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Papuan Toby - Canthigaster papua - Small/Medium

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Item: 235784

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The Papuan Toby (Canthigaster papua) has a red-brown body covered in small bright blue-green dots. Orange markings highlight its mouth and there is a black spot at the base of the dorsal. This toby is very similar to the Spotted Toby (C. solandri) and the two were once thought to be the same species. There are, however, small differences in coloration between the two species as well as in the geographic ranges of the fish. The Spotted Toby is more widespread than the Papuan Toby, and the Papuan Toby has more orange in its underside.

Puffers are not too demanding in terms of care, but they need plenty of space and ample filtration to keep the water quality pristine. They're messy eaters, and the diet required for these fish can leave a lot of waste. Puffers have strong, ever-growing front teeth (beak) that they will need to wear down. They may chew on live rock in the tank to aid in the process. Feeding hard-shelled items, such as whole clams or shellfish, can also help to keep the teeth worn.

"Toby Puffers" or "Sharpnose Puffers" (Canthigaster sp.) have a much different appearance than their larger relatives. These puffers stay much smaller - usually under about 5 inches in length - and have a pointed face. They are generally peaceful toward other fish, but will not tolerate other puffers. They also have a reputation for being "fin nippers", and should not be kept with invertebrates or with passive or showy-finned fish. Tobies are bold eaters that do best on a diet of frozen meaty foods like clams, mussels, squid, and shrimp (shells intact) as well as some algae. All puffers can be destructive inverts and corals so it is not recommended that they be housed in reef tanks.

It is important to never provoke a puffer to see it inflate. Puffing is a stress or defense reaction, and it can cause health problems or even death for a puffer. The fish can swallow air or over-inflate with water, leading to even more stress as the fish attempted to recover and even death due to stress-related complications or internal injuries. If a puffer inflates, remove the source of the stress, lower the lighting on the tank and allow the fish to recover on its own. Avoid using a net or removing the puffer from the water and exposing it to air. Instead, transfer with rigid containers, which will minimize stress that can cause them to puff.

Visit That Fish Blog for more information from our marine biologists on Pufferfish and other aquarium-related topics!
Common NamePapuan Toby - Sm/Med
Scientific NameCanthigaster papua
Reef SafeNo
Invert SafeNo
Community SafeYes, with caution
Max Size (in inches)4
Min Tank Size (in gallons)45
OriginPhilippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia
Specific Gravity Range1.020-1.024
pH Range8.0-8.4
Temperature Range75-82

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