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FAQs about Puffer Disease/Health 7

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

Diodon holocanthus with crypt     4/4/17
 I know there are some threads on this, but I have a hard time sorting  through and finding the information I need. Please forgive me.
<The search tool (on every page) should bring folks to what they are looking for>
I have a 210 Aqueon tank, pH is 8.0, kH, 9, SG 1.023, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates ~10.
I have a small Diodon holocanthus who came down with a case of crypt nearly  overnight.
<Was always there; just "sub-clinical">
He was fine on Saturday night and had it on Sunday evening. He was (and still is) acting perfectly normal. None of the other tankmates (harlequin tusk, dwarf fuzzy lion, dwarf eel, Kole tang, foxface, and coin bearing angler) have even one sign of crypt.
<Mmm; not to bum you out (excessively) but your system "has it">
I started treatment with Kordon Herbal Ich attack
<Mmm; often doesn't work... complexed by...>
as that is all I could get at the LFS that wasn't copper based. I had a > porcupine for 4 1/2 years previously who used to beat the ich on his own.
<Ah yes>
I would just use Voogle (immune booster) and feed. Sometimes I added kick  ich,
<Scam, sham>
but it is hard to say what the actual cure was. I was just happy he was cured. After 3 days of the Ich Attack he seemed to be getting better, then it reappeared and has been pretty bad for the past week or so. I started the
treatment of Kick Ich which I had to order. I cannot get my hands on any Voogle at this time. He does not seem to be getting any better or worse.
If  you couldn't see the crypt, you wouldn't know he had it. He is still eating like a horse and outcompeting fish that are 3 times his size.
<Good signs. Are you lacing/soaking the foods....?>
He's still in the main tank as all I have for a QT is a 10 gallon which I can have set up in about an hour so that is where I have been treating.
<Too small for this>
Here is what I know, copper is not an option (is Cupramine safer but still  copper?),
<Yes; search on WWM...>
hyposalinity is not good for puffers, so where do I turn. I read your  praises of Chloroquine. Is Chloroquine safe for puffers?
Any side effects?
<Yes; possibly>
I ordered some Dr. G Anti-parasitic caviar and I am going to lace the food  with this. Should I leave him in the main tank and target feed him the food
so he is not stressed or set up the QT?
<I'd do the former>
Should I just keep him well fed and happy until he beats it on his own?
I have also shortened the light cycle so he can rest longer. No one else in the tank is picking on him or pays any attention.
Thanks for any help,
Jason Russo
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm 
and onward re soaks (vitamins, HUFAs...) when you get to a link. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt    4/4/17

Yes, I am soaking the food in Selcon, garlic, and VitaChem.
<Ahh; good>
Which do you say is a scam, the kick ick, Voogle, or both?
<The first; don't know what Voogle is>
Also, what do you mean by "complexed by?" Does it make it worse?
<Mmm; makes it non-existent... trouble/s w/ organics added to marine systems; they're highly change-able>
I will read your links, thank you for the response.
<Welcome. B>

Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt     6/1/17
So I have good news to report. I ended up transferring all my fish to QT and treating with CP for 28 days. I'm happy to say that my porcupinefish is cured. I had to dose some erythromycin as well to help with a cloudy eye
condition, but that is all cleared up as well. His fin scars are all gone and he is eating like a horse (my dwarf lion from another post is also doing very well in the same tank).
<Ah good>
My reason for the message is that my puffer has developed a bump/growth on his lower lip. I don't know if I should be concerned about it. Is it just a skin tag?
<I think so... an owee, from rubbing its face against the tank side likely>
Will it fall off on its own? It doesn't affect him in any way and I will just ignore it if it is nothing.
Jason Russo
<I would count on this self-curing as you state. I would move all back to the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt     6/1/17

I would love to move everyone back, but I am doing the fallow thing. I hear 76 days is the norm. Is that correct?
<Mmm; a trade off... stress to the hosts, vs. loss of virulence in the display... You must judge when>
It's unfortunate because I know everyone would be happier in the big tank.
<Yes; and healthier>
<BobF, who would be moving all. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm>

Parasitic isopods in pufferfish     3/8/17
Hi all,
Recently I bought a blue dot Toby puffer that seemed to have a mild goiter.
It was in a copper-treated quarantine (2.5ppm plus hypo at 1.015) for the last two weeks and seemed to be doing fine, albeit a little sluggish, but this morning I found it dead. In my experience a dead puffer with a bulge that won't go down is a sign of gill parasites, and lo and behold, a necropsy revealed a pair of gigantic isopods wriggling away inside a very warped gill chamber.
If the copper and hypo didn't kill them, is there anything I can do to help a fish with this kind of parasite?
<Yes. Gone over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
plus read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm >
Toby puffer gill openings are very small in the first place, I wouldn't have been able to pull them out without cutting an opening. I also have to assume this is a rare occurrence or else there would be more literature about treating
them, though this is the second time I've seen them pop out of a dead Toby.
<Mmm; not an uncommon marine fish parasite group... But as the saying goes:
"Successful parasites don't kill their hosts" (generally)>
I've attached pictures of the puffer from when he arrived, plus a photo of the isopods. Thank you for your help as always.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

blind pufferfish care       12/8/15
hello all,
<Howdy Jude>
I work at a LFS. Last year, one of our display fish, a beautiful porcupine pufferfish, became permanently blind in both eyes due to an infection (exacerbated by bumping into sharp liverock). Now, the fish is still very healthy and active, and a very voracious eater. However, due to his blindness, he's had to be kept alone in an empty tank so as not to injure himself or others.
<Mmm; should be okay w/ a select group of other fish species>
Now to the issue: We're running very low on space in the store, and can't afford to continue keeping a single fish in a 75g aquarium. What would you say is the recommended minimum tank size a 6-inch-long blind porcupine puffer would need, considering that it can't see where it's going and the tank would be otherwise empty?
<Most all excepting fishes too likely mean to it (triggers, large angels, big morays....); or more aggressive feeders like some basses and wrasses...>
I'm honestly very attached to this puff, and if needed I plan to take him and his tank home with me. We're just not sure
what kind of setup would ensure a continued comfortable existence.
Cheers, JK
<Have seen blind puffers kept with others for many years. Bob Fenner>
Re: blind pufferfish care       12/8/15

I'll see about getting him moved into one of the more docile display tanks. Thank you for your quick response!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Sick puffer        5/20/15
Help!! I have a Sappa puffer and he is not well.
<Is this a Mappa Puffer (Arothron mappa,
a huge marine species) or an "SAP", more properly known as a South American Puffer (Colomesus asellus, a small freshwater species)?>
Breathing fast, not eating and not swimming for 4 weeks now.
<Usually environmental with puffers.
They are generally tough animals, a little prone to skin parasites (Whitespot and Costia, for example) as well as intestinal worms. But most mortality comes from environmental problems.
Some data (aquarium size, water quality, water chemistry) are essential.>
Checked all water levels and everything is fine.
<Says you. Please, tell me about the aquarium as mentioned above.>
Just to be safe, I treated the tank with copper
<Lethal to puffers.>

then Prazi pro
<Only treats worms.>
then MelaFix
then took him out and treated him with antibiotics.
<Why? Did you suspect a bacterial infection?>
Checked his mouth for parasites messaged his belly and tried to force feed him,
<Dangerous. Not required.>

nothing is working.
<Hmm... well, more like the actual problem is identified.>
Please help.
<Help us to help you: tell me about the aquarium size, filtration, water quality, water chemistry, diet, tankmates.
Cheers, Neale.>

Please help Two Puffer fish are dying... No data, using "fixes".... the high price of...     3/27/14
Hello, My tank water is fine and my salt is 1.020
<Mmm; with what?>

and being lowered more to help my fish. I had a Fu Manchu for 7 months he would not eat anything but live food. I would buy freshwater Ghost shrimp from our pet store and once in a while small fish. He started getting cloudy eyes off and one for a few months.
I was thinking its from a poor diet but I could not get him
to eat anything frozen. He would spit it out. Well two weeks ago he died.
He stop eating for a week and at the end he went crazy and died that
Now my Stars and Strips Puffer
<? How large a system is this?>
and Porcupine Puffer are getting sick. They
are the only other fish in the tank. They will still eat but but now I
to hold there food in front of them. Its not easy to get them to eat. I
added Stress Coat, Pimafix and Melafix.
<See WWM re; worthless>
Over all its like they are getting
sick. With something inside them. The sickest one is the Stars and Strips I
think because she has gotten a hold of the food that was for the Fu
Should add PraziPro? If so do I need to stop Pimafix or Melafix. I am
giving them Garlic and Vita-Chem.
Thank You For Your Help.
<.... need data; useful information. Let's have you read here:
and the linked files above. See the sorts of qualities, quantities of
info.? Bob Fenner>
Re: Please help Two Puffer fish are dying

Hello, My tank water is fine and my salt is 1.020
<Mmm; with what?> ? Do you mean tested with if so a *refractometer* and I
use Instant Ocean
and being lowered more to
help my fish.
<<....? See WWM re spg>>

I had a Fu Manchu for 7 months he would not eat anything
but live food. I would buy freshwater Ghost shrimp from our pet store and
once in a while small fish. He started getting cloudy eyes off and one for
a few months.
I was thinking its from a poor diet but I could not get him
to eat anything frozen. He would spit it out. Well two weeks ago he died.
He stop eating for a week and at the end he went crazy and died that
Now my Stars and Strips Puffer
<? How large a system is this?> 125 gallon
<<Too small... JUST read where you've been referred. B>>

running for a year, used dead
Marco rock, Had Porcupine since she was a half inch, she is one year old
and 3 inches. Stars and Strips had for 14 months, was 1.5 inch and is now
about 6 inch.
and Porcupine Puffer are getting sick. They,
are the only other fish in the tank. They will still eat but now I
to hold there food in front of them. Its not easy to get them to eat. I
added Stress Coat, Pimafix and Melafix.
<See WWM re; worthless>
I will stop using them.
Over all its like they are getting
sick. With something inside them. The sickest one is the Stars and Strips I
think because she has gotten a hold of the food that was for the Fu
Should add PraziPro? If so do I need to stop Pimafix or Melafix. I am
giving them Garlic and Vita-Chem.
Thank You For Your Help.
<.... need data; useful information. Let's have you read here:
and the linked files above. See the sorts of qualities, quantities of
info.? Bob Fenner> Thank You reading it now. I have never seen my puffer
act like this. I have rescued puffers from the Petstore that were sick.
Got them healthy. I have three tanks running and 6 puffer fish. :( I can't bare to loose these two :(

copper, use in quarantine, on/w/ puffers... Reading      2/11/12
Hi there, I was treating my quarantine tank with copper. I was reading wwm and there are tons of different doses as far as ppm goes. I have my tank at 0.25ppm. Is that alright or should i bump it up to 1.0ppm?
<... 0.2 to 0.35 free copper (cupric ion, CU++), no matter what source/type of product employed...>
 I do have a spiny box puffer in it. Thanks, Jim
<... I would NOT treat puffers (and quite a few other groups of fishes) thus. See, as in read, search on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

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

Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09
Hey WWM,
While I was changing the water for my tank, I took out
<W/o lifting it into the air I hope... i.e. underwater the whole time>
the porcupine puffer with a separate container for about 20 minutes while the transfer of salinated water was being made. When we put him back in, he had a strange lump on his back (imagine him partially inflated but only in this one spot beside his rear fin -> looks like a tumor).
<Might be...>
I thought he may have partially inflated due to the stress and then was in the process of deflating but that really doesn't seem to be the case because the lump hasn't subsided in the past hour. If this continues, what do you think caused this and what course of action should I take with the little guy?
<You might need to "burp it"... catch, hold the fish head up vertical and massage the air bubble forward. Search WWM re puffers, air entrapment. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09

Could the he require "burping" even if I didn't take it out of the water? I just scooped him up with a separate container when I took him out.
<Ah, not likely then... unless this fish "gulped air" at the surface (which does happen at times), this may be tumorous (also not uncommon). There is no direct treatment per se that is advised (some folks blanket medicate with antiprotozoals (e.g. Metronidazole) and/or Anthelminthics (e.g. Levamisole)... but I would search on WWM for "puffers, tumors" and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress 11/21/09

I'm not sure if it's a tumor, I mean the whole thing appeared within a span of an hour. I just attempted to burp him and he did release a few bubbles and the bump subsided ever so slightly but it remains. It's
difficult to massage the area because when I grab him my thumb is on his stomach and the bump is on his back. Will a puffer ever burp themselves?
<Yes... often best to be patient. In time (weeks) often such gas is absorbed. BobF>

Puffy skin on puff   2/17/09 Hi, I have noticed on quite a few occasions recently a disease which the puffer fishes skin looks bruised or sometimes lighter in color ( I would give more specific parameters but three of the instances are in different systems). The most recent is overnight the skin becomes bruised/necrotic starting from the mouth and slowly moving across its face to the tail. parameters for this particular instant are nitrate 20ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, ammonia 0 ppm, pH.. 8.2 salinity 1.023. <A picture would have been helpful, as would information on species and what they were fed. Spreading discolorations can be related to lethal Vibrio infections (bacterial) that need to be treated in a separate tank with antibiotics such as Maracyn Two (It's less likely the normal Maracyn would work, only worth a try if Maracyn Two fails). They can mostly be avoided by enriching the food with vitamins. Good luck. Marco.>

"Pufferfish Parasites" Update, beh. sore  12/07/08 Hello again, <Mmm... w/o the previous correspondence... we (there are several of us "here") can't tell whom you were chatting with before...> I'm not sure what to think now. In case you've forgotten, I have a puffer who had some unusual spots on his fin and forehead, which we determined were not ick. You said you thought the most likely cause was physical damage from the net or something similar. Anyway, the damage to the fin has slowly faded away, but one of the wounds on his head has gotten worse, and I know why. He is always pacing up and down in one corner of the tank, dragging his forehead (and thus the wound) against the glass, preventing healing from occurring. <Does happen... the pacing, rubbing behavior...> Something has to be stressing him out to cause this constant pacing. I mean, during the day I never see him rest. Ever. Usually he paces for at least part of the night too. It's not like he's pacing across the whole tank, either. He stays in one 12'' area of the tank going up and down. It's a 90g. <Too small a volume likely> Water parameters still seem fine (No ammonia/nitrite, sub 10 nitrate). I feed him a variety of frozen seafood including mussels, silversides and an occasional scallop. I've heard temperature can cause issues with puffers. During the day my tank runs about 78-9 and builds up to 82, and then drops back down at night. Is this a problem? <Mmm not likely... for what species?> The other inhabitant in the tank is a small volitans lionfish. If the puffer goes near the lion's cave he will get lashed at, but otherwise they get along. Also, per your advice, I've been administering Selcon and VitaChem in  their meals. I think it has been speeding up the healing, other than the head wound. <Good> Do you have any ideas as to what could be causing his pacing? <Could be a few things... one is "just" boredom... perhaps some "ditherfish" (small damsels, cardinals...) would help here... Another possibility is an internal reflection... that this animal is responding to... darkening a side panel usually stops this> I have tons of rockwork in the tank, lots of big enough caves, so it's not that he's without a hiding place. The wound on his head looks like a white circle about 1mm in diameter or so. Joe <Mmm, or... perhaps it's just the nervous temperament of this fish... I would not be overly concerned with a sore from rubbing of this size/type. Bob Fenner>
Re: "Pufferfish Parasites" Update 12/07/08
Bob, <Joe> Thanks for the response. The last person I spoke with was named Bob, so unless there is another one, it was probably you. <Heeeee! Am the only Bob here (as far as I know...), but have a diminishing memory...> I really doubt that the tank is too small. He's a young porcupine pufferfish, barely more than 3'' long currently. I know he'll need a larger tank in the future. <Ah, good> That's an interesting idea. I'll try fastening some construction paper along the sides of the tank so only the front panel is viewable. <This "behavioral phenomenon" is actually quite common too... Though we can't see the reflection from the inside (unless you stick your head in the tank!), many animals do see themselves, and act overtly> I also like the idea of adding some smaller fish. There is one yellow-tailed damsel in there now, which, surprisingly, has not been eaten by the lion. <Agree... but does happen> I think his mouth is a little too small still. But maybe I could pick up some more damsels, preferably larger ones. Would a clownfish serve a similar purpose? <It would indeed... again, if not consumed> I was interested in a tomato clown at the LFS... Thanks for the help. Joe <Thank you for the follow-up Joe. BobF>

Nematode in spiny pufferfish eye -Puffer with crypt and worms - 8-12-08 Hello Crew, <Evening, Mike here> I searched your site for similar cases, but came up with nothing. Here's the situation: My spiny pufferfish (Diablito) co-habited a 50-gallon tank with aValentine puffer (Bumblebee), a Chocolate Starfish (Chip) and two snails. <Cute name! The tank is a bit small...> Two or Three weeks after purchasing Diablito, he was attacked and covered completely by Ich and Bumblebee showed one or two spots. They were both quarantined to a 20 gallon tank to be administered daily water changes and treated with Kordon Rid Ich+. After 2 weeks, neither puffer is showing any signs of Ich. <If your display wasn't fishless for at least 4 weeks, you've basically accomplished nothing - the crypt is still there> However, four days ago, Diablito's left eye appeared to have the small white line curly Q'ed in it. Now it looks like an adult worm. (I have attached a photo) <Hmmm...> So far, I've treated with Jungle Labs Anti-Parasite Fish Food (Metonidazole (1.0%, Praziquantel (0.5%) and Levamisol (0.4%) and Jungle Fizz Tabs Parasite Treatment with Praziquantel. <Fish food isn't likely to help his eye, but will help rid him of internal parasites. Be sure to dissolve the 'fizz tablets' in a separate container of water first, or they will drop your pH like a rock! Seachem and Kordon make good anti-external parasite medication, you may try one of these brands if the Jungle product doesn't seem to be working> Am I on the right track? Do you have further suggestions and/or suggested time frame to continue administering above treatment? <You could freshwater dip the puffer, which would probably remove the external parasite(s). See our FAQs regarding. Also, you're going to need to eradicate the crypt from your main display - also in our FAQs> Thank you, <Anytime - also, please do visit/sign up at our forums: bb.wetwebmedia.com> Lisa <M. Maddox> Lisa Street <PS. I see you're living in Houston - lived there for a while before going to school. I miss the aquarium stores there!>

13-year-old Puffer swallowed air-won't burp -10/31/08 Hi, I have had my Dog Faced Puffer for 13 years. <Wow! Pretty good going there.> He is alone in his tank because he ate all his friends years ago. He has had more expensive dinners than I have. <Oh, I know this story! Many is the time my fish got seafood dinners, and I had to make do with a soup and salad.> Two days ago I noticed he was vertical, nose to the ground, but didn't seem to be in distress as far as breathing. He had a hard time swimming, but would still eat. He would wedge himself under coral to keep from floating back to the top of the tank. He has an air pocket on his side. I think he got it from the freeze dried shrimp my husband has been feeding him, I just discovered he didn't soak them. <In itself this "mistake" shouldn't have caused anything worse than perhaps constipation. I'm not a real big fan of freeze dried foods for a variety of reasons, not least of all that they're very poor value for money. But they can also cause constipation as they absorb water from the gut while softening, reducing the "flow" through the alimentary canal. Long term should fix itself pretty quickly.> I tried burping him last night and again this morning. Holding him under water, head up, massaging his stomach and gently shaking him. I did this for about 5 minutes each time. I saw only 3 small air bubbles come out of his mouth and he still has the bubble on his stomach, but it has moved up closer towards his throat. After I burp him, he swims to the top of the tank and expels water like a whale. <He's spitting out the water he sucked in while trying to inflate.> I wish he would puff up and expel the air with the water, but he won't. He isn't afraid and acts like he likes being burped. I don't think he will do that on his own because I have only ever seen him puff up twice in 13 years. <Quite so; healthy, happy puffers hardly ever puff up.> My questions are these: Am I burping him correctly? <Here's the thing: you aren't squeezing out air, the aim here is to force the puffer to suck in water. As the water goes into the "inflatable" pocket, it forces out the air. Now, the recommended method for this is to hold the puffer involves holding the puffer with one hand, with the head upwards. Use the other hand to rub the belly with one finger (as if tickling). What should happen is he puffs up, sucking in water. Once he puffs up completely, let him go, and with luck when he deflates the water will force out the air. It may (likely will) take a few minutes for him to deflate. Repeat if needed.> How long should I try to burp him before it stresses him? He doesn't seem to care how long I hold him, he just looks at me. His skin is getting scraped from it because of the gloves I wear (he bites). Should I give him meds for the scrapes? <Not just yet.> He has never had to be medicated before and I don't know what to buy. <Puffers can react badly to medications, so choose with care. I'd recommend antibiotics like Maracyn before anything based on copper or formalin. Melafix may be useful as a preventative, but it's value once infections set in is questionable.> Appx. how many bubbles should I be looking for or I am looking for the bubble to disappear? <No idea; it's a question of when he can swim properly.> How long should I attempt to burp him? <Do as described, and it should work first time.> Can this resolve itself? <In theory yes, but in practice may need help.> Will he die from this? <Potentially, yes, the air causes parts of the skin to dry out, and that allows infections to develop.> Thank you in advance for any help you may offer. Jana <Cheers, Neale.>

Puffer Problem 10/26/08 Hi guys, I am new to the site  <Welcome!> but m local professional aquarium installation and maintenance store sent me here. They specialize in huge salt water set ups in hospitals and casinos so the know there stuff. This one threw them for a loop and sent me here. I have a less than one year old dog face puffer who lives in a 72g tank with a juvenile snowflake moray, a juvenile Sailfin tang, a juvenile lunar wrasse, and a long spine urchin. Though I know the tank will be overstock in the future it isn't at the moment. <I'm glad to hear that you realize what this bioload will become shortly> The water conditions are within acceptable parameters, <It would really help greatly if you shared those parameters> the fish are fed jumbo Mysis, silversides, green seaweed, a formulated pellet, formula one frozen cubes and sometimes brine shrimp. <It would also help if you were a little more specific here. For example, are the brine shrimp frozen. If so, are they enriched? If they are not frozen, are they brine nauplii or are they adults? Additionally, > Now the problem with the puffer: I just noticed he has a perfectly round yellow ball inside his eye! What is this and how do I help him? <Unfortunately, the picture provided is blurry making a diagnosis quite challenging. Would it be possible for you to increase your shutter speed (with a tripod) and turn off the flash so there are no reflections from the retina?> His eye is not protruding at all so I doubt it is pop-eye. <POSSIBLY his eye is clearing up after being swollen or POSSIBLY his eye is getting ready to swell> His eye is crystal clear except for the yellow ball. It literally looks as if his lens popped through into his outer eye. There appears to be no physical damage, such as you would see from a fight. The marine biologists at my fish store are baffled. What do you think it is? <My suspicion would be a bacterial infection. However, there is no way to tell yet.> I will attach the picture though it isn't good at all cause he moves to much. I would appreciate any help. Thanks,
<<De Nada,
Sara M. and Curt S.>>

Sick dogface puffer 05/24/08 This week my dogface, for the first time in the two years that I have had it, would not eat. I thought it was odd, but I was not too concerned. Later in the same day, I was doing a routine water change when I found my Midas blenny dead with its midsection completely gone. I know that my dogface is the only fish in the tank that could have done this. I have to assume that the blenny was alive when this happened as the day before it was swimming and eating healthily. Anyway, by the next day (Tuesday) the puffer was beginning to nibble a little, but it looked constipated as there was a bulge near its anus. That night it passed a long 12" mucus looking strand which had what looked like thousands of eggs attached to it. <Mmm, might be eggs...> The broke off and littered the whole tank. I have no idea what that was all about. As of now the puffer has stopped eating again and has assumed the darkest color that I have ever seen on it. Assuming that it ate the blenny's midsection, in what way would this cause the loss of appetite and sluggishness on display at this point? <Mmm, not likely related... at least not very directly> It often eats more that what was missing off the blenny's body so could it be sick from what it digested? Any suggestions would be helpful as my water parameters are all perfect and this puffer was extremely vigorous and healthy up to this point. Thanks in advance for your advice. <I do think the puffer passed some reproductive material... and it will likely be fine... resume feeding in a few days. Puffers do indeed eat fishes they can catch. Bob Fenner> Greg Fasano

Puffer Problems and Overstocking 3-4-08 I have been looking on your website for two days and I got some information, but I was hoping if I tell you the story you might have a more clear answer. I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with about 120 pounds of live rock. I have 2 maroon clownfish 1 Sweetlips 1 lawn mower blenny 2 sharp nose puffers 3 green spotted puffers 1 yellow tang 1 anemone 1 Foxface 1 dogface puffer and lasting 1 porcupine puffer. <First things first 'This tanks is incredibly overstocked!! Half of this list would be more applicable. Second, you never ever want to combine anemones with puffers due to their curiosity and tendency to nip at things that spark their attention. One nip to an anemone can be the end of a puffer. > I just moved the tank last month and have had some trouble with the nitrate level since, as of today my levels were, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, ph 7.8 and nitrate 80. Off the charts almost. <Due to overstocking.> That being said, two days ago I introduced a new porcupine puffer into my tank. <Was he quarantined first?> It was smaller by about half. I noticed the new one was chasing my OG around the tank and I said I would give it overnight and if they were not getting along by then I would take it back. <Combining multiple species of puffers will most often lead to aggression. You have 4 different kinds here, so there are always going to be problems unless you remove some.> The next morning (yesterday) I found my OG puffer breathing very heavy at the bottom of the tank, he was not responsive to my touch or net. I removed him from the tank and put him in a bucket with a pump to get him more oxygen. This seemed to work as he perked up and started swimming and got his color back after about three hours I put him back into the main tank. That is when I noticed he was running into things, first he went to the top of the water line and gulping air, then calmed down but still is running into stuff, his eyes are moving around but he can't see. I put him in an iso net as I don't have a hospital tank right now. I am using Ich-attack and MelaFix right now and I have done a 30 gallon water change tonight. <Ich isn't his problem and medicating unnecessary will do more harm than good seeing as puffers was very sensitive to medications. I cannot stress enough about quarantining new fish before adding them into your main tank. New fish, especially porcupines carry parasites and other diseases that can harm or kill your other fish. You need to see about getting him into a quarantine tank a.s.a.p. Do 50% water changes in your main tank every other day for at least a week. I would see if a local LFS can take some of the fish out of your tank. I know it will be hard to part with your friends but if you do not lower the bio-load then they will surely perish. Your high nitrates are due to too much feeding and not enough water changes. The reason why the puffer responded positively when you removed him from that main tank is because it was like a breath of fresh air for him. Placing him back into the bad water caused him to go bad to feeling bad again. I think once you remedy this water and overstocking situation, things in your tank will be much better.> Please let me know how to help him he is my favorite fish. Thanks so much for your time. <You're welcome and good luck. ---Yunachin> Holly

Re: Puffer Problems and Overstocking Re: 3-9-08 I just wanted to give you an update. I continued to have nitrate problems so I took a water sample to my LFS. They checked it and everything was normal so my test kit was wrong. (I bought a new one) I also bought a nano tank where I placed my blind puffer. <Sounds great so far.> I started to treat him with copper; I removed him today and put him back into the main where I am treating them with Rally Ich med and Rally bacterial med. <<These are shams. RMF>> <He needs more than 4 days in a quarantine tank, probably a couple of weeks. Also why are you treating him/them with all of these multiple medications? Puffers are especially sensitive to copper and it can do more damage than help. Also medicating fish just because is never a good idea either. Again puffers are highly sensitive to medications and because these are 'scale-less' creatures most medications are not recommended for use on them in the first place. I would cease all of the medicating on the main tank immediately and do some large water changes. Check out this link for treatment on QT safely: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm;> My levels are all normal. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get him to eat? I use garlic and he was not interested but I think it was because of the copper. It's been a week since he's had food. <He is definitely going to be affected from the copper. I would read through the site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm; and work your way through the sections, feeding, disease, etc. There is lots of information there to help answer your questions.> Gizmo is still blind but I am hopeful. I don't want to have to put him down as he's totally fine other than his blindness. Please help. BTW all my fish in my tank are very small Gizmo is my largest fish at about 5 inches, also all my puffers have been getting along since day 1, I guess I was lucky. The new one I introduced was a problem so I took him back the day after I got him. <Here is the problem; there are too many fish in this tank. It doesn't matter what size they are now, they are going to grow, and most likely be stunted due to being forced to live in a cramped environment. Also there is going to be aggression, period. They may get along that you can see now but that will not be the case in the future. Again there are several species of puffer in this tank increasing the bio-load immensely. You are going to have problems with the health of these fish in the future and if kept in their current conditions, will dramatically shorten their life spans. Please reconsider taking some back to your LFS, or possibly getting another tank to split these fish up. > Thank you. <Good Luck---Yunachin>

Puffer Death 2/24/08 <Hi Christina, Pufferpunk here.> I'd just like to know if I did the right thing. My puffer had ick again, I put him in a hospital tank and was treating him but he wasn't getting better. <How did you treat it? Puffers are sensitive to meds & it can make them worse. Were you keeping a close eye on the parameters of the QT?> He wouldn't eat but even worse, his eyes were cloudy white. <That could have been from the parasite irritating his eyes or the meds burning them. Either way, Ich is fairly easy to treat with heat, (raising the temp to 86 degrees), salt (1tbsp/5g) & multiple, large water changes, to remove the free-swimming parasite. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/fwich/> I put him in ice/water in the freezer, then buried him. He couldn't have gotten better w/his eyes all clouded white like that could he? I had him for over 3 years, I feel bad. <He could very possibly have gotten better. As long as there is life, there is hope. I suggest next time you euthanize a fish, overdose it with clove oil first (found in the toothpaste isle of your local drug store, sold as toothache remedy). Then after the fish seems dead (about 15-30 minutes) you can freeze it. I hope you do better with your next puffer & sorry for your loss. ~PP> Christina Pacheco

Blue Spot Puffer Injury 1-27-08 Hi All, <Greetings! Yunachin here.> I have a 120 gallon tank with two HOT magnum 250 filters, one running active carbon the other is running the polishing filter and I also have two 70GPH power heads. My water parameters are as follows: ph 8.3, Nitrates .03, salinity .023, temp a stable 77F deg, ALK 2.0 <Did you test your nitrites?> Livestock: 2 Condylactis anemones, 1 Odonus trigger, 1 snowflake eel, 2 damsel fish, and last but not least a blue spotted puffer fish. The question and problem is 2 days ago I noticed my puffer had an abscess-like sore behind his gill. Over the last couple days it has only gotten worse. My wife had told me she saw the puffer grab a piece of krill out of an anemone and then he bolted out of it. Could this be a effect from getting stung from a anemone? <It is a very good possibility. Some stings can be deadly to puffers considering the lack of scales that puffers have compared to other fish.> I have since learned that the puffer and the anemones are terrible tank mates in which I will get rid of the Condi's. <I think that would probably be for the best.> For now I have the puffer in my QT tank and I am topically treating him as the LFS had told me to do so with Neosporin. Is this a correct treatment? <No no no! You need to stop this treatment immediately. I suggest getting some Melafix instead. Just follow the directions very carefully as Puffers are very sensitive creatures.> Should I send you some pictures of what the sore looks like? <No, this should be fine.> I just started treatment today on him so I think it's too early to tell if it is helping him. He is eating fine and not acting too strangely. <Please no more Neosporin!> I absolutely love this fish and I feel terrible I didn't know about the anemone conflict and I want to know if you think this could be the more than likely scenario? <I would find suitable homes for the anemones before you return the puffer to the tank. Keep me updated on the treatment of Melafix. I wish you luck. --Yunachin> Adam Little

