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FAQs about True Puffer Disease 4

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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

Dogface Puffer and low PH - Warning! long email. Env. dis., mucho reading 10/25/10
Hi to WWM Crew. (25th October 2010)
<Hello Tina>
First of All this message is concerning a Dog faced puffer fish Juvenile (Arothron nigropunctatus). I have scoured the Puffer-fish disease pages and used the key-word highlighter with as many variations as possible.
Let me start at the beginning but as brief as possible.
Tank and Puffer History.
I started up a small 35L tropical tank in June 2009. My husband started up a Juwel80 110L Marine conversion a couple of weeks later. We jointly decided to invest in a custom made 450L marine set up with sand bed sump (originally a 60L but now the 110L). At the same time I acquired a 96L Juwel and a few months later shut down the 35L.
After a few months of watching the lovely dogface puffer in the local shop and seeing that he was healthy, apart from being a bit skinny. I grew attached and decided to buy him. So home he came, in January to the 450L where he grew in size and strength over the following couple of months. He struck up an amazing friendship with my Foxface and the two could never be parted. (Add also at this time that our RO unit broke due to the frost and we have been using the Local Fish Shop (LFS) mixed water)
In April we finally had perfect water conditions in the 450L and decided that it was time to start adding some corals. However as the Dogface wasn't satisfied with just eating the excessively large and varied diet we supplied him with, the corals became an expensive meal, even the decorative Algae became prey to the duo dog'n'fox.
<Ooh, I do like this>
So after long deliberation I chose to close down 96L tropical (after finding good homes for the fishes - especially my Plecs) and set about converting it into a temporary Marine home for the duo until
<Mmm, much too small a volume...>
I could save enough for a new larger system to house them sufficiently. They moved in there mid-July along with our fuzzy dwarf lion and white striped maroon (Premnas biaculeatus).
<?! In 25 or so gallons?>
Unfortunately a week later a tripped power supply during the night lost Doggy his best friend and the lionfish also perished. I was heart broken as foxy (aka Mad Max) was my baby. 'The Fuzz' was also a character. I got a couple of Humbug and Domino damsels (Dascyllus trimaculatus) to help keep the tank cycling
<Not advised and incompatible in small volumes>
and 'Doggy' came out of his sulk. However the humbugs didn't like the domino's and killed off two of them until I was left with just the two humbugs and one docile domino. I also acquired an Aiptasia eating filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus) out of the coral tank who had also taken a liking to the corals.
<Ah yes>
When the trouble began.
The tank remained stable until 8 weeks ago when I couldn't resist buying a beautiful, baby, trigger fish (Odonus niger).
<... this tank is still too small...>
I came home and checked it all out before going back several days later to pick him up. However when I introduced him to the tank the humbugs took approximately 20 minutes to completely strip him of his top fin. I dived straight in, unable to catch them I was left no alternative but to remove the rock in order to catch them. The bully's now removed and taken back to the shop I was left with the dilemma of a severely injured and extra stressed out 'Trig'. I left the tank to settle for the night, but next day -- lo and behold -- Ich. I treated this (after removing carbon) with a half dose of copper
<Half dosing is of no positive use here>
(Seachem Cupramine). Now 'Doggy' has been subjected to this treatment on a number of occasions while in the 450L while we battled Ich, velvet and clownfish disease that between them has pretty much wiped us out, not to mention the attack of the sea squirts
<? You found/find that Ascidians are deleterious?>
that saw us lose all but one of our rock dwellers. All the fish survived the treatment and all was well and good until '¦
The present problem.
As one of our local garden centre based shops was shutting down, they had a sale on to liquidate. The hubby got himself a great new set of lights for the coral tank, the parts to fix the RO unit and a batch of salt (AquaOne Sea Salt). So we began mixing our own water again. I started to notice that 'Doggy' was somewhat not normal -- scratching in the sand and on rocks and hiding more than usual. Doing the full water parameter tests I found that I had a low PH
<Not surprising at all in this small volume, with lots, too much fish life, likely food/processing>
and taking a closer look at Doggy revealed that his skin had developed a spotty complexion and that the main area of scratching had indeed been scratched to the point that he has grazed the top of his head and looked sore. I have been battling to work out why my PH was so low, reading 7.4
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm
and the linked files above>
and work out what is wrong with 'Doggy' for two weeks.
<The environment... stocking... are the root causes here>
The main conclusion for the low PH was the change in water source and salt. So I reverted back to using the lfs mixed water as they use a reef salt (Sera reef salt) that contains the natural buffers (also scouring the net I have seen only bad reviews for the AquaOne sea salt) and our tap water had always caused me to have a low ph in the tropical. I believe that this has also been the irritant that has caused the 'rash' on 'Doggy'. (The comparison being a similar rash my hubby developed at the same time due to change of wash powder -oops)
Although a couple of water changes bought the PH up, it still remains low at 7.8. I have added Seachem reef carbonate, which bought the KH up to between 10 and 12 temporarily.
<I agree with the adverb>
I tested the magnesium which was 1020 and have added Seachem reef magnesium which bought that up to a more adequate level. The calcium has remained stable. As I was getting so frustrated I opted to try Seachem reef buffer that bought up the PH to 8.2 on Friday evening but then dropped back to 7.8 by Saturday. I also decided to start treating 'Doggy' with Melafix.
