The freshwater Puffer fish guide - (2024)

Puffer fish is another most unique and awesome fish to have in freshwater fish tanks. We can find in puffers in freshwater and as well as in marine aquariums. This article discusses some important facts about freshwater puffer fish.

Since this article about to cover up some important fact, You can use this article as a care guide for your freshwater puffers.

If your thinking to have puffer fish in your aquarium, This would be an ideal article for you to read. So I will invite you to continue reading the article and share your thought using the comments section.

Table of Contents

The Puffer Fish basics

Under this heading, I am going to write out the basics details that every puffer lover needs to know. Knowing the basic detail will make easy to understand about this fish very well.

This article I am writing under freshwater and fish care categories. You can check my other posts related to those categories.

Its time to get into the basics.

  • Care Level – moderated/advanced.
  • Tank – freshwater.
  • Size – up to 24 inches.
  • Temperament – aggressive.
  • Lifetime – up to 10 years.
  • Minimum tank size – 10 Gallon tanks.

When considering the above basics, you can see that the freshwater puffer fish is not for beginners. You need to have a good experience to care for a puffer fish.

This fish has an aggressive type of fish. So you better keep them alone in the aquarium. So simply if you about to add a puffer fish into your freshwater tank, it’s better to be a puffer tank.

Puffer fish can see in freshwater as well as in saltwater too. This cute chubby fish will live up to 10 years in a healthy environment.

The freshwater Puffer fish guide - (1)

There is various type of freshwater puffers and they come with different color variations.A nicely setup 10-gallon freshwater tank is ok for this fish as their minim tank size.

The freshwater puffers can grow up to 24 inches. As their diet, the omnivore foods are would be ideal. It would be the best practise to keep this fish alone without mixing with a lot of tropical fish types.

As I said before. Puffers can see in freshwater as well as in marine water (saltwater). There are so many variations of puffer fish in the world. from them there 30 variations live the freshwater environment.

The freshwater puffers can be found in the natural river system in South Asia, Africa and amazon.

The basic behaviour of freshwater Puffers

There are several reasons to make this freshwater fish is a unique type of fish. Puffers can change their body size to avoid become a diet of larger fish types.

They inflate their body as protection from harmful attacks. That is basically the puffer fish defence mechanism that they used in the wild.

Even puffer fish looks cute, this fish contains a very harmful neurotoxin.

The inflatable body of this fish makes them really unique among other fish types. This also makes them be a popular aquarium fish.

The important thing to keep in mind as a puffer fish keeper, even they are looks cute and really unique, they can be very aggressive with the situation they faced on.

The freshwater Puffer fish guide - (2)

So keeping them in a proper environment will make easy for you to care them without any troubles. Even it’s hard having a puffer tank is also a good experience for an aquarium lover.

When considering about their lifespan. this fish has a good life span. If you keep them in proper conditions, they would be a really nice pet fish for you.

Water conditions and proper environment for Puffer fish

Whatever aquarium fish requires to have it’s proper water conditions and environment to live in a fish tank.

When considering the water condition for an aquarium fish, the pH count is really important. The freshwater puffer fish need to have pH count in the water between 7.0 and 7.6.

Another important fact to consider is the temperature of the water of the fish tank. When it’s about freshwater puffers, the tank water temperature should be between 74° and 78° of F.

These two water conditions are really important to give a better life for your puffer fish inside a home aquarium. You can control the heat of the water using a proper aquarium heater. I am not going to write about any heater hear because the would share some good detail articles about aquarium accessories soon in future posts.

The fish tank water needs to be cleaner. It is better to do at least 10% water change every week and do 25% tank water change every month would be ideal.

To control the cleaning water you can also set up a proper filter system to your fish tank.

As wrote earlier in this post, the puffer fish has various types live in freshwater as well as in marine water. You should be careful not to mix salt/marine water with the freshwater puffer types.

This fish is easily get into diseases, So keeping the water condition well is a must when caring for freshwater puffer fish.

The size of the aquarium is changing with the puffer types. Most smaller puffers need to have minimum 10 gallons fish tank it can go up 55 gallons with the type of puffer fish. I will share those details under next heading which is mosy famous freshwater puffer fish types.

A planted tank setup is good with most puffer types. But if it not required. The rock-based environment also will look good with this awesome freshwater fish.

Most famous types of common puffer fish for aquariums

As I wrote in a previous paragraph, There are almost 150 types of puffer fish in the world. From the around 30 types are lives in freshwater.

From those 30 these puffers are most famous and widely used as aquarium puffer fish. I will add a minimum tank size for each in front of the name.

  • Crested Puffer: 55 gallons tank
  • South American Puffer: 25-40 gallons tank
  • Congo Puffer: 40 gallons tank
  • Dwarf Puffer: 10 gallons tank
  • Imitator Puffer: 10 gallons tank
  • Mbu Puffer: 400 gallons tank
  • Golden Puffer: 125 gallons tank
  • Red-Tailed Dwarf Puffer: 20 gallons tank
  • Fang’s Puffer: 20 gallons tank
  • Nile or Fahaka Puffer: 105 gallons tank
  • Mekong Puffer: 30 gallons tank
  • Emerald Puffer: 10 gallons tank
  • Redeye Puffer: 20 gallons tanks
  • Striped Puffer: 125 gallons tank
  • Palembang Puffer: 40 gallons tank
  • Target puffer : 40 gallons tank
  • Ocellated puffer : 50 gallons tank
  • Pea puffer : 10 Gallons

These are the most common puffer types and their minimum tank sizes that is recommended. So you can get a clear idea about what minimum tank size you need for puffer variations u prefer.

