Potato Puffer, Tetraodon miurus

Image Credit: Jamie C/Wikipedia

The potato puffer, also called the Congo puffer, inhabits freshwater rivers of Africa, primarily in the Congo basin, occasionally found in flowing rapids. This puffer is a very inactive bottom dweller, burying itself in the sandy river bed waiting for prey to pass by. Although the potato puffer is a very aggressive predator, it also hides to keep out of sight from other predators. Where the bottom is solid and this fish cannot bury itself, it will change color to blend in with the surroundings.

The potato puffer can also be kept as a pet, but should have at least a 30 gallon tank. The tank bottom should be made as close to the natural habitat of this fish as possible. It also should be kept alone or with other fish of the same species, because it will eat smaller fish and will be aggressive toward larger fish nipping and biting them. The potato puffer is a very messy fish so extra filtration is need.

The body color of the potato puffer will range from black, light brown, to bright red, depending on the substrate. Although it can change color, it cannot change to blue. The teeth of this species will keep growing, so it will gnaw on hard surfaces to keep them worn. It will grow to a maximum of six inches in length, with a flattened body. However, when stressed or frightened it will take in water and air to expand its body.

In the wild, the potato puffer will ambush any prey that will fit in its mouth including fish, clams, and shellfish. In captivity it can be fed a variety of meat based food, but it prefers live food such as, bloodworms, river shrimp, crab, scallops, and squid.

The spawning and breeding habits of the potato puffer have not been observed. It is harmless to humans and of least concern on the Endangered Species list.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Tetraodontidae