Beware of copper compounds use w/ puffers... and
metallic dyes... Too toxic
Dips/baths w/ formalin, pH adjusted FW...
and best, exclusion through appropriate quarantine
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
The food came in the mail today and I will start feeding as soon as I
get home. He had a little breakfast this morning and was still eating
like a champ. He's a fighter!
As I said, I am going to lace his regular food, but there are really no
instructions on dosage. Should I only treat a couple pieces of food and
then give him some untreated?
<Mmm; I've posted a few times on WWM... should be search-able. In print;
see Ed Noga's tomes>
Should I treat all his food?
<Yes I would>
Is it possible to overdose?
If another fish gets a piece, is it a problem?
<Not a problem>
I think because they are fighting it off also.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
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...
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
yesterday. Could 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.
Crypto treatment for Porcupine puffer
I have a puffer and a tang that are showing signs of crypt. I
was readingthat both are sensitive to copper and was leaning towards
hyposalinity fortreatment. However, I was also reading that this is not always aguarantee.
(As always there are 246 opinions in this hobby).
<More if you keep looking>
Is there analternative safe treatment that would be recommended should
hyposalinitynot show results?
<Yes; quinine... CP>
I have seen it is best to leave the display fallow for
Appx 8 weeks? but there is a lot of debate in this area as well. So far
their activity levels and appetites are normal.
Any recommendations is appreciated! I'm trying to get these babies moved
over as soon as possible!
<See WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?
Since I last emailed you, I had him in Quarantine while letting time
pass in my 200G tank for a newly placed Blueline Rabbitfish (joining a
resident Bluehead Wrasse). I observed distinctive white spots come and
go on the rabbitfish's fins (i.e., separate to the raised under-skin
bumps that I corresponded with you about). I wondered if the prior Ich
strain had survived my Cupramine/Quinine runs and several months of no
one in the tank except the Wrasse who exhibited high resistance to the
I placed the porcupine puffer (from LA Diver's Den site) after 2 weeks
of my own QT. He had a FW dip before being placed. It seems he did not
bring any pathogens to the tank, but clearly is now exhibiting symptoms.
From the attached picture, hopefully you can see the spotting/clouding
on his fins. There almost seems to be a fluke-type raised "dot" with a
tail on some of the spots. This is present on his other fins. Otherwise,
I see some slime coat shedding this morning, and the fin spotting has
become far more pronounced. He likes to hover in the return flow, and
for the first time last night he retreated to the rocks at night, but
otherwise still eats vigorously.
<Mmm, could be just reaction sites from bent fin spines... might be a
worm parasite of some sort, but doubtful>
I also see the Rabbitfish stays hidden with its night coloring during
much of the day.
I wonder if this is a disease symptom, or if he's just trying to keep
cover from tankmates. I also see the wrasse scratching (gill area)
against substrate/rock occasionally.
<I personally wouldn't treat any for anything. B>
Re: Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?
Thanks Bob. Here is a second pic of the puffer, with the anal fin in focus.
This shows the clouding, and if it were 3D you would be able to see the
trailing tail at the darker white center of some of the spots. All other
fins have this level of spotting.
Regarding a wait-and-see approach, I'm just worried that the Puffer seems to
have had heavy progression on spots on all fins, and a first-time slime coat
sloughing, since yesterday. Having wondered if the display tank still had
problems, I ordered 2L of Paraguard (should arrive today), and
thought I'd start administering main tank doses to keep the pathogen down
while the Puffer and Rabbitfish increase resistance. Seems it couldn't hurt
<Could hurt, damage the fishes health, kill off beneficial bacteria, much
I just again looked at the tank, and see a similar cloudy patch (versus
distinctive spotting) on the Rabbit fin. No "tails" on the spots.
The other challenge I have is timing of this development. I leave town
tomorrow. I can easily leave the neighbor instructions to add a dose of
Paraguard when they come to feed, but probably would scare them off if I
asked them to observe/document any further progression and offer a crash
course on fish disease. Hm. <... one last time: I would do nothing here. B>
Re: Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?
Bob: OK! Sorry you needed to repeat yourself! Can you imagine how much fun
my wife has doing the same. Happy Thanksgiving, Dave
<Heeeeee! You too!>
Re: Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?
Bob: Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. Quick updated, the puffer is
still eating, but seems very lethargic, breathing heavily, and his
coloration is much darker. I do see a few (2-3) distinctive new white
spots on the Rabbitfish as well. This is a game of tough calls - what would you do?
<Get out one of my microscopes... have a cheapy old fashioned one and a
QX 3 USB type two arms lengths away... and take a smear sample of the
skin mucus and look/see what this is. BobF>
Continue to watch and leave as-is? Or, transfer the puffer to a hospital
setting so he can fight and build immunity in a non-infested tank?
I have two other fish that have been in QT for an extended period. Seems
at this point I should wait for a period of time before introducing them
into the display, and continuing to inoculate them with display tank
are generally hardy specimens with regard to parasites (Chinese Hawkfish
/ C. Pinnulatus, Engineer goby). How many weeks would you wait until
after seeing the last display tank spot before introduction?
<See WWM re>
Thank you, Dave
Re: Puffer Disease - fin "spots"? 1/3/12
Bob, continuation of questioning on puffer disease as per the previous
I see these spots beginning to return to the porcupine puffer,
<... review my previous writings to you re hyposalinity... Am hunting
for an appropriate axiomatic statement: "Oh, if I only had a dollar for
now that I have exited hyposalinity. If you will recall from the pics
and descriptions previously provided (I can recap if this would help) -
these are not spots, but larger splotches on the fins.
<... can't tell w/o sampling, microscopic examination>
I began the hyposalinity treatment when the puffer seemed to be almost
overwhelmed by this affliction (stopped feeding for days, labored
breathing, clearly near death). He made a complete recovery during hypo,
with splotches responding to this treatment and completely disappearing
(although there was a curious eye splotch that occurred at one point).
As of now, there is clear progression but no other visible symptoms. I
am afraid to wait/observe as the last round of this battle didn't go
I just did a 4 minute freshwater dip, to see if evidence of flukes/worms
may be seen. I saw no effect from this dip.
Honestly, I don't see how I could get a scrape from the puffer without
causing damage to its delicate fins and/or significant distress.
<Some damage, stress... worth it... Think on "going to the doctor or
dentist" yourself... procedures...>
I do not see any other fish developing any such external problems.
