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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the




Tetraodon nigroviridis



    The order Tetraodontiformes contains Porcupinefish, Triggerfish, Boxfish and the Pufferfish are almost entirely found in the tropics and subtropics. Only a small amount are found in fresh and brackish water and they all belong to the pufferfish family. One of the more common of the "rare fish" The Green puffer needs special care and should only be kept by the more advanced hobbyist. This fish is usually wrongly named Tetraodon fluviatilis.
Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 6 3/4 inches (17.0 cm)
    Tank: 48 inches
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 7.5 to 8.5
    Hardness: Medium to medium hard
    Temperature: 75° to 82°F (24 to 28°C)


    Order: Tetraodontiformes
    Suborder: Tetraodontoidei
    Family: Tetraodontoidae
    Genera: Tetraodon

Common name:
    Green Puffer, Puffer.

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Tropical Eastern Asia, from then coastal regions of Indochina and the Philippines to India. Found in fresh and brackish waters.

General Body Form:
    Very thick set and shaped like a blunt club. They have protruding eyes and a very broad forehead. The Caudal fin is fan shaped and there are no Ventral fins. The body is somewhat covered with small spines and the skin has a leathery texture.

    The color is variable depending on age and the origin of the fish. In mature specimens the top and head area is marked with large Brown or Black spots. The spots on the side are smaller and also round in shape. The body color between the spots is a beautiful Emerald Green color which makes a nice contrast to the dark spots. The bright Green color is subdued in younger specimens. The fins are semi transparent with a slight Yellow tint to them.

    The most recognizable trait of the Puffer is its' ability to inflate a sac like area of the gut with water or air to inflate themselves into the shape of a ball. Most puffers are undemanding in their care and many of the Brackish species can be acclimated to hard, alkaline water fresh water. Tetraodon nigroviridis is one of these species. They are not hard to feed and usually will accept all types of flake, frozen and live food. In the wild they feed on small mollusks and invertebrates. The Green puffer will come to recognize its owner and will get excited when you approach. The tank setup should contain plants and rockwork for hiding as well as open areas for swimming. They are best kept singly or with other large tough fish.


    A coastal area brackish setup. A species tank.

    Not a lot is known of their breeding and it probably can only be accomplished in Brackish water. During courtship the pair will swim around each other just above the bottom of the tank. Pale clear eggs are laid tightly packed on rock surfaces. The male will protect the brood and uses his body to cover the eggs. The eggs hatch in about a week and the male will transfer the tadpole like fry to shallow pits and continue to guard them. The fry can be hard to raise and feeding them can be difficult, you should try a variety of small food including Brine shrimp nauplii and observe which type they are eating. The mortality rate on the spawn is usually high.

Additonal reading:
    Introduction to the Freshwater and Brackish Water Puffers.
    First Freshwater Puffer? Try South America.
    A Book Devoted to Fresh and Brackish Water Puffers
    Figure Eight Puffers - A Great Small Brackish Fish
    Breeding Snails for Food

