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FAQs about True Puffer Disease: Treatments   

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

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

Avoid copper...

pH adjusted freshwater dips; sometimes w/ formalin... are efficacious for external issues

Look into Quinine compounds for Protozoans

Puffer and Cupramine          5/27/15
Hey Bob, I have a dog face puffer in a bare bottom QT for treating Ich. His eyes are a little bit cloudy but that's it for symptoms so far. My question is will 0.3 of Cupramine be enough to rid him of the parasite?
<Maybe... Tetraodontids, puffers in general don't "like" copper exposure.... often kills them w/ exposure... and Crypt can often "hide" buried deep enough in their copious mucus. Better to use Quinine compounds for Protozoan issues w/ these an many other fish groups... This is gone over on WWM
He's doing fine now on that dosage and I'm nervous to bring it up to full concentration. (0.5) Also should I keep him exposed for the full 14 days or less?
<Mmm; well... insufficient strength in equivalent of Cu++ concentration will not effect a cure period; only marginally poison fish hosts>
My other fish are in a separate QT with levels of about 0.4 and doing fine.
I just hope that's enough to kill the Ich.
<Should be>
Thanks as always,
<Need to test for [Cu] at least daily (twice if it were me/mine) and adjust (add more). Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer and Cupramine          5/27/15

Ok, I will begin filtering out the copper with poly filters. Can I still dose CP after the filters stop turning blue?
I have a container of "Fish Quine" which is CP, but it expired in 2013...
I'll have to order a new batch. I just don't like the fact that the hobbyist cannot test for it like copper; plus there are so many different conflicting views on how to properly dose it. I followed the directions during my last outbreak and killed a pearl scale butterfly. How would you dose it if you had to.?
<As posted on.... WWM>

puffer with white plaques on eyes... Plethora of set up, stocking, treatment errors 3/29/2010
I have a 150 gal. 5 week new set up.
<... too soon to be adding fishes>
Cycled with 15 pounds live rock, few damsels, and crushed coral substrate. LFS checked water and OK'ed for fish. A large Blue Dogface Puffer, had been on hold for us for 5 weeks. They said all fish have to go in at same time since he's territorial. (big mistake). in went med. Lunar Wrasse, lg. Majestic Butterfly and lg. Garibaldi.
<This last is a cold water animal. Needs to be in a different environment>
All looked well so next day in excitement and worried about territorial aggression I added med. Powder Blue Tang,
<Mistake... this species requires very well-established settings>
med. Greenbird Wrasse, small Goby, Blenny, Black and white clown and med. Purple Tang.
Two days later added corals and two anemones.
<Is this a joke?>
Then all went downhill. White salty looking crystals on tang, butterfly, garibaldi and wrasse, but all were eating.
<Likely Cryptocaryon...>
The Puffer seemed ok still eating but was squinting his eyes. I thought the anemones may have stung his eyes. I did nothing that day (I didn't know it was a bad problem). Next day everything was worse and now the Puffer's eyes had a white coating on them making it difficult for him to see. He stopped eating that day. LFS said it was Ick add CU.
<Likely the first, but the second... deadly to the corals, anemones... too toxic for the tangs, puffers>
I did, but next morning Garibaldi and Greenbird Wrasse were dead.
I started lowering the salinity and added a uv sterilizer (36 watt)
<Can't be run with copper present...>
and increasing temp. Next AM the butterfly was dead and Lunar Wrasse died next AM. I then came across literature that read Puffers are to sensitive to CU.
<Ahh... yes>
His skin never appeared to have the white salty crystals on it but each day his eyes had another layer of white plaque added to them. Today is day three of it and he can't see and has not eaten in this many days. I bought
and moved him to a 40 gal hospital tank with external aqua clear filter.
Added penicillin and Bifuran plus (Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone).
<? What for?>
At first I thought his eye problem was from the ?Ick. But two days in the copper water yielded no improvement.
<Actually added to the opacity>
Perhaps its secondary bacterial?
All the smaller fish are still in main tank and showing no signs of stress and are still eating. We are so attached to
the puffer, (would visit him several times a week over the six weeks prior to getting him). I know it is my ignorance that has caused all of this.
<You are correct here>
We are desperate to heal the Puffer and prevent any further suffering.
What is on his eyes, I cant find any info. and have been searching for days non-stop. Picture attached is from day 1 of white eyes. They are much worse now.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files above... Till you understand your current position and options. As you will find, many others have made the same errors, been faced with similar challenges. What's that saying? "Look then/before you leap"... take your time going forward. Bob Fenner>
Ick in 150 gal tank
put him in 40 gal QT
his eyes have white plaques he cant see and won't eat
Did that happen to yours
<?... Keep reading. BobF>

Thank you. I have been reading the puffer crypt link you suggested. However I find a lot of conflicting advice. Yesterday moved the puffer to the 40 gal QT with the previously mentioned meds. that you questioned. I am doing a water change today on the QT and main tank with the smaller fishes (who by the way seem fine). The puffers eyes are the same (thick white plaques).
<Likely from the treatment and Crypt>
He still cant see. CU and Formalin are to toxic for him, Quinine may not even be a proven cure.
<Is your best bet here>
Today he has a slightly mucusy stringy film coming off his skin. I am continuing to read to seek a correct cure. But am still confused as to what to medicate him with in the QT or should I give him FW baths or FW baths with meds.
<See WWM re Quinine cpd.s>
OH please help. here is a pic today. The water is yellow even after the 50% water change today from the Bifuran plus med. I put in yesterday. By the way the Penicillin was in case the white on eyes was from a secondary
bacterial infection and the Bifuran in case it was secondary fungal.
<These are of no use here>
Since it is on his eyes I cannot get a sample of it to view under microscope or test in micro. lab. at local college.
<Nor this really. Please keep reading, cogitating... and order either CP or QS... B>
re: PUFFER WITH WHITE PLAQUES ON EYES... not reading 3/30/10
I don't know what CP or QS is...
<Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm

Mappa puffer help, 2/2/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I hope you are all having a great day. I myself am having a few problems and am in need of some assistance.
I have a juvenile Mappa Puffer who is about one inch in size. When I first got her she did really well. I put her in a 10 gallon QT and she began eating quickly there after. The next day I noticed she wasn't doing so well so I checked my water and the ammonia was really high at about 1.
<Water change.>

This surprised me a great deal as I used the water from my 55 gallon tank to set it up and the ammonia in that tank tested unmeasurable.
<This is of little benefit, you need filter media or something similar to seed your tank with the proper bacteria, very little is found in the water itself.>
So I started trying to figure out why/how it got in there and I believe it was from me not cleaning my hands well.
<The ammonia? It came from the fish, see here for more
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm .>
I have ordered some aqua gloves but did have another question about ammonia.
<Gloves are a good idea, but have nothing to do with the ammonia.>
Is it possible for cigarette smoke to cause ammonia to rise in an aquarium?
My husband is a heavy smoker and works in the same room with the tank smoking all day and I was wondering if that could be adding to it?
<It definitely can cause problems, but will probably not hurt the biological filtration.>
I have some clean PVC corrugated sheeting which I was planning on using to make a cover for the tanks to help stop the smoke from entering the tank and yet leave room for some air flow. But wanted to ask you if Metal Halides would melt the PVC sheeting.
<Very well could, and will most likely be ineffective.>
Also another situation that's come up is the Mappa Puffer has Ick which I noticed at the same time I tested the ammonia so I gave her a fresh water dip but after 30 seconds to 1 min she didn't look like she was doing well.
She flopped out of the water (almost out of the container I was using) and puffer up, then sank to the bottom and her breathing slowed a great deal.
It actually looked like she was about to die. So I took her out and put her in clean salt water where she has been ever since. My question is... which method should I use to treat the Ick at this point? Copper? Something else?
Should I try using hypo salinity? I have read over your FAQs and know that you all kind of frown upon low salinity and I'm not sure if she can take the copper or other meds. Should I continue to try fresh water dips?
<I would use one of the quinine drugs here, with treatment administered in a hospital/QT tank, not in the main tank.>
She is eating (mostly she likes the New Life Spectrum flakes I use) but she will nibble at the Selcon soaked shrimp and then snub it.
<Try the NLS pellets, tend to lose water soluble nutrients slower than flakes.>
I have tried giving her squid which has the same effect as the shrimp and she won't touch any of the fish I have though that's not really a surprise.
She also tried to nibble at a few of the snails in there... though they are almost bigger than her... its kind of funny to see.
<They will eventually be lunch.>
As long as I give her hard foods like clams and other hard shelled foods in between is it ok that she mostly eats the NLS flakes? I had read on your FAQs somewhere that Bob feed almost exclusively NLS foods to his fish so I am hoping this wont be a problem.
<NLS is a great food, I too use it as a staple, only occasionally feeding frozen foods.>
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Re: Mappa puffer help, 2/3/10
Hi Again,
I went looking for a quinine med but the only one I was able to locate was Tetra Pond which is for well... ponds. Its active ingredients are formaldehyde and quinine hydrochloride and it says 10 ml per 50 gallons is the dose. So my question is though its for ponds is it ok that I use this for my fish (Mappa Puffer)?
<No, you should look for Quinine Sulfate or Chloroquine phosphate, both are available online.>
Other fish which are most likely infected though in different tanks are Blue Tang, True Perc, Yellow Tail Damsel, Raccoon B/F. Can all of these fish be treated with this? If not which one would you suggest?
<All can be treated with this, it is generally well tolerated by fish, but highly toxic to many invertebrates so best to treat outside the main tank.>
Thank you once again for your time.

Sick Dogface Puffer; swollen jaw -- 04/30/08
Hello, my name is Jon.
<Hi Jon.>
I have a dogface puffer, now in a quarantine tank. He has a severely swollen jaw, and is not looking well. I dosed the tank with E.M. Erythromycin
<Does not work for most marine bacterial infections.>

, and was hoping you knew what was wrong with him and what should be done next.
He is normally kept in a 40G acrylic tank, with a sump / wet dry filter.
<Too small. While you may be able to keep the water quality with water changes, this small tank will affect such a puffer psychologically, impair its immune system.>
I do my water changes regularly, and my nitrates are below 20ppm and the pH is kept at 8.2.
He is the only fish in the tank, other than a Clark's Clownfish. This one is the third one I've had that has cropped up with this disease now, and I've had him just over a month. On the other two puffers, the puffed up spot was in different places (one had it on his back, the other on his jaw like this one).
<I guess the dead puffers have not been examined? Would have been extremely helpful now'¦>
The system was bought new, and I've never used copper or any other medications in the tank.
<So the system is new'¦ and the substrate, water, rock, filter material? If they are new, too, are the puffers from a common source/shop? If so, I'd inform them about this disease. Find out were the disease came from.>
My aquarium reads these parameters right now:
Nitrate = less than 20ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Carbonate Hardness = 90ppm
Calcium = 415ppm
Phosphate = 0ppm
pH = 8.2
<Sounds ok.>
And the quarantine tank (cycled, with a backup filter):
Nitrate = less than 10ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Carbonate Hardness = 100ppm
Calcium = 400ppm
Phosphate = 0ppm
pH = 8.2
<Sounds ok, too.>
He has just been going downhill since I noticed the disease. Please help me out!
Thank you, Jon
<I'd start using an antibiotic for gram negative bacteria, especially if the erythromycin shows no effect. Maracyn II is such a product. Also try to find out how this disease was transmitted, feed vitamin enriched food and consider having this puffer in a significantly larger tank in the long run. Good luck. Marco.>

