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:
Puffers in General,
Puffer Care and Information,
A Saltwater Puffer Primer: Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox,
Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes, Puffer
Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers
Have Told Me by
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,
Reproduction, Freshwater Puffers,
I had a set of fish who have been housed together for 5 years come to me sun
eve. I had a 150g tank for only them and all were fine but the dog face had
dappling on his fins. No spots on his body. Eating and moving well no other
stressors. Did a fw dip but no lessen of dappling on fins. Any direction you can
suggest I look in? This tank is w 150 pounds of beautiful cured live rock I
cannot afford to have compromised. Ty
<Could you please tell us more about your tank?...water parameters (numbers),
filtration system, Dog face tank mates... Wil.>
Re: Puffer disease
Sure. But the puffer went into the 150g tank Sunday eve and already had the fin
dappling. My tank was set up specifically for this group of fish which came from
a salt water forum member who had surgery and felt unable to care for their fish
while they recovered. The tank is 150g w 150 pounds cured LR
and reef octopus protein skimmer rated for a 300g tank. There are 6 fish total
here. The dog face a porc puffer a flame angel a purple tang and 2 clown fish.
All are active and the dog face is the biggest and most aggressive eater.
<It may be nothing serious; probably environmentally related, or it got bumped
during handling, sorry to insist but how are your water parameters?
Are you supplementing the food with vitamins, have you done recent water
changes?. If possible send us a picture of the fish and provide the missing info
re your tank water. Cheers. Wil.>
Fw: Puffer disease 7/13/19
Tried to grab a video but could only send pics.
<Pix are fine thanks. It does look like Ich on its early “visible” stages >
150 g of fresh salt was put in this new tank then 150lbs of cured live rock and
some turbo start. Water was tested and showed no ammonia and fish were added
about a week later, which was Sunday.
<A week is not enough even if LR was cured and taken from an established system;
you should’ve waited for nitrites to go down to zero too.>
Puffer had the dappling on fins coming into the tank. Eating well all food is
soaked in Kent garlic oil and Selcon for 30 min before feeding.
Fw: Puffer disease 7/13/19
Thanks...puffer moved to 20g qt tank. Is not happy about that. Lessened dappling
on fins today but slight discoloration around face which could be normal for
this species. I've only had porc before never a dog face.
Anyway still no ick spots on body. Eating like a champ and very active in fact
he's the <He is the?> bully of the tank and I like him less n less each day.
<Maybe you can trade it for a less aggressive fish once it is fully recovered.>
I have meth blue and malachite green here as well as a rid ick product and can
get ruby reef ick product .do I do dip or treat his 20g? Which is least harsh?
< Since you already moved the Dogface to the QT, I suggest treating it there,
Ruby Kick Ich is useless, try instead Seachem’s Paraguard, I have used it in the
past for treating Ich in fishes like puffers and angelfishes that don’t tolerate
copper very well, and I had excellent results. Do daily water changes to keep
the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates under control, also bring the specific gravity
down to 1.010 and keep the temp around 80° Add enough oxygen to the water with a
water pump or an air stone.>
Also, I test daily no issues w nitrates
<Good, please keep us posted. Wil.>
Re: Fw: Puffer disease
Ok I'll try to find the ParaGaurd. The only part I do not understand is you say
bring the gravity down. Are you saying to bring salinity down to lower level?
<Yes, lower the salinity to make the parasites drop off the fish body. Wil.>
Porcupine Puffer with Possible Lockjaw
My 15 year old, 10 inch, Porcupine, “Fugu”, appears to have gotten lockjaw.
He exhibits all of the same signs as what I’ve read throughout forum posts
online. He generally has good energy, normal behaviors, he tries to eat, he
just can’t open his mouth enough to get a typical piece of food in.
Historically, I’ve fed him defrosted Key West pink shrimp, since it comes
without additives from Whole Foods. I am sorry to say that I didn’t realize
this shrimp would create this problem, as posts on various forum focus on
krill. I have now read the Wet Web Media post on Thiaminase in other foods.
