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Dwarf Pufferfish Tankmates

Dwarf pufferfish (often referred to as pea puffers) are unique in both appearance and personality. Green and yellow with large eyes, black markings, fluttering fins, and a fan-like tail, they’re highly active and surprisingly aggressive for such a small fish. Being both carnivorous and territorial, you may be curious as to which (if any) aquatic creatures make good tankmates for this species?

Dwarf pufferfish can be kept with other fish provided the tank is big enough with lots of hiding places. Larger bottom-dwellers and fast-moving schooling fish that prefer the middle of the tank are best. Fish with long, flowing fins as well as other predatory fish and shellfish aren’t recommended.

Now that you know the types of fish that can live with pea puffers in captivity, let’s dive deeper into this topic together. We’ll learn which aquatic creatures make the best tankmates and which ones you should avoid. We’ll also learn how tank size, water conditions, and food supply affect their temperament and what to do to keep pea puffer aggression at bay.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about how to properly stock an aquarium with dwarf pufferfish, then let’s get started!

What Aquatic Creatures Can Live with Pea Puffers?

Pea puffers are aggressive and territorial by nature. As carnivores, they’ve been known to nip at fins and take bites out of much larger fish. For this reason, many aquarists recommend you keep them in small groups with a 1:3 male-to-female ratio and in a species-only environment.

If you have an extra-large, heavily planted tank with plenty of hiding places, you may be able to keep pea puffers with other aquatic creatures. Fast-moving, schooling fish that prefer to swim in the middle of the tank like neon tetras as well as large, bottom-dwelling species like kuhli loaches are a few options.

Sailfin mollies and leopard danios are large enough that pea puffers will likely leave them alone so you could consider them as well. The most important things to keep in mind when choosing tankmates for pea puffers is size, temperament, and water condition requirements.

Avoid fish with long, flowing fins as well as larger predatory fish since your pea puffers won’t be able to outswim them. Freshwater snails shouldn’t be housed with pea puffers unless you have an abundance of ‘pest’ snails and you want the dwarf pufferfish to dispose of them.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Betta Fish?

No, pea puffers can’t live with betta fish in the same aquarium. Pea puffers are far too aggressive and territorial by nature. They’ll likely nip at the bettas’ long, flowing fins which can lead to disease such as fin rot. Bettas themselves are often hostile towards tankmates, especially those that’re brightly colored.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Danios?

Yes, pea puffers can live with leopard and zebra danios in a large, planted aquarium. Danios are a fast-moving, shoaling fish that prefer the middle of the tank, away from bottom-dwellers like pea puffers. They’re also hardy and tough enough to hold their own against pea puffers.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Guppies?

No, pea puffers shouldn’t be kept with guppies in the same tank. Fancy guppies are brightly colored with long, flowing fins and tails that attract attention. Pea puffers wouldn’t be able to resist nipping at them and the guppies would end up with fin rot.

In lieu of guppies, try housing pea puffers with endlers. They look like guppies (minus the bold hues and flamboyant fins) and like to swim in the middle of the tank, away from pea puffers that prefer the stick closer to the bottom.

guppy fish

Can Pea Puffers Live with Mollies?

Yes, pea puffers can live with mollies in a large aquarium. Adult molly fish are big enough for pea puffers to ignore however, newborn mollies would be at risk of getting eaten. As a fast-swimming schooling fish that prefers the middle of the tank, mollies and bottom-dwelling pea puffers would rarely cross paths.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Killifish?

Yes, killifish can live with pea puffers. Non-aggressive yet big enough that pea puffers will leave them alone, killifish make a colorful addition to a planted freshwater aquarium. Hardy and easy to care for, they can adapt to the water conditions needed for pea puffers and will school in the middle of the tank.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Loaches?

Yes, kuhli or java loaches can live with pea puffers in an extra-large aquarium. They occupy a different niche, so they won’t bother one another. That said, loaches are scaleless so watch your pea puffer males as they can become aggressive and nip at the loaches. Even tiny bites become infected so be observant.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Plecos?

Yes, pea puffers can live with bristlenose or clown plecos in an extra-large planted tank. Like loaches, plecos keep to themselves and won’t get in the way of pea puffers. They’re also scaleless and may be the target of a nippy or aggressive pea puffer male.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Platies?

Yes, pea puffers can live with platies in a large enough tank. Platies are ideal for a community tank. Sociable, active, peaceful, and colorful, they’ll school together in the middle of the tank (away from bottom-dwelling pea puffers) and should they cross paths, platies are fast enough to outrun them.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Rasboras?

Yes, pea puffers can live with chili rasboras in a large, planted aquarium, provided their full-grown. As juveniles, rasboras are too small to be kept with pea puffers and will likely be eaten. As a shoaling fish, rasboras will stick with their group in the middle of the tank, away from bottom-dwelling pea puffers.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Tetras?

Yes, pea puffers can be kept with neon tetras in a large, planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places. Tetras are an active schooling fish and will swim in groups with others of their kind in the center of the tank. Their peaceful, fast, and don’t have long fins or tails so nipping by pea puffers is unlikely.

Can Pea Puffers Live with Shellfish?

No, pea puffers shouldn’t be kept with shellfish or any kind including crabs, shrimps, or snails. All are potential targets for carnivorous fish like pea puffers since they’re slow-moving and unable to defend themselves against predatory attacks.

Can Pea Puffers Live Together in the Same Tank?

Pea puffers can live alone but do much better in an aquarium with others of their kind. As singles in a community tank, they can become bored, stressed, or aggressive and attack other fish as a result. When housing them together, make sure the females outnumber the males in a ratio of at least 3:1 otherwise, the males will become aggressive fight each other for dominance and female attention.

How Many Pea Puffers should be Kept Together?

Pea puffers are sociable and like to shoal with others of their kind. A small group of 3 (all females or 1 male and 2 females) can be kept together in a 10-gallon, heavily planted tank. A 20-gallon tank is better for this species since pea puffers are active and can become territorial if the tank is too small. For a 20-gallon tank, a group of 6 with no more than 2 males is recommended.

large dwarf puffer fish

Final Thoughts

To conclude, dwarf pufferfish can be kept in a community tank with other fish provided the tank is extra-large and planted with lots of hiding places. Large, peaceful bottom-dwellers and fast-moving schooling fish are the best options. Colorful fish with long fins and flowing tails as well as bigger meat-eating fish and shellfish should be avoided.

I hope this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby!

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