Leopard puffer fish, also known as the green spotted puffer fish, are brackish water fish with several very unusual qualities, from their origins to their bright colors and living preferences. Due to their aggressiveness and special living condition requirements, leopard puffer fish are better suited to experienced fish hobbyists.
Leopard puffer fish have greenish-yellow and white bodies with black spots. Their scales are leathery and include spines for defense. The colors of the fish vary depending on their living conditions and age. For example, young male leopard puffer fish are brighter than other leopard puffers. Adults can grow up to seven inches in length. Males can be very territorial, and the species is generally aggressive as adults. With proper care, leopard puffer fish have a life expectancy of 10 years.
Leopard puffer fish are found naturally in southeast Asia, in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Their natural habitat includes places where water is slightly salty, such as in streams, freshwater rives and lakes. Leopard puffer fish prefer to live in water with a pH ranging from 7.0 to 8.2 and in water temperatures between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Fish and Tips.
When caring for a leopard puffer fish as a part of your family, its living conditions must meet specific requirements. Newborn and young leopard puffer fish can live in freshwater. However, as they become adults, some salt must be added to their water. About a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water is ample, as high amounts of salt will kill the fish. Leopard puffer fish should be kept alone in their tank as they can be aggressive, but some larger brackish fish -- like silver moony fish -- can be tank mates with them. A 30-gallon tank is ample space for a single leopard puffer. Items to include in a tank are rocks, driftwood and plastic plants, as the fish enjoy having places to hide. Leopard puffer fish prefer dim lighting.
Leopard puffer fish are scavengers who feed on different types of animals. They prefer to feed on unshelled shellfish, worms, prawns, shrimp, snails and mollusks. It's important for leopard puffer fish to maintain their sharp teeth, which is why they eat snails and creatures with tough exoskeletons. They will chew on plants if live ones are available in their tank.
Scientists do not know much about leopard puffer fish breeding in nature. However, there have been successful breeding events in captivity. The fish's eggs are laid on a flat stone and hatch in approximately one week, during which time they are guarded closely by the male fish.