Leopard Puffer Fish Care (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis)

Common Name(s)Leopard Puffer, Green Spotted Puffer, Burmese Puffer
Scientific NameDichotomyctere Nigroviridis, Tetraodon Nigroviridis
OriginAfrica through Asia
Temperature74-82°F (23-28°C)
Size6.7 inches
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Food & DietOmnivore with a mostly carnivorous diet.
Lifespan15 years
Water pH7.5 to 8.5
Tank MatesNo tank mates recommended
BreedingSpawns in brackish water
DiseaseCommon health issues include ich, overgrown teeth, and internal parasites.
Leopard Puffer
Leopard Puffer (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis)

Leopard Puffer Facts

  • Leopard Puffers inhabit quite a wide range of the world. They have been found all the way from Africa to Asia. They have been found in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and all the way to China.
  • When Leopard Puffers feel threatened, they will inhale water to puff themselves up. This puffing makes the spines they have on their bodies protrude, and prevents them from being eaten by predators.
  • In the wild, Leopard Puffers are poisonous and this is due to the food they eat. In captivity, they are not poisonous because they do not have access to the same foods in captivity as they do in the wild.
  • Leopard Puffers have a set of teeth that grow very quickly, and they will have to be clipped from time to time so that they do not become overgrown.

Leopard Puffer Care

Leopard Puffer Fish (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis), also known as Green Spotted Puffer, have a yellow green body with a whitish cream colored belly. Their bodies have different shaped and sized black spots on them. They become more brightly colored as they mature. They have a rounded shaped body, with large eyes. Their eyes have a brilliantly yellow colored middle. They have tiny mouths, with teeth inside. These teeth grow very quickly, and will require you to physically clip them from time to time so that they do not become overgrown. It is easier to tell the males from the females once they have matured. The male Leopard Puffer will have darker markings on his body, and the female will have a more rounded appearance.

Tank Setup

Leopard Puffers require a minimum of 30 gallons for just one Leopard Puffer fish. If you are wanting to put more Leopard Puffers together, or planning on putting other species with Leopard Puffers, you will want a considerably larger tank that is heavily planted.

Leopard Puffers in the wild will occasionally inhabit freshwater as juveniles, but when setting up their tank you will want to give them brackish water. They require a pH of 7.5 to 8.5, and a temperature range of 74F to 82F.

When setting up your tank for Leopard Puffers, you will want to include a fine gravel or sand substrate for them. They will also require lots of places to hide, and you can provide this by placing in rocks for caves, and lots of plants.

When choosing tank decor, keep in mind that Leopard Puffers are aggressive fish that will use their teeth to nip fins, and rip off scales of other fish in their aquarium. Especially if you are wanting to house them with other fish, you will want to make sure that there are plenty of plants and places for your fish to hide in.

Leopard Puffer Natural Habitat

Leopard Puffer fish inhabit a wide range of territories in the wild. They can be found from Africa to Asia. They have also been found in Sri Lanka and China. They inhabit brackish waters in streams, rivers, and estuaries.

Food and Diet

Leopard Puffer fish are omnivores, but they prefer a more meaty diet. This means that they will eat meat as well as plant material. In the wild the Leopard Puffer will feed on Mollusks, invertebrates, and crustaceans.

Size and Lifespan

Leopard Puffer fish can grow up to 6.7 inches at full maturity. They can live up to 15 years if they are cared for properly and in the appropriate setup with brackish water.

Leopard Puffer Salinity Level

Juvenile Puffers can inhabit freshwater, and they can tolerate a salinity level of 1.005 to 1.008, but the adult Leopard Puffers require more salinity at a level of 1.018 to 1.022 to keep them healthy.

Leopard Puffer (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis) AKA Green Spotted Puffer Fish

Can Leopard Puffers Live in Saltwater?

Leopard Puffer fish inhabit brackish waters, but they have been known as juveniles to inhabit more freshwater areas during the rainy season. You will often see Leopard Puffers being sold as a freshwater fish, but their primary habitat is brackish water.