I am not going to add details about each type in this article, but I will write a new post about freshwater puffer fish types soon.


In this post, I tried to give a clear idea about the freshwater puffer fish. I wrote the basic details that any puffer fish lover should know.

I added the care details for the freshwater puffers and share some important facts you should know as a puffer fish lover.

Caring them is bit hard but having will be a lot of fun. So I think you feel this article useful and updated your knowledge about this awesome freshwater fish by reading my article.

Please use below comment box to share your suggestions and share this article with your friends. Happy Puffer Time!

The freshwater Puffer fish guide - (2024)


How big of a tank does a freshwater puffer fish need? ›

Because these puffers are fairly active swimmers, we recommend keeping them in at least a 30-gallon aquarium, but 55 gallons would be even better. Because they live in such a wide variety of habitats in the wild, they are quite hardy and can be kept in pH levels of 6.0-8.0, soft or hard water, and 72-82°F (22-28°C).

What is the best puffer fish for a tank? ›

Amazon or South American Puffer (SAP)

You can keep one by itself or get a group of six or more in a 40- to 55-gallon planted tank or larger. As for tank mates, we recommend keeping them with other similar-sized, active fish — like mollies, swordtails, larger tetras, and dwarf cichlids.

Are freshwater puffer fish hard to take care of? ›

Large water changes are thought to be helpful, with as much as 50 percent needing to be changed on a weekly basis. No matter how cute pufferfish seem, they aren't the easiest fish to look after, and any aquarist tempted to keep them needs to think carefully about their maintenance beforehand.

Are freshwater puffer fish good pets? ›

Freshwater puffers can be fin nippers, and some are downright aggressive and/or predatory. Some species, like Dwarf, Redeye and Golden Puffers, can be kept together or with other fast-moving fish like danios. Others, such as Mekong, Nile and Mbu Puffers, must be kept solitary.

What is the lifespan of a freshwater pufferfish? ›

The lifespan of a pufferfish can range from three to 20 years, with an average of 10 years. Their lifespan can depend on many things, including the species and their environment. Pufferfish are very sensitive to their environments and can become easily stressed.

What is the friendliest freshwater puffer? ›

If a community of fishes are selected with the pufferfish in mind, compatible species can often be found for a few of the more peaceable types such as the South American Puffer Colomesus asellus.

Can I keep 3 pea puffers in a 10 gallon tank? ›

If you want to keep more than one, the general rule of thumb is to provide five gallons of water for the first puffer and three gallons of water for each additional puffer.

Do freshwater puffer fish need a heater? ›

Freshwater pufferfish require water with no salt and a pH between 7.0 and 7.6 and a temperature around 76°F. Puffer aquariums do not typically require water heaters unless you keep their tank in a room below 74°F.

Can puffer fish live in tap water? ›

A pH of above 7.0 should always be maintained. I've kept mine at 7.4 pH typically, if my natural tap water was higher I would keep it there as well. With so much water being changed it makes more sense to adapt the puffer to the tap water pH plus shells than it does to alter it.

What is the lifespan of a pufferfish in captivity? ›

Not many people realise how long these little fish can live with the proper care, with the general consensus being that they live for around 3 years. In actual fact, is not unusual for Pea Puffers under good captive management to live for over 6 years, with some known to live to the grand old age of 12 years old.

What is the most aggressive freshwater puffer fish? ›

some of the most aggressive freshwater fish, due. entirely to their carnivorous diet.

Are pufferfish illegal to own? ›

Yes you can. Pufferfish are, for the most part, kept by saltwater aquarium owners - saltwater isn't an easy way into the hobby if you've never had a tank before. There are, however, freshwater pufferfish, which can be kept in a regular heated tank.

Can a puffer fish live in a 10 gallon tank? ›

In other words, it is possible to keep three puffers in a 10-gallon tank and six to seven puffers in a 20-gallon tank, but your rate of success depends on how well you set up their environment. If the tank is mostly bare without a lot of cover, expect to see a pufferfish battle zone.

What is the smallest tank for a puffer fish? ›

We recommend a minimum of 5 gallons of aquarium. A 10 gallon aquarium would be adequate for a group of 3 to 4 with only one male present. Following that scale a 20 gallon can hold 7 to 8 fish. Due to their nippy nature we do not recommend mixing them with any other species.

Can 3 pea puffers live in a 5 gallon tank? ›

5 gallons is really too small for three of them, even 10 gallons is pushing it - not because they need the space particularly, but because their live-food/high-protein diet usually results in more waste bio-loading than other comparably-sized fish (plus they tend to be messy eaters as well).


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