A fish I believe to be a tad too delicate for a novice fish keeper, Il llay out everything you need to know in order to provide the best care for pea puffers.
Pea puffers have a pointed snout that is tipped with a tiny beak made of hard keratin that they use to chew up snails. Most are a dusky gold color with irregular spots and splotches of dark brown.
Mature males have iridescent markings behind their eyes, often called wrinkles and most have a black stripe or spot on their bellies. Females have a rounder body shape and have a pale belly with no spots or stripes. These shoals move up and down the riverbank, eating copepods, small snails, crustaceans, insects and larvae.
You can keep a single pea puffer in a 5 gallon (19 liter) tank (bigger is always better, though! Tank bred pea puffers are able to adapt to a wider range of water conditions. Temperature : 74-82F (23-28C) Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 Nitrate : <20 ppm pH : 7.0-7.5 GH : 3-20 dGH KH : 3-10 dKH
There are beneficial bacteria that grow inside of aquarium filters that help to detoxify waste byproducts in the water. The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Fish constantly put off wastes into the water around them. As the wastes break down, they start to put off deadly ammonia (NH 3 ) into the water.
This is really bad news because it only takes one part per million of ammonia to stress and even kill many species of fish. Luckily, the bacteria in a fish filter eat up the ammonia and turn it into nitrite (NO 2 -1) and then into something called nitrate (NO 3 -). Good filtration is critical to successful fish keeping, so plan on adding a filter to your tank.
Pro Tip: There is a process to getting the right amount of beneficial bacteria to grow in your filter. But, you want good, strong lighting in order to grow live plants in the tank. I think the best way to do both is to add some floating plants that break up the light, creating a more dappled effect.
Also, if you have the kind of lights that can be programmed to come on slowly, instead of all at once, a dawn cycle or ramp up period can save the fish some stress. Live plants are the most important thing to a pea puffer aquarium. Densely planted tanks will give everyone areas where they can retreat and avoid aggressive neighbors.
Its also a good idea to add floating plants that will shade the tank and reduce the harsh glare from bright lights. Pro Tip: Fish keepers have strongly noted that this species will not accept dry foods like pellets or flakes. The big problem with sexing pea puffers is that they do not show these distinctive characteristics until they are almost fully mature.
Pea puffers are generally sold as juveniles but they all pretty much look like females at that point. You may have to buy a group of puffers, let them mature and then shuffle around fish until you have the correct proportions of 1 male to every 2-3 females. You will need to set up a dedicated breeding tank for these fish because the adults will need to be separated from the fry.
Its been noted that pea puffers dont need much inducement in order to spawn. The eggs will hatch in 24-48 hours and the fry will become free swimming within a week of being laid. They may not be able to swallow a tank mate whole, but their little beaks are very sharp and capable of taking a chunk out of much larger fish.
If your tank is large enough, and very heavily planted, you can keep several pea puffers together. You can try to pair them with otocinclus catfish, but be prepared to move the otos if the puffers start to get nippy. But, I also think that these little guys can really bring a lot of joy to a seasoned aquarist, and if youre willing to dedicate a tank to them, I think keeping them will be a great experience overall.
Can a pea puffer live in a 3 gallon tank?
Technically, they should be kept in a tank that is 10 gallons or larger, but we have made this 3 gallon desktop tank a lush, single species environment.
Can you keep a pea puffer in a 5 gallon?
The minimum size of aquarium recommended for a Dwarf Puffer is a 5-gallon tank. A breeding setup should be 20 gallons which will provide plenty of space for one male to be housed with 3 females. For every 5 gallons of water your aquarium holds, you should only house one Pea Puffer.
Can a pea puffer live in a 2.5 gallon tank?
Typically, you should look to provied between 3-5g per puffer, as, despite their diminutive size, they are rather terretorial; however, if kept alone, a 2.5g could work relatively well (if a little on the small side.)
Can Pea Puffers live in 1 gallon?
Aquarium Size. As small as Pea Puffers are they can be kept in even nano aquariums. 3 to 5 gallons is a good minimum if you intend to keep a single Puffer. However they are a social species and do better in groups of at least 3.
