The figure 8 puffer fish (Tetraodon biocellatus) is a very popular aquarium fish. It is a ray finned fish which is also known as eyespot puffer fish. It is found in freshwater of Southeast Asia including Borneo, Malaysian Peninsula, Sumatra and Thailand. It inhabits inner estuaries to lower reaches of rivers and it is also seen in slow flowing or standing habitats.  It is found most often in freshwater but also occurs frequently in brackish conditions. They prefer a neutral pH and soft to moderately hard water.

Figure 8 Puffer Fish’s Overview

The figure 8 puffer fish has short rounded body or American football like body with large head and big protruding eyes. The belly is white or dark gray while the upper part is light to dark gray in color. The dorsal and anal fins are rounded in shape which is placed opposite each other while the caudal fin is fan-shaped. All fins are gray in color. The skin is leathery and covered with small spines. The upper part of the body is covered with various green to yellow patterns, ranging from lines to circles, dots to stripes. The fish also has a number of black spots that are outlined in yellow which are randomly placed on its body. It is a carnivorous fish which predominantly eats snails, mussels, oysters, shellfish, mosquito larvae and prawns. They prefer water temperature which range between 72 and 79 0F with 6.5-7.5 pH. It grows to about 8 cm in length and can live up to 15 years.

Scientific Name:   Tetraodon biocellatus

Common Name: Figure eight puffer, Eyespot pufferfish, F8 puffer, Striped Puffer

Origin: Southeast Asia

Adult Size: up to 3 inches (8 cm)

Behavior: Semi-aggressive

Tank Level: Mid, bottom dweller

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Diet: Carnivores; Molluscivores

Breeding: Egg layer

Care level: Intermediate

Water pH: 6.5-7.5

Water Hardness: 5 – 12 dGH

Specific gravity: 1.005 and 1.008

Water Temperature: 72-79°F

Water Movement: Strong water movement

Lighting: Moderate – normal lighting

Lifespan:  5-15 years

Background of Figure 8 puffer fish

The figure 8 puffer fish is a very unique fish because it looks very cute and many people love them. It was discovered by Tirant in 1885.  It belongs to the family Tetradontidae under order Tetradontiformes of Class Actinopterygii. The name ‘Pufferfish’ is derived from the ability to puff their body which occurs if they feel scared, threatened or in case other fish attempts to eat them. It has beak-like mouthparts which are formed by fusing of 2 teeth from each jaw where they get their Latin name Tetraodon. They have markings on either side of the caudal fin that looks like a figure eight that gives the name figure 8 puffers. The markings either side of the caudal fin also resemble the eye-spots which also gives this species another common name as ‘Eye-spot puffer’.

Housing Figure 8 puffer fish

A figure 8 puffer is relatively peaceful fish. The aquarium should be 15 gallons but 30 gallons or more with many plants, rocks, sandy bottom with plenty of hiding places is recommended.  It is best to keep them in aquarium of 25 gallons for 2-3 fish, or alone in a tank of at least 15 gallons with temperature range of 72-79 °F. The tank should have specific gravity (S.G.) which ranges between 1.005 and 1.008 because it enhances to increase the lifespan of this species. The aquarium needs good filtration system to provide sufficient water movement because puffers are messy eaters and release a lot of waste. The puffer is very sensitive to deteriorating water conditions, so regular partial water changes are a must. They also need fully cycled tanks since puffers are scaleless and are very sensitive to traces of ammonia or nitrite. In freshwater, it does well with fast-moving species such as danios, rasboras and barbs but in a brackish water community tank it should be kept with monos, bumblebee gobies and salt-tolerant Chanda species.

Feeding figure 8 puffer

The Eye spot puffer is a carnivorous fish which predominantly eats snails, mussels, oysters, shellfish, mosquito larvae and prawns. In captive condition it does not eat flake or dried foods. It should be fed with live and frozen foods. All puffers should be fed shelled food once a week to keep the growth of their teeth under control. Feed should be offered to young specimen once a day but for adult only feed them once every 2 or 3 days to prevent buildup of fats in the body.

Breeding figure 8 puffer

Little is known about the reproduction of Figure Eight Puffers. In captive condition, they spawn rarely. The female lays 200-300 eggs on a flat surface such as the substrate. After the eggs are fertilized, the male guards the fish for approximately a week until the fry become waterborne. The fry should be fed with shrimp nauplii.

Sexing figure 8 puffer fish

Without an expert fisheries Biologist it is impossible to determine sex them with your eyes. Usually the only way is by dissection or if they happen to lay eggs.  The best way to try and sex the Figure 8 Puffer is by size because the female becomes larger and more compressed than the same aged male.

Figure 8 puffer fish for sale

The figure 8 puffer is very attractive fish due to their brilliant coloration. Their expressive faces and propeller like fins make them an interesting addition to a freshwater aquarium. To buy your puffers, check down below for recommendation on online vendors to where to some figure 8 puffer fish are for sale.