Red Eye Puffer Fish
The Red Eye Puffer fish is one of the more uncommon types of puffer. The Red Eye Puffer is completely freshwater, with no salt at all being needed. They are small puffers with a big personality and an even bigger attitude. They are very aggressive and the only suitable tank mates are more of their own kind or invertebrates, and some puffers are so aggressive they must be kept alone.
These puffers are very sensitive to water quality, and as puffers are very messy fish, frequent water changes and good filtration are required. Make sure that the puffer can't get sucked into the filter intake.
If you are planning to try to keep more than one of these red eye puffers together, make sure the tank is very heavily planted. Monitor the puffers closely and have a back up plan in case the puffers don't tolerate each other. Also watch at feeding time to make sure that all of the puffers are getting adequate food and that one greedy individual isn't hogging everything.
Feed enough to make the Red Eye Puffer belly chubby and round, but not enough to make the puffer look like it swallowed a marble. The belly should be back to normal size by the end of the day. If it is still distended by then, you've fed too much. If the belly is not back to normal size by the next feeding time, do not feed the puffer again until his belly is back to normal.
Live plants are a nice addition to a puffer tank. Not only do they look more natural than plastic plants, they also help to keep nitrates down, which puffers make alot of and are also pretty sensitive to. Nitrates should be kept at 10 ppm or under and ammonia and nitrite should always be at 0.
Scientific Name - Carinotetraodon lorteti
Common Names - Common Red Eyed Puffer
Care Level - Medium. This fish is sensitive to very small amounts of ammonia or nitrites and requires frequent water changes.
Size - 2 - 3 inches
pH - 6.5 - 7, but can adapt to a wide range of pH if acclimated properly. Mine lives in a pH of 8.2 quite happily.
Temperature - 76 - 82 F, around 78 F is just about perfect.
Lifespan - somewhat unknown, probably around 5 years.
Origin / Habitat - Asia, slow-moving rivers and ponds
Temperament / Behavior - Very aggressive, especially one male to another. Females are reportedly somewhat less aggressive than males, but this is still not a community fish.
Tank Size - 10 gallons for one, 15+ gallons very heavily planted would be required for a pair.
Tank Mates - This is most certainly not a community fish. The only suitable tank mate would be more of the same species, and some individuals are too aggressive for even that and must be kept alone. It may be possible to keep ghost shrimp with them but they will likely end up as dinners at one time or another.
Breeding - Unlikely, but has been achieved. They seem to like a lower pH of around 6-6.5 for spawning. Courtship is aggressive, and ends with the male driving the female away after she deposits the eggs. Materials like java moss are preferred to lay their eggs on. The parents should be removed once the fry are free swimming. The fry are reportedly picky eaters, with some breeders being successful with infusoria or micro-worms.
Fish Disease - Not particularly prone to any specific disease, but like all puffers, they are especially sensitive to water quality. Also, no medication containing copper should ever be used.
Feeding / Diet - It is extremely rare for them to accept flakes, and even if they do they won't be getting proper nutrition. They should be fed frozen bloodworms, daphnia, and small shellfish/shrimp. Water snails should also be fed to keep the teeth from getting too long, but make sure the snails are not too big or the puffer will eat the soft body only without touching the shell.
Tank Region - Middle/bottom, except at feeding time.
Gender - Females have a much more intricate and lacy pattern than the males. Males also may have a red stripe on the belly, although this may only be noticeable during spawning.
Profile and Photo Credits - MaddieLynn