Puffer... Crypt, med., stkg. mistakes  11/19/07 I have a puffer that is like a mappa...I sent in pictures and y'all gave me a few possibilities. ANYWAY I have it in a new tank around 2 months old and it developed Ich. due to stress ( a cryserus <Chrysurus? The angel?> and grouper issues) I took the grouper out an began treating the tank with Quick cure. <... a huge mistake. You put formalin in a main display?> The tank is a 120 with a doss skimmer and fluidized sand filter. it has live rock <Had> in it with the angel a wrasse and a Huma. The quick cure worked the Ick spots have gone away <Uh, no> but the eyes are a bit cloudy and I am noticing that it is breathing a lot more with one side of his gills than the other a very noticeable difference.( like you can see in the gill of one and the other is almost closed) ITs appetite is still the same. I have a little ammonia spike going on in between a .00 an .25 and treating with AmQuel + any suggestions? <Yes...> We love this guy <Again... no, not by my definition of love... IF something is loved, one does their best to look after it for its sake... Not here> he is great and would hate to loose <... lose> him. Thanks Marcus <... you've poisoned your mis-stocked, over-crowded system... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptformcures.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: puffer 11/19/07 I understand that you are one of the leading fish experts in the country but you are assuming a lot of things and you know what assuming does. Where do you get my system is overstocked. I have a fluidized sand filter that is meant for a 300 gallons and very efficient protein skimmer not to mention a 57 watt sterilizer. Again ITs a fish only with Rock in it. I could care less about if its "alive" or not. WITH ONLY 4 fish in it. <... read re these animals natural habitats, size of system requirements... IS psychologically crowded now... Will be physiologically soon> Sorry you are having a bad morning but the reason for all my cluttered typing on the previous email is that due to me not loving my fish I read your website for 3 hours looking for something to help and it was really late for me. P.S. If I wanted a grammer <grammar> lesson I would asked Calfo (the educated one) for help. You do not have permission to publish any of my emails to you. <Live, and hopefully learn. BobF>

Puffer in Quarantine   6/21/07 Hi Bob and Crew; First, of course, I want to thank you for the service that you provide to the Aquarium Hobby. As a refresher, the tank is 90 Gal FOWLR, Corner Overflow with a Tidepool 2 Sump, Tunze DOC 9005 Skimmer in sump (not collecting much skimmate), Prizm Skimmer in tank (actually working very well). Tank, being repopulated after sitting fallow for 6 weeks following an Ich outbreak, currently contains only a 10 inch Snowflake Moray. I currently have a Dog face puffer in quarantine (only 20 gal), where s/he has been for about 12 days. I feed the Puffer every other day, with a feeding stick, so nothing remains in the tank uneaten. The problem I am having is keeping Nitrates down in the QT tank, even with daily 50% - 75% water changes. In fact, the DFP chooses to "poop" right after the water change, which doesn't help the Nitrates. Based on the fact that the Puffer appears free of external parasites, but must be suffering from the Nitrates, would you curtail the QT and add him/her to the display, or would you wait 30 days? Thanks Again. Roy <I would end the quarantine, dip this fish in transit and place this Tetraodont. BobF>
Re: Puffer in Quarantine   6/21/07
Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. When I got home last night, much to my chagrin, I notice Ich on the DPF's Dorsal and Pectoral fins in the QT tank! S/he had been perfectly clean, but maybe because of the stress of the high Nitrates? <Maybe a factor... but the Crypt would have had to be present...> Since I do not want to use copper, I gave the DFP a PH adjusted Freshwater Formalin dip, while I changed the QT tank water. I then removed the carbon and treated with 2 tsp Formalin per 10 gallons? <Yikes! Way too much... see WWM re formalin use> To you think this in any way will be efficacious? I should have moved him a day sooner! <Ah, decidedly NOT! You would have introduced the asymptomatic infestation! RMF> Roy
Re: Puffer in Quarantine
Bob, The Kordon's Formalin 3 Bottles says that it can be used up to double the usual dosage of 1 tsp per 10 gallons. I actually used something closer to 1 1/2 Tsp per 20 Gallons. <... Please read where you were referred to... 37% stock soln... too much... DO increase aeration, DO keep an eye on the animals exposed...> Has anyone ever had luck with nosickfish Ich cure, aside/since last posted in FAQ? I wouldn't use it in my display, but id it works in the QT the $52.00 may be worth it. Roy <See our notes re... the search tool, indices. RMF>
Re: Puffer in Quarantine
Bob, Thanks again, When I saw him last night all the spots on his fins were gone <... likely just cycled off...> and he was actually hungry for the first time since I got him. He had one remaining embedded cyst that came of this morning after doing a 50 percent change and re-dosing appropriately. My tank sat fallow for 8 weeks, and reintroduced my snowflake (which was treated for Ich in the qt while the display sat) 4 weeks ago. Since I originally used water from my display for my quarantine tank, it is conceivable that my display still has a sub clinical infestation (the moray does not look or act infested, although the Ich could have come in with the Puffer (he looked clean and was dipped before QT). <Is possible> Based on this I was thinking of adding the Puffer to the display as soon as all external signs are gone, <Please... stop... READ re Cryptocaryon life cycle... on WWM, elsewhere... You do NOT want an ongoing infested system...> immediately breaking down the QT tank, sterilizing it, and re-preparing and cycling with non-display water, so I would have it available immediately if I needed to either let the display sit fallow one more time, or nuke it and start it up again. <No sense... you won't be able to safely add any more fish life to your display system> Since it isn't unusual to have some parasites in an otherwise healthy system, since I keep up my husbandry, healthy specimens should stay that way. I only plan to add a 3 or so specimens of a smaller shoaling species when I find something that can coexists with the snowflake and puffer? Does this idea have any merit or am I just rationalizing a way to add a possibly diseased specimen to my display. Indebted as always, Roy <Have just skipped down... Read. BobF> Re: Puffer in Quarantine   6/25/07 Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. When I got home last night, much to my chagrin, I notice Ich on the DPF's Dorsal and Pectoral fins in the QT tank! S/he had been perfectly clean, but maybe because of the stress of the high Nitrates? Since I do not want to use copper, I gave the DFP a PH adjusted Freshwater Formalin dip, while I changed the QT tank water. I then removed the carbon and treated with 2 tsp Formalin per 10 gallons? To you think this in any way will be efficacious? I should have moved him a day sooner! Roy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm and the linked files above. BF>

