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FAQs about True Puffer Trauma

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, Pathogenic, Treatments

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

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

From clumsily swimming into rock, decor...

From sharp processes, bites from unsuitable tankmates

Burns from heaters...

Gulping air; or even just retaining gulped water

Dogface puffer with infection.... Mmmm
<Five megs of pix; can't upload from where I am. See our instructions re writing us>
Hello team,
I have been battling marine ich on a Clown trigger and Harlequin tusk over the last week using Ich Shield (which seems to be working quite well).
But all of the sudden my DFP started to show signs of a wound on his side.
<Is the exposure to the Ich Shield likely>
About the diameter of an standard airline tubing.( I know sounds like a trigger bite) but I have never seen any aggression between the two.
<Still; could be>

So within the last couple of days it has changed dramatically to a much larger circle surrounded by a dark ring. I'm quite certain this has become a bacterial infection. What do you recommend for in tank treatment? (No QT availability)
Here are the stats.
-Tank 6ft 125
Ammonia 0
Nitrite undetectable
And Nitrate undetectable.
Tank mates
18" Hawaiian Dragon
18" Whitemouth moray
6" Harlequin Tusk
5" Clown trigger.
9" Dog face Puffer
I know all of these guys will out grow my tank eventually. And I have made arrangements with my close friend/supplier to re home all but the Enchicore Pardalis to appropriate homes.
As all ways thank you for your service.
<Given what you list as livestock, the size of the system... the current treatment regimen; I'd do nothing specifically to "treat" the puffer. Just try to maintain good water quality and nutrition. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface puffer with infection

Thank you Bob
Sorry about the Picture size.
<Ahh; back home now. I swear this is an "intake wound" from getting sucked up against a pump, powerhead... Do you have such in this system... that is not screened? Bob Fenner>

Re: Dogface puffer with infection... A... hickey!     10/10/16
Yes actually he did come in contact with a siphon hose weeks ago.
<Ah ha!>

I wasn't paying attention. Do you still think I should just let him recover naturally?
<Yes; this is what I'd do>
Also I have salinity a bit low 1.018 to aid with respiration while getting over ich. Would this cause issues. Raising it very slow is what I've read before.
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

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

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

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

Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?     1/10/15
Hello WWM Crew,
I read all of the posts on puffers and disease and didn't see pictures that
looked like this.
I have a 125 gallon tank, spg 1.023, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are 0,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
pH is 8.4, temp 79 degrees Fahrenheit
My porcupine puffer shares his tank with a bi color angel, a Siganus
<May have poked...>
rabbit fish and a rather Large Dardanus
<... pinched>

crab in a 6 inch Triton
Tonight when I got home I noticed a mark on my Porcupine puffer Kirby.
<All at once I take it>

is in front of his gill on his left side. It was Not there yesterday,
<Ah yes; an injury>
is whitish/pink area. It is about an 1/2 inch wide by a little under an inch long. I have attached a picture.
<A nice one>
It doesn't look like ich or velvet
or other diseases I have seen first hand. I am wondering it it looks fungal or bacterial in nature to you?
<Maybe secondary>
Or if it looks like a wound perhaps
inflicted by a rather large crab living in a triton shell. Any thoughts?
<Same as yours>
I can quarantine Kirby the puffer and medicate him if need be.
<I wouldn't>
I would
rather not medicate him if it is a wound that will heal on its own.
is 6 years old. He doesn't seem lethargic at all or breathing fast either. He is eating well. Are there bacteria's or fungus that move this quickly in less then 24 hours?
<Not w/o an opening>
Thanks for your help this is an amazing site.
Regards, Kellylynn
<There we have it; a mix of dangerous characters; the puffer cut, slashed open by one of them...
With good conditions, nutrition will heal in time (weeks). Bob Fenner>

Re: Porcupine Puffer disease or wound?        1/12/15
Hello Bob
"<how is NO3 rendered thus?>"
I have a refugium stuffed full of plants, a nitrate filter from Aquaripure and religious water changes because puffers are really messy.
Maybe how I should have phrased it is that the nitrates are undetectable with 2 different test kits. So I think it is a combination of all three things.
There must be a titch of NO3 as the plants are doing fine but I think the plants take up what is left by the puffers messy eating habits. The NO3 with 2 different tests it is not detectable.
I definitely think the puffer was wounded by Roger Rabbit fish or the Dardanus crab. I am kind of leaning toward the crab. Kirby the puffer seems to be giving the crab a wider leeway and to some degree avoiding the area where the crab is. I do not remember him doing that before.
Thanks again for this site. It is a treasure trove of knowledge.
<Thank you for adding to it. BobF>

Puppy, the Dogface Puffer with sickness...
Are you joking? 26 megs? Resend in Kbytes.
Puppy the sick Dogface Puffer....     12/3/13

