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FAQs about Puffer Disease/Health 3

FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease: Marine Puffer Disease 1, Marine Puffer Disease 2, Marine Puffer Disease 3, Marine Puffer Disease 4, Marine Puffer Disease 5, Marine Puffer Disease 6, Marine Puffer Disease 7,
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments
<Plus see below re Disease by Category per Puffer Family>
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Group: Marine Puffers & Kin, Velvet & Crypt, Boxfish Disease, Tetraodont Disease, FW Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Disease, Toby Disease, Burrfish Disease,

 Related Articles: Puffers in General, A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, Puffer Care and Information, (Big) Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, Small Puffer Dentistry By Jeni Tyrell (aka Pufferpunk), True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: Puffers in General 1, Puffer Identification, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Reproduction, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Healthy puffers are full-bodied, lack-blemishes and readily eat.


Constipated Puffer (1/21/04) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I was hoping you can help me solve a problem that I don't know how to solve.  I have a saltwater puffer fish that has a bulge in his side.  He appears to be constipated can you recommend any methods or foods,  medications I can try to relieve him of his pressure?   <I would suggest getting him into a quarantine tank, which can be dosed with Epsom salts (from the drugstore) at 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of tank volume. You might also try feeding him something with more bulk than his usual diet. Things to try include frozen/thawed peas and other greens. You can try soaking them in clam juice to make them smell/taste more appetizing to him.> He still has an appetite even though I have not fed him in two days. <Some bulk might help him pass the blockage. Do check out the WWM site, searching for "constipation" and other forms of the word, for more info.> Thank you in advance,  Melissa <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Double Trouble With A Puffer? Hello, thanks for all the help you've given me in the past, you've always been very knowledgeable and extremely polite to even newbies like myself. <Hey- EVERYONE deserves respect and consideration...And we are  ALL still learning here! Scott F. with you today!> My porcupine arrived at the LFS and I simply couldn't stand to see him in such terrible conditions, so I bought him, perhaps this was dumb, but I knew I could take better care of him than they could, my 12 year old son probably could honestly.  So I bring him home and put him in the QT. <Great move! Newbie or not- that's the way to do it!> The Puffer:  Porcupine (Diodon holocanthus) 2.5 inches total length, arrived at LFS on the day I purchased him.  Normal skin tones, eyes alert and responsive.  Exhibited normal pacing behavior when first introduced, then settled down.  Acclimation was done in a refugium with a ball valve to release and introduce tank water, refugium was 12 gallons, total process time was just over two hours with 15 min water induction/release. <Well done-but do make sure that you don't acclimate in the 'fuge in the future...You could be releasing pathogens into your system via the store water...Better to do the whole process in the QT... > The Tank:  29 gallon quarantine tank, 40 lbs live sand (I know, I know), magnum 350 with ceramic media, carbon and floss, flow reduced, Berlin skimmer, 200 watt heater, 45 lbs of bolo rock.  Lighting is marine glow actinic.  Density is 1.020, temp 80 F, pH 8.2, NH3 is around .25 ppm 8.8% toxic equally roughly 4.4 ppm.  No nitrite, No nitrate. <Uh- Oh! That ammonia level is a huge problem! DO take steps to correct immediately. Be sure that ammonia is undetectable in the future when considering the introduction of new fishes!> I noticed that he had a small white spot on pectoral fin, several smaller on caudal fin, perhaps 4 or five total.  I attribute this to the stress of being transported and perhaps mishandled over the last few days. <Quite possible> Eating Normally, bloodworms and snails- I would imagine he's hasn't eaten since being captured. <A good assumption- and a good sign...A fish that eats is a fish that lives!> I've been doing daily 50% water changes- actually 5 gallons at a time over a period of several hours with premixed, heated sea water.  Should I increase this?  I've also employed a diatom filter to try to capture any free-floating tomites.  As of today I slowly started to lower the density and raise the temperature.  1 degree F every 8 hours.  Lowering salinity by .001 at the same rate?  Can I decrease the density faster than this? <All good thoughts...If you are trying to use water changes to fight a possible Cryptocaryon episode, the concept is to use 100% water changes daily in a vessel without substrate...That's how you can be assured of having the best chance of eliminating all phases of the causative parasite. In most cases, a substrate is not a good idea in a quarantine tank, IMO. And- quarantine tanks really don't need to be a permanent feature...Keep a sponge filter in your display tank's sump to "colonize" beneficial bacteria, fill the QT with water from the display, pop in the sponge filter and heater, a few PVC sections- BAM! You're good to go...And you just break it down and sterilize when done...> Aside from being a bit reclusive, which I think is normal, he seems fine other than my apparent paranoia that I am doing something terribly wrong.  I've cured Ich in freshwater and brackish water fishes, but never had to deal with it in marine fishes.  I think given the level of stress this little guy has endured that he's a pretty tough little puff, but should I risk the added stress of a freshwater dip?  Increase water changes to reduce the level of toxic ammonia?  Lower density quicker?  Chill out and drink a beer?   <Possibly all of the above- although not necessarily in that order...Drink the beer first! Seriously, I'd worry a bit more about the ammonia situation at this point. Solve the ammonia problem first, which is simply a deadly compound- then deal with the possible Ich problem. I'd hold of on FW dips just yet...Tackle the ammonia issue first!> Thanks for all your help and anything that you think might help I'd be most grateful to hear. Thank You, Aaron <You are on the right track, Aaron. Your skills and intuition that were gained during your brackish and FW experience will serve you well here. Just solve on problem at a time, observe carefully, and take actions as needed...Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Regards, Scott F>
Double Trouble With A Puffer II (01/19/04)
Thank you very much for your advice. <Hi! Ananda back today... will pass along the thanks.> I decided that I should do more water changes, given the ammonia reading and put a Rubbermaid container next to the qt. Oh, on the refuge, I expelled the waste water, it was to get him used to the qt only. <That's good, but you still run the risk of introducing some pathogen from the puffer into the 'fuge.> The fuge ran off a small reef tank that still has no fish in it, can't bring myself to stock it, very a scare't of killing something.   <Keep it fishless for another month, at least, if you change your mind and decide to add something.> Anywho, The Rubbermaid container is slightly larger than the qt. I put an airstone, heater, and 350 gph pump on it and attached a piece of 1/2 inch hose. I premix in the morning and change the water several times throughout the day, particularly after feeding. He's now getting at least 100% water change every day, this has 'perked' him up and reduced the level of toxic chemicals to the point that he now actively hunts for food. <Yay!> Not sure if it was Ich, the beginning of it, or perhaps just the sand that I probably shouldn't have put in there, but this little puffer, now known as 'Ser Porky' thanks your from the bottom of his heart, and so do I. <Always glad to help a puffer and a puff-owner who's willing to work to help a puff.>   Sincerely, Aaron ps:  hope the picture comes through.  Compliments to my wife. <I get a message that the photo file has errors. :-( Could you resend, perhaps in a zip file?  I'd love to see a photo of Ser Porky. --Ananda>

Dogface Puffer with white spot on the edge of his eye (1/17/04) <Hi! Ananda here today....> Hello, I have a 65 gallon tank that has been up for about 3 months. About 3  weeks ago I added  a dogface puffer to the tank. Everything with him has been fine and he seems to have adjusted well but the question I have is as follows. The day I brought  him home I didn't see the spot but I saw it that night on his eye. It looks like a small white grain of sand but a little larger. Pimple size if you will. It doesn't move or change in size and it doesn't seem to be bothering him. I have tried (as recommended by my LFS) FW dip alone and with Formalin at 5 minutes per dip. <If you think it's Ich, 5 minutes is probably not long enough for a dip.> I even tried trying to rub it off gently with my finger tip but he keeps closing his eye and I can't get to it. <I'd advise against trying to touch it.> Another LFS told me not to worry about it it's nothing to stress over so now I am looking for a third opinion. If it is something that doesn't seem to bother him but still won't go away, do I continue to try and get rid of it or leave it alone? Thanks in advance for your help. <If it has not changed in any way in three weeks, and it does not seem to be bothering the fish, I'd not mess with it. I'd suggest you keep your water quality pristine -- zero ammonia, zero nitrites, nitrates less than 20 -- and use a good vitamin supplement on his food. That may help the puffer's system correct the problem.> PS, I  am new to all this and think your site is great but forgive me in advance if I didn't provide all the info you need to answer the question. I look forward to hearing back from you shortly so I can find out how I need to proceed. <Try to improve the water quality in the tank and see what happens. --Ananda>

Strange Behavior in Dog Face Puffer (1/7/04) Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> First off, PH:8.2, Nitrite:0, Ammonia:0, Nitrate:10 ppm, SG: 1.021.   <Yay! Water quality: check. Sounds good. Thanks for including this info.> I have had my puffer since the end of October.  He has been pretty healthy with a great appetite.  About a month ago I thought he might be coming down with Ich, he had developed some white spots on his fins but I wasn't sure if it was sand or air bubbles. I decided to wait and see what developed.  Well since then, nothing has changed...the spots are still on his fins (I don't really know if they are the same spots and I don't see any on his body) and he seems fine. <Only on his fins? They *could* be Ich...hard to know without more info regarding size, texture, etc. or a photo.> He eats well and always swims to the front of the tank when he sees me.   <That's a good sign.> In the past couple days I see him doing something really strange.  I have an integrated tank, where all the filters are on the back of the tank. <Understood> He'll swim right to where the water flows to the back part of the tank, which is separated by 7 to 8 slots.  He'll just stay there motionless, except for his eyes.  And then when I come around...he'll break himself away from the slots and then he'll have marks where the slots were.  After a couple of min.s, his body will return to normal shape. <Two ideas come to mind. One, this could be his solution to "scratching" the Ich. Two, your puffer might just like the "massage" from the water flow. A recent email mentioned a puffer that liked to hang out by the powerhead for the massage from the powerheads outflow. You might try putting a powerhead in a puffer-accessible place and see how he reacts to it.> He still has a hearty appetite and appears to be healthy (swims at the front of the tank like he wants to bite his reflection). <If he's "cruising the glass", it's likely that he's somewhat bored.> He shares the tank with a zebra eel. Any insight to what could be wrong if anything. <Thinking about this more, I can think of four separate occasions where I've seen evidence of puffers playing in areas of high water flow. Try a powerhead. On the other hand, if you still see the spots and determine that it's Ich, then he needs to go into a quarantine tank and go through a hyposalinity treatment. (There is a *lot* of info on Ich on the WWM site.)> He does like to lodge himself in between the live rock or the eel PVC pipe when sleeping. He also lodges himself in the live rock after he eats. <That sounds like "Be Safe From Predators" behavior -- very typical.> Clueless <Hope this helps! --Ananda>

Puffer didn't unpuff (1/4/04) Hello--I got up this morning to find my beautiful Golden Tonga Puffer floating on his side.  It appears one of his compartments didn't downsize when he shape shifted this morning during his morning elimination---since then he's puffed and only made the problem worse. He can't really swim as the section keeps him from being able to locomote right.  Is there anything I can do to help him? <If he has not yet un-puffed, do consider helping him with that: hold him underwater with his nose up and "burp" him by stroking upwards on his belly. If it's the intestinal gas that seems a problem, do consider feeding him something with a good amount of bulk to work the problem out.>   His breathing is already labored.  He eats crab, shrimp and lobster and copious quantities of dried seaweed.  Any suggestions you have are much appreciated. Janine <Try to keep other tank disturbances to a minimum. Hopefully un-puffing will help. If he can make it through until his next elimination, that may solve the problem. --Ananda>
Re: Puffer didn't unpuff (1/5/04)
Thanks for the quick reply Ananda--in the meantime he's gotten rid of the "goiter" as I named it but is just listless, exhausted and laying with his head on the water pump.   <Good to hear his body took care of it... now, he needs time to recover from the stress, though I'm a bit surprised he's got his head on the pump. Sort of a puffer massage, maybe?> I've got his lights off and the room dim.  I just keep coming in and out to check on  him and he still makes good eye contact with me but doesn't swim to me in response to his name as he usually does. <Making eye contact is a good sign. The fact that he isn't swimming over to you is not surprising if he's really worn out, which is what it sounds like.> It's clear this has taken a great deal of his energy.  I'm also going to stay home from work tomorrow to keep an eye on him. The people I work with know how important my fish are, esp. Ralph. <Thank goodness for that... many people would say "it's just a fish"... my thanks to them.> Thanks for the info that I can help him, I had tried stroking that area but he was on his side but he didn't seem to like it--- thanks again and I'll keep you posted.  You might remember Ralph, you helped me with him many months ago when he had gill flukes.   <Ah, I thought your name looked familiar. :) > What would you suggest for bulk?  He's very spoiled and literally will only eat crab, shrimp, lobster and dried seaweed.  I've tried him on broccoli and cauliflower which I freeze to get rid of the collagen and then shred for my tangs and dwarf angles.  He won't touch it.  He'll put other food in his mouth and spit it right back out---- <Spoiled puff. :) Take some shells from the crab, shrimp, & lobster, and boil them for a while. It'll smell something fierce, but the idea is to make a good, highly-flavorful broth. You might try soaking some shredded broccoli or peas in it and try those. Or perhaps he'd go for the fresh version of whatever dried seaweed you're using? Worth a shot if you have a good Asian grocery store nearby. --Ananda>
Puffer didn't unpuff III (1/5/04)
<Hi! Ananda back again...> Ah----I'll try boiling up some broth for him and soaking things. Anything for Ralph!!  He is VERY spoiled.   <He, and many, many other puffers across the land...> He's so much better this morning, I caught him eating the hair algae off the back of his tank and he ate some dried seaweed for me.   <Your puffer eats hair algae?!? That's a new one for me.> I'll have to try and find some seaweed locally.  There's no Asian food store around but perhaps in a town about 30 miles away. I do get fresh seaweed at the fish store for my tangs but hadn't given him any for a while because he won't touch it. Perhaps if I boil it in the broth. <Or maybe a different type of seaweed? I know the big Asian store near me has a couple of different types.> I also just started using lobster chunks rather than buying the tails and cracking them and read the ingredients and they seem to have a lot of salt in them. <Yuck.> I also use salad shrimp that's already cook so no doubt it has salt too.  I think I better go back to the natural food stuffs for him. <Sounds like a plan. But do check the label on the salad shrimp -- it might not have salt added. Alternately, you could buy frozen, shell-on shrimp to give his teeth a bit more of a workout.> I'm pretty luck that my co-workers understand about my fish.  They know all of their names pretty much and I have three tanks--I have pictures of all of them posted at my desk. <That's cool. I bet they feel like fish-aunts and fish-uncles. :) .> Ralph just bit his equipment so I'm sure he's back to normal. <LOL! Sounds like a puffer.> He does lay beneath one of the power heads and lets the jet massage him--he's just such a character!! thanks again Janine <Good to hear he's doing better. --Ananda>

Spinning puffer? Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...>     For about a week my porcupine puffer is acting very weird. I transferred him to a separate tank. He sits on the bottom 90% of the time 30% of thus time spinning around like its drunk. not eating much water test all within limits. <Hopefully that means zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and nitrates less than 40... This sounds like a possible buoyancy problem. Try to get the puff to eat something with a fair bit of roughage in it. Soaking the food in clam juice may help entice him to eat it (you can get clam juice at the grocery store; look for the drink mixers section). Also check his fins; if he's got a fin that is suffering from fin rot, it may be unbalancing him when he tries to swim.> Thank you, James Curtis <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Depressed Puffer? 12/27/03 <Hi Shawn, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering if my puffer fish is depressed or sick he just stays in a corner of my tank and he will not eat now what do think is wrong with him. The nitrate, and the PH, Ammonia, is fine. <Please answer a few questions for me--What kind of puffer?  How long has the tank been set up?  What kind of foods are you offering it?  Any decorations?  Any tankmates?  Any salt?  What exactly are the ammonia & nitrite levels?  Answer these & I'll try to help--Pufferpunk>

Dosing Iodine 12/26/03 Hi again, hope all your holidays were well.   <Pufferpunk again--same to you!> Just got back from the LFS, and picked up some Kent Zoe Marine (Ananda suggested lack of vitamin B) and a bottle of Kent Iodine (Pufferpunk recommended Iodine).    I dosed the tank with both of these per the instructions.   Should I follow up and dose them both weekly?    <I soak my foods at every feeding in vitamins.  I believe you need to dose the iodine daily, for 2-4 weeks.> Anything else you can think of that may help his situation?  No one I talk to has ever heard of a fish not being able to open its mouth. <I have actually heard of this in puffers several times now.> Thanks, Mark <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Puffer with...pimples? (12/18/03) Hi Crew, <Hi! Ananda here today...> First off, I love your site.  It's a wonderful source of information.   <Thanks for the kind words.> I've asked Santa for your Reef Invertebrates book for Christmas.  I haven't been a good girl so who knows if I'll get it :). <Heh. Maybe the guy in the red suit will see this and it will show up...we can but hope. ;) > Here's my dilemma.  I have a small dog faced puffer that developed Ich but now has Ich, cloudy fins and small bumps on his body like black head pimples. <Do look up "black spot" on the WWM site and see if that might be it.> I don't know if this is just Ich or Ich and something else.  The tank is a fish only 26 gal with a Fluval 204. I have 1 dog faced puffer, 1 clown, 1 blue green Chromis, 1 red fire fish and 1 Hawaiian algae blenny.   <You should add a new fish tank to that list for Santa... a 26 gallon tank is far too small for your current batch of fish. I would suggest at least a 75 gallon, though bigger is better.> A 5% water change is done weekly and new charcoal every 40 days.   <Charcoal is exhausted fairly quickly -- within days, not weeks. By the time you're changing it, it's developed a good quantity of nitrifying bacteria.> Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, pH 8.2 - 8.4, nitrate 80, temp 78. The nitrates have gone up in the past few weeks from 40 to 80.  I'm trying to bring the nitrates down. <Got a skimmer? Refugium? Deep sand bed? All will help -- and removing the charcoal more frequently might, too. But the thing that would help most is a bigger tank; the high nitrates are a sure sign you're overstocked. Do increase the amount and frequency of your water changes until you get these guys into a bigger tank.> The fish are fed every other day. <I'd suggest daily feedings, and more frequent water changes.> This problem started on the second day after introducing a new Hawaiian algae blenny to the tank. <Ack! No quarantine?> The only fish that had Ich was P-Fishy (puffer).  I immediately did a 20% water change, turned off the lights as instructed by my LFS, removed the charcoal and treated with  Quinsulfex.  The next day the Ich was gone. <Well, it *appeared* to be gone...but was hiding in the tank. There is no such thing as a one-shot-and-it's-gone cure for marine Ich.> I waited 5 days then did a 10% water change and added new charcoal back in.  Boom, the Ich was back on P-Fishy the next day.   <Yup. I'm not surprised. Ich does that.> I did a 5% water change, removed the charcoal, and treated with Quinsulfex.  Again, the next day the Ich was gone. <Or so it appeared.> As the medication instructions noted, this time, I treated the tank for a second time with Quinsulfex.  With no Ich detected after 14 days, I did a 5% water change and added another new charcoal.  Bada-Bomb-Bada-Bing the Ich came back.   <Yep. Marine Ich has a one-month life cycle.> This time there was the addition of white clouds on the fins and small spots on his body. <Likely stress from the on-again/off-again treatment is a contributor...as is the poor water quality.> Every time I think it's gone and add charcoal, the problem resurfaces.  I guess that's why they call it ICH. I've read the plethora of information on your site about Ich.  I don't understand why it's only attacking P-Fishy and not the other fish (not that I want it to).   <Because puffers are "Ich magnets" and will show signs of infestation before the other fish in your tank....> Am I dealing with something other than Ich?   <Quite possibly.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Your first order of business is to get a hospital tank set up for these guys. (That may coincide with getting a bigger tank for -- even a 55 gallon tank would do "for now", if you can get a bigger one later, and then you could use the 55 for a sump/refugium. You could use the new/larger tank as your hospital tank while the current tank goes fallow for a month or so. Then play musical tanks/fish, with the fish and sand, rock, etc. currently in your 26 ending up in the new tank. Then you can use the 26 as a quarantine/hospital tank.) The puffer needs to be in a hospital tank, where you can treat him for Ich with hyposalinity and daily water changes. If the other spots are "black spot", you need to treat that, too, and that's best done in a hospital tank. I would definitely recommend that you let the main tank go fallow, which means that ideally, you should have one hospital tank for the puffer and a different quarantine tank for the other fish. But as that main tank is just too small...I'll ask Santa if he can get you a new tank as an early Christmas present, but if you can do that, maybe he can get you some of the other stuff on your list.> Thanks, Felicia <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Sick porcupine puffer He is only 3 days at home. Water parameters are all perfect. I also took a sample in to my LFS to have it checked, also perfect.  They said it was probably a bacterial infection and sold me medication Rally by Ruby Reef. Could this be caused by stress? <Likely stress is a component... very hard on these fish being collected, held, shipped, handled...> The other fish (yellow tang and domino damsel seem to really be picking on him. Any suggestions ? <I would separate these fishes. The harassment will not likely "just stop">   Should i leave the lights off? Set up a hospital tank ? He ate a little bit yesterday I haven't tried yet today . Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Mike <I would cease the "medication" listed, move the animal to the hospital tank and leave it there till the discoloration on its dorsal surface disappears, it's feeding regularly... and then possibly try either moving it back to the main tank with a divider between it and the tang and damsel OR moving these two into the quarantine/hospital tank for a few days, allowing the puffer to become familiar with the main tank... While the puffer is being isolated, do monitor ammonia, keep new water on hand for changes. Bob Fenner>

