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FAQs about True Puffer Disease 5

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

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

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

Ammonia/ CP and Puffers       10/13/16
Hello Bob/Crew,
I have a situation that I'm hoping you can assist with. Tank is a 125 gal Fowlr with Dogface puffer, clown trigger, Harlequin Wrasse and Dragon Moray (E. pardalis)
<Trouble in future... first w/ the Clown Trigger... be on guard, alert for bite marks>

30 gallon sump
Big skimmer
Media reactor with GFO ( not running right now )
Ok so here's my situation. Trigger and wrasse can down with ich. Treated with Ich Shield (CP%?)
Ich cleared up.
But my puffer came down with a spot on his side ( which we decided was probably an injury from a hose syphon.
<Ah yes; VERY likely>
I was monitoring the water and doing 20 gallon water changes weekly. But just yesterday I noticed the Moray breathing harder then normal and not in his usual location. Water test reviled ammonia at .25
nitrite 0 and Nitrate 0
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>

Oh yeah so the puffers side wound that looked like a bacterial infection spread to one of his eyes and until yesterday was hiding. The puffer ate last night without any issues ( krill and squid).
<... see WWM re the nutrition of Tetraodontids. Want to avoid Vitamin B deficiency syndrome/s>
I dosed heavy with Prime the first day I noticed the ammonia
<Won't solve the issue. You have too much life for this volume, your filtration; use of treatments.... Need to "thin the herd" and/or add redundant bio-filtration, circulation, aeration>

until I could do a water change that evening. All was good for a few days.
But today I have .25 again. Do you think the CP caused a die off in the live rock hence elevating the ammonia?
<Quite likely; yes>
Or do you think what ever is effecting the puffer is causing it?
<Stress could be a factor here too>
I am going to do another water change tonight and add some beneficial bacteria.
Unfortunately I do not have a quarantine tank available to remove the puffer.
Any other thoughts?
<The above... Bob Fenner>
Thank you Brad
Re: Ammonia/ CP and Puffers      10/14/16

Thank you Bob
<Welcome Brad>
And yes I agree large bio load. I'm the first to admit that I have an impulse buying issue. Originally the 6 ft tank was just going to be home for the moray.
<Too small even for just this>
But a 16" dragon looked lonely( I know he won't be arhat diazepam for long) and the puffer was a rescue from another friends tank. Big regrets. I do enjoy the trigger for now at 5" but am expecting a monster in the future. Have you seen them cause major issues with morays?
<Oh yes; Some individuals are not overtly aggressive; some others will tolerate NOTHING else living in their system>
I plan on thinning the herd to just those two individuals in the near future ( as soon as puffer is healthy and I can find a responsible owner to take them).
One more thing I had a hermit crab that disappeared shortly after the Ich Shield dose. Maybe rotting away hidden causing ammonia spike.
And to clarify I'm using an API test kit with a reading of 0.25.
<I'd get, use a better test kit brand>
Thank you again for all of your help.
<Welcome. BobF> 

Dogface puffer with infection.... Mmmm
<Five megs of pix; can't upload from where I am. See our instructions re writing us>
Hello team,
I have been battling marine ich on a Clown trigger and Harlequin tusk over the last week using Ich Shield (which seems to be working quite well).
But all of the sudden my DFP started to show signs of a wound on his side.
<Is the exposure to the Ich Shield likely>
About the diameter of an standard airline tubing.( I know sounds like a trigger bite) but I have never seen any aggression between the two.
<Still; could be>

So within the last couple of days it has changed dramatically to a much larger circle surrounded by a dark ring. I'm quite certain this has become a bacterial infection. What do you recommend for in tank treatment? (No QT availability)
Here are the stats.
-Tank 6ft 125
Ammonia 0
Nitrite undetectable
And Nitrate undetectable.
Tank mates
18" Hawaiian Dragon
18" Whitemouth moray
6" Harlequin Tusk
5" Clown trigger.
9" Dog face Puffer
I know all of these guys will out grow my tank eventually. And I have made arrangements with my close friend/supplier to re home all but the Enchicore Pardalis to appropriate homes.
As all ways thank you for your service.
<Given what you list as livestock, the size of the system... the current treatment regimen; I'd do nothing specifically to "treat" the puffer. Just try to maintain good water quality and nutrition. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface puffer with infection

Thank you Bob
Sorry about the Picture size.
<Ahh; back home now. I swear this is an "intake wound" from getting sucked up against a pump, powerhead... Do you have such in this system... that is not screened? Bob Fenner>

Re: Dogface puffer with infection... A... hickey!     10/10/16
Yes actually he did come in contact with a siphon hose weeks ago.
<Ah ha!>

I wasn't paying attention. Do you still think I should just let him recover naturally?
<Yes; this is what I'd do>
Also I have salinity a bit low 1.018 to aid with respiration while getting over ich. Would this cause issues. Raising it very slow is what I've read before.
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

Dog face puffer question...  Nutr. dis.   6/17/16
<Seven megs of uncropped pix; why?>
I have recently acquired a large dog-face puffer 9". He/ she seems very healthy except for the eyes, they seem almost swollen/ sunken in but very clear.
<.... if you had read>
I have only had it in my tank (125 gallon) for a few days. It hasn't begun eating yet but that is no surprise since he's still acclimating to his new home. I have however tried fresh clams, raw shrimp and squid. I know how important a fresh varied diet is for Puffers.
<Trouble.... vitamin B deficiency.... from this diet>

Attached are some pictures.
Also He did not inflate during transport or when being placed into the new tank and actually seemed to adjust quit nicely.
Any advise or insight would be very helpful.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
Thank You
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dog face puffer question   6/17/16
Thank you Bob.
What would you recommend ? I can only assume this puffer was feed primarily frozen krill for a good amount of his captive life.
<Trouble... possibly reversible>

I thought feeding fresh raw food such as Clams and Shrimp were the answer until I read the article and the relationship between Thiaminase and B1.
<Ah yes>
Would this be advisable-
Vita Chem soaked food ( squid/shrimp Live snails ( marine) Cockles
<Sub much (at least half) of the shellfish with whole small fish (not silversides), nutritious pellet staple. BobF>

Sick puffer    3/24/16
Hey again crew. My reticulated puffer is not doing well at all. He is in a 120 Gallon FOWLR system(60x18x25) running a Wet dry filter and 20g refugium. I perform weekly 50g Water changes, Nitrates stay around 20.
salinity -1.023. PH - 8.3. Temp - 77. ammonia/nitrite - 0
Bioload is 11" Reticulated Puffer, 4" Niger Trigger, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, hermit crabs and snails.
<Am surprised the Puffer and Trigger have not consumed the invert.s here>

Yesterday he quit eating completely after a week of showing signs of appetite loss. He has cloudy eyes with specs that almost look like worms in them.
<I see this... and evidence of... something... protozoan, worm... maybe Trematodes at the base on on/in the pectoral fin?>
He is much more lethargic and he also is clamping one gill shut almost all the time, although which gill is clamped has changed at least twice. His other gill appears to be working extremely hard and the outside is enlarged. When he was attempting to eat over the past few days he would spasm like he was coughing or deflating. After several coughs, his gill would start working and he would eat. Now it clamps back almost immediately and he ignores food. He also is not coughing to open the gill as often as he was a few days ago.
I believe he has some kind of fluke and I treated the tank with PraziPro this morning.
<Ah, good>
His condition does not appear to have changed, and I was wondering if i should do a freshwater dip, or let the medicine have more time to work.
<I would do the dip if you feel comfortable with netting this fish>
I also read a post on here where PufferPunk did a hydrogen peroxide dip to help a puffer with cloudy eyes.
<H2O2 is a very safe addition to dips/baths>
Am i totally off in my diagnosis or is there something more i can do?
Below are some pictures. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
<The fish appears well-fleshed, so starvation isn't imminent... I would allow the Prazi to work here, perhaps re-dose in two days. IF you had another system; I'd move this puffer, treat it w/ Metronidazole AND the anthelminthic. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick puffer        3/25/16
Thanks for the quick response!
My plan for netting him was to use a extra large zip lock baggy and guide him in with my hand. He allows me to handle him and actually comes to my hand for the attention if it is in or near the tank.
I would then move him to a 30g brute trashcan that I have setup for the dip. I don't want to take a chance of him puffing up and getting air, so some of the salt water would be added to the container when I put him in. I plan on having roughly 20g of freshwater and am hoping this will be enough to dilute what salt water is added. .
I have a neglected 29g tank that is fully cycled with some crabs, snails and soft corals. I also have a 180g tank with crabs and snails and soft coral that recently had a sick clown trigger (We discussed him previously.
He did not end up making it). I can put the livestock from the 29g in the 180 and use the 29g as a hospital tank after I replace the water. It will not give him much room, he is a very large fish. I found two types of Metronidazole
<Two? There is only one compound>
and am leaning toward General Cure by API unless you think I should use something different. Would dosing the 120g that he is currently in with General Cure instead of moving him be a bad idea?
<Possibly... there may be too much die-off; causing troubles>
It did not appear to be dangerous to the livestock or biological filtration at the correct dosage from what I have read. It is a bit pricey though. Should the Niger be treated with Metronidazole as well?
<Mmmm; wish there was sampling, microscopic examination.... both could, should be treated>
Thanks Again,
<Too much to simply state in going back/forth on the Net. B>
Re: Sick puffer        3/25/16

