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FAQs about Boxfishes 2

Related Articles: Boxfishes, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

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

Ostracion meleagris male, Hawai'i

Blue Boxfish; feeding      3/3/17
<Hello Edwin>
Any advice for tempting a blue boxfish to eat?
<Oh yes; live small/ish crustaceans of any sort primarily; Ghost/Glass Shrimp is my fave.>
My experience is that the females eat readily but males will sometimes starve themselves.
Been trying to keep away from it - but its such a beautiful fish I just bought another one.
Its doing to the same as per most boxfish - ignoring everything in the first week and not even grazing.
Edwin Lee
<Try adding and soaking the shrimp (frozen if you can't secure live) in a vitamin/HUFA (appetite et al. stimulating) supplement; such as SeaChem's: http://www.seachem.com/entice.php
Bob Fenner>

Boxfish feeding and buddies... the usual: no rdg.         4/21/16
Hi Crew, thank you so much for your service! I have recently acquired a
Ostracion Meleagris as a specimen fish. He was a bit shy for the first few days but now he owns the tank and seemingly cannot be satiated. I have some questions, the first being on the appropriate amount of food to give this
<Some; about the size of the last digit of your little finger, every other day or so>
I have a skimmer on the way rated for twice the volume of the tank just to be on the safe side of his "messiness". Should he be feed multiple times a day in smaller portions or is once a day fine in your experience?
<.... READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfdgfaqs.htm
I worry as their bodies don't allow for telltale signs of starvation it appears.
My next question is on the compatibility with a Bubble Tip Anemone? Can they coexist or am I asking for trouble?
<Usually; if there's room>
Lastly, he's with a crew of inverts that he shows no interest in. He's currently four inches, will he start to show interest in the inverts as he grows?
<Some... crustaceans, molluscs are at risk. Try searching, reading on WWM.
Bob Fenner>
Thank you guys so much for what you do!
Take care,

Boston Bean... Ostraciid reading    8/19/09
Hello its been awhile since I've needed to right in. Anyways I work at a local fish store and lately there is a fish there that has caught my eye. It is a little boxfish that we have labeled as a Boston Bean. After asking everyone in the store and doing a few internet searches no one seems to know much about it. I'm interested in getting it but I'm trying to find out its max size, feeding and water requirements, minimum tank size, and if it has the potential to release poison if agitated. Thanks!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Three questions: shrimp gobies, Firefish and turretfish 03/21/2008 Good morning and hope it is as beautiful there as it is here in Colorado! <<Good morning. A beautiful day here in sunny England too today. Andrew at your service today>> I'm afraid I have three questions. I hope you don't mind. <<Don't mind at all>> One of my tanks is a 28 gallon nano, about 4 years old. Very pretty little tank with nice zoos, pulsing xenia, and polyps. For the past two years, I have had, among its occupants, a Amblyeleotris guttata (orange-spotted shrimp goby) and a Stonogobiops nematodes (hi-fin shrimp goby). The first is paired with a Alpheus bellulus (tiger pistol shrimp) and the second with a Alpheus randalli. Recently I came into possession of a Amblyeleotris wheeleri (you call him a gorgeous prawn goby on your web site) and since I couldn't put him into my big reef tank for a variety of reasons, I put him in the nano. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the orange-spotted goby bonded with the wheeleri and they share a burrow, although usually they sit at opposite ends, and the color on the orange-spotted is the best it has ever been. He also stays out more. I didn't think they would fight but am very pleased they are buddies. I would like to add a Alpheus shrimp for the wheeleri. Do you see a problem with this? <<Sounds like they have formed a nice friendship. I don't see any problems adding this>> My second question has to do with this tank as well: I have had a purple Firefish in there, (Nemateleotris decora), also for about two years. I recently bought a second purple Firefish, after seeing a friend's pair (regular Firefish) and although the resident doesn't seem to chase or spar with the newcomer, the new Firefish is remaining hidden almost all of the time. ( I have had him a little less than a week. ) Is there anything I should be concerned about? I know that if he continues to hide, he will not get enough to eat. I don't think I have two males, as there would be more obvious aggression, I think? Should I take the new one back to the store before he starves? <<There is nothing to be overly concerned with, the fish will just be getting used to the environment and will probably be picking for food after lights out. Some fish do take a while to get used to their new surroundings.>> My third and final question has to do with a camel-backed cowfish or turretfish, (Tetrosomus gibbosus). I have had him for the past year and a half in my 150 gallon reef tank and he is a real favorite with everyone. Yesterday morning, my husband found him on the floor and we are all very sad. I know this fish is not a jumper per se but is very active at night. I have seen him with the nightlights. Is this just an unfortunate incident or could someone have chased him out? The only candidate is (I know you won't believe this, but the Lyretail Anthias and the ornate wrasse not only go to ground at night, they never chase him) is a (of course smaller) citron clown goby who had taken a dislike to him, similar color, I think) and chased him occasionally, usually at feeding time. I almost certainly cannot catch the goby without tearing the tank apart, so if you think that's what happened. I will resign myself to not getting another turret. (or trying to find a way to cover it but with the halides/lighting system, etc. it is difficult. ) <<It is possible that it was spooked by another fish which caused it to jump and if this is the case, i am surprised that it did not release any toxins into the tank as these "do" have the capacity to wipe out a complete system with this. In my opinion, with you current stock, i would not add another>> Thank you as always for your wonderful site and advice. I gave Mr. Fenner's book to a friend and I don't think she is going to give it back, so I will just have to buy another one! <<He he he he...it happens, get yourself another copy ;o) Jeanne Brown <<Thanks for the questions Jeanne, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Camel back cowfish (T. gibbosus)   8/19/07 Hi Bob and all at WWM! Always a pleasure visiting your site! If I may please ask your opinion, what can you tell me about the camel back cowfish (Tetrasomus gibbosus), as far as how it compares to other more common cowfishes in the hobby as far as hardiness, tank requirements, etc? <Don't know much... isn't offered often... gets quite large! though... can attest from seeing underwater at times> There's one being offered for sale at the LFS . My understanding is that they are somewhat smaller than longhorn cowfishes and spotted Boxfishes. <Well... about a foot in length: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=8129&genusname=Tetrosomus&speciesname=gibbosus> Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! --Phil S. <Don't really know anything first-hand re this Ostraciids husbandry... do see bits on the Net re... Likely needs a rather large space to feel comfortable... a few hundred gallons... and attention to make sure it's getting food if mixed with competing livestock... Bob Fenner>

Re: camel back cowfish (T. gibbosus)   8/22/07 Dear Bob: <Phil> Thank you for your input. I did buy the specimen and so far the fish appears to be doing well. He's just a little thing--about an inch long right now. <Wow! Have never seen this species this small in the wild> He was eating frozen brine shrimp just ten minutes after I introduced him to the tank! I've never seen a cowfish eat so quickly upon introduction to a new home! Presently he's in a 50 gallon with just an unobtrusive bicolor blenny for company. He may outgrow the tank in a year or two but hopefully by then I can upgrade. Even though he's not quite as gaudy as some other species, he is kind of endearing with his curious pyramid shape and high-set eyes. Thanks again for your help! I'll keep you posted. Best wishes, Phil S. Lancaster, PA <Appreciate this. BobF>

Boxfish... selection? Behavior? Compatibility  10/19/05 Dear Bob, <Yo Babylon... have a Hash House Harrier friend here in Kona named Babble On> Have two questions for your superior knowledge on fish. I have a Polka dot boxfish that I bought about 2 weeks ago. He's been fine, feeding him flakes, pellets, fresh shrimp, etc. <An Ostracion meleagris...? You say "he's"... so a male?> After coming back to my office on Monday I notice white flaking around  areas of his body. I eventually caught him and dusted it all off and his  coloring and what not was all normal. It seemed like it was shedding skin or something. <Happens> Is that possible or what else could it have been? I don't believe Ick  can get that big and two I don't think it can be brushed off so  easily. He seems to be eating fine and movement is good is there anything to be concerned about? <Mmm, this family of fishes can produce toxic slime...> Sal: 1.24, 0 ammonia, nitrate , nitrite, 8.4 PH. What should the typically Alk and hardness be in the aquarium? <Posted on WWM> Also I have this green hair like algae growing off my Hang on filter floating in the water, Should I leave it for the fish to eat on? <... maybe> Best regards Master Guru, Jason <Please read on WWM re Boxfish Compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Sick boxfish I am worried about my Whitley's boxfish. I have had him for a couple of  months and he seemed to have settled in OK. Recently, he hasn't been eating so well and yesterday, he was lurking at the bottom of the tank. <Wow... a male Whitley's Boxfish... very rare> This morning, I found him lying on his side. I thought he was dead but when I nudged him, he swam away but seemed slow and disoriented, tipping over on to his side. I can't see any external signs of disease and the water parameters are OK. <What is OK?> Other fish in the tank are Green Chromis and a couple of clown fish, who are currently fighting it out (I don't know whether this might be a cause of stress). <Mmm, should be okay... do you see these damsels bugging the Box?> I also added a couple more hermit crabs yesterday.  Please help - any advice welcome. Len <Help with? What about the history of your having this puffer? Your system? What have you done thus far? You did not place chemical treatments in this system I hope... I would at least execute a large (half) water change, add activated carbon to your filter flow path, read on WWM re all Puffer, Ostraciid System and Disease FAQs files. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm  and work through them through the links above. Bob Fenner> 

Cowfish/Boxfish Let me first say, this is the most impressive website I have ever seen.  <Very kind of you.>  I have learned so much from reading, unfortunately, I managed to kill most of my fish before finding your site. Thankfully, I am learning. My question, I saw some cowfish at my LFS, some were green and some orange. I thought they were really cute. I was reading up on them, on your website of course, and I keep seeing the terms boxfish and cowfish.  <Take a look here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm. Boxfish and cowfish are both in the same family.>  I'm not really sure of the difference in the two. Do both basically release the toxins that will kill the fish in my tank if under stress?  <They both have the same toxins.>  I've had enough deaths over the past year and finally have a happy community. My tank is a 55G, with a Firefish, flame angel, royal Gramma, and a Singapore angel.  <The biggest problem you are going to have is that the fish are going to outgrow your 55 tank. You would be best perhaps in passing on both of them.> Disease Hi guys, <Hello> I am the proud owner of a camel cowfish. She is very little, only about 2 cm. She has developed one eye larger than the other and has not been able to feed for over a week now. She knows the food is there and tries to eat it, but it would appear to me that she cannot see when close up to the food and misses it by 1/2 cm or so. There is no sign of disease, no cloudy eye, nothing wrong that I can physically see. Just one eye appears to be quite larger. She is starting to show signs of distress at feeding times as she madly swims around trying to get to the food but is unable to. She is so little and I feel so helpless. Any suggestions would help me please.  <I'd put some Maracyn in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks <You're welcome> 

