The South American PufferArticle by Joanne Kelly
When most people think of a puffer fish, they tend to think of large, inflatable, puppy-dog eyed fish that are difficult to keep and require a vast amount of tank space. However, there are always exceptions..
As with many fish of variable temperament, you will hear fish keepers claiming to have kept other fish alongside a particular type of puffer - often the massive Mbu puffer is kept with other 'massive' fish and sometimes the green spotted puffers find their way into community tanks. This is not by any stretch of the imagination 'proof' that they are safe fish to mix with other species.
Puffers are unpredictable and there will never be a puffer that is 100% safe with other inhabitants, but Colomesus asellus is a friendlier puffer species for those who would like to keep a fascinating and unusual specimen in their tank.
South American Puffer - Colomesus asellusColomesus asellus, often known as the 'South American Puffer' is one of the best puffers for those who want to think 'community'. The 'bumble-bee like' fish's body is a golden bronze colour with several bands that tend to be a dark brown or black, and a white underbelly. These puffers thrive in groups - provided you have the space - and are fairly common in aquatic stores. Most South American Puffers in captivity rarely exceed the 3inch mark and in a heavily planted Amazonian biotope a shoal of these little creatures are fascinating.
They really do 'buzz' about the tank like bumblebees and have been safely kept with larger tetras (avoiding long-finned species) such as bleeding-hearts and some of the tougher, but peaceful, cichlids such as Kribensis (African) or Bolivian Rams (South American). I tend to keep mine alongside a trio of bristle-nose catfish who keep algae down and are rarely in the way of the puffers.