FAQs about True Puffer
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:
Related Articles: Puffers in General, Puffer Care and
Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer:
Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, True
Puffers, Freshwater Puffers,
Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John
(Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers
Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,
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,
Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers,
For big, dirty fishes puffers need clean, metabolite
scarce water quality...
Steady physical parameters... and LOTS of space,
dearth of too-active tankmates.
Sick Dog face Puffer; new, uncycled sys., NH4OH, Clown
HI everyone!! First let me say that it is AWESOME to have a
knowledgeable resource for answers to my fish questions other than
relying on the LFS for extremely biased advise. <advice> I have read
some of your forums/threads on sick
puffers and have been putting together parts from each story but I
decided to just give you my story and we can go from there.
Here's a snapshot of my tank thus far:
setup started on 1-15-14
<Less than a month ago. Is this system fully cycled?>
60 lbs live sand
70 lbs live rock ( cured or so i was told)
Octopus skimmer BH 1000 ( rated for 125 gallons)
Penguin Bio wheel 350 ( not running the bio wheels, it's just to agitate
the surface and to house any filter media I may want to add in the
future..carbon etc.) Currently nothing is in it but it's on.
3 powerheads ( not sure exact gph right this second)
Water parameters: ( tested today with API liquid test kit)
NH3: almost up to 0.25 ( i know, I know..)
Nitrates: 10 ppm
Tank inhabitants: Dog face puffer 3.5", Clown trigger juvenile 1.5",
Coral Beauty 1.5".
<... the Trigger... will get too large, mean...>
All that said, i think that the ammonia went up because i added the dog
face at the same time that I added 15 lbs of "live cured rock".
I put that in quotes because I think that it had enough die off to alter
So my puffer ( added a week ago) was very active as were
the others . Eating well, being active , no fights, no aggression.
Today my puffer isn't eating and he has changed color to that same dark
gray almost black like he does
when he goes to sleep. He's been hiding all day and hasn't come
out at all. I did a water change ( 15 gallons) and am using RODI
water. I also noticed that today the clown trigger had white speckles on
it's fins but was behaving normally. Coral beauty however is in
bad shape. She has a cloudy eye and rough around the edges looking
dorsal fin. Eating and behaving normally though.
I freaked out and used a little prime to reduce the ammonia to the less
toxic version. I know that the test will still show it so i think
that that's where Im reading 0.25 in ammonia. I have no hospital
tank and since at least one thing was wrong with all of them, I freaked
out and wanted to treat the tank. here's what I've done so far besides
Turned off skimmer
added Dr. Tim's First defense to reduce stress on fishes
added Dr. Tim's nitrifying bacteria because I figured that the live
rock, live sand, and quick start bacteria that I initially used to start
the tank, hadn't quite built up enough of a bio filter to handle the
load that I put on the tank. I read up on his stuff and it is said to
work fast and obviously couldn't hurt the situation. Let me say
too, that before i got my own test kit, that I was getting my water
tested at the LFS every other day and saw my tank go through the
nitrogen cycle BEFORE adding ANY of these fishes. Lastly I was
freaking out about the ICH potential and the cloudy eye of the Coral
Beauty, but didn't want to copper my tank so I bought some stuff called
Microbe-Lift by Herbtana that is supposed to be added to the DT to
combat a host of diseases including Ich. LFS and the bottle say
that it's natural and that it won't affect what little bacteria that I
I know what I did wrong... ( hindsight is 20/20) I increased my load too
fast too soon. But now that Im in this mess, I need to know how to
get out of it and is it too late to save my fishes?
Oh btw, I've increased the temp of my tank to 82 degrees F and am
keeping the lights off too. Is there hope or are my dog face and
the others doomed
to die for my stupidity and hastiness?
<... Don't panic! And stop feeding period... allow this
system to cycle out all ammonia. Don't change anything till.
Unknown disease in puffer.... please help
Hello Wet Web Crew,
I am hoping you can shed some light on a very disturbing disease that we
have been experiencing with some of our fish. This puffer is in an
aquarium that has been stable for a few years, with no new fish coming
or going. I have seen these lesions appear on some of our newly
introduced fish in our quarantine systems, and despite freshwater dips
with Methylene blue and an increased copper level in the system
these fish always perish a very gruesome death within 24-48 hours of
these lesions first appearing. It will attack puffers and angelfish
specifically, and doesn’t seem to bother other fish. Please
give me any insight as to what we are dealing with here and how to
handle / stop its transmission. I have a microscope available, and if I
manage to get to this fish I will try to get some skin scrapes.
Any affected fish stop feeding, appear lethargic, have these lesions of
discolored skin, which in the angels progress to bloody open wounds, the
puffers just have expanding patches of discoloration and rapid decline
until dead in 24-48 hours.
Any help appreciated,
<I have witnessed such rapid onset losses w/ this appearance; and have
attributed (guessed) them to emphysematosis ("gas bubble disease")...
Somewhere in your circulation system/s there is a site of air
entrainment... the fine bubbles going into solution, getting into the
fish/es and surfacing as these "lesions"... There are a few techniques
for detecting these sites. Otherwise, perhaps a histological work-up of
the areas mal-affected, thin sectioning, H & E staining will reveal
something else. Bob Fenner>
Dogface Puffer, hlth.
My Puffer has been a bit weird this week and not sure why.
Hope you can help.
Information as best i can.
Nothing has changed in my FOWLR tank in last 6 months. In or
!00 gallon. Oversized Tunze skimmer plus trickle filter.
5 small tankmates.
<Need to know what species>
Puffer about 5 inches. Will be getting larger tank.
Weekly 10% water changes.
Instant Ocean , D&D or Royal nature salts used. (I change
every 25kg to vary elements in my other (reef) tank).
Only 2 parameters not perfect are SPG 1.026. I am dropping to
1.024 over next few days.
Everything has been stable and fine till last weekend.
Coincidence maybe ?
<Reads like it>
But I went away for 2 days and decided not to feed fish.
First time i have done this but read it`s not a
Normally leave neighbour in charge.
Anyway Puffer instead of being very light grey has darker
speckled grey spots. Skin looks a bit like when he has blown up
and come down again...A bit wrinkled.
He is also staying in front of powerhead flow.
<... Mmm, a guess here... this fish might have gotten sucked
up against the intake...>
Then he might hide away in a cave.
Just doesn't look or act the same.
He has flashed against rocks a few times. Not a lot though and no
sign of itch.
He is eating as much as ever and looking for food every time i
approach the tank.
No problems with other fish or any in my other tank.
Both tanks running 18 months ish.
I don`t run carbon in tank but i am going to start soon from what
i have read this week.
Do you think there is a problem here ?
<Don't know for any certainty... But would ask that you
and just try to be patient... Highly likely this issue will
resolve of its own. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface Puffer
Pathogen or parasite has been suggested.
<... I see in your pix that you have a Paracanthurus tang...
It would be parasitized way ahead and worse than the
I am attaching a before and now photo to see if that could shed
<I can... there is a disturbing amount of Blue Green Algae
(reddish in this case) coating the back wall of this system. I
would make moves to reduce this. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above... where you lead yourself>
If so would quarantine and Cuprazin work ?
<I would neither move this fish, nor expose the family to
Copper compounds... please read where you were last
Sorry for rushed reply but starting to worry.
Have read lots and will continue to do so where you have
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer
Should have added , no actual intakes in tank .
All behind backboard.
Also puffers breathing seems to be getting faster.
<The steps to reduce BGA, improve water quality... B>
Re: Dogface Puffer, hlth.
Thought same about Regal myself.
Will read up on algae.
The red has been on tank wall since start up but hasn't
increased in last 9 months say but have needed a real scrape to
remove any so just decided to leave it. Thought no harm as not
<... not so. Toxic, at times very... ONLY scrape this off when
you have a plan to make a very large water change, vacuuming as
much out as you can, changing or cleaning all mechanical filter
As regards the green algae i have just increased water flow as i
had one of my powerheads greatly reduced running a nitrate
<Oh! Of what sort of make up is this? Might be the or another
source of poisoning. What in particular is the feed
The difference since yesterday is great.
Don`t know if this was the problem but will definitely take your
advice and do some more reading.
Thanks a lot again Bob
<And you, B>
Don`t know alot <no such word> about the reactor.
