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Dwarf Puffer / Pygmy Puffer

Dwarf / Pygmy Puffer fish Dwarf / Pygmy Puffer fish
Photos © Sean Evans

Common name:Dwarf Puffer, Pygmy Puffer, Indian puffer, Gold puffer, Malabar puffer
Scientific name:Carinotetraodon travancoricus
Synonyms:Tetraodon travancoricus, Monotreta travancoricus (not valid)
Size:Up to 1" (2.5cm)
Origin:Asia (India)
Tank setup:A small species setup with some real or artificial plants for cover would be ideal.
Compatibility:Despite their small size, they may nip the fins of other fish.
Temperature:24-26oC (75-78oF)
Water chemistry:A freshwater puffer. Fairly soft to slightly hard, pH not critical if extremes are avoided.
Feeding:Carnivorous: small live and frozen foods including snails, bloodworm, krill, brine shrimp, small pieces of mussel and cockle.
Sexing:There are slight differences in the markings between sexes, but available details vary, and in some cases may not represent gender differences. However, males may show a brownish line along their stomach, from the 'throat' towards the anal fin. Females are generally rounder in body shape. These differences will probably not be apparent when selecting juveniles.
Breeding:Has been bred in aquaria, but few details are available.
Comments: This is the smallest of the pufferfish species. At least one distinct colour variation of C. travancoricus has been described, with blue spots. It is not yet known whether this is a separate species, subspecies, or regional variant. A distinct but very similar species was described in 1999[1] - Carinotetraodon imitator. This species has probably been imported under the same common names.

[1] Britz, R and M. Kottelat (1999) Carinotetraodon imitator, a new freshwater puffer from India (Teleostei: Tetraodontiformes). J. South Asian Nat. Hist. 4 (1): 39-47

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