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FAQs about True Puffer Disease 3

FAQs on: Tetraodont Disease 1, True Puffer Disease 2, True Puffer Health 3, Puffer Health 4, Puffer Health 5, Puffer Health
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments

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

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

Sick Puffer, injured....    2/3/09 WWM Crew, <Chad> I have been a long time reader of your site and I just wanted to thank you in advance for all of the excellent information and assistance you have provided! <Welcome> Background on Tank I have a 220 gallon tank with a tesselata eel (30 in), Yellow Tang, Lionfish, and a Dogface puffer. The tank is a FOWLR tank with protein skimmer, canister filter, and a sand substrate, and about 150 pounds of LR. I do water changes every week of 50-100 gallons, <Wow!> and supplement with reef mud, Kent Marine Tech CB. The water parameters are: 30 ppt salinity, 5-10 ppm nitrates, <Surprisingly low> 0 ppm nitrites, 0 ppm ammonia, and pH is 8.3. The tank is about 10 months old. I plan on getting a larger tank at the end of the year to accommodate the still growing eel, as well as the lionfish and puffer, which both have not reached their full size (I believe). <You are correct... the Eel can grow about three times present length... ten times plus in mass> The eel is fed 1-2 a week, and the tang daily. The puffer and lionfish are fed every other day (a mix of krill, silversides, cut up squid, etc. <Good> I supplement their feedings once a week with vitamins, and a drop or two of garlic, when I remember. The tank-mates are not aggressive towards each other, though the eel may chase off the others when she is hungry, and the others are crowding her out in a attempt to get fed. Usually, though, I do not see other signs of aggression. From what I have researched, aggression is usually an issue with the tesselata, but so far she has been wonderful. <So far, so good> The problem The puffer is the most recent addition to the tank at around 5 months ago. Yesterday I noticed that he had 6 spots running along the top of his body. Freaking out, I first thought it was an Ick infestation, but after doing research and consulting with a LFS, it doesn't seem like Ick. The spots are much larger than a granule or three of salt. They look like boils (see attached pics). <I see them/these> I looked at the other fish closely, and they do not appear to have any of these white spots. The eel was a little hard to give a full body examination! Anyways, I rushed out, and got a quarantine tank, and had him set up in it within a few hours. I know I should have had one on standby, but I hadn't planned on adding any new fish, and hadn't really planned for this eventuality (though I should have!). The puffer usually splashes and wags his tail enthusiastically, begging for food every time he sees me. The last two days he has been resting at the bottom of the tank a lot, and swimming around listlessly when on the move, more often than not. He did eat heartily last night, as did the other fish. <Good sign> I have begun treating him with Melafix, <I would not do this> on the assumption that the issue is bacterial, and not parasitic, <Am almost certain "it" is neither... Is simply mechanical... a physical injury> on the recommendation from the LFS, but before I went too far down this path, I wanted to check with you as any diagnosis and recommendations you may have. This morning, there do not appear to be any further new spots, and his gills, and eyes are clear. There is one spot on his mouth, but I cannot be certain if that is part of his coloration or not (as you can see from the pics, he has white spots around his mouth). I don't think these are bite marks, as the puffer is too big for the eel, and the marks are spaced to far apart for her teeth (but I did consider it). I am uncertain whether this is bacterial or parasitic (his spots don't look like any of the Cryptocaryon / Brooklynella / Amyloodinium pictures I have seen, there have been no new tank additions, and none of the other fish are exhibiting symptoms), so I am uncertain how best to help the lil fella... It doesn't look like velvet either, or other fungal infestations that I have seen on the web, as the spots are pronounced, and not patchy in nature, but again, I can't be sure what the exact problem is, and I'm no expert :-) I have read as much as I can on WWM but I haven't found anything that matches quite the symptoms I am seeing.... I apologize for the picture quality... it was the best I could do! Thank you so much for any assistance / advice you can give! Regards, Chad <I would return this Puffer to the main display and not treat it with a tea leaf extract or anything else... These marks are indicative of a trauma... perhaps a run in with the lion, or some bites from the eel... or just a bump in the night with the rock... Will heal of their own accord with time (weeks to a month or so). Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Puffer   2/3/09 Bob, <Chad> Thank you so much!!! For the prompt reply, and the great advice! I can't tell you how much heartache and anxiety you've just eased! I will return the puffer to the main tank and monitor the situation closely! <Ah, good> Again, thank you for your invaluable assistance and the wonderful service you and the rest of the WWM crew provide!!! Yours truly, Chad <Excelsior! Cheers, BobF> 

