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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Trauma  

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, Social, 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

Net, hauling, bagging damage... bites, pokes from other livestock.... gulping air and or water... Run-ins with hard, sharp decor, rock, pump intakes...

Porcupine fish in trouble      7/9/17
I've had a porcupine fish for about 1 year now with no real problems. I woke up this morning and he looked fine. I left to pay some bills and came back and noticed the spikes by his face are sticking up. I checked on him a
few minutes later, and one of the spikes is broken and dangling on his face. My very active fish is now laying on the sand breathing heavy. Do those spikes grow back?
<They can; yes>

What can do to save him?? He's my favorite fish! I want to put him in my QT tank, but am scared, because of his heavy breathing. PLEASE HELP... thank you
<... What do you consider the cause here? Has this fish encountered a pump intake or such? Another fish attack it? Did it traumatize itself by swimming into something? I would do what water test/checks you can, and the
usual default of changing out a quarter of the system water; renew the chemical filter media. Bob Fenner>

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.
Valarie
<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.
<Good>
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?
<Yes!>
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 having a bad week       10/13/15
<Why seven MEGS of pix files, WHY?>
Hi crew.
I wish I was writing under happier circumstances but unfortunately my poor puffer has had a very rough week and I find myself looking to you guys for some help.
<Oh>
To start, I've had him roughly 6 months. No illnesses to mention. My water parameters in his new solitary 55gal hospital tank are:
Sal: 1.025
Nitrate: <20
Nitrite: 0
Ammonia: 0
pH: 8.3
79degrees
<This all is fine>
This problems all started 5 days ago when he was attacked by my (now rehomed) Dardanus Megistos. He nearly lost his entire right fin and had some other surface cuts. I'll include photos at the bottom for reference.
He seemed to be alright for the days following the attack, normal behaviour, swimming, resting, eating, breathing normal so I left him in the main tank with his buddies. Well three days in I noticed the cowfish picking at his wound and decided to set up a hospital tank for him to recover in peace. His new home is bare bones. Glass bottom. One fake log cave. Air stone. Powerhead. Heater. Side filter. One of those 'all included' kits from the store jobs. I set it up with 35% water from the
main tank and the rest fresh mix, like a big water change. He's been in there 24hours at this time. He's been fed once and he accepted it normally.
My main concern is his breathing appears to be very laboured. Mouth open.

Almost gasping. At a slight inclined angle, not sitting on the ground. At first I thought the side filter wasn't providing enough aeration so I put in the air stone to bump it up but he hasn't improved. I see no visible sign of illness on his body but he appears to be hiccupping? When I transferred him to his new tank I ushered him into a juice jug and to my knowledge, never let him come in contact with the air. He did partly puff for a brief second while in the jug but he quickly let it out and never
puffed again since.
Would you be concerned about this laboured breathing?
<Only a bit... likely still recovering from the Hermit and Hovercraft fish traumas>
What about treating his injuries?
<Oh; yes; the reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPuffTraumaF.htm
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfshTraumaF.htm
Your advice is very much appreciated!!
I included a video, hopefully you're able to view it.
<Henceforth, PLEASE store someplace (e.g. YouTube) and just send along the link>
Your biggest fan,
Renee
<There's something there. Bob Fenner>


Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week       10/13/15
Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Renee>
Thank you very much for your quick reply. I'll keep my eye on him and watch for infections. I've also blocked off my intakes a little better after reading those pages you linked me. Preventative measures!
<Perhaps a bit of Epsom>
Your site is truly amazing. The FAQs on Marine Treatment Tanks was everything I needed and more to make this possible!
Kind regards,
Renee
<And you, BobF>
Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week        11/18/15

Good evening Bob,
<Good morrow now here Renee>
Just a quick follow up for you. The puffer took about a week to acclimatize to his new home.
<Mmm; about right>
He is loving his new digs! All his dead spines and skin shed off by week three. His fin joint took exactly a month to become useful, begin undulating properly again, and over the last three days his fin has made impressive gains in size!
<Yay!>
I'd expect it to be entirely healed in less than two weeks. What an incredible thing to witness. Why can't we regrow our parts? Haha
<Some day soon>
Thanks again for everything you and your amazing team provide!
<Welcome dear>
Goodnight,
Renee
<BobF>

Porcupine puffer is ...poisoned? Another Siganid incident, incomp.     3/16/14
I have a porcupine puffer and a foxface Rabbitfish in a 110 gallon.
<Mmm>
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!

Spiny Box Puffer Problem    7/13/12
Hey Bob,
<Johnathan>
I'm currently a marine biology student at LSU in Baton Rouge, LA and I just started volunteering at the Baton Rouge Zoo.  They have a small aquarium there and today I was working with some of the animals.  One is a Spiny Box Puffer and she's a beautiful lady.  However, there has been a development or build up of gases in one of her eyes. It doesn't seem to affect her activity, or at least of what I have seen. 
<Likely a physical trauma result. Quite common>

But it is raising concern in me.  The zoo doesn't seem to be so concerned about it themselves,
<I wouldn't be either>
which has kind of dampened my spirits.  So, I did a little research and I came across the condition exophthalmia, or PopEye.
<Yes; unilateral>
  After looking at many images of the condition, it seems very similar to what our lady here has.  That's also when I found you on wetwebmedia.com. 
Is there any remedy for this that you know of?
<Just what is posted on WWM, elsewhere in my, others writings>
It looks like there are gases in her eye. Tell me what you think, and if you want images or anything else, let me know.  I want to say the team is using Baytril to treat it.
<I wouldn't... just time going by, good care; no treatment/s called for, advisable>
  Let me know your thoughts on that as well.
Johnathan
<You have them. Bob Fenner>
Thank you.