Just that the level of nitrates in tank is higher than what comes
out of reactor.
<Mmm... what do you feed it with... the source of carbon? Is
this a liquid prep.? Is it some sort of bead that's in the
Company in England sells many different types.
This is a link to the one i have. http://www.cleartides.com/page20.htm.
Doesn`t actually say what the media is.
<Mmm, I see that they sell a few types... Sulfur, pellet...
You should be able to tell which variety you have... Don't
know that the reactor is a culprit... as other, just as sensitive
fishes are reported as doing fine>
Read about the algae Bob and have increased water flow.
Think i need to up my lighting too. Only have 2x38w on a 100
Been told on 3 forums this is fine on FOWLR but obviously
<Depends on what you're trying to do... For just barely
lighting photosynthetic life on your rock this should be
Hope my puffer recovers (still eating today). Do i just leave him
and hope time (and water) heals ?
<Is what I would do yes>
And lastly how soon do i need to scrape algae from tank ?
<... better again for you to read, come to understand the
several approaches to BGA control... develop and incorporate a
Bit apprehensive about this job. Will it die off in time if left
<Mmm, more likely your livestock will die off first>
Thanks a lot for help Bob. Think you`ve hit nail on the head with
water quality. Was being sent down a few wrong roads
<Review our prev. emails... READ... understand, then act.
Re: Dogface Puffer 1/10/12
Just a quick update.
Puffer still eating as normal<ly> but flashing and blinking
Probably a bit more lively too.
News on the nitrate reactor which i had stopped running before to
increase flow and when started again there was a slight ammonia
I had the outlet running outside of tank for a few pints then
Have just contacted the maker and he told me it should never be
stopped and started again and to flush out the reactors and begin
This i have done.
Could this have contributed to problems too ?
Cant see it being good
<Me neither. B>
Re: Dogface Puffer, now poss. BGA poisoning in
<Geez... the time code above reads as the same time zone (PST)
as here... am just ten minutes behind you Gar... 9:35 AM >
I decided to remove all blue green algae on Friday as i think i
have improved water conditions re your information page and also
think it mainly arrived a long time ago.
Basically i scraped the whole back wall of the tank and changed
about 20% of the water. Cleaned all filter media and left tank to
Another 10% change today and cleaned all filters again.
The amount of mess in the water was really bad and i am thinking
the tank water has been poisoned.
I am continuing the water changing and filter cleaning regime as
fast as i can.
Should i do anything Else ?
<Run a good deal of new activated carbon, and/or
Add anything to water to treat fish ?
I had a dead Damsel this morning and a small clown not
eating along with puffer.
Regal Tang is perfect.
Would you add erythromycin at all now as algae has 95% gone (few
very small patches left).
<I would not. Am not a fan in general of chemical algicides...
for all the reasons posted on WWM>
Grateful for any advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Perhaps BGA poisoning 1/15/12
Thanks for quick reply Bob
Think we`re in agreement over chemicals.
Ran a new bag of Rowa carbon from Thursday but threw it away with
today's changes as i thought this too could now be holding
poisons in the sock.
Now the tank is clear of loose algae i will replace it tonight
and carry on with water changes etc... till fish tell me
Thanks again Bob.
Just hope the fish make it.
<And you, B>
Re: puffer /blue green algae problem
The problems continue.
Regal tang and Yellow Dwarf Angel still showing no bad signs.
That`s the good news.
The Puffer is now being bullied by these 2 fish..
<Needs to be isolated, better, moved
Will they be doing this as he is vulnerable like other wild
animals do or could this have been the original problem with him
and i hadn`t noticed ?.
He is now just lying still and they are swimming over and nipping
him all the time.
<Why is it still there? Move it!>
He is curled up and very dark due to stress. He has a few light
red streaks on his body and fins too. Poisoning ?
<Slightly venomous if/when killed, decomposing>
Do i need to move him to another tank ?
Wondering if he looks so bad due to the bullying or if
there is another problem. His teeth are showing all the time and
his mouth is in an open position. Skin doesn`t look great
What is the smallest size tank i could safely put him in
for a few weeks just to see if he picks up. Would you suggest
this ? He`s about 5-6".
<Thirty plus gallons>
Re: puffer /blue green algae problem
I have moved him Bob.
Straight after emailing you. Yes it was obvious really.
He is in my QT tank...20 gallon only .
<Be VERY careful of feeding, DO measure water quality, be
ready to dump, replace (from your main tank) a good deal of the
Internal filter with sponge taken from one of my reef
I think his problem now is lockjaw.
Been reading up today but he never eats krill so i am assuming
water quality again or stress from the Regal Tang situation.
Does he HAVE to be force fed to cure ?
Going to leave him in peace for a day or two first anyway.
Help. Dogface puffer swimming
Hello, I've read through a lot of questions trying to find a
issue, but can't seem to find one. I have a 60g
FOWLR with a 4" dogface puffer,
<This is way too small a volume for this fish>
3 damsels, and a clam. I've had the puffer for about 3
<"Dwarfed", "Bonsai'd"... made and kept
small here from metabolic feedback (living in its own wastes so to
speak). Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm
Just recently (about 2 weeks) he has been acting differently. On a side
note, me and my wife just had a baby (2 months old), so for a bit some
of the care I put on the tank was slipping. I checked my levels a week
ago and found my pH was low, about 7.6-7.8.
<Whoa! This scale is base 10 (log)...>
I did a 20% change and added the pH buffer
<Needs to be done very gradually... from pre-mixed new saltwater
additions, NOT added directly to the tank>
for 2 days after that and the levels went back to 8.2 - 8.3 within 2-3
days. Ammonia was 0, Nitrite was 0, and Nitrate was about 20. So back
to my puffer, he seems to be swimming a little lopsided and recently
was even upside down.
He can't swim and stay up anymore either, he is always cruising the
bottom of the tank and when he does force himself to swim up, he
immediately drops down to the bottom. He used to always hover around
the middle or close to the top swimming back and forth, now he just
swims circle around the bottom. He still eats, but only if I physically
put the food in front of his face with tongs. Before he used to come
get anything I put in the tank. I feel him a variety of squid,
silversides, krill, and clam.
<Not a good diet... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
I mix it up. I went to the LF store and asked what to do. The owner
said I should QT the puffer for 3-4 days and gave me EM Erythromycin
and Triple Sulfa,
<? Of no use here whatsoever>
which I medicated him with for 4 days. I just put him back in the
regular tank and he is swimming around a lot more, but still looks the
same, not able to go to the top. Anything you can tell me would help.
<Only time and your good care will show/prove if this fish will
It needs to be in a larger world, less vacillation in water quality and
better nutrition. Bob Fenner>
re: Help. Dogface puffer swimming issue
Thanks for the reply. After reading your reply, I guess I haven't
been treating my puffer well and I didn't even know it. I am going
to do my best to make things right for my puffer.
I have a 150g tank in my garage I have been building a stand for. I am
almost finished and will set that up ASAP to give him a bigger home. As
far as filtration, I have a Fluval FX5 I will use along with a Fluval
I read I should be shooting for about 10 time water volume per hour
with a puffer, so I'll do the math and add another canister if
needed. I also have and will be using a skimmer.
As far as the pH, I did add the buffer to new water I had made, not
directly in the tank and am maintaining the levels were they are now.
Ph 8.2-8.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20.
After reading your response about his diet, I was shocked. I had never
heard of Thiaminase and everything I always bought for him to eat was
frozen and what I listed before, which apparently was all Thiaminase
based food. My LF store had always told me it was a good diet for
<As you'll see/find, this practice is responsible for many
indirect shortened lives>
I will go buy some vitamins to soak him food in, as well as change his
diet to Tilapia (fresh from the food store, I'll freeze it as
needed and soak it in vitamins, mussels (maybe a few times a week), and
cockles. Once a week I will give him a silverside or some clam since he
does like them, but again I'll soak them in vitamins.
Do you think this might get him better,
any other suggestions as far as anything else I might be able to
<Mmm, no. The move to the new, larger quarters, more steady water
quality, improved nutrition will likely bring your Tetraodont
Thanks for the information, I will keep you posted on my
<Thank you. BobF>
Puffer problem, Tetraodontid, env.
I have a Stars and Stripes Puffer........
