FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Disease
FAQs on Burrfish Disease:
Burrfish Disease 1, Burrfish Disease 2, Burrfish Disease 3, Burrfish Disease 4,
Burrfish Disease 5, Burrfish
Burrfish Disease by Category:
Related Articles: Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and
Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer:
Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo,
True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers,
Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer
Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers
Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,
Related FAQs: Diodontids 1, Diodontids 2, Diodontids 3, Burrfish Identification, Burrfish Behavior, Burrfish Compatibility, Burrfish Selection, Burrfish Systems, Burrfish Feeding, Burrfish Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer
Reproduction, True Puffers,
Brackish Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose
Puffer question 12/18/18
You guys have a quick one for you have you ever seen a parasite show up
on a Caribbean porcupine puffer when salt is brought to 1.010
that causes pale pigmentation in the facial area rapidly progressing and
killing the fish
<Tom; geez; where's your punctuation?! The pale pigmentation might well
just be due to the stress of suddenly dropping, being in water of low
specific gravity. If you're interested, I'd sample the area (See Ed
Noga's works on Fish Disease) and take a look under a 'scope. Bob
Re: Puffer question 12/18/18
Sorry using talk to text.
The puffer was kept in this lower salinity for almost 2 months.
Unfortunately it is in an area I will not be for many months. So getting
to look at it under a microscope will not happen unfortunately. This
just happens to be one that someone bought from us in October proclaims
it was covered in ich dropped it to 1.015 salinity. Then after taking it
to his local pet store they told him to drop it down to 1.010 rather
than give it Prazi and formalin baths
<Mmm; well, I doubt if the Crypt/Ich is still there. I'd return the fish
to NSW (near natural seawater) strength... slowly; like a thousandth of
density per day. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer question 12/18/18
Sadly it is too late somehow they managed to kill the puffer. They are
blaming it on this expanding palish spot that was on the fishes face.
<Aye ya... likely just loss of ionic balance. Cheers, BobF>
Treating a new Porcupine Puffer with Ich; rdg., using WWM
I have a new 3 1/2 inch Porcupine Puffer in my 29 gal quarantine tank. I bought
him from my friend who owns a local fish store, and the fish had been there for
about 3 weeks and was eating well. He's been in my QT tank for about 4 days now,
is eating fairly well (clams on the half shell and spirulina brine shrimp thus
far), but has come down with a bad case of marine white spot disease (Crypt,
Being a scaleless fish, I'm wondering if Cupramine would be too harsh to treat
the Ich, even at half a dose (which is the min recommended therapeutic level for
treatment by the manufacturer).
<This is one of the better copper-based medications. Persistent, consistent in
Freshwater dips won't be effective if the fish is put back into QT with Ich
still in the system.
<Correct; the fish would have to be serially moved to a sterilized system>
Would you use a half dose of copper and see how the fish responds?
<Mmm; no; only a physiological dose will work>
Would a full dose spread over 48 hours likely kill the puffer?
<Highly unlikely... if the fish is healthy otherwise>
Any help you could provide would be appreciated.
<DO read on WWM re treating Diodontids, puffers for Crypt, the use of chelated
copper products. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer Lethargic and Not Eating
Hi Crew. I hope this email finds you well
<Thank you Mike>
I have a 8"-9" Porcupine Puffer in a 150 gallon FOWLR Tank. I have had the
puffer for 8 years. Also in the tank is a 6"-7" Harlequin Tusk I have had for
around 3.5 years and a 24" Snowflake Eel I have had around 8 years.
Around a week ago, puffer seemed to not want to eat. During feeding, he did try
to grab some and got some but seemed like he was missing it. In the last few
days ago, he does not seem interested. Today he is breathing heavy sitting on
the bottom. He does swim around, but is more on the bottom.
<Mmm; what are you feeding? This reads as a classical B vitamin issue>
No signs of ich or flukes. I have noticed that recently the tusk is a little
aggressive towards the puffer. That is why I am at is getting back on a better
feeding schedule think that is causing the aggression.
The eel and tusk seem fine.
Last time I added anything to the tank it was the tusk.
I used to change 35 gallons of water weekly, then monthly, and in 2017 every 2
to 3 months. Last water change I did was 2 months ago (40 gallons) and today I
just changed 45 gallons.
I also have not run carbon or GFO in the last year. Today I put carbon and GFO
I tested (before today's water change) the water and have:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 100
<Yikes; 100 ppm? Way too high. I'd have you search, read over on WWM re NO3
control; do what you can to keep under 20 ppm>
Phosphate high. My phosphate tester maxes out at 2.5
<Not such an issue with fish health>
Specific Gravity is around 1.0225
Temps fluctuate from 77.7 to 79.1 (I have a chiller kicks on at 79).
I feed a mix of silver sides, prawns, squid, clams, mussel, octopus.
<Mmm; I'd sub a good pelleted staple (Hikari, Spectrum, Cobalt...) for much of
the mass here. Do you supplement/soak foods, add vitamins,
HUFAs directly to the water? I would>
Up until a few months ago, I would feed 3 to 4 times a week. Last few months it
dropped to twice a week. In the last week, i started getting back to feeding 3
to 4 times.
Any ideas on the puffer? I am thinking stress from the tusk, but not sure.
Anything I can try?
<The pellets, supplement mix (e.g. SeaChem Vitality, Selcon...) to the food,
I do not have my QT running, so not looking to pull him out.
<And please search, read on WWM re Thiaminase. Bob Fenner>
Spiny boxfish 1/8/17
I was looking on your website and could not see anything that could help me. I
have a spiny boxfish that has a clasped side after it had puffed up.
I came home to find him stuck under some live rock (not knowing how he got
<Scooted in little doubt>
I released him and he immediately puffed up but slowly started to go back down
now he looked like he has an injured fin and collapsed side.
<Have looked at your next message pic of this Chilomycterus...>
I don’t know what to do, will he be ok?
<Likely so... puffers do rest on the bottom, go on hunger strikes... get
seemingly bummed out at times; including having sides that looked caved in>
Is there anything I need to do?
<Perhaps a reading over Diodontids on WWM period... The usual upkeep of good
conditions, nutrition; keeping your eye on the fish; making sure it's eating,
not getting bullied>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Burrfish... puffed up! 12/25/17
I added a spiny puffer Burrfish to my 210 gal softie reef tank about 4
He's seems very healthy and eating but his belly has gotten large. Could
this fish be pregnant?
<Mmm; doubtful. More likely it has either over-eaten (very common) or
has swallowed a good deal of water... also happens often). I would not
panic; but just take a wait and see attitude. This issue should resolve
itself within several days. Bob Fenner>
Re: Burrfish 12/26/17
Porcupine Puffer... fdg., hlth. 11/23/17
Hi - I have been reading up on Thiaminase deficiency on your site. There are
several issues going on with my porcupine puffer.
<I can see... a Protozoan issue, likely Cryptocaryon on this fish in your pic>
90 gallon tank and he is the only fish with the exception of a small clown fish.
Water parameters are fine with exception of nitrates which according to API
strips read 40.
<Mmm; need data (not subjective eval.); strips are neither accurate nor precise,
and 20 ppm is all I'd allow concentration wise for NO3>
Tank is only cleaned once a month but my hands are tied as it is the tank at my
work and my boss refuses to have it cleaned more often.
<If this is the case, I'd have your service install/utilize a chemical
filtrant... likely ChemiPure. See/read on WWM re>
I have at least talked him into getting a skimmer and I use nitrate filters.
Puffer hasn't eaten well in some time. Seems to have trouble swallowing and
takes food in over and over and over again. His mouth is hanging open wider than
usual, he paces and sometimes jerks. I have also noticed pink near the base of
his back tail and fin which I have read could be due to the clam only diet and
thiaminase deficiency. He refuses to eat a varied diet and leaves food lying at
the bottom of the tank which I clean out at the end of
each day so it doesn't add to the nitrate problem.
I also was soaking his food in Clam Max for nutrient value. Another issue is a
pink protrusion which appears to be his intestines. The guy that services our
tank said its his manhood??