<So? What you going to do?>
Any thoughts on what I could be missing in terms of possible disease
This is frustrating, I'm tempted to re-establish perfect water quality
then return to the <1.010 hyposalinity level and attempt a full 6-8 week
treatment. I maintained this level initially (despite the system
distress) for a full 2-3 weeks after observing the last splotches on the
puffer, but clearly that duration did not eliminate this pathogen. When
he was first placed in the tank, water conditions were near perfect
(Am/NO3/NO4, pH/temp, etc).
<Just the usual; for you to keep reading... WWM is not a complete,
direct, nor well-organized compilation re fish disease... as yet. There
are works that are, and these are cited on WWM. Did we discuss Ed Noga's
"Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment" tome? Am given to understand an
e- version of the second ed. can be downloaded for about ten dollars.
I'd be "casting your net" a bit further than simple e- chatting on the
Net... Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?
Bob, thanks for whacking me with the idiot stick. I find that a whack a
day keeps me on track, although probably more annoying for those who
need to administer than it is painful for me...
<Uhh, well, happy to help>
I (of course) decided I needed to proceed exactly as you prescribed, but
also that I couldn't stomach a smear without first observing, so I
loaded the puffer in the car and took a long drive to the well-known
"fish doc" in the area (at an LFS...not a biologist but well versed in
disease ID and, as I understand, is consulted by the Denver Aquarium on
<Ahh!> He did several smears, which I was able to observe. His
diagnosis was that no evidence of pathogens and a generally healthy
slime coat seemed apparent. Hmmm.
So I am still left with some questions, but at this point will continue
the march to normal SG, observations, and continued reading (as you have
prescribed)...Keep the stick handy in case I get off course again...
<I'd be moving this fish to the permanent display. BobF>
To Medicate or Not . . . - 12/28/2012
Dear WetWebMedia Crew:
<Hi Matthew! Sabrina with you tonight.> First, thank you for all of the time and effort you put into your
site and advancing the hobby. The website is a tremendous resource and
I have consulted it countless times over the years.
<Thank you for these very encouraging words.>
I am writing today--for the first time--for advice on how to treat
my Porcupine Puffer's fin rot.
<Alright. Let's see....>
Water Parameters / Aquarium Info
Aquarium Specs: 240 gal. FOWLR.
Ph: 8.0 (measured at the end of the day's light cycle)
Ammonia: Not detectable
Nitrite: Not detectable
Nitrate: Under 10 ppm
Phosphate: Not detectable
Temperature: Maintained between 76-78 with heater/chiller
Livestock: 1 Blue Tang, 1 Clownfish, 1 Porcupine Puffer, several dozen
hermit crabs (the puffer--generally--leaves them alone), ~100 lbs live rock,
live sand. Most recent addition was the Clownfish, which was added at
least 2 years ago. There have not been any major changes to the
aquarium's load (either up or down, other than due to the growth of the
existing fish) since the arrival of the Clownfish.
<Sounds very good so far.>
About 6 days ago, my porcupine puffer became extremely lethargic and stopped
<You mentioned the clown is the newest addition, of at least two years ago,
but not the age of the puffer. This is worth considering.
They're not immortal, sadly. Just like humans, fish get more
susceptible to disease as they age - I actually work with a naturally
short-lived fish at Stanford, where we are studying aging and longevity, and
we do get to observe them actually "get old".>
His belly didn't look overly bloated, but did look about how it normally
looks after he has eaten even though he had stopped eating. Other than
the full stomach, there were no other outward signs of any health problems.
<The full stomach is telling.... With their impressive appetites, I do
wonder if he perhaps ate something, or too much of something, which might
have caused a bit of a gut blockage....>
I adopted a wait and see approach as I have seen him go on random one or two
day "hunger-strikes" a couple of times in years past without any serious
Unfortunately, he continued to get worse, and by the time I realized that he
appeared to have a serious internal bug of some sort, the LFS was closed for
Christmas Eve and Christmas, so I did not have access to any antibiotics.
At his worst point, he merely sat on the bottom of the aquarium breathing
heavily. He stopped responding to stimulation and may have even been
temporarily blind as he showed no response to light or any other stimuli.
<Interestingly, I've seen in a freshwater puffer very similar symptoms -
including the apparent blindness - which we also thought might have been
from a gut blockage or from overfeeding. Fortunately, the critter
recovered suddenly and on his own.>
I thought he appeared to be only a few hours from death. On the
morning of the 26th, Puffer started to swim around the aquarium slightly and
I noticed that his feces was white and granular (still not eating at this
<Perhaps finally passing something....?>
In the evening I purchased Maracyn Two on the advice of the LFS. I
setup a QT and added the Maracyn Two.
<I would be hesitant - EXTREMELY hesitant - to somewhat randomly begin
medicating, especially if the animal had "perked up" a bit....>
Unfortunately, after adding the Maracyn Two to the QT, I noticed that the
packages I had just purchased had an expiration date of 4/11. Further
research indicated that Maracyn Two and similar medications actually turn
toxic after their expiration dates. Based on that, I did not move
Puffer to the now-contaminated QT.
Today, the 27th, I purchased new--non expired Erythromycin from the LFS and
planned on draining the QT and starting with new water from the display
<Erythromycin is effective mostly against gram-positive bacterial issues, if
I recall properly. Unless you know very surely what you're treating,
and to what medications it is susceptible, this wouldn't be my personal
first choice - though I know others who would disagree. If I feel I
have to "guess", I would probably resort to Kanamycin sulfate, IF I was sure
I was dealing with an unknown bacterial complaint.>
When I got home, however, Puffer looked MUCH better--about 80% of his usual
self--and even had an appetite again (what a relief).
<Oh! Very good!>
Because he was looking like he was on the road to recovery, I decided that a
move to the QT along with the associated stress might cause more trouble
than it was worth (thoughts?).
<This, in my very strong opinion, was certainly the right choice. I
would absolutely not stress (by moving or especially by medicating) this
apparently recovering animal.>
On the 26th--about the same time Puffer was starting to look a little
better, I noticed the start of fin rot on his left pectoral fin. In my
opinion, the fin looks slightly worse today than it did yesterday (though my
wife says it looks unchanged). I imagine that the fin rot is a
secondary infection picked up while Puffer was (and still slightly remains)
in his weakened state.
<Could be. Or could be from an injury, perhaps from being lethargic;
maybe he got scraped, or nipped by a tankmate, or.... Who knows.>
I can drain/refill the QT, move Puffer, and dose the Erythromycin (or any
other antibiotic you suggest . . .),
<As above, Erythromycin isn't typically my first choice, but I do believe
I've seen Bob suggesting it as one of his. You will get differing
OR I can leave Puffer alone in the display to continue his recovery on his
<This is what I would do, were it me/my fish.>
I am again afraid that the stress of a move will do more harm than good and
may disrupt the progress he is clearly making with the internal infection.
