Mbu Pufferfish originates from the Congo river in Africa. With its big cute eyes that stare at you, it is also known as a dogface pufferfish or a freshwater pufferfish. Its scientific name is Tetraodon mbu. Despite its small size and innocent look, this little creature has a big personality.
It can be a bit nippy and grumpy at times, but it also has a friendly side to it as well. As with all puffer fish, the mbu will inflate when threatened or stressed, so care should be taken not to handle them too often.
They are straightforward to keep in the aquarium if you can provide the right conditions.
This article will provide everything about Mbu Pufferfish care, appearance, diet, size, etc., to help you get started with these beautiful fish.
Table of Contents
- Species Summary
- Mbu Pufferfish Care Guide
- Advantages Of Having Mbu Pufferfish In Your Tank
- Disadvantages Of Having Mbu Pufferfish In Your Tank
|Scientific Name:||Tetraodon mbu|
|Common Name:||Mbuna pufferfish, giant pufferfish, or giant freshwater pufferfish|
|Specific Gravity:||1.005 - 1.010 SG|
|Size:||22- 30 inches|
|Water hardness:||10-25 dGH|
|Temperature:||75° to 79°Fahrenheit|
|Minimum Tank Size:||500-gallons|
The Mbu Pufferfish is also known as the African Pufferfish. Its scientific name is Tetraodon mbu. The Mbu Pufferfish gets its name from the Swahili word for hippopotamus, "mbou." This species is known to nip fins, especially the caudal fin.
The Mbu Pufferfish is a considerable fish growing to about 30 inches long. Even though this species can grow rather large, they are still considered one of the less aggressive puffers.
This puffer was first discovered by Francois Kalfijn in 1916 in the Congo River in Africa. The Mbu Pufferfish is a less commonly known species of pufferfish and can be more challenging to locate for purchase than other puffers, such as the green spotted puffer or the Largest Puffer.
Mbu pufferfish are part of the Tetraodontidae family, making significant and exciting pets. They can be a bit nippy and grumpy at times, but they also have a friendly side to them as well.
Remember that this is still a pufferfish, so you do need to take precautions when catching it or to work around their tank. They will inflate when stressed or threatened to make themselves look more prominent, so it is essential not to handle them too often.
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Mbu Pufferfish Appearance
The Mbu Pufferfish has a brownish-green body with large eyes and looks very cute when young. A dark spot will sometimes appear on its head as the fish matures. Its most distinguishing feature is a black band across the front of its face, from one side to the other.
This band tends to fade as the fish ages. The tail fin is tall and stands straight up. Their belly tends to be cream, and their face has black bands across them. Their eyes are proportionately large, making them look very cute when young.
It's essential to only buy tank-raised puffers instead of wild-caught specimens because of their sensitive nature. The Mbu Pufferfish has a round body shape and is covered in thorn-like, sharp scales! The color varies greatly, though it will always have some orange/red/white combination.
Mbu Pufferfish Lifespan
The Mbu Pufferfish has an average lifespan of about ten years but can live up to twenty years if given proper care.
Mbu Pufferfish Size And Growth Rate
The Mbu Pufferfish can grow up to thirty inches or more and is not considered a small fish. They are usually about three inches when first purchased as juveniles, but some have been known to grow up to thirty inches within the first year of being in an aquarium.
Mbu Pufferfish Behavior And Temperament
The Mbu Pufferfish is not considered to be a very safe community fish. Some tanks will get along with other fish, but many tend to show aggression toward their tank mates.
These puffers are known for being aggressive to fish that are similar in size or shape to themselves, so it's best to avoid other fish that have an oval body shape or large eyes.
It is also essential to avoid any fish that may nip at the fins of the Mbu Pufferfish since they are susceptible to fin-nipping species. If possible, it's best to observe how members of your tank interact with each other before adding them to the community.
This puffer does have a chance of living peacefully with some tankmates, but there is always a risk. If you choose to keep the Mbu Pufferfish in a community environment, it's best to keep them with fish that are not as sensitive to water quality as they may be.
In other words, puffers should not be kept with fish such as Danios or Barbs. This fish is usually very peaceful for the most part but will sometimes eat small, slow-moving fish. It has been reported that Mbu pufferfish sometimes become aggressive to other large tankmates if not fed properly.
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Mbu Pufferfish Breeding
Breeding this fish in captivity is not an easy task. It is possible to breed them, but they will need their aquarium, where they don't have to worry about being eaten by their parents or other tankmates.
