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FAQs about True Puffer Pathogenic Disease  (caused by biological agents)

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

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

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

Oh yes; susceptible to many Protozoans, Worms...

and don't care for much in the way of common "remedies"

... but real cures can be had and are posted on WWM


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

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

Serious problem with Dogface Puffer... fdg., hlth.     1/14/14
I think I have a serious problem going on with my dogface puffer and have absolutely no idea what it could be. I got him about 5 weeks ago and ever since I got him something hasn't been right. I haven't seen him eat anything at all and I know that he has to of eaten something bc he would be dead by now.
<Not necessarily... have you searched, read on WWM re?>
 I took him out of my display tank 2 days ago because something isn't right and hasn't been.
<What other fishes are here? Possibly this fish is being harassed>
 He has been very lethargic, just sits on the bottom or hides in the live rock. When he swims around he runs into the glass and looks like he's trying to eat it. His eyes are completely clouded over with a few little white dots on them, both eyes are this way. His fins also have white dots all over them. Sometimes his fins are at his side when he's just laying on the bottom. These whitish dots make me think that it's either Ich or velvet but I'm not sure. Some times he is breathing very rapidly and others seem like he's breathing normal. I've tried feeding just about every food possible that I can think of but he doesn't eat it. If I stick a silverside right by it's mouth it bites at it and takes in a lil bit then spits it right back out and moves away. I have no idea what to do, what the problem is, and how I should go about treating it. Any help would be greatly appreciated because I don't want to lose him!
<... why have you waited five weeks to write us?>
Parameters: Ph - 8.2, Ammonia & Nitrite - 0, Nitrate -10, Salinity - 1.022
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
scroll down to Tetraodontids... health/disease, system, compatibility FAQs.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14
I've been reading and reading on WWM trying to figure out what the problem most likely is
<Seen your pix... at least some sort of Protozoan; most likely Crypt>

 but I haven't been able to figure it out. After reading on WWM it seems like it is Ich or velvet but it's very hard to tell since it doesn't seem like any of the other fish are acting strange or different. He is in the tank with a small batfish & a blue velvet damsel and it doesn't seem like either of them bother or pick on him at all.
<Well, these other species are more "Ich tolerant"... Likely the system (most are) is infested>
The batfish swims & stays in one area of the tank. I waited so long because I'm new to this and was thinking that he was acclimating in the first week or two and it may have cleared up and also was thinking it was possibly a bacterial infection so I was treating him with an antibiotic to see if he would improve.
<... you need to act fast, decisively... Either some hypo route followed by worthwhile treatment (perhaps a quinine cpd.)... I'd be READING, and ACTING ASAP. BobF>
Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14

Here are some pictures I took last night of him in the QT tank after putting some food for him to try and eat.

Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14
I will get right on it and do hypo. Should I place all the fish in QT and leave the display tank empty to rid the tank of crypto? Thank you so much for your help and hope I am able to save him!
<Read on! B>

Puffer parasite??    12/7/12
We have a new golden puffer for about 4 months now with no issues..
All of the sudden tonight when we went to feed them he had these rice like "parasites" all over his body and one of his eyes.
None of the other fish in the tank have any signs of this and he is acting normal so far.
Any ideas?
<Have tried enlarging some of these "zots" and enhancing the image... They look like congealed spots of body mucus more than anything discrete; not like a live organism. Tetraodonts are quite slimy and often particulates will adhere to them... I'd review what your water quality, any supplements, treatments you've added to the water... and not treat this fish/system in any way. Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
This does not look like any type of debris.. the little rice like things look to be alive.. they are very hard to photograph through acrylic.. but see if this helps..
You can really see a few of them stuck to his eye, but they are also on his body.. he does look to have some sand on him as well, but it is the white/clear looking rice shaped things we are worried about.
Thanks so much!
<Thank you for sending along the larger, better-resolved image. BobF>
HERE YOU CAN SEE THEM.....RE: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
Wow.. I hate to send you such a large photo.. but when you enlarge it you can see the eyes on these things.. OH MY what do we have and how can we get rid of them???
<Oh yeah! I do see these now as some sort of parasitic crustacean... Likely an Isopod (Cirolanids maybe)... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodcontr.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
Bob Fenner>

 RE: HERE YOU CAN SEE THEM.....RE: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
Bob,.. sorry to be a pest here, but just worried about my puffer..
I've been doing a lot of reading about these pests and a lot of conflicting information..
One said to pick them off like ticks
<Nah... just use an organophosphate remedy... there are a few, covered on WWM...>

 and another said not to because it can cause more damage.. especially since they are on his eyes..
One said freshwater dips won't work.. another said try it... We tried it.. they are still there...
Baiting seems to be a good way, but I have yet to find the article on how to bait them,
<No to this too>
 and they seem very content to be on the puffer as they do not leave when the lights come on..
So how can I get them off of my puffer first... and second.. is baiting the best way to rid them from the entire system?
Thanks so much!
<Did you read where I last referred you? Please do so. BobF>

Dogface Puffer, hlth.    1/8/12
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 out.
!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.
Nitrates 15
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.
<No problem>
 First time i have done this but read it`s not a problem.
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 read here:
and just try to be patient... Highly likely this issue will resolve of its own. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface Puffer   1/8/12

Thanks Bob
<Welcome Gar>
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 Tetraodontid>
I am attaching a before and now photo to see if that could shed any light.
<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 referred>
Sorry for rushed reply but starting to worry.
Have read lots and will continue to do so where you have suggested.
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer

Sorry Bob
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. concern    1/8/12
Thanks Bob
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 increasing.
<... 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 media>
As regards the green algae i have just increased water flow as i had one of my powerheads greatly reduced running a nitrate reactor.
<Oh! Of what sort of make up is this? Might be the or another source of poisoning. What in particular is the feed (chemically)>
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
Kind regards
<And you, B>
Re: Dogface Puffer   1/8/12

Hi Bob
<Big G>
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 reactor itself?>
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 gallon tank.
Been told on 3 forums this is fine on FOWLR but obviously not.
<Depends on what you're trying to do... For just barely lighting photosynthetic life on your rock this should be fine>
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 several-approach plan>
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 methinks.
<Review our prev. emails... READ... understand, then act. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer  1/10/12

Hi Bob
Just a quick update.
Puffer still eating as normal<ly> but flashing and blinking continues.
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 smell.
I had the outlet running outside of tank for a few pints then returned it.
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 maturing again.
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 earnest!    1/15/12

Evening Bob
<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.
<I see>
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 run.
Another 10% change today and cleaned all filters again.
<Sounds good>
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 PolyFilter>
Add anything to water to treat fish ?
<Not I>
 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>
Re: 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 otherwise.
Thanks again Bob.
Just hope the fish make it.
<Me too>
<And you, B>

Re: puffer /blue green algae problem  1/16/12
Hi Bob
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 elsewhere>