<I still would consider that it may have been a simple gut blockage.>
If I maintain good water chemistry and Puffer continues to beat the internal
infection, can the fin rot clear up on its own,
or is an antibiotic going to be necessary?
<Possible, but not probable.>
To further complicate the decision, I am going out of town the next three
days. I have someone coming to feed the fish and they can dose any
required antibiotic, but I worry that I won't be there to monitor the QT
should any issues arise.
<A wise worry. I would not medicate or move this fish at this time.>
On the other hand, if the fin rot continues to advance, I will not be there
to put Puffer in the QT and start treatment.
<An understandable concern; however, unless this Finrot is definitely
bacterial AND particularly virulent, three days will probably not spell
doom, even if it worsens.>
Which option do you think presents the best odds for recovery over the next
<I, personally, would leave the animal alone.>
Say the fin rot continues and I delay treatment for three days, is this
likely to cause irreversible damage/death?
<I certainly can't know - but this is a possibility. It's one you
should think about. However, I think the "safest" risk to take is to
leave the animal to his own devices and hope for the best. I do think
that, should he remain in appropriate water quality, he could recover on his
own, and I think this is a safer risk to take than dropping him in
unfamiliar surroundings with antibiotics that will possibly compromise his
immune system and cause further stress to what was otherwise a healing
I was unable to get a picture of the fin, but have attached a sketch
approximating the extent of the existing damage.
<Tough to say from a sketch, even though your sketch is very well made.>
Thank you so much for all of your help! I apologize for the long
email, but wanted to explain my current thought process.
<And a wise one it seems to me to be.>
<Best wishes to you and your puffer, -Sabrina>
To Medicate or Not . . . Porc pine puffer 12/29/12
<Very welcome. Best wishes, -Sabrina>
Porcupine Puffer question, hlth.
Dear WWM team,
I have posted here in the past and the advice I was given saved my
fish. J I have been volunteering at my LFS
and we recently acquired a porcupine puffer (our second one; the first
did well and we sold him to a
happy home). We placed him in one of our tanks a week ago and over the
past 24-48 hours, he has moved to the bottom of the tank (actually, in
a pile of rocks) and his once bright eyes are now clouded over (white)
and you can just make out his pupils through the haze. I feel bad
because we have tried
removing all of the other fish from his tank so we can be certain
nothing is bothering him, we always add "Garlic Guard" and
"Marine C" to our tanks at feeding (twice per day) and have
even gone out and purchased the puffer special food (Muscles and
Squid). I have not noticed him eating anything in the past 24 hours and
nothing seems to be helping his declining condition.
Should we move him to quarantine or will this add too much stress?
<I'd likely dip/bath this fish... pH-adjusted freshwater, w/
Formalin, per the protocol, info. on WWM and move to a different
system... Nuke the existing (likely is infested), drain, rinse, and
If we do move him, what should we do for him? All of the other fish in
the store are healthy.
Thank you for your advice!
<Do the folks there have a microscope? I'd "do" a skin
scraping and take a look first of all... Time IS of the essence. Bob
Dark growing spot on porcupine puffer!!
I spent HOURS reading through your site today and could not find
anything about this, I do apologize if you have addressed this
elsewhere but I could not find anything.
Yesterday I purchased a porcupine puffer from a local pet store.
I have had my tank set up and ready for him for several months
now. I have my water tested several time by a few different fish
stores and informed them that I
was planning to purchase a porcupine puffer and they all said
that my water looked perfect for one ( I'm sorry I do not
know exactly what the reading were)
<You'd do well to start, keep an archive/journal of your
I finally found a store that had a few porcupine puffers (none of
which were very active) and one of the workers at the store went
around and tried to get them to move around by putting some brine
Mysis in their tanks, but
they still had no response. I figured maybe they were just
stressed but he said they had been in for about a week. Finally
one of them started moving around and was interacting and even
playing with some thing he had found on
bottom of tank. I noticed a small black spot on his back, and
this was my only concern about getting him since I have never
seen any coloring or markings like that on one before. I asked
the employee about it and he said it was just a unique mark that
he had. I took him home with no problems,(water was tested again
this day before purchasing him) he actually seemed much happier
and active the moment he was taken out of the tank at store. Got
him home and acclimated him in a bucket with air stone for 2
hours and when he finally got in my tank he seemed happy as can
be and quickly spent hours investigating everything, he bit the
thermometer and filter and nipped at the hermit crabs we bought
for him. He seemed very active. This morning he was the same way,
I tried to feed him some of the Mysis shrimp
<Mmm, unless this fish is very small, it will not take such
small foods... see WWM re foods/feeding of Burrfishes>
I had bought for him and he seemed somewhat entertained by it as
he was watching it go all over tank, but he wasn't very
interested in eating it.
The couple pieces he did eat he spit right back out. I thought
maybe it was too soon and was also told that by fish store. I was
gone for a good amount of the day and when I returned home he
seemed a little less active but I thought possibly because his
light is not on during the day. Then I noticed a little later
that he has his face up against the filter intake area, he
wasn't stuck, was just hanging out there, and again later he
had to top of his head/back pressed against it. Then he started
hanging out around the top of the water and not moving around to
much except once on a while when he would do a real quick sprint
type of movement. I thought he was being a little weird and
turned his light on to see him better and noticed that the little
dark spot on his back was now covering the majority
of his back!! He is just hanging out around the top of water and
once saw him kind of curled around the filter, between filter and
back glass of tank, his tailed has curled around his side and his
fins not moving. I'm VERY worried and am afraid that he is
not going to make it to the morning!!
Please help!! any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
<Well... I would at least call, contact the store where you
bought this fish re your concern... Inquire as to their
replacement, return policy. It reads that this fish may have been
damaged in collection, handling... and the dark spot/bruise
showing more now... There is nothing specifically to do to
"treat" such traumas, other than good care, time going
by. Bob Fenner>
FW: Dark growing spot on porcupine puffer!! please
He made it through the night but it has spread even more!!
<... insert: "Porcupine injury" here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
read the cached views... BobF>
there are two pictures you will notice that he looks alot
<... no such word>
healthier with normal coloring and in one of those you can kind
of see the spot as it was when it first started. Those 2 were
taken Monday night. I have noticed last night and just now that
he seems to act much worse when
the light is on, if that helps at all. please let me know asap, I
don't think he has long! :(
<You should siphon out the decomposing Mysis/food... B>
Re: puffer... no reading... 5/19/10
After speaking to the fish store that I normally go to for
everything, except the fish because they were having a hard time
getting porcupine puffers, he knew right away what it was. He
said it is a type of bacterial infection that is actually quite
common among puffers.