<... no; nonsense. Are broadcast spawners, no internal fert. This is a prolapsed
Today he excreted a lot of yellow slime while the protrusion was hanging out. I
have attached a picture below of the protrusion from a month or so ago before
the pink started developing around his tail/fin. So several issues going on. The
tank appears crystal clear. Nitrate problem?
Thiaminase deficiency? Both?
<Perhaps both; but you are right/correct to be concerned. This fish and system
NEED immediate attention; else this Puffer will perish, and soon. The other
foods, vitamin additions, reducing nitrate!>
I am going to try to get my boss to purchase some vitamins and the frozen mix
you speak of and possibly some snails. I have saved this guys life several times
now so I'm not stopping now!
His main diet has been shrimp, krill once a week and clams on the half shell.
His breathing seems faster than normal, tail curled and hiding in the rocks.
Doesn't greet me anymore. :( Would appreciate any help you can offer.
<Please show your boss and service company person this mail; have them contact
me if there is confusion as to how to proceed. I do concur with what you're
written as plans going forward. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine fish in trouble
I've had a porcupine fish for about 1 year now with no real problems. I
woke up this morning and he looked fine. I left to pay some bills and
came back and noticed the spikes by his face are sticking up.
I checked on him a
few minutes later, and one of the spikes is broken and dangling
on his face. My very active fish is now laying on the sand breathing
heavy. Do those spikes grow back?
<They can; yes>
What can do to save him?? He's my favorite fish! I want to put him in my
QT tank, but am scared, because of his heavy breathing. PLEASE HELP...
<... What do you consider the cause here? Has this fish encountered a
pump intake or such? Another fish attack it? Did it traumatize itself by
swimming into something? I would do what water test/checks you can, and
usual default of changing out a quarter of the system water; renew the
chemical filter media. Bob Fenner>
Diodon holocanthus with crypt 4/4/17
I know there are some threads on this, but I have a hard time sorting
through and finding the information I need. Please forgive me.
<The search tool (on every page) should bring folks to what they are
I have a 210 Aqueon tank, pH is 8.0, kH, 9, SG 1.023, Ammonia 0,
Nitrites 0, Nitrates ~10.
I have a small Diodon holocanthus who came down with a case of crypt
<Was always there; just "sub-clinical">
He was fine on Saturday night and had it on Sunday evening. He was (and
still is) acting perfectly normal. None of the other tankmates
(harlequin tusk, dwarf fuzzy lion, dwarf eel, Kole tang, foxface, and
coin bearing angler) have even one sign of crypt.
<Mmm; not to bum you out (excessively) but your system "has it">
I started treatment with Kordon Herbal Ich attack
<Mmm; often doesn't work... complexed by...>
as that is all I could get at the LFS that wasn't copper based. I had a
> porcupine for 4 1/2 years previously who used to beat the ich on his
I would just use Voogle (immune booster) and feed. Sometimes I added
but it is hard to say what the actual cure was. I was just happy he was
cured. After 3 days of the Ich Attack he seemed to be getting better,
then it reappeared and has been pretty bad for the past week or so. I
treatment of Kick Ich which I had to order. I cannot get my hands on any
Voogle at this time. He does not seem to be getting any better or worse.
If you couldn't see the crypt, you wouldn't know he had it. He is
still eating like a horse and outcompeting fish that are 3 times his
<Good signs. Are you lacing/soaking the foods....?>
He's still in the main tank as all I have for a QT is a 10 gallon which
I can have set up in about an hour so that is where I have been
<Too small for this>
Here is what I know, copper is not an option (is Cupramine safer but
<Yes; search on WWM...>
hyposalinity is not good for puffers, so where do I turn. I read your
praises of Chloroquine. Is Chloroquine safe for puffers?
Any side effects?
I ordered some Dr. G Anti-parasitic caviar and I am going to lace the
food with this. Should I leave him in the main tank and target
feed him the food
so he is not stressed or set up the QT?
<I'd do the former>
Should I just keep him well fed and happy until he beats it on his own?
I have also shortened the light cycle so he can rest longer. No one else
in the tank is picking on him or pays any attention.
Thanks for any help,
<Do read here:
and onward re soaks (vitamins, HUFAs...) when you get to a link. Bob
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt 4/4/17
Yes, I am soaking the food in Selcon, garlic, and VitaChem.
Which do you say is a scam, the kick ick, Voogle, or both?
<The first; don't know what Voogle is>
Also, what do you mean by "complexed by?" Does it make it worse?
<Mmm; makes it non-existent... trouble/s w/ organics added to marine
systems; they're highly change-able>
I will read your links, thank you for the response.
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt 6/1/17
So I have good news to report. I ended up transferring all my fish to QT and
treating with CP for 28 days. I'm happy to say that my porcupinefish is
cured. I had to dose some erythromycin as well to help with a cloudy eye
condition, but that is all cleared up as well. His fin scars are all gone
and he is eating like a horse (my dwarf lion from another post is also doing
very well in the same tank).
My reason for the message is that my puffer has developed a
bump/growth on his lower lip. I don't know if I should be concerned
about it. Is it just a skin tag?
<I think so... an owee, from rubbing its face against the tank side likely>
Will it fall off on its own? It doesn't affect him in any way and I will
just ignore it if it is nothing.
<I would count on this self-curing as you state. I would move all back to
the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt 6/1/17
I would love to move everyone back, but I am doing the fallow thing. I hear
76 days is the norm. Is that correct?
<Mmm; a trade off... stress to the hosts, vs. loss of virulence in the
display... You must judge when>
It's unfortunate because I know everyone would be happier in the big tank.
<Yes; and healthier>
<BobF, who would be moving all. Read here:
Porcupine puffer emergency
Hi, I have a huge question...I have a porcupine puffer and I've had her for
14 years...she stops eating for days every once in a while.
<Not to worry; this is a "natural behavior". Please see here re:
Normal . my problem now is she hasn't eaten for a week, did a water change
thinking it was due which it was, 150 gallon nitrates 40 normal for her tank
no ammonia salinity 1.023 . I know she is old I'm worried maybe she
lockjaw, her mouth won't close all the way ,
<Yikes; not good>
but when I look inside it looks like something maybe stuck in there, she
gets clams in shells, etc. I do feed her frozen krill but not everyday, she
gets a lot of diff things....
I tried tube feeding her but she isn't having it, and it looks soft in her
moth like something blocked...hard to describe, here is a pic best I can
<Please read the above link AND:
I WOULD supplement any offered foods AND the water directly as gone over...
Re: Porcupine puffer emergency
So, I've read everything you said, and had already read that or knew
it....she is still not eating and I have tried to force feed her and it all
just comes back out...it's almost as if it is a soft bubble in her
<This fleshy bit in your pic is natural... Sometimes puffers just DO refuse
food... for weeks. This specimen doesn't appear overly thin. I would NOT
handle/force feed the specimen (too stressful), but instead soak grass,
ghost shrimp, smallish crayfish or such in a feeding supplement (HUFAs,
Vitamins) as SeaChem's Appevite>
like she puffed up and some part inside her mouth won't deflate,
<Again; this is part of the puffers anatomy>
I'm attaching the best pic I can get. It's been like at least 2 weeks of no
eating :( I think she knows what I'm trying to do when I get the tube and
stick it in her mouth because she lets me do it but she can't bite down on
it and she does not puff up ever when I try. The "bubble" is across her
whole mouth inside ...I've even tried a turkey baster and she open her mouth
really wide and let's me do it, then closed it all the way but then it goes
back to half open...and again she doesn't puff up so that's what's
getting me thinking she can't deflate inside somehow??
<More likely a B vitamin deficiency syndrome>
She had puffed up right before all this started im thinking now, for no
apparent reason which is how she always puffed up when she did.im very
stressed and with her being 14 years old, I think I'm stressing her out
<Yes to the added stress>
Spiny box puffer. Hlth., trtmt f's
Hi crew, to start out with thank you for your work and all that you do.
I have a spiny box puffer that is ill and I am at a stand still as to
what I should do.
