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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Social Disease  

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 Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments 

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

Puffers should NOT be kept w/ large Angels, big Wrasses, Lionfish and relatives, Moray eels... overzealous cleaner fishes; large crabs, lobsters, hermits

Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis Angelfish     3/16/16
Hello there. I need some help with treating an eye injury in my porcupine puffer. He was totally healthy until yesterday. When I got home from work
I noticed him sitting in a little hiding spot in the rocks rather than greeting me like normal. I also noticed my Annularis angelfish being dominant to him (swimming into him and briefly nipping at his face - my puffer backed away). I haven't seen this before. I'm not sure if the Angelfish did this damage to my puffer or if it was monopolizing on the situation. Regardless, I put a 55L plastic bin with holes drilled in it in my tank (180 gallon) to isolate the pufferfish.
<Good move>
Puffer's eyes are cloudy white and have what look like injuries on them.
<How long have you had this puffer? Might be parasitic involvement here... Trematodes, possibly Crypt>
Sorry I don't have a picture. The whiteness is more on the bottom half of the eyes. The skin directly below the eye is also slightly damaged (white). It looks like the other fish picked at him (from the bottom
direction) over and over and injured his eyes/skin below the eye.
He was in isolation overnight. When I checked on him this morning he was pretty similar except the bottom of the eyes seems to be "sagging" slightly. He can't see well and bumps off the walls of the container, and
since his eyes stick out that's the part that keeps bumping things. I'm not sure how to keep his eyes from contacting the walls.
<Me neither>
I'm concerned about a secondary bacterial infection developing. Is there an antibiotic I can give him orally (he's eating very well) so I don't have to isolate him in a quarantine tank?
<None that are effective unless the fish is eating; can be introduced via foods>
Or, I do you recommend I quarantine him and treat the water with antibiotics or copper?
<? For what? I would not simply expose this animal, system w/o a purpose>
Please advise for the best course of action to help him heal and recover.
<The usual: Reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisF5.htm
see the linked files above? Disease by Category? Social, Trauma.... read
Very concerned fish owner.
<And the Angel and Puffer will have to housed separately. Bob Fenner>
P.S. Water quality:
180 gallon
76 degrees F
Salinity 1.0225
PH - 8.1
Carbonate Hardness: 15dkh
Phosphate = 0.25
Ammonia and Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0.3 (I did a 10% water change the night before his eye got bad - trying to bring this down).
Re: Porcupine Puffer suddenly has injured eye - attacked by Annularis Angelfish      3/17/16

HI Bob. Thank you for the prompt reply. I've done a lot of reading. Your website is a wealth of information!
<Ah yes; many hours have gone into WWM>
I've had the puffer for two weeks. The fish store I bought him from had him for a month prior and he seemed healthy (I had my eye on him for a while and they held him for me for a few weeks), so I'm skeptical that it's
a parasite, especially with how quickly this happened (in a 8 hour period).
<Well; I wouldn't discount the possibility entirely. Some do show up very quickly (clinically)>
For now I'll keep him in my main tank, but in the isolation bin and continue with daily 10% water changes to get the nitrates down. I've also kept the lights off so the tank is not so bright.
He is still eating great.
<A VERY good indication of health; recovery>
Do you have a recommended antibiotic I can feed him while he's still in my main tank to prevent a secondary bacterial infection, or will even edible antibiotics wipe out my biofilter?
<Some anti... microbials, -biotics more than others. I'd rather you soak, lace the foods with vitamins, HUFAs, probiotics... there are such prep.s available commercially... Selcon, Micro-Vit....>
I've been feeding him Hikari brand frozen clams on a half shell. Also bought some raw shrimp from the grocery store (mainly to feed my zebra moray eel) and sometimes the puffer grabs pieces of that.
<Mmm; Oh, see this below.... Please read on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning>
Are these okay to continue feeding on a regular basis, or do you recommend adding something else to their (both puffer and eel) diet to make sure they're getting enough Thiamine vitamin and not too much thiaminase?
<Oh! Yes... fish, fillet or whole small>
Crab leg pieces?
<Invite me over!>
Selcon soak?
The angel is going back to the fish store because this tank was set up specifically for my puffer. :-(
<Ahh; this is the better choice>
Thanks again for your time.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?     1/10/15
Hello WWM Crew,
I read all of the posts on puffers and disease and didn't see pictures that
looked like this.
I have a 125 gallon tank, spg 1.023, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are 0,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
pH is 8.4, temp 79 degrees Fahrenheit
My porcupine puffer shares his tank with a bi color angel, a Siganus
<May have poked...>
rabbit fish and a rather Large Dardanus
<... pinched>

crab in a 6 inch Triton
Tonight when I got home I noticed a mark on my Porcupine puffer Kirby.
<All at once I take it>

is in front of his gill on his left side. It was Not there yesterday,
<Ah yes; an injury>
is whitish/pink area. It is about an 1/2 inch wide by a little under an inch long. I have attached a picture.
<A nice one>
It doesn't look like ich or velvet
or other diseases I have seen first hand. I am wondering it it looks fungal or bacterial in nature to you?
<Maybe secondary>
Or if it looks like a wound perhaps
inflicted by a rather large crab living in a triton shell. Any thoughts?
<Same as yours>
I can quarantine Kirby the puffer and medicate him if need be.
<I wouldn't>
I would
rather not medicate him if it is a wound that will heal on its own.
is 6 years old. He doesn't seem lethargic at all or breathing fast either. He is eating well. Are there bacteria's or fungus that move this quickly in less then 24 hours?
<Not w/o an opening>
Thanks for your help this is an amazing site.
Regards, Kellylynn
<There we have it; a mix of dangerous characters; the puffer cut, slashed open by one of them...
With good conditions, nutrition will heal in time (weeks). Bob Fenner>

