October 12-13, 2019 | Saturday 10 am - 6 pm | Sunday 10 am - 4 pm
Secaucus, NJ | Meadowlands Exposition Center

Species Highlight: Spiny Porcupine Fish or Balloonfish


Oftentimes referred to as a pufferfish or a blowfish, the spiny porcupine fish is a medium to large sized fish that is able to inflate its body by swallowing air and taking on the shape of a balloon, hence its name. This is actually a defense mechanism to protect the fish from potential predators by doubling its size and helping to aim its tiny spins outward to make it less appealing as a meal.


pufferfishFound worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters, this species of fish is a member of the Diodontidae family and oftentimes grow to be approximately 20-35 centimeters in length.  They are often light tan to dark brown in color and their faces feature large eyes set facing forward with protrusive lips. They are very animated looking and are quite a popular breed for fish keeping and aquarium enthusiasts.


For saltwater tanks, the spiny porcupine fish is an intelligent and engaging species to observe. Due to their unique characteristics, some say that these fish are able to interact with their owners through eye contact.  Although their full-grown size requires a large aquarium, the care of spiny porcupine fish is relatively uncomplicated.


A few interesting facts before introducing a spiny porcupine fish into your home tank:


-They eat a lot and as a result, can produce a lot of waste. It is important that you have a large, cycled saltwater aquarium to put this fish in before making any impulse purchases at the fish store.

-Trace elements are critical to their survival. Porcupine puffers are extra-prone to developing thyroid issues or other deficiencies if their water levels do not contain enough trace elements. Iodine is also important to their health.

-They are carnivores. This is an important fact to know. Every once in a while, although typically mild mannered, your pufferfish will eat something else in your tank that you may not want them to. It’s in their nature!

-Their teeth grow continuously throughout their entire lives. This interesting fact requires the consumption of some type of hard-shelled food to prevent your fish’s teeth from becoming overgrown. When keeping puffer fish, be sure to feed them shell-on seafood a few times a week to help keep their teeth trimmed to a healthy level.


With a lifespan of up to fifteen years, this particular species of fish can lead to a very fulfilling and enriching fish keeping experience. Talk to your local professional about introducing one into your tank today!


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