13 Fahaka Puffer Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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If you know anything about the Fahaka pufferfish, you know that it’s not recommended to keep it in a community tank. This carnivorous predator can grow up to 18 inches and requires at least 100 gallons for itself.

It is also hyper-aggressive and intolerant of other tank companions, causing it to either consume or relentlessly attack any tankmate.

But few people know that Fahaka’s personality varies from one fish to the next. Not all Fahaka pufferfish are equally as aggressive or intolerant.

Some can adapt to a community life within certain limits and with a bit of preparation.

It’s also worth noting that juvenile Fahakas are more tolerant of other tank companions than adults.

So, here are some potential tankmates that you can consider for your Fahaka puffer:

1. School of Tetras

Tetras are cute, small, and adaptable fish species that enjoy living in larger schools. These fish only grow up to 1.5 inches and can live up to 10 years in optimal conditions.

Naturally, sharing their habitat with a Fahaka predator doesn’t exactly qualify as ideal conditions, but we’ll get to that.

Tetras are omnivorous fish, so they aren’t too pretentious about their food. If you want them to be safe and calm in a Fahaka tank, make sure you have a large group, preferably more than 12-15.

The environment should also have plants and underwater decorations for the tetras to use as escaping gates if the Fahaka puffer misbehaves.

Compatibility Level – Low

In theory, tetras can hold their ground in the face of Fahaka aggression. They rely on numbers to intimidate or confuse the attacker and will spread fast throughout the environment to break the line of sight.

Even so, the Fahaka is a relentless killer. If it turns violent, there will be blood.

Fortunately, tetras breed easily and are cheap, allowing you to buy them in bulk if necessary. So, at least you have that going great for you.

2. Denison Barbs

Denison barbs are larger and can use their size to intimidate the more aggressive Fahaka. Due to them being bigger, they’re unlikely to appear as prey to the Fahaka unless the size discrepancy is significant. So, avoid adding juvenile barbs to your Fahaka tank, to begin with.

Barbs are easy to care for and also enjoy a community life. Denison barbs thrive in larger schools of at least 6 individuals, which will provide them with increased safety and comfort.

Keeping your barbs in a school will make them more energetic and courageous when it comes to exploring their habitat and facing any potential aggressors like the Fahaka.

Pro tip: check the temperature compatibility between the 2 species. The maximum comfort temperature for barbs sits at 77 F, preferably slightly lower.

Fahaka pufferfish require a temperature range of 75-82 F. Make sure there’s no conflict of interest in this sense.

Compatibility Level – Moderate

Denison barbs are larger than tetras, so they won’t be as easily intimidated. Especially when living in a larger group capable of taking care of itself.

Just make sure you don’t overcrowd your barbs; a group of 6 requires at least 55 gallons, so you can keep 10 in a 100-gallon, Fahaka-oriented tank.

3. Rainbow Kribs

These peaceful and vibrant fish can make for great tankmates for your Fahaka pufferfish. Rainbow kribs are beautiful with their flashy fins and red bellies and are generally peaceful and easy-going. They can grow to 4 inches and are easy to keep and maintain.

Prepare them an omnivorous meal plan and aquascape their environment properly to provide them with security and comfort.

Rainbow kribs can share space with other members of their species and require a sandy substrate, plenty of live plants, and a lot of rocky decorations for hiding and exploration purposes.

Incidentally, these elements also protect the kribs from any aggressive tankmates like the Fahaka.

Compatibility Level – High

I would deem these great for your Fahaka tank, but only if you properly craft the tank’s layout. If you like your kribs and want them to survive, you need to make them the stars of the tank. In other words, you should aquascape the environment to accommodate them first and then the Fahaka.

Add a thick sandy substrate because these fish are notorious diggers that like to bury themselves in the sand.

Plants and rocks are a must, providing the kribs with the shelter they need in case of danger.

4. Silver Dollar

Silver dollars are the perfect community fish, given that they love dwelling in large, compact schools. You need at least 6-8 of them to create a secure and bonding community for a plus of comfort.

These are peaceful and hardy fish that can adapt to any setting, provided you ensure stable and optimal water conditions.

Silver dollars grow up to 6 inches and rank as herbivorous fish, although meaty foods are recommended as occasional treats, once or twice per week.

