Saltwater Puffer Fish

Fish that blow up when threatened are known as pufferfish. So many of us are fascinated by its special quality. With their big eyes and varied patterns and hues, these fish are also rather appealing.

Pufferfish come in a huge variety of colors and sizes, from just over an inch to many feet long. We’re going to discuss about 17 amazing pufferfish today!

When we’re done, we’ll also discuss if you should or can get these animals as pets, as well as how they react to an aquarium environment.

Getting to Know Saltwater Puffers

Some of the most recognizable fish in the world are puffer fish! They share a family tree with triggerfish, filefish, and the enormous Mola Mola, one of the heaviest bony fish in the world. These fish are all expert feeders of invertebrates. The majority of them possess strong, beak-like teeth that they may utilize to pierce hard coral as well as clams, sea urchins, lobsters, and crabs.

Puffer Fish need to have their teeth regularly worn down since, unlike humans, they develop throughout their whole lifetimes.

Because of this, feeding them pellets and flakes is bad for their long-term health; it’s not unusual to find Puffers in stores that are weak and have overgrown teeth. Their teeth can obstruct their ability to eat, which can result in hunger, unless taken to a veterinarian with the knowledge to file them down.

Puffer Fish have the capacity to swiftly double in size by inflating, which keeps predators from readily consuming them. Although it’s amazing to see, you should never push your Puffer to inflate as it’s quite stressful for them.

Even worse, they have problems exhaling air, which will kill them if they are unable to do so. So the easiest way to catch a Puffer is to use nets to herd it into a plastic bag submerged in the water. Considering that they rely on their other protective skills to fend off predators, none of them are very fast swimmers.

All varieties of puffer fish are friendly fish. They are among the earliest fish to arrive at the surface prepared for feeding and have voracious appetites. They will train their googly eyes on you, your fingers, their tank mates, or anything else that piques their curiosity.

Types of Saltwater Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish are tough, normally calm, and intriguing fish to keep—as long as you aren’t interested in maintaining invertebrates, which will constantly be devoured.

Porcupine Pufferfish

The Diodontidae family includes the Porcupine Puffer or Long-spine Porcupinefish, which is arguably most recognized for its strong character and curiosity.

The origin of the Porcupine Pufferfish’s name is not difficult to fathom. Look at the fish’s entire body, which is covered in prickly spines.

In the Western Atlantic Ocean, this species is widespread. Being a huge fish that may grow up to 12 inches long as an adult, it is best kept in aquariums with a volume of 180 gallons or more.

Due to the possibility that they will consume your mollusks, snails, and crabs, they are not thought to be reef safe.

And certainly, you are familiar with that face. They are a fish from the Finding Nemo movie by Pixar (conjure up a dentist’s office).

Congo Pufferfish

The Congo Puffer is a resident of the African continent’s Congo River. They are also known as Potato Puffers and may reach a length of 5.9 inches (15 cm).

They are born in many color variants and frequently have spots. Their numbers are thought to be robust in the wild. Despite their lack of activity, Congo pufferfish require a sand substrate to wallow at the bottom of tanks.

A combination of smaller freshwater fish, prawns, earthworms, and isopods is advised for feeding a congo pufferfish. At least 20 liters of room per fish is needed for puffers.

Guineafowl Puffer

One of the most visually arresting varieties of saltwater puffer is undoubtedly the Guineafowl Puffer. They are named after the most prevalent version of the puffer that may be seen in the wild, which is chocolate brown with silvery spots. Interestingly, there are two different color variants of this species to pick from, all of which are exquisite!

Some distributors and aquarists think the black-spotted ones are female while the golden variety is truly the male version. I wouldn’t place too much stock in this theory because there has never been a thorough research conducted to verify it.

Despite their size, Guineafowl Puffers are calmer, even shyer, than most other birds. They are absolutely dangerous for reef tanks since they may destroy all types of invertebrates, even hard corals, with their powerful teeth. They do, however, make wonderful exhibition fish for either their own roomy tank or a much larger communal aquarium.

Just stay with more docile locals like bigger Tangs and surgeonfish. Large Angelfish, Triggerfish, and other aggressive residents will stress out Guineafowl Puffers because they are such laid-back creatures.

Dogface Puffer

The skin of this subsequent Pufferfish species, the Dogface Pufferfish, is smooth and devoid of small spines, as if it were specifically created to contrast the Porcupine Puffer.

Look at the illustration below to see how it is also not surprising how this wonderful fish earned its name.

The Dogface Pufferfish consumes crustaceans, sponges, and mollusks. As a result, it is not seen to be a fish that should be maintained alongside corals and other invertebrates.