It usually spreads fast and kills them within 3-4 days if not
treated. It does not spread to other fish, just seems to attack
the puffers. He has me using Furan-2 anti-bacterial medicine.
<... not in your main tank I hope/trust>
It is not looking good right now since it has spread so far, but
I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I will not give up on
<... take the time to search... at least WWM, before writing
us. This treatment is an exceedingly poor idea... Will likely
result in a cessation of nitrification, discoloration of your
substrate... loss of life. B>
Re: puffer, hlth. 5/19/10
He is in a 10gal hospital tank...
<... too small>
and I did do research!! I was up ALL night trying to find out
ANYTHING about it and I felt that I had looked in all areas and
in all ways that I could on your site. Maybe it is in big words
that I don't understand like the ones you used in your last
response to me, I have no idea what that means...
<Please, don't write... instead, read... Re Nitrofuranace
and biological filtration... in particular nitrification... Furan
compounds kill necessary bacteria.... BobF>
Porc Puffer - Strange Sudden Growth - Ulcer?
I have a Porc puffer that suddenly, and i mean really suddenly,
like within a 10 minute period, developed this strange red growth
under his tail fin - it almost looks like he "blew out his
butthole" - excuse the reference.
<Is actually quite descriptive... this fish has suffered a
water parameters are stellar, just did a 25% water change today.
He has been acting fine for the most part so I'm not sure what
this is or how to treat it.
<No real treatment... time going by, good nutrition, water
it happened about an hour ago and he has just been hanging out in
the same spot since, not a lot of swimming going on. I attached
the best pic I could to show you. is it an ulcer? it is actually
a deeper red and almost looks like there may be a touch of blood
at the base of it. If it is just a big poop I'm going to feel
stupid but in this case i think it is something more serious. Any
help would be appreciated.
He has been fed: raw shrimp, krill, chopped clams - all soaked in
SW 210 gallon Oceanic FOWLR
50 lb live rock
75 lb sand
All added in increments of 2's over the last 3 months and are
listed in order of acclimation
4 Stripe Damsel (2')
Porcupine Puffer (5')
Picasso Trigger (5')
Regal Tang (6')
Foxface Rabbit (6')
<Please use the term in quotation marks above and
"puffer" and search on WWM, here:
Read the cached views for ease of finding pertinent data. Bob
Re: Porc Puffer - Strange Sudden
Growth - Ulcer? 11/25/09
Thank you for the timely reply Bob - I was just about an hour away
from putting him in quarantine and treating him with Seachem -
NeoPlex as recommended by "The Complete Aquarium Problem
Solver" book I borrowed from a neighbor.
<Mmm, I would not move this fish... nor treat it as such>
I'm glad you intervened as I'm not sure this would have
been the best course now that I know it is not an ulcer. Your book
is at the top of my Christmas list this year! Since my email to you
the "prolapsed colon" has subsided and is no longer
<Ah, very good. Has likely gotten "sucked back
he/she is still lethargic and has been laying on the bottom until
my regal tang gently lifted him out from behind the rock into the
flow of the water and he is hanging out in the power head stream.
He is not eating at all which is very unlike this fella (or any
other puffers I imagine).
<Not a worry>
is there any reason this happened?
<Lack of exercise, roughage in its food most likely>
my water quality is always the best. I keep thinking of possible
reasons and what I did to the tank recently - (i changed the light
bulbs, did a water change (the salinity fell by .001, temperature
fell by 1-2 degrees but was corrected later in the day - now
reading 1.023. and fed them krill soaked in vitamin water and some
chopped clams later
<Leave in the shell>
- this was the first time he has eaten either of these under my
care - all of this happened within a 2-3 hr timeframe but I cant
think that any combination of these things caused his "colon
blow". Should I quarantine him?
<Not if the other fish present aren't bothering it,
the colon is no longer hanging out so I'm not in fear of
another fish nipping at it..
Thanks for the help and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
<Thank you Gary. BobF>
Pufferfish Question, Diodontid spot
Quick question. I have a Porcupine Pufferfish, he's about 3-4
inches long, very healthy eater, loves attention and looks very
healthy. However the last couple days he's grown a bump on his head
that looks like a zit.
<May be akin to...>
It's small and pink, round and looks like he's just hit
The tank is healthy, and water quality doesn't appear to be an
issue. He feeds on krill and a clam mixture (and will eat out of my
hand and jump out of the water to feed) my friend who owns the store I
bought him from says he's one of the healthiest puffers he's
had. Just wondering if you have any ideas what this could be, and what
to do about it.
<Likely result of a physical trauma... swimming into something... I
would not worry re>
He doesn't seem bothered by it at all, but I want to make sure it
doesn't develop into something serious. Any help appreciated, let
me know if you need more info. Thanks!
<When in doubt, read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Lactoria loss residual effects... stressed
puffers 12/19/07 We have just recently lost our
longhorn cowfish in the middle of the night. The worst affected fish
were our web burr fish and porcupine puffer. We immediately removed the
puffs to our hospital tank. In our panic we did not realize that copper
in high levels are very bad to puffers. Well we have been treating a
hippo tang for Ich with copper. Then we did a 50% water change, changed
and increased our charcoal media in the filter. Then I came to this
site to get anymore info I could about getting rid of the toxin and
saving everything. I then read that copper can be very bad for puffers
if it is too strong. So then I gave them both a fresh water bath and
put them in the newly cleaned tank. Now my burr is swimming with his
tail in the air, so then I read that I could "burp" him to
get any ingested air out of his stomach. <A note here for you and
browsers... A good idea to NOT lift puffers into the air... to prevent
their gulping it in> Got a huge bubble out and he did better but now
is doing it again, so I tried again but no air this time. My porcupine
just sits on the bottom and barely moves. Also both fish have a huge
white area the showed up soon after the copper treatment. Is there any
hope for these fish or should I end their suffering? Please help, I
feel so terrible. Cic <Mmm, just time going by... I would place all
the removed animals back in the main system if the copper has been
removed, there is no longer Crypt to contend with... Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer fading fast ... killed through
mis-over-stocking, trtmt. 8/24/06 I am afraid it may be
too late... but I just came across your site and thought I would try
once more. <?> I have a porcupine puffer in an 80 gal aquarium
along with a powder blue tang, French angelfish, a lionfish and an eel.
