Pea Puffer (Carinotetraodon Travancoricus)
The Pea Puffer, also known as the Dwarf Puffer and Malabar Puffer, is a charming freshwater fish native to Kerala, India. The Pea Puffer has a unique ability to inflate its stomach with water or air when threatened, hence the name "puffer." Its body contains tetrodoxin, a potent neurotoxin that can be deadly if ingested, making it a fascinating yet potentially dangerous creature. They also possess a unique ability to move their eyes independently, allowing them to scrutinize their surroundings without needing to shift its body.
This small aquatic creature exhibits a fascinating color-changing ability, with its hues shifting between green and brown, adorned with dark spots, in response to its emotional state. Its belly, typically a shade of yellow or white, becomes noticeably smooth post-feeding.
This tiny species is one of the smallest puffers available, reaching only 1 inch in length. As nano aquarium fish, Pea Puffers can comfortably live in a 10 gallon tank. However, a larger tank is preferable to provide them with ample space for exploration, mimicking their natural environment. For each additional Pea Puffer, an extra 5 gallons of tank space is recommended.
Despite their small size, Pea Puffers are not recommended for community tanks due to their tendency to nip at the fins of slower or long-finned fish. If you're keen on incorporating Pea Puffers into a community tank, opt for small, swift species like Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios, Bloodfin Tetras, Glowlight Tetra, Chili Rasboras, and Panda Corys. These fish are agile enough to evade the Pea Puffer and pose no threat to it. One challenge with maintaining a Pea Puffer only tank is the absence of other fish or snails that naturally control algae growth, so extra care will need to be taken with their maintenance.
Pea Puffers are carnivorous, with a preference for shellfish, worms, and other live and frozen foods. They particularly enjoy small snails, which help grind down their continuously growing teeth. They typically will not accept dried foods.
Pea Puffers are known for their intelligence, often recognizing their caretaker, and will exhibit signs of excitement during feeding times, adding to the joy of owning one. However, it's crucial to avoid overfeeding these seemingly perpetually hungry fish. Aim to provide enough food for a three-minute feeding session twice a day; anything beyond that could lead to overfeeding.
A well-planted aquarium is essential to create a secure environment for Pea Puffers. Incorporate elements like caves, smooth rocks, and driftwood to create a diverse landscape for these curious fish to explore while providing ample hiding spots to feel secure. Including these elements can act to disrupt direct lines of sight and help mitigate aggression among individuals.
A substrate conducive to plant growth, such as small gravel or coarse sand, is ideal. Incorporating aquarium soil can further promote plant growth. Large-leafed plants like Java Moss and floating aquarium plants offer plenty of shade and additional hiding spots, contributing to a safe and comfortable habitat. Floating plants are a beneficial addition, as they soften the lighting and encourage more active and confident behavior in the Pea Puffers.
Aim to maintain minimal water movement, reflecting the calm waters the Pea Puffer is accustomed to in their native environment. Like most puffer species, the Pea Puffer is particularly sensitive to water quality and feel their best with requires pristine water conditions. Regular partial water changes are essential to prevent water conditions from deteriorating and to ensure the health and well-being of these delicate fish.
Pea Puffers can comfortably live in a 10-gallon tank, adding 5 gallons extra for each additional Pea Puffer. Their ideal water parameters are a pH of 6.8-8.0, hardness of 0.5-1.5 dGH, and a temperature of 72-82°F (22-28°C).
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