Remember that these fish are overly timid, even in a group. To put their mind at ease, you should craft their habitat accordingly.

More plants, rocks, and aquatic decorations are necessary to aquascape a personalized habitat with plenty of hiding areas.

Compatibility Level – Moderate

These fish can thrive in a Fahaka tank thanks to their size, robust composure, group dwelling, and overall temperament. Silver dollars will mostly avoid all tankmates if possible, as they are naturally shier than most species.

This means that they need various hiding spots to remain safe and comfortable. Especially when sharing space with an aggressive specimen like the Fahaka.

5. Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese algae eaters rank as the most controversial entries on this list, so I gave a lot of thought before adding it. These fish can reach 6 inches and qualify as staple tank cleaners in the aquarium business. Their name says it all.

These fish enjoy cleaning the tank of algae and like to live in larger groups if possible. They are energetic, joyful, and fast swimmers, allowing them to get in hiding fast in case the situation demands it.

The problem is that Siamese algae eaters are next to impossible to breed in home aquariums and can get pricey, depending on the specimen. You can get a juvenile Siamese algae eater at prices between $5 and $10 per specimen.

This may not sound like much, but you’re housing the fish with a Fahaka. So, you will inevitably get some KIA algae eaters over time which can be difficult to replace.

Compatibility Level – Low/Moderate

In theory, you can make it work. These fish are snappy and can get out of the danger’s way fast, so long as the environment allows them to.

Add more live plants and decorations to your tank to provide your Siamese algae eaters with more escape routes in case of need, and hope for the best.

You should also have several of them in the tank so that the fish can use their numbers and fast swimming to confuse their attacker(s).

Finally, if your Fahaka puffer appears overly aggressive towards your Siamese algae eaters, consider removing them from the environment altogether to mitigate losses.

6. Plecos

These tank cleaners are great for any freshwater setting. You have over 150 different species of plecos to choose from, so choose wisely.

Especially in terms of size, given that plecos range between 4 and 25 inches, depending on the species.

These catfish rank as bottom-dwelling scavengers that keep a low profile for the most part. They aren’t exactly fast swimmers, so they rely on camouflage to keep a low profile and avoid detection.

This is why most plecos showcase darker colors, often with spotter or irregular patterns to blend in their environment.

These are omnivorous scavengers that can consume a variety of foods and can adapt to a variety of setups. This makes them great for Fahaka puffer tanks, given that they will contribute to the ecosystem’s cleanliness and stability.

Compatibility Level – Moderate/High

A very important point to mention here – the catfish’s size is the most reliable predictor in terms of compatibility with the Fahaka. I suggest going for a large species like Plecostomus (Hypostomus Plecostomus), which can grow up to 24 inches.

Such a fish won’t mind the presence of the Fahaka, especially if it has a lot of room at its disposal.

Provide the fish with a rich home and sufficient food for it never to leave the substrate area, and it will adapt to the habitat quickly.

7. Black Ghost Knifefish

This is probably one of the most intriguing entries on this list. The black ghost knifefish is a carnivorous species that can grow up to 20 inches and live up to 15 years in optimal aquarium conditions.

It ranks as semi-aggressive, which is to be expected from a carnivorous animal and is most active at nighttime.

This fish has no scales, so it relies heavily on its environment to protect itself. You need a variety of rocks, crevices, driftwood, and plants to craft a comfortable and secure habitat for your knifefish.

You require at least 100 gallons to accommodate an adult ghost knifefish.

Compatibility Level – High

The main factor that makes Fahaka pufferfish and ghost knifefish compatible is their physiological difference. One is diurnal, and the other is nocturnal, so they’re unlikely to meet very often in the tank.

Not to mention, the ghost knifefish is a more timid animal that likes to spend its time in hiding, especially during the day.

It also helps that the fish is often larger than the Fahaka puffer, so it’s unlikely that the pufferfish will ever challenge it. Especially if the fish have sufficient space to avoid each other.

8. Elephant Nose Fish

The elephant nose fish is the most exotic-looking species you can get. This torpedo-shaped bottom feeder can grow up to 9 inches in length and looks like a mix between a fish, a bird, and a miniature elephant.

This fish uses electrolocation to find its prey and avoid predators and relies on its fiery temperament to intimidate attackers.

