3 Good Reasons Why You Can’t Keep a Spotted Puffer with Other Fish
Keeping a spotted puffer is a lot of fun once you get past the mentality of
keeping a community fish tank. In order for your puffer to thrive and show its full personality, you should ideally keep them alone in their own fish tank with plenty of filtration and decorations – especially when you factor in the copious amounts of waste that a single puffer produces! Unfortunately, it can be hard to accept that you can only put one fish in your aquarium.
Here are some of the top reasons why you should not keep other fish with your spotted puffer:
1. They’re a brackish water puffer. The majority of tankmates that people want to keep with their spotted puffers are freshwater fish. Even if your puffer doesn’t turn out to be as territorial as most, the difference in salinity requirements creates an issue of compatibility that you can’t fix. For example, plecos cannot be kept with a green spotted puffer, no matter how bad the algae gets – they do not tolerate salt in their water, and it will eventually kill them.
2. They’ll eat their tankmates. The spotted puffer is a very territorial fish when it reaches maturity, and their teeth can cut through bones, shells and skin very easily. For this reason, you would either need to find equally territorial brackish water fish that can hold their own, or continually keep replacing your puffer’s roommates. Neither one of those options creates an environment that your puffer will thrive in, which is why it’s best to keep them as solitary pets in their own tank. Remember, all it takes is one bite from your puffer in the right spot for dispute to become fatal.
3. Their tankmates will injure them. On the flip side, puffers can easily be injured by other fish in the tank, as well. Their fins are very delicate, which means that it doesn’t take very much to shred them, and they lack scales on their body. Since they are a scaleless fish, they don’t have the same amount of protection that other scaled fish do, and that puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to territorial disputes.
Don’t forget that spotted puffers need at least 30 gallons to themselves. As an adult, Tetraodon nigroviridis will approximately reach about six inches. If you’re having trouble visualizing that, think about an avocado with fins and teeth! Although some specimens stay smaller, whether it’s due to genetics or poor diet, they still require quite a bit of space for their waste to properly be diluted. Additionally, green spotted puffers are also very active fish – you will rarely see them sit still for very long. Plan on at least giving your puffer an entire 30 gallon fish tank to himself; however, the larger you can go, the better. In reality, when you factor in their activity level, size and waste output, a 55 gallon fish tank is a much better home.