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Fugu Saddle Puffer: Full guide for Care And Breeding


Fugu saddle puffer, Have you ever hear about that?

There was my friend who travels all over the world. Once he visited Japan, he sends me a photograph and asks can I recognize this fish? Actually, it was a meal.

I answered it as tilapia, but I was wrong. It was not tilapia or any other fish. It is a Fugu saddle puffer. After that, I have done lots of research on the internet and cannot find even one clear article regarding full details about this fish. So I decided to write this article.

Where all my efforts bloomed, keep reading this gives all the details about fugu saddle puffer.

Common Names,

Orange saddle puffer

Common Names,

  • Orange saddle puffer
  • Fugu puffer
  • Ocellated puffer
  • saddleback puffer
  • Takifugu ocellatus
  • Fugu ocellatus

First of all, do you know what is mean by Taki fugu? Sometimes you may not, do not worry! It is a Japanese word that has several meanings. Taki fugu;

  • Taki = waterfall
  • Fugu = Fish

Therefore it is waterfall fish.

It also scientifically identify as Takifugu ocellatus, as follows,

    • Kingdom – Animalia
    • Phylum – Chordata
    • Class – Actinopterygii
    • Order – Tetraodontiformers
    • Genus – Taki fugu
    • Colour – Green/Black/Orange
    • Aquarium hardness – Moderate
    • Mature size – inch

    Fugu saddle puffer more on Wikipedia

    Fugu saddle puffer origin and Distribution:

    It is native to many Asian countries and often found in freshwater rivers in China, Vietnam.

    Specially Fugu saddle found in a large number in the Yangtze river during its breeding period. Now it is keeping in all aquariums around the world.

    When it comes to the Orange Fugu saddle puffer identification

Fugu saddle puffer

It can quickly identify from other pufferfish by its unique colouration in the body. The name ‘orange fugu saddle puffer’ also says about one colour present within them already.

Generally, the Fugu saddle puffer has an olive-green back with a white belly. They also have big orange colour eyes. And you can find thick black colour two dots on either side of the fish, where it connected by a thin line and those two dots outlined with orange to yellow coloured.

These two dots can be seen just above and behind the two pectoral Fins if you look at the tail near the dorsal fin.

There is another black dot outline with a yellow to orange colour. This specific feature can use to distinguish it from other puffer varieties, and I hope you got the point.

Note: Sometimes, you may get mislead with related puffer variety Takifugu obscurus ( obscure puffer).

But when it was smaller, you will not face this as it grows up to about 16 inches. Therefore you can easily identify them separately; there outline colour of black dots also differ in Takifugu obscurus. It varies from cream coloured to white, not orange to yellow like in fugu saddle puffer.

Read more Spotted Congo Puffer.

Gender differentiation of Fugu saddle puffer

Experts say that gender identification is quite difficult until it is in the breeding season.

Both have the same appearance, and during the breeding period, you can identify the belly area of females larger than its consecutive male.

There is no other way to identify it separately. But don’t get confused thinking you can not breed them in home aquaria. There are experts related to this; you can refer to them.

Tank Environment and water conditions:

If I ask you, where should these fish be kept? Marine water or freshwater? We can not give the exact answer for this as during breeding season and juveniles can be found in wild freshwater bodies and as adults live in extreme or heavy saltwater.

So if you are going to keep an orange saddle puffer better to use brackish to heavy saltwater, and they much prefer having a sandy substrate, as they can easily catch prey while hiding in those sandy substrates.

Be sure you have given them a lot of swimming space because they need much space. Usually, to get an idea 55 gallon of the water tank can use to rear them.

In the beginning, having a 30-gallon tank is enough for Fugu breeding. When selecting tank mates, select fast swimmers, the later part, I’ll discuss this in much detail continue reading.

These fish produce lots of waste as they are messy eaters, and you should need to have good filtration within the tank unless ammonia and nitrate can cause harm to the fish as they are sensitive to it.

When it comes to water parameters, the water temperature should be 73-80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they are very comfortable in the 75-78 F range. PH of water should be 7.9-8.4 prefered.

You should pay special attention to the salinity of the water. And 1.010-1.024 salinity normally required. KH to be between 7-12. So if you well maintained above conditions, you can easily keep them within home aquaria.


  • Temperature – 73-80F
  • PH – 7.9- 8.4
  • salinity – 1.010- 1.024
  • KH – 7-12
  • The hardness of water – moderate

Note: As many pet stores sold fugu saddle as freshwater fish, please be aware of that! And if you buy such a way, you have to give them saltwater conditions later on. If not, they will die due to stress. I hope you got the point.

Taki fugu puffer size

Actually, well-grown fish has a size of six inches, and they are now shipping around the world. If you wish to ship them as a store owner size of 3-4 inches is recommended.

Fugu saddle puffer tank mates:

As I mentioned earlier, fast swimmers are mostly prefered. For example, fast-swimming fish like Bala shark and danios will be well matched because these Fugu fish tends to eat small fish. And they easily catch the slow swimmers.

Note: This orange saddle fugu has a long lifespan of about 10 years. When we consider their growth has slow growth, compare to the other pufferfish varieties.

When it comes to behaviour:

They, too, have some adaptations like inflating body similar to the other pufferfish. It happens when they get frightened, or any treat is coming towards them.

Usually, they inflate the body by taking water, and it looks 2-3 times bigger than their average body size. So they can get rid of any potential predators, and difficult to eat them.

In the world, only a few fish can blink or close their eyes. Taki fugu puffer can blink their eyes, so we can count it as a unique characteristic feature of them.

They also aggressive towards small fish sometimes; they eat these small fish, that is why I earlier told not to select slow swim tank mates.

Orange saddle puffer breeding

Commonly there are several facts about breeding them in aquariums. But we can point out that you can find many stores selling those fish if you search on the internet. It confirmed that they could be easily breeding within home aquaria.

It reported that in 1997 within the captivity of Nanjing university, they have been successfully bred.

So no other evidence need to prove it.

In the wild, they are mostly breeding in freshwater bodies close to the lagoons and river bounds. If you wish to breed them, it is advisable to first take knowledge from a exert and then breed in freshwater. Suppose you have already breed comment below to know others as well.

Fugu saddle puffer diet and feeding

As I earlier told, they are messy eaters. You can see them always begging for food. The advantage over that is you can easily feed them. You can be fed them with live or frozen shrimp, blood worms, krill, scallops, mussels, clams, shellfish, snails etc. therefore, as fish keeper can easily look after them.

Do you know, Taki fugu puffer eats by human?

Orange saddle fugu puffer poison? What do you know about that? If they are toxic, how can we eat them?

There may be lots of questions for you, let us see; Yes, they are poison, even they are deadlier than the cyanide. The reason for this is Taki fugu pufferfish, most of the body parts contain neurotoxin tetrodotoxin as the same poison you can found in notorious blue-ringed octopus.

Even if you consume in minor quantities can be led to ultimate dead or lifetime paralysis.

Even though we say it poison, it is delicious food in Japan. Actually, it is prepared by highly trained chefs. You and I can not cook that even do not try!.

At the beginning of the article, as I told my friend who sends me a photograph still alive, oops.! So I also need to try it one day.


Fugu saddle puffer is a fascinating fish to be kept in a home aquarium. After reading this, you may have some favour towards that, do not wait for start today keeping fugu.

You can have them all over around the internet; there are many stores where online purchasing available.

First, read this article and have some knowledge before the keeping, then start fugu keeping.

Happy fish keeping!










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