We were able to import one of the most beautiful freshwater puffers from China again: Takifugu ocellatus. This fish shows us that the terms "freshwater fish" and "marine fish" can be applied on the very same species. Like salmon these puffers live in pure freshwater during their youth and then go to the sea where they grow up and become mature. Sadly nothing is known about the breeding behaviour of that species. This puffer becomes about 15 cm long and thus it belongs to the smallest members of the genus Takifugu. The species is very aggressive against conspecifics when it is settled in the tank. Against other tankmates they usually are peaceful as long as they are too big to be eaten.
Puffers are carnivorous fishes and need frozen or live food. Most of all they like mussels and snails, but they also accept shrimps, small fish, earthworms etc.
The tank should have fine sand on the bottom for this species of puffer likes to bury itself. All trials to acclimate young specimens of 6-8 cm length to full strength seawater failed so no experiments in that direction are recommended.
Lexicon: Takifugu: composed from two Japanese words: Taki meaning "waterfall" and Fugu, which is the name of the puffer which causes deadly poisoning when prepared for food in a wrong way; the term has multiple meanings, one can read it in a way that the fish should be cooked in liquid for example. ocellatus: Latin for "with an eyespot".
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer