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Rare Species: Spotted Congo Puffer
21 April 2020
The Spotted Congo Puffer (Tetraodon schoutedeni) comes from the lower reaches of the Congo River system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here, this stunning pufferfish is usually found in rocky habitats amongst the swiftly flowing and highly oxygenated waters. This is also where it is may be observed lurking between crevices in the rocks, in preperation to ambush any small fish or crustacean that dare to venture past.
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 rarer pufferfish amongst aquarists.
Sometimes confused with the green spotted puffer (Tetraodon nigroviridis) 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 eyes are usually red. Unlike the green spotted puffer, this species comes from Africa and lives in fresh water.
This particular pufferfish is relatively peaceful towards its own kind and other species but it would be advisable to remain cautious and have a means of separating tank-mates if necessary. Of course it may squabble with its own kind and other pufferfish but will generally ignore the more robust tank-mates such as cichlids and catfish.
The Spotted Congo Puffer requires a fairly good sized, mature aquarium with a soft sandy substrate and 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.
This fish is in stock at Wildwoods, it is a very highly sought after species. If you would like to purchase one, get in touch quickly.