10 Valentini Puffer Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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The Valentini Pufferfish is one of the most fascinating saltwater fish in the aquarium trade. This carnivorous species is quite easy to care for, although it has special dietary needs.

This puffer needs hard-shelled seafood like clams and shrimp to blunt its growing teeth. Its spotted and striped body adds a lot of interest to the tank.

Plus, this species is among the more peaceful puffers out there. Thanks to its more laid-back personality, you can easily find a lot of compatible tank mates.

There are a few things worth considering though. The fish you choose must have similar personalities, sizes, and water parameters.

Valentini Pufferfish are semi-aggressive. They can be territorial and a little touchy. They feel threatened easily, and in that case, they might become hostile to other tank mates.

For this reason, the fish you choose must also be semi-aggressive. You’ll need tank mates that can stand their ground against an agitated pufferfish.

Valentinis grow up to 4 inches long. Their tank mates should be roughly the same size. This reduces the chances of the other fish in the community tank getting hurt.

The fish you choose can also be slightly larger, as long as they aren’t very aggressive. Valentini Pufferfish are also incompatible with long-finned fish. They have a reputation for being fin-nippers.

With regards to water parameters, this species has a rather narrow range of tolerable temperature, pH, or hardness. The temperature should be 72-78°F. Water pH can range between 8.0-8.5, and water hardness levels can fall between 8-12 dGH.

The salinity can be 1.022-1.024 SG. The fish you choose for the community tank should be able to tolerate these values.

So, temperament, size, and water parameters are the main things you should think about when searching for tank mates. If this sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry!

No need to do all the research on your own. Just take a look at the following list, where I’ve included some of the most compatible species:

1. Blue Tang

The Blue Tang is a bit of a celebrity in the aquarium hobby, all thanks to movies like “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory”.

Their vibrant blue colors and interesting flattened body shape draw attention in any saltwater aquarium.

I think they contrast quite nicely with the round puffers. Coincidentally, these species are also highly compatible.

Here’s how the Blue Tang compares:

  • Personality: These fish are considered semi-aggressive. Like all tangs, they can become very territorial and competitive. That’s mostly against other tangs though. When kept with different species, they’re actually peaceful, docile, and shy.

When bullied or confronted, the Blue Tang tends to flee to safety. However, they aren’t too mellow either. They can fight back, if necessary! The Blue Tang won’t go out of its way to harass any puffers, as long as there’s enough space in the aquarium.

  • Size: This fish grows up to 10-12 inches long! Now, that’s obviously a lot larger than any Valentini Puffer. Still, the huge size difference shouldn’t be a problem. Blue Tangs don’t eat other fish, and they certainly don’t hunt for their food! However, given their proportions, you’ll need a very large aquarium, at least 100 gallons.
  • Water Parameters: This species’ ideal water parameters are very similar to those of Valentini Pufferfish. Blue Tangs require 74-80°F temperatures, 8.0-8.4 pH, 8-12 dGH, and 1.020-1.025 SG.
  • Diet: This fish is technically omnivorous. In the wild, it subsists on algae, plants, and small quantities of zooplankton. In captivity, most of its diet will consist of algae and other green veggies. They’re unlikely to nibble on any of the smaller fish in the tank if that’s a concern for you.

2. Flame Angelfish

I couldn’t find a more suitable name for this beautiful fish. The bright red coloration, the orange mid-body color, and the deep blue outer fin margins create a mesmerizing look.

This fish actually appears to be lighting up from the inside.

But besides its absolute fire look, this fish is pretty cool. It’s hardy, rather peaceful, easy to feed, and suitable for intermediate fishkeepers.

And of course, it’s compatible with other semi-aggressive fish like Valentinis.

Check out their species profile:

  • Personality: Flame Angelfish have, well, fiery personalities. Jokes aside, this fish is semi-aggressive. It tends to get competitive with other males and other Angelfish. It also tends to bully other smaller fish.

Their tank mates should be semi-aggressive and of a similar size. That will keep this bully in check. Luckily, Valentini Puffers are the perfect match in this regard. You should still ensure there’s enough aquarium space. This will keep the Flame Angelfish’s territorial tendencies at bay.

  • Size: Just like Puffers, this fish grows up to 4 inches at most. However, that’s not to say they’re suitable for small tanks. Flame Angelfish are energetic swimmers and they need plenty of space.

You’ll need roughly 30 gallons for one fish. Keep in mind this fish also prefer living in groups, so you might want to purchase more than one.

