Dwarf Puffer vs. Pea Puffer: Are They Just the Same?

Dwarf puffer and pea puffer are just the same. There is no difference between one over the other. All in all, dwarf puffer or pea puffer are great fish to keep. They provide a lot of entertainment and can be helpful in the aquarium ecosystem.

All About the Dwarf Puffer

The dwarf puffer is a bottom dweller found in many parts of the world. This fish is interesting because it has a unique body shape. This fish is very colorful and often displays bright patterns across its skin.

It grows up to 1.5 inches long. Because of their small size, these fish are not suitable for people who are looking for an easy aquarium pet that they can care for. Dwarf Puffers require a lot of time, patience, and attention to thrive in captivity.

Additionally, dwarf puffers are not the best choice for people who want a fish they can bring into their home and leave without care. Dwarf puffer must be kept in an aquarium with plenty of plants, rocks, and other hiding spots.

The Dwarf Puffer as a Pet: Pros

  • These fish entertain the pet owner and those around them and often have colorful patterns on their skin, making them attractive.
  • Because these fish require so much attention, they make great gifts for someone interested in keeping exotic fish but not having much time to care for them.
  • Dwarf puffers are small so that they can fit easily into most aquariums. They do best when placed in an area with lots of hiding spots and plants to interact with.
  • These fish can live up to 4-5 years and provide many years of enjoyment for the pet owner.

The Dwarf Puffer as a Pet: Cons

  • As with any fish, dwarf puffers require proper nutrition and water conditions to thrive; if these are not provided, the fish may die.
  • These fish can be difficult to keep if you do not have the time or patience for them. They need space to hide, swim freely, and eat properly.
  • These fish are not widespread and may be difficult to find at a pet store; if you choose to get one, be prepared for the extra effort in caring for it.

What Makes the Dwarf Puffer Different

A few key differences between the dwarf puffer and other fish might be recommended for a pet. These include their small size, high level of care, and unique needs (such as lots of hiding spots). Additionally, they may require more specialized dietary requirements than most fish.

However, dwarf puffers make great pets for those with the time and patience to care for them. They are also exciting creatures that can entertain you and your guests.

Origin and Habitat

The Dwarf Puffer is mainly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They are endemic to Kerala and southern Karnataka in the Western Ghats of Peninsular India.

Dwarf Puffer Care Guide

Aquarium Setup

In addition to a good quality aquarium, pea puffers will also require some specific aquarium setup features. These include:

  • A sandy or gravel substrate to hide in and explore
  • A large area of open water for swimming and floating
  • Live plants that can provide shelter and food for the fish

Tank Size

Like all fish, pea puffers require a large enough tank to house them and their living environment. A 10-gallon aquarium will be suitable for most dwarf puffer individuals.

Water Parameters

Pea puffers require clean water to live in and should be provided with a filter to remove debris and other contaminants. Additionally, their tank should be kept at around 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure optimum health.

Filtration and Aeration

Pea puffers require adequate water circulation to stay healthy. In addition, their tank should have a good quality filter and an air pump to help create moving water.

Plants & Lighting

They should be provided with a live plant or two to provide shade, hiding spots, and additional food sources. Additionally, they should have supplemental lighting in the tank to help them see where they are going.


Pea puffers can be kept on various substrates, including sand, gravel, or wet leaves. Providing your substrate is essential to ensure that the material is fine enough not to block the fish’s breathing holes.

Tank Maintenance

Once a month, pea puffers should be removed from their home and given a thorough clean. This will include removing any waste material, dropping in some fresh water to rinse the tank, and then refilling with fresh substrate and fish.

Dwarf Puffer Tank Mates

Dwarf puffer tank mates can include other small fish, such as peccaries or eels. They should also be kept in a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and swimming areas. Therefore, choosing a compatible tank mate such as kuhli loach, danios, cherry shrimp, and neon or ember tetras is essential.

Community Tank Mates

Dwarf puffer tank mates can also be found in community tanks, provided they are compatible with other fish. Their water parameters should be just fine as long as they are stable. Additionally, community tank mates can provide security to the dwarf puffer, as larger fish often hunt them.

Food and Diet

Dwarf puffer fish should be fed a high-quality diet that includes live and frozen feed. Live food can include brine shrimp and daphnia. Frozen food options include flake foods and freeze-dried products.


Dwarf puffer fish are not typically bred in captivity but can be if their water conditions are perfect. They should be kept in a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots and swimming areas.

Are Dwarf Puffers Hard to Keep?

Yes, dwarf or pea puffers may require a slightly higher level of care than other fish. However, they are among the most popular and hardy freshwater fish available, making them an excellent option for those who have some experience caring for pets.