Sphoeroides lobatus Feeding Suggestions, Pt. 2 1.13.05 To: Ryan, <Morning!> Thank You for replying to my email.  Yes and No about purchasing the Puffers on impulse. We did have our tanks well planned out (we have several) and we do not over crowd them (one pair of Cichlids per 55 gal) and we were looking for a Puffer when we came across these, the only difference was that the store did not know anything about them and they were in a 10 or 15 gal tank. I guess it's a case of I could not bear to see them in that tank where they had been for a few months, with no shelter to hide from all the preying eyes. <Everyone with a heart and an aquarium has been there!  The important part is that you're doing what you can now to learn about them!> I think they will do well, I have a good idea about feeding, and right now they are so small they are doing well in the 40 gal we put them into with lots and lots of hiding places. I will look for the Selcon.  I do have one more question, right now they seem to do well being in the same tank together, but should they be separated when they are older/bigger? <In a tank full of live rock, and plenty of cover, you may be able to house them together.  But, in a bare, open tank, the conditions aren't favorable for the weaker of the two.  Just monitor the behavior, and be aware that you may need to separate them at some point.> I have read that you cannot keep more then one puffer to a tank. Thank you for writing me back so quickly. It certainly has helped confirm some things for me. I am sure they will do just fine and I am looking forward to watching them grow, it is amazing to watch them do their "hummingbird" swim around the tank. <They're fascinating and personable creatures!  Enjoy them.  Ryan> Arlene Olson

Cowfish Poisoned Tank Hi Bob, <George>    I have a 120 gallon tank I converted to salt water about 4 months ago and went through the cycle and all my fish were doing fine. About every other day I checked the salinity, nitrite, nitrate, pH and ammonia and they are always perfect.  I had 2 Yellow Tangs and A Powder Blue Tang <Not easily kept> and a few Damsels and about 2 weeks ago I purchased a cowfish. The aquarium store I purchased it at didn't tell me the fish was poisonous and if they had, I wouldn't have bought it. <This is mentioned several times, places on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm> It seemed to be OK for a day or two and then it kinda started just floating around in the tank, swimming a little every now and then. I told the pet store I purchased it at and they said that it was just stressed because it was in a new tank and that it would be OK in a few days. I believed him and then the next afternoon when I came home from work it was hung behind one of the decorations I have in my tank and it was dead. I carried it back to them and they gave me a different fish to replace it. When I got back home about 3 of my other fish were dead and the others were swimming around with hardly no life at all. Then, the  next afternoon they all were dead. I found out that if the cowfish becomes stressed before it dies it releases a poison that will kill everything in the tank and it did. I went to a "Barnes @ Noble" book store and after looking through all their Aquarium Fish books and reading about the cowfish they all said that it was poisonous and it will release a poison if it becomes stressed and it will die instantly and poison the entire tank, and  it did. Over the past two weeks since this happened I have changed about 50% of the water 3 times and one time I changed about 75% and each time I did a test on the water and it was all perfect. <I would change ALL the water... in fact, if this were an account, I would drain it all, re-fill it with fresh and lightly bleach (acid) wash all... yes, killing all biota, oxidizing the ostracitoxin> I have also replaced the  carbon in my two filters every other day as I was advised by the aquarium store. I have added a few damsels to it and they have all died after being in the tank after about 2 days. Every time they died I purchased 3 more damsels and about 2 days later they died. They all seemed to be doing well and then the next morning when I turned the lights on they were all dead. I am trying everything I can think of. I would appreciate any suggestions you have before I recycle my tank. George <Sorry to hear of the losses here. Please refer to WetWebMedia.com re how to thoroughly clean your system... and start over from "square one". Bob Fenner> Cowfish Size Questions Hi thanks for the quick reply about the cow fish I was wondering how big it would grow as they have a really small one (about 1 inch) in the LFS but also a larger one (4 inches) just wanna know if it will grow huge or not. thanks a lot Andy <Some cowfish species get quite large. Most of the ones available for aquarium use and their size data we have posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm Bob Fenner>

Blue Boxfish hello! I have 90 gal cube tank. Do you think I can keep Lactophrys bicaudalis in there. If not maybe a pair of Ostracion meleagris. What is Your opinion. Best regards Darek >>>Hey Darek, Ostracion meleagris would be a better choice, as they are a much smaller fish as adults. Lactophrys bicaudalis attains a size between 16 and 20". Even if it stayed a bit smaller, say 12", that's still to large for a 90 gallon cube. Jim<<<   Boxfish Ostracion Cubicus sick after powerhead injury (8/9/04) Hello All, <Just Leslie here this evening> I have had a tank for almost 3 years now and the boxfish nearly that long. Two days ago he was stuck in the intake to my overflow box. <OH no :(  so sorry to hear that.> His skin injuries are minimal, but he is growing steadily weaker. < I think there is a good chance you are dealing with internal injuries> This morning he was on the bottom of my tank, but I nudged him and he went swimming around. Not very well I must say. He does not seem to have any external parasites, he has always had an ich spot or two. He also ignored food the last two days. < Oh not good I am afraid. > I am thinking of treating him with antibiotics. < I really do not think antibiotics will help your fish...it sounds like he sustained internal injuries. IMO antibiotics will just add insult to injury and stress him further. > Do you have a suggestion as to what to treat him with or is there something else I can do? . <These fish possess ostracitoxin a positions  substance which they can and do release when stressed.  This toxin has been know to wipe out entire tanks and it's effects are not reversible. I think your best bet would be to isolate him in another tank. > The tank parameters are pristine, the other fish are behaving normally. < Well that is excellent news.  My preference would be to error on the side of caution and remove your boxfish to a nice quiet tank by himself. This would serve 2 purposes.....keep your other fish out of harms way and give your boxfish a nice quiet place to rest and if you decide to medicate him the best place to do it. > Thank you for your time. Michael <You are most welcome, best of luck with your boxfish, Leslie>

Boxfish Ostracion Cubicus sick after powerhead injury Follow up 8/13/04 Thank you for our response. < Your most welcome!!!> I actually did put him in an isolated, slow current tank (no Meds). I had to 'force feed' him, but the results are showing. He is looking stronger and more alert. I will move him back as soon as he can find food and eat on his own. <That's great news Keep up the good work!> Thank you again for the valuable information contained in this website! Michael <Again your most welcome :), Leslie >

Boxfish Tank Nuke Hi, <Hi, Bruce from Oz, Mike D here> A Couple of days a go my boxfish died and did what everyone is warned about, nuked the tank.. well almost. I think I found it very soon after the death. I quickly did a water change and bagged all the fish and took them to my pet store to house them.<ouch> I have lost 4 fish out of 8 including the box.<Was it a Blue Box? That's the only species well known for "nuking" a tank, per se> My question is how to deal with the tank. I have 50 gal (200 litres for us Aussies), anyway I have done about 40% water change.<You'll likely end up doing more, but I'd slow down and do it in more gradual conditions to avoid stress to the corals> The corals are looking a little sick, but I think that is because of the water change and moving all the rock to catch the fish.<You're quite likely correct here> I have a protein skimmer going full bore and you should see the black stuff that it has got out.<THAT'S not from the boxfish, and may be the actual reason for your catastrophe> The worms in the rock are still doing what worms do, the bloody mantis shrimp I know is in there (and suspect cause this mess) didn't die (bastard) and can still be heard (yes, I have so far got rid of 2 but I keep hearing the bastards).<Are you sure it's mantis shrimp and not pistol shrimp? Both are extremely secretive and make the famous "popping noise"> I have cycled the tank for a day and put in a couple of blue/green Chromis to check the water.<I'd suggest doing 5 gal/day and hold off on adding fish. If they break down, they're prime targets for ick or such and you may be breeding more problems for yourself. You don't need fish to "cycle" anything, a even the mantis shrimp will accomplish that for you> One looks ok, but is hiding in the rock (sort of strange for these type of fish) and the other after a couple of hours is panting and scales are slowly turning black. I'd get them back out, if possible, myself> I have been checking around the web on what to do if the toxin is released, all I can find is warnings. Yes I knew about it before I put the guy in. He was happy and feeding and loving life for weeks.<There's a very real problem with boxfish that many people don't understand, being that they have very tiny mouths and stomachs, thus need to eat non-stop. Many that people think are doing well are slowly starving to death, and the smaller the boxfish, the more likely this is to occur, as even more food is required fro growth> The list of fish dead are: Boxfish, Foxface Rabbitfish (he's death was not pleasant to watch)<very few are>, flame hawk, flame dwarf angel Survivors (so far) 2 blue/green Chromis (well they might kick it due to reintroduction too early), goldenheaded sleeper goby, fake clown, coral-banded shrimp, Sixline wrasse The stupid thing about it was the tank was close to being complete, with a little bit more mantis shrimp hunting and a couple more corals.<I'm going to go out on a limb and say I truly don't think the boxfish was the entire problem, with impatience likely being as big a culprit> Any thoughts, suggestions and I guess actively calling me stupid welcome.<Never stupid Bruce, for as hard as it is to deal with, it's sadly all part of the learning process. You didn't say how large the tank is, what the ammonia and nitrite levels were, nor how long the whole thing has been up and running.  I suspect that you'll find you had high nitrite and ammonia levels (as evidenced by your skimmate) and that too much was placed in the tank too soon after it had cycled. You DID let it set for six weeks before adding fish to allow it to cycle, correct?  If not, I'd suggest using our Google and entering cycle or cycling, as well as reading FAQs on same. If I'm wrong, I'll personally apologize, but I suspect the boxfish is being used as the excuse, while it was quite likely just one of the victims> Thanks Bruce Moyle

Re: Boxfish Tank Nuke Hi Mike, <Hi again, Richard> !Thanks for the reply, I eventually lost 6 fish, but on the better note, all is back to normal in the tank.<That's good to hear!> I am sorry I didn't give you some info, so I will give it now. I cycled the tank for 8 weeks before adding fish (about 12 months ago)<OK, my apologies here. Many people rush to load a tank to capacity as soon as it finishes cycling, not realizing that tanks remain relatively unstable for up to a year>. Slowly adding fish every 2 weeks or so between some corals.<This may have played a part as well, as with their constant grazing Boxfish can occasionally "bite off more than they can chew" and may well "sample" something that could lead to a fast decline>. The nitrate levels were at 0 at time of nuking, the ammonia was up, but I think that was due to fish dying<Very possible, but the large amount of skimmate you were getting indicates a  lot of extra organic matter coming from somewhere>. pH was normal too. I agree with the boxfish starving, just so hard to tell.<And even harder with boxfish. With "normal" fish you can tell when they are getting "hollow" but the rigid shell of the boxfish makes it nearly impossible from visual clues> The boxfish wasn't a blue unless they are different colour before changing. He was a cream base with brown scribbles all over him, and was 4-5 inches long.<These aren't noted for being particularly prone to release toxins, but being stung by an Elegance coral, for example, might well trigger it> I also know that there is mantis shrimp, took me ages to identify it, but it definitely is one.<This could be another causative factor then. A boxfish would quite likely attack it on site as it would any other shrimp, and a mortal blow from the mantis shrimp could DEFINITELY trigger a defensive toxin release> I ran lots of carbon to clean the tank and did one more water change. I have fish back in the tank, and they are doing great.<Excellent!> An article on cleaning out poison would be great.<Not a bad idea. while the odd boxfish/cowfish nuking incident does occur, two even more common causes are 1) household pesticides, many of which can wipe out a 200 gal. tank with just one drop, and 2) deceased puffers and porcupines that are "scavenged" before being found missing.  Any fish that samples even a single bite is usually doomed, and in cases where the tank contains a fish such as a large wrasse, the violent dismemberment of the corpse, much like a dog with a rat, is sometimes capable of creating a very similar condition> Thanks <You're very welcome and the best of luck ahead> Bruce Looking for rare boxfish Mr.. Fenner: do you have any source for obtaining a white-barred boxfish Anoplocapros lenticularis? thank you, john McKenna <Do give the fine folks at Marine Center a "ring": http://www.themarinecenter.com/ If anyone, they'll be able to secure you a healthy specimen. Bob Fenner>

