How Long Do Puffer Fish Live?

Puffer fish has been a popular name among humans! Be it consuming these fishes as a delicacy or even keeping them as pets, humans love them!

Especially their goofy structure when they turn themselves into the shape of a ball is a treat to watch. But, when people are keeping them as pets, many factors arise like selecting a proper tank and a proper diet.

Still, after all these factors, many people ask this question- how long do puffer fish live?

10 years! Yes, puffer fish in the right atmosphere can live up to 10 years almost. The same goes for the puffer fish living in the aquarium. But, the thing is, you will have to ensure that the puffer fish is in the right-sized aquarium. Also, the right diet matters for the puffer fish for their survival.

This was just the beginning, though! We are not ending the article here. Below, we have broken down all of our explanations and different insights into different segments.

So, without waiting further, let’s start the article-

How Long Do Puffer Fish Live?

We have answered this question already. The number is 10! That is the highest puffer fish life on this planet. But, a lot of factors work here!

Because if the puffer fish is living in its favorable environment, it can even live up to 12 years. Usually, puffer fish eat everything they can reach and catch. That said, it loves to chomp on shellfish, mollusks, and tiny snails.

This is one of the sole reasons when they are in the wild, they will not starve for long.

puffer fish self defence

The Lifespan of Different Puffer Fish Species

There are almost 120 species of puffer fish found up until now! That is a lot of puffer fish. Almost all of these species live in subtropical and tropical ocean waters.

That said, some of these species even live in freshwater and in brackish water (where the salinity of the water is higher than in freshwater).

Leopard Puffer Fish & Dragon Puffer Fish

From different species, the “Leopard Puffer Fish and Dragon Puffer Fish” can live up to 10 years or so.

Porcupine Puffer Fish

Compared to the other species, the “Porcupine Puffer Fish” can live up to 15 years when taken care of. The interesting fact about this species is that nobody knows how long they live when they are in the wild.

Dwarf Puffer/ Pygmy Puffer Fish

The Dwarf Puffer Fish species can live up to 4 years or so. This puffer fish is also the most affordable one in the market.

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Amazon Puffer Fish

These species live highest for 8-10 years. Some say it goes even longer than this. But, the most ideal environment will give this range.

Valentini Puffer Fish

These species live from 3-5 years. Similar to Dwarf puffer fish, they do not live for the full 8-10 years.

F8 Puffer Fish

Compared to all species of puffer fish, these species live the most. They can go up 15 years or more in the most ideal environment.

Besides these species, there are others living in the sea and in freshwater. It is not possible to include all in this list. But, almost all the other species will live around 8-10 years.

If you can create an even better environment and take good care of them, they can live longer. Otherwise, this will be their lifespan.

What is the Right Environment for Puffer Fish?

In marine, freshwater, and even in brackish waters, puffer fish can be found. Their right environment includes warm water around the tropical and subtropical oceans.

As these are tropical fishes, you would want to stay in the warm water. Here, the habitat should be in rivers around Africa, South Asia, and South America.

So, the next time you are thinking about the right environment for the puffer fish, it will be around warm waters in the subtropical or tropical regions.

Does Puffer Fish Live Outside Water?

No! Puffer fish cannot live outside the water. Without any water around them, puffer fish will not survive. Within 3-4 minutes, they will suffocate and die!

How Do Puffer Fish Breathe? Lungs or Gills?

Puffer fish breathe using their gills. They do not have lungs. Similar to the other fishes, even they need gills for survival.

But, their gills do not only help them to breathe. Even in their inflated state, the puffer fish can breathe using their gills.

Do Puffer Fish Lay Eggs or Give Birth?

Puffer fish lay eggs. In fact, they have a unique method of reproduction. Here, the female puffer fishes will lay eggs at the shore! After the males push the females away, the female comes to the shore.

Due to their weight, these eggs float on the surface. Also, the babies hatch away within a week.

How Big is a Puffer Fish?

