Where did this fish, the False-eye Puffer get it’s “false-eye” name? (Also called the Sharpnosed Puffer, Solander’s Toby, or Blue-spotted Toby) Well, the false eye is a black spot at the base of the dorsal fin! You can just barely see it in this photo.

The False-eye Puffer, Sharpnosed Puffer, Solander’s Toby, or Blue-spotted Toby are in the family of “true” puffers and members of the sub-family Canthigaster. They are all identified by their elongated and pointed snouts. Thus, the name “sharpnose” is associated with all these fish.

False-Eye Puffer, Spotted Toby, Canthigaster solandri

Don’t have a 150 gallon tank for a 1 foot puffer? Try out a little water pup in a smaller package, the Canthigaster solandri, or False-Eye Puffer; also called the Spotted Toby or Blue Spotted Puffer for obvious reasons. The members of this genus are known at Tobies or Sharpnose puffers and have similar needs as their large brethren! Fish only tanks are best and only pair up if they are a known male and female pair in a tank that is at least 50 gallons. Offer shelled inverts to help them wear down their teeth which continue to grow. Like a real dog, they may need to be wormed, tend to chew cords, and like some dogs, they do nip! If your other fish have circular holes in their fins, that is your Toby being a bad boy! Avoid fish with overly flowing finnage. They will eat algae, including coralline species, which will help wear their teeth if it is present on live rock. They will not bother large stinging anemones, but will eat any stony corals, starfish and most inverts.

Solanders Toby or false-eye puffer fish
Image Credit: Aleksei Alekhin, Shutterstock

Scientific Classification


Maintenance difficulty

Although the false-eye puffer, (aka sharpnosed puffer, solander’s toby, or blue-spotted toby) is easy to feed and generally hardy, they require special care and a special diet to stay healthy.


Puffers have strong teeth that grow throughout their lives. They need to be offered hard shelled live food often to keep their teeth worn down. For a better explanation and links to the practice of puffer dentistry (if needed) please read here. Because they eat a meaty diet and are often messy eaters, puffers will produce a large bio load on the biological filter of your aquarium requiring frequent water changes and good maintenance practices.

Habitat: Natural geographic location

False-eye puffers are found in the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea

spotted tobyPufferfish or false-eye pufferfish
Image Credit: zaferkizilkaya, Shutterstock


Puffers are primarily predatory fish in the wild, though they do graze on algae as well. Acceptable foods include shellfish, crustaceans and hard shelled foods such as snails. A large variety of all kinds of live and frozen meaty foods are best. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. Some of the suggested frozen foods include prawn, crabs/crabs legs, bloodworms (live or frozen), blackworms (live or frozen), silversides, and mussels. Be sure to wash these foods thoroughly before feeding. Live foods can include snails, crabs, crayfish, shrimp (these are good for keeping their teeth trimmed), and earthworms. Live fish will also be eaten but it is thought it may cause problems such as ‘fatty” liver and so should be fed sparingly or not at all.. Puffers are not picky eaters and will quickly become adapted to a variety of prepared aquarium foods and an occasional algae wafer. Flake food is not recommended. Even though they may eat it, puffers will not thrive on it.

Social Behaviors

This is a peaceful community fish

Sexual differences


Recommended light levels

No special requirements.


No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

False eye pufferfish swimming over a coral reef
Image Credit: Kertu, Shutterstock

Length/Diameter of fish

False-eye Puffer, Sharpnosed Puffer, Solander’s Toby, or Blue-spotted Toby adults can grow to 12.0 cm (4.7 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size

A minimum 30 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

No special requirements.


This fish is available from time to time.

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Featured Image Credit: Mr. James Kelley, Shutterstock