FAQs about True Puffer Disease 4
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:
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Puffer Care and Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer:
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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,
Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers,
Dogface Puffer and low PH - Warning! long email. Env. dis., mucho reading
Hi to WWM Crew. (25th October 2010)
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
<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
<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
<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
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
<? 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
<The environment... stocking... are the root causes
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
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
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
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
Ammonia -- 0 (I expect a raise as I have removed biological
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
<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
FYI -- the spotty appearance shown/discussed re.
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
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++
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.
<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.
Re: To Bob - Dog'n'Fox 10/25/10
Just to clarify - I sent this picture for amusement purposes.
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
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
<... and a Labroides here? Incredible. B>
that finally annoyed the Dogface to the point of becoming a
Arothron meleagris, hlth. 8/21/10
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
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
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
I bought an Arothron 2 weeks ago and it is very very sick
<About dead from... Cryptocaryon it appears>
1. Water parameters
a) Temperature range. 82
b) pH. 8.5
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
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
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
Trying to treat a dog face puffer
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
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,
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
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.
<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
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.
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
<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
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
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
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
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.
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
I started lowering the salinity and added a uv sterilizer (36
<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.
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
Added penicillin and Bifuran plus (Nitrofurazone and
<? 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
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>
puffer SICK AS A DOF(FACE PUFFER)
I ALSO HAVE A DOG FACE PUFFER
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>
Re PUFFER WITH WHITE PLAQUES ON EYES
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
<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
I don't know what CP or QS is...
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
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
I have ordered some aqua gloves but did have another question about
<Gloves are a good idea, but have nothing to do with the
Is it possible for cigarette smoke to cause ammonia to rise in an
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
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
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?
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
<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
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
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 --
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>
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
<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
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
<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
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
<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
<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.
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.:
Re: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron
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
Thank You again Very Much
RE: Map Puffer Dilemma (RMF, thoughts on a bulging Arothron
Again, Thank You Very Much for your insight.
<Happy to help. Did you notice Bob's comment on today's FAQ
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
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
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.
<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
<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>
<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
<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.
<And you. BobF>
dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env. 12/20/09
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
Our water param.s are ph 7.8,
<Mmm, low... I'd be reading re... bolstering... Start
and then on to the linked files above>
amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate is 10, sg 1.021,
<Also too low... Here:
temp 78/80. Ok now for the problem...(did I mention I love this
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.
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.
> I read this message earlier today with interest. I've
kept Arothron hispidus as a brackish water fish (sold as a
<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
<Did you send this along to the original querior? BobF>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
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
<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.
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
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
<This IS a small specimen! Don't see them this tiny even
in the wild often.
Re: dogface. Tetraodont hlth./env.
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?
<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
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
Dogface Puffer...Stressed or Sick? --
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
(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
<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
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
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
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?
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
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
<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
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.
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
I recently purchased a mappa puffer that I had had my eye on for a
when I bought it it had beautiful yellow designs with black and white
but about two weeks after I bought it its color significantly
<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
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
<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
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
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 --
Hello, my name is 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
<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
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.