Blowfish vs Puffer Fish – Are They Different or the Same?

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Whether you love to study fish or are simply curious, you may have found yourself wondering about blowfish vs puffer fish. Are they the same? Different? Or is the answer somewhere in between? Join me as we answer these questions and more in today’s post.

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Table of Contents

Blowfish vs Puffer Fish

Is a Puffer Fish a Blow Fish?

No, a puffer fish is not a blow fish. The two are often confused because people often use the name “puffer fish” and “blowfish” interchangeably. So, what exactly is the difference between the two? Glad you asked!

What Is a Puffer Fish?

A puffer fish is a fish that is part of the Tetraodontidae fish species. This is a large species of fish that have smooth skin without any scales.

These types of fish get their name because of their tendency to puff up when hunted or threatened. They do this by ingesting water, which consequently makes them bigger, and scarier, to their predators.

Not only can puffers make themselves scarily large, but they are also quite poisonous. This is because most puffers contain tetrodotoxin which is a poison that comes from the food that puffer fish often eat.

Despite their poisonous reputation, puffer fish remain a delicacy popular in Japan. Puffer fish can be served raw as sushi, however, it is imperative that the dish is prepared by specially trained chefs. Because there are deadly levels of poison in the flesh of puffer fish, you should only eat puffer fish from trained professionals that know which parts of this fish species are highly toxic in order to keep the dish safe.

Note: There are many deaths that occur in Japan each year whose cause was the consumption of improperly prepared puffer fish. Before eating puffer fish served raw as sushi (or even cooked) you should ensure that it was prepared by licensed chefs who are aware of the techniques needed to serve puffer fish safely.

What Is a Blow Fish?

A blow fish can be seen as similar to the pufferfish species, however, they aren’t the exact same. Blow fish are members of the Diodontidae family. Instead of being covered by smooth skin and scales, these fish are full of prickly spikes.

Similar to puffer fish, blow fish have the ability to inflate themselves many times their normal size in order to scare off their predators. Again, this blowing up action takes place because of the water they ingest.

Still, it should be noted that though this is a different fish of the family of inflating fish, they are still poisonous. Even the smallest mistake when preparing fish of this kind can prove fatal. Though puffer fish are often in Japan served raw, you may expect to find people eating blow fish in places such as Tahiti, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

What Is the Difference Between a Blowfish and a Puffer Fish?

When it comes to the similarities and differences between pufferfish vs blowfish, they can sometimes be hard to distinguish. Let’s lay out the differences briefly in the following chart to help shed some light on this sometimes confusing comparison.

Smooth with no spikesPrickly spikes
Contains tetrodotoxin (poison)Contains tetrodotoxin (poison)
Eaten as a delicacy in Japan and other locationsEaten as a delicacy in the Philippines, Hawaii, Tahiti, and other places
Can be both large and smallUsually quite large

Can You Keep Blowfish vs Puffer Fish in an Aquarium?

Yes! You can actually keep both a blowfish and a puffer fish in an aquarium (though probably not together). However, there are some things you’ll want to bear in mind if you do.

Starting with pufferfish species, know that most puffer fish won’t’ make very good pets for inexperienced fish owners. Unlike common aquarium fish such as bettas, pufferfish have a high waste output and a rather specific diet. Thus, it may be better to stick to a more basic fish if you’re a beginner before you advance to keeping a puffer fish in your home.

As far as blowfish are concerned, you may be surprised to learn that they can indeed be kept as aquarium pets. You will, however, need to provide a tank that is at least 65 gallons large to be able to comfortably house this kind of fish.

It is also recommended that you keep blowfish or other pufferfish species separated from other fish types. This is because there are only certain types of each that will actually get along with other fish. Otherwise, it is recommended that you keep your blowfish or pufferfish solitary.

Note: As always, check with your local supplier or pet store for information about how best to care for your blowfish or pufferfish species. Doing so will ensure the proper care of certain species and can also help inform you of which fish may or may not pair well with your new aquatic pet.

Are Puffer Fish or Blowfish Poisonous?

Both pufferfish and blowfish are poisonous. For this reason, you should not eat pufferfish or blowfish unless you know that proper protocol was taken. As mentioned, these fish served raw as sushi in many restaurants may look appealing, but because they are highly toxic, I recommend you steer clear of this delicacy.

Though pufferfish vs blow fish are the same, they are, in fact, related.

This is because they both fall under the scientific name and category “tetraodontiformes” which is an overarching name for fish of this type. Still, it is the puffer fish of the family that is smooth and spikeless, while the blow fish contain spikes that are always visible to the eye.

In the mood for another fun fact? Some fish of the tetraodontiformes family have hidden spines. Unlike porcupine fish whose spikes are always seen, there are other similar species of fish whose spokes only protrude once the fish is threatened and begins to inflate. Pretty cool!

Blowfish vs Puffer Fish

Blowfish vs Puffer Fish: The Two Are NOT The Same!

Though both blowfish vs puffer fish are served as a delicacy popular in Japan and other locations, the two are not the same. Both inflate but only the porcupine fish will have spikes on its body. Puffer fish are smooth with no spikes and can be much smaller than blow fish.

Despite their differences, one thing that remains the same is their deadly levels of toxin within their flesh. Never consume these species of fish improperly prepared as eating these in Japan served raw can prove fatal. If you are unsure, please refrain from eating the puffer fish or blow fish, as this very well may save your life!

Hope this helps!


Is a blowfish poisonous to touch?

It is best not to touch a blowfish, especially once it is inflated.

Can you eat puffer fish?

You can eat puffer fish but it needs to be prepared properly. Otherwise, because of the deadly levels of toxins in the fish, eating it improperly prepared could prove fatal.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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