Porcupine Puffer Pop Eye? 08/02/10
Hello,
I frantically need help!!! My fish have had Ich for about 2 weeks. They were in a 30 gallon tank, but are now in 2 10 gallon tanks. I have already lost one Blue Jaw Female Trigger, Dragon goby and my other Male Blue Jaw
trigger is right behind them. He prob wont make the night. I have done everything I can think of. I was treating with Kich-Ich,
<A waste of time... had you read...>
but now I'm treating with Rid Ich.
<Are you joking and/or just trying to waste our time? Please! In matters as dire as this, READ... don't wait for asking questions! Rid-Ich is too toxic for treating Puffers... See WWM (try the search tool) re these products, Cryptocaryon and Diodontids...>
Kick-Ich wasn't working. But now I fear my Porcupine Puffer has pop eye.
<Induced by the treatment, doubtless>
There was a large particle of Ich on her eye 2 days ago, but now it has taken over here eye and its very clouded. It also now looks like the skin is peeling off the center of her eye. I'm suppose to dose the second treatment of Rid Ich tonight. I heard that it also works on infections.
<... the formalin is a biocide. It can/does kill all life>
But is this actually Popeye or just her eye trying to heal itself? Please I need your help. I love the hobby, but if I loose
<...>
all my fish, I don't want to get back into it. I attached a photo of the puffer.
Thanks so much for all of your amazing Wet Web Media staff. I really appreciate the help.
Kristina
<... Then use the site... as tens of thousands do every day. BobF, bummed for the life in your care>

Re: Porcupine Puffer Pop Eye? 2/10/10
I have tried to read your site and its not always easy trying to find what your looking for on your site.
<How would you improve, remedy this?>
This is why I asked.
<But w/o looking first...>
I know you are experts and that is why I always come to your site first.
But when I ask for help I don't want to be treated like I'm wasting your time.
I was still trying to check your site for the answers last night before I got your response, and I'm still lost.
Thanks so much for the help
<Lost re what? Please start reading here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm
Do you see/get the types of data/information we're looking for to help folks? Systems, history, water quality tests, foods/feeding...?
BobF>

Puffer Injury from Filtration -- 01/12/2010
My Porcupine Puffer had a serious encounter with my filter intake. Some how the grill came off while I was working, and I came home to find my fish close to death.
<I'm very sorry to hear this -- have you determined how the grill came off (and subsequently, how to prevent it from occurring again in the future)?>
Its left fin and gill appears to be seriously injured, not to mention it is also missing a good amount of skin between the eye and gill.
<Understandable>
The eye looks fine, and he is using it.
<This is good.>
I moved him to a hospitable tank, and now on day 2 he seems to be moving much better but still wont eat.
<Excellent, keep up with due diligence>
Does my fish have a chance on living, and is there anything I can do to help him?
<Absolutely -- if he's still swimming, there's more than a good chance he'll pull through. Just keep the water parameters in check in the quarantine, and keep an eye on the damaged areas. Likely the feeding strike is due to
the stress of the situation -- just give it some time and I'm sure he'll be back to his normal piggy self. Good luck! -JustinN>

Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09
Hey WWM,
<Alek>
While I was changing the water for my tank, I took out
<W/o lifting it into the air I hope... i.e. underwater the whole time>
the porcupine puffer with a separate container for about 20 minutes while the transfer of salinated water was being made. When we put him back in, he had a strange lump on his back (imagine him partially inflated but
only in this one spot beside his rear fin -> looks like a tumor).
<Might be...>
I thought he may have partially inflated due to the stress and then was in the process of deflating but that really doesn't seem to be the case because the lump hasn't subsided in the past hour. If this continues, what do you think caused this and what course of action should I take with the little guy?
<You might need to "burp it"... catch, hold the fish head up vertical and massage the air bubble forward. Search WWM re puffers, air entrapment. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09

Could the he require "burping" even if I didn't take it out of the water? I just scooped him up with a separate container when I took him out.
<Ah, not likely then... unless this fish "gulped air" at the surface (which does happen at times), this may be tumorous (also not uncommon). There is no direct treatment per se that is advised (some folks blanket medicate with antiprotozoals (e.g. Metronidazole) and/or Anthelminthics (e.g. Levamisole)... but I would search on WWM for "puffers, tumors" and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress 11/21/09

I'm not sure if it's a tumor, I mean the whole thing appeared within a span of an hour. I just attempted to burp him and he did release a few bubbles and the bump subsided ever so slightly but it remains. It's
difficult to massage the area because when I grab him my thumb is on his stomach and the bump is on his back. Will a puffer ever burp themselves?
<Yes... often best to be patient. In time (weeks) often such gas is absorbed. BobF>

Porcupine puffer and powerhead - 3-31-09
Hi. We had an accident 2 nights ago. We installed a new power head which contained no screen. I didn't think anything of it at the time. During the night at some point, our porcupine puffer had gotten himself stuck to the intake. No clue how he did it now how long he was there.
<Happens...keep the intakes screened>
In the morning I noticed him there puffed up and stuck. I unplugged the power head and he limped away deflating. After that, the right side of his body was bubbled out almost in a perfect circle where the power head was. His eye on that side clouded up halfway where the power head was as well. I hoped the swelling would go away and all would be fine but its not. Today the swelling is gone but the circle is still there and very white with just a small dark brown spot in it. His eye is still cloudy and he still doesn't use the fin at all on that side and his spikes on that side are still messed up. He still slowly swims from side to side in the tank like he did before the accident. He won't even look at the food I put in there. But I'm worried that he won't make it. Is there anything I can do to help his healing at all?
<Move him to a QT tank and treat with Methylene blue and a wide spectrum antibiotic, a cloudy eye could be a bacterial infection. Dose Seachem's StressGuard as well, if you can>
Will he release any toxins if he dies?
<Not directly>
What should I do? We don't have a hospital tank so he's going to have to stay in the display tank but there are only 3 other small fish in there and its a 50 gallon tank.
<Buy one and treat accordingly>
Please let me know what we should do. Thank you so much.
<Sorry about the long response time...good luck! - Mike Maddox>

