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Maximum size : 75 cm

Mbu Pufferfish - Tetraodon mbu : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Mbu Pufferfish (Tetraodon mbu) are a popular choice for experienced aquarists, and for good reason. These charming fish have a unique personality that sets them apart from other species. They are known for their intelligence and ability to recognize shapes, and some have even been reported to recognize their owners. With their expressive eyes and ever-present smile, Mbu Pufferfish make for an endearing pet. They are particularly fascinating to watch when they inflate, especially the more colourful sub-species. However, raising these fish can be quite challenging, which makes them a great choice for those who enjoy a challenge. Mbu Pufferfish are typically aggressive and are best kept individually in their own tanks. Their large size also means that they require a lot of space, and only experienced aquarists should attempt to raise them. Their elongated greeny-yellow bodies are marked with mottled brown, and their caudal fins are long and yellow. Their orange eyes are also a striking feature.

Mbu Pufferfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Mbu pufferfish is challenging as there are no observable physical differences between the sexes.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameTetraodon mbu
Year Described1899
Other NamesMbu puffer, Giant freshwater puffer, Giant Green Pufferfish, Congo River Puffer
OriginsTanzania Zambia Cameroon Burundi Democratic Republic of the Congo
Max Size75 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asLoners
Lifespan8 - 12 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
75 - 79
23.9 - 26.1

Natural Habitat

The Mbu Pufferfish originates from Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon, Burundi, the lower and middle regions of the Congo River in Africa, as well as the east coast of Lake Tanganyika. The Mbu Pufferfish can be found in riverbanks with strong water currents, often in the company of submerged vegetation. Their ability to thrive in these challenging environments is a testament to their resilience and adaptability. One of the most striking features of the Mbu Pufferfish is its unique appearance, which has captivated fish enthusiasts for generations. Their endearing personalities and fascinating behaviour have made them a favourite among fish keepers around the world. Join us on a journey to explore the remarkable world of the Mbu Pufferfish and discover the incredible beauty and diversity of this remarkable species. From their origins in Africa to their remarkable adaptations to challenging environments, the Mbu Pufferfish is a true wonder of the natural world.
 Congo River - Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag
 Lake Tanganyika. - Burundi
Burundi Flag


There is no record of successful captive breeding of Mbu Pufferfish. A significant amount of water volume would be necessary to undertake a serious breeding attempt. Additionally, the difficulty in determining the sex of these fish renders breeding attempts challenging and may not justify the allocation of resources.

Diet & feeding

The Mbu Pufferfish presents a challenging feeding regime for many aquarium owners. Their diet primarily consists of shelled foods, including snails, muscles, crayfish, and clams, which are crucial to maintaining healthy teeth, also known as a beak. Due to the positioning of their eyes on the sides of their head, these pufferfish require careful alignment with their food before taking a bite. A well-balanced diet should include shelled food five times a week, supplemented with softer foods such as frozen bloodworm, small fish, or cocktail shrimps for the remaining two days. Adequate nutrition is essential for optimal health and development of these fish.

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