He is 3.5 inches long, I have had him about 3 months. He had clear
gelatin looking spots on his fins when I first got him, lfs said it was
excess mucus and would go away (didn't buy that but was willing to give
a go anyway).
<More likely other elements from too much stress (happens often when
these animals are moved, challenged)>
Treated him with Metro. due to indications of intestinal parasites in a
QT for 5 days, eating good and gaining weight (still had Jello spots)
put him in with other fish after 2 week's. Long story short spots got
worse began to look like something between Lymphocystis and ich. Tried
several meds to no avail then finally treated using Cupramine (.25) two
was all clear. Put him back in DT and within 3 days ich was back and
caused a out break in the tank.
<Ugh! No fun>
Treating DT with Cupramine at about .25 to .35. (Seachem website Q&A
stated it needed to be 28 days of treatment rather than the 14 days
stated on the bottle)
He is puffing up uncontrollably and spinning in circles and has
quit eating and lost some color (started this before copper treatment
and gotten progressively worse)
<Puffers of all kinds REALLY don't do well with copper exposure.
You can see/read this in many responses regarding... over the last
decades. At this point, I'd cease the copper use, elevate temperature to
the mid 80's F. and (yes) lower specific gravity (unless you
have non-vert.s/invertebrates present that will suffer from this);
drastically; down to the 1.015-1.016 range. You'll need to raise
it slowly (a thousandth per day or so) in a few weeks...>
He has these fits several times a day. Also shakes his head like he is
trying to dislodge something. Then he will be ok for a time. No spots
(treated for 6 days now) slight deterioration on the tail fin.
Everything else in the tank is doing quite well with the treatment (very
peaceful tank everyone gets along well)
150 gallon, 30 gallon sump. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10+/- nitrates. 1.023
sg Fowlr. 110lb lr. 1 each ; 4" Indian Trigger, 4" Porcupine, 3" Blue
spot Toby, 3"Blue jaw, 3"Picasso, and of course the Spiny box. (Have
different tank that two of the fish are going into eventually)Any help
would be appreciated. Thanks.
<The copper compound will exit on its own; or you can employ remover:
I'd drop the spg pronto. The rest of the fishes listed will be fine with
this change. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer... hlth., nutr. 7/6/16
Hi - Im hoping you can help me with my little buddy. I have a porcupine
puffer in my tank at work. I believe it is a 100 gallon tank. We have
the puffer, a blue tang (aggressive) a small clown fish and a small
damsel. Recently, my boss decided he wanted to add some fish to the
tank. I was against it as I just saved the puffers life months prior and
had to feed him with a syringe as he got lock jaw from a diet of
freeze dried krill only. That is what our prior tank people who we
bought him from told us was to be his only diet.
After reading on the forums and through Google I determined a varied
diet best so I make him a chutney of shrimp, mussels, clams, silversides
and some clam juice for vitamins. Questioning the silversides after
doing some reading.
<You should. Try other whole marine fishes or fillets. Oh, and good
pellets; like Hikari and Spectrum brand; soaking foods in a supplement
like SeaChem's "Vitality">
He was doing fine until the new butterfly fish and foxface were
A couple of weeks later the butterfly fish was missing and the tank
smelled like rotten fish. I found the butterfly fish and removed him. He
just happened to be under a rock that the puffer prefers to stay under.
The next day I noticed the puffers eyes covered in a white film. I
called our tank people and suggested a water change and requested help
for his eyes. They treated the tank with ACI tetracycline and tried
giving him a dose of Dr G's antibacterial RX food which he spit back
out. The other fish look fine so far and the puffer doesn't seem to have
white spots that I can tell. If he does they are very tiny but he does
seems to have stringy threads here and there coming from the top of his
<Any chance to sample these and look under a 'scope? Might be
Trematodes... I'd treat w/ Prazi/quantel>
One eye looks better today but the other is worse. Much whiter with a
spot in the middle. Breathing seems fine for now but hasn't eaten for 3
Is this ich or a bacterial or parasitic infection and what can I do to
<Can't tell what from the description>
He has hidden under the rock from the day we bought him. We have had him
almost a year. He doesn't seem to like being around the other fish. He
is very tame now and comes out twice daily like clockwork to greet me
until this happened.
Im assuming adding the new fish to tank may have been enough to stress
him and the butterfly fish dying didn't help.
<And perhaps introduced a pathogen inadvertently>
I worked diligently to save this little guys life once. Im upset this
has happened. Can you help? SO appreciative!
<A well-resolved pic would help... I'd look for the Prazi. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer 7/7/16
Thanks so much for responding. I do not have the means to look at a
sample under a microscope.
<Ahh; perhaps a fish store nearby can be of assistance; or an aquatic
vet., learning institution...>
Puffer looks better today. Foggy eyes not completely gone but every day
they seem better. People who clean the tank treated water with
API/Tetracycline and are now pulling it out via carbon system and are
going to try something called Sulfaplex for bacterial and fungal
infections. Are you familiar with Sulfaplex? Would the Prazi be
<Am familiar... not a fan of Sulfa drugs in marine systems. PLEASE learn
to use WWM. The search tool, indices. Praziquantel is a vermifuge...
sulfas are antimicrobials...>
Could the dead butterfly fish in the tank for several days have caused
puffer to get sick?
He didn't seem to exhibit the symptoms of excess ammonia though.
I have read that bad mussels/clams can cause Trematodes.
I buy puffers clams & mussels at Publix Supermarket. Wondering if I got
a bad batch. Tank people also put a live oyster in tank a couple of
weeks ago and problem started soon after. I noticed they took it out
it have had a parasite?
Lastly - I feed the other fish Spectrum but the puffer doesn't go for it
so I mix it in the chutney I give him and he eats it fine that way.
When you say feed "other whole marine fish/fillets" what type of fish
are you referring to that would be better for than Silversides?
<... WWM. BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer 7/7/16
Can you tell me why you are not a fan of Sulfaplex?
<.... rarely efficacious in water treatments w/ marines>
I tried doing a search on it at wetwebmedia.com and it connects me to
directly to Amazon.
<? Sulfa drugs:
People that service our tank want to use Sulfaplex today.
Puffer eating a little better. Eyes a little better but still slightly
foggy but he has a very fine salting of white spots on body.
<READ on WWM re Diodontids, Crypt.... Don't write: READ>
They have done 2 water changes, treated water with API and pulled the
API back out following day for a couple days. Another water change today
and they want to add some Sulfaplex.
Porcupine Puffer Is In Bad Shape... nutr., plus poss. env.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I'll start with the tank and
55G tank with 0's on all levels
<Mmm; not likely zip NO3>
78 Degrees50lbs of live rock1 damsel2 clowns2 small choc chip stars
<Not aquarium hardy>
1 coral beauty1 pseudo chromisand finally our 4inch porcupine puffer (I
know the tank is small, we have had him since he was 2inches, he will be
getting an upgrade to a 120 in about 6-8 months, he has had no problems
this tank so far)
About 6 months into owning this dude, we realized he shouldn't
be eating only krill.
We got him on mysis, scallops, squid, pellets, and then the occasional
krill. Recently, his appetite got a lot weaker, and now he isn't eating
at all. He has developed a hump on his back, and it doesn't feel hard,
but I don't think it's air either. He has a hard time swimming,
occasionally flipping or thrashing slightly. Today is the first day in
1.5 weeks he has even eaten a single bite. I held him gently in my hand,
and literally placed mysis in his mouth. He sucked it in, but spit
almost all of it back out. He only nibbled on the krill I tried. I don't
know if it's a parasite or what, a LFS says it's possibly an internal
injury and we might just have to let him work it out. What can I do, we
really love this guy and can't bear to lose him.
<I'd be supplementing (soaking) foods and adding directly to water... a
vitamin/HUFA mix... MicroVit, Selcon... these also acts as appetite
stimulants. Search the terms and READ on WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis
Hello there. I need some help with treating an eye injury in my porcupine
puffer. He was totally healthy until yesterday. When I got home from work
I noticed him sitting in a little hiding spot in the rocks rather than greeting
me like normal. I also noticed my Annularis angelfish being dominant to him
(swimming into him and briefly nipping at his face - my puffer backed away). I
haven't seen this before. I'm not sure if the Angelfish did this damage to my
puffer or if it was monopolizing on the situation. Regardless, I put a 55L
plastic bin with holes drilled in it in my tank (180 gallon) to isolate the
Puffer's eyes are cloudy white and have what look like injuries on them.
<How long have you had this puffer? Might be parasitic involvement here...
Trematodes, possibly Crypt>
Sorry I don't have a picture. The whiteness is more on the bottom half of the
eyes. The skin directly below the eye is also slightly damaged (white). It looks
like the other fish picked at him (from the bottom
direction) over and over and injured his eyes/skin below the eye.
He was in isolation overnight. When I checked on him this morning he was pretty
similar except the bottom of the eyes seems to be "sagging" slightly. He can't
see well and bumps off the walls of the container, and
since his eyes stick out that's the part that keeps bumping things. I'm not sure
how to keep his eyes from contacting the walls.
I'm concerned about a secondary bacterial infection developing. Is there an
antibiotic I can give him orally (he's eating very well) so I don't have to
isolate him in a quarantine tank?
<None that are effective unless the fish is eating; can be introduced via foods>
Or, I do you recommend I quarantine him and treat the water with antibiotics or
<? For what? I would not simply expose this animal, system w/o a purpose>
Please advise for the best course of action to help him heal and recover.
<The usual: Reading:
see the linked files above? Disease by Category? Social, Trauma.... read>
Very concerned fish owner.
<And the Angel and Puffer will have to housed separately. Bob
P.S. Water quality:
76 degrees F
PH - 8.1
Carbonate Hardness: 15dkh
Phosphate = 0.25
Ammonia and Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0.3 (I did a 10% water change the night before his eye got bad -
trying to bring this down).
Re: Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis Angelfish
HI Bob. Thank you for the prompt reply. I've done a lot of reading. Your website
is a wealth of information!
<Ah yes; many hours have gone into WWM>
I've had the puffer for two weeks. The fish store I bought him from had him for
a month prior and he seemed healthy (I had my eye on him for a while and they
held him for me for a few weeks), so I'm skeptical that it's
a parasite, especially with how quickly this happened (in a 8 hour period).
<Well; I wouldn't discount the possibility entirely. Some do show up very
For now I'll keep him in my main tank, but in the isolation bin and continue
with daily 10% water changes to get the nitrates down. I've also kept the lights
off so the tank is not so bright.
He is still eating great.
<A VERY good indication of health; recovery>
Do you have a recommended antibiotic I can feed him while he's still in my main
tank to prevent a secondary bacterial infection, or will even edible antibiotics
wipe out my biofilter?
<Some anti... microbials, -biotics more than others. I'd rather you soak, lace
the foods with vitamins, HUFAs, probiotics... there are such prep.s available
commercially... Selcon, Micro-Vit....>
I've been feeding him Hikari brand frozen clams on a half shell. Also bought
some raw shrimp from the grocery store (mainly to feed my zebra moray eel) and
sometimes the puffer grabs pieces of that.
<Mmm; Oh, see this below.... Please read on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning>
Are these okay to continue feeding on a regular basis, or do you recommend
adding something else to their (both puffer and eel) diet to make sure they're
getting enough Thiamine vitamin and not too much thiaminase?
<Oh! Yes... fish, fillet or whole small>
Crab leg pieces?
<Invite me over!>
The angel is going back to the fish store because this tank was set up
specifically for my puffer. :-(
<Ahh; this is the better choice>
Thanks again for your time.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer Ingesting air 1/20/16
Again I turn to you for your infinite wisdom!
<Def. not infinite; and more like simple knowledge; recorded facts/FAQs>
This should be a quick question for you :-) Thanks to your site I've been able
to determine my puffer has been ingesting air and it's becoming trapped in his
intestines. I'm worried about his long term health, since he does this very
frequently. Your advice to other writers alluded to possible infections due to
dried out skin. I believe he's either a) gulping it at the surface when he's
scouring for food or b) getting it from the air stone which he loves playing in.
<Ahh; likely activities>
I've tried burping him several times following your instructions, but have never
seen bubbles. I'm assuming he just manages to work them out on his own since
some days the lump is gone, just to return a day or so later!
Just when you think you're in the clear...!
Do you have any suggestions for how I may help him avoid this reoccurring issue?
<Move the airstone to the back where the puffer can't get to it (behind rock?),
and start feeding it via tongs underwater>
Or perhaps am I wrong on my diagnosis. I'm sure he can't be to impressed with my
hands always around him poking and prodding.
Here's some background:
<Will need something larger in time>
50lbs live rock
1x porcupine puffer 5" (pic with lump)
1x blue spotty puffer (Toby)
1x two spot goby
2x turbo snail
3x baby hermit crab
1x blue tuxedo echinoderm
1x flower pot
1x hammer coral
1x unknown coral (pic)
Thanks so much!
Your biggest fan,
<Cheers dear; Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer Ingesting air
I will try your suggestions absolutely. When I checked on him this morning,
again, the lump was gone. So it in fact only appears on days where I
feed him, which is every other day. Followed by a day of no lump. I'm
currently feeding him brine shrimp, trying to slowly introduce him to new
<Oh yes; for sure. Artemia can be like a diet of cotton candy... Do see/read on
WWM re Diodontid feeding>
Hopefully I can find something that'll work and resolve this issue! I'm sure
he'll be delighted not to be constantly bobbing for apples or captured by my
giant hands haha.
Adieu mon ami!
<Ah, mon cher. Au revoir. BobF>
Porcupine puffer having a bad week
<Why seven MEGS of pix files, WHY?>
I wish I was writing under happier circumstances but unfortunately my poor
puffer has had a very rough week and I find myself looking to you guys for
To start, I've had him roughly 6 months. No illnesses to mention. My water
parameters in his new solitary 55gal hospital tank are:
<This all is fine>
This problems all started 5 days ago when he was attacked by my (now
rehomed) Dardanus Megistos. He nearly lost his entire right fin and had
some other surface cuts. I'll include photos at the bottom for reference.
He seemed to be alright for the days following the attack, normal
behaviour, swimming, resting, eating, breathing normal so I left him in the
main tank with his buddies. Well three days in I noticed the cowfish
picking at his wound and decided to set up a hospital tank for him to
recover in peace. His new home is bare bones. Glass bottom. One fake log
cave. Air stone. Powerhead. Heater. Side filter. One of those 'all
included' kits from the store jobs. I set it up with 35% water from the
main tank and the rest fresh mix, like a big water change. He's been in
there 24hours at this time. He's been fed once and he accepted it normally.
My main concern is his breathing appears to be very laboured. Mouth open.
Almost gasping. At a slight inclined angle, not sitting on the ground. At
first I thought the side filter wasn't providing enough aeration so I put
in the air stone to bump it up but he hasn't improved. I see no visible
sign of illness on his body but he appears to be hiccupping? When I
transferred him to his new tank I ushered him into a juice jug and to my
knowledge, never let him come in contact with the air. He did partly puff
for a brief second while in the jug but he quickly let it out and never
puffed again since.
Would you be concerned about this laboured breathing?
<Only a bit... likely still recovering from the Hermit and Hovercraft fish
What about treating his injuries?
<Oh; yes; the reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPuffTraumaF.htm
Your advice is very much appreciated!!
I included a video, hopefully you're able to view it.
<Henceforth, PLEASE store someplace (e.g. YouTube) and just send along the
Your biggest fan,
<There's something there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week
Thank you very much for your quick reply. I'll keep my eye on him and watch
for infections. I've also blocked off my intakes a little better after
reading those pages you linked me. Preventative measures!
<Perhaps a bit of Epsom>
Your site is truly amazing. The FAQs on Marine Treatment Tanks was
everything I needed and more to make this possible!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week
Good evening Bob,
<Good morrow now here Renee>
Just a quick follow up for you. The puffer took about a week to acclimatize to
his new home.