Re: Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?        1/12/15
Hello Bob
"<how is NO3 rendered thus?>"
I have a refugium stuffed full of plants, a nitrate filter from Aquaripure and religious water changes because puffers are really messy.
Maybe how I should have phrased it is that the nitrates are undetectable with 2 different test kits. So I think it is a combination of all three things.
There must be a titch of NO3 as the plants are doing fine but I think the plants take up what is left by the puffers messy eating habits. The NO3 with 2 different tests it is not detectable.
I definitely think the puffer was wounded by Roger Rabbit fish or the Dardanus crab. I am kind of leaning toward the crab. Kirby the puffer seems to be giving the crab a wider leeway and to some degree avoiding the area where the crab is. I do not remember him doing that before.
Thanks again for this site. It is a treasure trove of knowledge.
<Thank you for adding to it. BobF>

Update on Kirby the Puffer and the Dardanus Crab       2/7/15
Hello WWM crew,
Kirby is now healing from his injury from a few weeks ago. It was the crab I am 99% sure who wounded Kirby.
<Me too>
There is a small area that is lighter in color and some of his spots are farther apart then they were before. He Has given the crab a wider berth then he did before. That is what has led me to believe it was the crab and not Roger Rabbit (Siganus doliatus). The behavior is different toward the crab.
<Perhaps next molt/move, it will be the Puffer's chance...>
You will be happy to know that I have purchased a 200 gallon tank for them.
<Ah good>
I am just waiting for the stand to arrive. It will have space for a 100+ gallon refugium underneath. Which brings me to my next question......about stocking the bigger tank. Kirby is 7 inches long, Roger is 8 inches long. The crab will be spending more time in the refugium I think.....to keep everyone safe.
<Tres bien>
Can I switch him from the main tank to the refugium here and there?
Since it is the same system? He is a good clean up crew for the puffers messy way of eating. Other occupants will be my bicolor angel and a small 4 inch aquacultured purple Tang.
<?! Have never seen an aquacultured Zebrasoma sp. Where are you buying/getting this from?>
I know the tang will get lots bigger.
<Mmm; not as large as some congeners... likely only five-six inches overall here over years time>
The tang and bicolor get along swimmingly (pun intended) now and are never very far from each other. Will it stay that way as the tang gets bigger or is he more likely to bully the Bicolor?
<Can't say; both animals being individualistic... but I give good odds that they'll get along well enough>
I also have a purple indigo Pseudochromis in that tank should I move him to a smaller tank even though he seems to be doing just fine with the big fish?
<If there's sufficient cover I'd leave in; are smart, quick>
I was thinking of adding a pink tailed or blue throat trigger to the mix after the new tank is up and running for a while.....am I pushing my luck with the thought of a trigger and puffer together or the trigger and my rather large Rabbitfish?
<A peaceful Balistid species might go>
Could I put a different species of rabbit fish in a system this size?
<I would not>
I know you shouldn't put con-specifics together but could it work with this size tank?
<Not a good gamble>
What would you suggest for other fish to add with this pugnacious bunch of fish?
<That you read; decide for yourself. You can/could just peruse the "Compatibility FAQs" on WWM for all the species you have, desire>

That I adore I might add ☺.
Are there wrasse that might work like the dragon wrasse or Thalassoma species?
<Yes; plus Coris and a few others>
Could a hawk fish work with this bunch or would my puffer eat a Hawkfish....
<A larger species could fit>
he has left the pseudo alone... He has left the cleaner shrimp alone which has amazed me. I want to make the right choice of fish to add to the larger system once I get up and running.
Thanks again for this amazing site. I have spent dozens of hours reading on it. P.S. I often shop at my Asian grocery store to find new and interesting things for Kirby the puffer to eat. They often have an array of marine shellfish you wouldn't find at your regular grocery store and the often have very high quality squid compared to my local grocery store.
<Neat. Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer is ...poisoned? Another Siganid incident, incomp.     3/16/14
I have a porcupine puffer and a foxface Rabbitfish in a 110 gallon.
They both were doing great until last night. I heard a commotion of some sort in the corner of the tank.
By the time I got over there, whatever was going on was over, but my porcupine was puffed and sitting on the bottom of the tank. He is much paler than normal and now lays on his side on the bottom.
Did the Rabbitfish poison him? How can I fix it?
<Maybe... I'd separate these two of course... but really, just time going by, good care will see if the Diodontid recovers or no. Bob Fenner>
Please and thank you!

Porcupine Puffer     1/12/13
Hi Bob and Crew, I have a Porcupine Puffer and for about nine months He basically stays in his cave all day. He never swims unless he see his cup of food or when I am doing a water change. He tries to help. I bought him really small and he swim more when he was little. He swims all night and in the morning when lights or off he is normal, happy, and swimming. I have vho lighting and I don't think it is too bright for him. Nobody is picking on him. He is in a 180 eats Mysis, and krill everyday. Is he ok?
<Likely so; such lethargy, night time activity isn't uncommon>
 All parameters are good. Nitrate is 10. I don't think that enough to stress him do you?
<Are there other fishes present that might be bullying the puffer by day?>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer, hlth., comp.     1/10/13
What happened to my friend "Hap"? I am so sad! He lives in my son's tank.
<Mmm, something/one's been "after" it; of there's been a precipitous drop in water quality...>
Today his eyes started looking hazy. Tonight he was swimming along and all of a sudden seemed to struggle then floated to the top if the tank with this "bubble" attached! It looks like there is a hole in his side!
<Yes; physical trauma>

 He is normally in an 80 gallon tank with a lion fish, a grouper, a star fish, live rock and small corals. I don't think he is going to make it through the night.
Jenni Edwards
<Number one candidate is the grouper... next, a poke from the Lion... perhaps just a bad run-in w/ the corals... this system needs to be much larger... You need to move the puffer now to convalesce. Bob Fenner>

Re: Porcupine Puffer    1/10/13
Thanks Bob. We moved him last night, but he didn't make it. I grew up "going fishing" with my Daddy in the creeks and lakes for dinner. Never thought I would get so attached to a darn fish!
But here I am feeling like I lost a good friend. Your site is amazing. I will learn from it and maybe get my own tank just for a puffer.  ~ Jen
<Real good. BobF>