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: puffpuffchick
I love my puff puff, he's my baby, hubby bought him as a part of pair of freshwater green spotted puffers. They were kept in pristine freshwater and first one became weak and, of course, the stronger one tore the other apart, refused to eat, belly turned black and tucked his tail in close and sulked at the bottom of the tank. Researched these cuties and began my descent into madness, AKA saltwater. I have him housed in my bc29 with snails an algae blenny, a pink spotted goby and a watchman goby- I've noticed my puff puff only likes crustaceans and shrimp- things he can flip over and eat the legs off of and chomp out the eyeballs. Anything he can't fit in his mouth he will swallow, or leave 4 little teeth marks with a mini hickey looking thing... Mine bites me a lot.... But he also insists resting inside my hand when my hand is in his tank- everyone else he will try to jump to bite them the minute their hand is visible. The only tankmate he gets along with is my blenny. At least my gobies stay hidden in my rockwork and puff is a blind klutz.... Not for the beginner aquarist- though thick skinned, they are scaleless and very messy fish which means lots of upkeep and the ability to handle the possibility of needing to convert slowly from fresh to high brackish- mine thrives in my starter reef build, turns his spots white when there isn't enough salt in his water. Parameters- 0 amm, trite and trate, salinity 1.024, ph 8.3 temp between 78-80
From: Eric
I have 2 in a 55g fresh water tank. They are very aggressive but if you have fish that are fast movers and pay attention it is no problem. I have several diff. Fish and they are all fine as long as they respect the gsp they seem to demand respect from the other fish and only nip them when they don't get out of their way. I have had no other problems with them. They will nip the fins of any fish that doesn't move fast enough but they generally just want them out of there space. Each one has dif. Personalities and each one seems to have its fav. Fish to pester. not a good fish to get if your fav. other fish is slow or dumb. i'm sure it would kill it or at least terorize it till it eat all its fins.
From: Brandon
To anyone who says they do not require highend brackish to marine setups should do some more research... The Florida State University is studying GSP's for their genome structure and have been able to breed them. But get this, they found their sperm is only viable in full marine conditions. Since this is the only way to breed them and they have to do this in open water nets. What do you think. They are the typical sw fish that spends its fry stages in the hiding of inland estuaries and marshes. It shouldn't be a ? anymore as to if these fish are fw or not... their not.
From: Ashley
Love these little guys! I have one that's 4 inches in my 55 gallon with a domino damsel, ocellaris clown, blue damsel, and (gasp!) a blood red fire shrimp. Sushi (short for Magatsushi, Japanese for mischief) is the sweetest guy, but kinda has his head somewhere else. He's always stuck in the filter and expects me to come to his rescue, and doesn't pay attention to where he's going! He doesn't even bother with the damsels or clown, and swims right past the fire shrimp without a glance. He did nip at my domino though once when she stole his food for the hundredth time, but I let him get away with it. The seem to do amazing in saltwater even from young, I've had mine for about 2 years in full marine (SG 1.023). The key is to make sure they're always well fed and they wont care about going after anything else, seems to work with the fire shrimp. Great little fish, would highly reccomend!
From: Shane
The most important thing I have found with keeping GSP's is knowing what you are getting into, I have two in a 55G, they are the only fish in the tank, I have a ton of filtration on it and do weekly 50% water changes. If you must have these fish you need to be seriously committed to having fish Thrive and not just survive. They are Brackish and do go to Full Marine, regardless of what other forums say, this forum is right on. You have to feed them snails, they need the crunch to wear down their "Beak" otherwise they will need dental work, from what I have heard from very knowledgeable people not a fun process at all, not for the fish either. So be prepared to have a supply of snails on hand. They also require plenty of hiding spots, they are hunters by nature and from what I have experienced quite good at it. It is not uncommon for me to drop a snail, they miss it it floats behind a plant and a minute later they are stalking it and attack. I would not recommend these fish for anyone new, take your time to learn all the basics of normal easy to keep fish, before you attempt this fish. They need to go into a tank that is already cycled and ready, not an easy process to do. With that being said, they are like having a dog, they know who you are and have great personalities. They are by far my favorite fish in my house, and they do take the most time to maintain.
From: Adeline
I have had my GSP for a little over a week and I did not know any of this. The little card at the pet store only mentioned to put 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water in the tank, said "may nip at fins" (which was an understatement), and had a list of fish that made "good tank mates". Today I bought a high fin tetra (which was on the "good tank mate" list) and introduced them to the tank. This tetra already had bad fins and I think someone said the fish had fin-rot to begin with. Anyway, in two hours, the majority of the fins were gone. My GSP had eaten the entire top fin off and was working on the bottom fin when I went in there. I was going to separate the two when the phone rang. In the time it took for me to answer the phone and tell the person I'd have to call them later, I had returned to a high fin tetra that was spinning and swimming upside down. They soon stopped moving altogether and floated to the surface. I don't think my GSP killed the tetra (which was almost double their size), but what was irritating is how most pet stores that carry these fish do not inform the owner about the proper care and habit patterns of the fish they are selling. By going to this page alone I have learned that I shouldn't use aquarium salt (which is what the card about the fish told me to use), that I need a bigger tank, and that I need to do a 50% water change. I didn't even know that PH levels in a fish's water mattered until now! This really makes me want to send a letter to this store now!
