Why Is My Pea Puffer So Skinny? This Is How To Fix It!

Last Updated on February 25, 2022 by cmoarz

Why is my pea puffer so skinny is a common question from those new to puffer keeping. Pea puffers, like all other fish, need a balanced diet to stay healthy and grow. In this article, we will discuss the best food options for your pea puffer and how to feed them so they grow big and strong!

Why is my pea puffer so skinny and what do I need to do to fix it

Pea puffers are usually skinny for one of three reasons; They aren’t getting enough food often enough, Or they aren’t getting proper food on a set schedule. They may also be suffering from internal parasites.

I’ve often related puffers to the pigs of the oceans – Because they LOVE to eat!

But, just like pigs, if puffers don’t have access to a balanced diet they will become malnourished and skinny.

Puffers love to eat many small meals threw out the day, and not just 1 meal at night. Or worse, Some people only feed them once every few days which is far too long for most puffer species.

How often do pea puffers need to eat?

The ideal feeding times for a puffer are multiple small meals throughout a full day, every 2 days or so.

These meals should consist of a healthy balance of:

  • Raw shrimp
  • Frozen bloodworms
  • Frozen brine shrimp
  • Live brine shrimp
  • Pest snails
  • and certain brands of commercially available puffer foods

It’s also important to always have a healthy stock of live pest snails, such as bladder snails, dwarfs, etc available.

They can be added to the aquarium between meal days as a “treat” and will help keep the puffer’s digestive system healthy as well as keep their teeth have worn down so they do not overgrow.

The great thing about live pest snails is they are easy to breed in bulk and by placing them into a puffer tank, the puffers will always have small snacks to nibble on whenever they feel hungry.

What if my puffer is skinny but well-fed?

If your puffer seems to be underweight even though he gets a proper balanced carnivorous diet on a proper schedule, you may want to consider that he may have a parasite or internal infection.

Parasites can be difficult at times to diagnose and you should see an expert on the subject if you don’t know what to look for.

How do you know if a pea puffer has parasites?

If you suspect your puffer has a parasite, You should do some research on the symptoms of each of the most common parasites, then dose with medication according to the instructions.

Remember, most parasites come from live and frozen foods.

The most common endoparasites puffers can get include:

  • Nematodes (roundworms)
  • Capillaria
  • Eustrongglides
  • Camallanus
  • Contracaecum
  • Stomach worms
  • Hookworms
  • Nodular worms
  • Lungworms

Luckily most parasite infections are easy to deal with once they are identified and medications tend to be on the cheap side with plenty of options to choose from.

We recommend Levamisole HCL based medication, such as eSHa NDX. It’s very effective against all of these endoparasites.

Note: For tapeworms, PraziPro or another praziquantel-based medication should be used rather than HCL based medications.

Once a parasite infection is treated, and a propper diet adhered to, You should see a healthy and happy puffer in no time!

And there you have it! Everything you need to know about why your pea puffer is so skinny and how to get them back on track. Now get out there and start feeding those puffers! They will love you for it!


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!