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FAQs about Puffer Disease/Health 4

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

Puffer Injured by Powerhead 5/4/04 Please help!   <Hi Jill, Leslie at your service this evening. That's what I am here for and I will do my best!> I have a porcupine puffer. <Love them!!> Yesterday I found him stuck to the bottom of the power head.   <Utto,  I can relate. I made that mistake once. That must have been scary for both of you.  It's hard to believe that these big tough looking fish can actually get stuck to an intake, but they do> Actually his eye/head was stuck.   <Awwwww poor little guy I'm so sorry> As soon as I found him I unplugged the power head <Perfect> and he swam off. <That's a good sign> Where his head was stuck was swollen but appears to have gone down.> <OK that's good news> His eye is another story.  It has a bubble on it now.  His eye looks normal under the bubble though.  I don't think he can see out of the one eye.   Hmmmmm, he might not be able to.  If it was actually the eye itself that was involved rather than the surrounding tissue that is a good possibility. Hopefully the eye itself was not injured. This will be easier to assess once the swelling resolves a bit more. If it was just the surrounding tissue once the swelling goes down his eye and vision may be fine. > He was pretty stressed (as you can imagine) <Yes,  I bet he was>  and wouldn't eat last night. < Understandably so> (He usually eats everything) <I can relate and I bet he does>    He seems to be swimming normally today and he will eat.   <This is a good sign> I am wondering if there is anything I should be doing for him. We called the LFS and they said that there was nothing we could do except wait and see.  They said there was nothing we could do for him and to leave him alone.  Is this correct?   < Hmmmmm I guess that would be a matter of opinion. I am not so sure I agree with that.  I like to take the pro active approach. There are several interventions you can take to minimize the risk of infection and maximize the healing process: 1) For starters keep a very close eye on his eye and the surrounding tissue for any signs of secondary infection..... increased swelling, pink or reddened tissue.    2) Keep his tank very CLEAN. I like to do daily water changes when I have an injured fish and I am trying to prevent an infection. 3) Do what ever you can to keep his environment stress free. 4) Dim the lights or use ambient light only, maybe some sunglasses:).   5) You can certainly add some vitamins to his food. An easy way to do this is to pierce the food and soak it in a multi vitamin solution for about 15 min prior to feeding. Selcon and VitaChem are a good combo or a few drops of baby vitamins daily to food or directly to the water once a week. 6) Be sure to feeding nutritious foods 7) It maybe a good idea to have an broad spectrum antibiotic on hand should the eye or surrounding tissue begin to appear infected. Dr. Edward J. Noga in his book Fish Disease and Treatment recommends aggressively treating ophthalmic wounds to avert blindness.  Once the swelling has gone down a bit get a better look at that eye.  If the integrity of eye itself has been compromised then  I would be in favor of treating.  National Fish Pharmaceuticals   http://www.fishyfarmacy.com is an excellent source for aquarium medications as well as information. 8) Last but not least .....Puffer proof all powerheads and intakes with strainers at least or sponges. These will need to be rinsed clean frequently. > He made it through the night so I am hopeful.   <I'm glad to hear that good news. They are pretty tough resilient fish> This is my favorite fish <They are pretty special and quite endearing! > and I really want him to be ok. <Of course you do> Any advice would be helpful.  Thank you so much!  Jill <You're most welcome best of luck with your Puffer, Leslie>
Puffer Injured by Powerhead, Continued 5/9/04
Thank you for the quick response.   <Hi Jill, Leslie here with you again today. Your very welcome> Sorry for bothering you again. <Not a bother at all. Glad to help> The puffer is still alive.  He is swimming and eating normally. <That's great news!! They are pretty tough fish> The skin, on the place he was caught, has now turned white.  The horns where he was caught are almost clear...they are really a milky white.  It seems like his skin might be sloughing off. <It may be and probably to be expected. If the tissue is sloughing off it will look like flaking or peeling and may even be a good sign. The old dead tissue has to come off before the new tissue can regenerate . There is a topical disinfectant  called Wound Control by Aquatronics this can be applied once daily. You will have to partially remove him from the water to apply this. Have the Wound Control ready. Apply a couple of drops on to a cotton swab....not to wet so that it will drip when applied.  Corral him into a small container, without removing him from the water. Leave just enough water in the container to keep him mostly covered, with the wounds exposed, but not his gills or mouth so that he does not take in any air. These guys are like puppies and very trainable in my opinion and experience. Offer him a little bit of his favorite food in the container. Pat the area dry with a clean paper towel and dab the Wound Control on with the cotton swab being careful not to let it drip into his gills or eyes. If the wounds are to close to his eyes or gills and you are nervous instead of the Wound Control get some Neosporin antibiotic ointment  or even better a triple antibiotic ointment. Apply this with a cotton swab after blotting the area dry. Give him another little treat and then place the container back into the tank, let it fill gently with water and then let him swim out. The wound control can be applied once a day or the antibiotic ointment three times a day. > His eye is white also, so I think he is blind. That is certainly possible. We can hope for the best, perhaps it will heal. > Nothing seems to be bothering him though. <That's good> I am still worried. <Understandably so> I don't know much (really anything) about fish. <We are all learning all the time> My fiancĂ©? is the one that knows about fish.  They are actually his fish. < Interesting.....Sounds like you have adopted this one. Can you enlist his help treating this fish> I am just so worried about the puffer.  I have gotten really attached to him <Very easy to do they are quite endearing creatures> and I really want him to be OK. <Sure you do > I am just wondering if this is normal for the type of injury he has. Yes probably to be expected depending on the strength of the pump and how long he was stuck to it.>   Should I be worried? <Worrying, in my experience won't really help, just wear you out> Should I prepare myself for the worst?   <I prefer to hope for the best and focus on the positive.> Thanks again and sorry for bothering you. Worried Puffer Parent      < It is no bother my dear. You are most welcome Please let us know how he does. <Best of luck to you and your special friend> Leslie>
Puffer Injured by Powerhead, Continued 5/12/04
Hi! It's me again. <Hi me again :)! Leslie here again as well> I just wanted to say thank you for all your help. <Your most welcome. I am sorry it was under such unfortunate circumstances. > I really appreciate your quick responses to my questions and your understanding with my fishy problems. <That's what we are here for.> The puffer fish died today though.  <Awwww I am so sorry to hear of your loss my friend. I know how difficult that can be. They are very endearing creatures.> I will keep reading fishy facts on your website. Excellent. There is a wealth of information here on the site.> I think ya'll are great there.  <Thank you for the kind words. Take care, my thoughts are with you. Leslie> 

Dog-Face Puffer is Looking "Waif-ish"  5/3/04 <Hi Alan, Pufferpunk here> My dog-faced puffer was doing fine for a while but now looks skinny, his eyes are sunken in, and he tries to eat once in a while but won't work hard enough to actually eat his food. My water conditions are fine with the exception of temperature.. lately (in LA) it's been VERY hot and I don't have an air conditioner.. I've been able to keep the water at 85 degrees but no lower than that.. I'm planning to get a small air conditioner soon but it's an investment I have to shop around for. Could this temperature be causing his problems or should I look for something else? Thanks in advance! <What foods are you offering it?  Water parameters?  How long have you had him?  My 1st thought would be to treat him for internal parasites.  Try to find Discomed, by Aquatronics (they've recently gone out of business, so you may have to look around a bit).  This product works best for me.  You may also try Hex-a-Mit, by the same company, or whatever you can find with Levamisol in it.  You must soak his food in the med, to treat your fish internally.>   --Alan <I hope he's back to his zaftig waistline soon!  ~PP>

Porcupine Puffer  5/3//04 Thank you for your great and quick response.  I am the person who asked you about the one puffer with the two blue damsels in an 80 gal tank.  I will do my best to take care of my puffer, Spike.  I guess I won't be getting more fish.  My tank is too small.  I want to take care of Spike the best I can and don't want to worry about so many other things.  I don't want more damsels.  I do have more decor in the tank.  I just didn't want to list them all.  I will get a protein skimmer today as well as a water cooler.  The weather has been very warm here in CA and the water temp is now 81!  I unplugged the heater two days ago after I had already turned it down. <I really don't think a cooler is necessary.  Temps of 78-82, or even a little higher for a few days is fine.  The only harm that could come to your fish is if it was kept at high temps for years, this would quicken it's metabolism & shorten it's lifespan.>   Do puffers jump out of tanks? <Definitely!  They are also excellent spitters.  Check out this cute site: http://www.puffers.org/.  ~PP> Irene

Puffers and Lockjaw Hola Bobareeno, Lately I've been getting sent a lot of emails dealing with D. Holocanthus (porcupine puffers) and a problem of them having a form of "lockjaw". Where the fish literally is incapable of opening (or closing sometimes) it's mouth. I have been researching and working with other puffer people trying to figure out what the true cause is and more importantly a way to help the fish get better! <The few cases I've investigated have arisen either from trauma or nutritional deficiency> I'm currently trying to write an article on this subject. Sadly there isn't that many answers to the questions. But, my hope it to explain what is happening, the theories to what causes it, and I would like to at least give examples of how people managed to cure these puffers (if only for a short time). <Have you met, asked the input of Kelly Jedlicki here? I will cc her re> My hope is that not only will I shed a bit of light, but in my article I would like to give information for those that have information to share can contact me. Trying to find people that can help, or have info is extremely tough. After all, the people with happy and healthy puffers don't ever write to us saying so. We get the people with the problems and concerns. If I have an article stating what I'm looking for and a way to contact me we might be able to help this growing problem. The problem has always been around in the porcupine puffer in the home aquarium arena, but back when you would never see a porc in the pet shop it wasn't that large of a concern. one or two out of 20 puffers sold seemed to have concerns like that... Now that there are hundreds (or thousands) sold daily those 1 out of 10 is quite a high number. This article can be used on CA or WWM... or both, whatever you decided. I'm just trying to spur some more people to become interested in this growing problem. Also, if you would like to use my original puffer article (the one from Reefnut) in CA or WWM please let me know. I was thinking that if the intro puffer article was published first, it might lend some credence for me and put me as someone that "experts" might want to deal with. <Will cc Adam.C and Scott.F here re... CA is their decision> The lockjaw article is still just in the rough, there are so many theories, ideas and problems that it is hard to put it down without being confusing. Thanks Bob, Your soon to be drinking buddy, John. ps. Next time (if the option ever happens again) I do a trip with WWM... remind me not to do the traveling with Jeni... my excitement has been just about squelched and I'm not even close to traveling yet... She's a nice person and all.. but darn.. Type A addictive personality doesn't quite meld well with my Type B... or as I call it Type "L" for Lounge. Seems the plans have been made, tickets figured... though she forgot that my flight leaving from NYC is about 8-9 hours away from my house.. so I got to book the flight to NYC from Rochester soon. Other than that seems like it's okay. I really want to thank you for this trip and all that you have done. And feel like I should apologize for any headaches caused. <Hee hee... hopefully the damage will do you both good. Bob F>