Good morning.. I have a small dogface puffer now for about 4 months or so. Purchased from a local LFS store. Starting out he was doing ok in our 90 gallon (we are planning on a larger tank soon) with live rock
<That its damaged its one eye on apparently>
and lots of inverts (his choice snack). He has gone through a couple Cupramine treatments
<Tetraodonts don't "like" copper exposure>
 at the fish store and one after we purchased him. We are unsure of what he may have at this moment in time. For about a week or so, he seemed fine, swimming around and showing his true personality. I did notice that his BMs changed a lil. He will have a large BM but it seems like a whitish streamy thing comes out with him. Also, now he is very lethargic and doesn’t want to come out much. He has been eating a diet of clams from a local organic store, krill, LRS Fish Frenzy (frozen fish mixture with some shrimp, clams, etc).
<... see (search, read) WWM re these fishes diets... this one is problematical>

 His appetite is still really good. He has this white film over his eye now which started as white dots. It seems to be getting worse now. My LFS suggested trying Seachem's Metronidazole
<..... no. Of no use here and toxic>

mixed in with his food. He doesn’t really like the taste. He does get a few bites in at least. My concern is if what I am doing is good enough or should I quarantine him and treat with the Metronidazole or maybe something else?
<Read on WWM re unilateral eye issues... damage from trauma... No treatment advised>
 I also noticed that yesterday, he seemed to be "coughing" a few times. I do see a few lil tears in his fins too. Could this be evil Ich again?
<... not likely>
Attached are a couple of pics of the best shots I could get. Any suggestions would be great!
<Search, read>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick Puffer    10/25/12
Hi crew! I've been having a problem the last few weeks with my dogface puffer and some of my other inhabitants. We'll start with the tank. It is a 220 gallon FOWLR with a 40 gallon sump/refugium with miracle mud. It has been set up for three years. Temp is 79, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20, ph 8.4. Inhabitants are a dogface puffer, passer angel,  and an Australian harlequin tusk. About a week or two ago, my puffer started lying around more and stopped eating.
<True puffers (Tetraodontids) "do this" (lethargy, feeding strikes) at times; sans known cause>

I checked water quality and nothing seemed out of order. So I just kept offering food with no luck.
<Mmm, what foods specifically? Some fed too much, too often, exclusively are trouble. Read here re:
 The only thing that seems out of order with his appearance is that his fins are a little tattered even though he is not getting "picked on" by any of the others.
<Mmm... then wherefore the tattered fins? I'd be watching the Passer...>
Around that same time, my angel started to do the same thing. Only it looks like he is getting hole in the head like I have seen on Oscars.
<See WWM re... vitamins, HUFAs, perhaps a cut-back on GAC use:
and the linked files above>
My last angel came down with HLLE and this looks nothing like it. The tusk is doing great. He eats like a pig and is always gliding around the tank.
I'm just worried about the other two. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for such a long email.
<Give us a write back if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Puffer 10/25/12

Hi Bob. I forgot to add that I do not use carbon in my systems. In my experience that seems to cause more harm than good. I use no chemical filtration. I just use 100 micron filter socks and a sponge filters that get changed weekly. That in conjunction with my refugium and biological filter seems to work well for me.
<Ah good. B>
Re: Sick Puffer 10/25/12
Hi Bob, thanks for the speedy reply. I am offering krill, squid, pellets, prawns, and angel formula. I
<I'd cut back on the first two and fourth...... please don't write w/o reading where you've been referred to first>
 usually soak the food in Selcon or Lipovit.
I doubt the passer is the cause of the puffer's fin damage. He hasn't moved out from the live rock in  about 5-6 days now. Should I try to treat them with Melafix or anything?
<... no. BobF>

Help with my puffer     10/25/12
I have a mappa puffer. I came home and found him hanging upside down by my overflow. It seems he inflated or gulped some air somehow. He is having buoyancy problems. What can I do to help?
<Mmm, at the low end, nothing, to the higher, secure all such intakes and even massage the belly area toward the mouth (underwater) in an attempt to expel the air>
 I tried to "burp" him but it didn't work.
 Prob freaked him out too. My LFS told me to put him in a container and sink him to the bottom of my tank with a rock on top.
<?! No rock>

So, I did. Now he's at the bottom of the tank and looks exactly the same.
What can I do? Do I try burping again? Thanks for your help.
<I'd leave this fish in a calm system, w/ no light... and hope. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Help with my puffer    10/25/12

Thanks for your reply. I just came home from work and everything was fine.
<Ah, good news>
 It was like nothing happened. According to my LFS, putting him in a container at the bottom of the tank helps to work the air out due to increased pressure. Also, I put Mysis in there for him to eat that also helps to move stuff around inside him. Im not saying I know why it worked but it did and just wanted to let you know for future reference. As always, thanks for helping me.
<Thank you for this upbeat follow-up. BobF>

Strange air bubble in puffer   2/20/12
Bob, I need your expertise. This morning I woke up and noticed my puffer has a HUGE air bubble on it's side. See the attached picture.
<I see this>
No new fish have been added. Water quality in check. The only thing different is that I fed a crayfish last night. Could this possibly be the cause?
<Mmm, not likely...>
Does the air bubble have to be popped?
<Yes I would... hold the fish in a damp/wet towel (or have someone assist you), take care not to be bitten (really hurts)... use a fine needle to puncture. Bob Fenner>