Golden Puffer... Ridiculous errors in mistreating, no reading About a month ago I realized that my skimmer was not working properly for about 2 weeks. In that time a parasite developed on my fish. I have a golden puffer, imperator angel, two triggers, <Which species?> a clown, and some orange tangs. <?> I noticed a parasite on the angel and higher nitrites. <... how high?> I did a water change and treated with copper. <What type, amount? Not in the main tank I hope> after about a week the parasites seemed gone but my golden puffer stopped eating all together. <Typical... had you read...> Now it has been a month and still wont eat. He also seems to be running into rocks alot <No such word> almost as if he were blind. I have tried putting food near his mouth and he wont bite. Is it possible he will survive this? or do could he have gotten a parasite that caused blindness and complete loss of appetite? is there anything I can do? should I let him ride it out until he dies? or should I at some point euthanize him? thank you. Tom McCarthy <Please... follow directions... if you want our help, search before writing... Your answers are all posted... Start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Search on WWM re the species/family (Tetraodontidae), its Disease/Health, Copper Use... you've poisoned the fish, the system... Bob Fenner>

Lactoria loss residual effects... stressed puffers   12/19/07 We have just recently lost our longhorn cowfish in the middle of the night. The worst affected fish were our web burr fish and porcupine puffer. We immediately removed the puffs to our hospital tank. In our panic we did not realize that copper in high levels are very bad to puffers. Well we have been treating a hippo tang for Ich with copper. Then we did a 50% water change, changed and increased our charcoal media in the filter. Then I came to this site to get anymore info I could about getting rid of the toxin and saving everything. I then read that copper can be very bad for puffers if it is too strong. So then I gave them both a fresh water bath and put them in the newly cleaned tank. Now my burr is swimming with his tail in the air, so then I read that I could "burp" him to get any ingested air out of his stomach. <A note here for you and browsers... A good idea to NOT lift puffers into the air... to prevent their gulping it in> Got a huge bubble out and he did better but now is doing it again, so I tried again but no air this time. My porcupine just sits on the bottom and barely moves. Also both fish have a huge white area the showed up soon after the copper treatment. Is there any hope for these fish or should I end their suffering? Please help, I feel so terrible. Cic <Mmm, just time going by... I would place all the removed animals back in the main system if the copper has been removed, there is no longer Crypt to contend with... Bob Fenner>

Puffer... Crypt, med., stkg. mistakes  11/19/07 I have a puffer that is like a mappa...I sent in pictures and y'all gave me a few possibilities. ANYWAY I have it in a new tank around 2 months old and it developed Ich. due to stress ( a cryserus <Chrysurus? The angel?> and grouper issues) I took the grouper out an began treating the tank with Quick cure. <... a huge mistake. You put formalin in a main display?> The tank is a 120 with a doss skimmer and fluidized sand filter. it has live rock <Had> in it with the angel a wrasse and a Huma. The quick cure worked the ick spots have gone away <Uh, no> but the eyes are a bit cloudy and I am noticing that it is breathing a lot more with one side of his gills than the other a very noticeable difference.( like you can see in the gill of one and the other is almost closed) ITs appetite is still the same. I have a little ammonia spike going on in between a .00 an .25 and treating with AmQuel + any suggestions? <Yes...> We love this guy <Again... no, not by my definition of love... IF something is loved, one does their best to look after it for its sake... Not here> he is great and would hate to loose <... lose> him. Thanks Marcus <... you've poisoned your mis-stocked, over-crowded system... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptformcures.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: puffer 11/19/07 I understand that you are one of the leading fish experts in the country but you are assuming a lot of things and you know what assuming does. Where do you get my system is overstocked. I have a fluidized sand filter that is meant for a 300 gallons and very efficient protein skimmer not to mention a 57 watt sterilizer. Again ITs a fish only with Rock in it. I could care less about if its "alive" or not. WITH ONLY 4 fish in it. <... read re these animals natural habitats, size of system requirements... IS psychologically crowded now... Will be physiologically soon> Sorry you are having a bad morning but the reason for all my cluttered typing on the previous email is that due to me not loving my fish I read your website for 3 hours looking for something to help and it was really late for me. P.S. If I wanted a grammer <grammar> lesson I would asked Calfo (the educated one) for help. You do not have permission to publish any of my emails to you. <Live, and hopefully learn. BobF>

Puffer with lump -- 11/18/2007 Hey guys, <Hi Jason> I recently purchased a porcupine puffer last week, and have been getting some great info off of your website. After I acclimated my little 2" guy into a 55 gallon tank (soon to be a 120g), he seemed perfectly fine. The second and third day he had lost his appetite and started breathing fairly heavy. The staff at my local fish store suggested dropping the salinity, which I did over the next few days (from 1.025 to 1.012). <No need for hyposalinity here as long as no clear Whitespot infection occurs. Keep monitoring the water parameters and assure surface movement and skimming are sufficient to provide enough oxygen.> The salinity drop didn't help his breathing, but it did bring back his appetite in full force. <He needs to settle in. This can take a week.> After I woke up this morning, I noticed that he had a lump in his tail, just to the right of his back fin (approximately 1/2" in diameter and a few millimetres tall). It also appeared that his back fin was immobile, and he was floating tail-up/face down. <Some gas in his intestines.> I immediately though that he may have swallowed air during the night, so I attempted to burp him. After I submerged my hand in the tank, the bump went away, <'¦this confirms it's a gas bubble and no bacterial lump or tumor.> and he started swimming normally. After I removed my hand from the tank, the lump came back, and he started swimming tail up/face down again. Is he a little trickster or is that common? <This bubble is not common, but porcupine puffers with problems while settling in are more than common.> What else can I try to regulate his breathing? <Salinity should be 1.025 again. Provide enough oxygen by surface movement and skimming. Monitor pH, nitrites, ammonia, nitrates and act accordingly if endangering changes occur. If still necessary try to massage the gas bubble out of his rear end. Look for tiny white spots (marine velvet), salt like spots (marine white spot), cloudy eyes (secondary bacterial infection) and see WWM re.> (Here is my tank info: 55 Gallons, pH 8.2, Water Temp 78-80 degrees, Salinity 1.015, Ammonia/Nitrates/Nitrites 0, Diet: krill, brine shrimp, snails, <Should also add mussel flesh, clams and avoid to feed too much krill and brine shrimp. Add vitamins from time to time.> Tankmates: 1 striped damsel, 1 small red crab (both are really good about hiding from the puffer when he looks hungry!). Any suggestions? <See above and if you have not it read yet: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm and the linked files above.> Jason <Good luck. Marco.>

Bloated Puffer 7/5/07 Hi Guys, <Hi Chris, Pufferpunk here (I'm a gal).> I have been reading WWM for a few years now and found a ton of advice on this "obsession" of mine, but have never written, until now. <Aren't we all obsessed after a few years?> I have a 180 gallon FOWLR that includes a Blue Face Angel, Emperor Angel, Naso Tang, Hippo Tang, Porcupine Puffer and a Niger Trigger. All of the fish are at least 5" or bigger (in the case of the Angels). They have been happy in the tank for over 18 months and have not had any issues other than eat $1500 of my coral (hence the FOWLR he he). <Too bad...> My fish are literally pigs and will eat anything you put in the tank with them but the puffer will only eat frozen krill. <Really bad diet for a puffer. I have seen way too many incidents of puffers fed a main diet of krill, developing lockjaw & eventually starving to death. See here for better diet & methods of getting it to eat other foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/  > He has done this for the 3 years that I have had him and I feed him 1 time every other day or third day (basically feed him till he can't eat). <Letting a puffer gorge itself isn't good for him either. It results in a lot of non-digested food, causing a liver problems (fatty liver) & a polluted environment. Feed until a slightly rounded tummy.> He has been very normal till a day or two ago when I noticed that he was trying to poop and the Hippo tang was trying to eat the waste before it even came out (since it is pure krill). <Exactly> But at the same time, it wasn't allowing Puff to get out all his excess. He was picking so bad that when Puff tried to squeeze some out...the tang was attacking his "hole" and really aggravating the fish. <Poor puffer!> So I have been watching him and his belly is getting larger and hasn't eaten in 2 days. I am afraid that he is scared to poop now and will hold in the waste till it literally kills him. <It is possible but also it may just be constipated.> Have you seen or heard this before? Is there anything that I can do to help? <You could try to feed it vegetable matter, like peas or algae wafers (puffers usually won't eat these but some have). Otherwise, add Epsom salt, 1tbsp/5g. It would be best to quarantine the fish. This is one of the many reasons, it is suggested to keep a puffer in a tank by itself or with less aggressive tankmates it can't catch. ~PP> Sincerely, Chris
Re: Bloated Puffer 7/6/07
Hi PP, <Hey Chris> Thanks for the reply. I know that the krill only is not the best diet, so I actually tried silversides (didn't eat them) <Most puffers are not fish eaters.> and recently put in a cleaner crew of 100 Turbos and 100 blue-legged crabs. To my surprise he ate every single one! He would pick up the shell and crush them. So his diet isn't just krill really. <Yes puffers ware crustacean eaters & will generally eat your cleaner crews. This doesn't change the fact that up till now, his diet was mostly krill. He needs to get off that food immediately.> Is it possible that he ate something that he can't digest? Maybe ate one of the crab shells without crushing it first? <I really doubt it, since that is it's natural diet in the wild.> I read the link you sent and when he gets better I will definitely vary his diet. <I'd still try to offer him some veggies & see if he tries them.> Thanks for your help, <Of course! ~PP> Chris

Puffer with worms? Really worried!   1/23/07 Hey Crew! My Puffer, "Blinky" has been doing fine, great; hungry all the time.  Late this afternoon I noticed the front part of him puffed up (just like a bullfrog).  I thought he was mad because I hadn't yet fed him, but also noticed that he coughed a few times.  So I gave him a defrosted (washed off) tail of a shrimp with the shell still on (because I thought this would be good for keeping his teeth in check and he seems to enjoy it).  He ripped at it hungrily until the Clown fish stole it for her Anemone.  He followed over, and after many attempts of trying to get it back (with the clown head-butting him ever so often), he (the Puffer) coughed up two (what looked like pale orange worms followed by the shrimp meat; white in color and in chunks that I recognized as just having fed him).  Now I couldn't tell if the worm things were actually living worms because the other darn fish ate them so quickly I didn't have a chance to see them wriggle).  I became very nervous and just fed him some krill because I thought the shrimp shell might have upset his stomached.  He ate that happily.  but I am concerned about the wormy things and his puffing up. <Mmm, I would not be concerned re either at this point... the worms may well be just part of the shrimp you fed... and the puffing... just an expression of sorts> I am going to ready my 10 gallon hospital tank just in case advised to move him.  What percentage of new water to old water ratio should I be using? <... I'd move all to the new tank from the old> And if discerned that these wormy things are in fact worms ingested by the other fish should I now be treating the whole tank and just leave Blinky where he is? <... would depend on what these worms... if they are... actually were... Microscopic examination>   Everybody else seems fine (with the exception of the vomiting Puffer), but as you know that could all change in a matter of hours.  Have you ever see anything like this?  And is it bad when a Puffer "puffs up" and coughs?  Best advice appreciated.  Really worried, Please get back to me ASAP! Thanks so much for being there! Lisa <There are general Anthelminthics that can be utilized here (see WWM, the Net with this term and the word "aquarium"...) But I would not panic, move the puffer... if it is eating, all seems well otherwise... I'd just go forward as you have been. Bob Fenner>

 Treating SW Puffers with "Ich"  1/7/07 Hi, <Hi Adam, Pufferpunk here> I have 2 Pufferfish, they are about 3 inches and they recently got Ich. I plan on treating them in a 29 gallon tank. I am going to freshwater dip them before I put them in there. I was wondering what I should use to treat them in the quarantine tank. I have read about not treating them with copper, so I was curious if RidIch will work. <Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4576  ~PP> Thanks, Adam
Treating SW Puffers with "Ich"  1/4/07
Hello, <Hi Brenda, Pufferpunk here> I have tried to find my answers on your website but I need more instructions as I have tried a few things. I am fish sitting my sons puffer while he is on vacation. Before he left he thought his puffer had Ich, he quarantined him in a 15 gallon tank (he is usually in a 55) and treated with copper. <Copper is extremely toxic & can be deadly if used incorrectly.  Levels must be measured constantly.> After about three days he thought he noticed a small "burn" on his belly and so he put him back in the regular tank. <Copper> The Ich still seemed to be there. Spots all over, cloudy eyes, eating funny. Holding food in his mouth and blowing it out. Then we did a three day treatment of quick cure. Spots still there. Did a water change and a very brief fresh water dip. No change. The spots are small like salt shaker. Today I noticed his eye looks like a patch of skin is peeling off. Please tell me what to do next. <Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9 I'd also add Melafix to help heal the damage the meds have done to him.   I hope he gets better soon.  ~PP> Brenda

Treating Dogface Puffers with "Ich"  1/4/07 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have 2 dogface puffers and they recently got Ich. I added a Koran angel and I think that it has stressed them out. <Did you QT the angel before adding to the puffer tank?  That's where the "Ich" came from.> I was wondering if a 20 gallon quarantine tank would be big enough for them?  I have an extra heater and Emperor 400 filter that I was planning on using. Thanks for all your help. <It depends on how large your fish are.   Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4576 Also, please be sure you use proper capitalization & punctuation.  We have to correct this, before posting on our FAQs.  Thanks, PP>
Puffer With Nematode Worm  10/29/06
<Hi Beth, Pufferpunk here> First I want to say your site is full of wonderful info.   <Thanks!> I have a tank of 5 puffers.   <Really?  That's a lot of puffers in one tank.  What kind of puffers are they?> The water tested fine.   <Find doesn't help me much.  Posting numbers in a query is best.> One has a moving bump.  It started on one side of his head moved to his back and down towards his tail and now it  is back to the side of its  head again.  I am thinking this could be a plot for a horror movie.  This puffer appears to be doing well otherwise.  He eats and is active. He does spends more time resting on the bottom of the tank than the others but. Any thoughts you may have would be appreciated! <Sounds like a nematode worm.  Not much you can do.  If you try to kill the worm, then it rots in your puffer.  Some have done surgery.  It would depend on how large your puffer is, whether it would survive that.  A puffer can live quite some time with this worm under it's skin.  You may want to quarantine the puffer, since it's not really known if the worm could infect the others.  ~PP> Beth