<An exceedingly poor idea. Search WWM re>
It was suggested that I could be over filtrating
<... No>
so yesterday I performed a water change and swapped my filter media around. Originally I had a U3 Fluval running alongside the Juwel. The Juwel housed
A half bag of activated carbon, ceramic hoops and Polyfilter. The U3 housed Sponges, carbon sheet and Seachem Denitrate. I now have just the Juwel with half bag of ceramic hoops, bag of Denitrate and topped with filter wool (The activated carbon was removed for Melafix treatment).
This weekend
I noticed that despite my best efforts 'Doggy' has begun to decline. Something freaked him on Friday -- He puffed up to 5 times his size. Since then he has lost interest in his food, is hiding more and has developed Ich on his fins and eyes. The domino has also gone dull and the Maroon and Trig seem to have cloudy eyes. The filefish seems to be the only healthy fish.
Last night's (Sunday) water parameters showed -- (using API test kit)
Ammonia -- 0 (I expect a raise as I have removed biological filtration)
Nitrite -- 0 (as above) Nitrate -- 40 (This has dropped from 80+) PH -- 7.8
Salinity -- 1.025 Temp -- 25.5 oC KH - 18
Today's (Monday) water parameters show --
Ammonia -- Trace Nitrite -- Trace Nitrate -- 30 (a further drop) PH -- 7.8
Salinity -- 1.025 Temp -- 25 oC KH - 16 (high but dropping)
The Melafix won't cure the Ich,
<Actually, won't cure anything>
but I'd like to avoid using copper with 'Doggy' and his sores.
<Copper use is generally contraindicated with puffers... See/search WWM re... ahead of writing us>
I don't want to upset or stress any of the fish further by moving to quarantine. I feel like I'm running out of options and am in danger of the system crashing and causing a wipeout. I really don't want to loose my fish, especially 'Doggy' and 'Trig'. Please help!!
<Help yourself... what you/they need is to be moved to suitably large quarters that will provide (the water, substrate, likely other decor) sufficient biomineral and alkalinity reserve... You will understand this through reading the above citings>
FYI -- the spotty appearance shown/discussed re. 'Chomper', http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffdisfaq3.htm?h=chomper in the puffer disease pages seems to be the stretching of the pores of the skin during the inflation and deflation of a scared puffer (I noticed this when 'Doggy' freaked on Friday) -- I hope this info can help other puffer enthusiasts and that my PH problem will warn others not to change their water source or salt and cause the problems I've experienced. Always use a decent reef salt which contains the natural minerals and buffers.
<Mmm, yes; but these can only do so much... you've asked the salt mix to do what it cannot do here, given the poundage of livestock, foods...>
Photos attached are of Doggy, the sores on his head, and lumpy skin on his belly (this is all over his skin).
<Again, environmental... and possibly poisoning from the Cu++ and Mela-not-fix>
Many Thanks for such a great site, and for any suggestions you can give me that can help me battle to save 'Doggy'. Sorry for the length of this email ( 2 pages in word) , but I have tried to keep it to just relevant information while observing the contact rules -- spellchecked and read twice -- Main points in bold.
P.S. Upgrade ideas welcomed. E.g. AquaMarine900/Maris filter. I've got big fish that need a big home.
Tina. xx
<Do keep up the water changes for now, do NOT add anymore fishes, livestock period, and start looking for the space for a much larger system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dogface Puffer and low pH - Warning! long email. 10/25/10
Hi again. Thanks ever so much for your speedy reply. Certainly noted re. Copper a Mela-not-fix. I will continue with the water changes and should be able to purchase their new tank by the end of November. Just to let you know that although these are considered large fish, they are all juveniles and not fully grown so the 96L actually seems quite empty.
<Mmm, assuredly this is not the case; metabolically/physiologically nor psychologically>
I have reduced the feed amounts so as to reduce the pollutants and forgot to mention that I have been adding Lipo-vit to the frozen food diet. I also feed Nori a couple of times a week. I will be registering on the BBforum so that I can ask opinions on an adequate system for the upgrade (As I'm sure you're busy answering emergency emails). I don't know exactly what I did right last night but the 5 fish are generally looking much brighter this afternoon, especially 'Trig' whom is free of cloudy eye. 'Doggy' was in his favourite corner squirting for food and nibbled happily at the Nori I offered (hand feeding is so satisfying). As regarding the see squirts - do not bring anything home from the beach!! - Whether this was the start or not - the hubby collected some snails (naughty boy) a week or so later we had an outbreak of sea squirts. Small amount not a problem - but they took over the rock - depleting the food supply that our rock dwellers need to survive.
<Ah, I see>
They were everywhere - the sand and the sump too!! We ended up pulling out the rock piece by piece and cooking it - yes you read/heard correctly - Into the oven!!. They hate light so blast them with intensity and give them the blow (heavy fast flow) and don't give them the food they want!! It's as good as starting over again!! This may not be the way I'd have dealt with the problem but the hubby is more in charge of the 450L tank and I generally have to go along with what he decides. But please don't think bad of him - WWM is always his first point of call when he encounters a problem. regards Tina xx
<And you. BobF>
To Bob - Dog'n'Fox 10/25/10
Hi Bob and team
Since you said you liked this, I thought I'd send you a pic. Please use as you see fit. Can I apologize though that I am unaware of the pic sizes as I'm absolutely incapable of doing anything that is the least bit technical. Now that the hubby has arrived home he wishes to say Hi and that it was honor you replying to me. Thanks ever so much. Tina and Glen
<Mmm, the raised unpaired fin spines on your Siganid are a sign of stress... Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM. B>

