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Dwarf Pea Puffer Care | Tiny Yet Competitive Fish |

Do you love to rear a tiny, beautiful, and aggressive fish? Then Dwarf pea puffer fish will be an ideal choice. They will add a unique appearance to your aquarium and decorate it. I know now you have curious about  Dwarf pea pufferfish. So, let’s jump into the next section to learn about the most interesting facts about this fish species!

Dwarf Pea Puffer

What Is Dwarf Pea Puffer?

Dwarf pea pufferfish is the smallest pufferfish in the world. However, this freshwater fish is known as Malabar pufferfish, Pea pufferfish, Pygmy pufferfish, Dwarf puffer, and Indian dwarf puffer. Scientifically, you can name Dwarf pea pufferfish as Carinotetraodan travancoricus. However, the Dwarf pea puffer has a unique and pretty look. Their cute look comes with their tiny size and color. They have a yellow and green color tiny body. Also, Black spots decorate it by spreading o the upper part of the body.

But, the size of these black spots can be varied from one to another. Some fish have small spots, while some fish have large spots. Their large eyes make them unique from other tiny fish species. Plus, their eyes are more significant in their tiny body. Generally, pufferfish have a unique body shape. Similarly, it also applies to the Dwarf pea pufferfish. They have large heads. Also, their body is small, and their tail is round and large. When it turns to identify where Dwarf pea pufferfish come from, lakes, rivers, and estuaries in Southwest India. Sometimes this fish can be found in brackish water. 

How does Big Dwarf Pea Puffer get?

Now you know Dwarf pea puffer is small in size. But can you guess the maximum size that they can reach ultimately? Dwarf pea puffers that are at full maturity and healthy they can reach grow up to 1.5 inches. 

Is Dwarf Pea Puffer Aggressive?

Most people have the wrong idea about the temperament of Dwarf pea puffers due to their appearance. Yes, this fish species has a cute size and appearance, but they can be aggressive. Can you believe it? In the wild, Dwarf pea puffer search for their own territory, and they will defend it. It means that this fish species is territorial. So, this behavior does not change when they are in an aquarium. Consequently, this tiny fish starts to nip other tankmates to protect their territory. That’s how they show their aggression. Consequently, Dwarf pea puffers are recommended to keep with their own species. Here also you have to consider the size of the space highly. 

Dwarf Pea Puffer Behavior

You can keep Dwarf pea puffers as groups, but you need more spaces and hiding spots. But why? As you know, this tiny fish is aggressive especially male fish. Because they are territorial, so, they highly defend their territory. Plus, Dwarf pea puffers protect their baby fish. This also causes their aggression towards other fish. Here, as a solution for their aggression, you can use rocks and bogwood to create caves. Also, these caves and plants will help you to break up each fish’s line of sight.

Dwarf pea puffers are active swimmers; that’s how they give a playful feeling to your tank. Plus, this fish species is quite curious in nature, so you cannot stop them from checking out different tank parts. If you notice them, you can see that they will investigate the substrate, plants, fish, and even you. As an owner of Dwarf pea puffers, you can enjoy the behavior of this fish. Believe me! It is not a dull moment. Some Dwarf pea puffers are shy, especially when they are first introduced to the tank. Keeping the lights low can settle this situation quickly. 

How long do Dwarf Pea Puffers live?

Generally, we can estimate their average lifespan as 4 to 5 years. The lifespan of any fish, including Dwarf pea puffers, relies on a mix of quality of your care level and genetics. For instance, if you do not care about your fish well, they are less likely to reach the age of 5 years of age. But do not worry if you go through this guide, sure, your fish will live along. 

One Look Care Guide

Scientific nameCarinotetraodan travancoricus
Common nameDwarf pea puffer
Malabar pufferfish
Pea pufferfish
Pygmy pufferfish
Dwarf puffer
Indian dwarf puffer
Care levelIntermediate 
Native toSouthwest India
Type Freshwater 
Color yellow and green color
Tank size10 gallons tank 
Preferred temperature72 to 82 Fahrenheit
Other water parameters Water hardness – 5 to 15 KH
pH level – 7  to 8
Growth rateNo exact growth rate 
Temperament Aggressive 
Recommended tank matesOtocinclus 
Kuhli Loach 
Neon tetra 
Ember tetra 
Cherry shrimp 
Preferred foodBlood worms 
Brine shrimps
Tubifex Mosquito larvae 
Feeding frequencyOne to two times per day 
breedingPossible in the captivity 

Dwarf Pea Puffer Care

Caring for your Dwarf pea puffers is not difficult if you have a solid understanding of this fish species. However, the biggest challenge that you have to face when rearing Dwarf pea puffers is to provide tank requirements at an ideal level. 