Quick update on the puffer. he appeared to be excreting white stringy looking stuff tonight.
<Do you have a microscope? A loupe, magnifying glass to examine this material?>
It appeared to be hard for him to pass though. Upon closer inspection I saw a clear tube like object sticking out of his anus as well.
<Colon, prolapsing. Use these two words in WWM search tools>
It was sticking out about 4 mm and appeared hollow. After he was done trying to pass the mass of white stuff and his anus closed, the tube also retracted.
<Oh, good>
<W. B>

Re: Sick puffer    3/26/16
The tube does not really look like the pictures of prolapsed colons. The tube is just under 1 mm in diameter. I'm not sure exactly how long it is, but it has extended about 4 mm from the anus. Can such a thin clear tube be a prolapsed colon?
<Mmm; not this small; no. Perhaps a worm... Nematode? B>
I will try and get a picture tonight. I do not currently have access to a microscope, but I will order a loupe magnifying glass directly.
Mike Cail

Dog Faced Puffer fish with cysts on skin.... rdg       10/21/15
<Anne; and I have been to York>
I am hoping someone here can help my puffer. He has what can be described as boils/cysts on his skin. There is a very small, thin, white, stringy substance leaking out of the cysts.
He also now seems as if he wants to eat but can't,
<... environment, nutrtion?>
food goes in but straight back out again. His mouth seems sore to open.
I have treated with copper
<No... not for puffers>

as was told it was ich but I'm pretty sure it's not and have removed all traces of the cooper treatment.
He is in a 90L QT and water parameters are:
Ph 8
NO2 0.003ppm
Ammonia 0
Salinity 1.024
Any help with this would be much appreciated as I'm afraid I'm going to lose him as I just can't find any info on such a thing. My local vet doesn't have any idea either.
Thank you in anticipation.
Anne Whelan
<A good photo, or two; might help. Can only guess given the above data.
Better to have you take the time to read on WWM re others issues; rather than the time it takes for us to go back/forth. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/TetraodDisDiagF.htm
then on to the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Puffer with strange growths       10/15/15
Hi again crew,
First, thanks for the help with my clown trigger. He is doing great.
<Ah good>
Currently my reticulated puffer has some odd growths on his fins and skin.
<See these in your pix>
They started on fins, then appeared on the skin where the fin rub. I need some help identifying what it is, and any info in how to treat would be much appreciated.
<Mmm; wish i was back at State, taking histology from Rick Phleger.... to sample, embed, section.... and look at this stuff under a 'scope>
It is definitely getting worse and has been for several months. They are spreading from both side fins to his body. I finally was able to get some decent pics. They and tank info is below.
<Well; some of it "looks" like Lymphocystis (viral; see WWM re), the bulbous bump... maybe an -oma of some sort, possibly (though doubtful) parasitic... Might just be derived from the Trigger biting the Puffer>
He is in a 120 Gallon FOWLR system(60x18x25) running a Wet dry filter and 20g refugium. I perform weekly 50g Water changes, Nitrates stay around 20.
salinity -1.023. PH - 8.4. Temp - 76. ammonia/nitrite - 0
<All this is fine>
Bioload is 11" Reticulated Puffer, 4" Niger Trigger, 1" Reef Chromis, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, hermit crabs and snails.
<Mmm, it and the Balistid will eat the crustaceans and snails in time>
<Have you read all the archives on WWM re Tetraodontids? Do so; and Lymph, and search tumors as well.
Bob Fenner>

SW Tetraodont, dis... diag.     9/17/15
You have been recommend to me by a person on Devon marina. I have a problem with my puffer fish and was wondering if you could help. The problem is with some sort of fungus growth on his fins, at first his fins formed very small white spots on them but over the last 18 months they have become worse and we can't seem to get rid of them, it also appears to have spread to his skin around his fins which are dark coloured and looks like warts! The tank is cleaned daily,
he has regular water changes, all the parameters are tested frequent and are in good water order and the ro machine which takes all the bad out of the water is working perfectly! Any advice would be appreciated. I have attached some pictures of him
<There appears to be some sort of tumorous growth and from the appearance and description fluke (Trematode) involvement. The first might be excised, or a purposeful cleaner organism tried that might not be eaten. Flukes are gone over on WWM (search, read on the site). Am concerned w/ the rotund appearance of this fish. And concerned re Thiaminase poisoning. What is it fed? See WWM re this as well. Do you need help using the search tool, indices?
Bob Fenner>

full size crop

Re: SW Tetraodont, dis... diag.       9/18/15
Is there any medicine that could be put in the water to treat his condition?

<As stated below; you need to READ. There are treatments for the probable flukes (Anthelminthics for fishes); but t'were it mine, I'd examine a sample (scraping) under a microscope; or have someone do this for me; confirming the Trematodes ahead of treatment. The same sampling, exam can be done w/ the apparent tumor.... >
We have 4 other small fish in with him and they are perfectly healthy!
regards to his size, he has always been a big fish although he has grown a bit bigger! He eats mussels and prawns
<.... trouble. STOP writing, and start READING as I've asked; or go elsewhere.
WWM IS NOT a chat room, but a useful reference>
which we have to hand feed him, he prefers the mussels to the prawns but he will eat prawns if he's hungry
<How to put this; you're haplessly killing this animal. Educate yourself. BobF>
Re: re:
There's no need to be so bloody rude about it!!!!!
<.... IF it stirs you to action... B>

Re: Saltwater; toxicity event         7/4/15
I have a dog faced puffer in that same tank and he survived the whole thing..very odd.
<Actually; not. Tetraodontids are more resistant... BobF>
Re: Saltwater        7/4/15

Here is my puffer that survived. Can you tell me what this might be on his fins please? I hope that the pictures are clear. I know it's not ich.
<Mmm; something... mechanical or chemical... did this fish get sucked up against a powerhead, overflow? It might have been the source of the poisoning, cascade event itself. See WWM re Tetraodontid Compatibility (the FAQs).
Bob Fenner>

Re: Saltwater.... Tetraodontid dis. f'         7/9/15
Hi! I took this a moment ago. He's eating good
<... well>
and I'm still treating him with tetracycline still according to the directions. What does that look like to you? Thanks!
<Nothing attached... need data.... and for you to search, read on WWM.

Sick dog faced puffer; no data      6/17/15
Really glad I found you.
I've had my puffer for 4 1/2 years - no problems - then - he just stopped eating.
<A brief review: The principal reasons for food-strikes in Puffers of all kinds is mis-feeding (see WWM re Puffers-Thiaminase), harassment from other (usually fish) tankmates, and rarely internal (lumenal) parasite problems; even more remotely are some types of water quality issues>

It's been over a week. He seems to have gone blind.
<And blindness; back to the mis-feeding (exclusive shellfish... krill esp., silversides... Again see WWM)>

I have no idea of what to do or what the problem could be.
<The reading suggested>
He's in a 95 gal tank with only a clown fish who seems to be fine. We have done water changes. I'm not sure how much longer he can last with no food.
<Weeks usually>
H E L P!!!
Susan Garber
<Do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Please help! Arothron sick; Protozoan?      9/10/14
I have a beautiful Stars and Stripes puffer, names Shrek. He lives in a 55 gallon tank
<Needs more room than this...>
on his own and he is my baby. He has always been healthy, and all of a sudden he looks covered in white powder, (not specks like Ich, but a solid coating of powder) and has cloudy eyes.
<Yikes... possibly Velvet or other Protozoan... do you have a microscope?
Sampling and examination are the only way of ascertaining what this is.
Where would this infestation have come from (live foods?)... I would pH adjusted freshwater dip, plus formalin... this fish and move to other
non-infested quarters... then, avoiding copper for Tetraodontids, utilize quinine.... SEE WWM re ASAPractical>
Typically, I do a 30% water change weekly. I have been doing daily water changes for the past couple of days, but it's the same. What does he have and what can I do? Please help! He's still eating, but his breathing seems labored and he's lethargic.
<Need to act NOW. Bob Fenner>

Stressed Dog face puffer    2/26/14
Hello! My name is Kris. I have a 100 gallon tank that includes dogface puffer 3.5", niger trigger 2",  sail fin tang 3" and recently added a 2" Picasso trigger.
<These Balistids... are likely directly and not harassing the Arothron>

water parameters:
ammonia: 0
Ph: 8.2
salinity: 1.024
Okay so since the addition of the Picasso , the puffer has been very dark in color ( almost black) and hangs out in his cave most of the day ( which isn't terribly unusual) He's eating 100% like he always has and i use garlic on the food as an immune system booster/ prophylactic.
<Not much; better on pastas>
Here's what the scene looks like... the puffer hangs out in his little cave that he likes and for whatever reason, the Picasso ( Pablo) keeps coming over to where the puffer is and rubbing his body gently and slowly against the puffer.  There has been no biting, fighting or otherwise outward altercations.
What does that behavior mean?
<It doesn't like the Rhinecanthus... nor the Odonus>
Will it pass?
<The fish will... that is; die, if not relocated, or the triggers moved elsewhere>
Is it enough to stress the puffer out to death if it doesn't stop? Or will the puffer just get used to the presence/behavior of Pablo and "get over it"?
All other tank mates are just fine and Pablo does this to the sail fin tang as well and she doesn't seem to mind at all..... what's the deal?
P.S. I have a 180 gallon on order that should be here by Saturday.. ( today is Tuesday)
<Ah good>
Thank you in advance for your speedy and thorough response.  I don't have a problem selling Pablo back to the store if he isn't a good tank mate, but I don't want to be hasty in case the puffer is just being a "diva" as i have read that they can be particularly "emotional".
<Move it. Bob Fenner>

Sick Dog face Puffer; new, uncycled sys., NH4OH, Clown Trigger...       2/6/14
HI everyone!! First let me say that it is AWESOME to have a knowledgeable resource for answers to my fish questions other than relying on the LFS for extremely biased advise. <advice> I have read some of your forums/threads on sick
puffers and have been putting together parts from each story but I decided to just give you my story and we can go from there.
Here's a snapshot of my tank thus far:
setup started on 1-15-14
<Less than a month ago. Is this system fully cycled?>
80 gallon

60 lbs live sand
70 lbs live rock ( cured or so i was told)
Octopus skimmer BH 1000 ( rated for 125 gallons)
Penguin Bio wheel 350 ( not running the bio wheels, it's just to agitate the surface and to house any filter media I may want to add in the future..carbon etc.)  Currently nothing is in it but it's on.
3 powerheads ( not sure exact gph right this second)
Water parameters: ( tested today with API liquid test kit)
pH: 8.1
NH3: almost up to 0.25 ( i know, I know..)

Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 10 ppm
salinity: 1.023
Tank inhabitants: Dog face puffer 3.5", Clown trigger juvenile 1.5", Coral Beauty 1.5".
<... the Trigger... will get too large, mean...>

All that said, i think that the ammonia went up because i added the dog face at the same time that I added 15 lbs of "live cured rock".  I put that in quotes because I think that it had enough die off to alter my levels.
<Very common>

  So my puffer ( added a week ago) was very active as were the others . Eating well, being active , no fights, no aggression.  Today my puffer isn't eating and he has changed color to that same dark gray almost black like he does
when he goes to sleep.  He's been hiding all day and hasn't come out at all.  I did a water change ( 15 gallons) and am using RODI water. I also noticed that today the clown trigger had white speckles on it's fins but was behaving normally.  Coral beauty however is in bad shape.  She has a cloudy eye and rough around the edges looking dorsal fin.  Eating and behaving normally though.
I freaked out and used a little prime to reduce the ammonia to the less toxic version.  I know that the test will still show it so i think that that's where Im reading 0.25 in ammonia.  I have no hospital tank and since at least one thing was wrong with all of them, I freaked out and wanted to treat the tank. here's what I've done so far besides the Prime...
Turned off skimmer
added Dr. Tim's First defense to reduce stress on fishes
added Dr. Tim's nitrifying bacteria because I figured that the live rock, live sand, and quick start bacteria that I initially used to start the tank, hadn't quite built up enough of a bio filter to handle the load that I put on the tank. I read up on his stuff and it is said to work fast and obviously couldn't hurt the situation.  Let me say too, that before i got my own test kit, that I was getting my water tested at the LFS every other day and saw my tank go through the nitrogen cycle BEFORE adding ANY of these fishes.  Lastly I was freaking out about the ICH potential and the cloudy eye of the Coral Beauty, but didn't want to copper my tank so I bought some stuff called Microbe-Lift by Herbtana that is supposed to be added to the DT to combat a host of diseases including Ich.  LFS and the bottle say that it's natural and that it won't affect what little bacteria that I have.
I know what I did wrong... ( hindsight is 20/20) I increased my load too fast too soon.  But now that Im in this mess, I need to know how to get out of it and is it too late to save my fishes?
Oh btw, I've increased the temp of my tank to 82 degrees F and am keeping the lights off too.  Is there hope or are my dog face and the others doomed
to die for my stupidity and hastiness?
<... Don't panic! And stop feeding period... allow this system to cycle out all ammonia. Don't change anything till.
Bob Fenner>

Serious problem with Dogface Puffer... fdg., hlth.     1/14/14
I think I have a serious problem going on with my dogface puffer and have absolutely no idea what it could be. I got him about 5 weeks ago and ever since I got him something hasn't been right. I haven't seen him eat anything at all and I know that he has to of eaten something bc he would be dead by now.
<Not necessarily... have you searched, read on WWM re?>
 I took him out of my display tank 2 days ago because something isn't right and hasn't been.
<What other fishes are here? Possibly this fish is being harassed>
 He has been very lethargic, just sits on the bottom or hides in the live rock. When he swims around he runs into the glass and looks like he's trying to eat it. His eyes are completely clouded over with a few little white dots on them, both eyes are this way. His fins also have white dots all over them. Sometimes his fins are at his side when he's just laying on the bottom. These whitish dots make me think that it's either Ich or velvet but I'm not sure. Some times he is breathing very rapidly and others seem like he's breathing normal. I've tried feeding just about every food possible that I can think of but he doesn't eat it. If I stick a silverside right by it's mouth it bites at it and takes in a lil bit then spits it right back out and moves away. I have no idea what to do, what the problem is, and how I should go about treating it. Any help would be greatly appreciated because I don't want to lose him!
<... why have you waited five weeks to write us?>
Parameters: Ph - 8.2, Ammonia & Nitrite - 0, Nitrate -10, Salinity - 1.022
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
scroll down to Tetraodontids... health/disease, system, compatibility FAQs.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14
I've been reading and reading on WWM trying to figure out what the problem most likely is
<Seen your pix... at least some sort of Protozoan; most likely Crypt>

 but I haven't been able to figure it out. After reading on WWM it seems like it is Ich or velvet but it's very hard to tell since it doesn't seem like any of the other fish are acting strange or different. He is in the tank with a small batfish & a blue velvet damsel and it doesn't seem like either of them bother or pick on him at all.
<Well, these other species are more "Ich tolerant"... Likely the system (most are) is infested>
The batfish swims & stays in one area of the tank. I waited so long because I'm new to this and was thinking that he was acclimating in the first week or two and it may have cleared up and also was thinking it was possibly a bacterial infection so I was treating him with an antibiotic to see if he would improve.
<... you need to act fast, decisively... Either some hypo route followed by worthwhile treatment (perhaps a quinine cpd.)... I'd be READING, and ACTING ASAP. BobF>
Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14

Here are some pictures I took last night of him in the QT tank after putting some food for him to try and eat.

Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer     1/15/14
I will get right on it and do hypo. Should I place all the fish in QT and leave the display tank empty to rid the tank of crypto? Thank you so much for your help and hope I am able to save him!
<Read on! B>

Unknown disease in puffer.... please help     1/11/14
Hello Wet Web Crew,
I am hoping you can shed some light on a very disturbing disease that we have been experiencing with some of our fish. This puffer is in an aquarium that has been stable for a few years, with no new fish coming or going. I have seen these lesions appear on some of our newly introduced fish in our quarantine systems, and despite freshwater dips with Methylene blue and an increased copper level in the system these fish always perish a very gruesome death within 24-48 hours of these lesions first appearing. It will attack puffers and angelfish specifically, and doesn’t seem to bother other fish. Please give me any insight as to what we are dealing with here and how to handle / stop its transmission. I have a microscope available, and if I manage to get to this fish I will try to get some skin scrapes.
Any affected fish stop feeding, appear lethargic, have these lesions of discolored skin, which in the angels progress to bloody open wounds, the puffers just have expanding patches of discoloration and rapid decline until dead in 24-48 hours.
Any help appreciated,
Wendy Amaral
<I have witnessed such rapid onset losses w/ this appearance; and have attributed (guessed) them to emphysematosis ("gas bubble disease")... Somewhere in your circulation system/s there is a site of air entrainment... the fine bubbles going into solution, getting into the fish/es and surfacing as these "lesions"... There are a few techniques for detecting these sites. Otherwise, perhaps a histological work-up of the areas mal-affected, thin sectioning, H & E staining will reveal something else. Bob Fenner> 

Puffer Accidentally Bitten   1/3/14
Hi Bob. I have an 8 inch dogface puffer and an 8 inch Harlequin Tusk in my 300 gallon FOWLR (along with other fish).  Today, during feeding, the 2 went for the same piece of food and the Tusk bit the puffer on the side of the face.  The puffer is acting normally and continued eating, but there is a pretty large cut on it's face.  Should I leave the puffer alone or remove him to QT? 
<I would leave it where it is. These animals ARE tough; will almost assuredly (self) repair>
I'm afraid of a bacterial infection.  Anything in particular I can do?
<Just the usual good maintenance and nutrition. Do you use (soak foods) HUFAs, vitamins, iodide-ate? I might double dose all for a week>
Thanks in advance,
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puppy, the Dogface Puffer with sickness...
Are you joking? 26 megs? Resend in Kbytes.
Puppy the sick Dogface Puffer....     12/3/13

Good morning.. I have a small dogface puffer now for about 4 months or so. Purchased from a local LFS store. Starting out he was doing ok in our 90 gallon (we are planning on a larger tank soon) with live rock
<That its damaged its one eye on apparently>
and lots of inverts (his choice snack). He has gone through a couple Cupramine treatments
<Tetraodonts don't "like" copper exposure>
 at the fish store and one after we purchased him. We are unsure of what he may have at this moment in time. For about a week or so, he seemed fine, swimming around and showing his true personality. I did notice that his BMs changed a lil. He will have a large BM but it seems like a whitish streamy thing comes out with him. Also, now he is very lethargic and doesn’t want to come out much. He has been eating a diet of clams from a local organic store, krill, LRS Fish Frenzy (frozen fish mixture with some shrimp, clams, etc).
<... see (search, read) WWM re these fishes diets... this one is problematical>

 His appetite is still really good. He has this white film over his eye now which started as white dots. It seems to be getting worse now. My LFS suggested trying Seachem's Metronidazole
<..... no. Of no use here and toxic>

mixed in with his food. He doesn’t really like the taste. He does get a few bites in at least. My concern is if what I am doing is good enough or should I quarantine him and treat with the Metronidazole or maybe something else?
<Read on WWM re unilateral eye issues... damage from trauma... No treatment advised>
 I also noticed that yesterday, he seemed to be "coughing" a few times. I do see a few lil tears in his fins too. Could this be evil Ich again?
<... not likely>
Attached are a couple of pics of the best shots I could get. Any suggestions would be great!
<Search, read>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stars and Stripes Puffer; no data, rdg.      11/22/13
I have a very big puffer (18" or so)
<Gets much larger in the wild>
 and he's been very lethargic, is pale,
is back fin is closed  and I just noticed when he breathes a clear see through "fog" comes in and out. His eye also seem to have a blue tinted glaze on them..
Any advice would be very welcomed - I'm so worried!
<... need more info. Let's just have you read:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
RE: Stars and Stripes Puffer     11/23/13

This didn't answer my concern. The stuff from his mouth is more like a flem.
He's breathing it. Like he has congestion.
<... with what? Please read where you've been referred... Need to know re system, water quality, nutrition, tankmates.... READ>

Puffer with White Pimple looking thing on Eyelid     11/7/13
Good afternoon! Ok, so it appears that our Dogface puffer has developed a white pimple spot on eyelid. I see no other marks or bumps on him or any other fish.
<Mmm, just the one fish and one zot...>
 Currently  he is in a 90gall tank with a snowflake eel and a coral beauty. We had an outbreak of Ich a few months ago and fallowed the tank for about 45days. We just introduced the fish back in the 90gallon tank and everything seemed fine. But now, puppy the puffer fish has developed this white spot on his eyelid. Is there any way to determine what
this is?
<Well; yes... but not worth doing in my opinion... take the fish out, sample some body slime, perhaps the dot itself, look under a 'scope... study up re what you're seeing...>
 He is eating normally and acting fine.
<I would leave all as is... do what you can to provide stable, optimized conditions and good nutrition>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puffer parasite??    12/7/12
We have a new golden puffer for about 4 months now with no issues..
All of the sudden tonight when we went to feed them he had these rice like "parasites" all over his body and one of his eyes.
None of the other fish in the tank have any signs of this and he is acting normal so far.
Any ideas?
<Have tried enlarging some of these "zots" and enhancing the image... They look like congealed spots of body mucus more than anything discrete; not like a live organism. Tetraodonts are quite slimy and often particulates will adhere to them... I'd review what your water quality, any supplements, treatments you've added to the water... and not treat this fish/system in any way. Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
This does not look like any type of debris.. the little rice like things look to be alive.. they are very hard to photograph through acrylic.. but see if this helps..
You can really see a few of them stuck to his eye, but they are also on his body.. he does look to have some sand on him as well, but it is the white/clear looking rice shaped things we are worried about.
Thanks so much!
<Thank you for sending along the larger, better-resolved image. BobF>
HERE YOU CAN SEE THEM.....RE: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
Wow.. I hate to send you such a large photo.. but when you enlarge it you can see the eyes on these things.. OH MY what do we have and how can we get rid of them???
<Oh yeah! I do see these now as some sort of parasitic crustacean... Likely an Isopod (Cirolanids maybe)... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodcontr.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
Bob Fenner>

 RE: HERE YOU CAN SEE THEM.....RE: Puffer parasite??    12/8/12
Bob,.. sorry to be a pest here, but just worried about my puffer..
I've been doing a lot of reading about these pests and a lot of conflicting information..
One said to pick them off like ticks
<Nah... just use an organophosphate remedy... there are a few, covered on WWM...>

 and another said not to because it can cause more damage.. especially since they are on his eyes..
One said freshwater dips won't work.. another said try it... We tried it.. they are still there...
Baiting seems to be a good way, but I have yet to find the article on how to bait them,
<No to this too>
 and they seem very content to be on the puffer as they do not leave when the lights come on..
So how can I get them off of my puffer first... and second.. is baiting the best way to rid them from the entire system?
Thanks so much!
<Did you read where I last referred you? Please do so. BobF>

Dogface puffer missing his tail    11/4/12
Hello WWM,
I have been searching your site of late but have not been able to identify exactly what is going on with my Dogface Puffer. The puffer is about 3.5 inches long and resides in a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium. His tankmates are a Maculosus Angel, an Annularis Angel, a Lunare Wrasse, a Maroon Clown, a Flame Hawkfish, and a Coral Beauty. He is fat, active at feeding time and at night, eats just about everything I put in the tank, and seems to be pretty healthy with the exception of his tail.
My puffer looks like someone chewed off his tailfin.
<Might have... it wouldn't have disappeared on its own... The prime suspects are the large angels and Premnas>
From what I can tell he does not have fin rot, as his entire tailfin is gone. There appears to be rather extensive tissue damage (ragged, torn tissue), although I have never seen another fish biting or harassing him.
<Going on when you're not looking>
Does this sound like a bacterial infection/Finrot, or is it more likely the result of aggressive behavior from a tankmate?
<Almost assuredly the latter>
Should I be worried about a secondary infection from the tissue damage?
<Not if the animal is eating/healthy and there's no evidence otherwise; but it should be moved elsewhere, lest it be the recipient of further harassment>
The puffer's behavior seems very normal, but his tail really looks horrible. Is there anything I should be doing other than regular water changes and providing a proper diet?
<Move it; or the perpetrator/s>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick Puffer    10/25/12
Hi crew! I've been having a problem the last few weeks with my dogface puffer and some of my other inhabitants. We'll start with the tank. It is a 220 gallon FOWLR with a 40 gallon sump/refugium with miracle mud. It has been set up for three years. Temp is 79, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20, ph 8.4. Inhabitants are a dogface puffer, passer angel,  and an Australian harlequin tusk. About a week or two ago, my puffer started lying around more and stopped eating.
<True puffers (Tetraodontids) "do this" (lethargy, feeding strikes) at times; sans known cause>

