these instances, you must ensure your puffer gets plenty of room to swim.
Also, ensure you pair puffer fish with an aquarium pet that doesn’t bother it.
Mollies, gobies, and harlequin rasboras are some good-tempered co-habitants. They make a good tank mate for puffer fish.
Ensure there are caves and rocks for them to hide behind. That will allow small fish to stay safe from aggressive blowfish.
The Key Takeaway
In conclusion, puffer fish do eat crabs. Adult blowfish enjoy cracking the shell, while younger pets might prefer bite-sized crabmeat.
Crabs and other shellfish help maintain a puffer’s dental health. Their tough exteriors allow blowfish to shave off their continuously growing teeth.
A crab-rich diet can save you the trouble of filing your puffer’s beak.
Add crabs to your grocery list if you decide to raise a puffer. Your pet will enjoy all varieties, including a fresh, live, or frozen crab meal.
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