I have a quick question about hyposalinity and my dog face puffer   5/19/07 Hey guys, great site! I have a quick question about hyposalinity and my dog face puffer. He has come down with a case of Ick (lucky... he is the only one), <Ah, no... your system is infested... all fishes "have"... Just sub-symptomatically at present> so I moved him from his 100 gallon main tank to a 30 gallon with live sand and rock (worried about ammonia here as he is a pretty big guy). Right now I have the spg at around 1.019. I know that copper is not a good treatment for him as he is scaleless, but I also know that hyposalinity can kill too, (not to mention it's not always a permanent solution to Ick). <Agreed> I was wondering if I should A: leave him in his QT with normal salinity and give him FW dips <No...> or B: slowly bring salinity down to 1.010 and risk killing biological filtration? <Not either...> Maybe I should try a different cure? <Bingo!> Also, I will be moving in two weeks. My plan is this: remove all livestock from 100 gallon (wrasse, niger trigger, df puffer who is in qt, and two damsels) and put into qt tanks for 45 days. This should kill any Ick that might be lurking in my sand/rock, right?   <Maybe> Then my plan is to give everyone (except the puffer) a one week <Not long enough...> copper treatment (preventative strike), bag them up, and move them 20 minutes down the road to my new place. I would then put them back (one every two days starting with the puffer) into the newly re-set main tank. Do you think that will prevent them form getting Ick? Thanks, and any advice you want to throw in would be helpful!                                                                   -Jay <I do have helpful advice... For you to READ what is posted on WWM... For Crypt and in particular Puffers and Crypt... Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm scroll down to the royal blue line... Bob Fenner>

Puffers and copper  2/6/06 It says on your site not to ever treat puffers with copper. <Some folks say...>   I had my  tank at better than 1.5ppm (CopperSafe) for 3 months and my map and dogface are  no worse for the wear as far as I can tell.  I just bought a starry puffer  who was doing great the first day but now seems a little lethargic and not eager to eat.  My copper level is at 1.0 (less than a true therapeutic dose) but  I'm concerned that it may be effecting his health. <... sub-therapeutic doses do more harm than good> I'm going to get all  the copper out of my tank once I get a golden puffer but I don't want to invite another Ich infection before that.  Your input would be appreciated.   Greg <Quarantine, don't crowd... Bob Fenner>
Re: puffers and copper... poor water quality  2/6/06
Also, My starry puffer's skin is pealing off.  I have a 400  gallon tank with: PH-8.3 nitrite 0 ammonia 0 nitrate -80 (I can't seem to keep this under control) Thanks, Greg <The nitrate and what it indicates (other metabolite accumulation) are your root problem here. Fix... see WWM re Nitrates... Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer is shriveling and shrinking Hello, I have been coming and reading your many of the answers to my questions on your website and it has been extremely helpful. My dogface puffer is in trouble. He was suffering from Ich. I put him in a hospital tank and began treating him with Formalin-3. <Very toxic as am sure you're aware> First, my water levels are fine. He is in a 10 gal hospital tank. Before treating I would do a 40-50% water change. I followed the directions on the bottle for medicating the hospital tank. I used natural light. I get plenty of natural light in the room where the tank is. I did this for 7 days. He was doing great!  The Ich appeared to be gone and he was eating well. He was very active and doing fine. On day eight, I stopped the treatment. Tested water. ammonia <2 ppm, 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites. On day eight, he stopped eating. He looks as though he suffered a stroke. His eyes are sunken. Caudal fin is folded in and it seems he can't seem to unfold. He looks frightening thin and shriveled/shrunken. He tries to open his caudal fin and it seems painful for him. The stomach is extremely inverted and shrunken. He is losing his color and becoming blotchy.  What could be wrong? I think he going to die. Should I euthanize? He looks so terrible and seems to be suffering. Help <I would hold off on euthanizing this specimen, but want to state here that I also would not treat marine fishes with formalin as anything other than an extended dip/bath... Please see here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm.  Your puffer has been poisoned... hopefully it will recover. Bob Fenner> 

Porcupine Puffer & Medications Hello there! I am hoping you can clarify something for me, we recently had a "spike" in nitrates in our saltwater fish tank. All fish came down with Ich, which has seemed to subside after several dips in freshwater & Methylene blue. <"Subside" is a good term... the causative organism is very likely still present> Now, we are running into what seems to be a fungal infection. <Very likely secondary... from the medication, handling above> Last night we noticed our porcupine puffer has severe cloud eye in both eyes and has lost his appetite, and our blue tang is coming down with same. It seems to be spreading to all fish rapidly. Last night we performed at 30% water change. I have read several articles about how to treat these things & the most common way seems to be with Maracyn 2 - my concern is that this will be hurtful to the health of the porcupine puffer, as they are "scaleless". We have also been treating with Melafix daily. <A product of more than dubious utility here... I would not use it> We are planning to start major treatments tonight. The plan is to treat with recommended Epsom salt @ 1tbs/5 gal in addition to a dosage of Maracyn 2 (all carbon has been removed). This was very sudden, we discovered that one of our test kits was inaccurate, which in return gave us the conclusion to our health problems! All other tests indicate 0: ammonia, nitrite, ph @ 8.0, nitrate @ 40. Water temp has been raised to 80 - I know there are several articles addressing different issues, my largest concern right now is the Maracyn 2 being harmful to the puffer. Thanks so much, you all are truly wonderful & a necessity to the hobby! ~The Gilmores <This Mardel product should be okay to use... do monitor your nitrogen cycle and be ready to change out large volumes of water. Bob Fenner>