-Puffers with Air?-  9/3/06 Hi Bob, <Justin with you this evening.> About a week ago the day after Tropical Storm Ernesto came through our city (Pompano Beach, FL) my boyfriend went to the beach to check out the waves. In the surf he found two very small and young puffer fish struggling in the water (of barely 1" high of water). He brought them home and put them in our 150 gal salt water tank. <Not always the best idea due to the diseases they might carry, but hard to resist trying to help.> The first couple of  nights we didn't think they were going to make it. They barely moved. They seem to be perfectly fine now - except for one very strange thing. During the day they stay at the bottom of the tank and barely swim. Kind of just swim here and there but prefer to perch themselves by the shells or corners of the tank. At night though they start to swim. I went out to look at the tank two nights ago and found one of them kind of floating up in a spiraling motion as if the current in the water was just making him float up. I thought he was dead and was just going to wait for him to float to the top so i could take him out. Well, as soon as he hit the top of the water he kind of jerked his body and started doing the same weird spiraling floating swim going down though. <Sounds like an air pocket is in its stomach, and or whirling disease.  Id lean toward the air pocket in the stomach first,  which they should be able to clear, but if they are struggling to swim, you can gently cup then head up, and they should puff and release air.  If they continue to swim erratically, and or air does not escape doing that, it is best to simply return them to the sea.  They might have been severely traumatized in the waves from Ernesto and being pounded around, but they also might be suffering from what I call salinity shock, which is being taken from the ocean at an unknown salinity level, and put into your tank without being acclimated enough, and their bodies cannot handle it.  You cannot do much at this point to help that other than to leave them alone and see if they recover.> He kept doing this for about 10 minutes. Then he kind of just ended up at the bottom swam over to the shell he likes to hang by and just laid there??? What was that? Well, last night i went to go check and see if he would do it again and he wasn't doing it but the other small puffer he got at the beach that day was doing the very same thing. We've had other puffers in the past in this tank and never ever have seen any fish do anything this strange. Our water is perfect though, we had it tested. And other than that strange trance like swimming that they do they seem fine. Can you please tell us what this could possibly be? I could probably video tape it on my phone and email it to you if you are interested in seeing this. Hope to hear back from you soon! Thanks, Carolina <Hope they pull through, but I would watch them closely and probably bring them back to the ocean.  Good luck and hope they pull through for you.  Try pufferresources.net and thepufferlist.com for identifying info on the puffer for further help.> <Justin>

Sick Dog Face Puffer   8/29/06 Hi, my name is Beth, my husband and I have a dog face puffer, and  I think he's really sick; but I don't know what the problem is. <Hi Beth, you have Justin with you tonight, one of the resident puffer people.> None of the two local fish stores that we go to can tell us whats wrong they just suggest to do water changes.  We have.  We have had  Pudge for about eight months with nothing else but a crab. Please Help Me!!!  I am really sorry if you have already answered a question like this, but I've done tons of research on your website and can't find any answers.  About ten days ago Pudge stopped eating and swimming on the third day I noticed he was breathing very heavy his left gill was opening very wide and when he did swim not aggressively at all he would bmp into the live rock and the glass as if he didn't even see it. <Signs of poor water quality generally> We did a water change and added bio-Spira that night at about 10:00 he was laying on his side and getting all these brown spots on him I thought he was dying.  With no suggestion from the fish store as a last resort  I told my husband to put the medication Rally in his tank, within 20 min. the spots were gone , the next day his breathing improved, the following day he was swimming around again still with no signs of hunger. <Brown spots?  can you get a photo?  do you mean that the puffer was turning blotchy, or that he was actually covered in small black/brown dots?>  The day before yesterday I noticed what seems to be mucus coming out of his mouth and his one left gill. Still not eating.  Yesterday I tried force feeding him but he wouldn't take it.  Today he just seems to be in the same position he was ten days ago.  This morning I put some more medication in but it doesn't seem to be working he is breathing heavy again with no energy at all. He is very dark brown but when I go over to the tank it seems that he is trying to turn that grayish white color he normally is but cant and he gets these white spots all over him almost like a leopard.  I don't know what to do I feel helpless. I hope you can help me.     Thank you so much for your time.           Beth <Beth, without knowing key things about your setup such as tank size, size of the puffer, water parameters (Take your water to be tested or if you have a test kit, use it  and reply back), and what type of blotches you are seeing, it is hard to tell you anything you can do.  your LFS is right that water changes (50%) will be very helpful, but Im concerned with the adding medicine and spots disappearing, that sounds like black spot disease or black Ich, which is a parasite.  If it is black Ich, (small black spots all over the body/gills) fresh water dipping and gravel vacuuming your entire tank will help remove most of them, however please read on WWM about black spot disease to get a better feel for if that is what is actually happening.  At this point do the water changes, and try adding garlic juice to the puffers food to entice it to eat.  Answer the questions above and reply back and we can go from there.> <Justin>
Re: Sick Dog Face Puffer. Justin was right, bunk env.   8/29/06
The puffer is about 5-6 inches..   he is in a 30 gallon tank <Too small... unstable> and I have a 70 gallon aqua clear filter running.   I also have a powerhead.  the nitrates are really high <Also...> when the water was tested.   I did a water change but the nitrates are still very high.  He is breathing very heavy and has white blotches all over him not salt looking though. <"Fix the environment, cure the fish". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Dog Face Puffer
  8/30/06 Hi Justin, <Beth> I believe my husband just e-mailed you back regarding tank size ect.  I'm not to knowledgeable about fish my husband is more the fish type than I am, but I do love my little pudge.  I have tried soaking his food in garlic and still nothing.  The spots I'm seeing literally look like he's trying to change to that grayish white color, but instead of fully changing color he gets these white spots.  How  else can I make him eat I'm really concerned that he has gone this long w/o food.  I know that's not the key problem but I feel if I can get food in him it will build his strength and immune system. I feel like I need to do something immediately but  I don't know what.  I really hope you can help me Justin.  Thank you so much!! <I have not seen any email from him yet, until I do there isn't much more I can tell you. Please see if he can resend it or if another crew member tackled his email> <Justin>

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

Puffer vomit... Little useful info.   8/3/06 Could you please tell me some possible reasons why my puffer threw up 3 chunks within a 10 min. period? <Something not right... chemically, environmentally, psychologically... many possibilities within these broad categories>   The first 2 times it looked like  frozen cubed food ( I had not fed him this day!). <What species, size... how long have you had...?> The last one looked like soft tissue, clear & white.  He also hunched his back the last time and  looked like he was going to puff, then after his little fit he swam away &  he otherwise looks great.  this can't be normal-I've had PuffPuffPass 14  months and I've never seen this.    thanks for your time--you  guys/gals rock !!! <... More info. please... FW? SW? Water quality, set-up, history, tank-mates... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer and burping   7/11/06 Please, Please, Please help!  I have been searching on your site on how to burp a puffer.  Mine has an air pocket in the left back area.  When I put on my marine gloves and grab him to try to burp him he immediately puffs up.  Impossible for me to burp him when he is a huge spiny ball, there is no give.  Any suggestions....please, I am very concerned.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. <<Please don't stress too much!  Here you go: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html.  Hope that helps. Lisa.>>   Sincerely        Naomi Patton

Pirate Fish... SW puffer, Tang with bad eye   7/6/06 Hi, <Howdy> I have a puffer that hurt one of his eyes a few weeks ago. <One? Not bilateral... likely consequent from a physical trauma... but...> The eye was cloudy and puffy for a while, but has since grown back to normal size.  The hurt eye appears mostly normal except that it is black and doesn't have the blue sparkle that puffers usually have.  Is this eye blind? <Possibly> Will the blue ever return? <Mmm, doubtful, though a small possibility> Also, I have a powder blue tang in the same tank. I noticed today that one of his eyes looks damaged.   It looks like it has been scratched.  Is there anything I can do to help him heal, other than ensuring low stress and good water quality? <Mmm, not really much more than this latter> Finally, any idea as to what could be hurting my fish's eyes?  The tank stocking list is:  Black Volitans Lion 6", Humu 4", Foxface 5", Porcupine Puffer 4",  Powder Blue Tang 5", Klunzinger's Wrasse 6", and  a 5" Sailfin Tang.   <A "rough and tumble" mix for sure...> The most recent fish was the Powder blue, added about 5 months ago. All of the fish get along fine, at least when I'm around.  Never any nipping at each other.  The tank is 210 gallons, and has a good mix of swimming room and hiding spaces.  I have about 100 pounds of Fiji and Tonga ridge rock (The rest it in the fuge), and 2 large artificial corals. Should I rearrange the tank to prevent injuries?  Or do these things just happen from time to time?  Should I buy eye patches and peg legs for the fish? <Heeeee! All joking aside (but not too far), this volume of water, amount of rock should be fine... It reads like these were just two unfortunate "run ins" here. I would supplement these animals foods with vitamin adjuncts, keep metabolites low, and hope for recoveries. Bob Fenner> Was Pirate Fish, now sand stirrers!   7/7/06 Thanks for the info.  I have another quick question regarding this tank. What can I put in to stir up the sand a bit?  Are there any inverts that could last with this crew? <Not likely>    Or is there a good fish that will help? <Mmm, got's to get you in training for using the search tool, indices... My fave choice would be a good-sized Mullid... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsiftfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Overstocked FOWLR System, continued Part 3 Hi Leslie, <Hi there> Ok , now I have my puffer eating. <Wow that was quick! Great news!> A new problem has visited my poor guy now. Saturday morning I turned on the light and saw a white spot on the top of his body by his head. NOT ICH! It is more like someone stamped him with white paint. Say you take the end of a Bic pen , dab it in white paint then stamp it on the fish. (good visual going?)  It didn't change in size or shape etc. for a couple days and today, T or bacterial diseaseuesday, he has a couple more of these white spots. They are very flat somewhat like the way coralline algae looks when it grows on the aquarium glass. He acts fine, eating , swimming. I have made up my own theory because no one seems to have heard of such a thing. I think he went so long on a no eating strike that he has a deficiency of some sort, possibly iodine . No one else in the tank has them,  just him. Please let me know what this could be. Someone must have encountered this besides me!!!! <Remote diagnosis of disease is difficult. Some possibilities include: Lymphocystis, which is a viral disease but this usually shows up at the base of fins. It often responds to good nutrition and good water quality; loss of slime coat due to injury, perhaps against a power head intake; or a bacterial infection. Please take a look at the following article and FAQs for more info Infectious Diseases of Marine Livestock here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm > Thanks in advance "Polka dot Puffer' <Hope this helps, Leslie>

Puffer with air bubble, more info please - 5/25/2006 I have a puffer that has had an air bubble on the top back portion of its body. This problem is in its third week. I have no idea what to do any help would be appreciated. <<Not enough information provided.  Please list species, SG, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, tank size, tank mates, water change size and frequency, feeding schedule, anything new added, and if possible, a picture.  Is it on the surface, or deep inside the body? With more info I'll be glad to help. Lisa.>>

Spiny Box Puffer with Ich - 5/17/2006 What is the best way to treat a Spiny Box Puffer that has Ich?  It is currently in a quarantine tank. <<Read here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9. >> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Diodon nicthemerus with an air bubble - 5/8/2006 Hi guys, good morning from the U.K. <<Good morning from Canada!>> After doing some searching, I still seem to have a couple of things that need my attention A.S.A.P. On Saturday I purchased a young puffer, about 4" long from a local LFS.  Before I could stop the genius bagging the fish for me, he lifted it out of the water in the net, 5 seconds to get the top of the bag open, and then dropped it in. It was obviously stressed and puffed up; on going into the bag it expelled a large amount of air. <<That's no good.>> After introducing the poor creature to my tank, I noticed an air bubble, about 1/4" diameter, at the joint of his body and tail fin. I posted in the forum to try and find out whether there was anything I could do, or whether just to watch and wait, but received no replies. Don't shoot me, but my first thought was to puncture the bubble to release the air if it was causing distress. <<Bad idea!  Please read here on expelling the air bubble: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html. >> When introduced, the fish was almost looking as if it was bleached it was so pale, but has since regained some color. At this time, it is staying in the corner during lighting times, and cruising after lights out, I have tried to feed with shrimp etc, but he seems to have no interest. Flake seemed to inspire him a little, but I realize this is not going to do anything to improve him, I'm guessing that that was all he was fed in the store. <<Likely.  Read here on feeding: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html.>> Your thoughts would be hugely appreciated, the feeding is not bothering me to much at the moment, he is just settling in, so that I will just keep an eye on, my main worry is the air bubble. <<Read linked articles.  If this is indeed a Diodon nicthemerus you have, be aware that they grow to 24 inches in length, and will require a system in the hundreds of gallons.>> Thank you all in advance, Mike <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Crypt...urgent _ seriously  - 4/24/2006 Good Morning <Still> I have been reading Ich and puffer FAQs for the last 7 hours. I think I have the groundwork covered.  I had a small outbreak about a year or so ago and came out with no losses. That was party a result of very diligent dips etc but a lot of luck too: You've heard this story a thousand times but yeah, <Likely more> I used CopperSafe on the advice of LFS guy and my 2 puffers and 1 trigger made it. And that was in my display   tank - even all of the hermits survived. The live rock is back now. but that took forever. I'll chalk that up to luck. These fish have been there before and after looking at some risk management, they (some our fish are going   on three years old) have decided copper is an unacceptable risk. I would love a response this morning. Here are the details - '¢ 180g + 50g sump. '¢ A few damsels '¢ Small Heniochus pair '¢  S&S Puffer 9" (This is his tank of course) '¢  Tiny dogface puffer '¢  Small flame angel '¢  4" humahuma '¢ 2 small yellow tangs '¢  mediumish snowflake moray '¢  lots of crabs and liverock My wife spotted an Ich outbreak this morning, so at least we have the head start. I'm pretty shocked at how quickly it manifested though;   <Mmm, has been there all this time... just some trigger... not the fish.> this wasn't here on Friday evening. This is the early stage, everyone is behaving normally but I know I need to move quick. Both puffers have light spotting on fins - same for both Henis. Damsels are all clear. The angel and the trigger already have body spots. I bought a good hospital setup after I found out today. 55 gal generic with decent hardware. <... not so sure all these fishes will go/get along here> I have a good understanding of hyposalinity and temp etc. We are pretty good dippers too. I really just want to know what   product to pick up..? <?> I'm thinking no copper,  no malachite green, Methylene blue is a maybe but Formalin at 37% is a good idea. Yes? No? <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked files above...> I need to start this now, advice would be appreciated beyond words.   I'm scared for there guys. <More knowledge will lessen to almost completely diminish your fear> Cheers, Christopher <Bob Fenner>
Re: urgent _ seriously ... Crypt - 04/24/2006
Thank you for your quick reply but  I'm confused I have re-read the formalin page; is this a cautious endorsement? <Perhaps> I guess to distill my question to it's essence: I would like to know specifically which product would be best to start treatment now;   Methylene, formail or something else? Thanks in advance, c. Christopher Roberts <My friend... this is posted over and over on our site... with cautionary remarks as you suggest here. I would not use formalin/formaldehyde... or formail... I would use a minimum concentration (due to the puffers mainly) of a chelated copper commercial product here... with twice daily testing with a matched test kit... Read on first! Bob Fenner>
Re: urgent _ seriously... Crypt  - 04/24/2006
Thank you Bob <Welcome> I appreciate your directness. Do realize that many many WetWeb crew posts here absolutely forbid the use of copper with puffers (in ALL CAPS)- period. <Yes... am fully aware of some others opinions here (have placed almost all materials on WWM... over the last decade)... My opinion, experience varies you might say> But yes, I was aware that you are a proponent of it. <Oh! Good> I am out the door to pick up a good copper test kit in a moment. Please advise a suggested dosage.   1 ppm, monitored 2x daily over a 2 week period? <... no... posted on WWM for all's review though> Many Thanks. *Hopefully I won't write you again until I just drop a brief Thank  You that all my guys are flourishing. Cheers, c. <Write away. Just do please search and read first. Bob Fenner>