The size of the puffer fish mainly depends on their species. Different species have different sizes.

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Like, if you are talking about the Dwarf Species then it would have a size of just 1-inch. Then again, there are freshwater giant puffer fish that have a size of almost 2 feet in length.

But, there is one thing common between all puffer fish of different species. That is, almost all puffer fish do not have scales in them and even have rougher spiky skin.

Can you Keep Puffer Fish as Pets in an Aquarium?

Yes! You can keep puffer fish as pets in the aquarium. But, here is the thing-

To be a puffer fish owner, you need tons of knowledge and patience! Firstly, you need to know that puffer fish are not community creatures. This means it will not live well with other fishes in the tank.

Puffer fish are extreme predators. So, adding variety to your tank will not be a good idea. On that note, even mixing the species of puffer fish should not be done.

puffer fish yellow
Puffer Fish in Aquarium

Here, you can keep the Dwarf, Golden, and Redeye puffer fish together. But, MBU, Nile, and Mekong puffer fish should be kept without the other species. Because these species are not easy to keep.

Now that you are done with mixing and matching the species, let’s focus on how to ensure the right environment for the puffer fish-

Ensuring the Right Environment for Puffer Fish in Aquariums

By now, you will know that the right environment for the puffer fish is the key! If you are maintaining and taking care of these fishes in the right manner, they will grow and live for a long time.

So, let’s show you the ways-

Selecting The Tank

First off, you need to research a lot and then select the right tank for them.

Since puffer fish grow quickly, having a larger tank will help at giving them the proper accommodation! Then, after the selection of the tank, you even need to decorate them.

Here, you can include caves and hang them up to provide a bit of shelter for these fishes. Caves can be a great hiding place for these fishes too.

Another thing! You need to select the size of the tank according to the species of puffer fish. Here, the Dwarf species can be kept in small tanks of 4-5 gallons.


Whereas, other larger species might need a larger space of 20 gallons or even more. One thing we would like to clear out is that not all big species need a larger tank. Because they would remain motionless anyway.

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Choosing the Right Quality of Water

Yes, the quality of water depends on a lot as well. Here, the freshwater puffer fish will need a pH level of around 7.0-7.6 with a temperature of (740-780).

Here, maintaining the water temperature is really important. If needed, get yourself a heater to maintain the temperature at optimum levels.

Also, when you are dealing with freshwater puffer fish, you will not need to add aquarium salt. But, for treating diseases, you can add salt.

But, brackish water puffer fish could be given salt. Otherwise, they would develop diseases if they are kept as freshwater puffer fish.

Lastly, you will need to maintain better filtration and change the water every week as well.

Is Freshwater Puffer Fish Most Ideal for Aquariums?

After you select the right tank, it is time to select the right species. It is quite obvious that you will have a hard time keeping up with the wild puffer fish because of their nature.

So, the best option would be to go for the freshwater puffer fish. They can be maintained pretty well.

Selecting the Right Diet

Next up, it will be time for you to select the right diet for the puffer fish. Honestly, these fishes need the right amount and kind of food. Otherwise, they would starve to death inside the aquarium.

So, choose whether you want to provide a live fish or a frozen meal. Both these options are open for the puffer fish. When you ensure the right diet, the puffer fish will grow effectively.

Are Puffer Fish Endangered?

Some species of puffer fish are endangered. But, all of the species of puffer fish are not extinct yet. Here, some puffer fish species have been endangered because of habitat loss, overfishing, and even pollution.

Parting Ways

So, how long do puffer fish live? You know how long! The next time someone asks you this question, you will be knowledgeable enough to answer it. So, congratulations on that.

In the end, puffer fish will live the best life in their favorable environment. And, if you are a puffer fish owner then your best life depends on your shoulders!

So, select the right-sized aquarium and ensure that they are having the right diet. By doing this, you will effectively grow your puffer fish and they will live for a long time.

Good luck on your journey!

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