Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Apr 19, 2021
Not too long ago, I put out two threads about a couple of underappreciated freshwater and brackish eels. Those were pretty well-received, so I plan on continuing that series, and diversifying-- starting with what might be my second favorite kind of aquarium fish, puffers.

Red Eye Red Tailed Puffer
Carinotetraodon irrubesco

This is one that I'm sure some of you are familiar with. I was inspired to include this species, because I purchased one yesterday. The red eye red tailed puffer is a moderately rare species of dwarf puffer (Carinotetraodon) which shares a genus with the extremely popular pea puffer. This species is a semi-aggressive fish that reaches about 2.5'" and requires about 15-20g for one individual fish, more for every other one. They tend to be one of the less aggressive species, but will still nip occasionally. Usually about $20. Seldom seen in person, but not too difficult to get your hands on online. Prefer a neutral pH. Eats the typical pufferfish diet, including snails, shrimp, worms, etc.

Red Eye Puffer
Carinotetraodon lorteti

A very similar Carinotetradon species that might occasionally be confused for irrubesco. The only things that really set them apart are slightly different coloration, and a slight difference in size. Lorteti is known to get about half an inch larger. Tank size, temperament, and diet tend to be about the same. What is slightly odd is that, though these are much rarer, they only seem to be about half the price.

Imitator Puffer
Carinotetraodon imitator

I assume these are called imitator puffers due to their similarities to the fan-favorite pea puffer. Like pea puffers, they are only about an inch in length, eat mostly small frozen foods, are only slightly nippy, and prefer a neutral pH. It is believed that they sometimes are found alongside pea puffers in the wild. Pretty much a pea puffer, but hey, it's slightly different. Bragging rights, I guess. At least you can say it's a different species. Usually about $10. My personal recommended tank size is about 5g for one puffer.

Greenbottle Puffer
Auriglobus nefastus


This is another interesting smaller species. These rare puffers are aggressive towards other fish, but generally peaceful towards their own kind. They reach about 5" and prefer a neutral pH. Tank size is about 30g for one puffer, and they rarely stray from the common "puffer diet." These puffers seem to prefer relatively fast flow. Though these puffers are rare, they usually are not all that expensive-- often only about $10.

Bullseye Puffer
Sphoeroides annulatus

Warning: These fish prefer brackish and salt water. The bullseye puffer is a fairly large species known to reach about 1' in length. These are highly aggressive fish best kept alone or in a species tank. They prefer a pH anywhere from neutral to about 8. I must say that I'm not entirely sure whether or not these can live in freshwater their whole lives. These fish require a tank of ~100 gallons. Similarly to the others, these rarely stray from the puffer diet-- however, due to their comparatively large size, they are capable of taking on considerably larger prey.

I hope this thread was helpful in introducing some people to a couple of overlooked puffers. Please reply if you would like to see more of these. Future lists I have in mind right now are gobies/gudgeons, marine eels, and puffers: part 2.
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Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
Very nice list!
I’d amend the avocado (greenbottle) puffer to 55 gallons + a wavemaker though. They need a lot of swimming space and need high current!
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Fat Homer

Mmmmm... Doughnuts
Staff member
MFK Member
Mar 16, 2009
The most underrated puffer of them all; Tetraodon pustulatus aka cross river puffer, just because they so damn rare and and expensive lol…


MFK Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
MFK Member
Dec 24, 2005
Think gold bar puffer and cross river puffer would be rare ones.


Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Apr 19, 2021
Well, yeah, but this is just for UNDERRATED puffers that are still semi-regularly available

Those two are damn near impossible for the average puffer keeper to find, and therefore do not apply, in my personal opinion