Blind Black Puffer Dear Wet web media I have a black puffer that recently had ick. His eyes were very very cloudy. I cured his ick but when his eyes healed they didn't have pupils. Is he going to be blind forever? Can fish be blinded by cloudy eyes? <Likely yes and yes. Bob Fenner>

SW Puffer Systems/ Possible Disease - 3/24/2006 Hi Crew Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. <<I will try.>> I have kept a large dog faced puffer (now 11 inches long) in a 100 gallon (UK) tank for five years, after spending hours and hours reading your site I decided to introduce live rock about a week ago.  The water parameters are: Nh3  0 ppm No2  0.1 ppm <<Should always be Zero.>> No3  30-40ppm  10% water changes per week required! <<Puffers are very sensitive to such things.  I do 50% weekly changes on my puffer tanks.>> Ph     8.3-8.4 alk 12dkh ca  370 phosphate 0.1 silicate    0 temp 78 - 80 s.g 1.022 The tank has a bare bottom, now with live rock, huge circulation (60X per hour) and an AquaC Remora pro skimmer imported from America - on your site's recommendation.  I am very pleased with it <<As am I, with mine :).>> Also 2 large Eheim 2028 externals.  I supplemented the calcium when I introduced the live rock with Tropic Marin Bio Calcium, because the reading was 310 and I would like to give the rock a chance to grow corallines. <<Ok.  Be sure not to push it too high.>> I noticed 2 days after introducing the rock and dosing the calcium, that he has large white markings in his fins, they are not like spots more like splodges (hope that is a relevant term!!) <<I'm not sure it is a term at all! :)>> and they don't seem to protrude from his fins more like they are in the fins themselves, the marks are about 2mm in length and he has 5 of them in total. He had a case of Ich about 4 years ago when I introduced a Tang, I feel that this does not look like the same thing as they are much bigger and don't look as if they protrude, also in the past he has had one of these marks on his fins which came to nothing.  To confuse matters more, he has also lost a little of the colour in his tail fin, he has however, recently taken to resting his tail on the Tunze stream pump, because this has now become the new area where he rests after I introduced the rock.  This has left me thinking is this a parasite from the live rock (well cured),  or could it be explained away with his tail on the pump- and dosing of the calcium somehow affecting his fins. <<I think you may have had some die-off in the rock, hence the nitrite reading.  I wouldn't blame the pump, or the calcium for his marks.  This could be little more than a small display of stress.>> I am resisting the urge to panic (although it is building!! ) because his behavior is normal, no scratching or labored breathing, and as I have mentioned I feel sure he has had a similar mark before. Any ideas you have would be appreciated. <<Increase the volume of your water changes, and keep an eye out for changing behaviour.>> Thank you for your advice past and present. Dave Squire (England) <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

Air bubble in Puffer - 3/6/2006 WWM, <<Rip>> My puffer looks as if he as swallowed air. He has been in the tank for months, feeding well and has not been removed.  I have not seen him inflated.  He has trouble swimming. What appears to be a large air bubble in the rear abdomen area is protruding, and he is swimming with a head down, tilted on his side.  What can I do? Thank You Rip <<Read at ThePufferForum, here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html.  While you're there, search to find out how to best care for your puffer.  What species are you keeping? Lisa.>>

Puffer Tooth Loss 2/28/2006 I have a blue spotted puffer with a tooth problem.  We have had 'puffet" for about 1 1/2 yrs.  Great eater, one of the best fish we have ever had.  Our problem is that she has lost one of her teeth. <<Aww>> The local fish stores that carry these fish have never heard of this.  They have heard of the teeth chipping away but never falling out.  Before the tooth fell out she had not been eating very much and really not very social.  Now that the tooth fell out she is almost 100% again, the eating is not what it use to be but at least she is eating.  What do you make of this?  We would love to know if anyone else has had this happen! <<I have seen this happen a few times.  So long as feeding is not affected, housing and water quality is up to par, and it is not a result of physical trauma, I would not worry too much.  Keep an eye on her to ensure no infection sets in, and that she is eating.  Also pay close attention to her other teeth, as they may over grow with this tooth missing.  Good luck. Lisa.>>

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

Porcupine Puffer Trouble - 2/20/2006 Greetings. <<Hi Dan.>> I have a 6-year-old porcupine puffer who is about 10 inches head-to-tail and lives in a 55 gallon tank. <<That's too bad.  At 6-years-old your puffer should be 18', and in a 125 gallon tank.>> As of the last few months, his desire and ability to eat has diminished greatly.  Over the years, I've fed him a steady diet of frozen krill and frozen silversides, with an occasional helping of romaine lettuce, which he used to love. <<Good as a treat perhaps, but poor nutritionally.>> He no longer touches frozen krill, and only on "good" days will swallow a piece frozen silverside.  Mostly, he now eats floating dried krill, but still with difficulty. Part of the problem, I think, is that he can't close his jaw. It's always open. When he sucks in a piece, he'll usually spit it back out and try again until he finally holds it down.  Based on what I've read on your site so far, it sounds like he either has nutritionally induced lockjaw or overgrown teeth, but I can't really tell. <<Can you see his teeth/beak all the time? I find your pics hard to make out.  Is he getting food down?  You should try mussels, Clams, cockles, crabs legs.  If he is eating at all, you have a chance to reverse any damage a poor diet may have caused. Soak the foods in garlic to stimulate his appetite, and a good supplement like Selcon, Vita-chem, or both.  What's your water quality like? Number readings would be very helpful here.>> Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! <<As above.  Most of all your puffer needs a bigger tank.  Please get back to me! Lisa.>> Regards, Dan

Puffers and copper  2/6/06 It says on your site not to ever treat puffers with copper. <Some folks say...>   I had my  tank at better than 1.5ppm (CopperSafe) for 3 months and my map and dogface are  no worse for the wear as far as I can tell.  I just bought a starry puffer  who was doing great the first day but now seems a little lethargic and not eager to eat.  My copper level is at 1.0 (less than a true therapeutic dose) but  I'm concerned that it may be effecting his health. <... sub-therapeutic doses do more harm than good> I'm going to get all  the copper out of my tank once I get a golden puffer but I don't want to invite another Ich infection before that.  Your input would be appreciated.   Greg <Quarantine, don't crowd... Bob Fenner>
Re: puffers and copper... poor water quality  2/6/06
Also, My starry puffer's skin is pealing off.  I have a 400  gallon tank with: PH-8.3 nitrite 0 ammonia 0 nitrate -80 (I can't seem to keep this under control) Thanks, Greg <The nitrate and what it indicates (other metabolite accumulation) are your root problem here. Fix... see WWM re Nitrates... Bob Fenner>
Re: puffers and copper   2/8/06 I put the fish in another tank with <20ppm nitrate and after one day it  is doing much better.  I know that at one time I had that tank at between   300-400ppm nitrate and all the fish (including two puffers) were thriving.   <There is more to the situation than: high nitrates bad, low nitrates good... Please see WWM...> weird.  I've come to the conclusion that if you acclimate them slowly to a  high nitrate situation they will do fine but if you take sensitive a fish out of  the ocean that is used to zero nitrates and put it in a polluted tank it will suffer from nitrate poisoning. <Yes, well put. In general, this is so> Unfortunately, I had to lose a beautiful  golden puffer before I realized this.   <Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner>

-Possible Isopod issues-   1/20/06 Hello all! <Hello, Justin with you this evening.> First of all, THANK YOU so very much for your amazing site!  It is such a wealth of fantastic information, and is truly (in my humble opinion) the best wet-pet resource on the web! <Well its all due to many people who help, and the crew here. Ill pass your thanks on to Bob.> I currently maintain a 120G fish-only tank.  In addition to the 3" puffer (Diodon holocanthus), there is also a 4" angel (Pomacanthus imperator), 4" lion (Pterois volitans) and a couple of small (1-1.5") damsels.  Salinity - 1.021, Temp - 80*F, Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0; Nitrates - 5ppm. <An interesting mix, have you seen any aggression out of the Lionfish?  most of the time puffers, and lions may squabble, much to the lions detriment when the puffer breaks off spins or nips fins.  do keep an eye out for long term issues.  You also will probably need a bit bigger tank long term for these guys as all the fish get to 15" + other than the damsels.> A couple of days ago, I noticed a small white spot medial to my puffer's left eye.  The spot does not look like Oodinium or ick, but is rather large (2-3mm) and flat.  This morning, I noticed two more ventral spots... also 2-3mm each, flat, and completely circular!  They do not look like any sort of parasite that I know of, and it seems very strange to acquire trauma with those manifestations.  Also, the spots are bright solid white, and almost appear "indented" into the skin.  What on earth could this be? <The indented part seems very odd, as most parasites are bulges outward or bumps. It may be an isopod of some sort that has decided to attach on. they can be fairly easily treated in hypo salinity dips or by using a anti parasite medicine in a hospital tank for a few days.  However, From what you are saying it is hard to give you a definite answer on it.  Can you maybe send in a good photo of the area in question.  It would be much more helpful in identifying the culprit if one exists.  Also herding the puffer into a container and gently rubbing the area to see if it comes off or is an actual indentation may save you further headache here.  My puffer enjoys digging up substrate (I have sand) and little pieces get stuck in the spines and look very odd and are a similar size to what you are saying.  Also mine enjoys playing in the sump return pipe and getting micro bubbles all over him as well.  It could be a benign item like that.> His attitude is perky as always, and he is eating great!  I am at a loss on this one... any ideas? <You have me a bit stumped as well on this, but Id check the basics first, and a gentle rubbing of your finger on the area may reveal a simple answer to your concern.  Try watching it for now and see if any more appear or if they disappear all together. I will forward this to Bob for some further ideas.  If you can grab a photograph of the area and send it in as I said above, it may be much more telling.> Thanks in advance for everything! Christine <Thank you for being clear, and including everything tank wise I needed to know to focus on the issue.  Hope we can figure this out.> <Justin (Jager)>  

Poor Planning/Husbandry and Puffer Health - 12/13/2005 Hello - <Hi Francesca.> I noticed very recently that my Porcupine Puffer has been gasping/ labored breathing and stays around the top, as if 1) there's too much ammonia or not enough oxygen in tank or 2) some parasitic problem, maybe gill flukes? <This doesn't bode well for your tank. Has your Puffer been puffing at all (or ever). They are usually very good first indicators of poor conditions.> Just for background, I have a 30 gallon tank with a Clown, the Puffer, small Damsel and Yellow Tang. <This demonstrates extremely poor planning or a lack there of. Neither the Puffer nor the Tang are suitable here. They should both be removed to larger systems. This inappropriate stocking is a good part of your problem. Both will have stunted growth and die prematurely if they remain. The choice however is ultimately yours.> The Puffer's about 4 inches. I checked water conditions, Ph, <pH> ammonia of course, etc, and everything's fine. <I can draw no such conclusion here.> I like keeping my salinity level lower (not a reef tank) at 1.020, also hear it's good for preventing Ich supposedly, not sure? <Do read up on hyposalinity on our site for more info.> They seem fine though. <Obviously not.> Just did a water change too. I do these every 2-3 weeks, about 20% or so. <Being this overstocked you should be doing these much more frequently. Skimmer?> Every week I put in calcium supplements to maintain Ph (in particular Kalkwasser mix, and All in One Salifert). <Do you know what your doing with these? How much calcium is lost in your tank weekly? If not testing/regulating accordingly, please stop. Increase water change frequency.> I'm usually <Usually!?> careful pouring the Kalkwasser mixed with freshwater in it (I hear you're supposed to pour in slowly), <Only go on what you know and understand thoroughly. Going on what you've heard can be deadly and doesn't often apply in such cases.> but last week I may have poured it in too fast and 'burned' a bit of the puffer tail fringes. I'm wondering whether I may have slightly affected his gills too, thus the labored breathing. <Do you know the effects of a sudden pH spike? The effect it would have on any measurable amount of ammonia?> But that was last Thursday and it's already Monday. Or is it gill flukes? I hear that's hard to diagnose. <I doubt it's more than inappropriate care.> What should I do? I love this guy - his name's Piggy (aptly named of course). Great personality, good color and weight (not too fat). Even though he's acting like this, he still eats like a pig and is relatively active when I'm ready to feed him. <You'll need to start frequent water changes (at least weekly), study more on additives and their use/need and either buy a larger (100 gal. at least) system for these or adopt them out.> Thanks for your help, sorry email so long! I'm just at a loss what to do. <I know this was not at all what you wanted to hear and understand your attachment to your livestock. You must however consider what is best for them and how to best help them here. Just think how it would feel to constantly try harder (which can also hurt things if misapplied) only to watch them fade and slowly waste away (or become brain damaged, neurotic, Etc.). Besides, a little well intentioned "tough love" is what we all need sometimes.> Francesca <Josh>

