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Green Spotted Pufferfish Care Guide and Tank Setup – 2021


Green spotted pufferfish is popular among aquarists all over the world. The adorable looking fish can be a great addition to your aquarium.

Pufferfish are known by different names, including balloon fish, blowfish, globefish, sea squab, and honey toady. It may look cute, but it is very aggressive, particularly during the breeding season.

This green spotted pufferfish care guide will provide all the information you need to keep it in an aquarium. The focus will prove invaluable for aquarists who want to keep the fish in the aquarium.


Category Rating
Level of Care Intermediate
Temperament Aggressive
Appearance Varying colors
Life Expectancy 10 years
Size About 6 inches
Diet Omnivore
Family Tetraodontidae
Aquarium (Tank) Size 35 – 50 gallons
Water Conditions 78°F -82°F (25°C-27°C)
Aquarium (Tank) Environment Freshwater
Aquarium (Tank) Mates Best alone


Green Spotted Puffer Overview


The Green spotted pufferfish is a freshwater fish mostly found in temperate and tropical regions all over the world. It belongs to the Tetraodontidae family – an ancient fish species that had emerged from coral dwelling fishes about 40 million years ago.


It has the unique ability to inflate the body with water or air when threatened. There are over 120 species. Green spotted pufferfish (Tetraodon nigroviridis) is a type of pufferfish with a peculiar appearance and behaviour.


Natural Habitat


Green spotted pufferfish is mostly found in the coastal regions of Asia. The species of pufferfish are found in both freshwaters and brackish waters.


The fish is mostly found in lakes, rivers, and flooded areas. It is native to waters in South and Southeast Asia including India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand.


Green Spotted Puffer Appearance


Green spotted pufferfish have large black color spots on a green that contrasts sharply with the white color belly. The spots on the pufferfish resemble the spots on the leopard. Its shape is also exquisite with a strong jaw and protruding eyes.


The fish have four bony structures that are fused like a beak. The fish balloon gets larger when it senses danger with spines jutting outwards warning predators. Its body contains tetrodotoxin that is fatal to other fishes and humans.


Green Spotted Puffer Behavior: Are Green Spotted Puffer Aggressive?


Green spotted pufferfish are tolerant when young. But they become aggressive as they mature. The unpredictable behaviour of the fish has surprised many aquarists. A seemingly well-behaved pufferfish can turn into a psychotic killer without being provoked.


Pufferfish can become aggressive due to many reasons. They mostly attack others when hungry. The fish scours rocky areas and plants looking for food. They may take an experimental bite out of everything. It has been known to take big chunks out of plastic tubes, plants, and other fishes.


The fish are also territorial and will attack other fishes, including their species to defend their territories. They will attack other fishes not out of hunger but due to feeling threatened. The aggressive nature of the fish makes it difficult to keep with other fishes.


Puffers are intelligent and can become tame enough to be fed through the hand. The fish can recognize the owner and react in a particular manner. They are a delight to keep in the aquarium if you know how to care for the fish properly.


Safety Advice: Feeding the pufferfish with bare hands is not recommended. You must always wear a glove if feeding by hand. Clean the gloves after you have finished feeding the fish.


Green Spotted Puffer Aquarium (Tank), Mates


Pufferfish are highly territorial and aggressive. They are belligerent and will attack most other fishes. 

The fish become more aggressive with age. It would help if you kept them with active and robust fishes like Arius catfish, archerfish, scats, and Monos to defend themselves against the pufferfish.


Avoid keeping more than one pufferfish in a single tank. Puffer is known to attack and kill fish of the same kind. Males are particularly aggressive towards each other and fight always.


If you want to keep multiple pufferfish, you should buy at least four fishes as the aggression will be minimum. You should also arrange the décor so that there are many hiding places in the aquarium.


Aquarium Conditions for Green Spotted Puffer


Green spotted pufferfish can live in freshwater with a pH value of 7.5 to 7.5. It also thrives in slightly brackish water that you can make by adding marine salt to an sg of around 1.005 in the aquarium. The water hardness level should be around 10 to 200H.