Cowfish safe corals and diet 8/1/04 Hi. I have a cow fish in a tank that I want to add some corals to. The tank already has a Goniopora and some kind of stony honeycomb brain coral which the cow leaves alone. I also had a Sarcophyton which died due to a temperature spike and the cow also left that alone. However, I replaced the Sarcophyton with a Lobophytum and the cow has started to nibble on it. <These fishes are known to be risky, but mostly with crustaceans.> I know cowfish are not considered to be reef safe, and I've already discounted any coral that needs to be fed meaty chunks as the cow knows all about that and takes the food straight out of their stomachs, but I was wondering if there are any corals that would be unlikely to end up in the cow's stomach? Would I have a better chance with stony corals? <So called "SPS corals are probably safe, and meaty large polyp stonies are probably at the greatest risk.> Another question I have relates to an answer on the Q&A a few days ago that said that cowfish need greens as well as meaty foods and most die due to malnutrition. I feed mine a variety of meaty foods as well as fish pellets that contain algae and I occasionally give him a sheet of Nori. I've had him for many months and his condition is good but I don't want to slowly starve him. I feed enough for him to eat in a few minutes, twice a day. Does the diet I have described sound sufficient to you? Thanks for your help. <Variety, variety, variety!  Quality, quality, quality!  Frozen Mysis, frozen foods containing algae, high quality pellet foods (look for few or no non-marine ingredients).  Best Regards!  AdamC> Longhorn Cowfish.....hardy??? (7/25/04) Hi, <Hi Leslie here tonight> I was wondering how hardy cowfish are? <Well, unfortunately this family of fish do not have a good record of success in captivity, which is related to lack of appropriate nutrition. These fish need green as well as meaty food, on a regular basis.  Most are lost to outright starvation. In addition the Longhorn Cowfish you are asking about attains an adult length of 18 inches and requires at least a 180g tank.  Add to this that many members of this fish family possess a toxin called  "ostracitoxin"  which they can release into the tank if stressed.  Although rare there have been losses of entire systems to this toxin.>  Thanks < Your most welcome, Leslie >

Longhorn Cowfish with Ich  (7/25/04) Hi there  <Hi there to you as well Leslie here this evening!> I have a Longhorn Cowfish that has ich. < Awwwww bummer I'm sorry.  It's  not unusual for these guys to get ich. They are ich magnets. > I have tried the kick ich treatment and it doesn't seem to be working. < I have not had much luck with this product either>  I was wondering if there is anything that I can do for my fish. <  My preferred treatment is hyposalinity I find it quite effective and the fish seem to do very well. The nice part is the fish can be treated in the main tank as long as you have no critters that will be adversely effected by hyposalinity. The following links will tell you all you need to know to do this..... Hyposalinity: http://petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Ich: http://petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/marineich.html and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Please also see this article and the associated FAQs The Three Sets of Factors that Determine Livestock Health http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm If you can help me out that would be great. Michelle < I hope this helps, best of luck with your Cowfish, Leslie>

Strange color on Cowfish (5/15/04) Hey you guys! <Hi there, you have Leslie here tonight> I hope you can help me on this one... < I will do my best> I just purchased a Lactoria cornuta from the LFS. He's about 1.25 in and he's spotted in a strange manner. I included a picture. I'm keeping him under quarantine for a month < Excellent plan> and I hope he doesn't have ich < they are prone to ich> or some other disease because I only have CopperSafe and can't seem to find any formalin-only med in my area (rid-ich doesn't qualify I suppose). <No worries, there are several meds available online. Two good sources are .... Dr Foster and Smith http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/NavResults.cfm?Ne=40000&ref=3167&subref=AC&N=2004+113521  and National Fish Pharmaceuticals http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/  It is a good idea to keep some of the common ones on hand. I prefer freshwater dips and hyposalinity for ich myself.> Can you identify if the spotting is normal or not? and if not what is the recommended remedy - and what is the creative remedy! < It is really hard to tell from that photo but his markings look normal form what I can see. Have a look here and compare your fish to these for a better idea http://www.divegallery.com/cowfish.htm  http://www.divegallery.com/cowfish_pair.htm > I plan to put him in a 29 gal for about 6 months and then transfer him in a 75 gal. The fish in the 29 gal are 2 Amphiprion ocellaris of 1.5 inches (clownfish) - 1 Chromis xanthurus of 1.5 inches (yellowtail damsel) - 1 very mild mannered Diodon nicthemerus of 2 inches (porcupine puffer) - 1 Canthigaster epilamprus of 2 inches (blue dot puffer) - a bunch of hermit crabs and a coral banded shrimp and a Mithrax crab - see the puffers are very mild! <They are still small and young> the only bullying going on is the damsel chasing the fish out of it's live rock caves. I know I might be overstocked a tad <I would say a few tads more than a tad> but so far everyone seems cozy and the 75ver should make it roomier for when they grow. <You are looking at 240 plus gallons for when they grow. A general rule of thumb is 10g per inch of Puffer. Your Cowfish has the potential of reaching 19 inches and that Puffer 24 inches. Here are the specifics: Specific Gravity - 1.020 Ammonia - 0pmm Nitrite - 0ppm Nitrate - < 50ppm < this is a tad high under 20 would be much better for your fish> pH - 8.2 temperature - 80F and the setup is: 1 hang- on filter 125gph 1 Prizm skimmer 20 lb of live rock crushed coral sub thanks in advance for your time! Jos?br><Your welcome, Leslie> 

How Is The Cow Now? (Sick Cowfish)  I have a very gorgeous cowfish. He shares his tank with a yellow Tang, Sailfin, Trigger, Clownfish, Goby and a Valentini Puffer. I've had this tank for almost 2 years with no problems. My Nitrate, ammonia, nitrate and pH is all good. Last couple of weeks, I lost my yellow tang and my goby.  <Yikes! Sorry to hear that...Scott F. with you today>  I checked for ICK and did not find any spots. I'm an not sure what's going on in this tank. No white spots (ick) visible but I'm wondering if this is a parasite issue. My sailfin seems to be scratching on the rock and now my Cowfish is not eating and he looks as to be a little itchy. He also has a slight pink color on him.  <Well, it sounds like you may very well be dealing with a parasitic disease of some sort...The lack of visible spots doesn't mean that it isn't Ich or Amyloodinium. In fact, the pinkish color that you describe could be tissue being liquefied.. signs of the more serious Amyloodinium...The fact that your other fish died quickly after contracting this malady leads me to believe that this one may be a distinct possibility...>  What do I do??? I have a hospital tank all ready to go and I will put him in there. My question is, how can I treat the parasite issue? What medication (If any) do I need? Please help. I want to do all I can to help my babies. Thank you in advance for helping. Frank  <Well, Frank, I'm glad that you have the "hospital tank" ready to go. I'd utilize freshwater dips, followed by a course of treatment with a based-based product for this malady. Follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly. Be sure to observe the fish carefully, and make sure that the fish starts eating again. Frankly, I'd remove all remaining fish from the main tank and use the "fallow tank technique" that we advocate for dealing with parasitic infections...Hang in there. With quick action on your part, you can beat this malady! See the WWM parasitic disease FAQs for more information. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cuban Yellow Boxfish <Hi Bryan, just want to apologize somehow I overlooked this email. I'm very sorry for the delay in response.>  Hey guys I just got a Cuban yellow boxfish 2 days ago. Everything was fine until I got up from watching the NCAA games to find the boxfish stuck to the side of my filter.  <This happens quite frequently with box fish. They can't swim very quickly and often get caught in the intakes. Place a sponge around the intake and it will take away the risk of it getting stuck on there.>  I turned off and the filter and freed the fish, but I am worried that the stress may have caused him to poison the tank.  <It's a viable concern, but it doesn't happen as frequently as you read about.>  I have taken him out of the tank and put him in a quarantine, but how long will it take before I will know if he poisoned the tank?  <within 12 hours you will see lethargy in the other tankmates. Doing a large water change will help dissipate the toxin should there be any in the water.>  Obviously I'll know if the other fish are dead in the morning, but any there any other signs. I have already done a water change on the main tank and have my carbon running as well.  <That would be the best course of action. Hopefully it all worked out well. Another thing you might want to consider is having a skimmer on hand just in case. If you do feel that he might have spread toxic material in the water, I have read reports of how skimming the water and doing water changes have greatly reduced toxin-kills.>  Sincerely,  Bryan Mortlock  <Best of luck, and like I had said before, sorry for the oversight. I do hope it all turned out okay. Add a sponge cover to the filter and it will take away the danger of that happening again. -Magnus.>

Dip a Cow? >Hi, I have a couple of questions on quarantine and dipping.  I will be purchasing a juvenile tank raised percula clown and a small juvenile long horn cow.  My questions are: will it be okay to quarantine them in the same tank (10 gallon with a 3" PVC elbow for a hiding spot)?   >>I wouldn't unless they're both 1" or less.  I would also provide a few more hiding places, and/or cover the tank sides with black plastic so they feel a bit more secure.  Three of the four sides should help tremendously.  If you can get a 20 gallon, that would be much better (or a Rubbermaid tub). >With the dipping, I have Meth blue I had intended to use with freshwater, but is it safe for the cow?   >>The Methylene blue is safe, but I would be careful dipping the cowfish.  Post dip I would definitely place it separately from the clown.  Cows are one of the few species I've actually made a practice to not dip. >Should I just use freshwater, or use saltwater with the Meth?   >>I think an acclimation in separate vessel (all acclimations should be done in vessel separate from final destination) with the Methylene blue would be fine for the cow. >I don't want to stress the cow out too much, in fear of toxin release.  Also, on another note.  I have a 2 month old 72 gallon tank.  50 lbs of live rock, 25 lbs of base rock.  25 lbs of live sand and 25 lbs of marine sand. Inhabitants are 2 turbo snails, a camel shrimp ( in memory of my peppermint shrimp, the happiest shrimp in the world ), and a handful of dwarf blue and scarlet hermit crabs.   >>Watch the camel, they're not always so amicable as peps. >I have been unable to keep the pH up in this tank for quite some time now.  I have carbon and some phosphate sponge running in the filter.  The pH keeps dropping to about 7.9.   >>That's actually not terribly bad.  If the inhabitants are happy and healthy, then consider these other issues: wintertime in colder climates many folks experience sufficient build up of carbon dioxide as to lower pH.  Faulty/inaccurate test kit. >I have done a 50% water change with fresh salt in hopes that it would balance out the pH, but with no luck.  I had even taken water out of the main tank to fill the quarantine tank, and the main tank is down to 7.9, but the quarantine is at 8.1.  Any ideas on what is draining the pH in the main tank?   >>Not at this time. >When I first filled this tank, the pH was at 8.4, so I figured a large water change would work.   >>Don't fiddle with pH so much, 8.4 was fine, too.  You can QUICKLY kill many animals doing this. >I know sometimes it is hard to keep the pH up in well established or older tanks, but this one is neither.  I plan on buying a buffer for it, but I am wondering on what may be causing this.  Will I need the buffer for the life of this tank?   >>This depends, I would tend to look at these other issues.  It's difficult for anyone to say without knowing much more about the life, etc., to determine what's going on. >I thought today's salt mixes were made to establish a correct pH.   >>Allegedly, I like good old Instant Ocean, but prefer Real Ocean over that. >Please, any suggestions would be wonderful.  Thanks again for the fabulous info.   Cat >>You're welcome, try testing with a different kit, OR, if you can afford it, buy a pH meter instead (be sure to calibrate it carefully).  Marina