Puffer meets filter 3/12/2009 New Puffer Stuck to Fluval 404 Hi Crew <Hi Paul> I am very much a beginner in the terms of saltwater marine care. This is my first saltwater tank and the 2nd fish added was a Spiny Box Puffer. <Cyclichthys schoepfi a.k.a. Striped Burrfish> Last night I got him, fell in love immediately and carefully acclimated him to the tank. <No Quarantine?> He was swimming around quite blissfully and accepted his first feeding of krill with no problem. Everything was going great. Went to bed, woke up to disaster this morning. Somehow, the cute little guy got pulled into the filtration (a Fluval 404) and was firmly attached to the intake this morning (he could have been stuck for hours). <Was the screen\strainer on the intake pipe, and how big is this puffer?> I immediately turned off and cursed my Fluval filter (and myself/pet store for not knowing to watch out for such an obvious peril). He came off the filter and is/was swimming when I left for work. He did eat a krill this morning but he was really badly beaten up by the filter. <Good sign that he is eating - do be sure to offer more than krill> His left rear side was all stretched out, his rear fins seem to be pulled into the wrong place (they face up and down not on the sides anymore) his back looks a bit twisted and his tail fins do not move at all. He propels himself solely on his front fins. Also it looks like his skin (in the area of the suction) was pulled way out of place. <Pretty beaten up> Kills me to think this is my fault and that I was responsible for putting a little fish like this through so much trauma. <Provided the intake was screened, it wasn't your fault.> I think I will be lucky if he survives the day given his slow lumbering movement. I've heard these guys do have a very tough and highly resilient character but I don't see how anything could survive the damage this poor little fish endured. <You would be surprised how well fish can adapt\recover.> Assuming he survives, Is there anything I should do to nurse him back to good health? <Good water quality, proper feeding, time> Should I put him out of his misery if most likely he will die anyhow? <Not at this point.> Should I consider complaining to the fish store (they knew my tank setup/filters and I asked a million question, just not the one that would have saved him) for improper care instructions (so next time they warn people to be wary of filters when purchasing one of these fish)? <Not your fish store's fault either. Assuming your intake has a strainer on it, it strikes me as strange that a puffer would get stuck to the intake of the filter unless the fish is already in very poor health (which would have been ruled out in quarantine) or very small.> His tank mate is an adult Sgt. Major damsel, do i need to quarantine the puffer when I get home from work (he was leaving him alone this morning)? <I would not move or stress this fish for the moment, do watch closely for aggression> I did rotate the filter intake all the way to face the corner and put it deeper in the tank where the intake is protected behind the heater from another indecent. I don't think anything could get stuck in it now but I will purchase something (sponge or cover) assuming a pet store will have such a device tomorrow (i have to work late tonight or I would do it today). *Tank Info* 150 gallon (glass) Fluval 404 Aqua Clear 110 Remora (hang on) Skimmer Live Rock (30 or so lbs) Relatively Bare Open Tank (it is still pretty new) Live Gravel Floor Single Tube Fluorescent Hood/Lamp <Some more live rock would be beneficial, and you will need more water movement\filtration> Please do read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm  and the linked pages on the top of that page.> <Mike>
Re: Puffer meets filter Follow up. 3/12/2009

Thanks Mike,
<Hi Paul, no problem at all.>
I got the Fluval from a friend and it had no screen for the intake port.
It had a little bent elbow and a wide spout with a cap that can be removed from the bottom of the elbow for priming. No screen came with it or I would have installed it.
<I see, with an uncovered intake pipe, any fish could have been stuck>
I don't own a quarantine tank, is there another way to quarantine?
<No there isn't>
I am very new to this hobby.
<We are all new to this at some point, no worries.>
I'm about a quarter way through "The Consciences Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner and am reading it word for word, but in practice I am very much a noob. (1st saltwater tank, 2nd fish) I have also joined a forum and have been reading everything I can along the way..
<Excellent to hear that you are reading\learning.>
Last night when I got home he was motionless on the sea bed except for his gasping. I dropped a piece of krill and it landed really close to him but he still didn't move to eat at all. His side had less swelling but his side fins were moving extremely slowly and it looked like he was in a lot of pain.
<Not unexpected, he is pretty beaten up, but all hope is not lost. Time, good water quality, are needed here.>
After I ate dinner he was motionless. Killed me. Never thought I'd have an emotional response to a fish,
especially within a 24-48 hour period of ownership.
<Not surprised at all. I've had entire weekends ruined for the loss of a favorite fish.>
To answer your questions, he was about 4-5 inches long.
<Ok, again, with an uncovered intake pipe, any fish can get stuck.>
I have been using the test strips and the water quality is okay/good on all the strips I've used.
I have heard these test strips are not good and will be getting a better water tester next visit to the pet store.
<Good. I use the API kits myself - easy to use and reasonably consistent.>
How I acclimated him was a method described to me by someone along the way... I think one of the pet stores I visited and inquired with). I have been asking lots of questions to lots of people these days.
I really did want to avoid any casualties.
<Very Good>
Get a large plastic bowl, fill with the store water and fish. place bowl in tank to acclimate the temperature (I made a nice little flotation ring for the purpose). Every 15 minutes add a small bit of the water from the tank to the fish bowl water (presumably to acclimate him to salinity/new water?).
<Yes>
After repeating this till bowl full, use a fish net to remove fish from bowl and dip rapidly in a fresh water (acclimated to tank temperature) and then place in main tank.
<Not the best method in my opinion but not completely wrong either. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm It covers acclimation, and the links at the top cover dips\baths and quarantine. The methods covered are tried and true.>
Is there something I did wrong?
<Other than not quarantining, which would not have changed the outcome here, and trust me, you are neither the first nor the last to not quarantine, so don't beat yourself up too much.>
I don't have a quarantine tank... I was told I could wait on a quarantine tank till I was more or less an amateur/experienced aquarist.
<Ahhh.. This is a popular myth, and probably a large contributor as to why many leave this hobby so quickly. The fish are not quarantined, fish gets sick, fish transmits disease to other fish in tank, all fish die, owner gets discouraged\upset and leaves the hobby. A quarantine tank need not be a large or elaborate affair. The aquarium kits frequently sold in department stores or chain pet shops do remarkably well for a quarantine tank for little cost - certainly less than the cost of a tank of sick
fish.>
Paul
<Best of luck Paul, do let me know how it turns out.>
<Mike>

