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The Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer only reaches between 1.5” and 2” (35mm and 50mm) and as such only requires a small aquarium. I currently keep my Red Tailed Red Eye Puffer in a 10-gallon aquarium with a small school of Neon Tetras. A 10 or 20-gallon aquarium will be perfectly large enough for a Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer.
In recent years there has been a real boost in the popularity of freshwater pufferfish. There are now around 10 to 15 different species seen on the market on a regular basis, and one or two more which occasionally crop up. From the 1” (2.5cm) Dwarf Puffer to the 30” (75cm) Mbu Puffer, there is a puffer to suit every aquarium and every budget.
I have been keeping freshwater pufferfish for over 10 years. I have a number of different species in my fish room, and the Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffer is certainly one of my favorites. These tiny puffers are full of character and mine never fails to entertain me with his swimming antics.
I have written a Complete Guide to Carinotetraodon Irrubesco for those who want to know more about the species.
Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer Tank Setup
The ideal aquarium setup will include lots of cover, especially in the form of live plants.
I keep my Red Tailed Red Eye Puffer in a 10-gallon aquarium which has a sand substrate, a few rocks, and lots of live plants. I also have floating plants to help create a feeling of safety. Over the sand, I have a layer of decaying catappa leaves.
These catappa leaves have a dual purpose. Firstly, as the leaves decay, they release tannins into the water which turns it a light brown color. This ‘murky’ water adds to the puffer’s sense of security. Secondly, the catappa leaves provide a place where uneaten snails and shrimps can hide and even reproduce, providing a free source of food for my Red Tailed Red Eye Puffer.
Puffer Keepers Top Tip
Almost every species of pufferfish will appreciate a sandy substrate. This sand from Amazon is the best I have found. I use it in ALL my pufferfish tanks.
Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer Tank Filtration
I don’t like too much flow in my Red Tailed Red Eye Puffer tank, so I use a small hang-on-back filter. The Fluval C2 works really well. I recently wrote an article about Are Fluval Filters Good? which looked at the ‘C’ Series filters.
A small canister filter would work fine if you were keeping your Red Tailed Red Eye Puffer in a larger tank. Maybe for a 40 gallon (180 Litre) or larger.
Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer Tank Mates
I have written an article all about the best tank mates for Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffers. Essentially, choose small, fast-swimming fish that won’t try to compete with the Red-Tailed Red Eye Puffer for food. I have had success with Neon Tetras, Guppies, and Zebra Danios.
Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffers are aggressive towards their own kind, so do not try to keep more than one Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffer in the same aquarium.
Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffers do not need a large aquarium. A 10-gallon or 20 gallons (37 liters or 75 liters) aquarium will be perfect for a single specimen. Set the aquarium up with plenty of cover in the form of live plants, and your Red-Tailed Red-Eye Puffer will be very happy.