Re: puffer injury-- 2/4/09 Puffer is in freezer right now Is there any value to you to examine it? <Mmm, not a good idea to freeze specimens for necropsy... If it's not solid, move it to the refrigerator instead... And yes to such investigation... Useful for discerning root causes, self-education/discovery. BobF>

Re: puffer injury-- 2/4/09 Sorry, frozen solid. Wasn't thinking necropsy. Thanks for your help. <Ahh! Welcome. BobF>

Dog Face Puffer questions, me too   1/30/09 Hi We have a 150 gallon tank with a stars and stripes puffer (6"), an undulated trigger (3"), a niger trigger (5"), a yellow tang (4") and a dog face puffer (4"). <Mmm... I'd be keeping a close watch twixt the puffers and these triggers... not compatible> Just checked nitrite, at 0. The dog face is laying on the bottom, mouth open and breathing heavy. He has a discoloration starting at his abdomen going to his tail. It almost looks like gangrene? <I see this... and the unusually larger body expanse toward the distal area of this fish...> Any idea what it is and what to do? I don't want to see him suffer. <Mmm, looks like either some sort of gut blockage or lumenal parasite possibility... How long have you had this fish? What do you feed it? Some sedentary behavior is common intermittently with Tetraodonts... You should read on WWM re the family, disease, the use of Anthelminthics, and possibly Metronidazole-laced foods if this fish is feeding. Bob Fenner>

puffer injury haiku attempt   1/29/09 5yo puffer approx 12in length scratched piece of coral last week scratch turned in to this photo any suggestions regarding treatment <Just good care, environment, feeding... time going by. Bob Fenner>

Re: puffer injury  1/30/09 lesion growing larger, approx 2-3cm diameter, white color, no erythema, additional loss of pigment to lesion today puffer wont eat today, sits in bottom corner of tank covered with <1mm white spots over body and eyes, breathing not labored <Bad news> have not had problem with tank for 4 years new fish ( bird wrasse )was introduced into tank after fresh water dip and 4 wk quarantine, caused some upset to tank causing puffer scratch <Mmmm> No other fish affected. <Not yet> Tank parameters: 180 gal FOWLR w/ some polyps 0 ammonia, nitrite <10 nitrate hardness 10 calcium 400 phosphate approx 0.1 pH 8.2 10% water changes weekly ?quarantine ? fresh water dip ? antibiotics <Not antibiotics> I understand patience in most circumstances and good water quality is key, however this is a radical change in past two days Thank you for your help. Russ Mongiovi <Do you have another place to put this puffer? I would move it... keep observing, reading for now... WWM, Puffer Disease articles and FAQs files. BobF> 

Re: puffer injury - new photo  1/30/09 did not transmit photo with reply e mail thank you <Mmm, the size, shape, "cleanliness" of this injury site... Lead me to suspect a heater burn, round-mouth fish bite (like a trigger), or....? B>

Re: Dog Face Puffer questions, injury   -- 02/01/09 Thank you for replying with useful information. I've been researching everything you've suggested. Unfortunately it's too late, but I'd like to keep myself informed so I can act quickly if something like this happens again. This puffer was the first marine fish we ever purchased. We had him for about 9 months. Some of the foods we feed all our fish are: Ocean Nutrition Silversides, San Francisco Bay Brand Emerald Entree, BioPure Krill, Hikari MegaMarine. All of these are frozen foods. <And a good mix> So far everyone gets along. Do you think this will be more of a problem between the triggers and the puffers when they become more mature? Thank you again!!! <Such troubles can, unfortunately, "spring" up w/o notice... the Triggers biting the puffers... There are many cases of species of both groups of fishes getting along interminably, but too many instances of dire results to not mention the potential. BobF>

