Trimming the Teeth on a Freshwater Amazon Puffer Fish

How to trim the teeth on an Amazon Puffer?

Here is a great video showing what to expect if you own a puffer fish, especially Amazon Pufferfish. While if you feed them a proper diet sometimes will prevent you from having to do this, but you should be ready if it's needed. 

Life with Pets shows how after having their Amazon Pufferfish for 12 months it was time to trim the pufferfish's teeth.

It's important to trim a pufferfish's teeth if they start to become overgrown. A Pufferfish teeth can grow to the point where the pufferfish is no longer able to eat food and could die. Amazon puffers are omnivores, and in the wild, they naturally eat snails, shrimp, aufwuchs and anything wiggly such as mosquito larvae and worms. By eating hard-shelled foods such as snails helps file down their teeth.

In the aquarium, their diet should consist mostly of hard, crunchy foods like ramshorn snails, crab legs and small mussels or cockles. They will happily eat live or frozen foods such as mosquito larvae and even some pellet foods but feeding these food for extended periods will increase the odds of having to trim their teeth. Also if you feed them hard food, you could still have to cut their teeth, and you should be prepared to do so. 

Tools Needed

  • Two containers (one to sedate them and one for recovery) the container size will vary depending on the size of your puffers.  
  • Clove Oil
  • Bone cutters they used a new set of cutting pliers, but for the same cost you can get some bone cutters and make it a little easier. 
  • Seachem Prime water conditioner 
  • Air stone and pump (chances are you already have one of these layings around)


Do one puffer at a time.

Life of Pets does not give the exact dose of clove oil used to calm the puffers down. Most people will not tell you how they do not want to be responsible if something were to happen. Start with a small amount like a drop and wait a little while and see if more is needed. They should calm rather quickly is you have the right amount. 

When puffer is stressed out or feel as if it's in danger they will puff up. The video never shows the pufferfish puffing up, but you should have the clove oil container below when you are trimming the pufferfish's teeth. This way if they fall unexpectedly (by them puffing up, getting bit, etc..) they fall back into the container and not flop around a table or floor which will only stress them out further. 

You only need to trim the point of the teeth you do not have to trim them all the way down. 

You should have an air stone in the recovery container so that the puffer can relax before putting it back in the tank. Try to observe the puffer for a while and making sure its ok. 

Once completed if everything went well they should start eating within a few hours. In the video, they were eating within an hour of trimming their teeth.

Trimming puffer teeth is not something that most people want to do, but if you choose to own them, then you should be prepared to cut their teeth if needed. 

About author

I got into the aquarium hobby in 2004 after I went diving for the first time I knew I wanted a small piece of the ocean nearby to admire at home. I have a tech background, so I enjoy gadgets and automation. I plan to do a planted freshwater tank and play


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