Algae Control and Other Issues (3/23/04) Dear Crew, <Steve Allen today> Thank you for all the help in the past and in the future.  I was curious if there is a specific email address I should send my questions as I do frequently not get replies. <Odd. I do remember reading the reply to the cowfish/Dottyback query in the daily FAQs very recently. Perhaps you have some sort of filter on your e-mail locally or at your ISP that is blocking our replies. All queries go to crew@wetwebmedia.com>   My last question that didn't receive a reply was this "Thank you for the help so far, WWM has been very helpful.  I was interested in buying a cowfish and a royal Dottyback. <Bad combo. The Dottyback will likely harass the cowfish, which then may release its toxin and kill everything in your tank, including itself. Also, cowfish eventually get very large and will likely eat your inverts. I would not consider them "reef-safe."> The cowfish is just a little (for now) yellow guy with black dots and of course you know the royal dotty back.  Are these guys safe with false percula clowns, banded coral shrimp, green brittle star, and algae blenny.  I have read that the cowfish is omnivorous and I do have a fair bit of green algae and black algae (trying to get rid of, just got another powerhead to increase water movement as WWM stated). <Good move. Nutrient control is the key. Don't count on a Cowfish to eat this. It is not known for algae-grazing.> I have also read that the royal Dottyback is very territorial will this be a problem with the other tank mates?? <It will harass and smaller, similar-shaped or timid fish.> I am wanting to do a partial reef partial fish tank are these 2 reef safe, I know the cowfish nips at some corals, anemones. <In other words, it is not reef safe.>  I also had a question about the power head I just bought.  Are all powerheads submersible?  I bought the Pro 4 by Hagen, which pumps 240-425 GPH, it has a water line located on the side.  Am I able to submerse it as it states it is a submersible?? <Most Hagen's are, but you can easily contact them at their excellent website and inquire.> Finally I read that you should have a GPH flow of 5X -10X the tank size.  Now are these imperial or metric GPHs. <Well, there's no such thing as "metric" gallons. Metric is liters. Imperial gallons are used in the UK and maybe some other former colonies. They are bigger than US gallons. The US gallon is about 3.8 liters and the Imperial is about 4.5.  I am 99% sure that the flows on Hagen's are listed in US gallons.> Just curious not to worried as they are FAIRLY similar. <Actually, the difference adds up quickly as you get to larger amounts:  240-425 USG is 200-354 IG.>   I also was curious about algae control.  I read over http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and did what I could.  The main thing was to increase the water movement. <Nutrient control is more important.> I added a 400gph pump which after a few days seems to have encouraged the growth of the algae. I have removed all water that comes with frozen foods but still no luck. <Measure your nitrates and phosphate levels. Get them down if high. Phosphate is especially important to keep very low to zero. Do you use RO water? If not, you may be introducing large quantities of these algae fertilizers with every top-off and water change as levels are quite high in some localities.>   The algae in question is black and forms long threads and has spread rather quickly in the last week. <Sounds like slime algae.> I also have a lot of coralline algae by the looks of it on my aragonite is this bad? <Coralline usually sticks to rocks & glass rather than sand. Could it be more of a purple Cyanobacteria. Check some pix on the web.> I have tried to purchase snails but my local store never seems to have any on hand.  Could you please tell me the difference between snails, trachea snails and turbo snails in terms of algae control and coral compatibility? <Read the snail articles and FAQ on WWM--the info you need about snails is there. Rather odd that your LFS has no snails. Did you ask why? Most have zillions because they profit greatly by selling them.> Thank you so much for everything, and I do apologize for the lengthy emails.  I just feel as though I get the run around at my local fish store. <Are there others that are not too far away you could check?> Thank you again, Todd Hawman <Hope this helps.>

Quarantine Query (Pt. 2) Thank you Scott for your advice. <My pleasure!> A follow up question I have is why is it not a good idea to dip a cowfish? I have actually dipped him a few times for up to ten minutes and he did not seem to mind it at all and afterwards I could see that some of the ich had burst. I don't really need to dip him anymore however as the copper is working nicely. Thanks, Matt <Well, Matt, these fishes can release toxins when stressed or agitated, and this toxin can kill the cowfish or other fishes present in its container or tank. This is why I err on the side of caution with these fish. You're right, many specimens have no problem with such dips, but they can be stress-inducing, so be careful. Glad to hear that the copper is working well! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Having A Cow(fish)? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> Thank you for the help so far, WWM has been very helpful.  I was interested in buying a cowfish and a royal Dottyback.  The cowfish is just a little (for now) yellow guy with black dots, and of course you know the Royal Dottyback.  Are these guys safe with False Percula Clowns, Banded Coral Shrimp, Green Brittle Star, and Algae Blenny. <I'm not too concerned about everyone else, but I do worry about the cowfish, and it's potential to poison the tank if agitated excessively. Ounce for ounce, Dottybacks can be some of the toughest fish around! With lots of good rockwork, and plenty of space, it could work, but I'd pass on the Cowfish, and relegate this guy to a more "mellow" tank.> I have read that the cowfish is omnivorous and I do have a fair bit of green algae and black algae (trying to get rid of, just got another powerhead to increase water movement as WWM stated). <Yep, they do eat some vegetable matter> I have also read that the royal Dottyback is very territorial will this be a problem with the other tank mates??   <As above. Mainly concerned with the Cowfish> I am wanting to do a partial reef partial fish tank are these 2 reef safe, I know the Cowfish nips at some corals, anemones. <The Cowfish is problematic, but the Dottyback is a fine reef fish> I also had a question about the power head I just bought. Are all powerheads submersible? <Well, there are a number of manufacturers who make external powerheads, such as Tunze, Gemini, Hi Tech, etc.> I bought the Pro 4 by Hagen, which pumps 240-425 GPH, it has a water line located on the side.  Am I able to submerse it as it states it is a submersible?? <I believe that this all Hagen powerheads are totally submersible, but I'd consult Hagen first, as I am not familiar with this particular model. They should be able to give you exact information on it> Finally, I read that you should have a GPH flow of 5X -10X the tank size.  Now are these Imperial or metric GPHs.  Just curious not to worried as they are FAIRLY similar. Thank you very much, Todd Hawman <Interesting question! As an American, I say "X" times per tank volume in US gallons, but the theory is the same in metric, too. Shoot for 10 times tank volume, and I think you'll be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Boxfish died Hi crew, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I am sad to report that my little yellow spotted boxfish ( and I mean little) died today   :-( <Sorry to hear that.> On waking this morning, I checked the tank, and noticed he was swimming with a fin clamped on one side, and it appeared to have a 'pod' of some sort hooked onto it. <A parasitic arthropod of some sort, I suspect.> I was watching him, and he backed right into my Malu anemone.....Hmmmm didn't like the look of that, so I did my "ER" routine, and did a 10% water change, using the changed out water to immediately fill a hospital tank. <In this case, I would have used non-tank water, from the stuff that you keep ready for a water change.> (I keep filter sponge for my little air powered hospital filter lying inside my canister, so that I can get a little tank running in a few minutes if needs be). <Good plan. Do rinse out the sponge in tap water to kill off anything now, and pop it back in to re-cycle.> An hour later, he/she seemed OK, if a little bewildered.....but The poor little chap unfortunately expired during the course of the day, and is now covered with a whitish coat (don't think it's an infestation, because it was so quick). <There are diseases that can move that quickly, but in this case, I agree.> Anyway, the tankmates......a Yellow tang, a couple of percula clowns, shrimp anemone and a few cleanup crew, seem OK.....but (here's my question) Is there anything I should be doing precaution wise, and is there any way I can test to see if the boxfish released any toxin? <I don't think there's anything you could buy off-the-shelf to test for the toxins. But I would immediately put a goodly amount of quality activated carbon and perhaps a Polyfilter in the canister filter.> Should I just do a succession of water changes? <That will help, too.> Is it possible that the Malu zapped the boxfish when he backed into it, rather than it being an illness? <Both are possible, but the boxfish's reaction after its encounter with the anemone leads me to suspect it's the culprit in this case.> The tank is 240 litres and the boxfish must have been a total of about 1 cubic centimetre in volume (easy one with cubic fishes...huh?) <Good grief, that is tiny.> cheers, and thanks for invaluable help in the past. Bob ( UK) <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> Re: Boxfish died...... Hey Thanks Ananda! <Sure thing.> I've already got the carbon running anyway, and the main canister filter top layer is a double thickness of PolyFilter ( which I run as a usual course of action). <I'd change the carbon if it's more than a week old.> I'll up my water changes for a while, and keep an eye on things. The "box" was very small, and maybe just wasn't really up to life in the tank, but he/she was to cute to miss........ It's funny how taking out 1/24000th of the volume of a tank can leave it so empty.......the little chap seemed to be everywhere, nosing around....... <The size comparison you're mentioning -- 1 cu cm fish in a 240 litre tank -- makes me realize just how much area these fish will cover, given a chance. Should you get another one later, do consider a bigger tank as it gets older! (Your 240 litres is about 63 gallons... not a large tank by any means, for a marine system.)> Thanks for the advice Bob (UK) <You're quiet welcome. --Ananda>

Boxfish acting "funny", but no one's laughing Hi guys, I have an adult yellow boxfish. It has been in my tank for about three weeks and had been eating okay. Yesterday I found it on one side at the bottom of my tank. It shows no sign of ick or any discoloration. It's fins all are clear and still move, but as I said it just lays on it's side. My tank is well established and is a 150 gallon. I have a dwarf angel a Clark clown one anemone and lot's of live rock. Please help!!! Scott <Mmm, it may be that this fish is still "settling in"... and Boxfishes, like all puffers, do occasionally go on "feeding strikes", often with no discernible "reason". I would be patient here (for about a week)... and try offering a myriad of frozen/defrosted meaty foods... particularly a whole cocktail shrimp (sans sauce) and an opened bivalve/clam or mussel. If this animal is still not eating in a week, please write back. Bob Fenner>

