Tetraodon suvattii Puffer Fish Lair

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This is my T. suvattii, Mr. Scary. Note the prominent V marking on his head. This mark distinguished this species easily from the T. miurus. Very similar in shape and behaviour, the two species originate from completely different continents. Currently, no research has been done, but scientist believe the resemblance is only coincidental, an environmental evolution for a predatory niche. Common names include Arrowhead and Pig Faced Puffer.

A mostly sedentary species, burying themselves in the substrate and waiting for prey to pass overhead is a common behaviour. I have seen the fish swim for a period of time, exploring the surroundings and looking for food. When disturbed my tank cleaning etc. an impressive burst of speed can be accomplished. Tail thrashing at the surface seems to also be common, so be prepared for a shower now and then.

In the wild, this fish lives in the rapids of the Mekong River system and tributaries. A good current and excellent water quality is recommended. Typically the substrate in its natural habitat would be rocky, but sand also seems to be appreciated by the individuals I have kept in tanks. Normally its diet consists almost exclusively of other fish. I found shrimp to be readily taken, however. The teeth are very pointed and not as broad as some of the other species. A slight overbite makes for an almost scissors like cutting action.

Prone to velvet and ich, keeping an eye on water quality and general health of the fish is paramount. All individuals at this time are wild caught and often have parasites. Anchor worms have been noted, and they may be removed using tweezers.

This species can become quite large. I viewed collection specimens that were nearly eleven inches total length, and were as big around the middle as an orange. Some keepers have had success with colonies of this fish. I have not dared to experiment yet, especially after seeing the death and mayhem in a LFS tank. I would think that getting juvenile fish would be important to success with this method.

Keep an eye out for fish that look different when viewing tanks of this species. Other species are often mixed in, and while bleached due to stress, the collectors and the distributors may not notice. Other rare species found mixed in have been T. abei, T. baileyi, T. palembangensis and T. barbatus. Checking tanks of T. leiurus is also a good idea as some of these species also resemble the Target Puffer, and inhabit the same river system.