By Bob Goemans
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 Canthigaster punctatissima (Spotted Sharpnose Puffer)

Canthigaster punctatissima
(Gunther, 1870)

Spotted Sharpnose Puffer

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable


These fishes belong in the Order Tetraodontiformes and Suborder Tetraodontoidei as members of the Family Tetraodontidae (Puffers & Tobies) consisting of 2 Subfamilies, 19 genera, and 121 species.

There are two genera of interest to most hobbyists; those called 'Tobies' or Sharpnose Puffers in the Genus Canthigaster, and the 'Dog Faced' Puffers in the Genus Arothron.

Arothron - Pufferfishes are smaller than Porcupinefishes and many species contain a strong toxin, and also have the ability to inflate by ingesting large quantities of air. They do not have pelvic fins, and their front teeth are fused together, yet separated by a gap giving the appearance of having four teeth. In the wild they feed upon snails, tubeworms, crabs, sponges, starfish, clams, shrimp, urchins, tunicates, coral polyps, and algae, including coralline algae.

They will probably need to be dewormed and have their teeth filed to prevent overgrowth, which will inhibit their ability to eat. All are slow swimmers and unable to maneuver quickly.

All members contain a potent tetrodon-toxin in some of their internal organs and skin, which acts like a deterrent to predators. Rarely effects tankmates, but can be released if a corpse is left to decompose in the aquarium, which would kill the remaining fish in the aquarium.

In Japan, the Japanese marine puffer, known as 'fugu' is served as a special delicacy. Those that prepare this foodstuff must be licensed by the Environmental Sanitation Division of the Bureau of Health. A Chef to be must prepare the organs to be eaten, then eat them. If he lives, he gets his license. Different strokes for different folks.

Canthigaster - The Sharpnose Puffers or Tobies, subfamily Canthigastrinae are laterally compressed, taller than wide in cross section and have limited inflation capabilities. There is but a single genus Canthigaster, and it members are readily identified by their elongated, pointed snouts. Canthigasters make for hardy, small (most are less than 4 inches 10 cm), undemanding tankmates... as long as they're not placed with fishes or invertebrates that they may nip chunks out of their flesh.

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