7 Freshwater Puffer Fish

Published on August 10, 2018
7 Freshwater Puffer Fish

Freshwater puffer fish is gaining popularity among aquarium hobbyists because they look adorable with their ball-like appearance.

They are also interesting creatures because of their territorial behavior and unique ability to puff up air or water.

Do you like the idea of keeping puffer fish in your freshwater aquarium?

If yes, it is important to distinguish which puffers belong to freshwater and which ones thrive only in brackish aquarium.

For a start, here are seven freshwater blowfish for your tank:

Dwarf Puffer

freshwater dwarf puffer fish
By Till Kresslein [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Measuring just about 1 inch in size, dwarf puffers are among the smallest in the tetraodon family.

Many aquarists see the Dwarf puffer as the most ideal puffer to keep in an aquarium.

We can place them in a small tank but avoid placing them in a community aquarium because they may nip the fins of slow-moving residents.

They are also in danger of getting eaten up by their much larger companions because of their small size.

Puffers sold in stores may come with parasites and this can be hard to treat, which could be fatal for the fish. When buying your first dwarf puffer, be wary of those that appear lethargic or seem to shy away from humans since these puffers could be sick.

Red Eye Puffer

The red eye puffer is a small freshwater fish with a big attitude. You need to keep it in a species-only habitat because it shows aggression towards other species.

It is best to keep them alone or as a pair only because they are neither friendly to their own kind.

Should you want to keep over one red eye puffer in a tank, see that the container has enough plants. Make sure you also monitor the puffers.

South American Puffer

south american puffer blowfish
Oliver s. [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The South American puffer fish is unlike most species of freshwater puffer, they are migratory and non-territorial.

They do not exhibit aggressive behavior towards their own kind or other species.

Interestingly, South American puffer becomes nervous when isolated.

During daytime, South American puffers follow one another, and even squabble over food, but they huddle as a group at night, or when alarmed.

Fahaka Puffer / Nile Puffer

fahaka nile blowfish
By Earedien [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

The Fahaka puffer fish, also known as the Nile puffer, is a large puffer that can reach up to 1.4 feet in length.

Nile Puffer freshwater fish has a striking appearance, and like all other puffer fish has the ability to change color depending on its mood. This species can inflict harm of kill other fish kept in the same tank.

The puffer have strong teeth it can use to tear pieces from other creatures in the same aquarium. There are reports of fish keepers sustaining serious injuries when carrying out routine maintenance on their tank.

Because of its nature, you need to maintain the Fahaka puffer as a solitary specimen.

Target Puffer

Tropical fish enthusiasts consider the target puffer rare.

The species which thrives in both freshwater and brackish environments, we can differentiate it by a colored eye spot near the tail whose color ranges from orange to purplish.

The teeth of the target puffer constantly grow so it is important that you give them food with a hard exoskeleton, such as snails and other mollusks, to prevent their teeth from overgrowing.

Green Spotted Puffer

Green spotted puffer fish
By Starseed [CC BY-SA 3.0 de or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

The green spotted puffer features a yellow-green back with black spots that contrasts with its white belly.

This puffer, however, is like a chameleon that can change its color. Instead of a creamy white belly, the green spotted puffer may have a black stomach. The dark spots and the color on its back may also fade to pale.

How your green spotted puffer changes color hints of its health. It is most likely sick if it has a black belly most of the time. A healthy green spotted puffer changes color all the time.

If you want to get the green spotted puffer today, you can find them in pet shops. But be careful because pet shops label them as freshwater fish, which is only half of the truth. The juveniles of the species can live in freshwater but the adults need water with high salinity level.

Experts advise keeping adult green spotted puffers in an aquarium with brackish water.

You can use marine salt for your tank, but make sure you do not confuse marine salt with the aquarium salt used for freshwater aquariums.

This puffer can also grow up to 6 inches long so you need to keep it in a large aquarium. Allocate at least 30 gallons of water for one puffer.

Because of its water requirements, the green spotted puffer may not be the best choice for inexperienced aquarists.

Figure 8 Puffer

Figure 8 puffer
Image by ImageofImagination

The figure 8 puffer fish may be mistaken as a young green spotted puffer with unusual patterns. Its unique traits are its two eyespots found in front of its caudal fin and below its dorsal fin.

The eyespots fool predators into thinking the wrong end of the fish is facing them. This protects these puffers from being approached and attacked from behind.

The figure 8 puffer fish is also easier to keep. Unlike the green spotted puffers, which require highly brackish environment as adults, figure 8 puffer fish only need low brackish of 1.005 to 1.008 all throughout their life.

The figure 8 puffers grow to only about half the size of the green spotted puffers so they only need half the space and amount of water required for green spotted puffers.

This puffer is one of the most colorful among puffer species. It keeps its beautiful marking all the way into adulthood. It is also the perfect fish to start with if you are a beginner brackish puffer keeper.

There you have it..

A beginner friendly guide to 7 puffer fish that can live in freshwater.

Puffers can be great pets for fish lovers as long as you know their characteristics and how to keep them healthy and thrive.

We hope that this rundown of the most popular freshwater puffer fish can give you an idea which species to keep for your aquarium.

So, have you decided to get this beautiful fish as a new addition to your tank? Or even starting a brand new tank?

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