Large puffer fish are always a cause for joy among our staff. The animals are not only beautiful, but they communicate with the keeper and the hall visitors. Their eyes are always in lively motion and it is difficult to avoid the impression that the fish in the aquarium looks at the person outside the aquarium with the same curiosity as the other way around.
Chelonodontops bengalensis was only described scientifically in 2018, at the same time as a very similar species from Burma, C. alvheimi. Since the two author teams apparently did not know about each other, there were doubts whether both puffers were not the same species. This doubt has now been dispelled. Both species are similar, but can be distinguished by the type of skin spination.
Chelonodontops bengalensis was originally found in the sea off Bangladesh, later also off the coast of India. The up to about 40 cm long animals are therefore marine fishes, but like many other marine puffer fishes they like to swim in river mouths. We keep our two 20-25 cm long newcomers in slightly salted fresh water. They feel quite comfortable, but we assume that this will only work for a relatively short time (a few weeks). For permanent care, you need a brackish or saltwater aquarium. It is important that the pH never drops below 7, and when feeding, care must be taken to keep the nitrite level under control.
So, these are very special fish and their care is reserved for specially interested, very experienced aquarists. All others will enjoy the beautiful coloration and the clever eyes, if you are lucky enough to meet a Chelonodontops bengalensis.
For our customers: the animals have code 409753 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer