Dwarf Puffer Fish: Care Guide
In this handy care guide, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions in the aquarium world about these amazing creatures.
What is a Dwarf Puffer Fish?
Carinotetraodon travancoricus, also known as the Dwarf Pufferfish, Indian Dwarf Pufferfish, Pygmy Pufferfish, or Pea Puffer, is the smallest pufferfish in the world. It comes from freshwater fish- dwelling environments in far southwestern India.
They are only 2.5 cm long and are sold for between 3 and 15 euros in local aquarium shops. They are not usually available at chain pet stores.
When choosing your Dwarf Puffer Fish, be sure to pick a healthy fish with a well-rounded belly. It’s also helpful to ask fish store employees what they feed dwarf puffers, as they can be very picky eaters.
Do “Puffer Fish” swell?
Yes! It’s kind of rare, but you can see your Dwarf Puffer Fish right at the moment when it puffs up, as a defense mechanism or just because it’s practicing.
The Puffer Fish swells by sucking in water to increase its size and scare off potential predators. If left undisturbed, it will shrink back to its normal form in due course.
Please do not deliberately stress your dwarf puffer to “make” it inflate. Instead, you can find many photos and videos on the networks to see him in that act.
Also, if you need to move or transport your Dwarf Balloon, it’s best to use a cup or small container (rather than a net) so the fish stays submerged in the water at all times and doesn’t accidentally suck in air.
How many Dwarf Pufferfish can you have in a 40 liter tank?
Given how territorial Dwarf Pufferfish can be, most aquarists have more success keeping just one individual Dwarf Pufferfish in a 20 liter aquarium.
If you want to have more than one, the general rule of thumb is to provide 20 liters of water for the first puffer and 15 liters of water for each additional dwarf puffer.
In other words, it’s possible to keep two dwarf puffers in a cheap 10-gallon tank and four to six in a 20-gallon tank, but success depends on how well your environment is set up. If the tank is mostly empty with no hiding places, it will most likely become a battle zone.
If you have a lush, densely planted aquarium, you might be able to keep three Dwarf Puffer Fish in a 10-gallon space.
Of course, the bigger the aquarium, the better. A larger volume of water provides greater dilution of waste, as poor water quality can harm the health of your Puffer Fish, as well as more space for the fish to avoid each other.
A very important detail is to have a ratio of one male for every two or three females tends to reduce aggression, but most Puffer Fish are sold as fry so they are difficult to sex.
If you find yourself in a situation where you bought three young dwarf puffers and later find out they are one female and two males, you may need to take out at least one male to minimize fighting.
How to differentiate between a male and a female Dwarf Puffer Fish?
It can be a bit tough, but males tend to have deeper coloration with a streak or dot on their belly. Their bodies are slimmer and they show more aggressive behavior in general
Females, on the other hand, have a yellow belly and tend to be bulkier in shape.
Do Dwarf Pufferfish need a heater?
They do well in stable, tropical temperatures of 22-28°C, so if your room temperature falls below this range or tends to fluctuate a lot, you need an aquarium heater. Find out about the type of heater you will need.
As for other tank parameters, there are people who have kept them at pH levels of 6.5 to 8.3. A pH range between 7.5 and 8.0 is ideal, but keeping your pH levels stable is more important than aiming for a specific number.
Since they are not very fast swimmers, you should also use a smooth aquarium filter with a slower flow rate.
what do dwarf puffer fish eat?
These relentless carnivores are best fed a diet of frozen foods (such as bloodworms (opens in a new tab)” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow” class=”rank-math-link”> frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp) and live foods (such as snails or black worms).
They don’t normally eat dry food, but I’ve tried giving them Hikari Vibra Bites (with great success), because they look and even move like bloodworms when they’re sinking.
Most larger Dwarf Puffer species need to be fed hard, crunchy food so they can sharpen their teeth. But fortunately Dwarf Puffer Fish do not have this problem.
So if you can’t get live snails, that’s okay. Just be sure to feed them a wide variety of frozen foods, so they get all the essential nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life.
Can Dwarf Pufferfish live with other fish?
This is one of the most common questions asked by Dwarf Pufferfish lovers and it is not easy to answer. Some can be a bit shy, but most are quite aggressive and territorial.
Think of it like you have a dog that is prone to fighting. In most cases, any other dog or pet you bring into the home will likely be attacked. If they don’t, that’s great, but it may not be worth finding a roommate for your dog when you know the odds of friendship aren’t very high.
Therefore, if you want to have Puffer Fish, buy them with the expectation of keeping them in a tank just for that species with no other tank mates. This means you won’t be able to add any algae-eating catfish, so you’ll have to do your tank maintenance.
Dwarf pufferfish can be a bit messy, especially if they don’t catch every bit of food that falls into the water, so it would be beneficial to use live aquarium plants to help consume toxic waste compounds.
A well balanced and densely planted tank has very little algae growth and provides a beautiful underwater jungle for your little Puffer Fish to swim in.
Are Dwarf Puffer Fish Good Pets?
This rare species is more of an intermediate level fish, so I don’t generally recommend them to first time aquarists. They have special dietary requirements and do not get along with other fish in the community.
That said, dwarf puffer fish are very curious, they have a unique look and behavior, and can even learn to recognize you as their owner.
If you’re looking for an amazing aquatic pet that can live in an aquarium above your desk or on your kitchen counter, try a Dwarf Puffer Fish and you won’t regret it!