Dwarf Pea Puffer Tank Size

The minimum tank size for one Dwarf pea puffer is 10 gallons of the tank. Active Dwarf pea puffer needs at least this space to live happily and healthily. Because of that, we can recognize this fish as a Nano aquarium fish. However, if you can possibly provide more space to give them the best habitat, I recommend 20 or 30 gallons. Keep in mind that the space you provide to live them makes a big difference in your fish’s health and quality of life. Anyhow, do you wish to keep more than one Dwarf pea puffer? Add additional 5 gallons for each new fish.

How Many Should Dwarf Pea Puffer Be Kept Together?

Generally, it is ok to keep the Dwarf pea puffer alone. But Dwarf pea puffers do better when they live as a group. Therefore, it should keep at least 3 Dwarf pea puffers together in a tank. Additionally, you already know male fish are aggressive and more territorial. So, it is better to keep one male with multiple female Dwarf pea puffers. However, if you keep male Dwarf pea puffers together, I advise separating them during the breeding season. 

Tank Setup

Dwarf pea puffers live in rivers and lakes in the wild. Plus, they are widespread in very heavily planted areas. Therefore, it is better to grow live plants in your tank to mimic their natural habitats. Also, live plants give a natural feeling to your aquarium, and they will add tremendous value to it. So, what plants can we choose for your Dwarf pea puffer tank? It is best to add hornworts, java moss, or floating live plants. 

In addition to that, you can add rocks, driftwood, and creating caves in the tank is more beneficial to make a secure feel for them. Also, these are creating hiding spots and places to explore them. So, how about the substrate of the Dwarf pea puffer tank? You know, Dwarf pea puffers prefer to live in planted tanks. Therefore, you should choose the substrate that helps to grow plants well. That’s why sand and fine gravel are ideal for the tank. 

Plus, you can add aquarium soil that encourages plants to grow better. However, it means that choosing a suitable substrate is very important to set up a planted tank. Generally, in the wild, Dwarf pea puffers commonly live in water areas of rivers and lake water and banks that have slow-flowing. Therefore, setting the water flow at a lower level in your tank is wise. Other essential things are lighting and the filter system. Always keep in mind to go with a high-quality filter because it directly affects the water quality. Dwarf pea puffers do well with diffuse light.  

Water Quality Condition

Dwarf pea puffers are very sensitive to any changes in water conditions. So, maintaining below-water conditions is very important at an ideal level. 

Water temperature: It should be between 72 to 82 Fahrenheit 

Water hardness: It is vital to keep water hardness at 5 to 15 KH. 

pH level: You have to maintain the pH level of the Dwarf pea puffer tank at 7 to 8. 

As a fish keeper, I recommend getting a reliable testing kit. Because it will help you ensure that your Dwarf pea puffers live in a healthy environment. In addition to that, performing water changes is an ideal way to maintain the tank’s water quality. 

Dwarf Pea Puffer

Dwarf Pea Puffer Breeding 

Breeding Dwarf pea puffers is not a big deal if you have appropriate knowledge and resources. Yes, it would be best if you kept water parameters at the level mentioned above. So, let’s see other essential things related to Dwarf pea puffers’ breeding! 

Dwarf Pea Puffer Male Or Female Identification 

It is easy to recognize the gender difference between Dwarf pea puffers. Check the below factors carefully to identify whether your fish is female or not. 

The male fish has a bright yellow belly The female has a lighter yellow-white belly 
The male Dwarf pea puffer also has a dark stripe on its belly Female fish does not have this dark stripe 
Male fish is darker golden-green in color Female fish comes with lighter yellow-green
Male Dwarf pea puffers also have wrinkles around their eyesThis feature does not have in female 

Identify Pregnant Dwarf Pea Puffer  

Dwarf pea puffers do not get pregnant because this female fish lays eggs. But the belly of female fish can be more rounded when producing eggs. 

