Congo pufferfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Congo pufferfish is a beautiful freshwater fish that is native to the Congo River basin. They are a popular fish in the aquarium trade and are known for their interesting patterns and colors.

Pufferfish are a bit more high maintenance than other freshwater fish, so it’s important to do your research before getting one. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about Congo pufferfish care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank requirements, and more!

Species overview

The Congo pufferfish (scientific name: Tetraodon miurus) is a freshwater fish that is found in the Congo River basin in Africa.

This fish is unique in that it is one of the few freshwater pufferfish species in the world. Most pufferfish are saltwater fish.

The Congo pufferfish is a relatively small fish, only growing to be about 4 inches long. It is a brown or olive color with black spots.

This fish is not recommended for beginner aquarists because it is a very aggressive fish. It is also not recommended for community tanks because it will likely eat any fish that it can fit into its mouth.


Congo pufferfish

The Congo Pufferfish is a rather large freshwater fish that can reach up to 18 inches (45 cm) in length. They’re a bit on the stocky side and have a rather round shape.

The Congo Pufferfish has a very unique coloration. They’re mostly a light brown or tan color with dark brown spots all over their body. These spots are relatively large and tend to be in groups of three.

The fins on this fish are also rather unique. Their dorsal fin is rather large and starts almost halfway back on their body. This fin has a dark brown color with light brown spots.

The anal fin is also dark brown with light brown spots. This fin is a bit smaller than the dorsal fin and starts closer to the fish’s head.

The caudal fin is forked and brown with light brown spots. The pectoral fins are also brown with light brown spots.

All of the fins on this fish have a bit of a ragged appearance.


Congo pufferfish have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years.

The Congo pufferfish is a freshwater fish that is native to the Congo River Basin. These fish are known for their unique appearance and their ability to inflate their body when they are threatened.

The Congo pufferfish is not a common fish in the aquarium trade, but they are becoming more popular among fishkeepers.


The Congo pufferfish can reach a maximum size of 18 inches, but the average size is usually closer to 8-10 inches.


Tank Size

Congo pufferfish need a minimum of 50 gallons but we recommend going as large as you can. A 50-gallon tank is on the small side for these fish and they will likely outgrow it quickly.

The extra space will give you a lot more room to work with when it comes to decorating and adding hiding places. It will also give your fish the room it needs to move around and stay active.

Water Parameters

The water parameters you need to maintain for Congo pufferfish are very generous. This makes them a great freshwater fish for a beginner since there’s a lot of room for error.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to their water parameters is consistency. Even though these are very hardy fish, they can be sensitive to sudden changes just like any other freshwater species.

Even though they’re still a bit more durable in this regard, you should use this as practice. Challenge yourself to see how consistent you can keep the water parameters and how easily you can make an adjustment if needed. These skills will come in handy with other species you keep in the future!

  • Water Temperature: 75°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 7.0 to 8.5
  • Water Hardness: Moderately hard to very hard
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Congo Pufferfish are a freshwater species that’s native to Africa. In the wild, they can be found in rivers and lakes.

A lot of people think that because they’re a freshwater fish they can be kept in a standard aquarium. This isn’t the case. These fish get BIG (up to 18 inches) and need a lot of space to swim.

We recommend a tank that’s at least 75 gallons for a single Congo Pufferfish. If you want to keep more than one you’re going to need an even bigger tank.

The inside of their tank should be pretty straightforward. These fish aren’t fussy when it comes to decorations.

We recommend a gravel substrate with some rocks and driftwood thrown in. You can also include some plants if you want, but Congo Pufferfish are known to uproot them so be prepared for some casualties.

Common Diseases

The most common disease that affects Congo pufferfish is called “Dropsy”. This is a condition where the fish’s body swells up with fluid.

The most common symptom of this disease is a fish that looks bloated and has scales that are standing up (due to the swelling).

Other symptoms can include lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased respiration.

Dropsy is usually caused by poor water quality, so the first thing you need to do if you think your fish has this disease is to test the water and make sure everything is in order.

If the water quality is fine, then it’s possible that your fish has a bacterial infection. In this case, you’ll need to take your fish to a vet so they can prescribe the proper medication.

As always, the best way to prevent disease is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. Regular water changes and keeping an eye on water quality will go a long way in keeping your Congo pufferfish healthy and happy.

Behavior & Temperament

The Congo pufferfish is a unique creature that is both beautiful and deadly. It is one of the most poisonous freshwater fish in the world, so it’s not a good idea to keep them in a community tank.

These fish are best kept alone in a species-only tank. They are semi-aggressive and can be a threat to smaller fish. They have been known to eat their tank mates, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Although they are aggressive, Congo pufferfish are also very intelligent. They are curious creatures that will often investigate their surroundings. They are also known to be escape artists, so it’s important to have a secure lid on their tank.

Tank Mates

While the congo pufferfish is a popular freshwater aquarium fish, it’s not the easiest to keep. They’re not very tolerant of water conditions and are also known to be a bit nippy.

This means that their tank mates have to be carefully chosen. The best tank mates for a congo pufferfish are other fish that can tolerate similar water conditions.

Some examples of compatible fish include:

  • Synodontis Catfish
  • Featherfin Knifefish
  • African Knife Fish
  • Upside-down Catfish
  • Bichir
  • Ropefish
  • Arowana
  • Archerfish


The Congo pufferfish is a freshwater species that is native to the Congo river basin. They are a popular aquarium fish due to their unique appearance and personality.

Breeding Congo pufferfish is not an easy task. They are a mouth-brooding species, which means that the female carries the eggs in her mouth until they hatch. This makes it difficult to provide the fry with the proper environment and food.

The best way to breed Congo pufferfish is to set up a separate breeding tank. The tank should be at least 20 gallons and have a sandy bottom. The water should be clean and well-filtered. Keep the temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Adding some plants can help to provide the fry with hiding places and food. Java moss is a good option.

When ready, add two males and two females to the breeding tank. The males will chase the females and try to mate with them. The female will lay her eggs in a secluded area of the tank, usually among the plants.

Once the eggs have been laid, the female will pick them up in her mouth and carry them around. The male will often follow her and help to protect the fry.

The fry will hatch after about two weeks. At this point, they will be too small to eat baby brine shrimp. Instead, you will need to feed them microworms or other live foods.

As they grow, you can slowly start to introduce them to baby brine shrimp and other frozen foods.


The Congo Pufferfish is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They’re beautiful fish that are relatively easy to care for as long as you’re aware of their potential size.

They can be a bit nippy, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing tank mates. Other than that, we think they make a great addition to any community tank!