The Pea Puffer, scientifically known as Carinotetraodon travancoricus, is a tiny and captivating freshwater fish species that hails from the slow-moving rivers and freshwater habitats of South India and Sri Lanka. Also referred to as the Dwarf Freshwater Pufferfish, these delightful aquatic creatures have gained popularity among aquarium enthusiasts for their charming personalities and unique appearance.
Appearance: Pea Puffers are remarkably small, typically measuring around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in length when fully grown. Their compact size and distinctive shape make them instantly recognizable. Their bodies are round and chubby, almost resembling a small green pea, which is how they earned their common name. The coloration of Pea Puffers varies from light olive green to dark green, and they often exhibit a pattern of black spots or stripes on their skin, adding to their overall appeal. Their eyes are large and expressive, and they have a beak-like mouth, which they use to crush snail shells, a favorite part of their diet.
Behavior and Personality: Despite their small size, Pea Puffers are known for their big personalities. They are curious and active swimmers, constantly exploring their surroundings in the aquarium. These puffers are also quite intelligent and can recognize their owners, making them endearing pets. However, they can be territorial and may exhibit some aggression, especially toward other pufferfish or fish with similar body shapes. It's essential to provide them with plenty of hiding spots and visual barriers to reduce potential conflicts.
Habitat and Care: To create an ideal habitat for Pea Puffers, an aquarium of at least 10 gallons is recommended. They thrive in densely planted tanks with plenty of hiding places, as well as smooth substrate and driftwood. Maintaining a stable water temperature between 74°F to 78°F (23°C to 26°C) and a slightly acidic to neutral pH level (around 7.0) is crucial for their well-being.
Diet: Pea Puffers are carnivorous and primarily feed on small invertebrates, such as snails, daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Their ability to crack open snail shells is particularly fascinating to observe. Offering a varied diet is essential to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Compatibility: While Pea Puffers can be kept with other peaceful and small fish species, it's often best to house them in a species-only tank or with similarly sized and non-aggressive tank mates. Avoid keeping them with fin-nipping or larger, aggressive fish that might intimidate or harm them.
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