Can Leopard Puffers Live in Freshwater?

Leopard Puffer juveniles will often migrate to freshwater during the rainy season, but their primary habitat is saltwater. When setting up a tank for your Leopard Puffer, you will want to make sure the water is brackish.

Leopard Puffer Tank Mates

Leopard Puffers have been known to eat the fins and the scales of other fish, so they do not make for an ideal tank mate for other fish, or in a community tank setup. There have been some reports of success of keeping Leopard Puffers with other fish for a time, but once there is any sign of decline in the other fish, the Leopard Puffer will go after it to eat it.

Are Leopard Puffers Aggressive?

Leopard Puffers are extremely aggressive, and they will go after other fish in the aquarium and in the wild. They are fish that are fin nipping, and scale tearing. They are not a good fish to keep in a community tank setup as they will watch for signs of weakness and decline in other fish, and go after them to eat them. It is recommended that if you are planning on keeping more of these fish together in an aquarium, that you give them plenty of room and places to hide.

Are Leopard Puffer Reef Safe?

Leopard Puffers are not considered a reef safe fish, but some owners have reported keeping them successfully with a reef as long as they are well fed, and they are in a large enough tank. It is still considered risky to do this though, even with proper precaution.

Do Leopard Puffer Fish Puff Up?

Leopard Puffer fish will inhale water, and use it to puff up their bodies when they feel threatened. Once they have puffed up their bodies, ,you will see spines stick out. These spines are there to prevent the Leopard Puffer from being eaten by predators.

Are Leopard Puffer Fish Poisonous?

In the wild, Leopard Puffers are poisonous, and this is due to their diet and the foods that they eat. In captivity, Leopard Puffers are not poisonous. This is because they do not have access to the same foods as they do in the wild.

Leopard Puffer Breeding

Leopard Puffers will spawn only in brackish waters. When the female is ready to spawn, she will locate a male, and lay her eggs on a flat surface or a hard substrate. The female Leopard Puffer can lay up to 200 eggs each spawning. Once the female lays the eggs, the male will guard them. The Leopard Puffer eggs should hatch in about 7 days. Once the eggs have hatched, the male Leopard Puffer will move the fry to a small pit-like area where he will continue guarding them. Once the fry have reached this stage, it can become somewhat of a challenge to feed them. You will want to make sure you are offering them foods that are small enough to fit in their mouths. You will want to feed them baby brine shrimp and microworms.

Leopard Puffer Disease

Leopard Puffer fish have no gill covers or scales, and this makes them more susceptible to ailments. They do not have a disease named after them, but they can catch all the same ailments as other Puffers.

Common Health Problems:


A parasitic disease that can be treated if caught early on. It appears as white spots on the body of the fish.

Overgrown Teeth

You can help avoid this by feeding your Leopard Puffers shelled foods. Even though you feed them shelled foods, you will still need to perform regular teeth trimming for them.

Internal Parasites

If you are purchasing a Leopard Puffer fish from a pet store, it is most likely a wild caught Leopard Puffer. Wild caught fish can carry parasites, and give them to other fish in your aquarium. If you are purchasing a Leopard Puffer, you will want to quarantine it from your other fish for a few weeks so that you know it is healthy.

Where Can I Find Leopard Puffer For Sale?

Leopard Puffers can be found online and in most pet stores that sell fish. The price of the Leopard Puffer will vary depending on the size, age, and markings.

Leopard Puffer Price

Leopard Puffers can be found online and in pet stores for around $15. The price of the Leopard Puffer will vary depending on the size, age, and markings it has. You will want to make sure that you are purchasing your fish from a reputable breeder, or a store that you trust so that you do not end up with sickly fish. It is also important to quarantine your fish for a few weeks so that in case they do have an ailment upon purchase, you are not passing that on to the other fish in your aquarium.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the knowledge that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory Aquatics is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish healthy.

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