Previously healthy, living for 4 years in 55 gallon tank with one other
<Mmm, really, this puffer (should by now, through growth) needs a
much larger volume>
Have not introduced ANYTHING new to tank, not even live rock or gravel
Recently noticed Puffer rubbing on the live rock. Thought nothing of it
because he's a bit of a "spaz", but now see a skin
eruption on his jaw line about 3/4 of an inch from his mouth. The spit
is a perfect dark ring with a dark center spot with five white speckles
inside of that (definitely not Ich). I thought, at first it was an open
wound, but under closer inspection see that it is completely smooth
like the rest of his skin.
Eyes clear; appetite great, activity level is as usual.
What is this and what medicine can I apply to the water?
<... likely environmental stress as a term... Again, this fish has
been 'bonsai'ed' by life conditions>
Thanks, in advance, for any guidance you might offer.
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above; particularly nutrition/feeding, and
disease. Bob Fenner>
Puffer with "skin growths" --
Hey WWM crew,
I have a question that pertains to my yellow-belly dogface
puffer. He has numerous small circular growths all over his body,
they look almost like "freckles."
<I see these>
I have searched extensively and asked several forums without any
pointers in the right direction. These growths don't appear
to bother him at all. I have enclosed some pictures to see if you
guys can identify what it is. Thank you!!!
<Some sort of skin irritation (not Neuromast/HLLE trouble)...
likely something to do w/ water chemistry... which you proffer no
data re. Could well be summat that there is no simple measure of.
Do put the string
"puffer skin trouble" in the search tool here:
and read some of the cached views for the saltwater queries. Bob
Dogface puffer, hlth., sys., nutr. --
I recently moved from a 25 gallon to a 115 gallon tank.
and bought a dogface 2 weeks ago.
<Will do much better in a bigger tank than 115 Imperial gallons.
Realistically, 200 gallons is nearer the mark. These fish do grow very
big, very fast. They're also very active.>
Everything been fine until today. He looks really ill, not eating and
keeps screwing his face up....and moping about behind the live
<Indeed. While Arothron species are extremely hardy in many ways,
they're easily stressed by the poor conditions they themselves
create thanks to their large size and massive appetite. Review aquarium
size relative to the Arothron specimen you have, with a fish bigger
than, say, 15 cm/6 inches needing a much bigger tank than you have. Do
please read here:
That's a thorough review of the genus and its specific
Did water tests and my nitrites were up to 0.3
<Stop feeding! Check filtration is matured and working. Maintain
filters as required, adding secondary filters if necessary. Let's
say you're aiming for a turnover of 10 times the volume of the tank
per hour, the minimum for this sort of puffer, you'd need a pump
rated at 10 x 115 = 1,150 gallons/hour. A protein skimmer is essential
because of all the nitrogenous material dumped into the tank whenever
you feed your pufferfish.>
Realised my external filter which I moved over from last tank (while my
trickle filter matures) had been unplugged.
Did water change and have filter running again now.
All other fish well.
Thought it may be food as he eats prawns and dillies that others
<Hmm'¦ earthworms and prawns are reasonable foods, though
Bob F. would probably warn you away from terrestrial protein sources on
principle. As for prawns, while fine as a treat, they are rich in
Thiaminase, and shouldn't be used more than once or twice per week.
Gut-loaded live river shrimp are better. Otherwise, concentrate on
Thiaminase-free foods: cockles, tilapia fillet, certain types of
Maybe a prawn was off ?
<Possibly, but usually fish reject rotten seafood.>
Any ideas of what it could be or any treatment I could use ?
<More likely environmental. Review the tank, tankmates, filtration.
Check water chemistry, salinity is adequate. Oxygen is a key limiting
factor, and external canister filters remove oxygen, so without
sufficient circulation in the tank, you can easily end up with low
oxygen conditions likely to stress your puffer. Their small gill
openings mean they find it hard to breathe "deeply", yet
their oxygen demands are very high because they're so
Also is it true that if he died he can pollute the whole tank fatally
<Potentially, but any dead fish can do that. If you're asking if
the poisons in a puffer's tissues leak out after death and kill the
livestock, no, that doesn't normally happen. Boxfish can secrete
toxins through their skins, but puffers don't.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Thanks for the rapid response.
I have a Tunze protein skimmer running and 2 2000 lph pumps and 1
<6500 litre/hour is about 1400 Imperial gal/hour; should work, but
don't be overly trusting in what you've got going on here. Keep
a close eye on oxygen concentration and nitrate level.>
He now seems to have gone a really dark colour and looking pretty grim
<Arothron hispidus will change colour dramatically when stressed. I
bought my first specimen as a FRESHWATER fish, and while they were a
very subdued colour under such conditions, once moved to a brackish
water aquarium they perked right up. These are very hardy animals. What
are its tankmates? How are they behaving? On paper at least, Arothron
spp. are among the tougher marine fish, and some of the few species to
be kept successfully for 5+ years in captivity back in the 70s and
early 80s when marine fishkeeping was still in its infancy. If the
other fish look happy, then yes, consider diet and/or poisoning as
possible issue -- note than puffers tend to be acutely sensitive to
copper, perhaps more so than most other commonly kept fish. On the
other hand, if everyone is off their food, then something else
is likely going on.>
Has been fed almost exclusively on prawns....About 2 a day....not
<Indeed not. Tilapia fillet and cockles are the two ideal staples
for bigger specimens. Very young ones enjoy bloodworms, but the degree
to which these are healthy for marine fish is debatable, though
it's worth stating that juvenile Arothron hispidus live in
estuaries and rivers, so insects probably are part of their natural
diet. They're also herbivorous, so some green foods, e.g., cooked
peas, should be provided.>
Thanks anyway and I'll see how he goes but gone bad very quickly so
not overly optimistic.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Yes all tankmates healthy and eating
<That's helpful to know.>
Scared to tell you what they are , as due to some bad advice I am
overstocked. All very small now (1-2 inches) but will be doing some
rehoming in the future.
<Ah, yes, it would indeed seem so.>
<To about 20 cm; not a bad aquarium fish for rough-and-tumble
systems alongside large puffers.>
<Not a great companion for the wrasse, but might work with the
puffer, given space. Do bear in mind these angels are strongly
herbivorous, and their diet needs contain lots of fresh greens as well
as sponges, rather than generic fish foods.>
and Regal Tang,,,,
<A notoriously difficult species to maintain, and do be aware than
both angels and tangs expect to be top dog in reef tanks, and I tend to
recommend people keep one or the other, not both.>
with a sandwich goby.
<Do you mean Jam Sandwich Goby, Valenciennea helsdingenii?>
Do please read Bob F's pieces on these species, and follow the
links for more information'¦
Actually left a small part of his prawn yesterday which I had to fish
out. Maybe bit dodgy.
Surprised at the speed of illness though....Keep thinking he s dead
then his eyes move....Nothing else at all and he s not changed position
for a couple of hours.
<If he's eaten something bad, there's not much you can do
beyond ensuring optimal environmental conditions. I'd expect him to
recover, all things being equal, though it may take a day or two before
be perks up again.>
Re: Dogface puffer - 12/20/10
Cheers Neale thanks a lot.
He has actually moved now so fingers crossed.
Yes jam sandwich goby. Only got him today as I cant have a clean up
crew due to wrasse and puffer so thought this might help a bit.
<Redundant. Clean-up crews are specifically for use in reef tanks,
where it's difficult or impossible to move rocks and siphon out
detritus. In EVERY other type of aquarium, it's ALWAYS better to
physically remove waste because that'll reduce the amount of
nitrogenous material in the water.>
Do feed frozen tablet greens and also Nori on a clip.
Struggling a bit for Angel food but got some ocean nutrition formula 2
pellets which seem to be good.
<Yes; do look at specific Angelfish frozen food mixes. Sponges are
an important component.>
All fish are eating variety of foods and well. Mysis brine shrimp krill
Nori formula 1 and 2 plus live brine and a marine mix tablet. Will eat
flake too but don't tend to use it.
<Flake can be good, but variety is often important in terms of
greens, sponges, crunchy shells, and other components your fish
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on
Thanks again Neale
Puffer as normal this morning , Made up really thought he was a goner
till I spoke to you.
Just fed him 2 dillies (all I have at the minute ), Snowed in now but
think LFS does a frozen cockles.
<Good. So do many supermarkets; Waitrose for example has them
regularly, and buying a batch from there will usually be cheaper than
buying them at the pet shop. Ask for some that are still frozen, pop
them into an airtight container in the freezer, and defrost as
required! You could actually get everything you need from Waitrose:
cockles, tilapia fillet, mussels, squid, prawns. Be sure the
Thiaminase-containing foods are used sparingly, and that's a
balanced diet right there!>
Prawns will become just an occasional treat. Tend to struggle a bit
with selective food. Have seen an ocean nutrition one containing
sponges on the net but cant get any in England.
<Ah, while sponges are nice to have in the diet of Pomacanthus
species, it's the green component that's essential. Look at the
marine fish foods like "Vegetarian Diet" from TMC that
include cooked spinach and algae alongside various small invertebrates.
Sushi Nori sheets can be picked up in British grocery stores very
inexpensively, and if you happen to have an Asian supermarket nearby,
10 sheets will only set you back about Â£1-1.50 (supermarket
prices tend to be slightly higher, Â£1 for 5 sheets being
typical). Anyway, this stuff is readily accepted by Tangs and
Angelfish. Asian supermarkets will also have other types of algae on
sale, and these can be experimented with as you wish. Organically-grown
lettuce and spinach may be useful foods, though their nutrient content
are probably not very high. Bob is somewhat hostile to the use of
terrestrial plants in the diet of marine herbivores, but my experience
and observation is that used sensibly softened, organically-growing
plants cause few problems; they do at least contain fibre and some
vitamins, so while not a substitute for marine algae, they are useable
supplements that helps to keep marine herbivores "regular",
and avoiding constipation probably has a big impact on how well such
fish absorb nutrients from their other meals. In other words, even in
England, it should be possible to get ALL the foods your marine fish
need from the supermarket, even if your local pet shop doesn't
carry everything you need!>
<Do have a peruse of the WWM pages on Angelfish diet and P.
imperator generally, here:
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on
Pomacanthus diet?) - 12/20/10
Thanks for that. I am fine with the angel diet now anyway. Will pay a
visit to the supermarket for puffer food once this snow and ice
<Glad to help, and happy holidays yourself. Cheers, Neale.>
Dogface Puffer and low PH - Warning! long email. Env. dis., mucho reading
Hi to WWM Crew. (25th October 2010)
First of All this message is concerning a Dog faced puffer fish
Juvenile (Arothron nigropunctatus). I have scoured the
Puffer-fish disease pages and used the key-word highlighter with
as many variations as possible.
Let me start at the beginning but as brief as possible.
Tank and Puffer History.
I started up a small 35L tropical tank in June 2009. My husband
started up a Juwel80 110L Marine conversion a couple of weeks
later. We jointly decided to invest in a custom made 450L marine
set up with sand bed sump (originally a 60L but now the 110L). At
the same time I acquired a 96L Juwel and a few months later shut
down the 35L.
After a few months of watching the lovely dogface puffer in the
local shop and seeing that he was healthy, apart from being a bit
skinny. I grew attached and decided to buy him. So home he came,
in January to the 450L where he grew in size and strength over
the following couple of months. He struck up an amazing
friendship with my Foxface and the two could never be parted.
(Add also at this time that our RO unit broke due to the frost
and we have been using the Local Fish Shop (LFS) mixed water)
In April we finally had perfect water conditions in the 450L and
decided that it was time to start adding some corals. However as
the Dogface wasn't satisfied with just eating the excessively
large and varied diet we supplied him with, the corals became an
expensive meal, even the decorative Algae became prey to the duo
<Ooh, I do like this>
So after long deliberation I chose to close down 96L tropical
(after finding good homes for the fishes - especially my Plecs)
and set about converting it into a temporary Marine home for the
<Mmm, much too small a volume...>
I could save enough for a new larger system to house them
sufficiently. They moved in there mid-July along with our fuzzy
dwarf lion and white striped maroon (Premnas biaculeatus).
<?! In 25 or so gallons?>
Unfortunately a week later a tripped power supply during the
night lost Doggy his best friend and the lionfish also perished.
I was heart broken as foxy (aka Mad Max) was my baby. 'The
Fuzz' was also a character. I got a couple of Humbug and
Domino damsels (Dascyllus trimaculatus) to help keep the tank
<Not advised and incompatible in small volumes>
and 'Doggy' came out of his sulk. However the humbugs
didn't like the domino's and killed off two of them until
I was left with just the two humbugs and one docile domino. I
also acquired an Aiptasia eating filefish (Acreichthys
tomentosus) out of the coral tank who had also taken a liking to
When the trouble began.
The tank remained stable until 8 weeks ago when I couldn't
resist buying a beautiful, baby, trigger fish (Odonus niger).
<... this tank is still too small...>
I came home and checked it all out before going back several days
later to pick him up. However when I introduced him to the tank
the humbugs took approximately 20 minutes to completely strip him
of his top fin. I dived straight in, unable to catch them I was
left no alternative but to remove the rock in order to catch
them. The bully's now removed and taken back to the shop I
was left with the dilemma of a severely injured and extra
stressed out 'Trig'. I left the tank to settle for the
night, but next day -- lo and behold -- Ich. I treated this
(after removing carbon) with a half dose of copper
<Half dosing is of no positive use here>
(Seachem Cupramine). Now 'Doggy' has been subjected to
this treatment on a number of occasions while in the 450L while
we battled Ich, velvet and clownfish disease that between them
has pretty much wiped us out, not to mention the attack of the
<? You found/find that Ascidians are deleterious?>
that saw us lose all but one of our rock dwellers. All the fish
survived the treatment and all was well and good until
The present problem.
As one of our local garden centre based shops was shutting down,
they had a sale on to liquidate. The hubby got himself a great
new set of lights for the coral tank, the parts to fix the RO
unit and a batch of salt (AquaOne Sea Salt). So we began mixing
our own water again. I started to notice that 'Doggy' was
somewhat not normal -- scratching in the sand and on rocks and
hiding more than usual. Doing the full water parameter tests I
found that I had a low PH
<Not surprising at all in this small volume, with lots, too
much fish life, likely food/processing>
and taking a closer look at Doggy revealed that his skin had
developed a spotty complexion and that the main area of
scratching had indeed been scratched to the point that he has
grazed the top of his head and looked sore. I have been battling
to work out why my PH was so low, reading 7.4
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm
and the linked files above>
and work out what is wrong with 'Doggy' for two
<The environment... stocking... are the root causes
The main conclusion for the low PH was the change in water source
and salt. So I reverted back to using the lfs mixed water as they
use a reef salt (Sera reef salt) that contains the natural
buffers (also scouring the net I have seen only bad reviews for
the AquaOne sea salt) and our tap water had always caused me to
have a low ph in the tropical. I believe that this has also been
the irritant that has caused the 'rash' on
'Doggy'. (The comparison being a similar rash my hubby
developed at the same time due to change of wash powder
Although a couple of water changes bought the PH up, it still
remains low at 7.8. I have added Seachem reef carbonate, which
bought the KH up to between 10 and 12 temporarily.
<I agree with the adverb>
I tested the magnesium which was 1020 and have added Seachem reef
magnesium which bought that up to a more adequate level. The
calcium has remained stable. As I was getting so frustrated I
opted to try Seachem reef buffer that bought up the PH to 8.2 on
Friday evening but then dropped back to 7.8 by Saturday. I also
decided to start treating 'Doggy' with Melafix.
<An exceedingly poor idea. Search WWM re>
It was suggested that I could be over filtrating
so yesterday I performed a water change and swapped my filter
media around. Originally I had a U3 Fluval running alongside the
Juwel. The Juwel housed
A half bag of activated carbon, ceramic hoops and Polyfilter. The
U3 housed Sponges, carbon sheet and Seachem Denitrate. I now have
just the Juwel with half bag of ceramic hoops, bag of Denitrate
and topped with filter wool (The activated carbon was removed for
I noticed that despite my best efforts 'Doggy' has begun
to decline. Something freaked him on Friday -- He puffed up to 5
times his size. Since then he has lost interest in his food, is
hiding more and has developed Ich on his fins and eyes. The
domino has also gone dull and the Maroon and Trig seem to have
cloudy eyes. The filefish seems to be the only healthy fish.
Last night's (Sunday) water parameters showed -- (using API
Ammonia -- 0 (I expect a raise as I have removed biological
Nitrite -- 0 (as above) Nitrate -- 40 (This has dropped from 80+)
PH -- 7.8
Salinity -- 1.025 Temp -- 25.5 oC KH - 18
Today's (Monday) water parameters show --
Ammonia -- Trace Nitrite -- Trace Nitrate -- 30 (a further drop)
PH -- 7.8
Salinity -- 1.025 Temp -- 25 oC KH - 16 (high but dropping)
The Melafix won't cure the Ich,
<Actually, won't cure anything>
but I'd like to avoid using copper with 'Doggy' and
<Copper use is generally contraindicated with puffers...
See/search WWM re... ahead of writing us>
I don't want to upset or stress any of the fish further by
moving to quarantine. I feel like I'm running out of options
and am in danger of the system crashing and causing a wipeout. I
really don't want to loose my fish, especially
'Doggy' and 'Trig'. Please help!!
<Help yourself... what you/they need is to be moved to
suitably large quarters that will provide (the water, substrate,
likely other decor) sufficient biomineral and alkalinity
reserve... You will understand this through reading the above
FYI -- the spotty appearance shown/discussed re.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffdisfaq3.htm?h=chomper in the
puffer disease pages seems to be the stretching of the pores of
the skin during the inflation and deflation of a scared puffer (I
noticed this when 'Doggy' freaked on Friday) -- I hope
this info can help other puffer enthusiasts and that my PH
problem will warn others not to change their water source or salt
and cause the problems I've experienced. Always use a decent
reef salt which contains the natural minerals and buffers.
<Mmm, yes; but these can only do so much... you've asked
the salt mix to do what it cannot do here, given the poundage of
Photos attached are of Doggy, the sores on his head, and lumpy
skin on his belly (this is all over his skin).
<Again, environmental... and possibly poisoning from the Cu++
Many Thanks for such a great site, and for any suggestions you
can give me that can help me battle to save 'Doggy'.
Sorry for the length of this email ( 2 pages in word) , but I
have tried to keep it to just relevant information while
observing the contact rules -- spellchecked and read twice --
Main points in bold.
P.S. Upgrade ideas welcomed. E.g. AquaMarine900/Maris filter.
I've got big fish that need a big home.
<Do keep up the water changes for now, do NOT add anymore
fishes, livestock period, and start looking for the space for a
much larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface Puffer and low pH -
Warning! long email. 10/25/10
Hi again. Thanks ever so much for your speedy reply.
Certainly noted re. Copper a Mela-not-fix. I will continue with
the water changes and should be able to purchase their new tank
by the end of November. Just to let you know that although these
are considered large fish, they are all juveniles and not fully
grown so the 96L actually seems quite empty.
<Mmm, assuredly this is not the case;
metabolically/physiologically nor psychologically>
I have reduced the feed amounts so as to reduce the pollutants
and forgot to mention that I have been adding Lipo-vit to the
frozen food diet. I also feed Nori a couple of times a week. I
will be registering on the BBforum so that I can ask opinions on
an adequate system for the upgrade (As I'm sure you're
busy answering emergency emails). I don't know exactly what I
did right last night but the 5 fish are generally looking much
brighter this afternoon, especially 'Trig' whom is free
of cloudy eye. 'Doggy' was in his favourite corner
squirting for food and nibbled happily at the Nori I offered
(hand feeding is so satisfying). As regarding the see squirts -
do not bring anything home from the beach!! - Whether this was
the start or not - the hubby collected some snails (naughty boy)
a week or so later we had an outbreak of sea squirts. Small
amount not a problem - but they took over the rock - depleting
the food supply that our rock dwellers need to survive.
<Ah, I see>
They were everywhere - the sand and the sump too!! We ended up
pulling out the rock piece by piece and cooking it - yes you
read/heard correctly - Into the oven!!. They hate light so blast
them with intensity and give them the blow (heavy fast flow) and
don't give them the food they want!! It's as good as
starting over again!! This may not be the way I'd have dealt
with the problem but the hubby is more in charge of the 450L tank
and I generally have to go along with what he decides. But please
don't think bad of him - WWM is always his first point of
call when he encounters a problem. regards Tina xx
<And you. BobF>
To Bob - Dog'n'Fox 10/25/10
Hi Bob and team
Since you said you liked this, I thought I'd send you a pic.
Please use as you see fit. Can I apologize though that I am
unaware of the pic sizes as I'm absolutely incapable of doing
anything that is the least bit technical. Now that the hubby has
arrived home he wishes to say Hi and that it was honor you
replying to me. Thanks ever so much. Tina and Glen
<Mmm, the raised unpaired fin spines on your Siganid are a
sign of stress... Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM.
Re: To Bob - Dog'n'Fox 10/25/10
Just to clarify - I sent this picture for amusement purposes.
This duo had an incredible symbiotic relationship where they
would not leave each others sides. Sleeping together, Eating
together and sharing food to the point where Fox would try to
blow the sand and mimic the dogface.
<These symbiotic relationships, involving these species... are
The stress signs seen in the Fox at the time would have been due
to the dislike of me taking his photograph and may possibly have
been due to the close proximity of a pestering cleaner
<... and a Labroides here? Incredible. B>
that finally annoyed the Dogface to the point of becoming a
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
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
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.
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
I started lowering the salinity and added a uv sterilizer (36
<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.
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
Added penicillin and Bifuran plus (Nitrofurazone and
<? 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
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>
puffer SICK AS A DOF(FACE PUFFER)
I ALSO HAVE A DOG FACE PUFFER
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>
Re PUFFER WITH WHITE PLAQUES ON EYES
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
<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
I don't know what CP or QS is...
dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09
I have searched your site for info and have found some but think
I need more. I have a dogface puffer that I have had for a week
now. I have already fallen in love with him (hubby has too). We
have a 55 gallon tank,
<Needs more room than this>
wet/dry filter, and protein skimmer. I do realize after doing
research on your site that this size tank is too small for him
and we are actually in the process of purchasing a 180
Our water param.s are ph 7.8,
<Mmm, low... I'd be reading re... bolstering... Start
and then on to the linked files above>
amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate is 10, sg 1.021,
<Also too low... Here:
temp 78/80. Ok now for the problem...(did I mention I love this
two days ago I noticed his eyes were getting hazy (read from your
site that this is usually a water quality issue), but he was
still eating. Today I noticed his eyes were the same but his jaw
was rather swollen (like he was stung by a bee), and he is much
darker in color than when we first got him. He is very lethargic
and now is not eating.
He just lays at the bottom of the tank. We just set up a
quarantine tank ( has the same param.s as mentioned above) and
because I'm afraid he will not make it I started antibiotics
in the qt tank (tri-sulfa).
<? Of no use here>
So I guess my question is...Am I doing the right things?
<Mmm... your care is genuine, but your actions belie
ignorance. This fish is misplaced. Please read here:
should I be doing more or less?
<Yes. Reading first>
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much...Daneen.
<Very welcome. Bob Fenner>
More re: dogface... Puffer hlth.
> I read this message earlier today with interest. I've
kept Arothron hispidus as a brackish water fish (sold as a
<Have also occasioned>
and while that's a different species to Arothron
nigropunctatus, I do believe that the genus is more or less
euryhaline. So the slightly lower than optimal salinity by the
standards of stenohaline fish might not be the issue here.
The swollen mouth could be a clue. These animals may bite
venomous or irritating animals out of ignorance: Bristleworms,
lionfish fins, etc. so that's something the keeper might want
to double check. I do agree with you
that cloudy eyes often go along with missed water changes and the
resulting background water quality problems.
For what it's worth, when I rescued these Arothron hispidus
they were very dark in colour and spent a lot of time sitting on
the bottom, tails wrapped around their faces. No medication was
necessary. Once moved to middling brackish water -- seemingly
where baby Arothron hispidus are commonly found -- they pepped up
extremely quickly. They seem to be extremely hardy and resilient
fish. Admittedly, these two were in a 200 gallon tank with a big
sump and a skimmer, and I agree wholeheartedly that 55 US gallons
just isn't enough, whether in brackish or saltwater
<Did you send this along to the original querior? BobF>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
Before I forget, another issue might be the size of the puffer.
Juveniles a couple of inches long are really quite easily
bullied. If with a lionfish or moray say, might the puffer be
swallowed, puff up, spat out safely, but ultimately
<Could be; but in the U.S. it has been my experience that
specimens under ten cm. are exceedingly rare. This one is
doubtless larger... and in full strength seawater>
Anyway, enough for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
Really? You see Arothron spp. around the 5 cm/2 inch mark all the
time here. The attached photo isn't quite that small, but the
size of the fake Acropora gives you some idea of its small
<This IS a small specimen! Don't see them this tiny even
in the wild often.
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
I wonder if the European suppliers are getting them as younger
fish from estuaries, compared with the older saltwater specimens
handled by American suppliers? Hence why they sometimes end up on
the freshwater fish lists as well as the marine fish lists?
<Interesting to speculate. BobF>
Sick Dog Face Puffer -- 06/19/07 Hi,
<Hello there> Been searching the site and am not sure of the next
step. Details PH: 8.2, Nitrite:0, Ammonia:0, Nitrate: 60 ppm, <Way
too high... toxic, debilitating... see WWM re> SG: 1.021. <Too
low... See WWM...> Doing water changes to bring Nitrates down.
<There are other, better means... See...> I have had a dogface
puffer for about 5 years. She is the only inhabitant of my tank save
for a few snails and crabs. Last new thing I added was snails. I also
added them to my seahorse tank and reef tank without any problems.
About 3 weeks ago, she stopped eating. I checked the parameters and
Nitrates were a bit high so I did some water changes and figured it was
the nitrates, constipation, swallowed a snail and it got stuck, her
teeth need to be cut (one is chipped) or just a plain old hunger
strike. <Good mix of possibilities> I have been watching her
closely and ordered supplies to put her to sleep just in case I have to
either tube feed or cut her teeth. She is still not eating. <These
incidents do often take some time...> Yesterday, her eyes started to
look bad. Not the usual bright and shiny, a little dull. <Good
observation, bad sign> Today I noticed that she seemed to be trying
to poop. Her anus was very large and it looked like possibly her
intestines or something that she was trying to void. Nothing came out.
I attempted to massage that area, but only made her puff up so I
stopped. I have made gruel and attempted to tube feed her, but she did
not eat any. <Mmmm, this mash needs to be injected/inserted by way
of a plastic catheter of size... past the gullet, back of throat...
While holding the animal gently near the surface, underwater...> Now
I am thinking parasites. I have both Fenbendazole and Praziquantel in
my fishy medicine cabinet. <Whoa... after five years in captivity...
where would worms come from?> Do you think I should treat? Should I
just treat the hospital tank water or put my puffer to sleep and tube
feed her a gruel with a dewormer added? <Worth adding while
you're at it...> If I put her under, is there a way I can tell
if it is an intestinal blockage or prolapsed intestine/rectum? <Not
likely... these animals have VERY distensible parts of their lumens,
G.I. tracts... "this too shall pass"> Thanks for your site
and all the excellent advice in your books. Jennifer <Thank you my
friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>
Dogface puffer with black Ich and a lump -- 04/11/07 Hi guys.
<Hi Jill. Marco here trying to help.> Over the past year I have
visited your site several times. I am an aquarium novice, and after
visiting your site (it only took once) I realized I had been taken as
such by one of my LFSs. I had purchased a 38g tank, let it
cycle for about three months, and fell in love with a five inch (tip to
tail) dog face puffer. My LFS said/told me my tank was plenty big
enough, so the dog face came home with me. Sucker! <100 gallons or
more would be adequate in the long run.> After one month he started
sucking his fin into his gill. Then I noticed the white spots. Got it.
Ich. I QT him and treated him with Quick Ich and got him healthy again,
or so I thought. I fought it for several months until my
reliable LFS told me about hyposalinity, and after about four months we
seemed to be Ich free. I was given a 75g tank by my neighbour (working
my way up now that I know better) and moved him into it a couple of
months ago. Two weeks into it I noticed a small "nodule" on
the top of his body between his gills. It doesn't look like he
injured himself, because his skin didn't change - no scuff marks,
tears, blood - nothing. It's just a lump. It's about
1/2 cm long, 1/4 cm wide, 1/4 cm tall. I tried to take a picture, but
because it's the same color as his body, you just can't see it.
About the same time I noticed the lump, he got a pretty severe case of
black Ich. <Both probably signs of a weak immune system.>
I've put him and his tank mates back into the 38g for QT (2 percula
clowns, 1 royal Gramma - all have been with him since the beginning)
and have been treating them with CopperSafe for the last three weeks. I
haven't seen any black spots on his tank mates, but the reliable
LFS told me to treat everyone. I was pretty concerned about using
CopperSafe because of everything I've read on your puffer forums,
but they told me he would be fine. <There is no consensus about the
use of copper for puffer diseases, yet.> Luckily, he is handling it
like a champ, but the black Ich is still there. <Search WWM and the
net for Paravortex to learn more about the black Ich parasite. You will
probably find out that freshwater dips are quite effective against this
Turbellarian. Your puffer can handle them if the freshwater is pH
adjusted and aerated. I'd do daily at least half hour dips until it
is gone and keep the display tank fallow for at least another 4-6
weeks.> The lump seems to be growing a little, and it's hard.
<Provide a varied vitamin enriched diet and pristine water quality
to support his immune system. Watch the lump. If it is growing,
consider antibiotic baths or feeding antibiotics. For a definite
diagnosis you would have to sample the lump and test it for gram
negative and gram positive bacteria.> Could this be what is causing
the Ich? <Read about Paravortex.> Have you ever heard of anything
like this before? <Yes.> Water parameters for 75g are as follows:
ammonia 0; nitrite 0; nitrate 5ppm; pH 8.2; phosphate 0; temp.
78.4. QT parameters: ammonia 0; nitrite 0; nitrate 0; pH
8.2; temp 78.8; phosphate 1ppm. LFS told me I could use tap
water + Prime for QT, because there's no live rock in the tank. Is
that right? <Read on WWM about tap water vs. RO water.> Please
help me! I don't know what to do at this point, and I really want
to do the right thing. Thanks, Jill. <I hope your puffer gets well
again. To get additional advice you may also want to search http://www.thepufferforum.com. Good luck, Marco.>
*Puffer w/ cloudy eye - 02/09/2007 Hello, <Hi.> I have
22" Stars and Stripes puffer with cloudy eyes. He is
in a 350 gallon fish only tank. With him is a 7 inch Sailfin
tang, 3 inch coral beauty, 5 inch bowtie damsel and 3 yellow fin
damsel. The pH is 8.3, ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0
and the nitrate is 30 ppm. For approx 2 years I had trouble
keeping the nitrate level under 120ppm. I added a refugium 4
months ago and now the nitrate level are under
control. There is 2 sources of water movement (1st) Quiet
One 6000 return pump from the sump (2nd) Dolphin amp master 3000 on
close loop system which is currently not working for the past 3 weeks,
due to blown seal. I got the puffer 3.5 years ago when he
was on 6 inches long. His diet started off with San
Francisco Bay frozen krill and for the past couple of years he has been
eating frozen cocktail shrimp. It seems that he has lost his
eye sight in the cloudier of the two eyes. What can I due to
help the cloudiness in his eyes? <Mmm..."cloudy" and
"eye" usually point to something environmental. My
guess is that he is suffering from the long-term stress of high
nutrient levels. How often do you change the water? What do you feed?
This is also a large animal, what is the footprint of the tank? Read
WWM re: environmental disease. Adam J.>
Re: Puffer with cloudy eye 2/11/07 Thanks for
your input, the answers the questions that you posed are as follows:
the water is change every 3-4 weeks <Why don't you try at least
10% every two weeks for a while.> we are feeding him frozen cocktail
shrimp <Mmm...depending on the brand these are at times pre-cooked,
I would prefer raw (freezing is okay but uncooked) market
fish/clams...and leaving the shell on the bivalves would be a good idea
as well.> and the foot print is 48" x 72" <So size is
not a problem.> one other that I have notice is that he swim close
to the edge of the tank and his eye are rubbing along the
tank. Could that also be contributing to the cloudy ness of
his eyes? <No likely just a side effect of diminished sight.>
thank for your input. <Of course, AJ.>
Sick Stars and Stripes Puffer...
env., faux trtmt.s 12/5/06 Hi- I have a 55 gallon tank with a
stars and stripes puffer he is around 4 inches long and will eventually
be moved to a larger tank.) <Needs to go... now> Since earlier
this year (when I purchased him from my LFS), he has been thriving. He
has had a tremendous appetite and was always a pleasure to both watch
and feed. However, around a month ago, he began to constantly sit on
his nose. <... happens> While this did not over worry me, his
appetite began to decline. <Also not unusual for Tetraodontids,
other puffers> I also noticed that he was starting to have severe
buoyancy problems. <A very bad sign> He could also not swim
without bobbing up and down. This problem continued and has steadily
worsened. I also noticed that his fins( besides his large
tail fin) have drastically decreased in size. From then to now, I, at
different times, have treated this with Melanoma <...> and Rally
(also used for treating parasites). <... worthless phony
remedies> While there has been fin growth, other problems have
developed. He now spends all of his tome floating on his back at the
top of the tank. His eyes are active and he makes efforts to flip over-
however, he has not been able to. Just in the past few days, I have
noticed that he is bleeding from both the mouth and his fins. <....
environmental> During the time I have had him, regular water changes
have been done ( and in accordance with the medicine.) The water has
also recently been tested and is at near perfect salinity level (well
in the safe zone.) The ammonia and nitrate are also at safe levels.
Thanks for any help in trying to save my puffer. I love him dearly and
hate to see him in the condition that he is in. Thanks for the help,
Scott <The very best action here is to move this fish to new, larger
quarters... the problems you list are likely environmental (and
possibly nutritional) in origin... psychological and physiological
"crowding" has led to your puffers near demise. Bob
Puffer Problem 10/18/06 Never have had a
salt water aquarium before, We dove in head first all because I fell in
love with "Louie", a dogface puffer I just had to have.
<Not the easiest fish to start with.> After endless BAD advice,
we have brought him home and put him in our tank before it has cycled.
<Not good.> We have high ammonia/nitrate levels and have reduced
feedings along with daily water changes, we have also been putting in
the good bacteria. <Most of these products are junk.> Also we
bought a skimmer. <Going to need a good one with a messy fish like a
puffer.> I wanted to know if we should put him in a different tank
until the cycling process has completed, we haven't got a tank that
is already established so we are at a loss. <Move him to a QT tank
until the main has cycled. Daily water changes should take
care of ammonia/nitrite until the main tank is ready.> He is doing
fine as far as we can tell, eats well and shows no signs of stress but
not sure if this will continue until we can get this under control.
<Not a good environment for him currently.> Any help would be
appreciated. Thanks, Kim <Chris>
Sick Dog Face Puffer 8/29/06
Hi, my name is Beth, my husband and I have a dog face puffer,
and I think he's really sick; but I don't know what
the problem is. <Hi Beth, you have Justin with you tonight, one of
the resident puffer people.> None of the two local fish stores that
we go to can tell us what's wrong they just suggest to do water
changes. We have. We have had Pudge
for about eight months with nothing else but a crab. Please Help
Me!!! I am really sorry if you have already answered a
question like this, but I've done tons of research on your website
and can't find any answers. About ten days ago Pudge
stopped eating and swimming on the third day I noticed he was breathing
very heavy his left gill was opening very wide and when he did swim not
aggressively at all he would bmp into the live rock and the glass as if
he didn't even see it. <Signs of poor water quality
generally> We did a water change and added bio-Spira that night at
about 10:00 he was laying on his side and getting all these brown spots
on him I thought he was dying. With no suggestion from the
fish store as a last resort I told my husband to put the
medication Rally in his tank, within 20 min. the spots were gone , the
next day his breathing improved, the following day he was swimming
around again still with no signs of hunger. <Brown
spots? can you get a photo? do you mean that the
puffer was turning blotchy, or that he was actually covered in small
black/brown dots?> The day before yesterday I noticed
what seems to be mucus coming out of his mouth and his one left gill.
Still not eating. Yesterday I tried force feeding him but he
wouldn't take it. Today he just seems to be in the same
position he was ten days ago. This morning I put some more
medication in but it doesn't seem to be working he is breathing
heavy again with no energy at all. He is very dark brown but when I go
over to the tank it seems that he is trying to turn that grayish white
color he normally is but cant and he gets these white spots all over
him almost like a leopard. I don't know what to do I
feel helpless. I hope you can help me. Thank
you so much for your time.
<Beth, without knowing key things about your setup such as tank
size, size of the puffer, water parameters (Take your water to be
tested or if you have a test kit, use it and reply back),
and what type of blotches you are seeing, it is hard to tell you
anything you can do. your LFS is right that water changes
(50%) will be very helpful, but I'm concerned with the adding
medicine and spots disappearing, that sounds like black spot disease or
black Ich, which is a parasite. If it is black Ich, (small
black spots all over the body/gills) fresh water dipping and gravel
vacuuming your entire tank will help remove most of them, however
please read on WWM about black spot disease to get a better feel for if
that is what is actually happening. At this point do the
water changes, and try adding garlic juice to the puffers food to
entice it to eat. Answer the questions above and reply back
and we can go from there.> <Justin>
Re: Sick Dog Face Puffer. Justin was right,
bunk env. 8/29/06 The puffer is about 5-6
inches.. he is in a 30 gallon tank <Too small...
unstable> and I have a 70 gallon aqua clear filter
running. I also have a powerhead. the
nitrates are really high <Also...> when the water was
tested. I did a water change but the nitrates are
still very high. He is breathing very heavy and has white
blotches all over him not salt looking though. <"Fix the
environment, cure the fish". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Dog Face Puffer
8/30/06 Hi Justin, <Beth> I believe my husband just e-mailed
you back regarding tank size etc. I'm not to
knowledgeable about fish my husband is more the fish type than I am,
but I do love my little Pudge. I have tried soaking his food
in garlic and still nothing. The spots I'm seeing
literally look like he's trying to change to that grayish white
color, but instead of fully changing color he gets these white
spots. How else can I make him eat I'm really
concerned that he has gone this long w/o food. I know
that's not the key problem but I feel if I can get food in him it
will build his strength and immune system. I feel like I need to do
something immediately but I don't know
what. I really hope you can help me Justin. Thank
you so much!! <I have not seen any email from him yet, until I do
there isn't much more I can tell you. Please see if he can resend
it or if another crew member tackled his email>
Dogface Puffer, Environment - 05/05/2006 Hello, my name is
Jerri and I'm very worried about my dog face puffer. <<Hi
Jerry.>> I had my water tested this afternoon and made sure that
it was all in excellent condition before buying him today.
<<Numbers are helpful. DO remember that a puffer adds
a heavy bio-load capable of crashing many tanks.>> He was
obviously very stressed for a while, but I did manage to get him out
for a meal and he did fine for about an hour, but he is now hiding
behind a rock and his breathing is causing me to be very worried. It is
very rapid. <<You should check your water quality at this
point.>> My LFS has had him for awhile and I've been watching
him there for a month, and he had no problems there; he was a very
curious guy that never shied away, but in my tank he's completely
the opposite, he is now in a much bigger tank and he is in with other
fish, but he is by far the biggest in the tank and I've seen
absolutely no sign of aggression from the other fish. <<You
should have had this guy in QT for a few weeks before introduction into
your tank. He is likely stressed from the move, and my guess
is your water quality is now an issue.>> I'm deeply concerned
that he is going to stress his self to death, please help! <<Your
best bet is to get him into a quiet QT tank for a few
weeks. You don't mention tank size. This
puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) grows to 10+ inches, and needs a large
tank of 125+ gallons. Visit www.thepufferforum.com for more
information/help with your new pet.>> Thank You Jerri Jackson
<<Glad to help. Lisa.>>
Dogface Puffer, Environment - II- 05/05/2006 Thank you so
much for the help, and yes this guy's bio-load did crash my tank!
<<You're welcome, though I hate when I'm right about bad
things :(.>> I lost several small fish, the tank size is a 110
gallon tank, I have moved the puffer to a qt tank, where he has puffed
up and is upside down, and I am fixing to take him back to the LFS for
more experienced care. <<Ugh, no good on the upside down
bit. Does he have air inside of him? If you have a good LFS,
returning him is best.>> I have to admit my LFS has been great
and have walked me through every transition on this tank but I have to
admit that I'm a little disappointed that I was not given a warning
on this guys bio-load I had no idea that one fish could crash an entire
tank in a matter of hours. <<Never underestimate the power of a
puffer!>> I now have a QT tank set up and will learn from this
error. <<So glad to hear that.>> Again thank you so much
for your help. <<Anytime my friend. Best of
I think my puffer might be sick. Hi Bob, <howdy> My
name is Rob and I recently purchased a figure eight puffer. I can not
tell you the salinity of the water or the PH for that matter for I am
new to this. <to be a responsible aquarist and successful you
need the testing equipment for ph and salinity ASAP. I cannot fathom
how some people are advised to buy a live animal without being told to
buy the life support to keep it> What I can tell you is that I keep
the temperature between 79 and 81, and I feed him once or twice a day.
I have read on the internet that these fish are very curious and will
sometimes do odd things to entertain themselves. However, in the past
couple days I noticed that he has been acting kind of weird compared to
when I got him. He swims around the tank at times, mainly against the
glass and will throw his body around...To me it looks like he is having
spasm attacks. <it could easily be too much or too little salt
for this brackish fish. You need a hydrometer immediately my friend>
Also he tends to just sit at the bottom of the tank on top of the
gravel for periods of time. There is no discoloration in the skin. His
belly is still white and the design and spots on his back have remained
unchanged since I got him. May you please email me back with any
suggestions that you may have as to what you think this may be or what
you think I should do. Thank you for your time! Rob Federici
<Without knowing the water chemistry... I cannot begin to speculate
if the condition is pathogenic or not. Please help yourself and read
through our extensive archives on this subject:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpufffaqs2.htm Best regards,
Puffer (environmental) disease Help! Dear Mr. Fenner, I have
been trying in vain to find an informed opinion about some sort of
infectious infection affecting one of my saltwater tanks. About two
weeks ago a relatively young (about 1yr.) porcupine puffer came down
quite suddenly with a dark blotch on his side. At first I thought it
was dropsy as the area was slightly swollen. I immediately treated the
tank with Maracyn Two. Although the fish was eating well (kind of a
pig) it unfortunately died. <The area was likely just a resultant
mark from a physical trauma...> We removed the dead animal from the
tank and did a partial change although the levels were all within spec.
Tonight I noticed the same blotch on a very special dog face puffer;
this time in the face area. It seems to spread rather quickly on the
affected fish as it was fine this morning. The fish does
uncharacteristically hang at the top of the tank by the water intake
which appears to be giving it some relief. I have other fish and some
relatively large hermit crabs in the tank that do not appear to be
affected. <Yikes... this is starting to sound like a toxic situation
from a stressed/dead/dissolving tetraodont...> It does not appear to
be Septicemia as it is not streaky, nor does it appear to be parasitic
in nature. It looks more like a grayish mass. This tank has been well
established for almost two years. Since it is fish only (minus the two
crabs) I keep the specific gravity at 1.020 which has worked well. Your
book has provided a wealth of information for us and any ideas you may
have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Terry
Trippany <Thank you for your kind words. Your system sounds fine...
except for the input of the one dying puffer which I believe is
triggering the current blotch... If this were my system, I would
immediately place a couple of "Units" of activated carbon in
the filter flow path, and make up about as much synthetic salt mix as
you can... and when you think this new water is ready for use, change
out about half the water this week, and half next week... the Dog-Face
should recover if you act quickly enough. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! Thank you. The gray spot is spreading to the other
side of the fish so I will do a quick partial as well as put the other
fish in isolation. I always have 55 gals of salt pre-mixed in the back
so this should be a relatively easy task. Terry <Ah, great. Good
planning. Best of results. Bob Fenner>
Dogface Puffer Sick Hi there Bob, I am so sad that I did not
find your site before. <But happier now!> I have had my dogface
puffer for about 3 years. About 6 months ago I bought a 100 gallon tank
to accommodate her and my stars and stripes, porcupine and wrasse. The
puffer was getting brown blotches all over her body regularly even
though I had treated the tank and I presumed that it was stress
related. <Likely> (they say 10 gallons to every 1 inch of a
puffer). <A good approximation> When I took them out to do
the transfer, the 100 gallon leaked so I had to leave them in buckets
over night. Like the moron I am, I did not heat the buckets and the
only 2 survivors were the dogface (by the skin of her teeth) and the
stars and stripes. <Yikes> She was very distant for a long time,
hid when I came near the tank. She eventually stopped eating and now
she is in a very bad way. Her eye is filling with blood and she is
shriveling away to nothing. Is there anything I can do to make her
better. <Perhaps... I would try force-feeding this specimen...
with a mash of meaty food items (via a blender) and vitamin preparation
(liquid) and a PLASTIC turkey baster (not your fingers)... Collecting
the fish, holding it in a wet, detergent free towel underwater...
Inserting the baster beyond the teeth, into the pinched area behind the
buccal cavity (throat)... do this daily until the specimen starts
accepting foods on its own> She still has the brown circle like
blotches on her skin and looking very small. I am very disturbed over
this bc/ it was my stupidity that put her in the state she is in
now. <Yet only your caring, actions that can save her> I
really like this fish and don't want her to die. Please let me know
if there is something I can do or is it too late?
<"It" is never too late my friend as long as there is
life> I almost think it is bc/ her mouth is shriveled
completely....Thank you, Jess <Do try the force-feeding, today. Bob
Re: sick dogface puffer? Anthony, My filtration system
consists of: *Emperor 400 with two bio wheels with carbon cartridges as
well as carbon filters and *vortex DIATOM Model "D-1" Filter.
*undergravel filter with two powerheads <in a short time, you will
realize that neither the bio-wheel filters nor the undergravel filter
are well suited for handling the gross particulate matter from the
puffer (waste and sloppy feeding habits). Quite frankly, in less than a
year you will likely have serious problems with biological stability
(ammonia spikes and the like) from these filters. Although the
undergravel is seriously outdated and quite difficult to use
successfully with cnidarians (coal/anemone inverts)... it could
actually work fine for a small to mid sized community fish tank
assuming you did not overfeed or overstock and conducted regular
partial water changes. In this cases, I would strongly advise that you
look at buying or building a wet/dry trickle filter (check out DIY
plans at www.orzreef.org) in the near future> Today, the dogface is
back to himself, flying around the tank and eating like a pig!
<excellent... a fascinating fish indeed> I called the fish store
where I purchased him and they said the same thing about mucus being on
his body. They said that stress causes him to secrete it and it can go
on his body. <yes... common> Thanks for all your help, it is
greatly appreciated! Jay <my pleasure, Anthony Calfo>
Re: sick dogface puffer? Anthony, Thank you for such a fast
reply! <my pleasure!> This morning @ 6AM and noticed that
the white string was now what looked to be fluffy cotton and appears to
be coming out of his mouth. He also had some on his back. I came home
tonight @ 8PM and looked at him and now he appears fine! No white
fluffy crap what so ever and no white spots on his body?
<likely mucus, or at least no pathogenic. such creatures do not wax
or wane so quickly> I fed him and he ate very well and is swimming
around the tank like the first day I got him. I am feeding him frozen
krill. Can this be what I am seeing coming out of his mouth?
<not likely... but you do feed other foods, yes? Any fish would die
of attrition/dietary deficiency on any one food after some months. Do
offer a variety of fresh/frozen meats of marine origin. Also love
crayfish of appropriate size on occasion> Can this also be a fungal
infection? Can my two other fish contract it? <very unlikely on both
counts with good water quality> Does my filtration system seem to be
sufficient or am I going to need to upgrade to a wet/dry with a UV
sanitizer? <my apologies... I need a refresher on you
filtration setup. We get a lot of mail, my friend. Nonetheless... wet
dry is possible, UV unlikely with proper quarantine protocol for all
new entries> If so, which wet/dry system do you recommend?<quite
frankly... I like DIY systems best... can be made more efficient and
always less expensive for those so inclined. Do reference DIY plans on
www.ozreef.org and beyond on the 'Net> Thanks, Jay <kindly,