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Fresh Water Puffer Fish. Cute but Poisonous

Fresh Water Puffer Fish

Keeping fresh water puffer fish is a big challenge for anyone who loves aquarium fish

You will need a large tank and a capable water filtration and aerator quickly and thoroughly. Pufferfish can inflate into a ball shape to avoid and scare off predators.

Also known as blowfish, these clumsy swimmers fill their elastic bellies with lots of water (and sometimes air) and inflate themselves to several times their normal size. Some species of pufferfish also have spines in their skin to ward off predators.

In this list are 10 types of puffer fish that can be a reference for you, which type of puffer fish do you most want to keep and is it suitable for you to keep? Each has a different shape and characteristics to know.

We’ll show you how they look as well as give you some facts that may be relevant for each type.

Fresh water Puffer fish

1. Amazon puffer

Amazon puffer
Amazon puffer

The fish with Latin name Colomesus asellus has many names, including The South American Puffer, asellus puffer, South American freshwater puffer fish or Peruvian puffer is a species of puffer fish that is limited to the Amazon, Esafteribo, and Orinoco river basins in tropical South America.
The Amazon puffer is the only puffer fish that lives in schools in the wild. However, in an aquarium, it is one of the more difficult fish to keep.

It is recommended that only experienced and skilled hobbyists keep this freshwater pufferfish, and it is required that you have a very large tank suitable for more than one.

They have bright golden and black stripes which are very attractive against a backdrop of vegetation.

The South American Puffer will need a rectangular tank that is at least 120 cm (120 cm) long. The water must be well filtered, and dense vegetation or aquatic plants need to be planted.

You will also need to give them hard food as their teeth tend to overgrow, and you may still need to trim them manually.

2. Golden puffer

Golden puffer
Golden puffer

Latin name Arothron Meleagris, commonly referred to as the guineafowl puffer or golden puffer, is a puffer fish from the Indo-Pacific and the East Pacific.

They are usually cultivated, and the harvest is for the aquarium ornamental fish trade.

Golden Puffer comes in a light version within a dark version. In the light version, the pufferfish has a white body covered with yellow dots.

In the dark version, the black body has yellow dots. They have a very rounded body with small fins set far back.

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There are small tooth-like protrusions in its skin that resemble some kind of sandpaper. As it swells, these projections are more visible.

There are very large fish, that can reach nearly 20 inches long when fully grown.

3. Giant Freshwater Pufferfish (MBU Pufferfish)

Giant Freshwater Pufferfish
Giant Freshwater Pufferfish

MBU Pufferfish or Giant Freshwater Pufferfish is a very large type of pufferfish that can reach a length of 66 cm.

This fish, which has the scientific name Tetraodon mbu, is difficult to keep in an aquarium because it is difficult to provide sufficient space and filtration to maintain the health of your pet.

Therefore, this breed is recommended only for experienced pufferfish keepers.

The MBU puffer fish has a unique pattern on its body that can change with age

4. Puffer Fish Fahaka

Puffer Fish Fahaka
Puffer Fish Fahaka

The scientific name is Tetraodon lineatus. The fahaka puffer fish or Fahaka Puffer is one of the larger types of freshwater puffer fish available on the international ornamental fish market and can reach 40 cm in length when fully grown.

This fish is very aggressive, and only experienced keepers should try to own one of these breeds.

You will need a tank at least 152 cm deep with strong filtering capabilities, and you will also need to plant dense plants.

This fish is also known to grab when eating and don’t carelessly hold this fish because it can give a painful bite, this fish is a little fierce and dangerous.

5. Dwarf Puffer Fish

Dwarf Puffer Fish
Dwarf Puffer Fish

The Latin name is Carinotetraodon travancoricus. The pygmy pufferfish is also known as the pea pufferfish due to its small size.

It is one of the world’s smallest puffer fish and rarely exceeds 4 cm in length.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently lists the Dwarf Puffer as vulnerable due to removal from their habitat or overfishing.

This species is very popular in aquariums because of its bright color and small size.

It is much easier to get a tank of the right size and the filtration needed for the pygmy pufferfish than for many other types.

6. Red-tailed Pufferfish

Red-tailed Pufferfish
Red-tailed Pufferfish

The Red-tailed Pufferfish, which in English is called the Red-Tailed Dwarf Puffer, is a type of small pufferfish that only grows to about 5 cm at its largest.

They like slightly acidic water and an aquarium with lots of live aquatic plants.

Males in this breed are noticeably larger than females, and they have dark brown bodies with light cream stripes on the underside.

The smaller female has a mottled brown appearance with irregular shapes and markings. Males and females have red eyes and a red caudal fin.

7. Congo Pufferfish

Congo Pufferfish
Congo Pufferfish

As the name implies, the Congo puffer fish comes from rivers in Africa, another name is the Congo puffer (Tetraodon miurus).

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They grow to around 15 centimeters in length and will spend most of their time buried in the sand at the bottom of the tank to hide from potential predators.

Many colors are available, including black, sand color, and red, and the Congo pufferfish will also adapt any color to its environment except for blue.

They require large tanks and are very sensitive to nitrates, so the water must be well-filtered, as is required for most pufferfish in the aquarium.

8. Ocellated Pufferfish

Ocellated Pufferfish
Ocellated Pufferfish

Ocellated pufferfish, Tetraodon cutcutia (Leiodon cutcutia), or Ocellated pufferfish is a rare type of freshwater pufferfish.

This species is a captive-bred fish that now occupies the rivers and streams of South Asia.

Fish in this breed have their own individual personalities, and the males will guard the eggs strictly. They are more peaceful than many other breeds and love to be paired with each other.

You can also keep them in tanks that are smaller than other tanks and usually only need about 20 gallons or about 75 liters.

However, you still need a strong filtering system.

9. Puffer Imitator

Puffer Imitator
Puffer Imitator

The scientific name is Carinotetraodon imitator. The mimicking puffer is also known as the Dwarf Malabar Puffer, another type of small pufferfish.

They can be found in rivers in the Western Ghats of India.

This fish has a bright yellow color. The male has a brighter color than the female, while the female has dark spots all over her body.

Even if they are smaller fish, they still need an aquarium with at least 30 gallons of water.

10. Target Puffers

Target Puffers
Target Puffers

According to a trusted source, the Target Puffer grows to about 15 cm in length and requires a tank of at least 88 cm in length to live comfortably.

A constant strong filtration system is required, and the more water moving around in the aquarium, the better.

It is called the target puffer fish because on the sides of its body, it looks like a circle like a target for shooting.

The target pufferfish is a nocturnal predator and becomes especially active at night.

Dim or dim light can help you see this target pufferfish hunting for food.

Is Freshwater Pufferfish Poisonous?


Pufferfish, are famous for their dangerous poison, known as tetrodotoxin. But don’t worry, they can’t produce it on their own and are therefore mostly harmless in captivity.

Keeping freshwater pufferfish can be a lot of fun if you can maintain the right environment healthy for them to grow in.

Many freshwater pufferfish can get very large, and even the small ones have a different personality than many other types of fish.

Getting a large enough tank and filtering it properly can be tricky, so you’ll need to make a commitment beforehand as many of these fish survive for more than five years.

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Nooru Ariyoushi

Nooru Ariyoushi

Nooruariyoushi has been a fish hobbyist for 20 years and is now a blog writer sharing information about fish and how to care for them.

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