Sampling of the demersal ichthyofauna of Guanabara Bay was conducted bimonthly for 2 years at 10 stations distributed along a hydrobiological gradient. A total of 16,081 Tetraodontiformes specimens were collected, representing 10 species distributed among Ostraciidae, Monacanthidae, Tetraodontidae and Diodontidae. Tetraodontiformes appear to be well adapted to hydrological variations and inhospitable conditions prompted by intense eutrophication. However, abiotic factors traditionally considered important in estuarine community structure play a secondary role in the distribution of Tetraodontiformes. The type of sediment appears to be the most important physical factor but acts only as an indicator of ecological domain. The low explanatory power of physicochemical variables, in addition to the relative stability of the bay's ichthyofauna, suggests an influence of biological parameters. The species exhibited wide variation in their use of Guanabara Bay and utilized it as a resting, feeding and growing area. Among the species captured, Stephanolepis hispidus, Lagocephalus laevigatus, Sphoeroides greeleyi, Sphoeroides testudineus, Sphoeroides tyleri, Chilomycterus reticulatus and Chilomycterus spinosus were categorized as marine estuarine opportunists, and Aluterus heudelotii and Aluterus schoepfii were classified as marine stragglers. Acanthostracion sp. could not be categorized. The boom of C. spinosus indicates an ecological misbalance and must be carefully investigated.