Puffer's Nose Has Been 'Bitten' Off  12/13/05 Hey WWM Crew! <Neil> It seems like every couple of months I find a new reason to ask you guys a question.  Don't know what I would do without WWM! <Me neither... but I like to consider what I might do with all the extra time...> You might remember my last question.  I was the gentleman that had purchased a Humu Humu trigger that, strangely enough, caused my Blue Hippo Tang to start attacking my Porcupine Puffer.   <Displaced aggression... happens> Well, I followed your advice and the Blue Tang came out and got her own tank for a couple of months.  Problem was that every time I put her back in, she would start up with the tail nipping again.  Finally, I decided that the Trigger must go - which, might I add, was no small task.  I eventually ended up taking a whole piece of live rock to the LFS and waiting for them to call when he had decided to come out - six hours later! <Persistence pays> Once the Trigger was gone, I rearranged the live rock and put the Blue Tang back in, and all was peaceful.  I even discovered a few crabs and snails that had been in hiding!   <Neat> Now, here's my latest issue.  I feed a mixture (blender and some tank water to mix it) of tilapia filets, jumbo shrimp, cocktail shrimp (left mostly whole), mussels (sp?), real crab meat if I can get it, and Nori.  After blended, I put the nasty mix into a large Ziploc storage bad and spread it thin on a cookie sheet, which is then placed in the freezer. <Good technique> My puffer will grab the frozen hunk and, while trying to gulp it down, keep it partially sticking out of his mouth.   The other fish, naturally, are not deterred and go right ahead and eat off of the other end of the hunk. <Better to make two or more "sub-hunk" pieces>   Some days ago (5?) I noticed that the very tip of Puffy's nose (really the upper lip area that somewhat extends onto his face) had been bitten off.  I did not see it happen, so I can only assume that this is what happened.  Since then, his nose has progressively disappeared.  At this point, the wound area, where his flesh is exposed, is slightly larger than a hole punch.  I am curious, have you ever heard of such a thing? <Yes, have seen> Is it likely that the Tang has switched ends - from nipping his fin, to nipping his face?   <Maybe> Or, and this is my suspicion, did he likely get a small wound, and the 'begging act' of dragging his face across the acrylic 24 hours a day took its toll on the open wound?   <Much more likely, common> Is this something that I should treat, as its quite a good sized wound (he is only about 5 inches total length)?  I can see the skin 'flexing' as he pushes it across the acrylic.  What, if anything, should I do? <Nothing overt... not likely to help... nor the rubbing to be affected> Oh yeah, I have yet to witness the Tang nipping at the Puffer since I put her back in, and previously she did it constantly. <Good> As always your insight is so greatly appreciated that I fail to find the appropriate words. Thank You and Happy Holidays! Neil <And to you and yours as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Puffers, Feeding, Quarantine, Reading.... 10/19/2005 Hi I <Please remember to capitalize your "I"s.  Takes time to correct these.> just recently received a dog face, porcupine, and spiny puffer from a mail order site on the internet. I have a 120 gallon tank with some damsels and 2 triggers. <Far too small for this much life; and, depending upon your triggers, perhaps VERY incompatible life....  Uh, and you seem to imply that you did not quarantine these animals??> The new puffers will not eat anything. I have tried freeze dried krill, frozen krill, shrimp, crawdads, frozen brine shrimp. Nothing seems to work. I just had one death after a week. The spiny puffer died. <Many possibilities aside from simply starving....  quarantine is more than essential with new livestock....> Please help, I would like to save my dogface and porcupine before it is too late. Is there anything I can do to get them to eat or any food they can't refuse? <Might try live ghost shrimp - though I must point out that, with established aggressive feeders (triggers) in the system, the puffers may simply be outcompeted for food.  I would urge you to immediately remove the puffs to a quarantine system for feeding, observation, recuperation....> Also I did just have my water checked they said it was good. <Never rely on what "they said"....  Your next investments should not be livestock, but your own test kits; this is as essential as quarantining new livestock.> Also I heard garlic drops might initiate feeding, is this true? <Possibly.  Soaking food in garlic and vitamin supplements is often a good idea with new additions, but it will not solve your root problems of overstocking and possible incompatibility.> Please help fast, they're getting skinny.  Jeff <Please do yourself and your livestock a huge favor and begin reading; most everything you ask is already archived:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm .  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Intentionally Puffing a Puffer  8/24/05 Hola from Cozumel Mexico, <Hi, from Pufferpunk in Chicago> I am hoping you can help.  I am a SCUBA Instructor and dive shop owner in Cozumel, Mexico.  Our coral reefs are part of a protected marine environment.  We strictly enforce the no touch rule for ALL marine life, including coral, fish, sponges, etc. <I am also a diver & underwater photographer of 7 years.> There seems to be a controversy regarding the harmful effects of intentionally inflating a puffer fish/porcupine fish.    <Hmmm, what about the no touch rule?> Obviously this behavior is annoying, particularly when a diver or a dive guide intentionally inflates a porcupine or puffer fish for photo opportunities or just for the "entertainment" value.  My question is this:  Is this in fact harmful for the fish?  Many sources say they will die after so many inflations, others say they can die if overly stressed causing them to over inflate, and so on. <I think pictures of purposely inflated puffers are disgusting (especially if in someone's hands)!  It shows a severely frightened fish that is stressed out.  You are correct on your 2nd assumption.  The puffing in general is a defensive move so it can't be devoured by predators.  It is indeed stressful to frighten a fish unnecessarily, to cause it to puff up.  The repeated stress can eventually kill the fish.  What is definitely deadly, is for it to puff with air, as it cannot deflate itself or upright itself.> Your expert opinion/advice on this topic is greatly appreciated.  I look forward to your reply. <Thank you for posting this question for folks to read at our website.  I also this will hinder the unnecessary stressing of this wonderful species.  ~PP> Sincere regards, Christi Courtney Blue XT~Sea Diving Cozumel, Mexico

PORCUPINE PROBLEM          Hi there. I was wondering if you could help me out here.  I've searched for answers everywhere and can't seem to find a similar case. Alright I just got a porcupine puffer last Sunday from my saltwater fish store, the only store I really trust. They said they had him for 3 weeks in that tank and he appeared to be perfectly healthy. I got him home fine and the next morning he had white blotches all over his fins. I figured it was just stress from the move. <Most likely so...>   Then two days later his skin got rough like sand paper and he got white blotches on his body. that night my Volitans lionfish got white spots all over his fins. So I checked him when I got out of work the next day an the Volitans was clear and free and the puffer was looking good but still had the white on his fins. Today [Saturday] the Volitans is still fine but the puffers skin is kind of rough again.  The water is fine he is acting fine but he still hasn't eaten since I've got him. does this sound like anything you have ever seen before. I would really appreciate any info you may have cause I'm not sure what to do, if anything . Thank you for your time,                                                                 confused fish guy <Could be something in the way of "just blemishes" from stress as you state... but there is a definite likelihood of parasitic disease here... even though the new fish was on site at your LFS for three weeks... I don't see in your note a mention of quarantine, or even simple preventative dip/bath... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and through the linked files above... to gain an understanding of what has gone on, will likely ensue here, what your choices, chances are at intervention. Bob Fenner>

Blind puffer Hello, I hope you can help! <Will try> I have a golden dog faced puffer, that one day just turned up blind. I've tried to read all over your site on what causes fish to go blind, but can only assume a nutritional deficiency. <Mmm, this and some infectious, parasitic diseases, poor water quality, overly intense lighting, genetic disposition....> Only I have been feeding my puffer, shrimp, squid, cockle etc. Which I thought was a pretty varied diet. This condition also just happened overnight. So the only thing I felt I could do is make sure my fish got more vitamins. <Good idea> I started adding Vita-chem to the water, because my fish would never eat food with Vita-chem on it.  The only way to feed my fish was to put the food directly in front of her mouth since she could not see it. This worked fine for several weeks until now she is not interested anymore. She gets relatively excited about the smell of the food, but will not eat. I cannot even force it in her mouth from a long feeding stick. She gets angry, and swims away. If I continue, she will hide behind the rocks. Is there anything I can do? <Perhaps consider force-feeding per se... in the hopes of spontaneous cure> She is blind, and not eating, and getting thin. Her fins are starting to show signs of deterioration and she stays on the bottom of the tank most of the time. If she hears me, she will get up to swim.  I am deeply frustrated and feel awful I cannot seem to help her. I have had her for two years, and she is my only fish in a tank by herself. I continue to add Vita-chem to the water, but at what point do you continue to watch a fish deteriorate and face death? What can I do? Thank you, its nice to have you all out there to help! <The Vita-Chem product (Boyd's) is a fine choice, addition... Am not able to state what the root cause/s of the blindness of your fish is/are here. At the last, I encourage you to consider humane euthanasia... Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Puffer Lockjaw  6/16/05 Has anyone ever actually cured this? Any idea of time it takes? Not giving  up, but would like to know reality of situation.   <Yes, there has been some success of comeback but only with the use of iodine & force feeding w/vitamin-packed foods (especially the Bs).  Many have died though--I believe they waited too long to start treatment & the fish never responded.  You might want to talk to the folks at The Puffer Forum about other stories: www.thepufferforum.net> Thanks!  Nancy <Good luck & don't give up on him!  ~PP>

- Labored Breathing from Puffer - Jason's go Hi Everyone, I am completely perplexed about this one. You guys have been a HUGE help to me before so I figured I'd write. I've had this particular green spotted puffer for about 3.5 years. I've written before about him in terms of acclimatizing him to full marine about 3 years ago. I did so with Bob's advise very successfully.  He and his other puffer buddy have been thriving in my 72 and now scaled back 45 gallon marine setup for the past 3 years. The setup is 3 years old.  Sorry for the length of the email but I wanted to provide some background. <Much appreciated.> I noticed late last week that he was not himself. He's usually extremely sociable and full of energy. He was very quiet and I noticed that his breathing was a bit labored. Water parameters are normal (see parameter specifics below) and everyone else in the tank is normal (2nd puffer, goby, maroon clown). I decided to give him a fresh water dip and buffered the ph and temperature in the fresh water accordingly (I also consulted the Conscientious Marine Aquarist for reference - so thanks again) and at that point decided to quarantine him in my hospital tank (well maintained and seeded with water from the main system, no substrate, power head, filter (polywool/charcoal), heater, no chemically reactive items just a flower pot as directed previously by Bob - see specs below). He doesn't seem to be getting any better. His breathing is still very labored. I'm not sure what to do, he's an amazing fish and I'm terrified of losing him. Wondering if anyone might be able to offer some advise. He's been pretty lethargic, hasn't eaten in about 3 days (that I can tell) and he's hanging around near the top of the tank (which I know can be from lack of oxygen in the water)...but  I've got a power head running for airflow and the temperature is normal so I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas? <Not really... your water tests look pretty good. Would just continue on your path and try to offer some foods it might find interesting. I'm not certain on the life span of these fish, but it's possible that this fish has reached the end of his. I'd prefer to think though that this is not the case and that the fish is just working something out.> It doesn't seem to be parasitic from what I can tell. He's not flicking, or having any other tell-tale signs that I'm familiar with. Should I medicate with Copper safe? <I wouldn't.> Should I lower the salinity? <You may want to try this.> temperature? <Is pretty good where it is.> Should we ride it out in quarantine? <I would.> He's been in there 3 days. I'll keep him there until he shows some improvement for at least more than a week. Could this be old age? <Is my thinking.> How long to puffers generally live? <I'm pretty sure it is close to a decade... but am not certain.> Any thoughts on getting him to eat (I alternate their food between the following: homemade (per the recipe in Conscientious marine aquarist), Krill, Nori and finely chopped raw shrimp now and then) There haven't been any changes to the home system since I moved 6 months ago. Any ideas? <I wish I had some... I will put a copy of your email in our resident puffer specialist's inbox in hopes that she'll see it and respond.> Any help would be so wonderful, my fear is that he's running out of time. Thank you so much. -Amy Main tank PH - 8.2 Salinity - 1.025 Temp -approximately  78 degrees Ammonia - 0 Nitrites & Nitrates - 0 Phosphates - 0 Hospital Tank PH - 8.2 Salinity - 1.025 Temp - 79 degrees Ammonia - 0 Nitrites & Nitrates - 0 Phosphates - 0 <Cheers, J -- >
Puffer Not Well  6/7/05 Jeni's go
Hi Everyone, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am completely perplexed about this one. You guys have been a HUGE help to me before so I figured I'd write. I've had this particular green spotted puffer for about 3.5 years. I've written before about him in terms of acclimatizing him to full marine about 3 years ago. I did so with Bob's advise very successfully.  He and his other puffer buddy have been thriving in my 72 and now scaled back 45 gallon marine setup for the past 3 years. The setup is 3 years old.  Sorry for the length of the email but I wanted to provide some background.  I noticed late last week that he was not himself. He's usually extremely sociable and full of energy. He was very quiet and I noticed that his breathing was a bit labored. Water parameters are normal (see parameter specifics below) and everyone else in the tank is normal (2nd puffer, goby, maroon clown). I decided to give him a fresh water dip and buffered the ph and temperature in the fresh water accordingly (I also consulted the Conscientious Marine Aquarist for reference - so thanks again) and at that point decided to quarantine him in my hospital tank (well maintained and seeded with water from the main system, no substrate, power head, filter (polywool/charcoal), heater, no chemically reactive items just a flower pot as directed previously by Bob - see specs below). He doesn't seem to be getting any better. His breathing is still very labored. I'm not sure what to do, he's an amazing fish and I'm terrified of losing him. Wondering if anyone might be able to offer some advise. He's been pretty lethargic, hasn't eaten in about 3 days (that I can tell) and he's hanging around near the top of the tank (which I know can be from lack of oxygen in the water)... but  I've got a power head running for airflow and the temperature is normal so I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas? It doesn't seem to be parasitic from what I can tell. He's not flicking, or having any other tell-tale signs that I'm familiar with. <My 1st concern would be some kind of gill flukes.  Since FW dips are for parasites, it may help but at this stage, it may also stress out the fish.  Have you added any new fish recently?>    Should I medicate with Copper safe? <Absolutely not!  Puffers are extremely sensitive to meds & copper can cause death to puffers.> Should I lower the salinity? <This is where I would start.  There has never been any proof that putting a young BW puffer into marine conditions was harmful or not but it is best to keep them in BW, until they are approaching adulthood (>4").> Temperature? <Not necessarily> Should we ride it out in quarantine? He's been in there 3 days. I'll keep him there until he shows some improvement for at least more than a week. <My other concern is your tank size & water parameters.  I'm not sure what test kit you're using but you should be showing some nitrates.  Adult GSPs (>4"), need 30gal /fish.> Could this be old age? How long to puffers generally live? <10+ years> Any thoughts on getting him to eat (I alternate their food between the following: homemade (per the recipe in Conscientious Marine Aquarist), krill, Nori and finely chopped raw shrimp now and then). There haven't been any changes to the home system since I moved 6 months ago. Any ideas? <Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm.  You can also post your Q at my puffer forum, for other suggestions (many puffer-minds better than one): http://www.thepufferforum.org/  ~PP> Any help would be so wonderful, my fear is that he's running out of time. Thank you so much.  -Amy Main tank PH - 8.2 Salinity - 1.025 Temp -approximately  78 degrees Ammonia - 0 Nitrites & Nitrates - 0 Phosphates - 0 Hospital Tank PH - 8.2 Salinity - 1.025 Temp - 79 degrees Ammonia - 0 Nitrites & Nitrates - 0 Phosphates - 0

- Puffer Fish Problems - I have a Porcupine Puffer at my office and over the long weekend "he" developed bubbles around his fins. <Around or in?> We have a company who takes care of the tank and he was out yesterday and did not know what was wrong with him.  He was floating at the top of the tank and had very little movement due to the bubbles around his fins. His fins also look wilted in some areas.  What could have caused this to happen and how can we fix it. <Well... it depends. There is a condition known as gas bubble disease which is caused by air under high pressure entering the blood stream of the fish and then forming bubbles in the extremities (fin tips, scales, etc.). This isn't really a disease per se, but more of a syndrome caused most often by leaks in the plumbing of a tank which allow air to be drawn in by pumps and injected into the water under high pressure. As I said, it's not a very common problem and its just as likely that there are some small bubbles trapped in the slime on your puffer's fins. Mention the gas bubble problem to your maintenance people - if the tank actually has plumbing, it would pay to have them check it over. If it has a simple filtration system, then the problem probably isn't gas bubble disease. More on that here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm > Please help... the whole office loves this fish. Thanks Lisa <Cheers, J -- >

Puffer with Ich 15 May 2005 I will try to make this short.  <Hi E, MacL here with you today.>  After hundreds of dollars spent, unbelievable stress and heartache, using professional fish services for set up and maintenance, the loss of a beloved dogface puffer of 6 years I am ready to give up.  <Don't give up.>  Here is my problem I have a new stars and stripped puffer and a tang in a 55 gallon SW tank. This is the same tank that has had ick. I am treating the tank with copper yet again because this is what the service prefers. The copper level is 0.4, Salinity 32 or SG 1.023, ph 7.8, ammonia 0.0, nitrite 0.2, nitrate 40?  <Whoa, that nitrate level is pretty high, both nitrates and nitrites should be zero and the ph level is very low. Even assuming its a morning reading. I think that's what's keeping your fish vulnerable to the Ich.> What do I do? Prior to the death of my dogface I knew nothing as I had a service come in. I have another service and have learned everything I can so that in an emergency I was prepared.  <Very wise.>  My new pet has ick again and I don't know if or what to do. I cannot do this anymore. What do I do to get this crap out of my tank.  <Copper usually eliminates Ich but there are other ways that can eliminate it as well. My concern is that until you get your nitrates down and your nitrites gone you are going to continue to have to deal with this. You might contact your service and ask them why you are having such high levels.>  I am afraid of dips but if I must I will do it. I just need to be told exactly what to do.  <If your puffer has Ich that is starting to get into his gills or eyes I recommend freshwater dipping. Its a fairly simple procedure. You get the dip water to the same ph and temperature as your tank water. Catch the fish and put the fish in the freshwater for five minutes. They can stay longer but I find that five minutes is usually long enough to eliminate the Ich.>  I also need to know what is the best for these little guys. My pet has cloudy eyes and the ick seems to be getting worse. The temp is 80. Should and how do I begin to raise the temp?  <I try to keep my tanks at 78 degrees or sometimes a bit lower if its a fish only tank. It keeps the growth of bacteria down in the tank.>  I do not have a hospital tank. The ick appeared and killed my other puffer, then after a month I got this new puffer (stars and stripped) he got ick and I or the service treated with copper, and it cleared up. Now its back again.  <I think the Ich is back because your tank is out of balance and has high levels of some things and low levels of others. If you or your service can get the tank back into a better balance it will help the fish immensely. So the first thing I would recommend is a water change.>  Please tell me how and what is the best. None of the books tell you exactly what to do. I hear so many things and need help fast.  <I would go on and dip your fish if you think he is strong enough to handle the dip. At this point the Ich is attaching his eyes and his gills so its vital to get him some relief. Another thing I might consider doing is using a diatom filter on the tank to get rid of the Ich parasites. Hope that helps. MacL> 
Side Note to Puffer Query Above! 15 May 2005
<E you should know that your puffer is going to majorly outgrow the tank that you have it in currently. They are voracious eaters and they grow so very quickly. It might be that his eating habits (they are messy eaters as well) is part of the reason for the nitrates. Just wanted you to think about that with him. MacL> 

