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Treating a new Porcupine Puffer with Ich; rdg., using WWM     10/8/18
Hi all,
I have a new 3 1/2 inch Porcupine Puffer in my 29 gal quarantine tank. I bought him from my friend who owns a local fish store, and the fish had been there for about 3 weeks and was eating well. He's been in my QT tank for about 4 days now, is eating fairly well (clams on the half shell and spirulina brine shrimp thus far), but has come down with a bad case of marine white spot disease (Crypt, Ich, etc).
Being a scaleless fish, I'm wondering if Cupramine would be too harsh to treat the Ich, even at half a dose (which is the min recommended therapeutic level for treatment by the manufacturer).
<This is one of the better copper-based medications. Persistent, consistent in concentration>
Freshwater dips won't be effective if the fish is put back into QT with Ich still in the system.
<Correct; the fish would have to be serially moved to a sterilized system>
Would you use a half dose of copper and see how the fish responds?
<Mmm; no; only a physiological dose will work>
Would a full dose spread over 48 hours likely kill the puffer?
<Highly unlikely... if the fish is healthy otherwise>
Any help you could provide would be appreciated.
<DO read on WWM re treating Diodontids, puffers for Crypt, the use of chelated copper products. Bob Fenner>

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     6/1/17
So I have good news to report. I ended up transferring all my fish to QT and treating with CP for 28 days. I'm happy to say that my porcupinefish is cured. I had to dose some erythromycin as well to help with a cloudy eye
condition, but that is all cleared up as well. His fin scars are all gone and he is eating like a horse (my dwarf lion from another post is also doing very well in the same tank).
<Ah good>
My reason for the message is that my puffer has developed a bump/growth on his lower lip. I don't know if I should be concerned about it. Is it just a skin tag?
<I think so... an owee, from rubbing its face against the tank side likely>
Will it fall off on its own? It doesn't affect him in any way and I will just ignore it if it is nothing.
Jason Russo
<I would count on this self-curing as you state. I would move all back to the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt     6/1/17

I would love to move everyone back, but I am doing the fallow thing. I hear 76 days is the norm. Is that correct?
<Mmm; a trade off... stress to the hosts, vs. loss of virulence in the display... You must judge when>
It's unfortunate because I know everyone would be happier in the big tank.
<Yes; and healthier>
<BobF, who would be moving all. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm>

Porc. Puffer help... Crypt?       6/11/15
I have a porcupine puffer who gas been in a quarantine tank for two months while my dt stayed farrowing to kill off ich. After the two month I put a clown wrasse back in dt and after two weeks of him being fine I put the puffer back in. Within two days he started getting white blotches on his fins
<Mmm; could be.... simply stress... the moving for instance; or might be a preamble to crypt>
and he became very inactive and spent most his time hidden with his tail tucked in. The spots were similar to the ich spots but not identical.
<... only way to tell for sure is sampling and microscopic exam.>
There didn't seem to be any eye to these spots as before and they were more blotchy than extended spots. I quickly returned the puffer and began hypo.
<Rarely effects a lasting cure... esp. w/ very mucusy fishes like puffers>
He has showed no signs of illness since and is now his own self. The clown wrasse due to being incapable of catching him us still in dt
<Will act as a reservoir host if Crypt is present>
and us actually flourishing, got larger more active and no sign of ich or illness. So my question is this, was what I saw on the puffer in the dt actually ich or is this something that happens to puffers through stress or other illness?
<See above; and WWM>
Water parameters are all as expected. Salinity 1.022. Hope u can help
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
re: Porc. Puffer help     6/12/15

It's says read on at the end. Am I missing something?
<Sorry for the lack of clarity. The blindness issue w/ your Puffer is likely due to both the Thiaminase from too much shellfish feeding and water quality as you state. READ on WWM re feeding/nutrition. B>
re: Porc. Puffer help     6/12/15

I think u replied to wrong msg lol. My puffer hasn't got blindness.
<Ahh, I do apologize>
It was suspected of ich if u can remember. I guess now my question would be how do I know if my dt is clear of ich or not.
<Can't know with great certainty. Most all marine systems have a degree/latent infestation... see the "Three Sets of Factors" piece archived on WWM re "balance">
Clown wrasse is showing no signs but obviously that could be a misleading factor
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>

Ich/Puffers and Hypo   2/21/15
Hey crew, thanks for doing what you do!
<A pleasure, honor and life-fulfilling to share>
Question, I see that you don't recommend hypo treatment for Cryptocaryon (SW "Ich"). In the case of Holocanthus puffers, copper treatment is suggested to be potentially very harmful.

I'm just doing the freshwater dip now and heading to the quarantine tank.
Was set to hypo, but if you don't recommend hypo, what would you recommend for Holocanthus that you would consider a safe, effective treatment?
<Chloroquine phosphate is best currently. Use the search tool on any page on WWM...>

I did do a search using some terms but didn't come up with something (probably just didn't do it right!)
Thanks very much,
Scott Goorland
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo       2/21/15

Bob as a ps- I know in my last note I went from the no hypo/copper to some level, but just trying to find something prophylactic till I get my hands on the right stuff.... Thanks so much again
<Figured, but thank you for this clarification. BobF>
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo       2/21/15

Bob, thanks so so much for your super fast reply! I've read your articles and books for what seems to be a very long time! (I was a U of Miami grad in the 90s from the Marine Science school, went a different direction but never left the love of it!) I've read up before on Chloroquine, hear super things about it. Your support of it is even referenced in a Pufferforum
post. I even was able to get some Dr G's which i soaked shrimp in and feed the puffer with it while I got the QT set. Of course, Dr. G's only provides an internal medication, and does not treat the external parasite in the tank. That would require dosing.
<?... the quinine does treat for external Protozoans>
The problem I've had is that I can't seem to find anyone that carries it.
<... See here:
Most of the LFS's have never even heard of it. And the one that sold me the Dr G's, who swears that Chloroquine does wonders, doesn't carry it because he's just start up and dealing with start up costs. I can't quite understand why if it's as effective as I've read, it isn't fully commercialized.
<Meh... newer tech; the regulations... expense of start ups; lack of momentum...>
I'm going to see if I can find it somewhere, I haven't had much success on the web either. Any thoughts on where to find a product?
The LFS guy is trying to order some for me from a place in Gainesville, FL (we're in West Palm Beach) if he can. But he says it will be until Thursday before he could get any in. (he did say the market for this should open up, in his opinion it's been limited to commercial operations).
In the meantime I was going to try one of two options to get things going for the puffer. I dipped him in fresh water last night on the way to the QT for 10 min.s. 'Most' of the Crypto came off. He's swimming happily in the QT and begging for food. (note, all the other scaled fish will be placed in a separate QT and copper dosed, and the DT left fallow for 6 weeks). I am considering starting either a hypo treatment combined with a daily formalin dip and daily 50% bottom vacuumed water changes; or a half dose Cupramine regime, which I've read can be effective against crypto and if slowly dosed up correctly is safe for puffers (of course, keeping a close eye on levels and behavior to make sure). Any thoughts on these as
prophylactic while waiting for a Chloroquine supply?
Thanks again,
Scott Goorland
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo       2/21/15