The elephant nose fish ranks as aggressive, which makes for an unusual contrast with its cute and awkward look.

This fish requires an omnivorous diet and a low-light environment with plenty of live plants around. Provide the elephant fish with a sandy substrate and plenty of hiding areas for it to use when stressed.

Compatibility Level – Moderate

It’s unlikely that the Fahaka puffer will get into territorial fights with the elephant fish, primarily because they will usually avoid each other. The 2 species require space and plenty of hiding areas and decorations to break the line of sight between them.

That being said, it’s worth remembering that both the Fahaka and the elephant nose rank as aggressive species.

They’re likely to interact violently when stumbling across each other. Always monitor their interactions to keep the risk of violence as low as possible.

9. Clown Loaches

It’s difficult to resist adding a few clown loaches into your tank, but you need to approach the situation intelligently.

These fish can reach 12 inches and live up to 25 years in optimal conditions. Especially when kept in schools.

These fish are omnivorous but prefer live foods, which make up more than 80% of their diet. They can also consume frozen foods, flakes, and pellets, but this varies between different specimens.

Clown loaches are more likely to be active after dark, but they can also showcase some activity during the day.

They require a lush ecosystem to explore and hide when stressed, which is likely to happen in a Fahaka tank.

Compatibility Level – Moderate

Clown loaches are peaceful and unlikely to fight back when threatened. Keeping these fish in schools is imperative to provide them with an improved sense of security and comfort.

Also, keep in mind that clown loaches are bottom dwellers for the most part. Invest in a soft and fine substrate to protect the fish’s sensitive skin and keep them well-fed and in good water conditions.

Clean waters are vital for clown loaches, given that they are prone to contracting Ich and other conditions related to improper water parameters.

10. Red tail Shark

Red tail sharks make for an amazing addition to the tank. Few fish can deliver such presence and impact despite only coming in 2 colors. The red tail shark is completely black with a bright-red tail and a fiery personality.

These fish can grow up to 6 inches tops, which is 3 times less than your adult Fahaka puffer. Despite that, the red tail shark is more than qualified to handle the pufferfish’s aggressive tendencies.

That’s because red tail sharks are highly territorial and aggressive and will poke, attack, and even hurt more peaceful and sensitive fish trespassing its territory.

It may not sound like an overly bright idea to pair the aggressive redtail shark with the even more aggressive Fahaka puffer, but, hey, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

Compatibility Level – Moderate

This one is tricky due to the red tail’s feisty temperament. Fahaka puffers generally vary in terms of aggression, as some specimens are more aggressive than others. This isn’t the case with the red tail shark since they are all aggressive and intolerant.

This can be good when pairing the fish with a semi-aggressive Fahaka that can simply back off when told.

But it can be a problem if the pufferfish matches the redtail in terms of violent tendencies. Monitor your fish to assess their dynamics and, more importantly, aquascape their habitat with care.

Life plants and rocky decorations are key to minimizing the fish’s aggressive tendencies.

11. Boesemani Rainbow

The Boesemani rainbowfish is everything that the redtail shark isn’t. This is a peaceful and versatile species with a well-developed sense of community. The 4-inch fish is gorgeous with its compact, multi-colored body and thick, armored scales.

The fish has a sharp snout with a strong body and a color gradient changing hues from tail to head.

Consider keeping these fish in compact shoals of at least 8 specimens for a plus of comfort and security.

These omnivorous fish don’t require much in terms of care and long-term maintenance, but they require stable water conditions to thrive and achieve their full potential.

Compatibility Level – High

Boesemani fish rely on 2 primary tools to cope with a larger and more aggressive tankmate: each other and their speed.

Boesemani fish like to live in shoals, relying on their numbers to intimidate or scare off predators. They are also snappy and adept swimmers and can get out of harm’s way in the blink of an eye.

Furthermore, you can add plants and decorate the fish’s tank adequately to minimize the risk of violent interactions.

12. Rainbow Shark

The rainbow shark is similar in appearance and size to the red tail shark, with a few notable mentions. The rainbow shark has a slimmer body and showcases more color variation.

Most specimens display a mix of brown, black, and red with red fins and a dark spot near the tail.

The fish can grow up to 6 inches and requires 50 gallons to thrive. These omnivorous bottom dwellers need a lot of swimming space to satisfy their curiosity and need for physical workout.

