Pea Puffer: Care, Lifespan, Diet, Breeding & More

The Pea Puffer Fish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) is a small type of puffer fish that natively lives in brackish waters. These fish, however, can also live in freshwater which is why they’ve become very famous among freshwater aquarium enthusiasts. 

If you’re looking for a new and interesting pet fish, you may want to consider pea puffer fish. Pea puffers are only about an inch long, but they make up for their size with their big personalities. These fish are active and curious, and they love to explore their tanks.

If you’re looking to care for a pea pufferfish, this is the article for you. You’ll learn everything you need to know about your pet puffer, from the correct care guidelines to general information and much more.

Species Profile & Overview

The Pea Puffer is a freshwater fish that is found in slow-moving streams, rivers, and lakes in Southeast Asia. They have a very unique appearance and are easily recognized by their small size and bright colors. 

Pea Puffers, more commonly known as Dwarf Pufferfish, are able to inflate themselves with water or air when alarmed. But this is not very common and they rarely inflate themselves. This defense mechanism is used to deter predators, as the pufferfish becomes too large to be eaten whole. 

There are about 193 species of pufferfish, and they can be found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. The pea pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) is a species of pufferfish that is native to freshwater and brackish waters in southern India.

They are one of the smallest pufferfish species, growing to a maximum length of 2.5 cm (1 in). Pea puffers are popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to their small size and somewhat feisty nature.

If you are looking for a fish that is both beautiful and unique, the pea puffer fish is a great choice. Despite their small size, they are feisty little fish that make great additions to any aquarium.


Group Of Pea Puffer Fish

This small and colorful fish is named for its distinctively shaped and sized body, which resembles a pea. Their body is covered in greenish-yellow colorations and lacks scales. They are generally peaceful but can be nippy towards other fish. They can also become aggressive towards other males.

It is named for its small size and unique appearance; its body is very small which gives them a pea-like appearance. However, the colors of the pea puffer fish can vary depending on the specific species. They are typically some shade of green or brown with darker spots on the body. Some species of pea puffer fish also have stripes running along their sides.

They have protruding mouths and large eyes. Their large eyes are the most visible part of their body. Pea puffers are one of the most popular types of puffer fish kept in aquariums. 

If you are looking for a unique addition to your aquarium, this fish can bring in unique looks and personality. These fish are known for their interesting patterns and fins. They are also relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarium owners.

Adult Size

Pea Puffers are small fish that grow to about 1.5 inches in length. But don’t get fooled by its small size. These fish have the tendency to get nippy and harm other fish.

Pea puffers are active and curious fish, and their bright colors can add interest to your tank. While they are not recommended for beginners, pea puffers can be fun and rewarding pets for those who are willing to provide the proper care.


The lifespan of this fish can vary depending on the individual fish and the conditions in which it is kept. However, on average, pea puffer fish have a lifespan of around 4 – 5 years. 

Diet and water quality are important factors that can affect a fish’s lifespan, so it is important to provide your pea puffer with a healthy diet and clean water.

Aquarium maintenance is vital to the health of your fish. By regularly cleaning your aquarium, you are removing harmful toxins and bacteria that can build up and potentially harm your fish.

In addition, by providing a clean and well-maintained environment, you are giving your fish the best chance to thrive.

Behavior and Temperament

Pea puffers are typically very active, curious fish that are known to be quite nippy towards other tankmates. These small fish are aggressive and are known to be territorial and harm smaller fish. They will often attack other fish that enter their territory.

They are also aggressive towards other males. So it’s important to only keep one male in a tank. If you have a larger tank you might be able to keep more than one male.

In some cases, pea puffers will change their behavior depending on the situation. For example, if a pea puffer is placed in a larger tank with other fish, it may not become aggressive as it will not feel threatened to lose its territory.

The other way to prevent aggressive or territorial behaviors is to provide them with plenty of hiding places and refuge in their tank. This can be accomplished by using overturned flower pots, cuts of PVC pipe, or even by creating caves out of rocks.

These fish are often kept in groups with other pea puffers. They are shoaling (Social) species meaning they prefer to live in larger groups. But they don’t swim in school or show any schooling behaviors.

