UniquePetsWiki is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Do Puffer Fish Eat Sea Urchins?

Puffer fish are fascinating creatures that make interesting pets. If you are planning to add sea urchins to your puffer fish’s tank, then it is worth considering the question ‘do puffer fish eat sea urchins?’.

It is always important to determine which species of fish get along and the ones that are natural enemies or predators of each other. 

In this guide, we will tell you exactly whether puffer fish eat sea urchins and if they can be housed together.

Do Puffer Fish Eat Sea Urchins?

Puffer fish do eat sea urchins. Puffers love to eat hard foods and are equipped with sharp teeth and a strong bite force that can crush sea urchins, corals, and shellfish.

In fact, puffer fish are notorious for eating anything that you add to their tanks.  So, if you’re planning to add sea urchins to your pufferfish’s tank, please reconsider the idea.

If you have recently added a puffer fish to an existing tank having sea urchins, please have them separated right away.

Unless you are planning to use sea urchins as a snack for your puffer fish, it is best to keep the two species away from each other.

How Do a Puffer Fish Eat Sea Urchins

Pufferfish come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes and they love hard foods.

They are also equipped with sharp teeth that allow them to easily eat hard foods like crabs and other hard-shelled crustaceans.

Pufferfish’s teeth are fused together to create a beak-like structure that helps them grasp their food easily.

They are also gifted with rather strong jaws that provide them with a  massive bite force. The force of a pufferfish’s bite is almost 62050 pa. This is even greater than the bite force of a piranha which stands at 12065 pa.

Therefore, it isn’t too surprising that puffer fish can easily eat sea urchins. Sea urchins are small sea animals having shells equipped with spines that resemble the sharp spikes of a porcupine. 

To eat a sea urchin, a puffer fish crushes its outer shell with its strong, sharp teeth and easily consumes the tasty and soft insides. Sometimes, they may flip the sea urchin upside down until all of its spikes are eliminated.

This makes the food easier to swallow for the puffer.

What Do Puffer Fish Eat?

Pufferfish eat everything – they are omnivores. They can eat plants and animals. In the wild, puffers eat shrimp, algae, and soft plants. These foods provide them with several nutrients.

In captivity, you can feed your puffer fish pelleted and live food. Your fish will also scrape off any algae that grow on the tank’s walls. This diet can provide your fish with the nutrients it needs.

However,  your pet also needs hard-shelled foods from time to time. This is very important to wear down their sharp teeth.

Check out this cool video of a puffer fish eating a crab to get an idea of how puffers eat hard foods.

For this purpose, you may feed your puffer hard foods like small ghost shrimp and varieties of snails with shells. If you plan to feed live mollusks and clams, keep them in a container of fresh seawater for a few hours to extract their waste.

A varied diet is important to keep your puffer happy and healthy. However, do not feed your puffer daily, rather feed it every 2-3 days. Thrice weekly feedings are optimal for most puffer varieties although small-sized puffers will need less. 

Remember: puffers have expandable stomachs with the capacity to eat a lot of food. Overfeeding can lead to a host of health issues – the chief one being deteriorating water quality.

What Can Live with Puffer Fish?

Pufferfish are best housed alone since they tend to attack other tankmates. They are definitely not community fishes.

Besides, they are an extremely active species. Young puffers are known to dart frantically around the tank creating havoc with tank mates.

According to Ramasamy Santhanam, the author of Biology and Ecology of Toxic Pufferfish, the 

best tank mates for puffer fish are similarly-sized, semi-aggressive fish species like scats, archerfish, and Arius catfish. Alternatively, you can house them with specimens that hide all day such as the Synodontis catfish.

Biology and Ecology of Toxic Pufferfish

Biology and Ecology of Toxic Pufferfish (Biology and Ecology of Marine Life)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Santhanam, Ramasamy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 406 Pages - 12/22/2017 (Publication Date) - Apple Academic Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key Takeaways – Do Puffer Fish Eat Sea Urchins?

Pufferfish can eat sea urchins as they are equipped with sharp teeth and a strong bite force that helps them easily remove the sea urchin’s sharp spikes.

It is best not to house puffer fish with sea urchins – they simply aren’t the best tankmates. We hope this guide helps you get a better understanding of the unique pufferfish.

About UniquePetsWiki

UniquePetsWiki is the preferred educational source on pets favored by experienced herptologists and new owners alike. With hundreds of articles on everything pertaining to pets including reptiles, squirrels, and other pets, our experienced team provides reliable and accurate content you can trust.

From proper husbandry and habitat guidance, to articles on health concerns, diet, and extensive care guides, UniquePetsWiki is here to educate everyone on all pets concerns.


UniquePetsWiki is not a veterinary website, nor should any of the reptile health information on our site replace the advice of a certified veterinary professional. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, contact an experienced veterinarian immediately.

UniquePetsWiki is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.