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Bornean red-eye puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)

Bornean Red-Eye Puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)

Bornean Red-Eye Puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)

Bornean Red-Eye Puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)

The Bornean Red-Eye Puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis) is a colorful species of puffer fish that is found exclusively in the tropical rain forests of the South Skrang river, in the State of Sarawak, Borneo.

The Bornean Red-Eye Puffer is similar to Carinotetraodon lorteti that is also found in Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The main difference between the two species is the reddish tail fin that is exhibited by Carinotetraodon lorteti.  The tail of the Bornean Red-Eye Puffer is relatively colorless.

The term “Red-Eye Puffers” is used by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts to describe a colorful quartet of puffer species that are sold under that general name.  It is represented by Carinotetraodon irrubesco, Carinotetraodon salivator, Carinotetraodon borneensis and Carinotetraodon lorteti of which C. lorteti is the most sought after.

The appeal of these puffers is mostly for their brilliant colors which change with their mood.  Male Bornean Red-Eye Puffers have a red dorsal fin and an orange or red ventral keel which becomes more vibrant during mating or when they show aggression. They have red eyes, yellowish bands across their backs, and a gray, blue to black tail trimmed with a white border.   Bornean Red-Eye Puffers have 12 – 13 soft dorsal rays, 11 – 13 soft anal rays and 16 – 17 vertebrae.   Their colors become more pronounced in a dimly lit aquarium.

Some Bornean Red-Eye Puffers are very aggressive, while others can be very shy.   All of them are generally very territorial. They remain inactive during daylight hours and become active hunters when the lights go out.

Like many other Southeast Asian fish, Bornean Red-Eye Puffers do best in soft, very warm, highly filtered, and slightly acidic water.  They cannot tolerate nitrites, nitrates or ammonia and because of their messy eating habits, must have highly filtered aquarium water.

These puffers are generally shy and enjoy a densely planted aquarium with driftwood, rock caves, and plenty of hiding places, with a sand or very fine gravel substrate.

The Bornean Red-Eye Puffer is relatively easy to feed.  They will eagerly eat most small invertebrates such as krill, snails, ghost shrimp, mussels, clams, and frozen bloodworms.   They do not seem to be plagued by overgrown teeth like most other puffer fish but some pond snails or other crunchy food fed on a regular basis will ensure their dental health.

Red-Eye Puffers are most active after dark, so feeding them in the late evening or early morning will minimize the amount leftovers in the tank.  To keep the water quality as clean as possible, avoid over feeding.

Male Bornean red-eye puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)

Male Bornean red-eye puffer (Carinotetraodon borneensis)








Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Moderately difficult
Temperament: Aggressive, nocturnal hunter
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Hardy
Water Conditions: 73-80° F, 6-16 °d , kH 5-10, pH 6.0-7.8
Max. Size: 2″
Color Form: Brown, Red
Diet: Carnivore
Origin: Only in Southern Sarawak, Borneo
Family: Tetraodontidae
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate


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