How Many Times Can A Pufferfish Puff Before It Dies

How Many Times Can A Pufferfish Puff Before It Dies?

Pufferfish is a unique type of fish that puffs up if it feels any danger around it. It is a kind of self-protective mechanism so that they can defend their bodies against any harm. 

How Many Times Can A Pufferfish Puff Before It Dies? There is no specific number of pufferfish puffing in its lifetime. You should make sure that your pufferfish stay relax and do not puff up so much. Pufferfish puff whenever there is some danger to its body. Also, in less oxygen, they inflate their body and try to cope with their fear. They have a high amount of tetrodotoxin when they inflate, which can be three times more harmful to humans.

They can immediately expand their body within minutes as a defense mechanism. There is no number of limitations that it has to inflate this much time before death.

They puff whenever they feel any danger. When they are puffing up their body they are becoming extremely dangerous for their predators so that no one can kill them.

Sometimes, this puffing behavior is also dangerous for the fish itself and even causes death because of toxins’ release. 

How Many Times Can A Pufferfish Puff Before It Dies?

Pufferfish becomes three times bigger than that of their original size when someone threatens them. When they feel anxious about their life, they try to gulp a lot of water in their body. 

Pufferfish are toxic and become more toxic when they are bloating their body. So, you must make sure that there are no issues with your fish so that it may not puff its body again and again.

Causes Of Pufferfish Puffing Up

The threat is one of the major causes of fish puffing up in the aquarium. This threat can be the fear of any bird or cat, or even if it is not comfortable with you and you are touching it, it also takes the stress. 

Furthermore, if the oxygen levels in aquarium water are very less then the fish also puff up. In the inflated state, its body is taking oxygen inside its body through the skin.

The breathing process is occurring, but it is through its inflated body’s skin pores. This process continues until the fish deflates its body. 

If your fish is feeling any danger about saving its life, it will definitely puff, and the quantity of poison will increase in its body. 

Do Pufferfish Die When They Puff Up

Actually, it is not the puffing that makes them dead. It is actually their extreme levels of stress and tetrodotoxin poison in the body which disturb the fish. 

In only some of the cases, fish die because of extreme stress and inflation. Like if some predator is coming to eat the fish, it will take extreme stress. You can add this aquarium decoration (Amazon) to make them feel happy.

They inflate themselves so much that the stress levels exceed their normal limit and they die inflated. After some time, the water-filled in their belly release. 

Not each fish die after puffing up except for a few cases. Always do your best that your pufferfish don’t take any stress.

What Do Pufferfish Fill Up With?

Pufferfish inflate by gulping a lot of water in their body. Some people think that they take in air into their bodies. 

But it is not the air; actually, it is water which is filled in their body. Such a large quantity of air is not engulfed by water quickly. 

The aquarium water is taken up by the fish in their mouth, which they release as such in a clean form in an aquarium. 

The other organs of the pufferfish become flat and set aside when they are puffed up. After the release of water, pressure from all organs finishes, and they come to their normal state. 

How does a Pufferfish Deflate?

When all of the danger goes away, and the fish is relax, it deflates by releasing all of the water in a tank.

The water coming out of their mouth is clean water because it comes back directly from their bodies. Sometimes just the little pieces of waste come out. 

Are Pufferfish Poisonous to Touch?

Pufferfish has a poisonous substance in it, which is known as tetrodotoxin. This toxin is three times more dangerous than that of cyanide, a powerful killer. 

It can kill 30 humans at a time, but if and only if you consume it. If the fish is not releasing any liquid, then there is no harm to touch it. 

If it is releasing some strange fluid, then do not touch it at this state. If you have a pet fish and it is comfortable with you, it will not harm you. 

But if the fish is afraid of you, you should not hold its inflated mass in your hands. There are different species of pufferfish and their levels of toxicity. 

The pufferfish having spines on their skin are most dangerous to touch. Its spines can hurt your hand, so avoid touching that fish, especially when it is puffed up. 

It is preferred to touch all types of pufferfish with the help of some thick gloves so that no harm occurs to your skin.

Do Dwarf Pufferfish Inflate?

Yes, all of the pufferfish have the ability to puff. There are so many young puffers who learn to puff in time of danger.

Actually, they are also lazy fish which can not swim fast when there is some danger. They inflate as self-defense and do nothing. 

They become thrice of their normal size and feel safe after becoming big but take stress if the danger is more.

What Happens If You Force Pufferfish to Deflate? 

You should not force a pufferfish to release all of the water from its belly because it releases water itself after the danger is gone. 

If you forcefully make the fish release water, then the stress will increase more. It can also cause the death of your fish, so be careful. 

If your fish is familiar with puffing up its body when you pick it up, you can gently apply pressure to the fish mouth, and it will release all the water itself.

Do Puffer Fish Die After They Puff Up?

The situation matters a lot. If the danger is extreme and the fish is facing really hard stress trouble, it will inflate more, and it shows its levels of stress.

In such conditions, there are chances of fish death if the danger and stress prolong. Otherwise, with the end of the threatening situation, the fish will become relax and will not die.

Not every puff situation makes the fish dead, but sometimes it does when the case is extreme. Always give a supportive environment to your pufferfish and let it stay calm. 

Which Chemical Do Pufferfish Release?

Pufferfish release a toxin called tetrodotoxin. You should not touch the small spikes formed on the pufferfish because their tips have this poison on it. 

The substance they release is a poison or toxin, not a venom. It is harmful to animals trying to hurt the pufferfish. 

It is also dangerous for humans but only when it is ingested. It is better not to touch the toxin material as a precautionary measure. 

How Long Can A Pufferfish Stay Puffed Up?

Pufferfish take in oxygen in them when you pick them up. The process of breathing keeps going on through their skin. 

They are not holding their breath at the time of puffing. That is why they can stay longer in puff situation. 

They can stay in the puffing situation from three to 20 minutes. Soon after the elimination of dangerous situations, they deflate and become normal. 


It is not okay for the pufferfish to keep puffing all the time because its life expectancy decrease in the way it puffs up many times. Now, you have an idea about how many times can a pufferfish puff. Be sociable to share this information with your friends. 

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