Puffer with a spot Hi! <Hi! Ananda here today...just saw this message.> My puffer (Diodon holocanthus) has been OK (acting normally, eating well...) up until three days ago, when she stopped eating and started swimming slowly or even resting on the bottom (surprisingly, she goes to the bottom when the lights are on). <How long have you had the puffer? These fish are normally nocturnal, but do adapt to diurnal conditions in captivity.> She swims in small circles near the bottom in one corner with her tail curved and her anal fin clamped. She looks OK, except for her tail fin, which is not so much yellow, but a bit brown and has a white mark on it (shaped almost like a triangle, about 4 mm large). <Is this mark raised at all? Smooth? Fuzzy?> For two days she has not eaten anything, today she ate a small piece of squid which she first spat out a couple of times, but that was all. The water is fine and the other fish - a flagfin angel - is also OK. <Could you send some more specific info about your water quality? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, temperature, pH, and specific gravity readings would be useful.> Is it possible that she cannot eat (constipation, problem with teeth? - although they look fine) or does this have something to do with her tail? <It could be a stress reaction. Aside from the patch on the tail, how does she look physically? Any changes from usual?> What should I do? <Continue to offer her favorite foods, ready a water change and a quarantine tank, and send more details about your tank conditions...hopefully we can rule out a few more things.> Thanks in advance. PS. I once had problems with small white spots and I thought it was Ich (but the fish was eating then). I treated the fish, but nothing helped. I gave up. About a month ago I bought a cleaner fish. Over the night the puffer "lost" its white little spots. Katja <Interesting...I am curious what you tried treating with. Please let me know how things are progressing. --Ananda>

Puffer In Peril? I have a porcupine puffer fish who has been in our 55 gallon salt water tank for about 2 weeks. 2 Days ago, I noticed that one is it's eye has a cloudy cover over it.  At first he stayed on the bottom of the tank and only came to the top to eat.  Now it seems that he is all over the tank, swimming around randomly. Running into things and not eating. <Not a good sign...> At this moment he is puffed up at the bottom of the tank and seems not to be able to move at all.  The temperature of the tank is 80 degrees, and the salt is right on.  What can I do to help him?  To me, he seems to be in need of help.  There is only the cloudy spot on his one eye, and nothing on his body.  He did eat 3-4 guppies the first couple of days and we change out to dried mini shrimp or frozen food. <I'd stick with foods of "marine" origin" here, such as krill, Mysis, etc. A much better bet nutritionally, for the fish> What are we doing wrong, I would like help him to survive.  Please advise me. Thank you, Mary Martinez <Well, Mary- it's hard to say what you're dealing with here. I think that you need to monitor more parameters, such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  Inflation in these fishes is usually a reaction to stress of some sort, possibly caused by measurable quantities of these compounds. The symptoms that you are describing could be caused by environmental lapses...Often, these types of maladies can be mitigated by improving and maintaining excellent water conditions. Utilize very aggressive protein skimming, chemical filtration media (activated carbon/Poly Filter, etc.), coupled with an enhanced water change schedule (like 5% of tank volume twice weekly), and scrupulous attention to feeding habits can make a difference. If you are looking at a possible parasitic disease, it may be necessary to treat the fish in a separate tank with acceptable medications (avoid copper with these guys) or other methodologies, such as freshwater dips, etc. I'd attack the water quality issue first, then see if there is still a possibility of parasitic problems. Observe carefully, and go from there. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Puffers and copper Hello, enjoy you website! Reading the article: /The Conscientious Marine Aquarist All My Puffers, Tobies, Box, Porcupine, Cowfishes It states that puffers respond well to copper, yet in the forums it is repeatedly mentioned to NEVER treat a puffer with copper. Which is accurate? Thx, Patty <Mmm, a bit tricky here... IMO/E Tetradontiforms, including puffers do "respond well to copper"... but a necessary cautionary note here. In general, copper compounds have a narrow range of efficacy. That is, there is not much "room" between effective dosage/treatment and overdosing catastrophe... this range is even smaller/shorter with them as a group... Requiring treatment in substrate-less settings, with "new" seawater, vigilance in testing for and re-applying therapeutic copper (chelated is better here)... and a close eye on accumulating metabolites (e.g. ammonia) and ready change water to dilute same. Other WWM Crew (Ananda, likely Jeni/Pufferpunk) are against the use of copper with these fishes, preferring other chemical use... Ideally, prevention, careful dipping/bath and quarantine procedures prevail in warding off infestations... Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer (11/22/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight> My fish Hope, having a few months ago survived a serious Ich break resulting in the death of all other fish (I finally gave in to trying copper after all else failed) now looks sick again...but in a different way. He is breathing hard, has lost much of his color...And almost looks as if he was pricked by pins in certain areas. Some of his fins are torn...Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! <Could you let me know what your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are? And also the tank pH and temperature? That will help rule some things out. I'm also wondering how much water circulation you have. And if you could get a photo, that would help, too. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say he looks like he was pin-pricked -- small holes in the outermost layer of the skin, or small spots of blood on the skin, or...? Get some water ready for a water change and email me back with some test results, ok?> Happy Thanksgiving !  Bonnie <Thanks -- Ananda>