lost image...

Re: To Bob - Dog'n'Fox 10/25/10
Just to clarify - I sent this picture for amusement purposes. Dog'n'Fox.
This duo had an incredible symbiotic relationship where they would not leave each others sides. Sleeping together, Eating together and sharing food to the point where Fox would try to blow the sand and mimic the dogface.
<These symbiotic relationships, involving these species... are not uncommon>
The stress signs seen in the Fox at the time would have been due to the dislike of me taking his photograph and may possibly have been due to the close proximity of a pestering cleaner wrasse,
<... and a Labroides here? Incredible. B>
that finally annoyed the Dogface to the point of becoming a meal.

Arothron meleagris, hlth. 8/21/10
Hello Crew,
<Howdy Gary>
I have spent many hours reading your various posts and I hope some of the information has stuck!
<Mmm, in my ref. set, I'd hope that some of it remain more fluid>
In particular I have been reading the puffer sections as I have what I believe to be a matched pair of Arothron Meleagris.
<Well, there really is no such thing... this genus only "tolerates" others of its own kind typically... Only getting together to spawn at times>
The larger of the 2 is golden in colour and a real character often squirting me with water at feeding time.
<Intelligent animals w/ a rather large, capacity/repertoire of "play" behavior>
They are my pride and joy and currently live in a 150 gallon FOWLR tank.
<Will need more room in time>
I noticed yesterday that golden puffer had a fin trapped in its gill and it is still like this today.
<Mmm, you can help "pull this out" if you'd like... or will very likely come undone of its own accord in time>
He seems ok and is swimming and eating however obviously one gill is permanently shut which in turn has trapped the fin. I read on another post from somebody else that Bob recommend that I should try to intervene and remove the fin. What I am worried about is damaging the fin or the gill and is there a particular way I should try to remove the fin or is it a case of just trying to pull it out?
<Use two large nets, with another friend or not... scoop up the fish, bring it near (but not out of) the surface, use your finger (nail toward the fish) to gently pull out>
Thanks for your help in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

sick Arothron... Going, going, gone by Crypt 5/24/10
I bought an Arothron 2 weeks ago and it is very very sick now!
<About dead from... Cryptocaryon it appears>
1. Water parameters
a) Temperature range. 82
b) pH. 8.5
c) GH.
d) KH 8
e)Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, levels. 0
f) Water change frequency 20% every month
2. Tank set up
a) Size. 25 gal
<Way too small for this species>
b) Substrate. 0.5" coral sand
c) Filtration. skimmer
d) Furnishings. 20 pounds of stones
e) Other tank mates. /
f) How long has it been set-up? 2 weeks
<... and way too new to add such fish>
g) When was the last new fish added? /
h) Is there a heater in the tank? yes
3. Symptoms / Problem description
I have a fish, probably an Arothron mappa, who is very very sick. It started when temperature lowered to 71.6 Celsius.
He has first caught Ich, and is now all skinny and for some reason cannot close his mouth anymore (showing
his teeth all the time, I have been told his teeth could have overgrown and the stress could have caused the Ich) and one of his eyes his like whitish.
He has been constipated, then diarrhea (sorry). We put a shrimp to eat the Ich off him but either it didn't happen, or it didn't help.
We are really concerned as he looks ultra weird now!!
4. Action taken (if any)
Introduced a Lysmata shrimp to eat the Ich, didn't work. Density lowered to
<Won't work...>
Temperature raised to 82.5. UV filter installed.
5. Medications used (if any)
Sorry for my bad English!
<No worries. I understand you>
Here are two pics of him now
Thank you so much, I cannot find any vet to help!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files embedded, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/18/10
Please help. I am trying to treat my daughter's dog face puffer for what I believe to be velvet Ich.
<...? These are two different events, causes... one a Dinoflagellate, the other a protozoan... Sometimes "treated" with similar compounds, techniques though>
About 3 weeks ago I introduced a similar size Niger trigger fish to the tank. It is 110 gal with only the puffer in it
(and a few snails, hermit crabs.
<Food items for these fishes>
Water quality was fine, no ammonia, nitrites, etc, ph 8.2-8.4, temp 76, salinity 1.026. I removed the trigger after 10
days because I noticed he seemed to be dominating the tank and forcing the puffer into a small area. A not very happy puffer. After I removed the trigger, the puffers color seemed off, mottled looking. He did not seem otherwise ill. After 4 days he stopped eating, stayed mostly in the rock and exhibited occasional scratching. He also developed a slightly gold color on areas.
<Ahh! This is symptomatic of Velvet... but this parasite is very aggressive... IF it were resident, in your system, it would very likely have killed all your fishes w/in a few days>
I checked the LFS and they recommended adding VitaChem to boost immunity and he should recover.
<A good idea>
He did not. A couple days later he was obviously very listless and ill. I (not being a real fish person) did as much research as possible and came to the conclusion that he most likely had velvet disease. After little success with Kick Ich
<... worthless>
in the large tang, I removed him to a QT on Sat after carefully matching the salinity, temp and pH in the new tank. I did a 5min fresh water dip and a 10sec Methylene blue rinse before putting him in the new salt water. He seemed very active after the move, mostly, I think he was angry about going from a 6ft run to 2ft.
Shortly after moving him in noted thread like strings in the water.
<Mmm, most likely "just" mucus... from the dip, moving...>
He appears to be shedding a slime coat. What do I need to do to protect him from secondary infections or dehydration, assuming that most of the Ich has been dealt with?
<Time going by, good care>
I currently have a UV sterilizer attached to the system, a protein skimmer, biofilter and have added VitaChem and Stress coat plus.
I started a course of Maracyn antibiotic
<Most antibiotics are of little to no use thus administered to marine systems>
yesterday and did a 25% water change after 24hrs. He was still with us after 36hr in the QT, so I am
cautiously optimistic. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Grateful mom
<I suggest you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked Marine Puffer Disease FAQs files above... and where you lead yourself enroute... And write back w/ specific questions, concerns should you have them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Trying to treat a dog face puffer 5/19/10

Puff seems to be much better. He was out swimming around last night. I have deleted most of the copper sulfate with water changes. A second fresh water dip yielded far less slime shedding and white granules in the dip. Daily
water changes, VitaChem and UV filtering in QT continue.
<Ah, good>
I think he out of immediate danger from the Ich, but he still has no interest in eating. He has not eaten for 12 days. Is there anything I can do to get him to eat?
Thanks for you help
Grateful mom
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
toward the bottom... the general and various puffer families FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... or use the search tool linked on all left shared borders with key words... B>

