Congo puffer (Tetraodon miurus) care sheet

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Most puffer fish are known for their bold personalities and beautiful colors. The Congo puffer is no exception and is becoming increasingly popular in the freshwater aquarium hobby. Like other puffer fish, the Congo puffer works best in a tank. This can be boring for some hobbyists, but any ball rider knows these fish can fill a display quickly!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Congo buffer care, and how these fish may be a little more demanding than other related species!


Tetraodon miurus is commonly known as Congo pancakes and potato pancakes. As we will discuss later, these fish come from the Congo region and are more similar to the vegetable of the same name.

As a spheroidal species, these fish can inflate their stomachs with air or water to protect predators. As a member of the Tetraodon genus, this also means that they carry the deadly neurotoxin tetrodoxin. However, this poison can only get into the bloodstream when the fish is ingested and is hardly or not at all threatening if handled and / or prepared correctly.

It is important to note that another similar species, the spotted Congo puffer (Tetraodon schoutedeni) is not the same as the Congo puffer (Tetraodon miurus) discussed in this article. While these two fish belong to the same genus and originate from the same regions of Africa, they are recognized as two separate buffer species.

Natural habitat

As the common name suggests, the Congo buffer comes from the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. These fish are found in rivers of all sizes, including rivers and rapids. Most of the time these fish are buried in the soft substrate, waiting to ambush passing prey.


The Congo puffer may be difficult to identify at first as it can change color depending on the environment, much like a chameleon. Most often, these fish have natural shades of green and brown to blend in with the substrate, rocks, fallen trees, and vegetation. However, they are also known to have deep reds and oranges, as well as different patterns, depending on their current behavior.

An interesting anatomical adaptation of these fish is their upturned mouth. As mentioned earlier, these fish like to hide in the sandy substrates of fast flowing rivers, waiting for smaller fish and invertebrates to pass by. With its mouth pointing upwards, the fish can easily suck up prey without having to expose itself beforehand.

The dorsal fin is also very close to the caudal fin and can lie flat on the back for additional disguise.

How big are the buffers in the Congo?

In contrast to the closely related spotted Congo puffer, which reaches a maximum length of 4 inches when fully grown, the Congo puffer can reach a decent size. The Congo Puffer can grow up to 6 inches when mature.

While this might not seem like much at first, you need to consider substrate depth as well as tank size and tank mates.

Requirements for the Congo buffer tank

While there is a good chance your Congo puffer will remain hidden in the substrate for most of the day, this fish will still need a reasonably sized aquarium. A minimum tank size of 151.4 liters (40 gallons) is recommended for a Congo buffer.

In order to reproduce their natural conditions in the wild as closely as possible, a sandy substrate, rock cave formations and hardened driftwood are very much appreciated by your puffer fish. sturdy, fast growing plants can be added but are not required.

One of the most important aspects of building a good puffer fish aquarium in the Congo is the substrate. The Congo puffer is an ambush predator that relies on the substrate to hide from prey. This means that the substrate throughout the aquarium should be at least 3 to 4 inches deep to allow your buffer to bury itself.

However, the problem that comes with a deep bed of sand is the debris and debris that gets trapped. Maintenance of the tank is especially important with buffers as these are messy eaters that can affect water parameters over time. Good filtration, regular water changes, and vacuuming of the substrate are all required to keep your Congo buffer happy and healthy.

Otherwise, Congo buffers do well under typical tropical water conditions. The water temperature should remain constant between 23.8 and 27.8 ° C (75 to 82 ° F) and have a relatively neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.8.

Congo puffer tank mates

Congo puffer fish are predatory fish. They have sharp bills that act as teeth, helping to tear apart meat and cut through hard shells.

Because of this, the compatibility of the pufferfish tank counterparts in the Congo is close to zero. While there is always a chance your fish won’t eat other larger fish that you introduce into the aquarium, it’s always better to play it safe and give this buffer a tank of its own!

Can you have two buffers in one tank?

Some species of puffer fish, such as pea puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus), may be able to be kept together in groups, but the Congo puffer cannot. These fish create areas and attack and / or eat anything within those boundaries.

Congo buffering behavior

Puffer fish can bloat when they are threatened or stressed. Hobbyists often experience their buffer in the aquarium inflate for no apparent reason. Whenever possible, look for reasons that could be causing this behavior, such as: B. volatile water parameters, physical changes to the aquarium structure or external loads. Also, avoid sharp objects that could potentially injure your puffer fish.

For the most part, your Congo puffer will remain buried in the sand or hidden under rocks. However, one of the best parts of puffer fish is their brave personalities and unique hunting styles!

Are puffer fish good pets?

Puffer fish are loved by hobbyists because there is no comparable species of fish. While each fish may have their own character, puffer fish have their own personality that can fill a large tank!

One of the best things about a buffer is the feeding times. Typically, these fish need to be fed live food to gain insight into their natural behavior in captivity. Some hobbyists have found that their puffers recognize their owners and may be a little more active when around as they wait for food!

While Congo puffer diet might be specific, the display is definitely worth it.

Congo puffer diet

The Congo puffer is primarily a fish eater. This means that their diet is mostly centered around eating other fish. Because of this particular diet, Congo buffers may be a little more difficult to maintain than other freshwater fish and some buffer species.

In addition, Congo buffers can refuse food that is no longer alive. Some hobbyists have been lucky enough to switch their Congo to frozen foods, although it will take time and effort.

Otherwise, it’s best to feed live foods like feeder fish, prawns (prawns and krill), and finally earthworms and shellfish. Some have been lucky enough to have their Congo accept a snail every now and then – which also helps shorten the beak of your globe – although this is also very unlikely.

Remember to always get food from a reputable source to ensure the best nutrition and to keep your fish free of parasites. In order to have complete control over the nutrition of your fish and always have food available, it is recommended to set up a separate breeding tank for such purposes.

Breeding Congo Puffers

Due to the aggression and the space requirements of the Congo buffer, captive breeding has not yet been achieved. Placing two buffers in the same aquarium can be quick to death and should only be attempted by a puffer expert!


The Congo puffer is not yet the most popular puffer fish in the hobby, but its bold personality, chameleon colors and interesting hunting behavior make it one of the most sought-after species of puffer fish. These fish can be a little tougher than other freshwater buffer species because they require a larger tank for themselves and rely on a live diet of fish and invertebrates. However, if you have the space and the ability to commit to a specific diet, the Congo Buffer could be for you!

If you have any questions about Congo puffer fish or any other type of freshwater buffer, or if you have any experience caring for any of these apex predators, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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