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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Disease 3

FAQs on Burrfish Disease: Burrfish Disease 1, Burrfish Disease 2, Burrfish Disease 3, Burrfish Disease 4, Burrfish Disease 5, Burrfish Disease ,
FAQs on Burrfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments 

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

Related FAQs: Diodontids 1, Diodontids 2, Diodontids 3, Burrfish Identification, Burrfish Behavior, Burrfish Compatibility, Burrfish Selection, Burrfish Systems, Burrfish Feeding, Burrfish Reproduction, Puffers in GeneralPuffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True Puffers, Freshwater to Brackish Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes

Porc Puffer - Strange Sudden Growth - Ulcer?  11/25/09
I have a Porc puffer that suddenly, and i mean really suddenly, like within a 10 minute period, developed this strange red growth under his tail fin - it almost looks like he "blew out his butthole" - excuse the reference.
<Is actually quite descriptive... this fish has suffered a "prolapsed colon">
water parameters are stellar, just did a 25% water change today. He has been acting fine for the most part so I'm not sure what this is or how to treat it.
<No real treatment... time going by, good nutrition, water quality...>
it happened about an hour ago and he has just been hanging out in the same spot since, not a lot of swimming going on. I attached the best pic I could to show you. is it an ulcer? it is actually a deeper red and almost looks like there may be a touch of blood at the base of it. If it is just a big poop I'm going to feel stupid but in this case i think it is something more serious. Any help would be appreciated.
He has been fed: raw shrimp, krill, chopped clams - all soaked in vitamin water
SW 210 gallon Oceanic FOWLR
50 lb live rock
75 lb sand
All added in increments of 2's over the last 3 months and are listed in order of acclimation
4 Stripe Damsel (2')
Porcupine Puffer (5')
Picasso Trigger (5')
Regal Tang (6')
Foxface Rabbit (6')
<Please use the term in quotation marks above and "puffer" and search on WWM, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
Read the cached views for ease of finding pertinent data. Bob Fenner>

Re: Porc Puffer - Strange Sudden Growth - Ulcer?  11/25/09
Thank you for the timely reply Bob - I was just about an hour away from putting him in quarantine and treating him with Seachem - NeoPlex as recommended by "The Complete Aquarium Problem Solver" book I borrowed from a neighbor.
<Mmm, I would not move this fish... nor treat it as such>
I'm glad you intervened as I'm not sure this would have been the best course now that I know it is not an ulcer. Your book is at the top of my Christmas list this year! Since my email to you the "prolapsed colon" has subsided and is no longer visible,
<Ah, very good. Has likely gotten "sucked back in">
he/she is still lethargic and has been laying on the bottom until my regal tang gently lifted him out from behind the rock into the flow of the water and he is hanging out in the power head stream. He is not eating at all which is very unlike this fella (or any other puffers I imagine).
<Not a worry>
is there any reason this happened?
<Lack of exercise, roughage in its food most likely>
my water quality is always the best. I keep thinking of possible reasons and what I did to the tank recently - (i changed the light bulbs, did a water change (the salinity fell by .001, temperature fell by 1-2 degrees but was corrected later in the day - now reading 1.023. and fed them krill soaked in vitamin water and some chopped clams later
<Leave in the shell>
- this was the first time he has eaten either of these under my care - all of this happened within a 2-3 hr timeframe but I cant think that any combination of these things caused his "colon blow". Should I quarantine him?
<Not if the other fish present aren't bothering it, no>
the colon is no longer hanging out so I'm not in fear of another fish nipping at it..
Thanks for the help and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
<Thank you Gary. BobF>

Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09
Hey WWM,
While I was changing the water for my tank, I took out
<W/o lifting it into the air I hope... i.e. underwater the whole time>
the porcupine puffer with a separate container for about 20 minutes while the transfer of salinated water was being made. When we put him back in, he had a strange lump on his back (imagine him partially inflated but
only in this one spot beside his rear fin -> looks like a tumor).
<Might be...>
I thought he may have partially inflated due to the stress and then was in the process of deflating but that really doesn't seem to be the case because the lump hasn't subsided in the past hour. If this continues, what do you think caused this and what course of action should I take with the little guy?
<You might need to "burp it"... catch, hold the fish head up vertical and massage the air bubble forward. Search WWM re puffers, air entrapment. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress  11/21/09

Could the he require "burping" even if I didn't take it out of the water? I just scooped him up with a separate container when I took him out.
<Ah, not likely then... unless this fish "gulped air" at the surface (which does happen at times), this may be tumorous (also not uncommon). There is no direct treatment per se that is advised (some folks blanket medicate with antiprotozoals (e.g. Metronidazole) and/or Anthelminthics (e.g. Levamisole)... but I would search on WWM for "puffers, tumors" and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer Fish Stress 11/21/09

I'm not sure if it's a tumor, I mean the whole thing appeared within a span of an hour. I just attempted to burp him and he did release a few bubbles and the bump subsided ever so slightly but it remains. It's
difficult to massage the area because when I grab him my thumb is on his stomach and the bump is on his back. Will a puffer ever burp themselves?
<Yes... often best to be patient. In time (weeks) often such gas is absorbed. BobF>

Prolapsed puffer 10/11/09
hi I have a picture and i was wondering if you could help. my marine puffers insides are coming out. At first i thought it was a worm so i tried pulling on it and discovered that it wasn't coming off, I saw pinkish flesh coming out so i stopped. he hasn't eaten today and i think he might die. can i do anything? I have another puffer in the tank but he never picks on him. so I don't think he did anything.
please help
<Please search on WWM re the above title... Nothing can be done here but provide good care and hope that this part of the animal's alimentary system gets pulled back in by it. Bob Fenner>

Re Prolapsed puffer idiocy   10/12/09
ok thank you I am a vet tech and could ask one of the doctors to put it back in but will it keep coming out?
<... please search WWM re Diodontid, SW puffer Health. RMF>

Porc Puffer sore 10/3/09
Hey guys,
Thanks again for all the help you have given me. I have what may be a really stupid question. I have a 125 FOWLR that has 1 Porc puffer, 1 dog face, 1 Rabbitfish, 1 flame hawk, 1 harlequin tusk, and red legged hermit crabs.
Water parameters, are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, salinity is 1.021
<... too low>

, temp 80.
Not sure the PH at the moment....I use RO water along with Prime.
Wet/Dry filter
<Often problematic in overdriving nitrification... e.g., do you have excess nitrate?>

with an in-sump protein skimmer. Both filter and skimmer made for 300 gallons.
(Planning an upgrade next year). Anyway, not that that really matters, I believe my Porc puffer ran into some live rock as he has a hole in his face above his upper lip and part of his lip looks a little rough. The hole isn't really deep and it looks like he ran into some rock. My LFS came out last night to take a look at
him and said to just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get bigger but he agreed with my assessment that it doesn't look like he was bitten as much as he ran into something.
I don't have my moonlighting up yet so the tank is pretty black at night. Could this have caused him to run into something?
<A probable possibility. Good to have some "light" on in the room at night...>
I do not feed live food that he has to chase around. He is eating and acting normal but being the "new kid on the block" I currently am with marine species I'm just wondering if fish wounds can get infected and what they would look like.
I was also told by my LFS that he seemed a little skinny (concave belly), especially compared to my other fishes. He is very slow when coming to his food so I will be starting to feed him more after the other guys get their fill.
<Good plan>
I tried this last night after my LFS guy left and he did fill up on Mysis shrimp so his belly wasn't a pot belly but it was flat and not concave.
The other fishes had already eaten all they wanted from the initial feeding so they pretty much left the new food alone. Could this possibly be a sign of a vision problem?
<Another likely speculation>
Thanks for all your help.
<You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
Re: Porc Puffer sore / message recall   - 10/05/2009

Nah, that's okay. I was just thinking that it was too stupid to post.
<Au contraire Jill.... valuable experiences to relate, help others>
I watched the Porc puffer a lot this weekend. He doesn't seem aggressive enough during feedings. He will start to wander towards a bit of food but if any of the other fishes act like they are going for it, he just backs up and wanders away. He does sleep with his nose stuffed in about a 2 inch crevice in my LR. Might explain the sore.
<Ah yes>

Over feeding the tank this weekend to make sure he is getting his fill which, I realize is going to increase my water changes and filter pad changes dramatically. At least till I can get him up to snuff weight wise. I am working on "petting" him to get used to my hand so hopefully I can start hand feeding him separately in the long run.
<Try a "feeding stick" with larger food items (Krill is a fave) attached to "hand feed" the Puffer>

As far as excess nitrate, yes I did have that problem and this weekend I purchased something to put in my filter to help eliminate that problem.
I don't recall at the moment but it's some sort of light weight rock.
<Mmm, not Zeolite I hope/trust. These don't work in saltwater...>
I am thinking of employing a DSB in my sump along with some macroalgae.
Do you think that would help with the nitrate issue?
<Should greatly help>
Still doing research on that because I'm having problems wrapping my brain around the workings of it and all.
<Take your time here... Are simple concepts once grasped...>
I just had my canopy installed along with 2 day lights and 2 actinic, once again, not sure of any kinds as my LFS installed the lights before delivering my canopy. I feel the actinic are too bright, so I will be removing one so that one side of my tank will be a little darker then the other.
After reading all the FAQs on puffer diseases, I have started to add some iodide to the water. I have a basic test kit for ammonia, nitrites, nitrate, calcium, pH, phosphate ....Do they have test kits for minerals and such too?
<For some types, yes>
I don't like to add any more supplements to the tank then I have too. What is the best way to go about increasing the salinity?
<Slowly add more saline water with changes, over time>
I top off with fresh water at the moment but maybe I should switch to topping off with my pre-made salt water until the salinity increases?
<Good idea>
I thought about increasing the salt when I did my 25% water change this week but I chickened out.
I thought it might be too drastic a change all at once.
<Mmm, not to worry. If not more than a thousandth in a day, no big deal.
Many reef fishes pass through very freshwater at times... rain, run-off from land...>
I have lots more FAQ's reading to do and I need to start taking notes, I just don't retain info like I used to.
<I do definitely relate>
You guys are such a blessing. Thank you so much for all your help.
<Welcome. BobF>

Pufferfish Question, Diodontid spot  9/10/09
Hello Crew!
<Ave Christopher!>
Quick question. I have a Porcupine Pufferfish, he's about 3-4 inches long, very healthy eater, loves attention and looks very healthy. However the last couple days he's grown a bump on his head that looks like a zit.
<May be akin to...>
It's small and pink, round and looks like he's just hit puberty.

The tank is healthy, and water quality doesn't appear to be an issue. He feeds on krill and a clam mixture (and will eat out of my hand and jump out of the water to feed) my friend who owns the store I bought him from says he's one of the healthiest puffers he's had. Just wondering if you have any ideas what this could be, and what to do about it.
<Likely result of a physical trauma... swimming into something... I would not worry re>
He doesn't seem bothered by it at all, but I want to make sure it doesn't develop into something serious. Any help appreciated, let me know if you need more info. Thanks!
Christopher Friesen
<When in doubt, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer... hlth  9/7/09
Hello. I have a 75 Gallon aquarium that currently only houses a small porcupine puffer and live rock. My readings are 0 for everything except nitrates which are 20ppm. And so here are my questions. My aquarium has been fallow
<...? You just stated it has a fish in it>
for 4 weeks because I thought I might have a possible Ich problem. I have been housing all of my fish, the puffer, a yellow tang, percula clown, and a blue damsel in a 20 gallon quarantine tank with daily water changes. I placed them all in quarantine because I thought the puffer possibly had Ich (which is one of my questions). While in quarantine, the few white dots that were on the puffer, went away, never returning. None of the other fish developed these spots. I did not medicate. In the meantime, my 75 gallon was running fallow and i still did my regular water changes. I purchased a new powerhead for the 75 to use along with my other two. The nitrates in my 75 shot up from 0 to 20 in a matter of two days after i placed the new powerhead.
<Perhaps the improved oxygenation spurred on nitrification here>
I have not been able to lower them regardless of constant water changes and filter cleaning ( Fluval 305 ).
<... there are other means. Read here:
and the linked files above>
Anyway, I returned the puffer back to the 75 to see if the white spots would return. ( i did this once before and they did ). The white spots are back!
<Mmm, yes... not unusual actually... many systems are as yours... Infested>

Well I wanted to retrieve the fish to put him back in quarantine and as soon as my fingers touched the surface of the water, I was SHOCKED. The culprit was the new powerhead. Can stray voltage cause high nitrates?
<Interesting to speculate. I don't know>
What about the white spots on my puffer?
<More stress could definitely be a factor>
Is this Ich or something else entirely?
<Can't tell from here>
If it's Ich, why are my other fish not contracting it, especially the tang?
<... more resistant? Acquired immunity?>
I have been trying to research other causes of these white spots but I'm coming up empty handed.
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm
and the linked files above... need a 'scope...>
Please help. I'd really like to return my fish back to the display tank.
To describe these white spots, they are salt-like white specs. My puffer has only had a few at a time the three times he's had them. Also, he's never had trouble breathing or eating. Thanks in advance for your help.
<Might well be "something else" Protozoan, helminth wise... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer with possible Ich 8/26/2009
Hello. I have a 75 Gallon open-top tank with a Fluval Canister Filter, protein skimmer, a hang-on filter for extra filtration, and 3 powerheads.
My readings are as follows, nitrates:0 nitrites:0 ammonia:0 ph:8.2. In my display tank I have a 3" porcupine puffer, 1 small percula clown, and about 60 lbs. of live rock. I just recently added the puffer to my display tank ( he had been in a 20 gallon quarantine tank alone for several weeks with no problems after I purchased him ). A few days ago I noticed a few very tiny translucent white spots on his fins and body.
<Mmm... not likely Crypt>
I put him back into quarantine immediately where I am also housing a newly purchased small yellow tang. A few days have passed and the white spots have not multiplied nor either of my other fish ( in main display or
quarantine ) have showed any signs of these white spots. Could this be something other than Ich?
The puffer seems fine. He's very active, he eats like a pig, and his breathing is very normal.
<Good signs>
I'd rather not go to any extremes as far as medications or hyposalinity until I know for sure. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your help.
<I would place this fish and not worry. Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer - 06/05/09
<Hello Anna>
I have a porcupine puffer who is approximately 4 years old and 10" long.
He is the lone fish in a 75 gallon salt water aquarium. He has been in this tank for the last 3 years. I have checked the water parameters and all seem well within normal ranges. He was up and feeding on Saturday but would come up buy not eat on Sunday or Monday. Today he is staying in the corner of the tank that he likes and only comes up when I disturb him.
<Mmm, not atypical cyclic behavior>
When he swims he appears to list to the right and has some problem when he comes to the surface - as if he will turn over backward.
I don't see any problems with his skin or his eyes and he responds to me but is obviously in distress over something. As you can imagine I am very attached to him and want to do everything I can to keep him around a while.
If you have any suggestions I would welcome them. I have kept salt water fish for years but this is my first puffer.
<Well... should be in a larger volume... I would opt for trying to improve this animal's nutrition and physical environment for now... Perhaps a bag of "frozen sea food" mix with defrosted items soaked in Selcon or such...
And moving a bit of the decor about, adding some new/er live rock. Bob Fenner>  

Porcupine puffer with a "bruise" 5-30-3009
Hi all,
I have a Porcupine Puffer in a 600 litre tank with a variety of other fish (some clowns, triggers, tangs, damsels & blennies). I was not here on the day it was introduced, but noticed a cloudiness on its top rear fin (dorsal?), see attached image.
<I do see this... Likely one of the triggers...>
It is feeding well on some shrimp, sand eels & cockles, but seems nervous & it stays beneath a pile of rock unless it thinks it may get fed. I have noticed the cleaner Wrasse having a go at the same area,
<Not good to keep Labroides in small systems... pester other fish/hosts too much>
but I don't know if it is helping with some sort of parasite
or has taken to bullying the Puffer.
<Could be>
The fin which had the cloudiness now has what looks like a bruise on it which appears to be spreading to the skin on the left side, again, I'm not sure whether it is caused by the Wrasse, an infection or a parasite.
<Mmm, neither>
Nitrite, Ammonia & pH are all spot on, and all the other fish are perfectly healthy. None have any signs of ick & the only aggression in the tanks is the Wrasse picking at the fin of the puffer.
Any help or advise would be gratefully received.
Gareth Harper
<Time to remove the Labroides. Bob Fenner>

Porc Puffer ? Hlth., reading 05/27/09
I have a very curious puffer that I was housing in my 90 gallon until he decided to snack on my fish (I knew the risk I was taking). Since I moved him to my 125 with two California Stingrays.
<Coldwater animals... otherwise incompatible>

To give everyone acclimation time etc, I turned off the lights and covered the tank for a period of 24 hrs -its in a very bright sunny part of the house, tons of windows. I went to check on everyone an hour ago and my poor puffer was stuck to the intake for my sump. I know better, but the stingrays like to play there so I didn't even think about it when I moved P. Daddy (puff daddy) over. Now his bottom lip is red, swollen and he is all puffed up and swimming upside down. He hasn't released the water/air and I basically want to know if I have the chance to try and heal him back to health or if I should put him out of his misery.
<Are tough animals... there is reason to hope>
I've had this guy for a year and was going to set him up with a FOWLER dedicated to him. I want to do the best for P. Daddy and I don't care for the cost etc. I have a separate tank setting up as we speak that I am prepared to do water changes daily, Melafix
etc so that he may recover... but if he's swimming upside down still puffed up with air?
<Need to "un-puff"... See WWM re>

What can I do? What's the right thing to do?
Thanks for all of your help!
Tiffany B.
<Keep reading Tiff. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer and powerhead - 3-31-09
Hi. We had an accident 2 nights ago. We installed a new power head which contained no screen. I didn't think anything of it at the time. During the night at some point, our porcupine puffer had gotten himself stuck to the intake. No clue how he did it now how long he was there.
<Happens...keep the intakes screened>
In the morning I noticed him there puffed up and stuck. I unplugged the power head and he limped away deflating. After that, the right side of his body was bubbled out almost in a perfect circle where the power head was. His eye on that side clouded up halfway where the power head was as well. I hoped the swelling would go away and all would be fine but its not. Today the swelling is gone but the circle is still there and very white with just a small dark brown spot in it. His eye is still cloudy and he still doesn't use the fin at all on that side and his spikes on that side are still messed up. He still slowly swims from side to side in the tank like he did before the accident. He won't even look at the food I put in there. But I'm worried that he won't make it. Is there anything I can do to help his healing at all?
<Move him to a QT tank and treat with Methylene blue and a wide spectrum antibiotic, a cloudy eye could be a bacterial infection. Dose Seachem's StressGuard as well, if you can>
Will he release any toxins if he dies?
<Not directly>
What should I do? We don't have a hospital tank so he's going to have to stay in the display tank but there are only 3 other small fish in there and its a 50 gallon tank.
<Buy one and treat accordingly>
Please let me know what we should do. Thank you so much.
<Sorry about the long response time...good luck! - Mike Maddox>

Puffer meets filter 3/12/2009 New Puffer Stuck to Fluval 404 Hi Crew <Hi Paul> I am very much a beginner in the terms of saltwater marine care. This is my first saltwater tank and the 2nd fish added was a Spiny Box Puffer. <Cyclichthys schoepfi a.k.a. Striped Burrfish> Last night I got him, fell in love immediately and carefully acclimated him to the tank. <No Quarantine?> He was swimming around quite blissfully and accepted his first feeding of krill with no problem. Everything was going great. Went to bed, woke up to disaster this morning. Somehow, the cute little guy got pulled into the filtration (a Fluval 404) and was firmly attached to the intake this morning (he could have been stuck for hours). <Was the screen\strainer on the intake pipe, and how big is this puffer?> I immediately turned off and cursed my Fluval filter (and myself/pet store for not knowing to watch out for such an obvious peril). He came off the filter and is/was swimming when I left for work. He did eat a krill this morning but he was really badly beaten up by the filter. <Good sign that he is eating - do be sure to offer more than krill> His left rear side was all stretched out, his rear fins seem to be pulled into the wrong place (they face up and down not on the sides anymore) his back looks a bit twisted and his tail fins do not move at all. He propels himself solely on his front fins. Also it looks like his skin (in the area of the suction) was pulled way out of place. <Pretty beaten up> Kills me to think this is my fault and that I was responsible for putting a little fish like this through so much trauma. <Provided the intake was screened, it wasn't your fault.> I think I will be lucky if he survives the day given his slow lumbering movement. I've heard these guys do have a very tough and highly resilient character but I don't see how anything could survive the damage this poor little fish endured. <You would be surprised how well fish can adapt\recover.> Assuming he survives, Is there anything I should do to nurse him back to good health? <Good water quality, proper feeding, time> Should I put him out of his misery if most likely he will die anyhow? <Not at this point.> Should I consider complaining to the fish store (they knew my tank setup/filters and I asked a million question, just not the one that would have saved him) for improper care instructions (so next time they warn people to be wary of filters when purchasing one of these fish)? <Not your fish store's fault either. Assuming your intake has a strainer on it, it strikes me as strange that a puffer would get stuck to the intake of the filter unless the fish is already in very poor health (which would have been ruled out in quarantine) or very small.> His tank mate is an adult Sgt. Major damsel, do i need to quarantine the puffer when I get home from work (he was leaving him alone this morning)? <I would not move or stress this fish for the moment, do watch closely for aggression> I did rotate the filter intake all the way to face the corner and put it deeper in the tank where the intake is protected behind the heater from another indecent. I don't think anything could get stuck in it now but I will purchase something (sponge or cover) assuming a pet store will have such a device tomorrow (i have to work late tonight or I would do it today). *Tank Info* 150 gallon (glass) Fluval 404 Aqua Clear 110 Remora (hang on) Skimmer Live Rock (30 or so lbs) Relatively Bare Open Tank (it is still pretty new) Live Gravel Floor Single Tube Fluorescent Hood/Lamp <Some more live rock would be beneficial, and you will need more water movement\filtration> Please do read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm  and the linked pages on the top of that page.> <Mike>
Re: Puffer meets filter Follow up. 3/12/2009