The ideal temperature for the pufferfish is between 75-82°F (24-28°C). Pufferfish are particularly sensitive to low water conditions. They can quickly get disease due to a high nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia in the water.


The fish tends to produce a lot of waste. You should change 50 per cent of water every week. Also, you need to buy a powerful filter for the aquarium. Consider buying a double filtration system with a heater.


Aquarium Setup for Green Spotted Puffer


Green spotted pufferfish thrive in a heavily planted setup with twisted branches and roots. Floating plants serve as a cover for the fish. It would help if you left open spaces in between to let the pufferfish is highly active.


You should also add a sandy substrate in the aquarium. The recommended aquarium size for the pufferfish is medium-large with a capacity of holding 35 to 50 gallons of water. A larger tank is required if you want to keep three or four pufferfish. The benefit of keeping a larger fish is that it will require less frequent cleaning.


Green Spotted Puffer Fish Food: What Do Green Spotted Puffer Fish Eat?


In the wild, green spotted pufferfish diet mostly consists of snails. The fish also eats plants, crustaceans, and, mollusks. Pufferfish relishes all types of worms and shellfish.

You can feed them both live and frozen food. Should feed Snails and shellfish with prawns and crab legs. 

Feeding crustaceans allow the fish to maintain its sharp teeth. Shrimps are particularly recommended as they stimulate the puffer fish’s hunting instincts.


Frozen food items do not have as many nutrients as live food. So, it would help if you gave them plenty of live food to keep them happy. Giving crustaceans with hard shells is particularly recommended.


The fish has a boney plate that grows with age. To prevent bone growth, the fish must chew on hard food objects to wear down the plate. If they don’t chew on hard objects, the fish will become incapacitated and unable to eat.


Snails are also a favourite diet of pufferfish. You should add a large number of snails inside the tank. 

The pufferfish will hunt and kill the snails when hungry.


How to Breed Snails for Puffer Fish?


You can breed snails instead of buying them from the pet store. It will be much less costly to breed the snails at home. You would need a small 10-gallon tank with essential substrate and filtration. Just add a few snails in the tank and let them do the work.


Snails will eat almost anything. You can feed them fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers and tomatoes. 

Also, you can feed them algae wafers bought from the store occasionally.


It would help if you cared for the snail tank similar to any other tank. Change the water weekly and ensure that the filter is in good condition.


You should pick snails that are the size of the puffer fish eye. You pufferfish will have difficulty cracking the shells of large snails. While the fish may wrestle out the snail from the shell, it won’t benefit from cracking the shell using the mouth.


You should remove shells and uneaten dead snails from the tank every week. It’s is essential as the food bits will pollute the tank that will be harmful to the pufferfish.


Avoid overfeeding your pufferfish. When it comes to eating, pufferfish do not know when to stop eating. Puffer bodies will look like small balloons when they overeat. The behaviour will lead to health issues leading to the premature death of the fish. Consider feeding the alternate fish days two to three times a day.



Breeding Green Spotted Puffer



green spotted pufferfish


Green Spotted Pufferfish

Breeding green spotted pufferfish is not easy, but aquarists have successfully bred the fish in the aquarium. The pufferfish lay eggs only in brackish water. It will lay eggs on a flat rocky surface, so you need to provide plenty of rock surfaces as spawning sites.

Male pufferfish guards the eggs—the eggs hatch in about a week. The fry will move to holes that have been pre-dug by the parents to protect the young. Feeding will be challenging as the fry will reject most food items. Breeders have reported some success with Cyclops nauplii for feeding the fry.

Should feed Baby fry every day. Once it grows, you should feed the fish every other day. Consider introducing shrimp, crabs, and clams as the fish grows older. It will ensure that the young fish turns into a healthy adult.


Dangers and Diseases You Should Know


Puffer fishes don’t have scales, so they are vulnerable to different diseases. Most diseases are caused due to dirty water conditions. It would help if you kept the tank spotlessly clean at all times.

The common pufferfish disease includes the ich and fin rot. Ich is a parasitic disease that is caused when parasites attach to the fish body. The ich’s symptoms include cysts on the skin, gills, fills laboured breathing, and excessive breathing.