I checked water quality and nothing seemed out of order. So I just kept offering food with no luck.
<Mmm, what foods specifically? Some fed too much, too often, exclusively are trouble. Read here re:
 The only thing that seems out of order with his appearance is that his fins are a little tattered even though he is not getting "picked on" by any of the others.
<Mmm... then wherefore the tattered fins? I'd be watching the Passer...>
Around that same time, my angel started to do the same thing. Only it looks like he is getting hole in the head like I have seen on Oscars.
<See WWM re... vitamins, HUFAs, perhaps a cut-back on GAC use:
and the linked files above>
My last angel came down with HLLE and this looks nothing like it. The tusk is doing great. He eats like a pig and is always gliding around the tank.
I'm just worried about the other two. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for such a long email.
<Give us a write back if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Puffer 10/25/12

Hi Bob. I forgot to add that I do not use carbon in my systems. In my experience that seems to cause more harm than good. I use no chemical filtration. I just use 100 micron filter socks and a sponge filters that get changed weekly. That in conjunction with my refugium and biological filter seems to work well for me.
<Ah good. B>
Re: Sick Puffer 10/25/12
Hi Bob, thanks for the speedy reply. I am offering krill, squid, pellets, prawns, and angel formula. I
<I'd cut back on the first two and fourth...... please don't write w/o reading where you've been referred to first>
 usually soak the food in Selcon or Lipovit.
I doubt the passer is the cause of the puffer's fin damage. He hasn't moved out from the live rock in  about 5-6 days now. Should I try to treat them with Melafix or anything?
<... no. BobF>

Help with my puffer     10/25/12
I have a mappa puffer. I came home and found him hanging upside down by my overflow. It seems he inflated or gulped some air somehow. He is having buoyancy problems. What can I do to help?
<Mmm, at the low end, nothing, to the higher, secure all such intakes and even massage the belly area toward the mouth (underwater) in an attempt to expel the air>
 I tried to "burp" him but it didn't work.
 Prob freaked him out too. My LFS told me to put him in a container and sink him to the bottom of my tank with a rock on top.
<?! No rock>

So, I did. Now he's at the bottom of the tank and looks exactly the same.
What can I do? Do I try burping again? Thanks for your help.
<I'd leave this fish in a calm system, w/ no light... and hope. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Help with my puffer    10/25/12

Thanks for your reply. I just came home from work and everything was fine.
<Ah, good news>
 It was like nothing happened. According to my LFS, putting him in a container at the bottom of the tank helps to work the air out due to increased pressure. Also, I put Mysis in there for him to eat that also helps to move stuff around inside him. Im not saying I know why it worked but it did and just wanted to let you know for future reference. As always, thanks for helping me.
<Thank you for this upbeat follow-up. BobF>

Strange air bubble in puffer   2/20/12
Bob, I need your expertise. This morning I woke up and noticed my puffer has a HUGE air bubble on it's side. See the attached picture.
<I see this>
No new fish have been added. Water quality in check. The only thing different is that I fed a crayfish last night. Could this possibly be the cause?
<Mmm, not likely...>
Does the air bubble have to be popped?
<Yes I would... hold the fish in a damp/wet towel (or have someone assist you), take care not to be bitten (really hurts)... use a fine needle to puncture. Bob Fenner>

Dog Face Puffer in Potential Trouble   1/9/12
<Hey? Greetings!>
I have been using your site since first purchasing my tank, its a great reference for advanced, and novice hobbyist alike. I currently am running a 75g Fowler, with a  Protein Skimmer in the sump. I have a 3 in. clown fish, 9in. snowflake eel, 4in Foxface Lo, and a 5 in dogface puffer.
<Mmm, these need more room... at least a 125 now, larger later>
 The puffer has been acting a little strange since purchased. He began eating immediately, but only live ghost shrimp, muscles and clams in the half shell.
<Spoiled... and likely Thiaminase poisoned. Read here:
and on WWM re Tetraodont foods/feeding/nutrition. You need to widen the diet... Spectrum pellets are a fave>
He is very shy, usually hides, and only comes out for food. My water parameters last week were Ammonia = 0, Nitrites= 0 Nitrates = 40ppm (High),
<Too high by twice... due to crowding, foods/feeding and likely types of filtration employed and not. See WWM re NO3 control... Keep under 20 ppm.

THIS could be the issue here w/ non-feeding alone>
 salinity = 1.024, and Ph= 8.2. Due to the nitrates i did a 15 gallon water change, which lowered the nitrates to 10 ppm. Unfortunately, when i awoke, sweet potato ( dogface puffer ) looked unhealthy, and was acting stranger then normal. I see no physical signs of Ich, or problems, but he has occasionally been slamming his side into the tank wall. He stopped eating, looks to have thinned out, darkened in color, and now is literally hiding in a cave breathing heavily. I went to the LFS with a description and photos, and was told maybe he was stressed ( it seems to be something more).
<Good guess... but due to what influence? Some aspect of the new water?>
 They gave me two fiddler crabs to entice eating ( did not work) and told me to bring him to the store if the situation remained poor.
<An exceedingly poor idea to "take fishes in" to shops...>
I love this little guy, and want to take the best care of him as possible.
<Then apply yourself. READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm
The "Related FAQs Files:" linked above>
 If these symptoms Don't go away, which i Don't believe stress to be the cause.
What are my options? What do i need or need not to treat him for, and how?
I am new to the hobby, and working hard to learn everything. Please let me know how to help my puff. Thanks for your site, and look forward to hearing the answer.
<Read and get back w/ me after, should anything be unclear, incomplete in your mind in terms of possibilities here... You need to change the diet, add filtration, get the NO3 under control.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Dog Face Puffer in Potential Trouble  1/9/12

Thanks for your response. Two follow up questions, I took a picture of him to my LFS store, and they said he might have a fungal disease and to QT him and give him anti-fungal meds. I hope this helps, if not and its this Thiaminase poisoned. How do i correct this if he will not eat?
<Read where you've been referred. B>

Dogface Puffer, hlth.    1/8/12
My Puffer has been a bit weird this week and not sure why.
Hope you can help.
Information as best i can.
Nothing has changed in my FOWLR tank in last 6 months. In or out.
!00 gallon. Oversized Tunze skimmer plus trickle filter.
5 small tankmates.
<Need to know what species>

 Puffer about 5 inches. Will be getting larger tank.
Weekly 10% water changes.
Instant Ocean , D&D or Royal nature salts used. (I change every 25kg to vary elements in my other (reef) tank).
Only 2 parameters not perfect are SPG 1.026. I am dropping to 1.024 over next few days.
Nitrates 15
Everything has been stable and fine till last weekend.
Coincidence maybe ?
<Reads like it>
But I went away for 2 days and decided not to feed fish.
<No problem>
 First time i have done this but read it`s not a problem.
Normally leave neighbour in charge.
Anyway Puffer instead of being very light grey has darker speckled grey spots. Skin looks a bit like when he has blown up and come down again...A bit wrinkled.
He is also staying in front of powerhead flow.
<... Mmm, a guess here... this fish might have gotten sucked up against the intake...>
Then he might hide away in a cave.
Just doesn't look or act the same.
He has flashed against rocks a few times. Not a lot though and no sign of itch.
He is eating as much as ever and looking for food every time i approach the tank.
No problems with other fish or any in my other tank.
Both tanks running 18 months ish.
I don`t run carbon in tank but i am going to start soon from what i have read this week.
Do you think there is a problem here ?
<Don't know for any certainty... But would ask that you read here:
and just try to be patient... Highly likely this issue will resolve of its own. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface Puffer
Thanks Bob
<Welcome Gar>
Pathogen or parasite has been suggested.
<... I see in your pix that you have a Paracanthurus tang... It would be parasitized way ahead and worse than the Tetraodontid>
I am attaching a before and now photo to see if that could shed any light.
<I can... there is a disturbing amount of Blue Green Algae (reddish in this case) coating the back wall of this system. I would make moves to reduce this. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above... where you lead yourself>
If so would quarantine and Cuprazin work ?
<I would neither move this fish, nor expose the family to Copper compounds... please read where you were last referred>
Sorry for rushed reply but starting to worry.
Have read lots and will continue to do so where you have suggested.
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer

Sorry Bob
Should have added , no actual intakes in tank .
All behind backboard.
Also puffers breathing seems to be getting faster.
<The steps to reduce BGA, improve water quality... B>

Re: Dogface Puffer, hlth. concern    1/8/12
Thanks Bob
Thought same about Regal myself.
Will read up on algae.
The red has been on tank wall since start up but hasn't increased in last 9 months say but have needed a real scrape to remove any so just decided to leave it. Thought no harm as not increasing.
<... not so. Toxic, at times very... ONLY scrape this off when you have a plan to make a very large water change, vacuuming as much out as you can, changing or cleaning all mechanical filter media>
As regards the green algae i have just increased water flow as i had one of my powerheads greatly reduced running a nitrate reactor.
<Oh! Of what sort of make up is this? Might be the or another source of poisoning. What in particular is the feed (chemically)>
The difference since yesterday is great.
Don`t know if this was the problem but will definitely take your advice and do some more reading.
Thanks a lot again Bob
Kind regards
<And you, B>
Re: Dogface Puffer   1/8/12
Hi Bob
<Big G>
Don`t know alot <no such word> about the reactor.
Just that the level of nitrates in tank is higher than what comes out of reactor.
<Mmm... what do you feed it with... the source of carbon? Is this a liquid prep.? Is it some sort of bead that's in the reactor itself?>
Company in England sells many different types.
This is a link to the one i have. http://www.cleartides.com/page20.htm.
Doesn`t actually say what the media is.
<Mmm, I see that they sell a few types... Sulfur, pellet... You should be able to tell which variety you have... Don't know that the reactor is a culprit... as other, just as sensitive fishes are reported as doing fine>
Read about the algae Bob and have increased water flow.
Think i need to up my lighting too. Only have 2x38w on a 100 gallon tank.
Been told on 3 forums this is fine on FOWLR but obviously not.
<Depends on what you're trying to do... For just barely lighting photosynthetic life on your rock this should be fine>
Hope my puffer recovers (still eating today). Do i just leave him and hope time (and water) heals ?
<Is what I would do yes>
And lastly how soon do i need to scrape algae from tank ?
<... better again for you to read, come to understand the several approaches to BGA control... develop and incorporate a several-approach plan>
Bit apprehensive about this job. Will it die off in time if left ?
<Mmm, more likely your livestock will die off first>
Thanks a lot for help Bob. Think you`ve hit nail on the head with water quality. Was being sent down a few wrong roads methinks.
<Review our prev. emails... READ... understand, then act. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer  1/10/12

Hi Bob
Just a quick update.
Puffer still eating as normal<ly> but flashing and blinking continues.
Probably a bit more lively too.
News on the nitrate reactor which i had stopped running before to increase flow and when started again there was a slight ammonia smell.
I had the outlet running outside of tank for a few pints then returned it.
Have just contacted the maker and he told me it should never be stopped and started again and to flush out the reactors and begin maturing again.
This i have done.
Could this have contributed to problems too ?
Cant see it being good
<Me neither. B>
Re: Dogface Puffer
, now poss. BGA poisoning in earnest!    1/15/12
Evening Bob
<Geez... the time code above reads as the same time zone (PST) as here... am just ten minutes behind you Gar... 9:35 AM >
I decided to remove all blue green algae on Friday as i think i have improved water conditions re your information page and also think it mainly arrived a long time ago.
<I see>
Basically i scraped the whole back wall of the tank and changed about 20% of the water. Cleaned all filter media and left tank to run.
Another 10% change today and cleaned all filters again.
<Sounds good>
The amount of mess in the water was really bad and i am thinking the tank water has been poisoned.
I am continuing the water changing and filter cleaning regime as fast as i can.
Should i do anything Else ?
<Run a good deal of new activated carbon, and/or PolyFilter>
Add anything to water to treat fish ?
<Not I>
 I had a dead Damsel this morning and a small clown not eating along with puffer.
Regal Tang is perfect.
Would you add erythromycin at all now as algae has 95% gone (few very small patches left).
<I would not. Am not a fan in general of chemical algicides... for all the reasons posted on WWM>
Grateful for any advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Perhaps BGA poisoning    1/15/12
Thanks for quick reply Bob
Think we`re in agreement over chemicals.
Ran a new bag of Rowa carbon from Thursday but threw it away with today's changes as i thought this too could now be holding poisons in the sock.
Now the tank is clear of loose algae i will replace it tonight and carry on with water changes etc... till fish tell me otherwise.
Thanks again Bob.
Just hope the fish make it.
<Me too>
<And you, B>

Re: puffer /blue green algae problem  1/16/12
Hi Bob
The problems continue.
Regal tang and Yellow Dwarf Angel still showing no bad signs. That`s the good news.
The Puffer is now being bullied by these 2 fish..
<Needs to be isolated, better, moved elsewhere>

Will they be doing this as he is vulnerable like other wild animals do or could this have been the original problem with him and i hadn`t noticed ?.
<The former>
He is now just lying still and they are swimming over and nipping him all the time.
<Why is it still there? Move it!>
He is curled up and very dark due to stress. He has a few light red streaks on his body and fins too. Poisoning ?
<Slightly venomous if/when killed, decomposing>
Do i need to move him to another tank ?
<YES; now>
 Wondering if he looks so bad due to the bullying or if there is another problem. His teeth are showing all the time and his mouth is in an open position. Skin doesn`t look great either.
What is the smallest size tank i could  safely put him in for a few weeks just to see if he picks up. Would you suggest this ? He`s about 5-6".
<Thirty plus gallons>
Re: puffer /blue green algae problem  1/16/12
I have moved him Bob.
Straight after emailing you. Yes it was obvious really.
He is in my QT tank...20 gallon only .
<Be VERY careful of feeding, DO measure water quality, be ready to dump, replace (from your main tank) a good deal of the water... daily!>
Internal filter with sponge taken from one of my reef filters.
I think his problem now is lockjaw.
Been reading up today but he never eats krill so i am assuming water quality again or stress from the Regal Tang situation.
Does he HAVE to be force fed to cure ?
<Hopefully not>
Going to leave him in peace for a day or two first anyway.
<Welcome. B>

Re: was Henis terrorizing a Tetraodontid, now burping a puffer 11/29/11
did that.  found out puffer has a bubble stuck in him.  so he stayed wedged.  talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.  the Henis leave a dogface alone in the same tank.  any treatment for the bubble that wont burp?
<Catch the fish, hold it firmly, but not too firmly (!) underwater with the head tilted up... BobF>

Reticulated pufferfish is constipated?    10/3/11
Hi, I have a reticulated pufferfish in a 100g tank with an eel.
<Mmm, what species? You realize how large this puffer can/does grow?>
Water levels are normal but nitrate/nitrite/ammonia could be present, since I haven't done a water change in 3 weeks. So my pufferfish rectum is actually out and exposed, and you can see the waste in his rectum. It is like a lump where his anus is. This has been going on for 2 days now. His stomach doesn't seem bloated and I didn't feed him the day before this happen, so would it still be constipation?
<More like a prolapsed anus... Put this term and the word Puffer in the WWM search tool... located on every page>
He only eat mussels and shrimps,
<A poor diet... See WWM re Thiaminase issues>
and for the last month I've been feeding him 2 mussels a day(sometimes he would go a day without eating, because I didn't get a chance to feed him).
What is wrong with him, and how can I fix it.
<... see your statements above. You know naught re water quality... poor nutrition... needs more room...>
I've had him since he was a baby and he's over a foot long now. Losing it would suck, its the best fish I've ever owned.
I appreciate the help.
<See the above, search, read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reticulated pufferfish is constipated?   10/4/11
Hey, thanks for the info, the pufferfish just pooped out the waste that was stuck in his rectum. The waste was a solid piece (not usual) and it was kinda hard. Does this mean that his illness is starting to alleviate? Also about his diet, what should I feed him? My pufferfish would only eat shrimp or mussels. I've tried squid, fish, and other stuff but he refuse to eat anything besides live crab/crawfishes or frozen mussels and shrimp.
Thanks for the help. WWM is the best place to look up info on puffer fishes btw, kudos to you guys =D
<Do please read where you've been referred. BobF>

Help. Dogface puffer swimming issue/s...    7/4/11
Hello, I've read through a lot of questions trying to find a similar
issue, but can't seem to find one. I have a 60g FOWLR with a 4" dogface puffer,
<This is way too small a volume for this fish>
3 damsels, and a clam. I've had the puffer for about 3 years.
<"Dwarfed", "Bonsai'd"... made and kept small here from metabolic feedback (living in its own wastes so to speak). Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm
Just recently (about 2 weeks) he has been acting differently. On a side note, me and my wife just had a baby (2 months old), so for a bit some of the care I put on the tank was slipping. I checked my levels a week ago and found my pH was low, about 7.6-7.8.
<Whoa! This scale is base 10 (log)...>
I did a 20% change and added the pH buffer
<Needs to be done very gradually... from pre-mixed new saltwater additions, NOT added directly to the tank>
for 2 days after that and the levels went back to 8.2 - 8.3 within 2-3 days. Ammonia was 0, Nitrite was 0, and Nitrate was about 20. So back to my puffer, he seems to be swimming a little lopsided and recently was even upside down.
<Very bad>
He can't swim and stay up anymore either, he is always cruising the bottom of the tank and when he does force himself to swim up, he immediately drops down to the bottom. He used to always hover around the middle or close to the top swimming back and forth, now he just swims circle around the bottom. He still eats, but only if I physically put the food in front of his face with tongs. Before he used to come get anything I put in the tank. I feel him a variety of squid, silversides, krill, and clam.
<Not a good diet... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
I mix it up. I went to the LF store and asked what to do. The owner said I should QT the puffer for 3-4 days and gave me EM Erythromycin and Triple Sulfa,
<? Of no use here whatsoever>
which I medicated him with for 4 days. I just put him back in the regular tank and he is swimming around a lot more, but still looks the same, not able to go to the top. Anything you can tell me would help. Thank you.
<Only time and your good care will show/prove if this fish will revive...
It needs to be in a larger world, less vacillation in water quality and better nutrition. Bob Fenner>
re: Help. Dogface puffer swimming issue   7/4.5/11

Hi Bob,
<Hey Tim>
Thanks for the reply. After reading your reply, I guess I haven't been treating my puffer well and I didn't even know it. I am going to do my best to make things right for my puffer.
<Ah good>
I have a 150g tank in my garage I have been building a stand for. I am almost finished and will set that up ASAP to give him a bigger home. As far as filtration, I have a Fluval FX5 I will use along with a Fluval 304.
I read I should be shooting for about 10 time water volume per hour with a puffer, so I'll do the math and add another canister if needed. I also have and will be using a skimmer.
<Very good>
As far as the pH, I did add the buffer to new water I had made, not directly in the tank and am maintaining the levels were they are now. Ph 8.2-8.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20.
After reading your response about his diet, I was shocked. I had never heard of Thiaminase and everything I always bought for him to eat was frozen and what I listed before, which apparently was all Thiaminase based food. My LF store had always told me it was a good diet for him.
<As you'll see/find, this practice is responsible for many indirect shortened lives>
I will go buy some vitamins to soak him food in, as well as change his diet to Tilapia (fresh from the food store, I'll freeze it as needed and soak it in vitamins, mussels (maybe a few times a week), and cockles. Once a week I will give him a silverside or some clam since he does like them, but again I'll soak them in vitamins.
Do you think this might get him better,
<I do>
any other suggestions as far as anything else I might be able to do?
<Mmm, no. The move to the new, larger quarters, more steady water quality, improved nutrition will likely bring your Tetraodont around>
Thanks for the information, I will keep you posted on my progress...
<Thank you. BobF>

Puffer problem, Tetraodontid, env.
Dear WWM.......
I have a Stars and Stripes Puffer........
Previously healthy, living for 4 years in 55 gallon tank with one other fish.
<Mmm, really, this puffer (should by now, through growth) needs a much larger volume>
Have not introduced ANYTHING new to tank, not even live rock or gravel for years.
Recently noticed Puffer rubbing on the live rock. Thought nothing of it because he's a bit of a "spaz", but now see a skin eruption on his jaw line about 3/4 of an inch from his mouth. The spit is a perfect dark ring with a dark center spot with five white speckles inside of that (definitely not Ich). I thought, at first it was an open wound, but under closer inspection see that it is completely smooth like the rest of his skin.
Eyes clear; appetite great, activity level is as usual.
What is this and what medicine can I apply to the water?
<... likely environmental stress as a term... Again, this fish has been 'bonsai'ed' by life conditions>
Thanks, in advance, for any guidance you might offer.
Best regards,
Lisa Crugnola
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupufsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above; particularly nutrition/feeding, and disease. Bob Fenner>

My panda puffer has swallowed a rounded piece of dead coral  3/1/11
Hi crew,
I am concerned for my panda puffer; it has swallowed a rounded piece of dead coral that fortunately was polished. I hope that it will not make him internal injuries. How can I help my fish?
<Really only being patient, time going by>
Do you think that it will expel naturally. The piece was large enough to pass by his mouth! Yesterday, the fish has eaten normally but today it is a little lethargic. Today it has done a little poo.
Thank you for your support
<This too should pass in time... I've seen puffer species eat a bunch of hard, unusual materials in the wild... Bob Fenner> 

Puffer with "skin growths" -- 02/05/11
Hey WWM crew,
I have a question that pertains to my yellow-belly dogface puffer. He has numerous small circular growths all over his body, they look almost like "freckles."
<I see these>
I have searched extensively and asked several forums without any pointers in the right direction. These growths don't appear to bother him at all. I have enclosed some pictures to see if you guys can identify what it is. Thank you!!!
<Some sort of skin irritation (not Neuromast/HLLE trouble)... likely something to do w/ water chemistry... which you proffer no data re. Could well be summat that there is no simple measure of. Do put the string
"puffer skin trouble" in the search tool here:
and read some of the cached views for the saltwater queries. Bob Fenner> 


Dogface Puffer won't eat   1/21/11
Hey crew
I recently purchased (almost 24 hours ago) a Dogface puffer. He/she's about 3" long including the tail and is in with a harlequin Tuskfish (4.5"), niger trigger(4"),
<May not "get along" with this fish>
Goldbar wrasse(5") and a yellow tang who is 6"
<Nor this>

in a 150 gallon tank(US) with protein skimming. The yellow tang threatens the puffer when he/she(the puffer) goes near the tang's territory with his acanthus. Also the puffer won't eat anything. I know he/she probably won't eat anything in the next 24 hours when you acclimate them but also seems to have slightly overgrown teeth. The reason I assume this is because he/she goes to the side of the tank and seems to be "biting" the glass or his/her reflection.
<Likely interacting w/ its reflection... but perhaps trying to escape>
The others don't bother him/her. Also when the yellow tang threatens him/her, his/her tail goes to the side of the body, like a submissive gesture I suppose.
Thanks a bunch!
<... this fish really needs to be put elsewhere... At least for now. See WWM re the family, en toto.
Bob Fenner> 

