Pufferfish (Tetraodontidae) are known for their unique way of swimming, their very interesting personality and of course their ability to puff up. It is not a coincidence that so many aquarists fall for these funny fish.
In nature, pufferfish blow water onto sand to find food, hence they are also called "Blowfish". They will sometimes do this in the aquarium. In addition to this they will also spray water out of the tank, so do not be suprised if they do :-) Site electrical equipment with care.
Many of the species have spines, but these can normally only be seen when the fish is puffed up.
They are not generally reef safe, and will sometimes nibble at the fins of the other fish. They are, on the other hand, very hardy and if ones purchases a healthy specimen it can live for many years under good conditions.
One must be careful when handling and transporting the fish, as many of the species will release a toxin into the water.
They are described as being difficult to keep, but if one has the correct equipment and food, it is indeed possible. Something to be aware of with Pufferfish is that they demand a lot of food, so the aquarium must be able to handle this. They require food which grinds their teeth, as they keep on growing through out their life. The fish is unable to eat if their teeth grow too long. Suitable foods are snails or mussels. Flake foods are not suitable for pufferfish even though they will eat it. It must be supplemented with a varied selection of seafood and frozen foods.
When selecting a pufferfish at the fish store, one must be aware of parasites, as these are quite common among them. These may show up as white spots or small irregularities in the skin. They can also have internal parasites which can only be avoided by quarantining the fish.
Fish from the Canthigaster genus, also known as Tobies, are smaller then most pufferfish and cannot blow themselves up to the same degree.
Some, but by no means all, are known nip other fish, hermit crabs and the like. These small Pufferfish can sometimes be kept in a coral aquarium, but it is necessary to ascertain which corals they are likely to nip.