<Mmm; about right>
He is loving his new digs! All his dead spines and skin shed off by week three.
His fin joint took exactly a month to become useful, begin undulating properly
again, and over the last three days his fin has made impressive gains in size!
I'd expect it to be entirely healed in less than two weeks. What an incredible
thing to witness. Why can't we regrow our parts? Haha
<Some day soon>
Thanks again for everything you and your amazing team provide!
Porcupine Puffer Collapsed Eye?
Hello, just stumbled onto this site as I was frantically searching for an
answer to my problem. 2 days ago I noticed my Porcupine Puffer laying at
the bottom of my tank breathing hard. I have moved the little guy into a
separate tank and that's where he's been since then. He has not taken any
food no matter how hard I try to get him to eat. I've been stumped as to
what is causing this, today I noticed his eyes seem to have collapsed?
been browsing the internet to see what could be causing this but I have
to find anything. I've tried taking a picture but it isn't clear from the
picture what is going on with his eyes. Normally his eyes, the outer
"shell" looks like this, ). Looking at his eyes now only a tiny bit of the
center protrudes out, everything else is flat. There also seems to be
nothing wrong with the muscles in his eye as he is able to pull off all
regular eye movements. His eyes have also lost that glittery sheen to them
and his pupil is no longer circular in shape, instead it resembles a seed.
I'm going to keep looking to see what is going on but I was wondering if
maybe one of you have seen this kind of situation before?
<Yes.... need data... what other life is in this system? What do you feed?
What changes recently? Water quality tests.... See WWM re other Diodontid
health issues to gain an idea of the sorts of information we're looking
for. Bob Fenner>>
If so, what
should I do, and will he ever recover? The only thing of importance that
happened before I discovered my puffer laying at the bottom of my main
was a water and filter clean/change 2 days prior. Thanks for your time.
Re: Porcupine Puffer Collapsed Eye?
<Is there a full moon? 4.5 megs of uncropped pic>
Hello again, thanks for your quick response, my main tank after water
change parameters are Nitrites at 0-5.0 PPM, pH is 8.0, and Salinity is at
1.026. Other fish in this tank are a Blue Tang and a Comet Wrasse.
<All this is fine>
parameters for the Q tank that Puffer is in are comparable to my main
I feed the puffer a mix of cuttlefish, Krill, and Clams.
<Bingo... search on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning. BobF>
Usually he can't
stop eating but he hasn't taken anything for the past 2 days. I've also
managed to take a clear photo of whats happening to his eyes and have
Porc. Puffer help... Crypt? 6/11/15
I have a porcupine puffer who gas been in a quarantine tank for two months while
my dt stayed farrowing to kill off ich. After the two month I put a clown wrasse
back in dt and after two weeks of him being fine I put the puffer back in.
Within two days he started getting white blotches on his fins
<Mmm; could be.... simply stress... the moving for instance; or might be a
preamble to crypt>
and he became very inactive and spent most his time hidden with his tail tucked
in. The spots were similar to the ich spots but not identical.
<... only way to tell for sure is sampling and microscopic exam.>
There didn't seem to be any eye to these spots as before and they were more
blotchy than extended spots. I quickly returned the puffer and began hypo.
<Rarely effects a lasting cure... esp. w/ very mucusy fishes like puffers>
He has showed no signs of illness since and is now his own self. The clown
wrasse due to being incapable of catching him us still in dt
<Will act as a reservoir host if Crypt is present>
and us actually flourishing, got larger more active and no sign of ich or
illness. So my question is this, was what I saw on the puffer in the dt actually
ich or is this something that happens to puffers through stress or other
<See above; and WWM>
Water parameters are all as expected. Salinity 1.022. Hope u can help
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
re: Porc. Puffer help 6/12/15
It's says read on at the end. Am I missing something?
<Sorry for the lack of clarity. The blindness issue w/ your Puffer is likely due
to both the Thiaminase from too much shellfish feeding and water quality as you
state. READ on WWM re feeding/nutrition. B>
re: Porc. Puffer help 6/12/15
I think u replied to wrong msg lol. My puffer hasn't got blindness.
<Ahh, I do apologize>
It was suspected of ich if u can remember. I guess now my question would be how
do I know if my dt is clear of ich or not.
<Can't know with great certainty. Most all marine systems have a degree/latent
infestation... see the "Three Sets of Factors" piece archived on WWM re
Clown wrasse is showing no signs but obviously that could be a misleading factor
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blind porcupine puffer 6/11/15
> Subject: Blind porcupine puffer
> I haven't had much lucky with porcupine puffers for some reason
> <Luck?... Most go blind from nutritional issues... fed too much krill,
> silversides... Thiaminase... Some from too-bright lighting, ala
I don't feed much krill...it makes up about 5% of my food mix, and the
porcupine really never ate it as the other puffers or trigger got first.
The primary food that the porcupine eats is cockle, clam on half shell,
lots of squid, and unshelled cocktail shrimp.
<... go back and read>
I don't feed and live foods other than occasional crawfish, and i have never feed
silversides or other fish as i never wanted my fish getting to like taste of
other fish lol.
I do have high power leds on that tank, so will try turning them down, but i
would think if they caused him problems, he wouldn't be staying at top of tank.
I did read about the Thiaminase issues and i don't use much food that contains
that and also use multivitamins in the food. Right now he gets mostly squid as
he likes the large stuff...he is 10"
Are porcupine puffers just more prone to problems? I have two other puffers with
him and had for years with no problems and they eat the same thing...i also have
7 other puffers in different tanks that have had for years...I've only had issues
with porcupine puffers.
> ...i love them very much, but cant seem to keep one longer than 8 months.
> They just die for no reason. My latest one is a year old and was fine, then
> one day acted like could see. He has now been acting blind for over a month
> with no other symptoms.
> <Put the two words: "Puffer blindness" in WWM search tray (on every page)
> and read>
I had done that before contacting you and didn't find anything...mostly it seemed
people had this issue right after getting a porcupine puffer, or exposed to
copper. I have had mine for nearly a year and never exposed to copper. I do know
that ph greatly affects porcupine puffers and their eyes, and why i suspect the
water issue i had was the cause...i forgot to mention
in last email, ph had dropped to 7.2 along with the low alk. The issue is fixed
and what caused the problem identified so that wont repeat...but if my
suspicion is correct and this was the cause, do you think he will recover?
Anything i can do to help him recover? Again, he acts perfectly normal, just
cant see...eats like a pigs still so long as put it at his mouth.
> He eats well when i put food into his mouth and is very active but tends to
> always swim around the top of the tank. Im pretty sure he can see light n
> shadows, but not actually see. He knows where to go for feeding time when
> the pumps go off, and waits for someone to stuff food in his mouth..but
> other wise spins around if food is near or i miss as he surely can smell
> it. Eyes are clear, and normal with no damage. Tank is a 300g fish only
> with artificial reef, running for 5 years. Tank mates include a yellow
> belly dogface(been in tank for 5 yrs) stars n stripes puffer, indigo
> hamlet, Chromis, desjardini tang, mated male female bi color angels, mated
> blue throat triggers and two Columbian sharks(catfish). Sump is 100gal with
> vertex480 internal and a Deltec external skimmer, along with twin external
> sulfur denitrators, each rated at 900g. Ammonia0, nitrite0, nitrate <1.0 ,
> alk 9, ph 8.1 .. The only problem I've had with the tank in last few months
> was an alk drop and calc spike which i corrected slowly over two weeks. Alk
> dropped to 4 and calc had risen to 900
> <?! as in PPM?>
Yes 900ppm...i thought test went bad but confirmed it with other tests.
I used to maintenance dose the tank with an all-in-one calc,alk,mag that also
had other trace. That drove the calc up since Mag is used more in a fish only
than calc and caused an imbalance. Now i only supplement dose with an alk
builder and Mag when needed.