Porcupine puffer with damaged spine and lump -- 08/01/07 Hi! <Hello Leah.> So I first want to say thanks for all of the helpful information you have on your site. <I'm glad you like it.> I've been reading through these pages for months as I've set up my newest hobby :o) I've successfully set up a tank with a Narrow-lined Puffer <Nice. Haven't seen one in years.> and a Flame Hawkfish (Save for a few Ich incidents, which have been remedied by the recommendations I've found here). Anyway, I'm upgrading to a 100 gallon tank since my little puffer inevitably will become much larger, and in the process am picking up some more tank mates. <I fully understand the desire to fill a 100 gallon tank, but honestly, doesn't upgrading and adding new fish (which will grow quite large, too) sound paradox?> This cute little Porcupine Puffer has been hanging out in my LFS for a few weeks and I decided today that I must have him. He's appeared healthy each time I've gone in to visit. Today I put him and a Sailfin Tang (picked up at the same time) in a 20 gallon tank until my 100 gallon is established (they're both very small still). <OK. 100 gallons may sound and look like a lot, but you will have 2 large puffers, which each would likely need more space than that. Your fish may work in that tank, but be sure to have excellent filtration. Also ensure your puffer is a Diodon holocanthus and not a D. liturosus or D. hystrix, the latter ones get too large by far.> They've acclimated very well and quickly, but I just sat down and noticed an oddity on the porcupine little puff. There's a lump or bump on his side. Looks like what an ingrown hair looks like on humans. And in the same area, hard to tell if it's on it or next to it... one of his spines is very long and brownish/black, as opposed to the rest which are yellow/white for the most part. I'm concerned this may be a problem. <Could be. I'm not sure from a description only, but possibilities are: problem with the base of this spine due to netting (if he was netted wrong, which should not be the case) or a bacterial infection (see .g. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisFAQ2.htm  for the post 'Sick porcupine puffer 05/13/07' and similar posts and compare pictures). I'd watch and provide pristine water quality in combination with a varied and vitamin enriched diet. An infection would likely need sampling and a microscope or veterinarian. Also, see if there is something moving in this lump. Any growth of it as well as a general decline of the puffer's health would be a signal to act, too.> His temperament appears fine, though, so I'm hopeful it's nothing big. <I hope so, too.> Any idea what this might me? I could get a picture, if you need. <Pictures usually help, but your own 3D observations will likely be much more precise with regard to diagnosis, if possible at all from just looking at this lump.> Let me know. Thank you, Leah. <Hope that helps so far. If you can get a good picture you may want to send it, maybe there is some visible detail overseen. Cheers, Marco.>

Porcupine puffer with damaged spine and lump II -- 08/02/07 Marco, <Leah.> Thanks so much for the quick reply. <Most welcome.> I am almost certain he is a Diodon holocanthus, (markings, long spines on head, etc) so that's good. <I agree seeing the pictures.> I realize the 100 gallon might end up too small, but this is too good of a deal to pass up for now on my college student budget. Maybe I'll be a successful architect by the time they reach their full-grown size and can afford a larger tank, haha. <Good luck. I've always hoped for similar things to happen, too.> Anyway, I'm not sure if it's because I've been sleeping and am disoriented or not, but the bump looks a tad smaller. <That would be good news.> I'm sending some pictures I snapped this morning to see if that adds anything into the equation, but they're hard to read since he's such a tiny little thing right now. I circled the areas in red where the bump is and have an arrow pointing to the long dark spine/scale. <Quite well visible. I think this is an issue with this single spine and the tissue it is anchored in. Hopefully not infected and will heal by itself. My guess is it was caught with a net and the spine and tissue was damaged.> I checked out the earlier posts but it doesn't sound quite the same. I did a large water change before they were put in the tank, and all conditions are perfect, so hopefully he just heals. <As already noted keep the water quality high (low nitrates, 0 ammonia and nitrites), provide a varied diet (enriched with vitamins) and monitor the bump. Don't stress the fish too much.> My LFS said he might be losing the scale <spine. Puffers don't have scales.> and have a little infection along with it <possible> and to wait it out. Not sure if he knew what he was talking about, though. I added some Stress Coat to the water from his advice just in case. I'll write again if his health declines. <OK.> But so far he's doing just fine. Thank you again for the speedy reply! Leah <No problem and good luck. Marco.>

Puffer vs. Power head... and the winner is... sys., dis.   5/31/07 HI crew, <Jesse> Last night I added two new power heads to my 220g tank that were rated for 400g/h. This morning I woke to find my Porcupine Puffer stuck in the intake of one of the power heads. <Not an uncommon occurrence> I am sick about it and quickly removed him while turning off the other power heads. He suffered a giant hickie around his front fin, but has been swimming around rather well. The color also began to return to the area within an hour of the event. My big worry is that he is not really using his gill on the affected side of his body. It is pretty swollen will he be able to heal from the wound? <Hopefully> Is there anything I can do for him other than maintain healthy water conditions and a good diet? <This is about "it"> My wife and I are both very upset. He is our favorite fish in the tank. I assume the color returning is a good sign, but please let us know if there is anything else, we can do to help him heal. Thank you, Jesse <Intake skimmer/s on all powerhead/s... Supplied or retrofitted. Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer   5/13/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have been an avid reader of your website for over a year, am constantly reading up on your answers to people with situations similar to my own (as well as non-similar - in case something unexpected comes up), and recommend your site to others.  This is however my first time writing to you, and I'm sorry but it is a kind of long story. <No worries. Take your time>   I currently have a sick porcupine puffer, he was about 6 inches, end to end when I first got him about a year and a half ago, but now he is approximately 9 inches.  He has been sick for about 2-3 months now.  The illness first manifested itself as a swollen nose, which we did not think too much of, assuming he had bumped his nose on something. <Likely so>   However the swollen nose turned into 3-4 well defined and separated bumps and he stopped eating or being very active.  At that point we removed him from his tank (75G with a 20G sump-he is the only fish, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates hover around 40 <Too high...> which we try to bring down to less than 10 with frequent water changes-water comes from an RO unit) and put him in a 75 gallon bare bottom quarantine tank.  He continued to get worse and soon we noticed he was breathing hard.  With a flashlight we saw white spots on his gills, about the size of sand grains, and so we assumed he had Ich as well as a bacterial infection in his nose. <Mmmm... much more likely these spots were something else... even just resultant from the nitrate poisoning...>   We began treating him with Cupramine in the quarantine tank, carefully monitoring the copper levels twice a day.  Since he still wasn't eating we twice had to anesthetize him using clove oil and force feed him (his diet typically consists of thawed shrimp, mussels, squid and whatever else we buy at the seafood dept at the grocery store, soaked in VitaChem).  During one of the times he was anesthetized we aspirated some pus like liquid from his nose using a sterile needle (we are microbiologists) to look at under the microscope. <Neat> A local vet we found not long after biopsied one of the bumps and sent it for analysis, concerned Tiki (the puffer) might have fish TB.   <Mycobacterial problems in ornamental aquatics... are quite common... But there is always the issue of cause/effect to consider...> While we were waiting for the results we began treating with Isoniazid, Kanamycin, and vitamin B6 and Tiki actually began to get better.  His breathing has completely slowed down, the white spots on his gills have disappeared, and he has been eating on his own for about 2 weeks now; responding when we hold a glass in front of the tank and tracking us with his eyes or coming over when we come to look at him.  The bumps on his nose have also gone down.  However, the current problem (and I'm really sorry it's taken so long to get here) is that one of his eyes is cloudy and has white spots on it. <Very likely this is secondary... unilateral involvements are almost always... resultant here from a "bump", trauma...> I really believe this is related to his nose infection and I can tell that it bothers him since he sometimes rubs his eye against the side or bottom of the tank.  The eye has been cloudy probably for almost two weeks now, the white spots are new since yesterday.  Also the results of the lab analysis came back and they found gram positive coccobacilli in the material from his nose, however the bacteria was not acid fast, aka it is not fish TB. <Correct>   From what I understand a gram positive infection is fairly rare in saltwater fish.   <Also correct> So I am curious as to which antibiotics I should now begin administering for both his eye and his nose.  If anyone could offer any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much. <Well... a bunch to state, or that could be stated... IF you were to avail yourself of antibiotic use I would definitely make this an injectable... As you have access to a Vet, and are in the micro- field/s... I would "skip right ahead" and locate/use Chloramphenicol/Chloromycetin (in a succinic acid base)... See (Ed) Noga re this if your Vet cannot relate the use here. I WOULD definitely fix the nitrate issue (this could actually be the a priori cause of all problems here)... See WWM re NO3 cures... AND I would like to encourage you to delve a bit more into pathogenic fish disease and perform at least body slime/smears, sans staining next time you believe a disease-causing organism like Crypt is present. Bob Fenner>

Head down bum up porcupine fish   3/19/07 Hi guys and g'day from down under You are the greatest! <G'day! and thank you.  Brandon here.> You gave me some much appreciated advice with my seahorses last year, and now I'm in need of some help with my porcupine fish. <Glad to hear that the Seahorses turned out ok.> I've had him for 12 months now, I got him when he looked like a spiky little olive, about an inch long. <They are so cute when they are little.> It took about 8 months for him to come out of his shell and become active. He used to only come out of his cave at feeding time, but now he's out most of the time. <Good.> He is about 3 ½ inches long and has been fine up until now. 2 days ago I came home to find him in the corner with his tail facing upwards, and his face in the sand. He has a small bulge in his rear end, and I assume he has swallowed some air. <This sounds very likely.> He snaps at food on the surface aggressively, like a savage little dog, and spits bubbles out regularly during feeding. <Spitting out the bubbles is a good sign.> I have read other messages on WWM advising on burping to release the trapped air, and I have tried this. The problem I have is when I hold him with his face up, he puffs up and his spikes become very hard as they point outward. <You can try this, not something that I would do personally.  Make sure that his head does not come out of the water.  This will just compound the problem.> I can't rub him to try to expel the air, because I don't want to end up with a spike through my skin, and if I tap him gently with one finger, but he just keeps puffing. He does deflate, and then puff up again, but no bubbles come out of his mouth. I have tried twice with no success, and I don't want to stress him anymore. Is there anything more I can do, or is there a preferred method of trying to release the air? <Let him try to do it on his own.  Not much else you can do here.  Bob, am I missing something?> <<Mmm, not to worry re the "spikes" poking through your skin... they're pretty dull... I would capture this fish (two nets) and gently squeeze it from the underside, rear, moving fingers toward the front... to try and expel the air here. RMF>> Thanking you in advance, and all of my sea creatures thank you as well. <You are welcome.  I hope that this helps.  Check the dailies to see what Bob has to say.  Brandon.> Dario.
Re: head down bum up porcupine fish
 3/23/07 <Hello Dario.> I appreciate your advice, and you were right. <Ahh. Good.> It took about 4 days, but my puffer sorted the problem out himself. <Did you check the Daily FAQ section on the site?  When Bob replied, he said that you should not worry about being poked with the spines.  Just rub gently from below the air bubble, up the stomach to the mouth.> He is all cool again. <This is good.  Glad to hear it.> He still pokes his head out of the water during feeding time, but at least now he has experience in getting rid of air bubbles by himself. <Hmmm.  I would still try to get the food in the water before he has a chance to stick his head out.  Safer in the long run.> Thanks very much. <You are most welcome.  Brandon.>

Web Burrfish with ripped up face   2/22/07 Hi WWM crew! <Anthony> I have a Chilomycterus antillarum in a 150 G tank that must have recently scrapped it out with one of his tankmates.  I woke up one morning to find that the side of his mouth and upper lip had been torn off.  Aside from that, he seems to be ok, swimming, eating normally.  The tears don't actually touch his eyes, but they come very close to his right eye.  This morning when I woke up, he (? - is there any way to sex these things?) <Not externally; as far as I know> had what looked like little white squiggly lines ( inside?) his eye.  Kind of like little tiny pieces of spaghetti I guess.   Could this be caused by stress related to his injury? Thanks, Anthony <Mmm, maybe... could even be a parasite it "got" while in the wild, expressing itself... in all events, I would do what you can to discover, remove the bully/cause of the injury here, and bolster this fish's immune system with vitamin supplementing its favorite foods. Bob Fenner>

"Ingrown" Spines on Puffer?    2/3/07 Thank you for you help. <No problem.  Pufferpunk here with you today.> I have spent a couple of days reviewing your website and have not found my answer. <Thanks for looking 1st!> With the purchase of our home we "inherited" a salt water tank. We are not very knowledgeable but have grown very attached to our fish especially our dog faced puffer and we feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for these fish. <I can't blame you.  They're more like a dog, than a fish.> Your site was most helpful when he was very sick with Ich about 1 yr ago. He is acting well, eating with none of his previous symptoms. However, over the last few weeks I have noticed some bumps (about 4-5) over his back and now some are protruding like small spines or spikes. It started with some a couple and now there are more and 2 are protruding spines! There is no redness and as I said he is acting fine. Our fish service person has "no idea" what it is, but we want to make sure that it is nothing serious before it is a real problem. <Sometimes their spines stick out, like an ingrown hair.  Nothing to worry about.  ~PP>    Thanks for either reassuring me or helping me if I should worry. Thanks, Brenda I. Troche MD

Burping Your Puffer  1/28/07 THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. <You're very welcome Ben, Pufferpunk here.> My wife and I purchased a porcupine puffer today.   <Wonderful, personable pet!> The LFS we bought it from is highly reputable with the 4 saltwater clubs in my area.   <Good choice.> When the owner of the store approached the tank with a net, I asked if it should be caught with a container instead.  The owner said not to worry and caught the puffer easily with the net and placed it in a very large bag while still inside the tank.  The puffer was not exposed to air and didn't flinch during the entire process.  I acclimated the puffer over 2 hours using the drip method.  I then used my large net to move it into my tank.  Of course it puffed up while being transferred this time.   <Ummm... I don't get it.  You didn't want the shop to catch the fish with a net but you did instead???> The puffer came out of the net easily but was full of air and couldn't even get away from the water's surface.   <Which is why a puffer should never be caught with a net & exposed to air.  Can prove to be deadly.> My wife rushed to the PC and WetWebMedia.  She searched for "puffer air" and found one of your replies regarding how to burp a puffer.  It's now been about 6 hours and the puffer is eating Mysis, picking at my snails and small hermits and resting near the sand bed at the bottom.  I'm so grateful for your wisdom, experience, and willingness to share them both. <Glad you found that info.> I do have one question though.  My puffer, even when sitting near the sand bed picking at shells, uses its front fins more than I think it should.  It's almost as though it's fighting a small air bubble to stay near the bottom of the tank.  Do porcupine puffers have their front side fins in constant motion?   <Puffers do not swim like other fish.  They need to constantly move their fins to "hover" in the water.  It should however, be able to lay motionless, without struggling to keep upright, when resting.> There could be a small air bubble still inside, as the top line of the puffer from head to tail isn't exactly straight.  It has a very slight, hunched appearance. <Here is more info on burping: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?p=54 You're welcome to join in on that forum & post about your puffer.  There are many good articles in the Library there & also in the Marine Puffer section.  Enjoy your new puppy, er... puffer!  ~PP> Thanks in advance, Ben

Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System - 09/13/06 Hello to you all. <<Howdy>> Your site is excellent and very helpful, I recently bought a porcupine puffer, I've read a lot on how to look after these fish, it's taken two days to settle in and eat properly, he is the only fish in a new 55 Gallon tank. <<Mmm...I think you may not have done enough reading-up on this fish as this tank is too small for the long-term good health of this fish>> With about 25kg live rock and live sand.  Water quality is all good, as I've used my previous marine tank water. <<...?  No water tests?  Just how "new" is this tank I wonder...and if it may have something to do with the fish's behavior/getting "stuck"?>> This morning I woke up and found him to be wedged in a rock in a very tight space, he was struggling so much to free himself, so I started to take the rocks off one by one, and finally freed him. But now the puffers underside belly has torn it's skin, you can see its pink flesh but not bleeding and he was puking something out his mouth.  Don't know whether he ate his skin.  I've monitored the puffer for a while and seems to be fine and happily swimming around like nothings happened, he's not puking anymore, it took 10 minutes till he looked normal again. <<These are quite hardy fish...will likely be fine>> I've added some Vitazin and Stress Coat/Zyme supplements. <<Ok>> But I don't have a clue whether he'll survive or will it heal overtime, will it eat? <<Sure...have you tried to feed it?>> The length of time it will take to heal, and is there any medicine I could use, how about the juice of garlic cloves etc? <<You could dose some iodine (per manufacturer's instructions>> Thanks I really would appreciate your help and advice. Adil <<The puffer should recover fine...but you really do need to consider larger quarters.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System  - 09/14/06
Thanks for the Info, <<Welcome>> It's a new tank but the same RO used Water from my previous tank which had been running for a year, so I wasn't cycling the tank. <<Mmm, sometimes can be done...but definitely requires close monitoring of water parameters/certainty the quantity of available microbes are sufficient to deal...>> Anyway came home from work, only to find the poor thing lying dead underneath a rock. <<(sigh)  Likely poisoned by this too new/improperly acclimated/cycled system>> It's bad luck, I was going to call it Gizmo. (So cute). <<Not "bad luck" my friend...more likely your "bad decision" or lack of knowledge and proper preparation of a suitable system in which to place the puffer is what killed it>> You are right, I'm not going to purchase another puffer unless I get bigger quarters. <<Indeed...and properly cycled/know your water parameters this time>> Thanks for your response, and your site is brilliant. <<Please better use the information available.  EricR>>
Re: Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System - 09/14/06
Hello again, <<Evening>> Understood from previous response. <<Ah...good my friend>> Ok my LFS guy, tells me I can have at least 10 fish in my 55 UK gallons, and probably 15 with a sump. <<Let's see, that's about 66g US...could be done...would depend much on the species selected>> He said 2 Clarkii Clowns, Three Tangs (Hippo/Powder blue/Naso), 1 Pink Anthias, <<This doesn't tell me anything>> 1 Fox Face, and few small fish like gobies. <<Grossly over stocked...and "none" of these tangs are suitable for this size tank, even on their own>> Personally I think this maybe too much. <<Way too much>> LFS says it should be ok, as long you put all three tangs together and to put other fish in first before you introduce the tangs. <<The LFS is not taking the size of the environment in to account here (or the "delicate" nature of the Powder Blue Tang)...please do not do this>> I know you're going to lecture me that the tangs aren't even near suited for a 55 UK gallon tank so I ask what would you suggest? <<I'm heartened by the fact that you realize this on your own (consider yourself lectured <grin>).  The clowns, Anthias (I recommend a lyretail, Pseudanthias squamipinnis), and the Foxface would all be fine additions (once your certain this tank is fully cycled, that is).  And a couple smaller fishes in the way of cardinals or gobies would be ok as well I think (Sphaeramia nematoptera and/or Elacatinus oceanops)>> Thanks for your info. <<Regards, EricR>>

Inflated Porcupine puffer   7/25/06 I read the article and my puffer doesn't have any air trapped.  He is on the bottom of the tank partially inflated with water.  He doesn't have air trapped in him, because I burped him several times, if he does its very, very minimal.  The problem is, he seems he can't expel the remaining water.  He can inflate fully and can expel the water down to about half his size, but no further. Any other ideas? <<Puffers are built to inflate, and expel water with water with ease.  Does a little bit of air come out when you burp him?>> <Mmm, just give it time... RMF> Thanks John

