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

Updated: November 29, 2022

The Fahaka Puffer is an absolutely massive freshwater fish that can reach up to two feet in length.

This species is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is only recommended for experienced fishkeepers.

But if you’re up for the challenge, these fish can be absolutely incredible pets.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Fahaka Puffer care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, size, and more!

Species overview

The Fahaka puffer (scientific name: Tetraodon lineatus) is a freshwater fish that’s native to various parts of Africa and the Middle East.

They are most commonly found in the Nile River basin but have also been spotted in smaller rivers and streams throughout the region.

Fahaka puffers are relatively large fish and can grow up to 18 inches long in some cases. They have a very unique appearance with their long bodies and large mouths.

This fish is considered to be semi-aggressive and is not recommended for beginner aquarium hobbyists. They require a lot of care and attention and should only be kept by experienced fishkeepers.


Fahaka puffer

The Fahaka Puffer is a large and in charge freshwater fish. Even when they’re juveniles, these fish are still quite big (reaching up to 18 inches).

As they age and mature, they can grow even larger and some specimens have been known to reach 24 inches!

Their body is very thick and stocky with a slightly flattened appearance when you look at them from the side.

Their dorsal and anal fins are both very large and begin about halfway back on their bodies. Both of these fins are roughly the same size.

The caudal fin is also large, but it’s more of a traditional fan shape. The Fahaka Puffer’s tail makes up almost a third of their total length.

One of the most unique things about this fish is their teeth. They have 4 large teeth in the front of their mouths that they use for crushing shells (more on that later).

These teeth are so big that they actually protrude out of the fish’s mouth when it’s closed!

The Fahaka Puffer is covered in small scales that have a rough texture. These scales are very closely spaced and give the fish a sandpaper-like feel.

Their coloration is very drab and muted. They’re usually some shade of brown or olive green with a few darker spots.


The average lifespan of a Fahaka Puffer is around 10 years. However, it’s not uncommon for them to live up to 15 years in captivity.

As is the case with most fish, their lifespan will be impacted by the level of care they receive. Things like poor water quality, stress, and a suboptimal diet can all shorten their lifespan.


Fahaka pufferfish can grow to be pretty big—up to two feet in length! But in the home aquarium, they’re usually much smaller. A full-grown Fahaka puffer will only be about a foot long.


Tank Size

A single Fahaka puffer needs at least a 75-gallon tank. If you want to keep more than one fish, you will need an additional 55 gallons for each fish.

This fish is not for beginners and we only recommend keeping them if you have experience with freshwater fish and a large tank.

Water Parameters

The Fahaka puffer is a brackish water fish, which means it needs a higher concentration of salt than freshwater fish but not as much as marine fish.

The specific gravity, or salinity, of the water should be between 1.005 and 1.010. You can achieve this by adding marine salt to your freshwater aquarium.

As for other water parameters, the Fahaka puffer prefers slightly alkaline water with a pH between 7.5 and 8.5. The water hardness should be between 10 and 20 dGH.

The water temperature can range from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

What To Put In Their Tank

Fahaka puffers are one of the most interesting (and challenging) fish to keep in the aquarium hobby.

One of the most important things to consider when setting up their tank is the substrate. These fish love to dig and will often uproot plants in the process.

For this reason, we recommend a soft substrate like sand. This will be more comfortable for them and will help reduce the chances of any injuries.

Another important thing to consider is the addition of plenty of hiding spots. Fahaka puffers are shy fish and will often spend a lot of time hiding.

Caves, driftwood, and rocks are all great choices. Just make sure that any rocks you use are smooth and won’t damage their skin.

Finally, we recommend including some plants in their tank. Not only will this help with water quality, but it will give them another place to hide if needed.

Just be aware that they might uproot them from time to time!

Common Diseases

There are a few diseases that you should be aware of if you’re keeping Fahaka puffers. While these fish are fairly hardy, they are still susceptible to the same illnesses as other freshwater fish.

The most common disease that affects these fish is ich. This is a parasite that will attach itself to your fish and begin to feed off of them. The most obvious sign of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of your fish.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it is fairly easy to treat if you catch it early. There are plenty of ich treatment guides online, so we won’t go into detail here.

The other disease you need to be aware of is Hole in the Head disease. This is another fairly common disease that can affect a variety of fish species.

Hole in the Head disease is caused by a variety of factors, but the most common is poor water quality. This disease will present itself as one or more pits/holes in the skin of your fish.

If you notice this, the first thing you should do is improve the water quality in your tank. This is usually all you need to do to treat the disease.

Of course, the best way to prevent these diseases is to simply maintain a high-quality environment for your fish. This includes clean water, a stable temperature, and the right diet.

If you can provide all of these things, your Fahaka puffer will be much less likely to get sick.

Behavior & Temperament

The Fahaka puffer is not a fish for everyone. They are one of the most aggressive freshwater fish and have been known to eat other fish, even those that are much larger than them. They are also known to be very territorial and will not hesitate to attack anything that they see as a threat.

This fish is not recommended for beginners or anyone that does not have a lot of experience with fish. They are also not recommended for community tanks as they will most likely eat any other fish that they are housed with.

The Fahaka puffer is a very active fish and will often swim around the tank for long periods of time. They are also known to be very curious and will often investigate anything new that is introduced into their tank.

Overall, the Fahaka puffer is a very aggressive and territorial fish that is not recommended for beginners or community tanks.

Tank Mates

Fahaka puffers are best kept as solitary fish. They’re not aggressive by nature, but they will eat just about anything that fits in their mouth. This includes fish, invertebrates, and plants.

You might be able to get away with keeping them with other fish, but it’s not recommended. The same goes for inverts and plants.

Fahaka puffers are better off being the only fish in the tank. This gives them the best chance to thrive and prevents them from accidentally harming (or eating) their tank mates.


The Fahaka puffer is a bit of an enigma when it comes to breeding in captivity. While it’s possible, it’s certainly not easy. These fish have very specific requirements, and even then, there’s no guarantee that they will spawn.

The first thing you need is a large tank. We’re talking at least 100 gallons. This is a must. The Fahaka puffer is a large fish, and it needs the extra space to move around.

Next, you need to create the perfect water conditions. The pH should be between 7.5 and 8.5. The water hardness should be between 10 and 15 dGH. The temperature should be around 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, for the tricky part: you need to find two Fahaka puffers that are ready to breed. This is easier said than done, as these fish don’t reach maturity until they’re around two years old. Even then, not all of them will be ready to spawn.

When you do find two ready to breed, put them in the large tank and let them do their thing. The female will lay her eggs in the water, and the male will fertilize them.

Once that’s done, you need to remove the adults immediately. They will eat the eggs if given the chance.

The eggs will hatch in about three days. When they do, you need to start feeding them immediately. Baby brine shrimp is a good option.

Keep in mind that the success rate for breeding Fahaka puffers in captivity is quite low. Even if you do everything right, there’s no guarantee that they will spawn. But if you’re up for the challenge, it can be a rewarding experience.


Fahaka pufferfish are definitely not for everyone. They’re large, messy, and require a lot of care. However, if you’re up for the challenge, they can make amazing pets.

These fish are very intelligent and have a lot of personality. They’re also very beautiful, which is a nice bonus.

If you’re thinking about getting a Fahaka puffer, make sure you do your research first. These fish are not for beginners!