How to take care of Eyespot puffer fish?

We will talk about eyespot puffer fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat, types, lifespan, tankset-up,water parameters and healthcare, etc. Everything you need to know about eyespot puffer fish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog

  • Key specifications of eyespot puffer fish
  • Why is eyespot puffer fish care important?
  • How many eyespot puffer fish should you start with as a newcomer?
  • Habitat of eyespot puffer fish
  • Types of eyespot puffer fish
  • Different strains or colors of eyespot puffer fish
  • General and physical attributes of eyespot puffer fish
  • Eyespot puffer fish lifespan
  • Eyespot puffer fish tank set-up
  • Eyespot puffer fish diet and feeding requirements
  • Eyespot puffer fish healthcare and health conditions
  • Eyespot puffer fish daily care and Bi-weekly care tips
  • Summary

How to take care of Eyespot puffer fish?

Daily care tips for eyespot puffer fish

  • Always keep them in brackish water to keep them alive.
  • Spacious tanks are better for swimming and hiding.
  • Add them as juveniles in the tank.
  • Aquarium walls should be properly cleaned. 
  • Water should be changed frequently.
  • If they are surfing the glass that means they are bored, watch them everyday.
  • Feed them once or twice a day.They can be trained for hand feeding also.
  • Never overfeed.
  • Don’t feed them flakes.
  • Vitamin enriched food is good for their health.
  • Rotate and replicate their diets for nutrition.
  • Make sure all the tank equipments are in working conditions
  • Refractometers or hydrometers  are important to monitor  the specific gravity. 
  • Separates sick tank mates in separate tanks until they recover.
  • They are playful fish so decoration is a must in their tanks to keep their boredom away.
  • Sturdy plants should be kept in their tanks because they are destructive when they get bored.

Bi-weekly care tips for eyespot puffer fish

  • Fully cycle their tanks before adding them for the very first time.
  • You can change 15 % water weekly or 25-30 % water biweekly.
  • Robust filtration should be used to eliminate waste from the tank.Clean the filters properly.Oxygenation levels should be higher in their tank.
  • Teeth trimming should be done from time to time to avoid starvation, otherwise they will die.Get help from your vet if you are new to aquarium hobby.
  • Quarantine new fish at least for 2 weeks before adding them.
  • Clean tank plants, especially fake plants and other decorative items once a week or twice in a month.

Key specifications of eyespot puffer fish

Scientific name SynonymDichototomyctere ocellatusTetraodon biocellatus
Conservation status
Southeast asiaBrackish waterData deficient
Lifespan15-18 years 
DietMolluscivora naturallyOmnivores (aquarium setting)
Body sizeBody shapeColorToxinSexual dimorphismThree inches in length (smallest among puffers)Round belliesWhite,yellow,tan and greenNeurotoxinOnly prominent during mating
Another namesFigure 8 puffer (F8’s)Eyespot puffer
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardnessSpecific gravity72F-82F7.0-8.05-12 dGH (soft to medium)1.005-1.008
TemperamentBeginner/experienced Aggressive (peaceful than other puffers)Advanced hobbyist
Care levelModerate
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)15 gallons tank (per eyespot puffers)Planted tank
Preferred plants/decorationsBrackish plants
CompatibilitySolitary tank 
Number of eyespot puffer fish species found Varieties in colors
BreedingNot known in aquarium settingParental care is seen in males.

Why is eyespot puffer fish care important?

Eyespot puffers are one of the most popular puffer species.They are smaller and less aggressive than other puffers and coexist well with other tank mates.

Eyespot puffers are very interesting and are always curious to know about everything.Their care is important like any other aquarium fish by maintaining the vital parameters required for their survival in an aquarium setting.

They release a neurotoxin which could be lethal for other tank mates.Handle them with care. 

How many eyespot puffer fish should you start with as a newcomer?

As a new brackish water keeper or eyespot puffer keeper you can start with many juveniles together,as they don’t fight when they are young and adjust with each other nicely.

Adult eyespot puffers tend to get aggressive if you add a new adult eyespot puffer in the tank.If getting the adult eyespot puffer then in my opinion get just one to avoid the chaos in the aquarium.

In pet stores they are sold as freshwater fish but they are not freshwater fish.They are brackish water fish and they should be kept in brackish tank (freshwater with low bit of salt)

Habitat of eyespot puffer fish

Eyespot puffer fish are found in the brackish waters of Southeast Asia from Thailand to indonesia.They can also be found in freshwater streams.

Types of eyespot puffer fish

  • Pf’8 comes in different colors

Different strains or colors of eyespot puffer fish

  • They can change colors according to their moods and situations.
  • A sleepy F8’s looks dull and a happy F8’s looks vibrant with their white coloured belly.
  • F8’s turn dark when they are not keeping well.

General and physical attributes of eyespot puffer fish

  • Figure 8 puffers – Roly poly appearance
  • They have black dots in their tan coloured body.
  • F8’s are around 3 inches in length, smallest among puffers.
  • F8’s have rounded bellies and two sets of teeth.
  • F8’s got the figure 8 name because of 8 shaped markings on their back.
  • F8’s have a body without scales and without gill covers.