Dogface Puffer - is this ICH ? (11/13/03) Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I've had freshwater tanks for years, but am only about 6 months into my first 90gallon saltwater tank. My favorite fish, a 4" dogface puffer with great personality developed small white dots about 12 days ago. Based on my reading, I assumed this was Ich and immediately quarantined him the first day it showed up.   <Good move. What else is in the tank?> Since then, he gets daily freshwater dips (with Methylene blue) and 20% water changes every other day, vacuuming the bottom of the tank.    <Excellent. Have you started hyposalinity?> The dots have gone from about 10 total, to covering much of his body and seem to be getting worse rather than better.   They seem to fill in pores in his skin, while some pores are still clear.  I've attached 2 pictures, can you please look and tell me if you think this is indeed Ich or something else?    <A few people have looked at these photos, and we're not sure what this is. I'm curious -- when you do a freshwater dip, how long is the fish staying in the dip? Do any of the spots fall off during the dip? Also, in these photos it's hard to tell, but are the spots raised at all? Is the fish exhibiting any other signs of Ich, such as "scratching" on things? Is he eating like usual? Breathing more heavily than he used to?> Can you suggest additional treatment? <If you haven't started with hyposalinity and increased temps in the hospital tank, I would try those. They won't harm the puffer, but should prove detrimental to the parasites if that's what they are. More info about your tank and its occupants might help us figure out what this is, or at least rule out some possibilities.> Thanks so much for your help, and the great site! Gregg <You're quite welcome! --Ananda> <Ananda asked all the WWM Crew to look over your images... the white "dot markings" showing may be simply a developing color pattern... or possibly signs of some external parasite (perhaps Trematodes/flukes). If it were me/my fish I might try a pH-adjusted freshwater bath to see if these spots "dropped off", otherwise I would simply keep an eye on the specimen and see if its health seems mal-affected. In either case, these spots will likely "cycle off" causing little trouble. Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer - is this Ich? The mystery deepens... (11/15/03) <Sabrina found more info for all of us: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400 ... Note how several of these puffers have those white spots in similar arrangements. Sabrina mentioned "Looks like all the Arothron genus have these bumps." If that is the case, we're probably looking at one of a few things: some sort of natural occurrence, some parasite that is common to puffers, or just maybe some sort of symbiont that is common to puffers. The puffers in these photos that have these white spots appear to be healthy, but unfortunately we don't have life histories of those fish. If you could both please look at these photos and tell us if your fish have (or had) something like this, I would appreciate it. Thanks! --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer - is this ICH ? -- Nope! (11/15/03)
Thanks for the quick response!   <Hi! Ananda here with good news!> The 90gallon has a yellow tang, 12" snowflake eel, a small valentini puffer and two domino damsels. The puffer is alone in the QT tank. <Keep him in there.> The QT tank has salinity of 1.019 and the temp is 82 degrees, compared to 1.025 and 78 degrees for the 90gallon. Since the puffer has been in QT for about 14 days now, with the daily FW dips and the spots have only increased, I'm thinking this must not be Ich after all.    <If the FW dips did not help *at all*... doesn't sound like Ich, especially if the spots are not raised.> He seems healthy, eating and swimming around as normal. As you and Bob suggested just keeping an eye on him, do you think it is necessary to keep him in QT? As I understand it, flukes are not contagious - is this correct? <I don't know about flukes, but another reader wrote in about her puffer, named Chompers, and what worked for them.> Thanks again! Gregg [quote from Lindie:] Hi Ananda, I was just on your daily questions and saw the picture of the dogface puffer. That is what Chompers looked like from what I could see from the picture. See if they can find some of the receiver 2. I am telling you, that stuff works like a champ! I never dipped Chompers or anything, just the Q/T and fed him and he cleared up in a week/2 weeks and he is looking so good now. Especially since he is away from the Meanie Queen Angel. I hope that beautiful Dogface heals up nice and fast. Chompers waves a fin to you and the crew and blows bubbles to his new friend who he hopes gets back on his fins real fast. Lindie [/quote] <If you can't find the Receiver 2, Lindie was kind enough to send us the list of ingredients of the stuff: "Polymers, salts, Nitrofurazone, Methylene blue & sulfas: Diazine, Methazine & Merazine." All of those are anti-bacterials. Nitrofurazone and Methylene blue are easy to find. You might try treating your puffer with those, at half the usual suggested strength. Let us know how this works out! --Ananda> Another Dogface Puffer...Answer! (11/15/03) Hi Ananda, <Hi!> I was just on your daily questions and saw the picture of the dogface puffer. That is what Chompers looked like from what I could see from the picture. See if they can find some of the receiver 2. I am telling you, that stuff works like a champ! <Woo-hoo! Thanks for the info. I will pass your whole message along to the person with the sick puffer.> I never dipped Chompers or anything, just the Q/T and fed him and he cleared up in a week/2 weeks and he is looking so good now. Especially since he is away from the Meanie Queen Angel. I hope that beautiful Dogface heals up nice and fast. <Me, too!> Chompers waves a fin to you and the crew and blows bubbles to his new friend who he hopes gets back on his fins real fast. Lindie <Thanks so much for this. More info coming... --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer - is this Ich? More on Receiver #2... (11/15/03)
Thanks!  These are great pictures!   <Yup! Will pass the thanks along to Sabrina.> I'd not seen this site before and not had any luck finding similar pictures. <Fishbase is a wonderful site....> Several of these look exactly like the spots on my fish. Arnig_u5.jpg is a good example, although the spots are not as dense on my puffer (although they are getting denser over the last two weeks). Also, Arnig_u6.jpg and Arnig_ub.jpg, although those specimen look fatter or slightly puffed up. <Could be either. For those reading along who missed the previous one, here's the link for the thumbnails of these pix: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400> Right now my plan is to keep him in QT for a couple more weeks and see if I can locate the Receiver2 product that Lindie mentioned.   <As it happens, due to a *totally* unrelated thread on the forums, I know what else to have you look for if you can't find the Receiver 2. BettaMax, which is sold in capsule form by Aquatronics, has almost identical ingredients: "250 mg capsules of water soluble Nitrofurazone, Methylene blue, Polyvinylpyrolidone (PVP), vitamins, NaCl, Sulfas: Methazine, Diazine, Merazine". If you go with these, I would dose at full strength, given that this is designed for Bettas that are much smaller than your puffer.> I have been using Methylene blue in the daily freshwater dips - the only result being that he doesn't seem to like me as much...  (no effect on the spots). <I'm just imagining your puffer, pouting in his freshwater dip....> If you do find any more info about this condition, I would be very interested. <Me, too!> I'll keep you posted on the hoped-for recovery. <That would be great.> Thanks again. Gregg <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer -- Mystery continues (11/18/03)
Ananda, <Hi!> In looking at those pics, <at   http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400 > I noticed that a lot of those puffers were in "puff mode" or going in or out of it. <Yeah, I saw that too. Either that, or they'd eaten heartily right before the photos were taken....> And when Chompers would puff and any other one of my puffers does he gets a funky spotting on him. <Interesting. I haven't personally seen a saltwater puffer puff up -- could you describe this "funky spotting" a bit more, for my own info?> It is not the same as the indented spotting that occurred on his body when the Angel was picking on him. Just my opinion though. <OK. I wasn't sure it was the same thing, but thanks for looking at the photos.> I hope my lil tid bit with what I went though with my lil Chompers will help out some. <Me, too. That's why we do this! :-) > Did they say what kind of fish their dogface is in with? They could have a "picker" in there too. <Possibly, but I think there were too many spots for that to be the case, and the spots kept increasing even when the puff was in isolation.> Take care. Oh I do have a question for you, can you keep more than one dogface together in the same tank? <I've seen photos of that being done before. Dogface puffs are so mild that I think they'd be fine together. You might want to rearrange your rock when you add the second puff, so that any ideas Chompers has about "his territory" get diffused.> Lindie <Thanks! --Ananda>

Blue Spotted Puffer - Eye Issues I have had this blue spotted puffer in my tank for about 3 to 4 weeks now. About 4 days ago, before I left, she seemed to be hanging around the bottom of the tank, not so active.  The day before she was fine, so I thought maybe just a today thing.  I came back, after being gone for four days (my brother fed them while I was gone just like usual), and now she is just sitting on the bottom and appears to be breathing hard.  But the issue is with her eyes.  They look like they have these white puss tubes sticking out of them. I can see the eye behind them, but it looks like you can pinch these things off.  What is this and how do I fix it? Thanks in advance. <Are there other fishes in this system? Are they acting "funny"? I would immediately check your water chemistry and even if this "checks out" execute a good 25% water change... add aeration if you can, activated carbon in your filter flow path. Very likely what you describe is resultant from an environmental cause or causes. Best not to "treat" the symptoms you mention with "medicines", but instead improve water quality, nutrition, and wait. Please do keep us informed of your fish's status. Bob Fenner>

Puffer w/ Ich (11/01/03) <Answering quick to avert a potential problem...> Ananda, I did feed my rock beauty angel formula 1 sponge food  once every week as directed by the LFS, <They graze constantly in the wild.> But I have just found out my puffer has ick and I am treating him for that, I bought some Saltwater CopperSafe, <Get that stuff out of the water right now. Water changes and carbon, pronto. Unless you are really careful about dosage -- multiple tests per day, etc. -- copper can be very dangerous to puffers.> it says for infections of: ICK, Velvet and other saltwater external parasites, treats 100 gallons for over 1 month, <I really dislike the idea of using copper on a more-or-less permanent basis.> Do you know off hand if this stuff really works as it was the only thing the LFS had.? <Did you tell your LFS that you had a puffer? If so, and they sold you this stuff anyway, find a new LFS!> Thanks <First things first. If the puff is in the copper, get the puff out of the copper. Next, I presume you have a quarantine tank? You're going to need to do the whole fallow-the-tank-for-a-month while keeping the fish in a hyposalinity environment... do check out the assorted marine Ich FAQs on the WetWebMedia site, *after* you get the puff out of the copper. Then come back with questions and I can give you more specifics. --Ananda>

