Carinotetraodon Irrubesco Pufferfish Care Sheet

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

This care sheet is written with the aim of providing the optimal care for this species of fish.

Pufferfish Enthusiasts Worldwide endeavours to inspire and promote the highest standards of care - not basic or minimum care - using the best evidence available at the time.

Carinotetraodon irrubesco pufferfish
Male Carinotetraodon Irrubesco

The irrubesco is a species of freshwater pufferfish from the Carinotetraodon genus, which is endemic to Indonesia.

It is famous for its red eyes and tail, earning it several common names which include Red-Eye Puffer, Red-Eye Red-Tail Puffer and Red-Tailed dwarf puffer. Females are sometimes referred to as Crested Puffers.

The specific name comes from the Latin word Irrubesco, which means "to be red" or "to grow red".

In the aquarium

Carinotetraodon irrubesco pufferfish
Male Carinotetraodon irrubesco

Owing to their full grown size of just 4.5cm (1.77 inches), the C.irrubesco is a very popular choice of pufferfish for small aquariums.

Imports of wild-caught C.irrubesco are reasonably common in most areas of the world. Although this is a species that has been successfully bred in captivity, most specimens available for sale are wild-caught.

These fish best thrive and exhibit their most natural behaviour in a heavily planted aquarium which offers an abundance of vegetation that will provide harbourage (hiding areas). Large bushy aquatic plants (e.g Java fern), and stem plants (e.g Limnophila sessiliflora) are perfect for creating a dense scape which will give these fish the cover that they need to feel safe and secure. These fish will be much more active in the open areas of the aquarium (in view) if these conditions are met.

Although the tank should be well filtered, these fish do not appreciate a strong flow. The flow in the aquarium should be slow to medium and never overpowering.

Tank size

A single C.irrubesco can be housed in a 40cm x 40cm x 40cm (15.75 inches) tank (64 litres/16.91 US Gallons). For a group of five (read Group Sizes), the tank should be approximately 90cm (35.43 inches) x 35cm (13.78 iches), with a height of 50cm (19.69 inches). This translates to a tank volume of approximately 160 litres or 42.27 US gallons.


It is important that the C.irrubesco is provided with a very soft, sand substrate - at least 2cm deep (0.79 inches) - so the fish is able to wallow (read Notable Behaviour).

Water values

Maintain the following water parameters:

  • PH: 6.0 - 7.5

  • Temp: 22-28°C (71.6 -82.4°F)

  • NH3/NH4+: 0ppm