  • Water Parameters: Besides size and temperament, this Angelfish also has another thing in common with Valentinis. They thrive in roughly the same water parameters. Flame Angelfish require temperatures around 75–80°F, a pH of 8.1–8.4, hardness levels between 8-12 dGH, and 1.020-1.025 SG.
  • Diet: This fish is omnivorous. It will eat virtually anything from algae to fish flakes. As long as you provide them with a variety of nutritious foods, they should stay healthy.

3. Tomini Tang

The Tomini Tang, also known as the Tomini Surgeonfish, is another hardy, relatively easy-to-maintain species. They’re not the most aggressive Tangs out there.

But they can get a little feisty. Luckily, this makes them highly compatible with a potential Puffer tank mate.

Check out their species profile and see for yourself:

  • Personality: This fish is semi-aggressive. It doesn’t do well with other Tang species, so keep it away from distant cousins and relatives. With other species, it’s mostly peaceful and reserved. But they might get a bit territorial if there’s too little space in the tank.

If challenged, they don’t get easily intimidated. Tomini Tangs also tend to bully fish that are new to the aquarium. You should add them either last, or together with the other fish. Overall, they’re a good match for Valentini Puffers.

  • Size: This tang grows up to 6 inches in length. There’s not a huge size difference between Tominis and Puffers. However, this fish is a big swimmer. They’re very quick and active.

Despite their medium size, you’ll need at least 70 gallons for one pair of fish. You’ll need over 100 gallons for a group of Tangs.

  • Water Parameters: Their ideal parameters closely match those of Pufferfish. Tominis prefer temperatures around 75-80°F, 8.1-8.4 pH, and 8-12 dGH. The salinity should measure 1.020-1.025.
  • Diet: This fish is omnivorous, but should eat a primarily green-heavy diet. Foods like algae and other plants should make up the bulk of their food. They only need very small servings of meaty foods. They can easily meet their protein requirements by nibbling on the meaty leftovers dropped in the community tank.

4. Tomato Clownfish

Tomato Clownfish, and Clownfish in general, are known for two main reasons. First, their perfectly white stripes.

These are like an unmistakable signature mark of the species. The second reason for their fame is that they’re hermaphroditic.

That’s right! This fish can change its sex from male to female if necessary. Pretty sure not a lot of other fish can beat this party trick. I’d also add good compatibility to the list of perks.

When it comes to Puffer tank mates, Tomato Clownfish are among the best choices thanks to their:

  • Personality: This species is semi-aggressive. Juveniles are more peaceful and shy, while adults can be territorial. Tomato Clownfish are generally calm unless someone threatens them or enters their territory.

They might play intimidation games with other fish in the tank, but they’re not dangerous to other similar-sized species. They’re safe around other semi-aggressive species, but should be kept away from shy fish and large, aggressive fish.

  • Size: This fish is medium-sized, growing up to 5.5 inches long. The average size is closer to 4 inches though— roughly the same size as Valentini Puffers.

Tomato Clownfish are active swimmers, but won’t need as much space as other saltwater fish. You can keep one pair in a 30-gallon aquarium. You’ll need 10 extra gallons for each additional Clownfish.

  • Water Parameters: They’re a lot more adaptable than Puffers. These Clownfish can tolerate temperatures ranging from 72-82°F and a pH around 7.8-8.4. They can also do well in water up to 18 dGH. The salinity level should be 1.020-1.024.
  • Diet: This fish is omnivorous and has a big appetite. They accept anything from protein-packed live foods to flake foods and algae wafers. Just make sure to feed them a varied diet to cover all their nutritional needs.

5. Lawnmower Blenny

Lawnmower Blennies are some of the derpiest-looking fish out there. But that’s what makes them lovable. Their elongated bodies and bulbous eyes make them look more like huge snails with dorsal fins.

And while they might not be colorful, they have mesmerizing patterns covering their bodies and even their eyes!

You’d be hard-pressed to find a similarly quirky fish to add to the aquarium. And they make pretty good tank mates for Valentini Puffers.

Just take a look at their traits and decide for yourself:

  • Personality: This silly-looking fish might appear too cute to be a troublemaker. But the Lawnmower Blenny’s no stranger to territorial disputes. This fish can get extremely territorial, especially with its own species or other Blennies.

They’re mostly peaceful towards other fish, as long as they don’t enter its self-declared territory. This fish also spends most of its time at the bottom of the tank, laying around or looking for food. It won’t interact often with active fish that swim in other parts of the aquarium.