Puffer problems (11/01/03) Puffer punk, <Ananda here today, combining several emails...> --<#1>-- I have done a partial water change since it died, nothing major though and I don't know why the fish died, I think it might of been white velvet as he did has tiny white spots on him? <Could be velvet, or Ich.... > --<#2>-- Is my stars and stripes puffer considered a dogface? <Nope, it's a different species. The stars & stripes puffer is Arothron hispidus, while the dogface puffer is Arothron nigropunctatus.> --<#3>-- I think my stars and stripes puffer has ICH, he has white spots about the size of salt over his eyes and fins, <Sounds ichy...> his eyes look cloudy, they have been this way for a week now, <That's usually a symptom of poor water quality.> until now I find out what Ich is, how do I treat it and I'm not 100% sure he has ICH but if he doesn't then can it hurt him by treating him for Ich, better to be safe then sorry, right? <If you treat him with a freshwater dip, hyposalinity, and water changes in a hospital tank, done correctly, it will take care of the Ich.> I need a quarantine tank right? <Yes. I would use at least a 20 gallon tank. It's a very common size, so it's relatively inexpensive.> And can you please walk me through the process on how to treat it, <More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm ...and a couple of articles here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm and http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-10/sp/feature/index.htm ...> oh ya about how long will the puffer die if untreated for ICH? <You mean how long does a puffer have to live if it has Ich and is not treated? That depends on the initial health of the puffer, how severe the Ich infestation gets, and a host of other things. Best to catch and treat the problem early.> Sorry to ask so many questions as I'm a nervous wreck now, <I understand!> any help you could offer would be great, Thanks <Hang in there, read up, and take care of your fish. --Ananda>

Bubbles on Puffer's Belly 10/30/03 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hi, I have a stars and stripes puffer and yesterday my rock beauty angel fish died and I noticed he has little tiny water bubbles on his stomach,  should I be worried and what is this? <You may be observing the small spines of your puffer.  If it is indeed bubbles, it's probably from an airstone, or another source of bubbles.  Not to worry, it shouldn't cause any problem.  Have you done a water change since your other fish died?  Do you know why it died?> <Pufferpunk>

Puffer problem update (11/06/03)  Hi Ananda,  <Hi! Thanks for the update!>  have the update on the Puffer Problem with ICH and all, I noticed some of the other fish had these signs of ICH just like the puffer, and instead of moving them all into a small quarantine tank, I decided just to treat them in the tank they were in and do lots of water changes and carbon.  <What did you treat them with? Usually, using carbon removes anything you add to the tank to treat the fish.>  Since the I had originally treated with copper, I had to act fast to try and do as much  water changes as I could to get the copper out,  <Yup...it's dangerous to use copper with puffers. I found out recently that not all copper tests work with all the types of copper additives; you have to match the test to the type of copper you're using. Otherwise, the results from your test kit may be incorrect!>  Now Hooty and the other fish are doing GREAT and have made A LOT of progress, I'm still doing frequent water changes in smaller amounts to ensure the problem is gone, I just wanted to thank you for all your help and my fish thank you too.  Thanks  <You're quite welcome -- it's always good to hear that something worked.>  Oh and I know your a puffer freak (or at least I think)  <You think right!>  here is a site I found, I thought you would like it, its a live camera on a webpage of all the persons puffers in his tank. www.puffercam.com  <The camera seems to be down at the moment, but I looked at the gallery. Picture #9 is a decent shot of a puffer with *very* overgrown teeth. Notice how he can't even close his mouth completely! This is a good illustration of what can happen if your puffers don't get enough hard-shelled foods...this puffer could definitely use a trip to the dentist for a tooth trim. Thanks for the link. --Ananda> 

More questions about Chompers the dog-faced puffer.... (10/20/03) Hello again, <Hi! Ananda back again...> Ananda, Thank you so much for your quick response. <No problemo...sometimes I happen to see stuff shortly after it shows up...like now... :) > I have been watching Chompers very carefully. He is eating fine and seems quite happy to be in his own tank, he is much more active and more responsive to me. <Ah, good...> The spots were clearing up and still are, but I just looked at him again and noticed another set on him. I still have not treated with any meds and am wondering if Melafix would be appropriate? <Maybe, but I still want to know what's in that "Receiver 2" stuff you're using, first.> This set of spots is very small and quite honestly, I could have missed them before. Should I wait another day or so and just see how things progress? <Sounds like a good idea. I think it's definitely possible that this is another set that's healing.> As for the Queen Angel, she is indeed in full adult colors. She is quite the mean....one. ;) <LOL> I will be putting Chompers into a different tank once he is healthy. Even if the Queen is not the culprit in his wounds, I am not going to take the chance. <I am relieved. Chompers will be, too, I am sure.> Chompers is a very mild mannered fish. <I believe these are the gentlest of the commonly-available saltwater puffers. And goodness knows, far more gentle than the brackish puffers, or the almost-universally-mean freshwater puffers!> He is showing so much personality now being out of her way.   <Great to hear. He is definitely on the mend, then, and appreciating being out from under the Queen's "thumb".> I will get the manufacturer of Receiver 2 from my LFS guy. I use it when ever I add fish to the tank or when Q/T. It turns the water a greenish color otherwise I could send a pic along to show you his spots, but have not been able to get a good enough shot of him. I will keep you posted on him if that is ok? <More than okay. I was wondering how Chompers was doing. :) > Thanks again for your wonderful site and your insight. :) Lindie Montgomery <You're welcome -- truly, the insight is due in large part to people like you who write and tell us what has worked! Thanks, and say hi to Chompers for me! --Ananda>
"Receiver #2" (and a dogface puffer) (10/22/03)
Hi again Ananda, <Hi again!> Chompers is looking fantastic today! I am so happy! <Yay!> I called my LFS guy and asked him for the maker of Receiver 2 and he told me Chem Aqua and I asked him what was in it, but he was very busy so I told him I would hunt it down online. I found it under Chem Aqua Receiver # 2 and Aquatronics RECEIVER #2 but honestly, I am no good at hunting down anything past the name of the product. <The bit of web research I did seems to indicate that this may be an Aquatronics product also known as "Ammo-chlor". Since I've recently found out that some dechlorinators can cause a pH crash, I'd suggest you do a test on this one: mix up some saltwater as usual, test the pH, add the Receiver as directed, and re-test the pH. If it drops more than 0.2 points, do not use this in the tank!> I will be going down to see my LFS guy this week (I am setting up another tank) and will get the ingredients for you (and for myself) unless you have been able to find them online. <Aquatronics doesn't publish their ingredient listings, so yeah, I'd appreciate it -- and the results of the pH experiment, if you do one.> Thanks again and I wish you a fabulous day! <The day always looks brighter when I can help a fish and a fishkeeper. --Ananda> Lindie P.S.  Chompers says HI back. ;) <*grin*>