Got it! Fish Pharm CP. Not cheap but worth it! Will keep extra on hand (and thus also support the market growth!) Do you have dosing instructions on WWM?
If so I can do a search, or I can contact fishPharm. Will also look at that NLS Ich Shield Powder, seems to contain chloroquinine as a dip. Re your question of why I mentioned Dr G's for internal, what I meant to say (I probably could have said better) is as I understand it, the product works on the fish itself (internally and externally), but not on the tank water in the QT where the crypto will still remain unless I somehow treat that as well?
<Don't understand this statement... but quinines are not effective on free-swimming and off-host intermediates as far as I'm aware. B>
Thanks again for all you do Bob
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo

Hoping to help spread the word, here's another supplier I found, no word on quality:
50-63-5 | Chloroquine diphosphate salt, 98% |
N4-(7-Chloro-4-quinolinyl)-N1,N1-dimethyl-1,4-pentanediamine diphosphate
salt | J64459 | Alfa Aesar| Alfa Aesar
| 50-63-5 | Chloroquine diphosphate salt, 98% | N4-(7-Chlo...Hazard
Statements ...
| View on www.alfa.com
<Thanks. B>
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo       2/21/15

As I understand it, I can treat the fish with CP foods, but even with treatment if the off host intermediates are still in the water, unless I eradicate the off host forms as well, they'll just keep attacking the host.
If quinines don't treat off host intermediates, won't the problem just continue as a cycle until I find some way to treat those as well? Scott
<A few approaches can work here: Moving hosts to non-infested systems serially... in actual practice, IF one is dealing w/ a single (not multiple, over-lapping) generations of Protozoans, eradicating those on the host fishes generally effects a system cure. Reducing the numbers and viability of parasites off-host can be done in numerous ways... B>
Re: Ich/Puffers and Hypo       2/21/15

Now that is great! Looking forward to the employment of the method! Thanks
again for all. Scott G.
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

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>

Porcupine Puffer... hlth  9/7/09
Hello. I have a 75 Gallon aquarium that currently only houses a small porcupine puffer and live rock. My readings are 0 for everything except nitrates which are 20ppm. And so here are my questions. My aquarium has been fallow
<...? You just stated it has a fish in it>
for 4 weeks because I thought I might have a possible Ich problem. I have been housing all of my fish, the puffer, a yellow tang, percula clown, and a blue damsel in a 20 gallon quarantine tank with daily water changes. I placed them all in quarantine because I thought the puffer possibly had Ich (which is one of my questions). While in quarantine, the few white dots that were on the puffer, went away, never returning. None of the other fish developed these spots. I did not medicate. In the meantime, my 75 gallon was running fallow and i still did my regular water changes. I purchased a new powerhead for the 75 to use along with my other two. The nitrates in my 75 shot up from 0 to 20 in a matter of two days after i placed the new powerhead.
<Perhaps the improved oxygenation spurred on nitrification here>
I have not been able to lower them regardless of constant water changes and filter cleaning ( Fluval 305 ).
<... there are other means. Read here:
and the linked files above>
Anyway, I returned the puffer back to the 75 to see if the white spots would return. ( i did this once before and they did ). The white spots are back!
<Mmm, yes... not unusual actually... many systems are as yours... Infested>

Well I wanted to retrieve the fish to put him back in quarantine and as soon as my fingers touched the surface of the water, I was SHOCKED. The culprit was the new powerhead. Can stray voltage cause high nitrates?
<Interesting to speculate. I don't know>
What about the white spots on my puffer?
<More stress could definitely be a factor>
Is this Ich or something else entirely?
<Can't tell from here>
If it's Ich, why are my other fish not contracting it, especially the tang?
<... more resistant? Acquired immunity?>
I have been trying to research other causes of these white spots but I'm coming up empty handed.
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm
and the linked files above... need a 'scope...>
Please help. I'd really like to return my fish back to the display tank.
To describe these white spots, they are salt-like white specs. My puffer has only had a few at a time the three times he's had them. Also, he's never had trouble breathing or eating. Thanks in advance for your help.
<Might well be "something else" Protozoan, helminth wise... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer with possible Ich 8/26/2009
Hello. I have a 75 Gallon open-top tank with a Fluval Canister Filter, protein skimmer, a hang-on filter for extra filtration, and 3 powerheads.
My readings are as follows, nitrates:0 nitrites:0 ammonia:0 ph:8.2. In my display tank I have a 3" porcupine puffer, 1 small percula clown, and about 60 lbs. of live rock. I just recently added the puffer to my display tank ( he had been in a 20 gallon quarantine tank alone for several weeks with no problems after I purchased him ). A few days ago I noticed a few very tiny translucent white spots on his fins and body.
<Mmm... not likely Crypt>
I put him back into quarantine immediately where I am also housing a newly purchased small yellow tang. A few days have passed and the white spots have not multiplied nor either of my other fish ( in main display or
quarantine ) have showed any signs of these white spots. Could this be something other than Ich?
The puffer seems fine. He's very active, he eats like a pig, and his breathing is very normal.
<Good signs>
I'd rather not go to any extremes as far as medications or hyposalinity until I know for sure. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your help.
<I would place this fish and not worry. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer possibly has Ich (UNCLASSIFIED)  12/20/08 Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE <... is this email being spied on? Is this one of my/our civil servants using the public's dime/time? One out of too many...> Hello, <Mmm, yes> I recently set up a 125g FOWLR tank. It has a canister filter, protein skimmer, and two powerheads. I have 130 pounds of live rock and 10 pounds of live sand and 60 pounds of sand. The tank has been up for three months. (The first month no fish were in the system) I have a Porcupine Puffer and yesterday (12/19/08) I noticed a few white spots on his two side fins. They look like little bits of sand. <Might be> I thought that that was what it was little pieces of sand since Puffer likes to go to the bottom of the tank after a meal and rest, but after a few hours of observation I am concerned that it may be Ich. <Could be, but doubtful> Puffer is not really active during the day, but at night he come to the top of the tank and begs for food. He rests a majority of the day, but he has never been that active. He seems healthy by all accounts. He eats well and besides being a little timid around the other fish (Harlequin Tusk, Naso Tang, Pearlscale Red Butterfly, Blue Jaw Trigger, and 5 Green Chromis)he doesn't seem to have any issues. I have read your forums on Porcupine Puffers with Ich but I feel the information given is to scattered and there are conflicting opinions. <Same as it ever was> I would like to know if a freshwater dip is worth even trying. <Mmm, no; not IMO/E> I know one of your forums say certain stages of Ich easily resist freshwater dips. I just don't want to put puffer through the stress of being removed from his tank and then the huge stress of being in freshwater. <I am in agreement with your point of view> How resilient are puffers against Ich? <Mmm, more than middling> He only has a few white spots on his fins and nowhere else. Each meal is soaked in garlic which I hear helps guard against Ich, <Nah> but does it do anything to combat the illness once a fish has the illness. <Zip> I have read that the Ich parasite doesn't like the odor of garlic <Methinks you've got these Tetraodontiforms mixed up with vampire lore> and the smell will keep them from attaching to the fish. I have no idea if this is true, but if it is will the parasite detach because of the garlic. It is really hard to get good information so I appreciate the assistance. If you need anymore information please ask. Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE <I too have not caveats (to mention)... But would take a wait and see approach here... Most likely these two "spots" are nothing. Bob, citizen, person who generates GDP, Fenner>

Pufferfish Parasites?  11/22/08 I picked up a porcupine puffer from the LFS about 1 week ago. This was the second one that I had seen at that particular shop, and both of them had a single cluster of *something* growing on one pectoral fin (see attached photo). <I see this in your excellent photo> I spoke with a friend who had one in the past, and he said that his fish would get this problem on and off, but he didn't know what it was. Well, the LFS people didn't know either. They said it was pretty common and I ended up deciding to take the puffer home and try to treat it. The problem is that I can't find any information whatsoever about this infection of the pectoral fin. <Mmm, don't think this is trouble...> Now I have noticed that the puffer has two white-ish spots on his forehead (photo attached), but they strike me as being bigger than Ich. He is eating, but it's kind of strange: he only likes to eat things that are floating or drifting in the water column: he won't follow anything to the bottom, and he won't eat anything if it's sitting on a rock <Do take care here... many puffer species, specimens get "fixed" on certain foods, feeding modes... best to keep mixing up, offering different foodstuffs in different areas... with vitamin/HUFA supplementation occasionally/weekly let's say> . He spends nearly all of his time pacing around the glass, but at night I've seen him "hunting" around the middle of the tank. I have never seen him "rest" before, he's always on the move. I wouldn't describe his pace as frantic, though, and I've never seen him rubbing or flashing. Also, none of the other fish in my tank show any of these symptoms. <Not a worry behavior-wise> hat do you think? If you know what the problem is, what would you recommend as treatment? Thank you, Joe <"Just" good care here... particularly an eye on water quality (low metabolite accumulation) the markings on both the head and pectoral fin look to me to be damaged areas (physical)... the white markings the equivalent of "scabs", areas of regrowth, repair... The fin likely damaged in collection or subsequent net/handling, the head area a "bump" against something like coral or rock. Both will heal in time. Bob Fenner>  

Pufferfish Parasites: System Information  11/22/08 Sorry, I got carried away and forgot to give you information about my system. <Ahh> It's a 90g FOWLR, has been running for 3 months. About 90-100 lbs of rock, shallow sand bed of 50 lbs. The only fish besides the puffer is a small black volitans lion. There are 20 turbo snails (which I'm aware will be eaten eventually), 1 green serpent star, and 1 Bahama star (who is also probably at risk). Test results: Ammonia:0 Nitrite:0 Nitrate:5 Salinity:1.024 Temperature:76.5-79 Night - Day <Looks very good> The tank is skimmed pretty heavily with an in-sump modded octopus NW 150. Nothing in the tank has ever been treated with copper. If you could use any more information, let me know. Thanks,
<No worries Joe. BobF>

Re: Pufferfish Parasites?   11/22/08 I really appreciate the response, very helpful. It's good to hear that you think this is all just damage from shipping or the like. So you said I should supplement his meals with vitamins; what in particular? I've started adding garlic to his meal to help boost his immune system, but I'm not too familiar with any other supplements. <Ah, please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/vitaminmarfaqs.htm> Is it really a bad thing if he gets "trained" to not eat off the bottom? <Mmm, not as much as what is actually eaten... but a good idea to train such animals to feed from the surface as well... should this be expeditious> Because if that actually works, I wouldn't have to worry about my snails, I could keep hermit crabs or possibly even coral. <Mmm, not dependably> Have you ever heard of success in training puffers like that? <Ditto> I read an article the other night who taught his puffer basic sign language! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Puffers/puffers.htm <These are quite intelligent animals. BobF> 

