fish medium level

Carinotetraodon travancoricus (Hora & Nair 1941)

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Carinotetraodon travancoricus is a small freshwater puffer fish, endemic to Kerala and southern Karnataka in Southwest India. It is threatened by overfishing for the aquarium trade, and by habitat loss. This fish have become quite popular as aquarium fish thanks to their attractive colours, small size, the charisma and relative ease of maintenance.

Submitted by
Benedetta Spelta
11.2687550, 76.2056274
Geographical region
Southern Asia
Drainage Basin
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
River mouth
Water body course
Lower course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Type locality
Rambha [Pamba] River, central Travancore, Kerala, India.
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
22-28 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

5 – 25
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
2.5 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
20 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

It is not recommended to keep Carinotetraodon travancoricus in the community tank together with the slow-moving or long-finned fish, as it tends to nip their fins. It’s small size also means it doesn’t compete well for food with more active, vigorous species. It will do well in the planted aquarium decorated with floating plants and driftwood – twisted roots and branches. Keep under control the quality of the water as puffer fishes will suffer from deteriorating water conditions.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Sexually mature females are often noticeably rounder in the body than males, which normally exhibit a pattern of closely-arranged lines just behind the eye. The mature males have a clear dark line running lengthways over much of the ventral surface (underside), which females lack.

Nutrition in Nature

Their diet in the natural environment mainly consists of small animals such as cladocera, rotifers, copepods and insects.


Breeding tank set-up

The breeding tank can be set-up for breeding in pair or in group. In the first case it does not need to be particularly large. It can be filtered with an air-powered filter. The regular small partial water changes are recommended. As for the preferred spawning medium of these fish the Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) or Willow Moss (Fontinalis antipyretica) are the best options.

Nutrition parents

This species relishes all kinds of shellfish, as well as worms and other live and frozen foods. It should be fed small snails (shell on) regularly, in order to maintain its sharp teeth.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

During the courtship the male pursues the female vigorously. If she appears disinterested, the male might bite and nip on her. A successful chase usually ends with the female being driven into a patch of the moss where they come together for a few seconds, releasing eggs and milt simultaneously.

Breeding habits
Hatching period
5 days
Number of eggs in average
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

Initial foods should be very small, motile invertebrates such as microworm. After a week or so the fry should be large enough to accept Artemia naupli and can usually be moved onto larger foods such as frozen bloodworm after a month.

Notes on reproduction

After the spawning the eggs are best removed into a separated tank where it easy to observe their development. The drawbacks with leaving them under the (apparent, but unconfirmed) care of the male are that they may be eaten by other tank inhabitants.