> with Mag staying at below 1200. I originally assumed this was the cause and
> corrected it, and it has been over a month and stable, but no improvement
> with his eyesight. No other fish is having a problem. I make my own food
> which is a mix of jumbo mysis, salad sized shrimp, squid, clam, Nori,
> mussel, krill.
> <This is the problem. See WWM re Thiaminase as well>
> I add in garlic, Vitamarin, amino/omega, and angel elixir. Any
> <Reading, using WWM. Bob Fenner>
Blind porcupine puffer 6/10/15
I haven't had much lucky with porcupine puffers for some reason
<Luck?... Most go blind from nutritional issues... fed too much krill,
silversides... Thiaminase... Some from too-bright lighting, ala Lionfishes>
...i love them very much, but cant seem to keep one longer than 8 months.
They just die for no reason. My latest one is a year old and was fine, then one
day acted like could see. He has now been acting blind for over a month with no
<Put the two words: "Puffer blindness" in WWM search tray (on every
page) and read>
He eats well when i put food into his mouth and is very active but tends to
always swim around the top of the tank. Im pretty sure he can see light n
shadows, but not actually see. He knows where to go for feeding time when the
pumps go off, and waits for someone to stuff food in his mouth..but other wise
spins around if food is near or i miss as he surely can smell
it. Eyes are clear, and normal with no damage. Tank is a 300g fish only with
artificial reef, running for 5 years. Tank mates include a yellow belly
dogface(been in tank for 5 yrs) stars n stripes puffer, indigo hamlet, Chromis,
desjardini tang, mated male female bi color angels, mated blue throat triggers
and two Columbian sharks(catfish). Sump is 100gal with vertex480 internal and a
Deltec external skimmer, along with twin external sulfur denitrators, each rated
at 900g. Ammonia0, nitrite0, nitrate <1.0 , alk 9, ph 8.1 .. The only problem
I've had with the tank in last few months was an alk drop and calc spike which i
corrected slowly over two weeks. Alk dropped to 4 and calc had risen to
<?! as in PPM?>
with Mag staying at below 1200. I originally assumed this was the cause and
corrected it, and it has been over a month and stable, but no improvement with
his eyesight. No other fish is having a problem. I make my own food
which is a mix of jumbo mysis, salad sized shrimp, squid, clam, Nori, mussel,
<This is the problem. See WWM re Thiaminase as well>
I add in garlic, vitamarinM, amino/omega, and angel elixir. Any suggestions?
<Reading, using WWM. Bob Fenner>
Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Hey crew, thanks for doing what you do!
<A pleasure, honor and life-fulfilling to share>
Question, I see that you don't recommend hypo treatment for Cryptocaryon
(SW "Ich"). In the case of Holocanthus puffers, copper treatment is suggested to
be potentially very harmful.
I'm just doing the freshwater dip now and heading to the quarantine tank.
Was set to hypo, but if you don't recommend hypo, what would you
recommend for Holocanthus that you would consider a safe, effective treatment?
<Chloroquine phosphate is best currently. Use the search tool on any page on
I did do a search using some terms but didn't come up with something (probably
just didn't do it right!)
Thanks very much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Bob as a ps- I know in my last note I went from the no hypo/copper to
some level, but just trying to find something prophylactic till I get my
hands on the right stuff.... Thanks so much again
<Figured, but thank you for this clarification. BobF>
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Bob, thanks so so much for your super fast reply! I've read your
articles and books for what seems to be a very long time! (I was a U of
Miami grad in the 90s from the Marine Science school, went a different
direction but never left the love of it!) I've read up before on
Chloroquine, hear super things about it. Your support of it is even
referenced in a Pufferforum
post. I even was able to get some Dr G's which i soaked shrimp in and
feed the puffer with it while I got the QT set. Of course, Dr. G's only
provides an internal medication, and does not treat the external
parasite in the tank. That would require dosing.
<?... the quinine does treat for external Protozoans>
The problem I've had is that I can't seem to find anyone that carries
<... See here:
Most of the LFS's have never even heard of it. And the one that sold me
the Dr G's, who swears that Chloroquine does wonders, doesn't carry it
because he's just start up and dealing with start up costs. I can't
quite understand why if it's as effective as I've read, it isn't fully
<Meh... newer tech; the regulations... expense of start ups; lack of
I'm going to see if I can find it somewhere, I haven't had much success
on the web either. Any thoughts on where to find a product?
The LFS guy is trying to order some for me from a place in Gainesville,
FL (we're in West Palm Beach) if he can. But he says it will be until
Thursday before he could get any in. (he did say the market for this
should open up, in his opinion it's been limited to commercial
In the meantime I was going to try one of two options to get things
going for the puffer. I dipped him in fresh water last night on the way
to the QT for 10 min.s. 'Most' of the Crypto came off. He's swimming
happily in the QT and begging for food. (note, all the other scaled fish
will be placed in a separate QT and copper dosed, and the DT left fallow
for 6 weeks). I am considering starting either a hypo treatment combined
with a daily formalin dip and daily 50% bottom vacuumed water changes;
or a half dose Cupramine regime, which I've read can be effective
against crypto and if slowly dosed up correctly is safe for puffers (of
course, keeping a close eye on levels and behavior to make sure). Any
thoughts on these as
prophylactic while waiting for a Chloroquine supply?
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Got it! Fish Pharm CP. Not cheap but worth it! Will keep extra on hand
(and thus also support the market growth!) Do you have dosing
instructions on WWM?
If so I can do a search, or I can contact fishPharm. Will also look at
that NLS Ich Shield Powder, seems to contain chloroquinine as a dip. Re
your question of why I mentioned Dr G's for internal, what I meant to
say (I probably could have said better) is as I understand it, the
product works on the fish itself (internally and externally), but not on
the tank water in the QT where the crypto will still remain unless I
somehow treat that as well?
<Don't understand this statement... but quinines are not effective on
free-swimming and off-host intermediates as far as I'm aware. B>
Thanks again for all you do Bob
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Hoping to help spread the word, here's another supplier I found, no word
50-63-5 | Chloroquine diphosphate salt, 98% |
salt | J64459 | Alfa Aesar| Alfa Aesar
| 50-63-5 | Chloroquine diphosphate salt, 98% | N4-(7-Chlo...Hazard
| View on www.alfa.com
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
As I understand it, I can treat the fish with CP foods, but even with
treatment if the off host intermediates are still in the water, unless I
eradicate the off host forms as well, they'll just keep attacking the
If quinines don't treat off host intermediates, won't the problem just
continue as a cycle until I find some way to treat those as well? Scott
<A few approaches can work here: Moving hosts to non-infested systems
serially... in actual practice, IF one is dealing w/ a single (not
multiple, over-lapping) generations of Protozoans, eradicating those on
the host fishes generally effects a system cure. Reducing the numbers
and viability of parasites off-host can be done in numerous ways... B>
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo
Now that is great! Looking forward to the employment of the method!
again for all. Scott G.
<Ah, welcome. BobF>
Puffer.... NOT following stated directions
> <The size limit of 50 MB for mailbox 'firstname.lastname@example.org' has
been > exceeded. Incoming mail is currently being rejected.>
> Please help. .. what can I do for my puffer. . His eyes are almost
covered in white and he looks like he is burned on his back. The
nitrates are at 40, nitrite are at 0, ammonia is at 0 and ph is 8.2..
and I'm doing large
> water changes weekly to get the nitrates down. .
sorry their was no message... please help
<THE MESSAGE IS BELOW. RESIZE and RESEND OR GO ELSEWHERE>
Re: Puffer 2/14/15
<Nothing attached. Get help w/ your email>
wow sorry missed that i resent only pic of my puffer this time sorry
What can i do for my puffer his eyes are cloudy and he looks like he had
a burn on his back. .
<Learn to use WWM... the indices, search tool. I'll look this up for you
this time; READ HERE:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
great that was helpful
<... Next time... do please provide useful data... the environment;
foods/feeding/tankmates, system... B>
Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?
Hello WWM Crew,
I read all of the posts on puffers and disease and didn't see pictures
that looked like this.
