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FAQs about True Puffer Disease Diagnosing  

FAQs on: Tetraodont Disease 1, True Puffer Disease 2, True Puffer Health 3, Puffer Health 4, Puffer Health 5,
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Category: Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments

Related Articles: Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: True Puffers 1, True Puffers 2, True Puffers 3, Tetraodont Identification, Tetraodont Behavior, Tetraodont Compatibility, Tetraodont Selection, Tetraodont Systems, Tetraodont Feeding, Tetraodont Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Check your water quality; carefully observe your livestock a few times per day... go over your foods, feeding practices...


Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18
<Hello Ashley>
Long story.... I’ll shorten it up a bit. (90 gallon with 30 gallon Refugium and upgrading later) Water quality parameters were all in spec. 1 leopard wrasse, 2 clowns, 1 Valentini puffer(small) a watchman goby a small flame angel and my small dog face Puffer.
<Small puffers are harder to get to eat and have lower survival rates than bigger ones>
My tank was fine. Got an Odonus trigger. After being quarantined then acclimated seemed ok. He just was hiding so I fed him in his preferred cave. All info I could look up said this was normal for a new trigger. After a week I lured him out with food and he was completely chewed up. Most of his tail was gone but the bite marks match the mouth size of my watchman goby. I removed the watchman to another tank and hoped the trigger would recover. I was afraid quarantining him would stress him out too much at first. I pulled him out for a quarantine about 3 days later. He died. ☹️ the trigger was the trigger (for all these problems) Moving on ... Valentini starts picking on the dog face.
<I suspect the Valentini was the culprit on the trigger bites also>
I removed Valentini and found him a new home. Days later with a few bite marks my dog face starts to scratch.
No signs of ich yet... everyone is still eating though. Worried it could be bacterial from bites my lfs advises to try Melafix Marine.
<Worthless med>

I do this treatment .... Seems to help some flashing still on one particular side.
I start worrying about flukes or other parasites. I didn’t want to remove him until it became necessary. Angel shows signs of ich now but I can’t see it yet. I start hyposalinity slowly. Like a small drop like 1-2 ppt every 2 days with a calibrated refractometer.
<Good move>
I read in several places that this was a safer way for puffers than copper.
Copper scares me to death. Lfs also advised Kick Ich.
<Another med that doesn´t work at all (Kick Ich)>
I did try it. I am still using it now.(well come back to this) At this point the Puffer stops eating. I pull to quarantine and slowly bring salinity back up from 1.017 to 1.021 over 4-5 days I don't see ich or anything other than healing bite marks. I start wondering if it’s a bacterial or an internal parasite because he got very skinny very fast(about one week).
<Oh yes, they get emaciated pretty fast>
His belly became concave. Lfs said you can’t really treat internal parasites if they aren’t eating. Bought API general cure and used in water while waiting for Metroplex on order.
<A much better treatment option but you still don´t know what to treat for>
Contacted a vet and asked about force feeding or tube feeding. They said not good if he is constipated or blocked. I asked how do I know? Reply was X-ray. Ugh �� where can I get that? Answer I can’t around here. Sigh. Looked for constipation solutions -Epsom salt 1tbs per 5 gal. Did that and started with a bit of brine shrimp soaked in Selcon and vita Chem just to get something in his belly that was slightly easier to digest and to “wake his digestive tract up” after not eating for a week. I used a small syringe and tried to get the food back far enough that he couldn’t spit it out.
<This could have damage it internally>
This helped he was not bloated and didn’t act as though he constipated. I made sure there was no air in the food. He perked up and started to swim a bit. I waited and fed for several days. Ammonia .25 starts to climb and I’m doing full water changes every single day. Used other cultivated live rock in quarantine to help with ammonia. After I fed him or tried food I vacuumed the bottom of the glass as precaution. I tried so hard to keep parameters in check. (Before this sickness he ate everyday and I used a mix of food i.e. squid, Mysis , half shelled clams, shrimp, all soaked in Selcon and supplements overnight in the fridge. some live and dried seaweed that I put in there for other fish. ) He was a bit picky.... He did better for a few days and he Just one day completely went down hill and died that night.
<Sorry to hear/read that>
I came home found him distressed. Put prime In the water Incase of ammonia and test it was slightly elevated but below .25. Got water ready and did water changes and added more carbon Incase of something else was in there. Temp and salinity was the same. I can’t figure out if it was and internal parasite or if he got lockjaw or something I’ve never even heard of. Did trim his teeth (super easy) after so long with out eating they were starting to get longer. His mouth was open a lot in the last week. Just sitting open. Once I read some about lockjaw it made me think. I have the iodide test and it was in spec. My display is ok and ich “free”. (I am running Kick Ich as a precaution and now am bringing my salinity up very slowly to a preferred level 1.025 and will eventually move my coral back to my display in a month or so. More ich precaution. My puffer never got one ich spot that I could see. Quite honestly I went wrong some where but I’m not sure where. I am kicking myself and trying to figure out what he had and what went wrong but his symptoms were vague.
<The way I see things; It was a cascade of events derived from stress, You took desperate measures to save him but, unintentionally you just added additional stress to the point it was impossible to get it back to health..>
I’m leaning towards internal parasite or vitamin b deficiency, possible lockjaw. (Not a ton of info on this) . I had him under a year total. I am afraid to screw up again I loved my Puffer. He was such a ray of sunshine.
<I understand, sometimes we got fond of certain fish>
I found your site and started reading about the vitamin b deficiency issues and started researching this now. As for running Kick Ich in the display it could have worked or it could have been the hyposalinity.
<I think it was more likely the Hyposalinity>
I did try to research all these treatments but there’s either no info on these things or so much info you don’t know what is right.
<It´s easy to get confused when we get different opinions, keep reading to dispel any doubts>
Everyone else in my tank seems ok now. I’m just not sure if I should treat for internal parasites with food or what.
<I would not treat the rest of the fishes, do add activated carbon to remove any remaining meds. Maintain good water quality and Keep a stress-free environment.>
I am also afraid to have another puffer if I can’t give it what it needs.
<Just read more and be well prepared before trying again.>
Still kicking myself
<Kind regards. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18
Maybe I did stress him but not everything I did was so close together, things were more spaced out than they seemed.
< I understand>
I kind of agree on the stress but at the same time I just offered food when he got so skinny so fast. There was a period of time I did try to let him recover. I just wish I had found your website before this. Is it possible I damaged his organs lowering the salinity?
<Unlikely, you lower the salinity gradually>
I didn’t do it fast. I did leave him in the display for a while. I guess I did get worked up because I didn’t do enough for the trigger. I thought had I treated him before he may have made it. As for the feeding I’ve have tube fed and syringe fed before especially other rescue animals. I used a syringe with a small finer softer tube attached and used all the precaution I could. (I should have been clearer in the original message)
<Ahh, now I get it>
He was so skinny that his belly became concave and his body became curved.
<This may have been something else, the symptoms you describe now indicate Ichthyophonus disease, which attacks fish internal organs, Fishes that has this kind of disease typically die up to two months after being infected. Treatment is hard because of the internal nature of this disease.>
From what I could find and read he was very bad off at this point and I thought I would give it a shot. Finding real answers at this point was hard. My lfs kind of just said sorry (like he was going to die anyway) and told me to leave Mysis shrimp out longer because they are attracted to the food if it’s odorous. (He wasn’t interested by the way) I just wanted to elaborate that the time frame was longer than it seemed. I will take the blame here. I know I stressed him out. I try very hard and maybe too hard.
<Don´t feel guilty, this happens from time to time and sometimes for no apparent reason.>
I researched before I got him I always try to get the information I can. I researched the entire time I noticed something was wrong. I have been constantly researching for weeks. I will continue.
Thank you for your time and advice. I truly appreciate it.
<You´re very welcome. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18