The ich disease is generally treated using copper. However, pufferfish are sensitive to copper and can die. It would help if you considered turning up the temperature to 860F (300C) to treat the disease. Another option is to treat the fish using commercial medication for parasites that you can buy from the local pet store.

Fin rot is a bacterial disease whose symptoms include disintegrating fins and reddened fins. The disease starts at the edge of the fins and grows until it reaches the base. At this point, the fish won’t be able to regenerate the lost tissue that will result in its death.

You can treat the condition by improving the water quality and using antibiotics medication for treating the infection. You should add about 30 mg of antibiotics per litre of water. Also, you can add antibiotics to flake food. The fish will devour the mixture if it’s hungry before the antibiotics dissipate in the water.

Regular changing of water is recommended to avoid pufferfish diseases. You should also feed the fish properly and ensure that the fish does not become stressed due to being scared or any other reason.


Related Questions about Green Spotted Puffer


Do Green Spotted Puffer Fish Puff Up?


Pufferfish are adorable creatures that have the curious ability to puff up their body. The fish can gulp water and air until they appear like a round ball. It is done to ward off any prey that wants to make the poor fish a meal.

The fish will inflate the body up to 3 times the standard size. It makes the fish seem imposing to the prey. 

They will think twice about biting the dangerous-looking puffed up fish.

Apart from physically morphing the body, the fish has another defence mechanism in the form of deadly poison. The poison found in the puff fish is about 1000 times more deadly than cyanide. A prey that eats the fish will become paralyzed and unconscious.


What is the Difference Between Green Spotted Puffer, Green Puffer, and Spotted Congo Puffer?



Green spotted puffers (Tetraodon nigroviridis) are different than the similar-looking relatives, including the Green Puffer (Tetraodon fluviatilis) and Green Congo Puffer (Tetraodon Schoutedeni).

Can distinguish it from the other two fishes due to the more rounded shape than the green puffer and a lack of spine present in the Green Congo Puffer.

Green spotted pufferfish also has large dark blotches as opposed to evenly scatted spots on the green puffer. Apart from these differences, the different pufferfish species display similar characteristics and personality styles.


What is Puffer Fish Care Tips?



Pufferfish can become stressed when you net the fish when cleaning the tank. A good practice is to herd the fish in a large-sized container. You can then scoop it out of the aquarium along with the water.

Another care tip for pufferfish is that you should provide some stimulation to the fish. The fish is intelligent and requires some stimulation.

You can give live snails to the fish to hunt, providing lots of stimulation to the fish. Another advice is to arrange the aquarium with different decoration that the fish will explore.

Lastly, it would help if you never tried to trigger the pufferfish to puff up. While it does look amusing, the fish will usually die when it inflates the body. A pufferfish will inflate the body when it is highly stressed.

It would help if you were careful not to cause stress when transporting the fish from the store to your home. Consider directing them in a small size container rather than netting the fish.


Where to Buy Green Spotted Puffer Fish?



You can buy green spotted pufferfish from online stores. Most pet stores don’t keep putter fish in the aquarium

They are rare and generally sold at a high price. The green spotted fish that are sold in most stores are wild-caught.

You should quarantine the fish purchased from the store before adding to your aquarium. It would help if you closely inspected the fish to see signs of diseases.

A healthy fish will have a rounded stomach while a sick fish will have a hollow one. The stomach of healthy fish is also white instead of grey. They must be actively swimming inside the tank and acknowledge people when they lean in to look at the fish.

Sometimes a pufferfish has a grey colored belly due to a poor diet or improper water conditions. Make sure that you treat a diseased fish before introducing it to the aquarium.


Wrapping it All Up: Are Green Spotted Puffer Ideal for Your Aquarium?



Green spotted pufferfish have unique care requirements that make them unsuitable for beginners. If you know how to care for the fish properly, it can make an exciting addition to the aquarium.

The peculiar behaviour of the pufferfish will make them a delightful choice for aquarists.

Pufferfish have special requirements that can be tricky to deal with. Look at the green spotted pufferfish care sheet to know the fishes’ right condition. When properly looked after, the freshwater fish can last for

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