Pea puffer or dwarf puffer (lat. Carinotetraodon travancoricus) is the smallest fish of Tetraodon family you may encounter on sale. The fish comes from India and unlike the other species, it inhabits only in freshwater. Is very small and quite often its sold in its max size about 1 in (2.5 cm) long.
The fish inhabits in the river Pamba which comes down from the mountains and pours into Vembanad lake (which is habitat). Depending on the mood its color varies from green to brown with dark spots scattered all over the body.
The thing is that the fish is a rather new one and there is very few reliable info about it, but we know for sure that adding some salt into the tank shortens lifespan. Its very important to maintain the low level of nitrates and ammonia content in the water, especially in small tanks. But keep in mind that the fish doesnt like strong water flow, so youd better decrease it as much as possible.
Even the information about dwarf spawning differs in the references both hard and soft, acidic and alkali water is mentioned. So, if you provide the fish with proper tank conditions clean water and good feed, itll be a delight for your eyes for quite a long time. Theyr will ignore large snails, but theyll eagerly feed on small ones whose shells they can crack.
Even MTS snails dont feel themselves safe in their hard shells, since the fish will still try to crack smaller species. In general, its recommended to keep dwarf puffer in a separate tank, since they are more active and this way no other fish gets hurt. You may keep puffer in a small school of 5-6 species in a thickly planted tank with lots of covers.
In such a tank the intraspecific aggression will lessen sufficiently, itll be easier for the fish to define its territory and to find a mate. Unlike lots of related species the pea puffer successfully breeds in a tank. The courtship behaviour shows when the male starts chasing the female one and biting her if shes still not ready.
The spawning takes place several times till the female fish lays all the eggs. But, dwarf puffer can spawn every day, so if you want to have more eggs just keep several females in the tank.
Pea puffers are one of the coolest oddball species you can keep in a smaller-sized aquarium. Theyre known for their helicopter-like maneuverability, independently moving eyes, and of course, ability to inflate like a tiny water balloon. In this practical care guide, we answer your most frequently asked questions about these amazing, little creatures.
Plus, having a ratio of one male for every two to three females tends to decrease aggression, but most pea puffers are sold as juveniles, which are hard to sex. They typically will not take dry foods, but weve had good luck with Hikari Vibra Bites because they look and even move like bloodworms as theyre sinking.
Most larger pufferfish must be fed hard, crunchy foods to grind down their ever-growing teeth, but thankfully pea puffers dont have this problem. Just make sure to feed a wide variety of frozen foods so that they get all the essential nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life. Pea puffers can be a little messy, especially if they dont catch every bit of food that falls in the water, so it would be beneficial to use live aquarium plants to help consume the toxic waste compounds.
Ideally, a well-balanced, densely planted tank has very little algae growth, and it provides a beautiful underwater jungle for your little helicopter fish to navigate.
But their cute appearance isnt the only reason to consider getting these fish. Caring for them is straightforward once you know what to do, and their active behavior makes them fun to observe.
Youll learn basic care, recommended tank mates, the food they eat, and much more! The dwarf pea puffer ( Carinotetraodon travancoricus ) is a freshwater fish thats native to the Western Ghats of Southwest India.
Author Note: Due to their classification as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List its good to be 100% sure youre ready to care for one before making a purchase. While you should do this with any fish you get, buying a pea puffer youre not ready for directly impacts the population decline of this species. If you dont provide them with the quality of care they need, then the chance of them hitting 5 years of age is slim to none.
This creates a cute effect that makes it look like these stocky little bodies are being moved around by almost nonexistent fins! Because the fin is hard to see and these fish have that long and thin caudal peduncle, it looks like theyre swimming with nothing back there. On top of this youll find dark evenly sized spots that are spaced out quite consistently.
Pea puffers also have that classic pufferfish face with large eyes and an open rectangular-shaped mouth. The average pea puffer size is around 1 and a half inches in length when fully grown. Its basically unheard of for these fish to exceed this size no matter how good their care or genetics are.
The biggest challenge youll face with this fish is making sure their water and tank requirements are up to par. Author Note: Because maintaining consistent levels is so important, we recommend getting a reliable testing kit. This accuracy will give you peace of mind and ensure that your fish are living in a healthy environment.
