Pea Puffer: Care, Size, Food, Tank Mates & Tank Size


Common Name(s)Pea Puffer, Dwarf Puffer, Indian Dwarf Puffer
Scientific NameCarinotetraodon Travancoricus
OriginWestern India
Temperature74-82°F (23-28°C)
Size1.5 inches
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Food & DietCarnivorous
Lifespan4 to 5 years
Water pH7.0-8.0
Tank MatesNeon Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, and Adult Cherry Shrimp
BreedingBreeding pair spawn in dense vegetation.
DiseaseMay be susceptible to ich.
pea puffer
Pea Puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)

Pea Puffer Facts

  • Pea Puffer fish are a very small species of Puffers that come from Western India.
  • Pea Puffer fish are ferociously aggressive and territorial for their size.
  • In the wild, Pea Puffer fish survive on a diet of insects, larvae, and algae.
  • Pea Puffer fish are very sensitive to changes in their water parameters, so you will want to make sure that you are monitoring them often.

Pea Puffer Care

Pea Puffers (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) are small fish that at full maturity grow up to 1.5 inches. They are a yellow green color, with black spots on their bodies. These spots are both large and small. The eyes of the Pea Puffer appear larger than their head. They have a body that is larger towards the head, and gets smaller as it goes towards the tail.

Pea Puffer Male vs Female

Male Pea Puffers have darker green patches, and more intensely colored yellow bellies. The males also have a more bold line running across their bodies, and a brilliant blue coloration to their eyes. The female Pea Puffers are rounder, and not as boldly colored.

Tank Setup

Pea Puffers require a tank that is a minimum of 10 gallons. They would do better in a tank that is larger and gives them more room to roam since they are an active fish. The Pea Puffer requires a tank that is 74F to 82F, and a pH of 7.0 to 8.0. If you are planning on keeping additional Pea Puffers together you will want to add 5 gallons per every Pea Puffer you place in your aquarium. Pea Puffers are extremely sensitive to water changes, and you will want to make sure that you have a reliable testing kit as well as test the water regularly. It is important for the life of the Pea Puffer that you act as quickly as possible to fix water parameter issues as quickly as possible.

Pea Puffers come from a habitat in the wild where there are lots of plants for them to hide, destress, and keep them safe. When planning the perfect setup for your Pea Puffer fish, you will want to make sure to include lots of plants for them. They also require caves, rocks, and driftwood strategically placed, but without plants, you will see your Pea Puffer fish quickly become stressed and unhealthy. Plants are the most important thing you need to include in your aquarium for your Pea Puffer fish.

Best Substrate for Pea Puffer Tanks

Substrate for your Pea Puffer fish should be a substrate that is also helpful for plants to grow in. Plants are a very important part of the Pea Puffer setup. Choose a small light gravel, or a coarse sand for their substrate.

Aquarium Plants for Pea Puffer Tanks

Pea Puffers need lots of plants in their aquarium. It is crucial to their health that they have places to hide and destress. You will want to make sure that your aquarium has lots of plants for your Pea Puffers to hide in. Java Moss and Hornwort are good plants for Pea Puffer fish, as well as fast growing, floating plants.

Pea Puffer Care and Breeding: A Tiny Fish with a BIG Attitude!

Food & Diet

Pea Puffers are a carnivorous fish, and in captivity they should be fed a diet of frozen foods such as bloodworms, and brine shrimp. They should also be fed live foods such as snails, or blackworms. In the wild, Pea Puffer fish survive off of small insects, larvae, and algae. Pea Puffers have a rather large appetite, and they are a fish that is an overfeeding risk. You will want to make sure that you are feeding them twice and day as opposed to once a day.

Pea Puffer Size & Lifespan

Pea Puffer fish can grow up to 1.5 inches at full maturity.

In a suitable environment, Pea Puffers can live up to 4-5 years. In a properly setup aquarium and regular maintenance, they can live a long time.

Pea Puffer Tank Mates

Pea Puffers are small fish, but they are territorial and can become aggressive towards other fish. It is for this reason that you can not place them in an aquarium with other similarly sized fish. If you are planning on keeping more than one Pea Puffer together, you will want to make sure that you have an aquarium big enough so that each Pea Puffer can have its own territory.