Porcupine puffer with white on fins (10/16/03) hi <Hi! Ananda here tonight> I tried to register on your forum but for some reason it gave me an error so I couldn't register.   <Ack! Could you please forward the text of the error message? I just created a test account and didn't have a problem...> Anyway, I have a problem with my porcupine puffer, I noticed today he had a some white blotchy spots on his fins. I'm not sure what it is, but my LFS suggested it might be ick or Lymphocystis.  I can't really tell, so I'm really lost on what to treat it with.  I've moved both  my puffer and Foxface to a hospital tank, but now I'm thinking about moving them back. <Not a good idea to stress them further, especially if you might need to treat them for something anyway....> Can you please help identify these spots for me, and give me any tips you can on what to do?  thanks for your time. Included are pictures of the puffer. Will <Ah! The photos make diagnosis soooooo much easier. The good news is that it doesn't look like Lymphocystis to me. It's Ich. *Definitely* keep them both in the hospital tank, since you'll want to keep the main tank fallow for a month or so to let the Ich die off. Meanwhile, treat the fish with hyposalinity, freshwater dips, and water changes...no copper! There's a LOT on Ich and treating fish for it on the WWM site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm ...Best of luck, and try again on the registration bit... the most common cause of an error message is picking the same user name as someone else. --Ananda>

Swollen spines?? (10/12/03) I trust you guys and live by your advice, I hope you can help me! <Ananda here tonight, hoping I can help, too!> I have a spiny box puffer and three of his spines are swollen and white, I had a niger trigger with him and thought it was biting him, so I took the trigger out and was wondering if it was bites or a puffer disease. <Hmmm. Never heard of anything quite like that being a disease... the trigger, on the other hand, definitely has the teeth to cause damage...and even though the niger is one of the mildest of the triggers, triggers can be a real mean bunch. Do keep the two separate for at least a while so the box puffer's spines can heal. To encourage healing, keep the water quality pristine, and feed the fish a good-quality food, preferably something you can add a vitamin preparation to.> I am hoping to hear from you soon!!!  Thanks <You're welcome! --Ananda>

Puffer problems? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> Just want to say thank you in advance for any help that you can provide. We have a 90 gallon tank with 6 damsels and one starfish. I tried adding a cowfish to the community. He seemed liked he was doing very well for a couple of days. Eating and not showing any signs of stress. Upon awakening on the third day, there he was on the bottom of the tank dead. Really could see no signs of any major problems.   <Eek. Possibly a water quality issue, or that your tank parameters were substantially different from the tank at the fish store.> I left the tank alone for two months and the rest of the fish were fine. So I decided to try again. Only this time with a dogface puffer. <Your tank is on the small side for this guy...> Brought him home on Saturday, was doing great on Sunday, woke up Monday and there he was on the bottom of the tank. Again no outward signs of any problems. Water quality checks out good for all the common concerns. <Hmmm. If by that you mean your pH is around 8.2, your ammonia and nitrites are zero, nitrates are twenty or less, and your tank temp is in the upper 70s, then it might be one of the less common concerns.... Have you ever used copper in the tank? Do you have a copper test kit? Do test both your tank water and your source water for copper. Both puffers and cowfish are *very* susceptible to high concentrations of copper.> Never saw any of the other fish picking on them, nor did they show signs of being bullied. I do weekly water changes of 5%, except when the cowfish died, then I did a 10%. <I would increase the rate of water change for several weeks, perhaps 10% per week or 5% twice a week.> I just wanted to know if there is something that I'm overlooking or need to know about this type of fish. I would really like to have a dogface puffer in the tank, but alive and well.  Thanks again <If it isn't copper, it may be some sort of environmental pollutant has entered your tank. Does anyone in the house smoke? Have hairsprays, perfumes, pesticides, cleaning materials been used near the tank? What else is in the tank? All of those might be affecting the scaleless fish without your knowing it. --Ananda>

Follow-up: sick puffer (10/11/03) <Ananda here tonight with the follow-up to the follow-up...> Well I hate to say it but my puffer died and my Koran mad my clown and my flame angel, they all died all but me damsels. <I was afraid of that...sorry to hear of your losses.> I'm not sure why. <I suspect that, by the time you emailed and posted about the puffer, it had reached the terminal stage.> I got some meds for the Ich and some stress stuff and it all went down hill now I don't know if I should start over with all new water or what maybe take everything out and start over? <Without knowing which meds you used, it's difficult to make specific suggestions. Hopefully you did not use a copper-based medication, especially if you had live rock.... In any event, I would take any survivors and keep them in a quarantine tank for five to six weeks. You will need to do frequent water changes to keep the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates down. Meanwhile, leave the main tank running, doing water changes as usual. You need to let the tank go fallow -- that is, no fish -- for at least a month so that the Ich remaining in the system will die off. Do check out the assorted articles on treating and recovering from marine Ich on the WetWebMedia site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm > Just not my thing (fish). <Please, do not let this misfortune turn you away from the hobby...you are not the first to go through something like this. There's a "horror stories" thread on the WetWeb chat forums (in the "bar and grill") with stories similar to, and worse than, this one -- and those people have learned, bounced back, and are successfully keeping saltwater tanks. Take this time to read, learn, research, ask questions -- many people on the forums would love to help -- and learn more. When the tank is ready (as I said, in several weeks), return the surviving fish to the tank. Then go slowly....> Thank you for trying to help me. <You're quite welcome. Hang in there, and best wishes for you and your tank. --Ananda>

Sick porcupine puffer Hello. <Hi! Ananda here today...> I am new at saltwater tanks.  Just got a pufferfish 6 days ago.  He was fine, eating healthy (brine shrimp, and flakes). <He'll need more than that to thrive...do check out our assorted articles by typing "Puffer Feeding FAQ" into the Google search box at the bottom of the Daily FAQ page and following the links.> The past two days, he seems to be laying on the bottom of the tank and is having trouble breathing. His tail is curved into his body as well.  His eyes look droopy and tired.  He hasn't been eating.  When I touch him, he will swim around for a bit, then rest at the bottom again.   I tested the water and everything seems to check out o.k., with exception of the nitrites. <Puffers are extremely sensitive to nitrites -- this is most likely the cause of your puffer's ill health. A fairly large water change is in order, pronto. As in this evening. Do aerate the mixed water for a few hours, but get those nitrites outta there!> The color doesn't quite match up to anything on the strip.. it is more of a beige color. <Unfortunately, this doesn't help, as I've no idea which test kit you're using.> My other fish are doing wonderfully though. <They will probably start showing symptoms soon.>   What can I do to save him?   <Water changes. Several of them, if necessary. If you can put the puffer into 100% nitrite-free water that is a bit aged (12+ hours), I would do so. From the sounds of it, you did not quarantine the puffer...??> I am devastated. <I think he can still be saved, especially if you can act quickly.> THANKS! <You're welcome -- keep me posted. I'd also be interested in hearing more about your system -- tank size, filtration, skimmer, etc -- as those are playing a role in why your system has nitrites in the first place. --Ananda>
Re: Sick porcupine puffer
<Hi! Ananda here today...> Thanks for your expertise... good news..  He was swimming around and eating this morning.   I think he is o.k.  - We did what you said.. Looks like it worked.. <Yay! Keep an eye on him for the next few to several days. And do try to figure out what caused the nitrite spike! You might want to clean your skimmer to make sure it's working at peak efficiency, just as a preventative.> Ananda thanks for your help! <You're very welcome! --Ananda>