If you dont include enough plants in your tank theres a strong chance that these fish will experience elevated stress levels (which can impact their health). This kind of substrate is conducive to the rooting process and will help your plants grow tall (which your pea puffers will appreciate). Fortunately, you can drastically reduce the chance of Ich (and many other diseases) if you take care of the water quality in your tank.
Frozen and live foods such as bloodworms , brine shrimp, tubifex, and mosquito larvae are perfect. Another reason why its bad to overfeed your pea puffer is the effect the extra food can have on water quality. A lot of potential owners think that these fish are likely harmless due to their size and adorable appearance.
Author Note: The individual temperament of your puffer will play a role in how reasonable it is to pair them with other species. Youll learn to understand your fish over time, but if youre uncertain its never a good idea to risk it! Bumping up the water to the higher end of the recommended range is a good place to start (aim for 79F to 80F).
When the two pea puffers are ready to breed, the male will follow the female into a planted area of the aquarium where he will fertilize the eggs.
Pea puffers, also known as Dwarf Pufferfish, Pea Puffer Fish, Pygmy Pufferfish, Dwarf Pea Puffer and the Malabar Pufferfish. Here are some key care stats:
Pea Puffer Origins In The Wild
Pea puffers originate from freshwater rivers in central India.They shoal together in huge groups. These shoals move up and down the riverbank, eating copepods, small snails, crustaceans, insects and larvae.Sadly, these little fish have been given the status of “vulnerable’’ in the wild.Their numbers have dwindled in recent years because of habitat loss and overfishing.If at all possible, please purchase puffers that were tank bred.If you do buy a wild caught puffer, it’s recommended to thoroughly deworm them.
Pea puffers are rather small fish. So there’s no need to buy a huge tank in order to keep this species.You can keep a single pea puffer in a 5 gallon (19 liter) tank (bigger is always better, though!).If you want to have multiple puffers, it’s best to provide 5 gallons per fish. So, a pair should go in a 10 gallon (39 liter), three should go in a 15 gallon (57 liter), and so on.
Tank bred pea puffers are able to adapt to a wider range of water conditions.
The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
Fish constantly put off wastes into the water around them. These wastes accumulate in the substrate and start to rot.As the wastes break down, they start to put off deadly ammonia (NHLuckily, the bacteria in a fish filter eat up the ammonia and turn it into nitrite (NONitrate is much less toxic and can be allowed to build up in the water column in between weekly water changes.Without a filter, wastes will build and build in the tank until the water is completely toxic. Good filtration is critical to successful fish keeping, so plan on adding a filter to your tank.Pro Tip: There is a process to getting the right amount of beneficial bacteria to grow in your filter. For more information on the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, please see this more in depth article.
Pea puffers require temperatures of 74°-82°F (23°-28°C), much higher than normal room temperature.A heater is absolutely necessary for this species.
This species doesn’t really have any particular needs when it comes to substrate.But, pea puffers do best in a heavily planted tank, so you might want to use some sort of plant substrate to help you grow lots of rooted plants.Pro Tip: Research planted substrates before you add them to your tank. Many can alter water chemistry, lowering pH or even leaching ammonia. Some also have to be replaced every few years.
You have to strike a bit of a balance when it comes to lighting a pea puffer tank. Puffers do better with diffuse light. Bright lights suddenly snapping on can startle them and cause stress.But, you want good, strong lighting in order to grow live plants in the tank.I think the best way to do both is to add some floating plants that break up the light, creating a more dappled effect.Also, if you have the kind of lights that can be programmed to come on slowly, instead of all at once, a dawn cycle or “ramp up” period can save the fish some stress.If you don’t have a programmable light, you can try turning on a bright light in the room a few minutes before turning on the tank light.
Plants and Decor
Live plants are the most important thing to a pea puffer aquarium. These fish prefer a heavily planted tank. They will feel happier and more secure living in a tiny jungle.This is especially true if you plan on keeping more than one puffer. Densely planted tanks will give everyone areas where they can retreat and avoid aggressive neighbors.It’s best to have lots of plants rooted in the substrate that grow to the top of the tank. Your pea puffers will happily hover around the stems, looking for food.It’s also a good idea to add floating plants that will shade the tank and reduce the harsh glare from bright lights.
