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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Disease Treatments  

FAQs on Burrfish Disease: Burrfish Disease 1, Burrfish Disease 2, Burrfish Disease 3, Burrfish Disease 4, Burrfish Disease 5, Burrfish Disease ,
FAQs on Burrfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic,

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

Related FAQs: Diodontids 1, Diodontids 2, Diodontids 3, Burrfish Identification, Burrfish Behavior, Burrfish Compatibility, Burrfish Selection, Burrfish Systems, Burrfish Feeding, Burrfish Reproduction, Puffers in GeneralPuffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True Puffers, Freshwater to Brackish Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

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 (sigh)


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 looking for>
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 nearly  overnight.
<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 own.
<Ah yes>
I would just use Voogle (immune booster) and feed. Sometimes I added kick  ich,
<Scam, sham>
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 started the
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 size.
<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 treating.
<Too small for this>
Here is what I know, copper is not an option (is Cupramine safer but still  copper?),
<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?
<Yes; possibly>
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,
Jason Russo
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm 
and onward re soaks (vitamins, HUFAs...) when you get to a link. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt    4/4/17

Yes, I am soaking the food in Selcon, garlic, and VitaChem.
<Ahh; good>
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.
<Welcome. B>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt       4/6/17

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?
<Highly unlikely>
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        3/12/17
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 has
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 get.
Stacy Burks
<Please read the above link AND:
I WOULD supplement any offered foods AND the water directly as gone over...
Bob Fenner>

Spiny box puffer. Hlth., trtmt f's      2/8/17
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.
<Let's see...>
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 weeks and
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.
<The med.s....>
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: Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm
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 introduced.
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 any
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 body.
<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 days.
Is this ich or a bacterial or parasitic infection and what can I do to help him?
<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 better?
<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?
<Possibly; yes>
He didn't seem to exhibit the symptoms of excess ammonia though.
I have read that bad mussels/clams can cause Trematodes.
<Bad? No>

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. Very tiny.
<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      10/9/14
I have a puffer and a tang that are showing signs of crypt. I was reading
that both are sensitive to copper and was leaning towards hyposalinity for treatment. However, I was also reading that this is not always a guarantee.

(As always there are 246 opinions in this hobby).
<More if you keep looking>
Is there an
alternative safe treatment that would be recommended should hyposalinity not 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!
Warmest Regards,
<See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Disease - fin "spots"?     11/20/12
Bob, help!
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 Ich.
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"?     11/20/12
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 to try?
<Could hurt, damage the fishes health, kill off beneficial bacteria, much else>

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"?     11/20/12
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"?    11/26/12
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 water.
They 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 emails below...
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 every...">
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 very well...
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 here?
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"?     1/3/13
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 issues)...
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
Salinity: 1.025
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 eating. 
<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 consequences.
<Yes, common.>
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 time). 
<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.
<Thank goodness!>
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 aquarium. 
<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.>
Fin Rot
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 opinions here.>
OR I can leave Puffer alone in the display to continue his recovery on his own. 
<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 three days? 
<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 critter.>
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.>
Matthew H.
<Best wishes to you and your puffer,  -Sabrina>

To Medicate or Not . . . Porc pine puffer    12/29/12
Thank you!
<Very welcome.  Best wishes,  -Sabrina>

Porcupine Puffer question, hlth. 9/27/2010
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
<Ah, outstanding>
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 refill>
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 Fenner>

Dark growing spot on porcupine puffer!! 5/19/10
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.
<Let's see...>
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 experiences here>
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 help!!

He made it through the night but it has spread even more!!
<... insert: "Porcupine injury" here:
read the cached views... BobF>
FW: puffer

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 him.
<... 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?  11/25/09
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 "prolapsed colon">
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 quality...>
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 vitamin water
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: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
Read the cached views for ease of finding pertinent data. Bob Fenner>

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 visible,
<Ah, very good. Has likely gotten "sucked back in">
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, no>
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  9/10/09
Hello Crew!
<Ave Christopher!>
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 puberty.

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!
Christopher Friesen
<When in doubt, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm
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 Bob Fenner>

-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. -Steven Pro>

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> Frank
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. http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=7827553303.67280835503&n=1163271429  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 Fenner>

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