<... eighty gallons? Way too small...> When I first set up the
tank... I noticed he swam constantly near the surface, but wouldn't
eat a thing. I had a problem with nitrites for a week or so, but I
removed the fish and fixed the problem. I left the puffer out for a bit
longer in my local stores tank (they were nice enough to hold him for
me)....they said he ate a little when he came in...but then quickly
quit again. He mostly lays around on the bottom of the tank and
hides... <...> He is now back in my aquarium for the last few
weeks, but then I developed an Ich problem (I wouldn't be surprised
if he brought it back with him) which I have been treating with
Prevent-Ich. The Tang and the Angelfish were the worst affected, but
the problem seems to be almost completely under control as the Ich
spots have all but disappeared. (Darn Prevent -Ich seems to have
stained my coral though)... Anyway...through all this, he still
hasn't eaten that I have seen....and now he seems to
"puff-up" involuntarily occasionally, which I know is not
good for them... HELP! One last odd thing....i had my hand in the tank
the other day cleaning something when he swam by me and pretty much
swam into my hand.......I just held him lightly...open palm...basically
letting him rest in my hand....but he didn't puff and made no
effort to move....weird huh? Anyway...thanks for any help you can give! Tod Phoenix, Arizona <You... need... to... move... this livestock
into much larger, more stable quarters. Bob Fenner>
White worm parasites. Porcupine Puffer dis...
mostly 8/3/06 Dear Bob, <Robert> First of all, I
wanted to thank you for your time in answering this and so many other
questions and for having such a fine resource online for helping out
aquarists (especially new ones, such as myself). It seems that anytime
I search the net for info on taking care of my puffers, I get this site
- and usually all of the answers I need. <Ah, thank you for your
kind words. Much appreciated> I decided I needed to write in for
this one, however, as I didn't find exactly what I was looking for
in the previously answered emails. <Okay> My wife and I recently
started a 55 gallon marine tank and have two Mollies (suggested by the
pet shop for starting the cycle) and two Porcupine Puffers... <!
Will be way too much here... even for initially "loading"
this system/volume... and these species are by and large non- to
anti-social with their own kind> One because my wife had fallen
instantly in love with it (the particular fish, not just puffers in
general) and the other because she was afraid it would be lonely by
itself. <Not so. Please relate this to her. Not found in the wild in
close association, "pairs" except during spawning...> This
turned out to be not such a good idea, as the two puffers decided that
the tank wasn't big enough for the both of them. <Oh, yes>
The smaller (and cuter) Puffer (named "Fluff") is less
territorial and less aggressive and seems more interested with swimming
the length of the tank. The larger Puffer (named "Nutter")
isn't as active and seems to get aggressive when Fluff intrudes
upon his area. <...> We've remedied this for the time being
by placing a divider in the tank. (I can almost hear your comment here
about how they need more room - <Heeeee! Am I really becoming
that/this predictable? Good> I agree) At least they have more room
than they did in the pet store, if that's any consolation. <Mmm,
not much. Do understand that pet stores are an aberration... that they
only intend to stock life short term... that of a necessity they
can't afford to not temporarily overcrowd their for sale
charges> Our plans are to buy a second tank (probably another 55
gallon - at least for now) and put a Puffer in each. <Do see WWM,
fishbase.org... elsewhere re the size of this species... Need much
larger quarters, volume... not "when" larger, but now> We
hope to do a much larger tank that's architecturally integrated
into the wall, but we are still reeling from the money we've spent
so far. <Planning... based on investigation, facts my friend...>
The reason for this letter, however, is what I am assuming is a
parasitic infestation. <"It?"> The appearance is of
small worms that are exactly the same size as their spines, but instead
of laying back against their bodies, they are sort of limp and upon
closer inspection, appear to be attached to the puffers skin. It's
hard to say exactly how long ago this began, as Fluff had what we
thought was a 'dead' spine. We had thought that this was a
result of Nutter attacking Fluff, but now that Fluff has healed up from
the attack and they are separated, we've noticed several of these
worms on both Fluff and Nutter. I was considering either a Freshwater
dip or Formalin, but the idea of Formaldehyde worries me. <It
should... toxic... to the fish and you> I was wondering if I could
solve this problem and prevent against Marine Ich by simply reducing
the salinity of the tank. <Mmm, not likely> If so, what range is
good for killing off parasites and not too low for puffers? (I'm
not worried about the mollies, as they're freshwater fish.) Would
it be better (less shock to the puffers) to reduce the salinity to kill
the worms rather than do the Fresh Water bath? <You can read re the
use, efficacy of so-called Hyposalinity Treatments here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. I am decidedly not a fan of this
technique... Not often useful, conclusive... too much stress on the
hosts...> Thanks in advance for your rapid reply and as always for
your helpful info. Robert Perkins <Let's see... the
"worms" may well be a fluke (Flatworm) of some sort... and
could well be a type of crustacean (likely a parasitic copepod of some
sort)... These possibilities could be treated with a biocidal dip of
formalin/formaldehyde (detailed on WWM), but require the animals to NOT
be placed back in the infested system/s (obviously eh?). Instead,
I'd try administering (either together or serially) a vermifuge
like Praziquantel or economic poison/DTHP (in various generic
nominations... see WWM re), or a combo. of both as in a product like
"Fluke Tabs"... Much to relate re this... and I do wish we
were near by where I could take a scraping, look under my cheapie
microscopes, show you which is which here... But do read on re the
above... and write back for clarification, more if all does not become
clear in your searching. Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer Problem 1/1/06
Yesterday I noticed that my porcupine puffer has
developed a swollen grayish/purple area on the back of his body,
<Good observation> and I don't know what to do. I've
moved him to the QT, and treated with Molex (the research I did,
led me to believe it could be a bacterial infection) <Mmm,
secondarily perhaps> Please help. What is this, and
what do I do? Please Help <Something... sorry for the
vagueness... internal. I would try to bolster this animal's
immune system by soaking its food with a meaningful vitamin-plus
supplement... Like Selcon, Microvit. Most such difficulties as you
describe to resolve themselves... Bob Fenner>
Diodon holocanthus with white spots Hello.
I am writing to you as I am rather desperate. For about three weeks
my puffer has had white spots (only on the fins). They appeared
about a week after I bought the fish. I tried different treatments
(lowering salinity, administering various medicine, FW baths). I am
avoiding copper as I read that it was not good for puffers.