Sick spiny box puffer...follow-up to forum discussion <Hi! Ananda here tonight... this is another case of "I answered it in the forum and then found the email in my inbox". The original email:> Hi my name is Sabrina And I have a spiny box puffer who is very sick. this is how it happened. I went to my normal fish store and got a Koran and the day I put him in my show tank the Koran would not leave my puffer alone at all,, so for sure my puffer got Ich! So I raised the temp. and do a 10% water change. And watched him for days get worst and worst so I did a another water change and then a another. at this time the Koran was not bothering my puffer but my flame angel was nipping at him and biting him as even taking off the skin on his spikes. so now I have moved him to a new 55 gallon All alone so no one will bother him, he is now changing color his stripes are kinda fading? But the fins that were bit off have grown back but his skin is getting worst what can I do to save him. Please help him      <And a link to the forum thread: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=13062 ... Sabrina, I just wanted to follow up and find out how the fish is doing... could you post or email with an update? --Ananda> Puffer with eye weirdness: Neosporin? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> Thank you for your prompt reply to my inquiry <I happened to be answering other emails when yours came in, I think... :-) > I'll try your suggestion and let you know how it turns out. (I have read that one might try using Neosporin with a q-tip once a day. Have you heard anything about this?) <Gah...I very, very vaguely remember hearing something like that once... then again, I may be remembering something that is done for wounds on the body, which is more likely.> Again Thank You R.Doughten <You're welcome! Keep me posted on his progress. --Ananda>

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>

Cause of death of wild puffers? I came across you site while searching for an answer about pufferfish. <Cool!> I live on Oahu and today while at the beach we notice about a dozen dead white-spotted pufferfish on the beach. < :-( Bummer. > I asked the lifeguard if he knew what had killed them and he said he did, but that every once in awhile the just show up dead on the beach. Do you happen to know what causes this? <Could be any one of a number of fish diseases, or parasites, or maybe they got caught in some nasty effluent. Without a necroscopy, there's no real way to tell.> Thanks for your time, Belinda <You're welcome. --Ananda>

- Parasite Problems - Hello guys/gals I have a problem with one of my tanks and wanted to see if you guys could help me. I have a 75 gallon tank in the garage with about 80 lbs of live rock with a blue dot puffer, a clown trigger and a Hawkfish that is my holding tank until my 375 gets in. Well everybody was doing fine for the longest time then about a month ago I noticed that my blue dot puffer was getting very skinny but he would still eat a lot therefore I went from feeding every other day like I've always done to feeding every day even though the other 2 guys were very fat. Well even with me feeding every day the puffer kept getting skinnier and skinnier until he died a few days ago and now my Clown Trigger is starting to look skinny. Is there some sort of disease or parasite that could cause this or am I just not feeding them enough. <Yes, I'm afraid so... nematodes and Cestodes are the most common culprit - like tapeworms, they can out-compete for nutrients.> I had the blue dot puffer for over a year and he was a nice size for the longest time. I feed them all sorts of stuff such as Mysis Shrimp, Blood Worms and Squid. Thanks for your help. <Do try to get a hold of some Fenbendazole from your local veterinarian. Your best bet is to put this fish in quarantine for about three weeks and treat the quarantine tank directly with the Fenbendazole for that entire time. The Noga book of Fish Disease recommends 2mg/liter or 7.6mg/gallon of tank water. This should give your fish the upper hand against these parasites. Cheers, J -- >

Powerheads Hi, <Hello! Ryan with you today!> I have a 50G marine tank and use 2 opposing power heads to create adequate circulation in addition to my filter and skimmer inflows.  I decided to experiment with 2 different brands, an Aquaclear 3000 and Eheim 1000 compact. Over the course of about 6 months since I "plugged" the power heads in I keep getting inverts and fish sucked up through each one. In total I have lost about 5 Turbos, 3 Nassarius Snail and finally my 1 inch Honeycomb Puffer last night. They are all sucked up alive, trapped then die. I have managed to pull a few away that I have noticed but I was really surprised about the puffer. Is this a common occurrence with power heads? do you have any tips to prevent this occurring? <Yes, it is a common occurrence if you don't cover the intake somehow.  My favorite method is to use a bio-ball to cover the opening for the intake.  Sponge covers are also available.  Best of luck! Ryan> Thanks in advance for helping John

Growth on lower jaw of puffer <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have been searching your site and have not found what I am looking for. I have a Valentini Puffer (Canthigaster valentini) that has shut down eating. <For how long?> His outer skin looks good (except some stress darkening) and up until yesterday, I had not been able to see anything too out of the ordinary except behaviorally. He has been hanging at the back of the tank instead of the front and has been very shy, very unlike him. He also has some elevated respirations. <I think a double-check of your water quality is in order... what are your readings for temp, s.g., ammonia/nitrite/nitrate?> Yesterday I noticed that around his lower tooth/teeth inside his mouth there appears to be some fungal-like growth. It seems spiky, not soft and it is a gray-black color. <What else do you have in the tank? Any live rock or fake corals that he might have munched on? Also, do you have powerheads or other black plastic in the tank? You might check those, too -- puffers are known to munch on powerheads and other plastic. That makes me wonder -- what are you feeding him? Could these be shell fragments that have gotten stuck in his mouth?> There still doesn't appear to be anything else anywhere else on his body. Is this something with which you are familiar? Is it treatable? Much thanks in advance, Patt <Well, we need to figure out exactly what it is, first... that's at least half the battle as far as treatment goes. If you can get a better look at the growths, that would help. If you have the means, you might anaesthetize him and take a closer look or perhaps take (and send) a photo. Let us know.... --Ananda>
Re: Growth on lower jaw of puffer
Okay, this is very strange. <So am I...Ananda here again tonight...> He hasn't been eating for over a week and the water quality is fine. The tank has live rock and a few old pieces of fake coral. They get a variety of food - frozen formula (ocean nutrition), Mysis shrimp, flake food, and occasionally live brine. They did recently get into a bivalve that had been in the tank and ate him and maybe that may not have agreed with him. <Sounds like a possibility....> What I am seeing does not look like pieces/parts from hardware in the tank or shell fragments. <Perhaps something that was, um, in the bivalve??> The last couple of days he showed some interest in some Mysis shrimp and today he ate some, so he may be on the upswing. <That's a good sign. Tempt him with krill if he's being fussy... my puffs go absolutely bonkers over the stuff.> His attitude today was much improved. Go figure, it may just have been a temporary illness (at least I hope). <Quite possible if it's from something he ate.> I don't really have the means to anaesthetize him, but I have been trying to get photos. It's beginning to look like he may actually come out of this on his own - please, please, please... <We're pulling for you and your puff...> Thanks, Patti <You're welcome! --Ananda>

Puffer swallowed air? I need help.   <Ananda here tonight to try to help...> I have a dogface puffer, we did a tank change today, all levels look good however I think Puffy (my dogface) sucked in some air causing an air pocket in his cheek.   <Uh-oh.> He swimming in circles at the top of the tank as if he were trying to release the air pocket but has been unable to do so.  It has been approximately 6 hours now with no change.  His normal behavior is to hang out at the bottom of the tank, he is very docile.  I am sure on top of the air pocket he is now extremely stressed.  Is there anything I can do to help him, or will he have to release the air pocket himself.   <Get your aquatic gloves on, if you've got them, and carefully catch your puffer. You may want to use a large plastic bowl to move him so you can catch him. Hold him underwater, nose up, and try to stroke the bubble up and out through his mouth.> Is this fatal?   <If your puffer has puffed up with air, it can be. But if you or the puffer can get the air out, the puffer should be okay.> I am desperate and extremely attached to my fish.   <Understandable! Puffers are very personable fish...> Please give me some advice.  Thanks.   <For more tales of puffers gulping air, check the WetWebMedia site... try http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferFAQs.htm and do a page search for "burp". Hope this helps! --Ananda>

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