They are usually compassionate when breeding, so it's best to follow specific steps before attempting it. It's best to start with two to four juveniles when attempting to breed them to provide enough fish for the parents.
The tank should be well-planted to provide plenty of hiding places for the young fry. The male will build a small pit in the gravel, where he will put several eggs. It's unknown how many eggs are laid or the gestation period, but they are thought to hatch after about two weeks.
The juveniles will feed on worms or crustaceans in the aquarium since they can no longer access their parent's provisions. It's essential to ensure the babies get enough food so they don't starve themselves before being accepted by their parents.
As stated earlier, breeding this fish in captivity is difficult. They are much more challenging to breed than most other species of pufferfish. If you successfully breed them, you must release the young in a separate aquarium to avoid starving them due to the lack of proper food in their parents' tanks.
Of course, no matter how hard you try, there is always a chance that your Mbu Pufferfish will not breed. Many factors may cause this, so it's best to prepare two or three tanks just in case they begin breeding.
Mbu Pufferfish Gestation Period And Reproduction
There's no natural way of knowing how long a Mbu Pufferfish is pregnant or the gestation period. It could be anywhere from three to six months, but this has not been verified.
The best thing you can do if you want a baby Mbu Pufferfish is to keep the male and female separate until they start showing signs of pregnancy. The easiest way to do this is by feeding them tiny portions or simply removing their food while they are together.
Pregnancy symptoms usually begin with the albino male building a pit in the substrate. He will then start to prepare some small stones around it by picking them up in his mouth and dropping them into the pit.
This is a sign that your Mbu Pufferfish is pregnant and should give birth within a few days to a few weeks. It's tough to keep track of their gestation period, so you might have to wait until they give birth before you can get an accurate timeframe for their pregnancy term.
The only way to know is to keep an eye on the albino male. He usually starts carrying around one or two pebbles in his mouth before finally getting down to business and beginning the spawning process.
After they give birth (usually happens at night), you should remove the female back into her tank as she'll likely eat her offspring if left in the tank with them.
Don't be surprised if they eat their young, as this is quite common in fish living under captive conditions. If you remove her back into her tank after giving birth, Mbu pufferfish will usually not harm their young.
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Mbu Pufferfish Conservation Status
As of right now, the conservation status of the Mbu Pufferfish is unknown. They are considered extremely rare or extinct in the wild, but their numbers may slowly recover.
Only time will tell if they can bounce back from extinction, and hopefully, they'll be returning shortly for all fish enthusiasts to admire and enjoy.
Mbu Pufferfish Aggression Level
This puffer should be ok with most fish that are larger than it. Use caution when choosing tank mates for this species because they will nip at the fins of other fish. Care should be taken not to house them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish.
Very active fish may also not make the best tankmates because the Mbu Pufferfish likes to rest and may not get along with hyperactive fish.
Mbu Pufferfish Care Guide
Here are the guidelines for proper care of Mbu Pufferfish.
Mbu Pufferfish Food & Diet
These puffers are bottom-feeders, so giving them sinking pellets or flake food is essential. They will eat flakes, frozen foods, freeze-dried krill, Mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, and bloodworms.
They will sometimes eat live fish if they are kept in a community tank with fish that are not fast-moving.
The Mbu Pufferfish is a very hardy fish that does not require much care or attention. It can be a good pet for beginners since it requires minimal care and isn't picky about the quality of its food. They are also great for people who aren't able to spend long periods taking care of their fish.
The Mbu Pufferfish is a molluscivore that primarily requires shrimp, mussels, snails, crab, and worms. This will help to keep the pufferfish active and healthy.
The Mbu Pufferfish is a carnivorous species with sharp, cone-shaped teeth and strong jaws to eat almost any meaty food. It eats crustaceans and snails in the wild.
Mbu Pufferfish Tank Size
The Mbu Pufferfish is very small when fully mature, so it should be kept in at least a 500-gallon aquarium or more extensive. They are pretty active but can still be kept in smaller tanks, though they will need more frequent water changes to stay healthy. A nano tank would not be suitable for this species.
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Mbu Pufferfish Tank Mates
The Mbu Pufferfish does not make a good community fish, but it can be kept in a tank with other non-aggressive species. It's important to avoid keeping them with other fish that are nippy or will steal their food since they can be sensitive to rough tankmates.
They can be kept with other Mbu pufferfish but only in large tanks of at least 500 gallons. Larger tanks are always better since these puffers are giant, messy eaters. The larger the tank, the slower its growth rate will be.
