The color of the Striped Burrfish or Spiny Boxfish is a good camouflage in its’ natural environment. This one has the spines which are always erect. This is very interesting and intriguing fish!

This one is doing what most Striped Burrfish or Spiny Boxfish do very well, looking for food! They will learn that you feed them, and usually swim up to the top every time you approach the aquarium.

Striped Burrfish, Spiny Box Puffer, Chilomycterus schoepfii

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The Striped Burrfish or Spiny Box Puffer, is much less easy to care for than pufferfish. On the positive side, they only reach about 9.8″ and are best kept in a fish only tank that is 180 gallons or more. They tend to be reluctant to feed and tend to waste away. Smaller specimens are a little easier to acclimate and feed if other tank mates do not out compete it for food. Deworm them upon arrival to increase their chances. Avoid bottom dwelling fish, slow-moving fish or long finned fish. They will not bother others in it’s family and needs lots of swimming space since they are found in seagrass meadows. Provide a 180 gallon tank and feed them meaty marine foods including hard shelled shrimp and hermits to help wear down their teeth.

Scientific Classification


Maintenance difficulty

The Striped Burrfish or Spiny Boxfish is not the hardiest of the diodon family. They may be slow to start eating and like other puffers, 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.

Striped Burrfish on a reef
Image Credit: Peter Leahy, Shutterstock

Habitat: Natural geographic location

Striped Burrfish or Spiny Boxfish are found in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.


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

Generally this fish is aggressive among themselves, also, smaller fish may be eaten.

Sex: Sexual differences


Recommended light levels

No special requirements.


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

striped burrfish underwater
Image Credit: Andrea Izzotti, Shutterstock

Length/Diameter of fish

Striped Burrfish or Spiny Boxfish adults can grow to 30.0 cm (12 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size

A minimum 60 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: Vladimir Wrangel, Shutterstock