Re: was Henis terrorizing a Tetraodontid, now burping a puffer 11/29/11
did that.  found out puffer has a bubble stuck in him.  so he stayed wedged.  talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.  the Henis leave a dogface alone in the same tank.  any treatment for the bubble that wont burp?
<Catch the fish, hold it firmly, but not too firmly (!) underwater with the head tilted up... BobF>

Arothron meleagris, hlth. 8/21/10
Hello Crew,
<Howdy Gary>
I have spent many hours reading your various posts and I hope some of the information has stuck!
<Mmm, in my ref. set, I'd hope that some of it remain more fluid>
In particular I have been reading the puffer sections as I have what I believe to be a matched pair of Arothron Meleagris.
<Well, there really is no such thing... this genus only "tolerates" others of its own kind typically... Only getting together to spawn at times>
The larger of the 2 is golden in colour and a real character often squirting me with water at feeding time.
<Intelligent animals w/ a rather large, capacity/repertoire of "play" behavior>
They are my pride and joy and currently live in a 150 gallon FOWLR tank.
<Will need more room in time>
I noticed yesterday that golden puffer had a fin trapped in its gill and it is still like this today.
<Mmm, you can help "pull this out" if you'd like... or will very likely come undone of its own accord in time>
He seems ok and is swimming and eating however obviously one gill is permanently shut which in turn has trapped the fin. I read on another post from somebody else that Bob recommend that I should try to intervene and remove the fin. What I am worried about is damaging the fin or the gill and is there a particular way I should try to remove the fin or is it a case of just trying to pull it out?
<Use two large nets, with another friend or not... scoop up the fish, bring it near (but not out of) the surface, use your finger (nail toward the fish) to gently pull out>
Thanks for your help in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dog face Puffer/Gill problem 4/24/10
<Hello Jason>
I have an approximately 8 inch Dog Face Puffer with an unusual problem. When he exhales there is a small balloon of what looks like gill tissue expanding out of one gill slit.
<This sounds like an injury of some kind to me>
The tissue expands and contracts with his breathing. Any idea of what this might be, and how to treat it.
<Have seen this with fishes that have been fighting, however you make no mention of the fishes tank-mates here, or environmental conditions, and photo's are useful. If this is an injury then no treatment is necessary, of more concern is how it happened in the first place.>

Puffer with fin trapped inside gill 1/9/2010
Somehow, my dog-faced puffers fin has been trapped inside his gill. There is no movement in the gill at all and he can only breath threw his other gill. It did eventually pop out but It did get me worried. Is this common among
<Not uncommon, and generally not fatal. Bob Fenner>

Sickly Arothron mappa 12/22/09
Hello Mike,
There's a query today about a sickly Arothron mappa... not eaten much, yet has a swollen belly. Can you shed any light?
<Mmm, low illumination at best. I suspect there is "something internal" going on here... a perforation and its result too likely. And not a good prognosis. These sorts of "injury syndromes" are quite common w/ Tetraodonts unfortunately. Their soft bodies take a beating through shipping and handling>
My initial reply is on today's (22nd Dec) FAQ page, but there are a couple of follow-ups in the Sent Items folder ready for tomorrow's batch of FAQs.
Cheers, Neale
<I saw these. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Sickly Arothron mappa
I agree with you and Bob - it's probably just from eating and needs a bit of time.
<Glad to have your input Mike>
How right you are about map puffers not being community fish! I had one live peacefully with a bamboo shark for ~6 months, and one day completely rip it apart. Learned the hard way to keep it totally by itself!
<Yikes! I was diving off the east coast of mainland Malaysia at Palau Redang once when a large Map Puffer seemed curious, was swimming along with me... when suddenly I looked to my left and it had picked up a Linckia Star and proceeded to bite its legs off!>
How are things in the UK, and CA, respectively? Very slow here...both my small biz the economy. :\
<Cal. is cold (where IS that dang global warming?!) and the economy is about shot... Too much government and mis-emphasis on policing the planet, murdering other peoples/citizens... Ours? Ovines. Will this make you free? No... again, the future belongs to commerce>
Happy holidays!
<Oh! And to you and yours, BobF>
Re: Sickly Arothron mappa 12/23/2009

Thanks for this. I hope Bob's able to roll this into the Daily FAQs.
<Will do so>
These puffers do sound to be like the freshwater Tetraodon mbu: much too large to keep at home, and far less predictable in terms of behaviour than other puffers (and even the best puffers aren't exactly easy going!). I was doing a shop tour a month or so back, and this one particular place had something like a dozen Tetraodon mbu on sale. I can't imagine there are that many public aquaria in this country for such pufferfish, let alone hobbyists. Insanity (and I said so in the article!).
UK is having an unusually cold winter with lots of snow. My home town looks very pretty (some photos on my Facebook page). Economy still in the doldrums without many signs of recovery just yet. Fingers crossed, I suppose, that things get better quickly. On the other hand, mustn't grumble. Looking forward to flying to Omaha on the 26th, and then spending a couple of days in Dana Point and then another couple days in Minneapolis, where I'll be giving two talks to a fish club there.
To the both of you, enjoy the Christmas break.
Cheers, Neale
<And you. BobF>