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 ?.
<The former>
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 ?
<YES; now>
 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 either.
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  1/16/12
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 water... daily!>
Internal filter with sponge taken from one of my reef filters.
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 ?
<Hopefully not>
Going to leave him in peace for a day or two first anyway.
<Welcome. B>

sick Arothron... Going, going, gone by Crypt 5/24/10
I bought an Arothron 2 weeks ago and it is very very sick now!
<About dead from... Cryptocaryon it appears>
1. Water parameters
a) Temperature range. 82
b) pH. 8.5
c) GH.
d) KH 8
e)Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, levels. 0
f) Water change frequency 20% every month
2. Tank set up
a) Size. 25 gal
<Way too small for this species>
b) Substrate. 0.5" coral sand
c) Filtration. skimmer
d) Furnishings. 20 pounds of stones
e) Other tank mates. /
f) How long has it been set-up? 2 weeks
<... and way too new to add such fish>
g) When was the last new fish added? /
h) Is there a heater in the tank? yes
3. Symptoms / Problem description
I have a fish, probably an Arothron mappa, who is very very sick. It started when temperature lowered to 71.6 Celsius.
He has first caught Ich, and is now all skinny and for some reason cannot close his mouth anymore (showing
his teeth all the time, I have been told his teeth could have overgrown and the stress could have caused the Ich) and one of his eyes his like whitish.
He has been constipated, then diarrhea (sorry). We put a shrimp to eat the Ich off him but either it didn't happen, or it didn't help.
We are really concerned as he looks ultra weird now!!
4. Action taken (if any)
Introduced a Lysmata shrimp to eat the Ich, didn't work. Density lowered to
<Won't work...>
Temperature raised to 82.5. UV filter installed.
5. Medications used (if any)
Sorry for my bad English!
<No worries. I understand you>
Here are two pics of him now
Thank you so much, I cannot find any vet to help!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files embedded, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Starved dogface puffer; rather Amyloodinium -- 09/24/08 We have a dogface puffer named Sammie who up until recently was perfectly fine. <How long do you have him? Tank size? Water parameters? Any changes within the last weeks? Need more information to help you.> We went out of town for 3 days. When we got back (yesterday) the person who was supposed to have fed our puffer forgot to do so. <No problem for an Arothron. They can go without food for weeks.> Ever since then he has gone down hill. <Any new fish within the last 4 weeks?> He ate the first day we got back. When we went to feed him today he is covered completely in a white film, and he is laying on the bottom of the tank in a corner. He refuses to eat and every now and then he flinches or jerks around as if he is uncomfortable. He looks as if his breathing has slowed and he's very lethargic looking. <White film, lethargy are typical symptoms of an Amyloodiniumiasis, but intoxication can have similar results. Let's exclude the latter first. Check your water parameters (pH, nitrates, ammonia, temperature) to exclude some toxic environmental conditions. Ensure enough gaseous exchange happens (skimmer, surface current). If you believe anything toxic (not so aquarium safe decorations?) could have been introduced to the tank remove it, do a large water change and filter with fresh carbon. If toxins can be excluded treat for Amyloodiniumiasis. This disease can kill fish within 24-48 hours. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the linked FAQs for diagnosis and treatment.> I believe he released some toxin because our yellow tang and clown fish have both died on the same day. <He cannot kill other fish with his toxin as long as they do not eat him, he's not a boxfish. They most likely were suffering from the same disease/condition.> We are thinking of a FW dip for about 10 min.s. <I thought you supposed he was starved? How would a dip help in this case?> What else can we do. I am frantic with worry. If Sammie dies it will break my heart! Thank you, Ashley <Good luck. Marco.>

Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/18/10
Please help. I am trying to treat my daughter's dog face puffer for what I believe to be velvet Ich.
<...? These are two different events, causes... one a Dinoflagellate, the other a protozoan... Sometimes "treated" with similar compounds, techniques though>
About 3 weeks ago I introduced a similar size Niger trigger fish to the tank. It is 110 gal with only the puffer in it
(and a few snails, hermit crabs.
<Food items for these fishes>
Water quality was fine, no ammonia, nitrites, etc, ph 8.2-8.4, temp 76, salinity 1.026. I removed the trigger after 10
days because I noticed he seemed to be dominating the tank and forcing the puffer into a small area. A not very happy puffer. After I removed the trigger, the puffers color seemed off, mottled looking. He did not seem otherwise ill. After 4 days he stopped eating, stayed mostly in the rock and exhibited occasional scratching. He also developed a slightly gold color on areas.
<Ahh! This is symptomatic of Velvet... but this parasite is very aggressive... IF it were resident, in your system, it would very likely have killed all your fishes w/in a few days>
I checked the LFS and they recommended adding VitaChem to boost immunity and he should recover.
<A good idea>
He did not. A couple days later he was obviously very listless and ill. I (not being a real fish person) did as much research as possible and came to the conclusion that he most likely had velvet disease. After little success with Kick Ich
<... worthless>
in the large tang, I removed him to a QT on Sat after carefully matching the salinity, temp and pH in the new tank. I did a 5min fresh water dip and a 10sec Methylene blue rinse before putting him in the new salt water. He seemed very active after the move, mostly, I think he was angry about going from a 6ft run to 2ft.
Shortly after moving him in noted thread like strings in the water.
<Mmm, most likely "just" mucus... from the dip, moving...>
He appears to be shedding a slime coat. What do I need to do to protect him from secondary infections or dehydration, assuming that most of the Ich has been dealt with?
<Time going by, good care>
I currently have a UV sterilizer attached to the system, a protein skimmer, biofilter and have added VitaChem and Stress coat plus.
I started a course of Maracyn antibiotic
<Most antibiotics are of little to no use thus administered to marine systems>
yesterday and did a 25% water change after 24hrs. He was still with us after 36hr in the QT, so I am
cautiously optimistic. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Grateful mom
<I suggest you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked Marine Puffer Disease FAQs files above... and where you lead yourself enroute... And write back w/ specific questions, concerns should you have them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/19/10

Puff seems to be much better. He was out swimming around last night. I have deleted most of the copper sulfate with water changes. A second fresh water dip yielded far less slime shedding and white granules in the dip. Daily
water changes, VitaChem and UV filtering in QT continue.
<Ah, good>
I think he out of immediate danger from the Ich, but he still has no interest in eating. He has not eaten for 12 days. Is there anything I can do to get him to eat?
Thanks for you help
Grateful mom
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
toward the bottom... the general and various puffer families FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... or use the search tool linked on all left shared borders with key words... B>

Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/18/10
Please help. I am trying to treat my daughter's dog face puffer for what I believe to be velvet Ich.
<...? These are two different events, causes... one a Dinoflagellate, the other a protozoan... Sometimes "treated" with similar compounds, techniques though>
About 3 weeks ago I introduced a similar size Niger trigger fish to the tank. It is 110 gal with only the puffer in it
(and a few snails, hermit crabs.
<Food items for these fishes>
Water quality was fine, no ammonia, nitrites, etc, ph 8.2-8.4, temp 76, salinity 1.026. I removed the trigger after 10
days because I noticed he seemed to be dominating the tank and forcing the puffer into a small area. A not very happy puffer. After I removed the trigger, the puffers color seemed off, mottled looking. He did not seem otherwise ill. After 4 days he stopped eating, stayed mostly in the rock and exhibited occasional scratching. He also developed a slightly gold color on areas.
<Ahh! This is symptomatic of Velvet... but this parasite is very aggressive... IF it were resident, in your system, it would very likely have killed all your fishes w/in a few days>
I checked the LFS and they recommended adding VitaChem to boost immunity and he should recover.
<A good idea>
He did not. A couple days later he was obviously very listless and ill. I (not being a real fish person) did as much research as possible and came to the conclusion that he most likely had velvet disease. After little success with Kick Ich
<... worthless>
in the large tang, I removed him to a QT on Sat after carefully matching the salinity, temp and pH in the new tank. I did a 5min fresh water dip and a 10sec Methylene blue rinse before putting him in the new salt water. He seemed very active after the move, mostly, I think he was angry about going from a 6ft run to 2ft.
Shortly after moving him in noted thread like strings in the water.
<Mmm, most likely "just" mucus... from the dip, moving...>
He appears to be shedding a slime coat. What do I need to do to protect him from secondary infections or dehydration, assuming that most of the Ich has been dealt with?
<Time going by, good care>
I currently have a UV sterilizer attached to the system, a protein skimmer, biofilter and have added VitaChem and Stress coat plus.
I started a course of Maracyn antibiotic
<Most antibiotics are of little to no use thus administered to marine systems>
yesterday and did a 25% water change after 24hrs. He was still with us after 36hr in the QT, so I am
cautiously optimistic. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Grateful mom
<I suggest you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked Marine Puffer Disease FAQs files above... and where you lead yourself enroute... And write back w/ specific questions, concerns should you have them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/19/10

Puff seems to be much better. He was out swimming around last night. I have deleted most of the copper sulfate with water changes. A second fresh water dip yielded far less slime shedding and white granules in the dip. Daily
water changes, VitaChem and UV filtering in QT continue.
<Ah, good>
I think he out of immediate danger from the Ich, but he still has no interest in eating. He has not eaten for 12 days. Is there anything I can do to get him to eat?
Thanks for you help
Grateful mom
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
toward the bottom... the general and various puffer families FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... or use the search tool linked on all left shared borders with key words... B>

Puffer with parasite(s).. or not? With -- 1/22/10
Hello crew,
I have a 4.5 year old Stars and Stripes Puffer that I emailed about a few days ago, I rescued him from my LFS as he was in a 37 gallon tank, I'm in the process of cycling our new 215 gallon tank, and he'll be going in that shortly. He eats like a pig and I try to feed him a varied diet soaked in Zoecon supplement. I was just looking at him up close and he has these little specs on all of his fins, I can't tell if they're micro air bubbles or something else, water parameters are as follows:
<Looks like Crypt from here>
Salinity: 1.025
pH: 8.3
Ammonia: 0 / Undetectable
Nitrites: 0 / Undetectable
Nitrates: 0 / I saw a ever so slight hue in the tester so it could possibly be 2-3
Calcium: 470
<A bit high... and Mg?>
The water seems fine and I do 30% - 50% weekly water changes just to ensure things stay okay as he creates a large bio-load and he's currently in my 55 gallon tank until the larger one cycles. If you have any idea please let me know! By the way, he's 13" long so a freshwater dip would be extremely hard as he's not a fan of being netted.
Thanks again for everything you guys do!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files above... and soon. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Tank with puffers, a moray eel and Amyloodinium (velvet) -- 05/08/07 Hello <Hi Amanda.>, I believe that our tank has velvet. We have a dogface puffer, a stars-n-stripes puffer, a tiger reef eel, live rock, snails and hermit crabs. Our tank is 125 gallons. I want to use CopperSafe to clean out the whole tank. The directions say to add it only once and it treats for a whole month. <If you treat your display tank, you will kill a lot of your beneficial bacteria. Monitor ammonia and nitrite if you treat it that way.> I know I need to take out the live rock, snails, and hermit crabs and I need to clean out the tank very well after the treatment is over.  My questions are - Can I leave my puffers and eel in their 125 gal tank while I am treating it? <The moray eel should not be treated with copper, except if it shows symptoms. Puffers can be treated carefully, but bare in mind that overdosing can be lethal. It's appropriate to get a testing kit that can be used with your copper product and to monitor the copper concentration at least once daily.> My quarantine tank is only 25 gallons and if I stick all of them in there, besides being stressed, doesn't it defeat the purpose of the quarantine by only treating the fish? <No. The best would be to treat the two puffers in a bare bottom quarantine tank with copper and to let the display tank run fallow for about 6 weeks (without using copper in this tank). If the moray eel does not show symptoms, I'd leave it in the display. That way you are taking the risk that the parasites may use the moray as a host, but this case is rather improbable due to the high resistance of these fish against Amyloodinium. If you do not want to take this risk, you need a second quarantine tank for the eel, which is not treated with copper.> Do I still give them freshwater dips to get the parasite <off>, while I am treating their tank? <Such dips can be done in severe cases to get rid of some of the parasites.> Do I dip the eel? <If it shows any symptoms: yes.> How do I dip an eel? <A bucket of well aerated, pH and temperature adjusted freshwater. Catch the eel with a net and transfer it to the bucket. If you cannot catch it with a net, lure it out into a clean bottle with a large enough opening and a piece of its favourite food and transfer it. Put a lid on the bucket. Leave it there for about half an hour to one hour. Return it to the tank.> Do I also have to wait a month before putting the live rock and the invertebrates back in or how long do I have to wait? <If you treat your display with copper, you should filter with fresh activated carbon after 4 weeks and hope none of the copper remains in the substrate.> I know this needs to be treated now, but my puffers are my babies and I don't want to hurt them. <I'd consider what I described above as the best way. Also read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cuduration.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the related FAQs.> I know I have a lot of questions for y'all. I would appreciate your help, so I can make my fish happy again. <Hope they pull through.> Thank you so much for your time. <You are welcome. Marco.> Sincerely, Amanda.

Dog face puffer with wart like growth 03/18/07 He is rather large, approximately, 5-6 inches. He is eating very well, making a pig of himself actually. He got a little constipated the last couple of days, but has managed to move past it. <Provide a varied diet of mussels, cockles, prawns and other uncooked seafood to prevent constipation and deficiency diseases.> He is currently in a 125 gallon tank, and seems fine. <Watch your water parameters, especially ensure that the nitrates stay below 30 ppm.> He will rub his teeth against the tank sides, and make weird sneezing noises. Why is he doing this? <Natural behaviour, nothing to worry about as long as his teeth are short enough to allow him to eat.> Also, he has two white, kind of warty looking things on his tail. They have not grown or spread, and do not appear to be causing him any discomfort, doesn't even appear to notice it. Should I be concerned? <Have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm and the related FAQs. If your puffer has Lymphocystis, provide a varied diet and high water quality and he will get well by himself. You can soak his food in vitamins to support his immune system.> Otherwise, he seems to be getting along fine. Taste testing the two chocolate chip starfish every once in a while, mostly leaving them alone. He lives with 4 damsel fish, which he once on a while, half heartedly nips at, but mostly leaves alone. He sleeps in a cave on the sand, with his tale curled around him like a dog. Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. <I hope I could help. Cheers, Marco.> Samantha

Dogface with Whitespot? 1-7-08 I have a Dog faced Puffer which I have had for about 2 weeks now -- up till now he has been fine however recently I switched on my skimmer again and have had a few bedding in issues one of which is lots of micro bubbles. The tank has been up and running for about 6 weeks and all other fish are doing fine. All water parameters are good. The dog faced puffer seems to have lots of little white spots on it (not 100% sure if these are micro bubbles or spots). I have attached a couple of pictures. I have turned off the skimmer to remove any micro bubbles and see how he looks in the morning but I am now paranoid that it is white spot. If so want to catch it as soon as possible so I can put in quarantine and get it cured. <I don't think that these are micro bubbles due to the spots on his fins. I believe this may be white-spot but as long as he is eating well and being social I would just keep an eye out on him. If it gets worse then go ahead and quarantine.> PS- Puffer feeds well -- from my hand -- feeding him lance fish, prawns, mussel. Tank is 450L. Parameters are: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, SG 1.023, PH 8.2 Regards, Steve <Good Luck with your puffer, Yunachin>

Re: Dog Face with Whitespot?   1/8/08 Bob, please find attached pictures taken today after the skimmer has been off for approx 18 hours -- looks better -- less spots for sure but there are still spots. <Yunachin, here. Very handsome fish!> What do you think, should I QT this fish??<Since keeping the skimmer off for as long as you did and there are still spots on the puffer I would say that it is Ich. Yes I would go ahead with treatment.> Regards to QT I have a 75 Litre bare tank and have started making RO water to fill it with. I take it I just mix up the salt, heat and a sponge type filter, add the fish -- in terms of water quality I guess I just have to do daily water changes -- any advice appreciated. <I would recommend removing some water from your main tank and putting it into your quarantine tank because you need to cycle the tank if not, taking up valuable time that you may not have. Check out this article for more details: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm ; Also here is an article on marine Ich and the many treatments that you can choose from: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm; > <Good Luck and Steve

"Normal" markings. RMF

White pimple like bump under my fishes mouth help! -- 09/20/07 Hi, you can see in the pictures, if you look at the clown trigger. <I see.> (who I had brought like 2 weeks ago with the white bump under his mouth <buying a sick fish is never a good idea, not quarantining it is even worse.> and wasn't eating at first, but now the last 4 days been trying to eat everything in sight) has it under he's <his> mouth (white bump). <See that, too.> The dogface puffer (who hasn't eating in like a month and a half) <That's why he's so skinny.> has a white bump under his mouth, too now (after the arrival of the clown trigger)! The white bump has depth to it and you can see it from the side. What is it? <Can't make it out clearly in the pictures. Too blurry. It could be Lymphocystis (a more or less harmless virus, bumps look like cauliflower) or (more likely) a bacterial infection. Most likely related to poor water quality. What are your nitrates? Are ammonia and nitrites 0 all the time?> Could the puffer caught this white bump from the clown trigger? <Theoretically: yes, but also possible is these bumps have a common environmental reason.> How do I treat it? <Measure your nitrates. If they are above 20 mg/l do a large water change to bring them down accordingly (e.g. if you measure 100 mg/l you have to change at least 80%). Clarify if these bumps look like Lymphocystis by comparing them to Lymphocystis pictures online and in books. If they look different, consider a treatment with antibiotics in a separate hospital tank or with antibiotic baths. Feed your fish a varied, vitamin enriched diet. As a side note: I am not a native speaker, but I think I remember 'I' as well as the beginnings of sentences should be capitalized. This could speed up our answering process. You are welcome. Marco.>

Sick Puffer or just odd behavior?   1/28/07 Hello Crew, <Lisa> Sorry to bother you with yet another Puffer question.  My Stars and Stripes about 3 1/2 inches) is doing this odd thing......He will start at the top of the water and dive (or "swoop") down to the bottom, rubbing his belly on the crushed coral below.  I have even seen him do it a few times on the live rock.  Does he have a skin condition or something internal that is disturbing him? <Mmm, not likely> Or is he acting out with some kind of discontentment related to his tank situation? <Possibly... but more likely this fish is reacting to its own reflection...> His appetite is great (in fact, I had to separate him from the others because he was eating ALL of my crustaceans and was about to go after my beloved cleaner shrimp, who he had, for several weeks, seemed to have some affection for (allowing them to massage his back and even taking afternoon naps with them - please excuse the run-on sentence!)  I also found out that he was nibbling (but not ingesting) my LTA which never recovered and died a horrible, messy death. <These animals are incompatible> I was told that he would not get any larger than 8 inches (like the dog-face), and then learned that this is not so.  True? <This is not so...> I am considering adopting him out to somebody with a bigger tank who can give him the life he deserves, but want to make sure he is totally healthy first. <Good> Thanks for all your help and support. Lisa Crugnola <Mmm, try taping a piece of paper or such to the outside panel where this behavior is occurring... Bob Fenner>
Cleaner Damselfish  2/22/07 Hello Bob and Crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk grabbed this one from the Inbox.> I have written in before about my Stars and Stripes Puffer, "Blinky" and his odd behavior of suddenly and quickly diving down and scraping his belly on live rock and coral gravel.  Bob suggested that he might be reacting to his own reflection, although I pretty much ruled that out after hours of observing him (mostly because he will be positioned at one end of the tank and starring down the full length of the 48 inches of tank with rock, and other decorations blocking his view.  He also positions his body vertically, looking straight down at the gravel, hovering for several seconds before he takes his dive).   <Goofy, puffer-antics... or an itch caused by parasites.> Additionally, his appetite and every other part of him remains normal.  Anyway, he was doing it so much (several times trying to jump out of the tank and violently hitting the glass top) that it became disturbing to witness.  I actually had to leave the room.  I thought I had a suicidal Puffer on my hands.   <Many a puffer has been known to go carpet-surfing.> However, refusing to give up I tried putting several small fish (Damsels) on his side of the partition.   <Partition?  How large is this tank?  Your S&S puffer will grow quite large, requiring at least a 180g tank.   See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php/v/PufferPedia/Marine/A_Hispidus/ > The reason for this?  The first several weeks I had him, he was enjoying the general population and full run of the tank (pre-eating and killing my LTA) <Most puffers are NOT reef safe.> and he never engaged in this odd "diving" behavior.  I thought, "Is it possible that he is lonely?"  To make a long story a tad less long; I put the two fish on Blinky's side of the tank and it seemed to have a calming effect on him almost immediately.  At that time I also realized that the Puffer was looking a bit "raggedy" from repeatedly scraping his delicate underbelly on the jagged rock and gravel.  There were no actual lesions or anything resembling an open wound, though.  If I had to describe it I would liken it to a close shave (human) resulting in some flaky skin.  Blinky literally had flaky pieces hanging from his chin (mostly) and some from his belly.   <More proof of parasites IMO.  Their skin is not delicate, actually the opposite.  More like prickly leather.> I was recommended by my LFS to put a cleaner shrimp in with him to attempt a cleaning (before the poor invert was gobbled up as thanks; not a consideration).  But then several days ago I noticed the small Humbug damsel was gently taking small, swift nibbles at Blinky's underside.  In fact, every piece of flaky skin was gone and the Puffer was looking clean as a whistle.  He was even hovering, completely motionless, seemingly enjoying the service AND the attention.  This service/relationship continues almost a week later.  Although occasionally one little nip may seem a bit too hard for the Puffer and he will wince a bit and shake his head back and forth like a Ferret.  I don't think it is an aggressive act, nor do I believe that either fish believes that it is aggressive (the Puffer has never tucked is tail into his body as he does when upset or intimidated during any of this).  But I have read about Puffers having skin and not scales and that their skin is sensitive.  FINALLY - MY QUESTIONS.....Is the current Puffer/Damsel relationship worth the risks?  Is it a true symbiosis or freak of nature?  I have heard of cleaner shrimp, but don't have any knowledge of cleaner Damsel fish.  Is it unusual for a Damsel to engage in this type of behavior?  So, what are your thoughts on this odd relationship?  Should I separate the two or give it some time? <Very common for a smaller fish to become the cleaner of a larger fish.  One of my favorite places to hang out in the ocean on a dive, is the cleaner station.  Sounds like the puffer & the damselfish know their place & the puffer will let it stay that way... for now... you can never trust a puffer!  Check out www.thepufferforum.com, for more info on your puffer.  ~PP> Thanks for enduring my long tale! P.S.  Bob - enjoying your book immensely! <<Ah, good. RMF>>
Re: Treating Puffer Parasites  2/23/07 Hi Crew, <Lisa> Quick question....Pufferpunk just suggested that my Stars and Stripes Puffer may have parasites.  What's the best way to treat him and with what specific medication?  Can I remove him from his current tank and treat him in a ten gallon hospital tank or should the entire population be treated?  Also, will the recommended meds be tough on the inverts?  Thanks for your help! <I think the cleaner fish may have taken care of that.   Just in case: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13 Lisa

Re: S & S Puffer Parasite    2/25/07 What if the parasites are internal?...... <From your description Lisa, I was thinking external.  You didn't describe any symptoms of IPs.> I went to the puffer forum and everything there seems to be for external pests.  Also, a lot of treatments apply to fresh water and pond.  What have you personally used on your marine puffers and how did they respond to treatment?  Please be specific, if you wouldn't mind.   <I haven't ever treated for EPs on SW puffers.  I suggest posting in the Hospital forum at TPF.> I am concerned that it might be internal because he is still diving and twitching.   <Definitely signs of EPs, not IPs.> A particular brand of medication would be appreciated. <Generally, hyposalinity is best.  Look very closely for white spots on your puffer.  There is a marine puffer expert, Kelly Jedlicki (Puffer Queen), that is a mentor at TPF.  She can help you with this.  ~PP> Thanks, Lisa P.S.  I have had pond fish who seemed fine for a year, eating and acting  healthy, then dying suddenly.  I guess because I couldn't see the damage  that was happening on the inside.  I would hate to see that happen to my Puffer.  Again, thanks!

Re: Ich or not? SW Tetraodont dis.   2/27/07 Hi Crew, Hope you are not getting completely tired of me writing in about my "diving" Stars and Stripes Puffer named Blinky, apparently afflicted with some type of external parasite. <Apparently may be the operative term here> He does have a cleaner fish <A Labroides may be more detrimental than useful here> and they both seem to be enjoying each other.... However, the Puffer has a pimple (?) that looks like a grain of salt (even smaller) under the thin membrane of his pectoral fin..... <Only one? I wouldn't be concerned> he has had this since I got him over a month ago; it has not moved or changed in size.  This spot is NOT white nor does it look like any of the "Ich" pictures in Bob Fenner's book. <I assure you... from your description... it is not> It is the same greenish color of his fin, like a tiny bubble or cyst.  I also noticed two small (same size) cystic spots on his top (dorsal) fin near his tail.  Unfortunately, I don't know if these two cysts were there from the start like the one on the fin.  There are absolutely no white spots, bubbles or anything that looks like illness on his entire body (except for a bit of hanging skin from his chin where he has rubbed himself).  I have searched and read on your site and others on the net and I am still in the dark.  Is this Ich or something more benign?..... <Likely nothing to treat... could be encysted worms of a few sorts... Microsporideans... You won't be able to tell w/o microscopic examination> Should I put him in my ten gallon hospital tank and try the hyposalinity treatment for 4 weeks? <I would NOT> I worry about stressing him out unnecessarily, but will do whatever you advise.  Should I also treat with copper, MelaFix or Pimafix?   <None of the above> I want to do what's best. Thanks for your help. Lisa <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm scroll down to the puffers area... Re disease of puffers in general, Tetraodonts in particular. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich or not? Ongoing Tetraodont hlth.  2/28/07 Hi Bob, Okay....Now there seem to be more salt-grain-like spots cropping up, several on his tail (small) and a cluster of tiny ones on his anal fin.......BIG QUESTION....if the one on his pectoral fin that has been there (and the same size) for the past month, has not moved or changed in size does that conclude, without a doubt, that it is NOT Ich? <Nope> I have read about the life cycle of the little critters and should it have not dropped off and into the substrate and becomes an encapsulated cyst called a tomonts by now if it were Ich?. <Yep> I have also read that they come and go (the spots, that is).  So since the very first one I saw four weeks ago is still there PLUS new smaller ones, what the heck do you think it is? <Perhaps... just reaction/mucus... to?> I want to catch it before it gets out of control, but without knowing what "it" is I remain stymied (do ya blame me?)  ....If this is, by chance, "Ich" I don't want the situation to end in me having to do the fallow tank routine...... But I did your recommended reading and I will "paste" the following instruction from Anthony on your site..........<you are doing fine... FW dips daily of 5-10 minutes each for 5-7 times in next week may effect cure without any meds. A bare-bottomed QT tank would be best though>......but like I said, the spots that show up are NOT going away.  They are also not a bright white as I mentioned before.  I also read that saltwater Ich likes higher degrees of salinity, which by coincidence I have been struggling with since adding a metal halide light and have had increased evaporation.  So was it a coincidence that these extra tiny new salt-grain type spots show up during this period of higher salinity? <More likely stress-related in general, due to the bright illumination> I am thinking about Anthony's advice for the QT and wondering why you say "no" so definitively.  Is a ten gallon tank too small for a 3 1/2 inch Puffer. <Is risky... due to metabolic and psychological factors>   But should I risk the Ich? <If your system had/has Cryptocaryon, you would know about by now> I have to go away for a few days and don't know how to leave him; where he is or in the QT.  HELP!  I am in such a quandary.  I have read and read and have found nothing that seems remotely explainable (regarding symptoms described) other than the dreaded "Ich". Thanks. SORRY THIS IS SO LONG! Lisa <There are a number of "things" in the way of parasites that appear as "spots", "dots" in such fishes... as well as "pimples" from stress, mechanical injury, interaction with tankmates... W/o microscopic examination there is only speculation... I would not act overtly given the information presented. Bolstering metabolism via supplemented foods is about all I would do presently. Bob Fenner>

Treating Dogface Puffers with "Ich"  1/4/07 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have 2 dogface puffers and they recently got Ich. I added a Koran angel and I think that it has stressed them out. <Did you QT the angel before adding to the puffer tank?  That's where the "Ich" came from.> I was wondering if a 20 gallon quarantine tank would be big enough for them?  I have an extra heater and Emperor 400 filter that I was planning on using. Thanks for all your help. <It depends on how large your fish are.   Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4576 Also, please be sure you use proper capitalization & punctuation.  We have to correct this, before posting on our FAQs.  Thanks, PP>

Dog-faced puffer fish conundrum 11/13/2006 Greetings, <<Hello.>> My brother does not have internet access, so I am sending this question by his request.  We have checked your site for puffer fish information, and found much of it very helpful in diagnosing fin rot and reoccurring Ich.    His dog-faced puffer has been treated for Ich (using prevent-Ich per advice from PetCo), <<Did your brother read anything on the site?>> But the Ich came back.  The fish has been in the tank for a week now, and got sick on the third day.  The fins have all the classic markers of fin rot, e.g.. frayed edges, and what appears to be mucus or 'hairs' stringing out from the fins.  There are small gray blotches (about the same size of the Ich spots) around the head and upper torso area. There is a large patch of white discoloration on one of the pectoral fin.  The fish is lethargic and lies on its side at the bottom of the tank, does not eat, and sleeps on the power head (near the top of the water line where a power cord emerges from the water).  My brother is going to begin "hospitalization" with Quick Cure by Aquarium Products and FW baths.  The fish is in a 55 gallon tank by itself.  The tank's set up is crushed coral, live marine sand, and a large (dictionary-sized) rock.  Last week there was an issue with pH.  It had gone above 8.6, but the issue was remedied.  What the heck is going on with this tank/fish? <<How did he cycle the tank? I think this is environmental more than anything.  He needs to get on mega water changes, and get Bio-Spira if available.  What are the readings for ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte?  The 55 gallon tank is not large enough to house this puffer long-term. Please get back to me! Thanks for your help, Lee <<Glad to help, Lisa.>>

Dogface Puffer with Ich... Same One That Had a Powerhead  - 2/21/2006 <Hi there, Leslie here with you once again.> Ok well my little guy is still kicking. <Glad to hear the little guy is still with you.> Not eating but is picking at rocks at tank. <Oh bummer I was hoping he would be eating by now.> I'm currently medicating him with PimaFix and MelaFix along with some Zoe and crushed garlic in a jar that was in the spice section of my Wal-Mart. Well after dosing him last night with his medication and garlic this morning I checked on him on my way to work and he is covered with round spots that are raised about the size of sand all over his body fins and all some on his eyes. My question is this, what should I do, his skin is already sensitive on him since he is growing new skin from the accident with the powerhead and stressed out. I don't know if doing a freshwater pH adjusted dip would help or make him worse at this point. <It's hard to say. I would want certainly minimize stress at this point. I find Puffers in general tolerate FW dips very well but since your guy has been through an ordeal and is still not eating. I think I would error on the side of caution and by pass the FW dip at this time.> I turned his temp up to about 82 today and turned on a airstone with a powerhead attached to increase oxygen in the tank. <Good plan for starters.> Can I treat him with copper or would you recommend something else. I have used coppermine in the past but that was on clownfish and it worked great. I just don't want to lose the little guy. <I would not want you to lose him either. I would hold off on the copper. I like to reserve that for situations that do not respond to more conservative measures. I like to use hyposalinity. These 2 links should help you with that http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm > Today when I went to check on him he was in his cave when I came up to the tank he swam out to the front of the glass and hovered there like, look at me I'm covered in Ick help.! <Well responding to your presence is certainly a good sign.> He still has the little copepods on him that were eating off the dead skin which is almost completely gone, too bad they won't eat the Ick too. Oh he is currently at 1.023- 1.024 SG would you suggest lowering it and to what to help with the Ick. <Yes definitely to 1.009, you will find the instructions and necessary info in the articles listed above. Best of luck with your Puffer. HTH, Leslie>
Update on dogface puffer hurt by powerhead, thanks you all - 2/28/2006
GREAT NEWS!! My little dogface puffer started eating again Saturday and he ate some more on Sunday. <Yay!> I soaked his food in Zoe and garlic like I did before the accident. His Ick looks like it is doing much better as well since I lowered the SG and have been treating him with copper, I know most people say not to treat them with copper, but I have spoke to people who have had puffers with Ick and they treated them with Cupramine and had no problems. <Really just have to be careful re low dosage in most cases> His battle wounds from the power head are healing very nicely, he is able to lay on the bottom of the tank and curl up to sleep like he used to instead of having to float at the top of his cave since his stomach hurt too much to lay on it. I think he is going to have a scar from this whole nightmare, I might have to change his name from Mr. puff to Scarface or scrappy since he is such a little trooper I might name him trooper since he patrols the tank :) . <Heee! Better check with Al Pacino...> He went 2 weeks and two days without food. The MelaFix and PimaFix worked wonders along with water changes. My deepest heartfelt thanks to everyone who responded to this topic so that he could get help. You all are the best. One question though, I bought mussels from Kroger that are in the shell, he will eat the mussel if I take it out of the shell but he won't bite at the shell to get it out. <Will in time> This was before he got hurt. But I do feed him live snails and he will bite at them to wear his teeth down. Thanks again for all your great help. Fish hugs for everyone  ><>  ><>  ><> ><> :) <Congratulations on your success, good care. Bob Fenner>

Puffer with crypt ... maybe not  2/6/06 I have a Dogface puffer and a yellow tang in a 110 gal tank. it has been established for a year. I have had the puffer for 10 months and the tang for 3 or 4 months. the puffer has an abundance of white nodules (like salt)  on his fins and body. I believe this to be crypt. <Nodules? How large are these?> I have lowered the salinity in the tank to 1.017 and raised the temp to 82.  my amm, and no2 were 0 and my no3 were 25 or 30. ph 8.0.  I have formalin 37% solution and rid-Ich. I do not have any copper or the testing for it. I have a well cycled 10 gal qt tank. I also have a 29 gal display that is 18 months old with a damsel and a choc chip star. I am thinking of how to properly treat the puffer and having trouble since the 10 gal is too small for him to stay in for 4 weeks. I can freshwater dip the tang ( who is showing no signs of crypt) and put her in the 29 for the 4 weeks. if I put the puffer in a formalin freshwater dip (10 drops per gal of water, right?) <One way> for 15 min.s and put him in the 10 gal, would he be able to stay in there for 4 weeks without causing more stress?   <Not likely> I would have to do 30 % water changes every other day to keep up with the ammonia.  that would throw off the directions on the formalin of 2 drops per gal on alternate days until no spots remain and then repeat treatment in 10 days. the directions only call for one 25% water change between treatments. I have read other  FAQ's until I'm cross-eyed. please any advice or even confirmation of my own thoughts would be great. I work 60 hours a week and daily water changes would be difficult if not impossible. thanks Beth <Am concerned here with the crypt/Ich pretense... Are none of the other fishes showing signs? I don't think this is crypt if not. Perhaps bolstering the puffers immune system will help with the "nodules"... maybe the addition of a purposeful cleaner. I would try microscopic examination of skin smears here before subjecting these animals to treatment. Bob Fenner>
Re: puffer with crypt   2/7/06
Thanks for getting back to me. Your site has saved a couple of fish for me. Sorry, maybe I used the wrong word when I used the word nodule. It is very small, like 1mm or less--like a grain of table salt. <Oh... thought this was much larger> All the descriptions I saw supported the saltwater Ich/crypt  diagnosis. Unfortunately I don't have access to a microscope. It took a couple days for a response and I felt time was of the essence so I began a treatment regiment. Btw, the tang had been seen scratching once or twice on rocks, but nothing showed on her fins yet. <This family, Order does scratch/flash quite a bit...> They were the only two fish in the tank. I lost a Hawkfish from that tank 4 months back seemed to be bacterial he had lots of redness around mouth and gills.  I freshwater dipped (15 min.s, no formalin) the tang and put her in the 29 gal, it has lots of algae for her to graze on and she is settling in fine with her roommates. I also freshwater dipped the puffer for 15 min.s (careful not to let his mouth or gills out of the water) and put him in a 20 gal Rubbermaid container (clear) with filter, heater, air pump, and aged/oxygenated saltwater. It also had formalin in it according to the bottle ( 2 drops per gal). All of the grains fell off his body in the freshwater dip. <Does sound parasitic then> About half of the grains on his fins are gone. He has been in the  "hospital tank" for 24 hours. Using a quick dip the ph is 8.2, the no2 is 0, and the no3 is 0. This sg is 1.018 ( I had lowered the main tank to 1.017) The formalin bottle says to treat every other day until all signs of disease is gone and then do a 25% water change. <Yes, or more> Then to re treat in 10 days  to prevent reinfestation. <And leave the infested system fallow as well...> The puffer is active and appears hungry. I am going to give him a small piece of shrimp to keep his strength up. If there is anything I am doing wrong or anything else I should do please advise. The move from tank to dip to tank did not seem to stress him much-- he didn't even puff a little and allowed himself to be cradled in my hand. If you feel the puffer would be better in the main tank without the formalin treatment I value your opinion.  I had planned on letting the 110 run fallow for  4 to 6 weeks so I have no worries when I get another fish for that tank. Thanks again for everything Beth <I would proceed as you have outlined, and done. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Parasite  10/4/05 I have a Dog faced Puffer in a 265 Gal tank with a few other fish in a FOWLR system. I have had Cujo for well over a year probably 2 yrs and purchased him at about 5 inches. He's now in the vicinity of 9". Immediately after I quarantined him I noticed he had a little growth (some type of crustacean looking parasite) on his right fin. I treated it and it never fully went away just got smaller. Well, he's been in the tank for quite some time and very rarely does it ever appear to bother him but it does seem to have grown and looks like it's part of his fin. What should I do? <I'd try to remove this growth manually... with strong forceps, someone else holding the fish in a net, with a wet towel around it> I'll try to get some pics this weekend. I've heard from local stores I should take him out of the tank and using tweezers pull it off taking some fin with it. Not sure if that's accurate. Any info would be most appreciated. <This is what I would do... and maybe daub the site with a mercurical. Bob Fenner> Patrick J.  Hynes What would be considered a Mercurical?  A copper medication? <Mmm, like mom used to use on scrapes... Mercurochrome, Merbromin, Merthiolate... Bob Fenner>

Golden puffer with Ich Hi MacL- <Hi Jason> Thank you again for your help and your kind words about my concern. I view keeping fish as a tremendous responsibility and feel very strongly that it is important to do everything that I can to make their lives in captivity happy and healthy. So my approach to the gold puffer was to be as aggressive as possible in trying to save him. After my last email but before I received your response, I could not get the water quality under control in my 40 gallon QT so I elected to move him to my 46 gallon tank. <I can understand why you did that for sure.> I did about a 25% water change to lower the copper levels even more and after the change, they measured about 0.05. I acclimated the puffer for about one hour to try to ease the shock of changing water and moved him over. The water parameters in the new tank were: Salinity 1.023 Ammonia 0 mg/l pH 8.2 Nitrite 0 mg/l Nitrate 10 mg/l Temp 80.1 The puffer sat on the bottom of the tank and continued to breath very heavily.  He also had very cloudy eyes and his gills looked irritated (not quite red but pretty bright pink) and their were some white spots that looked like Ich on his gills (this wasn't the case the day before so I fear the Ich was back again unless white spots on the gills could be something else).  The next morning he looked ok, swimming around a bit but still breathing very heavily. I came home in the afternoon and found that I'd lost him. <I am so sorry to hear that, once the Ich gets to his gills its a very difficult battle.> I'm deeply saddened but want to thank you again for your help and also feel confident that I went down guns a blazing.  <I really do think you did the very best you could.> So now, a few follow up items.  I know you should never buy a sick fish and I violated that rule in this instance b/c I have been looking for a great gold puffer for a long time and he was a beautiful specimen, looked at me with puppy dog eyes and appeared to only have a minor case of Ich. Since I have a QT I thought I could nurse him back to health without jeopardizing my other fish.  I don't think he stood a chance if I didn't get him b/c I think it is unlikely that someone else would have made the investment of money and time required to try to save him. I think you are correct that he was extremely sensitive to water quality but that surprises me, I thought puffers were very hardy and disease resistant? <Most are tough but believe me the trip they make from where they are caught can be rough, rough, rough.> On the UV sterilizers, I can't remember the exact flow rates but I optimized for a parasite killing flow rates when I set them up. <So you set it up perfectly.> The bulbs were replaced in January so they are approximately three months old.  I probably need to check how clean they are now to make sure that they are still effective. <If you didn't get the kind that has a way to clean the bulbs its good to clean them every month or so I understand.> Do you still recommend a diatom filter for my systems?  If so, would you keep it running all the time or only use part time or in emergencies? <I use a diatom filter for emergencies and to keep my tank looking crystal clear.> What follow-up, if any, do you recommend for my 46 gallon tank which was healthy but may now have some Ich (or other problem) in it since the puffer was in the tank (albeit for less than 24 hours). <He probably was in there long enough to put the Ich there but if the fish in there are healthy they might not fall prey to the disease. Often fish seem to have an immunity to Ich when they are content and happy.>  Also, any follow up actions on my QT?  I can fallow it for as long as necessary but then I need to cycle it all over again (ARGH). <I understand there is good stuff being said about some biological products, Stability by Seachem and marine max by Tropical Science I think. That might be solution to that.> Lastly, do you recommend keeping some fish, and perhaps a big fish to keep a big load, in the QT to keep it cycled all the time? <That's how lots of people do it or they use a sponge filter kept in larger tanks all the time running then move it over when the quarantine tank needs to be up and running. Good luck and I hope you find another one that's in good health.> Thanks- Jason

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

Puffer injury Thank you, but this is coming from his insides... it is not on the flesh at all but something that comes from in the mouth or the intestines??  <wow... my apologies. I'm way off here. I misunderstood from your message and the picture was not clear enough to reveal this for me. Wow... this is highly unusual and I must say that my previous advice in retrospect is unlikely to help. I thought the growth was topical. We will post this again to see if any of the daily readers have had any experience like this they can share. Please do read the dailies (FAQ page) this weekend (Sat/Sun) for possible insight. I must say that I do feel helpless but indeed, a wormy mass coming from inside the throat/mouth is highly unusual. In the meantime, do try to take a clearer photograph if possible and we will send it around. Best regards, Anthony> Do I put this swab inside the mouth?? Thanks again, Lynn
Re: puffer with stringy growth and re-growth
Lynn... in the meantime, let me suggest for you to simply do a topical swab of the area. They are no fun for you, but very direct and helpful for many fishes. Net the puffer underwater in a large nylon (white not green) net and wrap him up tight to limit his movement. You will need a second person to help with this. Cover the eyes of the puffer with some of the bunched net or another clean towel wet with aquarium water. Keep the puffer submerged as much as possible, but don't freak out if you need to pull him out of the water and he suck in some air. They most always can purge it or can be burped later. We are working fast anyway. Have some dipped cotton swabs ready and waiting aside with mercurochrome/Merthiolate or iodine. I like Merthiolate best for this application. Expose the effected portion of the fish from the net and slip it slightly out of the water/ Pat the area dry and then stain it with the medicated swab. be generous but avoid getting the meds near the eyes or gills. It may be necessary to sink a small clean dish towel under water to wrap the fish and hold it well. One person will obviously be holding the fish and the other will do the "surgical" work. Rest assured that this is very worthwhile for your pains. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for sending it to her. But I'm afraid she still hasn't answered back and I think time is running out. Lynn

Parasite?  Hi guys... <<And hello to you.>> Quick question. I have a porcupine puffer that I've had for about a month. Water is fine, he eats well, and is very happy, but he has this white thing in his eye. <<Egads...>> The eye isn't cloudy, but has this solid white line that seems to be moving (not to look at it, more like in a few hours it will have moved to a different part in his eye). <<fascinating.>> At first I though he scratched it, but when I saw that it looked like it was in a different spot a little while later I knew it wasn't something that was an injury. Please let me know what this might be and how I can cure "Mohawk" my puffer. Thanks much guys...your site is great and has helped me a lot in the past. Keep up the great work!! <<Well, that is certainly interesting and disconcerting at the same time. I think I would tackle this with a pH-adjusted freshwater dip. The change in specific gravity will hopefully pop this odd creature. Your puffer should be able to tolerate a good long bath, perhaps 10 to 15 minutes should do it. Check out this URL for more information about dips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  >> David <<Cheers, J -- >>

White patches on puffers Greetings all, thanks for your time. <cheers... and quite welcome> I'm an experienced aquarist, but this has me stumped. Our panther puffer recently developed white patches on his back, just to the rear and the right of the dorsal fin. The largest patch has grown. It has a white color, the best description I can give you is that it looks like someone put spackle on his back. Its contoured to his skin, and appears hard. <interesting> A brackish green spotted puffer was fine until this morning, he has now developed the same patch, same spot, and even larger in proportion to his size. Finally, our porcupine puffer has a small similar spot on his back. Before bothering anyone with this, I attempted treatment in the following manner. The fish were put in a plain bottom hospital tank that has been running for months. I treated first with Maracyn, for a full week, no improvement. I then tried Maracyn-Two, again, no results. I then tried a marine penicillin, and it has not helped either. <I'm very glad to hear of the applied QT tank, but the meds were ill advised. Such patches on puffers are generally parasitic (although the mucus response may look bacterial). Even if the pathogen is bacterial, the drugs used were almost useless (and are for most applications). Maracyn is Erythromycin and with Penicillin are gram-positive drugs. Gram positive infection are VERY rare in marine fishes and even if you had one, these two drugs are so weakly effective from decades of pathogen resistance. Maracyn 2 is a synthetic tetracycline and is also an outdated drug now resisted by many evolved bacteria. It is at least a broad-spectrum med. When using antibiotics... go for broad spectrum meds> Any ideas on what this is?  <parasite or protozoan> And if so, how to treat?  <formalin dips or long baths/treatments in QT. Merthiolate and/or Iodine swabs directly on the patches if you feel very frisky> The fish are all behaving normally, eating hungrily as always. NONE of the other fish these guys share habitat with (they're in 2 separate tanks normally) have developed this condition, including tangs, which seem to catch everything. <tough fish... they will likely be fine. Do consider Aquarium Products brand and dose of Formalin. Be careful of any brand that mixes an organic dye with the Formalin! Puffer are sensitive to dyes> I greatly appreciate your time. Thanks, Dave Schoen Long Beach, NY <BTW Dave... I'll be giving a presentation to the LA county marine society in October... perhaps you'd care to visit their club (unless you are already a member). MASLAC. Best regards, Anthony>