Pufferfish Parasites: Update   11/25/08 Hey, I just wanted to keep you updated on the progress but also ask a couple new questions. <Sure> 1. I've been supplementing garlic and I can already see that his scabs are healing, whether due to the garlic or not. The one on his fin is about the same, though. I have placed an order for both Selcon and VitaChem as you seem to recommend these a lot. <Good> 2. I found out yesterday that my hydrometer was .004 off, meaning my water was actually 1.027 when it read 1.023. Upon figuring this out, I did a 40%ish water change with 1.018 salinity or there-abouts water. I took my time doing this, and gradually got the tank filled back up. <Mmm, a comment... I'd just add some/more freshwater over time... not change the spg more than 0.001 in a day or so> The salinity balanced around 1.024-1.025. Two events of interest occurred after this. I was observing something else in the tank, and when I looked over, the puffer was inflated. This was my first time seeing him like that and I'm aware that it is stressful on their bodies, but is it possible that he did this just for "fun" or something? <Mmm... doubtful> There was no one else in the room, the lionfish was in his cave motionless. Could it have to do with the salinity, even though I did everything very gradually? <Mmm, yes> I witnessed him doing it again one more time the next day, also for no visible reason. The second thing that happened is a much welcomed change. The puffer no longer spends 95% of his time pushed against the glass in the corner. He now hangs out between some rocks, hovering around looking at things as if hunting. He still comes up to the glass, just not all the time like before. Maybe the high salinity had him stressed out so he was constantly trying to escape the tank? <Possibly> 3. I know corals + puffer = no, but a friend offered to give me some free pulsing xenias. On top of the fact that they were free, my puffer doesn't usually eat things that aren't floating, as I mentioned earlier. So I figure in the worse case he kills the xenias. Well, I put them in the tank last night. Woke up in the morning and a few of the pulsing "fingers" were nibbled off, but the stalks and the majority of the xenias were wholly untouched. Do you think he nibbled it and just didn't like the taste? <Also a possibility> It seems like puffers usually devour their entire meal once they get started. Only other fish are the lionfish and a blue yellow tailed damsel. <Surprising the Lion hasn't inhaled the damsel. Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer -- 07/14/08 Hey guys, <Hi.> we set up a saltwater tank 2 months ago. <Size?> Our first fish was a porcupine puffer. <Size?> The fish was doing well, we fed her crayfish, crabs and sometimes feeder minnows. <The latter is a very unhealthy food item absolutely inappropriate for your porcupine fish. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fdgfdrartneale.htm .> We figured she was doing so well we decided to add a dragon wrasse. <Was the wrasse quarantined to avoid the introduction of diseases?> She was ok for the first few days now she is all over the tank bumping into rocks, breathing heavy and her colour is just not right. <Might be Amyloodinium (can you see most tiny white spots and a whitish change of coloration?) or a bacterial infection due to a weak immune system (growing discolorations on the body?). > The day before we gave her feeder minnows and noticed that in the tank where we were holding the minnows they had all died. <'¦> We don't know if its the feeder minnows, the dragon wrasse or a combination of the two. <All possible, especially the last. I recommend never to feed minnows to a porcupine puffer again.> Our ph is 8.2, we have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate. <Sounds okay.> We don't know what to do and we don't want to lose our puffer! Thanks. <Clarify which of the two is most likely and start a treatment in a hospital tank. Amyloodinium can kill very fast. Treatment options are found on WWM. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm and the linked FAQs on diseases and also the corresponding articles on marine velvet or bacterial infections. Good luck. Marco.>

Puffer with suspected Ich  11/16/07 Hi guys <Debs> I hope you can help me. I have researched your site and found many partial answers to my problem but would really appreciate some definitive advice. I purchased a porcupine puffer 12 days ago, about 5 inches long and placed him in QT tank of 25g with external filter, protein skimmer, large UV skimmer and air stones. I know the tank is too small for him but I was prepared to do daily water changes while he was in there to control the ammonia/nitrates. My other tank is 7ft long, approx 150g with yellow tang, Sailfin tang, 2 Anthias, tomato clown, Clarkii clown and a humbug, all quite large fish, and a sump with trickle flow over bio filters, 2 large UVs, protein skimmer, carbon and potassium filters and a calcium reactor. There are a few corals and snails and a sea urchin but no shrimps. <The Puffer may chomp on the invertebrates listed...> In the QT I have been doing daily water changes 25% , as there was an ammonia spike when I originally put him in. I bought some "bactinettes" from LFS and now ammonia is at zero, nitrite at 0.25 and nitrates (just before water change) are about 80. <Yikes! Too high> In The LFS he was in 28 degrees temp, but I have gradually lowered him to 26 degrees in preparation for going in main tank. <S/b fine> Anyhow, the puffer was fine until 2 days ago when I noticed a couple of white spots on his tail and above his eye. I have read that they are susceptible to Ich so I decided to try and nip it in the bud and gave him a freshwater dip. <Mmmm> I caught him in a plastic container and it all went fine, he didn't seem stressed at all. Only problem was, I had to put him back in the QT. The next morning, he looked fine. But the following morning, he was covered in little white spots !! <Now, this IS likely Crypt> I did another freshwater bath (temp and PH adjusted) and decided to leave him in longer this time, got him to 8 min.s when he blew himself up, so removed him and put him back in the QT. This time I have decided to do a 100% water change, using 75% water from main tank and 25% new water. I couldn't do this yesterday because it takes a while to make the RO water. Now I'm ready to do this, I want to remove him to another tank with medication while I do the complete water change. The question is, what medication do I use ? I know from your website not to use copper. Can I use formalin, if so, how long can he stay in it? <I would use an emersion bath...> Or can I use Methylene blue, again how long? <Just the formalin> Or should I just do another freshwater dip? <No, I would add the formalin> This time he is going to return to a cleaned tank. My other question is what do I need to remove from this tank to make sure I remove all the Ich? <? I would perform one last pH adjusted Freshwater and formalin dip enroute to moving the puffer to the main display, dump, air-dry the treatment tank> At the moment, it has some liverock and some sand. I know I should remove the sand but should I also remove the liverock? <Oh! I would just let the material run "fallow", sans fish hosts for a couple months> Should I also clean out all equipment that has come into contact with this water, i.e. filters, tubing, etc with tap water? <No... the absence of fish hosts...> All this time, he has behaved normally and eats well. So last question, is there anything that could be confused with Ich ? ( they definitely aren't water bubbles !) <All sorts of Protozoans, some worms and crustacean parasites... and spurious "dots" from stress...> Did I react too quickly to those first few spots and make matters worse by stressing him ? <Maybe... but the Crypt is good to catch at this stage...> I would really appreciate some straightforward answers , even better, direct instructions on how to proceed with this? <I would also treat with quinine, and vacuum the bottom of the treatment tank during the dip/bath procedures (to remove cysts)...> Apologies for sounding like an ignoramus but different LFS's give out different advice (often dud) and I never know who to believe, except you guys of course ! Many thanks Debs <Is this all clear? There is a large amount of material to understand, counting cautionary statements, remarks... Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer with suspected Ich- please reply ASAP - I need to move puffer today - thank you !  -- 11/17/07 Hi again- thanks for your advice. <Welcome Debs> I have refrained from doing anything until I got your reply which is just as well as I had decided to use Methylene blue as LFS had urged me NOT to use formalin. Can I just ask a couple more questions, just to be sure ? When you say 'immersion bath ' with formalin, how long does he stay in for? An hour ? And then followed by a freshwater dip, presumably the 8 min.s he managed last time was about right ? <Mmm, no... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked files above> And you definitely think I should put him in the main display with the other fish? <Yes> Is that because of the chance of this reoccurring due to the QT tank being so small? <In part... more to be gained by moving> I raised the temp overnight by 1 degree to 27 degrees, but the puffer is currently at 27.9 degrees ( I have a Aquastar system) - will this drop in temp bother him? <No, not likely> I'm a bit worried because I don't have a hospital tank big enough for all the fishes if it reoccurs. Thank you so much ! Debs <Welcome. BobF>
Re: Puffer with suspected Ich - further question  -- 11/17/07
Hi again Bob, <Debs> Just thought, if I'm going to put the puffer in the main tank , would it be a better idea to add formalin to the QT tank he is already in to make it less stressful, i.e. one less move? <Could do> I will remove the live rock and biofilter before doing this, and then replace them when I've completed the treatment and cleaned out the tank and filled it with new water. Or is it wiser to mix the formalin in a separate tank and move him to it ? Also, formalin strength, should I go for half normal dosage ? Thanks ! Debs <... posted... BobF>
Re: Puffer with suspected Ich  -- 11/17/07
Hi Bob , Sorry to pester you again with a third follow up e-mail but I forgot to mention something !! Since we got him, the puffer has crisscross scratches on both his eyes. I looked it up and found that they can get this from being netted, which the LFS guy did to get him in the bag. I was hoping it would heal on its own, but hasn't. Any idea what it could be ? Sorry to be such a persistent pest !! Debs <Likely are scratches, as you state. RMF>

Burrfish With "Ich"? 8/7/07 <Hi Mark, Pufferpunk here> I was trying to find out if a burr puffer could get ick? <Actually Ich, which is a freshwater disease, short for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.><<Mmm, both fresh and marine are commonly called "Ich". RMF>> I have had him for a month or two, its doing great, eating fine. I just started seeing little white dots on its fins and body. Could you help me and what could I do. <Yes they can get crypt, short for Cryptocaryon irritans (the marine form of Ich). Best treatment is hyposalinity. You can look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm in addition to countless other articles at WWM on the subject. Also: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/swich/ How long have you had this fish? There is a high death rate of this fish in captivity, due to refusal to eat. ~PP> Thank you, Mark.
Re: Burr Puffer with SW "Ich"  8/9/07
<Hi Mark> I have had him for about two months and he has no problem eating and even takes food from my hand. He is always looking, for or eating food non-stop. Will the puffer work thru this or should I do something? He is housed with a Huma trigger, Yellow tang, Snowflake eel, Lyretail wrasse and a pair of Maroon Clows. <Maroon clowns?> Should I worry about any of these fish? <It's up to you, whether you should treat all the fish or wait it out to see if the Burrfish gets any worse. He's more sensitive to the parasite, since he has no scales. Sometimes I have seen a light case of crypt goes away on it's own but you are chancing all the inhabitants getting it. I'd at least QT the puffer & treat it. If you see the parasite on any of the other fish, then you will have to follow the instructions for hyposalinity for everyone (in QT of course) & leave the main tank fallow. Were there any new tank mates added recently? ~PP> Thank you for all your help, Mark

Porcupine puffer with white-spot disease, lots of reading required -- 06/16/07 I reviewed your site and needed help saving my porcupine puffer. <Will do what I can.> We got her probably about 3 weeks ago. She was swimming around and eating adapting to her new environment rather well. All of a sudden she started getting little white dots all over her body. I called the store that I bought her from and they said to put marine C in the tank daily and see if that helps <...>. I also put a lot of fish in at once and they advised to do a water change daily due to too many fish introduced at a time <...>. That actually worked <Seems it didn't>. Everything was great for about a week. Then all of a sudden we woke up one day and she had clouded eye on one eye <secondary bacterial infection.>. I called the store again and they advised to use MelaFix for 7 days and then do a 25% water change <Melafix won't help much in this case.>. If it doesn't clear then repeat for 3 more days. It has been three days now she is swimming around a little. She has white spots all over so I gave her a fresh water dip. During the dip I noticed that on her back it looked like her skin is pealing off <Losing her slime coat>. Please help?? What do I do to save her and keep the other fish in my tank alive at the same time? <You need a hospital tank (no live rock, no invertebrates, no substrate.>. All fish need to be transferred to this tank while the display tank stays fallow for at least 4 weeks. If the white spots are salt-grain like, treat against Cryptocaryon with hyposalinity or chelated copper (see WWM re; if you use copper, do not overdose and monitor well). If the spots are tiny and numerous, treat against Amyloodinium with chelated copper or formalin (again: read all about it on WWM and do not overdose). The latter disease would be very bad and can kill a puffer in 48 hours. It seems you need to read a lot. Aside searching WWM for Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium with the search tool, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm and the linked FAQs on diseases. All you need is already written on WetWebMedia. Good luck. Marco.>  