Yellow Spined Porcupine Puffer 2/3/12
Hey crew, here's a link to a picture taken today of my porcupine puffer. I've had him for about 15 months and he's 6+ inches from tip to tip. I started noticing his fins and spines going yellow about 6 months ago. It's only steadily gotten worse(?)
<Worse in what way? The colour? Not a problem>
since then. There have been no changes in behavior or appetite.
I've tried every search for yellow fins/spines and jaundice in puffers, but to no avail. His diet consists primarily of Nori (a suspect in all of this), but with squid, shrimp, or oyster soaked in garlic extract and Selcon at least once a week.
If it's relevant, he's in a 135 mixed reef tank with a pair of Clowns, a trio of Yellow Tail Damsels, and a Niger Trigger.
<Tough neighborhood>

What are your thoughts? I really like the color, but don't like it being unique.
<Is fine... genetic and nutritionally related. I'd switch the last a bit.
Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/burrfishfdgfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>


Burrfish, bitten? 5/31/11
Hey guys! First time asking a question about the millionth time on your site! I have a emergency... Well I think.. First tank details 125 gallon fish only tank 175 P live rock, HOB CPR refugium, AquaC remora protein skimmer, Aquatic life 4 lamp T5s. Livestock 6 inch Porcupine Puffer I have had for about a year, 2 foot gold spot moray eel in take 3 years, and 2 small damsels in tank 3 years. parameters all normal. tank has been going for about 4 years. I noticed today my puffer was resting in middle of day very unusual. I went to take closer inspection I noticed what looked like to be tears in his skin behind his left fin. 3 or 4 small maybe half inch or smaller tears. Also there seams to be around 10 of his spines that have protruded threw skin. This morning when I awoke I looked for puffer but I could not see him. I looked in rock work, he had gotten deep inside small crevice in rocks. I have never seen him down in the rock work like this. I
am thinking he may have torn skin while in rock work? Any help would be greatly appreciated I really love this little guy and don't want anything to happen to him. I can send pictures if needed.
<Do please send along the pix... I suspect the Moray... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer with a "bruise" 5-30-3009
Hi all,
I have a Porcupine Puffer in a 600 litre tank with a variety of other fish (some clowns, triggers, tangs, damsels & blennies). I was not here on the day it was introduced, but noticed a cloudiness on its top rear fin (dorsal?), see attached image.
<I do see this... Likely one of the triggers...>
It is feeding well on some shrimp, sand eels & cockles, but seems nervous & it stays beneath a pile of rock unless it thinks it may get fed. I have noticed the cleaner Wrasse having a go at the same area,
<Not good to keep Labroides in small systems... pester other fish/hosts too much>
but I don't know if it is helping with some sort of parasite
or has taken to bullying the Puffer.
<Could be>
The fin which had the cloudiness now has what looks like a bruise on it which appears to be spreading to the skin on the left side, again, I'm not sure whether it is caused by the Wrasse, an infection or a parasite.
<Mmm, neither>
Nitrite, Ammonia & pH are all spot on, and all the other fish are perfectly healthy. None have any signs of ick & the only aggression in the tanks is the Wrasse picking at the fin of the puffer.
Any help or advise would be gratefully received.
Gareth Harper
<Time to remove the Labroides. Bob Fenner>

Porc Puffer ? Hlth., reading 05/27/09
I have a very curious puffer that I was housing in my 90 gallon until he decided to snack on my fish (I knew the risk I was taking). Since I moved him to my 125 with two California Stingrays.
<Coldwater animals... otherwise incompatible>

To give everyone acclimation time etc, I turned off the lights and covered the tank for a period of 24 hrs -its in a very bright sunny part of the house, tons of windows. I went to check on everyone an hour ago and my poor puffer was stuck to the intake for my sump. I know better, but the stingrays like to play there so I didn't even think about it when I moved P. Daddy (puff daddy) over. Now his bottom lip is red, swollen and he is all puffed up and swimming upside down. He hasn't released the water/air and I basically want to know if I have the chance to try and heal him back to health or if I should put him out of his misery.
<Are tough animals... there is reason to hope>
I've had this guy for a year and was going to set him up with a FOWLER dedicated to him. I want to do the best for P. Daddy and I don't care for the cost etc. I have a separate tank setting up as we speak that I am prepared to do water changes daily, Melafix
etc so that he may recover... but if he's swimming upside down still puffed up with air?
<Need to "un-puff"... See WWM re>

What can I do? What's the right thing to do?
Thanks for all of your help!
Tiffany B.
<Keep reading Tiff. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled 3-5-09 Help! <I'll do my best! Mike here tonight> I have a 220-gallon saltwater aquarium. All of the fish have been doing great for a long time. <Yay, a big tank!> "Porky", my large Porcupine Puffer, has an injury caused by another fish last night. I looked into the tank and saw my large Lunar Wrasse pulling and tugging on pink "guts" or something that he was pulling out of Porky's anal opening. He had about 3" of it pulled out and was tugging and trying to rip at it and eat it. I now have Porky in a hospital tank with Maracyn to try and prevent infection. <Good. You may want to very broad spectrum here, with Maracyn 1&2, and maybe Methylene blue...it won't hurt> The guts (intestines or whatever it is) is still hanging out of him in a large pink ball. <Possibly prolapsed colon/intestines...is there a hole torn through the abdominal wall, or it is hanging out of the rectum?> It also has some white stringy parts kind of hanging off of it, and some areas are more pink or red, and looks like it hurts. <Likely damaged tissue and blood vessels> Porky is still eating like his normal ravaged self, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to poop. <I would stop feeding for the time being> And I can't put him back in the big tank, because ALL of the fish started to nip at it before I got him out of there. I tried to push the guts back in, but I was afraid of making it worse so I stopped after it didn't go in easily. What should I do? <I haven't had any experience with this before, so I'm Cc'ing Bob, who will hopefully CC Kathy, the only person I know of whom has some 'surgical' experience with fish. However, keep porky in the QT tank, treat with prophylactic antibiotics, cease feeding, and wait> <<I would not operate on this fish... but wait, be patient. Such prolapses are not uncommon... Use the WWM search tool and look up this term with the word puffer... and read the cached views... RMF>> Thanks, Jenny <Good luck! M. Maddox>
Re: Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled (follow-up) 3-9-09
Hi again, <Evening> I am still only treating Porky with Maracyn 1. I can't find saltwater Maracyn 2 anywhere. When I DO find it, how much should I be using since I'll be using both Maracyn 1 & 2? 1/2 of each normal dose, Or regular doses of both? <Nope, standard dose of each, because Maracyn treats gram positive infections and Maracyn Two treats gram negative. If you can't find Maracyn Two at any LFS, then treat with a broad spectrum and/or gram negative antibiotic> I did get some Methylene Blue. Do you want me to drop the Methylene Blue right onto the intestines that are sticking out? Or should I treat the water (20 gal. hospital tank)? <Treat the tank> And how much should I use? <Follow the instructions on the label - I'm not sure what brand or concentration you have, so there is no way for me to give you accurate dosing instructions> Thanks. <Anytime> Jenny <Good luck, and I hope your puffer recovers - M. Maddox>
Re: Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled 3-25-09