Puffer With Possible Ich  4/28/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just transferred my false eye puffer into my new 120g tank using a high quality net and proper acclimation.  I noticed that he has 3 white spots on his fins.  That was 4 days ago and he is not scratching and is eating well.  The other fish show no signs of Ich or spots.  I'm concerned this could be Ich but could just be trauma to the fin's.   <If he's not scratching, eating well & it's only a few spots, I wouldn't worry yet.  How long did you quarantine?> If it turns out to be Ich what is safe and effective treatment for this fish? I would also have to treat my purple tang and tomato clown.  I can use my old 55g as it is set up as a hospital tank .  Do you recommend a freshwater dip at this time?   <Yes, FW dip & hyposalinity for the puffer would help, if it is indeed white spot, but don't panic yet.> Please help, Concerned in Minnesota.  Thanks! <I think your puffer will be just fine.  Keep an eye on him for more spots & then you can take action.  ~PP>
Puffer with Possible Ich  4/28/04
Hi,  Thanks for your reply.   <Sure, that's what I'm here for!> Sorry I didn't give more info.  I've had the puffer for 2 years in a 55g tank.  I just transferred him into the 120g tank with my other 2 fish.   <Sounds like a nice tank for him.> After I transferred him into the new tank I immediately noticed the 3 white spots on his fins.   <Possibly stress related...> That was about 6 days ago and he is acting fine, no scratching and eating voraciously as puffers do.  The tank is doing well with nitrates, ammonia and nitrites at zero. The spots are still there however.  The other fish are fine.  I'm hoping that the spots are just trauma from transferring with a net.  I tried to catch him with a container but had no such luck.  If it does turn out to be the dreaded white spot are there any treatments along with  FW dips, hyposalinity and temperature elevation that is safe for puffers?   <Really, those methods are the best.> I also have a tomato clown and a purple tang.  I've thought about getting a cleaner shrimp but the puffer may  eat him.  I have some snails in the tank and he leaves them alone but I'm not so sure about a shrimp.  I guess I could try one and see if he's aggressive to it and then place the shrimp in my reef tank. <Have you seen a shrimp inside many a predator's mouth?  It might work, if it is indeed a parasite.> Thanks, Finally defrosted in Minnesota after a beautiful 90 degree day today. <Ooooh nice!  I live in breezy Chicago.  !PP>

Puffer Has Sore Mouth 4/26/04  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  We recently got a salt water puffa fish (not sure what type - looks like a tiger puffa). He has started running his mouth up and down the glass of the tank, and now has a cut just under his mouth. Any ideas why he would be doing this, and how we get him to stop?  <The 1st thing you need to do is ID your puffer. Look here: http://tekipaki.jp/~puffer/  Another thing I need from you is water parameters: ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, pH, SG. How heavily is your tank decorated? Puffers are intelligent, curious fish that need a heavily decorated tank with lots of places to explore. Otherwise, it gets bored & swims up & down the glass, like yours is doing. It can also be a sign of stress. Is it eating? What are you feeding it? Any tank mates?>  Thanks for your help,  Brendan and Angela  <Answer all my questions & I'll see if I can help. ~PP>
Puffer Has Sore Mouth 4/27/04
Thanks for your quick reply!  We had a look at the site you suggested, and from what we can see he looks most like the Tetraodontidae.  He has a white belly, leopard type pattern on his back & sides, with 2 dark brown lines on his back (one in the middle, and one toward his back fin).  We found him at the beach in the Northern Rivers in New South Wales, Australia.  He was in the rock pools, lying in shallow water on the sand.  We have a hermit crab and have recently put a trigger in, but the puffa seems to keep to himself. Should we get another puffa?   <How big is the tank?> We have been putting prawns in, but we aren't sure if he has been eating them.  I bought some meal worms, but he doesn't seem to want them either.  I will buy some blood worms, does live or frozen make a difference?   <How big is the puffer? One of the most difficult aspects of keeping these special fish is their diet. All puffers are predatory fish and need hard-shelled, meaty foods to keep their teeth trimmed. Like rabbits, their teeth grow constantly and can overgrow enough to cause starvation in the fish. Puffers eat crustaceans in the wild. Foods for smaller puffers are frozen/freeze-dried krill/plankton, gut-loaded ghost shrimp, glass worms, crickets, worms and small snails (the size of their eye). Snails are an essential food to a puffer's diet, especially when small. Many serious smaller puffer keepers breed their own snails. As your puffer gets larger, there are many more crunchy foods for them to eat. Larger GSPs will eat cut-up pieces of scallops, shrimp, crab legs, whole mussels, clams, oysters, squid, lobster and crayfish. Mine love to chase live crayfish, fiddler crabs and gut-loaded ghost shrimp. I gut-load (pre-feed) my live food with algae wafers, so my puffers get their veggies.> We have put more rocks, etc to decorate the tank tonight and so far he doesn't seem interested!  We will wait and see if it makes a difference.  He appears more interested in what is going on outside the tank!   <Haven't you seen Nemo?  He did just come from a great big ocean.  I really can't blame him for wanting to go outside.> The pH is approx 8.0 - 8.1, and the SG is approx 1.020 - 1.021.  We don't have anything to test for the other levels you asked for yet. <You must keep a very close eye on ammonia, nitrItes & nitrAtes, which are all toxic to your fish.  Ammonia & nitrItes should be at 0 at all times & nitrAtes <20.  How long has this tank been set up?>   We have filled our tank with water directly from the ocean, and bought some salt from the fish shop to add.   <Marine salt, I hope!> Any more suggestions?   <Do you have a hydrometer to measure salt content?  Make sure you get a test kit for the things you need to test for & test every day for a while.  Until then, you'll have to bring in the water to your LFS for testing.> Again, thanks for your help! Ange & Brendan <Happy fishkeeping!  ~PP>

Dog Face Puffer  4/27/04 Thanks again.   <That's what I'm here for ~Pufferpunk> We did block off our plugs, and no, we didn't change the whole tank, just 20 gal.  Today it is all reading within normal limits.  Also, puffer is eating very hardy, think we just need to return some fish.  He actually turns white again when we sit by the tank and he can see us.  Thank you for your help. I have been looking at the website and have found it very helpful.  I am going to pray the dog puffer does ok, its neat to have fish with actual personalities. <You bet!  That's why I love them so much!> Thank you so much. <You're welcome & good luck with your puffer!  ~PP>
Happy Puffer  4/28/04
Just wanted to update you, puffer is actually doing great.  we changed water, bought a protein skimmer, and checked again with the pet store about our fish.  Since our fish are so small, they are ok now, but it wont be long that we will be buying another 125 gallon tank.  Dog face is changing colors on a daily basis, just depending on lighting and of course, how much he eats.  I cut back to just once a day and he eats very well at dinner time; him and porc cant wait for that light to come on in the daytime when I get home.  They know its feeding time. They are porkers! lol.  Have a great day and thanks again  <Thanks for the update!  It makes me smile to hear about happy puffers!  ~PP>

Crowded Puffer Tank 4/17/04  Hi gang, <Hi. Pufferpunk here>  have a problem with my dog face puffer. We just bought him about a month ago. We have 50 gal tank with a porcupine puffer,4 tangs,2 clown, Valentini puffer, and just got a snowflake eel about a week ago. The dog face has been fine up until today.  Last night we were gone all night and left tank light on. Today he ate shrimp fine and then tonight when I came home, turned on light, he was all dark brown and eyes cloudy. He did turn light colored for a bit, I could see black thin circular lines on him, then went brown again. The porcupine is not picking on him and I don't know what to do. Pls help!  <Well, the 1st thing I can tell you is that tank is way over crowded!!! The porc along will be needing at least a 100g tank. When you purchase fish, you must consider their adult size. That many fish in a 50g tank has got to be a huge stress on your bioload. What are the water parameters? I highly suggest you consider returning many of those fish. ~PP>

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'vs. My Nitrate, ammonia, nitrate and pH is all good. Last couple of weeks, I lost my yellow tang e had this tank for almost 2 years with no problem 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.>