<Ahh; yes. This issue and overgrowth of teeth are most common issues w/ this
group of fishes>
The issue has gone on for two weeks now since it first started. I had fed
him one large size shrimp, he was fine, two days later he tried but couldn’t
open his mouth. It’s been that way since. He tries, just can’t seem to open
his mouth and get it. There is what I believe is some good news: he is
eating. I’ve been able to (at risks of my fingers!), hand feed him 3 or so
baby size (about an inch) octopus tentacles every day. It’s a slow process
taking many tries on both of our parts, but his mouth is open enough that i
can just get an end in there, and he sucks it in. It’s not the belly filling
food he’s used to getting, but i do believe it’s keeping his energy levels
Octopus appears to have significant vitamin benefits, but I’m not able to
find any data online to show that it contains the B1 necessary. I have
VitaChem supplement but he refuses to eat food soaked in vitamins.
<A good idea to add such (vitamins, nutritional supplements) directly to the
water... Marine organisms drink their environment; unlike freshwater>
I’m considering injecting it into the small tentacles if i can. However, I’m
trying to determine if that will be enough, or if I need to switch to the
tube feed method described in an old post on the puffer forum. That post was
a wonderful description of a cure of lockjaw through tube feeding.
). It won’t be easy, but I’m all-in to get Fugu well.
I’ve tried to reach out to local marine biologists, but I was looking for
any thoughts you have generally, and specifically with regard to whether the
small tentacles a day are enough or if it’s time to jump to tube feed. And
if tube feed, I’m assuming its ok to mix the food (Spirulina Brine and some
drops to VitaChem) with tank water to inject in his stomach?
<Yes it is>
Finally, can dosing vita chem with B1 into the tank itself assist (I have
read B1 dissolves in water?).
<It is one of the water-soluble vitamins>
Thanks so much for your thoughts. My parameters are below.
West Palm Beach
180 G. reef, pH 8.3, temp 77-79, phos .1, Nitrate 3, Nitrite .01, MG 1600,
CA 450, KH 8, only 5 other small fish in tank, running for 5 years (Fugu has
moved a lot with me)
<Thank you for sharing. Large puffers in initial good health can go w/o
feeding for weeks... I do hope yours recovers. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer with Possible Lockjaw 6/19/19
Thank you for your quick and helpful response. One follow-up question, for
the B1 in the tank water, does "water soluble" mean that as I put the
supplement in the tank water, the B1 will dissolve and then not be
bioavailable to the puffer?
<Mmm; no... B vitamins "float" intact for a period of time before breaking
down. Put another way, the B1 will be bioavailable for hours after
administering to the tank water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer with Possible Lockjaw 6/19/19
Wonderful, thank you!
Skinny Narrow-Lined Puffer
We have a 125-gallon saltwater FOWLR aquarium with a 40-gallon sump.
Current inhabitants are a narrow-lined puffer, Humu trigger, yellow tang, yellow
belly blue tang, Clarkii clown, two filefish, flame Hawkfish, and a male and
female bird wrasse. All have been in our tank for at least two years. We've had
the puffer for at least four years, but we're not sure exactly how long.
Unfortunately, I do not know our water parameters, but our tank is
professionally maintained and when he was here last week, we were told our water
parameters were all great. He tests it every visit. He
mentioned to us, though, that our puffer was looking skinny. Sure enough, his
sides are actually caving in. We've been watching him and he is still eating and
acting normal, but he's definitely way too thin as you'll see in the attached
<I see this>
He also doesn't show any external signs of illness as far as changes in color,
ich, or similar. We feed a diet of Marine Cuisine, Emerald Entree, and Omega
brine shrimp plus foods meant for human consumption that we freeze prior to
feeding including small shrimp, mussels, and clams.
<Good foods, protocol>
He also picks at the rocks. We haven't had a fish die in several years and we'd
prefer not to have this fun little guy die now. Any ideas on what might be wrong
and what we can do to treat it?
<Likely just not eating enough food... not disease... Puffers do "get thin" in
the wild, captivity; usually not a problem.>
I appreciate any advice you can give.
<I would specifically nutrify, feed your Arothron/puffer... a larger opened
clam/bivalve; a whole size-able cocktail shrimp (unboiled) once a week; to see
if this restores it to a more girthy appearance. Bob Fenner>
Re: Skinny Narrow-Lined Puffer
Thank you so much! I will pick up those other foods today so we can start that.
I really appreciate your advice.
<Glad to help you and your A. manilensis! BobF>
Dog face Puffer which I recently lost. 8/2/18
Long story.... I’ll shorten it up a bit. (90 gallon with 30 gallon Refugium and
upgrading later) Water quality parameters were all in spec. 1 leopard wrasse, 2
clowns, 1 Valentini puffer(small) a watchman goby a small flame angel and my
small dog face Puffer.
<Small puffers are harder to get to eat and have lower survival rates than
My tank was fine. Got an Odonus trigger. After being quarantined then acclimated
seemed ok. He just was hiding so I fed him in his preferred cave. All info I
could look up said this was normal for a new trigger. After a week I lured him
out with food and he was completely chewed up. Most of his tail was gone but the
bite marks match the mouth size of my watchman goby. I removed the watchman to
another tank and hoped the trigger would recover. I was afraid quarantining him
would stress him out too much at first. I pulled him out for a quarantine about
3 days later. He died. ☹️ the trigger was the trigger (for all these problems)
Moving on ... Valentini starts picking on the dog face.
<I suspect the Valentini was the culprit on the trigger bites also>
I removed Valentini and found him a new home. Days later with a few bite marks
my dog face starts to scratch.
No signs of ich yet... everyone is still eating though. Worried it could
be bacterial from bites my lfs advises to try Melafix Marine.
I do this treatment .... Seems to help some flashing still on one particular
I start worrying about flukes or other parasites. I didn’t want to remove him
until it became necessary. Angel shows signs of ich now but I can’t see it yet.
I start hyposalinity slowly. Like a small drop like 1-2 ppt every 2 days with a
I read in several places that this was a safer way for puffers than copper.
Copper scares me to death. Lfs also advised Kick Ich.
<Another med that doesn´t work at all (Kick Ich)>
I did try it. I am still using it now.(well come back to this) At this point the
Puffer stops eating. I pull to quarantine and slowly bring salinity back up from
1.017 to 1.021 over 4-5 days I don't see ich or anything other than healing bite
marks. I start wondering if it’s a bacterial or an internal parasite because he
got very skinny very fast(about one week).
<Oh yes, they get emaciated pretty fast>
His belly became concave. Lfs said you can’t really treat internal parasites if
they aren’t eating. Bought API general cure and used in water while waiting for
Metroplex on order.
<A much better treatment option but you still don´t know what to treat for>
Contacted a vet and asked about force feeding or tube feeding. They said not
good if he is constipated or blocked. I asked how do I know? Reply was X-ray.
Ugh �� where can I get that? Answer I can’t around here. Sigh. Looked for
constipation solutions -Epsom salt 1tbs per 5 gal. Did that and started with a
bit of brine shrimp soaked in Selcon and vita Chem just to get something in his
belly that was slightly easier to digest and to “wake his digestive tract up”
after not eating for a week. I used a small syringe and tried to get the food
back far enough that he couldn’t spit it out.
<This could have damage it internally>
This helped he was not bloated and didn’t act as though he constipated. I made
sure there was no air in the food. He perked up and started to swim a bit. I
waited and fed for several days. Ammonia .25 starts to climb and I’m doing full
water changes every single day. Used other cultivated live rock in quarantine to
help with ammonia. After I fed him or tried food I vacuumed the bottom of the
glass as precaution. I tried so hard to keep parameters in check. (Before this
sickness he ate everyday and I used a mix of food i.e. squid, Mysis , half
shelled clams, shrimp, all soaked in Selcon and supplements overnight in the
fridge. some live and dried seaweed that I put in there for other fish. ) He was
a bit picky.... He did better for a few days and he Just one day completely went
down hill and died that night.
<Sorry to hear/read that>
I came home found him distressed. Put prime In the water Incase of ammonia and
test it was slightly elevated but below .25. Got water ready and did water
changes and added more carbon Incase of something else was in there. Temp and
salinity was the same. I can’t figure out if it was and internal parasite or if
he got lockjaw or something I’ve never even heard of. Did trim his teeth (super
easy) after so long with out eating they were starting to get longer. His mouth
was open a lot in the last week. Just sitting open. Once I read some about
lockjaw it made me think. I have the iodide test and it was in spec. My display
is ok and ich “free”. (I am running Kick Ich as a precaution and now am bringing
my salinity up very slowly to a preferred level 1.025 and will eventually move
my coral back to my display in a month or so. More ich precaution. My puffer
never got one ich spot that I could see. Quite honestly I went wrong some where
but I’m not sure where. I am kicking myself and trying to figure out what he had
and what went wrong but his symptoms were vague.
<The way I see things; It was a cascade of events derived from stress, You took
desperate measures to save him but, unintentionally you just added additional
stress to the point it was impossible to get it back to health..>
I’m leaning towards internal parasite or vitamin b deficiency, possible lockjaw.
(Not a ton of info on this) . I had him under a year total. I am afraid to screw
up again I loved my Puffer. He was such a ray of sunshine.
<I understand, sometimes we got fond of certain fish>
I found your site and started reading about the vitamin b deficiency issues and
started researching this now. As for running Kick Ich in the display it could
have worked or it could have been the hyposalinity.
<I think it was more likely the Hyposalinity>
I did try to research all these treatments but there’s either no info on these
things or so much info you don’t know what is right.
<It´s easy to get confused when we get different opinions, keep reading to
dispel any doubts>
Everyone else in my tank seems ok now. I’m just not sure if I should treat for
internal parasites with food or what.
<I would not treat the rest of the fishes, do add activated carbon to remove any
remaining meds. Maintain good water quality and Keep a stress-free environment.>
I am also afraid to have another puffer if I can’t give it what it needs.
<Just read more and be well prepared before trying again.>
Still kicking myself
<Kind regards. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost. 8/2/18
Maybe I did stress him but not everything I did was so close together,
things were more spaced out than they seemed.
< I understand>
I kind of agree on the stress but at the same time I just offered food when he
got so skinny so fast. There was a period of time I did try to let him recover.
I just wish I had found your website before this. Is it possible I damaged his
organs lowering the salinity?
<Unlikely, you lower the salinity gradually>
I didn’t do it fast. I did leave him in the display for a while. I guess I did
get worked up because I didn’t do enough for the trigger. I thought had I
treated him before he may have made it. As for the feeding I’ve have tube fed
and syringe fed before especially other rescue animals. I used a syringe with a
small finer softer tube attached and used all the precaution I could. (I should
have been clearer in the original message)
<Ahh, now I get it>
He was so skinny that his belly became concave and his body became curved.
<This may have been something else, the symptoms you describe now indicate
Ichthyophonus disease, which attacks fish internal organs, Fishes that has this
kind of disease typically die up to two months after being infected. Treatment
is hard because of the internal nature of this disease.>
From what I could find and read he was very bad off at this point and I thought
I would give it a shot. Finding real answers at this point was hard. My lfs kind
of just said sorry (like he was going to die anyway) and told me to leave Mysis
shrimp out longer because they are attracted to the food if it’s odorous. (He
wasn’t interested by the way) I just wanted to elaborate that the time frame was
longer than it seemed. I will take the blame here. I know I stressed him out. I
try very hard and maybe too hard.
<Don´t feel guilty, this happens from time to time and sometimes for no apparent
I researched before I got him I always try to get the information I can. I
researched the entire time I noticed something was wrong. I have been constantly
researching for weeks. I will continue.
Thank you for your time and advice. I truly appreciate it.