Just thought I'd update you with "Porky's" condition. He's alive and well and back in his home tank with his tank mates. The Maracyn 1 worked great.
I never did find any Maracyn 2 so I didn't use it. And I didn't have the directions for the Methylene Blue, so I didn't use that either.
<Next time grab Kordon's, which is a teaspoon per ten gallons I believe>
I got lucky and the Maracyn 1 did the trick. His bowels retreated back inside him after about a week, and he's eating and pooping just fine. :-)
<That's so good to hear, I'm glad he recovered!>
<Sure thing, glad I could help>
<M. Maddox>

Porcupine Puffer Skin Problems 12/3/08 Good evening, <Morrow for me here, now. Good day to you in any case/time frame> I have used your site numerous times to troubleshoot many different fish/aquarium topics, but I cannot find the answer to my most recent question and find it worthy of a post. <Good> My Porcupine Puffer that I have had in a 100 gallon live rock aquarium for 6 months has started to show signs of skin problems and I can't find the issue posted or even mentioned on any forum. It appears that the fish is molting/shedding from between the eyes to the dorsal fin. <Mmm, Diodontids (and Tetraodontids...) do "shed" their skin quite a bit...> The typical olive/brown coloring has given way to what appears to be a new, whiter layer of skin/scale still exhibiting the camouflage characteristics, just in a lighter shade. Now I've searched and know that puffers do not have scales and from what I can tell therefore do not shed/molt. <Actually...> I'm wondering if this is a treatable disease or in general any advice you can provide for this situation. Tank specs: 100 gallon overflow with a 25 gallon sump, Red Sea protein skimmer and carbon filtration. Tank Mates: Yellow Tang Maroon Gold Stripe Clown Candy Hogfish Picasso Trigger 75 lbs live rock Thank you for your assistance <Mmm... well, this condition can be due to, here's that word again, just "stress"... it may be the Trigger, Clown and even the Tang are working this fish woe... The second, and possibly larger co-factor with these puffers is nutritional. Very often they are lost to avitaminoses... and hence, the call to supplement their foods, provide a myriad diet to hopefully avoid such dietary lacks. IF you have other quarters to situate this specimen in, I would move it... to counter/check the possibility of harassment... And I would definitely mix the diet up here, try soaking all foods in a HUFA, vitamin mix... like MicroVit, Selcon... Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer Skin Problems  12/3/08
Bob, <Hello again Jay> Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I will probably go with the isolation route to see if it is stress, although the puffer is larger than all his tank mates it is also slower. I am glad to hear that "shedding" is actually not as rare as I had feared, there was just nothing I could find pertaining to this when searching. <Interesting... am going to try the Google search on WWM with the terms: "Puffer Skin Shedding": Please see here: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=Puffer+Skin+Shedd ing&sa=Search&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&client=pub-4522959445250520&for id=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%2333 6699%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A99C9FF%3BLBGC%3A336699%3BALC%3A000 0FF%3BLC%3A0000FF%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3 B&hl=en or try this yourself. Oh, and do look at the "cached views"... in your searches... the search terms are highlighted... much easier to find.> I currently feed, frozen shrimp, Mysis, and krill in a rotation of days and work in a home made blend of clam, scallop and squid that should all provide a pretty good variety. <Mmm, actually... these are too high in fat, cholesterol for a strict diet, and do lack essential vitamins et al.... I would mix in some fish flesh here, even whole fish (e.g. Silversides), and provide some/newer live rock for casual consumption on a continuous basis> I'm guessing crab and snail are my next choices as far as diet, but meanwhile I'll begin supplementing with a vitamin mix and may attempt to add some to my "house blend" next time I'm mixing. <Do look into the "frozen mixed seafood", often offered as "frutti de mar" and such, in your frozen food depts.... Very inexpensive compared to labeled foodstuffs for fishes... and a good mix (shells on) for your puffer and other fishes> I very much appreciate your response and the service that you provide. <I am very glad to assist you and your efforts. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Puffer Problems and Overstocking 3-4-08 I have been looking on your website for two days and I got some information, but I was hoping if I tell you the story you might have a more clear answer. I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with about 120 pounds of live rock. I have 2 maroon clownfish 1 Sweetlips 1 lawn mower blenny 2 sharp nose puffers 3 green spotted puffers 1 yellow tang 1 anemone 1 Foxface 1 dogface puffer and lasting 1 porcupine puffer. <First things first'¦This tanks is incredibly overstocked!! Half of this list would be more applicable. Second, you never ever want to combine anemones with puffers due to their curiosity and tendency to nip at things that spark their attention. One nip to an anemone can be the end of a puffer. > I just moved the tank last month and have had some trouble with the nitrate level since, as of today my levels were, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, ph 7.8 and nitrate 80. Off the charts almost. <Due to overstocking.> That being said, two days ago I introduced a new porcupine puffer into my tank. <Was he quarantined first?> It was smaller by about half. I noticed the new one was chasing my OG around the tank and I said I would give it overnight and if they were not getting along by then I would take it back. <Combining multiple species of puffers will most often lead to aggression. You have 4 different kinds here, so there are always going to be problems unless you remove some.> The next morning (yesterday) I found my OG puffer breathing very heavy at the bottom of the tank, he was not responsive to my touch or net. I removed him from the tank and put him in a bucket with a pump to get him more oxygen. This seemed to work as he perked up and started swimming and got his color back after about three hours I put him back into the main tank. That is when I noticed he was running into things, first he went to the top of the water line and gulping air, then calmed down but still is running into stuff, his eyes are moving around but he can't see. I put him in an iso net as I don't have a hospital tank right now. I am using Ich-attack and MelaFix right now and I have done a 30 gallon water change tonight. <Ich isn't his problem and medicating unnecessary will do more harm than good seeing as puffers was very sensitive to medications. I cannot stress enough about quarantining new fish before adding them into your main tank. New fish, especially porcupines carry parasites and other diseases that can harm or kill your other fish. You need to see about getting him into a quarantine tank a.s.a.p. Do 50% water changes in your main tank every other day for at least a week. I would see if a local LFS can take some of the fish out of your tank. I know it will be hard to part with your friends but if you do not lower the bio-load then they will surely perish. Your high nitrates are due to too much feeding and not enough water changes. The reason why the puffer responded positively when you removed him from that main tank is because it was like a breath of fresh air for him. Placing him back into the bad water caused him to go bad to feeling bad again. I think once you remedy this water and overstocking situation, things in your tank will be much better.> Please let me know how to help him he is my favorite fish. Thanks so much for your time. <You're welcome and good luck. ---Yunachin> Holly
Re: Puffer Problems and Overstocking Re: 3-9-08
I just wanted to give you an update. I continued to have nitrate problems so I took a water sample to my LFS. They checked it and everything was normal so my test kit was wrong. (I bought a new one) I also bought a nano tank where I placed my blind puffer. <Sounds great so far.> I started to treat him with copper; I removed him today and put him back into the main where I am treating them with Rally Ich med and Rally bacterial med. <<These are shams. RMF>> <He needs more than 4 days in a quarantine tank, probably a couple of weeks. Also why are you treating him/them with all of these multiple medications? Puffers are especially sensitive to copper and it can do more damage than help. Also medicating fish just because is never a good idea either. Again puffers are highly sensitive to medications and because these are 'scale-less' creatures most medications are not recommended for use on them in the first place. I would cease all of the medicating on the main tank immediately and do some large water changes. Check out this link for treatment on QT safely: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm;> My levels are all normal. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get him to eat? I use garlic and he was not interested but I think it was because of the copper. It's been a week since he's had food. <He is definitely going to be affected from the copper. I would read through the site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm; and work your way through the sections, feeding, disease, etc. There is lots of information there to help answer your questions.> Gizmo is still blind but I am hopeful. I don't want to have to put him down as he's totally fine other than his blindness. Please help. BTW all my fish in my tank are very small Gizmo is my largest fish at about 5 inches, also all my puffers have been getting along since day 1, I guess I was lucky. The new one I introduced was a problem so I took him back the day after I got him. <Here is the problem; there are too many fish in this tank. It doesn't matter what size they are now, they are going to grow, and most likely be stunted due to being forced to live in a cramped environment. Also there is going to be aggression, period. They may get along that you can see now but that will not be the case in the future. Again there are several species of puffer in this tank increasing the bio-load immensely. You are going to have problems with the health of these fish in the future and if kept in their current conditions, will dramatically shorten their life spans. Please reconsider taking some back to your LFS, or possibly getting another tank to split these fish up. > Thank you. <Good Luck---Yunachin>