Puffer with spots, using WWM Hello crew I love your site and find some reason to spend at least an hour cruising it whenever I get online. Thanks for all the advice ya'll have already given me, but I'm back again... I have a dogfaced puffer who has been in  my 110 gal tank with a blue damsel since 4-23. he was taken out of QT early because I was having trouble controlling the ammonia and nitrites.  When he was moved he had no spots. Over the last week I have seen about 2 or 3 spot on each fin that seems to go away and come back at random. At first I thought it was sand or micro bubbles on him, now I don't know. the spots are about the size of the point of a pin (like you use in sewing). He has also gotten a spot over his eye, now.  He shows no other signs of distress and seems much happier since the move. Sluggo (the puffer) has made friends with Fiona (the damsel) and they often hang out in the same cave and share meals. I feed him shrimp and squid alternating the menu on feeding days.  I hate to move him again so soon. I will be buying a 30 gal Rubbermaid container to replace my 10 gal QT just in case.  Should I try lowering the SG in the display and feeding him garlic soaked foods to help him fight this problem?  Or does this require more aggressive treatment? (my water parameters are as follows: amm=0, no2=0, no3= less than 5, ph=8.2, sg=1.023, temp=79)  If he manages to fight off this pest  without leaving the tank fallow, will every fish I buy have to fight this battle now? I intend to add a flame angel and a lunar wrasse in the future. thanks again for all your help Beth <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm  scroll down to the puffer area... re puffer disease, systems... Bob Fenner>

Stars and Stripes Puffer... Disease, WWM Hello again, <Hi there> It has been almost two weeks since I moved and set up the established tank that I bought. The puffer is still sick and not eating, but we have seen him poop a couple of times. The poop is mostly white and it seems kind of 'dry' (as dry as something can be underwater). I have not seen him eat anything in two weeks and the previous owner said that he hadn't eaten in almost 4 weeks at the time I bought the tank. He has shown no interest in any of the food variations I have tried. The lump under his chin has not gone away, some days it looks like it is a little smaller, but hard to tell for sure. <Perhaps an internal parasite problem... I take it you've read through the many Puffer Feeding FAQs files, have considered Epsom, Metronidazole/Flagyl...> The water quality appears very good right now. One ammonia spike last week but it is currently zero. Nitrite is at zero, I have never read any signal of nitrite in the tank. Nitrate is at 40ppm currently, but that is down from over 100 when I moved the tank. I am conducting 15-20 gallon water changes to try and bring that level down further. This is a 125gallon tank. Two additional problems have risen since I moved the tank. The puffer had a tear-drop shaped 'scar' on his side that started to peal away like a scab. It is now completely gone and white tissue is now exposed, less then a half an inch in diameter. I'm not sure what to do about this, I added some Amquel plus to maybe give some help with the healing of this problem.  The other concern just happened today. The puffer seemed to have some red spots on his tail and sure enough later I saw the sailfin tang taking nips at the puffer's tail. I am very concerned about this and don't know what to do. The puffer is very lethargic an is usually laying on the ground but gets mad and tries to swim away when the sailfin nips at him. I really appreciated your previous email and would love to hear if you have any further recommendations for my situation. Thanks again, David <Please read through the above area and Puffer Disease FAQs. Bob Fenner> 

Something in the way of knowledge about keeping a Diodontid... too small a system, too ambiguous... Just bought a porc. puffer . He's in a 30 Gallon Tank By himself. The filter system is wet/dry combo refugium. He started rubbing his snot and head on the glass and it looks like he or she is rubbing the skin off. Is it because he stress there is nowhere for him to hide. Should I put live rock in there for him to hide. please HELLLLP <What? Please read re this animal on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Golden Puffer Greetings. 8 days ago I purchased a golden puffer from my LFS and I'm concerned with his weight. I have him in a 29 gallon hospital tank with perfect water parameters, and has been up and running for 4 months. I perform weekly water changes in this tank and constantly monitor all aspects of it. My puffer is only interested in eating once a day, and then he takes in food and spits most of it out, repeating this process many times.  He doesn't actually ingest much food as I end up taking it out of the tank shortly thereafter. His belly is looking pinched and he looks very thin. I have had a stars and stripes and a dogface in the past who ate like hogs and never spit the food out. I know some puffers demonstrate this trait, but I'm concerned that he doesn't even care to look at food any other than the one time he eats a little.  I read your article on puffer disease and it mentioned internal parasites. I was wondering if this may be a possibility and if I should try some Metronidazole (sp) to treat any potential problems?. He is very active with the tail out behind him. No Ich. no fin tears and he looked great coming to me from the shipper to the LFS. He also doesn't sleep much at all, constantly on the move all night and day. This was a very expensive fish and I have a 125, 250, and 400 gallon tank, and take great pride in my fish and always try and keep them as well as I can. Lastly I feed him octopus and squid tentacle, clam, shrimp, and silversides. Any advice would be very helpful as I am stressing big time atm. Thanks in advance. <All this and more that you will want/need to know is addressed/archived on WWM, under puffer disease FAQs files, the chemicals used in treatments... Please read there. Bob Fenner> 

Sick stars and stripes puffer I've had a 15 inch stars and stripes puffer for about five years in a 135 gal tank. The nitrates have been high in the tank since we got him, but recently we've brought them down a bit. When I tested them today, they were really high again. <Happens... quite common in (small) aquariums, large puffers...> The ammonia is also a little high. Is it possible that this is only affecting him and not the dogface puffer or scat that are also in there? <Yes, definitely... there should be no, zip, zero detectable ammonia> He's had several minor bouts with Ich but he's always recovered with the help of garlic. A few days ago, my small dogface puffer in the same tank had some sort of infection...his eye was cloudy and he had small white spots on his fins (probably Ich). We treated him with antibiotics and he's looking great now. It was about this time that my big puffer, the stars and stripes, staring acting strangely. He's extremely skittish, which around me is uncommon. He also is completely ignoring the food I'm putting in there, which he's never done before. His breathing is labored and fast (although slightly better after I put in a poly filter). However...there are no real telltale signs of anything. His tail fin looks a little discolored and there are some small white dots at the edges of his tail, side, and top and bottom fins. I don't know whether it's Ich or not because they have been there for quite a while. Also, there is no scratching. He's still swimming around and looks pretty alert, though. What do you suggest? Please help me! I couldn't bear to lose him but I'm not sure what else to do. <If there is any ammonia, stop feeding... altogether. If the ammonia approaches, exceeds 1.0 ppm, do a massive water change... look for the cause of loss of nitrification and remedy it (likely a shortfall with your substrate, live rock... I would switch out, add a bunch more... and possibly add a bacterial solution... my choice: BioSpira. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer White cotton I have porcupine puffer that I have had for almost 2yrs in the same tank, my water levels are slightly on the high side at the moment but with in the safe zones. <What does this mean?> I have been doing regular water changes and have stepped them up as of late because of what I noticed on my puffer.  He still has his huge appetite and is not scratching or acting weird in anyway.  I have just recently noticed a white film coming from just under one of his quills.  I immediately did a fresh water dip and this seems to clear up the majority of it but it will not fully go away.  I have given him a few more dips and it still lingers on.  I thought and still think it may be Marine Velvet. <Doubtful> My hospital tank conveniently sprang a leak as of late so I only have my display tank right now.  None of my other fish (Juvenile Koran Angel going through change, Maroon and gold clown, orange shoulder tang also changing, a Foxface lo, and two 6 line wrasses, along with 3 brittle stars and a host of hermit crabs and snails) have any sighs of distress or problem either so I'm hoping it is not Velvet but not sure.  Is there anything I can put in when I dip him that may help as I do not like putting any extra chemicals in the display tank for obvious reasons plus it is a 250 gallon so it is way to expensive to treat anyway.  I will be getting a new hospital tank but can't afford that right now.  Would Epson <This is a printer company> salt help the situation in either the display tank or when I dip him.   Please help.  I have read a lot of stuff on you sight which is how I found out you could use Epson salt.   Thank you Mike   <Time to send you to the homepage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html Use the indices or search tool to look up re Puffer diseases, velvet, water quality... Bob Fenner>

Puffer with velvet, need to use WWM My fish are quickly dying off in my fish tank. I lost a Pseudochromis,   clown, and numerous damsels to velvet within 2 days, I had originally thought it   was Ich and was treating for it but today in noticed the 6" stars and stripes   puffer had a film on it, I researched and found out it was velvet. The cause of  the velvet was the 2 new damsels that I brought into the tank. I do not   have a Quarantine tank. Only the puffer, yellow tang, and the 2 new damsels   that were recently purchased are the only current survivors but the puffer  is in very bad condition. If I buy a hospital tank to put the  puffer in, is a 10 gallon big enough? Should I treat all the fish for  velvet in a bigger hospital tank or can I only put 1 fish in the hospital tank  at a time? Is a air pump, and heater good enough for the hospital tank or do I  need more? I know that the hospital tank needs a bare bottom. I have currently  lowered the SG and raised the temp to 82 degrees and did water changes in the  current main 75 gallon tank. How should I fill up the hospital tank, should  I just make new saltwater since I don't have time for it to cycle? Also is there  some medicine I can buy, I remember reading about this but I know the  puffer cant have copper based medicines or he will die so are there velvet  treatments that don't have copper in them out there? Sorry for all of  the questions but my fish cant hold on for much longer and I need to act  fast. Thanks <These questions and the ones you will have next are posted on WWM... please use the search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html to educate yourself, save your fishes. Bob Fenner>

Dogface with Mark on Side  4/7/05 Hi! <Hi Chris, Pufferpunk here.  Might I request that the next query you send to us, has the proper capitalization & punctuation?  It is quite a chore for me to fix your whole letter, which needs to be done before we can post it in our FAQs.> I was inquiring about my dogface puffer that has recently been placed in the tank. He seems to have fit in very well in my tank with the other fish but yesterday he developed this dark area of skin on his left side.  I know that puffers do change colors to match their surroundings, and he has done that a couple of times, changing a very light color to match the coral.  But this dark area hasn't gone away, unlike his other color changes, that tend to change back after he moves around.  The dark area covers his left eye and goes all the way to the middle of his back down to the side of his stomach. I have no idea what is. Is it a normal color change or should I be worried?  It looks just like a birthmark, it's even a reddish color.  At first I thought he was trying to blend in with the red coral I have at the bottom of the tank, but the dark area has not disappeared in a couple of days. I tested the water and everything looks good and he comes out and eats a little bit when it's feeding time.  He does tend to hide in the middle of the coral during the day.  He's the biggest fish in the tank, so I don't think anyone is bothering him.  If there is any info, please let me know.   <The only thing that comes to mind could possibly be some kind of burn/injury that has scarred over.  I suppose it is also possible for it to be a birthmark/deformity.  If the skin doesn't appear to be raw (no fungus developing) & it is eating & acting normally, I wouldn't be too concerned.  ~PP> Thank you, Chris

Disease Hi guys, <Hello> I am the proud owner of a camel cow fish. She is very little, only about 2 cm. She has developed one eye larger than the other and has not been able to feed for over a week now. She knows the food is there and tries to eat it, but it would appear to me that she cannot see when close up to the food and misses it by 1/2 cm or so. There is no sign of disease, no cloudy eye, nothing wrong that I can physically see. Just one eye appears to be quite larger. She is starting to show signs of distress at feeding times as she madly swims around trying to get to the food but is unable to. She is so little and I feel so helpless. Any suggestions would help me please.  <I'd put some Maracyn in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks <You're welcome> 

-Please deflate the puffer - Hi, <Hello> I need some expert help! My porcupine puffer isn't himself at the moment. <Will do what I can.>  About 2 months ago he seemed to have white spot so I treated him in the usual way. < Which was how? Hyposalinity, or meds or what?>  He picked up and has been generally fine, never loosing his appetite but his skin still looks a bit blotchy. <blotchy skin is hard to diagnose as their skin is normally varying color according to mood and hunting etc.>  He has been scratching himself a bit on the gravel and in the last couple of days he has puffed up twice which I have never seen him do before. After he eats he lays in the corner of the tank and seems to pant a bit heavy. Do you think anything is wrong or is it just me been a bit over cautious?! <No, I think you are right to be worried. I would q/t this fish again for further observation and begin to lower the salinity of the q/t to 1.011 over a week or so. Keep that around 1.011 for a week or so and see if it doesn't improve color wise and breathe slower. Also while in the q/t watch the puffer with the lights on the tank and I the room dimmed at night and see if the fish is more active or continues to lay around. If it isn't active it is distressed and possibly sick, which the hyposalinity and q/t should help. Also vacuum the gravel and do a water change on the display tank and check the water parameters to fix anything off there as well.> Thanks for your help Phil Mercer <No Problem> <Justin (Jager)>