Eye Ulcer/Cloudy - Porc Puffer  - 06/07/06 I have a small Porc puffer which I purchased about 2 weeks ago.  She is in a QT tank.....and I have been treating her for her eye with lowering the salinity and making sure the water quality is tops.  The eye seems to be even more cloudy and even looks somewhat like an ulcer.  I don't know if the eye is getting better as in the issue is shrinking or worse! I have also used Epsom salts as well. <Good> But if I am taking water out for changes, how often do I need to replenish the Epsom salts. <Each time> She is eating well ... mind you today was a bit picky.  When I got home from work she was on the bottom in a rock hole and I thought she'd died! <Mmm, do sit about a good deal of the time... in the wild and in captivity> I picked her out of the store because she was the "underdog" and I seem to always take the fish I feel I could help give a better life to.  This includes all my pets... Should I dip her in fresh water. <Maybe enroute to your main tank> I could send a pic if necessary.  Please help I really don't want to lose her and I don't want her to suffer. Janet <I would likely foreshorten the quarantine period here and risk moving this animal into larger quarters... Much more likely that a good deal of the stress/component of this manifestation is due to being kept in small confines than it carrying a pathogen. Bob Fenner>

-The one eyed Porc-   6/1/06 <Hello Janet> I have had a juvenile porcupine puffer for about a week.  She is in a quarantine tank with no other fish and has been since bringing her home.  I had noticed one eye is cloudy and has steadily gotten worse over the past week. <Are you keeping up with water changes and maintaining a clean tank?> She looks blind!  Will this clear up?  She seemingly had white spots as well, but they have cleared up and are looking better.  She is eating very well.... so far. <Good sign on the food, continue to feed nutritious foods and keep that water quality up.>  The quarantine tank is small, so I am cleaning out any uneaten food every time I feed.  I decided to use copper, but was advised by LFS that puffers don't take well to copper. <Yes puffers and copper are never a good mix.> Stopped this and haven't really done anything except brought down the salinity...slowly and am still doing so.  From 1.025 to 1.18 or lower?  Should I treat her with anything else?  Or simply leave her in the quarantine tank until she is completely healthy. Janet <Continue to lower the salinity down to 1.012 and keep there for several weeks, continue water changes as above, and add Epsom salt at 1tsp per gallon of water for the eye.  Most of the time a cloudy eye signifies dirty water issues, and porcs are able to ruin a fish tank fairly quickly, a very high bioload animal.  On the flip side, puffers in clean water are very hardy, and generally bounce back from most illnesses / conditions.  I would NOT move the puffer from Q/T until it is fully healed.> <Justin (Jager)>

Diodon nicthemerus with an air bubble - 5/8/2006 Hi guys, good morning from the U.K. <<Good morning from Canada!>> After doing some searching, I still seem to have a couple of things that need my attention A.S.A.P. On Saturday I purchased a young puffer, about 4" long from a local LFS.  Before I could stop the genius bagging the fish for me, he lifted it out of the water in the net, 5 seconds to get the top of the bag open, and then dropped it in. It was obviously stressed and puffed up; on going into the bag it expelled a large amount of air. <<That's no good.>> After introducing the poor creature to my tank, I noticed an air bubble, about 1/4" diameter, at the joint of his body and tail fin. I posted in the forum to try and find out whether there was anything I could do, or whether just to watch and wait, but received no replies. Don't shoot me, but my first thought was to puncture the bubble to release the air if it was causing distress. <<Bad idea!  Please read here on expelling the air bubble: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html. >> When introduced, the fish was almost looking as if it was bleached it was so pale, but has since regained some color. At this time, it is staying in the corner during lighting times, and cruising after lights out, I have tried to feed with shrimp etc, but he seems to have no interest. Flake seemed to inspire him a little, but I realize this is not going to do anything to improve him, I'm guessing that that was all he was fed in the store. <<Likely.  Read here on feeding: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html.>> Your thoughts would be hugely appreciated, the feeding is not bothering me to much at the moment, he is just settling in, so that I will just keep an eye on, my main worry is the air bubble. <<Read linked articles.  If this is indeed a Diodon nicthemerus you have, be aware that they grow to 24 inches in length, and will require a system in the hundreds of gallons.>> Thank you all in advance, Mike <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Porc V. Powerhead - 05/05/2006 Hi <Hello> Last night we brought a porcupine puffer, he settled in well; just as we were about to go to bed he swan near a power head and got stuck. <Ouch> There now is a see through bubble coming out underneath him he is laying on the bottom of the tank now and is not moving.  Is he going to be ok? If his he dying, don't want to lose him. Yours sincerely, miss Kate Lamb <Well, I don't understand the end of your email, but i do believe that your puffer has a big bruise from being sucked into the powerhead.  Feed him well, and keep the tank clean.  All you can do at this point for him is keep his life stress free.  If the area wont heal in a week use an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone to help.> <Justin (Jager)>

Re: Hungry Puffer 8/17/05 OK.  I took the puffer back to the store.  When the clerk introduced the fish into their tank he tried to catch it in a bag and I noticed it puffed with some air.  Once inside their tank he had to a nickel size bubble near his tail. The puffer (about 5 in. in length) was upright but was swimming slightly off center and seemed to be being pulled to the top of the tank.  Please tell me he will be able to expel this amount of air. The last thing I want is to return my favorite fish just to have him die.  What are his chances? Chris <Good... that the fish will likely expel the air or resorb it. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer injured? sick? <Anthony Calfo here in your service> Today I noticed a small roundish area on the side of my porcupine puffer's body that appears to be injured. It happened sometime today while I was gone, as he was just fine this morning. It is covered with what seems to be white dead skin that is peeling off. I'm thinking maybe he got a little too close to the heater and burned himself or maybe scraped on the live rock. <as unusual as that might be, I'm likely to agree. A pathogenic symptom would not manifest that quickly...definitely mechanical injury in nature> His skin is a little puffed out around the area but doesn't seem to be infected, and he is acting fairly normal. The only tankmates are a sergeant major damsel (about 1.5 inches) and a blue damsel (about 2 inches). The puffer is about 5.5 inches. The tank is 80 gallons with a skimmer and Fluval canister and about 45 pounds of live rock. Any ideas of what to do besides keep an eye on him? <agreed...mostly just keep an eye on him, maintain good water quality and feed well (but do not overfeed). Look for stabilization or improvement in three days...else be prepared with a quarantine tank and antibiotics. A normal reef dose of iodine in the tank may be mildly antiseptic and will at least raise RedOx. Please follow up promptly if you need more help, but I suspect it will be fine. Kindly, Anthony>