It is advisable to give them commercial omnivorous food, fresh shrimp, and shellfish in the tank at home (with the shells).

The Indian and Pacific seas, East Africa, Micronesia, Samoa, southern Japan, and southern Australia make up the Dogface Pufferfish’s native range.

MBU Pufferfish

MBU Puffers are huge, reaching a maximum length of around 26 inches (67 cm). They’re sometimes even referred to as enormous puffers.

Each of these enormous pufferfish needs at least 125 gallons of water, and according to other sources, a minimum enclosure size of 500 gallons would be better suitable. As a result, maintaining one in an aquarium can be tough, especially because water filtration can be tricky to handle.

They often have black patterns on a yellow-white background and are endemic to the Congo River. MBU puffers can consume shellfish like clams and snails thanks to their front teeth (seen above). Because MBU puffers require hard-shelled food to avoid tooth overgrowth, maintaining them presents another difficulty.

Striped Burrfish

The Chesapeake Bay spawning communities of these fish are well-known. From as far away as Brazil, they gather there in the early spring to spawn on the area’s grassy meadows. They are frequently pulled up by fishermen, but as they are just as venomous as any other puffer, they are usually mostly for show.

Unlike the spines of the nearly related Porcupine Puffer, the spines of the Striped Burrfish are always upright. With wavy stripes on their dorsal surface and a beautiful yellow belly that intensifies with maturity, burrfish have a lovely design as well.

Additionally, they are friendly and eager to engage with their hosts, much like other Puffers. In anticipation of a treat, they will excitedly follow divers and spit water at people on the dock. Having saying that, you might not want to pet this Puffer!

Saddle Valentini Pufferfish

With dark brown bands running down the middle of the body, orange-brown patches on the bottom half, yellowfins, and blue stripes down the back, this species is vivid and vibrant.

The Valentini Puffer is an appealing option for aquarium owners with a 30-gallon or bigger tank because to its relatively modest Pufferfish Type.

The species lives on reefs in Australia, the Red Sea, Indonesia, the East, Central, and West Pacific, as well as the East and West Indian Oceans, Australia, and the Red Sea.

They are also one of the most well-known saltwater fish instances of mimicry, which is so much fun because most would-be predators also know that this fish is deadly to eat.

Red-Eyed Pufferfish

Black and silver in color, Red-Eyed Puffers have red eyes. You’ll probably either love or loathe them because they look extremely different from other puffers. Some individuals find red-eyed fish intimidating, while others find them cool.

They originate from Southeast Asia and may reach lengths of around 2.6 inches (6.5 cm).

Blue Spotted Puffer

Sharp-Nosed puffers is another name for the puffers of the genus Canthigaster. Each of them has a protruding, long “nose” that they utilize to extract crustaceans from coral fissures.

Sharpnose Puffers, such as the Blue Spotted Puffer, occasionally nibble on their own fins. They are regrettably quite intolerant of other Pufferfish despite being little and lovely. Given their strong teeth, they are quite capable of inflicting lethal wounds on one another and can be hostile.

However, Blue Spotted Puffers are wonderfully colorful and adapt to confinement readily if you’re just intending to have one. They favor an invertebrate-based diet that includes fresh squid, shrimp, clams, and other meaty foods, like other Puffers do.

Stars and Stripes Puffer

The Stars and Stripes Puffer is a huge Puffer variety with distinctive patterns, making it a highly popular choice among those wishing to add a Puffer to their tank.

The species’ native range stretches from the Indo-Pacific region of the ocean, which includes the Red Sea, to the eastern Pacific Ocean. There, it may be found at depths ranging from three to 35 meters, in tidal pools, reefs, lagoons, and estuaries.

They are not regarded as reef-safe puffer varieties, like the others in this article, because they consume mollusks, tunicates, sponges, corals, crabs, polychaetes, starfish, sea urchins, etc.

They should be maintained alone or with other large, semi-aggressive saltwater fish since they are hostile toward other members of their own species.

Dwarf Pea Pufferfish

Pygmy puffers, dwarf pufferfish, and Malabar puffers are further names for dwarf pea puffers. This 1.4 inch (3.5 centimeter) fish has a lot of names!

They are bright with black markings and are of Indian origin. If you have a smaller tank and prefer a single-species aquarium, dwarf pea pufferfish are the best choice (they can be quite aggressive when kept with other fish). These tiny pufferfish consume brine shrimp, pest snails, and frozen bloodworms (see image above).

African Map Puffer

One of the biggest and most often used varieties of saltwater puffers is the map puffer. They are frequently well-known on reefs for becoming amiable locals who anxiously anticipate gifts from divers. Additionally, they show their caretakers just as much knowledge and personality while housed in aquariums!