Ich Meds for Puffers I have two dog face puffers with Ich and was glad to find such detailed articles on how to treat for it. I have been looking for the product mentioned in three articles, Mardel Marine Maracide. I can't find the "Marine" version at any local fish stores or on the web.  <Well, time to come clean, I said that had been a mis-type on my fault. Please read below my improved method of treating puffers.. I have been doing some heavy duty research and work studying Ich. My marine puffers have recently come down with it. With my puffers I have been doing different methods for treating Ich! and have been very happy with the results. I was turned on to a product called Stop Parasites or Biospheres Antibacterial for treatment, following directions exactly. The person that I had learned this trick from had said to turn off the lights during treatment. I originally thought it was just a bit of superstition but after chatting with a microbiologist on the matter he gave me this bit of advice. Free Swimming Ich is attracted to light, the parasites swim up towards the source of the light were it expects to find a host. Keeping the lights of just makes it more difficult for the Ich to find a house and failure to do that within a day or so cause the Ich cyst to die without reproducing. (interesting bit of trivia that might make a difference when treating medicinally). I have raised the tank temperature during treatment which speeds up the metabolic processes of the parasite as well as the fish to help in immune systems. Also I have found that puffers do quite well if you begin to SLOWLY lower your specific gravity to somewhere around 1.016-1.018. the lower salinity is safe for puffers, but Ich cysts will not survive the reduced salt levels. I have also found that giving my puffers a 10-15 minute freshwater bath VERY helpful. Most marine fish should only be given 5-8 minute freshwater dips, but with puffers they seem to handle it quite well, and the freshwater dips of 10+ minutes really work great at removing the parasites from the fish. While you treat the tank for the remaining parasites with the medicines listed above. Also during this time vacuum the substrate to remove the fallen cysts, it's something that is over looked frequently. I do like the "Stop Parasites" medication. because it's a natural product. made from a hot-pepper, mint based liquid. It's reef safe (even said to be human safe). Have Tetracycline on hand in case you need to help with secondary bacterial infections.>  Thanks in advance for you help! Kim  <sorry for the confusion, but I have been treating my puffers this way and have been extremely happy with the results. in fact I have been keeping my puffer's tank at a slightly lower salinity and it seems to be keeping them quite happy and healthy. I was amazed at how well the freshwater dips worked on my fish! Good luck with your puffers. Magnus>

Puffer Catastrophe 4/7/04  Dear Crew,  <Hi, Brian, Pufferpunk here>  I am having a very large problem today. I woke up, looked in my tank and saw a terrible thing. The strainer for my powerhead had fallen off and my porcupine puffer was stuck in the intake!!  <Oh no!>  He was all blown up! I did not know if he was dead or alive. So I turned off the pump, and pulled him out of the intake, only to find him alive and, what seems to be, well.  <Whew!>  His eyes are still bright blue. He seems to be swimming fine, still active and swimming around the tank. I have two major fears right now. First, some of his spines are all bent out of shape from being stuck, is this permanent do you think?  <Probably not--I think he would shed them, as he got bigger, just like a porcupine or hedgehog.>  Second, and more importantly, I was afraid that when I pulled him out that I decompressed part of him. Is this a problem? When he swims around and I get a look at him, it looks as if one of his sides is pushed in a little bit. Is there anything I can do to help him? Like I said, he is acting ok. His tail fin is a little tattered, and he seems to have collected some debris on a few  of his spines, nothing big though.  <I think he should be ok. Try some Melafix in his water to heal up his fins. You may want to turn down or stop the skimmer for a while, the Melafix will foam from the bubbles.>  Any help you guys could provide would be a great help. Thank you!  Brian  <I hope the fella's ok. ~PP>
Puffer catastrophe 4/10/04 
Hi again. Thanks for the previous help. I went out and bought some Melafix to add to the water. So now I have arrived at a new set of problems and questions. First off, the puffer seems to be in shock.  <No surprise to me.>  The first day he was swimming around and all. Now he has been laying on the bottom of the tank, trying to wedge himself in a cave or small corner. He seems to just lay for long periods of time.  <Taking a quiet time to heal, I would guess. Also, in the wild, an injured fish is easy prey, so it would be smart to hide.>  The back portion of him looks awful. Very raw and tattered. His right fin is also torn and ugly. As for his spines, they seem to have realigned, but it looks as if little pieces of his skin is hanging off of his spines. I understand he is trying to hide, but is there anything I can do?  <Turning the light off for a while may help him to feel safer.>  I may be worrying too much, but this was one of my fave little fish. So much personality. The next thing is, how long should I turn off my skimmer for after I put in the Melafix? As of now I put in the Melafix and wait a couple hours then turn on the skimmer. Is this an OK practice?  <If the Melafix isn't creating any inordinate amount of foam, leave it on if you wish.>  All labels and the store employees said that this product would not affect my live rock or anything else in the tank. Is this correct?  <I don't see why it would.>  Finally, I have a Lawnmower Blenny in the tank with the puffer, and I have noticed an odd behavior in the Blenny since the catastrophe. He seems to want to pick on the puffer, or at least be unnecessarily aggressive. He gets right next to the puffer, fully extends his top fin, and I have even seen him try to nip at the puffer. Could he just be hungry?  <Like previously mentioned, the blenny recognizes the puffer is injured, i.e.. easy pickings.>  Sometimes I notice he is more aggressive if unfed. I am setting up a 72 gal. tank for these fish, but only recently, as in yesterday, did I add any live rock or live sand. Should I try to put the blenny in here? I don't want him to die in a unestablished tank.  <I'm sure this would make the puffer more comfortable. With live rock in there, I think that would be good enough for such a tiny fish in a tank that large.>  Thank you sincerely for the help. Brian  <I hope your bounces back to his old self soon! ~PP>

Puffers & Meds 4/5/4  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  Just a quick question you can hopefully help me with. I have a black spotted dog faced puffer who is great, got loads of personality! Recently he is always a much darker colour than his usual creamy colour and seems to spend more time wedged in-between his rocks (goes back to normal colour when asleep). about 2 weeks ago I had a blue tang die whilst I was away for a few days of what seemed to be white spot so I treated the rest of the tank and they all seem fine (also done quite a few water changes). He is eating fine but its just not like him to be curled up in the corner. Any suggestions?  <If the water parameters are perfect: ammonia & nitrItes 0, nitrAtes <20, then you might concern yourself with treating your entire tank for a disease only seen in one fish. Puffers are extremely sensitive to meds. Keep doing water changes & filter out the rest of the med with carbon. ~PP>

Hurt Puffer Great website. <Thanks, we hope that it helps.> I have a porcupine puffer and am at a loss with his problem.  I noticed he was not eating, acting sluggish and breathing heavy. After doing some water changes in the tank and watching him closely I noticed that his jaw is fully open.  <Sounds like Lockjaw.> Like you or I walking around with our mouths wide open.  My puffer loves ghost shrimp so I got some and placed them in the tank.  He went after them to eat them but could not catch them in his mouth.  Is this "lock jaw" and if so what the hell can I do about it?   <Lock Jaw seems to become more and more frequent in the puffer hobby... And sadly there isn't enough research being done to figure out what exactly is happening with these fish and how to make them better.  For some reason it's happening in Porcupine puffer al most every time, yet other puffers, even other Diodontids like burr fish don't seem to have this issue.  I'm currently talking with other puffer experts trying to see what we can do to get some funding or studying done on this problem.  The thoughts are that the Porcupine puffer is having problems with it's thyroid, which controls many aspects of the anatomy of animals.  Having to little iodine and having to much iodine can have a drastic impact on the thyroid, and thus on the body. As for treatment, I have read that adding marine iodine to the tank has helped the puffer.  The exact measurements of how much iodine to add to the tank is also not that exact.  I would add 1 drop of iodine for every 5 gallons of water for at least 5-6 days.  See if that helps improve his health.  My best suggestion is to check out the puffer forum: http://puffer.proboards2.com/ There are lots of different people on the board that can help you. Look through the old posts and see if you can see what they had done to treat their puffers.> The fish just keeps getting worse and I need to figure something out quick here.  Thanks for any help,  TJ  <Sadly we don't know exactly what is going on when puffers have "lockjaw" but be sure to try to get the puffer to feed.  Even if you have to force food into his mouth.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Sick Puffy obsessed with cleaner shrimp Hello, I am new to Puffers and have found your site very useful! <Glad we can be of assistance, that is what we are hear for.> I am a bit worried about the new Porcupine Puffer we just added to our tank last week. Since arriving he has not taken much interest in food and has eaten very little. <That is extremely odd for a porc puffer.  these things are eating machines.  To learn more about them, please read this article. http://www.reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm It gives you info on puffers in general as well as specifics about Porcupines.> Its been 7 days now. I've tried tempting him with brine shrimp, flakes, as well as a special freezer mixture of shrimp, clam, etc that the pet store recommended. Every now and then he might go after a bit or two but from what I'm reading he really should have much more of an appetite. <yes, this guy should be begging for food.  Especially when you offer him shrimp and clams.  Puffers in the wild eat all sorts of snails, clams, and shrimp.> Additionally, I notice that he is obsessed with our cleaner shrimp. Whenever puffy sees the cleaner shrimp he continuously swims up to it until the shrimp literally pushes him away. <You are lucky that the puffer doesn't go right up and eat the shrimp... it's unusual for a porc to allow a shrimp to survive in the tank.> It appears that puffy swims up to the shrimp with his mouth open yet the cleaner shrimp takes no interest in helping him out. <probably the puffer isn't giving the display of "clean me" just an annoying curiosity/in the shrimp's face sort of attitude.> We've tested our water quality which is good with the exception of the nitrate being a bit high, we are taking care of this with water changes and a nitrate scrubber. <You might have to many fish for the tank, plus puffers are really messy and tend to foul the water unless given a large tank (over 100 gallons) with plenty of filtration.> Puffy is in a 45gallon tank with the cleaner shrimp, a tomato clown, royal grandma, mandarin goby, scallop and a hawk fish. <45 gallon tank is to small for the puffer, let alone all the other fish combined in there.  Please read the article I mentioned above to learn what sort of fish you now own.  This puffer will get over a foot long and will be at least 5-6 inches long within the first year.  It will out grow that tank before you know it.  As for the tomato clown, royal Gramma they are okay in a tank that size. A mandarin Goby is a very specialized feeder and needs to eat copepods which requires a lot of live rock to have them breed and survive.  Many people who have these fish suggest you have a 75 gallon tank with over 100 pounds of rock for one mandarin.  If not then you run the risk of the fish slowly starving to death.  As for a Scallop, your puffer will try eating this.  I'm surprised the Hawk fish hasn't eaten the shrimp... they are notorious shrimp eaters.   You will need to get a different tank to house all those fish.  At the very least you will need to give the puffer a larger tank.> All of his tank mates seem to be doing fine and all have very healthy appetites. What do you make of his obsession with the cleaner shrimp? <shrimp are a puffers natural diet in the wild.  So, it might be he's looking at the shrimp as a nice big snack.  If your shrimp should disappear in the near future chances are it's from the puffer.> Is there any way of helping Puffy? we've grown really attached to him over the week and want to help him through this. <The way I read the letter I'm assuming that you didn't quarantine your new fish before placing him in your tank.  That is very dangerous, you could introduce a parasite or illness to all of your fish.  You need to have a quarantine tank set up when purchasing fish, then quarantine the fish for at least two weeks before introducing it.  I've seen many many people loose all the fish in their tank by introducing a new fish not properly quarantined.  It's not only a good idea for health, but you will also enjoy having the time to learn about your new fish.  get to know what it is like, what it eats, any concerns before moving it in with other fish.  Please read the article on puffers I gave, and be sure to read more on quarantining new fish for you and your puffers health. As for your puffer not eating, I would keep trying to offer it shrimp and meaty foods it should eventually start to eat. Thanks so much, Alysia <Good luck. -Magnus>