Porcupine Puffer has Discoloration   4/24/07 Hello guys! <Mark> I just recently discovered your website - seems if you do a search for any kind of fish problem, Google points right to your site. It has been very helpful. <Ah, good> I picked up my porcupine puffer 3 days ago and right away he was up swimming around the tank (not pouting at all). He has been eating fine and everything seems to be healthy with him except today he has developed this discoloration all over the top part of his head. <I see this> He didn't have any signs of this when I first purchased him. I don't see any spotting or anything so I am assuming this isn't Ich, but could not find anything about this in any other postings. I have attached a picture of my puffer (the best I could get anyway). Is this some kind of disease and should I be concerned? Or maybe it has to do with stress of being moved? <Am hoping just this latter... there are some infectious agents that can result in this "whitening" appearance... But actual treatment is not recommended here... Bolstering this animals immune system with foods soaked in vitamins/HUFAs (e.g. Selcon), is about all I would do here> Thanks for any help or advice you can give! It's appreciated. -Mark
<Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer with discoloration, probably a bacterial infection -- 04/22/07 Hello guys! <Hi Mark. Marco here with you today.> I just recently discovered your website -- seems if you do a search for any kind of fish problem, Google points right to your site. It has been very helpful. I picked up my porcupine puffer 3 days ago and right away he was up swimming around the tank (not pouting at all). He has been eating fine and everything seems to be healthy with him except today he has developed this discoloration all over the top part of his head. <Not good.> He didn't have any signs of this when I first purchased him. <Porcupine puffers often get ill when stressed.> I don't see any spotting or anything so I am assuming this isn't Ich, but could not find anything about this in any other postings. I have attached a picture of my puffer (the best I could get anyway). <I assume your tank is cycled? Check your nitrates, which can be another stress factor.> Is this some kind of disease and should I be concerned? <Yes and yes. Looking at the picture you took he probably has a bacterial infection, maybe  Vibrio if it is reddish. If it grows, you need to act as soon as possible. You will need an antibiotic for gram negative bacteria (e.g. Maracyn Two). You can treat him in a bare bottom hospital tank or (using higher concentrations) apply daily half an hour to one hour aerated dips. Read all about bacterial infections/treatment/antibiotics at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm and the related FAQs. Also search for Vibrio.> Or maybe it has to do with stress of being moved? <Stress leads to a weak immune system and consequently to an outbreak of diseases.> Thanks for any help or advice you can give! It's appreciated. <Hope he pulls through.> -Mark
Porcupine puffer with discoloration, probably bacterial infection II -- 04/24/07
Marco, Thank you so much for your reply. You were the only person we could get to give us any real advice and it is so much appreciated. Unfortunately, our puffer passed away last night. :( He was my favorite fish and I'm still very sad about this. <I am very sorry for your loss. Happens much too often with porcupine puffers, they are so sensitive. I'd check the water parameters to be sure everything is ok with your tank, anyway.> I wanted to ask if there is any way to support your website. I think it is great what you do. <Thanks for your kind words. With regard to support maybe Bob has something to add. Being a conscientious aquarist and keeping on to learn is a good way to honor the work of the crew in my personal opinion.> Thank you again, Mark. <Take care. Sorry he did not make it. Marco.>

Porc with possible bacterial infection 03/26/07 I was hoping you could assist me with my puffer problem. <I'll try. For further questions consider visiting http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ . Many experienced people with regard to puffers can be found there.> I have a Porcupine Puffer and he seems so be fine as far as eating and swimming, but I noticed a pale spot on his head. It has grown from the mouth to his fin and surrounds his eye. His eye looks ok it is not cloudy or enlarged. The area is very pale and appears almost as if a layer of skin has been removed. The rest of his body is normal. Could cooper have caused this issue because I had treated my tank with copper power for Ich 8 weeks ago and I am currently using activated carbon to remove it as of yesterday? <Probably a bacterial infection due to a weak immune system.> My LFS instructed me to leave the copper in to make sure the Puffer did not get Ich. <After eight weeks you can remove the copper.> My water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0 nitrates 40 (I will be doing a water change this week) it is a 220 FOWLR and the temperature is 80 and gravity is 1.016. <Your water change should be 50%. Provide a varied diet of mussel flesh, prawn and squid. Soak the food in vitamins. Inappropriate diet consisting only of one type of food is the number one reason for sick porcupine puffers. Start increasing the specific gravity again by 0.002 per week.> Should I treat with an antibiotic? <If it keeps on spreading: yes. Ask a vet to identify if the bacteria are gram positive or negative. If you cannot find a vet, who does that, treat with antibiotics recommended for gram negative infections, since they occur more often.> <<Heeeeee! You can't get most Americans to change the oil in their cars! RMF>> Thank you, Jesse. <Good luck. Marco.>
Porc with possible bacterial infection II 03/27/07
Thanks, but I unfortunately lost my puffer. Last night when I returned home the infection had spread and he was blind in his left eye. This is the second puffer I have lost, while all my other fish are very healthy. I feed them krill, mussels, prawns, scallops, squid, Spirulina enhanced brine shrimp and all are soaked in Zoa vitamins (recommended by LFS). I recently purchased. I tried to QT him, but it failed and this morning he was gone. The disease spread very fast. Is this common with porcupine puffers because I have tried to be very careful with the specimens I have purchased. I have researched constantly, but seem to have very bad luck with these fish. Jesse. <I am really sorry for your loss. Bacterial infections are common with weak Percs. Stress and bad water quality are factors that need to be avoided. Your diet sounds perfect, probably something else impaired his immune system, maybe the high nitrates, maybe the low specific gravity, maybe the copper treatment. Marco.>

Porcupine Puffer and Ich... need... to read... develop a trtmt. strategy... and act!  3/6/07 I have had a Porcupine Puffer for about 3 weeks now. I haven't added anything new to the tank, but about yesterday I noticed that she seems to have come down with Ich (lots of white spots all over her body and fins). <Lots?> I did a fresh water dip and a 33% water change yesterday and most of the spots seem to have gone away by this morning. However when I got home from work today, I found that she seems to have broken out again. <Ah, does read like this is Crypt> I did another dip and water changes immediately. <... Your system has the parasite... dipping, water-changing won't effect a cure here> In my freshwater tank, I use Mela-Fix, <Worthless> but I am leery to use chemicals in the puffer's tank because of the possible use of copper. The bottle of Mela-Fix I have doesn't explicitly say it does or doesn't have any copper in it, <It's a "tea" made of soaked Melaleuca leaves... a marginal bacteriostatic... at best> but I am not sure. Do you know of any products that can help treat my water that is copper free? Should the chemical say one way or another about its copper use? Thanks, -Chris Meyer <Please read here (and soon): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Blind Porcupine Puffer? 10/15/06 I have a 150 gal saltwater aquarium. About a month ago, all of my fish had signs of ick after the addition of a new fish. I treated the entire tank & they all seemed to be back to normal. About 2 days ago, i noticed that my porcupine puffers eyes were both completely white & he seems to be blind. He is moving around the tank at night, and he seems to smell the food, but does not attempt to go after it, which is completely abnormal behavior for him. I'm worried because he has not eaten for 2 days now. Could this be related to the ick outbreak? <More likely due directly to the medication or indirectly by altering the water quality.> Any suggestions? <Try a good 10-15% water change and follow it up with another one in a week or so... keep your eyes on things. The puffer can go for several weeks without food but you may want to try offering favorite food items on a feeding stick to encourage the puffer to eat.> Thank you for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Puffer with serious Ich outbreak... writer w/ serious lack of reading    10/3/06 Crew,    <Ben>   I have a porcupine puffer and he just recently got a serious Ich outbreak. The parasite is everywhere on him. I did a freshwater dip on him for about 5 min.s. <?> The Ich has no signs of dieing. Do I need to do a hyposalinity? I was told that freshwater dips are the way to go? But the Ich will not die! How many times do I need to freshwater dip him, every day?      Appreciate all your help,   Ben <... help yourself: Read on WWM re Diodontid Disease, Cryptocaryon, hyposalinity if you want. BobF>
Re: Puffer Question   9/26/06
Bob - <Daniel> Thanks for the response... I plan to eventually move him to my 250g tank - wanted to start him in the 75 where I could keep an eye on him. <I see> I'll try a few of the tricks on the site - particularly the ghost shrimp.   When should I begin to worry? <Weeks...>   He doesn't look skinny, but when I called the LFS where he was purchased from, they told me the puffers in the tank had been "picky lately". thanks again! <Happens... not generally... "anything". I would not be concerned at this point/juncture. BobF>

