Adults need huge quarters (minimum 8ft in length) with a good width to allow for their large turning circle. The filtration also needs to be scaled up to provide excellent clean water conditions for this fish, which has a large appetite and is a messy feeder. Highly oxygenated water must be provided at all times during the Mbu Puffers long life.
Only one specimen should be kept per tank, and tankmates may or may not be kept, depending on the individual personality of the puffer. Some are placid fish which can be kept with even the smallest of fish species. Many fishkeepers have found that keeping a small juvenile specimen with other fish species often helps the puffer tolerate other species when adult.
As this species tends to spend a good amount of time resting on the bottom of the aquarium – especially after a good meal – the substrate should consist of fine aquatic sand or small rounded gravel in order to protect the belly area. Robust decor can be used to furnish the aquarium, but be sure to leave an open swimming space in the central portion of the tank for when the puffer is feeling in a lively mood.
Heaters should be housed externally (in a sump or thermofilters) wherever possible. As with other puffer species, this fish can inflate when frightened or cornered. It should never be provoked into doing so, and never above water where it can take on air, which can prove fatal. If moving a Mbu Puffer to larger quarters, the fish should be herded into a solid container under the water so as to remove the necessity of netting and lifting it clear of the water. To sum up: Unless you are prepared to invest time and money into the proper care of this species, it is really best avoided. However, if all needs can be met, these fish are very rewarding to keep. Not only are they something out of the ordinary, but they are long-lived and in time come to recognise their owner like a true ‘pet’. May also be seen on sale as the Giant Freshwater Puffer.