Fish Type: Puffers
Scientific Name: Arothron reticularis
Aggressiveness: Caution Needed
Max Size: 16"
Minimum Tank Size: 150 gal
Relative Care: Easy
Photo Courtesy of Live Aquaria
The Reticulated Puffer is striking in appearance thanks to a wonderfully decorative reticulated (net-like) pattern. Its dark, mossy-brown body color beautifully shows off the intricate pattern to great effect. The attractive Reticulated Puffer is sure to make a great addition for puffer enthusiasts or anyone wanting personality in their larger, fish-only or fish-only-with-live-rock marine aquarium. Featuring both spots and stripes, the Reticulated Puffer may be easily mistaken for the Stars & Stripes Puffer (Arothron hispidus). However, unlike the Stars & Stripes Puffer where the pattern of stripes and spots are delineated between the dorsal and ventral half, the pattern of stripes and spots on the Reticulated Puffer are divided between the anterior and posterior half. The front half of the Reticulated Puffer features a network of stripes while the back half is dotted with a flurry of spots. Typical of Arothron puffers, the base of the pectoral fins is darker in coloration.
Members of genus Arothron, including the Reticulated Puffer, are sometimes called “Fat Puffers” or “Dogface Puffers” exemplify the typical puffer design. Though lacking pelvic fins and a hydrodynamic body shape, puffers are extremely maneuverable and are tenacious and capable predators. Like many “Fat Puffers,” the Reticulated Puffer displays an unusual degree of “intelligence” and “personality” and appears to quickly recognize their owners.
In the wild, the Reticulated Puffer inhabits a wide range of habitats including mangrove swamps, seagrass beds and reef flats. The ideal setup should be an established aquarium 150 gallon or larger with good filtration and a protein skimmer. Aquascape liberally with live rock and other materials to create an environment rich with nooks and crannies, caves and overhangs, while preserving easy access to large open areas. House with fish of similar size and temperament and be aware that the Reticulated Puffer will eat invertebrates found in the aquarium using its fused beak-like teeth to crush open its prey.
The diet of the Reticulated Puffer should include a variety of meaty food including squid, krill, clams, and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth.