Amazon puffer Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 30, 2022

The Amazon Puffer is a beautiful freshwater fish that is native to the Amazon Basin. They are a popular choice for many aquarists because of their unique appearance and personality.

However, they are also a challenging fish to care for and are not recommended for beginner aquarists. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about Amazon Puffer care.

We will cover topics such as diet, tank size, tank mates, and more. by the end of this guide, you will be an expert on Amazon Puffer care!

Species overview

Amazon puffers (scientific name: Tetraodon discoides) are a freshwater fish that’s found in the Amazon Basin in South America.

They’re a fairly large fish, reaching up to 18 cm (7 inches) in length. Amazon puffers are also known for being very aggressive, and they’ve been known to attack other fish (and even people!)

This fish is a popular choice for aquariums because of its unique appearance. It has a round body with a beak-like mouth, and it can inflate its body to twice its size when it’s threatened.

Although they are a popular choice for aquariums, Amazon puffers are not a good choice for beginners. They require a lot of care and attention, and they’re not compatible with most other fish.


Amazon puffer

The Amazon Puffer is a very unique fish that is sure to stand out in any aquarium.

The first thing you’ll notice about this fish is their body shape. They are very stocky and their bodies are almost spherical. They have a very short tail and their fins are very small in comparison to their body.

Their dorsal fin is very large and starts about two-thirds of the way back on their body. This fin is almost as tall as their body is wide.

The Amazon Puffer has a very large mouth that is filled with sharp teeth. They also have a beak-like structure that is used for crushing their food.

Their eyes are very small and are located on the sides of their head.

The Amazon Puffer is covered in small, sharp scales. These scales have a very rough texture.

This fish is brown or olive green in color. They may also have spots or stripes of other colors.


In the wild, the Amazon puffer has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. But in captivity, these fish have been known to live much longer — up to 10 years or more with proper care.

A number of factors can contribute to a shortened lifespan in captivity, including poor water quality, stress, and a suboptimal diet.


The average size of an Amazon puffer is about 4 inches. However, some have been known to grow up to 6 inches.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for an Amazon puffer is 30 gallons. If you want to keep more than one pufferfish, you’ll need an additional 10 gallons for each fish.

Pufferfish are some of the most interesting (and potentially dangerous) freshwater fish you can keep. They have the ability to inflate their bodies to twice their size when they feel threatened. This is why they need a lot of space; they need room to puff up without injuring themselves or damaging their tank.

Water Parameters

Amazon puffers are a bit more challenging to keep than some of the other fish on this list. They come from slow-moving rivers and don’t do well with sudden changes in water parameters.

You’ll need to take special care to maintain consistent water quality. That includes temperature, pH, and hardness.

Amazon puffers are also very sensitive to nitrates. They can’t process them well and high levels can cause health problems.

Perform regular water changes and vacuuming to help keep nitrate levels in check. You may also want to consider using a nitrate filter.

Here are some basic water parameters to help you create a healthy environment for your pufferfish.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2 to 12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Amazon puffers are a species of fish that come from murky waters. Because of this, they’re not too picky about what you put in their tank.

We recommend a substrate of sand or gravel. Something too smooth might irritate their bellies.

As for decorations, you can go with live or artificial plants. If you choose live plants, make sure they’re robust enough to handle a puffer’s constant grazing.

We also recommend adding some driftwood or rocks to their tank. This gives them places to hide and makes the tank feel more natural.

Common Diseases

The Amazon puffer is a hardy fish that doesn’t usually succumb to disease. However, there are a few things that you should look out for, just in case.

The first is hole-in-the-head disease. This is a condition that is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. It presents itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head.

While it’s almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish!

The other disease you might encounter is ich. This is a very common parasite that can become quite serious if it’s not dealt with. The most obvious sign of this disease is the series of white spots that will begin to cover the body of your fish.

There are plenty of other potential diseases that can affect this species as well, but they’re not as common.

Another thing to look out for is infection from cuts. The most common cause of this is keeping your Amazon puffer in a tank with a rough substrate (or aggressive species that want to fight).

In general, the best way to prevent these fish from getting sick is to maintain the quality of the water in their tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions always leads to healthier fish who are more resistant to disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The Amazon puffer is a unique fish with a few quirks. The most notable one is its teeth. These fish have human-like teeth that they use to grind down their food.

Besides that, they’re not too different from other fish. They’re social creatures that prefer to be around others, but they can be a bit aggressive. They may nip at the fins of their tank mates or try to eat them.

Amazon puffers are also known to be escape artists. They can jump out of the water and onto the floor, so it’s important to have a tight-fitting lid on their tank.

These fish are also known to be finicky eaters. They may not eat for days and then gorge themselves. This can cause problems with their health, so it’s important to be aware of their eating habits.

Tank Mates

Amazon puffers are not recommended for the general community aquarium. These fish have specific dietary and housing needs that can be difficult to accommodate.

Additionally, they’re known to be nippy. They have a habit of biting other fish and even their own tank mates. This can lead to serious injury and even death in some cases.

For these reasons, it’s best to keep Amazon puffers in a species-only tank. If you must keep them with other fish, consider these compatible species:

  • Congo Tetras
  • Clown Loaches
  • plecos
  • Rope Fish
  • Bichirs
  • Arowanas


Amazon puffers can be bred in captivity, but it’s a difficult process. These fish are very picky about their breeding environment and water conditions. If everything isn’t just right, they may not spawn at all.

First, you need to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 50 gallons of water. The water temperature should be between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

Next, you need to add some plants. Amazon puffers like to lay their eggs on plants. Java moss is a good option. You can also use live plants, but they may get eaten.

Finally, you need to add a few hiding places. Amazon puffers are shy fish. They need places to hide when they’re not breeding.

When everything is set up, add one male and two females. The male will chase the females around until they’re ready to spawn.

Spawning usually happens at night. The female will lay her eggs on a plant leaf. The male will fertilize them. Then, the female will pick them up in her mouth and carry them to a different plant. She does this to spread the eggs out and increase the chances of survival.

After the eggs are laid, the parents will stop paying attention to them. The eggs will hatch in about four days.

The fry are very small and need to be fed live food. Baby brine shrimp and daphnia are good options. You can also use a commercial fry food.

As they grow, you can slowly start introducing them to other foods. Once they’re big enough, you can move them to a larger tank.


The Amazon Puffer is a great fish for the beginner aquarist. They’re relatively easy to care for and are very hardy.

They’re also a lot of fun to watch as they swim around and explore their tank.

If you’re looking for a fish that’s a little bit different and a lot of fun, then we recommend the Amazon Puffer!