Pea Puffer Care Guide – Diet, Breeding & More

Pea Puffer in an aquarium

The Pea Puffer may not be very big, but it is definitely one smart fish. 

This will definitely make for an interesting addition to your aquarium. If you are interested in getting one of these fish, there is a lot you’ll want to know about it.

Pea Puffer Appearance

Pea Puffers only grow to be around 1.5 inches as fully mature adults. In fact, they are the smallest of their entire species. These fish have a round body that gets progressively thinner towards their anal fin.

It is fairly easy to tell males from females, as each one has its own distinct appearance. The males feature a vibrant yellow underside, whereas the females have a pale yellow belly. You’ll also notice that males have a dark slim bar going down their belly.

Both sexes feature areas of dark coloration near their heads, though the males feature a dark bar that goes from the pectoral fins to almost the end of their body.


One of the reasons why some people are hesitant to keep these fish as pets is because they can become quite aggressive. If you are going to keep multiple Pea Puffers in the same tank, it is imperative that the females outnumber the males with a 4:1 ratio. This will drastically reduce the chances of aggressive behavior among these fish.

You are bound to notice that these fish are quite social creatures that love to swim around, especially when they are kept with their own kind. They naturally swim around in big shoals, which is why it is a good idea to keep at least a few of them together.

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Unlike many other fish, these puffers swim around all different parts of an aquarium. They do this as a means of searching for food as well as socializing.

Pea Puffer dwarf e1580758122478

Natural Habitat

You can usually find the Pea Puffer in lakes, estuaries and rivers in Southwest India. These fish prefer warmer bodies of water that have a fairly strong current.

Pea Puffer Care Guide

1. Tank Setup

Due to the very small size of these fish, you can keep them in a tank as small as five gallons. Because they are very social creatures, bigger is always better. It is a good idea to use a filter that allows the outlet to be adjusted as needed.

The substrate of the tank should consist of either small particle gravel or sand. This simulates their natural habitat, which is important to their overall health. These materials will allow the roots of the plants you put in to spread and flourish.

There are lots of different types of plants that are perfect for a Pea Puffer tank, including java moss and Stargrass. Ample vegetation is a crucial component of their habitat, so you need to keep that in mind.

It is also important that you do a good job of maintaining the plants that you put in your puffer’s tank. This means trimming them when necessary so as to prevent overgrowth.

2. Water Conditions

The water inside of your Pea Puffer’s aquarium should be kept at a temperature range of 77 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 6.5 to 7. These fish tend to do best when they are kept in slightly acidic water.

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3. Pea Puffer Tank Mates

Despite the aggressive nature of Pea Puffers, there are plenty of different fish that you can keep them with. Some of these fish include Siamese Algae Eaters, Zebra Danio, and the Harlequin Rasbora.

The best tank mates for these puffers are small fish that can swim very fast. You don’t want to keep any big species in the tank with them, as they will likely be devoured rather quickly.

While you can put these fish in with different species, it is not recommended. Make sure that you have another tank set aside in case of aggressive behavior. If any of your fish get a bacterial infection due to nipping, you don’t want them in with all the others.

Pea Puffer hiding

4. Pea Puffer Food

These fish need to be given live food on a fairly regular basis. This includes brine shrimp, snails and Bloodworms. You can also give them frozen foods, though they aren’t quite as good. You’ll want to feed your Pea Puffers two times daily, but never give them more than they can eat within a few minutes.

Common Health Problems

Pea Puffers can get sick rather easily if the nitrate or ammonia levels in their tank are too high. This is precisely why it is so important for you to check these levels on a regular basis.

Pea Puffer Breeding

You shouldn’t have a very difficult time breeding Pea Puffers. You’ll need to keep the temperature of the water at a steady 79 degrees Fahrenheit during this process. You can keep a male and a female in a five-gallon tank without any issues.

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It is common for males to peruse the females until they finally give in to their advances. Once spawning has taken place, the fry comes out of their eggs within a couple of days. Make sure that you use a sponge filter in the tank to keep water flow to a minimum during this time.


  • Pea Puffers are very small fish that only grow to be around 1.5 inches long at the most.
  • Despite the small size of these fish, they can be very aggressive.
  • You will need a minimum 5-gallon tank for keeping these fish.
  • Make sure that you use a filter that lets you adjust the outflow as needed.
  • A moderate current in your fish’s tank will keep them comfortable and healthy over the long term.
  • These fish can be fed live or frozen food, including brine shrimp, bloodworms and snails.
  • The Zebra Danio and Siamese Algae Eater both make for excellent tank mates.
  • You want to avoid putting in any larger fish or smaller ones that cannot swim very fast.
  • You’ll need to regularly check the nitrate and ammonia levels in your fish’s tank to avoid illness.
  • Breeding these fish is fairly easy, and the whole process takes just a few days.
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