Dog face Puffer/Gill problem 4/24/10
<Hello Jason>
I have an approximately 8 inch Dog Face Puffer with an unusual problem. When he exhales there is a small balloon of what looks like gill tissue expanding out of one gill slit.
<This sounds like an injury of some kind to me>
The tissue expands and contracts with his breathing. Any idea of what this might be, and how to treat it.
<Have seen this with fishes that have been fighting, however you make no mention of the fishes tank-mates here, or environmental conditions, and photo's are useful. If this is an injury then no treatment is necessary, of more concern is how it happened in the first place.>

puffer with white plaques on eyes... Plethora of set up, stocking, treatment errors 3/29/2010
I have a 150 gal. 5 week new set up.
<... too soon to be adding fishes>
Cycled with 15 pounds live rock, few damsels, and crushed coral substrate. LFS checked water and OK'ed for fish. A large Blue Dogface Puffer, had been on hold for us for 5 weeks. They said all fish have to go in at same time since he's territorial. (big mistake). in went med. Lunar Wrasse, lg. Majestic Butterfly and lg. Garibaldi.
<This last is a cold water animal. Needs to be in a different environment>
All looked well so next day in excitement and worried about territorial aggression I added med. Powder Blue Tang,
<Mistake... this species requires very well-established settings>
med. Greenbird Wrasse, small Goby, Blenny, Black and white clown and med. Purple Tang.
Two days later added corals and two anemones.
<Is this a joke?>
Then all went downhill. White salty looking crystals on tang, butterfly, garibaldi and wrasse, but all were eating.
<Likely Cryptocaryon...>
The Puffer seemed ok still eating but was squinting his eyes. I thought the anemones may have stung his eyes. I did nothing that day (I didn't know it was a bad problem). Next day everything was worse and now the Puffer's eyes had a white coating on them making it difficult for him to see. He stopped eating that day. LFS said it was Ick add CU.
<Likely the first, but the second... deadly to the corals, anemones... too toxic for the tangs, puffers>
I did, but next morning Garibaldi and Greenbird Wrasse were dead.
I started lowering the salinity and added a uv sterilizer (36 watt)
<Can't be run with copper present...>
and increasing temp. Next AM the butterfly was dead and Lunar Wrasse died next AM. I then came across literature that read Puffers are to sensitive to CU.
<Ahh... yes>
His skin never appeared to have the white salty crystals on it but each day his eyes had another layer of white plaque added to them. Today is day three of it and he can't see and has not eaten in this many days. I bought
and moved him to a 40 gal hospital tank with external aqua clear filter.
Added penicillin and Bifuran plus (Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone).
<? What for?>
At first I thought his eye problem was from the ?Ick. But two days in the copper water yielded no improvement.
<Actually added to the opacity>
Perhaps its secondary bacterial?
All the smaller fish are still in main tank and showing no signs of stress and are still eating. We are so attached to
the puffer, (would visit him several times a week over the six weeks prior to getting him). I know it is my ignorance that has caused all of this.
<You are correct here>
We are desperate to heal the Puffer and prevent any further suffering.
What is on his eyes, I cant find any info. and have been searching for days non-stop. Picture attached is from day 1 of white eyes. They are much worse now.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files above... Till you understand your current position and options. As you will find, many others have made the same errors, been faced with similar challenges. What's that saying? "Look then/before you leap"... take your time going forward. Bob Fenner>
Ick in 150 gal tank
put him in 40 gal QT
his eyes have white plaques he cant see and won't eat
Did that happen to yours
<?... Keep reading. BobF>

Thank you. I have been reading the puffer crypt link you suggested. However I find a lot of conflicting advice. Yesterday moved the puffer to the 40 gal QT with the previously mentioned meds. that you questioned. I am doing a water change today on the QT and main tank with the smaller fishes (who by the way seem fine). The puffers eyes are the same (thick white plaques).
<Likely from the treatment and Crypt>
He still cant see. CU and Formalin are to toxic for him, Quinine may not even be a proven cure.
<Is your best bet here>
Today he has a slightly mucusy stringy film coming off his skin. I am continuing to read to seek a correct cure. But am still confused as to what to medicate him with in the QT or should I give him FW baths or FW baths with meds.
<See WWM re Quinine cpd.s>
OH please help. here is a pic today. The water is yellow even after the 50% water change today from the Bifuran plus med. I put in yesterday. By the way the Penicillin was in case the white on eyes was from a secondary
bacterial infection and the Bifuran in case it was secondary fungal.
<These are of no use here>
Since it is on his eyes I cannot get a sample of it to view under microscope or test in micro. lab. at local college.
<Nor this really. Please keep reading, cogitating... and order either CP or QS... B>
re: PUFFER WITH WHITE PLAQUES ON EYES... not reading 3/30/10
I don't know what CP or QS is...
<Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm

Mappa puffer help, 2/2/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I hope you are all having a great day. I myself am having a few problems and am in need of some assistance.
I have a juvenile Mappa Puffer who is about one inch in size. When I first got her she did really well. I put her in a 10 gallon QT and she began eating quickly there after. The next day I noticed she wasn't doing so well so I checked my water and the ammonia was really high at about 1.
<Water change.>

