The giant freshwater pufferfish is the common name for this species, which can grow up to a length of 67 cm (26 inches). Due to their massive size, these fish require a very large tank and appropriately scaled water filtration, making them difficult to adequately house in home aquaria.
The Mbu puffer is easily distinguished from other members of the Tetraodon genus due to its labyrinthine patterns of skin pigmentation, which become more pronounced as adults. This is in contrast to mottled or straight-striped patterns seen in Fahaka pufferfish.
When stressed or frightened, the Mbu puffer is capable of inflating itself with water or air, a characteristic shared with other pufferfish. Its diet consists of smaller fish, mollusks, crustaceans, snails, and worms. To ensure good health and prevent tooth overgrowth, species kept in captivity require a varied diet consisting of shelled foods.