Ich Relapse/Puffer Emergency Hi, <cheers> A couple weeks ago you asked me to treat my porcupine puffer with a freshwater dip to treat parasites which I did. The treatments seemed to help a lot, but he got a new case a parasites a couple days ago. <alas... relapses are common with such Ich prone fishes as puffers tangs and angels> This time when I treated him, he blew up pretty big and it totally tore up his belly. He now has two flaps of skin hanging from him. Is there anything I can do to save my poor fish. Please help me ASAP <Yikes... just from a dip? I don't see how this was possible? There must have been something that we missed. At any rate, the situation sounds dire. Keep the fish isolated in QT and use only a mild antibiotic and water changes for the next week. We should re-evaluate after 5 days assuming the fish is still living. I'm sorry... I cannot explain the rupture... they simply are not "designed" to do that. It honestly doesn't sound good. However, rest assured that a normal freshwater dip had absolutely nothing to do with it. This fish has unseen problems> Thanks! Frank <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Puffer Emergency
Anthony, <greetings> Thanks for your quick reply. I am so sad because I feel like I'm to blame.  <I am quite sure you couldn't have done this. It is a bizarre symptom of something else very wrong and even incurable. You could have left the fish in freshwater for a day and still not have "blown him up" Pufferfish simply do not work that way so to speak. No fault of yours, my friend> Do you think that it can heal? (I don't see how it can).  <I agree that euthanasia may be an issue (freezer in a bag of aquarium water... very gentle> Do you think he is suffering?  <cannot say> I would rather just put him out of his misery if he is and don't have much of a chance of surviving. I can't believe this happened. My son is going to be devastated. <you would know best by looking at the fish. Are you quite sure the air bladder ruptured? If so... I suspect death may be imminent> have you every seen this before? <not in 10 years> If you have any extreme professional advice, please let me know. Frank <as per above... I am sorry my friend. Anthony>
Re: Puffer Emergency
Anthony, Just to clarify, the air bladder is definitely intact; it's the skin that surrounded it that ruptured. (The skin with the spines is broken in two pieces one attached to the front, the other to the back. Does this make my situation less dire? <yes... less dire, no less bizarre> The fish is basically just floating around, the same way as he was before this happened, but a little unresponsive. (Doesn't respond to my finger being in the water) Thanks! Frank <we might observe another day or two... but without a response to presence or feeding and given the nature of the injury... it is dreadful and not terribly hopeful. I'm sorry, my friend>

Quick ich question Hi Bob, the hairstylist again. <Do need to get up and see you... my "do" needs a re-do... badly!> I have a quick question regarding my quarantine tank. I have a few fish in there, 20g tank and slowly since my new tank was about to be ready a few weeks ago prepared their move, then ich hit them as I had to move the tank out of my office. So I treated them with copper (Cupramine) for a week,  <Oh, oh... should've run it for two weeks... I'm almost afraid to read below> and they looked great so I turned everything back on and put carbon back in the filter, but I know it was a bit soon, so it came back. I added copper again this time for 2 weeks, in the meanwhile I took some fish out and transferred them, after about 11 and 13 days and they are loving the new big tank. today was the 15th day off copper use and I wanted to transfer my last 2 puffers (dogface and stellate) but when I came home from work they both had a few specks of ich again. I am running out of ideas here, I don't want to keep them in copper too long either. <Best not to, of course> I lowered the spg a bit(1.015) and raised the temp (84F). 0.3 ppm copper, buffered the water and did everything I read on this web site. I want to transfer my puffies because it is harder to keep up water quality in that little tank especially with the use of copper. By the way, they take more freshwater dips then me................................. <Ha! I do agree with the direction you hint at here... I would pH-adjusted freshwater dip/bathe and move these puffers to their new home. Bob Fenner> thank you again SASCHA
Re: quick ich question
> thanks for your response, are you saying to move them now or still wait a bit until the white spots are gone . <Now... these "white spots" may never be gone... Worth the risk in my estimation to dip, move these fishes now> they eat like pigs and are real fun, not sick at all, I just don't want to infest the new tank because of the 150# of live rock in there, otherwise they'd be in there already. <More a matter of "balance" than absolute infestation yes/no... Likely there are residual spores in the new system now... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm Bob Fenner> take care Sascha

Sick as a Dog(face puffer) Hi Bob! I've sent two emails then noticed to try this address if I haven't gotten a response.  <you've made it through! Anthony Calfo in your service> I hope you can help me. I have an Arothron Meleagris Golden puffer that I believe has come down with marine velvet due to a recent power outage.  <yes... temperature drops commonly flare such parasitic infection> I have a 55 gallon live rock and sand tank with two cleaner shrimp plus the puffer.  <wow. the cleaner shrimp really are risky with most any puffer. May work for months.. but not years. Fish behave differently in strange captive environments. Such shrimp would never wag their tails in a puffers face 24hrs daily in the wild. Confines and time will tell. I'd recommend sparing the shrimp to another tank. Much better tankmates to be had> this is my only fish. After the power outage I changed my water immediately.  <very wise!> My puffer was stressed. Now I have a battery backup. Over the course of a few days my puffer acted peculiarly. He floated in front of my power head with his fins clamped to his sides. The next day he was covered in a cottony film including his eyes. Over a period of three days I lowered the specific gravity to 1.016 and raised the temp to 82-84. He didn't appear to get better so I proceeded to freshwater dip him for two-three minutes.  <all good moves except the dip was not long enough. FW dips less than 3 minutes have been demonstrated to be useless on even the weakest parasites (Crypt) and Velvet is so deep in the flesh (Oodinium). 5 minutes minimum... 7-15 minutes as the fish allows would be better. Calm in dip bucket or laying down on the bottom would be fine... ride it out. Spitting water at the surface is undue stress and remove anytime after 5 minutes if so> I've done this three times. The cotton has diminished but he still has a thin layer from his neck up and on his eyes and fins. My question is how often do I dip him and how long do I leave my tank at its current conditions?  <yes...as above to be effective and 5 times in 7 days would be nice. Make sure water is aerated, temperature and pH adjusted properly> My puffer was eating until three days ago. He seems uninterested now or maybe cannot see it.  <ahh... no worries. Typical for sick puffers. They can go weeks. Offer live ghost shrimp or small live crayfish in a week if necessary> Could he have a secondary infection and will the dipping help without medication or antibiotics?  <yes... the dipping will help tremendously> His skin appears to be a little reddened and drawn in a few areas and I would hate to irritate it further. He mostly lays on the bottom of the tank and periodically will squint his eyes tightly shut as if in pain. This is my prize fish and I hate to see him like this. Is there anything else I can do?  >yep... this fish needs to be in a bare bottomed QT as well with a broad spectrum antibiotic as well. 4 weeks while the display runs fallow. Else the fish keeps getting reinfested by parasites festering in the gravel/sand> He has been like this for a week now. Bob I have called a lot of pet stores and aquarium suppliers to ask questions since I cant get a hold of you and you wouldn't believe the things they tell me to do.  <if they suggested copper or an organic dye (green/blue meds) fire them> I will wait to hear from you since you have helped me tremendously in the past. And I love your website. I've been on it every night since my puffers been sick. It may have saved his life so far, but I still need to know I cant do anything else. Help Help! Thank you <I have faith in this fishes hardiness and your empathetic care. Do follow-up with a success story in a couple of weeks! Kindly Anthony>
Re: sick puffer
I believe my tank is infested because my clown trigger died from parasites and so did my tang both within two months, my puffer has also had them before.  <I still cannot help you much my friend without a description of the symptoms to verify the nature of the parasite infection> I don't know if he is not eating now because he has parasites I'm just figuring. if treated him with Maracyn 2 (for internal bacterial infections). <Maracyn is a synthetic tetracycline and marginally useful (an outdated med) for bacterial infections and really not much help with parasites> he hasn't eaten in 17 days. any recommendations? <I'm honestly thinking that another factor is at work here... too high or too low salinity, stray pH or other aspect of water chemistry, etc> also should I get a new fish? <if you have a separate quarantine tank you could buy a new fish. I of course would not recommend adding any fish to a tank that is suspected of being "infected"> can I put the new fish new water or do I have to use my display tank water for the QT? <a little of both would be a good idea. Raw seawater is a bit rough at first> thanks BRYAN <best regards, Anthony>

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