Do Fahaka Puffers Need Sand? (Solved!)

Fahaka Puffers do best when kept on a sand substrate. Fahaka Puffers like to bury themselves, especially when they are smaller, and a sand substrate facilitates this much easier than gravel. Fahaka Puffers also have a strong natural instinct to hunt and one way they do this is by ‘blowing’ the sand away to find snails and crustaceans.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

Freshwater Pufferfish are fast becoming one of the most popular fish in the freshwater fish-keeping hobby. From the tiny Dwarf Puffer to the mighty Mbu Puffer, there is a pufferfish to fit every tank and every budget.

I have been keeping puffer fish for over 10 years and I now have nearly a dozen different tanks with pufferfish in. My Fahaka Puffer is my largest and probably my favorite puffer. He is a real character and he never fails to make me smile.

What Type Of Sand Is Best For Fahaka Puffer Aquarium?

There are a number of different sands we can use in our aquariums.

For my Fahaka Puffer, I currently use pool filter sand. I have found pool filter sand is light enough my Fahaka can easily bury himself and ‘blow’ patches of sand away in the search for food, but heavy enough that it doesn’t cloud my water every time my Fahaka starts to dig around in it.

Other types of sand that could be used include play sand, blasting sand, and crushed coral sand. Each of these sands has its pros and cons but all will do the job.



Why Do Fahaka Puffers Bury Themselves

It is unclear why Fahaka Puffers like to bury themselves in the sand. Not all Fahaka Puffers do it. Initial thoughts would be to hide from predators, however, there are many reports that Fahaka Puffers that are 12” (30cm) long bury themselves.

Others have suggested that Fahaka Puffers bury themselves as a way to hide and wait for prey to pass them by. This is a tactic used by many different species of puffer, but the Fahaka Puffer is more of an active hunter than a passive one, so this reason seems unlikely.

My own Fahaka Puffer used to like to bury himself when he was smaller, but he doesn’t really do it anymore. I never managed to work out exactly why he did it.



What Other Substrates Can Be Used For A Fahaka Puffer Aquarium

Having looked at the reasons why a Fahaka Puffer might like sand, we should ask ourselves, are there any other substrates for a Fahaka Puffer aquarium?

In reality, whatever substrate you use will probably work just fine. There are plenty of pufferfish keepers who keep their fish in bare bottom aquariums with no substrate. Although I keep my Fahaka on sand, Some of my other puffers are kept on good old-fashioned gravel. It works perfectly well.

What Else Does A Fahaka Puffer Tank Need?

As well as a sandy substrate, a Fahaka Puffer tank also needs some sort of decoration or rocks to help give the tank a natural feel or to provide a place the Fahaka Puffer can hide or at least feel secure.

It is not unheard of for a Fahaka Puffer to jump out of its tank. Making sure the puffer feels secure by providing him rocks or decorations to hide behind reduces the likely hood he will jump out.

More Information On Fahaka Puffers

If you are looking for more information on Fahaka Puffers in general, I recently wrote this article titled Fahaka Puffer Ultimate Care Guide.

In Conclusion

In my experience, Fahaka Puffers DO need sand in their aquarium as it allows them to carry out some of their natural instincts. I don’t think having sand is critical to the ultimate well-being of a Fahaka Puffer, but using sand rather than another substrate is never going to be a major expense in the scheme of setting up a Fahaka Puffer aquarium.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
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