Blackspotted Puffer

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Arothron nigropunctatus - (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Blackspotted Puffer

Yellow or Xanthic form at the Muséum-aquarium de Nancy, France. Liné1/GNU


This is the most commonly seen member of its genus, which offers large, showpiece specimens that are too destructive for reef aquariums but that tend to become family pets in larger community “fish-only” tanks.

Their color is highly variable: individuals range from brown to blue-gray, with varying amounts of yellow and black spots. Rare individuals may be completely black, all gold, or even orange overall. (The yellow or "xanthic" form shown is especially prized.)

May be shy and refuse food at first, after which it will become bold if not kept with overly competitive tankmates.

In the Red Sea, a very similar species is Arothron diadematus.

Family: Tetraodontidae

Other common name(s):

  • Dogface Puffer

Native range:

Habitat: Should be provided ample swimming space, with one or more rocky caves or ledges under which it can take shelter.

Maximum length: 33 cm (13 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 284 L (75 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels.


Offer a varied diet of meaty foods, including chopped shrimp, squid, clams, enriched krill, and fish—as well as preparations designed for herbivores. Feed no fewer than 3 times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

Rarely aggressive; more than one can be kept in the same tank. Can also be kept with other Arothron spp., except more-aggressive forms.

This and other puffers are not reef-aquarium safe. It will nip off Acropora coral tips and eat a wide variety of invertebrates, including ornamental shrimps, crabs, clams, sponges, and tunicates. It will also graze coralline algae from the surface of live rock.


This and other puffers are poisonous to eat, having the lethal tetrodotoxin in their internal organs. Dozens of poisonings and up to six human deaths a year in Japan are attributed to the consumption of pufferfishes.

NEVER touch a pufferfish with your bare hands. The skin of pufferfishes also contains the toxin, and hobbyists should only handle these fishes when wearing rubber gloves as a precaution.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM