FAQs about True Puffer Nutritional Disease
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:
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,
Lack of way-over and mis-feeding is likely a close second in
causes of puffer losses.
NOT all Thiaminase loaded foods...
Avoiding Thiaminase 9/7/17
I read the article on Thiaminase and I found it very informative. I was
left with a question, what am I supposed to feed my porcupine puffer? I
see that there are some non-Thiaminase fish offerings, but puffers do
not eat fish.
<Mmm; assuredly they do. Have seen several species of puffers consume
fish in the wild and captivity>
It caused fatty liver disease over time.
<Do you have reference/s for this assertion? Your intuition,
It seems that everything I feed him is high in Thiaminase. Squid,
scallops, clam, mussel, oyster, shrimp is always in the mix. I do add
Boyd's Vita Chem to the food. Is this enough to counteract the effects
of the Thiaminase.
<To some extent; yes. B vitamins can be added to foods, water...>
I used to use Selcon, but the Boyd's seems to be a more complete multi
<I'd add in some whole (small) fishes or bits of fillet in this mix of
invertebrate fare. Bob Fenner>
Re: Avoiding Thiaminase 9/8/17
Thank you for the response.
<Glad that we're sharing Jason>
This is a quote from an article by Kylyssa Shay. Do you think that this
is not true in all cases? Maybe puffers cannot have fish as their main
diet, but can have it as part of a diet?
"Balloonfish are not piscivores. That means that, in nature, they don't
eat fish. Do not feed fish, live or dead, to them. Feeding fish to pork
puffers may cause something called fatty liver disease, a usually fatal
Not only that but the nutrient balance found in fish is very different
from that found in mollusks and crustaceans, their natural prey. Feeding
fish, especially live feeder fish, to your porcupine puffer can also
accustom him to eating fish, making him a danger to future tank mates.
Carefully read the ingredients of any prepared fish foods you give your
Choose those with invertebrates such as shrimp, krill, squid, clams, or
mussels listed as their first ingredient. Avoid all prepared fish foods
with any type of grain or fish meal listed first in the ingredients."
<Mmm; well... will have to look further for input; but though I agree
that Diodontids are principal feeders on hard-shelled invertebrates in
the wild; have seen them eat Seastars, fishes... BobF>
Re: Avoiding Thiaminase 9/15/17
This is a snap of the ingredients of the main food I feed all my fish.
There is some whitefish and Pollock in it which is on the no-thiaminase list.
Maybe this food is better than I thought??
<I suspect you'll be fine here w/ this mix; as long as it isn't overfed, and you
supplement with B vitamins. Bob Fenner>
Dog face puffer question... Nutr. dis. 6/17/16
<Seven megs of uncropped pix; why?>
I have recently acquired a large dog-face puffer 9". He/ she seems very healthy
except for the eyes, they seem almost swollen/ sunken in but very clear.
<.... if you had read>
I have only had it in my tank (125 gallon) for a few days. It hasn't begun
eating yet but that is no surprise since he's still acclimating to his new home.
I have however tried fresh clams, raw shrimp and squid. I know how
important a fresh varied diet is for Puffers.
<Trouble.... vitamin B deficiency.... from this diet>
Attached are some pictures.
Also He did not inflate during transport or when being placed into the new tank
and actually seemed to adjust quit nicely.
Any advise or insight would be very helpful.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog face puffer question 6/17/16
Thank you Bob.
What would you recommend ? I can only assume this puffer was feed
primarily frozen krill for a good amount of his captive life.
<Trouble... possibly reversible>
I thought feeding fresh raw food such as Clams and Shrimp were the answer
until I read the article and the relationship between Thiaminase and B1.
Would this be advisable-
Vita Chem soaked food ( squid/shrimp Live snails ( marine) Cockles
<Sub much (at least half) of the shellfish with whole small fish (not
silversides), nutritious pellet staple. BobF>
Puffer going crazy? 11/12/14
I have a Stars and Stripes puffer in my 187 gallon tank
(60"x24"x30") I've had him for around four years
now and he's around 9 inches head to tail, the last few
days he has been very lethargic and swimming side ways,
he seemed to be ok last night I got him to eat some shell food
and some large krill
<I do hope/trust these are not the only foods you feed this fish... See
WWM re Thiaminase>
which he picked at but he hasn't been his usual greedy self, at first I
thought maybe it was swim bladder disease but he gradually started to
hover about the tank but still very lethargic except when he goes
crazy, he swims wildly around the tank crashing of the glass and
breathing rapidly for around 20 seconds then he sinks to the bottom and
doesn't move for a while,
I've never seen him act like this before and am worried something is
seriously wrong, have any of you guys ever came across this strange
behaviour in a puffer? I'd really appreciate and help guys.
<Not an uncommon result from the feeding issue mentioned... Put the two
words "Puffer blindness" in WWM's search tool (on every page) and read
Re: Puffer going crazy? 11/13/14
Thanks for the reply bob il start looking into it right away, this might
sound like a stupid question but will the puffer be ok and continue to
survive as long as I put the good down right beside him?
<Some do; most don't>
Also apart from shell foods and krill what else would be good food for
puffers and my other fish as well,
<... please use WWM; all of this is archived. We're not a bb>
I try and give my fish a variety of foods but my LFS is limited to the
fish food it stocks, would a trip to the fish market be better?
<Likely so; see WWM re DIY foods>
Again thanks for the advice bob
<Only state what I might do given similar circumstances. BobF>
Help!!! My puffers teeth fell off... 11/9/09
I have owned my dog faced puffer for about 3 years now. Two weeks ago I
noticed that he stopped eating.
<Happens w/ puffers...>
I checked your site for advice and that is when I found out I needed to
trim his teeth (the aquarium store NEVER mentioned anything to me). He
is about 5 inches and his teeth were huge, he was not able to open his
I went and bought all of the necessary tools to trim his teeth. I used
clove oil to put him to sleep. I was able to trim the top teeth to what
I think is suitable. I didn't want to go too short. When I got to
the bottom teeth, they both fell completely off!!! I was VERY careful
not to use too much force or go too low. I'm not sure if that was
supposed to happen. What do I do now? He has a set of sort teeth on top
and no teeth on bottom....
<Hopefully the lower two will regenerate... in the meanwhile, do
feed suitably-sized meaty foods... that aren't too hard. Bob
Dog Face Puffer in Potential Trouble
I have been using your site since first purchasing my tank, its a great
reference for advanced, and novice hobbyist alike. I currently am
running a 75g Fowler, with a Protein Skimmer in the sump. I have
a 3 in. clown fish, 9in. snowflake eel, 4in Foxface Lo, and a 5 in
<Mmm, these need more room... at least a 125 now, larger
The puffer has been acting a little strange since purchased. He
began eating immediately, but only live ghost shrimp, muscles and clams
in the half shell.
<Spoiled... and likely Thiaminase poisoned. Read here:
and on WWM re Tetraodont foods/feeding/nutrition. You need to widen the
diet... Spectrum pellets are a fave>
He is very shy, usually hides, and only comes out for food. My water
parameters last week were Ammonia = 0, Nitrites= 0 Nitrates = 40ppm
<Too high by twice... due to crowding, foods/feeding and likely
types of filtration employed and not. See WWM re NO3 control... Keep
under 20 ppm.
THIS could be the issue here w/ non-feeding alone>
salinity = 1.024, and Ph= 8.2. Due to the nitrates i did a 15
gallon water change, which lowered the nitrates to 10 ppm.
Unfortunately, when i awoke, sweet potato ( dogface puffer ) looked
unhealthy, and was acting stranger then normal. I see no physical signs
of Ich, or problems, but he has occasionally been slamming his side
into the tank wall. He stopped eating, looks to have thinned out,
darkened in color, and now is literally hiding in a cave breathing
heavily. I went to the LFS with a description and photos, and was told
maybe he was stressed ( it seems to be something more).
<Good guess... but due to what influence? Some aspect of the new
They gave me two fiddler crabs to entice eating ( did not work)
and told me to bring him to the store if the situation remained
<An exceedingly poor idea to "take fishes in" to
I love this little guy, and want to take the best care of him as
<Then apply yourself. READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm
The "Related FAQs Files:" linked above>
If these symptoms Don't go away, which i Don't believe
stress to be the cause.
What are my options? What do i need or need not to treat him for, and
I am new to the hobby, and working hard to learn everything. Please let
me know how to help my puff. Thanks for your site, and look forward to
hearing the answer.
<Read and get back w/ me after, should anything be unclear,
incomplete in your mind in terms of possibilities here... You need to
change the diet, add filtration, get the NO3 under control.... Bob
Re: Dog Face Puffer in Potential Trouble 1/9/12
Thanks for your response. Two follow up questions, I took a picture of
him to my LFS store, and they said he might have a fungal disease and
to QT him and give him anti-fungal meds. I hope this helps, if not and
its this Thiaminase poisoned. How do i correct this if he will not
<Read where you've been referred. B>
Reticulated pufferfish is constipated? 10/3/11
Hi, I have a reticulated pufferfish in a 100g tank with an eel.
<Mmm, what species? You realize how large this puffer can/does
Water levels are normal but nitrate/nitrite/ammonia could be present,
since I haven't done a water change in 3 weeks. So my pufferfish
rectum is actually out and exposed, and you can see the waste in his
rectum. It is like a lump where his anus is. This has been going on for
2 days now. His stomach doesn't seem bloated and I didn't feed
him the day before this happen, so would it still be constipation?
<More like a prolapsed anus... Put this term and the word Puffer in
the WWM search tool... located on every page>
He only eat mussels and shrimps,
<A poor diet... See WWM re Thiaminase issues>
and for the last month I've been feeding him 2 mussels a
day(sometimes he would go a day without eating, because I didn't
get a chance to feed him).
What is wrong with him, and how can I fix it.
<... see your statements above. You know naught re water quality...
poor nutrition... needs more room...>
I've had him since he was a baby and he's over a foot long now.
Losing it would suck, its the best fish I've ever owned.
I appreciate the help.
<See the above, search, read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reticulated pufferfish is constipated? 10/4/11
Hey, thanks for the info, the pufferfish just pooped out the waste that
was stuck in his rectum. The waste was a solid piece (not usual) and it
was kinda hard. Does this mean that his illness is starting to
alleviate? Also about his diet, what should I feed him? My pufferfish
would only eat shrimp or mussels. I've tried squid, fish, and other
stuff but he refuse to eat anything besides live crab/crawfishes or
frozen mussels and shrimp.
Thanks for the help. WWM is the best place to look up info on
puffer fishes btw, kudos to you guys =D
<Do please read where you've been referred. BobF>
My panda puffer has swallowed a rounded piece of dead
I am concerned for my panda puffer; it has swallowed a rounded piece of
dead coral that fortunately was polished. I hope that it will not make
him internal injuries. How can I help my fish?
<Really only being patient, time going by>
Do you think that it will expel naturally. The piece was large enough
to pass by his mouth! Yesterday, the fish has eaten normally but today
it is a little lethargic. Today it has done a little poo.
Thank you for your support
<This too should pass in time... I've seen puffer species eat a
bunch of hard, unusual materials in the wild... Bob
Dogface Puffer won't eat
I recently purchased (almost 24 hours ago) a Dogface puffer.
He/she's about 3" long including the tail and is in with a
harlequin Tuskfish (4.5"), niger trigger(4"),
<May not "get along" with this fish>
Goldbar wrasse(5") and a yellow tang who is 6"
in a 150 gallon tank(US) with protein skimming. The yellow tang
threatens the puffer when he/she(the puffer) goes near the tang's
territory with his acanthus. Also the puffer won't eat anything. I
know he/she probably won't eat anything in the next 24 hours when
you acclimate them but also seems to have slightly overgrown teeth. The
reason I assume this is because he/she goes to the side of the tank and
seems to be "biting" the glass or his/her reflection.
<Likely interacting w/ its reflection... but perhaps trying to
The others don't bother him/her. Also when the yellow tang
threatens him/her, his/her tail goes to the side of the body, like a
submissive gesture I suppose.
Thanks a bunch!
<... this fish really needs to be put elsewhere... At least for now.
See WWM re the family, en toto.
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.>
Blind Dog Face Puffer 11/14/10
I have a problem with my dogface puffer. He seems to be blind.
<Does happen in captivity. Perhaps nutrition-related>
He has never had a problem seeing anything before. Every time I fed him
he rushed right to the food. Now, it seems like he knows I'm there
but when I drop the food he has no clue! Every time I feed him now, I
have to feed him by hand. It seems he can not see or smell it! I have
to rub the food on his nose, then he swallows it whole! I feel awful!
He was perfectly fine before!
Any advice???? I love my puffer! Do I have a Hellan Keller on my
<I'd be read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
expanding the diet, likely soaking foods in a vitamin/HUFA prep.
Inverted puffer gill -- 04/21/08 Hello,
<Hi.> My dog face puffer is having issues, her gill keeps
getting inverted back into her breathing hole, in front of her
side fins. <You usually cannot see the gills at all, puffers
only have these small slits (gill openings) in front of the
pectoral fins, the gills are inside. I'm suspecting a
physical injury (pump, other fishes) here based on what you
describe, but I fail to visualize it, even with a puffer in front
of me.> Like when a dogs ear flips backwards, it's like
that. <Something wrong with the gill opening (is its skin
being sucked inside?) or something coming out of it? A picture
would help with diagnosis!> When it happens, she can't
breathe that well, as it doesn't open. I keep finding it like
this over and over again. If I show her the can of food she gets
all excited and will snap it back out but next time I look, its
back inverted. This seems to be happening all the time. She has
stopped eating entirely now. She doesn't swim around either.
<Both no good signs'¦> Any suggestions?
<Amyloodinium and Cryptocaryon parasites on the gills can
result in problems with breathing like breathing with one gill,
do you see a velvet like white layer on the skin or small white
spots? Flukes can result in similar problems
(http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm and search this
link for gills). If something is coming out of the gill slits or
if the slits themselves are hurt, there is not much you will be
able to do yourself, except for providing a good water quality
and varied diet (I hope it will eat again), and hope for the
best. Maybe a veterinarian could solve the problem by fixing
whatever tissue was hurt or torn apart, depends on the size of
the puffer and skill of the vet. Good luck, I hope your
puffer's conditions improves again. Marco.>
Re: inverted puffer gill -04/22/08 Thanks for
responding, <No problem, Allison.> No injuries at all and
not sick as far as I can tell. She hasn't eaten in a long
time but she can do that once in a while for long periods of
time. She didn't look like she was losing weight yet until
just recently. <Thanks for sending pictures. Very nice
specimen. Still looks very well fed, on picture 2, the right side
is bulging out, is the other side looking the same?> I
didn't think I'd be able to get such a good pic. The
little flap gets stuck shut. but its tucked in, not just shut.
<Now that I see it, I no longer suppose something is
hurt/ripped apart here. Rather gill related problems with
breathing than problems with the gill slits themselves. I'd
check water quality (ammonia=0, nitrates below 25 ppm?) and act
if necessary. Partial water changes will not hurt anyway, but may
improve the situation if it's induced by the environment.
I'd also ensure that the current at the surface of the tank
is sufficient so enough oxygen is in the water. Was this puffer
fed a varied diet (and not only krill or shrimps)? If the water
quality is okay and its breathing condition does become worse,
I'd see a vet or if that's not possible treat for flukes
on suspicion. The problem is that bacteria can also affect the
gills.> Her gills look healthy and nothing else appears to be
wrong. <Gill flukes are not necessarily seen by the naked eye
on a living and moving fish. When the flaps remain inside, the
puffer is only using the other gill. While some fishes do that
from time to time and return to normal breathing mode when
disturbed (by you with the food can), an infection of the gills
cannot be excluded if he is always breathing laboured. If
that's true, its breathing will become worse. In this case
I'd treat as indicated on WWM.> I had this happen once in
a blue moon with another puffer of mine, but this is happening
too often and its definitely making her breathing very labored.
If its stuck shut. I have to go thru this huge ordeal to get it
open again. <I don't think that's necessary. The
puffer can apparently return to normal breathing when confronted
with its food can.> When you say a vet, like a regular vet?
Sorry to sound so ignorant but is there a special aquatic vet or
any vet? <Not every vet can treat fishes, but even one, who
can't him/herself may be able to refer you to a vet, who
can.> Thanks again for any help, Allison <I hope your
puffer gets well again. Marco.>
Re: Inverted puffer gill -- 04/24/08 Marco, again thank
you so much. <You are welcome.> She is just a porker, lol,
that's what that bulge is. She's very round. She likes to
wedge herself in the rocks to rest, which is creating that bulge
you see. she can wedge herself in very odd shapes like that.
<Ah, okay.> (She is so round, every time my little nieces
come over, they scream to me that she is puffing up, no
that's not her puffing up, that's just her!!!)
<Don't overfeed her.> I feed her primarily krill, I
soak it in garlic sometimes and I feed them clams and a little
frozen variety. but her main staple of choice is krill. <Would
change that if possible. Although final proof is not available
yet, there are suspicions by many puffer keepers that krill
(especially dried) is not the best diet and may lead to
deficiency related diseases.> The water is good, and has been
stable for the entire time. Everything is 0. <Very good.> I
did however just eliminate a power head that I was using, which
may be taking away some of the surface oxygen she was used to, so
I will put that back in. <Yes.> I also think I'm going
to treat for flukes. <If the situation does not improve,
especially when adding the power head.> A while back, maybe
two months ago, she had what looked like a tiny white string
coming out of her skin, right behind these fins. I did some fresh
water dips for a week and they went away, but I will start those
again too. Thank you much for your suggestions. I'll keep you
posted how it turns out. <Please do. Good luck and all the
Re: Inverted puffer gill -- 04/25/08 Marco, <Hello
Allison!> You solved the mystery and I feel horrible. <We
both solved it, you should feel happy not horrible.> wow. It
was the lack of air, I guess. I put the powerhead back in and
within one day she is lack to her old self. Breathing much
better, moving, swimming everything. <Very good.> I guess
her breathing was so labored it was causing it to malfunction of
a sorts. I had replaced a single 3100 powerhead with a strip of
air instead. I thought the strip of air was creating more surface
movement so I eliminated the powerhead. Apparently she needs to
be MOVED!!! She seems much happier and is actually smiling again.
<I'm very glad to hear that.> I would of never put this
simple solution together. Its always those obvious things that I
miss. Thanks again for your help!! Rudderbug appreciates it too.
<I hope Rudderbug stays healthy. Cheers, Marco.>
Puffer, Tetraodont... feeding, hlth.
11/13/07 I have had a Guinea Fowl Puffer that is about 10"
long. I bought him from a shop that took him from one of their
maintenance jobs when the tank owner moved out of town. I have had him
about a 1 1/2 months. He was tank established 4 years in that tank
before I got him. I normally feed him krill, cocktail shrimp, crab,
squid, clams, and octopus. <Mmm, not complete nutritionally> I
believe the crab being such a hard meat caused the problem I am having
which is a possible blow out. <?> He has a large lump pinkish in
color with some chunks of something in side a sack, about the thickness
of a pinky about 1/4" long. He looks as if he was trying to poop
and pushing out his intestines because there is no exit or opening on
the sack or whatever it is. I am wondering if I should pull on the
little sack or push it in I really don't want him to die. Please
help me with my puffer problem. thanks tony <Mmm, I urge patience
here... Puffers do consume almost everything in time in the wild... All
will/does pass... What you are seeing is likely a prolapsed colon...
Just wait... may take weeks, even months with a specimen of this
size... Read here for something to pass the time:
http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above.
Bloated Puffer 1/8/07 <Hi Emmett, Pufferpunk
here> I have a Mappa puffer and he is bloated and not due to
overeating. His belly was kinda little and it has progressed
to where now it's visible on both sides when he's laying down.
My pet store initially said just give him some time since he's
eating ok but today he is laying on the very bottom of the tank and
expressed no interest in eating. He was not breathing fast
but breaths were harder than usual and visible. I use freeze
dried krill to feed him. Any suggestions for meds or
treatments would be appreciated. <It would be helpful
when you post a Q about an ailing fish, to include water
parameters--ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH. Also, tank size,
fish size, water change schedule, how long you've had the
fish. Has it pooped lately? You could try
treating for constipation with 1 tbsp Epsom salt/5g. Puffers
need a varied diet, other than just krill. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?p=53
Look into the Hospital Forum at that website for info on treating for
internal parasites. ~PP> Thanks in advance, ES
Puffer death/strange symptoms 11/19/06 I am
hoping that you might have some advice or information about our puffer.
About two weeks ago, I introduced a dog faced puffer (purchased from a
very reputable local store) into our tank (well-established tank, 2
years old). It was a wonderful specimen, and we fell in love with him
immediately. He thrived in the environment, got along with tank mates,
and ate like crazy (krill, bloodworms, mussels, etc). About
ten days after getting him, he began to act lethargic (although still
eating), and very quickly (less than a day's time) developed two
very large, darkly discolored areas (one on his left side, about 1.5x1
inches; another on his right side/ventral area, about 1x1 inches). They
seemed to bother him quite a bit, as he often tried to slam himself
(not rub, but slam) against the live rock in the tank. The spots
quickly grew over a one day period, became edematous and wrinkled in
appearance, he began to act as if he felt miserable, and he perished
very soon thereafter (the next day). We were not able to consult an
'expert' until afterwards, but were then told that puffers can
often become constipated due to stress from being transported, and if
the problem is not alleviated, they will develop an internal fungus
(which presents itself as these very large, darkened areas) that is
terminal. <Mmmmmm? Is the animal still available for necropsy? Did
you freeze the body? Am dubious (to a great extent) re this
speculation/etiology> We were also told that a primary way to treat
this, should we notice no defecation, is to briefly place it in a
container with some aquarium water and a bit of baking soda, which
would immediately cause them to defecate. <... No. More likely to
kill the specimen... Perhaps a soak/bath with a good bit of
Epsom/Magnesium Sulfate dissolved in it>> My question is if this
was our puffer's problem (there is absolutely NOTHING on the
internet about this), and if the supposed treatment is legitimate.
<The former I don't the latter I do doubt> Also, if not, what
the heck went wrong with the poor guy? <W/o examination, no way to
really tell... Does sound/read like some sort of internal triggered
complaint... perhaps parasitic (worm, protozoan...?), maybe
tumorous...> I never want this to happen to another one of our
puffers again-- it was adorable, friendly, and it was awful to witness
his pain without being able to do anything for it. Many,
many thanks for any advice you can provide. I look forward to hearing
from you!! Best regards, Susan <Thank you for writing, sharing... I
strongly suggest having this fish dissected if you still have its body
on hand... to discern the make-up of these growths. Bob Fenner>
Sick dog face puffer - please help! -
09/14/06 Dear crew, <Lana> Our female dogface puffer has not
been eating for almost 3 weeks, is very inactive and seems to be
getting worse every day. There are no visible parasites, Ich or
anything unusual on the skin, eyes or gills. She is passing something
that looks like white clusters. <Perhaps indicative of
internal parasitic situation> This is not the first time the puffer
stopped eating - in the past, once a year or so, she had periods
lasting between a few days to 1 week of not eating. <Not uncommon as
am sure you're aware> Usually a little Epsom salt would solve
the problem. Last year during a period like that she got very big - we
thought she was constipated; after we added some Epsom salt she started
passing the white clusters and after that she laid eggs. It looked like
bright yellow ribbons were coming out of her. It happened twice in the
same day, with maybe one-hour interval. After this she started eating
again and went back to normal. <Perhaps time to try a vermifuge...
see WWM re> This time she is not eating for 3 weeks - we don't
know how long she can last without food. Also, if she is trying to lay
eggs again and has a problem with that, what can we do to help her? We
would very much appreciate any advise you can give us. Here is a little
background info: The puffer is about 5.5 years old; we've had her
since she was a baby. Water Parameters: PH 8.3 sal 1.023 temp approx 80
degrees ammonia 0 nitrates/nitrite - untraceable System: 55 gallon tank
<Too small> live rock/crashed coral Eheim professional 2 Fluval
FX 5 Hang on refugium with mud and algae <Good> Tankmates: 3
damsels 1 cowfish <This fish could easily be having an ill-effect on
the Tetraodontid> Nothing has been changes/added in years Feeding -
frozen, 2-3 cubes a day of the following: Formula One Squid Special
Formula VHP Spirulina Thank you very much for your help, Best regards,
Art and Lana <I'd try Praziquantel... otherwise patience, a
larger system. Bob Fenner>
Dog Face Puffer... beh., fdg., dis. 8/12/06 Hello
- I have a 7 year old Dog Face Puffer (Rover). About a week
ago he became bloated and would not eat. This has happened
one other time (about two months ago) and he seemed to work himself
through it. I'm guessing he was
constipated. This time, after a few days of his being
bloated, I called the vet to come and check him out. He was
scheduled to come out the next afternoon. I had to call and
ask him to come earlier because he had built up so much air that it was
blocking a small piece of one of his eyes. He also is generally
lethargic. <Periodic, common behavior in Tetraodonts>
He rests against different items in the aquarium as well as
on the bottom. If I open the lid, he will start swimming
around. The vet came out, trimmed his teeth (they were very long and
Rover had no interest in snails or live rock) and squeezed his
midsection to help encourage him to go to the bathroom. <Good
techniques> I need to mention that I have noticed in the
past weeks that when he does go to the bathroom, it is whole pieces of
krill. While Rover is not as puffy now, he is still puffy
and still has no desire to eat. <Give this fish time>
I have tested the water and the readings are as
follows: PH - 8.6; NO2 < 0.3 mg/l; and NH3/NH4 - 0 mg.
None of the other fish (Tang, Clown Fish, Trigger and Damsels) seem to
be having any issues. Because my vet is not an expert, he
has a call into a doctor in one of the Carolina's. That
doctor is out of town and will not be back until the
08/15. His associate has not returned his call and my vet
will be out of town for two weeks starting Monday. I am at a
loss and I hate seeing him miserable. I would appreciate any
input and/or suggestions. Kristine <Best to try to be patient here.
Puffers are tough... and yours will likely be fine in time. Bob
Puffer Unable to Open Mouth Good Evening WWM Crew,
<Leslie> Leslie here. Your very knowledgeable and
dedicated crew has helped me out many times before. I need help with a
Dogface Puffer tonight. I wrote not to long ago about this fish, a
smallish one 4" or so. He didn't eat in the LFS for the first
few days, but he ate while I was in front of the tank 2 days in a row,
in the LFS, so I thought he might be OK.......silly me. He is in a 25g
Q tank. He got a touch of ich which I successfully treated with a few
FW dips, elevated temps and hyposalinity. I have had him about 5 weeks.
I was hoping that eating in the LFS, after a few days of not, was a
good sign. He has only picked and nibbled at his meals since I have had
him. I have tried all the tricks, as well as every food item
recommended on your site. I even resorted to the creepiest
of all.......a live crayfish, which btw will not die. He
nipped at it a few times, but that is about it. He has been
a bit on the thin side all along but far from emaciated. He seemed to
be maintaining his weight, just not putting any on, up until a couple
of nights ago when he started eating even less and to appear
thinner. I was using Chem Vit in the tank once a week,
because he would not touch any food item that had any sort of
supplement on it. The last 3 days he has eaten less than he usually
would nibble at. Tonight when I fed I noticed he was not eating at all
and that he will not/or cannot open his mouth. His beak has never
appeared overgrown. He is active, has good color, clear eyes and gets
excited when I come into the room and appears to be hungry because he
gets even more excited as soon as the food is placed into the tank.
What causes this inability to open the mouth, if it is not related to
overgrowth of the beak and is there anything I can do for him. Could
the Crayfish have injured his jaw, or mouth. This is really very sad. I
feel horrible about this poor fish and would like to something to help
him. <Have witnessed this a few times... perhaps a trauma in
collection, being moved about... Maybe a deficiency syndrome,
something/s missing in the animal's recent diet...> Thank you so
much for your help, Leslie <I would try "force feeding"
this specimen at this point, with ground up (to hamburger consistency)
meaty foods, holding the animal underwater with a damp towel (after
netting it), using a plastic turkey baster type of tool. Bob
Re: Puffer Unable to Open Mouth Hi Again Bob, So sorry to
keep bugging you :/ <No worries> Re: the force feeding of this
very beautiful and stubborn DF Puffer, who is taxing and my patience
and frozen training skills like no seahorse ever has.......I have a few
more questions. At least Puffers are heartier than WC
seahorses!!!! We both have that in our favor!! <Yes>
Gullet?.....? Not sure what/where you mean......if this guy is
say 3.5 to 4", excluding his caudal fin, how
far into his oral cavity should I shoot for, just a rough estimate?
<Just until the tip of the plastic feeding tube is inserted... the
animal has rear-facing projections, a muscular sphincter to prevent
egestion> I would like to get a general idea about how much volume
he can accommodate at one feeding. Any idea how big his stomach might
be or what volume it would comfortably hold? I am guessing based on
what my other 2(about the same size) eat about 2 to 3ccs perhaps, 4
max? <Actually, these animal's have enormously distensible
fundi... no worries re overstuffing. In the wild I suspect that they
only come upon large amounts of food on occasion... and when they do,
engorge themselves> I read somewhere many moons ago that a
fish's stomach is about as big as their eye. Now I have a feeling
this is not true in the DF Puffers case. I have 2 others and I see what
they consume and how their bellies bulge after a good meal. <Yes>
If I am going to get past my trepidation and squeamishness to actually
do this I want to be sure I do it right and feed him enough. I
certainly don't want to waste my efforts and stress him out just to
under feed the poor guy. <I understand. As you've stated, if the
specimen is eating now, I would not attempt to force it...> How many
days would you recommend I do it for and should I continue to offer him
live and/or frozen foods simultaneously 2 times a day as I have been.
<Continue offering the frozen/defrosted foods, any live as you have
been... if the animal goes off feeding, appears dangerously thin,
I'd commence force-feeding it... daily till it takes food on its
own> Just how nasty is a bite from one of those beaks? Have you ever
been bitten by one this guy's size? I am a tad nervous. <Have
been bitten... painful... though not as bad as a dog or psittacine
(parrot-like) bird> When I tube fed the seahorses I had a really
clear picture of their anatomy in my mind? Hehehe, by the
way it is not all that hard if you have the right size tube, a pair of
magnifying reading glasses and a helper....that long straight snout is
an easy target :). I feel a bit blinded in this situation, as this is a
new species for me and although I have done a lot of research I am no
where near done. The seahorse's GI tract is quite simple and from
my understanding and observation LOL, a bit different than most other
fish, would you say these guys (puffers) have a more typical anatomy?
<Puffers are very similarly arrayed... a short, straight tube more
or less, for fast processing> Do you have any recommendations for
appetite stimulants........I have the following which have been
recommended to me.......Vita Chem, Kent Marine Garlic Extreme and Kent
Marine C.? Would any of these be appropriate, or do you have a product
you have had good experience using? <The Boyd Product (VitaChem) and
Selcon are my favorites> OK one more sort of dumb question......they
can't aspirate like a human could, can they? Is there any harm I
can cause him or is there anything I need to be careful/aware of during
this procedure. <Not to worry> I will let you know how it goes if
you like. Thank you and have a great day!!! <Real good. Life to you
my friend. Bob Fenner> Leslie
Stars and Stripes puffer Hi - I just bought a stars and
stripes puffer and for the first couple days he looked very healthy
although I could tell he was not interested in the food I was feeding
him (flakes). <flake food is entirely inappropriate for this
fish. The is much information that you may need to learn about this
fish... including how very large it gets! They need regular feedings of
prey with hard shells (crayfish, hermit crabs, frozen krill) to keep
their fast growing teeth filed or a fatally compromising condition can
develop in less than a year. Do browse www.wetwebmedia.com for articles
and FAQs starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm Please
notice and explore all of the links at the top of this page> So I
contacted the store and they told me they fed him Freeze Dried Krill so
I went and bought some yesterday. <just a small part of the
diet... needs many more foods to service long term.> He ate it and
seemed to love it but then later last night I found him just laying on
the bottom of the tank (which I've never seen him do before).
Normally he's always swimming around - not fast or anything - but
constantly moving around. And then later I found him laying on a rock.
So at first I thought I fed him too much so I waited till this morning
and he was ready to eat again this morning and actually looked better
(swimming around again) and ate good. But after I fed him I found him
laying in a plant. I was just wondering if this is normal behavior for
puffers? <sometimes... but hey are also prone to parasitic
infections... do read about the need for quarantining these fishes>
He looks healthy in color and I don't see any dots on him (ich) but
I've never seen him lay on things so much. If you have any
suggestions I would really appreciate it. I want to help him before he
gets sick (or more sick if that's the case). Thanks, Amy <best
Now Empty Tank Bob, First, thanks for all the help and
for the great site. To refresh your memory, I have a 120 Gallon Fish
Only tank. I had a 14 inch Reticulated Puffer (for about 5 years) as
the only inhabitant. He was just sitting on the bottom of the tank and
not eating. You thought he was probably on a feeding strike. He had
actually started to eat some when I used a prong feeder placing the
food in front of his mouth. Well, last night he died. He showed no
signs of illness other than sitting on the bottom. My question is since
I have no idea what happened to him do you think I should drain the
tank "bleach" it out and start over from scratch or would a
major water change of 50-75% work best? I've had the tank setup of
3 years in it's current location. The tank currently has 0 ppm
ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, ph 8.2 and nitrates of about 80 ppm (was up to
100 ppm now dropping due to some good advice from you and the site). I
have approximately 100 lbs of Live rock in the tank and another 20 in
the sump along with some macro algae. I'd hate to start over from
scratch, but if you think it's best to do so, I will. Thanks, Bryan
<So sorry to hear of the loss of your long time aquatic
companion. Did send the following cut/pasted response (to be
found in tetraodont FAQ archives on www.wetwebmedia.com): If it were
me, I would likely give this tank a "once over" infusion of
live rock (a box or so...) to re-center, add biomass, diversity, and do
your water changes consequent to it settling in for a month or so...
The new look will help as well. Be chatting my friend. Bob
Fish Question - Please Help Hello, I received your name from
someone who said you might be able to help with a problem I'm
having with a sick fish. <I will try> I have a 120 gallon salt
tank with only one fish a large dog face puffer who I've had for
about 5 years. For about 2 months he's just been sitting on the
bottom of the tank and not swimming unless I come near the tank, then
he appears to struggle to swim. Almost like a balance problem. He
barely gets any food and I'd like to try to save him. I have
basically no readings for ammonia or nitrites in the tank, but do have
nitrates. I have a Berlin skimmer and a UV sterilizer on the tank. When
I do water changes I use RO water and Reef Crystals Salt. The
temperature is kept at about 80 degrees and there is about 80 lbs of
live rock in the tank. Do you have any ideas as to what may be causing
the problem or know anyone who may be able to assist? I'd
appreciate any advice. Thanks, Bryan <Likely this is a "feeding
strike" of anomalous cause... And in all likelihood your Puffer
will resume feeding just as mysteriously as it ceased. Do give a read
over the Puffer pieces and FAQs stored on my site: www.wetwebmedia.com
for much more, others similar experiences. Re the nitrates (and
probable other concurrent metabolite buildup), you would do well to
place some live rock in your system along with a bit of hardy
macro-algae (much more about this on the WWM site), to improve water
quality. Other than this, I would keep offering your puffer meaty foods
daily, monitor water quality, make those water changes (along with
gravel vacuuming)... and all should resolve itself. Bob Fenner>