These puffers are known for being aggressive to fish that are similar in size or shape to themselves, so it's best to avoid other fish that have an oval body shape or large eyes. It is also essential to avoid any fish that may nip at the fins of the Mbu Pufferfish since they are susceptible to fin-nipping species.
If possible, it's best to observe how members of your tank interact with each other before adding them to the community. This puffer does have a chance of living peacefully with some tankmates, but there is always a risk.
If you choose to keep them in a community environment, it's best to keep them with fish that are not as sensitive to water quality as they may be. In other words, puffers should not be kept with fish such as Danios or Barbs.
This fish is usually very peaceful for the most part but will sometimes eat small, slow-moving fish. It has been reported that Mbu pufferfish sometimes become aggressive to other large tankmates if not fed properly.
Mbu Pufferfish Water Requirements
The Mbu Pufferfish is a saltwater fish that requires the appropriate equipment. This particular species of puffer has less tolerance for fluctuating water conditions than some other members of its family, so weekly 30% water changes are strongly recommended.
This species prefers brackish water conditions with a specific gravity of around 1.005 and a temperature between 75°F to 79°F. It is essential to ensure that your aquarium's specific gravity does not exceed 1.010 or decrease below 1.005 because this will harm the Mbu Pufferfish's health.
It is essential to remember to perform water changes every week. The Mbu Pufferfish needs a lot of calcium and other trace elements to stay healthy, which is vital for their care.
Also, make sure that the salt mix you use has all of these things because Mbu Pufferfishs will not be able to process any salt brands that do not provide them with everything they need.
It's also a good idea to install an under-gravel filter on the tank, as this will help keep the water from being disturbed during weekly maintenance activities.
When performing water changes, it is a good idea to vacuum up any uneaten food that has sunk to the bottom of your aquarium and any other accumulated residue.
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Mbu Pufferfish Water pH And Alkalinity
The pH of the Mbu Pufferfish should be between 7.0 to 8.0, with an alkalinity between 10 to 25 dKH. It is vital to ensure that your tank stays out of any drafts or strong currents during this period because puffers are very sensitive to sudden changes in water quality.
When performing a water change, the aquarium's pH mustn't fall below 7.0 or rise above 8.0 during this process. If the pH of the new water is significantly different from your tank's natural pH, adding some buffer before changing the water will help keep your tanks pH from becoming too low or high.
Generally, the water pH and Alkalinity in a puffer aquarium should not fluctuate more than +/- 0.4 from the average values listed above. If you notice a significant change in water chemistry that persists for several weeks, this could be a sign that something is wrong with your tank.
However, the changes are generally small enough not to cause any problems for your fish, but they can impact how well plants grow in your aquarium.
Nitrite And Ammonia
It is crucial to keep track of ammonia and nitrite levels with this species because they are so sensitive to these chemicals being introduced into their aquarium. Combining weekly water changes with a quality biological filter powder will help keep these levels in check.
Still, it is essential to ensure that the powder does not contain copper or zinc since Mbu pufferfish are very sensitive to both metals. This particular species of puffer has less tolerance for fluctuating water conditions than some other members of its family, so weekly 30% water changes are strongly recommended.
If you notice a significant change in water chemistry that persists for several weeks, this could be a sign that something is wrong with your tank. However, the changes are generally small enough not to cause any problems for your fish, but they can impact how well plants grow in your aquarium.
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Mbu Pufferfish generally don't have no special lighting requirements, so that a standard fluorescent light will work fine. They can, however, be timid fish and may spend a lot of time hiding under plants or decorations if they aren't provided with enough cover.
A sound filtration system in your aquarium is vital when keeping Mbu Pufferfishs. This species is susceptible to changes in water conditions, so it's crucial to protect its environment from excessive organic waste and chemical pollutants by using high-quality filters.
The best type of filter for this fish is an external canister filter. These filters use an efficient filtration system that does not increase the flow into the aquarium, which can disturb or injure your fish.
Also, ensure that any equipment you use is correctly rinsed with tap water before adding it to your tank. Mbu pufferfish are very sensitive to copper and other metals in their water supply.
This species of puffer has no special requirements regarding its water heater, but it is essential to keep a close eye on them during this process. The heaters should be set to an ideal 75° to 79°F.
If the water is too warm for extended periods, it can lead to a condition known as head and lateral line erosion. This condition causes small pits or holes to form on the puffer's body and fins. Sometimes, this process will eventually erode bone tissue if left untreated.