Thanks Mike,
<Hi Paul, no problem at all.>
I got the Fluval from a friend and it had no screen for the intake port.
It had a little bent elbow and a wide spout with a cap that can be removed from the bottom of the elbow for priming. No screen came with it or I would have installed it.
<I see, with an uncovered intake pipe, any fish could have been stuck>
I don't own a quarantine tank, is there another way to quarantine?
<No there isn't>
I am very new to this hobby.
<We are all new to this at some point, no worries.>
I'm about a quarter way through "The Consciences Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner and am reading it word for word, but in practice I am very much a noob. (1st saltwater tank, 2nd fish) I have also joined a forum and have been reading everything I can along the way..
<Excellent to hear that you are reading\learning.>
Last night when I got home he was motionless on the sea bed except for his gasping. I dropped a piece of krill and it landed really close to him but he still didn't move to eat at all. His side had less swelling but his side fins were moving extremely slowly and it looked like he was in a lot of pain.
<Not unexpected, he is pretty beaten up, but all hope is not lost. Time, good water quality, are needed here.>
After I ate dinner he was motionless. Killed me. Never thought I'd have an emotional response to a fish,
especially within a 24-48 hour period of ownership.
<Not surprised at all. I've had entire weekends ruined for the loss of a favorite fish.>
To answer your questions, he was about 4-5 inches long.
<Ok, again, with an uncovered intake pipe, any fish can get stuck.>
I have been using the test strips and the water quality is okay/good on all the strips I've used.
I have heard these test strips are not good and will be getting a better water tester next visit to the pet store.
<Good. I use the API kits myself - easy to use and reasonably consistent.>
How I acclimated him was a method described to me by someone along the way... I think one of the pet stores I visited and inquired with). I have been asking lots of questions to lots of people these days.
I really did want to avoid any casualties.
<Very Good>
Get a large plastic bowl, fill with the store water and fish. place bowl in tank to acclimate the temperature (I made a nice little flotation ring for the purpose). Every 15 minutes add a small bit of the water from the tank to the fish bowl water (presumably to acclimate him to salinity/new water?).
After repeating this till bowl full, use a fish net to remove fish from bowl and dip rapidly in a fresh water (acclimated to tank temperature) and then place in main tank.
<Not the best method in my opinion but not completely wrong either. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm It covers acclimation, and the links at the top cover dips\baths and quarantine. The methods covered are tried and true.>
Is there something I did wrong?
<Other than not quarantining, which would not have changed the outcome here, and trust me, you are neither the first nor the last to not quarantine, so don't beat yourself up too much.>
I don't have a quarantine tank... I was told I could wait on a quarantine tank till I was more or less an amateur/experienced aquarist.
<Ahhh.. This is a popular myth, and probably a large contributor as to why many leave this hobby so quickly. The fish are not quarantined, fish gets sick, fish transmits disease to other fish in tank, all fish die, owner gets discouraged\upset and leaves the hobby. A quarantine tank need not be a large or elaborate affair. The aquarium kits frequently sold in department stores or chain pet shops do remarkably well for a quarantine tank for little cost - certainly less than the cost of a tank of sick
<Best of luck Paul, do let me know how it turns out.>

Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled 3-5-09 Help! <I'll do my best! Mike here tonight> I have a 220-gallon saltwater aquarium. All of the fish have been doing great for a long time. <Yay, a big tank!> "Porky", my large Porcupine Puffer, has an injury caused by another fish last night. I looked into the tank and saw my large Lunar Wrasse pulling and tugging on pink "guts" or something that he was pulling out of Porky's anal opening. He had about 3" of it pulled out and was tugging and trying to rip at it and eat it. I now have Porky in a hospital tank with Maracyn to try and prevent infection. <Good. You may want to very broad spectrum here, with Maracyn 1&2, and maybe Methylene blue...it won't hurt> The guts (intestines or whatever it is) is still hanging out of him in a large pink ball. <Possibly prolapsed colon/intestines...is there a hole torn through the abdominal wall, or it is hanging out of the rectum?> It also has some white stringy parts kind of hanging off of it, and some areas are more pink or red, and looks like it hurts. <Likely damaged tissue and blood vessels> Porky is still eating like his normal ravaged self, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to poop. <I would stop feeding for the time being> And I can't put him back in the big tank, because ALL of the fish started to nip at it before I got him out of there. I tried to push the guts back in, but I was afraid of making it worse so I stopped after it didn't go in easily. What should I do? <I haven't had any experience with this before, so I'm Cc'ing Bob, who will hopefully CC Kathy, the only person I know of whom has some 'surgical' experience with fish. However, keep porky in the QT tank, treat with prophylactic antibiotics, cease feeding, and wait> <<I would not operate on this fish... but wait, be patient. Such prolapses are not uncommon... Use the WWM search tool and look up this term with the word puffer... and read the cached views... RMF>> Thanks, Jenny <Good luck! M. Maddox>
Re: Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled (follow-up) 3-9-09
Hi again, <Evening> I am still only treating Porky with Maracyn 1. I can't find saltwater Maracyn 2 anywhere. When I DO find it, how much should I be using since I'll be using both Maracyn 1 & 2? 1/2 of each normal dose, Or regular doses of both? <Nope, standard dose of each, because Maracyn treats gram positive infections and Maracyn Two treats gram negative. If you can't find Maracyn Two at any LFS, then treat with a broad spectrum and/or gram negative antibiotic> I did get some Methylene Blue. Do you want me to drop the Methylene Blue right onto the intestines that are sticking out? Or should I treat the water (20 gal. hospital tank)? <Treat the tank> And how much should I use? <Follow the instructions on the label - I'm not sure what brand or concentration you have, so there is no way for me to give you accurate dosing instructions> Thanks. <Anytime> Jenny <Good luck, and I hope your puffer recovers - M. Maddox>
Re: Porcupine Pufferfish dis-emboweled 3-25-09

Just thought I'd update you with "Porky's" condition. He's alive and well and back in his home tank with his tank mates. The Maracyn 1 worked great.
I never did find any Maracyn 2 so I didn't use it. And I didn't have the directions for the Methylene Blue, so I didn't use that either.
<Next time grab Kordon's, which is a teaspoon per ten gallons I believe>
I got lucky and the Maracyn 1 did the trick. His bowels retreated back inside him after about a week, and he's eating and pooping just fine. :-)
<That's so good to hear, I'm glad he recovered!>
<Sure thing, glad I could help>
<M. Maddox>

sick porcupine puffer, hlth./induced blindness, reading  2/26/09 Hi my name is Eric, and my porcupine which i have had for 2 years now has become sick. The tank is 60 gallons <Too small> and the puffer has been in there the whole time. There is also a Foxface rabbit which is doing very well and has also been in since the start, and a small coral hogfish that i purchased around 6 months ago. The tank has a good amount of live rock a few Mexican turbo snails and some hermit crabs. i run a power head, 2 Aquaclear 500's and a backpack 2 skimmer. The tank stays at 81 degrees, i do water changes at least once a month, the ph is 8.2, ammonia is 0 and nitrates are 10 to 20. The salinity is 1.027. <A bit high> The problem i am having started about 2 months ago when the puffers eyes got hazy and he seemed to not be able to eat his food. He looked hungry and came to the top of the tank but when he went to eat it he would keep missing it. <Too typical> Before this he was a very big eater, however he would only eat frozen krill. I was instructed by the pet center i deal with to try Furan 2, <... no> after doing a cycle of that his eyes cleared up a bit and he would eat small amounts but still had trouble finding the food. A few weeks later his eyes hazed again and he has had no luck at all finding the food. I began using VitaChem with the food <Good> as well. Just within the past few days i have noticed that he is at the bottom breathing very heavy and he began to develop a purplish gray area on the rear of his tail section. Today I looked at him and saw that the discoloration has moved up his body and is covering almost half of him and the rear discolored area looks like its dying with very bad skin and tail rot. Any help would be appreciated. I have attached a picture as well. thanks Eric Vozzella <Mmm... this smacks of a long-term nutritional deficiency... Might be able to be reversed, maybe not... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishfdgfaqs.htm  and the linked files where you encounter them, lead yourself... Adding a refugium, mud, algal culture, DSB... all would help... Bob Fenner>

Re: sick porcupine puffer 2/26/2009 Thanks for the help bob, however he did not even make the night, very sad loss! <Ahh! These are very personable animals... intelligent as well. BobF>

Skinny Porcupine Puffer... Stunted due to... Env. and?  -- 02/19/09 Hi, <Chris> I have a porcupine puffer (Diodon holacanthus) and I've had her for about 2 years now and she is about 3-4 inches long at this point. <... small> I can't help but notice that she is far thinner than most other fish of her species that I've seen (online, in pet stores and at friends' houses). Instead of being fuller with a slight taper towards the tail, she has a distinct tear-drop shape with a really skinny body. <Mmmm> I feed her 2 cubes of frozen food every other day and that food is everything from Emerald Entre to Marine Cuisine and Brine Shrimp. Is there something she is missing in her diet that is keeping her from growing fatter? <Possibly... or perhaps there's summat else at work here... Internal parasites, genetic, behavioral issues, even aspects of environment, water quality...> Below is the information about my tank and various levels. 55 Gallon <Too small eventually... and this could be a source/factor... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm > with a salinity of 1.020. <Too low... also a poss. influence> Nitrites and Alkalinity are in the safe range according to my test strips and Ammonia is less than 0.25 <Must be zero... See WWM re tests... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mtstmethds.htm and the linked files above> while the Nitrites are high at 80-160. <Nitrates... not NO2... WAY too high... def. a factor... http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm  and the linked files above.> Thanks <There may be others... but the environment here is definitely faulty. Bob Fenner>

