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Dog Face Puffer

By | Last Updated : 20th June 2020

Dogface puffer alternately known as the blackspotted puffer is a saltwater fish indigenous to the tropical waters of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Their striking resemblance to canines alongside the dark or black spots on their body earns them the names dog face and blackspotted puffer, respectively.

Dog Face Puffer

Quick Information

Scientific NameArothron nigropunctatus
Other NamesBlackspotted puffer, Arothron dog face puffer
OriginAlong the Pacific Ocean’s central islands as well as parts of the Indian Ocean 
TypeSaltwater fish
Conservation StatusNot recorded
Behavioral CharacteristicsSolitary, diurnal, territorial, and a little aggressive about their domains
School Size3 – 4
Physical TraitsElongated, oval or spherical shaped body; small, symmetrical dorsal and anal fin situated to the end of its body; short, round snout with two pairs nostrils, bearing a resemblance to a dog; terminal mouth; four strong and hard teeth, mostly made for breaking hard shells of the invertebrates
ScalesThey are devoid of scales
ColorsGrey, light or dark blue, light yellow, or orangish-yellow background with dark spots or blotches of varying shapes and sizes on the skin as well as the area around its mouth and eyes.
Size (How big do they get)Big; about 13 inches (33 cm)
LifespanApproximately 10 years
Sexual DimorphismBarely present; though males are brighter than their female counterparts
Probable Diseases Marine ich
Approximate Price (How much is it for)$50 – 150 (depending on the size)
Dog Face Puffer Fish Size
Dog Face Puffer Fish

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care LevelIntermediate
Tank Size75 gallons ( 284 liters) for a single fish

Water Parameters

pH Level8.1 – 8.4
Temperature74 – 82°F (23.3 – 27.7°C)
Hardness8 – 12 dGH
Aquarium  Water FlowModerate

Tank Ambience

LightingNo specific requirements
Substrate TypeCoral gravel, and pebbles
Tank MatesCompatible with:  Species of triggerfish, angelfish, lionfish, and wrasses, as well as snowflake eels They even get along with other puffers that are not more aggressive than them

Incompatible with: Aggressive fish like oscar, arowana, redtail catfish, and  invertebrates like shrimps and crabs
Suitable Position in the TankBottom


DietMeaty food like silversides and krill, invertebrates such as stony corals, coralline algae, crabs, mollusk, sponges, and shrimps
Frequency 2 – 3 times a day
Dog Face Puffer Fish Picture
Dog Face Puffer Teeth

Important Things to Know for Fish Keepers

  • They have big teeth, which should be checked from time to time because in case it gets big, the fish would have trouble eating. Trim its teeth carefully and seek a fish veterinarian or expert’s help if required. The slightest cut may cause harm to its life.
  • The dogface puffer fish’ beak keeps growing continually. Hence, they need hard-shelled invertebrates as a part of their diet so that their beak does not overgrow their mouth.
  • One of the dog face puffer’s tendency in the wild on sensing danger is to inflate its body by swallowing air or water. They often display this trait in a tank environment, too, especially when stressed. Hence, care must be taken to avoid such incidences. If they swallow a lot of air and cannot get back to their standard size, then it could take a toll on the fish’s life.
Arothron Dog Face Puffer
Blackspotted Puffer


Q. Is the dog face pufferfish dangerous?

The dogface pufferfish is perceived as dangerous as it possesses tetrodotoxin, a deadly poison that it uses for protecting itself against its predators mostly in the wild. However, it does not sting or bite humans, and touching this pufferfish species will not cause harm as the toxin is present internally and not on its skin or spines.

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