Breeding Pea Puffers
When it comes to food, pea puffers can beThese fish are strictly carnivorous and usually will only accept live or frozen foods.Live and frozen foods include:Pro Tip: Fish keepers have strongly noted that this species will not accept dry foods like pellets or flakes. Be prepared to provide live or frozen foods exclusively.
Sexing Pea Puffers
Males have a sleeker body shape than females. Once they are mature, most will have a dark stripe that runs from their chin to their anus.Males also have tiny iridescent blue markings behind their eyes that look like tiny cracks or wrinkles. Males also tend to be a brighter yellow color.Females will have a pale or even white belly that has no stripes or spots. They also have a rounder body shape and no blue markings behind their eyes.The big problem with sexing pea puffers is that they do not show these distinctive characteristics until they are almost fully mature.Pea puffers are generally sold as juveniles but they all pretty much look like females at that point.You may have to buy a group of puffers, let them mature and then shuffle around fish until you have the correct proportions of 1 male to every 2-3 females.
You will need to set up a dedicated breeding tank for these fish because the adults will need to be separated from the fry.It’s best to mimic the conditions of the main tank in your breeding tank so that fish can be transferred without much fuss.It’s been noted that pea puffers don’t need much inducement in order to spawn. As long as you have males and females together, and they’re happy and healthy, they will most likely spawn on their own.The adults will lay eggs in quiet areas of the tank. They will often lay the eggs on rocks, decor or plants toward the back of the tank.Once the eggs are laid, move the adults to another tank. The eggs will hatch in 24-48 hours and the fry will become free swimming within a week of being laid.It’s best to feed the babies a commercially prepared liquid fry food until they are large enough to eat baby brine shrimp.
Pea Puffer Tank Mates
Finding tank mates for pea puffers can be quite difficult.These fish look little and cute, but are quite notorious for biting their tank mates. They may not be able to swallow a tank mate whole, but their little beaks are very sharp and capable of taking a chunk out of much larger fish.It’s also easy for larger fish to swallow the tiny puffer fish whole.Honestly, it’s best to keep these little maniacs in a species only tank. The one exception that I have heard about is Otocinclus catfish. It’s been reported that the puffers will simply ignore the oto cats.If your tank is large enough, and very heavily planted, you can keep several pea puffers together. They will need around 5 gallons per fish so they can set up their own little territories.You would need a 10 gallon (39 liter) for a pair, a 15 gallon (57 liter) for three puffers, and so on.This species will devour snails and likely smaller shrimp, like cherries or crystal shrimp. They don’t have to be able to swallow something whole, they can just take little bites out of a snail or shrimp until it dies.
Habitat in the wild
Pea puffers may become a perfect addition to your collection of aquarium fishes. Is quite easy, you just have to keep in mind that:It’s one of few fishes which observe with interest what is happening behind the tank glass and starts to recognize its owner. Is a very clever fish and its behavior often reminds other intelligent fishes – cichlids. Once you enter the room, the fishes start swimming near the tank glass trying to attract your attention. Of course, they’d like to ask for some feed, but it’s always nice to see such a reaction from the fish.
It’s one of the smallest (if not the smallest one) of tetraodon family – the size is bout 2.5 cm (1 in). The lifespan is about 4 years.The eyes move independently of each other, that allows to observe surroundings almost without moving.Depending on the mood its color varies from green to brown with dark spots scattered all over the body. Abdomen is white or yellowish.
