The mbu puffer (Tetraodon mbu) is a large freshwater puffer fish found throughout the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi, and Cameroon where it inhabits rivers and lakes, including lake Tanganyika. This fish grows to an adult size of 24 to 30 inches long. There are no noticeable differences between males and females.
Mbu puffers should be maintained in an aquarium of 300 to 500 gallons or larger with a footprint of at least 96 inches by 36 inches. A soft, sandy substrate (CS7538) is a good choice. Driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may also be incorporated.
Mbu puffers prefer a temperature of 75°F to 79°F, a pH of 7.0 to 8.0, and a hardness of 10 to 25°H. Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated. Excellent filtration and frequent water changes are a must for good health.
The mbu puffer is a generally aggressive and intolerant fish that should be maintained alone. Its beak-like mouth can easily bite chunks from other fish, or in extreme cases rip them to pieces. It is also very aggressive towards conspecifics and should never be kept in groups or with other species of puffer. In rare cases an individual mbu puffer may tolerate other fish that are fast enough to avoid being caught and eaten.
Mbu puffers are relatively easy to feed fish accepting appropriately sized frozen and live foods. Good choices include frozen clams on the half shell (ON8615), frozen silversides (ON1035), and other frozen seafood as well as live snails, crabs, crayfish, and earthworms. For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.