Guides Fish Care Rating:
Other Common Names:
Stars & Stripes Puffer, Hispid Puffer, Whitespotted Puffer, Spiny Balloon Fish, Fugu.
'O-'o-pu-hu-e, and Ma-ki ma-ki
The body of this Puffer is a clublike, elongated oval shape. The color of the body can vary, but basically it is of a gray-brown-olive green color. The belly has vertical white lines running the length of its stomach, and the upper and sides of the body are covered with large white spots. There is a black circle around the base of the pectoral fin. It has large puppy dog eyes. The entire body is covered with tiny spines which are visible when the fish inflates itself.
This species is found many tropical waters, extending from Hawai'i southward to the northern coast of Austrailia, westward through Micronesia, Melanesia, and the Philippines, through the East Indies, and across the Indian ocean to the coast of Africa.
Minimum Tank Size Suggested:
It is a fish that needs a very large tank (100 gallon minimum recommended) because of the size it can grow to, and most times will just lay around on the bottom or cruise lazily about. In general this fish gets along fairly well with other fish, but will fight, sometimes biting big chunks out of Puffers of the same species. We had one take a bite out of a Palani Tang once that was weakened by illness and got too close.
The Green Whitespotted Puffer is an omnivore, eating a wide variety of marine life, such as fleshy, calcareous, or coralline algae, mollusks, tunicates, sponges, corals, zoanthids, crabs, shrimps, tube worms and echinoderms, as well as detritus. In captivity it can be fed a diet of various carnivore fares, such as fresh chopped or frozen shrimp, crab, squid, clams, fish, and it will sometimes eat preparations suitable for herbivores.
Many Puffers in the Family Tetraodontidae carry tetrodotoxin, which means they have toxic flesh. The Green Whitespotted Puffer is no exception and does have this trait. Parts of this fish's flesh are not only poisonous, but it can exude these toxins, which can kill other fish. Caution should be used when keeping this fish in an aquarium. It is best kept in a specific aggressive species community fish-only tank with other fish that have the same or similar traits.
Notes From Your Guides:
The Green Whitespotted Puffer will adjust well to aquarium life and eating in captivity. It has a slow going, friendly, and personable demeanor, but of course the downside to this fish is the toxin it can exude. As we said, it is suggested for a fish-only tank community with fish that have the same or similar traits, as well as eating habits. You can train them to come up and take food right out of your hand, but use extreme caution when doing this. It has four very large fused teeth and strong jaws for breaking open crab, shrimp and urchin shells, and can easily take off a big chunk of your finger it it misses its food target.
The general Japanese reference name for many Puffers is "fugu". More specifically, the Arothron hispidus is referred to as Sazanamifugu (obtained from the FishBase Search using common name-contains-"fugu"). Human poisoning from tetrodotoxin is of major public health concern primarily in Japan, where "fugu" is a traditional delicacy.