What Happens If Puffer Fish Not Puffed

There is a question on alibaba.com that why their puffer fish not puffed? Sh*t, if you are having the same question. Please please read the article to know more about your pet fish.

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Last update on 2022-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Puffer fish are interesting creatures of the sea and rivers. They can also go by blow fish. The fish family they are part of are the Tetraodontidae and Diodontidae.

They are poisonous when certain parts of their bodies are eaten such as their liver, ovaries, intestines, and testes. Plus, what makes them stand out from other fishes is what they have been named after. They puff up

These fishes can transform themselves into balls with a spiky looking exterior – aka a puff of pufferfish.

puffer fish not puffed
puffer fish not puffed

However, should they be puffing themselves up? Does it hurt them? And what happens if a puffer fish not puffed ever? Hopefully, we can shed some light on these concerns. 

Cute Reptiles as Pets x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Why People Want Puffer Fish To Get Puffed

A puffer fish getting puffed up can be an interesting sight to see. This is why many people would want them to puff up.

It would make for an interesting photo, maybe even award-winning. Plus, it can be an experience to be shared with other fish hobbyists. 

However, it is not good for people to artificially cause them to puff up. It could lead to bad health of the puffer fish. [Source]

Puffing is not good for puffer fish


Therefore, if you are scuba diving and come across a pufferfish it would be best to stay calm and not frighten your puffer fish to puffed.

If you have an underwater camera then taking a photo from a safe distance would work well.

Tanking a underwater camera to have nice photos is well
Tanking a underwater camera to have nice photos is well

However, if you just so happen to catch them when they puff up without your influences then taking a quick shot should not hurt them. 

Plus, if your puffer fish is a pet they may end up feeling threatened by you if you purposely make them puff up. You would not want your pet to fear you. 

What Are The Signs?

When a puffer fish not puffed up they look like a normal fish depending on what type of breed they are.

There are plenty of puffer fish breeds each on with their own style, size, and looks. Many of them have big “puppy-dog” looking eyes with small fins. 

However, when they do puff up they can make their bodies look bigger and rounder like a ball.

They can do this from the time they are born. When they are adults and fully grown they can make themselves look three times bigger.

Plus, it can take at least about 15 seconds to puff up making it a quick response to a situation around them. Some puffer fish may look as if they have spikes when they puff up.  

Why and How Puffer Fish Not Puffed?

The reason why a puffer fish not puffed is that they feel at ease and safe in their environment.

when puffers feel safe in tank, they won't puffed
when puffers feel safe in tank, they won’t puffed

When they feel threatened by a predator they will puff up in order to scare the threat off. 

The roundness and the increase in size could be more difficult for a threat to grab on to them.

Plus, the spikes make them look unappetizing as well as difficult to bite.

This is a defense mechanism in order for the puffer fish to survive in the wild. Many breeds of puffers are quite small or slow making them an easy target. 

They puff up by unhinging their jaws and gulping in a lot of water. This is how they make themselves look bigger as well as give them a rounded shape.

Plus, the roundness could be the reason behind their spins going up giving them a spiky look. 

Sometimes pufferfish may choose to puff up as a way to stretch. This is probably not as common but it may happen at times.

It is quite rare. The main purpose of them puffing up is to look bigger and threatening to try to chase off creatures that wish to eat them.

They would, more likely, be pufferfish not puffed since they would feel and be safe in their environment. In their natural home or their man-made aquarium. 

Is That A Bad Sign Of Puffer Fish Health?

That is a natural occurrence

If a puffer fish puffs up by their own choice as either a way to protect themselves or for a quick stretch.

While it can be a natural occurrence it can cause strain on their bodies. When they gulp water to puff themselves up their skin and stomach stretch which may end up being painful for them.

Much like how people need to stretch their muscles before they work out, the same notion can be applied to puffer fish bodies. 

They might feel stress

Another issue with them puffing out is that it causes them stress. Stress is seen as one of the leading causes of health issues not only for humans but animals as well.

They get stressed before their lives are in danger. Stress is a normal reaction to this type of situation.

Therefore, a puffer fish should only puffer up when they need to and not be forced to by a curious diver or pet owner. 

Your puffer fish will hard to move

Plus, when a puffer fish is two or three times larger than their normal size it is more difficult to move around.

They would just float in the water until they deflate back to their normal size. They deflate by releasing the excess water that they have in their stomach through their mouth.

The same way in and the same way out. It may take some puffer fish about five to six hours before they go back to their normal size

Puffers need about six hours before get back to the normal size after puffed


[Source: https://www.alibaba.com/wiki/e8f8f83c-4bf9-40ea-8382-6d3c24614d31.html]. This could be determined by how threatened they felt. 

In the wild, when they are deflating, they are vulnerable to getting attacked since they cannot move as quickly. And inflating can be extremely tiring for the puffers not to mention the stress they must have felt. Stress can take a lot out of any type of creature both physically and emotionally. 

Read more: can figure 8 live in freshwater

Will puffers dye after puffing?

While the cases of them dying when they puff up is rare it could happen. This all depends on the situation. If they feel extreme stress they will puff up more and more.

Their level of stress can be linked to how big they make themselves inflate. If their stress level stays for a long time or the threat is extreme and does not go away then they may die. Their death could be more linked to stress since stress is one of the greatest causes of death. 

How To Deal With Puffer Fish Not Puffed?

Do not make them puff

If you are a pet owner of a puffer fish than do not make them puffer up. While they can do this as many times throughout their lives as need be it is best not to force it for the giggles.

A puffer fish should only puff up if they feel as if they are going to get attacked not for your amusement. 

a puffer fish feels unsafe and puffed
a puffer fish feels unsafe and puffed

If your puffer fish does puff up the best thing you can do is to wait for them to deflate naturally. Forcing it is not a good idea and could end up leading to more stress on their side as well as your side. And it may even result in their death. 

You should also make sure that your pet puffer fish feel safe in their aquarium. It is important to try to make their home in your house look as natural as possible with the use of rocks, caves, and decorations. Making sure that they are feed when they need to be as this can also helps out a lot.

Reviewing the danger to your puffer

When your pet puffer fish puffs up it may be a good idea to try to move what they view as dangerous out of the way.

This could be a prop that does not sit right with them or another fish in the tank that they do not like. But to do it in a way that they would not notice. But the best course of action would be to wait and make sure they do not get worst. 

If they puff up often or take too long to deflate you may have to consider moving them to another tank.

However, the best thing to do it to speak to an expert and make sure you know what to do before they puff up. 

Give the best environment for your puffer fish

A good tank for your puffers is a good idea to have.

Before getting a tank or change the tank, you need to know that does your puffer fish is sick or not by looking at their signs?

Because of if you move a sick fish together with others. The other puffer fish will get sick as well.

If your pufferfish is sick, make sure you treat it properly before putting it back to the tank.

Last update on 2020-07-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


While a puffer fish puffing up is living up to their namesake it is not a rewarding thing for them to experience. Puffer fish not puffed would be better and safer for them.

A puffer in danger will make themselves bigger which can cause stress and strain on their bodies. Keeping them relaxed and feeling safe goes a long way to having a happy, healthy, pet puffer. 

Knowing why they puff up can help you in getting rid of the threat so that they can stop straining their bodies.

Plus, while a round fish may look interesting do not cause it to be so. Would you like it if someone put you under enormous stress and feeling unsafe for a joke or out of curiosity? You would probably not and this logic applies to puffer fish as well.

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