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>

Spiny Box Puffer with Ich - 5/17/2006 What is the best way to treat a Spiny Box Puffer that has Ich?  It is currently in a quarantine tank. <<Read here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9. >> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>
Re: Spiny Box Puffer with Ich - 5/28/2006
I started the treatment described in the link you gave me for Hyposalinity last week.  For the first few days the Ich started to clear up nicely, but over the last two days it has gotten progressively worse.  It is now much worse than it was before I started the Hyposalinity treatment. <<What SG is the puffer in now?>> The Spiny Box Puffer will no longer accept food.  Is there something else I can do? <<He is very, very stressed.  It sounds to me like something is off in your water parameters.  Are you keeping a close eye on water quality?  Please search WWM re hyposalinity.>> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

-Possible Isopod issues-    1/19/06 Hello all! <Hello, Justin with you this evening.> First of all, THANK YOU so very much for your amazing site!  It is such a wealth of fantastic information, and is truly (in my humble opinion) the best wet-pet resource on the web! <Well it's all due to many people who help, and the crew here. Ill pass your thanks on to Bob.> I currently maintain a 120G fish-only tank.  In addition to the 3" puffer (Diodon holocanthus), there is also a 4" angel (Pomacanthus imperator), 4" lion (Pterois volitans) and a couple of small (1-1.5") damsels.  Salinity - 1.021, Temp - 80*F, Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0; Nitrates - 5ppm. <An interesting mix, have you seen any aggression out of the Lionfish?  most of the time puffers, and lions may squabble, much to the lions detriment.> A couple of days ago, I noticed a small white spot medial to my puffer's left eye.  The spot does not look like Oodinium or ick, but is rather large (2-3mm) and flat.  This morning, I noticed two more ventral spots... also 2-3mm each, flat, and completely circular!  They do not look like any sort of parasite that I know of, and it seems very strange to acquire trauma with those manifestations.  Also, the spots are bright solid white, and almost appear "indented" into the skin.  What on earth could this be?   <The indented part seems very odd, as most parasites are bulges outward or bumps. It may be an isopod of some sort that has decided to attach on. they can be fairly easily treated in hypo salinity dips or by using a ain't parasite medicine in a hospital tank for a few days.  However, From what you are saying it is hard to give you a definite answer on it.  Can you maybe send in a good photo of the area in question.  It would be much more helpful in identifying the culprit if one exists.  Also herding the puffer into a container and gently rubbing the area to see if it comes off or is an actual indentation may save you further headache here.  My puffer enjoys digging up substrate (I have sand) and little pieces get stuck in the spines and look very odd and area  a similar size to what you are saying.  Also mine enjoys playing in the sump return pipe and getting micro bubbles all over him as well.  It could be a benign item like that.> His attitude is perky as always, and he is eating great!  I am at a loss on this one... any ideas? <You have me a bit stumped as well on this, but Id check the basics first, and a gentle rubbing of your finger on the area may reveal a simple answer to your concern.  Try watching it for now and see if any more appear or if they disappear all together. I will forward this to Bob for some further ideas.  If you can grab a photograph of the area and send it in as I said above, it may be much more telling.> <<Mmm, nothing further. RMF>> Thanks in advance for everything! Christine <Thank you for being clear, and including everything tank wise I needed to know to focus on the issue.  Hope we can figure this out.> <Justin (Jager)>