From: Susie
Hi.. My comment is this.. I went to a well known fish store in my area when I had a 40 gallon freshwater tank all set up and ready to add fish. I did the "community thing" and bought several kinds of fish, including one GS Puffer (the clerk said it would be finnneee.) Things were great for about a week, then I noticed that my other fish's fins were tattered or missing... My fish Puf, he's nocturnal and I discovered he comes out in the evenings to do his dirty So, got him captured in a net for the night and will be purchasing a tank divider tomorrow to keep him in his own little world.. I can't bear to get rid of him as he's the cutest fish, so he'll just have to coexist in his own little section of the tank.. Thank goodness he's small and will have plants and rocks to swim around and I won't have to wake up with fin less fishes! Comments as to my plan would be appreciated..
From: Max H.
GSP's are very aggressive territorial fish and like to have their own tank. Usually the least is 40L (about 11 gallons) they like to eat brine shrimp, meal worms, and snails. They should be in a completely cycled tank so all the heavy metals can settle out so for a few weeks just let the water sit then turn the filter on a day before purchasing your new GSP. It is very important to make sure there is 0 ammonia and a PH level of 7-8 in your tank if your ammonia becomes high you can buy tablets to help stabilize the ammonia and PH. To test it you can buy a tester at your local pet store. I recommend having open area for him/her to swim in and several decorations so they can hide. I also recommend having a vegetated area in your tank a plant such as Anubius because it is durable and the fish like to tare apart the plants. They are very slow fish so to catch their prey they use their brains. They are very smart fish infact. These fish are not good for beginners they jump out of the tank sometimes. They grow to about 6". For feeding babies are usually0-2" you should feed them every day of the week accept one, if they're 2-4" feed them every other day, if they are 4-6" feed them every 3 days. Their water temp. should be 76-82. They live about 10 years. If you purchase a GSP and they are in freshwater as they get bigger you should probably change them into saltwater but you don't have to. They are generally a messy fish they produce very high waste so a filter and frequent 50% water changes. When buying your fish make sure you buy one with a rounded belly that greets you at the glass.
From: Robin
The truth of it is, we still don't really know what these fish do in the wild, and where they live. There is not enough substantial and reliable scientific evidence out there to prove their exact locations in the wild. All we can do is go by the experience of people who have kept these fish in aquariums. And from that we can see that green spotted puffers will thrive and have a strengthened immune system when kept in high brackish to marine conditions. They can be kept in freshwater for a short period, but in the long run they are much better off in high brackish or marine.
From: Travis Thams
I find it amazing how many people keep saying Green Spotted Puffer "Must" be kept in brackish tanks. This is completely false. Green Spotted Puffers can be found in brackish and Fresh Water environments. Freshwater with no ocean contact. They can be adapted to both and be perfectly healthy and happy in either environment. The key to keeping Green spotted puffers in fresh water is to keep them in hard alkaline water. It drives me crazy when people read something off a forum and turn around and start preaching what they read from poor sources.
Travis and all, I would highly suggest that you read this great article on the puffers, it deals with some misconceptions of these fish. Introduction to the Freshwater and Brackish Water Puffers. Badman
From: Pat Ferguson
Guess people have a wide variety of experiences with these little guys. I find taking care of and selling green spotted pufferfish something of a challenge for new hobbyist. One they are best kept in salt water aquariums, two while they can stay in a community tank the trick to peaceful coexistence is to make sure they are well fed. However if you like all your tank mates to keep their beautiful fins I would seriously recommend they are kept in a species only aquarium because they have a nasty propensity to nip fins of fish 5 times their size. Salt water specifically sea salt not aquarium salt is best and do make sure that you feed them hard shelled food once a week because their teethe grow and grow and grow, till they cannot close their mouths anymore to eat. I cannot stress enough about the salt. Please keep it up. Their immune system depends on it. Oh one last thing. If this little guy is hanging out by itself at the bottom of the tank ignoring life he is stressed out and sick. Check your salt!
From: Hannah
The obscene amount of missing information here is shocking. It should be made much more clear that Green Spotted Puffers should be kept in a high end brackish tank (made with marine salt- NOT aquarium salt) or their immune systems will weaken and there is a huge chance they will die in a few short months to a year or two. These fish can live over 15 years in proper conditions. It's also not stressed enough that these, and most puffers, are extremely aggressive and will not hesitate to take large bites out of other fish (even ones much larger than themselves), they are really only suited for a species only tank. Those that commented on keeping their puffers with other fish will wake up one morning to a shock when their tank is left in ruins by the puffer. Most people who keep these fish raise them with the intent of keeping them in full marine tanks, GSPs are well known for thriving in saltwater tanks, only in saltwater conditions is it really possible to keep these fish with tank mates, and even then there is a huge risk involved. -Hannah-
Hannah, I would gladly accept a re-write with your information if you are willing to do it. Badman







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