So prepare yourself for their full adult size. Puffer fish consume a lot of food and develop fast. Age Map Puffers need exceptionally big, even custom-built cages because they grow to an adult height of 20 to 30 inches. They also require powerful canister filtration due to the volume of trash they produce, which keeps the ammonia levels from rising to dangerous levels too soon.

Adults have a big appetite, therefore you’ll need to set up a lot of money for their food! They also require hard seafood like clams and mussels to keep their teeth filed down. If Puffer Fish are only given soft meals, they will eventually have trouble eating. Their teeth need to be ground down on invertebrate shells since they are constantly growing.

Sharpnose Puffer

The Atlantic Ocean, from the Caribbean down south to Venezuela, is the Sharpnose Puffer’s native environment.

This species is appealing both in terms of its physical attractiveness and the fact that its smaller size (by Pufferfish standards) makes it available to people with 55-gallon or bigger tanks.

Fahaka Pufferfish

Red, grey, yellow, white, and black stripes or patterns can be seen on the bodies of fahaka pufferfish. They are from Africa and go by the names band puffer and nile puffer.

These fish may reach lengths of up to 1.4 feet (43 cm)! The Fahaka pufferfish need big cages because of their size. It is advised that you have a minimum of 120 gallons in your tank and 55 gallons of water per fish.

Our means that Fahakas should only be kept in aquariums by extremely experienced fish keepers, much as the other huge pufferfish on this list. Fahakas are very territorial fish that favor eating crabs and other types of crustaceans.

Japanese Puffer

The Takifugu genus contains a number of closely related species known as Japanese or Fugu Puffers. They are mostly found in the coastal seas of East Asia, but are best known for their connection to Japanese food.

Takifugu are venomous, much as all Puffers, however their poisons are concentrated most heavily within of their internal organs. The most lethal components are the liver, ovaries, heart, and other organs because they contain lethal amounts of tetrodotoxin.

The numbness brought on by this substance progresses to the eventual paralysis of both voluntary and involuntary muscles, including the heart and lungs.

Licensed chefs are aware of the proper methods to use while preparing fish to prevent organ poisons from getting into the meat. However, it is almost like to playing Russian roulette, and each year a few unfortunate customers pass away after swallowing it. Even tiny levels can occasionally cause a persistent mouth numbness since they are present in the body.

However, Japanese Puffers are tough aquarium inhabitants and resemble other Puffer fish under their care. They frequently bury themselves so that just their eyes are visible while observing the outside world. Many are also able to adapt to settings in freshwater and brackish water.

Amazon Puffer

Anybody know the origin of this fish? In South America, there is a river called the Amazon! (For obvious reasons, they are also occasionally called South American puffers!)

They have yellow bellies, and stripes of yellow and black cover the majority of their bodies. Although they seldom grow longer than 5 inches, these fish often reach a length of only 3 inches (7.6 cm). In contrast to other freshwater pufferfish, such the Congo pufferfish, which might be more sedentary, Amazon puffers are quite active.

Larger tanks will be needed for Amazon pufferfish because to their activity levels. The fish on this list can have teeth that overgrow, too. They can also be fed insects, brine shrimp, and plant materials in addition to shellfish to help keep their teeth healthy.

Hawaiian White Spotted Toby

The White Spotted Toby is an indigenous species, like many others who live in the Aloha State. This indicates that the Hawaiian Islands are its only known location.

Tobies usually coexist in couples, although they are intolerant of other Puffer fish as well as one another. They are fin nippers, just like other little Canthigaster species.

Therefore, keep them away from fish with flowing fins, such as Dwarf Lionfish.

Compared to many other Puffers, the White Spotted Toby has a wider range of food preferences. It also eats sponges, algae, bryozoans, and other encrusting creatures in addition to crabs and mollusks. Even though it is little and attractive, its international feeding habits make it a bad choice for reef aquariums because corals would undoubtedly be on the menu.

However, they are simple to adapt to home aquariums due to their propensity to consume almost everything! Even mated pairs may be available for purchase in stores, allowing you to keep them together indefinitely.

Figure Eight Pufferfish

The figure eight pufferfish gets its name from the body patterns that occasionally resemble “figure eights.” When fully mature, they seldom exceed 3 inches in length, making them one of the more little varieties of pufferfish.

If they don’t eat food with hard shells, like snails and mussels, their teeth, like those of the other pufferfish on this list, may become overgrown. Because they are aggressive, figure eight pufferfish are not recommended for a communal tank setting.