Care and keeping in a tank
Doesn’t require a big tank, however different references provide us with different info, one say that 2 gallons for one fish is enough, the others – 10 gallons are enough for a small dwarf puffer school.So, the proper tank capacity has some average value of those mentioned above. Anyway, we speak about small tank capacities.It’s important that tank is balanced and completely set, since the fish is rather sensitive to ammonia and nitrates content in the tank water. Addition of some salt into the water isn’t advisable, moreover it’s harmful, however this recommendation can be quite often seen over the Internet.The thing is that the fish is a rather new one and there is very few reliable info about it, but we know for sure that adding some salt into the tank shortens lifespan.There are always lots of leftovers after the fish was fed. If you try to put some snails into the tank and see what happens – the pea puffer will attack and eat the snails and their rests will lay on the tank bottom and soon they will start to rot.So, you should install a powerful filter and renew the water regularly. It’s very important to maintain the low level of nitrates and ammonia content in the water, especially in small tanks.But keep in mind that the fish doesn’t like strong water flow, so you’d better decrease it as much as possible.In the tank puffer isn’t very demanding to water parameters. The main thing is to avoid anything extreme, the fish will adapt to the rest.Even the information about dwarf spawning differs – in the references both hard and soft, acidic and alkali water is mentioned.All these show that fish has high adaptivity level. So, if you provide the fish with proper tank conditions – clean water and good feed, it’ll be a delight for your eyes for quite a long time.Naturally, this Indian inhabitant requires warm water – within 22-26 C.
Care crucially depends on the proper feed. It doesn’t matter what the sellers say, since in the real life the fish doesn’t eat flakes or granules.In the wild they feed on snails, small spineless species and insects.The best way to create a fortified diet for pea puffer is to feed it with small snails (ramshorn snails, MTS) and frozen feed.If we speak about frozen one – favorite food is blood worm, daphnia and brine shrimps. If your fish refuses to feed on frozen feed you can mix it with the live feed. Nothing improves the appetite as live and moving feed.You can give snails to mini puffer fish regularly, since they are its basic food in the wild and the fish uses snail’s shell to mill its teeth.So, the fish will quickly eat all the snails in its tank and you’d better have some plan B in this respect. Theyr will ignore large snails, but they’ll eagerly feed on small ones whose shells they can crack.Even MTS snails don’t feel themselves safe in their hard shells, since the fish will still try to crack smaller species.This is quite a time-consuming process. The fish has some area around its target (about 5cm in diameter) and the decision as for attacking the target is made within this area.
Compatibility and tank mates
In fact, all pea puffers have rather different behavior in different tanks. Again, one say that they successfully keep together with other fishes, the others complain about some nipped fins and the fishes being pressured.It’s possibly about each fish temper and tank conditions.In general, it’s recommended to keep dwarf puffer in a separate tank, since they are more active and this way no other fish gets hurt.Sometimes, this fish can be kept together with prawns, but keep in mind that despite the fish’s small mouth in the wild it feeds on different spineless species, so at least small prawns will be treated as feed.You may keep puffer in a small school of 5-6 species in a thickly planted tank with lots of covers. In such a tank the intraspecific aggression will lessen sufficiently, it’ll be easier for the fish to define its territory and to find a mate.
Gender differences: male vs female
It’s hard to see between male and female when they are juveniles, but adult male has a dark stripe along its abdomen, which a female doesn’t have. Also, females have more rounded body.
What Is a Pea Puffer?
Nowadays most pea puffers are captive bred, but if they’re wild caught, they may need additional deworming medication. We’ve used our quarantine medication trio as a preventative treatment on thousands of pea puffers with no harmful effects.Even though puffers are considered “scaleless” fish, these three medications are proven to be safe for them. Make sure to use the full recommended dosages on them, or else pathogens may survive the treatment.
Do Pea Puffers Puff Up?
Yes. It is rare, but you may catch your pufferfish in act of puffing up as a defensive mechanism or just for practice. Pufferfish puff up by sucking in water to increase their size and discourage would-be predators. If let alone, it will shrink back down to its normal shape in due time.Please do not deliberately stress out your pet to “make” it inflate. Instead, you can find plenty of pictures and videos online to see what it looks like. Also, if you need to move or transport your pea puffer, it’s best to use a cup or small container (instead of a net) so that the fish remains submerged in water at all times and won’t accidentally suck in air.
Do Pea Puffers Need a Heater?
They do well in stable, tropical temperatures from 74 to 82°F, so if your room temperature is below this range or tends to fluctuate a lot, you need an aquarium heater. For more information on what size heater is right for you, read our full article here.In terms of other tank parameters, people have kept them at pH levels of 6.5 to 8.4. A pH range between 7.2 to 7.5 is ideal, but it’s more important to keep the pH levels stable rather than aim for a specific number. Because they’re not the fastest swimmers, you should also use a gentle filter with a slower flow rate.