Dogface puffer, hlth., sys., nutr.   -- 12/20/10
I recently moved from a 25 gallon to a 115 gallon tank.
and bought a dogface 2 weeks ago.
<Will do much better in a bigger tank than 115 Imperial gallons. Realistically, 200 gallons is nearer the mark. These fish do grow very big, very fast. They're also very active.>
Everything been fine until today. He looks really ill, not eating and keeps screwing his face up....and moping about behind the live rock.
<Indeed. While Arothron species are extremely hardy in many ways, they're easily stressed by the poor conditions they themselves create thanks to their large size and massive appetite. Review aquarium size relative to the Arothron specimen you have, with a fish bigger than, say, 15 cm/6 inches needing a much bigger tank than you have. Do please read here:
That's a thorough review of the genus and its specific requirements.>
Did water tests and my nitrites were up to 0.3
<Stop feeding! Check filtration is matured and working. Maintain filters as required, adding secondary filters if necessary. Let's say you're aiming for a turnover of 10 times the volume of the tank per hour, the minimum for this sort of puffer, you'd need a pump rated at 10 x 115 = 1,150 gallons/hour. A protein skimmer is essential because of all the nitrogenous material dumped into the tank whenever you feed your pufferfish.>
Realised my external filter which I moved over from last tank (while my trickle filter matures) had been unplugged.
Did water change and have filter running again now.
All other fish well.
<Other fish'¦?>
Thought it may be food as he eats prawns and dillies that others don't get.
<Hmm'¦ earthworms and prawns are reasonable foods, though Bob F. would probably warn you away from terrestrial protein sources on principle. As for prawns, while fine as a treat, they are rich in Thiaminase, and shouldn't be used more than once or twice per week. Gut-loaded live river shrimp are better. Otherwise, concentrate on Thiaminase-free foods: cockles, tilapia fillet, certain types of squid.>
Maybe a prawn was off ?
<Possibly, but usually fish reject rotten seafood.>
Any ideas of what it could be or any treatment I could use ?
<More likely environmental. Review the tank, tankmates, filtration. Check water chemistry, salinity is adequate. Oxygen is a key limiting factor, and external canister filters remove oxygen, so without sufficient circulation in the tank, you can easily end up with low oxygen conditions likely to stress your puffer. Their small gill openings mean they find it hard to breathe "deeply", yet their oxygen demands are very high because they're so active.>
Also is it true that if he died he can pollute the whole tank fatally ?
<Potentially, but any dead fish can do that. If you're asking if the poisons in a puffer's tissues leak out after death and kill the livestock, no, that doesn't normally happen. Boxfish can secrete toxins through their skins, but puffers don't.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Thanks for the rapid response.
<You're welcome.>
I have a Tunze protein skimmer running and 2 2000 lph pumps and 1 2500.
<6500 litre/hour is about 1400 Imperial gal/hour; should work, but don't be overly trusting in what you've got going on here. Keep a close eye on oxygen concentration and nitrate level.>
He now seems to have gone a really dark colour and looking pretty grim in fact.
<Arothron hispidus will change colour dramatically when stressed. I bought my first specimen as a FRESHWATER fish, and while they were a very subdued colour under such conditions, once moved to a brackish water aquarium they perked right up. These are very hardy animals. What are its tankmates? How are they behaving? On paper at least, Arothron spp. are among the tougher marine fish, and some of the few species to be kept successfully for 5+ years in captivity back in the 70s and early 80s when marine fishkeeping was still in its infancy. If the other fish look happy, then yes, consider diet and/or poisoning as possible issue -- note than puffers tend to be acutely sensitive to copper, perhaps more so than most other commonly kept fish. On the other hand, if everyone is off their food, then something else
is likely going on.>
Has been fed almost exclusively on prawns....About 2 a day....not good.
<Indeed not. Tilapia fillet and cockles are the two ideal staples for bigger specimens. Very young ones enjoy bloodworms, but the degree to which these are healthy for marine fish is debatable, though it's worth stating that juvenile Arothron hispidus live in estuaries and rivers, so insects probably are part of their natural diet. They're also herbivorous, so some green foods, e.g., cooked peas, should be provided.>
Thanks anyway and I'll see how he goes but gone bad very quickly so not overly optimistic.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Yes all tankmates healthy and eating
<That's helpful to know.>
Scared to tell you what they are , as due to some bad advice I am overstocked. All very small now (1-2 inches) but will be doing some rehoming in the future.
<Ah, yes, it would indeed seem so.>
Dragon wrasse'¦.
<To about 20 cm; not a bad aquarium fish for rough-and-tumble systems alongside large puffers.>
Emperor Angel
<Not a great companion for the wrasse, but might work with the puffer, given space. Do bear in mind these angels are strongly herbivorous, and their diet needs contain lots of fresh greens as well as sponges, rather than generic fish foods.>
and Regal Tang,,,,
<A notoriously difficult species to maintain, and do be aware than both angels and tangs expect to be top dog in reef tanks, and I tend to recommend people keep one or the other, not both.>
with a sandwich goby.
<Do you mean Jam Sandwich Goby, Valenciennea helsdingenii?>
Do please read Bob F's pieces on these species, and follow the links for more information'¦
Actually left a small part of his prawn yesterday which I had to fish out. Maybe bit dodgy.
Surprised at the speed of illness though....Keep thinking he s dead then his eyes move....Nothing else at all and he s not changed position for a couple of hours.
<If he's eaten something bad, there's not much you can do beyond ensuring optimal environmental conditions. I'd expect him to recover, all things being equal, though it may take a day or two before be perks up again.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer - 12/20/10

Cheers Neale thanks a lot.
<You're welcome.>
He has actually moved now so fingers crossed.
Yes jam sandwich goby. Only got him today as I cant have a clean up crew due to wrasse and puffer so thought this might help a bit.
<Redundant. Clean-up crews are specifically for use in reef tanks, where it's difficult or impossible to move rocks and siphon out detritus. In EVERY other type of aquarium, it's ALWAYS better to physically remove waste because that'll reduce the amount of nitrogenous material in the water.>
Do feed frozen tablet greens and also Nori on a clip.
Struggling a bit for Angel food but got some ocean nutrition formula 2 pellets which seem to be good.
<Yes; do look at specific Angelfish frozen food mixes. Sponges are an important component.>
All fish are eating variety of foods and well. Mysis brine shrimp krill Nori formula 1 and 2 plus live brine and a marine mix tablet. Will eat flake too but don't tend to use it.
<Flake can be good, but variety is often important in terms of greens, sponges, crunchy shells, and other components your fish require.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on Pomacanthus diet?)<<no>>
Thanks again Neale
Puffer as normal this morning , Made up really thought he was a goner till I spoke to you.
<I see.>
Just fed him 2 dillies (all I have at the minute ), Snowed in now but think LFS does a frozen cockles.
<Good. So do many supermarkets; Waitrose for example has them regularly, and buying a batch from there will usually be cheaper than buying them at the pet shop. Ask for some that are still frozen, pop them into an airtight container in the freezer, and defrost as required! You could actually get everything you need from Waitrose: cockles, tilapia fillet, mussels, squid, prawns. Be sure the Thiaminase-containing foods are used sparingly, and that's a balanced diet right there!>
Prawns will become just an occasional treat. Tend to struggle a bit with selective food. Have seen an ocean nutrition one containing sponges on the net but cant get any in England.
<Ah, while sponges are nice to have in the diet of Pomacanthus species, it's the green component that's essential. Look at the marine fish foods like "Vegetarian Diet" from TMC that include cooked spinach and algae alongside various small invertebrates. Sushi Nori sheets can be picked up in British grocery stores very inexpensively, and if you happen to have an Asian supermarket nearby, 10 sheets will only set you back about £1-1.50 (supermarket prices tend to be slightly higher, £1 for 5 sheets being typical). Anyway, this stuff is readily accepted by Tangs and Angelfish. Asian supermarkets will also have other types of algae on sale, and these can be experimented with as you wish. Organically-grown lettuce and spinach may be useful foods, though their nutrient content are probably not very high. Bob is somewhat hostile to the use of terrestrial plants in the diet of marine herbivores, but my experience and observation is that used sensibly softened, organically-growing plants cause few problems; they do at least contain fibre and some vitamins, so while not a substitute for marine algae, they are useable supplements that helps to keep marine herbivores "regular", and avoiding constipation probably has a big impact on how well such fish absorb nutrients from their other meals. In other words, even in England, it should be possible to get ALL the foods your marine fish need from the supermarket, even if your local pet shop doesn't carry everything you need!>
<Do have a peruse of the WWM pages on Angelfish diet and P. imperator generally, here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on Pomacanthus diet?) - 12/20/10
Thanks for that. I am fine with the angel diet now anyway. Will pay a visit to the supermarket for puffer food once this snow and ice clears.
Merry Xmas.
<Glad to help, and happy holidays yourself. Cheers, Neale.>

Blind Dog Face Puffer  11/14/10
I have a problem with my dogface puffer. He seems to be blind.
<Does happen in captivity. Perhaps nutrition-related>
He has never had a problem seeing anything before. Every time I fed him he rushed right to the food. Now, it seems like he knows I'm there but when I drop the food he has no clue! Every time I feed him now, I have to feed him by hand. It seems he can not see or smell it! I have to rub the food on his nose, then he swallows it whole! I feel awful! He was perfectly fine before!
Any advice???? I love my puffer! Do I have a Hellan Keller on my hands?
~Shara Gardner~
<I'd be read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
expanding the diet, likely soaking foods in a vitamin/HUFA prep. Bob

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