Help with Dogface Puffer Hi Bob, Leslie here.  <Hi Leslie, Craig here> You helped me a while back with a tank that had unsuccessfully gone through treatment for Amyloodinium infestations on 3 successive occasions. I asked about microwaving the contents of the tank, my Dad's suggestion..... since I had tried everything else I could think of to kill the darn bug. <I can relate to the desperation!> Anyway...... I have had my Dogface Puffer for about 6 weeks. He is a real looker. Pitch Black with clear black speckled fins and a white caudal fin with black speckles. Several weeks ago he developed some of what I believe to be Ich spots on his pectoral and dorsal fins. I saw him flash a couple of times, nothing continuous. He developed an occasional spot on his body which have disappeared. This is a FO tank 50g. I know small for him, but he is only 4" at this time. I have plans for a bigger tank. The thought of investing in a huge tank for this fish, after all those tank crashes didn't seem to sensible. I figured I will get the BIG tank if I can keep him alive long enough to need one. I hope not a stupid mistake. At the suggestion of a highly respected published friend in the marine community I have been using something called OST....osmotic shock therapy. Are you familiar with this? If so what are your feelings about using it prophylactically in a Q tank as well as to treat parasites?  <Lowered SG in conjunction with copper and temp raised to 83F in a QT is the preferred treatment. This is fine if done over time....days.> The recommended specific gravity for FO tanks is 1.010. for 3 to 4 weeks. So I had this guy at that specific gravity for about 3 weeks, when I slowly slowly increased the specific gravity to 1.018 the spots began to appear. He otherwise looks and acts very healthy. The spots have been quite stubborn. I panicked at first because the Amyloodinium outbreaks started like this. I have since increased the temp of the tank....slowly to 80 to 81 degrees, fed garlic laced food and treated the tank with a product called Stop Parasites. The spots look about the same. One of the spots on the pectoral fin is a bit bigger, perhaps looking like 4 or 5 coalescing spots, but not as bright as the other spots. On that fin there is a tiny area at the fin tip directly in line with the bigger spot, that looks like it is worn away, just a very small area. I placed a 15w UV unit with a 90gph flow rate on the tank 3 days ago and FW dipped him last night for 15 min. He did very well......not even phased by it. They look a bit better today. Is it possible this is not Ich or perhaps something in conjunction with Ich? What else would you recommend I do for him. Thank you so much for your help :) Leslie <Yes, remove to quarantine tank and treat with copper @0.25 ppm free copper as above. For more on this go to WetWebMedia.com and enter "copper" into the google search. I wouldn't advise any of the stop parasite type treatments. Craig>

Dogface Tummy Ache? My dogface was sick and is still sick, think velvet ( little white spots, but been treating for ick with copper sulfate) and he did not eat for a month and a half . Finally he ate some lettuce and then  little fishes(10) and then two days later he ate some live brine. I was told that since he went for so long without eating that his stomach would deteriorate and if he did eat  after so long it would kill him. <Hooey> Well my puffer eats and now he seems to be lazy, turning dark, just sitting on a rock some them swim some, and just looking very ill. DO you think he will make it and what advice do you have for me?  
<<Copper exposure effects all... RMF>>
We gave him a few freshwater baths and in the bottom of the clear tub you could see little grains of yellowish color stuff about the size of grated pepper or large salt. <Much of your puffers problem is environmental. Given a proper environment and diet your puffer should improve. You don't mention your treatment length, copper levels, water parameters, etc. Please go to the google search at the bottom of WetWebMedia.com and type in "dog face puffer", "disease" and "quarantine". Follow all of the links and read the FAQs. All of the information you need is at your fingertips!  Craig>
Re: dogface puffer (please help)
I have nothing but problems with this puffer. OK, salinity is .20 <.20?  What unit of measure are we using?> and nitrite and ammonia are fine as well. Just added small a LIONFISH and was wandering if the lion could sting the puffer? <doubt it, although puffers are known to pick on/at lions.> The puffer has had white spots on his fins and cloudy eyes. First treated with copper then treated with antibacterial. Well he started eating again ( picky)  but came home today and found him w/ a large bump on his lower jaw. Kinda under on the side. He looks like he has a small pimple ( just one) on his upper belly. Did a water change about a 3 weeks ago and fixing to do one again . Would a fresh water dip help this problem? <possibly> And what is with that bump under his chin? When I put feeder fish in there he will go after them slowly but turns a dark color right of the bat. Is my fish on the verge of death, I hope not . I have invested a lot of money in fixing him but nothing seems to be working. When I first got him about 2 months ago he had a near death experience. Could this be the cause for his troubles? <stress in the past, never fully recovered? possible.> Sorry this is long , but the fish has got me aggro. <Imagine how he feels.> Thanks for the help! <This fish should be moved to quarantine and treated there.  Freshwater dips will help, try adding some Quick Cure or something similar (malachite & formalin) to the dip.  If you have any more questions please let us know, and please provide your water parameters, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, etc, the more info the better. Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferFAQs.htm  >
<<Copper poisoning and inappropriate stocking. RMF>>

Dogface puffer Hi, I have a dogface puffer and I noticed his skin is discolored throughout his whole body. He appears to be blotchy and the blotchy areas are very light.  <hmmm... is the fish new? Often puffers secrete a lot of mucus and as such attract debris. Still... be observant in the near future/days for the chance of disease> He is eating well and is swimming around freely. I also noticed what appear to be very very tiny white things, about 200 in number, bunched together around my heater. I want to say they are some type of parasite but not exactly sure which one? They swim around the tank freely as well?  <definitely not a parasite... too large to be so. Most likely a wonderful and beneficial plankton from a piece of live rock> Can these guys be making my puffer look like crap?  <Certainly not> I did a 20% water change on Thursday and they haven't seem to go away. <you'll want to keep these creatures... likely copepods> My salinity is at 1.020 and my temp is 81 degrees F. I have an Amiracle PL2000 wet/dry system with a Polyfilter that I removed while treating my tank. I am on the second day of treating my tank with Oodinex as per the local fish store recommendation. Do you have any idea what the heck is going on?  <wow... not only are you targeting the wrong creatures (the plankton swarming by your heater, but the medication you have added to the display has likely contaminated your calcareous substrate (sand, gravel, live rock, coral decorations)... and puffers are scaleless fishes and VERY sensitive to medications like organic dyes. Your puffer is likely being poisoned/sickened by the meds. Do be sure to medicate all fishes in a bare bottomed quarantine tank only... never in a display tank> Will fresh water baths with Formalin 3 help? <FW dips are a very good idea and plain formalin would help... BUT any formalin product with an organic dye like malachite green or Methylene blue will again sicken the puffer> HELP! Thanks, JPK <best regards, Anthony>