This surprised me a great deal as I used the water from my 55 gallon tank to set it up and the ammonia in that tank tested unmeasurable.
<This is of little benefit, you need filter media or something similar to seed your tank with the proper bacteria, very little is found in the water itself.>
So I started trying to figure out why/how it got in there and I believe it was from me not cleaning my hands well.
<The ammonia? It came from the fish, see here for more
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm .>
I have ordered some aqua gloves but did have another question about ammonia.
<Gloves are a good idea, but have nothing to do with the ammonia.>
Is it possible for cigarette smoke to cause ammonia to rise in an aquarium?
My husband is a heavy smoker and works in the same room with the tank smoking all day and I was wondering if that could be adding to it?
<It definitely can cause problems, but will probably not hurt the biological filtration.>
I have some clean PVC corrugated sheeting which I was planning on using to make a cover for the tanks to help stop the smoke from entering the tank and yet leave room for some air flow. But wanted to ask you if Metal Halides would melt the PVC sheeting.
<Very well could, and will most likely be ineffective.>
Also another situation that's come up is the Mappa Puffer has Ick which I noticed at the same time I tested the ammonia so I gave her a fresh water dip but after 30 seconds to 1 min she didn't look like she was doing well.
She flopped out of the water (almost out of the container I was using) and puffer up, then sank to the bottom and her breathing slowed a great deal.
It actually looked like she was about to die. So I took her out and put her in clean salt water where she has been ever since. My question is... which method should I use to treat the Ick at this point? Copper? Something else?
Should I try using hypo salinity? I have read over your FAQs and know that you all kind of frown upon low salinity and I'm not sure if she can take the copper or other meds. Should I continue to try fresh water dips?
<I would use one of the quinine drugs here, with treatment administered in a hospital/QT tank, not in the main tank.>
She is eating (mostly she likes the New Life Spectrum flakes I use) but she will nibble at the Selcon soaked shrimp and then snub it.
<Try the NLS pellets, tend to lose water soluble nutrients slower than flakes.>
I have tried giving her squid which has the same effect as the shrimp and she won't touch any of the fish I have though that's not really a surprise.
She also tried to nibble at a few of the snails in there... though they are almost bigger than her... its kind of funny to see.
<They will eventually be lunch.>
As long as I give her hard foods like clams and other hard shelled foods in between is it ok that she mostly eats the NLS flakes? I had read on your FAQs somewhere that Bob feed almost exclusively NLS foods to his fish so I am hoping this wont be a problem.
<NLS is a great food, I too use it as a staple, only occasionally feeding frozen foods.>
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Re: Mappa puffer help, 2/3/10
Hi Again,
I went looking for a quinine med but the only one I was able to locate was Tetra Pond which is for well... ponds. Its active ingredients are formaldehyde and quinine hydrochloride and it says 10 ml per 50 gallons is the dose. So my question is though its for ponds is it ok that I use this for my fish (Mappa Puffer)?
<No, you should look for Quinine Sulfate or Chloroquine phosphate, both are available online.>
Other fish which are most likely infected though in different tanks are Blue Tang, True Perc, Yellow Tail Damsel, Raccoon B/F. Can all of these fish be treated with this? If not which one would you suggest?
<All can be treated with this, it is generally well tolerated by fish, but highly toxic to many invertebrates so best to treat outside the main tank.>
Thank you once again for your time.

Puffer with parasite(s).. or not? With -- 1/22/10
Hello crew,
I have a 4.5 year old Stars and Stripes Puffer that I emailed about a few days ago, I rescued him from my LFS as he was in a 37 gallon tank, I'm in the process of cycling our new 215 gallon tank, and he'll be going in that shortly. He eats like a pig and I try to feed him a varied diet soaked in Zoecon supplement. I was just looking at him up close and he has these little specs on all of his fins, I can't tell if they're micro air bubbles or something else, water parameters are as follows:
<Looks like Crypt from here>
Salinity: 1.025
pH: 8.3
Ammonia: 0 / Undetectable
Nitrites: 0 / Undetectable
Nitrates: 0 / I saw a ever so slight hue in the tester so it could possibly be 2-3
Calcium: 470
<A bit high... and Mg?>
The water seems fine and I do 30% - 50% weekly water changes just to ensure things stay okay as he creates a large bio-load and he's currently in my 55 gallon tank until the larger one cycles. If you have any idea please let me know! By the way, he's 13" long so a freshwater dip would be extremely hard as he's not a fan of being netted.
Thanks again for everything you guys do!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm
and the linked files above... and soon. 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>

Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?)<Could be... "anything"... I'd do what you state, wait.> 12/22/09
Yes, I just bought a Map Puffer online the other day.
<Oh boy! I hope you understand how big these puffers are; they are the largest Arothron, getting to more than 60 cm/2 feet long in the wild.>
He is about 4.5 inches long.
<Just a baby!>
When I put him in the tank everything seemed to go well, he swam around and looked very normal. He ate OK, by OK I mean he ate, not a lot, but he ate the 1st day in the tank that night.
<These puffers are comparatively intelligent fish, and there's much to be said for acclimating them to their new home gently. You'll be quarantining a fish like this for a couple of weeks, so there shouldn't be any problems leaving the lights off for a few days. During that time don't bother feeding on the first day, but subsequently offer suitable choice morsels, removing anything uneaten within 5 minutes.>
The next night when I went to feed him I noticed a lump on the underside of his belly. It is not an open sore. It looks like something is growing inside him.
<Puffers have "soft" bellies that become distorted when they eat large meals. Don't feed for a day, and see if the lump goes down. If it does, problem solved!>
So far I have seen him scratch it one time and one time only during the whole time that I have been watching him. I looked at the lump this morning and it has grown bigger than it was last night.
<Interesting. Intestinal parasites are always a risk, but these usually turn up in fish that have been fed "feeder fish", though a recently-caught fish might have them I suppose. If the problem isn't simply overeating, then deworming may be in order.>
He still eats somewhat, not like the puffers that I have in my other tanks though.
<Arothron spp. do vary somewhat in personality, and Arothron mappa is one species that takes a while to become accustomed to aquarium life. I'd argue that they really aren't home aquarium fish at all.>
He does not seem sick any anyway. No signs of stress, he acts totally normal other than not eating like the other puffers I have. I cannot find anything online that refers to a LUMP. Can you maybe give me some advice on what this might be. I have never seen anything like this before. The tank has been cycled for over a month now. It is a 180 Gallon tank with 2 AquaC Remora pro skimmers and 2 Eheim PRO 3 filters.
<A short-term home at best; expect to upgrade within a year.>
The AMM is 0 the Nitrites are 0 and the nitrates are barely readable. The ph and salinity are right on the mark. He has 4 other tank mates. 1 JUV dragon wrasse, 2 damsels left over from cycling, and 1 dwarf zebra lion.
<Novaculichthys taeniourus is borderline so far as companions go; the others are probably non-viable. Given the size of adult Arothron mappa, and their tendency to bite at anything that looks even halfway edible, tankmates need to be extremely robust and of comparable size. In 1000 gallon aquaria we might be talking about things like Snappers and Groupers, but honestly, Dendrochirus and small Damsels are just target practise. I can't stress too strongly how inappropriate Arothron mappa is for community aquaria.>
They are doing very well and eating like normal.
<For now...>
Any information you can give me would be very helpful.
Thank You Very Much
<Do please read here for a nice review of Arothron spp.:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?) 12/22/09