Re: puffer injury   2/4/09 FYI - the white halo around the wound spread from tail to gills in about 24 hrs and eventually the fish died. Hope this helps others <Thank you for this... am wondering what exactly the "halo" was... some sort of adventitious microbe (bacterial, possibly mycelious)... Would be interesting histologically to examine the wound site. BobF> 

Dogface Puffer Health 11/21/08
<Hello Renita>
I have had my dogface Puffer for about 3 weeks now, and when I got him, he was a white and gold color. Since late last night he have started to turn a gray color. Is he sick? I also noticed that he ate one of my crabs. Did that make him sick?
<The Dogface Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) does exhibit a grayish coloration, no need to worry here. As far as eating the crab, puffers will eat almost anything and crabs and shrimp are at the top of the list. Read here for more info on your puffer.
<You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>
Renita Myles

Starved dogface puffer; rather Amyloodinium -- 09/24/08 We have a dogface puffer named Sammie who up until recently was perfectly fine. <How long do you have him? Tank size? Water parameters? Any changes within the last weeks? Need more information to help you.> We went out of town for 3 days. When we got back (yesterday) the person who was supposed to have fed our puffer forgot to do so. <No problem for an Arothron. They can go without food for weeks.> Ever since then he has gone down hill. <Any new fish within the last 4 weeks?> He ate the first day we got back. When we went to feed him today he is covered completely in a white film, and he is laying on the bottom of the tank in a corner. He refuses to eat and every now and then he flinches or jerks around as if he is uncomfortable. He looks as if his breathing has slowed and he's very lethargic looking. <White film, lethargy are typical symptoms of an Amyloodiniumiasis, but intoxication can have similar results. Let's exclude the latter first. Check your water parameters (pH, nitrates, ammonia, temperature) to exclude some toxic environmental conditions. Ensure enough gaseous exchange happens (skimmer, surface current). If you believe anything toxic (not so aquarium safe decorations?) could have been introduced to the tank remove it, do a large water change and filter with fresh carbon. If toxins can be excluded treat for Amyloodiniumiasis. This disease can kill fish within 24-48 hours. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the linked FAQs for diagnosis and treatment.> I believe he released some toxin because our yellow tang and clown fish have both died on the same day. <He cannot kill other fish with his toxin as long as they do not eat him, he's not a boxfish. They most likely were suffering from the same disease/condition.> We are thinking of a FW dip for about 10 min.s. <I thought you supposed he was starved? How would a dip help in this case?> What else can we do. I am frantic with worry. If Sammie dies it will break my heart! Thank you, Ashley <Good luck. Marco.>

Starry Puffer needs help... Stocking/Iraq type fiasco  6/24/08 I really enjoy your site and am in desperate need of advice. I have a small Starry Puffer in a 50 gal fish only tank until he grows. <Arothron stellatus? This fish gets bigger than your tank, what are you planning on doing with him?> The water is 24 centigrade with .1ppm ammonia and .1 nitrites. <This is very toxic.> It is difficult to keep the water any better as his tankmates are a clown trigger, mappa puffer, undulated trigger and niger trigger. <This tank is heading for a disaster in my opinion, this mix of fish in this sized tank is not sustainable for any length of time.> My problem is my puffer's rectum appears to be coming out his backside as you can see in the photo. <<No photo avail. RMF>> <Prolapsed rectum is my best guess, perhaps results of injury from either shipping or his tankmates. Not much can be done besides provide a quality environment for him. I would definitely remove him to a QT/Hospital tank so that his tankmates to not decide to remove the tissue for him. Please see here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaq2.htm .> He is a recent addition and was fed dried krill and fresh clams yesterday. Is this constipation? <Nope> Any advice that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Regards, James Miller Okayama, Japan <Search WWM for "prolapsed rectum", is somewhat common in puffers.> <Chris>