New Tank Hi, <<And hello to you.>> I am writing to you on behalf my friend who has recently set up (3 months ago) a 120 gallon tank in her office. She added a black dog faced puffer three weeks ago, previous occupants were one gold domino damsel and a cleaner wrasse. Unfortunately, she did not use a QT tank and the next morning before the lights came out noticed white spots on the puffer's stomach where the cleaner was picking; these spots quickly disappeared once the wrasse moved on. Within a week, there were a few spots on the fins, however, the puffer was allowing the wrasse to clean him so we were going to monitor. The few spots on fins have not become worse or better, however, I noticed within the last two days the puffer is only pumping one gill, so this morning we did a 10 minute FW water dip. The odd thing is when I put the puffer in the FW, very white spots came out on the back/stomach area again then went away. A bunch of stuff came off the puffer, and larger whitish things too, maybe it threw up?? <<perhaps... or something from the other end... ;-) >> The puffer really began to stress out at 10 minutes, so I removed from FW dip. The puffer is still not using his gill, and I can still see a few white spots on fins and one little spot of cloudiness on the fin. I never see any other spots on body, other than the two times mentioned that seem to disappear as fast as they appear. <<This is not really abnormal for puffers - their skin is sensitive so you see these things more often.>> Also, the little damsel, has no signs of anything, however, within a few days ago has began to breath heavier and twitch a little, she opens her gills for the wrasse, but the wrasse only cleans the outside body. <<Interesting, but keep the faith - damsels and puffers are quite resilient.>> We went out last night and purchased her a 20 gallon QT tank to get her through this and so she can QT her fish in for a few weeks before releasing into the 120 gallon. <<Good plan.>> I took 15 gallons of water out of my 72 gallon reef which has been set up for a year, and has not had any new additions from for 4 months. I added 5 new gallon mix as well. I tested the water this morning and there are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates 20, ph 8.3, alk 2.5. <<Sounds like it's ready to go.>> We are going to try and catch the damsel, (which will be hard as this is a FOWLR tank) and the puffer tonight. I thought of using copper in QT tank for the damsel, but, I know I cannot use that with the puffer's scaleless skin. <<Actually, you can, you just need to be cognizant of the fact that the copper will irritate the puffer and cause stress, but probably not more so than the disease already is. If you do choose to use copper, do stay within the recommended dose. If this concerns you, stick with the freshwater dips, perhaps one every other day. These fish are very hardy and should be able to tolerate this regimen.>> I will continue the FW dips daily, but, I feel we will need some medication either in FW dips, or placed in QT tank. <<You could also use formalin or a formalin/malachite green mix like Quickcure.>> Right now all fish are in main tank because, I needed to get water tested in QT tank first. <<I wouldn't be concerned about this if you are set on dosing medications in the QT tank. Reason being that a biological filter would be well-challenged to develop in this situation. Best to know you are in-line for water changes every day in quarantine - perhaps 10-25% daily.>> Please help me with a plan of action.. both fish are absolutely beautiful and we really want them to be ok and need help with treating both simultaneously. Also, please lend advice on the main tank. should we leave alone for 4 weeks with no host or will she need to do hypo salinity? <<I would go for six weeks, and dropping the salinity to 1.018 - 1.019 for a week or two during that time would help as would raising the temperature to about 82F or so.>> As always thanks, Nikki <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Brown blotches on A. hispidus <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> Hello - I just found this site and read a bunch of the old Q&As. Also did some other research and I'm still confused about my sick stars & stripes puffer. I've had him a month, and he puffed up about 2 weeks ago when a bunch of people came by the house. Shortly after, I noticed some brown blotches on his face. They've grown slowly, and now there are some white blotches on his tail. Sometimes in the morning some stringy mucous stuff is hanging on his tail and body. <<These two things, the blotches and the mucus may not be related. Puffers change their color all the time, from light to dark and back again. The mucus may not be such a good sign... something in the tank perhaps stressing it. What else do you have for tank inhabitants?>> He's been eating all right, but this morning he was breathing really heavy so I moved him to a 10 gallon hospital tank. I added some copper because from what I had read it seemed he had a parasite. <<None of the signs you mentioned specifically mean parasites. Breathing heavy in puffers is not all that infrequent - they often take breaks and seem to "sigh", big deep breaths that make it look like they're having trouble when in fact they are just taking a break. Breathing very fast on the other hand, could be parasites in the gills. The copper is not necessarily your best, first choice when treating a puffer... their smooth skin and lack of scales make them especially sensitive to the condition of the tank water, and the copper is a major irritant for them.>> Now I'm not so sure what to do next. <<I would start with pH-adjusted, freshwater dips - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  >> I'm at work and want to go home to make sure he's still alive! Thanks for any help. Your book "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" got me started - great work! Brian  <<Ahh, Bob will appreciate your kind words. Cheers, J -- >>