I have a 125 gallon tank, spg 1.023, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
pH is 8.4, temp 79 degrees Fahrenheit My porcupine
puffer shares his tank with a bi color angel, a Siganus
<May have poked...>
rabbit fish and a rather Large Dardanus
crab in a 6 inch Triton shell.
Tonight when I got home I noticed a mark on my Porcupine puffer
<All at once I take it>
It is in front of his gill on his left side. It was
Not there yesterday,
<Ah yes; an injury>
it is whitish/pink area. It is about an 1/2 inch
wide by a little under an inch long. I have
attached a picture.
<A nice one>
It doesn't look like ich or velvet or other
diseases I have seen first hand. I am wondering it it looks
fungal or bacterial in nature to you?
Or if it looks like a wound perhaps inflicted by a
rather large crab living in a triton shell. Any thoughts?
<Same as yours>
I can quarantine Kirby the puffer and medicate him if need be.
I would rather not medicate him if it is a wound
that will heal on its own.
Kirby is 6 years old. He doesn't seem lethargic at
all or breathing fast either. He is eating well.
Are there bacteria's or fungus that move this
quickly in less then 24 hours?
<Not w/o an opening>
Thanks for your help this is an amazing site.
<There we have it; a mix of dangerous characters; the puffer cut,
slashed open by one of them...
With good conditions, nutrition will heal in time (weeks). Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?
"<how is NO3 rendered thus?>"
I have a refugium stuffed full of plants, a nitrate filter from Aquaripure
and religious water changes because puffers are really messy.
Maybe how I should have phrased it is that the nitrates are undetectable
with 2 different test kits. So I think it is a combination of all three
There must be a titch of NO3 as the plants are doing fine but I think the
plants take up what is left by the puffers messy eating habits. The NO3 with
2 different tests it is not detectable.
I definitely think the puffer was wounded by Roger Rabbit fish or the
Dardanus crab. I am kind of leaning toward the crab. Kirby the puffer seems
to be giving the crab a wider leeway and to some degree avoiding the area
where the crab is. I do not remember him doing that before.
Thanks again for this site. It is a treasure trove of knowledge.
<Thank you for adding to it. BobF>
Update on Kirby the
Puffer and the Dardanus Crab 2/7/15
Hello WWM crew,
Kirby is now healing from his injury from a few weeks ago. It was the crab I am
99% sure who wounded Kirby.
There is a small area that is lighter in color and some of his spots are farther
apart then they were before. He Has given the crab a wider berth then he did
before. That is what has led me to believe it was the crab and not Roger Rabbit
(Siganus doliatus). The behavior is different toward the crab.
<Perhaps next molt/move, it will be the Puffer's chance...>
You will be happy to know that I have purchased a 200 gallon tank for
I am just waiting for the stand to arrive. It will have space for a 100+ gallon
refugium underneath. Which brings me to my next question......about stocking the
bigger tank. Kirby is 7 inches long, Roger is 8 inches long. The crab will be
spending more time in the refugium I think.....to keep everyone safe.
Can I switch him from the main tank to the refugium here and there?
Since it is the same system? He is a good clean up crew for the puffers messy
way of eating. Other occupants will be my bicolor angel and a small 4 inch
aquacultured purple Tang.
<?! Have never seen an aquacultured Zebrasoma sp. Where are you buying/getting
I know the tang will get lots bigger.
<Mmm; not as large as some congeners... likely only five-six inches overall here
over years time>
The tang and bicolor get along swimmingly (pun intended) now and are never very
far from each other. Will it stay that way as the tang gets bigger or is he more
likely to bully the Bicolor?
<Can't say; both animals being individualistic... but I give good odds that
they'll get along well enough>
I also have a purple indigo Pseudochromis in that tank should I move him to a
smaller tank even though he seems to be doing just fine with the big fish?
<If there's sufficient cover I'd leave in; are smart, quick>
I was thinking of adding a pink tailed or blue throat trigger to the mix after
the new tank is up and running for a while.....am I pushing my luck with the
thought of a trigger and puffer together or the trigger and my rather large
<A peaceful Balistid species might go>
Could I put a different species of rabbit fish in a system this size?
<I would not>
I know you shouldn't put con-specifics together but could it work with this size
<Not a good gamble>
What would you suggest for other fish to add with this pugnacious bunch of fish?
<That you read; decide for yourself. You can/could just peruse the
"Compatibility FAQs" on WWM for all the species you have, desire>
That I adore I might add ☺.
Are there wrasse that might work like the dragon wrasse or Thalassoma species?
<Yes; plus Coris and a few others>
Could a hawk fish work with this bunch or would my puffer eat a Hawkfish....
<A larger species could fit>
he has left the pseudo alone... He has left the cleaner shrimp alone which has
amazed me. I want to make the right choice of fish to add to the larger system
once I get up and running.
Thanks again for this amazing site. I have spent dozens of hours reading on it.
P.S. I often shop at my Asian grocery store to find new and interesting things
for Kirby the puffer to eat. They often have an array of marine shellfish you
wouldn't find at your regular grocery store and the often have very high quality
squid compared to my local grocery store.
<Neat. Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Question about Porcupine Puffer 2/2/15
Hi, I hope you can help me. I just wanted to ask you a question about my
Porcupine puffer fish. I have had him for 6 years and he is 12"
long. I would say at a guess that he is around 10-12 years old
as he was quite a good size when i got him. He seems constipated.
<A common issue with larger puffer species, specimens.... What
do you feed this fish? Have you read on WWM Re?>
I noticed 5 days ago that the lower part of his belly was quite big and
sticking out. You could see that he was trying to go to the toilet but
not able to go. He is swimming around as normal at night, and staying on
the bottom of the tank between his rocks during the day and does not
seem stressed, but is moping about a bit. I read on the internet that
peas are good as a laxative.
<MgSO4 much better>
I tried earlier with some peas (i took the outer skin off them) on one
of my food grabbers. He was not interested. He is not interested in any
of his food at the moment. I just wanted to double check with you, that
peas are ok for marine fish?
Is there any other things i can do for his blockage?
Some people on the internet say to try to get him in a container and
massage his belly. I cannot do this because he is big and heavy and i
don't want to chance him puffing up and stressing more or getting air in
him. I'm just stressed out because i have had him a long time and want
to do all that i can to get him better. I mainly feed cockles in
shell, mussels, superba krill, and lancefish. His favourite is the
shelled cockles though.
<Yikes... also see WWM re Thiaminase>
He always seems to crunch the shells fine and spit them out. Do you
think that maybe bit of shells could have gotten stuck in his stomach,
or even maybe a full cockle as his mouth is big. I would have thought
that in the wild they eat shelled things all the time and their stomachs
would deal with it ok?
Do they ever pass it naturally after a few days?
<Almost always; yes>
I know they can go quite a while without food and be ok. I'm hoping if
the peas are ok, then he will start feeding again soon. I can try to put
the peas into his food like the mussels. He last fed on Saturday 24th
January in the morning. Sorry about all the questions. I can't seem to
find much on the internet about what has happened to my puffer. I went
to the local vets
on Friday 30th January. That's the earliest the vet could see me. I
could not bring the puffer with me as he is big and i did not want to
stress him more. I took videos and photos to show the vet. He said he
could maybe x ray him which would be stressful for him or get liquid
paraffin down into him via a tube to make him throw up. Not sure if this
would work either,
because the lump seems to be far down near his back passage.
<There are other, more useful lavages for fishes>
My water parameters are great and all the other fish are fine. I hope to
hear back from you soon. Many thanks. Neil.
<Do you need help using the search tool (on every page) or indices on
Re: Question about Porcupine Puffer 2/3/15
Hi Bob, thanks a lot for the reply. I completely forgot to say in the
last message that i am currently doing Hyposalinity in my main tank that
had a break out of Ich. I have done it for 6 weeks and am just starting
to now bring the SG back up slowly over the next 2 weeks as the Ich is
completely gone now. Could this affect my puffer at all with a blockage
eating? Thanks again. Neil.