Thank you.
I will also research this disease for future reference. I really needed a good outside opinion. I truly appreciate this.
<Glad to be helpful>

Burrfish... puffed up!      12/25/17
I added a spiny puffer Burrfish to my 210 gal softie reef tank about 4 weeks ago.
<Neat animals!>
He's seems very healthy and eating but his belly has gotten large. Could this fish be pregnant?
<Mmm; doubtful. More likely it has either over-eaten (very common) or has swallowed a good deal of water... also happens often). I would not panic; but just take a wait and see attitude. This issue should resolve itself within several days. Bob Fenner>

SW Tetraodont, dis... diag.     9/17/15
You have been recommend to me by a person on Devon marina. I have a problem with my puffer fish and was wondering if you could help. The problem is with some sort of fungus growth on his fins, at first his fins formed very small white spots on them but over the last 18 months they have become worse and we can't seem to get rid of them, it also appears to have spread to his skin around his fins which are dark coloured and looks like warts! The tank is cleaned daily,
he has regular water changes, all the parameters are tested frequent and are in good water order and the ro machine which takes all the bad out of the water is working perfectly! Any advice would be appreciated. I have attached some pictures of him
<There appears to be some sort of tumorous growth and from the appearance and description fluke (Trematode) involvement. The first might be excised, or a purposeful cleaner organism tried that might not be eaten. Flukes are gone over on WWM (search, read on the site). Am concerned w/ the rotund appearance of this fish. And concerned re Thiaminase poisoning. What is it fed? See WWM re this as well. Do you need help using the search tool, indices?
Bob Fenner>

full size crop

Re: SW Tetraodont, dis... diag.       9/18/15
Is there any medicine that could be put in the water to treat his condition?

<As stated below; you need to READ. There are treatments for the probable flukes (Anthelminthics for fishes); but t'were it mine, I'd examine a sample (scraping) under a microscope; or have someone do this for me; confirming the Trematodes ahead of treatment. The same sampling, exam can be done w/ the apparent tumor.... >
We have 4 other small fish in with him and they are perfectly healthy!
regards to his size, he has always been a big fish although he has grown a bit bigger! He eats mussels and prawns
<.... trouble. STOP writing, and start READING as I've asked; or go elsewhere.
WWM IS NOT a chat room, but a useful reference>
which we have to hand feed him, he prefers the mussels to the prawns but he will eat prawns if he's hungry
<How to put this; you're haplessly killing this animal. Educate yourself. BobF>
Re: re:      9/18/15

There's no need to be so bloody rude about it!!!!!
<.... IF it stirs you to action... B>

Re: Saltwater; toxicity event         7/4/15
I have a dog faced puffer in that same tank and he survived the whole thing..very odd.
<Actually; not. Tetraodontids are more resistant... BobF>
Re: Saltwater        7/4/15

Here is my puffer that survived. Can you tell me what this might be on his fins please? I hope that the pictures are clear. I know it's not ich.
<Mmm; something... mechanical or chemical... did this fish get sucked up against a powerhead, overflow? It might have been the source of the poisoning, cascade event itself. See WWM re Tetraodontid Compatibility (the FAQs).
Bob Fenner>

Re: Saltwater.... Tetraodontid dis. f'         7/9/15
Hi! I took this a moment ago. He's eating good
<... well>
and I'm still treating him with tetracycline still according to the directions. What does that look like to you? Thanks!
<Nothing attached... need data.... and for you to search, read on WWM.

Sick dog faced puffer; no data      6/17/15
Really glad I found you.
I've had my puffer for 4 1/2 years - no problems - then - he just stopped eating.
<A brief review: The principal reasons for food-strikes in Puffers of all kinds is mis-feeding (see WWM re Puffers-Thiaminase), harassment from other (usually fish) tankmates, and rarely internal (lumenal) parasite problems; even more remotely are some types of water quality issues>

It's been over a week. He seems to have gone blind.
<And blindness; back to the mis-feeding (exclusive shellfish... krill esp., silversides... Again see WWM)>

I have no idea of what to do or what the problem could be.
<The reading suggested>
He's in a 95 gal tank with only a clown fish who seems to be fine. We have done water changes. I'm not sure how much longer he can last with no food.
<Weeks usually>
H E L P!!!
Susan Garber
<Do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Puffer going crazy?   11/12/14
Hi guys
I have a Stars and Stripes puffer in my 187 gallon tank (60"x24"x30") I've had him for around four years now and he's around 9 inches head to tail, the last few days he has been very lethargic and swimming side ways,

he seemed to be ok last night I got him to eat some shell food and some large krill
<I do hope/trust these are not the only foods you feed this fish... See WWM re Thiaminase>

which he picked at but he hasn't been his usual greedy self, at first I thought maybe it was swim bladder disease but he gradually started to hover about the tank but still very lethargic except when he goes crazy, he swims wildly around the tank crashing of the glass and breathing rapidly for around 20 seconds then he sinks to the bottom and doesn't move for a while,
<Perhaps blind...>

I've never seen him act like this before and am worried something is seriously wrong, have any of you guys ever came across this strange behaviour in a puffer? I'd really appreciate and help guys.
<Not an uncommon result from the feeding issue mentioned... Put the two words "Puffer blindness" in WWM's search tool (on every page) and read on.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer going crazy?
Thanks for the reply bob il start looking into it right away, this might sound like a stupid question but will the puffer be ok and continue to survive as long as I put the good down right beside him?
<Some do; most don't>
Also apart from shell foods and krill what else would be good food for puffers and my other fish as well,
<... please use WWM; all of this is archived. We're not a bb>

I try and give my fish a variety of foods but my LFS is limited to the fish food it stocks, would a trip to the fish market be better?
<Likely so; see WWM re DIY foods>
Again thanks for the advice bob
<Only state what I might do given similar circumstances. BobF>

Stars and Stripes Puffer; no data, rdg.      11/22/13
I have a very big puffer (18" or so)
<Gets much larger in the wild>
 and he's been very lethargic, is pale,
is back fin is closed  and I just noticed when he breathes a clear see through "fog" comes in and out. His eye also seem to have a blue tinted glaze on them..
Any advice would be very welcomed - I'm so worried!
<... need more info. Let's just have you read:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
RE: Stars and Stripes Puffer     11/23/13

This didn't answer my concern. The stuff from his mouth is more like a flem.
He's breathing it. Like he has congestion.
<... with what? Please read where you've been referred... Need to know re system, water quality, nutrition, tankmates.... READ>

Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?)<Could be... "anything"... I'd do what you state, wait.> 12/22/09
Yes, I just bought a Map Puffer online the other day.
<Oh boy! I hope you understand how big these puffers are; they are the largest Arothron, getting to more than 60 cm/2 feet long in the wild.>
He is about 4.5 inches long.
<Just a baby!>
When I put him in the tank everything seemed to go well, he swam around and looked very normal. He ate OK, by OK I mean he ate, not a lot, but he ate the 1st day in the tank that night.
<These puffers are comparatively intelligent fish, and there's much to be said for acclimating them to their new home gently. You'll be quarantining a fish like this for a couple of weeks, so there shouldn't be any problems leaving the lights off for a few days. During that time don't bother feeding on the first day, but subsequently offer suitable choice morsels, removing anything uneaten within 5 minutes.>
The next night when I went to feed him I noticed a lump on the underside of his belly. It is not an open sore. It looks like something is growing inside him.
<Puffers have "soft" bellies that become distorted when they eat large meals. Don't feed for a day, and see if the lump goes down. If it does, problem solved!>
So far I have seen him scratch it one time and one time only during the whole time that I have been watching him. I looked at the lump this morning and it has grown bigger than it was last night.
<Interesting. Intestinal parasites are always a risk, but these usually turn up in fish that have been fed "feeder fish", though a recently-caught fish might have them I suppose. If the problem isn't simply overeating, then deworming may be in order.>
He still eats somewhat, not like the puffers that I have in my other tanks though.
<Arothron spp. do vary somewhat in personality, and Arothron mappa is one species that takes a while to become accustomed to aquarium life. I'd argue that they really aren't home aquarium fish at all.>
He does not seem sick any anyway. No signs of stress, he acts totally normal other than not eating like the other puffers I have. I cannot find anything online that refers to a LUMP. Can you maybe give me some advice on what this might be. I have never seen anything like this before. The tank has been cycled for over a month now. It is a 180 Gallon tank with 2 AquaC Remora pro skimmers and 2 Eheim PRO 3 filters.
<A short-term home at best; expect to upgrade within a year.>
The AMM is 0 the Nitrites are 0 and the nitrates are barely readable. The ph and salinity are right on the mark. He has 4 other tank mates. 1 JUV dragon wrasse, 2 damsels left over from cycling, and 1 dwarf zebra lion.
<Novaculichthys taeniourus is borderline so far as companions go; the others are probably non-viable. Given the size of adult Arothron mappa, and their tendency to bite at anything that looks even halfway edible, tankmates need to be extremely robust and of comparable size. In 1000 gallon aquaria we might be talking about things like Snappers and Groupers, but honestly, Dendrochirus and small Damsels are just target practise. I can't stress too strongly how inappropriate Arothron mappa is for community aquaria.>
They are doing very well and eating like normal.
<For now...>
Any information you can give me would be very helpful.
Thank You Very Much
<Do please read here for a nice review of Arothron spp.:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?) 12/22/09

Thank you very much for the thoughts and information, and getting back to me so fast.
<Happy to help.>
But to add to this story now the LUMP has gotten much larger and he does not eat at all.
<This is bad. Is the fish in a quarantine tank or a community setting? If the former, start by checking water quality and water chemistry. Tumours don't normally grow dramatically overnight, and intestinal parasites generally cause gradual rather than overnight swelling. If this fish is still under the retailer's warranty, I'd suggest returning it, and letting them deal with curing it. If that isn't an option.>
He is also not active at all.
The LUMP now is very profound and it definitely looks like a big piece of cauliflower on his underside. Does this help at all?
<Not really. Cauliflower-like is usually a description applied to Lymphocystis, but this is an external growth rather than a swelling inside the body. Lympho isn't treated directly -- it's viral -- so instead you deal with it by optimising environmental quality and allowing the fish to get better itself. Internal swelling can be caused be eating too much,
constipation, systemic bacterial infections, and of course organ failure (classic "Dropsy"). Do read WWM re: each of these.>
Thank You again Very Much
<Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?)
Again, Thank You Very Much for your insight.
<Happy to help. Did you notice Bob's comment on today's FAQ page?>
Yes he is in a Quarantine Tank. The water quality is very good, 0 AMM, 0 Nitrites, Barley readable Nitrates. PH and Salinity right where they should be.
I purchased him online because they are so hard to find.
<With good reason.>
It can't be that he has eaten to much because he hasn't ate at all now for 2 days. And like I said he has barely ate anything since I got him. I did call the reseller and he is also trying to find out what it might be, I am sure he wants to find a cure also rather giving me a refund or credit or replacing him.
<Indeed, but if the fish was delivered "sick", then its cure should be on the retailer's nickel rather than yours. In any event, I think you're in a wait-and-see mode unless symptoms become apparent that clearly point towards one particular complaint. Scattergun approaches are usually not a good idea, and can end up poisoning the sick fish.>
Again, Thank You Very Much for your time.
<A photo would help a good deal. Cheers, Neale.>

Mappa Puffer... color loss... hlth., beh. 6/18/09
hey WetWeb crew,
<Hi Josh. Please, next time around, could you use the Shift key now and again? It's pretty tiresome reading messages without capital letters, even if it's easy for you to type them out that way.>
I recently purchased a mappa puffer that I had had my eye on for a while.
when I bought it it had beautiful yellow designs with black and white but about two weeks after I bought it its color significantly dulled.
<You do realise this is one heck of a puffer once it matures? Wild fish are recorded at lengths of 65 cm, or 25 inches, and that puts them firmly in the "tank buster" category. It isn't a very sociable species either, and usually ends up being kept alone. Personally, I'd not consider them particularly good specimens for home aquaria, even allowing for the fact they're unlikely to get this size under home aquarium conditions.>
Now the color is more of a brown and grey and if I look very closely I can see hints of yellow. I was wondering if this is something I should be concerned about. also I noticed little white dots on its skin and thought immediately that it could be Ick.
<Arothron mappa certainly does have white spots on its body, and the ground colour does change as the fish matures, and to some degree with mood as well. Fishbase is often a good place to see some photos of wild fish at different ages, so perhaps stop by there now:
I gave it a freshwater bath but the white dots remain. on a side note my mappa is housed with a particularly lethargic stars and stripes puffer who is known to wedge itself in between things and just sit there.
<In the US at least, the Stars-and-Stripes Puffer is usually Arothron hispidus, a species noted for being rather placid but generally quite active. Some would say "friendly", and it's one of those species that quickly becomes tame and often mooches about at the top of the tank, begging for food. I'm concerned that your specimen is subdued for a reason, perhaps bullying, or else something "isn't right" about it's habitat: lack of water current, not enough space, water chemistry/quality issues, monotonous diet... whatever. Review, and act accordingly.>
they are both in a 55 gallon tank and I know this is too small a tank size but they are both tiny right now and I plan on putting them in a larger tank once they get bigger.
<You will need a very large tank for these two species to coexist, and there's a chance they won't coexist, the Arothron mappa being notably less tolerant of tankmates than Arothron hispidus.>
any help would be greatly appreciated,
<Mike Maddox recently penned a great primer on Arothron pufferfish for Conscientious Aquarist, and I'd recommend having a read of that before you do anything else.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Dogface Puffer Health 11/21/08
<Hello Renita>
I have had my dogface Puffer for about 3 weeks now, and when I got him, he was a white and gold color. Since late last night he have started to turn a gray color. Is he sick? I also noticed that he ate one of my crabs. Did that make him sick?
<The Dogface Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) does exhibit a grayish coloration, no need to worry here. As far as eating the crab, puffers will eat almost anything and crabs and shrimp are at the top of the list. Read here for more info on your puffer.
<You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>
Renita Myles