If you are wanting to keep Pea Puffers with other species of fish you will want to keep in mind the Pea Puffers are fin nipping fish, and they will bother other fish that are slow moving. If your Pea Puffers are fin nipping, you will be able to see the torn or injured fins on the other fish. Pea Puffers should not be housed with other larger fish that will potentially harm or eat them.

Some tank mates to consider for your Pea Puffers would be Neon Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, some Danios, and adult Cherry Shrimp. These fish should be able to get out of the way of the Pea Puffer, and also not stress out or injure them. Remember, the more fish you add, the more plants you will want to add so that your Pea Puffer can hide and get comfortable.

Can Pea Puffers Be Added to a Community Tank?

Pea Puffer fish are not a good addition to a community tank that houses any fish that are larger than the tiny Pea Puffer so that they do not injure them. There are fish that you can place with the Pea Puffer if you have the appropriate aquarium setup to do so. The Pea Puffer requires lots of places to hide and destress, and that is important for the health and wellbeing of the Pea Puffer.

It is possible to keep them in a community tank, but they are not recommended to be kept that way. It is recommended for these tiny fish that they are kept in a species only tank.

Are Pea Puffers Aggressive?

Pea Puffers are small, but they are territorial. These small fish in the wild will seek out a territory to claim, and they will defend it. They are considered an aggressive fish, and they will pick at and nip at other fish in the aquarium. They are recommended to be housed with only their same species for this reason. If you are planning on placing other species of fish in with your Pea Puffer, you will want to make sure that you are monitoring their interaction so that there are no issues. Pea Puffers are fin nipping fish, and if they are nipping and damaging the fins of the other fish in the aquarium, then you should be able to see it.

How Many Pea Puffers Should Be Kept together?

Pea Puffers are territorial fish, and if you are wanting to keep more than one in the same aquarium, you will want to ensure that there is enough room. The minimum tank requirement for one Pea Puffer is 10 gallons if they are kept as a lone fish. If you add in more Pea Puffers, you will want to make sure that the tank is an additional 5 gallons larger for each Pea Puffer.

Pea Puffer and Shrimp – Are They Good Tank Mates?

Pea Puffers are territorial fish, and as a rule, they can not be housed with most species because they will fight or bother them. Keepers of Pea Puffer fish say that they can be safely housed with Cherry Shrimp as the Cherry Shrimp will try to stay out of their way, and not bother the Pea Puffer.

Pea Puffer and Snails – Are They Good Tank Mates?

Pea Puffers are carnivores, and snails are a part of their diet. Do not try to house them with small snails, but keepers of Pea Puffers report some success keeping them with Nerite snails.

Pea Puffer and Betta – Are They Good Tank Mates?

Pea Puffers and Betta fish are both very territorial and aggressive fish. They can not be housed together safely.

Can Pea Puffers Get Puffed Up?

Pea Puffer fish puff up, but it is not often that you will see them doing it. Pea Puffers puff up their bodies by intaking water, and increasing their size. They do this in an effort to deter and discourage predators, or rivals.

Pea Puffer Breeding

When kept in the right water parameters Pea Puffers will breed. The male will chase the female around until she accepts his advances, and they will move under cover of plants together to spawn. Once they are under the cover of the plants, Pea Puffer males and females will move together until both sperm and eggs are released.

Do Pea Puffers Lay Eggs?

Pea Puffers scatter their eggs over the plants that they shelter in to spawn. The female Pea Puffer will eat their eggs and fry, so they must be removed to ensure the survival of their fry.

Pea Puffer Disease

Pea Puffers do not have a disease that affects them specifically, but they are prone to common disease of freshwater fish such as ich.

Pea Puffer Price

Pea Puffers are a relatively inexpensive fish that you can purchase online or in a pet store. You can expect to pay anywhere from 3$ to 15$ for one Pea Puffer. You will want to make sure that you are purchasing your Pea Puffer fish from a reputable source.

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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