<Agreed> Currently the fish is in a quarantine tank, being
treated by a mixture of formalin, Methylene blue and some other
thing (I forgot which).<would make sure you figure out what this
"thing" is> The problem is that as soon as it seems
that she is getting better, the spots reoccur. They have never
disappeared completely. I am not even sure that this is a case of
Ich, as the spots seem semi-transparent. Otherwise the fish is
great, she doesn't scratch and has a very healthy appetite. Any
advice would very appreciated.<Well if he/she is eating and
otherwise acting "normal" then I would stop the treatment
of these somewhat toxic chemicals, BTW it doesn't sound to me
like ICH. IanB> Thanks,
Small white/yellowish spots on Burr Box fish... a mess of
mis-mixed livestock, pouring medicines in main displays, not knowing
what you're doing. Read! Hello, I went though the web page and
searched for some help regarding my striped burr fish ( spiny box
fish). Throughout the past few weeks he has signs of small
white-yellowish sand like dots randomly covering his entire body
including his fins, I'm very concerned, he was eating like crazy
and now is not eating. He swims though out the tank as though he is
suffering terribly, shaking and itching himself among the rocks, and
resting often. <Something is amiss with your system, water quality
here> I've dosed him in several FW baths, <Won't help if
this animal is returned to the same system> some seemed to help, but
then they come right back. Yesterday, I tired giving him a FW bath and
he blew up before reaching the water causing him to get stuck in the
net, after deflating and questioning if i should try this again.
<You shouldn't> Now it appears his underbelly is caved in
nearly an inch. Our water quality is good and we are frequent water
changers, our tank has a strong Rio power head, wet/dry filter and
recently set up our protein skimmer. Our Clown trigger is now beginning
to show sign and is itching <Not a good mix...> its self along
the rocks and bottom. Both of this fish are also spending quiet a bit
of time near our filters in take box looking as though they are gasping
for air and breathing heavily. In our fifty gallon tank we also have a
small angler fish, snake eel, <... not good to mix...> damsels,
long nosed file fish, <What species?> (we have managed to keep
alive!) and crabs. The water is currently being treated with rid-Ich
<... a very poor idea...> as so for the past week and a half,
with no evidence of it working. Is there anything else that may be
better to cure my fish before matters get even worse, even if it means
getting rid of our crabs and killing live rock? <... You're
joking?> I know copper isn't completely safe for puffer fish but
I am desperate, our puffer fish went from eating out of our hand to
looking miserable and not eating. Please help us, Thank you Sarah
Delmotte <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
-Locked out- - 04/10/2006 Hello WWM,
<Steve> I've a porcupine fish that is showing
signs of lockjaw, and I'd like to start treating with
iodine. Is there any brand treatment you'd
recommend? The LFS carries Lugol's Solution, but I
wasn't sure if that would work. <Should be ok, but any pure
iodine solution is fine. Also mixed iodine and reef
supplements are good to dose the tank with to maintain iodine levels
constantly to avoid future issues. Kent's essential
elements is a good one.> Thanks, Steve <Justin (Jager)>
Webb burr puffer... beh., dis. 3/27/06 Hi,
If you are able to answer any questions
or help us with our dilemma we really appreciate it. Thank you in
advance. We have a Webb Burr Puffer that
we have had for about 4 weeks now. He has been incredibly
healthy and active up until recently. He has started to act very tired
and spend more and more time at the bottom of the tank ~ not like he
was usually. <Not unusual for puffers of all sorts to go through
this sort of "phase" on arrival...> He,
before, the last couple of days was always very active, eating well and
towards the top of the tank. Now he doesn't really seem
to want to eat, though he does come to the top once he knows it is
feeding time, but eats very little. We
also have a yellow tang, a couple little damsels and a Achilles
Surgeonfish ~ which was just added a couple of days ago. We
have a 46 gallon tank. The puffer is a juvenile and about 2
inches long. <Quite small> We were
told by our pet store to add Life Bearer/parasite treatment to our tank
to try and cure him. We also have copper levels of approx
.10 in our tank. <Uhh, no... these compounds are
toxic... adding to the puffer's troubles, not alleviating them>
I also am a little concerned about a couple of newer
white/clear spikes he has on his back.
Can you please tell us what we should be
doing and what we can do to try and help him? Thank you.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm
and the many linked files above... And cease the
"medicating". Bob Fenner>
Re: Webb burr puffer... still not reading...
3/27/06 Thank you so much for your quick response. He
looks even worse today. Looks like he has some sort of
blister on his chin and one of the white/clear spikes looks as if the
casing around it is coming up and around
it. So ~ I should cease the
parasite med AND the copper? <Please
see prev. corr....> We were told by the pet shop to keep
the copper level up around .10 to help with ick on the other
fish. <No... this amount of free
cupric ion is not of sufficient strength to be therapeutic... See WWM
re...> What levels should we have any type of meds, if
at all? <.........................>
What else can we do to try and help him?
Thank you, Bridgette and Mike
<............ Read where you've been referred. Bob Fenner>
Spiny Box with Ich... stressed by crowding,
over-medicated... 1/17/06 Hi, I have been doing tons of
reading on your site about puffer care. Your site is by far the best
out there, thank you for maintaining such a place! <Welcome> I
recently purchased a spiny box (about 3 inches long) for my fish only
tank (46 gal right now, will be going to 125 as soon as I move in may,
nitrite/ammonia 0 ppm, nitrate 20ppm). <Too small... I would have
waited...> Acclimated him to my tank and he was harassed by my other
fishes and came down with Ich, and refuses to eat. After about 24 hours
in the main tank, I gave him a 15 min freshwater dip (adjusted temp and
pH properly). <For? The system has the Ich...> Moved him into a
quarantine tank and treated with copper based Ich treatment as well as
with Melafix to help his tattered up back fin. <Copper is very hard
on puffers/Burrfishes...> Tried feeding some internal parasite
medication <...?> Treated all of his (or her) food with garlic
extract, as well as added some garlic extract to the water Tried
feeding a variety of delicious foods to entice him, such as live
blackworms, live clam, uncooked shrimp,
frozen bloodworms, krill, clam, sleeper goby, beef heart,
and a few others. He won't take anything. I have also tried
force-feeding him using a small plastic syringe just thick enough to
suck in some mashed up pieces of food. When I try to force feed him, he
just puffs up, sucking in the food from the syringe, and when he
deflates he blows the food right back out. Am I doing this correctly?
<Too much, too soon... the force-feeding I would do, not all these
"treatments"... akin to punching one in the stomach then
trying to feed a hamburger...> He would not eat from day one, and it
is now about day 11 and I still have yet to see him eat anything.
