Green Spotted Puffer Care and Breeding Guide

Fish come in varieties and share some characteristics with other marine animals. For example, the green spotted puffer has an uncanny resemblance with the frog and leopard. If a part of this fish is hidden and the back exposed, one may confuse it with a frog of a strange kind. Well, these are some of the marvels of Mother Nature worth exploring. At least this gives one reason to keep puffer fish in an aquarium.

Appearance of Green Spotted Puffer

Green Spotted Puffer

Scientifically known as Tetraodon nigroviridis, the green spotted puffer fish has a spotted back resembling that of a leopard. The black spots on a green, almost yellow back are a sharp contrast to the white abdomen.

The shape is another amazing wonder. The pug-dog like face, protruding eyes and an almost frog-like appearance give it a peculiar look, all the reason to keep it as a pet. The fish also recognizes its owner and is likely to react as soon as a familiar face sets foot next to the tank.

It has a strong jaw and instead of the usual fish teeth, there are 4 teeth-like structures it uses for crushing.

There are no pelvic fins and instead, its pectoral fins are used for its maneuverability. Using this, it can swim with lots of energy backwards or forwards.

Known to “puff up” itself when it spots danger, this fish is able to balloon as the spines jute outwards to warn an enemy in advance. In its flesh is a poisonous substance that can kill a predator that eats it.


It is native of brackish waters found in the coastal regions of Asia. Some of these countries include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Green Puffer fish is not unique to lakes or oceans alone but inhabits streams, rivers and flooded areas too.

Tank Requirements

The green spotted puffer is unlike other types of fish for a number of reasons. It cannot be kept in the usual tank since it has very special requirements. If these are not met, it can easily die. The following are necessary for its survival and happiness:

  • An adult green spotted puffer needs a tank that contains 35 to 50 gallons. Juveniles may however, be kept in a smaller tank
  • An external filter pumping an average of 5-10 liters in an hour is a necessity
  • Saline water is a requirement. In every 20 liters of water, a tablespoon of salt should be sufficient. Do not add the salt directly and instead mix it with water first in a pail. After it has dissolved, pour it in the aquarium. Direct addition of salt can harm the fish
  • Ensure the amount of ammonia and nitrates is just right otherwise they may get ill. For this reason, purchasing a water testing kit is a necessity
  • Add gravel substrates. Crushed corals can be an alternative too
  • Add some plants so that they can get places to hide under. The rocks can have crevices too. This gives the fish areas to explore and enjoy secret moments in
  • Keep the temperatures between 78 and 82 Fahrenheit
  • pH of 7.5 and 8.5 should be suitable
  • Changing water weekly is a must since it thrives better in fresh water
  • Gravity range of between 1.004 and 1.002
  • Some artificial decorations can be added to give the tank a beautiful look


Most fish enjoy flake food. This is not so with the GSP. Its diet consists of meaty meals like krill and bloodworms. This food can be thawed in tank water before it is offered to the fish. Always supply it with enough or else the rest will be a waste.

Green spotted puffer is a known hunter. Shrimp can be a suitable addition as it stimulates it to action. This nutritional value is not available in frozen food. So, you should remember to vary these meals to keep the fish happy.

In the wild, they eat crustaceans and snails are an important specialty. Add animals with hard shells into its diet. In the fish’ mouth is a boney plate which grows so long as the fish is alive. To curtail this growth, the fish must chew hard foods to wear this plate down. If this fails to happen, they are likely to be incapacitated to the extent that they are unable to eat. This could eventually lead to their death.

Snails are a favorite for the GSP. Stock the tank with these as much as is possible. To avoid running out of snails, an individual can breed them. They are easy to grow in a separate pond because keeping them in the same one as the GSP can be futile. During feeding times, keep in mind the fact that the fish is poisonous. Touching it with bare hands is not recommended too.


Like a number of fish or sea animals, distinguishing between males and females is quite difficult. This makes breeding a little technical. All the same, some people have been successful in breeding them.

One way of breeding is having more than five of these fish in a tank. This increases the chances of mixed sexes. After identifying a female, which most probably will become huge after breeding, it can be set for conducive conditions for spawning. These are:

  1. It spawns in brackish waters that can be provided by a hobbyist
  2. At the time of spawning, flat rocks can provide potential surface for spawning
  3. After the female lays the eggs on a hard substrate or on flat rocks, the male guards these eggs
  4. The eggs hatch after about 7 days. The fry are then moved to a pit where the male continues guarding them
  5. Raising the fry is very challenging. Most foods are not easily consumed by the fry at this stage. This calls for feeding by use of Cyclops nauplii

Facts to remember

This fish does not have scales hence prone to illness. The tank conditions should be just right to ensure it is healthy. GSP is an aggressive fish that cannot safely share a tank with others, more so smaller species. Since it has a poisonous substance, it can harm the other tank mates too. If possible therefore, keep green spotted puffer fish by themselves.

The fish eats quite a lot. In fact, this fish in the wilds spends a lot of its time hunting for food. Over-feeding it in captivity can be disastrous as it becomes too fat and may eventually die.

As a matter of fact, the green spotted puffer is an interesting pet for the home tank. So long as an individual provides the required environment, keeping this fish can be fun.

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