Burping a Porcupine puffer I bought a porcupine puffer approximately a week and a half ago. He is a baby, only a little over an inch long.  <scary small indeed> I have a bubble wand in my tank and am concerned he has gotten air in him.  <never bubbles with puffers...they are curious and ingest them> At first, he loved the vitamin infused brine shrimp, but now the only thing he will consistently eat is frozen plankton.  < a much better food than brine even enriched> Yesterday, he was partially inflated and afterwards, his eyes became opaque and remain so.  <cloudy eyes have nothing to do with air bubbles or feeding... look for other signs of disease> He swims around and just checks things out. At times he will attempt to come to a rest on the substrate and he will just begin floating towards the surface. To sleep he gets under an overhang of live rock and floats up on it. He seems to have no abrasions and the other fish in the tank (a clown/fairy wrasse and a striated wrasse) don't bother him though they kind of crowd his space sometimes. I really like the little guy and want to ensure he is as healthy as possible. I greatly appreciate your quick response, as I am very concerned. <it may literally need burped if it looks like air is trapped. Use a soft nylon net to capture it and massage the creature through the net with its mouth pointed upward to see if bubbles can be burped out. Kind regards, Anthony>

Puffer crisis!! Need help ASAP Hi team.. <<Hello... fish team delta at your service.>> I've got a sick porcupine puffer on my hands and I'm not sure what to do. I've had him for 3 years and have rarely had any problems with diseases or eating problems (unless you count him wanting to eat too much haha). Tonight I noticed that he has a horrible white film covering his left eye. I'm almost positive that its a fungus because its circular and in the center there is a very small amount of tissue extending from they eye. (I don't really know how to describe it other than it looks like rotting flesh that is still attached to the eye.) But it's all white and I don't think that it is part of the eye itself that is hanging off. I tested the water quality ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 and nitrate 0, ph is at 8.2 (like I said, this is an established tank, its always that way.) The past week or so he was eating very little, he actually stopped eating the same day I brought home a new yellow tang. I assumed this was stress caused by a new tank mate, or even just a coincidence because he occasionally (like maybe twice a year or so) stops eating for a day or two and then starts right back up again. Well after a couple days went by of him eating only a small piece of shrimp (his favorite food), I thought perhaps the tang had brought some Ich with him (I noticed the tang scratching a little bit, although I didn't see any white spots). So I gave the puffer a freshwater bath and lowered the salinity in the tank a couple of points (from 1.022 to 1.020). The next day (2 days ago) he was back to his regular eating habits and all was well. Then tonight I noticed the white thing on his eye. The tang seems happy and well adjusted (he's done a great job with the algae in the tank). I've attached a pic of the puffer.. its not that great so I don't know how helpful it will be since he wouldn't stop moving for the camera. But it may give you some idea. I also shot a brief digital movie of him you can look at, just go to http://www.nearvanna.com/puffer.zip and you can download it. (it's probably not worth it unless you have high speed or need to see a better image of the disease.) <<A quick view of the image and movie makes me think it is more likely an injury than bacteria or fungus. Bacteria and fungus are rarely so selective as to infect one eye... an injury like a scratch seems more probable.>> A little bit on the puffer's surroundings. Its a 50 gallon tank, I have a fluidized bed filter, a wet/dry filter, a good protein skimmer and 2 powerheads for circulation. Along with the puffer I have a large snowflake eel and the new tang. Everyone seems healthy except for the puffer. <<Two things come to mind about this system: one, it's really a little small for the eel and puffer... which now has a tang in it. Do consider a potential tank upgrade if keeping the puffer long term is among your goals. Second, the fluidized bed while well-suited to the job of filtering for messy eaters is still a sketchy piece of equipment - a power failure could do more than leave you in the dark. You might want to consider some other options or perhaps doing without it given the wet/dry and skimmer.>> Ok, so on to the question. WHAT CAN I DO???? <<I'd leave it be, and give it some time.>> I've known my puffer long than I've known my girlfriend, and don't want to lose him! According to the article I read on your website about fungus, it is rare and usually mistaken for bacteria. Do you think that is the case here? <<no...>> It also says that most treatments don't work, so other than frequent water changes am I just doomed to see if he can overcome this himself? <<all other things being equal, the chances of healing are quite good I would think.>> Anything I can do to tip the odds in the puffer's favor? <<Make sure it's eating, and if you can, whole shrimp or krill keep the teeth trimmed and the puffer happy.>> Your quick response is very much appreciated. Thank you! <<Sorry, probably wasn't as quick as you might have liked, but hopefully all will be well given some time.>> Steve Weatherly
<<Cheers, J -- >>

Porcupine Puffer - Help Dear Mr. Fenner, I'm new to saltwater marine keeping and I purchased your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". It is a very informative book! I like it very much! :-) I know in your book to specify not to lift puffers out of the water but to scoot them into a small container. I needed to move my puffer quickly without access to such a container. I thought if I netted it and let it inflate with water first there would be a problem with it swallowing any air.  Unfortunately it did swallow some air and now it has trouble getting rid of the air. You mentioned that it was stressful on the fish to swallow air but you never mentioned whether it was fatal or not or what to do about it.  What can I do to save my Puffy?  Please help! Thanks, Alec <<Arggghhhh, no container? What? Not even a jar you could give a quick wash and rinsing? If you and your puffer are fortunate it can/will discharge the air on its own... if not, you may be still lucky to be able to catch it (underwater) and tilting the fish up (be careful to not be bitten) gently squeeze the air from its stomach...Bob Fenner>>

Eye Growth I have a small Porcupine fish (about 4 1/2") that has been doing well for 4 months. Now he looks like he has something around one eye. It looks like a growth, but it's not puffy. It's a major change in coloration, but it's localized around one eye. I never noticed this before. Please help! <From reading your missal here, I suspect this damage is due to a physical trauma... maybe the Puffer bumping into something in the night... and would not add to the animal's stress by handling, treating it per se... just keep it fed, happy in place and it should heal> I have a 90 gallon tank that has been set up for about 4 months. I let it cycle with damsels for about two months everything was great( although I had 15 damsels when I started and ended with 4). I have since added 2 yellow tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens), a clown fish ( Amphiprion ocellaris), and a Long-Spined Porcupine Puffer (Diodon holacanthus). I understand that the puffer is not good with invert's. I would like to start adding live rock and corals is this a good idea, if so how much rock should I add and how fast should it be added. <<Adding the live rock is a great idea on several counts... You won't regret it... better livestock health, easier maintenance, never ending fascination with what comes out of it. The Puffer will likely chew on bits of the live rock... and in all likelihood your corals, other invertebrates. Do start with a few hardy soft corals if you want to try your Puffer with the non-vertebrates. Maybe a leather, toadstool... Bob Fenner>>

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