Pufferfish with chlorine poisoning  2/3/09 Hi, thanks for having this service. I have found many answers here. I have a 125gal saltwater tank occupied by a 4" porcupine puffer, 7" Volitans lionfish, Foxface Rabbitfish, 3' zebra eel and 2 small damsels that survived the initial start-up a year ago. While on vacation we had a friend come by to feed the fish. Thinking he was helping, he removed a few of the skeleton corals and cleaned them in bleach. He did soak them in a freshwater dip with prime before he placed them in the tank. However, the next morning our Russell lionfish was dead and the puffer is sitting on the bottom, having breathing problems. <Yikes....> He also has a thick white substance coming from his pores, mouth, gills and eyes. <Body mucus...> Obviously, he is experiencing chlorine poisoning. Within 12 hours of the poisoning, I changed 40 gals, added extra prime to the tank, placed the airstone next to the powerhead to create a higher oxygen content in the water and added StressCoat to the water. He did begin swimming around periodically, but most of the time he is resting on the bottom. Is there anything else I can do to help him survive? <Yes, place a good deal (a couple of "units") of activated carbon... like Boyd's Chemipure or such in the water flow path, and possibly PolyFilter if you can get it pronto> I am also worried that even if he is recovering, he will not eat, as most fish won't when they are ill. <Not to worry... These puffers can go w/o feeding (if in good health initially) for weeks> I don't want him to starve to death before he has a chance to recover. How long can he survive without eating? I tried soaking his food in garlic extreme, that did not work. Do you have any suggestions to get him to eat? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm  toward the bottom of the page... re var. puffer groups Feeding> Sorry for going on so long, I just really want to help him. Thanks George <Patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: pufferfish with chlorine poisoning   2/16/08
Hi Bob, Good news, the puffer and all others have recovered and are doing fine. Thanks George <Ahh! Thank you for this follow-up of good news George. BobF>

Porcupine Puffer possibly has Ich (UNCLASSIFIED)  12/20/08 Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE <... is this email being spied on? Is this one of my/our civil servants using the public's dime/time? One out of too many...> Hello, <Mmm, yes> I recently set up a 125g FOWLR tank. It has a canister filter, protein skimmer, and two powerheads. I have 130 pounds of live rock and 10 pounds of live sand and 60 pounds of sand. The tank has been up for three months. (The first month no fish were in the system) I have a Porcupine Puffer and yesterday (12/19/08) I noticed a few white spots on his two side fins. They look like little bits of sand. <Might be> I thought that that was what it was little pieces of sand since Puffer likes to go to the bottom of the tank after a meal and rest, but after a few hours of observation I am concerned that it may be Ich. <Could be, but doubtful> Puffer is not really active during the day, but at night he come to the top of the tank and begs for food. He rests a majority of the day, but he has never been that active. He seems healthy by all accounts. He eats well and besides being a little timid around the other fish (Harlequin Tusk, Naso Tang, Pearlscale Red Butterfly, Blue Jaw Trigger, and 5 Green Chromis)he doesn't seem to have any issues. I have read your forums on Porcupine Puffers with Ich but I feel the information given is to scattered and there are conflicting opinions. <Same as it ever was> I would like to know if a freshwater dip is worth even trying. <Mmm, no; not IMO/E> I know one of your forums say certain stages of Ich easily resist freshwater dips. I just don't want to put puffer through the stress of being removed from his tank and then the huge stress of being in freshwater. <I am in agreement with your point of view> How resilient are puffers against Ich? <Mmm, more than middling> He only has a few white spots on his fins and nowhere else. Each meal is soaked in garlic which I hear helps guard against Ich, <Nah> but does it do anything to combat the illness once a fish has the illness. <Zip> I have read that the Ich parasite doesn't like the odor of garlic <Methinks you've got these Tetraodontiforms mixed up with vampire lore> and the smell will keep them from attaching to the fish. I have no idea if this is true, but if it is will the parasite detach because of the garlic. It is really hard to get good information so I appreciate the assistance. If you need anymore information please ask. Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE <I too have not caveats (to mention)... But would take a wait and see approach here... Most likely these two "spots" are nothing. Bob, citizen, person who generates GDP, Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer Skin Problems 12/3/08 Good evening, <Morrow for me here, now. Good day to you in any case/time frame> I have used your site numerous times to troubleshoot many different fish/aquarium topics, but I cannot find the answer to my most recent question and find it worthy of a post. <Good> My Porcupine Puffer that I have had in a 100 gallon live rock aquarium for 6 months has started to show signs of skin problems and I can't find the issue posted or even mentioned on any forum. It appears that the fish is molting/shedding from between the eyes to the dorsal fin. <Mmm, Diodontids (and Tetraodontids...) do "shed" their skin quite a bit...> The typical olive/brown coloring has given way to what appears to be a new, whiter layer of skin/scale still exhibiting the camouflage characteristics, just in a lighter shade. Now I've searched and know that puffers do not have scales and from what I can tell therefore do not shed/molt. <Actually...> I'm wondering if this is a treatable disease or in general any advice you can provide for this situation. Tank specs: 100 gallon overflow with a 25 gallon sump, Red Sea protein skimmer and carbon filtration. Tank Mates: Yellow Tang Maroon Gold Stripe Clown Candy Hogfish Picasso Trigger 75 lbs live rock Thank you for your assistance <Mmm... well, this condition can be due to, here's that word again, just "stress"... it may be the Trigger, Clown and even the Tang are working this fish woe... The second, and possibly larger co-factor with these puffers is nutritional. Very often they are lost to avitaminoses... and hence, the call to supplement their foods, provide a myriad diet to hopefully avoid such dietary lacks. IF you have other quarters to situate this specimen in, I would move it... to counter/check the possibility of harassment... And I would definitely mix the diet up here, try soaking all foods in a HUFA, vitamin mix... like MicroVit, Selcon... Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer Skin Problems  12/3/08
Bob, <Hello again Jay> Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I will probably go with the isolation route to see if it is stress, although the puffer is larger than all his tank mates it is also slower. I am glad to hear that "shedding" is actually not as rare as I had feared, there was just nothing I could find pertaining to this when searching. <Interesting... am going to try the Google search on WWM with the terms: "Puffer Skin Shedding": Please see here: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=Puffer+Skin+Shedd ing&sa=Search&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&client=pub-4522959445250520&for id=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%2333 6699%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A99C9FF%3BLBGC%3A336699%3BALC%3A000 0FF%3BLC%3A0000FF%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3 B&hl=en or try this yourself. Oh, and do look at the "cached views"... in your searches... the search terms are highlighted... much easier to find.> I currently feed, frozen shrimp, Mysis, and krill in a rotation of days and work in a home made blend of clam, scallop and squid that should all provide a pretty good variety. <Mmm, actually... these are too high in fat, cholesterol for a strict diet, and do lack essential vitamins et al.... I would mix in some fish flesh here, even whole fish (e.g. Silversides), and provide some/newer live rock for casual consumption on a continuous basis> I'm guessing crab and snail are my next choices as far as diet, but meanwhile I'll begin supplementing with a vitamin mix and may attempt to add some to my "house blend" next time I'm mixing. <Do look into the "frozen mixed seafood", often offered as "frutti de mar" and such, in your frozen food depts.... Very inexpensive compared to labeled foodstuffs for fishes... and a good mix (shells on) for your puffer and other fishes> I very much appreciate your response and the service that you provide. <I am very glad to assist you and your efforts. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Pufferfish Parasites?  11/22/08 I picked up a porcupine puffer from the LFS about 1 week ago. This was the second one that I had seen at that particular shop, and both of them had a single cluster of *something* growing on one pectoral fin (see attached photo). <I see this in your excellent photo> I spoke with a friend who had one in the past, and he said that his fish would get this problem on and off, but he didn't know what it was. Well, the LFS people didn't know either. They said it was pretty common and I ended up deciding to take the puffer home and try to treat it. The problem is that I can't find any information whatsoever about this infection of the pectoral fin. <Mmm, don't think this is trouble...> Now I have noticed that the puffer has two white-ish spots on his forehead (photo attached), but they strike me as being bigger than Ich. He is eating, but it's kind of strange: he only likes to eat things that are floating or drifting in the water column: he won't follow anything to the bottom, and he won't eat anything if it's sitting on a rock <Do take care here... many puffer species, specimens get "fixed" on certain foods, feeding modes... best to keep mixing up, offering different foodstuffs in different areas... with vitamin/HUFA supplementation occasionally/weekly let's say> . He spends nearly all of his time pacing around the glass, but at night I've seen him "hunting" around the middle of the tank. I have never seen him "rest" before, he's always on the move. I wouldn't describe his pace as frantic, though, and I've never seen him rubbing or flashing. Also, none of the other fish in my tank show any of these symptoms. <Not a worry behavior-wise> hat do you think? If you know what the problem is, what would you recommend as treatment? Thank you, Joe <"Just" good care here... particularly an eye on water quality (low metabolite accumulation) the markings on both the head and pectoral fin look to me to be damaged areas (physical)... the white markings the equivalent of "scabs", areas of regrowth, repair... The fin likely damaged in collection or subsequent net/handling, the head area a "bump" against something like coral or rock. Both will heal in time. Bob Fenner>  

Pufferfish Parasites: System Information  11/22/08 Sorry, I got carried away and forgot to give you information about my system. <Ahh> It's a 90g FOWLR, has been running for 3 months. About 90-100 lbs of rock, shallow sand bed of 50 lbs. The only fish besides the puffer is a small black volitans lion. There are 20 turbo snails (which I'm aware will be eaten eventually), 1 green serpent star, and 1 Bahama star (who is also probably at risk). Test results: Ammonia:0 Nitrite:0 Nitrate:5 Salinity:1.024 Temperature:76.5-79 Night - Day <Looks very good> The tank is skimmed pretty heavily with an in-sump modded octopus NW 150. Nothing in the tank has ever been treated with copper. If you could use any more information, let me know. Thanks,
<No worries Joe. BobF>

Re: Pufferfish Parasites?   11/22/08 I really appreciate the response, very helpful. It's good to hear that you think this is all just damage from shipping or the like. So you said I should supplement his meals with vitamins; what in particular? I've started adding garlic to his meal to help boost his immune system, but I'm not too familiar with any other supplements. <Ah, please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/vitaminmarfaqs.htm> Is it really a bad thing if he gets "trained" to not eat off the bottom? <Mmm, not as much as what is actually eaten... but a good idea to train such animals to feed from the surface as well... should this be expeditious> Because if that actually works, I wouldn't have to worry about my snails, I could keep hermit crabs or possibly even coral. <Mmm, not dependably> Have you ever heard of success in training puffers like that? <Ditto> I read an article the other night who taught his puffer basic sign language! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Puffers/puffers.htm <These are quite intelligent animals. BobF> 

Pufferfish Parasites: Update   11/25/08 Hey, I just wanted to keep you updated on the progress but also ask a couple new questions. <Sure> 1. I've been supplementing garlic and I can already see that his scabs are healing, whether due to the garlic or not. The one on his fin is about the same, though. I have placed an order for both Selcon and VitaChem as you seem to recommend these a lot. <Good> 2. I found out yesterday that my hydrometer was .004 off, meaning my water was actually 1.027 when it read 1.023. Upon figuring this out, I did a 40%ish water change with 1.018 salinity or there-abouts water. I took my time doing this, and gradually got the tank filled back up. <Mmm, a comment... I'd just add some/more freshwater over time... not change the spg more than 0.001 in a day or so> The salinity balanced around 1.024-1.025. Two events of interest occurred after this. I was observing something else in the tank, and when I looked over, the puffer was inflated. This was my first time seeing him like that and I'm aware that it is stressful on their bodies, but is it possible that he did this just for "fun" or something? <Mmm... doubtful> There was no one else in the room, the lionfish was in his cave motionless. Could it have to do with the salinity, even though I did everything very gradually? <Mmm, yes> I witnessed him doing it again one more time the next day, also for no visible reason. The second thing that happened is a much welcomed change. The puffer no longer spends 95% of his time pushed against the glass in the corner. He now hangs out between some rocks, hovering around looking at things as if hunting. He still comes up to the glass, just not all the time like before. Maybe the high salinity had him stressed out so he was constantly trying to escape the tank? <Possibly> 3. I know corals + puffer = no, but a friend offered to give me some free pulsing xenias. On top of the fact that they were free, my puffer doesn't usually eat things that aren't floating, as I mentioned earlier. So I figure in the worse case he kills the xenias. Well, I put them in the tank last night. Woke up in the morning and a few of the pulsing "fingers" were nibbled off, but the stalks and the majority of the xenias were wholly untouched. Do you think he nibbled it and just didn't like the taste? <Also a possibility> It seems like puffers usually devour their entire meal once they get started. Only other fish are the lionfish and a blue yellow tailed damsel. <Surprising the Lion hasn't inhaled the damsel. Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer -- 07/14/08 Hey guys, <Hi.> we set up a saltwater tank 2 months ago. <Size?> Our first fish was a porcupine puffer. <Size?> The fish was doing well, we fed her crayfish, crabs and sometimes feeder minnows. <The latter is a very unhealthy food item absolutely inappropriate for your porcupine fish. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fdgfdrartneale.htm .> We figured she was doing so well we decided to add a dragon wrasse. <Was the wrasse quarantined to avoid the introduction of diseases?> She was ok for the first few days now she is all over the tank bumping into rocks, breathing heavy and her colour is just not right. <Might be Amyloodinium (can you see most tiny white spots and a whitish change of coloration?) or a bacterial infection due to a weak immune system (growing discolorations on the body?). > The day before we gave her feeder minnows and noticed that in the tank where we were holding the minnows they had all died. <'¦> We don't know if its the feeder minnows, the dragon wrasse or a combination of the two. <All possible, especially the last. I recommend never to feed minnows to a porcupine puffer again.> Our ph is 8.2, we have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate. <Sounds okay.> We don't know what to do and we don't want to lose our puffer! Thanks. <Clarify which of the two is most likely and start a treatment in a hospital tank. Amyloodinium can kill very fast. Treatment options are found on WWM. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm and the linked FAQs on diseases and also the corresponding articles on marine velvet or bacterial infections. Good luck. Marco.>

Blind Porcupine Puffer   6/23/08 Two nights ago the bubblers in my salt-water tank stopped working, and when I got up the next morning, one of my fish was dead, and all the others at the bottom of the tank gasping. <Yikes> I put in an emergency bubbler, and turned on my supplementary bubblers, and did a water change. (I was scheduled to do a water change over the weekend, anyway.) Well, aside from the one fish being dead already, everybody seemed to recover, except now I think my porcupine puffer is blind. So now I'm worried he'll starve to death because he can't see his food. <Mmm, not likely just from this... and likely the apparent blindness is reversible> Is there anything I can do to help him? I don't want to watch him starve to death. He's my favorite fish, and I'm totally sick that this happened. Thanks. Rabin' <Try training this Puffer to come to the surface... in a corner... wiggling a meaty, intact food item... like a shrimp, krill in the water. It will learn quickly what you're up to. Bob Fenner>

Urgent Help please. With Spiny Boxfish. -- 6/17/08 Yesterday ( Sunday ) my children brought me a Spiny Boxfish for Fathers day which I wanted. <Yikes, oh good> However I noticed that one eye is clouded over and the other eye has little specks of cloudiness on it. I have read about this and realise that Spiny boxfish can suffer from eye infections. <Yes... quite common... Mostly due to (prior) physical damage> Can you advise me on what to do , Is this an easy problem to correct or does it normally end in blindness? <Normally self-heals given good water quality, care...> My tank is a Trigon 350 and I have a Volitans Lionfish a Yellow Tang , Lipstick tang , Blue Damsel , Foxface , Grouper , 2 Maroon Clownfish with Anemone and a Green Brittle starfish all doing very well with no problems. I have just brought a Ro-man to supply my self with Ro water. <Good> Basically I would to keep the Boxfish and help him recover but if from your experiences this isn't an easy problem to solve then it might be better to take him back to the Shop where it was purchased from. I am more than willing to purchase medicine and administer it in my tank however I do have some corals and Live rock which could well be disturbed. Thank you very much for your time. Phil. <I urge patience here; keeping this fish in your likely much better cared for circumstances. Perhaps the soaking of favored foods (you may have to teach all to feed on one side of the tank, the puffer on t'other...) in Selcon or such... to aid healing/boost the immune system. Bob Fenner>

I need help! Diodontid hlth., no data or reading   4/18/08 I have a new Burr fish puffer. He has only been here for 48 hours and suddenly he has a bald belly he looked a little skinny before but I thought with a little tlc I could turn him around. What do I do? I don't think he has or had ick. I do not have a QT, and I have alot <... no such word> of other fish. HELP! Thanks Jen <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm  the linked files above... on Systems, Feeding... Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer... sys. trouble  -- 4/12/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Robbie> I've been reading the site for the better part of the day and decided to write you in case I missed something. I've had a porcupine puffer (Puffy) for about 5 years. He was moved into a 240 gal tank about 6 months ago. All fish tank includes 3 triggers (Bursa, Picasso, Niger), <Mmmm> Foxface, 8 damsels, flame hawk. Last weekend Puffy started hiding in the cave and stopped coming out for food around Monday or Tuesday this week. Last Sunday I lost a mono. This past Monday I lost the other 2 monos. I had the water checked by a Santa Monica Aquarium shop and my "fish guy". Both found the tank elements to be perfect - except salt was a bit low. <What brand? How low?> Odd that the Monos - a brackwater fish died from low salt though. <Not likely> The salt was brought back to normal but Puffy did not improve. Today he came out of his cave and was found floating at the top of one side of the tank. I've tried feeding him peas (frozen, boiled, then skin removed) but he won't take them. <Not surprising> He had air in him earlier but my fish guy gently held and rubbed the belly and we did see air come out, about 4 hours ago. About 1 hour ago a ton of white stuff came shooting out of his mouth. Where he was swimming erratically earlier he is now "bobbing" in the upper 1/4 of the tank and barely breathing. He occasionally puffs in some water and eventually lets it out it appears. But he just "bobs" or sinks a bit and then floats back up. There is no sign of ick or other external disease. <Not pathogenic at least...> However, within the last few hours the edges of his fins have become a milky white. <Very bad... stress signs> On another note, my Foxface is having issues -- although I am more concerned about Puffy. The Foxface is swimming/bobbing in the same area of the tank. He usually is down at the bottom picking for poop. Now his mouth is just moving rapidly as he floats around in the 1/4 top section of the tank. Puffy to me is the equivalent of a dog to someone else. Its killing me to see him in pain and unable to do anything. Any idea what is going on? Thanks Robbie <Some form of overt chronic poisoning is my best guess... The usual S.O.P of massive water change/s, spiffing up your skimmer/ing, the use of chemical filtrant/s, possibly a look into the use of ozone... Something/s amiss here... could be electrical, dissolved gas, an endogenous microbial (crash) syndrome... But changing out water/dilution, better aeration/filtration will definitely help. The puffer though... is likely not going to make it. Bob Fenner> As an update to this. Hour and a half later Puff is now at the bottom of the tank and looks fatter in the back than normal. He is not using any of his fins, his mouth is just open, he is darker in color, and he is breathing slowly. <We'll see... BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer.  - 04/14/08
Hey Bob, Thanks for the response. He didn't make it :,( Robbie <I do hope you are executing against a plan to save the rest of your livestock. BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer.  - 04/14/08
Working on it. The problem is finding the problem. The puffer is the only one that showed signs of stress. The monos just "dropped dead". I literally watched one start acting odd and die in an hour. All are eating, all look and appear healthy. I'm no pro like you, but have had fish for about 10 years. Never experienced anything like this. I'm used to seeing the disease on the fish or see the chemical imbalance when I test. I am stumped. <Me too... thus the very general input our first correspondence... I would at least "complex" your system by adding a DSB, macroalgal culture, perhaps an ozonizer... B>
Re: Porcupine Puffer.  - 04/14/08
Bob, <Rob> One thing we (me and fish maintenance guy) noticed fairly recently is this film on top of the water. <Bad... need to "wick" off, and provide for removal... from... food/s?> I have a center column with flow valves on either side. Only the left side has this "film" on top of the water. Its not dust but its this light brown color. No idea where its coming from or what is causing it. Maybe this has something to do with my fish dying? Robbie <Very likely so... can prevent oxygen from getting into solution... would explain much here in terms of who is dying first. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer dis., and Mono sel.  -- 4/15/08
Hi Bob, <Neale> Re: the guy with the sick Diodon; if I'm reading the question right  and the "monos" that died are Monodactylus spp., then your observation of oxygen and the scum on the surface of the tank could be right on the money. While Monodactylus are basically bullet proof in terms of water chemistry issues, they are unbelievably sensitive to low oxygen tensions. Perhaps what you'd expect from a fish that lives in the surf zone and shallow coastal seas. <Yes... my inference as well> > If the fish are feeding fine one moment, then stressed/dead the next,  I'd be wary that the food I was adding was too oily, and those oils collecting on the surface of the water as a film. Usually only a problem if there's insufficient agitation of the water. A skimmer would obviously help, and is even recommended at SG 1.010 when keeping Monodactylus, let alone in a marine setting. But certain frozen foods as well as oil-rich dried foods can cause a similar scum to form. <Agreed all the way around> Incidentally, this oxygen issue with Monodactylus is one reason I recommend against buying mature specimens. They don't "travel" well. Cheers, Neale <Interesting and noteworthy. Will post to both categories. Cheers, BobF>

Blind porcupine puffer... env., nutr.?  03/19/2008 Tank history and test results..... My tank is 120 or 125 gallons still trying to figure it out. Here are my test results: amm. 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5-10 (colors so close I can't tell the difference) PH 8.4, Temp 79-80 KH 200-400ppm, phosphates 1, <High> salinity 1.021. <Mmm, I'd raise this> The tank is an upgrade has been running for about 4 months. All decor and filters were transferred to the tank with the upgrade. Before the upgrade the tank was running for 3 months. It went from freshwater and was slowly raised to saltwater. I took my time in raising the salinity over a period of 4 months. I started with 2-GSP's, after raising the tank to saltwater I added a Porcupine Puffer, another 2 weeks went by and I added a stars & stripes puffer. I don't have any corals in the tank, just live rock. The GSP's are both about 3.5", the Porcupine Puffer is about 3-4" and the Stars & Stripes is about 5-6". Currently on the tank I have 2 powerheads, 1 HOB filter, a heater, a protein skimmer, new wet/dry. On Sunday I switched two canister filters out for the wet/dry. I had 2 HOB filters on the tank but moved one to a qt this morning for my porcupine puffer. The Story: On Friday March 14th, I fed my puffers they all ate well, very well. My porcupine (the one in question) did what she normally does and went to her spot and took a nap. March 15th- My porcupine puffer was still in the same spot that morning which did not worry me yet. That afternoon when I got home she still had not moved. Now getting a little worried. March 16th-Porcupine puffer still in the same spot, only moving her fins and laying on the sandbed. I noticed that her eyes were not as glossy as they should be. Starting to get more worried at this point. Had planned to remove the two canister filters that were on the tank and replace it with the wet/dry. Did a 25% water change and switched the two canisters for the wet/dry. The initial blast from the wet/dry caused about a million bubbles to go into the tank but after about 30 seconds the bubbles were gone. The water was clear again. The porcupine never moved from her spot the whole time. I did not transfer media from the canisters to the wet/dry because I had the two established hob filters with sponges still on the tank. March 17th- Checked my water that morning, no signs of a mini cycle. Porcupine still has not moved. Came home that evening she swam around very little and not very far. Checked my water again that evening still no signs of a mini cycle. March 18th- The porcupine puffer was swimming around this morning, but instead of searching for food, she was bumping into everything, even the other puffers. Her eyes look hazed over more today than the last few days. After moving her into a qt, so that she would not hurt herself, I noticed this lump on her side that I haven't seen before. It's about the size of a peanut and causing her spines to stick up. Just about two weeks ago she had these odd spots on her fin and so did the Stars & Stripes. She has had them before and they seem to just go away without meds. Well again they went away without any meds. I don't know if these two things are related or not but thought I should mention it. <Good to mention> Well that pretty much brings us up to date. Sorry for the book I just wrote but I wanted to give all the details so that maybe, just maybe I can figure out what is wrong with her. Here are a few pictures that I took this morning: Picture of the lump http://s230.photobucket.com/albums/ee127/edmlfc1/?action=view&current=DSCF1926.jpg Another picture of the lump http://s230.photobucket.com/albums/ee127/edmlfc1/?action=view&current=DSCF1925.jpg Picture of her hazy eyes http://s230.photobucket.com/albums/ee127/edmlfc1/?action=view&current=DSCF1907.jpg <Mmm, me neither... from the data presented. Such blindness and lumpiness episodes are too-common amongst spiny puffers though... some environmental and nutritional inputs... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Possible HLLE in Pork Puffer, fins also involved 3/18/08 Hello Bob and Crew! <Hello> My VHO lighting crashed about 2 weeks ago. Since then I've been substituting with two smaller strip-lights and 2 lamps. I ordered a new ballast after replacing the bulbs and giving up on tinkering. Anyways, my porcupine puffer has developed what looks like HLLE-The pale forehead, a few pits. He hasn't eaten in 3 days, and he's been swimming away from me and staying towards the bottom, breathing heavily <Not good.> Very unusual for him. Also,  He also has some bits on his fins and tail where it's opaque, with a streak of brown. I am setting up a QT tank, but I can't get a picture that's any help. Can this be from the lack of light? Should I treat with an antibiotic? <Not from lack of light directly, but probably due to lower water quality. What are your water parameters? HLLE is usually environmental and dietary in nature. I would not treat with antibiotics unless you diagnose a bacterial infection. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  > <Chris>

Pufferfish Fading 3-18-08 Hi, We have had a porcupine puffer fish (3 in.) for a month. This is our first brackish system and there are no other fish in our 30 gallon tank. <I am hoping that this is a Green Spotted Pufferfish and not a Porcupine Puffer. Does he have little black spots all over his body?> Our filter system does 250-300 gallons/hour, it can go up to 480 gal/hr. We were told to do a 20% water change once/month. <I would up this to about twice a week if you are doing 20% or do 50% once a month.> My husband did one last night but up until know he has been adding water because of evaporation & checking the salinity. Puffy seems to losing its color, he was a yellow color and now seems to be a pale yellow/white-ish color. <Did your husband bring the temperature up to match that of the tank when changing the water?> I read about Ich but I can't tell if he has it. <Doubtful, you would see white specks all over his body. It is easy to notice.> He is also not interested in eating krill, we feed once/day. <I would feed him once every 2-3 days seeing as he is fairly large. Also instead of krill which when fed alone doesn't present much nutritional value to a puffer, I suggest getting some mussels, clams, snails and other crunchy foods that puffers enjoy. This food also helps wear down the teeth naturally so they do not become overgrown, making it difficult for the puffer to eat or forcing you to do dentistry on him. Frozen shellfish are fine as long as they are defrosted completely in the water from the tank before feeding.> I can't tell if his breathing is labored. Finally, he has a light red/pink colored spot on top approximately half inch in diameter on top three-quarters down from the head & a small red dot. It looks like he might be rubbing himself & its irritated. <This is possibly a wound from a scratch or a bite mark that is healing. I would get some Melafix to help treat that.> We've seen him squeeze behind the filter. He has happy, comes to see us for feeding. He still seems kind of happy but is not eating. I read that they can be sensitive to ammonia & nitrates so I'm going to pick up an ammonia test kit tomorrow. <Get a test kit that includes Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrites tests as these are your most critical when it comes to puffers. Most likely he was a little aggravated from the water change and if he still seems happy I doubt there is anything to worry about. Puffers can change colors depending on moods. If you do notice that he is lethargic or has a very black belly then something is wrong. I wouldn't worry about him not eating, he doesn't have to feed everyday.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <If you can, get back to me on your water parameters and a positive ID on Puffy. A picture would be great if you can take one.> Thanks <No problem! --Yunachin> Kim
Re: Pufferfish Fading  3-18-08
Hi, Thank you for all your advice! He's definitely a porcupine puffer fish. He looks like the images on Google. So what I've found out after visiting 3 pet stores yesterday is that I needed to get the tank cycling to ensure proper nitrite levels. <Not just nitrites but everything in between.> We didn't know this when we started. So when we started the tank, we got the salinity stable (2 weeks) then got the puffer fish (additional 3-4 weeks). Feel free to correct me if I misunderstand anything, like I said before this is our first brackish system ? <You don't want to use the term 'brackish' as that is a lower level than marine, usually at a salinity of 1.004-1.016, IMO.> Right now our tank is in the nitrate phase & as expected our nitrates are high, pH low 7.5, ammonia OK. <Use of a product called Prime will help ease this.> I believe the loss of color in our puffer is because he's stressed because they are very sensitive to pH changes & not the best fish to use to start a salt water tank :( <All fish are going to be sensitive to fluctuations in Ph, I would worry about the Nitrite levels first as these will affect him the most negatively.> He is the only fish in the tank and the spot is not a spot it's actually a brick red colored stuff growing on him, the guy at the pet store said that it sounds like a bacteria, not surprising to him because our pH was low. <Once again, low Ph is not your problem. 7.4 is not bad at all and can be tolerated by the puffer. The growth could be bacterial and treating it with erythromycin is the way to go.> I have started penicillin treatment & added Cycle (good bacteria to help break down the ammonia & nitrates). I removed the carbon filter so the carbon will not absorb the medication. <Good. When this is all said and done, make sure to do some hefty water changes. Cycle though; I am not a fan of. If it is not stored properly it loses all of its beneficial properties. This could all occur even before it comes into your hands so I always say do a fishless cycle, it's safer and efficient. There is an article about it on www.thepufferforum.com> I was also told to slowly raise the pH of the tank. So I bought a buffer and added 1 treatment to the tank. The instructions said it can take 2 days for the pH to stabilize so I will check it tonight (that makes it 24 hr). I'm not sure what slowly means, hours? Days? The buffer instructions said I should add supplements Calcium & trace minerals? Suggestions? <Instead of adding buffers and chemicals and everything else, you can add crushed coral, aragonite or even sea shells and it will naturally regulate your tank without any side effects. I would go this route.> I'm under the impression that I should not do any water changes until after antibiotic treatment which will take 4 days. Should I do one after that or wait until the tank's ammonia & nitrate levels are 0 & some nitrites? If I should do a water change, how much? Any advice on water changes would be appreciated. <I would do a water change after the antibiotic treatment is through. I would do 50% on day one, 20% on day two then wait a day and do another 20% on day 4. I would then do 30-40% every two weeks.> Also, my husband was concerned about getting the water up to temperature, so he ended up not doing the water change but we are aware of that. <Adding a heater to the bucket of water for about 20-30 minutes will warm it right up.> Is 2-3 inches large for a porcupine pufferfish? I was told that they can get even bigger & the tank we have is not an ideal tank. Recommended tank size is 75 gallon minimum. <These puffers have been known to grow to 18 inches in the wild and I have had the pleasure of seeing large ones similar to this is person. They will get large though and a 100 gallon is recommended. Though at 3 inches right now your tank would be fine. You will have to work on a larger tank in the future though.> I was told this could also be stressing the puffer out. How often should I feed him? <Every other day would be sufficient.> How many days can he go without eating? It's been 3 days right now. What foods are more appealing to a sick puffy? You can try a piece of krill soaked in garlic if you do not have any fresh shrimp or mussel on hand. Garlic is an appetite enhancer and will tempt him to eat, but don't fret if he doesn't yet as he is under treatment.> If all goes well I will start getting him some mussels, snails, clams. Should I buy this from a pet store or supermarket? How often should I give him these? <Market or pet store will be fine. I often find purchasing them frozen then I can pull them out and defrost them as needed. Every other day will be fine with these as well, even every three days will be perfect.> When should I expect to see the bacteria clear up and if get the tank conditions under control how fast should I see the puffer recover? <It all depends on how positively he responds to the medicine. He should start to look up in the next 4 days or so. Do not add any more additives or chemicals to your tank though. Let these medicines run their course, get some aragonite/crushed coral, and do your water changes when it is all said and done. In the meanwhile check out this link and work your way through the information on porcupine puffers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm; It will help with any other questions you may have. > Thanks Your website is priceless. <You're welcome. Good Luck. Keep me posted on Puffy's condition.^_^> Kim

