Tetrodontids (Tetraodontidae) are a family of fish called puffer fish, originating in the Indian, Pacific and Red Sea regions.
Colloquially, they can be recognized under other names, such as sea porcupine fish or sea ostrich.
They have the ability to fill their stomach pouches with air or water, creating the appearance of a balloon. This ability to swell is a defense method for fish of this species.
A differential morphological characteristic of Tetraodontids is the presence of a powerful beak, formed by partially welded teeth , which if lost, grow back after a few weeks. This characteristic is what gives the species its name.
They have a voluminous head, and very hard bare skin. When the fish is inflated, it shows thin and dangerous spines.
Puffer fish are poor swimmers, and although they tend to inflate as a protective measure, they sometimes inflate their swim bladder to get carried away by currents.
They are marine fish , although some species can adapt to continental brackish water.
They are classified as very poisonous, especially if ingested. They have certain organs, such as the liver and sometimes the skin, that contain tetradotoxin or tetrogodine , which make them especially dangerous to consume, although in some parts of the world, they are considered a delicacy.
In the aquarium they can feed on mussels, either raw or cooked, prawns, Nereis and pieces of fish. They also like and it is convenient to give them, lettuce leaves and spinach.
In the aquarium
Puffer fish are well adapted to living in captivity. They are calm fish, which can share space with other species in a community aquarium, such as surgeonfish or clownfish .
They are not very sensitive to the nature of the water , being able to be in a relatively small aquarium for its size.
As a general rule, although depending on each species it may vary somewhat, the temperature of the aquarium must be kept between 25ºC and 28ºC, with a density between 1,010 and 1,030.
Some of the most popular puffer fish species are:
Yellow Puffer Fish
They are fish native to the Red Sea and the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Like the rest of the puffer fish, the Arothon citrinellus is not very sensitive to the nature of the water.
They are very sociable fish, to the point that they can be petted by their keeper.
Very gluttonous, they admit any type of food. They don’t care about quality, they care that there is plenty of food.
In the aquarium, they can measure up to 25 centimeters long , for which we will need an aquarium of at least 200 liters.
Although they are quite sociable, they are usually very solitary animals.
White-spotted puffer fish
It is one of the most common puffer fish in aquariums, and like the rest of its species, they are not overly sensitive to water quality.
They grow rapidly, reaching 30 centimeters in the aquarium, although in nature they can reach up to 50 centimeters.
They settle for spaces, relatively small for their size. We can breed it in an aquarium of about 400 liters, which in other species would be unthinkable.
They are easy to feed, they do not present any problem to admit crustaceans, algae, spinach and dry food.
We are facing a somewhat scary fish, which socializes with other species with relative ease.
Black-spotted puffer fish
The pufferfish nigropunctatus is native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, as well as the Red Sea, where it lives alone.
It feeds on coral polyps, crustaceans and mollusks.
Although it is relatively easy to care for in the aquarium, it is aggressive towards other fish of the same species.
It can measure up to 25 centimeters, for which we will need an aquarium of about 400 liters.
Freshwater Puffer Fish
Tetrodon nigroviridis is a freshwater puffer fish, as its common name indicates.
It is a fish that lives in brackish water, but it is perfectly adapted to living in a warm and fresh water aquarium, although it will always be better and its life will be longer, if the water is slightly brackish.
This specimen is native to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, where it can be found in coastal areas, in river deltas, mangroves and some streams.
In the wild, they like to feed mainly on snails, although they will eat any crustacean with the shell, which helps them keep their teeth sharp.
See:Freshwater Puffer Fish