Cloudy-eyed puffer  I have read through everyone's problems, and I can't seem to find the help I need.  <Hi! Ananda here today to try to help...>  My Puffer has cloudy eyes. Not eating and I lost my Raccoon Butterfly this morning. He hemorrhaged. What can I do?  <First off, check your water quality. That's a leading cause of cloudy eyes. I think it's possible your water quality is off, which is stressing the puffer to the point that he won't eat.>  I have no hospital tank that is ready; I do, however, have a 110 that has been set up for about a week, and a 55 too. The 55, my husband put ' zymes in, and the 110 as well one has progressed more than the other.  <See if you can get some marine Bio-Spira -- it's live nitrifying bacteria, kept refrigerated.>  But I know it is premature to put him in one of them and treat him.....  I am at a loss. Thanks Sandy  <First things first: check the water quality in the main tank. You will probably need to do a water change. You want ammonia and nitrites to be *zero*, and nitrates to be 20 or less. (If you don't have a test kit, get one!) Once you get the water quality in line, the fish may improve on his own. Also, give him a variety of foods -- there is a lot of puffer feeding info on the WetWebMedia site. --Ananda>
Bad sand cause of cloudy-eyed puffer demise? 
<Ananda here this morning..>  Hi there, thanks for the info. All the water quality was good, salinity, temp, everything. Did [water] changes, but when I got home from Winnemucca NV, my husband had informed me he was gone..:(  <So sorry to hear that.>  I have been struggling with him for quite a while... I got bad sand the first go around.. It had razor blades and screws in it...  <Oh, that's *awful*! It was probably taken right off of a polluted beach. Too bad it's so difficult to find out the quality of the sand when you get it. Having heard this, I think I shall be running any new sand I buy through a strainer before adding it to a tank.>  Didn't know when we got it. Got it bulk... Big Bulk. We took them all out and put them in a newly processed tank.. I think it was to late then.  <At a guess, the pollutants in the sand were the cause of the fishes' deaths.>  But thank you so much any way - Sandy  <Sorry I couldn't help. --Ananda>

Wild Caught fish, Clown rashes Hi, <Hi there, Magnus here.  sorry for the delay in response.> I have a 1" saddleback together with a puffer fish on a tank filled with sea water for two weeks now.  I've been maintaining self sustaining freshwater ponds way back in 1999 and decided to stop due to hectic sched. <I know that exact feeling!> Anyway, these two were given to me as a present by a friend who just arrived from a diving vacation.  This raised my desire to do fishkeeping again. <You picked some great fish to get back into the hobby.  Puffers are extremely personable fish!> These marines were originally transported in a 5-gallon container (a prison) filled with sea sand, a few corals and sea water (their natural environment).  Quite a convincing present. <quite an interesting gift! I wouldn't mind getting something like that for a present.> Right now, I am preparing the main tank where I could house them.  It sounds odd that the fish came first before the aquarium is done.   <Not typically the way to have it done, but as long as you work, it should go okay.> I just added an under-gravel filter to their prison to make life a bit comfortable.  I changed water last week to fresh sea water taken from a nearby island where they came from.  I only measure the SG from time to time assuming that natural sea water needs no pH, ammo, trites and trates monitoring. <you are right, Sea Water is pretty much sea water.  just be careful where the water is collected.  Make sure not near any outlets, or docks were man made chemicals or wastes are in the water.  Can be dangerous for the fish in such a small area.> Lately, I noticed that the saddleback is occasionally scratching its body on the filter tubes especially when I switch off the filter. <Many fish in the ocean have skin parasites, it's probably something like that.  and the fish is rubbing on the objects to get the parasites off.> I also noticed, that there are some very fine pink rashes on its white stripe near its head. I cant figure out if its an itch. <The pink rashes are most likely bruising from the fishes rubbing. I would suggest adding some medicine to the water to help fight the parasites.  If you have any stores that carry Mardel medicines I suggest you pick up some Maracyn Tablets.  They should work well for curing the fish of external problems.> Both are doin good on their appetite.  I am planning do some freshwater-Methylene Blue bath.  Would it do any good? <I wouldn't use it, I'm nervous with Methylene blue  on puffers.  They are sensitive to that.  I would go with medicines designed for Salt Water fish.> Thank you. Joebel J. Sorioso <Good luck. -Magnus>

Puffer in Trouble  3/21/04 Hi, Pufferpunk here> Need some information regarding a problem that started yesterday with my puffer.  He has had his mouth wide open, normally he just looks like he is smiling.  He's been eating and now he's just resting on the bottom of the tank and it looks like he is breathing real hard now and the now he's puffing up.  This is my first puffer and I need help. Susan <You didn't mention what kind of puffer you have.  How long have you had him?  How long has the tank been set up?  Is there any salt in the tank & what kind?  You need to test the water for ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes & pH, before begin to guess what is wrong.  The 1st thing I always suggest for any fish that is acting "off" is a water change.  I do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks (except saltwater).  Please get back to me with all the answers to my questions & I'll try to help your puffer.  ~PP>  

Stressful move Good Afternoon!  I have recently (this past weekend) moved from Knoxville, TN to Waco, TX.   <My father lived in Waco for a while, he said it was quite a nice place!> I moved my porcupine puffer and dragon goby with me.   I took them into my trusted aquarium store before I left to have them 'packaged' for the trip.  They infused their bags with oxygen and placed them in a Styrofoam container.   <Very good method!> We checked on them once during the trip to find the oxygen slowly leaking out of the puffer's bag.  We found a PetSmart that refilled the bags with oxygen.  From the time the fish were bagged to being placed into their aquarium was about 20 hours. <wow, quite the trip!> As we were trying to acclimate the fish, the puffer began puffing.  Knowing that there was not adequate water in his bag we dumped him into the tank.  He deflated immediately.  I know that there was a huge temperature difference and water quality difference between the two, but I did not know what else to do, as it was apparent he was stressing. <I would have probably done the same thing...  It's hard to be calm when your fish is puffing up like that.> My questions arise from his current appearance.  His fins are tattered.  I do not know if this is from a disease, the travel, or both.   <My guess is from a bit of both.  That long of a travel is hard on fish, and it probably stressed it out quite a bit.  When a fish, like most animals, is stressed it's immune system is really harmed.  Bacterial infections and cases of fin rot happen frequently during times like that.> His eyes appear to be sunk in.  Also he is not eating and his mouth won't shut.   <That sounds more like he is having issues with the water parameters.  The water chemistry must be really different from your last area.  I would suggest you think about setting up a quarantine tank that can house your guy for medicating purposes.  But, the best course of action is to take your water and have it tested by a trusted Fish or Reef Shop.  Something is effecting the fish, and those symptoms really aren't something that happens with bacteria/fungus/parasites> The goby seems to be doing much better.  He would not eat yesterday (the day we introduced him into the tank), but he is eating today.  I tested the water quality.  Ammonia is the only one above normal values.  It is between 0.75-1 ppm.  I am guessing some of this is due to the tank having to cycle since the move. <yes, the tank will need to recycle itself.> We did leave about two inches of water in the tank along with the sand and carbon from the filters to preserve as much good bacteria life as possible.  However, we hit a blizzard on our way.  The water never froze, but I am wondering how much bacteria survived. <A rapid drop in temp can harm the bacteria, but it shouldn't have wiped it all out.  Since you preserved the filter media, it should have a great starting point for the bacteria bed to recolonize the tank.> What can we do from the ammonia levels and to help our pour puffer?  Thanks so much!  Erin              <Make sure not to over feed the tank during this time... it will only help raise the ammonia levels.  Hopefully since you had the filter and the old gear the cycle should happen much quicker.  Keep testing the water and hopefully it shouldn't become too bad.  -Magnus>

Puffer puts his fin in his operculum (02/29/04) Hi, I'm after some of your great puffer knowledge! <Hi! Ananda here tonight to try to help out!> I have a couple of tanks at home and have just set up another large one! My plan is to home a banded bamboo shark. In this tank so far I have a Picasso trigger and a juv panther grouper, <Oof. Hope you have a few hundred gallons for this bunch.> a couple of days ago I added a black spotted dog puffer. <Ack, I do hope you quarantined him first!> He's great! In all my years of fish keeping I've never had a fish like him. One problem I am experiencing is that he keeps getting his right pectoral fin stuck in his operculum, when this first happened I was quite worried and was ready to catch him and pull the fin out manually but as soon as I took the lid off the aquarium he freed it with little ease. He has done it a few more times but it never seems to phase him, he gets a bit unstable but I' m sure we would have difficulty walking with one leg! Is this a problem or is it a current occurrence with puffers? <Every time I've heard of this happening, it's been due to gill flukes. Into the hospital tank with him. Do a search on "puffer gill flukes" with the Google search tool at the bottom of the Daily FAQs page to find more info.> Thanks for your time Phil Mercer <You're quite 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>

