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Others / Tetraodontidae / Red-Bellied Puffer

Red-Bellied Puffer
Tetraodon lorteti

Synonyms: Carinotetraodon lorteti, C. somphongsi, Tetraodon somphongsi
Physical description: This species has a typical puffer shape except for the think caudal penuncle and the large caudal fin.  The coloration of this species varies, as this fish is able to undergo a color change depending on its surroundings.  The color becomes darker in darker surroundings and lighter in lighter surroundings.   Females generally have a brown-gray coloration with wide beige and small dark brown markings.   The belly is white with small dark spots.   The iris of the eye is blood red.  Males have a dark brown back with two yellow markings, both running from the top of the eye.  The flanks are lighter brown with a faint, yellow stripe running from the mouth to the top of the caudal penuncle.   The belly is white-yellow and bright red (especially around spawning times.   The anal and dorsal fins are small and orange-red in color.  The base of the caudal fin may be faint red and the fin may be edged in white.   The iris of the eye is also red.  
Size/Length: To 2.7" (8 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Asia; in standing fresh water ponds in Thailand and Eastern India
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A 28" (71 cm) or 20-25 gallon (76-95 L) tank is sufficient.   Provide plenty of hiding places among rocks, wood, and heavily planted areas.  Leave open swimming areas and use a fine gravel or sand substrate.   The plants in the tank should be tough-leafed.
Water chemistry: pH 6.2-7.5 (7.1), 4-12 dH (7), 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: This territorial species will establish an area to guard against other fish.   This species is best kept as a single pair in a species tank.
Suggested companions: Barbus, Botia, Danios, Gouramis.
FOOD: Live; snails, Tubifex, crustaceans, insect larvae, earthworms; occasionally tablets
SEX: The male is more colorful and abstract in coloration than the female, which has a gray belly and is spotted.
Breeding techniques: Difficult, but has been accomplished on occasion.   Use water with the following values: pH of 6.3-6.5, water hardness of 5, and a temperature of 79-81°F (26-27°C).   Furnish the tank with Java Moss and plenty of retreats.  Accounts ranging from 300-1500 eggs have been reported, although the average brood is not known. eggs are laid in the moss after an active courtship.   The male guards the fry, which hatch in 30 hours.   Remove the parents.  The fry are very difficult to raise because they do not take most foods. Suggest newly Cyclops nauplii.
Breeding potential: 8.  Breeding is difficult.  
REMARKS: This Pufferfish does not require the addition of salt.
Difficulty of care: 5.  This aggressive species requires live foods and frequent partial water changes.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com