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 best, Marco.>

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.>

Blind puffer -- 04/13/07 My black puffer seems to be blind although he seems to be perfectly healthy. It started after a stressful event when I had to trim his teeth. He stressed out and got kinda sick looking so I put him in my hospital tank. <Did you anaesthetize him properly? Read the two WWM articles on trimming puffer teeth, if you have not yet. Did you accidentally touch his eyes or have you used to much force while trimming the teeth?> He looks great now, but isn't eating on his own. If I hand feed him and put it in his mouth he eats very enthusiastically. <Carry on feeding him that way. Provide a varied diet enriched with vitamins and hope the best.> I think he just can't see the food. His eyes look perfect and he moves them around. You'd never guess there was anything wrong with this fish. Ever heard of this kind of thing? <All blind puffers I have seen had cloudy or wounded eyes.> Do you think it might cure itself? <No, if he is really blind. I hope I am wrong.> Thanks for your help. <You are welcome. Good luck. Marco.> Greg.

Help! Emergency!... puffer caught on intake... env.  -12/14/07 Hey Crew, please help me! I just came home to find my dogface pufferfish stuck to a pump! He's in terrible shape! I'm sending along a picture. What do I do? Help!! **sad** Christopher <Mmm, first off: Screen the intake/s! So this doesn't recur... Next, there is not much to actually "do" re the current injury... But good general care. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and the files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help! Emergency! -12/14/07 Thanks for the reply Bob! I'm happy to say Doggie is looking a LOT better today. Now just looks like he has a black eye! Poor guy boxing all evening! I told him he should've taken up golf! Hehe, thanks again Christopher
<Welcome Christopher. BobF>

Burping Your Puffer 10/14/07 Hello, <Hi Jason, Pufferpunk here> I have a dogface puffer whom I have had for about 6 years. Today I was transferring my aquarium to our new home and while introducing my puffer into the new setup, I think he ingested some air. <Never remove a puffer out of water. Always transfer in some kind of container that will keep his head under water.> He has a large swelling towards he back on the dorsum side. He is on the top of the water with this one section out of water. He is eating well but whenever he moves he is head down toward the sand and tail up toward top of water. He mainly is stationary next to the water intake going into the sump. Will he eventually release this air pocket, is this actually air? <No & yes> What should I do? Will he die? He tries to swim around the tank but keeps floating to the top. Help! <The struggle to upright himself will be extremely stressful to him. If the air isn't released manually by you, he will most probably die. Net your puffer & position it underwater with its head pointed toward the surface of the water. Carefully take hold of the puffer, supporting its entire body. Use other hand to gently nudge the stomach, rubbing toward it's mouth, to help the puffer release the air. Throughout the process, the puffer may attempt to reinflate. This is okay, because the puffer is underwater and will refill with water, further helping to expel the air. Burping a puffer larger than 6 or 7 inches, may be require the help of a few extra hands. Also, with a large puffer, cloth gloves will work better than a net, to hold the puffer. If that doesn't work, you can try holding the puffer in a vertical position underwater, by the tail & shake back & forth until it burps. Happy burping! ~PP> Thanks, Jason

Arothron with Cloudy Eyes  1/23/07 Hey Crew, <Hi Sam, Pufferpunk here> How's it going? <Things are great here, in sunny, snowy Chicago!> Things in my aquarium have been going pretty well for the past 6 months or so. However, I now have an issue in which I need your help. I have an 120 gallon tank with the Yellow Arothron, <Arothron> a Picasso trigger, a Miniatus grouper and a Snowflake eel. They've all been healthy for a while. The other day, I woke up and noticed that one of the puffer's eyes looked like a white, cloudy substance was completely covering his eye. It's thick and looks almost like wax on his eye. Perfectly around his left eye. I have my tank maintained by a aquarium service. I checked my pH which I never do because I presumed it's monitored every week by the maintenance people. The pH was extremely low. I immediately added pH buffer and got it back to normal level again. <Should have done a water change 1st.  Many pH problems are caused by a build-up of wastes in the tank, causing it to become more acidic.> I was quite upset, because I've had this fish for a while.  It was expensive and obviously it may be that my the maintenance personal don't know what they are doing. <That could be.  What is their water change schedule?> Anyhow, I have a 60 WATT UV light in operation. It's a fish only. I was curious to know whether you think the low pH perhaps enabled my puffer to get cloudy eye and if regulation pH will help it get better, since he hasn't had a problem in the 6 months I've owned him. Will I have to medicate before it gets too late? <Cloudy eye is generally a sign of poor water conditions.  I suggest a 25% water change on the tank.  Test for ammonia, nitrite, & nitrates, before you do this.  There should be no trace of ammonia or nitrite (extremely toxic) & nitrates should be kept below 20--below 10 would be best.  Continue with daily water changes, until water parameters are good.  The eye may clear up on it's own then.  Also, please use a capital "I" when using as a pronoun.  I have fixed these before this letter goes to our FAQs.  ~PP> Thanks, Sam

Adult dog faced puffer - 8/10/2006 I have had a dog faced puffer for about 5 years.  He's always been healthy and very active.  Kept in a 120 gallon tank with no other fish.  Purification system was fed RO Water and had an ETSS protein skimmer, a Eheim canister filter.  Tank has about 50-70 pounds of live rock. In mid-may we had a flood which caused us to move the tank.  We moved the puffer, much of his rock, the filters onto a 72 gallon tank for about two weeks while we rebuilt the area around the 120. Once done, we put him in a new 120 with a new skimmer.  His old filters and added a Fluval 404 (mainly for easier carbon changes) that I had laying around. He seemed fine for a month.  At this point we did some dental work on his too-large beak (few drops of clove oil, quick Dremel tool work).  It went remarkably well and he demonstrated a larger appetite after this and showed no signs of trauma. <Oft times takes a while to show... weeks> Fast forward two uneventful weeks... Over the last two or three days he suddenly became a bit lethargic and the last two days has had a bit of a film over his eyes and body.  He now passively rests on the bottom of the tank.  My LFS is a very good fish/reef only store, but they are small and closed for a week long trip, <Wow! Impressive!> leaving me with no local support.  I'm extremely concerned and not sure what to do.  I've never had a fish with Ich or any other infection before, though I've kept fish or reefs for about 15 years.  Nitrates showed high, with Ammonia, Nitrite, salinity all being within norms. <Mmm... very likely nothing to be overly concerned about here> Cash isn't really an issue, but I'm not sure what my options are.  At the moment we're purchasing some store-made water from another LFS on the shot that the elevated nitrates may be coming from our new RO system which has no de-ionizer (the old one did).  About to do a 15% water change to see if it has any effect at all. Any help would be tremendously appreciated. -Jason <I would do "nothing"... Almost assuredly this puffer will recover, return to its cheery former self. Please read here in the mean while: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm and the many puffer, Tetraodont linked files above. It is my hope that by perusing the concerns, efforts of others you will be more encouraged, understanding of the situation. Bob Fenner>

Golden Puffer Air sack   4/28/06 Hello, <Hi there> I have a Golden Puffer approx 13 years old/ 8 inches long and is in excellent health. During the past couple of years, air would accumulate and  remain in bladder sac. Usually it would expelled after a day. However this time,  air is remaining in the sac and he is unable to release leaving him on his side.  I have tried netting him to make him expand and he does, however the air still will not release. It has been 36 hours and I am afraid he is getting weaker. I  am desperate for advice.   Thanks, Bill <Mmm, if it were mine... I would try "massaging" the air out of this fish... gently applying pressure with my hands (underwater), from the vent area toward the head/throat, trying to expel the air out the mouth. Bob Fenner>
Re: Golden Puffer Air sack
 4/29/06 Thanks for your assistance... It seemed to work, however he was pretty traumatized during the process. The fish is swimming as normal, however it did  not eat last night or today. Hopefully it will do so tomorrow.... thanks again, Bill <Thank you for this update. There is a high likelihood your puffer will resume feeding and regain its health. Bob Fenner>

Mappa Puffer Shedding??? They do   3/25/06 I have a baby Mappa Puffer, he is only about an inch long. <Wowzah! Tiny!> I have had him for about a month now in a 24 gallon Nano tank. <Grows to be longer than this...http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=7857&genusname=Arothron&speciesname=mappa>  He's been doing great, except I came home today and found him suctioned by the "overflow area", <Doesn't sound so great to me> but he wasn't dead but he is staying at the top of the water looking like he is just floating and sticking his mouth out often for air.  He is also shedding like a snake would, but it isn't all off.  I also tried to feed him, he only eats brine shrimp and tries to east ghost sometimes, but he isn't eating today. <...> It looks like he can't even close his mouth is he wanted to.  Any ideas on what's wrong?? <You're joking right?> I checked ammonia, nitrate, nitrite even salinity and everything is fine.  I did add a plant about a week ago, but I am not sure what kind it is.  I have this plant in another tank as well and everything in there is doing fine. Please help!! Thanks Melissa <... please read WWM re Puffer Systems, Disease... Bob Fenner...>

Puffer Stuck to Powerhead Intake - 2/10/2006 I sent an email last night about my dogface puffer being stuck to my AquaClear 70 powerhead. <<Yes, both received, this one responded to.>> My husband came home and found him like that and unplugged the powerhead and the puff was able to come out and deflate himself, but his body ( his tummy area) was all stretched out of shape which is to be expected. <<Not good news at all.  How big is your puffer?  A healthy puffer should not get stuck to an intake, unless the pull is very strong, and the puffer is small.>> I called my local pet store and they told me to keep trying to feed him and that there is really nothing that I can do at this point. <<Sure there is.  Optimize water quality in a hospital tank, watch for and treat infection, and cover your intake on the powerhead.>> Well I was going to leave him in the main tank but the domino damsels were picking at him where the power head had stretched his skin so much that it looks like he has breaks in the skin in certain areas. <<Not good at all.  Wise to separate them.  You may consider using Melafix to prevent infection here.>> So I couldn't catch the damsels, but was able to easily catch the puff with water from his tank and put him in a 20 gallon with his rock cave that he sleeps in, he is just hovering in the cave, he isn't using his tail fin or anal fin hardly at all since this was smashed up when he was sucked up from the tail end up towards his stomach. I feel bad for the little guy and will put a screen on the power head once I turn it back on. <<Most definitely.>> It did have the tube that narrows down at the end on it I guess it wasn't enough to keep him out. Please advise what I should or can do at this point. <<I am curious to find the underlying cause of your puffer's weakness.  What size is your tank? Tank mates?  Ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte and pH readings? I have a very dim light on, on his hospital tank, which is the same moonlight that I used on the display tank, should I keep it dimly lit or still do the day and night cycles. <<I would keep it dim until he is less stressed.>> Thanks in advance for all your help. <<You're welcome.  Lisa.>>