What Do Pea Puffers Eat?
These hardcore carnivores are best fed on a diet of frozen foods (like frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp) and live foods (like little pest snails or blackworms). They typically will not take dry foods, but we’ve had good luck with Hikari Vibra Bites because they look and even move like bloodworms as they’re sinking.Most larger pufferfish must be fed hard, crunchy foods to grind down their ever-growing teeth, but thankfully pea puffers don’t have this problem. Therefore, if you can’t get a hold of live snails, it’s not a dealbreaker. Just make sure to feed a wide variety of frozen foods so that they get all the essential nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life.Frozen bloodworms are a favorite food for pea puffers, but offer them a diverse assortment of foods to ensure they have a well-rounded diet.
Can Pea Puffers Live With Other Fish?
This is one of the most common questions we get about pea puffers, and it’s not an easy one to answer. Some puffers can be a little timid, but most are pretty aggressive and territorial. Think of it like owning a dog that’s prone to fighting. In most cases, any other dog or pet you bring home will probably get attacked. If they don’t, that’s great, but it might not be worth the hassle of finding your dog a roommate when you know the odds of friendship are not likely.Therefore, if you want to keep pea puffers, buy them with the expectation of keeping them in a species-only aquarium with no other tank mates. This means that you won’t be able to add any algae eaters or clean-up crew, so you’ll have to do more tank maintenance yourself. Pea puffers can be a little messy, especially if they don’t catch every bit of food that falls in the water, so it would be beneficial to use live aquarium plants to help consume the toxic waste compounds. Ideally, a well-balanced, densely planted tank has very little algae growth, and it provides a beautiful underwater jungle for your little helicopter fish to navigate.
The dwarf pea puffer (You can find these fish in a series of main rivers and lakes in this region, such as the Chalakudy River and Lake Vembanad. This species is endemic to this region and is seeing a population decline due to overfishing, making it harder and harder to see them in their natural habitat.While it’s not too late to turn this trend around, it’s definitely worrisome. While we’re not advocating that you hold off purchasing one for yourself, we recommend doing some research into the place you’re buying them from as well.
If you don’t provide them with the quality of care they need, then the chance of them hitting 5 years of age is slim to none. However, if you follow our care recommendations in this guide they will live a long and happy life.
While we’re tempted to describe the look of this fish as “adorable” and leave it at that, we’ll go into details for the sake of being thorough.The pea puffer has a very unique look that led to the origin of their name. These tiny little fish that look like chunky swimming pea!Their bodies are rather thick and dense looking. The front starts off a slightly pointed at the mouth and gets thickest near the middle of their bodies.Things start to taper down significantly once you reach their dorsal fin. Their body thins out to about half of their max-width and stays about the same size through the entirety of their caudal peduncle.Dwarf pea puffers have very small and unassuming fins. This is further exaggerated by the fact that they’re mostly translucent.This creates a cute effect that makes it look like these stocky little bodies are being moved around by almost nonexistent fins! It’s like something out of a cartoon.Their dorsal fins are about two-thirds of the way back on their bodies and their pectoral fins are pretty much right in the middle of their main area of mass. All of these fins are basically the same size.Pea puffers also have an interesting looking caudal fin. Since it’s quite clear and modest in size, it can be hard to notice when you’re observing these fish.This creates a funny look at first glance.Because the fin is hard to see and these fish have that long and thin caudal peduncle, it looks like they’re swimming with nothing back there. When they’re moving around dwarf pea puffers can look like a little green droplet!As far as their color goes, this body of this species is a yellowish-green that extends all over their body. On top of this you’ll find dark evenly sized spots that are spaced out quite consistently. These spots aren’t present on the underbelly.Pea puffers also have that classic pufferfish face with large eyes and an open rectangular-shaped mouth.
It’s basically unheard of for these fish to exceed this size no matter how good their care or genetics are. There are anomalies of course, but for the most part they’re pretty consistent.
Pea Puffer Care
Pea puffer care isn’t that difficult once you have a solid understanding of the species. The biggest challenge you’ll face with this fish is making sure their water and tank requirements are up to par.
