The behaviour of puffers is very different. The special of puffers is, that we can not only observe different ways of acting from breed to breed, but also within a breed.
That means puffer fishes can be individual different in their behaviour. Their are experiences with very aggressive individuals which killed armourwels, while other aquaristicians describing this breed as very peaceful, which do not even bite in the fins of other fishes and could be socialised with little shrimps. The variations of the behaviour seemed to be very high. General is said that (although not full significant for all breeds), that puffer fishes are relative to very aggressive mavericks. Indeed they tolerate breed fellows, but they hardly build a group like in bevies. The exception are some seawater breeds, which gather in groups to spawn like carinotetraodon travancoricus, that is also a maverick but in situations of harassment confederate.
The aggressive ones must be kept alone in the tank, the lower aggressive could be kept in small groups or as couple. If the tank size is not abided, it involves the animals at begin of the puberty to keeping each other out of the own patch. The weaker animal will be repressed at best, at worse it will be killed in a few minutes.
Also the socialising with breed different animals is different difficult. General it is said that caution is advised by socialising puffer fishes. Animals, that belong to foodspectrum of puffers, as lower animals particularly Mollusken, but also little cancer animals and fishes are not useful, whereas there are some exceptions. (TDsnails f.e. aren`t eaten by the most freshwater puffers and can keep together in the tank). But a few puffers are so territorial or have a foodspectrum, that is so diversified, that it seems impossible to socialise them with breed foreigners.
On the other hand are a lot of puffers relative bad hunters. Cause of that is a socialising with fast swimming small fishes possible. Bigger, well-fortified fishes like cichlid could be also tried to keep with puffers. Slow swimming or often lying fishes, also lang finned (f.e. veil breeds) fishes are disadviced, because they were an easy prey for puffers. Some puffer fishes are bend exspecially to bite in fins, a few rare breeds are specialised fins eaters (look at Auriglobus).
Cause to that socialising is always perilous from breed to breed but also inside the breed different successful. Add to this, there are existing theoretical the possiblity of socialising, but these arent got without great circumstances. So it is very difficult to find fitting tank inhabitants for some brackish puffers. The cause is easy: From the most imported brackish fishes, the most are not useful for a normal home aquarium. So the often imported Argusfishes became much to big. The same applied also for silverfinleaves, that have to keep after grown up in seawater and as a big bevy. A circumstance, with that situation any aquaristician can hardly cope.
From keeping them in a community tank is always desisted, but a careful sozialication with choosen animals often possible.
Viewed on fishes show puffers a very intelligent entity: Keeping them right, they seemed get used to the circumstances in the tank very fast. A lot of aquaristians could notice, that the puffers not only recognize if it is feeding time, but also distinguishable their caregiver from other persons. Sometimes they take food from hand. (Beware of injuries!)
One of our very hide living Tetraodon palembangensis doesn`t show reaction on f.e. approaching on tank, but come at once out of his hiding place if you pass by the tank with the artificial claw, we used to feed him.
An Arothron stellatus, which has a view from his tank on the freezer doesn`t show reaction if we opened the freezer, but came at once to the water surface, if he saw that we oppened the frozen food storage compartment, which contains his frozen shrimps.
The reason for the sensed cuteness of many people is found in the often clumsy and scheme of childlike characteristics outward appereance and their ability to move the eyes independent from each other. Their behaviour of swimming, which they share with (most near related like hedgehog and backpack puffers): The puffers don`t use the tail fin to move like most other fish-families, but move by constant flapping the back-, breast and back,-fins. The tail-fin is just bowed for gearing, which gives the puffer a funny rigour swim movement, that associate most people with a submarine.
This behaviour of swimming enables puffers to swim very good backwart. The tail fin is just used in extreme situations (f.e. hunting or escape), enables the most slowly swimming puffer fish, to swim faster as you confidence them.
A few breeds, that are very jumpy in the nature or occupied very big territorials or appearence in very fast floading waters have a very high swimming need.
If you doesn`t satisfai it, they start to act in apathy which is shown in up and down swimming on the tank glas. This is not only bothering the aquaristician but also strictly avoid because of animal`s right reasons. In fact this is a sick behaviour. This breeds need because of that huge tanks and perhabs a strong streaming. Jumpy breeds also need a close planting and a surface cover of plants.
The popular behaviour of a pufferfish is their ability to blow up by great danger as by mating or lurking with water or air. That explains the family name pufferfish (blowfish, blaasop)- A full blown of puffer fish has really the form of a bowl from that just the fins stick out. The extreme extendable skin and stomach septum enables this ability. The puffer gulps the water or the air.
This behaviour enables the puffer fish to enlarge himself in a few seconds, which can save its live in danger. So the puffer could suddenly seemed to big for a feed foe or in the mouth of the foe to make it spitting out the puffer.
A puffer is able to banish an equel intruder in his territorial through his new size and while mating show a lot of puffer fishes also a new size.
Sometimes we viewed a baseless blowing up. We suppose that this could be a kind of stretching, a behaviour which could activate the blood circulation in the morning.
The behaviour of the blowing up holds a great danger in the tank. Devours the puffer (in opposition of their normal behaviour in the nature) air instead of water and isn`t able to get the air out of his stomage, the puffer dies in pain. This just happened if the fish is out of the water f.e. by catching out of the seller`s tank. Especially weak animals (and animals in the shop are often through the catching, the transport and the permanently decanting weak) don`t afford getting the air out of the stomach, but this is also observed at good accustomed puffer fishes.
It is because of that strictly to avoid, puffer fishes just take shortly out of the water! To catch them you use a catching bell or you catch the fish with a normal net, but put it under water in a container and raise it out of the tank.