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3:05 AM   April 27, 2015
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Dwarf Puffers: Feeding and Breeding

By David Lass

Snails and small shrimps are the best foods for dwarf puffers, and I know a number of hobbyists who cultivate snails in other tanks to have plenty to feed to their dwarf puffers. Dwarf puffers will also eat small ghost shrimp and frozen mysis shrimp, as well as soft foods, and frozen brine shrimp although the latter two do not in keeping the fishes’ teeth worn properly. Besides, it is very interesting to watch these fish in their natural hunting behavior with either snails or small ghost shrimps.

Dwarf Puffer There have been a number of reports of breeding dwarf puffers, and all seem to agree that these fish scatter eggs into bunches of plants. The eggs are semi-adhesive and hatch after a few days, with the babies free swimming shortly thereafter.

The biggest problems while raising the babies are they are tiny and require “green water” or other microscopic foods at first, but they start to cannibalize each other as the brood gets larger. Getting them to breed just makes keeping these great fish even more interesting.

Different Dwarf Puffers
Retailers and hobbyists need to be aware of the “different” dwarf puffers available, since one of them does not remain small.

  • The dwarf puffer most often seen in the hobby is Carinotetraodon travancoricus.
  • A closely related type (or a variety of the above) is Carinotetraodon imitator.
  • Colomesus asellus is another species often available—but this is not a dwarf, as it reaches 4 to 5 inches when adult.
  • There are many postings on the Internet about dwarf puffers. One place to start is here.  


David Lass has been keeping tropical fish since he was 12 years old, been involved in most aspects of the hobby and currently wholesales fish to retail stores in New England. He is also a resident fish expert on the

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