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The Dwarf Puffer Fish is also known as Tetraodon nigroviridis, Green Pufferfish or Spotted Pufferfish. It is a very interesting fish from the aquarist’s point of view, it is an elegant fish in its movements and a very good eater of live foods. Of course, you will need to take into account compatibility with other fish to avoid dislikes.


In this breed guide, we’re going to delve into the dwarf puffer’s in-depth knowledge, characteristics, care and food.


  • Asia
  • India

Dwarf pufferfish characteristics

The dwarf pufferfish is of reduced size As its name implies. Measures between 13 and 17 centimetres, (although on exceptional occasions they reach 12). This allows us to have it in a not very big aquarium (about 60 litres), as long as we don’t have it live with other fish because later we’ll see that the compatibilities are sometimes tricky.

Its base colour is yellow and mottled with black or bluish spots, although we must add that the young are a more intense yellow than in adulthood. The belly, however, is white, smooth and unblemished. The eyes are very striking: large, protruding and can move independently of each other.

Of course, in honour of their name, they can transform into pufferfish by ingesting water and air in large quantities. It’s about their defence system and we shouldn’t provoke them to notice this phenomenon because we’ve caused them harmful stress.

Taking care of the dwarf pufferfish

The essential precautions that we must always take into account with all our fish, are the type of aquarium, water and temperature, as well as the food they can eat. Let’s detail the needs of the dwarf pufferfish:




  • Aquarium: If you are going to live alone, we recommend a 60-litre aquarium. While it could fit perfectly in a 30 litre, your needs for space to hide, shelter and feel safe can be affected. We recommend hiding and swimming freely. If you are going to share space with other species or if our fish are overgrowing, we must let you know in advance. We will need an aquarium with at least twice the capacity. It is common to show aggression and come to bite.
  • Types of Water: Dwarf pufferfish can live in fresh or safe water environments (mixture of fresh and saltwater) although the second option is preferable. Therefore, it is very important that the specialist explains to us the environment in which he has lived until now so that a sudden change does not make him die.
  • Temperature: being a tropical fish, it will need a temperature between 22ºC and 28ºC and a pH between 6.5 and 8.3. It is very important to maintain the proper temperature and pH. The changes of both have very unpleasant and negative consequences for our delicate friends, the filter and the thermometer will help us to check that everything works well.

Dwarf Puffer Feeding

The dwarf balloonfish are carnivorous and voracious. According to all the testimonies, they go out of their way to the sea snails.



For your diet, we will provide live crustaceans and molluscs, as they are very fond of them. We can also offer mosquito and worm larvae, and even if we don’t have live food, pieces of mussels. Of course, we will never give them flaked food, as they are intolerant of them.

Differences between male and female dwarf balloonfish

Even for experts, it is quite difficult to distinguish the sex of these tropical water fish. However, it alludes to certain differences :

  • Although the belly of these exotics is usually white and smooth, in the case of males it may have a brown tinge. It’s something we can never appreciate in women.
  • In women, they are generally more rounded and bulging than males.

The reproduction of these fish is oviparous and the eggs are deposited between the plants until they hatch.

Compatibility with dwarf balloonfishAs we explained before, they are very aggressive fish. While we might think that this behaviour is due to territoriality in obtaining food, they also annoy and hurt their fellows’ fins.

We recommend mixing them with:






  • Beaufortia leveret (also known as Pleco de Borneo): the Pleco is a very calm fish that adapts well to coexistence with other fish and specifically with the dwarf puffer fish.
  • Dwarf balloonfish: the most recommended option is to join it with others of the same species.

Remember that the most important thing to avoid this aggressive behaviour with other fish is to use a very large and spacious aquarium with foliage such as rocks or plant trunks.