Puffer Problems and Overstocking 3-4-08 I have been looking on your website for two days and I got some information, but I was hoping if I tell you the story you might have a more clear answer. I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with about 120 pounds of live rock. I have 2 maroon clownfish 1 Sweetlips 1 lawn mower blenny 2 sharp nose puffers 3 green spotted puffers 1 yellow tang 1 anemone 1 Foxface 1 dogface puffer and lasting 1 porcupine puffer. <First things first'¦This tanks is incredibly overstocked!! Half of this list would be more applicable. Second, you never ever want to combine anemones with puffers due to their curiosity and tendency to nip at things that spark their attention. One nip to an anemone can be the end of a puffer. > I just moved the tank last month and have had some trouble with the nitrate level since, as of today my levels were, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, ph 7.8 and nitrate 80. Off the charts almost. <Due to overstocking.> That being said, two days ago I introduced a new porcupine puffer into my tank. <Was he quarantined first?> It was smaller by about half. I noticed the new one was chasing my OG around the tank and I said I would give it overnight and if they were not getting along by then I would take it back. <Combining multiple species of puffers will most often lead to aggression. You have 4 different kinds here, so there are always going to be problems unless you remove some.> The next morning (yesterday) I found my OG puffer breathing very heavy at the bottom of the tank, he was not responsive to my touch or net. I removed him from the tank and put him in a bucket with a pump to get him more oxygen. This seemed to work as he perked up and started swimming and got his color back after about three hours I put him back into the main tank. That is when I noticed he was running into things, first he went to the top of the water line and gulping air, then calmed down but still is running into stuff, his eyes are moving around but he can't see. I put him in an iso net as I don't have a hospital tank right now. I am using Ich-attack and MelaFix right now and I have done a 30 gallon water change tonight. <Ich isn't his problem and medicating unnecessary will do more harm than good seeing as puffers was very sensitive to medications. I cannot stress enough about quarantining new fish before adding them into your main tank. New fish, especially porcupines carry parasites and other diseases that can harm or kill your other fish. You need to see about getting him into a quarantine tank a.s.a.p. Do 50% water changes in your main tank every other day for at least a week. I would see if a local LFS can take some of the fish out of your tank. I know it will be hard to part with your friends but if you do not lower the bio-load then they will surely perish. Your high nitrates are due to too much feeding and not enough water changes. The reason why the puffer responded positively when you removed him from that main tank is because it was like a breath of fresh air for him. Placing him back into the bad water caused him to go bad to feeling bad again. I think once you remedy this water and overstocking situation, things in your tank will be much better.> Please let me know how to help him he is my favorite fish. Thanks so much for your time. <You're welcome and good luck. ---Yunachin> Holly
Re: Puffer Problems and Overstocking Re: 3-9-08
I just wanted to give you an update. I continued to have nitrate problems so I took a water sample to my LFS. They checked it and everything was normal so my test kit was wrong. (I bought a new one) I also bought a nano tank where I placed my blind puffer. <Sounds great so far.> I started to treat him with copper; I removed him today and put him back into the main where I am treating them with Rally Ich med and Rally bacterial med. <<These are shams. RMF>> <He needs more than 4 days in a quarantine tank, probably a couple of weeks. Also why are you treating him/them with all of these multiple medications? Puffers are especially sensitive to copper and it can do more damage than help. Also medicating fish just because is never a good idea either. Again puffers are highly sensitive to medications and because these are 'scale-less' creatures most medications are not recommended for use on them in the first place. I would cease all of the medicating on the main tank immediately and do some large water changes. Check out this link for treatment on QT safely: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm;> My levels are all normal. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get him to eat? I use garlic and he was not interested but I think it was because of the copper. It's been a week since he's had food. <He is definitely going to be affected from the copper. I would read through the site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontidfaqs.htm; and work your way through the sections, feeding, disease, etc. There is lots of information there to help answer your questions.> Gizmo is still blind but I am hopeful. I don't want to have to put him down as he's totally fine other than his blindness. Please help. BTW all my fish in my tank are very small Gizmo is my largest fish at about 5 inches, also all my puffers have been getting along since day 1, I guess I was lucky. The new one I introduced was a problem so I took him back the day after I got him. <Here is the problem; there are too many fish in this tank. It doesn't matter what size they are now, they are going to grow, and most likely be stunted due to being forced to live in a cramped environment. Also there is going to be aggression, period. They may get along that you can see now but that will not be the case in the future. Again there are several species of puffer in this tank increasing the bio-load immensely. You are going to have problems with the health of these fish in the future and if kept in their current conditions, will dramatically shorten their life spans. Please reconsider taking some back to your LFS, or possibly getting another tank to split these fish up. > Thank you. <Good Luck---Yunachin>


Porcupine Puffer Problems. 2-4-08 Hi there. <Hey, Mike here - I'm free! FREE! from lab...> My name is Stephanie, and I've had my Porcupine Puffer for about a year. <I've had one before as well, I love puffers> He's been happy and active until about 2 weeks ago. I know that puffers naturally have a sort of humpback look, but he's developed an actual lump on his back, more on the left side than the right. He hasn't eaten (or pooed) for about a week and a half. I've tried isolating him in freshwater for a while every other day because I've heard it's good for getting rid of parasites if that's the case, but he's doing the same. He'll only swim around every once in a while, and he practically goes into convulsions. It looks like he's coughing, sneezing, spasming whenever he swims around. His "breathing" has sped up too. He still gets the little happy glimmer in his eye when I go near the tank, but he won't swim towards me or flap his fins like he used to. <Could be worse> He acts like he doesn't want to move. I'm stuck. Please help. <I would stop the dips unless your puffer shows signs of external parasites, or behaves as though it's being externally irritated ('flashes' against rocks, scratches himself against rocks or substrate, etc). I'm going to need more information to really help you here though...what are your water param.s (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity)? What size aquarium and fish? Have you been feeding him a diet consisting mostly/strictly dry foods?> Thanks for your time. <Sure thing - wish I could be of more help. Get back to me on this. - M. Maddox>
Re: Porcupine Puffer Problems part II  4-05-08
I have two damsels and a clownfish along with my puffer (they all get along great and have since I introduced my puffer to them a year ago) in a 30 gal tank. <Whoa! This is *WAY* too small! You're going to need a 125+ gallon tank for this guy as he approaches adult size, and only very small specimens should be kept in an aquarium as small as yours, and not for very long without undue stress/stunting, which I'm sure he's now undergoing as you've had in him such a tiny tank for so long> All levels are PERFECT (just tested them two days ago...ideal conditions) ammonia, PH, nitrates, and salinity. <Ideal as in zero, 8.0-4, under 20ppm, and 1.018-1.026 sg? Numbers are more useful than statements> I just did a 25% water change when I cleaned the tank last week, but there's no change in his behavior. :( The lump on his back is getting more prominent too. Could he have a worm in there or something? Hopefully this helps more. <You didn't answer all of my questions, such as his diet and size. However, the best thing you could do at the moment is get a bigger tank and get him into it (75+ gallons preferably, 125+ ideally). Puffers can go on hunger strikes for days/weeks due to stress or illness, and usually survive if conditions improve. Set up a larger aquarium and move your puffer in asap, as well as offer raw meaty seafoods (shrimp, scallops or oysters, from your grocery store) or live foods (especially useful for temping him out of his possible hunger strike). Please see the following links for further information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm, and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm, and related FAQs. In the future, please do your research and do not place fish in environments unsuitable for their wellbeing. M. Maddox>
Porcupine Puffer Problems III  2-06-08
A hunger strike? All of the sudden after a year of the same living conditions, when he's the same size as he's been for a while? That just doesn't seem logical to me. And what about the lump on his back (more on the left side)? That's the main issue I need addressed, if you will. Thank you again for your time. <It isn't logical to you because you obviously haven't done your research regarding the proper care of this animal. Does it seem logical to keep a fish who's maximum size is well over 18 inches in a 30 gallon aquarium? Does it seem logical that your animal "has stayed the same size for a while"? Healthy animals grow - animals kept in a veritable 'jail cell' are stunted and do not, and this will manifest itself in physiologically and psychologically, which is the most likely explanation of his lack of eating and morphological problem. As I stated previously, move your fish into larger quarters asap, and offer him a varied diet. M. Maddox> <<Whoa! Harsh, but the facts. RMF>>
Porcupine Puffer Problems Part IV  2-06-08
Oooooh, struck a note with the 'logical' comment didn't I? So defensive, so defensive. <Simply illustrating a point> I should have said "similar size" as he has grown, and every once in a while I'll feed him silversides... and I have done my research...every fish store I've gone to has told me the size for how little (in size and amount) fish I have, my tank is fine...as well as other suuuuurely credible website 'experts' like yourselves. <Other fish species have nothing to do with the eventual size of your puffer> But hey...thanks anyways! <Sure thing> I don't have tons of money like you to buy a 400 gallon $2000 tank for one fish, with your obvious 'professionalism' displayed by trying to cut down a woman asking about a fish, surely the business must be lucrative. <Actually, this is a strictly volunteer website. Wasn't trying to "cut you down" - merely answering a question that you asked me. I can't help it if you dislike the answer, and choose to ignore sound advice. Maybe you shouldn't purchase and animal you don't have the financial ability to support. M. Maddox>