If you can manage it and want to give them the best habitat possible, we recommend something closer to 20 or 30 gallons. Going the extra mile and providing them with some extra space will make a big difference in their health and quality of life over the years.If you plan on keeping more than one pea puffer in your tank, add an additional 5 gallons for each.
What To Put In Their Tank
Dwarf pea puffers can be very sensitive to a change in any of the levels in your tank. This means you’re not only going to need to monitor the status of the aquarium but be ready to act if something shifts.
Common Possible Diseases
The dwarf pea puffer doesn’t have a species-specific disease you’ll have to worry about. Instead, you’ll want to follow the recommended guidelines for preventing and looking out for common freshwater illnesses.The most common disease to be aware of is Ich. If you’ve been in the aquarium scene for long enough then chances are you’ve at least heard of it.While we’re not going to get into the specifics of the disease itself, it’s not something you want to deal with. It shows as white spots on your fish and can kill them if not treated properly.Fortunately, you can drastically reduce the chance of Ich (and many other diseases) if you take care of the water quality in your tank. A well-maintained habitat with perfect water is what you should aim for regardless, but this is yet another reason to strive for it.
Food & Diet
Dwarf pea pufferfish are carnivorous and despite their cute appearance, they have quite a fierce appetite! In the wild, these fish mostly ear small insects, larvae, and algae.In captivity, you’ll need to give them protein-rich food with a good mix of variety.Frozen and live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex, and mosquito larvae are perfect. These will give them the nutrients and protein they need, and serve as a great source of enrichment as well.It’s important to make sure you’re not overfeeding them for the sake of their health. Due to their appetite, it’s quite easy to give these fish too much food. Aim for a two a day feeding schedule.Another reason why it’s bad to overfeed your pea puffer is the effect the extra food can have on water quality. Uneaten food will settle in the tank and begin to break down. This process will slowly compromise the water in your tank and cause a rise in nitrate and other substances.
Behavior & Temperament
This is one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of pea puffer care. A lot of potential owners think that these fish are likely harmless due to their size and adorable appearance.Wrong.Cramming them in too close to each other is a recipe for disaster due to their territorial nature. However, when given sufficient room and hiding places this species will regularly be found shoaling.Pea puffers are also rather active. These fish are quite curious by nature and can’t resist checking out different parts of their tank.You’ll likely see them investigating the substrate, plants, other fish, and even you! This makes them a lot of fun to watch as an owner. There’s never a dull moment!
Pea Puffer Tank Mates
Finding the right pea puffer tank mates is something that many owners struggle with. Their territorial and aggressive nature means you can’t simply pair them with any similarly-sized fish.The safest bet is to get one dwarf pea pufferfish and keep them alone. This will ensure that there isn’t any fighting and allow you to get away with a smaller tank.But that’s not very fun, and the fact that these fish like to shoal means they probably appreciate some company.If you’re going to keep them in a species only tank it’s important to remember two things. The first is that you’ll need to give each fish enough room (an extra 5 gallons per fish). The second is to include plenty of plants in the aquarium so there’s room to hide.Doing this will help keep these fish from getting on each others nerves and starting to fight. Despite their size, they can do a lot of damage to each other if left unchecked.If you want to house them with other species then here’s what you need to look for:Fish should be similar in size and able to get away when needed. Pea puffers are fin nippers and will pester slow fish. Obviously, large fish should be avoided too since they can hurt or eat your dwarf pufferfish.Here are some pea puffer tank mates that are worth considering:
The breeding process for dwarf pea puffers is something anyone can do as long as you have the appropriate resources and knowledge.For the most part, you’ll be sticking to a lot of the tank guidelines we listed earlier.Bumping up the water to the higher end of the recommended range is a good place to start (aim for 79°F to 80°F). This will replicate the water temperature in the wild during the breeding season.Some owners recommend using a breeding tank for the best results, but others feel this is unnecessary. If you want to use a dedicated breeding tank it’s best to get one that’s almost half the size of a normal two-fish tank.When the two pea puffers are ready to breed, the male will follow the female into a planted area of the aquarium where he will fertilize the eggs. Form this point you’ll simply have to leave the eggs alone for a few days.Once the fry have hatched and the yolk is gone, you’ll need to start feeding them. Brine shrimp are a great source of food that will help these little fish grow.