Pea Puffer Care

Pea Puffers are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some specific requirements. They need to be kept in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and lots of open space to swim. They are also messy eaters, so the aquarium will need to be cleaned often. 

Pea Puffer is not a good beginner fish because they are very sensitive to water quality and can be easily stressed. However, these fish are very adaptable and they are considered to be quite hardy. 

In order to create an optimal environment for your pea puffer, you may want to pay special attention to following guidelines.

Group Of Pea Puffer Fish

Tank Size

A pea puffer fish needs at least a 10 gallon tank. They are very active fish and need room to swim, but their small size makes it possible to keep them in a tank this small. But no more than 3 pea puffers can be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium.

However, it’s recommended to have a larger aquarium; if the tank is too small, the fish will become stressed and aggressive. The tank should be heavily planted with plenty of hiding places. 

Pea puffers are very sensitive to changes in water quality, so regular water changes are a must if they are kept in a small tank. They are also notorious for being messy eaters, so a large aquarium is necessary to keep the water quality high. 

What To Put In An Pea Puffer Tank

When it comes to decorating your aquarium for pea puffers, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, these fish are small and prefer tanks with plenty of hiding places. This means that you’ll want to include plenty of plants and rocks in your aquascape.

Pea puffers come from slow-moving streams and rivers in Southeast Asia. In the wild, they typically inhabit areas with soft mud or sandy substrate and plenty of vegetation. To replicate these conditions in an aquarium, use a soft and fine substrate like sand or small gravel, and add plenty of live plants.

Rocks and driftwood can help to make an aquarium look more beautiful and natural. They can provide a place for puffers to hide and feel secure. Natural decorations can make the tank look more aesthetically pleasing and can help to create a more natural-looking environment for the fish.

When setting up a puffer aquarium, it is important to use the correct type of substrate. The best substrate for a pea puffer aquarium is fine gravel or sand. These fish have a diet of snails and clams and small pieces of meat can easily sink into the pores substrate.

A soft sandy substrate will prevent this from happening. These fish also like to stir up the substrate so a fine substrate is the best option.

Having live plants is also important as these fish live in areas with plants. Live plants can help to create a more balanced and healthy environment. Plants can help to oxygenate the water, provide shelter and hiding places, and help to keep the water clean and free of harmful toxins. 

A well-planted tank can also be more aesthetically pleasing than a bare one, providing a more natural and calming setting. There are a number of live plants that are compatible with pea puffer fish and are easy to care for. 

If you have a smaller aquarium, plants like anubias,  BucephalandraAnubias, Java Fern, and floating plants like Amazon Frogbit can make a great choice. If you have a larger tank then you can have any types of plants you wish to add. 


Good light is necessary for an aquarium for a few reasons. First, puffers need light to set their biological clock to a specific day and night schedule. Second, plants in the aquarium need light for photosynthesis. Third, and most importantly, a good light can make the fish look more beautiful by bringing out their true colors. 

There are many types of aquarium lights available on the market. The best way to pick a light for an aquarium is to look at the type of fish and plants you want to keep. 

If you have a freshwater aquarium with live plants, then you will need a light that provides full-spectrum lighting. This type of light will promote plant growth and help to keep the water quality high. 

Most LED aquarium lights are full spectrum and can make your tank beautiful while letting your plants get all the light they need to grow.

Water Parameters

Pea puffers are adaptable fish and can be a good match for a variety of different aquariums. Despite that, they will do best in an environment that mimics their natural habitat closely.

In the wild, these fish are often found in shallow, slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation. Having a similar environment will help them feel safe and at home. 

It is very important to keep the water still and stable. These fish live in waters that have a very slow current so you need to make sure the water current in your aquarium is adjusted properly. 

The water current should not be too strong, as this can stress out your puffers and make it difficult for them to swim. You also don’t want the current to be too weak, as this can cause algae growth or poor water quality. 

These small fish are also sensitive to changes in water quality, so it is important to keep a close eye on the water parameters in their tank. A well-maintained tank will result in healthy and long-lived puffer fish.

