Pea puffers (also known as dwarf pufferfish or pygmy pufferfish) are a small species of tropical fish endemic to freshwater lakes, rivers, and estuaries in southwestern India. If you have or are thinking of keeping pea puffers, you may be wondering what (if any) aquatic creatures to house them with? Can dwarf pufferfish live with shellfish like shrimp, for example?
No, pea puffers shouldn’t be kept with shrimp. Pea puffers are carnivorous, aggressive, and territorial. They have sharp teeth and will often take bites out of bigger tankmates. Pea puffers will eat almost any type of shrimp (large or small) which is why they’re typically housed in small groups in a species-only aquarium.
Now that you know pea puffers and shrimp shouldn’t be kept together in the same tank, let’s explore this topic together and in more detail. We’ll learn why pea puffers and shrimp aren’t suitable tankmates as well as which aquatic creatures can live amicably with pea puffers in a contained environment. We’ll also learn how tank conditions affect their temperament and what to feed them to keep them satisfied.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about housing dwarf pufferfish with invertebrates like shrimp, then let’s get to it!
Will Pea Puffers Eat Amano Shrimp?
Pea puffers are carnivorous and will eat almost any type of shrimp, even larger ones like amanos. Pea puffers have sharp teeth and will attack a crustacean in a heartbeat, should the opportunity arise. Due to their aggressive and territorial nature, it’s often recommended you keep pea puffers in a species-only tank. If you’re dead set on keeping them with amanos, then make sure the shrimp are full-grown first.
Will Pea Puffers Eat Bamboo Shrimp?
Pea puffers will eat almost any type of shrimp, bamboos included. Bamboo shrimp reach lengths of 3 inches which could be to their benefit since pea puffers are only about an inch long full-grown. That said, pea puffers often attack crustaceans much larger in size, so it’d be risky to keep them together. Their only saving grace in a tank with pea puffers would be their ability to camouflage themselves.
Will Pea Puffers Eat Cherry Shrimp?
Pea puffers will likely eat cherry shrimp if given the chance. The only way you could possibly keep the two together in the same tank is if the aquarium is heavily planted and you have more than one pea puffer. In pairs or small groups, pea puffers will shoal together and typically ignore large shrimp and other fish. On their own, they can become bored or territorial and attack fellow tankmates as a result.
Will Pea Puffers Eat Ghost Shrimp?
Some aquarists claim to have success keeping pea puffers and ghost shrimp in the same aquarium. Only adult ghost shrimp should be housed with pea puffers since smaller, juvenile shrimp will likely be eaten. To prevent this, keep pea puffers and adult ghost shrimp in an extra-large, planted tank with plenty of hiding places. Ensuring your pea puffers are well fed will help reduce the risk of attacks on tankmates.
Will Pea Puffers Eat Frozen Shrimp?
Pea puffers are voracious, opportunistic feeders and will accept a variety of meaty food including frozen brine and/or mysis shrimp or freeze-dried river shrimp. Live shrimp sharing the same tank as pea puffers are indeed at risk of being eaten. If you keep your dwarf pufferfish well fed with protein-rich foods and in a large, planted tank, the likelihood of them attacking their shellfish tankmates is greatly reduced.
Check out Fluker’s Freeze-Dried River Shrimp available at your local pet store or online through Amazon. They’re high in protein and amino acids and look just like live shrimp when the sink! Best of all, they’re reasonably priced and ready-to-serve straight out of the jar. Some aquarists claimed to have better success with this freeze-dried option instead of flaked or pellet food, but frozen options are preferred.
Under What Circumstances can Pea Puffers Live with Shrimp?
Keeping pea puffers and shrimp together in the same aquarium is risky. Pea puffers are meat-eating, predatory fish that like to hunt for their meals. Shrimp, being typically slow-moving and non-aggressive, make for easy targets. That said, you may be able to house the two together under the right aquatic conditions which include:
An Extra-Large, Planted Tank
If the tank is very large with lots of plants and plenty of hiding places like rocks, driftwood, caves, etc., then it’s much easier to keep pea puffers with shrimp. A 20- to 30-gallon aquarium minimum is needed if you want the two to live together amicably – the bigger, the better so choose the biggest one you can.
Proper Water Conditions
Since stress and illness are a leading cause of dwarf pufferfish aggression, making sure the tank is clean with the correct water parameters is necessary. The temperature should be around 74- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 7.0 to 8.0. Partial water changes of 25% done weekly are also recommended.
Enough Protein-Rich Food
If you keep your dwarf pufferfish well fed with a variety of high-quality, meat-based foods (including frozen brine shrimp, blood worms as well live options like snails and black worms), then the chances of them feasting on their tankmates is greatly reduced – just make sure not to overfeed your fish.
Keeping Fish in Small Groups
Pea puffers are sociable fish and like to be kept with others of their kind. In small groups of 3 (all females or a single male and 2 females), they’ll be less stressed and spend their time swimming together rather than attacking fellow tankmates out of boredom, anxiety, or territoriality which is common when alone.
Having Only Adult Shrimp
The larger the shellfish, the less likely your pea puffers will attack them. Juvenile shrimp in a tank with dwarf pufferfish are an easy target and will be eaten. Ensuring your shrimp are full-grown and reaching lengths of at least 2 or 3 inches will help reduce the chances of them being attacked by pea puffers.
To sum things up, it’s not a good idea to keep pea puffers with shellfish like shrimp. Pea puffers are carnivorous and won’t hesitate to attack and eat shrimp should the opportunity arise. As meat-eaters, they have sharp teeth and will often nip at fins or take bites out of larger tankmates. Therefore, it’s typically recommended that you keep them in small groups in a species-only tank.
I trust you’ve found this article to be both interesting and informative. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby.