Skip to content

Porcupine Pufferfish – Complete Care Guide

  • by
porcupine pufferfish

Porcupine Puffer Facts

The Porcupine Puffer also known as the Porcupinefish is a very smart and interactive fish that can be kept in a saltwater fish tank. They have beautiful brown and black patterns all over their body and gorgeous deep blue eyes. Porcupine Pufferfish have a beak-like structure that resembles teeth that continuously grow. They can also puff up to about twice their body size when they are stressed. The act of puffing up is a defense mechanism so the less it puffs up, the better for the fish’s health. This article will cover the Porcupine Puffer’s aquarium requirements, food and diet needs, tank mates, and more.

Aquarium Requirements

Porcupine Puffers get incredibly large, they can be about a foot long at their max size. A full grown Porcupine Puffer should not be kept in an aquarium smaller than 180 gallons with plenty of space to swim. Because of their diets and messy habits, saltwater puffer fish should have a very good protein skimmer running to help remove waste. I have had great luck with the Reef Octopus brand, the Reef Octopus Classic 150SSS Protein Skimmer will do great on a large saltwater fish tank.

Porcupinefish Water Parameters

Porcupine Puffers have very similar water parameter requirements to other saltwater fish. The following are water parameters required to keep the Porcupinefish happy.

  • Temperature: 72-78° F
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 1.020-1.025
  • dKH 8-12

Food & Diet

The Porcupine Pufferfish’s diet consists mostly of snails, crabs, clams, and many other invertebrates. The hard skeletons and shells of these animals help the Pufferfish to grind down their teeth that continuously grow. In an aquarium, their diet should consist of a variety of meaty food such as clams, krill, squid, and hard-shelled shrimp. I would also include lives snails and hermit crabs in their diet as well.

Are Porcupine Puffers Reef Safe?

Part of being reef safe means being safe with invertebrates such as snails, crabs, and clams. Technically, the Porcupine Puffer is not reef safe. Also, I have read mixed thoughts on keeping them with corals. There is a possibility that these puffers will nip on live rock to file down their teeth. This means they can accidentally bite SPS coral. I have also read that Porcupine Pufferfish have been seen biting other coral species such as zoanthids. Heavy feeding may help deter your Pufferfish from eating coral, but that seems to completely depend on the individual fish. I’d be too paranoid about keeping a Porcupinefish in a reef tank.

Porcupine Puffer Tank Mates

This species of fish is known to be fairly aggressive that sometimes nips on other fish. They will do best in an aquarium that has other semi-aggressive fish. Check out 5 Unique Predatory Fish for Saltwater Aquariums to get an idea of other fish that can be kept with Porcupine Puffers. There are more large saltwater fish that will do fine with this puffer species such as tangs, foxfaces, groupers, angels, eels, and more. Be mindful that the puffer fish may try to eat smaller fish that fit into its mouth.

As stated above, Porcupine Pufferfish are not reef safe and should not be kept with any shrimp, snails, crab, and clam. They may be fine for a little while, but eventually the puffer will find these invertebrates and make them lunch.


This species of puffer is incredibly territorial and two of the same species should not be kept together in a fish tank. This makes breeding pretty much impossible.

Final Notes

Porcupine Puffers are incredibly fun to keep, but it’s important to keep them in an enclosure that is compatible for them. Keep in mind they can become nippy, are not reef safe, but are very personable and exciting to observe. If you are setting up a Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR) consider adding this species of fish into the aquarium.