Porcupine Puffer – Diodon holocanthus
Care Level: Moderate
Reef Safe: No
Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
What the Porcupine lacks in color it more than makes up for in personality. In an almost pet like fashion, the Porcupine Puffer will beg for food even if its not hungry. Commonly sold as juveniles, this species may seem small, but they can grow up to two feet. On top of that when frightened, they can puff up to double their normal diameter. Anything less than 150 gallon aquarium is not advisable. Although Porcupine Puffers are not terribly hard to care for they do have unique requirements that may present a challenge.
A Puffer’s teeth are designed to crush mollusks and crustaceans. They need to constantly be worn down, therefore clams in the half shell, mussels, etc. should be a staple of their diet. They will also consume a cleaning crew as well as small fish and therefore are not reef safe. Another point of consideration are their eating habits. It’s no secret that Puffer’s are messy eaters, however many Puffer’s available in the aquarium trade remain relatively small. Because an adult Porcupine Puffer can reach up to two feet in length, their messy eating habits are magnified along with the amount of waste they produce. Keeping a Porcupine Puffer without a high quality protein skimmer can prove to be disastrous.
Despite all of this, the Porcupine Puffer makes a great addition to a FOWLR setup. Their inquisitive personalities are a sight unique to Puffer’s as they propel through the water with no pelvic fins. Their moderate care designation is due to their size and tank requirements. Porcupine Puffer’s are generally hardy with no special water parameter requirements; temperature 72-78 degrees; SG 1.020-1.025; PH 8.1-8.4, dKH 8-12, nitrates <10 ppm, nitrites and ammonia 0 ppm.