Thank you very much for the thoughts and information, and getting back to me so fast.
<Happy to help.>
But to add to this story now the LUMP has gotten much larger and he does not eat at all.
<This is bad. Is the fish in a quarantine tank or a community setting? If the former, start by checking water quality and water chemistry. Tumours don't normally grow dramatically overnight, and intestinal parasites generally cause gradual rather than overnight swelling. If this fish is still under the retailer's warranty, I'd suggest returning it, and letting them deal with curing it. If that isn't an option.>
He is also not active at all.
The LUMP now is very profound and it definitely looks like a big piece of cauliflower on his underside. Does this help at all?
<Not really. Cauliflower-like is usually a description applied to Lymphocystis, but this is an external growth rather than a swelling inside the body. Lympho isn't treated directly -- it's viral -- so instead you deal with it by optimising environmental quality and allowing the fish to get better itself. Internal swelling can be caused be eating too much,
constipation, systemic bacterial infections, and of course organ failure (classic "Dropsy"). Do read WWM re: each of these.>
Thank You again Very Much
<Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron mappa?)
Again, Thank You Very Much for your insight.
<Happy to help. Did you notice Bob's comment on today's FAQ page?>
Yes he is in a Quarantine Tank. The water quality is very good, 0 AMM, 0 Nitrites, Barley readable Nitrates. PH and Salinity right where they should be.
I purchased him online because they are so hard to find.
<With good reason.>
It can't be that he has eaten to much because he hasn't ate at all now for 2 days. And like I said he has barely ate anything since I got him. I did call the reseller and he is also trying to find out what it might be, I am sure he wants to find a cure also rather giving me a refund or credit or replacing him.
<Indeed, but if the fish was delivered "sick", then its cure should be on the retailer's nickel rather than yours. In any event, I think you're in a wait-and-see mode unless symptoms become apparent that clearly point towards one particular complaint. Scattergun approaches are usually not a good idea, and can end up poisoning the sick fish.>
Again, Thank You Very Much for your time.
<A photo would help a good deal. Cheers, Neale.>

Sickly Arothron mappa 12/22/09
Hello Mike,
There's a query today about a sickly Arothron mappa... not eaten much, yet has a swollen belly. Can you shed any light?
<Mmm, low illumination at best. I suspect there is "something internal" going on here... a perforation and its result too likely. And not a good prognosis. These sorts of "injury syndromes" are quite common w/ Tetraodonts unfortunately. Their soft bodies take a beating through shipping and handling>
My initial reply is on today's (22nd Dec) FAQ page, but there are a couple of follow-ups in the Sent Items folder ready for tomorrow's batch of FAQs.
Cheers, Neale
<I saw these. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Sickly Arothron mappa
I agree with you and Bob - it's probably just from eating and needs a bit of time.
<Glad to have your input Mike>
How right you are about map puffers not being community fish! I had one live peacefully with a bamboo shark for ~6 months, and one day completely rip it apart. Learned the hard way to keep it totally by itself!
<Yikes! I was diving off the east coast of mainland Malaysia at Palau Redang once when a large Map Puffer seemed curious, was swimming along with me... when suddenly I looked to my left and it had picked up a Linckia Star and proceeded to bite its legs off!>
How are things in the UK, and CA, respectively? Very slow here...both my small biz the economy. :\
<Cal. is cold (where IS that dang global warming?!) and the economy is about shot... Too much government and mis-emphasis on policing the planet, murdering other peoples/citizens... Ours? Ovines. Will this make you free? No... again, the future belongs to commerce>
Happy holidays!
<Oh! And to you and yours, BobF>
Re: Sickly Arothron mappa 12/23/2009

Thanks for this. I hope Bob's able to roll this into the Daily FAQs.
<Will do so>
These puffers do sound to be like the freshwater Tetraodon mbu: much too large to keep at home, and far less predictable in terms of behaviour than other puffers (and even the best puffers aren't exactly easy going!). I was doing a shop tour a month or so back, and this one particular place had something like a dozen Tetraodon mbu on sale. I can't imagine there are that many public aquaria in this country for such pufferfish, let alone hobbyists. Insanity (and I said so in the article!).
UK is having an unusually cold winter with lots of snow. My home town looks very pretty (some photos on my Facebook page). Economy still in the doldrums without many signs of recovery just yet. Fingers crossed, I suppose, that things get better quickly. On the other hand, mustn't grumble. Looking forward to flying to Omaha on the 26th, and then spending a couple of days in Dana Point and then another couple days in Minneapolis, where I'll be giving two talks to a fish club there.
To the both of you, enjoy the Christmas break.
Cheers, Neale
<And you. BobF>

dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09
Hey guys,
I have searched your site for info and have found some but think I need more. I have a dogface puffer that I have had for a week now. I have already fallen in love with him (hubby has too). We have a 55 gallon tank,
<Needs more room than this>
wet/dry filter, and protein skimmer. I do realize after doing research on your site that this size tank is too small for him and we are actually in the process of purchasing a 180 gallon.
<Ah, good>
Our water param.s are ph 7.8,
<Mmm, low... I'd be reading re... bolstering... Start here:
and then on to the linked files above>
amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate is 10, sg 1.021,
<Also too low... Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm
and the...>
temp 78/80. Ok now for the problem...(did I mention I love this little guy?)
two days ago I noticed his eyes were getting hazy (read from your site that this is usually a water quality issue), but he was still eating. Today I noticed his eyes were the same but his jaw was rather swollen (like he was stung by a bee), and he is much darker in color than when we first got him. He is very lethargic and now is not eating.
<Bad signs>
He just lays at the bottom of the tank. We just set up a quarantine tank ( has the same param.s as mentioned above) and because I'm afraid he will not make it I started antibiotics in the qt tank (tri-sulfa).
<? Of no use here>
So I guess my question is...Am I doing the right things?
<Mmm... your care is genuine, but your actions belie ignorance. This fish is misplaced. Please read here:
should I be doing more or less?
<Yes. Reading first>
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much...Daneen.
<Very welcome. Bob Fenner>
More re: dogface... Puffer hlth. 12/20/2009
Hi Bob,
<G'day Neale>
> I read this message earlier today with interest. I've kept Arothron hispidus as a brackish water fish (sold as a freshwater fish!)
<Have also occasioned>
and while that's a different species to Arothron nigropunctatus, I do believe that the genus is more or less euryhaline. So the slightly lower than optimal salinity by the standards of stenohaline fish might not be the issue here.
The swollen mouth could be a clue. These animals may bite venomous or irritating animals out of ignorance: Bristleworms, lionfish fins, etc. so that's something the keeper might want to double check. I do agree with you
that cloudy eyes often go along with missed water changes and the resulting background water quality problems.
For what it's worth, when I rescued these Arothron hispidus they were very dark in colour and spent a lot of time sitting on the bottom, tails wrapped around their faces. No medication was necessary. Once moved to middling brackish water -- seemingly where baby Arothron hispidus are commonly found -- they pepped up extremely quickly. They seem to be extremely hardy and resilient fish. Admittedly, these two were in a 200 gallon tank with a big sump and a skimmer, and I agree wholeheartedly that 55 US gallons just isn't enough, whether in brackish or saltwater conditions.
Cheers, Neale
<Did you send this along to the original querior? BobF> <RMF did>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09

Before I forget, another issue might be the size of the puffer. Juveniles a couple of inches long are really quite easily bullied. If with a lionfish or moray say, might the puffer be swallowed, puff up, spat out safely, but ultimately traumatised?
<Could be; but in the U.S. it has been my experience that specimens under ten cm. are exceedingly rare. This one is doubtless larger... and in full strength seawater>
Anyway, enough for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Cheers, Neale
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09

Really? You see Arothron spp. around the 5 cm/2 inch mark all the time here. The attached photo isn't quite that small, but the size of the fake Acropora gives you some idea of its small size.
Cheers, Neale
<This IS a small specimen! Don't see them this tiny even in the wild often.
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09

I wonder if the European suppliers are getting them as younger fish from estuaries, compared with the older saltwater specimens handled by American suppliers? Hence why they sometimes end up on the freshwater fish lists as well as the marine fish lists?
Cheers, Neale
<Interesting to speculate. BobF>

Help!!! My puffers teeth fell off... 11/9/09
I have owned my dog faced puffer for about 3 years now. Two weeks ago I noticed that he stopped eating.
<Happens w/ puffers...>
I checked your site for advice and that is when I found out I needed to trim his teeth (the aquarium store NEVER mentioned anything to me). He is about 5 inches and his teeth were huge, he was not able to open his mouth.
I went and bought all of the necessary tools to trim his teeth. I used clove oil to put him to sleep. I was able to trim the top teeth to what I think is suitable. I didn't want to go too short. When I got to the bottom teeth, they both fell completely off!!! I was VERY careful not to use too much force or go too low. I'm not sure if that was supposed to happen. What do I do now? He has a set of sort teeth on top and no teeth on bottom....
<Hopefully the lower two will regenerate... in the meanwhile, do feed suitably-sized meaty foods... that aren't too hard. Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer...Stressed or Sick? -- 10/21/2009
Hi guys,
Thanks so much for the wonderful site!!
<... 9.7 meg pic files?...>
Having been in the hobby only a year or so, your site has proved invaluable in maintaining the health of my aquarium. I recently switched my 29 gallon marine FOWLR into a 55gallon mostly in order to put a little bit of space between my 4" Valentini Puffer and my 13" Snowflake Moray
<... still too crowded behaviorally. These animals are not compatible>

(the Valentini has a bad habit of teasing the eel until he tries to bite him), not to mention that they need more water volume to begin with Along with these guys there are 2 baby damselfish (less than 1/2" each), one Clarkii Clown (~2.5 inches), 15 assorted dwarf hermit crabs and 10 assorted snails.
<Your puffers will eat these last two>

