MBU pufferfish (Giant Ma-Boo Puffer)

The MBU pufferfish is a beautiful, big, intelligent species, a real water pet, as this puffer fish will recognize its caretaker over time. This puffer becomes huge, up to 70 cm in captivity and it is therefore the biggest freshwater puffer fish species in the world. It has large teeth, allowing it to break through hard shells of clamps and crustaceans.

It is important to regularly provide this fish with hard shell food in order to sharpen its teeth, otherwise you will have to bring it to the veterinarian in due time to have its teeth clipped (Enameloplasty). An interesting fact is that the scientific name of the family this species belongs to is ‘Tetraodontidae’ and it actually refers to the unique teeth of this group of puffers. Four large teeth, looking more like plates, so powerful it can crush through hard shell animals like crustaceans and mollusks. 

Be aware that adult MBU pufferfish consume impressive amounts of food in a single day, adding a lot of waste to the water, requiring a huge, efficient filter. Also expect a high monthly food bill for whoever has the privilege to take care of such an amazing species. Another big challenge comes in providing the puffer with a suitable tank. We are talking at least 250 cm wide, 120 cm deep and 60 cm high for this species to comfortably move around.

Their personality is as big as their size, a very energetic fish, most of them real sweethearts with an occasional aggressive one in between. There are plenty of examples online of MBU’s living peacefully with other fish in community tanks, even with guppy’s. In our own experience the puffer is a peaceful fish, unlike the Fahaka puffer who seems to be much more intolerant of sharing its tank with other fish. When the MBU feels threatened it can puff up into a giant balloon by pumping water inside its stomach.

They like soft sand substrate to dig in and rest or hover over and venture in search for food, by blowing water into the sand. They love planted tanks but make sure not to add any sharp edged objects (wood, gravel, etc.) because it can injure itself when startled. Because of its delicate skin (no scales for protection) the MBU puffer is more susceptible to diseases than other fish. Therefore provide the MBU with a nutritious diet including snails, mollusks, shellfish, mussels, clams, crayfish, crabs, worm and shrimp.

LATIN NAMESIZE
Tetraodon mbuIn captivity up to 70 cm.
REGIONWATER CONDITIONS
From the rivers and lakes (Lake Tanganyika) in central Africa, the Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia, and BurundiTemperature: 24 – 28 °C
pH: 7,0 – 8,0 (7,5 is ideal)
FUN FACT
Some people call this pufferfish the waterdog, because it wiggles its tail like a happy puppy when the caretaker enters the room, sometimes even spilling water over the edge of the tank. 

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