Additionally, the Ich spots all fell off for a few days, and then came
right back. <Ah, yes> Is there anything else I can do to help
this lil guy out? I'm very nervous now that it has been so long and
nothing seems to be helping. Should I try hyposalinity? If I do, do I
acclimate him slowly to the low salt water, or do it more like a fresh
water dip and just toss him in? Thank you so much for your help, Dave
<Dave... stop. Please read... through all the Puffer articles and
FAQs files posted on WWM... following (if of interest, use) the links
to other areas... Blitzkrieg approaches w/o sufficient knowledge will
not serve you here. Take good notes. Bob Fenner>
Sick porcupine puffer Sorry to bother you, but I need some
advice. <no bother at all> I have a porky puffer who has
cloudy eyes, and white spots on his back fins. <pufferfish are
quite prone to external parasites particularly due to fluctuations
(especially down) in temperature. Be sure home tank is not fluctuating
more than 2F daily. That explains the spots if they are like grains of
salt, but not the cloudy eyes... could be bacterial or water
quality...do test thoroughly> he also has a red "spine"
either on his back tail, or protruding from his anus ( I can't tell
which). <unrelated to Ich...treat with antibiotics if it
doesn't clear within three days> He is very young, only about
2-3 inches. I'm guessing he has ick, so I am going to put him in a
quarantine tank. <very wise move> What should I treat him
with? <Formalin and Furazolidone/Nitrofurazone (like in Jungle
brand Fungus Eliminator) for 5 full days> My LFS recommended copper,
but I wanted to ask you first. <they are very mistaken... your
puffer is a scaleless fish that could easily overdose on copper...
works for some but is generally an irresponsible move> The puff is
in a 45 gal, with some inverts, and a bi color blenny. Is my tank now
infested with ick? <in a manner of speaking, yes... but all
fish carry something, so you cant expect the tank to be sterile. Not
much to worry about with healthy fish and good immunity> Are there
any "reef safe" treatments I could use? <I have
little faith in such products once an infection is fully expressed>
I have been using coral-vital by marc Weiss because it says that Ich
has trouble adhering to fish when it is being used. Needless to say, I
don't think its working. <please don't get me started
talking about snake oil <wink>> Once again, I am sorry to
bother you, but I love this little puffer and don't want to do
anything to hurt him. Besides the white spots he isn't showing any
other symptoms of Ick, like rapid respiration, or rubbing up against
stuff. <all good to hear... once in QT, I suspect that your
personable puffer will be just fine. Best regards, Anthony> Thank
you, Laura Canney Follow-up to Sick Porcupine Puffer I cannot find jungle brand
fungus eliminator. Are there any other products which contain the
active ingredients you mentioned? (formalin,
Furazolidone/Nitrofurazone?) will these medications cure the ick or
just the cloudy eyes? <These are two separate
medications/recommendations. One is formalin, the second is
Furazolidone/Nitrofurazone. Look for Furan-2 from Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals as an alternative to Fungus Eliminator which also
contains Furazolidone & Nitrofurazone. When you use both of these
in conjunction, you should be able to effect a cure of both the Ich and
cloudy eyes, given a good environment. -Steven Pro>
Follow-up II to Sick Porcupine Puffer Hello, well it seems
like I jumped the gun: I started using copper on the puffer and the
blenny in the Q tank yesterday. After reading your email today, I did
an 80% water change to dilute the copper, which was at .15 . Will it
still be okay to use the formalin/ Furazolidone etc..., or should I do
a 100% change and/ or use some kind of copper remover first? <Try
using Chemi-Pure and a Polyfilter for a day to remove residue copper.
Then remove both and begin new treatment.> My second question:
should I reduce the salinity in the main tank to 1.017, as you describe
on wet web? <Not needed now, as I believe you removed all the fish
to hospital/quarantine tank.> I know this will hurt my inverts (not
to mention my mushrooms, live rock, etc..), so if you do recommend it,
can I move the inverts to another tank? <No need to do anything.
Without a host, the parasites will die in your main tank (go fallow)
while your fish are in the other tank.> I have a 15 gal tank which
just got done cycling, but if I move the inverts to that tank will it
become infected as well? <No, there are separate diseases for
inverts and fish.> Thanks for your help, Laura <You are welcome.
Spiny Box Puffer Dear Mr. Fenner: <<Actually, not Mr.
Fenner, but JasonC helping out...>> My spiny box puffer is in a
55 gallon tank with a maroon clownfish and a dragon wrasse. They all
get along. The clown had a few blue spots on his face and the puffer
has fins that look to be shredding at the end. Upon the advice of my
local pet store, I added Greenex to the tank for 2 treatments which
totally cleared up the clown. The wrasse has never had a problem. The
puffer's fins appear to be healing, but this is the 4th day he has
not eaten. <<Not really a surprise - the Greenex is actually a
pretty potent medication, Malachite Green and Quinine Hydrochloride if
I can recall, and scale-less fish like your puffer are often irritated
by such strong therapies. I would consider firing this fish store in
favor of some better advice - would have been much better to start with
simple ph-adjusted freshwater dips, and perhaps quarantine for the
clown. Torn fins aren't always a sign of disease.>> He
usually gulps down the freeze dried krill 4 pieces daily. He even ate
while the medicine was in the tank, but now even chasing him with the
food doesn't help. He seems to look at it and smell it with
interest, but still refuses to eat. <<I have a theory that
I'm working on that these medications, and especially the stronger
treatments like Greenex actually nuke the taste-buds or sense of smell
or chemical sensors that fish have. Not all fish, mind you, but have
seen something very similar in my own Tuskfish when he was in
quarantine and on a similar med.>> How long is too long for him
to refuse food? <<depending on its size, perhaps a week, no more
than two.>> I tried a live ghost shrimp and even raw shrimp from
the seafood market, but to no avail. Do I need to quarantine him and
perhaps try another medication? <<Hold out for a little while,
puffers are known to go into a funk for a while and choose not to eat,
and then just as quickly return to normal. Certainly hunger-strikes are
not uncommon among the puffers. The Greenex probably just made it
grumpy.>> I hate to over treat him with chemicals if it can be
avoided. <<and I concur...>> He otherwise seems very active
and enjoys looking at his reflection. Any advice will be greatly
appreciated. Thanks so much for your time and patience in this matter.
<<Ahh... it is you that will need to be patient, methinks ;-)
>> Sincerely, Kelli <<Some helpful reading for you:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm Cheers, J -- >>
Porcupine Puffer Hi, <cheers> I am new to puffers in
general. I love this fish so much. I've had him for about a
month. <they are incredibly personable fishes :)> He is
eating fine, but over the last week, he has developed a white flaky
substance on the top of his body and it seems to be getting worse. It
doesn't look like ick. <nevertheless, puffers, boxfish and
cowfish are all VERY susceptible to various parasitic infections.