Boxfish, in the big aquarium in the sky Yeah he went on a feeding strike. In fact he went on a breathing strike too! It blows!!! Or doesn't, rather. He's gone. <Appreciate the humor, sorry for the loss> I appreciate the help but my fears were realized Wednesday. I found him in the same place on his back and since there were no free weights in my tank I can only assume he had passed. I zip locked him in a bag with some water and froze him. I understand this is still the most humane method, even though he was for sure dead, in removing a fish from your tank. <Wish you were my neighbor, make that the prez!> Anyway thanks for the help. I am just glad I wasn't attached. I really hate to lose any fish but it is so much worse when you've had them for a while. Peace, Scott <And to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Yellow boxfish feeding- 2/3/04 Hey! <Hiya>     Just a quick question, I have just acquired a yellow boxfish and I haven't noticed him eating yet, he ate at the store. <What did they feed at the store?> I feed my fish tetra marine granules, which sink to the bottom and I read that boxfish are bottom feeders so I didn't see a problem with that. <Well, good theory, but if they aren't eating it yet then time to move to something else.> I was wondering if there was something else I could try, I have never had a problem with fish eating the granules but I understand that boxfish have a specific diet, <correct. When first introduced, the Cubicus Boxfish prefers a diet of live brine shrimp or bloodworms. Once acclimated, the diet should include chopped squid, clams, mussels, and herbivore preparations.> I have bloodworms but am leery about using them because I heard that they could harm my Tang, <Here are some links with some information regarding your fish: http://www.marinedepotlive.com/783554.html and http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=21&pCatId=81 and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm Any help would be helpful, thanks.  Matt

Boxfish ID Hi guys-  There is boxfish at LFS I have never seen before. Last night I spent an hour searching every site and index I could find, can't find it. It is a basic yellow boxfish but the spots look like three seed peanuts, two black ovals on the outside and one bright white inside. Hard to explain but very dramatic looking. Any links to this fish would be appreciated, I want to know the species, max size and any info on keeping in captivity. TIA <Sounds like an intermediate/developmental stage of an Ostracion cubicus to me. Please see here on Fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6555&genusname=Ostracion&speciesname=cubicus Click on the one image at top right... and look on the next page shown toward the bottom right. Bob Fenner>

Aging yellow boxfish question (1/5/04) Hi Bob, <Hi! Ananda here tonight....> I've just purchased your Conscientious Marine Aquarist book and am looking into getting a yellow boxfish. <A difficult fish to start with if you're a beginner....> I noticed the image of the adult being much different than that of the juvenile I've visited in the store. Do the adults always fade in color and age as these drastic pictures indicate? <I believe the amount of fading varies somewhat from fish to fish.> After how many years of life does this usually occur? Any information or resources would be much appreciated... especially pictures. <Your best bet is to ask the folks on the "Cowfish, Puffers, & More" Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ They have a number of people with cowfish.>   Thanks so much, Gina <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Please help Mr. Cow! Hello! <Hi there Kara> First off the basics are. 125 gallon tank, all parameters such as salinity, ph, nitrate, nitrite, temp, etc. are good.   In the tank are Mr. Cow (longhorn cowfish - 7 inches w/tail), dog face puffer (4 inches), Picasso trigger (2 inches), flame angel, mandarin and a neon puffer (2 inches).   <sounds like very nice fish.  All fish with quite impressive personalities.  Though you have probably been told this before, but Picassos can be quite nippy to slow moving fish, and sometimes more so with puffer and cowfish.  Also Neon puffer, I'm assuming is a Solandri Sharpnose, very pretty fish> We have had these fish for over a year and they all get along.  At least they do when I am watching them. <glad you realize that many times battles happen with the lights are off, and no one is around to see.  It's a hard thing to drill into some fish keepers.> 5 Days ago Mr. Cow stopped eating!   <defiantly not a good thing.>I believe he is constipated as well. I have tried feeding him peas, corn, spinach and broccoli but he won't eat anything.  He normally ate the basics such as clam, shrimp, and other various frozen varieties. I tried garlic extreme in the hopes of tempting him to eat but it didn't work.  I've held him (he let's us pet/hold him) and tried feeding him but he simply clamps his mouth shut!   <have you changed anything recently in your tank, switched to another salt brand, or done anything different?  Cows can be temperamental at times, and just suddenly turn off of foods due to a slight change in the tank.  I had a friend who's cowfish suddenly turned off of food for over a week and a half after changing his salt mix.> He is the "king" of the tank and would steal the other's food whenever possible.   I would have to trick him to the other side of the tank with food so that the other fish would get some food.  And they say cowfish are slow movers/eaters!  Not Mr. Cow.  That's why I am so concerned.   <I can understand your concern.  Be sure to check out some of our pages on WetWebMedia, you can find some of them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishfaq2.htm They cover some good concerns over the care of cowfish> Another thing I've noticed is that he is not as attentive to me.  He used to swim up and greet me all the time and "wag" his fins.  He used to be so happy.  Now he seems to be in a haze and doesn't really notice me.  He looks over but that's about it. < That is a similar trait to puffers and other distant relatives once they turn away from food they seem to not be interested in anything.  It stands to reason cause food is their number one!> What concerns me the most is that he seems to be bumping into things like the glass, heaters and live rock.  Not all of the time but he never did that before.  And he swims very slowly now, that is if he's not "standing still" in the corner. The thing is he still blows bubbles out of the water (for quite long amounts of time) as if he is hungry.  But he eats nothing.  He'll just let the food float by or even hit him on the face. <Do you have a Quarantine tank set up to be able to house this fish?  If not you might want to set seriously consider setting up a tank as soon as possible so you can move this fish away from the others.  He might simply be pestered by the trigger when no one is around and it's starting to take a toll on him.  Beside that, with not eating and these other signs, I think it might be a good idea to move it to a separate tank so he runs less chances of becoming sick in his weakened state.   That said, if he does show signs of sickness, then it's easier to medicate a QT then your display tank.> Now that Mr. Cow is not eating our trigger swims around more. <Makes sense, the King is seemingly de-Crowned for the time being and the trigger in my opinion would be the next aggressive in the tank following the Cowfish> In case he might be the problem (but I doubt it) we are giving our trigger away to our LFS this weekend. <If you set up a Quarantine Tank and move the cow to a new home, then the need to trade in the trigger is not longer there.> I've searched all over the internet, I have inquired on the puffer/cowfish newsgroup, and no one has experienced this. <I've had many folks with cowfish experience some similar.  Many times the cowfish bounces back with no problems other times it needs a bit of TLC.  I suggest you look at some of the mailing lists.  There is an amazing group of people totally dedicated to cowfish on the yahoo E-groups.  My advice to you is check out this group, I have a few friends there that are extremely knowledgeable on the Cowfish.  The link to that mailing group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ I've learned a great deal from the yahoo group lists.  Many experts there.> Some people say that it might be a phase.  I might be inclined to believe that if he weren't also bumping into things. <Agreed, not many "phases" in animals go by, not wanting to eat, becoming lethargic and bumping into things.> By the way - his coloring is normal, his fins look good and his eyes are clear.  We have 2 filters and two UV's running on the tank.  The other fish are all fine. <That is good to hear.  No spots or discolorations, so it might not be a bad health concern.  But, if this persists then the cowfish will become weaker and less able to defend itself from infections and illness. >   If anyone has any solutions I would greatly appreciate it!  I am very worried and don't want to lose Mr. Cow.  And I don't like to see him suffer because it breaks my heart.  Thank you. <Just keep monitoring the little guy, make sure that you offer it fresh and meaty foods now.  Try to spoil him with his favorite "treats".  I think that if you are going to trade in the trigger to the LFS then maybe think about getting some equipment to set up a QT for this cowfish.  It is a good investment, and if you use it once then it has paid for itself.  Be sure to look through our FAQs, and also check out the e-group being offered through yahoo.  Hope that helps.  -Magnus>

Re: Please help Mr. Cow! Hi Magnus, Thank you for your quick response! <That's what we are here for.  We worry about your fish almost as much as you do!> To answer your question - no changes were made to the tank.  I wish it were something so predictable.  My husband and I did bring our Trigger to our LFS.  Mr. Cow is still behaving oddly.   <Darn I was hoping it could have been something changed, so it could be a possibly quick fix.> And yes I had already joined the newsgroup at yahoo for cowfishes last week before contacting you.  Basically none of the members knew what to make of it.  Some said to wait a few weeks and that it might be a phase. <Well they are very knowledgeable on the subject of cowfish, a few of them there are the ones that taught me.> I also looked at the links you had also sent me at wet web media.  I found nothing and that's why I wrote to you.  (By the way are there more than just 2 pages of FAQ's on cowfishes at wet web media?.  I had seen only 2 pages and when you had sent me the links they were the same pages.  Are there more?  Perhaps I am missing something.) <Hopefully more pages will be added in the near future...> So in conclusion it has been well over a week and Mr. Cow still isn't eating, isn't responsive and is bumping into things?  Do you know what it could be?   <It's that mysterious illness that fish get ever once and awhile.. no visible signs of sickness, no reason for it.  It's times like that when you wish the fish could just tell you what is wrong.  I've lost a few random fish though the years by having similar problems, and have had as many fish suddenly get better with little to no help from me at all.> We wouldn't even know what to treat him with in a quarantine tank.  Oh - his face seems to be getting paler (whiter).  As in humans when we are ill and  our complexions pale.  I guess we will set up a quarantine tank and wait and see what happens.   <I found a really nice article discussing how to set up Quarantine tanks, it gives you a general how to. http://www.reefnut.com/Quarantine%20Article.htm I highly recommend checking out the Forum on Reefnut, there are a couple people who are extremely knowledgeable on medications and will no doubt be able to help.> If you have any ideas what this illness could be please let me know.  I gather once fish start bumping into things they don't generally last. Thanks for all of your help!!!!! <Not sure yet.. but I'm looking around for anything that can help.  Not all fish that bump into things are marked for death, many times medicines do cure this up.  But, check out Reefnut, see if one of them on the forum might help.> Sincerely, Kara <Wish you and Mr. Cow the Best -Magnus>

Re: Please help Mr. Cow! Hello again! Sorry to bother you AGAIN.   <No problem.  that is what we are here for.> But I just noticed last night that Mr. Cow (by the way - nothing has changed yet.  He's still bumping into things and not eating) has a "bubble" in his left eye.  It's above his pupil in the outer ring of the eye. I hope I am describing this correctly.  It looks like an air bubble if that's even possible.  It is crystal clear - no puss or any signs of infection.  Do you know what this "bubble" could be?  It doesn't protrude from the eye either. It's like it's a part of the eye but of course it doesn't belong there.  This bubble just appeared yesterday.  I am worried that it will grow larger and larger. <Have you tried a freshwater dip yet for your cowfish?  I might try that if you haven't already.  Do a 5 minute dip to see if it helps.  Also, I had a friend who had a similar issues with a porcupine puffer, he ended up having a quarantine tank set up with Hypo-salinity.  He lowered salinity to 1.018-19 and kept the fish in there for a while.  It seemed to have a marked improvement.  The fish can handle it, while the bacteria and parasites could not.  Cowfish/puffer/triggers are often found swimming in to brackish environments to clear themselves of pests.> Once again, thanks for your help.  Have a Happy New Year!! <I do hope that you guy gets better.  -Magnus>

