Fahaka Puffer Species Report

By | November 5, 2013

fahaka puffer

The Fahaka Puffer is a large species of freshwater puffer fish from Africa. They are aggressive and require their own aquarium, but their personality and uniqueness make them well worth the investment. This is one of the most personable aquarium inhabitants. Mine acts more like a dog than a fish! Your Fahaka will get to know you and will look at you through the glass. They will “beg” for food much like a dog and some will even allow you to pet them! (Just be careful you don’t lose a finger)

Size:  In the wild the Fahaka Puffer will reach 18+ inches. In the aquarium they rarely get this large. Most specimens will only reach 12-ish inches. Mine is about 3 years old and he is about 10 inches.

Tank Size:  I would suggest an 80 or 90 gallon. Fahaka puffers don’t need a ton of room to swim back and forth, but they do need to be able to turn around. A standard 50 0r 55 gallon is only 12 inches wide, so while it would be long enough, a large Fahaka would be cramped. I have mine in a 55 gallon corner tank and he has plenty of room.

Diet:  Fahaka Puffer fish are voracious predators. They are equipped with a powerful “beak” instead of teeth. This beak constantly grows and has to be warn down. For this reason, Fahaka puffer fish should be fed a variety of food including many hard shelled crustaceans. Good food choices for the Fahaka are crabs, snails, and crayfish. They will also eat frozen krill fish, and earthworms.

Temperament and Tank Mates: Fahaka Puffers are extremely aggressive and should not be kept with any other tank mates. They will kill and eat anything they can catch, including fish that are almost their own size. They look at everything as prey. Fahaka Puffers will not “beat up” another fish like a cichlid will. You will have no warning. The Fahaka will kill, or fatally wound the other fish with the first bite. With that being said, mine lives with 3 Buenos Aries Tetras and 2 Julidochromis Marlieri 🙂 The tetras are very fast and are able to stay one step ahead of the puffer. The Julidochromis are rock dwelling cichlids from lake Tanganyika in Africa. They have many hiding places that the puffer can’t fit into. They now swim freely about the aquarium with little chase from the Fahaka. It seems that my Fahaka has gotten tired of chasing them and now doesn’t try too hard. This same puffer has eaten other fish that were larger than the fish he currently lives with. If you are going to have other fish in with your Fahaka Puffer, just know that they will likely, one day, end up being dinner.

Breeding:  I wouldn’t try it. I have heard reports of them being bred in VERY large aquariums. You aren’t able to sex Fahakas, so you would have to keep a small group together. Keeping Fahakas together would result in many injuries and possible fatalities.

4 thoughts on “Fahaka Puffer Species Report

  1. AquariumAdvocate Post author

    What are your experiences with Fahaka Puffers? Post them here! Feel free to ask me any questions.

  2. Pingback: Fahaka Puffer Tank Mates

  3. Brandi Kelly

    This is not so much of a comment but a question. I have a Fahaka Puffer(Killer) and he/she is a little over 1.5 years old. He/She is about 12″ long and lives in a 90 gallon tank. Killer has always been agressive to a certain point so I am always careful when I clean his tank but in the past couple of weeks he/she has gotten much worse. Killer rams into the glass really fast with his face, then makes this weird gesture with his beak. almost like he is pushing them out. He does this like every hour or so, from this he has put a pretty significant chip in the front of his teeth. I am at a loss with this and I have scoured the internet but cant figure out why its doing this but have not found anything. His color is good, he is not dark and his tail is not curled at all so im not sure that he is stressed out. I only feed him frozen foods so I am pretty sure its not a parasite or anything. He eats just fine also. He had a tank mate, a sucker fish, that just happened to survive the big move when I first got Killer and they lived somewhat harmoniously until a few weeks ago when I couldn’t find him anymore. Is he to big for his tank now? could he be sick? is he just bored and crazy? any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. AquariumAdvocate Post author

      Hi Brandy, It sounds like your puffer may have a case of the bored and crazies but I do have a couple of ideas. Your puffers beak (teeth) can get overgrown. It is possible that he realizes this and is trying to wear it down. If you don’t already do so, try feeding him some something very hard like a small crab. You can get small frozen crabs from a seafood market or Asian grocery. To prevent them making a huge mess of your tank, you will want to thaw them out and then “clean” them as if you were going to eat them yourself. You can find instructions on how to clean a crab here. Basically, you will want to take the top off and then rinse it off with water. The crabs you buy from the Asian grocery should be much smaller than the one shown in the above example.

      A more likely possibility is just that he sees something outside of the aquarium that he wants to eat. My puffer sometimes attacks the glass, much like how you described, but it is normally when someone or something taunts him. Fahakas are very aggressive and will attack pretty much anything they think they can eat.

      In closing I will say that this behavior is probably nothing to worry about. His beak is constantly growing, so a chip in it will fix its self with time. If you think he has an overgrown beak, you will definitely want to change up his diet and make sure he is getting plenty of hard foods to wear it down.

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