The best way to avoid this condition is to ensure the water temperature in your tank never rises above 26 degrees C (78 degrees F). You can also try a chiller or a tank mister if the problem continues.
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Mbu pufferfish are not picky about what type of gravel they use in their tank, but keeping the substrate relatively shallow is still a good idea. The best technique for this is splitting your aquarium into two large tanks so you can have one half with low-lying plants and decorations while the other remains bare bottom.
This will give your puffers a place to hide and allow you to siphon up all the waste underneath the decorations without being easily noticed. If you don't want to use two tanks, ensure that anything in your tank is correctly secured because this species likes to take things apart whenever possible.
Mbu pufferfish can't be kept on a gravel substrate because they will try to eat it. They do well with sand or fine-grained aquarium floorings such as crushed coral or aragonite. This species is also known for eating live plants, so ensure all the vegetation in your tank is sturdy and free from holes.
Mbu pufferfish are mischievous and will take apart anything you put in their tank. They have a strong jawline, so all decorations should be carefully secured to the aquarium floor using plastic ties if your puffer tries to play with them.
If you want to give your fish a place to hide, try using caves or driftwood. Puffers are also particularly fond of plastic plants, so if you want to provide your fish with an easy decoration, aquatic vegetation is generally a safe bet.
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Mbu pufferfish are very small pufferfish that do well when housed with larger species, but they should never be used to cycle in an aquarium.
These puffers produce large amounts of waste, which will build up in your tank before other creatures can process it. For this reason, ensure you only keep them in mature and stable tanks before adding them.
Mbu pufferfish are also aggressive, so it's essential to make sure they are the only species of puffer you have in your tank. Do not combine this species with other fish because they will nip at their fins or skin until they die.
As with most puffer species, the Mbu Pufferfish is a territorial animal and will fight for space with other tankmates. Keeping one Mbu Pufferfish per aquarium is essential, and any new additions should be quarantined before introducing them into the main tank.
It's best to keep the Mbu Pufferfish in your tank's middle to bottom regions, as they are considered weak swimmers.
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Mbu Pufferfish Fish Keeping Difficulty
This fish requires a lot of work but will be rewarding for more advanced fish keepers who can meet its dietary needs. Some puffers are more challenging to care for than others due to their specific dietary needs, and the Mbu Pufferfish is no exception.
Mbu pufferfish prefer saltier water, which should be between 1.005 specific gravity and 1.010 specific gravity, but they can also adapt to fewer salinities with time. They are susceptible to changes in water chemistry, so weekly 30% water changes are strongly recommended for this species.
Mbu Pufferfish Care And Acclimation
The Mbu Pufferfish can be challenging to acclimate to your tank due to its aggressive nature. It's best to use a drip acclimation method when introducing this fish into your aquarium.
The drip should be set up using airline tubing and should be able to run for approximately four hours or more at an idle speed. This will allow the water in the bag with the puffer to become pretty close in temperature and chemistry to the water in your tank, allowing the fish to adjust slowly over time.
When taking a puffer out of its bag, keeping other fish away from the newly introduced puffer for at least thirty minutes is best. This will help reduce stress while easing into its new surroundings by preventing other fish from swarming the new fish.
It's essential to ensure that your tank stays out of any drafts or strong currents during this period because puffers are very sensitive to sudden changes in water quality.
It's also a good idea to survey your tank for any "nippy" species before adding the Mbu Pufferfish. Any aggressive species should be removed from your main tank but can be kept in quarantine tanks until the puffer has had time to settle.
Mbu Pufferfish Potential Diseases
Dropsy is one of the most common conditions that Mbu pufferfish are vulnerable to. This condition causes your puffer's belly to swell up until it looks like they have gained 30 pounds overnight.
The best treatment for this disease is Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, or freshwater ick, which can be cured using a combination of heat, salt, and medication.
Mbu pufferfish are also very sensitive to copper in their water supply. It would help if you always watched for symptoms like drooping fins or patches of white on the skin because this species will not respond well to most medications used against fish diseases.
If you notice any unusual behavior or other signs of sickness, it's best to take your puffer out of the tank and place it in a quarantine tank while treating it.
Mbu Pufferfish Treatment Of Disease
Mbu pufferfish tend to be very sensitive to most medications used in aquarium treatment, so it's best not to try and treat them at home. For this reason, it's also essential that you never use copper-based medication on your puffer because even trace amounts can kill him or her.
If you suspect that your fish may have come down with a disease, it's best to take them out of the tank and place them in a quarantine tank while treating their symptoms.
