Stars and Stripes Puffer Fish Care Guide


Arothron hispidus
DifficultyMedium
Minimum Tank Size200 Gallon
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-Agressive
Size18"

The Stars and Stripes Puffer fish is a large, non reef safe fish. They are extremely maneuverable and highly intelligent, making them a prized choice for a fish only or fish only with live rock set up.

With their high intelligence, large body and no spine body these are one of the easiest puffers to own. They do not frequently harm their tank mates, unless they are simply too small to be paired with a puffer and are eaten. Their balloon like shape when puffed is purely for intimidation, however they can knock over fragile rock structures when inflated.

The personality is what really drives most puffer owners. The Stars and Stripes Puffer Fish will even allow people to pet it, provided it is not in a stressful environment.

Warning: slightly loud start to the video.

Behavior & Aggression

At a foot and a half in length, these fish are threatened by few domestic fish and exhibit a heightened sense of intelligence. Do not be surprised when the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish acts up when you are around, as they love to get attention this way.

When they are not eating or interacting with other fish/their owner it is common for the puffer fish to sit in one or two spots. Frequently this will be any pumps or skimmers.

When planning for the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish it is important to plan ahead. While the average purchased puffer will be between 2-4 inches, they will quickly shoot to a foot in length in a single year. While you can have them live in a smaller tank to begin with I highly recommend putting them in their large tank straight away. That being said if your large tank has semi aggressive, large fish already in place it would be better for the puffer to grow before being introduced into the tank.

While puffer fish are not inherently aggressive, the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish is fairly large and will eat any fish small enough to fit in it’s mouth. This will slightly limit your options on tank mates, however there are enough large fish to choose from that it’s a non-issue.

The Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish is definitely one of the more gentle puffer fish and should be paired with only semi-aggressive fish. Introducing the puffer to triggers is a huge gamble and not something I would recommend.

Diet & Feeding

Because the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish has a beak rather than lips it tends to be a messy eater. Likewise its large body will produce a fair amount of waste, meaning you will need a powerful filtration system. Having a large protein skimmer in place will help cut down dramatically on waste in the tank.

When selecting foods you may want to consider more dry foods. Wet foods, such as frozen or chilled meaty foods, will make an even bigger mess. This will in turn need a better filtration system.

A good Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish diet consists of marine meats, specially prepared foods and hard shelled shrimp. Using a variety of foods will help keep the puffer healthy while the hard shelled shrimp serve to grind down the constantly growing teeth of the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish. Additionally you may want to sneak in some greens/herbivore food into their diet. This will help keep their immune system strong.

You may want to be discrete when feeding the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish. These puffers will learn to beg quickly when seeing their owner feed them. This will detract heavily from the natural environment look that most aquarists strive for.

Breeding & Sexing

Just as its smaller brethren the porcupine puffer fish, the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish has not been bred in captivity. This is largely due to their size, as the eggs cannot survive in smaller bodies of water.

Additionally these puffers are much harder to sex than other puffers, as they will rarely lay eggs in captivity. This is the only method known to sex the Stars And Stripes Puffer Fish. There are no physical difference.

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