By Bob Goemans
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Porcupinefishes & Burrfishes

 Chilomycterus spinosus (Eye-spot Burrfish)

Chilomycterus spinosus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Eye-spot Burrfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable


These fishes belong in the Order Tetraodontiformes and Suborder Tetraodontoidei as members of the Family Diodontidae (Porcupinefishes & Burrfishes) consisting of 6 genera, and 19 species.

Only 2 genera are of interest to most hobbyists. They are Chilomycterus (Burrfishes) and Diodon (Porcupinefishes). Both have the ability to inflate themselves as a form of passive defense and in doing so, sharp exterior spines are often erected. Their diet consists mainly of large crustaceans and in the aquarium; they will take any type of meaty foodstuffs, including small guppies and mollies.

They also will eat smaller tankmates, ornamental shrimp, crabs, snails, urchins, sea stars, and worms, nip the fins of slow moving tankmates, possibly munch soft corals and mainly feed at night.

None are suited for reef aquariums, and even though some species inadvertently show up in the trade, all are best left in the wild unless a very specific environment suited solely to their needs is the goal.

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