Puffer with wound that has bugs crawling on it  - 2/21/2006 Hello, I have a dog face puff that got hurt by a powerhead last week, I have been treating him with MelaFix and PimaFix <Worthless> and seems to be healing. I have 2 questions first there are these tiny white bugs on my glass and sand and I have noticed them on the wound area on my puffer, are they hurting my fish or will they just eat off the dead skin that is falling off. <Likely not helpful> 2. I haven't seen my puff eat but a little bite of shrimp the other day, but he continues to poop it is white and falls apart as soon as it leaves his body. If I'm not seeing him eat how is he still having anything to poop out. I just don't know if he might have a digestive  or secondary infection. This is my first puffer and not sure if this is normal. I do have a sand bed in the tank but it isn't sand that he is getting rid of. Thanks for you time. <Please take a read, re-read over the Puffer materials archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer fin in gill Question   1/20/06 Hello,           I am the proud owner of a 1 yr. old Dogface Puffer and something strange is going on with him. It appears as though one of his side fins- the ones right behind is gills, has been sucked into the gills. <Can/does happen> I researched the topic and found nothing. If you had any feedback, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Josh <I would catch this fish (with two nets, directing the fish with one into the other) and gently pull the pectoral fin out. Bob Fenner>

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

Fin stuck in gill Hi, My gold puffer has his fin stuck in his gill.  Otherwise, he appears to be fine.  He is about 8".  I would appreciate any advice you can give.  Thanks Kelly <I would intervene here... by catching the fish, holding it tightly in the net with a wet towel between you, the net and it (to prevent thrashing, you getting bit)... and pulling the fin out of its gill opening. Bob Fenner>
Re: fin stuck in gill
Hi Bob (good to hear from you), Well, with my husbands help.  I managed to get the puffer out of the tank. <Yikes... would have been better to just do all in the tank... at the waters edge>   My husband had his finger in the wrong place (BIG OW!!!). <Yeeikes! This can really hurt!> While the puffer was on my husbands finger, I pulled out his gill--the puffers gill ;).  Puffer is fine now and my husband has a Band-Aid.  Thanks for your help Bob.  Do you have any idea what caused this to happen?  Kelly <Glad to hear all is well. Must have been some wild movements for all! Bob Fenner>

Puffer Inhaled Air Hi Bob, <<Actually, it's JasonC this time, how are you?>> I've been into saltwater aquariums for over 8 months now. I set up an old 29 gal I had for FOWLR and shortly after bought a fully established and full 50 gal reef setup. Earlier today I bought a porcupine puffer for the 29 that I had been watching in the pet store for over a month and a half now. <<Quick aside - these fish can grow to almost a foot long and can really mess up their tanks if you feed too much. Do consider a larger system for this fish soon.>> After equalizing, normalizing, or whatever you call the bag to tank period, I noticed the puffer has an air pocket in his puff sack back towards his tail keeping him at the top of the tank, face down at about a 20 degree angle. Him trying to swim is like trying to dive while wearing a life jacket. <<Good analogy.>> I feel very sorry for him. <<Yeah...>> As the store attendant (I refer to him this way as he clearly is not qualified to be anything else) was prepping the transfer I noted he got out a net. This did strike me as odd but having buyer euphoria, I did not even think to question it. The puffer was netted with little effort and stress. However, when the attendant was attempting to place the puffer into the bag/holding container, I noticed two loud grunts or gasps. I inquired, 'Was that the puffer?" to which the attendant said, "yeah, he's grinding his teeth." I'm quite positive I had an awkward look on my face when he said that. <<I think that was me grinding my teeth... you might want to mention something to the store owner or even place a call to mention the problem - if this fish passes on it really wouldn't be your fault, and in my opinion the store should replace it if that happens.>> It wasn't until I released him from the bag did I notice he was trying to dive and it wasn't working too well. Just then my roommate came in and asked 'Did he get air in him?' It was then that I realized that he was transferred incorrectly by the pet store. I called but the store had already closed for the evening. I plan to raise hell tomorrow, get my money back, and do my best to ensure that this attendant is never again allowed to sell fish. <<Don't raise too much hell, just explain politely that they should reconsider their capture techniques and get some insurance should you lose this fish.>> (by the way, this is not the first time I have had problems with this guy, or this store) <<Time to find a new store - after you get this puffer sorted out.>>  So now I'm stuck with a puffer that is mercifully bound to the top of my tank. Is there any way to remedy this situation, will he fix this himself, or is he bound to eventually die due to this incompetent person and my dimwitted attention? <<The odds are probably fifty/fifty - sometimes this works itself out, sometimes it doesn't. No easy way to predict.>> I've tried to gently hold the puffer in a way that his face/head is upward and might be able to let the air out but usually he just puffs up and tries to swim away. <<That's really about the best you can do.>> I don't want to stress him out anymore so I then abandon the attempt. <<Good plan for now.>> I was very excited to see this fish finally doing better and take him home. But now I have him and I am so upset. Please help!!! <<Be patient.>> Respectfully, Chris Bovia <<Cheers, J -- >>
Re: Puffer Inhaled Air
I was looking through other FAQ's and I noticed the one about using a net underwater to try to massage the air out. I'm trying that now but he just keeps puffing up and the air pocket is still back there. I think I've stressed him out enough for tonight but still can't get the air out. <<Give it a little time to also acclimate to the new system... with any luck it might allow you to move that bubble around. Cheers, J -- >>

Help our Puffer (Mr. Spitzfinnley)...Please!!! We have had our puffer for 8 months now, unfortunately, being amateur marine owners we allowed the salt level to drop to .0145....for at least one week. Watching Spitz's abnormal behavior should have been our first clue.....we just didn't recognize.  <no worries... he's hanging in there and you have gained more insight to succeed> It's now a month and a half later.....we have read your book and been on your web sight......we are feeding him with a syringe 2 times a day....at first he would spit it out and now it seems like he his getting some. We do a water change, 1/4 about every 5 days do to the excess food. All tests are now normal, and have been for a week or two....  <all very fine> He has started to develop a large bubble in his rear area...beyond his right dorsal fin....I read how it could possibly attributed to air....what can we do to save our little fellow? We love him so....is he going to make it???? <he may have gulped air (you are sure the syringe is purged of air correct?)... and it often passes on its own. If it does not after a couple days (1-2) then net the fish in a soft white nylon net and grip the fishy gently under water through the net and orient its mouth pointing up to the surface: lets see if the massaging action of your grip does not "burp" the little bugger. Also... feed with a syringe no longer than you have to... its very stressful. Will the puffer eat any small live ghost or grass shrimp on its own? Best regards, Anthony>

Puffer problem... Hello Mr. Fenner, how's it going? <<Hello, you got JasonC today - things are going well so far.>> Good I hope, I am hoping you can assist and/or advice me with a problem I'm having, I believe my new porcupine puffer has an air bubble inside him that he's not been able to spit up. I've had him for 2 days now, he's 4", no visible trauma or infections. I converted my brackish tank of 1 year a few days ago to full saltwater and removed all the old decor, added sand and live rock, and an Emperor filter. The nitrites, ammonia, all zero basically, pH 8.1, salinity 1.022, temp 78F. I removed all the old fish and he is alone but stressed I believe. I had fed him about 15 little guppies today so he's eaten, however he hangs out at the top corner, bottom, or behind the filter lip or heater, 9 years of keeping tropical fish tells me instinctively something's wrong when I see this behavior. <<Well... two days isn't a very long time when it comes to a fish feeling like it is well at home... need more like a couple weeks to a month before it will settle in. Any stress-related behaviors before then are just that, stress from the capture and transport.>> I admit this is only my second venture into saltwater however I feel I've acquired enough experience to keep it simple and successful. I tried a method I saw online to grab him inside the water and face his mouth upwards and his wiggling should release the bubble, well I got scared when them spikes started coming out so I tried the second method listed at the same forum which was to bring him slightly out of the water to let him take in some air and put him back. <<Oh my... you really shouldn't allow your puffer to gulp any air as this will likely exacerbate the problem.>> This made sense since I know I can take a bigger burp if I take in more air, so I tried it, twice in a minute and it SEEMED to work, however that little air bubble looking bump in his back under his skin has come back and I'm afraid I'm doing more harm than good. <<Yeah, not so wise to compare puffer physiology with human physiology... just not even close.>> I'm slowly losing confidence in myself all-together, maybe I chose the wrong fish to start with :( Can you tell me what could be going on please? <<No need to lose confidence. As long as the fish is eating - and I would consider some other type of food besides live feeders - you are doing alright, and there is a good chance the puffer will resolve this problem on its own, in time.>> I'm confident you've got a very clear idea of what's going on and how to remedy it. With my daughter to be born any day now and school full time and working full time I've just not got as much time as I would like to work on this, however I won't give up! From what I've heard you're the man to see for help! I greatly appreciate any help in advance, thanks so much Adam & Katie Bewley & baby <<Give it some time. Cheers, J -- >>

Injured Fish Question I have a 110gal fish only. I purchased a 4-5 inch Spiny Box puffer from the LFS about three weeks ago. About a week ago I noticed he got ruffed up, probably by a 12 inch Banded Moray Eel. Of the three fins near his tail, one is down to flesh, and the other two are 80%gone. He also has a lot of trauma near his tail. He still eats like a pig. I soak his food of choice (raw shrimp) in Vita-Chem every day, and Iodine twice a week. Is this too much iodine? Is he gonna be OK? Is there anything else I can do? He's a cool fish and I don't want to lose him. And thanks for the great column! >> Hmm, do you have another tank to move the puffer to? Is anything still chewing on it? I would only add some iodine to the food once a week. If the areas where the fins are growing back (they will if not chewed all the way to their bases) look reddened... do contact me and I'll tell you how to make an antibiotic laced food. Eating heartily is a good sign... and I've seen puffers recover from much worse injuries. Keep your water quality high and stable, and s/he should get better.  Bob Fenner

New puffer I have just gotten a dog-face puffer. he seems to be doing ok, but it seems  to have a sore of some kind on one of his sides. What could it be and what do  I do for it. >> Likely a wound from being caught, moved... a bump in the night.... And possibly secondarily infected by bacteria... but if it is showing signs (emargination) of curing I would leave the animal alone... Moving it, putting anti-microbials in the water, the food, is likely to do more harm than good.... If the animal is in good shape, the system optimized and stable, and the Puffer eating... leave it alone to self-cure. Bob Fenner

Puffer eye color change I have a small Porcupine fish (about 4 1/2") that has been doing well for 4 months. Now he looks like he has something around one eye. It looks like a growth, but it's not puffy. It's a major change in coloration, but it's localized around one eye. I never noticed this before. Please help! <From reading your missal here, I suspect this damage is due to a physical trauma... maybe the Puffer bumping into something in the night... and would not add to the animal's stress by handling, treating it per se... just keep it fed, happy in place and it should heal> Also, I have a 150 gallon FOWLR tank. I have a yellow tang, Tomato Clown, Niger Trigger, Grey Angel, Dog face puffer, porcupine puffer, Neon Goby, Lion fish, and a snow flake eel. Can you recommend any other fish to add to this assortment. I tried a Princess Parrot fish on Sunday, but he became dinner for the Eel, bit the head right off during the night. Any recommendations? >> Yes, read through the Fishwatcher's Guide and livestock survey pieces stored at www.wetwebmedia.com and come to an understanding of what your choices, preferences are... Bob Fenner

Mappa puffer Hey bob my friend Mike from Atlantis fish store in Pittsburgh has a question he wants me to ask you so here it is. He has a mappa puffer at his store and it has an air bubble in it, or I should say it inflated with air not water. Anyhow he was hoping to get some advice as to how to remove the air and save the fish. They have tried to squeeze it out and it helped some but wanders if there is something better to do ? <If this has gone on for more than a day or two... I would try narcotizing the specimen... (with MS-222, tricaine, possibly "hypno" if you can find the old Jungle Brands product...) and shaking it semi-vigorously head-up to see if this will dislodge the gas... otherwise, possibly add three teaspoons of magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts) to a separate tank (NOT the main tank) and enough of the water to keep the poor fish covered, aerate it greatly and leave it here for one hour> Thanks for any insight as always Rob Huss if you have any info please be long winded with it so I may help him as much as possible. <I understand. Please read this message over a few times... and get back to me if any of it is unclear. Bob Fenner>

Sick dogface puffer Dr. Fenner, (I hope!) <Hmm, just Bob> I am writing about a dog face puffer that has been in our tank for almost 6 years. I work in a restaurant that has a 118 gallon tank which is professional serviced on a weekly basis. I have been reading through the letters on your web site, and hope our puffer is just on a hunger strike, but afraid it may be more than that. "Puff Daddy" has survived at least 2 major illnesses in our tank, where we lost many other fish, but after not eating for extended periods of time, he bounced back. During this past year, he stopped filing his own teeth on the coral, and stopped eating again. We began having his teeth dremmeled, and he again returned to normal health. However, during the last dental visit, he puffed up & took in some air.  <Yikes, not good> It appears as if the little black "flapper?" in his mouth has been ruptured, because it is protruding outwardly, and the area around his mouth looks slightly bloody. He hasn't eaten in almost 3 weeks, and has lost a great deal of weight. In addition, he has always shown a lot of affection towards the owner of the restaurant, acting very excited when he is around, letting him put his hand in the tank to pet him, and hold him while he gets his teeth dremmeled. <Wow, quite an attachment... these are intelligent fishes (the smooth puffers)> However, now he acts afraid of him, and puffs up every time he tries to lift him out of the tank. The little black flap, not only protrudes but flaps around when the puffer breathes in & out of his mouth. Is there anything that can be done to invert the protruding flap, or any other suggestions to help this situation. We are all very attached, customers included, to our little puffer guy. Thank you for any information you may have for us! Amy <I appreciate your concern... It might be worth trying to "push" the flap back inward... with a blunt implement... otherwise, really the best thing to do is wait and hope. Good luck my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick dogface puffer
Just Bob! Thanks for your quick reply. We'll keep our fingers crossed! <Ah, good. I wish you life my friend. Bob Fenner>

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