  • Size: This fish grows up to 4-6 inches in length. That’s a decent size for a Puffer tank mate. This Blenny is large enough to intimidate its feisty tank mate, but not so large that it becomes dangerous. To keep this fish’s territorial tendencies at bay, make sure to provide at least 30 gallons of water per fish.
  • Water Parameters: This fish thrives in 72-78°F temperature water, with a pH of 8.1-8.4 and a hardness level around 8-12 dGH. The salinity should be 1.020-1.025.
  • Diet: The Lawnmower Blenny is herbivorous. You can probably guess why it has this name. This fish spends most of its time combing through and munching on the algae growth in the aquarium.

It won’t compete with Puffers for food. If you don’t get enough algae growing in the aquarium, consider supplementing their diet with algae wafers and pellets.

6. Copperband Butterflyfish

The Copperband Butterflyfish is very popular thanks to its interesting shape and patterns.

This fish has a flattened body with short, square fins, and a very long snout. It kinda looks like a triangle when observed from the side.

It also sports a striking combo of pearly white and deep golden stripes. This species is also not that difficult to look after. But finding suitable tank mates can be a bit challenging.

Luckily, this fish has a lot in common with Valentini Puffers:

  • Personality: The Copperband can be a very aggressive bully when housed with other Butterflyfish. But when kept around other species, they’re mostly calm and peaceful. They should be kept away from fish with long, flowing fins though.

This species is a known fin-nipper, and that long mouth makes them all the more dangerous. Around fish like Puffers, the Copperband is a decent tank mate that’s unlikely to cause trouble.

  • Size: This species grows up to 4-6 inches long. So, they aren’t that much larger than Puffers. This size difference is alright, as long as there’s enough space in the aquarium.

By the way, you’re going to need roughly 65-75 gallons of water for each Copperband Butterflyfish. That’s around 125 gallons for one pair. Luckily, you can also keep this fish alone.

  • Water Parameters: This Butterflyfish has very similar requirements to a Valentini Puffer. You’ll have to maintain a water temperature between 75–78°F, and a pH around 8.1–8.4. The hardness level can fall between 5–15 dGH. The salinity should be 1.020-1.025.
  • Diet: This is a carnivorous species. The Copperband will enjoy most of the same foods that Valentinis eat. You should feed them a combination of insects, larvae, crustaceans, and clams. This fish also accepts high-protein, high-nutrient pellets. That’s an easy and effective way to supplement their diet.

7. Convict Tang

This fish gets its funny name from its black and white body. These patterns make this fish look like it’s wearing a prison uniform.

It’s not the most colorful species, but the thin black stripes on its body still catch the eye. 

Despite the negative connotation in its name, this fish is mostly inoffensive when housed in the right conditions. It’s even suitable for a reef tank!

Let’s take a closer look at this fish:

  • Personality: When you hear “Convict Tang”, you might imagine an aggressive, stand-offish species. But this guy isn’t any feistier than other Tangs. In fact, I’d say it’s a bit less hotheaded than its counterparts.

The Convict Tang only gets aggressive towards other Tangs and similar-looking fish. It’s mostly peaceful and reserved around any other species. This makes this fish perfect for a peaceful community tank.

  • Size: This fish can reach 8 inches in size, roughly double the size of a Valentini Puffer. This size disparity might deter the Puffers from acting all mighty, thus minimizing the chances of bullying.

The Convict Tang is also very active and requires plenty of room to swim around. You’ll need at least 75 gallons for one fish.

  • Water Parameters: This species prefers 72-79°F temperatures, 8.1-8.4 pH, and 8-12 dGH. It needs slightly higher salinity, around 1.023-1.025.
  • Diet: Like most Tangs, this fish is omnivorous. It can eat a variety of foods, and you can even train it to enjoy flakes and pellets. Feed it a varied diet containing both fresh meaty foods and greens.

8. Pygmy Angelfish

The Pygmy Angelfish is also known as the Cherub Angelfish. But don’t let its name fool you!

This fish is no stranger to standing its ground. Although this is one of the smaller Angelfish out there, this Pygmy has a big personality.

This is something you want from a Pufferfish’s tank mate. This beautiful miniature Angelfish might not be a troublemaker, but they can definitely defend themselves.

Here’s a more in-depth species profile:

  • Personality: This little fish can be described as semi-aggressive. They might get rough with other Angelfish, and even other species in the tank. Luckily, their size makes them inoffensive to most aquarium fish.

Most of their aggression is directed at fish that disturb their territory. So, if you provide them with enough space, this might greatly reduce their bullying impulses.

  • Size: The Pygmy Angelfish will reach 3 inches in length at most. You can expect your fish to be even slightly smaller than that. They’re small enough to represent no danger to any Pufferfish. But they’re not so small that they can get accidentally eaten.