Floating Puffer?  2/16/04 <Hi Josh, Pufferpunk here> OK, I've been reading through everything I can find on GBD and am still not sure.  I have a Valentini Puffer that keeps floating to the top of the tank.  He can swim to the bottom but with great effort.  The condition occurred in transit from the store where I bought him to home.  I'm mostly stumped because this isn't a problem with the tank he's in, it was something that happened in the bag on the way home, what's the best way to treat him? <It occurs to me, that if this happened in transit (I assume the puffer swam ok in the store?) the person that caught your fish, may have taken it out of water & it swallowed air at that time.  I have had some success in "burping" a puffer, by holding it vertically, head up, under water and gently shaking it by it's tail until the air is released.  A puffer with air inside cannot right itself and will die.  If you ever need to catch your puffer (even when getting it from your LFS), scoop it up with a container.  Sometimes, holding it in the same position against the glass & gently stroking the belly towards it's mouth may help to release the air.> Josh <Good luck, ~PP>  

Puffer fish with a bad case of Ich Hi, my problem is I have a dog faced puffer which is covered in Ich. It and several other fish in the tank got the Ich after a temperature spike stressed them (the spike was my fault). <I've been in that situation before, I know your pain.> Everything in the tank is back to normal (almost zero ammonia and nitrites and 10-20ppm nitrate, sg 1.022-3), and most fish are recovering ok. <Saltwater Tanks take a bit longer to bounce back, even after the tests say that the levels are good... There are other aspects of the tank that need to heal.  The microfauna in the tank are most likely bouncing back as well.   So, keep the water conditions level, makes sure to keep with you water change schedules and all should continue to be good.> Two skunk clowns got very bad Ich too and died after breathing heavily, but the puffer seems to have much bigger gill's so he's breathing faster than usual but not gasping (when he's healthy he seems to use only one gill at a time). I've also got a few corals and a sea apple in the tank. <If you don't have one already, I would suggest you set up a quarantine tank, so that you can separate the some of the fish.  This is good because you can medicate the fish incase the conditions worsen, or simply to separate the fish to monitor it.  Either way, it's good to have a Quarantine tank up and cycled so you don't have to force a sick fish to live in a cycling SW tank.  My other really big concern is that you have a Sea Apple in with a dog-faced puffer.  Sea Apples are members of the Sea Cucumber family, These animals have toxic substances in their body.  The animal will release poison should the Apple become stressed, or picked on by other tankmates.  Another concern is that female apples release eggs into the water sporadically, these eggs are toxic if eaten, or if sucked into the filtration can be ground up and spread the toxins through the water column. Male Sea Apples release sperm into the water which is not toxic, but still carry toxins in their body. I do not feel that having a sea apple in this tank is safe (for either the fish or the sea apple.) I realize that this is not why you had sent the email, but I could not in good faith send an email back to you without giving you this information.> Is there anything I can do for my doggie? I've read that the medication for Ich could upset invertebrates and I wouldn't want the apple to poison everything. And at present I don't have a spare filter to use in a quarantine tank. Should I dip him in freshwater or will that stress him too much since he's already been covered in spots for 8 days? <You can give him 5 minute freshwater dips, which will help, but I would seriously think about getting a filter for the quarantine tank. Ich is a tough parasite and since it's been on your puffer for this long I suggest medication to help cure the problem. Medicines from the Mardel Company have worked excellent in curing all my puffers of Ich.  Be sure not to use any copper-based medicines on your guy, as the copper is not healthy for scaleless fish!  There is another method that I have found works great for puffers; longer term hyposalinity.  I would suggest you take the quarantine tank and lower the salinity!  Puffers can live quite well in high brackish water.  A level of 1.018 (?.001) will not be harmful to the puffer, but should be low enough specific gravity to help kill the parasite.  During this time I have added smaller doses of medicine to the tank and the fish has healed in much faster times. I have a friend that kept a Porcupine puffer in conditions like that for month at a time with no problems at all (aside from having a messy fish in a smaller Quarantine tank.)> He is still swimming around (a bit less than usual though) and he's eating normally. And if I just leave him will he just keep getting reinfected since he's got such a bad case now? <If a puffer is still eaten then it's a good sign that you have a strong puffer!  Yes, in many cases a puffer with Ich will show signs of getting better, then reinfection, and the cycle goes all over again.  For an experiment I had done that with one of my marine puffers with a slight case of Ich.  I had raised the temp and speed up the life cycle of the parasite without medicating it.  The puffer seemed to heal with no problems, but the Ich kept returning every week and a half.  I ended up realizing that in order to totally cure the fish was to remove it from the tank, medicate it in a QT, and leave the display tank fishless for a while in hopes for the parasites to live out their life cycle.> Thanks for any help you can give. Yours is the best fish info site on the web so I came to the gurus. <Thank you for the compliment, we are here to help!  Good luck with the puffer.  Dog-faced puffers are some of my favorite fish, and always love to help people who open their home to one.  There is a nice article for reference on puffer care found here http://www.reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm.  Be sure to check out the Forum area on Reefnut as well, they are very helpful people on there as well.> Angie <Good luck with the Doggie. -Magnus>

Sick Stars and Stripes Puffer My Stars and Stripes Puffer (6" long) has recently done something weird.  He looks like his pectoral fins are halfway in his gill openings. <This is a sign that the puffer is ill.  We are not completely sure why puffers when they are sick seem to place their pectoral fins into their gills.  You would think that it would offer some discomfort to the fish.  But, it's a trait among many dog-faced species, their cousins, and many of the brackish puffers as well.> I noticed a bunch of small white spots on his fins and around his eyes and I figure its Ich. <Yes, it sounds exactly like you puffer is suffering from Ich.> I am going to move him from my 125 FOWLR tank and move him into a 40 gallon quarantine tank.   <Excellent idea.  You can treat it there and monitor the fish to be sure it's eating properly.> My 125 currently has two clown fish (clarkii and a cinnamon), a Foxface, a Sailfin tang, a speckled Hawkfish, four common mollies, a coral beauty angelfish, and this puffer.  The puffer is my favorite fish in this tank and I don't want to lose him. Please advise me on what to do in order to save him. <Separating the puffer is step one, the 40 gallon will do nicely.  I would raise the temperature in the QT 3-5 degrees higher than the display tank once the puffer has been introduced to the tank.  Raising the temperature accelerates the growth cycle of the parasite.  It sounds weird to do this, but the medicines you will be adding to the water attack the parasite when it is free swimming in the column.  Once you have the tank warmed and the puffer is comfortable you should treat the water with a Medicine like Mardel's Marine Maracide (try and say that 5 times fast!)  Make sure not to use any medicines that have copper in their ingredients.  It's harmful to the scaleless fish.  Treat the puffer per the instructions on the back of the medicine package.  I would keep him separated for at least 2 weeks after the condition clears up.   That should cure the puffer and make him good as new.>   Thanks a lot. Troy Clark <If you have any other problems be sure to shoot an email back. Good Luck. -Magnus>
Re: Sick Stars and Stripes Puffer
Thanks for returning my email.   <No problem, that is what we are here for.> I put my puffer in the 40 gal. quarantine tank and turned the heat up to 81 degrees.  I have started a routine of every other night putting him in a freshwater bath.  On the nights he is not dipped I put him a 2 gallon bucket and treat him with Hexamita at about half the directed dosage since he is a scale less fish. <That should definitely help his condition improve.> I have not medicated the quarantine tank other than a few drops (10) of Meth blue. <I do not use Meth blue on scale- less fish, I have always considered it not safe with puffers.  Many of the experts suggest not to use it.  I have found that the Mardel Company produces some great medicines to treat puffers.  Maracide has always helped cure my fish.> I also went ahead and helped him get his fins out of his gill openings.  He really didn't like this but seems to be a lot better than before.  I also do not see any Ich spots on him any more. <Congrats!  But keep up the freshwater dips to be sure that you have finally gotten rid of the parasite.  If you should end to early the fish might quickly get sick again.> He has been in the quarantine tank for a week now.  I was going to give him another week and put him back in the show tank. <The longer he is kept in the quarantine tank the better.  Patience is one of the best things to have in this hobby.> I was also wondering if my Stars and Stripes Puffer would get along with another species of dogface puffer in my 125 show.  I will be getting a larger tank when they grow.  Thanks for your time. Troy Clark <The nice thing about dog-faced puffers and the similar species such as Stars and Strips Puffers are that they are rather tolerant of each other.  Provided the tank is large enough, there is plenty of rockwork so that each can have their own territories.  Also be careful to feed them on separate sides of the tank so there isn't any food aggression.  Good luck with the puffers. -Magnus>
Re: Sick Stars and Stripes Puffer
Hello, its Troy again with the puffer questions.  Over the last few days I have read all the posts on puffer diseases and treatments and I have a few questions.  I am getting confused because for one treatment you are recommending that malachite green (and other dye based medications) not be used at all with puffers and I saw on one reply that Quick Cure (a malachite green and formalin mix) was recommended.  Please help me understand this.  Thanks Troy <Hi Troy, personally I never use medicines with malachite green in them on my puffers.  This is just something that I do not trust with scale-less fish.  A few views differ on the WWM crew as to if this should be used.  I'm the rogue, and suggest that you don't use this on your puffers.  Many of the experts of the puffer world do not use this medicine because of observations that the puffers appear to have poor reactions with it.  I have never put this theory to the test with my own puffers.  My belief is "Better to be safe than sorry".  I had tried to find articles to clear up the issue, but like many things in the aquarium hobby, I find both pro and cons to this question.  My own personal habit is not to use this.  I'll do some more research on the topic, and try and post an article about it so you and others will hopefully understand. - Magnus>   

Urgent puffer problem - Ich? I have a puffer for about a year now, she's about 7 inches. The tank is 70 gallons and includes also a flagfin angel and a cleaner fish (both OK).  About four days ago I noticed tiny white spots on the puffer (everywhere - fins, body, eyes), remarkably similar to grains of salt. I thought it was Ich, <It does sound like Ich to me as well.> but decided to check before doing anything that I might regret later. I turned the lights off, because she seemed to be acting better during the night and after a couple of days most of the spots disappeared, but the fish is acting somewhat out of the ordinary. She hovers near the bottom, not minding much about what goes on around her or responds very aggressively when the cleaner starts cleaning her. She eats slightly less, but still OK. I have also been feeding her garlic almost every day. <The wonders of garlic is something I wish more research would go into.  I really have seen garlic work wonders on everything from fish to my family horses.  With the lighting off it can be less stressful to many species of puffers, it really doesn't have an effect on the illness, just more for the comfortably of the fish.  Puffers hovering near the bottom of the tank is a sign that the fish is stressed, either from medical treatments or from the illness itself (most likely from the latter).  Some fish, like some people I know, become quite testy when they become ill.  When my puffers have came down with Ich, they were extremely short tempered with tankmates.  I find it is best to have a quarantine tank to move the puffers into.  Then you can medicate the puffer easier, and make sure that it is getting the food it needs without having to worry about tankmates.> The water quality is fine, except for nitrates, which I'm trying to improve, and pH, which is driving me crazy, since it would not rise above 7.9 (I add buffer, Kalkwasser, consistently measure the carbonates and calcium, but nothing seems to help - any advice?). <I would check out some of the WetWebMedia Articles and the forum and ask the question there.  We have some extremely knowledgeable water chemistry people that will be able to give you some great advice.> Back to the fish... The guy at the LFS where I bought the fish said that she might actually have Oodinium and that with this disease the parasites are more active when the lights are on (I have never heard of that before, have you?). <Oodinium/Piscinoodinium) is often referred to as "Velvet", the visible symptom of this disease is a fine grey-gold to whitish 'dust' on the body of the fish. Fish will usually show very rapid gill movement when infected with this. The disease is caused by a protozoan parasite, and may be triggered by exposure to ammonia and nitrite, or excessive nitrate levels. It could possibly be the culprit, you had mentioned your water levels aren't perfect. I would separate your puffer if you haven't already.  You can treat your puffer quite safely with Maracide by Mardel Labs.> Anyway, I bought a medicine I decided to check it with you first. It is produced by a German company Tetra Medica and it is called Marin Oopharm. It contains: - hexamethylpararosanilin - chininhydrochlorid-dihidrate - 9-aminoacridinhydrochlorid monohydrate - benzyldodecyl-bis-(2-hydroxyetil) ammonium chloride The medicine is supposed to be invertebrate-safe and adequate for scaleless fish. <I have never had any experience with this medicine at all, it was a medicine that I thought was only found in the European market.  I can give you a great forum to ask this question on.  http://puffer.proboards2.com/  is a forum totally devoted to puffer care.  Perhaps someone there has heard of this medicine before.  I myself trust Mardel companies medicine, they have never failed me.> I'm sorry for the lengthy mail, but I wanted to give you as much info as possible. <No apology necessary.  I would rather have a lengthy email so to know exactly what is going on rather than a short one where I have to guess at.> What would you recommend? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Katja <I would separate your puffer, having a Quarantine tank for him will not only be safer for the other tank mates it will be easier to treat.  I wish I could give info on the medicine you have purchased but I have never used it, nor have I heard anyone else use it for their puffers.  Check the forum I had given perhaps they will have more knowledge.  I suggest Maracide which is a nice inexpensive medicine that works quite well.  Good luck. -Magnus>
Re: urgent puffer problem - Ich?
Hi, it's me again. The medicine we discussed the other time is European, because I'm from Europe and I have a hard time getting such stuff from US. <I had a chance to review some articles on the medicine you had spoken about before, and it does seem to work well on fish.  My German was a bit rusty but from the articles I read it seems to be equivalent to the Mardel medicines I had suggest from the American market.> As for the fish, she seems better, no spots, eating less but nevertheless eating. Her gills seem OK and the angel and the cleaner fish look healthy. <That is good to hear.  Keep up what you are doing then and hopefully the fish will make a full recovery.> I still keep the lights off and I noticed that during the day she is most of the time inactive - resting on the bottom behind a rock, whereas as soon as it gets dark, she starts swimming. Could this be her natural behaviour - sleeping in the dark at daytime and hunting at night? <Puffers are seen during the times in the morning hours and the late after noon hours.  They do this because many of the snails, and crabs come out in the evening for feeding and the puffers try to get the early and the late critters!  It's probably a little more comfortable in the low light, it feels that it is hiding from you most likely.  Gives it a Cave feel to the tank.> Anyway, for now, I'm keeping the lights off and will continue to feed her garlic. One more question: can a fish get Ich or Oodinium, if you do not add anything to the tank that might infect it with parasites? <Many of these parasites are found in the tank all the time.  Surviving on smaller critters.  It's when they find the right conditions to really grow, or if the fish should become ill do they infect normally healthy fish.> The latest addition to my tank (except for the daily food, which is frozen - I don't suppose the parasites could survive that) was the cleaner fish amount two months ago, so I don't know how the fish could get infected. Thanks for your helpful advice in advance. Katja <The parasites might have been on the cleaner all this time, but since all your fish were healthy it never could really get out of control.  Perhaps the puffer became ill from something else and then the parasites saw their chance to go crazy.  I have a small nano 10 gallon tank with a clown fish that has been by itself with no additions for over a year and it had a case of Ich a while back.  Even when you think you understand how it all works, the parasites and fish always seem to surprise you.   good luck with the puffer. -Magnus>

Sick dog faced puffer Hi, I have had my dogface for about 7 to 8 years now and she has been doing great up until the last week. She suddenly became weird acting and won't eat. I tested the water and everything was ok. <Okay is rather vague.  You tested all the water parameters?  Ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, pH, Alkalinity, etc...> She is just so strange acting. She darts around the tank, smashing into things. She has just recently chipped one of her teeth by running into the glass. She also has little cloudy spots on parts of her eyes. I noticed that she was rolling around in the gravel and off the rocks, causing big scraps on her sides. <She has a skin parasite.  She is darting like that because it's bothering the fish and aggravating it.  It's rubbing on the gravel trying to dislodge the parasite from it's side.  The Rubbing action is often referred to as "Flashing", and it rarely actually rids the fish of the problem, only damages it's skin so the infection/parasite will spread deeper.> I called the pet store and they said it was Ich <Most likely it is Ich, you should look closely at the puffer you might start to notice small white spots on it's body.> and I started treating her and she doesn't seem to be getting better, only worse. <With marine fish, I believe it's best not to treat the fish in the tank, but to set up a smaller separate one.  This quarantine tank gets the puffer away from tankmates and into cleaner water.  Separation is good idea for many reasons; other tankmates could pester the sick fish or the fish could make it's tankmates sick. The sick fish does not have to compete for food. A smaller tank is easier/cheaper to medicate.  Also, it's a good rule to not medicate the display tank, cause it can harm the biological filtration system, or some of the sensitive animals in there.> She has puffed up twice within the past day and I don't know what to do. She is just crazy acting. After I started the treatment, my Lunar wrasse started acting weird. Please help, cause I don't want my puff to die. Thanks Laura <You hadn't mentioned what you were treating the puffer with, make sure that it is NOT anything with copper based medicines in there (i.e.. CopperSafe).  These medicines are quite harmful to the scaleless fish such as puffers. If you don't plan on setting up a quarantine tank (which is probably the best plan) I would start by doing a larger water change in your display tank, make sure that the water is pre-mixed and try to have it slightly warmer than the current water temperatures. After the water change, start treatment with something designed for Ich, such as Mardel's Marine Maracide, or Aquatronics Paragon.  The reason for the warmer water is it speeds up the parasite growth and life cycle, so that the medicines can kill it in it's free swimming stage.  Not to mention it also helps speed up the metabolism of the puffer.  I have used Mardel's Maracide on my puffers and was very happy with it's results.  During this time I suggest you offer you puffer treats (aka snails).  Puffers love snails, as you probably no already.  I have gotten sick puffers who hadn't eaten in a while snacking away quickly by tossing in a couple snails.  You can also feed shrimp (with hard shell still on).  This is also a good idea since your puffer has recently chipped a tooth, the shells will help grind the teeth back so that it shouldn't happen again.  Good luck with the puffer and if you need any other help please be sure to ask. -Magnus>
Sick dog faced puffer
I found out that my puffer did not have Ich. It was just a nitrite problem.  There are no parasites what so ever, and she is eating again. <Cool that your puffer is doing okay now!  Hope you and your puffer have a nice and happy long life together!  It's always great to hear good news. -Magnus>

Puffer sickness? I saw on your web site there were many questions about puffers so I thought I would e-mail and ask. <That is what we are here for.> I have a porcupine puffer that I have had for about 2 months and he has been acting very strangely he has been sitting at the bottom of the tank and not interacting with me he has not ate in 2 days and has one cloudy eye however it is not completely opaque. <Questions:  Is your tank large enough to house a Porc puffer?  These are quite messy fish and need a large tank with a lot of filtration!  Have you recently added anything to the tank? Perhaps if you had recently added something with out quarantining it, there is a chance that the puffer might have gotten something.  Does your puffer have other tankmates?  If so, do these tankmates pester the fish? Cloudy eye on a puffer is typically a sign that the water levels aren't right.  The quickest way to help with this problem is to do larger amount water changes more frequently then what you are currently doing.> My ph is perfect and so are my other values my nitrate is at 30 which is a little higher than normal but not by too much what do I do??? <Here is a good article on Puffers.  Hope it helps. http://www.reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm Good luck.-Magnus>