Dwarf Pea Puffer Breeding

First of all, it is better to separate breeding pairs from the main tank and put them into the breeding tank. But what size of tank do you have to take as a breeding tank? Mainly this doubt comes within the early stage that you are going to breed your fish. Suppose you have a tank half the size of a regular tank. It means you should have at least 5 gallons tank. Do not misunderstand; this tank size is the minimum size for one male and one female. 

When it turns to water conditions, you should maintain above mention water parameters as it is except for water temperature. Increasing the water temperature to the higher end of the recommended range is better. It means to aim the water temperature at 79 to 80 Fahrenheit. Also, live plants are a better addition to your breeding tank. Further, do not forget to set a sponge filter in this tank unless fry will suck into the filter. 

So, create this type of ideal environment that motivates them to breed and wait. When the Dwarf pea puffer pair is ready to spawn, the male fish tend to chase the female fish, and once the female fish accepts his advance, the female fish lay the eggs in thick vegetation. Soon after, male fish fertilize the eggs. Then what you should do is, remove the parents from the breeding tank. Generally, eggs take around 24 to 48 hours to hatch and release baby Dwarf pea puffers.  

Dwarf Pea Puffer Fry Care

After hatching the eggs, fry and feed their egg yolk. You can feed your baby Dwarf pea puffers with a mix of live infusoria and newly hatched brine shrimps because this diet will encourage fast growth. 

Feeding Behavior Of Dwarf Pea Puffer

Dwarf pea puffers are tiny fish, but their appetite totally differs from their body size. Yes, they have a large appetite. However, Dwarf pea puffers are carnivores, so you know they prefer to eat animal matter. 

What Do They Eat In The Wild? 

Dwarf pea puffers eat insects, larvae, and other small invertebrates. 

What Do They Eat In Captivity? 

You can feed your Dwarf pea puffers with frozen foods listed below. 

  • Blood worms 
  • Brine shrimps
  • Tubifex 
  • Mosquito larvae 

In addition to that, you can serve them with the below live foods 

  • Snails 
  • Blackworms 

How Often Should You Feed

It is better to feed Dwarf pea puffers 1 or 2 times per day. Do not overfeed them; you can feed them full portions once a day. If not, provide half a portion 2 times per day. 

When Should You Feed (Time Of The Day)

It is possible to feed your Dwarf pea puffers in the morning and the evening. 

How Long They Can Go Without Food

Generally, Dwarf pea puffers can go without food for 5 to 7 days. But this time can be varied with the food availability of your tank, health level, and age of the fish. 

What Fish Can Live With Dwarf Pea Puffer?

Dwarf pea puffers are aggressive and territorial. Therefore, you should be careful when choosing tankmates for this fish. Also, some people misunderstand that this species is ideal for community tanks due to its body size. But do not keep them in the community tank because they are territorial. Consequently, they will nip other fish’s fins. That’s why it is recommended to keep the same species. However, if you want to keep your Dwarf pea puffers in a community tank, you should watch them. However, it would be best to consider the below things when you choose tankmates for Dwarf pea puffers. 

  • The fish should be of a similar size 
  • Ability to go away when needed 
  • swim fast 
  • avoid large fish species 

Here are some fish species that you can keep with Dwarf pea puffers in the same tank. But make sure your tank has extra-large space to live them happily.

Do Dwarf Pea Puffers Puff Up?

Dwarf pea puffers puff up when they feel threatened. Guess why they puff? This tiny fish tries to appear that they are big and deter predators. But they do not puff only due to this; this fish occasionally puffs up even if they do not feel a threat. Dwarf puffers puff up by taking in water, and they will get normal when left alone. However, puffing up Dwarf pea puffers are nice to see. But it is not recommended to disturb the fish to make them puff up internationally because it may stress your fish. 

Are Dwarf Pea Puffers Schooling Fish?

Dwarf pea puffer can live alone, but it is better to keep them at least with 3 fish. But it is better to keep one male with several females due to territorial issues. So, we can be concluded that Dwarf pea puffers are schooling fish! 

Can Pea Puffers Live With Bettas?

Dwarf pea puffers and betta fish are not compatible because both fish species are territorial. Plus, betta fish have long-flowing fish, and Dwarf pea puffers can attack them. On the other hand, betta fish also can attack Dwarf pea puffers. 

Credit to : Prime Time Aquatics

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.