What Do Pea Puffers Eat? (You might be surprised!)

One of the questions I am asked every time someone looks in my Pea Puffer tanks is ‘What do Pea Puffers eat?’

Pea Puffers (also known as Indian Dwarf Puffers) are die-hard carnivores that only want to eat meaty food such as blackworms, brine shrimp, or snails. Pea Puffer will also eat live or frozen bloodworms.

If you are thinking of getting into the highly addictive world of pufferfish, you should definitely start with Pea Puffers. Pea Puffers were my first ever pufferfish, and once I had them I was hooked. At the time of writing this article, I have 3 tanks of Pea Puffers and 5 other species of freshwater pufferfish in my fish room.

What Do Pea Puffers Eat In The Wild?

In their natural habitat, the Pea Puffers diet mainly consists of small aquatic life including insects, copepods, and rotifers. When keeping Pea Puffers in an aquarium, it is important to offer them a varied diet to try to recreate the variety they would consume in the wild.

Pea Puffers are hardcore carnivores. They only want to eat meaty foods. Unlike other members of the pufferfish family, they don’t suffer from constantly growing teeth. Many other pufferfish, including the Amazon Puffer, Fahaka Puffer, and Mbu Puffer have to continually eat hard-shelled foods to trim down their teeth.

Puffer fish’s teeth grow continuously. Biting through the hard shells of snails and clams trims their teeth down. Pea Puffers don’t have this issue.



Do Pea Puffers Eat Ramshorn Snails?

Yes, Pea Puffers will eat Ramshorn Snails, providing the snails aren’t too large. Pea Puffers don’t bite through the shell like a larger pufferfish might, instead they attack the snail’s soft foot, sucking the snail out of its shell.

Pea puffers will also eat pond snails, Malaysian Trumpet Snails, and bladder snails.

I recently wrote an article titled Will Dwarf Puffers Eat Malaysian Trumpet Snails?



Do Pea Puffers Eat Shrimp?

Generally speaking, Pea Puffers won’t eat shrimp. However, if the Pea Puffer is large enough and the shrimp small enough, there is always the danger of the shrimp getting eaten. I do have Red Cherry Shrimp in one of my Pea Puffer tanks. I am sure the Pea Puffers do chomp down on baby Red Cherry Shrimp, but the numbers overall seem to keep going up.

Do Pea Puffers Eat Bloodworms?

In captivity, Bloodworms make up a large portion of the Pea Puffers diet. They will eat both live and frozen bloodworms. Pea Puffers will also eat Brine Shrimp, Mosquito Larvae, and Cyclops. As with other fish, Pea Puffers need a variety of nutrients in their diet, so give them a variety of live or frozen foods.



Do Pea Puffers Eat Flakes Or Pellets?

Pea Puffers are meat-eaters through and through. They won’t eat prepared foods such as fish flakes or pellets. The one exception is Vibra Bites by Hikari. Vibra Bites is an elongated pellet, produced in the shape and color of a bloodworm. There have been reports of Pea Puffers eating Vibra Bites.

If you can get your Pea Puffer to eat Vibra Bites, it may give you the opportunity to use a liquid vitamin soak to get more vitamins and minerals into your Pea Puffer.

Hikari Vibra Bites (9.8oz), Red
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Hikari Vibra Bites (9.8oz), Red
  • Carefully selected color enhancing ingredients help rapidly bring out the brilliant colors of your fish
  • Uniquely balanced formulation offers nutrition live worms cannot without the parasite or bacteria risks.
  • Inclusion of mealworms make this a delicious offering most tropical fish immediately attack
  • Unique stick that readily moves through the water column like live food
  • Ideal tropical fish who prefer live foods

Last update on 2022-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Often Should You Feed Pea Puffers?

Pea Puffers should be fed 2 to 3 times a day. Only feed them as much as they will eat within a couple of minutes. Well-fed Pea Puffers have slightly swollen abdomens.

If you are feeding your pea puffers snails, don’t put too many in the aquarium at a time. Once your Pea Puffer has eaten enough, he may then just kill all the other snails but not eat them, leaving them to foul your aquarium water.

Any food not eaten after a couple of minutes should be removed from the aquarium.



In Conclusion

Pea Puffers are meat-eaters through and through. Feed them live or frozen food 2 to 3 times a day. Don’t overfeed them and don’t allow them to become stuck on one food.


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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