We eat the rude... Mis-stocked Burrfish, poor English, no searching ahead of writing.... Grrrr 12/07/2007 hi, I am writing because I have a dilemma with my porcupine puffer. it has puffed up for no reason. it has puffed up a few times today. he shares a 100 gallon tank with a tomato clown, tang, dogface puffer, coral beauty and a pink tail trigger. right now he is puffed up floating at the top of the tank. how do I deflate him? <... Please, fix your English before writing us... and search what is posted on WWM already, as instructed... You have a situation that has caused, will cause the Diodontid to puff-up... the Trigger... read re the Compatibility... Systems of the fishes you list. BobF>

Bloated Puffer 7/5/07 Hi Guys, <Hi Chris, Pufferpunk here (I'm a gal).> I have been reading WWM for a few years now and found a ton of advice on this "obsession" of mine, but have never written, until now. <Aren't we all obsessed after a few years?> I have a 180 gallon FOWLR that includes a Blue Face Angel, Emperor Angel, Naso Tang, Hippo Tang, Porcupine Puffer and a Niger Trigger. All of the fish are at least 5" or bigger (in the case of the Angels). They have been happy in the tank for over 18 months and have not had any issues other than eat $1500 of my coral (hence the FOWLR he he). <Too bad...> My fish are literally pigs and will eat anything you put in the tank with them but the puffer will only eat frozen krill. <Really bad diet for a puffer. I have seen way too many incidents of puffers fed a main diet of krill, developing lockjaw & eventually starving to death. See here for better diet & methods of getting it to eat other foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/  > He has done this for the 3 years that I have had him and I feed him 1 time every other day or third day (basically feed him till he can't eat). <Letting a puffer gorge itself isn't good for him either. It results in a lot of non-digested food, causing a liver problems (fatty liver) & a polluted environment. Feed until a slightly rounded tummy.> He has been very normal till a day or two ago when I noticed that he was trying to poop and the Hippo tang was trying to eat the waste before it even came out (since it is pure krill). <Exactly> But at the same time, it wasn't allowing Puff to get out all his excess. He was picking so bad that when Puff tried to squeeze some out...the tang was attacking his "hole" and really aggravating the fish. <Poor puffer!> So I have been watching him and his belly is getting larger and hasn't eaten in 2 days. I am afraid that he is scared to poop now and will hold in the waste till it literally kills him. <It is possible but also it may just be constipated.> Have you seen or heard this before? Is there anything that I can do to help? <You could try to feed it vegetable matter, like peas or algae wafers (puffers usually won't eat these but some have). Otherwise, add Epsom salt, 1tbsp/5g. It would be best to quarantine the fish. This is one of the many reasons, it is suggested to keep a puffer in a tank by itself or with less aggressive tankmates it can't catch. ~PP> Sincerely, Chris
Re: Bloated Puffer 7/6/07
Hi PP, <Hey Chris> Thanks for the reply. I know that the krill only is not the best diet, so I actually tried silversides (didn't eat them) <Most puffers are not fish eaters.> and recently put in a cleaner crew of 100 Turbos and 100 blue-legged crabs. To my surprise he ate every single one! He would pick up the shell and crush them. So his diet isn't just krill really. <Yes puffers ware crustacean eaters & will generally eat your cleaner crews. This doesn't change the fact that up till now, his diet was mostly krill. He needs to get off that food immediately.> Is it possible that he ate something that he can't digest? Maybe ate one of the crab shells without crushing it first? <I really doubt it, since that is it's natural diet in the wild.> I read the link you sent and when he gets better I will definitely vary his diet. <I'd still try to offer him some veggies & see if he tries them.> Thanks for your help, <Of course! ~PP> Chris