<You´re very welcome. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost. 8/2/18
I will also research this disease for future reference. I really needed a good
outside opinion. I truly appreciate this.
<Glad to be helpful>
Golden Puffer Sick? 2/7/18
Hello everyone. Hopefully you guys\gals can help me. I have a 155g tank, with a
40 breeder sump. I am running a Skimz Kone, Lifeguard Biopellets reactor, and a
Vecton 25 watt uv. My water test 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 50ppm
<Mmm; I'd address this... see/READ on WWM re NO3; do what you need to keep it
a ph of 7.7,
<Much too low... read on WWM re this as well... Keep at 8.2 at the lower end>
and my salinity is at 1.020.
<Is this a fish only system? I'd still raise this up to 1.022 min.>
I've had my Golden for 2 years. Last night I noticed he has two lumps on him.
They look like boils under his skin. They are pretty good sized. I'm worried.
I've heard these can be anything from air pockets, to Vibrio, to internal
parasites. Any idea? Thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to give
<Likely is an environmental (at least mediated) issue here. You don't
mention foods/feeding... Read on WWM.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Golden Puffer Sick? 2/7/18
Sorry. Yes, this is a fish only system. As for feeding. I give him whole
clams, mussels, raw shrimp from the grocery store.
<I'd expand this diet. See WWM re FAQs on Tetraodont Nutritional Disease>
These are all before feeding, and thawed in a cup of tank water. I also feed him
krill, an occasional crab leg, and he loves nori. All food is soaked in Kent
Marine Zoa prior to feeding.
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Golden Puffer Sick? 2/7/18
I typically feed him clams, or mussels one to two times per week. The rest of
the week is shrimp, nori, and krill. I do skip a day of feeding altogether at
times. Once a week usually.
<Good idea. B>
Re: Golden Puffer Sick? 2/7/18
So get my ph, and nitrates under control, and feed a more varied diet?
I'm wondering what you think is a likely outcome provided I remedy these issues?
Re: Golden Puffer Sick? 2/7/18
Thank you for all of your help\advice. I really appreciate it. I will work
diligently to remedy my feeding variety, and water parameters. Wish me luck.
Thanks again, and have a good rest of your evening.
<I do wish you and your puffer good fortune. >
Burrfish... puffed up! 12/25/17
I added a spiny puffer Burrfish to my 210 gal softie reef tank about 4
He's seems very healthy and eating but his belly has gotten large. Could
this fish be pregnant?
<Mmm; doubtful. More likely it has either over-eaten (very common) or
has swallowed a good deal of water... also happens often). I would not
panic; but just take a wait and see attitude. This issue should resolve
several days. Bob Fenner>
Ammonia/ CP and Puffers 10/13/16
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
<Trouble in future... first w/ the Clown Trigger... be on guard, alert for bite
30 gallon sump
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
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
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.
Dogface puffer with infection.... Mmmm
<Five megs of pix; can't upload from where I am. See our instructions re
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
But all of the sudden my DFP started to show signs of a wound on
<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
And Nitrate undetectable.
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!
Yes actually he did come in contact with a siphon hose weeks ago.
I wasn't paying attention. Do you still think I should just let him recover
<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.
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.
<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.
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
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
<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
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
<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>
<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
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
Re: Sick puffer
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
<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.
Dog Faced Puffer fish with cysts on skin.... rdg
<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:
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
Thank you in anticipation.
<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:
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.
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
<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.
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?
full size crop
Re: SW Tetraodont, dis... diag.
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
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>
There's no need to be so bloody rude about it!!!!!
<.... IF it stirs you to action... B>
Re: Saltwater; toxicity event
I have a dog faced puffer in that same tank and he survived the whole
<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).
Re: Saltwater.... Tetraodontid dis. f' 7/9/15
Hi! I took this a moment ago. He's eating good
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
<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.
H E L P!!!
<Do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Please help! Arothron sick; Protozoan?
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
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>
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
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
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)
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
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?>
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)
NH3: almost up to 0.25 ( i know, I know..)
