Freshwater Pufferfish: Carinotetraodon travancoricus


Common names: Dwarf puffer, Pea puffer, BB puffer, Malabar puffer


dwarf pufferfish

Activity level:active/hunter

Adult size: ~1 inch

Life span: 5+ years

Min tank: 10 gallons

Temp: 74-82 degrees F

pH: 6.5-7.2


Diet: Baby snails are an excellent source of food for dwarf puffers, and you can easily breed a snail colony at home. You can also offer your freshwater pufferfish a varied diet of appropriately sized shrimp pieces, red wigglers, and different types of frozen fish food, like blood worms and brine shrimp. Just remember to keep the pieces small, a few blood worms makes a decent sized meal. These little guys should be fed twice a day.

Notes: Dwarf puffers are one of the few types of freshwater pufferfish that can successfully be kept with their own species. They are best kept in a species only tank, however, some do well with a cleaner tank mates, like otocinclus – some keepers even report their dwarf puffers cohabitating with different shrimp species. Since adult males can become very territorial with each other, it is recommended to keep a single male in a group of females – 1 male to 3-4 females is a widely accepted ratio.

Dwarf puffer beaks do not grow at a fast rate, so you are less likely to have fish problems with an overgrown beak. However, you still need to offer dwarf puffers a varied diet that includes a large quantity of shelled foods to maintain dental health – baby pond snails and ramshorn snails are perfect for this. They do well in a planted tank, and they enjoy an interactive environment filled with driftwood caves and other hiding places.


  1. These little fish sure needs a lot of taking care of and extra notes. They are similar to cats wherein the males are very territorial.

  2. They eat a LOT of snails a day! Great for cleaning out a problem tank but after they eat almost all of them you can be left scrambling for what to feed them.

    They don’t eat hydra.

    Mine live fairly peacefully with red cherry shrimp and baby guppies. They probably do eat a few of them.

  3. I love these little puffers, they are fun to watch and I thought they required less constant care than a lot of other fish I’ve had. I hope to find some more one day. Mine ate snails and bloodworms. I found I had to argue with folks who insisted they were salt or brackish fish, but they aren’t and did fine in a small freshwater aquarium.

    • Freshwater Pufferfish says:

      They are a lot of fun! I’ve had my fair share of arguments with local pet stores, too – I finally gave up on one because they insisted that there was no such thing as a freshwater puffer…*looks around at all the puffer tanks* That’s definitely news to my wallet….:)

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