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Advantages Of Having Mbu Pufferfish In Your Tank
- The Mbu Pufferfish is nocturnal, meaning they are active at night rather than during the day. This makes them suitable to keep in an aquarium with other fish because their natural hunting instincts will not affect them during the daytime.
- Their small size means you won't have to worry about finding a tank that's big enough for them. As long as you can fit a 10-gallon aquarium in your room, you should have more than enough space to house this little creature.
- They are peaceful creatures, meaning they will not threaten the small fish or other creatures in their tank. This makes them a great addition to a beginner's aquarium.
- Their peaceful nature also means they can be kept in an aquarium with other fish of varying sizes without causing any issues or problems. Mbu pufferfish will not attack, harm, or bother other creatures in their tank.
- Mbu pufferfish are completely undemanding when it comes to their diet. They will pretty much eat anything you put in the tank with them. This makes them extremely easy to care for, regardless of your experience with keeping fish as pets.
- Their small size of only 10 cm (4 inches) means that Mbu pufferfish will not produce near the amount of waste larger fish do.
- Their small size means they won't eat as much food as other fish. This means that you'll be spending less on feeding your Mbu Pufferfish, which is always positive for any owner to consider.
- They are intelligent creatures who adapt well to new environments and surroundings, making them ideal if you ever decide to move homes and take your fish with you.
- Mbu pufferfish can sometimes be aggressive towards each other, usually during mating season or when they're ready to give birth.
When this happens, you may have to separate them from the rest of the fish in their tank so that they don't harm them or cause any issues. This is a straightforward task that will only last until Mbu Pufferfish return to their routine.
- The Mbu Pufferfish is a predatory fish, meaning they'll eat pretty much anything you put into the tank with them, making them ideal for anyone looking to keep fish as pets. They will consume pretty much any meat you feed them, whether fish or beef.
- They can survive in harsh environments where other fish would fail, making them an ideal choice for novice fish keepers who want a pet that's easy to care for.
- Mbu pufferfish is known as "tiger puffers," meaning they look charming and adorable. This makes them perfect for aquariums where you'd like to keep fish as pets rather than just using the tank as decoration.
Disadvantages Of Having Mbu Pufferfish In Your Tank
- They have no predators in the wild because most animals find them unpalatable due to their toxicity. However, this means that any predator trying to eat them will die shortly after. For this reason, having Mbu pufferfish in an aquarium with other creatures is not advisable.
- The Mbu Pufferfish's natural environment is slowly diminishing due to pollution and deforestation. They could risk going extinct if their populations aren't brought back up soon.
- Mbu pufferfish have a very high metabolism, meaning they must eat often and in significant quantities if you want to keep them as pets. They are incredibly voracious eaters as fry, requiring almost three times the amount of food as adults do.
- For their populations to grow, they need a specific natural environment, which means you will not be able to make them breed in an aquarium.
- They are nocturnal fish, so if you're looking for pets that will be highly active during the day, then Mbu Pufferfishs may not be the right choice.
- They are considered invasive species because they can quickly reproduce and take over an area when introduced into a new environment. You must be highly cautious when introducing them into your aquarium because you could have countless unwanted fish.
- These fish are considered hazardous if consumed by humans, making them unsuitable for consumption in some cultures and traditions where it is customary to eat fish from local waters.
- Despite their small appearance, Mbu pufferfish can be very aggressive and will become even more so during mating season or when their tank isn't large enough for them to move around freely.
- They are known to be timid fish, meaning they will not be active during the day like other fish might be, nor will they swim against the current of your aquarium's filter system.
- They're not a good choice for aquariums that don't already have large fish in them, such as cichlids or other types of puffer fish. This is because Mbu pufferfish can outgrow your tank very quickly if you don't have any other large fish in there to keep them company.
- Mbu Pufferfish are known to be curious animals, meaning they will get into everything if you let them, including your aquarium decoration and filter parts, if their tank is too small for them to move around freely in.
The Mbu Pufferfish is an adorable fish that can make an excellent addition to your aquarium if you take the time and effort to care for them properly. They also make good additions to aquariums that house large fish like cichlids or other puffer fish.
However, they can be challenging to take care of and require a lot of patience and maintenance from their owners. You must do extensive research before buying them.
They are cheap to keep since they only cost a few dollars each and don't require a massive tank. You can also expect them to live around ten years if you take good care of them, which is longer than most other fish species.
In addition, they eat almost anything from the fishing industry due to the way they have been overfished, so you don't need to worry about spending a lot of money on different types of food for them.