Having A Cow (or Two)! (Cowfish Keeping) Hi <Hi there! Scott F. with you Recently I was at a local shop and they had a fish tank, and I saw the cowfish and thought it was neatest fish I've ever seen. So when I got home, I began searching online for info on them and I came across your site, so I thought I'd ask you guys my questions. First off, I have previously owned fresh water fish, so what do you think it would cost to get tank setup for 1 or 2 cowfish. Also, would a cowfish be too advanced for me to take care of? <Well- that's a question that is really tough to answer. It all depends upon your choice in tank, equipment, etc. Some folks choose to utilize less expensive mechanical filtration and simple hang-on the back units. Others want a full-blown reef system with sophisticated lighting, sumps, skimming, etc. Cowfish do require careful husbandry, like many fish, and require excellent water quality. As messy eaters, they do give off a significant quantity of metabolic waste, so you need to utilize effective filtration and a suitable sized tank (100 gallons plus, IMO). You can read the many FAQs on the WWM site to get ideas for appropriate equipment selections and setups.> I don't want to get one, then neglect it. <No you don't! Glad that you're approaching this correctly> Also, I was not sure if I should get one or two. Do they get lonely like some animals? <Well, I wouldn't use just that word...But, if you introduce them at the same time, they may develop a certain social dynamic with each other.> Or do they react to each other violently? Thanks, Dave <I would not advise adding another Cowfish after the first one is already established, but if introduced at a small size, and at the same time, I have seen more than one kept together successfully. The key is providing plenty of room (these guys can get HUGE), stable conditions, and careful observation. Do your homework, and this little characters will provide you with a lot of enjoyment for many years! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hovercraft Fish I'm looking for information about my hovercraft fish. <Never heard of a fish called that.  Is it a pufferfish?  I need to know what kind.  See if your fish looks like any of these & get back to me: http://home.earthlink.net/~snebluemoon/Picture%20Gallery.html> Please could you send me any information you have as I can't find any. Thank you. <Pufferpunk>

Re: Hovercraft Fish I couldn't find my fish on the link you sent me. <That's because that link if for FW & BW puffers.  Your fish is SW.  WWM has loads of info on them if you search for it.  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm> This is the Hovercraft fish I have. I found this picture but I can't find any information. It may be called a Hovercraft Boxfish, the stockist had it listed as just "Hovercraft Fish" <I actually have a tattoo of your fish!> Again, thank you for your time, I'd appreciate further help. <You're welcome & good luck w/your very cool fish--PP>

Thanks for the reply. (Boxfish, ich concerns) Thanks for the quick reply- spent all day reading on the WWM site.   EXCELLENT resource, we are lucky to have you.  Saturday- moved the fish to the LFS.  Separated the YP Box (he is in his own tank at the LFS), the SF tang and 2 Clowns are in another tank, and the Auriga and L. Blenny are in another.  The thing is, the LFS here in town have 1200 gallon system that circulates amongst the entire store-  If the boxfish dies will this contaminate the entire store?<possibly if he is not taken out of the aquarium ASAP>  Not only that- there is no way to up the temp and lower the salinity for an individual tank- they are all linked.  They seemed unconcerned when I pointed out this detail.  They are unable to diagnose specifically (though they seem to think ICH because of the small spots on the percula), but were quick to asses Copper treatment for the tang and clownfish (moderate copper for the auriga and the blenny).  but after reading all day I am kind of freaked out-  These are not quarantine tanks and they have gravel bottoms, so I'm pretty much assured that the copper will be absorbed by the gravel and it will be filtered through (no constant copper) because of the water system set up (so totally ineffective?). <not necessarily> The LFS also said to treat there 3-5 days and back to our tank.  I (now) know 4-6 week minimum to run the course of the parasite- (at home while awaiting fish we can) lower the salinity to 1.021 (says bob) 1.018 (says Steven pro) and raise the temp. (no higher than 84f) since we have 2 cleaner shrimp (already) and 2 emerald crabs and 20 lbs LR (no copper here thank you!!) we are sort of stuck unless we move everyone to the LFS or get 3/4 QT.<agreed> But I am still concerned for our fish at the LFS.<I would be also>  I know now (add another to the list) that I should have had a Quarantine tank all set up and ready to go and I think I need to go back and pick up my fish- like right now.<agreed>  Should I have two QT? One set up for the box fish (and blenny? he is scale-less right?<yeah this sounds like a good idea> maybe they should be separate if the box fish doesn't make it) and one for the tang, auriga?<yea>  (Is the butterfly more sensitive?) <probably so> I would like to set up the QT and treat the Tang, Clowns, Butterfly with Copper. (right?)<yes>   Then does everyone stay in the QT for 4-6 weeks?<yup> I love my fish- I will be very sad if they die (I already feel incredibly guilty- why aren't there laws pet stores selling SWF without a license of some sort???<I honestly cannot answer that one> we bought the tank with fish already from people who were moving and have had to learn everything the hard way- and the LFS has pretty much told us ALL THE WRONG THINGS).<most of them normally do, there are some exceptions but normally they tell you false info to make the quick sale>  So how many QT? <2 of them would be an excellent idea> Should I move them again from the LFS to home?<this may stress them out again, I would wait a while and see if they progress at the LFS, because you are probably going to stress the crap out of them shipping them back and forth, etc>  I called the LFS today- and the owner said they looked fine (moron) and I don't trust them to treat our fish... what do you recommend?<well you pretty much have to trust them right now, because again you don't want to stress them out more than they already are> Thanks for the website- you are all excellent to have this website and answer all of these questions... Thanks again.<your welcome my friend, just wait and see how the fish look at the LFS-with your own eyes might I add!! lol. If they start to look worse I would setup my own QT aquarium and treat the fish there. Hopefully your LFS at least knows the basics of marine fish keeping and treating of parasitic infections/ich. IanB> -Erin

Cowfish with something odd in its eye <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I could not find a answer in your q/a section. <Well, that happens. That's why we're here...> My cowfish had a attack of ick which I treated in a 25 gal sterile tank. <Okay> It cleared up but a short time later it developed a secondary infection of the eye. The eye became distended, cloudy with what seemed like a thick cream colored glob along the bottom of eye. I have treated it with copper an it soon cleared up except for the glob. I do not wish to continue this treatment if I don't have to, it has been 14 days It may have a adverse effect on the fish although it seems to be doing fine. <Copper is *not* something I would use with a cowfish! Do put a power filter on the tank with  some good carbon and consider using a different treatment regimen. Check out the assorted articles and FAQs on marine ich (note that's ich with an H, not ick with a K) for more info about treating ich in a way that will be much less stressful to your cowfish. Also check out the Yahoo group "Cowfish, Puffers, and More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ ...> Do you know what this is and how I may treat it? ( I have Maracyn 2 but do not know if it is wise to mix with the copper treatment) <It may be "eye fungus", or a bacterial or parasite infestation of the eye. Whichever one it might be, try "Eye Fungex" by Aquatronics. Also keep a close watch on the water quality in the hospital tank. I am not sure the Maracyn 2 would help.> Thank You R.Doughten <You're welcome. I would be interested to hear how the treatment works out. --Ananda>

Whitley Boxfish Hi Bob.. <You get Ananda at the keyboard today...> Can you give me any info on the Whitley boxfish, I have been offered a m/f pair and was wondering if there was any special requirements... i.e. food, are they reef safe?? etc <The official name is Ostracion whitleyi. They might be reef-safe, but they are definitely not invert-safe: most boxfish will munch on invertebrates. They stay small, for boxfish, but I'd still have a tank of at least 75 gallons for a pair -- bigger, if you have other fish in there. And that could be a danger: these fish, if stressed, may release ostracitoxin, which could wipe out a whole tank....> have found the www has very limited info <I would suggest heading over to the Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ to see if anyone there has first-hand experience with these guys.> many thanks in advance... Nigel <You're welcome. --Ananda>

50 Gallon Tank... Overstocked? <Hi! Ananda here today...> I'm interested in purchasing a small cowfish, but haven't at this point do to the current stock in my aquarium. The aquarium doesn't look overstocked to me, but it may feel like the occupancy has reached its max to the tenants. <Kudos to writing before getting such a demanding species. I would avoid *any* cowfish in a tank that small. Do talk to the kind folks on the Yahoo forum "Cowfish, Puffers, & More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ to hear/read first-hand experiences with these fish.> Please advise if I've overstocked the tank or if I can continue adding. The following are the occupants in the aquarium: (1) 3 inch Powder Brown Tang, <Long-term, this guy needs a bigger tank. I would not keep this guy -- at his *current* size -- in anything less than 75g. And he's going to get a lot bigger.> (1) 3 inch Clark's Anemonefish, (2) Damselfish (a 2 inch green Chromis and a 2 inch four stripe damsel), <The 4-stripe is going to get bigger & meaner...> (1) 2 inch Mandarinfish, <Ack! For long-term survival, these guys need a tank at least 2-3 times the size of your current tank and lots of live rock to provide habitat for their food source (primarily copepods and other critters in the rock). Most people who report any success with these fish (i.e., keep it alive for more than six months or so) have at least a pound of live rock per gallon of tank size. Some have more, and many have a refugium dedicated to 'pod production. Do read up on these guys on the WWM site!> (2) Medium size Cleaner Shrimps, (1) small Arrow Crab, <Arrow crabs are not safe with smallish fish or smallish shrimp... and it's probably competing for food with your mandarin fish.> (5) small Cleaner crabs, (5) small Snails (for algae cleaning). Their is also (I'm guessing) about 15-20 pounds of live rock. <I would suggest tripling this as soon as possible. Do check the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for discussions about where you can get good live rock inexpensively.> Thanks for any feedback you can provide P.S. The tank has a penguin filter and an under gravel 403 Fluval system. <*blink* Undergravel filters are, um, usually considered pass? by most marine fishkeepers... they can be a source of nitrates and are far from efficient at filtration. Much info on marine filtration, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm ...Do look into getting a protein skimmer for that tank, too! If you use the Google search tool at the bottom of the Daily FAQ page, try "50 gallon skimmer" as a search phrase to get some recommendations.> The salt and water levels are checked weekly <And hopefully your ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, and nitrates are less than 20? If not, a filtration upgrade is definitely in order... --Ananda>

Formerly long-horned cowfish? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a long horned cow fish, it seems that one of my fish like to bite off his horns 2 of the horns have been bitten off the cow is fine I'm just wondering if those horns grow back? Can you please help? <No, the horns are not likely to grow back. If another fish in the tank is biting the cowfish's horns, I'm concerned that you're keeping incompatible species together -- with sufficient aggravation, the cowfish may release the ostracitoxin, which could wipe out your tank. Please do read up on these fish, both on the WetWebMedia site, and on http://www.cowfishes.com, and on the Yahoo group "Cowfish, Puffers, and More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ .... --Ananda>

