Mbu Pufferfish (Tetraodon mbu) Fish Species Profile

A favourite among experienced aquarists, Pufferfish are lovely to raise, and many consider the puffer to be one of the most appealing species to keep. They are often viewed as having the most dissimilar personalities not only when compared to other species, but even amongst themselves.

These Pufferfish are also seen as a reasonably intelligent species and has been reported that they can even recognise shapes. Puffers have been known to identify their owners and may even beg for food during their feeding time.

Their large, expressive eyes, and a face that always seems to be smiling, make them an adorable pet. They are also an interesting thing to view when they inflate, especially when it comes to the more colourful sub-species. While these are charming fish, they can be challenging to raise. However, for those who enjoy a challenge, this puffer is an ideal choice.

The Mbu pufferfish are known to be usually aggressive and do not live well in community tanks, especially when its not their own species.

They are often found individually in their own tanks, supported by aquarists who already have a lot of experience raising fish.

The Mbu Puffer is usually huge. Their body is greeny-yellow in colour and elongated. They also display mottled brown markings over their head and at the top of the body. Its stomach has a cream to bright yellow colour, and its caudal fin is long and yellow, and their eyes are orange in colour.

Scientific NameTetraodon mbu
Other NamesMbu puffer, Giant freshwater puffer, Giant Green Pufferfish, Congo River Puffer
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asLoners
Lifespan8 - 12 years
Maximum Sizeup to 75 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature75 - 79 ℉ (23.9 - 26.1 ℃)
PH7.0 - 8.0

Origins of the Mbu Pufferfish

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. They inhabit riverbanks with strong water currents often amongst submerged vegetation.


Their diet is another problematic aspect for most owners. They require most of their diet to be shelled foods such as snails, muscles, crayfish, and clams. These are all essential foods and giving them these things will help towards keeping their overgrown teeth, also recognised as a beak, trimmed down and to ensure good health.

This Pufferfish has eyes that are quite far apart on their head and may need to line themselves up with food before taking a mouthful. They will need to be fed shelled food five times a week and for the remaining two days, should be given softer foods such as frozen blood worms, small fish or cocktail shrimps.

Sexing the Mbu Pufferfish

There are no visible sexual differences between male and female Mbu pufferfish.

Breeding the Mbu Pufferfish

There has been no successful recording of this species being bred in captivity. A genuinely enormous volume of water would be required for any serious breeding attempt as well as the inability to sex these fish makes it incredibly tricky and not worth the resources.

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Date Added: 9/22/2020 - Updated: 9/22/2020 7:10:05 PM