What Tank Size Do I Need for a Porcupine Puffer?

Porcupine puffers are also known as balloon fish for good reasons. They have the ability to inflate with water when they are frightened. However, what size tank do I need for the porcupine puffer? How much do they grow as an adult?

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Well, a porcupine puffer can grow up to 20”. That is why they need a tank whose minimum size is 125 gallons. My personal recommendation is going for 200 gallons.

Why? Keep reading, because there are plenty of reasons and I will clarify those later in this article.

What Size Tank Do I Need for Porcupine Puffer
Porcupine Puffer

What Size Tank Do I Need for Porcupine Puffer?

The minimum tank size for a single porcupine puffer is 125 gallons. It will be easier to maintain the fish and the tank if you go for 200 gallons.

Porcupine puffer is a big fish. A fully grown puffer can be 20 inches in length. So, a fish this big is needed a larger place to live, swim and stay happy.

On the other hand, porcupine puffer is a messy eater. It creates a mess while eating and makes the water murky.

If the tank is not big enough, then it will be hard to maintain the water and keep it clean. Which leads to many other illness to the fish.

Tank Set Up for Porcupine Puffer

A soft reef tank setup works well for porcupine puffer. If your tank is not a reef tank that will also do the work. You can set it up with any kind of pants and decorative stuff.

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Make sure there are plenty of hiding spots. This puffer likes to camouflage itself at night. As they do not eat plants, there is no barrier to adding plants. At the bottom, you can add send, dead rock, and live rock as well.

Not only recordation, but you also have to add a strong filtration system to the tank. because porcupine puffer is quite a messy fish. Especially since it makes a mess while eating. To keep the water clean and fresh, you are going to need a good-quality filter in the tank.

How Many of Them Can Stay in a Tank?

They can be kept in pairs or in groups if they have been put together in the tank. But you have to consider that the tank size has to be vast for that.

Generally, a private individual does not own that size of a tank in the house. That is why one single puffer is good enough to keep considering other circumstances.

The Porcupine puffer is not a schooling fish. They do not get stressed out while staying alone in a tank. In fact, many porcupines puffer prefer staying alone. 

On the other hand, they get stressed if not put together with other fish which are suitable for them. It can make them aggressive towards the other fish as well as it can cause the death of both or one of them.

Best Tank Mates for Porcupine Puffer

Big or medium size fish is the best tank mates for porcupine puffer. Though it is a difficult job to find the best tank mates for them. Some of the best tank mates for them are

  1. Six Line Wrasse Fish
  2. Bristletooth Fish
  3. Snowflake Eel
  4. Squirrelfish
  5. Blue Tang Fish

Porcupine is a semi-aggressive fish and mild in nature. Those fish make great tank mates for them. As they are not overly large or small.

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If you decide to add another one or two big fish in the same tank, you have to reconsider the size of the tank.

Tank Mates, You Should Avoid

Not all kinds of fish are suitable for porcupine puffer. Especially the small fishes as they may end up being puffer’s dinner.

Other than tiny fish, snails are one of their favorite foods in the tank because of their growing teeth. Yes, you heard it right. They grow teeth like rabbit and live to eat everything small which have a shell on it.

Many aquarists put lionfish and porcupinefish together. But it may harm the puffer as lionfish tend to stab other fish with their venomous spines when they are frightened.

Can Porcupine Puffer Breed in a Tank?

Yes, it is possible but difficult. Because determining their gender is not an easy thing to do. The breeding tank should be more than 150 gallons. No other fish should be kept in that tank and the temperature should be 75°F.

For breeding these puffers, you have to put some of them in a tank and replicate the natural breeding environment, and hope for the best. In natural circumstances, porcupine puffer lay eggs in the nests of sea urchins.

Creating the environment makes your chances higher of breeding. If the male and female match successfully, the female will lay eggs and the male will guard them until the eggs are hatched.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How messy a Porcupine puffer can be?

They are quite messy, especially when they eat. They create a lot of mess while eating.

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Are porcupine puffer fish poisonous to touch?

Yes, they contain a toxin called tetrodotoxin (TTX). Avoid touching them.

Are puffer fish easy to keep?

No, they are hard to keep and not a fish for beginner aquarists.

Do puffer fish like to be alone?

Pufferfish is not a schooling fish or community fish. It is best if you keep them alone in a tank.

Do puffer fish eat plants?

They are predator fish and do not prey on plants. 

How fast do puffer fish grow?

They grow fast. A baby puffer grows about ½ inch in two months.


Porcupine puffers have the cutest personality amongst other saltwater fish. They very quickly recognize the person who fed them. They almost act like a dog and make very good pets.

As they are comparatively large fish among the fish you can keep in an aquarium, you have to be careful before buying one home. you are a beginner, take some time before you go for a   Porcupine puffer.

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