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>

Spike is sick I just found your website, hopefully in time to save my fish. I have a 6" Spiny Pufferfish who has contracted what I believe to be a parasite infection. He has what appears to be Ich, but the spots are larger, elongated, and even cover his eyes. <Mmm, not likely Ich> I even noticed it this evening on the flap right behind his teeth (the one that moves as he breathes). He has just started, within the last day or so, to swim erratically (as if he itches). His eating habits and behavior pattern hasn't changed much. He has had this for 1 week. When it first started, I believed it to be Ich, so I have medicated the tank with Kick-Ich and Melafix, as well as trying a freshwater dip. Nothing is helping, and he's steadily getting worse. He is in a 55 gal. tank with a Snowflake Eel, an Arrow Crab, 2 Olive Snails, 2 Narcissus Snails, and 3 Sand Fleas. I am running a wet-dry filter, a protein skimmer, a UV sterilizer, and a hanging filter. The specific gravity is set at 1.019. I perform a water change once a week of about 9 gal. All his tankmates seem to be in perfect condition (with the exception of the Arrow Crab, whom the puffer seems to consider his personal snack machine). I have been told that if I medicate the fish with copper, it will take care of pretty much anything. However, I have also been told that I cannot put a pufferfish in copper because he has no scales. Is there something I could use in place of copper? I don't expect you to know exactly what's wrong with my fish, but can you give me any ideas you might have? I would greatly appreciate it. I really don't want to lose this fish. Thanks for your time. Denise Logan <I encourage you to quickly read over our Puffer Disease archives: http://wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and linked above... if you have another system, I'd run this fish through a pH adjusted freshwater bath with formalin... all this is posted on WWM... and place it in another system. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Disease (puffer) Hi Bob, <Hi Theresa, Ananda here... I often handle the puffer questions for the WetWebMedia crew.> This is Theresa Ulrich. I don't know if you remember me, but we spoke a few times in the past. <I recognize your name from the Cowfish site...> I was hoping you could guide me on how to get information for some people in my discussion group. These people are experiencing fast die-offs of balloon puffers. Here are the systems they quote and treatments thus far. <Okay... could you send me a link to the root post of the thread?> ------------------------------- I have an aquarium maintenance biz up in Portland. Porcupine (Balloon) Puffers are very popular so I order them frequently for clients. For the last month every single Puffer I order comes in looking fine but within 3-5 days they develop a blanched area around one or both eyes that spreads rapidly and they die within a day or two. <Are there photos of this? It might help.> YIKES! HELP! I never lose fish I hate this. I know it is not a water quality issue because I have several tanks on four different filtration systems. I have tested and tried quarantining in all of them with the same results. And my wholesaler, who also has a retail store says he has had the exact same thing happen....he can't keep them alive either. <I wonder where and how these fish are being collected.> He has suggested formaldehyde...nope, no help. The usual antibiotics don't help. I don't know what I am dealing with so I don't know what else to try. Furazone? I am relatively certain that this is not injury related. Here is what leads me to that conclusion. The puffers (8 in all) were purchased over a 2 month period from 2 different suppliers, both of them very very careful with the fish. <Who/where did the suppliers get them from?> The problem does not start in the eye, rather above the "eyebrow" area always. <Hmmm. Right about where the brain is. If this illness is something that attacks the brain, that might explain the very rapid demise.> Here is the clincher. I stopped purchasing puffers all together thinking something must be going on with the Puffers at a particular collection site and I did not want to contribute to the loss of any more. <Good idea.> Two weeks went by and I took in a Balloon to "baby sit" for a client while the floors in the house were being refinished to protect their fish from chemical aerosols being used. I placed the Puffer in a tank that had previously had one of the sick Puffers in it but had sat empty a full 14 days. I also placed all of their other fish of various species in the tank. This was a perfectly healthy Puffer. No injuries...I never net and only transported about 1 mile under optimal conditions. Within 3 days the Puffer began exhibiting the same blanching of color above the eye. Within 2 days the eye turned white and the Puffer was dead despite hospitalization and antibiotic treatment. The other fish were and are fine. Same in all the other cases...only the Puffer was affected when there were fish of various other species in the same tank. I think it is some type of contagion and I would think from the behavior bacterial in nature. I have never seen anything go so fast before from on-set to death though that was bacterial??? As far as treatment I tried what my supplier recommended with the first two which was Formaldehyde at a 37% solution 1 drop per gal daily for three days with the Puffers only getting worse. Next time I tried Erythromycin 1 capsule per gal with no results continuing treatment until the Puffers died. I also mixed Erythromycin into their food until they stopped feeding. Next shipment I tried Furazone Green and triple Sulfa. The last Puffer I went so far as to give 100mg Erythromycin injection 2 times per day until loss. In all cases there was no improvement in the fish at all before death. Yes, I do also keep a copper drip on all the quarantine tanks except the invert tanks so antiparasitic agent was also being employed throughout the treatment. <Okay. So we know the bacteria or parasite can live for more than two weeks without a host. It's also specific to the porcupine puffers. It did not respond to two medications normally used to combat gram-positive bacteria, nor to an anti-microbial medication. It didn't respond to two anti-parasitic treatments -- though I usually don't suggest copper for puffers. One thing that wasn't covered is a gram-negative bacteria.> Thanks so much for taking on the dilemma. I wish I had gotten a picture for you because in 20 years and a ton of Puffers this is a brand new one on me! I was just so frantic to try and save them. ---------------------- Another member posted this link to show the progression of the disease. http://platinum.yahoo.com <There must be more to this link....> -------------- The first person indicated that her balloon puffers progressed in the same manner as the fish on the link. ------- Theresa! this is it!!! look at the pictures forwarded with this posting Gabriel found. That is exactly what keeps happening to my Balloons. A bruised or blanched looking area starting just on one side behind the eye back. ------------- Bob, I know it is hard to hard to make an exact diagnosis with a sample viewed under a microscope, but can you offer some guidance here? <I'd like to see the original thread and see what else people have tried. I'm particularly curious to know the results of any treatments that target gram-negative bacteria.> I have tried contacting public aquariums with no luck. Although some of my references indicate some possible disease scenarios that are similar to this, it doesn't account for why the disease seems specific to only the balloon puffers. <I'm not a microbiologist, nor do I play one on TV, but I've heard of things specific to a single species before.> I appreciate whatever you can do. <This has been a stumper that I've been mulling over since it turned up in my inbox. Kelly the Puffer Queen is going to be at this Saturday's meeting of the Chicago Marine Aquarium Society (www.cmas.net), so I'm going to print this out and ask her about this, too.> Thanks, Theresa Ulrich www.cowfishes.com <You're welcome. And thanks for running the cowfishes site! --Ananda>

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>

Parasite? Dear sir: I have a porcupine fish. I noticed a small flat translucent worm about 2/16 long and 1/16 wide crawling on my fish. When I came home from work I did a fresh water dip with Meth blue. I dipped for about ten minutes and brought him out and back into the tank. He had a lot of these that I hadn't noticed because the dye had turned them blue and they are falling off. My question if you would be so kind is, what are they and what is protocol to rid the fish of them. I'm hoping quarantine with copper will not be called for. Any info you could provide on life cycle, etc., would also be appreciated. <There are a few possibilities... likely these are some sort of "Fluke"... mono- or digenetic Trematode species...  and are likely best treated by way of a freshwater and formalin (ten drops per gallon of 37% solution) dip of about  five minutes duration... and then placed in a new setting... lest this is a worm with direct life cycle (the ones that entail  another one or two intermediates are likely to not have those other transient hosts in place...). See if this works...  and if you're so inclined, search about for "Fish Disease" works by "Yamaguti" or "Noga" for tremendously more detail... Or write me back for more if unclear... Bob Fenner>

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