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I have seen south american puffers and I know they are fairly peaceful but ...

Can anyone suggest some suitable companions?


Puffers are very difficult to have with any other fish. They tend to slowly pick on any fish in the tank until it dies or is removed. You can always try adding bottom feeders, like corys, but I would recommend only having the puffer in the tank. Even the most peaceful puffer can get annoyed and take a bite out of a companion.

Jennifer Devillier

These guys are so adorable. We'd love to have a couple. :)

You mention bottom feeders being compatible, would pictus catfish fit in that category or no?

Thanks! Great site Mike! :D


Merritt Adkins

A catfish would be a great companion for a freshwater puffer. :-)

Jennifer Devillier

Excellent. Thanks for the info :)


Hmm... wouldn't recommend randomly adding any catfish to an aquarium with a freshwater puffer. Depends very much on the two species concerned. South American puffers for example will shred the dorsal and tail fins of Corydoras catfish. Have tried to mix them, repeatedly, and failed. It just don't work!

Slow moving, long-finned catfish like whiptails would be another bad choice.

On the other hand, dwarf Synodontis like S. nigriventris keep well out of the way, and given sufficient hiding places, coexist well with South American puffers. Suckermouth catfish would be another option, since these become strictly nocturnal if harassed, and while hiding in their caves during the day, are completely safe from the day-active South American puffers.

Rather than catfish, I'd recommend a group of fast, feisty loaches. I have a trio of cherry-fin loaches with both South American puffers and Carinotetraodon irrubesco, and the loaches have no problems keeping out of trouble. This is in a reasonably large tank though (180 litres) and with plenty of rocks, bogwood and floating plants.

Other loaches that should work well would be things like skunk loaches, yo-yo loaches, and horseface loaches.

Cheers, Neale

Merritt Adkins

Thanks Neale! Glad you stopped by to check out the blog! :-) Yea, I would agree with you, like I have preciously stated putting any other fish with a puffer is always a tricky situation mainly because puffers are known to nip fins, harass and kill tank mates.

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