Dog face puffer -- 08/08/07 Hi my dog face puffer is not eating and he is just bumping into stuff can you guys please help me! <Hello Jordan. First things first. When fish bump into the glass, it usually means [a] the tank is either too small for the fish and they can't maneuver properly; or [b] they are alarmed and swimming desperately away from what they think is danger. Often overlooked is the fact fish have good hearing, and things like banging doors and loud appliances can alarm them profoundly. So try and cross those two things off the list first. Next up is lack of appetite. A pufferfish that will not eat is a very unusual pufferfish indeed. Dog-face puffers (Arothron spp.) are basically robust and hardy animals, but they do require all the usual things you assume for a marine fish: zero ammonia and nitrite, low nitrate, a high pH, a high level of carbonate hardness, that sort of thing. Have you checked water quality and water chemistry?> $$$$$$$$ITZ NOT EZ BEING ME$$$$$$$$$$ <It might be easier if you wrote your more poetic outpourings in actual English with proper spellings and normal grammar. Maybe you'd find your poor, tortured soul more readily listened to? Cheers, Neale>

Bloated Puffer  1/8/07 <Hi Emmett, Pufferpunk here> I have a Mappa puffer and he is bloated and not due to overeating.  His belly was kinda little and it has progressed to where now it's visible on both sides when he's laying down. My pet store initially said just give him some time since he's eating ok but today he is laying on the very bottom of the tank and expressed no interest in eating.  He was not breathing fast but breaths were harder than usual and visible.  I use freeze dried krill to feed him.  Any suggestions for meds or treatments would be appreciated.   <It would be helpful when you post a Q about an ailing fish, to include water parameters--ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH.  Also, tank size, fish size, water change schedule, how long you've had the fish.  Has it pooped lately?  You could try treating for constipation with 1 tbsp Epsom salt/5g.  Puffers need a varied diet, other than just krill. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?p=53   Look into the Hospital Forum at that website for info on treating for internal parasites.  ~PP> Thanks in advance, ES

Dog face puffer Hi! I have just found your site and would like to ask you about a dogface puffer (grey). I have just got this puffer and he/she seems very happy, eating well, and very active, but has turned dark brown and curled up a little in a corner. And I am a bit worried about him. Do you have any advice for me? <I would double check water quality, first. Also, know that puffers are sensitive to metals and many medications, in case you are using as a prophylactic.> I have had puffers for a while but not marine just fresh. <Take a look here for additional insight, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm > Thanks for any help, Donna <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
More Sick Dog Face Puffer
Thank you so much! I just wanted to comment, that this 200 is the quarantine tank. <Wow, so how big is your display tank?> I just thought I would automatically treat with hyposalinity instead of just waiting and watching and then probably more likely doing it anyways. <Ok> Does it not count as a quarantine tank because of it's size? <It would not count as a quarantine tank if it is not set up like one, bare bottom, no calcareous media, no other fish or inverts, etc. Please see here for more information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > I got the information on the dip from Bob Fenner's book. I would just like to ask "what you would do"? <My SOP is to quarantine and begin daily water changes. It is very effective against Cryptocaryon and has other beneficial effects (maximize water quality, spur the immune system of the fish, and mildly effective against bacterial secondary infections).> Today he looks and acts totally normal. <That is good.> Thanks again, Lynn <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Dogface Puffer treatment Hi, I have a dogface puffer (3.5") or so. I bought him 10 days ago. He was at the LFS for one week prior to my purchasing him. He looked healthy and was eating well. <Let me guess, this is a lead in to "So, I did not quarantine him."> I placed him in a 200 FOWLR tank with a few other new fish. I started the hypo-salinity on the tank and got it down over a period of 4 days. <This would have not been my course of action with a Puffer.> I did notice some spots show up on him during this time. This morning I noticed he looked listless and had his mouth clamped shut. On it or coming out of it was kinda a stringing type of ??? about a inch long and covered in tiny air bubbles or white dots? I couldn't see them clear enough. I got a FW dip ready, matching my temperature and pH. Put a airstone in it and added some "quick cure" (ingredients are -tri-chelated formula of 99% formaldehyde and .75% malachite green). <I know the product. Again, that would not have been my choice.> I kept him in it for 13 minutes. After which I replaced him into the tank. Within a hour he was eating and looking better. My question to you is, would you know what that was on him? <No> and more importantly should I continue doing these dips? <They make me nervous for a Puffer.> or leave him if he continues to look and act well? <I would have quarantined him and all new fish for one month.> If I do more dips, how often and in what? Lynn <The best advise I can give you is to start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm  and begin looking around. -Steven Pro>
Dog Face Puffer II
Hi thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I have been and looked in his tank and have found some lead weight in it (holding some plant down) and have taken it out. Hopefully this is the cause of it. <This is a saltwater tank, right? Lead weights are usually used for freshwater plants.> Thank for you help, Donna <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: dog face puffer
Yes this is a saltwater tank, but the man in Maidenhead Aquatics (Shepperton) said they use them all the time for there plants (in saltwater tanks) so I got some, this is where I got him from. As I said this is my first saltwater puffer and I'm still learning and am very grateful for your help. <No sweat. That is what we are here for. I would still double check all your water quality parameters to make sure nothing is off; pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity, temperature, etc.> They also told me to feed him river shrimp, beef heart, and blood worms but I have given him winkels and mussels which I give to my Mbu puffer. Donna <I would stick to a diet of marine origin foods. Clams, mussels, whole shrimp, and even some formula foods. A good reference for the first time marine aquarist is Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium." -Steven Pro>

Puffer troubles Hey Guys <whassup?> Got a mystery here on my end. I have a dog face that I just adore. Boyfriend owns a pet shop that specializes in fish ( been doing it for 35 yrs.) and he has never seen this before. All the level in my tank are right on the mark all the fish seem fine. Puffer eats great... he actually looks like the Pillsbury dough boy... But he get this rash once and a while.   <wow... so many jokes, so little time here> Its like an indention in his skin, odd shapes, different sizes and place with large white almost like pimples spot inside them. They are there one min. and gone the next. <the rapid appearance and disappearance of symptoms is strange. In fact, its strange enough that I would almost like to rule out a pathogenic organism (few if any can wax and wane so quickly). More likely something to do with the puffers ability to produce (sometimes copious) mucus. Still... if you are sure that this is not mucus/particle related... it may be the expression of a viral condition. Little tubercles (?)... pustules (?)... Bob, help me here... the water {among other things} is getting deep> >My boyfriend the professional can't even figure it out. Any idea's, I love puff he the star of the tank don't know if I'm being a worry wart or not. Please get back to me if you've heard or know anything about this one.  Thank a MILLION and have a super day. <thank you for caring my friend. I will copy this to Bob and beg his input as well. Best regards, Anthony><<Transient issues here are almost invariably environmental in origin... or social... who else is in this system? RMF>>

Unexplained Puffer Death Hello WWM Crew, <<And hello to you. JasonC here...>> So you don't feel too bad, I live in Austin and wont be able to make it to MACNA in Dallas. <<Just got back, you missed a good show.>> Here is my question(s). I have a 125 gallon FOWLR more of the FO than the Live Rock. My main concern is my striped puffer that just passed. He was the excitement of the tank. He was about 6 inches long and had been in the tank for 1 year. This morning I noticed that he was "bloated". He looked larger than usual but nowhere near inflated. I thought nothing of it. Today was LIVE food day for the tank which consist of ghost shrimp and crayfish. When I dumped the food in he didn't go after anything (very strange behavior). I then noticed him swimming into the glass and bumping into the rocks in the tank. It was about one hour later that I found him breathing but upside down on the bottom of the tank. I then went to move him to the 10 gal hospital tank, but before I even opened the lid, he had a convulsion and that was the end. <<Sorry to hear of your loss.>> I still moved him just in case he released any toxin. <<Good plan.>> During this convulsion he inflated but not completely, and never deflated. Upon a closer exam in the hosp tank, I found his eyes had blood in them. My wife said that he looked as if something was caught in his throat by the way he was breathing not rapid but struggled. Any thoughts???? <<Yes... my guess would be that your puffer had a chance encounter with one of the spines on the Volitans. As you probably know, these fish are venomous and while it probably didn't do this on purpose, still has these weapons out in the open all the time. Do I have any proof? No, but I honestly can't think of another reason for a fish kept for one year to just spiral down so quickly. I have heard from other aquarists about similar problems with their livestock when housed with Rabbitfish which are similarly venomous and all a fish needs to do is to bump into the wrong thing and that could be it.>> Specs on the tank: 125 FOWLR Eheim 2217 40 Gal wet/dry built in dual skimmers 8 watt UV Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 40 pH: 8.3 Temp: 81.5 F SG: 1.022 Water Source: Well with RO Tank Fishes: Zebra Moray 2.5ft Volitans Lion 9in Niger Trigger 4in Tomato Clown 1in - came with zebra. He swims in and out of the eels mouth. If the lion gets to close he darts for the eel. All fishes appear normal and ate like normal. No signs of toxin released or anything else. <<Good deal.>> Would it be okay to start the intro phase of another puffer (quarantine for a month)? <<I think so.>> Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. <<I would reconsider keeping the Volitans... I know these are beautiful fish but they get even larger than what it is now, and the possibility is always there for another fish to have a chance encounter, and even you... and let me tell you, it's quite painful.>> OH, by the way I love y'alls website, and looking forward to the new book!! <<Glad you enjoy the website.>> Chris <<Cheers, J -- >>

Arothron Mappa Puffer puzzle Mr. Fenner Back in December I was in the market for a Puffer Fish and I was lucky enough to find a 11" Mappa Puffer at my LFS. He's been doing great except for one thing A few weeks ago I noticed that in his Left fin he had what appears to be a small white pimple this pimple appears to be in the bone structure part of the fin as oppose to the webbing between the bones. At first I thought that it was a sign of some sort of nutritional deficiency because he was at the LFS for around 8 weeks before I got him and IM not sure he was fed a varied diet. So to correct it I starting soaking his Freeze dried krill in a Multi Vitamin Called Multi Vit. A week or so ago I noticed that he has developed two more of these pimples on the same fin but none on his other fins. I observe him daily and he seems fine otherwise, he eats like a horse and uses his fin in a Normal fashion. Also I should probably mention that he is currently the only fish in the tank (125 Gal) and the rockwork is secured in a stable fashion and the heater is in the sump so I've ruled out rockwork injury, tankmate harassment and heater burn. IM STUMPED and I don't want to medicate him with anything until I find out if that's the best way to proceed. Any help you can offer or direct me too ( I live in Cleveland Ohio) would be appreciated. Also here is some info about his tank/ Diet that might be useful. Temp : 78.8 Degrees What I feed him pH : 8.1-8.2 Freeze dried Krill Ammonia : 0 Clams Nitrite 0 Shrimp Nitrate 40 PPM Oysters Scallops Mussels Crayfish (one a month as a treat) PS- I realize that you are a very busy person but If you would like any additional information Please feel free to call me Collect at 216-295-8309 at your convenience. Thanks you. Sincerely, Ricardo Nims >> Thank you for writing. This is one of my favorite (to photograph and keep) puffers... and have seen the spots you describe in wild and captive specimens... I suspect that they are due either to physical traumas (running into something while energetically wafting its fins trying to get your attention) or some sort of internal protozoan complaint... At any length, I think what you have done/are doing is fine... varying the diet, using the multi-vitamin, and keeping the tank in order. In other words, I would not worry about this "problem" as I don't think it will persist, or cause the Mappa puffer any harm. Bob Fenner

Pouty Puffer <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a starry puffer which I bought three days ago. He has lost his color and has slime on his body and gills. <not a specific symptom, although does indicate irritation of the skin by water quality or parasite most likely. In the future, please use a quarantine tank for all new livestock. It saves money and fishes lives. Chances are that you could be looking at an impending parasite infection but it can't be determined without more information. Please do not knee-jerk and (over) medicate on an educated guess. Look for tiny spots or dots on the skin, scratching or glancing, or any other unusually behavior or symptoms to share.> He has stopped eating and is very sluggish in his movements. <no worries just yet. Did it eat at all in your tank and if so what?> I have taken a sample of the water to a marine shop and it tested fine. <Please report the exact water quality readings that you got. "Fine" is a relative description of water quality... partly dependant on the competency of a LFS store employee that may have sold you the fish (if you get what I mean)> I have a porcupine puffer in the same tank and he is OK. <means little... different fishes have different tolerances for toxins and disease> Can you offer any advice please. Regards, Dan <aside from the above requests... please read a good book or two like the Conscientious Marine Aquarist to become better informed about selecting fish, quarantine and many other aspects of good aquarium husbandry. Anthony>

Re: stars and stripes puffer problem Bob, From the information provided it sounds as if the puffer is stressed or something is picking on him when no one is looking as evident by the "flip-flop" when something touches him. Another possibility would be the start of either a parasitic or bacterial infection. With a tank this crowded with no protein skimmer, UV sterilizer, there is such a potential for disease secondary to stress, increased bacterial and parasitic load, decreased oxygen available, the list goes on................. <Yes> It is so hard to say what the exact problem is when trying to base it on the information provided. I would first get the puffer out of the crowded tank and into a quieter tank where he will not be as stressed and can eat without a crowd. Then observe for any signs of infection or parasites and then proceed as necessary. Puffers can be like humans and pout or go on hunger strikes when they are not happy or something is wrong and if there is an observed change in behavior - something IS wrong. Hope this helps. Kelly aka Puffer Queen <Yes, thank you for your help Kel. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer problem
Dear Bob, I emailed you yesterday about my stars and stripes puffer. He seems to be worse off today then yesterday. He seems to be suffocating and very lethargic. I don't see any white or black infestation, in fact I see nothing other than his strange behavior. The other fish are fine, but he is definitely dying. He was floating and staying near the water reservoir and was having his skin sucked in slightly. Now he sits on the sand, seeming to cough horribly. What should I do to help him? <Move this fish to other quarters, "stat" as the saying goes. NOW> Is it bad to leave him in the tank? <Yes... bad for this specimen, bad for the other livestock... bad for you> I remember having these shrimp-like creatures in the back of the tank in a water receptacle for the BioFiltration system, but I don't see them anymore, could they have caused this? <No... Please see the response below from yesterday. I am sending this one on our "Puffer Queen" as well. Bob Fenner> Regards, Filipe S. P.S - Thanks much for the help! <Did you read this response from Kelly?>
Re: Puffer problem
Thanks, but alas, my poor puffer died... And now I guess I may be a bit paranoid because I see small clusters of white on my porcupine puffer. No other fish have any strange symptoms. So I presume I need to buy a protein skimmer A.S.A.P. What else can I do to fix this, and what type of infection do you think this is?  <Improve water quality... the "infection" is very secondary in cause, problems here> The porcupine is not acting strangely, rather it is going up and down the corner of the tank as always. I definitely see white spots on his fins, and I do not remember seeing them on him before. Is this an ich? Thanks Bob and the Puffer Queen, Regards, Filipe S. <Please read through the marine puffer materials archived on WetWebMedia.com and the various sections on troubleshooting, water quality. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer problem
I agree water quality should be at the top of the list for further prevention of problems. But as for the porcupine puffer, he needs to be put in a quarantine tank and treated for the "white clusters". He may not show symptoms at the present but the "clusters" are causing the puffer stress and this will weaken his immune system so he may not be able to fight off the parasites or any opportunistic bacteria. Also if there is a weak or sick fish in the tank, the stronger ones may pick on it - "Survival of the fittest" and cause further stress and disease. Good Luck. Hope this helps. Kelly - "Puffer Queen" <Thank you again Kelly. Will post for others benefit. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer sick? Is it normal for a porcupine puffer to lay on the bottom of the tank? <for brief periods of time, but not for long> I have a 55 gal. tank and he's only been in there for about 3 days. <this fish is stressed, sick or both> The first day he was swimming around enjoying himself and now he just lays in the corner and barely moves. I was wondering if you had any ideas as to why he's been doing this. <they are known for being susceptible to parasites... please review the FAQs on this species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm  and especially the disease sections:http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm  I also suspect that you did not quarantine this ich prone species first. Please also review quarantine procedure in the archives:http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > Thanks, Jaci <best regards, Anthony>

Puffer blotchiness I saw your response to someone else about puffer blotchiness and formalin dips. I have a black-spotted puffer (meleagris), and he frequently 'rests' during the day under a rock ledge and gets very splotchy. Sort of a night/fright mode that other fish have, but he does this periodically during the day.  <actually quite normal for many dogface puffers...agreed. And not a problem if not accompanied by the other symptoms mentioned in the previous post (closing one gill while pumping the other... and a splotchiness that really is mucous or turbid... not just a color change)> Is this something that should not happen ? It goes away once he swims out from under his ledge though, so I don't think its parasitic. I always thought it was a normal skin discoloration reaction when they were 'resting'. I've had him for 2.5 months now and he's always done this. <indeed... if you are only seeing a color change when the fish rests... it is quite normal. Do read through the disease FAQs and articles if you like to consider other parasite symptoms... but again, likely not a problem in your case.> Thanks Jim <best regards, Anthony>
Puffer blotchiness
I have also noticed that he does close one gill occasionally when swimming around and uses just one gill. It's not very often, every once in awhile when I notice. usually coming out of his sleeping/resting place. He appears normal, and is still nipping/chewing on the live rock all over the place, and I don't see any external pathogens present as of yet. . . Hmm, will have to watch the one gill thing, but it does happen often enough. <yes... very conspicuous sign of gill flukes. Not much else it can be. Larger fish invariably survive just fine with a few most of the time... smaller fish may suffer and all will suffer if a stress hits the tank and flares the pathogen count (water change with cooler water, power outage, new fish/aggression, etc). Do watch carefully and research in preparedness for treatment> Jim <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Puffer blotchiness
Not a problem, will do. However, if there are a few, shouldn't some sort of formalin dip be administered ?  <I do like short and long baths with formalin especially for scaleless fishes... it is a necessary evil> Aren't gill flukes highly contagious or something ?  <yes... contagious and hard/slow to cure> I have had gill flukes in the past (not I personally, but fish I have had :-), and usually you will see some scratching against the rocks if I remember correctly. I'll keep an eye out for sure. <heehee... yes, an eye open and your gills closed tightly> Another question though. I have an angel in quarantine right now. It's been fine for the last week or so. I have noticed that there was a white spot on its fin and attributed it to Lymphocystis. Anyway, in the last few days I've noticed the fins have become a bit more blotchy. Is this the first sign of crypto ?  <usually not... crypt is pretty conspicuously clear uniform sized grains of salt. Skin turbidity/mucus is a rather deeper burrowing parasite like Oodinium, Brooklynella, etc> I haven't seen any white spots on the body, but every time I usually have a crypto outbreak, I seem to remember some cloudy fins on the fish a week or so beforehand. Is this correct and I should start treatment sooner rather than later ? <not my experience... rather you'll notice closing one gill, pumping the other, scratching, and the like> Jim <best regards, Anthony>

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