Leiodon Cutcutia Pufferfish Care Sheet

Updated: Nov 5, 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.


The Cutcutia is a species of pufferfish belonging to the Leiodon genus, of which it is the only species.

This species is not very commonly in the aquarium hobby, but it is prized for its small size of only 15cm and intelligence by those who do keep it. They can be remarkably interactive with their owners when settled.

Like many other species of pufferfish, the Leiodon cutcutia previously belonged to the Tetraodon genus, until being reassigned to Leiodon in 2013.

Common names for this species include emerald puffer, red-eye puffer, common puffer and ocellated pufferfish.

In the wild

L.cutcutia is found within ponds, beels, rivers, streams, canals and creeks throughout areas of Southern Asia: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Malay Archipelago. It lurks under the shade of submerged vegetation in low-flow areas within its suitable habitats. Research into the stomach contents of wild caught specimens indicates that this species is a frequent scavenger, which eats insects, parts of other fish and is even an opportunistic cannibal.

Other prey items include freshwater mollusks and other invertebrates.

This species is collected commercially for the aquarium trade, but the number of individuals taken from the wild or the size of wild populations is not known.

The Cutcutia has been assessed and the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) classifies the species as 'Least Concern', as the collection for the ornamental trade is not considered a threat.

In the aquarium

The Cutcutia was one of the first freshwater pufferfish to be kept in captivity after it was first imported from India in 1903. This species was also the first pufferfish to be bred in captivity and successful reports of breeding have continued since. Although this pufferfish is so easily bred in captivity, most of the Cutcutia you will find for sale are probably wild-caught.

This species prefers a scape which includes an abundance of soft leaved aquatic plants and caves for it to hide. Aquatic stem plants, caves and redmoor branches are perfect for creating an aquarium that is reminiscent of its natural habitat.

Stem plants, such as Limnophila sessiliflora (Asian Marshweed), are ideal for creating a soft, shady and dense scape which this species prefers. Such a scape helps them feel secure and contained which will encourage more natural behaviours, bright colouration and confidence.

The flow in the aquarium should be slow to medium and never overpowering.

The tank should always be scaped in the aforementioned fashion.

Tank size

The minimum aquarium size should be at least 40cm x 40cm x 40cm.

This translates to a tank volume of approximately 64 litres (16.91 US gallons).

Water values

Maintain the following water parameters:

  • PH: 6.5 - 7.5

  • Temp: 24-28 °C

  • NH3/NH4+: 0ppm

  • N02: 0ppm