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  • Source: Copyright Ralf Britz

  • Source: Copyright Ralf Britz

  • Source: Copyright Ralf Britz

  • Source: Copyright Ralf Britz

Tetraodon schoutedeni (Spotted Congo Puffer)

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This is the smallest species of African pufferfish and is much sought after by oddball enthusiasts, however, imports from this region tend to be quite sporadic so this is one of the rarest pufferfish in the trade.

Can be confused with the green spotted puffer, Tetraodon nigroviridis, this species is rather rare in the hobby. It has greenish-brown back and a pale yellow to cream coloured belly, with darker spots on the back and flanks and the edges of the belly. The eye is usually red. Unlike the green spotted puffer, this species comes from Africa and lives in fresh water.

Rarely kept in home aquaria and although most suggest that this particular pufferfish is relatively peaceful towards its own kind and other species, it would be prudent to be cautious and have a means of separating tankmates if necessary.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Fairly peaceful, and while it may skirmish with its own kind and other pufferfish, generally ignores robust tankmates such as cichlids and catfish.

The Spotted Congo Puffer requires a fairly good sized, mature aquarium with a soft and sandy substrate with plenty of caves and crevices to hide between. As these fish are voracious eaters and can create a fair amount of waste, decent filtration should be employed (an external canister is ideal).

There should be areas of moderate water movement and a high level of oxygenation, perhaps achieved by a powerhead with flow diverter angled up towards the surface of the water, or by keeping a slightly dropped water line so that water returning from the filter splashes down onto the water's surface.

Ensuring there is an abundance of visual barriers within the aquarium will provide the best chance of keeping a group (introduce simultaneously, and observe very carefully), and any possible companions should be short-finned and fast-swimming. Rocks, driftwood, and hardy current-tolerant plants can all be utilised in an aquascape for these puffers.

As with other puffer species, this fish can inflate when frightened or cornered. It should never be provoked into doing so, and never above water where it can take on air, which can prove fatal.

This fish is a carnivore, feeding on meaty frozen foods such as Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, chopped cockle and mussel meat, chopped shell-on prawns, small snails and partially opened cockle-in-shell.

Hard-shelled foods MUST be offered on a regular basis to help keep the beak in check. Some aquarists breed small aquatic snails in a separate nano aquarium, where they reproduce rapidly and can be easily harvested for feeding times.

Family Group: Miscellaneous
Distribution Congo
Temperature 24-28C
Size 9 cm
Water Parameters Adaptable, but avoid extremes
Water PH 6.5-7.5
Diet Special Needs
Sociability Peaceful
Schooling Fish No
Care Level Easy
Water Chemistry Adaptable

Useful sources of information:

To find out more about these fascinating fish the best resource currently available is the Aqualog publication, The Puffers of Fresh and Brackish Waters. To buy a copy of this book click here