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Others / Tetraodontidae / Figure-eight Puffer

Figure-eight Puffer, Circle-eight Puffer
Tetraodon biocellus

Synonyms: Crayracion biocellus, Tetrodon biocellatus, Tetraodon biocellatus
Physical description: A stocky fish with a broad forehead and protruding eyes.   The dorsal and anal fins are rounded and located opposite each other.  The caudal fin is fan-shaped.   The skin is leathery and covered with small spines.   When inflated these spines stick out; rendering the fish un-swallowable.  The colors vary based on the age and the habitat of the specimen.   The belly is white in color or dark gray while the upperparts are light to dark gray.   The upperparts are covered in various green to yellow patterns, ranging from lines to circles, dots to stripes.   Each fish has its own unique pattern.   The fins are gray.  The iris ranges from yellow to blue in color.
Size/Length: To 3" (8 cm)
Similar species: Other Tetraodon species.
Habitat: In coastal fresh and brackish waters in Southeast Asia; Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sumatra.
S: All
Aquarium: A 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallon (114 L) tank is adequate for fish up to 5" (13 cm) in length.  The substrate should be fine gravel or, preferably sand.   The tank should be well-planted along the sides and rear and an open swimming area should be left.    The plants used must be tough to withstand this Puffer's pugnacious behavior, and must be able to tolerate brackish water.   Use rocks and wood to create refuges.
Social behavior: Young individuals are usually peaceful. Older specimens are territorial and aggressive. All ages are aggressive towards their own species. Best kept alone, but if kept in a community tank, combine with hardy fish of similar sizes. Will attack plants and may nip fins of other fish.
Suggested companions: Tetraodon, Monodactylus, Scatophagus, Arius, Datnioides
Water chemistry: pH 6.8-8 (7.3), 8-20 dH (10), 75-84°F (24-30°C).   A 1 to 1.5% addition of salt is suggested.   Add 7.5-11 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons (10-15 g/10 L)
FOOD: Live; snails, Tubifex, crustaceans, insect larvae, earthworms; occasionally tablets
SEX: Females are said to be slightly larger when mature.
Breeding techniques: Unsuccessful in captivity, probably similar to T. nigroviridis
Breeding potential: 10.  There are no reports of successful aquarium spawns.
REMARKS:  This species has lived up to 10 years in captivity.   This species can not live in pure salt water for long periods.
Difficulty of care: 6.  This aggressive species requires live foods, brackish water, and frequent partial water changes.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com