Porcupine Puffer stung by lionfish! 6/28/07 Hey there, <Hi Jeff, MacL here with you tonight.> I have been using your website to research and learn for many years now and it appears I can't find any information on my current problem. I have a porcupine puffer who would be about 5 inches, and he shares the tank with a 6 inch Picasso trigger and a 5 inch Volitans lionfish and a yellow head moray eel.. All tankmates seem to get a long most of the time with the odd argument between the puffer and the trigger, (he has never puffed up though as a result)<You know I have had my puffer for five years and haven't seen him puff up once.> however about a week ago during feeding time (which is awe inspiring to watch them all eat) <Lord I bet, I can just imagine> the lionfish had not yet engulfed his whole fish when the porcupine puffer decided it was time to get some of that fish from his mouth. Now as he swam toward the lion the puffer ever so lightly swam down onto the dorsal spines of the lion and quickly dashed in the other direction. After about half an hour the puffer had a small ring of blood in his left eye and it eventually went away and now that one eye is cloudy. <Definitely sounds like they had a close encounter. I've seen animals recover from being stung but having personally been stung it hurts like you wouldn't believe.> He seems still relatively happy and he still has a fine appetite however he has become far more docile than he used to be. Of course he comes out a little more at night but he used to follow us around the room and now doesn't come out as often. <I'm sure he's both wary of the lionfish and wary of his tankmates since he does have an injury and possibly cannot see as well as normal. While I do not advocate medicating unless its necessary I would definitely keep an eye on his eye to make sure its clearing up on its own quickly. I personally recommend adding something like Selcon with vitamin C to assist in the cure but if the eye doesn't appear to be healing on its own you might need to consider adding an antibiotic. I wouldn't add it unless he appears to be having problems healing because it does mess with the tanks bacteria on occasion as well. > I guess that it is cloudy eye due to the stress of being stung by the lion but just wanted to double check there is nothing I should do, as we would be devastated to lose our cute little ET impersonator!!! <To me its sounds more like he was stung in his eye because you saw the ring of blood in his eye. Usually there is a mark where they get stung. Keeping your tank healthy is the best thing you can do for your fish as you very well know. If he doesn't show signs of improvement in two or three days I would look into antibiotics for assistance. Your tank sounds lovely and amusing. Good luck, MacL> Any advice would be appreciated.. Regards Jeff

Puffer Pectoral - 02/09/2007 Hello WWM crew member of the day, <Alana> I have a little Porcupine Puffer in a 75 gallon tank with a Black & White Heniochus butterfly, 50 lbs of live rock, a mated pair of Percula Clownfish (that have been laying eggs lately), and just added two days ago, 2 curly Q anemone. <Yikes... may be trouble here... esp. with the puffer> This morning when we woke up we noticed our puffer was not really using one of his side fins and then with a closer look we saw that it's fin was white and looked a little swollen and that there is also a white spot on it's body right under it's fin.  We also noticed that our Heni also has a white patch on it's pectoral fin also but not as big or swollen looking.  I have looked on your site and others for a while and can't seem to find what it could be.  My question is, do you think the anemones could have stung them or is it a virus? <Most likely stung... and could be consumed by this puffer in time> I have included the best of almost 50 pics I tried to take ( not a very good photographer hehe). Please any info would  help. This is the web site I get all my info from.  Greatly appreciated,  Alana Mills <Mmm, well... would be better to move the anemones elsewhere really... The Burrfish will very likely self-heal in time. Bob Fenner>

New member to the aquarium. Porc. puffer  - 08/26/06 Hey crew,   Well my dad and brother came home with a porcupine puffer Wednesday. I notice a small thing under his belly. I don't have a picture so I'm going to have to describe it as best as I can. The little bump thing on the puffer is pretty small but small enough to take off with a tweezers if it is a parasite. The color is pink and it's like a oval shape. The thing looks like a booger (from your nose...), remember I'm doing my best to describe it lol. It looks like it is attached to one of the quills on the puffer. Does this information I have given you work for you? <Yes... But no useful data re water quality, the make-up of this system, other tankmates... This spot is likely an "owee"... not parasitic, not "treatable" per se> I have look everywhere on your site and other places but can't get an answer. Could this be a parasite? Maybe a bruised quill? Also there are some white spots, like sugar sized, on his tail but only a couple. Looks like Ich but he had it since Wednesday and there isn't anymore white spots on him. Maybe scars from Ich?   Thanks for your help.,   Ben <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: New member to the aquarium... more on Porc. puffer - 08/26/2006
Crew,   My water quality is good. The puffer had this "thing" on him at the store I'm guessing. My water parameters are   Nitrate-10   Nitrite-0   Ammonia-0   pH-8.2   Saltinity-1.025   The other fish are a Goldentail moray, V. lionfish, and a Niger trigger. <In how large a system?... Regardless, not compatible... see WWM re...> They all get along fine. The puffer acts normal and shows no sign of stress. He swims up and down the glass and looks at the rocks, ect. <No such word> I'm giving him Vita-Chem every week. Thanks for you help.   Ben <Keep reading. BobF>