Re: Starry Puffer needs help 6/25/08 I thank you for your reply though I fear the puffer passed 2 days after writing the email. <Sorry> At present the tankmates are small ( 2 to 3 inches) and I have almost completed cycling a 350 gallon tank, so hopefully their new home will be roomy enough. <Ah yes, much better, but still too small for a Arothron stellatus.> In the meantime I added a refugium with a DSB which seems to have improved water quality as both ammonia and nitrite are near zero. Regards, James <Sounds good.> <Chris>
Re: Starry Puffer needs help 6/25/08
Chris, <Hello> I guess since the Starry Puffer passed away, my 300 gallon will work then. Again, I thank you for the advice. James <I would think so, just be aware you have some VERY aggressive triggers there, and they may cause problems even in a very large tank.> <Chris>

Inverted puffer gill -- 04/21/08 Hello, <Hi.> My dog face puffer is having issues, her gill keeps getting inverted back into her breathing hole, in front of her side fins. <You usually cannot see the gills at all, puffers only have these small slits (gill openings) in front of the pectoral fins, the gills are inside. I'm suspecting a physical injury (pump, other fishes) here based on what you describe, but I fail to visualize it, even with a puffer in front of me.> Like when a dogs ear flips backwards, it's like that. <Something wrong with the gill opening (is its skin being sucked inside?) or something coming out of it? A picture would help with diagnosis!> When it happens, she can't breathe that well, as it doesn't open. I keep finding it like this over and over again. If I show her the can of food she gets all excited and will snap it back out but next time I look, its back inverted. This seems to be happening all the time. She has stopped eating entirely now. She doesn't swim around either. <Both no good signs'¦> Any suggestions? <Amyloodinium and Cryptocaryon parasites on the gills can result in problems with breathing like breathing with one gill, do you see a velvet like white layer on the skin or small white spots? Flukes can result in similar problems (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm and search this link for gills). If something is coming out of the gill slits or if the slits themselves are hurt, there is not much you will be able to do yourself, except for providing a good water quality and varied diet (I hope it will eat again), and hope for the best. Maybe a veterinarian could solve the problem by fixing whatever tissue was hurt or torn apart, depends on the size of the puffer and skill of the vet. Good luck, I hope your puffer's conditions improves again. Marco.>

Re: inverted puffer gill  -04/22/08 Thanks for responding, <No problem, Allison.> No injuries at all and not sick as far as I can tell. She hasn't eaten in a long time but she can do that once in a while for long periods of time. She didn't look like she was losing weight yet until just recently. <Thanks for sending pictures. Very nice specimen. Still looks very well fed, on picture 2, the right side is bulging out, is the other side looking the same?> I didn't think I'd be able to get such a good pic. The little flap gets stuck shut. but its tucked in, not just shut. <Now that I see it, I no longer suppose something is hurt/ripped apart here. Rather gill related problems with breathing than problems with the gill slits themselves. I'd check water quality (ammonia=0, nitrates below 25 ppm?) and act if necessary. Partial water changes will not hurt anyway, but may improve the situation if it's induced by the environment. I'd also ensure that the current at the surface of the tank is sufficient so enough oxygen is in the water. Was this puffer fed a varied diet (and not only krill or shrimps)? If the water quality is okay and its breathing condition does become worse, I'd see a vet or if that's not possible treat for flukes on suspicion. The problem is that bacteria can also affect the gills.> Her gills look healthy and nothing else appears to be wrong. <Gill flukes are not necessarily seen by the naked eye on a living and moving fish. When the flaps remain inside, the puffer is only using the other gill. While some fishes do that from time to time and return to normal breathing mode when disturbed (by you with the food can), an infection of the gills cannot be excluded if he is always breathing laboured. If that's true, its breathing will become worse. In this case I'd treat as indicated on WWM.> I had this happen once in a blue moon with another puffer of mine, but this is happening too often and its definitely making her breathing very labored. If its stuck shut. I have to go thru this huge ordeal to get it open again. <I don't think that's necessary. The puffer can apparently return to normal breathing when confronted with its food can.> When you say a vet, like a regular vet? Sorry to sound so ignorant but is there a special aquatic vet or any vet? <Not every vet can treat fishes, but even one, who can't him/herself may be able to refer you to a vet, who can.> Thanks again for any help, Allison <I hope your puffer gets well again. Marco.>