Below are the ideal water parameters you can keep your Pea Puffers in: 

  • Temperature: 74 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit 
  • pH: 7.0 – 7.5
  • TDS: 100 – 220 PPM

Filter System

The filtration system is a vital part of any aquarium, especially so in a pea puffer tank. These species are notoriously messy eaters, and their waste can quickly pollute the water if not properly filtered. 

A good filtration system will remove debris and waste from the water, keeping it clean and clear. This is important for the health of the fish, as dirty water can cause a number of health problems. A properly functioning filtration system can also help to maintain oxygen levels in the water, which is essential for the fish to live.

A good filter should provide mechanical filtration and biological filtration. Mechanical filtration removes the large particles from the water while biological filtration houses beneficial bacteria to break down the fish waste.

Fortunately, most aquarium filters provide both of these filtrations. So it’s best to pick a filter that is rated for your tank. Because these fish need slow currents, a sponge filter can be the best option.

Common Diseases and Prevention

Pea puffers do not easily get diseases, but they are at risk of getting most aquarium diseases. The most common disease they get is bacterial infections, which can be treated with fish antibiotics. If not treated early, these infections can spread quickly and be fatal. 

Other diseases that have been reported in pea puffers include fungal infections, parasites, and viral infections. All of these diseases can potentially be deadly, so it is important to seek treatment from a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible if your fish shows any signs of illness.

The best way to prevent diseases in any tank is to keep a clean and well-maintained tank. Regular water changes, gravel vacuuming, and cleaning of the filter media will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy.

It is also important to quarantine new fish before adding them to your aquarium. This will allow you to observe them for any signs of illness and treat them before they have a chance to infect your other fish.

Diet and Feeding Requirements

Pea puffers are small, omnivore fish that look for food at the bottom of the tank. In the wild, they eat a variety of foods, including small crustaceans, insects, invertebrates, and even plant matter. 

They use their sharp teeth to break down hard shells and exoskeletons. Pea puffers are opportunistic feeders and will also eat plant matter and algae.

Puffers are good at hiding their hunger, so it is important to feed them small amounts of food 1 – 2 times a day. Foods that are high in protein and low in fat are best for puffers, as they are prone to obesity.

Some good foods for puffers include brine shrimp, bloodworms, krill, and chopped-up pieces of fish or shrimp. Dry, commercially made aquarium fish foods are not particularly nutritious for this fish. At the same time, your fish might not even eat them.

Frozen aquarium fish foods are a great option to provide your fish with a nutritious diet. These foods should be given on a regular basis. You should also give them live snails like Bladder Snails and Ramshorn Snails.

Tank Mates

Pea puffers are generally peaceful fish, but they can be territorial towards other fish in a small tank. They may chase and nip at other fish, especially if they are the same size or smaller. 

It’s best to keep pea puffers in a species-only tank if you do not have a large tank. 

If you have a large tank then it’s easy to house these fish with other peaceful fish that are not too large to consider your puffer as prey. Larger tanks will give your pea puffer more space to explore and reduce the chances of aggression.

Some fish that may not be compatible as tank mates of pea puffers are slow-swimming fish, long-fin species, Snails, and any large predatory fish. These species can either get harmed or harm your puffer pet.

Considering these points, here are our top choices of tank mates for pea puffers:

Breeding Pea Puffer

Breeding Pea Puffers is not difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Pea puffers are territorial and will often fight with each other, so it is best to keep them in a separate tank when breeding. 

You should have a group of 5 – 10 pea puffers in a 10 or 15 gallon tank. The group should have one male and the rest should be females. This will prevent aggressive and territorial behaviors.

They are also very sensitive to changes in water quality and temperature, so the tank should be well-filtered and stable. They should not experience any fluctuations as it can shock them and can delay the breeding process.

Pea puffers are egg-layers, and the female will lay her eggs on plants or rocks. Once the eggs hatch, the fry will be very small and vulnerable to predation, so it is important to provide hiding places and plenty of live food for them to eat.

Group Of Pea Puffer Fish


Pea puffers are a unique and interesting addition to any aquarium. They are very small, only growing to about an inch in length, and are very active. They are also one of the few fish that can be kept in a brackish water aquarium. Pea puffers are not recommended for beginners, as they require special care and attention.