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>

Puffer's Nose Has Been 'Bitten' Off  12/13/05 Hey WWM Crew! <Neil> It seems like every couple of months I find a new reason to ask you guys a question.  Don't know what I would do without WWM! <Me neither... but I like to consider what I might do with all the extra time...> You might remember my last question.  I was the gentleman that had purchased a Humu Humu trigger that, strangely enough, caused my Blue Hippo Tang to start attacking my Porcupine Puffer.   <Displaced aggression... happens> Well, I followed your advice and the Blue Tang came out and got her own tank for a couple of months.  Problem was that every time I put her back in, she would start up with the tail nipping again.  Finally, I decided that the Trigger must go - which, might I add, was no small task.  I eventually ended up taking a whole piece of live rock to the LFS and waiting for them to call when he had decided to come out - six hours later! <Persistence pays> Once the Trigger was gone, I rearranged the live rock and put the Blue Tang back in, and all was peaceful.  I even discovered a few crabs and snails that had been in hiding!   <Neat> Now, here's my latest issue.  I feed a mixture (blender and some tank water to mix it) of tilapia filets, jumbo shrimp, cocktail shrimp (left mostly whole), mussels (sp?), real crab meat if I can get it, and Nori.  After blended, I put the nasty mix into a large Ziploc storage bad and spread it thin on a cookie sheet, which is then placed in the freezer. <Good technique> My puffer will grab the frozen hunk and, while trying to gulp it down, keep it partially sticking out of his mouth.   The other fish, naturally, are not deterred and go right ahead and eat off of the other end of the hunk. <Better to make two or more "sub-hunk" pieces>   Some days ago (5?) I noticed that the very tip of Puffy's nose (really the upper lip area that somewhat extends onto his face) had been bitten off.  I did not see it happen, so I can only assume that this is what happened.  Since then, his nose has progressively disappeared.  At this point, the wound area, where his flesh is exposed, is slightly larger than a hole punch.  I am curious, have you ever heard of such a thing? <Yes, have seen> Is it likely that the Tang has switched ends - from nipping his fin, to nipping his face?   <Maybe> Or, and this is my suspicion, did he likely get a small wound, and the 'begging act' of dragging his face across the acrylic 24 hours a day took its toll on the open wound?   <Much more likely, common> Is this something that I should treat, as its quite a good sized wound (he is only about 5 inches total length)?  I can see the skin 'flexing' as he pushes it across the acrylic.  What, if anything, should I do? <Nothing overt... not likely to help... nor the rubbing to be affected> Oh yeah, I have yet to witness the Tang nipping at the Puffer since I put her back in, and previously she did it constantly. <Good> As always your insight is so greatly appreciated that I fail to find the appropriate words. Thank You and Happy Holidays! Neil <And to you and yours as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer problem... just crowding 7/18/05 Hello, I have 2 porcupine puffers they are between 5 and 6 inches long in a 50 gallon tank. I have had them since they were 2 inches long and now they are fighting a few times a week. Is this normal???? <Mmm, yes> Is it a feeding issue? I feed them frozen krill everyday. can you help? Thanks, Tony <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffersysfaqs.htm and on to and through the linked files at top where you lead yourself. Your animals need much more space... and to be separated... Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer problem 7/19/05
How big of a tank do these 2 puffers need? <A few hundred gallons. Bob Fenner>
Re: puffers 7/19/05
Thanks for the info..... one more question. The larger of the two puffers for the last 2 weeks has a defined bump on the underbelly.. almost looks like its pregnant. What could it be? <Likely a growth semi-directly related to stress... Bob Fenner>

Help, our new Puffer has a problem >Hello, >>Good morning. >I have been looking through your FAQ's on pufferfish and have not found a resolution to our problem.    >>Glad to know that you're aware of the FAQ's, we also should have an article or two as well. >We just picked up a porcupine pufferfish about a week ago.   He/she is 5' long.   Our tank is 46G, and there are also two small clowns, a 1 ½' butterfly, and a blenny.   We also purchased a small lionfish at this time, knowing that a good portion of these pets would be moved to our new 72G reef that we are currently cycling.   >>Not the puffer, I hope.  It won't fare well in a 46 for long, either, and if the lion is a P. volitans neither will it. >Yesterday morning we noticed a white discoloration, about the size of a dime, between his eyes and just touching his nose.  It was not fuzzy, or a material on the surface.  The skin itself had changed colors.    >>Porkies do this. >Earlier today, it looked like it went away.   My wife and I went out for a couple of hours, and upon our return, the puffer was laying on the bottom of the tank and the discoloration has now spread over his entire face.   The color is no longer white, it is somewhat brown.   It is also on his belly as well.   I am not sure if it is a fungal or parasitic infection. >>I doubt it, though he does sound stressed.  Water quality issues, as you've added two new fish to a very small system at once.  This is not advisable practice, nor is it advisable to put fish into an established system without first quarantining for 30 days minimum. >We are considering getting him into a quarantine tank, and then giving him some Maracyn.   Is it possible, however, that he may have been stung by the lionfish?   What should we do?   We love your site and any assistance you could provide would be extremely appreciated.    Thanks. >>It is entirely possible he could have been stung, you have put both these fish into a small system.  Again, I advise *very* strongly against it.  ALL the fish should be being quarantined for 30 days minimum, and mixing a pugnacious fish like a porcupine puffer with a defensive eating machine like a lionfish in tight quarters isn't wise at all.  Separate them, get them into their *own* q/t's, and watch.  I would wait to use the Maracyn until AFTER you've tested the water the fish is being kept in to be certain the issue isn't water quality.  Good luck!  Marina Dave