Nitrates: 10 ppm
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
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
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
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.
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
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
scroll down to Tetraodontids... health/disease, system, compatibility
Re: Serious problem with Dogface Puffer
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
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
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,
<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
<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
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
<Read on WWM re unilateral eye issues... damage from trauma... No
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!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Stars and Stripes Puffer; no data, rdg.
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
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
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
<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.
<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>
Dogface puffer missing his tail 11/4/12
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
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
<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
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>
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
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
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
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
Re: Help with my puffer 10/25/12
Thanks for your reply. I just came home from work and everything was
<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
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
<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
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
<Mmm, these need more room... at least a 125 now, larger
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
<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
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
<An exceedingly poor idea to "take fishes in" to
I love this little guy, and want to take the best care of him as
<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
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
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
<Read where you've been referred. B>
Dogface Puffer, hlth.
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
!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.
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.
First time i have done this but read it`s not a
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
and just try to be patient... Highly likely this issue will
resolve of its own. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dogface Puffer
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
I am attaching a before and now photo to see if that could shed
<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
Sorry for rushed reply but starting to worry.
Have read lots and will continue to do so where you have
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Dogface Puffer
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.
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
<... 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
As regards the green algae i have just increased water flow as i
had one of my powerheads greatly reduced running a nitrate
<Oh! Of what sort of make up is this? Might be the or another
source of poisoning. What in particular is the feed
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
<And you, B>
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
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
Been told on 3 forums this is fine on FOWLR but obviously
<Depends on what you're trying to do... For just barely
lighting photosynthetic life on your rock this should be
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
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
<Review our prev. emails... READ... understand, then act.
Re: Dogface Puffer 1/10/12
Just a quick update.
Puffer still eating as normal<ly> but flashing and blinking
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
I had the outlet running outside of tank for a few pints then
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
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
<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.
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
Another 10% change today and cleaned all filters again.
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
Add anything to water to treat fish ?
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>
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
Thanks again Bob.
Just hope the fish make it.
<And you, B>
Re: puffer /blue green algae problem
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
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 ?.
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 ?
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
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
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
Internal filter with sponge taken from one of my reef
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 ?
Going to leave him in peace for a day or two first anyway.
Re: was Henis terrorizing a Tetraodontid, now burping a
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
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
Hello, I've read through a lot of questions trying to find a
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
<"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.
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.
<Only time and your good care will show/prove if this fish will
It needs to be in a larger world, less vacillation in water quality and
better nutrition. Bob Fenner>
re: Help. Dogface puffer swimming issue
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.
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
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.
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
<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,
any other suggestions as far as anything else I might be able to
<Mmm, no. The move to the new, larger quarters, more steady water
quality, improved nutrition will likely bring your Tetraodont
Thanks for the information, I will keep you posted on my
<Thank you. BobF>
Puffer problem, Tetraodontid, env.
I have a Stars and Stripes Puffer........
Previously healthy, living for 4 years in 55 gallon tank with one other
<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
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.
<... 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
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
Puffer with "skin growths" --
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
Dogface Puffer won't eat
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"
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
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.
Dogface puffer, hlth., sys., nutr. --
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
<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
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.
Thought it may be food as he eats prawns and dillies that others
<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
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
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.>
Re: Dogface puffer -- 12/20/10
Thanks for the rapid response.
I have a Tunze protein skimmer running and 2 2000 lph pumps and 1
<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
<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
<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.>
<To about 20 cm; not a bad aquarium fish for rough-and-tumble
systems alongside large puffers.>
<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.>
Re: Dogface puffer - 12/20/10
Cheers Neale thanks a lot.
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
Re: Dogface puffer (RMF, anything you want to add on
Thanks again Neale
Puffer as normal this morning , Made up really thought he was a goner
till I spoke to you.
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 Â£1-1.50 (supermarket
prices tend to be slightly higher, Â£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:
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
<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
<I'd be read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trupuffdgfaqs.htm
expanding the diet, likely soaking foods in a vitamin/HUFA prep.