They also rank as semi-aggressive and territorial, which makes them pretty much incompatible with any other tankmate. Except for the Fahaka and other, similarly aggressive fish species.

Rainbow sharks need a tankmate that would put them in place and temper their alpha behavior a bit.

Compatibility Level – Moderate/High

Generally, you want to pair your Fahaka puffers with more aggressive fish that would stand their ground and not become victims. The same goes for the rainbow shark.

These 2 are perfect for each other on paper but don’t take this for granted. Always assess their interactions and daily dynamics to prevent excessive violence.

Also, add more plants, rocks, decorations, and any other elements that could break the line of sight between the fish and diversify the habitat a bit. But this tip has become the norm by now.

13. Blood Parrot Cichlids

The blood parrot cichlid looks like an oversize goldfish and is basically a hybrid. In other words, the species itself has been created in captivity via human-guided selective breeding.

The proposed parents are the Midas cichlid and the Gold Severum cichlid, although nothing’s for certain.

This fish will reach 10 inches in some cases and inhabits the bottom-to-mid area of the tank. You need approximately 30 gallons for one fish, with 10 more gallons for each new blood parrot coming into the mix.

This cichlid isn’t exactly social in nature, but it can tolerate the presence of other parrot cichlids, provided they have sufficient swimming space.

Compatibility Level – Low/Moderate

The main problem is the fish’s gentler attitude. Despite being a cichlid, the blood parrot is generally peaceful and docile and ranks as a slow swimmer. So, the fish won’t be able to compete for food in case your Fahaka puffer aims to assert its dominance.

I wouldn’t recommend keeping a blood parrot with a Fahaka puffer, but you can make it work, I guess.

Just add more hiding areas and plants to keep your cichlid comfortable, and always feed it separately from your pufferfish. This is to prevent food-related competition, which will never favor the cichlid.

Are Fahaka Puffers Good Tank Mates?

Generally, no, they’re not. Fahaka pufferfish tend to be territorial and aggressive and can rarely coexist with other fish species.

That being said, not all puffers are the same. Some Fahaka pufferfish are more tolerant than others, so it all varies from one situation to the next.

Always ask for more information about your Fahaka puffer before buying it. The goal is to ensure you’re getting a more tolerant and calmer fish that you can include in a community setup.

Tips on Keeping Fahaka Puffer in a Community Tank

I will start by saying that you’ve embarked on a perilous and uncertain journey. Fahaka puffers aren’t built for that community life, given that they are generally territorial and aggressive. That being said, there are some fixes to consider.

These include:

  • Tweaking the layout – More plants, more rocks, more caves, more hiding spots. These are absolutely necessary for accommodating your fish and creating a stable and violence-free environment. Doing so doesn’t guarantee anything, but at least it decreases the risks of fish-on-fish violence.
  • Mind the size – Fahaka puffers are more likely to attack smaller fish species because it views them as prey. Fahaka’s ideal tankmates should be as close to them in size as possible.
  • Juvenile Fahakas – Juvenile Fahakas are generally more peaceful and tolerant than adults. Always buy your Fahakas young to give them time to familiarize themselves with other fish. This will reduce the risk of them turning aggressive towards their tank mates.
  • Water quality and diet – Fahakas are less likely to become aggressive if they’re well-fed and kept in ideal conditions. Provide the fish with optimal tank maintenance and satiating and nutritious meals to decrease their aggression.
  • More space – You can never have enough space when creating a Fahaka-oriented community tank. One adult Fahaka requires at least 100 gallons for itself, so you need to consider close to 200 gallons or more for a community setup.

Also, make sure that your Fahaka pufferfish is healthy and happy. Stressed or sick pufferfish tend to get more violent and irritable.

As a closing note – Fahaka pufferfish can be deceiving in terms of personality and temperament. It’s well-known that Fahaka pufferfish can be peaceful as juveniles, but turn extra violent as adults.

Always keep this duality in the back of your mind when thinking about including the pufferfish in a community tank.


As an overall advise, I would keep the Fahaka pufferfish alone. Or, at least, pair it with cheap and disposable tankmates that you can replace with ease.

Fahakas are vicious predators with extremely short fuses; always expect the worst.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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