Two days ago I couldn't resist and introduced an
unbelievably cute baby black-spotted dogface (~3 inches) to the mix.
<Also unsuitable here>
He's already the star of the tank and constantly begging for food (and trying to turn my hermit crabs into snacks). I feed the aquarium twice a day (1 cube of prime reef formula 2, 3-4 frozen prawn/krill/silverside)
Unfortunately I just do not have space for a QT before I put things into my display tank, but luckily my LFS keeps their marine fish in individually filtered tanks and tends to take immaculate care of them. After checking the rest of the tank in the store for any signs of sickness I broke down and decided to take the baby dog face home. Once I got him into the tank (after drip acclimating for over an hour) I noticed a couple of strange circular discolorations on him.
My water parameters: 0 Amm, 0 NO2, 1.0ppm NO3, 8.3 pH (I've been doing 20% water changes every other day for the past week since I upgraded tanks to help with the extra volume of new uncycled water)
These can only be seen when he's light, which he is almost always...if he gets startled by the eel or his reflection and flashes brown the discolorations are invisible. He doesn't seem to be displaying any other symptoms of any sort, but I cannot seem to figure out what these are for the life of me (even after reading the entire **** internets lol). My only thoughts are either bruising/burning of some sort, stress, or some disease that I just cannot diagnose...
I've attached a couple picture of the discolorations, maybe someone more experience than me has seen this before?
While I'm writing this email I do have one question about my Valentini Puffer, who I've had for about 3 months now. For about 6 weeks above his eyes there seems to be a little patch of skin missing, once every couple of days I see him scratch this spot on the rock. Again, he's eating fine (although I think that his beak was almost too long when I got him, I have to hold prawn to make sure that he gets a good bite out of it) and not displaying any symptoms other than a slightly elevated breathing rate.
This too I cannot find a similar or accurate diagnosis online, I will try to get a picture to explain better.
Thanks in advance for your help!
And again for the amazing website!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. You need a larger system ultimately, and to keep an eye on the Echidna for deadly bite marks, missing eyes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dogface Puffer...Stressed or Sick? 10/21/09
Mr. Fenner,
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I'm so sorry about the giant pictures, I attached the wrong copies (I keep the hires ones for printing).
For information's sake, I neglected to mention in my last email:
Fluval 305
2 HoB filters (one Aqueon, one Hagen)
48" Glo t5 (108 watts)
While I'm very aware that the tank is too small, I just do not have the money or space to upgrade to the 150 that I would like to (we are also probably moving within 6 months, a large contributing factor) .
<Well then Adam... you should now trade these fishes in, get something that can do well in this 55>
I read every puffer page before I decided to ask a question, I see people mention blotches from stress et cetera but I just wanted to be sure I was experiencing the same thing as my marine hobby quickly becomes an obsession..
<A good one I'll warrant>
You say the dogface is also unsuitable here, is this due to the snowflake?
<This and the size/volume of the system>
Or just the fact that my tanks too darn small.
I realize that the best solution for this tank is probably to remove the eel, I am only loathe to do this since I've raised him since he was only 5 inches or so but perhaps that's the only answer.
I'm sorry for bugging you with questions, but no one I know is knowledgeable enough to help me.
<Am very glad to share with you my young friend. BobF>

Mappa Puffer... color loss... hlth., beh. 6/18/09
hey WetWeb crew,
<Hi Josh. Please, next time around, could you use the Shift key now and again? It's pretty tiresome reading messages without capital letters, even if it's easy for you to type them out that way.>
I recently purchased a mappa puffer that I had had my eye on for a while.
when I bought it it had beautiful yellow designs with black and white but about two weeks after I bought it its color significantly dulled.
<You do realise this is one heck of a puffer once it matures? Wild fish are recorded at lengths of 65 cm, or 25 inches, and that puts them firmly in the "tank buster" category. It isn't a very sociable species either, and usually ends up being kept alone. Personally, I'd not consider them particularly good specimens for home aquaria, even allowing for the fact they're unlikely to get this size under home aquarium conditions.>
Now the color is more of a brown and grey and if I look very closely I can see hints of yellow. I was wondering if this is something I should be concerned about. also I noticed little white dots on its skin and thought immediately that it could be Ick.
<Arothron mappa certainly does have white spots on its body, and the ground colour does change as the fish matures, and to some degree with mood as well. Fishbase is often a good place to see some photos of wild fish at different ages, so perhaps stop by there now:
I gave it a freshwater bath but the white dots remain. on a side note my mappa is housed with a particularly lethargic stars and stripes puffer who is known to wedge itself in between things and just sit there.
<In the US at least, the Stars-and-Stripes Puffer is usually Arothron hispidus, a species noted for being rather placid but generally quite active. Some would say "friendly", and it's one of those species that quickly becomes tame and often mooches about at the top of the tank, begging for food. I'm concerned that your specimen is subdued for a reason, perhaps bullying, or else something "isn't right" about it's habitat: lack of water current, not enough space, water chemistry/quality issues, monotonous diet... whatever. Review, and act accordingly.>
they are both in a 55 gallon tank and I know this is too small a tank size but they are both tiny right now and I plan on putting them in a larger tank once they get bigger.
<You will need a very large tank for these two species to coexist, and there's a chance they won't coexist, the Arothron mappa being notably less tolerant of tankmates than Arothron hispidus.>
any help would be greatly appreciated,
<Mike Maddox recently penned a great primer on Arothron pufferfish for Conscientious Aquarist, and I'd recommend having a read of that before you do anything else.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Sick Dogface Puffer; swollen jaw -- 04/30/08
Hello, my name is Jon.
<Hi Jon.>
I have a dogface puffer, now in a quarantine tank. He has a severely swollen jaw, and is not looking well. I dosed the tank with E.M. Erythromycin
<Does not work for most marine bacterial infections.>

, and was hoping you knew what was wrong with him and what should be done next.
He is normally kept in a 40G acrylic tank, with a sump / wet dry filter.
<Too small. While you may be able to keep the water quality with water changes, this small tank will affect such a puffer psychologically, impair its immune system.>
I do my water changes regularly, and my nitrates are below 20ppm and the pH is kept at 8.2.
He is the only fish in the tank, other than a Clark's Clownfish. This one is the third one I've had that has cropped up with this disease now, and I've had him just over a month. On the other two puffers, the puffed up spot was in different places (one had it on his back, the other on his jaw like this one).
<I guess the dead puffers have not been examined? Would have been extremely helpful now'¦>
The system was bought new, and I've never used copper or any other medications in the tank.
<So the system is new'¦ and the substrate, water, rock, filter material? If they are new, too, are the puffers from a common source/shop? If so, I'd inform them about this disease. Find out were the disease came from.>
My aquarium reads these parameters right now:
Nitrate = less than 20ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Carbonate Hardness = 90ppm
Calcium = 415ppm
Phosphate = 0ppm
pH = 8.2
<Sounds ok.>
And the quarantine tank (cycled, with a backup filter):
Nitrate = less than 10ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Carbonate Hardness = 100ppm
Calcium = 400ppm
Phosphate = 0ppm
pH = 8.2
<Sounds ok, too.>
He has just been going downhill since I noticed the disease. Please help me out!
Thank you, Jon
<I'd start using an antibiotic for gram negative bacteria, especially if the erythromycin shows no effect. Maracyn II is such a product. Also try to find out how this disease was transmitted, feed vitamin enriched food and consider having this puffer in a significantly larger tank in the long run. Good luck. Marco.>

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