This profile was written by Debbs an active contributor to the site.






Carinotetraodon travancoricus



    The smallest of the puffers these require special care and conditions. If you are willing to meet their needs they can be one of the most entertaining and rewarding fish you keep.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 1″ (2.5cm) Total Length
Tank: 2 to 3 gallons per fish
Strata: All
PH: 7.0 to 8.0
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: to 15
Temperature: 71°F to 82°F (22-28°C)


Family: Tetraodontidae
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Genera: Carinotetraodon
Species: travancoricus




Common name:


Dwarf puffer 

    , Pea Puffers, Pygmy Puffers, Blue Eyed Puffers


    1. Asia, India (Kerala)

Min.Tank Requirement:

    Even though they are small in size, dwarves need roughly 2 to 3 gallons per fish to have adequate space. They will become aggressive to one another if cramped too tightly together.

Tank Set up:

    Dwarf Puffers need places to establish territories. It is a good idea to add multiple caves throughout the tank for them to hide in if and when they feel threatened. Plants are needed to break their lines of sight which in turn will cut down their aggression towards one another. The one thing that is very important with a Dwarf Puffer tank is that no matter what kind of plants you use, you want to use a LOT of them! Another important purpose for the plants is to give the puffers an interesting habitat. If the puffers are bored, they will do a lot of swimming up and down the glass.


    I feed mine live black worms, live brine shrimp, live snails (the size of their eyes), and live ghost shrimp. They also enjoy frozen blood worms. The live food I drop into their tanks and watch the puffers hunt down their food, as they would in the wild. The frozen blood worm (thawed) I feed through a dropper. The dominant male will eat first, then the others follow suit, sometimes taking the worms right out of each others mouth! The least dominant wait their turn.”

Sexing:Adult Males have a brown vertical line running along the underside of their bellies. During courtship and aggression behavior, this line will become thick and dark. Some males have “Wrinkles” behind their eyes.
Females do not have the brown vertical line, nor do they have the wrinkles. Their body shape is rounder then a males’, especially during spawning season.

Tank Mates:Dwarves should be kept in a species only tank. They are a very aggressive little fish and will nip the fins off just about any other fish. They are capable of killing tank mates much larger than themselves with their relentless picking and nipping. There is one species of fish that many people have found compatible with dwarves.
Otocinclus – Known as “ottos”. Almost everyone who has tried them has successfully kept them in a dwarf tank with little to no problems. They remain small and do not attract much attention to themselves.

Carinotetraodon travancorius are the smallest of the Fresh Water Puffer fish sold in Fish Stores today. They require 100% dechlorinated fresh water. Note: They can tolerate a wide variety of water parameters, but do best as stated above..


    1. Dwarf Puffers are very interesting, intelligent and active fish. They are very observant fish, noticing everything outside of their tank. In time, they will come to know their owners .

As soon as we walk into the room they swim right up to the glass, staring at us with those big eyes! They’ll stay in one spot for hours, observing everything you’re doing. One way to stop their staring is to feed them. They are ‘big’ time beggars for food!!

    1. All my puffers are males and have no problem with territory. There is of course a dominant male in the group, but that was to be expected and he only claims dominance at feeding. Once in a while I’ll see some chasing. The fish are not stressed with this chasing, it seems to be a natural behavior.

Special note on water changes:

     You also have to be careful when siphoning water from the tank, because their curiosity will sometimes lead them a little too close to the siphon tube! Accidental sucking up of the dwarves are common.



    Slow moving freshwater rivers in its’ home range.


    1. Has been bred in aquaria, but few details are available. Here is a link to one account, it even has photos

Ren’s Dwarf Puffer page.


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