I have a very large puffer fish in my freezer that a local aquarium store gave me. I have never done this type of fish before. Is there someone who could tell me how to prepare it, such as how to clean and skin it? Do I remove the skull too? Can it be degreased in my regular fish solution or does it need something special? And finally, how do I obtain that nice full, round look? I was told I could use a heavy gauge balloon such as those sold as a child's punching toy at grocery stores, but I'm not sure how well this would work. Any ideas or tricks would be extremely welcome.
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Peggy , first of all , puffer fish are easy to clean . You dont need to degrease them because they are not greasy , plus their skin is very tough so it can be scraped clean . You dont need to remove the skull but just clean it as you would do on any fish . Also , you would want to keep the skull in as they have big buck teeth that you want to see .You dont say how big it is of if its a puffer or porcupinefish . If you want to do the hollow method , make a small cut and pull the meat out . Then you could use a ballon until it dries or pore sand in it until it dries . Your best bet is to carve a foam body for it . If you can send me a picture , I'll tell you what species it is . Rick email@example.com
I truly appreciate the help with this. I've already frozen it so I don't know if pictures would look like much, but it is about a foot long (deflated) and the spines are an inch to almost 2 inches long, very stout and sharp. Excellent specimen and not at all like the tiny ones I pulled from my shrimp net about a year ago that had lots of tiny "thorns" on them and were only about 3 inches long. Those I just stuffed up the vent with batting until they were full and then I let them dry. That was okay for those small specimens used in scenery, but this one is a premier piece for me. Thanks again and your patience with answering this for me was gracious, to say the least...
Peggy , if that fish has 2" spines , then it is a porcupine fish . I believe there are about 3 species of this kind . Those other fish you get in your shrimp nets with the small bumps are puffers .Try a search for porcupinefish . Rick