Emperor Angel and Porcupine Puffer As always you guys are doing an AWESOME job! (I know it's cliche here, but its true) <awwwhhh, shucks! Thanks kindly <smile>> Anyway, two quick questions: 1. I recently purchased a young Emperor Angel and he was eating as soon as I got him home, aware of his surroundings, etc'¦ BUT he seems to swim slowly on one side or the other. Is this normal behavior for this species, or a sick fish? <hmmm... symptomatically called "listing"...indeed not normal or healthy but not indicative necessarily of a specific condition to treat. Continue to feed well until it improves or betrays an addressable symptom (spots, fin erosion, etc) 2. My Trigger and Puffer had an accident. While feeding they went for the same target, but the trigger missed and caught the puffer between his eyes. The trigger took my puffer (the first time I've seen him puff up) for a spin before realizing what he had done. When he let go the puffer had a mark on the side of his eye where he had been bitten. That mark has turned white like scar tissue over the last two days. Is that white possibly infection, or new skin?  <hmmm hard to say, but infections get ugly real fast. My guess is raw skin and healing. Do watch closely though and review disease section here on WWM for injury treatments and medicants if necessary> Will it heal and return normal color?  <very likely> Do I need to worry about infection, do anything to help it heal? <be prepared with a good QT tank if necessary for either fish> Thanks a million, Mark <best regards, Anthony>

Injured Fish Question I have a 110gal fish only. I purchased a 4-5 inch Spiny Box puffer from the LFS about three weeks ago. About a week ago I noticed he got ruffed up, probably by a 12 inch Banded Moray Eel. Of the three fins near his tail, one is down to flesh, and the other two are 80%gone. He also has a lot of trauma near his tail. He still eats like a pig. I soak his food of choice (raw shrimp) in Vita-Chem every day, and Iodine twice a week. Is this too much iodine? Is he going to be OK? Is there anything else I can do? He's a cool fish and I don't want to lose him. And thanks for the great column! <<Hmm, do you have another tank to move the puffer to? Is anything still chewing on it? I would only add some iodine to the food once a week. If the areas where the fins are growing back (they will if not chewed all the way to their bases) look reddened... do contact me and I'll tell you how to make an antibiotic laced food. Eating heartily is a good sign... and I've seen puffers recover from much worse injuries. Keep your water quality high and stable, and s/he should get better.  Bob Fenner>>

Puffer Time! Hi Bob, I recently bought a 3-4 in. long-spine porcupine puffer to add to  my 55 gal. tank. I have a blue fin damsel, maroon clown, yellow tail damsel,  and a lawnmower blenny. when I first introduced him into my tank he was up  and swimming around., but the next day he way really shy and stayed in the  corner of my tank all day. he had more than enough swimming space, for there  is only about 30 lbs. o live rock. he also hasn't been eating anything, I  tried feeding it frozen brine shrimp, he didn't eat that, and also tried to  feed him beef heart (frozen) he didn't eat that. what is wrong with him?  please help! <<Actually probably nothing is wrong with your new Puffer... these intelligent animals just get sort of depressed at times... particularly when being moved about... Do have patience, and I'll bet it will be up and eating like a veritable pig in a week or so. In the meanwhile don't worry about it starving. These fishes often do go on feeding strikes, sometimes for weeks at a time. Try feeding it something like krill or an opened shellfish every few days. Bob Fenner>>

Porcupine puffer with a swollen eye I wonder if you can help, I recently acquired a Porcupine puffer about 3 inches in length. he currently shares a 180L tank with a small Volitans, a 3 inch Clown Trigger fish, a 5 inch Pink tail trigger, a Powder Blue Tang, and an Imperator Angel. All the water parameters are in very good shape, but about 1 week after being added to my tank, he suddenly developed a very, very swollen eye. The eye enlarged in the space of an hour just after feeding. It's now about 3 weeks later and the situation has worsened, the swelling is massive and looks very uncomfortable, a significant amount of air is clearly visible behind the eye cover and in front of the eye itself. The poor creatures buoyancy is clearly affected yet he feeds enthusiastically. have you ever experienced anything like this before? <Yes... first hand and otherwise. Popeye, aka exophthalmia is a condition... that has several etymologies/causes... If it's one-sided typically this is resultant from a mechanical injury... a bump in the night or some other organism bruising the animal... likely one of your triggers or the Angel...> do you know of any treatments? <For advanced cases like this? Best to just "wait, hope, see" what happens... Please see the "Popeye" and related sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more here> Thanks in advance for your help, I've been very impressed with the words of wisdom you have offered others. Regards, Ian <Thank you for your kind words... don't know about wisdom, but collective experience, yes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer with a swollen eye
Thanks for the speedy reply Bob, just a quick update, last night the eye deflated substantially.  <Ah, good> It's now about the same size as the good eye but looks a real mess (very opaque and the eye cover surface is rough and flaky). As for the porky himself, well he seems very busy and active (getting on the nerves of the Pink Tail seems to be his favorite pass time!!!) <Also good> Thanks again for the help, I'm just about to move all my guys into a 190 gallon (UK gallons) system and build a 90 gallon reef system, so I'm sure I'll be in touch again if that's ok <Absolutely my friend. Bob Fenner> Cheers from the UK, Ian

Healing puffer I think I had mentioned this fellow to you before, asking questions about resilience, etc. Anyway, he [Holocanthus] had a tank mate at the LFS who chewed his tail fin, pretty much down to the base. He had been separated for a week or so when I bought him and was definitely on the mend from times previous. Anyway, now that he's "under observation" the tail had always a thin filament of [what I assumed to be] bone around which tissue is growing back. Now after a week, that filament, which was at one point bleach white (like the tissue around it) is now red-ish brown... the other tissue looks the same as before, and is still growing. <Okay> My question(s): is the redness blood supply or infection? What can be done to stave off infections? Vitamins? <A good idea... more likely re-growth than infection> Tank finished cycling about two weeks ago and since then have had a small ammonia spike due to chunk of live rock bailing out, but things are now as normal as they can be, but I was concerned that an antibiotic or similar treatment would behave like copper and wipe all cultures without discrimination.  <Hmm... depends on antibiotic type... and more> Silly me, don't have a quarantine tank yet [got to your site after the tank was going] but will have one completed by tomorrow evening. <Now you're getting smarter> Could treat in there I suppose, or should I just keep observing. Fish is quite healthy otherwise, and is quite active/animated. <Don't move it> TIA. <You're welcome as quickly. Bob Fenner> J --

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