Unfortunately... they are also sensitive to copper and organic dyes as
medicants. Puffers underscore the need for having and using a proper
quarantine tank. Please read through the archives about setting up and
using a QT tank. This fish will likely need therapeutic treatment.
Freshwater dips and perhaps Formalin dips or baths (because of puffer
sensitivity). Daily FW dips for 5-10 days and QT for a minimum of 2
weeks... 4 weeks would be better. Know that you must always net and
move puffers underwater.. there can be serious complications if the
puffer inflates with air instead of water.> Any help would be
appreciated. BTW, this website is like a dream. <thanks kindly!
please tell a friend> Thank you <with kind regards, Anthony>
Photo Album from Frank: Porcupine Puffer-Photos Anthony,
I'm sorry for driving you nuts, <no worries at all bud>
but I really appreciate your help. I feel that with WWM's help, I
should be able to save my puffy daddy. <it would be a pleasure
to help out> These pictures aren't the best, but hopefully good
enough for you to see the problem. Regards, Frank <Frank... I
recognize that neither of us are professional photographers, my
friend... but the images again are completely illegible. I want to help
you (!) but it would be unfair to make any specific recommendation when
I cannot even see the symptoms. If you cannot recognize your puffers
condition from the photos in our archives or elsewhere on the Net, I
strongly recommend that you visit a Borders, B&N, LFS, etc to track
down either of the two books that I first recommended. It is dangerous
to medicate any fish on a guess (the wrong meds stress the fish while
the pathogen continues to infect). The things that we do know here: the
fish will need to be removed promptly to a hospital/quarantine tank (be
sure from reading in the archives, recommended books or elsewhere that
you understand all that is needed to set up this easy and inexpensive
treatment tank). Also, do read through the FAQs on puffers specifically
for further insight on their needs (copper sensitivity, etc).
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm Alas, sight unseen with
generic symptoms... my hands are tied here. Do consider how helpful it
will be in the future to have a good disease picture book and QT tank
ready (unfortunately many of us learn this way :( )Best regards,
Anthony> You've been invited to view Frank's photos online
at Ofoto! Just click on the link below to get started.
These photos will be stored in your account for future viewing, and you
can order Kodak prints of your favorites! You'll need to sign in to
your Ofoto account to get started. If you don't currently have an
Ofoto account, just join for free and you'll get free shipping on
your first order (restrictions apply)! Questions? Visit http://help.ofoto.com.
Re: Porcupine Puffer Anthony, Thanks a million for your
reply. One thing that I didn't mention in the message was that I
already treated the tank with copper (Mardel CopperSafe). The owner of
my local marine fish store recommended that I use it <Yowza...
do be very cautious of future advice from this LFS. Puffer sensitivity
is very basic and common knowledge for industry professionals. Applies
to all scaleless and small scaled fishes> (I had no idea that
puffers are sensitive to it, I just found out about your website). How
bad is it for him? <not the end of the world but do stop using
the copper. And please tell me that you weren't advised to treat
your main display with copper?! If so, all of your calcareous media has
been ruined (stained chemically by copper). That includes sand, gravel,
crushed coral, coral skeletons, rock (live and dry/dead), etc. Such
rock will likely poison and possibly kill invertebrates in the future
even after copper is out of water column (snails, starfish, anemones,
etc). Most of which could never have been kept with the puffer... but
still bad advice nonetheless. My further concern is that you
weren't encouraged to use a copper test kit with the copper (which
is the only effective/safe way to dose copper). Therapeutic copper is
.2 - .25... anything over is easily fatal and anything under is likely
a waste of time. Twice daily or more doses will be necessary if you are
dosing the main display (absorbed by calcareous media)... the test kit
will confirm this> Is he going to die? <probably not if the
dose wasn't too high for the tank... and almost certainly not if
you tested and didn't exceed .25> I treated the tank about 4
days ago and he seems fine. <please don't stop now...
continue with FW dips and formalin if necessary. Cycle for these
parasites is about 8 days. 11-14 day treatments are minimums>
He's eating very nicely, and seems happy. <he still would
if fatally dosed. Excess medicants are stored in fat cells and fishes
may overdose weeks later after disease symptoms have gone. Still...
puffers are tough... I suspect you will be OK> The other fish seem
good as well. He did have some ick that seems to have cleared up. What
should I do? Please help. Any additional advice would be greatly
appreciated. Regards, Frank <please get a small inexpensive QT tank
ASAP and always be prepared. Could simply be a bare 10 gall, glass
cover (no light), sponge filter, air pump heater and thermometer...
that's it! It saves fishes lives. Best regards, Anthony>
Porcupine Puffer My name is Chris Paul and I have encountered
a problem with my porcupine puffer and would appreciate any advice you
have. He has developed a case of Ich and is not eating, to battle it we
have been adding Kent's RxP and Poly ox and we are in the process
of lowering the salinity and raising the temperature. We have also
added a UV sterilizer to the system that is running 24-7 and have added
cleaner shrimp on the assumption that he will either eat them or they
will clean him, both positive outcomes. I have also freshwater dipped
him in a bucket of pH adjusted freshwater and Aquatronics Dip A Way. He
has not eaten any of the shrimp, but we have included some freshwater
fiddler crabs (bright colored and crunchy) and they have been found
missing limbs, but not anywhere near a full puffer meal. At this point,
he hasn't eaten in about a month. <Doubt if this is
"Ich", just some sort of manifestation of undesired water
chemistry... Would stop (never have started) with the
"medicines" you list... STOP using them if you haven't
already... And puffers do go on feeding strikes... Give yours time, it
will very likely "self-cure" and recommence feeding> At
this point the Ich seems to be in remission (at least that which is on
his body). He seems to be "less" visibly infected, although I
know the Ich will remain a problem for a long time. Two questions: 1)
In the question included below you mention catching the puffer and
turkey basting "one of the aqueous garlic remedies offered on the
market to your puffer," I know you are not a fan of the garlic
oil, so what product are you speaking of? <"Just"
chopped garlic in water/aqueous solution... best made fresh (by
you)> A brand name would be great. 2) Am I not doing something that
could help/What would you do to try to remedy this situation? (I know
about dip and quarantine, unfortunately I had to learn the hard way and
I am paying for it now.) Thank you for any help you are able to give,
Chris Paul <Only time needs to go by. Patience my friend. Bob