Dwarf Puffer Facts:

Scientific Name : Carinotetraodon travancoricus
average adult size:1 inch long
average life span:10 years
minimum aquarium size:10+ gallons
water parameters:


pH: 7-8


A well-balanced Puffer diet consists of:

  • Food may be dried, frozen, or live.
  • Though snails are the main staple,  Puffer owners have had success with feeding blackworms, mosquito larva, tubifex worms, bloodworm, white worm, water fleas, and presoaked brine shrimp. Some puffers will eat live shrimp while others will make them tank mates.
  • Avoid exclusive food which is not nutritionally complete.


Things to remember when feeding your Puffer:

  • Feed small amounts several times a day. Portion size should be what the fish can consume in about 3 minutes.
  • Thaw frozen foods if you choose to feed frozen.


  • Keep in an appropriate size aquarium; provide plants for hiding, various species may prefer sparse or thick vegetation.
  • Stable water quality, water temperature, and pH levels are critical to the health of the aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality or pH levels, Home Aquatics offers water testing.


  • The male has a few distinctive characteristics. They have a dark vertical line along the center of their bellies which becomes even darker during spawning, and they also have lines behind their eyes similar to 'wrinkles'..
  • Females won't have wrinkles or the vertical line, and will be a bit more plump.
  • The Dwarf Puffer does not guard the eggs as most puffers do. There needs to be plenty of plant cover to protect the eggs.

Habitat Maintenance

Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment.
Weekly: Check water quality at least once a week.
Monthly: Change 10-25% of the total volume of water every 2-4 weeks, or as needed.
Introduce new inhabitants to the aquarium gradually.


Dwarf Puffers are not community tank fish and are normally left as single species fish or with others of their own kind. Like all the puffer fish, the Malabar Puffer or Dwarf Puffer can vary greatly in temperament from one individual to another. Even the most mild tempered Dwarf puffer can have a mean streak that can come out at any time.They are extremely aggressive and territorial and are known to kill fish much larger then themselves


Signs of a Healthy Fish

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Clean in appearance

Avoid overcrowded conditions; they are a major cause of stress and disease. Maintain good water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration.

Red Flags

  • loss of color or appetite
  • spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • erratic swimming
  • frayed fins

Common Health Issues

Health IssueSymptoms or CausesSuggested Action
Fin rotFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens.Improve water quality; consult your aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
IchWhite spots appear on fins and body; fish rubs against hard objects or swims awkwardly.

Quarantine fish immediately; use a commercial ich remedy for at least two weeks

With a big enough tank Dwarf puffer can be kept together in groups. In a group there will always be one that asserts Its dominance and that is usually a male. Because the males are so aggressive and territorial, and become scrappier as they mature, it is best to keep a ratio of 1 male with 3 or 4 females.

To help avoid fighting the tank should be large, well planted in a manner to break their line of site, and offer plenty of caves and hiding places. Also make sure the puffers are well feed.

Since puffers do not have gill covers or scales, they are thought to be more susceptible to diseases, nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels. Like all puffers, the Dwarf Puffer is not a good fish to cycle an aquarium with. Also because they usually don't eat all of their food (messy eaters!), these fish will usually put more load on the aquarium filtration requiring more frequent water changes and better maintenance in general.

The Malabar Puffers or Dwarf Puffers are carnivores and love to feed on snails. Ramshorn snails are perfect for your puffer and are very nutritious. The ramshorn snails are very easy to breed as well and so will give an endless supply of food for your puffer.

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Dwarf Freshwater Puffer

  • Brand: Home Aquatics
  • Product Code: Dwarf Freshwater Puffer
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $8.99
  • $7.99