Puffer problems Hello, gentlemen.  <Cheers, dear... Anthony Calfo in your service> Alas, I have to call on you yet again for advice. <our pleasure to try to help> I've had my dogface puffer for several weeks now, but he's just not quite acting right. He has a voracious appetite  <lots of hard shelled foods, right? Shell on shrimp, crabs, crayfish... all a must for nutrition and tooth wear> and loves to pick at my live rock, but occasionally he gets all splotchy and 'curls up' and rests under one of the powerheads or the return. He also occasionally closes one of his gills for a few minutes at a time.  <yes... easily could be evidence of a parasitic attack> At one point, before he ate all the Caulerpa, he would approach a 'root' of Caulerpa and deliberately lodge it in his gill and then just sit there for a few minutes. <hmmmm?> Obviously, something is bothering him, but he has no spots and has been acting like this for quite a while.  <no spots needed if gill fluke or tiny protozoans...> I feed him Garlic Elixir on a daily basis <hmmm... a lot of people standing in line behind me to tell you that garlic is weakly effective or entirely useless for fishes...> and have given him several freshwater dips for 10-15 minutes at a time,  <now that was an excellent idea!> but he has not improved -- not gotten any worse, though, either. I really don't want to copper him, and I've read conflicting info on using copper and metallic dyes on scaleless fish.  <no contest... can't and should not use on this puffer> Is there anything else I can try without resorting to medicating him in a quarantine tank?  <it is my advice alas since the long FW dips have not helped... this parasite is deep in the flesh> Perhaps an extended freshwater dip or a medicated dip?  <you may try medicating more baths (5-7 in 7 days) with Formalin... double strength as per manufacturers recommendation for a tank dose> Thanks in advance for your help. By the way, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all at 0, pH is 8.2, temp is 78, sg is 1.023. My three other fish in the tank are doing great. <all reasonably good. You may wish to lower the salinity slightly (increased O2 if nothing else) and raise the pH slightly 8.3+> Karen <best regards, Anthony>
Puffer problems
Thanks so much, Anthony! How long should I leave my puffer in the Formalin dip?  <simply for the duration of your normal FW dip... 10-15 minutes is long but recommended in this case (I agree with your decision)> Also, can you tell me why Bob's book recommends copper for puffers? <indeed... as aquarists we all have different perspectives and often a recommendation must be made at times on a case by case basis. I would agree that puffers are VERY hardy among scaleless fishes and for a common white spot infection (Crypt) copper may be short and sweet and tolerable. However, since you have not mentioned clear white spots and have informed us that you are seeing blotches and resistance to long FW baths... that tells me that the possible parasite is deep enough in the flesh (to resist FW alone) that to get enough copper in the system to kill the fish might very well kill the puffer first.> Karen <Ultimately, my best advice dear is to put the puffer in a bare bottomed QT tank for 4 weeks with more FW dips and short and long Formalin baths. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick puffer I had a question before and you seemed to help....once again I need some help. I have a orange tail puffer, he hasn't eaten in 15 days (3 days in main tank, 12 days in hospital tank) I've treated twice with marcyn2 and Piperazine (anti parasite/ dewormer) still not eating I've tried all kinds of food, he swims by it but wont eat it what can I do, will he die????? <have you tried small live shrimps? Even live brine temporarily to jump start the stomach?> I'm getting hopeless, I only have one other fish, a clown and today he has a whitish film in a circle on his lower jaw (should I worry) <hmm... possibly and ectoparasite/protozoan... why the range of sickness over so many weeks? Are there temperature fluctuations of more than a couple of degrees between night and day... do check for such swings (not just the temp at the same time every day)> My two other fish in the tank died, so should I get new fish this soon? they all seem to get parasites. I don't know about the puffer or the clown? <hmmm... do invest in a 10 or 20 gallon hospital tank (read about quarantine tanks in the WWM archives on this site). It is really critical that all new and sick fish be quarantined to avoid problems such as this> 55 gal fish only Fluval 304 ph 8.3 sal. 1.019 dual flour. strip please any help on what to do? Bryan <any medication necessary can/should be done in QT. Do check to see if the recent meds have not wreaked havoc on your biological filter (test for pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate) Best regards, Anthony>
Re: sick dogface puffer?
Anthony, Yesterday morning I woke up and noticed that there was one little white dot on his dorsal fin. I thought to just watch it and see what happens. <yes... wise to see if air bubble(s) or not> Throughout the day he started to develop them scattered throughout his body, including one gill and one eye. He is eating well and his eyes are clear. The Huma trigger also started to get white dots on his dorsal fin as well.  <common Ich (crypt)... do review archives on treatments and especially freshwater dips. Just know that the puffer cannot take copper well or organic dyes... hence, FW dips are best... but do bag and release under water for fear of him gulping air> I called the fish store and they told me to raise my temp to 82 degrees and drop my salinity to 1.018,  <both must be done VERY slowly! temp 2F daily... salinity .oo2 daily> and treat the tank with CopperSafe and Maracyn-Two.  <that is not the best advice you could have been given... the puffer is scaleless and copper sensitive. CopperSafe is also weakly effective and must be dosed and tested for 1-2 times daily (did they sell you a test kit at least?!?!) and the Maracyn 2 is a synthetic tetracycline... and antiquated and arguably useless drug IMO> so I did last night. this morning, he had a few more white dots scattered and tonight when I came home he now has clusters or patches of white dots mainly on his rear end region on the side with a few more on his fins near his gills. The Huma looks clean. I did a freshwater dip for 5 minutes with the puffer tonight hoping this will help him. HELP!!!!! <you are doing fine... FW dips daily of 5-10 minutes each for 5-7 times in next week may effect cure without any meds. A bare-bottomed QT tank would be best though> Jason <best regards, Anthony>
Re: sick dogface puffer?
Anthony, the puffer is getting better, the dots are really only concentrated to the cluster patches, all the scattered dots are almost gone.  <ahhh, very good to hear!> Can all fish get fresh water dips?  <almost every marine fish in our hobby can be FW dipped with rare exceptions. FW dips can be used more safely than any other therapeutic treatment including and especially copper. Some known sensitive fishes include Firefish, jacknives, hi-hats, drumfish, cowfish. Also, wrasses try to jump a lot when FW dipped but rest assured that they can tolerate it well> should I dip the Huma as well? <yes, please... and triggers are VERY tolerant of FW dips!> thanks, Jay <best regards, Anthony>
Too late, he is gone. I brought him and a water sample to the local salt water aquarium shop and they tested the water and all seemed good, even the phosphates were back to normal. The guy said that he had symptoms of a bacterial infection and that I just waited too long to get him medicated. I purchased a new piece of poly filter just in case the one I already have is too old and have put it in there. I don't have a skimmer but will go and get one this weekend. This tank has been fine for over a year with these fish in there, this being my first problem with it, and just going on vacation sent it plummeting. I miss him already. Do I have to leave the tank empty (with the exception of the eel) for a while? <Sorry to read of your loss... and yes, best to wait a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish/Puffer Blotchiness Yes, using Cupramine and testing twice a day. Holding it at 0.4, salinity at 1.015 just to make it easier.  <heavy on the copper IMO> I haven't continued the dips, but will look at seeing if I can do another one.  <that are FAR more effective than copper against a much wider scope of parasites... please dip more> Was hoping to determine what the pathogen is/was and then continue.  <I wish I could help, but sight unseen is difficult to diagnose> I haven't seen that Amyloodinium or Brooklynella was visible, but have heard that flukes are. But flukes are supposedly long and thin when they fall out of the gills and don't really affect the fins.  <you have much better vision that I do... most people could not easily spot a gill fluke (understatement)> So yes, I am a bit stumped as I plainly saw white little spots coming off of him. Literally just appearing out of nowhere and hanging off of his fins and skin until he moved a bit and shook them off. They were floating in and on top of the water in a quantity of 100-150. He did have a few spots on one of his eyes, and those fell off as well. Perhaps a crypto infection restricted to the gills - so not as visible ? But my understanding is that crypto doesn't really hit the gills until the last stages. . <Not always the case> May try another 5-10 minute dip.  <5 minutes minimum> He doesn't lazily swim around, but kind of turns his face a stressed out blue, and lies on the bottom and doesn't move.  <still doesn't sound bad to me... as a wholesaler, I have FW dipped many thousands of fishes in a decade> But yes, I know spitting out of the water is a very bad sign. <indeed> Jim <kind regards, Anthony>

Thank you Anthony (Golden Puffer) Hi Anthony! <cheers, friend> I wanted to give you my success story for helping me out with my Golden puffer. I know you get a lot of emails so I don't expect you to remember but I'm sure its nice to get to hear some of the success your fans have in the great advice you offer. <absolutely... thank you!> I had a puffer with I believe marine velvet. I put him in a hospital tank with Maracyn and freshwater dipped him five times for fifteen minutes, like you said.  <excellent... a durable fish that can benefit by these longer dips> Amazing, someone else told me to dip him for only one minute and thirty seconds and put copper in my tank.  <wow... it would have been hard to find less accurate advice short of "scrape the parasites off with a spoon!" Heehee...> I even saw some worms in the bucket after I dipped him. He is clean as a whistle now. He looks fantastic, not a speck on him. He ate a whole shrimp last night soaked in Selcon and garlic. He loved it!  <all well and good, he's on his way!> One thing. I'm not sure but he might have a slight air bubble. He spends a lot of time at the top of the tank when he rests. He is able to swim to the bottom and play around but he eventually floats to the top. It is not a noticeable bubble. I had this happen with a puffer once before that was noticeable and it rolled around but eventually resolved itself. <yes... exactly. Common and usually works itself out... but sometimes needs help> I assume even though I was careful this might have happened when dipping.  <yup> Poor puffer. He is very happy now though. But is there anything I can do about the bubble?  <yup... if you feel like it is not going to be purged easily, net the puffer (with a soft nylon cloth net... not course green mesh) and gently grip him through the net (watch your fingers!)... all done under water. Then orient the little bugger mouth upwards while it squirms. Often this will help a puffer to burp the air out. Else, you could let it out of water a bit to gulp a little more air to collect the small bubble for a bigger burp later <G>. Last ditch effort is a hypodermic needle. Do consult us further on this if all else fails. Likely not a big deal.> I cant tell you how much I appreciate your help, you saved his life, and we have bonded through this ordeal. He likes me to pet him now. My only resort to calming him while dipping. I'm letting my main tank stay at 84degrees and salinity at 1.016 and also the puffer in the hospital tank. Is this necessary and for how long? <Hmmm... after two weeks of disease free symptoms I would keep him another two weeks but I would definitely bring the temperature down very slowly to a more comfortable 78-80F. More oxygen, etc> Thanks again Anthony, You've helped me more than you know. <my pleasure! Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Dogface puffer problems! Hi Anthony, I am sorry to keep bothering you about this puffer but I really don't know what to do.  <no worries> He had ich which I treated by using CopperSafe, Maracyn 2 and fresh water baths daily (6 days) for 7 minutes each.  <excellent on the FW dips> On the fifth day of treatment, he appeared to be fine, not a sign of ich on his body! The next day I noticed what appeared to be little pimples on his sides. The next day he developed ich again with 3 dots: one on his belly fin, one on his gill, and one on his eye. I immediately did a fresh water bath when I noticed these last night. I did another FW bath this afternoon, and now at about 8pm, it seems he is starting to develop more pinhead white dots. Now there are about 8 scattered throughout his body, but the one on his eye disappeared.  <indeed some are virulent. Lets add a product like Quick Cure (Aquarium Products brand) to FW dip at double dose (this is a malachite & formalin med)> He is eating like a pig and his eyes are clear.  <excellent and helpful> I don't know what to do? I purchased an Amiracle PL 2000 wet/dry system last night with a UV sterilizer and the wet/dry,  <do research the FAQs about making the most of your UV and know that it IS NOT likely to cure such Ich infections> after setup, started to leak. I will be getting the new one at the end of this week. What do you recommend I treat my tank with to get rid of this annoying problem?  <I apologize that I cannot remember the specifics of the tank, but if there is gravel in this tank that is large part of the problem (festering cysts/larvae) and the reason why we so strongly advocate bare bottomed QT tanks (reduces the rate of infection and re-infection)> Can I use OODINEX? <hmmm... do wait, this is a rather hostile med for a scaleless fish> Please HELP!!!!!!!!! thanks for everything, Jason<nest regards, Anthony >

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