A Spotty Situation? (Spots on Puffer) Dear WetWebMedia Crew, <Scott F. at your service today!> I am wondering if you could give me some quick advice. <Sure!> I purchased a Sharpnose Puffer, Blenny, and Goby recently from a supplier in Florida. The fish arrived in fine condition on January 11th. They have all been in quarantine since then. <Very glad to hear that! That's a seriously long quarantine time! Good patience!> The puffer arrived with some small white spots (which look like cysts) on its dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins. At first I thought the fish had Ich and ran the tank through a formalin treatment. This did not clear up the spots. The goby and blenny have never shown any symptoms of Ich or any other malady, and the puffer only has the spots on the fins and no where else. After closer examination, the spots appear to be in the fin membranes and not on the surface of the fins. All fish appear healthy and eat well. Would it be safe to add the fish to my main tank at this time? <I've seen this sort of condition before. To be quite honest, I am not exactly sure what it is...Would have to see a good pic to be real certain. On the other hand, if the fish looks otherwise fine, is active and eating, I'd place it in it's home at this point. If the fish has not declined after this long in the quarantine tank, you're probably looking at something non-contagious and non-life-threatening (I hope I don't live to regret those words, of course!). I feel better knowing that you treated the fish with formalin some time ago. If it were a parasitic illness, this would have probably eliminated it. Sometimes, these "spots" seem to go into spontaneous "remission" on their own, with little intervention required on the hobbyist's part. Obviously, if things take a turn for the worse, get ready to take aggressive action. Hopefully, that won't be necessary!> I have not been successful in getting a clear picture of the puffer. Like me, the puffer is very camera shy.  Thank you for your help. <A pleasure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Puffer fish toxins Hi, good morning (for some anyway) . <Evening now>  When I woke upon this morning 95% of all my fish were dead. <Sorry to hear that.> I had a porcupine puffer that was not looking good...stopped eating for two days. Could his death have caused a major toxin release that would have affected the rest of the fish in the tank? Dead this morning was puffer fish, 3 tangs, two damsels, 1 cardinal, a rabbit fish, two small clown fish Perc's.  Alive still are all the inverts, 2 tomato clowns and a blue devil damsel fish. Please advise Thanks Rodney 75 gal tank: All water parameters were within reasonable ranges, slightly high in nitrates and nitrites. Ammonia level nearly zero. All the inverts seem to be ok... Thanks again Rodney <Well this is sort of tricky because Pufferfish in the porcupine family (Not the Boxfish subgroup) but the ones that can raise and lower spines generally cannot put out toxins on their own externally. Now the puffer dying could have sent the ammonia sky high as your high nitrites and nitrates seem to say, or if the puffer has bite marks or missing skin then the fish might have been feeding on the carcass overnight which would have killed them very quickly. Your tank is fairly highly stocked with those 3 tangs and a puffer so the water quality might have done it in as well. if you can check the body for bites or missing skin, and keep testing that water. if it was the Tetraodon toxin then a PolyFilter bag and a lot of good skimming will help, though it should have and would have killed everything in the tank. Tetraodotoxin is the strongest poison made in nature and the little in a 1" puffer can kill a human so if a larger one did get eaten or picked on everything involved would be dead. Once again my condolences.> <Justin (Jager)>

Valentini puffer injury from pump Hi, my puffer and I need help. I recent attached a new pump and Aqua C skimmer to my tank. Stupid me did not attach anything to the intake and this morn my Puffy was stuck in it. <Arggghh!> He sleeps by attaching his belly on something and apparently tried to take on nap on the pump. I'm not sure how long he was there was there but my husband and I turned it off and got him down. This was 12 hours ago and he is still alive. His belly is a mess. All distorted and crinkled. It does not appear to be an open wound and I see no blood i.e. internal bleeding that is apparent at least. A fin may have been injured or took away by the pump as well. He is not feeling good at all and not moving much at all. He is behind a net which he seems to like. This will protect him from the others. He is my first fish and very special. He even knows his name. water parameters are good. I do a 10% weekly and this was two days ago. He has made it through two bouts of Ich last year and seems to be a fighter. His eyes are cloudy now and I've seen his eyes like this once before when he had ick last year. How can I help him. Please, I spent $ last year to save him from ick and I'll do what's necessary this time as well. I do not want him to suffer either. Please advise me how to help him. Thanks, Sharon <I appreciate your concern. About the only "things" to do are to provide a stable, optimized environment at this point... Try feeding this fish foods soaked in Selcon or equivalent and "keep the faith"... Puffers are very tough, resilient animals. I do hope yours rallies. Bob Fenner>
Re: Valentini puffer injury from pump
Thank You for your concern. I soak most food in Selcon and/or chem- vit. Puffy died last night. I think he was bleeding internally, at least it appeared that way when he was removed from the tank. We'll miss him but will not get another. He was an original, poor guy. I just wish I'd did not have to learn from my mistake this way. Poor Puff.  <Sorry to hear/read of your loss. Bob Fenner>

- Stars and Stripes Puffer - Hello... I love this site, it has been very helpful to me... being fairly new to the salt water tank experience. I have a possible problem. I have a 150 gallon salt water tank. The temp. is kept at 80 degrees.  <Why so high? A little lower would be better... 78, 75 if you could do it.>  I tested the water, and everything looks fine. I have a Picasso trigger, lion fish, snowflake eel and golden- head goby in the tank, that have all lived fine in the tank for about 2 months now. Three days ago I purchased a UV filter along with a stars and stripes puffer. Hooked up the UV filter and put the puffer in the tank. Today he seems to have a spot of lost pigment on his back and "forehead". Is my puffer sick?  <Not necessarily - puffers in general are great displayers, they alter their shades according to mood and other stimuli. You have not had this fish for very long and most likely just adjusting to its new environment. Keep an eye on things however, but I'm willing to bet it will be fine.>  Please help... I have been so scared to get a puffer because I heard they carry a lot of diseases, but he is my favorite fish. <Time will tell. Do encourage you to read up on the FAQs on this fish. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm  and read the FAQs beyond. Cheers, J -- > 

Porcupine pufferfish problem Hello, My porcupine puffer just recently started getting bumps under his skin on his back and face (none on his stomach). It's not external but internal. Do you know what this might be and how it could be treated. <Could be "gas-bubble disease", aka emphysematosis... do you have a source of VERY fine bubbles in this tank?> I know it's not a lot of info to go on and I'm sorry I cant attach a picture. could these be caused by parasites? <Possibly, but not likely if this has happened very quickly> The bumps are not open sores and there is no redness or any other discoloration. The puffer seems to act normal and eats well. any ideas on what these bumps could be?  Thanks <Maybe just normal markings... But please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm  and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer with purple spot Hi. I have looked over the site and have not found anyone with this same situation so here it goes: I currently have a 55 gallon tank (acquiring a 140 gal Oceanic next week). <Nice! Do have plenty of pizza on hand for the movers!> My porcupine puffer is doing great, but I noticed that he changes color to adapt to whatever is around him except for one spot that appears purple and spreading. I got him from my LFS where he was under regular fluorescent lighting and I have actinic and 50/50 high output lighting on my tank. I was wondering if his body was just slowly changing its pigment to adapt to the blue lighting, or if something else was wrong. I have live rock with lots of coralline algae dispersed throughout. The coralline algae is a similar color. Could this just be camouflage? FYI, My specs are: Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrates-10 pH-8.2. Thank you. Angelia Cusick <Good speculations... is likely something to do with present circumstances, previous lighting... and will very likely diminish, go away on being moved to larger, more suitable quarters. Bob Fenner> 

Puffer Lockjaw - rough prognosis 1/30/05 I don't want to repeat what you have answered many times on the website already, but I'd was hoping you had an update on your research. Magnus has replied to a few people with Puffers with Lockjaw and said he, along with others, were doing some serious research in to the issue. <Anthony Calfo in your service> Mine is swimming and acting as normal. Goes to eat the food (gets excited as always) but seems to either not get quite close enough (like he's mis-judged it) or swims in to it, but doesn't open his mouth to eat, then spits the food away. I've also seem him "shake" as he tried to work open his mouth. I'm trying iodine and I've upped the vitamins I'm adding to the tank (I always add some vitamins to his food). <believe it or not... try thawed frozen peas too... many Tetraodontiformes love them> Water quality is generally very good and has been for 18 months upwards, with 0 Ammonia, 0 nitrite and nitrates varying from 20 to 40. Skimming all the time, varied diet of krill, Mysis, cockles, muscles, silver side and prawns. Tried other foods, but he's quite fussy ;-) I'm worried I'm going to have to force feed him, <this may be necessary> But I would like to know if you guys have come across any other treatment or husbandry that might help him (or if you think it may in fact be something else)? His teeth seem OK so I don't think it's this as a problem and he ate normally a few days ago. I'm going to do some water changes and cross all my fingers! Thanks in advance for any additional advice you may be able to offer. Best Regards, Andy <you did not mention much here my friend (puffer age/captivity, species, etc.) so I am going to have to make some inferences. After consulting with puffer "expert" and WWM friend Kelly Jedlicki, she stated what we have feared and hear of so commonly. Lockjaw has a very poor prognosis and is caused by an extended period of neglect in the diet (dietary deficiency... extremely common with Porcupine puffers allowed to eat krill as a majority of the staple - is this your species/situation too?). It takes many months of a limited diet to cause this (sometimes years), and is not something that can be corrected quickly. In fact, once puffers get to this point, few survive without drastic measures (force feeding). Do keep in mind too, that your puffer is not necessarily a picky feeder by preference... stress of inappropriate tankmates, worms/sickness on (new) imports, etc. can lead the fish to train you/us as aquarists into feeding only limited fave foods. But this is not acceptable... like children, my friend... they will play you <G>. To prevent this in the future, the easiest thing may be to make a prepared frozen food mix/slurry. Bob (Fenner) has recipes in his book/our archives and others abound on the web. Mix in a wide variety of meats, greens and vitamins... add B12 and fresh garlic juice (you squeeze) for an appetite stimulant, and include whatever favorite prey your fishy likes (often krill). Make it chunky enough for healthy feeders to eat without much mess... and blend some (puree) for force-feeding these next few weeks on the sick individual. Consult a local vet for force feeding advice and equipment (plunging syringe, soft tubing, etc). There may also be some other good puffer advice on www.lmas.org under articles. Please do update us with your results too. I wish you the very best of luck!>
Puffer lockjaw II 2/3/05
Hi again. Many thanks for your kind reply. <always welcome> I will attempt to give you more information and an update. It's a Diodon holacanthus - Long-Spined Porcupine Puffer. <this is the most common species (nearly always) with lock-jaw like symptom in captivity> He is about 4inches long, living alone in a 75US Gallon tank (until a larger one can be afforded). I've had him about 12 months. His main diet is frozen, cockles, muscles, prawns and Silverside, sprinkled with vitamins. He's always been a fussy eater. <its not a bad idea to de-worm (use Praziquantel like "Prazi-pro) from Drs Foster and Smith) and then hit them hard with B12 and garlic laced foods to jump start better feeding rather that get "trained" by them into feeding a limited diet> It took me several weeks before he would accept prawns and I've had a nightmare trying to get him to eat any shelled foods. He won't touch them unless I break them almost open for him first. I also get live Ghost Shrimp for him, when it's available in the LFS. In fact, I have 15 Hermit crabs in the tank which he has ignored for months and won't eat ;-) At the weekend I attempted a force-feeding. Quite stressful (more for me than him) I can tell you. We gently pulled his upper and lower lips back to see the teeth and they looked OK, (I'm no expert of course.) <have you read the article in this months CA e-zine on Fish Dentistry? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm> They appear to bite in the middle nicely and at least to my eyes, didn't appear to be overgrown. <understood... it is less common in Diodon by far... rather so in Arothron species> We tried to get the mouth open to put some food in and at on point, he snapped and clamped down on the small pliers (which had been sterilized), which looked promising. We then tried again, but with varying foods on the pliers but he would not open his mouth and we could not get his mouth open ourselves, so it was decided to leave him alone. (All this was done underwater, BTW). <wow... impressive!> Today, I tried him again on some food. He was excited that I was at the tank, as usual, but as soon as I offered him food, he swam away and would not come back to me. I dropped the food on a rock and stepped away from the tank. He wandered back to it, but acted as he has been, by attempting to bite it, but seemed to bite about 3/4 of an  inch too early. It's as if his depth perception is faulty, yet if I put the food on his mouth, he won't bite. <instead of lockjaw, I'm wondering if this isn't a different sort of deficiency from his picky diet... vitamin A/vision failure. Also common with restricted diets> As suggested by my LFS, I "teased" him with some food, always following him round with the food, until he got annoyed enough to bite out of anger at it, but he still failed to bite at it. On the rare occasion that he did, he still failed to take proper bites. So, at the end of the day. I'm still mystified as to the problem. <do some keyword searches on the Net for vitamin A deficiency in fishes, symptoms, etc> I will try the de-frosted peas and I'm attempting to locate some more live food to get his interest back. The fact he did bite the pliers means it can't be lockjaw after all, but due to the fact he bites too soon, or maybe not enough, I don't know if his teeth are in fact slightly too long and it hurts him to open his mouth or if he is just being awkward. He has now not eaten for 14 days and is looking slightly thinner than normal, but still has lots of energy. <yes... they can go months without feeding actually> Many Thanks, Andy <best of luck! Anthony>

- Puffer Problems, Follow-up - Thank you for the quick response. <My pleasure.> We have been using the buffer to get the ph up but can only do it slowly, per instructions. Meanwhile, we are concerned with his tail. It still is slightly wrapped around and appears to be frayed somewhat on the edges. Do you recommend some medication for this or once the ph is better balanced should get back to normal also? <No medication, work on the water quality and I think your puffer will take a turn for the better.> Thanks again for all your advice & great website! <Cheers, J -- >

Dog face Puffer Sick I bought a dog face puffer 4 days ago, he has been doing great and eating good. He has been even taking shrimp right out of my hand. Today he looks sick, he is being very still with no appetite, my nitrites were up to 25 everything else look good. I treat my water with prime. Could that be giving me a false positive test?<I am assuming that it is 25PPM in regards to your nitrites. If it is nitrate you are o.k. Nitrite that high is extremely lethal to your fish. I would suggest doing a 25% water change every other day until the water is within the correct parameters.> My Tank is 50 gallons with only a puffer and about 40 lbs of live rock I have a penguin filter and a CPR BakPak skimmer with a MaxiJet 600. I did a 5 gallon water change with no difference. The puffer is breathing a little hard but not real bad. Please tell me what to do. Lynnette <Do the water changes until the water is o.k. Good Luck. MikeB>

Skinny Puffer=Death 1/21/05 Hello Bob, <Hi, it's Pufferpunk here> I tried to search for answers to this on your website but I got exhausted after trying to read through many of the FAQ's. I apologize if this is posted somewhere else. I had a blue spotted puffer approximately 2" in size in my 90 gal tank. He did fine for over year always ate a lot. I'm probably not the best expert with dietary needs but I five flakes, krill, and fortified seaweed to feed my fish.  <Definitely not the best diet for a 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 puffer keepers breed their own snails. As your puffer gets larger, there are many more crunchy foods for them to eat. Larger puffers 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. I buy most of these foods at the fish department of my grocery store, freeze and later thaw in warm vitamin water as needed.>  Anyway, for about a month I noticed that no matter how much he ate he kept getting skinnier and skinnier. Even up till the last day when he looked completely anorexic he was still eating until his stomach was extended. He finally passed away. Any clues. I'm guessing some internal parasite or something along those lines but I'm not sure why it happened after a year??  <Definitely the symptoms of internal parasites. No doubt about it! Sometimes they can tag along inside the fish to rear their ugly heads after you have had them for a while.> Maybe something tagged along with some live rock but the other fish in my tank are doing just fine. I really enjoyed the puffer and would like another one but I don't want to go through that episode again. <Many wild-caught fish come to us with internal parasites. This is very common with puffers. Just to be safe, I'd treat your new puffer & the rest of your tank's inhabitants with Discomed, by Aquatronics. It goes on their food.> Thanks for your help, John Edelen <Sorry for your loss--good luck with your next puffer! ~PP> 

Sick golden puffer fish, actually just not eating Dear Bob <Steve> I have a golden puffer who I have had for 7 months he was eating and moving around the tank well until a month ago.  He would at first just stay by the tank overflow and now in the last week he just lays on the bottom, I have tried to get him to eat clam and Rosey minnows and he is not interested in eating at all. <Happens>   I see no noticeable differences in his body. white spots or blotches on his skin. I have checked his teeth and I don't believe that his problem is overgrown teeth.  His eyes are clear and they are still looking around.  I have been asking the store were we purchased the fish and they suggest that we freeze him to put him out of his misery. <What? No!>   He still has strength and I hope I can find out what is wrong and make him well again thank you Steve <Likely there is "nothing" wrong with this fish... do keep offering different meaty foods every other day. Keep the faith... this fish can likely go w/o food for at least two months... and they do quite often go on food strikes. Bob Fenner>

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