I have a porcupine puffer who was perfectly fine in a tank with other fish for 8 months. <Porcupine puffers can be pretty aggressive, caution is needed when keeping these fish.> I then introduced a large thorny puffer who at the store appeared depressed. <Fish don't really get "depressed". They are probably unhappy because they once were in the ocean, now are being kept in a small glass tank. It's not good idea to add puffers with other puffers.  Especially when you have a porcupine puffer which is one of the more aggressive species to other similar looking puffers.> After being in my tank he began to eat food from my hand and then began eating on his own (plus several of my fish). <This is why it's best to research before purchasing a fish, so that you don't add one that make a meal out of your existing tank members.> Several weeks later I introduced a new baby porcupine puffer into the tank and for 1 week everything seemed fine. <You can't be adding fish just on a whim, Porcupine puffers get over a foot long and will become quite big, a Single specimen needs to be in a 100+ sized tank.  If you even try to keep two porcs in a tank you will need something enormous to give each their own territory.  As I read it now you have a Porcupine puffer in there already, added a "thorny" puffer, which is most likely a Burrfish, and now have added yet another porcupine puffer!  This is NOT going to work out (unless your tank is way over 600 Gallons).  I would like you to read some articles on the care and tank requirements for these fish. Here is a good article to start you out with. http://www.reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm > Then I noticed that the thorny puffer began to get a spot on his one eye. This was there and didn't seem to bother him.  Overnight it looked like ick had spread to all of my puffers and onto to my triggers. <So, there are Triggers in there as well.  These also are rather aggressive fish and have to be kept with care...  The spots and spreading of disease is a sign that your tank is over stocked and most likely your fish are highly stressed out, their immune systems are weak.  My opinion as of this moment is that you should return many of these fish to your LFS or set up more tanks to be able to house these fish!> The puffers were completely covered and I put them into a hospital tank for 1 week. <You will need to treat/separate them longer than a week.  Most medicine packages even say to separate the fish for at least 2.  Even if the fish appears healthy, you should continue the required treatment times and then offer time to monitor the fish and be sure that they are okay.> Here I treated them with copper and EM tablets. <Major No-no... Copper Based medicines shouldn't be used on Puffers.  These are scale-less fish, and are Highly sensitive to Copper.  Please read the article I had given above to learn more.  Any treatment with copper should be avoided.> Any sign of disease of parasites seemed to disappear after the 1 week time period and I put the three puffers back into the tank. <Most likely the water was better in the new tank which allowed the fish a time to heal and allowed the medicine time to work on the fish.> Several days later the ick had spread to them again and the baby porcupine died.  I separate the other puffers into the separate hospital tank and left them there. <Separating all these fish was the best thing you should do.  That many messy fish in the tank was a time-bomb waiting to go off.> The ick did not seem to die with the lights off as I was told, but got worse in the dark. <Lights? Ick doesn't care if it's light or dark... It is a parasite that feeds and hosts on fish! Having the lights on or off will not affect the problem at all.  I Highly suggest you look over the Disease articles here on WetWebMedia.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm There are many articles and I feel that you should learn many of the basic care needs to ensure the health for the remainder of the fish.> I brought the thorny puffer back after it appeared to get well and it died in the store two days later of apparent ick. <Good idea to bring it back (I'm assuming you are meaning to the LFS)!  Most likely the fish had been weakened so much by the disease and the copper medications that the move back to the store was a bit to much stress.> Both of these puffers died in a 48 hour time period.  My put the puffer back into the large tank and went away on vacation.  While I was away my mother was taking care of the fish tank and I had 10 other fish die.   <10 other fish!!!!  You haven't mentioned how large this tank was, but it sounds like your tank was way to over stocked!  That is a lot of fish for a tank, especially considering you already had triggers and puffers in there.> These fish that died were a maroon clown, Midas blenny, dwarf lion, yellow-margin trigger, nigger trigger and diamond goby. <Almost all these fish shouldn't have been kept in the same tank.  Maroon clowns will be pushy and boss lesser fish around, Lions have long fins which will be nipped by both triggers and puffers as these fish mature.  Not to mention that the lion is venomous which could injure the other fish.> The weird thing was that these fish appeared to be fine and would eat and then the next day when my mom went in to turn on the lights they would be dead.   <I would have been testing the water parameters.  Most likely your parameters were way off.  (Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate) The lion fish and maroon clown were in a tank that had not been treated with copper but had originally came from the infected puffer tank.  I didn't add any new fish after this, and my puffer seemed fine, but he still seemed to have ick on his fins and his eyes were slightly cloudy. <Cloudy eye is usually a sign of poor water conditions.  Simply doing frequent water changes (making sure the water is pre-mixed and is the same temp as the tank is very important).>   Then about a month and a half ago today he appeared to get this pinky-red chunky stuff on the middle of his back.  Since then he has lost his colour and his skin has been falling off in the infected areas. There also seems to be skin growing over his eyes and the skin around his mouth seems to be receding.  He is still eating and swimming around but isn't his normal self. <It sounds like your fish is having some massive skin infections.  which of course is NOT good.  You should be separating it from the tank and medicating with some more aggressive medications.  Medicines like Maracyn will help with the body fungus...  I would like to point you in the direction of a nice puffer forum.  It's full of quite knowledgeable people on puffer.  They will give you quite a bit of info!  The address is http://puffer.proboards2.com > I have several questions for you: 1. What would be the cause for the large number of fish dying? <The reason for the large number of fish is because you had a large number of fish in the tank.  It was over stocked.  Saltwater tanks can't hold that many fish.  The more fish you add the quicker the water fouls and the fish will become sick.> 2. If the water quality is fine should the fish be getting better? <definition of "Fine" is a bit grey.  If the water parameters are all in their proper zone, the temp and the water current is nice, filters are working properly then theoretically the fish should be happy and healthy.  But there are lots of considerations to Saltwater tanks, and if the fish had received permanent damage from the sickness the fish may never recover.> 3. What does my puffer fish have? <Many conditions that are commonly seen in a puffer kept in an over stocked tank.  Cloudy eyes, Ick, and body fungus, Ulcers on his back are what you have described so far.> 4. I was told that this disease was only related to puffers and that it could not be transferred on other fish. <Most skin parasites can be transferred to almost any fish.  There isn't any "puffer only" diseases I have encountered.> However I gave my boyfriend a trigger that was in his tank for only several days and then he removed it when he introduced a valentini puffer.  His puffer seemed to be fine for a week but now it is covered in what looks like ick but it is hanging off the skin.  Could this be the result of the disease being transferred from my tank to his? <Definitely. This is a parasite that moves from fish to fish.  It spawns like any animal, and in it's juvenile stage is a free swimming creature.  So, when you added the fish to the tank it simply allowed the parasite to move into the new tank.  You should quarantine ALL animals for at least 2 weeks before moving them into any new tanks or previously set up tanks.> 5. I separated all 65lbs of live rock that I have in my tank and let it sit alone in a tank with the lights off for 3 weeks.  The fish in my tank seemed to get better when the rocks were out.  I was told that nothing would live in the rocks but I thought that separating them from the fish would just be a form of precaution. <You shouldn't medicate a tank when you have live rock in there.  The live rock is a natural filtration with many microscopic creatures cleaning the water for you.  The medicine kills the critters, and will most likely hinder the medicine in actually treating the fish.  The Parasites you have are typically fish only, meaning that if you don't have fish in the tank then the parasites can't survive.  They need a host to live (or at least to complete their life cycle). Most of these will live out their life cycle in about 4 to 6 weeks.  So if you don't have fish in the tank during this time the parasites will die out. The fish might not be looking better because with the rocks in the tank they had something to rub against.  Many fish will rub on surfaces trying to dislodge the parasites, when all it really does it damage their skin and allow the parasites to get deeper under it.> The problems with the porcupine puffers skin appeared after I put the rocks back in the tank.  Could this disease have survived and spread through the rock?   <typically no, but If the rocks were kept with fish that work sick than possibly.  But, it's not the first time that fish have become sick from rocks taken from a tank with sick fish in it.  You have to give it time for the parasites to die from the tank. (4-6 weeks). 6. Is there any other treatment that I can give to my puffer who is right now in a tank with only one damsel?  I have used copper, life bearer, and em tablets but have not found any results. < http://puffer.proboards2.com/ is one of your best places to turn now.  I suggest you look at some of the medicines from the Mardel company for your next treatments.> Thanks, I hope that you can answer my questions sorry for the long length.  I would greatly appreciate the help. Sincerely Jenna Forsyth <Good luck.  I also suggest that you look at picking up some Marine books.  "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by bob Fenner is a great starting point.  Read it and you will understand many of the problems you have now.  -Magnus.>

- White Spot, Just One - Hello, I wrote to you guys earlier about the treatment of Ich for a puffer.  Well I decided to wait and watch what I thought to be Ich.  This puffer has had a single white spot on his dorsal right above the tail.  There was a second one on the fin directly below this one, but it disappeared.  The puffer has had this spot for almost 3 weeks now, and I do see him occasionally scratch (as in once or twice a day) against the rocks.  I have two other fish in there, a small clown and a blue devil damsel and they show no signs.  Water parameters are fine, salinity of 32 ppt, pH of 8.3 constantly, no ammonia, no nitrites and no nitrates and a temp of about 78 F, its a 44 gallon tank if that makes any difference.  So I guess my question is, what is this and can it go untreated? <I'm not certain what that is - could be any number of things. As long as they're not multiplying, I'd forgo treatment for the moment.> Thanks again. David H. <Cheers, J -- >