Copepod Temp. Hi Bob, <Hello Sal (my brother-in-law's name as well)> I am setting up a cold water tank for Shaw's Cowfish (Aracana aurita). I'm looking at putting one male, one female and 3 juvenile in 180 gallon tank. <Neat. A gorgeous species> The temp in this tank will be 66 degrees. The filtration will be accomplished using an oversized protein skimmer and wet/dry filter. As a food source, I plan on breeding copepods. This will be accomplished in a separate tank at a temp. of 75 degrees. Then I will transfer them to the main tank. Will these copepods survive at this cooler temp. for a while? <Yes, they should easily> Do you think they could breed in there? <If not consumed, possibly> I am asking these questions because if I plan on vacationing I've got to worry about feeding them. <Not to worry (much) here. I know this genus can go for many days w/o feeding (they often do in transit from collection to their "end-user" site)> Also these fish need algae. Would you use something like Ogo ( temp. concern ) or just throw some sea veggies on a clip for them? Sorry about all the questions, but you have all the answers. <I would try live seaweeds and next dried, reconstituted seaweeds (Kombu, Nori...) and leave off with terrestrial greens. Bob Fenner> Gratefully, SAL

Re: copepod temp. Hi Bob <Salvatore!> Thank you for your reply. I wrote to you about the Shaw's cowfish tank. I know you receive hundreds of emails. I appreciate the time you spent answering my questions. I hope to record all of my experiences with  this  aquarium. <Ahh! And write it up for publication, posterity I hope> I have been looking for over a year and I can't find that much info on temperate aquariums or Australian cowfish. <Me neither. Outside of the Dave Wrobel efforts at popularizing "coldwater reefs" in the hobby literature about a decade back there is little specific information> Hopefully I can help out others who try it after I do. <Outstanding. Our ideas, goals are confluent here. Bob Fenner>                                                                                     Thanks a lot,                                                                                          Sal

Cyclop-eeze for Boxfish? Hi Bob <Sal> Thanks for the idea. Maybe I could follow in your footsteps and write a book. <Of a certainty yes> I do have a new question ( of course ). I' m reading about a food that I just heard about called Cyclop-eeze. Have you heard of them? <Yes, saw it fed at a local marine club meeting just two nights back. Has a very good reputation> Do you think it could be fed to adult fish ( cowfish )? <It's tiny... but worth a try... you could make it into "cubes"... with a binder... other materials... homemade> The website says food size is 800 microns. Sounds like a very good food source. Id like to know what you think. As always thank you very much.     <Worth trying. Bob Fenner>    

- Cowfish Changing Colors - I just purchased a long horn cow he's in a tank all by himself and plan to keep him that way now here's the problem if it is one he's not as yellow as when I bought him he's kind of brownish on him and I can't see his white spots and has a ring on his mouth, as  soon as I acclimated him he was eating and has been eat all this time he doesn't seem stressed or sick is this coloring normal if not should I do something? <Newly introduced specimens will often change colors for a while from the stress of transit. Sounds like it's in good shape if it ate the same day that you put it in. You should be all set! Good luck -Kevin>

- Ostracion solorensis, the Reticulate Boxfish: reef safe? - Hi. I am writing to question your expertise on this fish. I've researched what I could on your site and the internet, but cannot find whether this fish would be considered reef safe.  <They may eat sponges, tunicates, and potentially tubeworms, but should leave coral alone. The reason you find little about their behavior in reef aquaria is because they can release a toxin if agitated/killed which can wipe out a whole tank in short order. It's not a risk many aquarists, myself included, are willing to take.>  I have a 55g, inhabitants include 2 Pink Skunk Clowns, 1 Sunrise Dottyback, 1 Spotted Garden Eel, and 1 Chalk bass. I plan on adding a blenny or goby of some sort, and then one larger fish. I was hoping this fish would be a good candidate for the larger fish.  <Yep, as they max out at about 4">  I have mostly LPS and soft corals (Zoanthids, Ricordea, etc.), as well as a Bubble Tip Anemone and a Rose Anemone. I have a few SPS, but am willing to give them up in exchange.  <I don't know if they'll bother SPS. I did a few searches on the more popular boards and didn't come up with much on the subject.>   I have read that it will nibble on tube worms, but have been unsuccessful in finding out if it will use SPS as puffers do.  <Maybe you will be the first to find out! Do share your experience, it may only cost you a frag or two!>  Will inverts be in danger too?  <Shouldn't be.>   My cleanup crew consists of a Fighting Conch, Serpent Star, several Margarita Snails, a Porcelain Crab, an Anemone Crab (hosts in BTA with Skunks) and also a Bay Ghost Shrimp. I plan on adding some peppermint shrimp and cleaners cautiously due to the Dottyback.   Thanks for any advice.  Joe <Let us know what happens, I'm on the edge of my seat! -Kevin>

- Ostracion solorensis: part 2 - Hi Kevin. Thanks for the response. <No prob> Alas I have searched on the boards as well to come up empty-handed. <As did I> I am writing back because I thought I read that this fish was far less toxic than its relatives. <I had not heard of this, and after digging through most of my books and doing several forum and WetWeb searches, I finally stumbled upon page 322 of Bob's book (CMA) and saw the inset picture of our little friend here. It is still quite a toxic boxfish.> I'm probably mistaken though, and I will check my references. If I do end up getting this fish I will write back to tell you of success or failure. Should I just email the crew email address or do you have a personal address? <Just send it on over to the crew where it will be later posted for all to benefit from.> Now to just find a male for a 2 digit price :) <Hehe, good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again.

Please help me id Is this Acanthostracion quadricornis ? <Mmm, looks more like a juvenile Lactoria cornuta to me, but a Boxfish, family Ostraciidae for sure> Could this cute little guy kill everyone else if I put him in my aquarium? <If overly agitated, or died without notice and dissolved... if the system was small, under filtered... maybe> Thanks for any help, you can use the photo if you want. Eric
<Bob Fenner>

Thornback cowfish <Aloha! Ananda here tonight...> I just caught what I believe is a Thornback Cowfish (Lactoria fornasini). <Yep, that definitely a thorn on his back....> I caught it on the west coast of O'ahu. Next to the picture of it on your website you said this is the best member of the genus for aquariums. Does this mean he wont poison his tankmates? Or eat the invertebrates? <The other species usually seen (scribbled and longhorn cowfish) grow to three times the length of this little guy. This one reportedly adapts to tank life more easily and is more tolerant of other fish in its tank. One source says that either this species is less likely to exude its toxins, or the toxins may be weaker than those of other species. But it will definitely eat your inverts.> I want to keep this cute little guy but am afraid... what would you advise ?? <I would suggest you keep him in his own tank, perhaps with a couple of mild tankmates like ocellaris or percula clownfish.> Thanks very much Aloha, Eric <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> by the way, your website is great. you guys have helped me with so much. if you want to use the picture, go for it.

- Cowfish Corral - Hullo Crew! <And hello to you, JasonC here...> And a very special but hurried hullo! to whoever is responding today (Bob?  Anthony?)  because we are hoping that you can give us some very good advice very quickly- <I will do my best.> Our juvenile ( about 2") longhorn cowfish got caught in the intake of our powerhead this morning; his head from the eyes up was caught.  We don't know for how long he was in there, except that the tank had been checked about two hours previously, and he was fine then. We immediately turned the powerhead OFF and freed him; he is currently slowly wavering about the tank, fins flicking fairly rapidly.  The only obvious damage is a cloudiness/swelling over and around his eyes, and a somewhat 'bloodied' appearance over the back of his head between his horns.  I'd guess I'd call it a bruise if he was human; there are thin red lines tracing the spaces between his bony skin-plates, he's not actually 'bleeding' from exposed tissues. <Is actually more like a hickey - blood being pulled through the skin.> I'll include a couple of pictures - blurry, but I think you can see what's going on with his swollen eyes; and a 'before' shot for comparison. http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpybefore.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy1.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy2.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy3.jpg <Ouch...> As of right now, about 20 minutes after we rescued him, the other inhabitants of the tank are acting perfectly normal (no toxin release, thus far), and he is moving up and down the water column a little bit more, and ate a little food. <Ahh good... I've done similar in an attempt to let the fish know, "Everything is cool." Have no clue if it works or not, but good thing that Trumpy ate.> Still mostly hovering in one place, though, and not reacting normally to visual stimuli. <I'm not surprised... could very well lose that eye.> So - what should we do? <Hmmm...> Watch and wait? <Good place to start... you could also add some Epsom salts to help work on the swelling a bit - about one teaspoon per gallon would do.> And if so - what are definite signs that he's going downhill, and should be removed from the tank? <I'd look for it to stop eating for starters.> Add more carbon to the filter? <Yes.> Medicate him? <Not at the moment - might want to do something about that power head so you don't have an instant replay. Peace and quiet would be best at this point.> Any advice here would be helpful - we don't have a quarantine tank, and thus far we've meticulously purchased only healthy fish, so this is our first experience with an invalid. <I think it will be fine in the long haul although things may look worse before they get better. Again, most important to make sure it doesn't get re-injured or hassled by anyone in the tank.> A quick rundown on our tank specs: 29G FOWLR  (YES, we are getting a bigger tank ASAP for the cowfish!  Saving up, saving up.. 8) ) CPR BakPak protein skimmer Eheim canister filter (has a little carbon in right now) 2x55w PC hood Nitrates and Nitrites, 0 Ammonia, 0 SG 1.023 pH 8.1 Thank you thank you, Dustin and Ramie <Cheers, J -- >

New spiny boxfish...killing puffer?? (06/21/03) <Ananda here tonight...> Hi I have had my salt tank for about three years now I have a puffer, 2 damsels, mandarin goby a clown fish and just added a spiny boxfish. <Yikes. I'd keep that boxfish in his own system. Boxfish will exude a toxin when stressed....> My puffer and 1 damsel are not doing well the damsel I am not worried about but the puffer is just sitting a the bottom of the tank with the discoloration as if he is sleeping. <...and it sounds like that might be happening already.> He has not ate for 2 days when normally he is right at the top.  The boxfish is slightly an aggressive eater but does not seem to bother the other fish.   <Well, not physically.> My water is good I just did a water change a lowered my salt level to 1.018 is he mad that his is not the biggest fish or is he going to die probably from the sounds of it?? Julie <I don't know why you lowered the salt level -- not really necessary and probably more stressful to the boxfish, possibly causing him to exude more toxins. If you cannot put the boxfish in his own tank, I think you may have to make a choice between the boxfish and your other fish. Boxfish have special husbandry requirements, and I would urge you to research them thoroughly before trying to keep this fish. If the boxfish is stressed or if it dies, it can wipe out your entire tank. Please reconsider your strategy. Also, you might check with the good folks at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ .  --Ananda>

Help with cowfish (06/21/03) <Hi! Ananda here today...> Hi I have been reading for days and I guess I am looking  for an answer that doesn't exist!!! <Or at least hasn't been written yet....> We have a 29 gallon that we prepared for weeks ,its water is perfect, the temp is perfect.....My husband surprised me with a 2 inch long horn cow... <As much as I usually approve of surprise gifts, surprise fish are generally not a good thing!> Now I know they have trouble eating for the first few days and they can be stressed easy...At the fish store he was told that the cowfish just came in, so we know he has had a rough few days... <The worst time, IMO, to get one of these fish is right after they have come in. You run a much higher risk of losing the fish if it has not had any time to adjust to tank life. After the first few days, the remaining fish will be the strongest of the ones that shipped. This is why many people will put a "hold" on a fish, even putting a deposit down, while letting the fish stay at the store for a week or two -- to avoid getting a weak individual.> We tried live shrimp and black worms...nothing...Today he is swimming on the very top of the tank almost hissing and spitting at us...Now I read they do this ...but he does it for hours... <Well, cowfish will spit water when they hunt. He's hungry! This is a good sign. They usually eat clams, squid, octopus, fish, and other benthic invertebrates. Do wander over to http://www.cowfishes.com and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ for more info! Also when he does go to the bottom. he falls to his side. no energy at all.... <I think I have seen this before... do ask on the Cowfish boards about this behavior.> His coloring is fine and his eyes are all clear!! I realize he is dying but what did we do wrong??? Was he too stressed... <Quite possibly.> Is it good to wait a few days while he gets used to a pet shop tank?? I would think not!!! <See my comments above> If there is anything we can  do now or in the future let us know.. ps we have live rock and a tiny damsel that's doing fine....The cow fish is the only one not doing well. The damsel does not bother the cow at all. <At least not yet...damsels do get to be much larger, uglier, and meaner as they get older.> THANK YOU....LESLIE. I tried to research this myself and believe it or not I couldn't find a question (or answer ) just like mine.... <Do consult with the good people on the cowfish board mentioned above. They have a lot of experience with the specialized care these fish require. --Ananda>

Liverock, Shaw's cowfish, and a temperate aquarium >Hi Bob, >>Good morning, Sal.  Marina is here for you this morning. >I hope you are well. >>I will make an assumption that Bob is, indeed, doing well, and I would say that I'm doing well, as well.  I hope you are well as well, too. >I'm interested in keeping a Shaw's cowfish (Aracana aurita).  He will be in a 75 gallon tank.  This tank will have to be kept cool for this cowfish.  Can I keep live rock in this tank for the main filtration device, or would 68 degrees be too cold for it?  Should I just use a trickle filter?  Thank you very much for your advice. >>Hhmm.. good questions, all of them.  Well, 68 would definitely be the low end of the temperature spectrum for *tropical* live rock, that is to say live rock that has been grown and harvested in tropical waters.  However, being as how that is so close the 70F range, I'd be quite curious to try it, even just a little bit might yield interesting results.  Generally, though, we can say with a fair degree of certainty that it would be ineffective to attempt to utilize that tropical live rock in a "temperate" setting (albeit on the high end of the scale). I would go with a deep sand bed for primary filtration, including denitrification, with copious foam fractionation.  To get it well on its way *before* I added the fish I would begin a "fishless" cycle--using shrimp or similar tossed into the tank to create a source for ammonia and so on. I hope this has helped, and best of luck!  Marina

Ich? on Yellow Boxfish <Hello! Ananda here tonight> We have had our boxfish in our tank for about a month.  He has been very healthy with no signs of disease until today when we noticed about 30 or more white dots all over his body.  We suspect ich, but the dots do not seem to be clustered around his fins....yet?  He is still eating, breathing and swimming as usual.   <Those are good signs.> We know not to treat him with copper since he is a scaleless fish, and we know he secretes a toxin, which could kill everything in our tank, when he becomes stressed.   <Yup.> Our concern is will he release this toxin if we try to remove him from the tank to do freshwater dips?  Should we do freshwater dips?   <Yes, it's possible that your cowfish might release toxins if the freshwater dip stresses it sufficiently. You can minimize the stress of a freshwater dip by ensuring that the dip temperature and pH exactly match that of the display tank, and by aerating the dip tank. However, some people prefer to save freshwater dips as a last resort for these fish.> Is there any other way to treat this fish?  We have already started to raise the temperature to 80 degrees and are starting to lower the salinity as well.   <You've already started on the primary treatment: lower salinity and higher temperatures. These would be best carried out in a bare-bottomed hospital tank, along with daily water changes, siphoning from the bottom of the tank to get the greatest number of ich cysts. I've read that people with cowfish are more likely to use UV sterilizers -- which are good only against the free-swimming stage of the parasite, mind you -- to help combat ich. Another favorite of the crew on the Cowfish, Puffers, & More discussion group seems to be StopParasite. I have no experience with that particular product, so I suggest you check the Cowfish etc. discussion group for peoples' opinions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ > Is it possible that this is something other than ich?  His tankmates are a Foxface, a damsel, a Kole tang and a couple of snails.  Thanks for any advice you can give. <More on Boxfishes here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm ... --Ananda>

Dying Cowfish... 2/15/03 I have a cow fish Puffer, who'd tail is falling apart. It has the look of raw skin, It all started when a hippo tang had a parasite so I purchased some cleaner wrasse they cleaned up the hippo but my cow puffer did not like to be cleaned. I have now started treatment with copper, and MelaFix, any idea what I should do? Thanks Vince <Well Vince, I start by putting the puffer in a Q tank ASAP.  Copper is bad for this type of fish.  What are you feeding your puffer?  Try feeding the fish krill/shrimp dipped in garlic extract.  The MelaFix should help.  You are going to have to wait this one out.  But please stop the copper!  Also is this fish being picked on by other fish??  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Anoplocapros? hello there, <Cheers> today I bought a boxfish from TMC here in the UK which they described as a southern boxfish (robustus) its about the size of a fingernail and allover yellow. just wondering if any of you knowledgeable souls could take a guess as to whether it is a robustus or ????. <Mmm, well, according to fishbase.org there are four valid species... We have these listed but pix of only A. lenticularis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm. There are some pictures (including robustus) in Axelrod, Hunziker and Burgess "Atlas of Aquarium Fishes" (marine). Bob Fenner> regards and thanks   graham  Hannan

Boxfish with Marine Velvet I have a juvenile yellow box fish with Marine Velvet. I just noticed it today. I have placed him in a separate tank. <excellent... 4 week minimum please in QT> I am worried about the copper treatment. <rightly so... they are scaleless and will overdose on copper. Rely on closely supervised FW dips and formalin medications instead (without organic dyes mixed in like malachite green)> I have read that the box fish when nervous can secrete a toxin and can be deadly? <correct... they should not be kept with other fishes in small private tanks. I suspect that you have a cubicus (yellow with black spots). Most boxfish get 12" or larger as adults. Cubit's exceed 2 feet long!!! This is a fish for huge public aquariums... I wish they weren't sold to (us) casual aquarists. Most die prematurely for being kept in small aquaria (under 300 gall)> Thank you, Shelby <best regards, Anthony>

Shaw's Cowfish Hi, I really like this fish I saw. Its a Shaw's cowfish, Aracana aurita. I was hoping someone would know this fish and how to keep it. <If you go to our website, www.WetWebMedia.com, and type Aracana aurita into the Google search engine, you will easily find some helpful information.> Thanks for the help, Sal <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Small Boxfish and cleaner shrimp I saw this cute little fellow at the LFS and he was about a inch long.  He was a yellow spot boxfish! <Sometimes called a Boston Bean!> His mouth looked as big as the point on a ball point pen. Could he harm cleaner shrimp?  ( such a tiny cute little dude) <Not while he's small> How fast do the grow?   <Moderately> I saw in the general description that they eat anything too slow to get away. <Eventually this will include cleaner shrimp!> Is this true of this tiny mouthed box fish? (such a cute little dude) <Yep!> I will have a nest of cleaner shrimp.  And that is the only one thing that I'm settled on for stocking the 200plus tank.  So if They grow too fast, or would eat the shrimp at the present size, then I will kiss them good bye! <There's another problem with this fish. They're not very hardy and are susceptible to parasites such as ich and velvet. If they die they will sometimes release toxin into the water that could take out your whole tank. Ya gotta watch out for the "cute" fish! They can be real trouble!> Thanks Keith <My pleasure. Take a look at the WetWebMedia website articles and facts to find much more information on this and thousands of other fish. David D.>

Shaw's cowfish/Aracana aurita AKA Striped Cowfish Hi Bob, <cheers, mate... Bob is away in Indonesia getting his face tattooed, his tongue pierced and his nails done. Anthony Calfo in his stead> My name is Sal and I have read your book many times over now. thanks for all that great info. I hope that you can help me. The fish is Arcana ornata. it comes from western Australia (coral sea). I am having trouble finding information. <www.fishbase.org is one of the best places to begin a search about fish... look here for yours: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=14561&genusname=Aracana&speciesname=aurita > I want to provide this fish with an optimum environment at my home.  <good, my friend... because like most cowfish it needs a species tank with no other fishes for many reasons beginning with the toxicity of its flesh> I think this fish requires cooler water. if this is true can my live rock and live sand survive? also, what sand stirrers and herbivores can I use in these cool waters?  <I would not recommend the keeping of any other fishes in with this species for a casual display> what foods should I feed?  <little is known about dietary needs here but a very wide selection of meaty foods will likely be necessary. At least have Gammarus shrimp, mysids, Pacifica plankton, shredded krill and occasional live ghost or grass shrimp> what other fish are compatible?  <none... it would be perhaps irresponsible to keep such tank mates for the severe toxicity of cowfish when nipped or disturbed. You will need to always have water ready on hand for a complete water change too to spare the fishes life if it should ever exude in the tank for other reasons (temp spike, filter trapping, etc)> I know I have a lot of questions. I do trust your information so that's why I come to you. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot, Sal <I would strongly recommend avoiding boxfish and cowfish of any kind unless you are fully interested and prepared to set up a dedicated tank for them. The risk and labor to keep them healthy are significant. Perhaps just admire them from afar :) Kindly, Anthony>

Aracana sp. Years ago my first published article was on Lactoria cornuta (Cowfish) for TFH. (PS I won't take it personally that you don't have it on your bibliography). <Likely missed citing/copying, adding to files due to their long-standing habit of skipping bibliographies... I and real citation/abstracting interests rarely pick up materials w/o bibliog.'s> I am obviously a big fan of the group, and lately several websites have been offering Aracana sp. for sale, particularly Aracana ornata and Aracana aurita. Do you have any experience with these?  <Only as a retail dealer... and very in occasional dive encounter> They are as pricey as they are beautiful ($200+), and I am worried that they might not feed in captivity, a la the male of Ostracion meleagris. <Supposedly are not too touchy... but I would make very sure the specimen/s I was/were acquiring were in good health, feeding... and get through a reliable source (SDC, Marine Center...). Bob Fenner> --
Michael Krechmer

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