Is there a reef-safe puffer?

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Jeremy Gay helps a reader to decide on which type of puffer to choose for setting up his tank.

Q: I’m setting up a 400 l tank for marines and corals and I would like some advice on my chosen fish, please. I’d like to keep two Common clowns, a Kole tang, a Rusty angel, some chromis and a Green clown goby. I’d also like to add a small puffer of some sort if it’s compatible. Is there one you could recommend? I’m only planning on keeping soft corals and mushrooms to start with. Will this set-up work? 

CHRIS MARSHALL VIA EMAIL

A: Jeremy replies: The clowns, tang, angel, chromis and goby are all fine. Koles are good algae eaters and could mix later on with a Yellow tang if you wanted to add one. Dwarf angels like the Rusty can occasionally nip at some fleshy LPS corals, however. 

For puffers, choose either a Saddled, Canthigaster valentini, or a Blue spotted, Canthigaster solandri. Although dwarves, no puffers are truly reef safe in that they are capable of eating shrimp, crabs and snails, but they should be largely coral safe. Feed either puffer on Artemia, Krill, Mysis, cockle and mussel.

Quarantine all fish before adding to them to the main tank, as if they get whitespot when you have corals, treating it can be very difficult. A UV steriliser may help to ward it off.