Eyespot puffer fish lifespan

  • They can live upto 18 years in brackish water settings
  • All puffers can live upto 15-18 years in captivity as per some aquarists and some marine biologists.

Eyespot puffer fish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrateWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size for eyespot puffer fish

  • A 15 gallons(57 liters) tank is recommended per eyespot puffer.
  • They are active swimmers and need a large space in the center to swim around.
  • Tank shape – Horizontal shaped tanks are best suited
  • They mostly swim from bottom to mid areas in the tank.
  • Tank walls should be cleaned.

Light intensity for eyespot puffer fish

  • Not an important parameter
  • Artificial lights can be used in their tank. 

Substrate and decorations for eyespot puffer fish

  • A 2 inch sand can be used as a substrate for F8’s puffers. 
  • You can either use crushed corals or aragonite sand (ph buffering properties) as substrate for your eyespot puffers.
  • Eyespot puffers get bored easily and you can make out by their glass surfing behavior, so you can use nooks, crannies, caves, plastic tubes,driftwoods and rocks to keep their boredom away and minimize their aggression.
  • Avoid sharp items for decoration.

Water parameters for eyespot puffer fish

Brackish water set conditions should be maintained in F8’s tanks.Brackish tanks are nothing but a mixture of saltwater and freshwater conditions.

It is a bit difficult to replicate but replicating the natural conditions will increase the chances of their survival.

Don’t compromise with the water parameters, if you’re not maintaining the brackish environment their immune system will become weak.

  • Fully cycle the tanks before introducing them because they are highly sensitive to organic pollutants like ammonia,nitrites and nitrates.
  • Ammonia and nitrites- zero levels
  • Nitrates- low levels (less than 20ppm)
  • Eyespot puffers are voracious eaters and their tanks need robust can use external canister filters for this purpose.
  • pH – 7.0-8.0 (use pH testing kits to adjust the right pH)
  • Specific gravity- 1.005-1.008,you need a refractometer to maintain the salt levels in their tanks or you can add marine salts too.
  • Freshwater master test kits can be used to test water parameters.
  • A good quality siphon cleaner can be used for waste removal from the tanks.
  • Partial water replacement is recommended to maintain pristine water conditions.

Temperature for eyespot puffer fish

  • They are warm water tropical fish
  • Optimum temperature- 72F-82F
  • Use a heater and thermometer to maintain the ideal temperature conditions in the tank. 

Tank plants for eyespot puffer fish

Choosing plants for brackish water parameters is difficult.Dense vegetation is needed as they provide a good hiding place to them when in stress.

  • Brackish water plants like java moss and java ferns.
  • Fake plants can be used too
  • Macroalgae
  • Driftwood roots
  • Floating plants

Tank mates for eyespot puffer fish

They are less aggressive than most of their cousins but it’s highly recommended to keep them alone in a tank.If you still want to add tank buddies for them then here are some of the options.Don’t keep them with slow swimmers.

  • Knight gobies
  • Mollies (make sure they are not harassing them by nipping their fins,and if they are doing so them immediately separate them, sailfin mollies tend do harass them)
  • Bumblebee gobies
  • Salt tolerant chanda species
  • Monos
  • Clown plecos
  • Green spotted puffer (according to some puffer keeper, they can coexist)

Eyespot puffer fish diet and feeding requirements

They mostly like to eat crunchy food and vitamin enriched food in their diet.Diet rotation is the best way to give them all kinds of nutritious food for their better health.

Feeding can be done once or twice a day, you can easily make out from their rounded bellies when they are stuffed.

They are molluscivora naturally and can be trained to have a variety of food in aquarium settings.Please don’t overfeed them.

  • Hard shelled crustaceans like ramshorn snails and shellfish (for maintaining shorter teeth)
  • Live food, make sure it’s not infected.
  • Frozen food- cut loaded earthworm (select high quality food)
  • Freeze dried shrimps
  • They don’t like pellets, flakes and dried food,so it’s not recommended.

Eyespot puffer fish healthcare and health conditions

  • Teeth trimming- Like other puffer’s, eyespot puffers overgrown teeth should be trimmed from time to time,if not trimmed they won’t be able to eat and die out of hunger.
  • You can consult a vet if you can’t trim their overgrown teeth.
  • Lockjaw like other puffers.
  • Sickness symptoms-Inactivity,won’t eat well,irregular swimming patterns.


  • Very sharp, intelligent and curious fish.
  • They can even recognize their owner’s face.
  • They can change colors according to their moods and situations.
  • Recommended for advanced hobbyists or beginner brackish puffer keepers.

Frequently asked questions on eyespot puffer fish care

When and why do eyespot puffers puff up?

Eyespot puffers inflate when they feel threatened or stressed as a self defense mechanism.

Are eyespots freshwater fish species?

Eyespot puffers are brackish water species and are found in freshwater streams too.So maintain them in brackish water conditions only, otherwise they will die.You can add marine salt to the freshwater in order to keep them alive.

Do they get bored easily?

Yes,eyespot puffers are curious fish and like to observe their surroundings and their surroundings are not decorated well then they get bored easily and they start surfing the glass.Decoration and good swimming space keeps them engaged.It is recommended to decorate their tanks very well.