Fishkeeping For Kids

Why pea puffers are the #1 desktop fish

Pea puffers: the perfect desktop fish

For the most part, if you want a desktop fish, you are limited to a betta, and maybe a few shrimp or snails (for the purpose of this post, a desktop tank is <5 gallons). What if I told you there was another way- a fish that was small enough to go in a desktop tank, didn’t need (a lot) of extra care, and packed a personality that could rival that of even the most entertaining betta? Enter pea pufferfish.


Pea pufferfish? Aren’t pufferfish big and dangerous? Some species can be, yes, but pea pufferfish stay small, only an inch at most, and have tiny spines that can’t hurt anything. They can still puff up, but nowhere near as much as a larger pufferfish. 


Pea pufferfish are known for their massive personalities, and often learn to recognize their owners. They need a well-planted tank, full of things to explore and keep them entertained- unlike other fish, pea pufferfish are highly intelligent and can actually get bored. 


Pea pufferfish do have some drawbacks compared to betta. While most calmer bettas can be kept with shrimp and snails, pea pufferfish will devour anything you try to put in the tank with them. They also need a bit more care, needing snails to chew on to keep their teeth short. Don’t worry though- a sizable population of snails for said pea pufferfish can be cultivated in the same tank as the puffer. Simply add some live plants, toss in a few algae wafers a day, and a few weeks later you will have yourself a thriving snail colony. Then, just add your pea puffer and let it feast.


They also need pretty good water quality, which isn’t super hard to maintain- one small 1” fish in a 5 gallon doesn’t produce nearly as much waste as a 3” betta. They also need a lot more engagement than betta- while bettas do need some, pea puffers need a lot more.


Overall, pea puffers have their pros and cons, just like any fish. That being said, these adorable guys sure do seem to have a lot of pros. If you try them out and like them, let me know what you think!

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