This is also one of the less space-intensive species on the list. You’ll need roughly 50 gallons for one Pygmy. Since they don’t do well with other Angelfish, they don’t even need to be housed with conspecifics.

  • Water Parameters: This Angelfish requires temperatures around 72-82°F. The water pH should be 8.1-8.4, while the water hardness can fall between 8-12 dGH. Also aim to maintain a salinity around 1.023-1.025.
  • Diet: This Angelfish is omnivorous, but consumes mainly algae. You should provide it with a balanced diet consisting both of meaty foods and greens. You can feed it either fresh or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, or Mysis shrimp.

These foods are both nutritious and small enough for the Angelfish to consume comfortably. Greens like algae wafers, spirulina tablets, and blanched spinach are also an important part of their diet.

9. Damselfish

Damselfish make up a huge group of over 250 species. There’s going to be a lot of variety with regards to size, colors, and general behavior.

However, a few things remain true across the board. Damselfish are hardy, adaptable, and easy to care for.

And despite their name, Damselfish are no damsels in distress. These fish are actually fearless and able to stand up for themselves! And these aren’t the only qualities that make them a suitable tank mate for Pufferfish.

Take a look at some of their other traits:

  • Personality: Damselfish are quite aggressive. If there’s one bully in the tank, chances are, it’s a Damsel. This is especially true if they’re kept together with shy, peaceful fish.

Both Damsels and Puffers need equally feisty tank mates to keep them in check. That’s what makes them pretty suitable tank mates. Whether one of them decides to go on a nipping spree, either fish is fully capable of defending itself.

  • Size: There’s a lot of variety when it comes to body size. Depending on the species, you can get Damsels anywhere between 3-12 inches long. I recommend sticking to the smallest species you can find.

This fish is already very aggressive and territorial. You’ll need to even out the playing field between Damsels and Puffers any way you can. This will also save you lots of space. Small Damselfish require roughly 30 gallons worth of space each.

  • Water Parameters: Damselfish do best in temperatures around 73-81°F. The ideal pH is 8.1-8.4, while the hardness should be around 8-12 dGH. The salinity can range from 1.020-1.025.
  • Diet: Damsels are omnivorous and not picky at all. They’ll eat virtually anything you put into the water, potentially even your hand. You can build a balanced diet by combining flake foods with frozen foods, and the occasional veggies or algae.

10. Foxface Rabbitfish

The Foxface gets its name from its interesting pattern and coloration. This fish has a white head with large dark splotches surrounding its eyes.

It’s got big dark eyes and a thin snout. The body is bright popping yellow that’s hard to miss in any aquarium.

Besides its endearing look, this fish is also popular due to its hardy nature and ease of care.

Here’s how this species compares to the Valentini Puffer:

  • Personality: The Foxface is an overall peaceful species. Why then would you want to keep them with feisty Puffers? Because they can still protect themselves! You see, Foxface Rabbitfish are equipped with venomous spines.

If threatened or attacked, they can use these to intimidate the offender. Other than that, this fish rarely interacts with other species in the aquarium. It can become territorial if there’s not enough space in the tank. Foxfaces are also less forgiving of other Rabbitfish, so you should keep them away from their own species.

  • Size: Foxfaces grow up to 7-8 inches long. They’re almost twice the size of Valentini Pufferfish! However, this shouldn’t deter you from keeping these species together.

Despite the huge size difference, Foxfaces aren’t dangerous to smaller fish. Just a heads-up though, you’re going to need around 70 gallons for one single Foxface or a pair.

  • Water Parameters: The ideal values include 72–78°F temperatures, 8.1–8.4 pH, and 8-12 dGH. Salinity should fall between 1.020-1.025.
  • Diet: Here comes the best part! This fish is herbivorous and a big algae eater. If you get these pesky algae growing in your tank, Foxfaces will take care of that! They might also nibble on other aquarium plants and seaweed. Either way, their herbivorous diet means they’re safe even around smaller fish in the tank!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of options you can choose from. Valentini Pufferfish can get along well with any of the fish on this list.

Some of the fish might be a bit larger than them. That’s definitely the case for the Blue Tang, the Convict Tang, and the Foxface Rabbitfish.

Luckily, these fish are either non-hostile or herbivorous. If you don’t have a lot of space to spare for a large fish, you can also opt for smaller tank mates.

The Flame Angelfish, Tomato Clownfish, Lawnmower Blenny, and Damselfish can all be housed in a snug 30-gallon aquarium.

Whichever species you choose, rest assured that all of these fish are unlikely to cause trouble in a Puffer tank!

If you have any other suggestions for compatible tank mates, drop them in the comments!

avatar 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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