Porcupine puffer looking ill. I have a Porcupine Puffer. I have had him for a while. But today after feeding he was not acting right. He would sit at the bottom or wedge himself in the rocks. <If he is a new puffer then it might be that he has some internal parasites that have finally started bothering him. If you have had him for over 5-6 months then I doubt it would be parasites causing this. The first thing that you should be thinking of doing is setting up a Quarantine tank. At least have one ready so that if you need to medicate the puffer you will have a separate tank to do it with, so you don't have to try and medicate a large tank and his tankmates. Many people move their fish to QT the moment fish start acting weird, but I don't think that you will need to unless this fish should become worse, or show signs of sickness (white spots on body, sores, etc...). Would like to send you to a nice article dealing with Marine puffers. Perhaps you can get some of the info you need from there. http://www.reefnut.com/Puffer%20Article.htm  Would like to point out a rather annoying thing about puffers. For some reason large bodied puffers like Porcupines and some of the dog-face species will suddenly have a episode were they just sit on the bottom or act as though they are sick. Then as fast as they started it these fish "recover" and stop this action. Puffer experts are not sure why some of the puffers do this. Perhaps it was a something like human's "24 hour cold", wherein the fish did become sick but his immune system has stopped the issue. The bad thing is that if you have that happen to you fish once you then become a bit nervous if your fish is "acting" or is really sick. Some people believe that it could be a sign that your porcupine puffer is not entertained enough. This happens when a Porcupine is kept in a tank with not enough live rock/caves for it to investigate. The reason I offer you this info is that it is good to know before you make the big jump towards medicating and fearing that your puffer will die.>I know this is not normal because he will race to the front of the glass any time we go near him...... <most puffer species are famous for their begging.> Water is good, temp is good, I have a skimmer, there is a Raccoon Butterfly with him, in a 110 gal tank.. <Good is a rather generalized term. Test the water and make sure that the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates are all in the required levels. Also it wouldn't hurt to check to see if your Alk and other levels are still within Marine standards. These fish are *extremely* messy fish and you will need some heavy duty filtration to compensate for this fish's waste production.> They eat shrimp krill and frozen brine shrimp ( puffer prefers the shrimp) could I have over fed him? <Most likely not, puffers stomachs are what they use to inflate themselves when they "puff". They can hold quite a bit of food in there. So, it's unlikely that this is due to overfeeding. I would think about going to your LFS and see if they have some snail you can purchase, try feeding these to your puffer. Mine ALWAYS perk up when I feed them snails. It's like a giving a kid a candy bar.> how do I help him what do I do. if he makes it threw the night. he looks like he has labored breathing. Please help if he is constipated, how do I fix him.. <If he is constipated then there isn't anything to do to fix this. Most fish work though that issue. As for medications there is a wide range of medicines you can use if you feel that you want to move him to a quarantine tank. Just be careful not to use ones that have copper in their ingredients. Though some articles say that puffers can handle copper based meds, I still stay clear of them. Many scaleless fish have issues (react poorly) when medicated with copper based medicines. I have used some of the broad-spectrum Marine medicines from Mardel products and they have helped.> Sandy <Be sure to look over some of our FAQs and articles here on wetwebmedia.com I'm sure that you will find one that can offer more info. Good luck with the puffer. -Magnus>

Pale porcupine puffer (1/22/04) Hi! <Hi! Ananda here tonight..> I'm very worried.  Our porcupine puffer looks sick, he has become very white for certain periods of time.   <Could be sleep coloration, or something affecting his chromatophores (which control coloration).> Then, we noticed that some sort of large waste product trying to come out of him.  It was strange.   <Strange, as in different from his normal waste? Puffers *do* make rather large messes.> Does he have a disease?  Please let me know what this sounds like. Thanks.  Lamia <Without more information, I'm not certain. Make sure his water quality is good -- pH 8.3, s.g. around 1.024, ammonia and nitrites at zero, nitrates 20 or less, temp about 78. Does the whole body turn pale, or is it just a particular area? Also, feed him a good variety of foods, especially including something that gives him a bit of bulk to help him pass any obstructions in his system. You might consider soaking some food in clam juice if he turns his nose up at it. Hope this helps. --Ananda>

Puffer Ich? acne? (1/22/04) Hi, sorry to bother you guys once again, but I wasn't sure exactly what I should be doing. <Ananda here to offer up some ideas...> I have a 44gal. FOWLR that has been running since Dec. 1.  Tank cycled fine and right now my parameters are all good,   Ammonia 0    Nitrite 0   pH 8.3   Nitrate around 10   Salinity 1.0235   and Temp stable at 77 F.   <Sounds good so far.> About two days ago I noticed that my Valentini Puffer which I got from PetCo about a week and a half ago had a couple white spots mainly on the anterior dorsal, like 5 or 6, so I immediately thought Ich.  He also had some white 'splotches' around the mouth and eyes, kinda like fish acne?  I watched him carefully  and noticed that he was occasionally rubbing against some of my live rock. <Sounds like Ich all right.> Other than this, there were no other signs, eating normally and swimming fine.  I wish I had found out about this site sooner, because I have failed to set up a Quarantine Tank (please don't be mad), otherwise I wouldn't be asking this question.   <I'm not mad at you, just at stores that don't teach their employees enough about what to tell/sell people when they're starting up a system....> Anyways I can't treat him in tank because I have some inverts, to be specific a Long spine Black Urchin, baby horseshoe crab, Coral Banded Shrimp,  some turbo snails and hermits, and one baby false percula.   <Um... I hope you realize that the horseshoe crab can get gigantic (feet in diameter), and that the other inverts may get snacked on by the puffer.> The clown hasn't shown any signs of Ich, but I'm still suspicious.  So, after calling my LFS and getting some "advice" I decided to change out some of my water and I began feeding my fish garlic vittles. <Might help, might not. So far we don't have hard evidence, just anecdotes that it might help.> I would get some Cleaner Shrimp, but I think my puffer would just eat them, chemicals would kill my inverts, and I can't quarantine (I've learned my lesson).   <Why can't you quarantine? Just pick up a 20 gallon tank (about $25) and go from there.> Any other measures I can take to fight off this parasite that are more natural? <Start with freshwater dips, pH-adjusted and temp-adjusted so those parameters match your tank. In the hospital tank, hyposalinity and daily water changes. There's plenty of info on how to do these on the WWM site. As far as "more natural", there's some evidence that some puffers will occasionally swim upriver a bit to rid themselves of parasites.> P.S While I have y'alls attention,  while I was doing a water change my Sea Urchin began to excrete a white stringy goo.  I've seen sea cucumbers do this, but is this harmful to my tank. Thank you so very much for your help.   <I don't know anything about sea urchins, so I'm going to pass that bit on for someone else to answer.> Peace and Chicken Grease -Dave H. <I'll take the peace, and leave the chicken grease for someone else, thanks...haven't eaten chicken in about 11 years! --Ananda>
Puffer Ich? acne? (1/22/04)
Hi, sorry to bother you guys once again, but I wasn't sure exactly what I should be doing. <Ananda here to offer up some ideas...> I have a 44gal. FOWLR that has been running since Dec. 1.  Tank cycled fine and right now my parameters are all good,   Ammonia 0    Nitrite 0   pH 8.3   Nitrate around 10   Salinity 1.0235   and Temp stable at 77 F.   <Sounds good so far.> About two days ago I noticed that my Valentini Puffer which I got from PetCo about a week and a half ago had a couple white spots mainly on the anterior dorsal, like 5 or 6, so I immediately thought Ich.  He also had some white 'splotches' around the mouth and eyes, kinda like fish acne?  I watched him carefully  and noticed that he was occasionally rubbing against some of my live rock. <Sounds like Ich all right.> Other than this, there were no other signs, eating normally and swimming fine.  I wish I had found out about this site sooner, because I have failed to set up a Quarantine Tank (please don't be mad), otherwise I wouldn't be asking this question.   <I'm not mad at you, just at stores that don't teach their employees enough about what to tell/sell people when they're starting up a system....> Anyways I can't treat him in tank because I have some inverts, to be specific a Longspine Black Urchin, baby horseshoe crab, Coral Banded Shrimp,  some turbo snails and hermits, and one baby false percula.   <Um... I hope you realize that the horseshoe crab can get gigantic (feet in diameter), and that the other inverts may get snacked on by the puffer.> The clown hasn't shown any signs of Ich, but I'm still suspicious.  So, after calling my LFS and getting some "advice" I decided to change out some of my water and I began feeding my fish garlic vittles. <Might help, might not. So far we don't have hard evidence, just anecdotes that it might help.> I would get some Cleaner Shrimp, but I think my puffer would just eat them, chemicals would kill my inverts, and I can't quarantine (I've learned my lesson).   <Why can't you quarantine? Just pick up a 20 gallon tank (about $25) and go from there.> Any other measures I can take to fight off this parasite that are more natural? <Start with freshwater dips, pH-adjusted and temp-adjusted so those parameters match your tank. In the hospital tank, hyposalinity and daily water changes. There's plenty of info on how to do these on the WWM site. As far as "more natural", there's some evidence that some puffers will occasionally swim upriver a bit to rid themselves of parasites.> P.S While I have y'alls attention,  while I was doing a water change my Sea Urchin began to excrete a white stringy goo.  I've seen sea cucumbers do this, but is this harmful to my tank. Thank you so very much for your help.   <I don't know anything about sea urchins, so I'm going to pass that bit on for someone else to answer.> >>Marina here - the urchin may actually be trying to spawn.  If the "goo" resembles semen or milt, this is likely the case.  If it appears to be more solid, or with solid bits, it may be fecal matter.  The thing to watch out for is dropped spines.  If that begins to happen then you know you have a problem. Peace and Chicken Grease -Dave H. <I'll take the peace, and leave the chicken grease for someone else, thanks...haven't eaten chicken in about 11 years! --Ananda>

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