Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides



Indo-Pacific, Atlantic

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity



Carnivorous; diet should include fresh or frozen invertebrates, including clams, mussels, squid, snails, crabs, and shrimp; all food should still have the shell on in order to naturally wear down their beak-like teeth (over-growth prevention).


May be aggressive towards smaller fish or inverts, generally compatible with larger fish; body inflates as a response to stress; should not be kept with other puffers; may be shy when first added to a tank.


Community Safe, with caution; not invert or coral safe.

Species Overview

Puffers are incredibly popular for aquariums. It's hard to deny their appeal, between their cartoonish appearance and their rather personable behaviors. Many puffers are curious and outgoing and they may even seem to "know" when their keeper is near, swimming quickly to the aquarium glass or water's surface when someone approaches the tank. While endearing, puffers may not be the right choice for some aquariums.

Puffers should be kept by aquarists with at least some experience. They are not too demanding, in terms of care, but there are a few things you should know before adding a puffer to your tank. Puffers 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.

It is important that you do not 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. Do your best to keep the puffer at ease, and do not house puffers with aggressive tankmates. Avoid using a net when attempting to transfer puffers. Instead, transfer with rigid containers, which will minimize stress that can cause them to puff.

All puffers can be destructive to inverts and corals so it is not recommended that they be housed in reef tanks. Most are fine with larger community fish, in a large tank with plenty of space to swim and explore. Tobies (genus Canthigaster) are usually a little bit smaller than other species, and do not generally need as much space. However, tobies may be a little bit more aggressive, nipping or chasing tankmates. Avoid keeping them with tank mates that are slow, delicate, or have long and flowing fins.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Frozen Aquarium Food
Salt Mix
Coral Ornaments
Feeding Tongs