<Ah yes. BobF>
Porcupine Puffer Issues; hlth.; iatrogenic. No reading as
Hello, I recently got a porcupine puffer (About a month ago), and it was
eating great and acting normal
up until few days ago, when it contracted the itch.
After reading on itch and the puffer and learning that itch medication
tends to harm the puffer, I decided against medication.
<I'd try CP... as gone over on WWM, for Diodontids w/ Protozoan issues>
The itch resided and I thought everything was ok, as the puffer returned
When I went to feed the puffer today I noticed it was acting abnormal.
Usually when I step up to the tank, the puffer will swim out and hang
around near the surface of the water, waiting for me to feed it
<.... see WWM re Thiaminase. Krill is a very poor diet>
that has been thawed out). Today it never swam out. I decided to coax it
out with some food held near its usual resting place. My puffer swam out
and I noticed that both its eyes, were slightly cloudy, and it almost
seems like they pulse in and out every couple seconds. I also noticed
that the itch returned. After eating 2-3 Krill, the puffer lost all
interest in eating and I couldn't coax it with food anymore. My other
fish ( 1 Juvi Emperor Angel, 1 Yellow Tang, and 5 Banggai Cardinal
were acting as usual, and were enthusiastic in their feeding, none of
these fish contracted itch (the Emperor Angel did have a small bout, but
it went away within the day and has not resurfaced). I also have an
Anemone that was acting normal (got it 2 weeks ago) but as of today has
contracted. The only real thing I have changed recently, was my water,
and I finally managed to get an in tank skimmer (Has been running for 5
days). I have enclosed a Video of my puffer fish. You'll notice its
weird swimming and random jerking. Please let me know if you need
photo's or video of anything. Also where do I find your reply to this
<Where you'll be reading; on WWM>
On the FAQ or should I expect an email reply? Thanks for your time.
<Keep reading; the above. Bob Fenner>
- Tank levels on 01/01/15
- Calcium, 380-400 ppm
- Hardness, 1790197 ppm
- Phosphate, 0.5-1.0 ppm
- Nitrate, 0.0-.05 ppm
-Tank Levels on 01/20/15
- Calcium, 360-380 ppm
- Hardness, 297-214 ppm
- Phosphate, 1.0-2.0 ppm
- Nitrate, 5-10 ppm
Puffer Fish problems.mov
Re: Porcupine Puffer Issues... another non-reader
Hello, thanks for you speedy reply regarding issues with my puffer. I
did do more research after I sent my initial email and came upon the
Thiminase issue myself.
Your article regarding Thiminase was extremely helpful,
<Not very impressive as you're not spelling the condition
because like you said, there is not much information to go around. I
would like to know what diet I should be feeding my fish to avoid this
<Also posted on WWM... please learn to/use the search tool (on every
page) and/or indices.>
Currently only my puffer seems to be suffering as it is the only one
that eats the krill. The other fish in my tank are fed Frozen
<Also very poor>
and to not display any of the symptoms (Yet, after reading your article
I am worried that this will change). What do you think I should be
feeding my fish to help my puffer recover and to avoid this issue in the
Cloudy eye? No reading, or data, but 9 megs in blurry
non-cropped pix 12/11/14
Is this cloudy eye or ich?
<Could be both, either, neither>
He hasn't eaten in a couple of days and today he's just been hanging out
on the sand bed. Our tank went through a funk
during thanksgiving where the nitrates and ph spiked and killed a lot of
our hard coral but that's under control now.
Any info would be awesome
<See WWM re Diodontid Puffer Disease... All will be
revealed. Bob Fenner>
Pouting Porcupine Puffer
Hi WWM crew,
First, thanks for taking the time to answer questions like these and
keeping an online archive like you do. It is a great resource. To the
Background: I have had a series of salt-water tanks (displays of 125g
FOWLR, 150g Reef, and 17g anemone) all on the same system for years now.
Water parameters are good (nitrates and phosphates never get to 0 though
due to feedings of the fish heavy systems…
<No big... chemo- photosynthates need measurable>
but it has been like that for years now with no ill results… zero algae,
good coral growth etc). Almost 2 weeks ago I noticed very early stages
of what I believe to be Ich on some of my fish (Bummer…). I am diligent
in my quarantine process for fish… but not so much with frags and
corals… guess that caught up to me. Lesson learned. I separated the fish
from the reef and anemone tanks and removed those tanks from the overall
system giving me several tanks all on a central system in which I could
begin my course of action / treatment of hyposalinity (I brought the SG
down gradually in the system to 1.010 over the course of 4 days). Some
fish are in large community tanks together (like the 125g), and some
alone. One of the fish alone is my 7 year old porcupine puffer Jiggly
Puff in a 29 gallon on the system (with a good amount of live rock for
Problem: She (The puffer) was fine in the tank at first, a bit sad, but
eating fine (garlic and Selcon soaked mussels normally) and swimming
around like she normally does. At day 3 after reaching the salinity of
1.010 (so day 7 in the tank), she began to wedge herself under rocks and
basically stay put. If she moved out from under the rocks, she would
float vertically and swim in circles. She also stopped eating. First, I
thought it could be an air pocket (even though I transferred her to the
new tank without exposing her to air), so I attempted to “burp” her.
Held her vertically and massaged her gently for a while (she is a good
gentle girl and does not bite / enjoys us petting her normally so
holding her did not seem to bother her much). Got nothing. The next day
we tried again for a bit longer. She puffed up at the end this time but
again, even when she expelled the water from inflation, she did not
“burp” and continued not to be able to swim. Gave her a day off to see
how she would do and then tried again today… but again no “burp” and
hiding under the rocks / involuntary vertical floating (Tail up). What
else could this be?
<The hypo., move... small space>
Could she have gotten impacted by eating a large piece of shell (she
normally does not ingest the shells… but she did brake off half of one
the other day and did swallow it… which she has done before… just not
normal for her)? Could she have gotten a bacterial infection? Is her
digestion just off due to the new salinity (killing off her normal gut
flora)? Could it be parasites?
Her general symptoms and behaviors have been: Wedging under rocks (and
not moving / coming out), vertical floating (tail first) and swimming in
circles when she is out from the rock work, occasionally doing something
that looks like coughing / dry heaving with nothing coming out (usually
after we try and burp her though…), not eating. Have not noticed any
lumps to speak of (and the small amount of Ich she did eventually
develop is not visible at all now). Also worth noting that all other
fish on the same system (close to 40) are doing great.
Hoping you can provide some guidance. I am tempted to remove her tank
from the large system (cut off water flow) and treat with some kind of a
combination (or single treatment) of PraziPro, an antibiotic (i.e.
maracyn 1, 2, or plus), or something like MelaFix
<Nah. Worse than worthless>
(I know this gets a ton of flack… but an option my wife has brought up
due to the numerous postings on forums etc regarding the product).
Treatment would just be stabs in the dark… but just feel helpless at
this point as she is a great fish… probably my favorite ever… and we are
pretty attached so we hate to see her like this. Any help you could
provide by replying is greatly appreciated!
<If it were me, mine... just patience. This puffer can go for weeks w/o
feeding... Patience. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pouting Porcupine Puffer
Thanks for the quick reply! Waiting a few more days (a week or so) was
what I was thinking of doing as well...
<Ah, good. I take it you've read other's accounts archived on WWM re
Although it breaks out heart to see her so sad... I think waiting a week
or so without bothering her much is probably the way to go. Again,
thanks for the reply!
Pouting Porcupine Puffer 6/13/14
<Is it a full moon? Oh, yes; it is. Why are folks sending orders of
magnitude too large files?>
Wanted to follow up with the previous emails regarding our 7 year old
<Have you read on WWM re Diodontids?>
We gave her a bit more time and it appears that she does have a rather
large lump on her left side behind her pectoral fin and gills (it seems
like she is being floated by this lump). She also appears to be doing
worse with labored breathing. It has been quite a while now with her
like this. Any advise?
Maybe try burping her more vigorously? Or try bringing the SG back to
normal (still in hypo 1.010)?
<A poor idea. Stop writing, and read. Bob Fenner>
I attached some pictures as well this time.
Thanks again for the help,