Re: Inverted puffer gill -- 04/24/08 Marco, again thank you so much. <You are welcome.> She is just a porker, lol, that's what that bulge is. She's very round. She likes to wedge herself in the rocks to rest, which is creating that bulge you see. she can wedge herself in very odd shapes like that. <Ah, okay.> (She is so round, every time my little nieces come over, they scream to me that she is puffing up, no that's not her puffing up, that's just her!!!) <Don't overfeed her.> I feed her primarily krill, I soak it in garlic sometimes and I feed them clams and a little frozen variety. but her main staple of choice is krill. <Would change that if possible. Although final proof is not available yet, there are suspicions by many puffer keepers that krill (especially dried) is not the best diet and may lead to deficiency related diseases.> The water is good, and has been stable for the entire time. Everything is 0. <Very good.> I did however just eliminate a power head that I was using, which may be taking away some of the surface oxygen she was used to, so I will put that back in. <Yes.> I also think I'm going to treat for flukes. <If the situation does not improve, especially when adding the power head.> A while back, maybe two months ago, she had what looked like a tiny white string coming out of her skin, right behind these fins. I did some fresh water dips for a week and they went away, but I will start those again too. Thank you much for your suggestions. I'll keep you posted how it turns out. <Please do. Good luck and all the best, Marco.>

Re: Inverted puffer gill -- 04/25/08 Marco, <Hello Allison!> You solved the mystery and I feel horrible. <We both solved it, you should feel happy not horrible.> wow. It was the lack of air, I guess. I put the powerhead back in and within one day she is lack to her old self. Breathing much better, moving, swimming everything. <Very good.> I guess her breathing was so labored it was causing it to malfunction of a sorts. I had replaced a single 3100 powerhead with a strip of air instead. I thought the strip of air was creating more surface movement so I eliminated the powerhead. Apparently she needs to be MOVED!!! She seems much happier and is actually smiling again. <I'm very glad to hear that.> I would of never put this simple solution together. Its always those obvious things that I miss. Thanks again for your help!! Rudderbug appreciates it too. <I hope Rudderbug stays healthy. Cheers, Marco.>

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>

Re: Please help... formalin, puffer...  -11/19/07 This the guy your <... you're> not helping. <Good pix of a nice specimen... Please... read beginning where you were referred... There is too much to relate to you via email... RMF>

Re: Please help... formalin, Tetraodont... Using WWM, not abusing people   11/21/07 I stopped my legal moves against you and your site today.:-) <"Make friends w/ Kool-Aid..."> When I saw you put the picture of the Puffer up. That made my day. He is doing better today. I have set up a QT tank and moving him in it Friday along with gang. I also am taking down the 120 and ordered a 400 from Doss. <Great> So next month they will all be moving into there big new tank. Reading and re-reading your site I want to make sure that I do the right thing with Big Blue it looks like I should do Formalin dips on him is that with fresh or salt water? <Either... but pH-adjusted FW is best> On the dip side you said to put enough Formalin into make the water blue <... uh, no... formalin is colorless> and put them in for 5 minutes. How many times <posted> do I do that? What about the other fish. Huma, Wrasse, Angel? <I also> have 2 crosshatch triggers but, for now they are in my 300 fish only in> my office. Pics coming soon. Glad I could make you laugh yesterday!! <Mmm, calling/threatening people, impersonations... are not laughable matters... IF you want our free help, play nice or go elsewhere. Read here: RMF>

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