Lactoria loss residual effects... stressed puffers   12/19/07 We have just recently lost our longhorn cowfish in the middle of the night. The worst affected fish were our web burr fish and porcupine puffer. We immediately removed the puffs to our hospital tank. In our panic we did not realize that copper in high levels are very bad to puffers. Well we have been treating a hippo tang for Ich with copper. Then we did a 50% water change, changed and increased our charcoal media in the filter. Then I came to this site to get anymore info I could about getting rid of the toxin and saving everything. I then read that copper can be very bad for puffers if it is too strong. So then I gave them both a fresh water bath and put them in the newly cleaned tank. Now my burr is swimming with his tail in the air, so then I read that I could "burp" him to get any ingested air out of his stomach. <A note here for you and browsers... A good idea to NOT lift puffers into the air... to prevent their gulping it in> Got a huge bubble out and he did better but now is doing it again, so I tried again but no air this time. My porcupine just sits on the bottom and barely moves. Also both fish have a huge white area the showed up soon after the copper treatment. Is there any hope for these fish or should I end their suffering? Please help, I feel so terrible. Cic <Mmm, just time going by... I would place all the removed animals back in the main system if the copper has been removed, there is no longer Crypt to contend with... Bob Fenner>

Ill/Malnourished Porcupine Puffer - 12/13/07 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have had a Porcupine puffer for almost a year now. Just recently he has just been sitting on the bottom of the tank only moving around when I come near the tank. I have fed him Mysis shrimp, krill, squid and brine shrimp but now the only thing he will touch is the krill and even then he will chew it up and spit it out wasting more than he eats. <How are his teeth? Puffer's natural diet consists of crustaceans that are crunchy. I would bet his main staple is the easiest to feed: krill. Even the other foods you are feeding him should be soaked in a good quality vitamin like Selcon. Here is a good list of puffer foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/ > He is housed in a 180 gallon aquarium. pH 7.8, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 10. The lionfish he is housed with seems to be doing fine. Should I try feeding some live food, maybe ghost shrimp or live brine? <Neither have much nutrition, as they are mostly water unless gut-loaded with some kind of food. ANY ammonia at all is a problem & extremely toxic to your fish. You need to find the cause of ammonia. There should be none in an established tank. Whether it be uneaten food or an expired, smaller fish, you need to do a thorough cleaning under & around all decor with several water changes, to remedy the problem.> Also, what kind of snails would he eat? He is paler than normal and also is breathing a little harder than normal. <This could be because of the malnutrition from his present diet. My other concern would be if he got stung by your lionfish.> Would it be beneficial to move him to a quarantine tank? I have a 100 gallon that is cycled with nothing in it. <It might be a good idea to separate him from the lion & the ammonia.> Also, I have treated the tank with garlic, this seemed ineffective. <Try soaking the other kinds of foods listed in the link above in the garlic (and vitamins) to entice his eagerness to try something new.> Please help, I would be devastated if I were to loose him. I am going to get some salt and do a water change to try and bring down the ammonia and nitrate and bring up the pH. Could this be the problem? If it was, wouldn't the lionfish be affected too? <Maybe, I would think they would be as sensitive to ammonia problems as a puffer, which is why I have a concern for the puffer possibly having gotten stung. I hope he comes out of this a healthy, long-lived puffer! ~PP> Thanks
Re: Ill/Malnourished Porcupine Puffer  11/13/07
<Hi there, I was hoping you might have noticed my corrections of your first letter. As written in a page on how to contact the WWM Crew: "PLEASE take the time to go over your messages to us...Common courtesy, a desire to serve as proper examples... should compel you to capitalize the beginnings of sentences, proper nouns, run your spell-checker... re-read your posts for clarity, completeness. Of the hours per day spent responding to, "moving around" "FAQs" this activity takes up the most time and is most onerous. Do help us help you here by reviewing, correcting your input as all content is answered, then posted on this website and read over MANY times by others." You sound like a nice person but his is the last one I will correct. The first letter took me almost 10 minutes.> Should I be feeding him every other day still or should I try feeding him every day to get the vitamins in him faster? <I suggest daily, until you see improvement.> I did 2 25% water changes over the last 2 days and seemed to help with the ammonia and nitrate. <That's great! Keep them up & do larger water changes if necessary, to keep the ammonia & nitrite at 0 & nitrate below 20 (below 10 is even better).> I have been doing 50% monthly water changes would I be better off doing smaller weekly water changes or even daily water changes? <Without a sump & refugium to keep your parameters steadier & lower, you need to do whatever water changes necessary to keep them from becoming toxic. I did 50% weeklies on my tank, until I added these extras to my system.> I tried to feed him some ghost shrimp that were soaked in vitamins but he totally ignored it but ate the krill. Also he is somewhat eating clams and squid. <Wonderful!> He seems to be getting skinny. How long will he be able to survive with these eating habits? He's been like this for about 5 days now. <Puffers can go quite some time without eating but it sounds like it's been a long time since this puffer has gotten proper nutrition. Keep trying to get him to eat healthy & soak his food in garlic in addition to the vitamin, to boost his appetite.> Also, his teeth look good to me but I really don't know what to look for but they seem fairly short. I appreciate any help. <Generally, the Diodon holacanthus species rarely have dentistry problems but I was concerned because of his previous diet. It doesn't seem to be a concern though. So keep up with the water changes & better diet & I think he'll pull through. ~PP>

Sick Porcupine Puffer??   12/9/07 I have had my Porcupine Puffer for about 8 months now and has been doing great up until 3 days ago he has become very inactive and seems to be breathing harder than normal and pale in color. He is still eating Krill and Mysis shrimp. <If this is all he is eating, it may well be the source of his apparent problem. Feeding a puffer only Krill and Mysis for a long time will assuredly result in deficiency diseases'¦ imagine exclusively eating rice crackers for half a year. Puffers should be fed a varied diet of mussels, clams, snails, shrimps, crabs etc. ('¦and squid from time to time). Also add vitamins to provide some nutrients that might have been lost during freezing/thawing. Anyway, it is a good sign he is still eating. > I have him housed in a 180 gallon tank with a 90 gallon sump. <Good system size for Diodon holocanthus.> Also, he is housed with a 8 inch lionfish and a 18 inch moray eel both of which seem to be fine. Should I be worried or is he just going threw <through?> a stage? <The elevated breathing and colour change would make me worried. Possibly his immune system is down and infections may gain a foothold now.> Water quality checks out to be good. <Numbers? Check the nitrates. If they are 20 or higher bring them down with adequate water changes.> I know my lionfish will sometimes go a week every now and then with out eating when he is "shedding" <'¦ to remove any hitchhikers'¦ sometimes triggered by a decline in water quality or by parasites'¦ check both if the 'shedding' occurs often.> Do puffers go through a stage when they are inactive like this? <No, this sounds more like a nutritional problem as described above.> There is about 75 pounds of rock in the tank. Any help would be appreciated. <Change the diet, add vitamins, check the nitrates and maybe your puffer will get well again. I wish you luck! Marco.>

We eat the rude... Mis-stocked Burrfish, poor English, no searching ahead of writing.... Grrrr 12/07/2007 hi, I am writing because I have a dilemma with my porcupine puffer. it has puffed up for no reason. it has puffed up a few times today. he shares a 100 gallon tank with a tomato clown, tang, dogface puffer, coral beauty and a pink tail trigger. right now he is puffed up floating at the top of the tank. how do I deflate him? <... Please, fix your English before writing us... and search what is posted on WWM already, as instructed... You have a situation that has caused, will cause the Diodontid to puff-up... the Trigger... read re the Compatibility... Systems of the fishes you list. BobF>

Puffer with lump -- 11/18/2007 Hey guys, <Hi Jason> I recently purchased a porcupine puffer last week, and have been getting some great info off of your website. After I acclimated my little 2" guy into a 55 gallon tank (soon to be a 120g), he seemed perfectly fine. The second and third day he had lost his appetite and started breathing fairly heavy. The staff at my local fish store suggested dropping the salinity, which I did over the next few days (from 1.025 to 1.012). <No need for hyposalinity here as long as no clear Whitespot infection occurs. Keep monitoring the water parameters and assure surface movement and skimming are sufficient to provide enough oxygen.> The salinity drop didn't help his breathing, but it did bring back his appetite in full force. <He needs to settle in. This can take a week.> After I woke up this morning, I noticed that he had a lump in his tail, just to the right of his back fin (approximately 1/2" in diameter and a few millimetres tall). It also appeared that his back fin was immobile, and he was floating tail-up/face down. <Some gas in his intestines.> I immediately though that he may have swallowed air during the night, so I attempted to burp him. After I submerged my hand in the tank, the bump went away, <'¦this confirms it's a gas bubble and no bacterial lump or tumor.> and he started swimming normally. After I removed my hand from the tank, the lump came back, and he started swimming tail up/face down again. Is he a little trickster or is that common? <This bubble is not common, but porcupine puffers with problems while settling in are more than common.> What else can I try to regulate his breathing? <Salinity should be 1.025 again. Provide enough oxygen by surface movement and skimming. Monitor pH, nitrites, ammonia, nitrates and act accordingly if endangering changes occur. If still necessary try to massage the gas bubble out of his rear end. Look for tiny white spots (marine velvet), salt like spots (marine white spot), cloudy eyes (secondary bacterial infection) and see WWM re.> (Here is my tank info: 55 Gallons, pH 8.2, Water Temp 78-80 degrees, Salinity 1.015, Ammonia/Nitrates/Nitrites 0, Diet: krill, brine shrimp, snails, <Should also add mussel flesh, clams and avoid to feed too much krill and brine shrimp. Add vitamins from time to time.> Tankmates: 1 striped damsel, 1 small red crab (both are really good about hiding from the puffer when he looks hungry!). Any suggestions? <See above and if you have not it read yet: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm and the linked files above.> Jason
<Good luck. Marco.>

Puffer with suspected Ich  11/16/07 Hi guys <Debs> I hope you can help me. I have researched your site and found many partial answers to my problem but would really appreciate some definitive advice. I purchased a porcupine puffer 12 days ago, about 5 inches long and placed him in QT tank of 25g with external filter, protein skimmer, large UV skimmer and air stones. I know the tank is too small for him but I was prepared to do daily water changes while he was in there to control the ammonia/nitrates. My other tank is 7ft long, approx 150g with yellow tang, Sailfin tang, 2 Anthias, tomato clown, Clarkii clown and a humbug, all quite large fish, and a sump with trickle flow over bio filters, 2 large UVs, protein skimmer, carbon and potassium filters and a calcium reactor. There are a few corals and snails and a sea urchin but no shrimps. <The Puffer may chomp on the invertebrates listed...> In the QT I have been doing daily water changes 25% , as there was an ammonia spike when I originally put him in. I bought some "bactinettes" from LFS and now ammonia is at zero, nitrite at 0.25 and nitrates (just before water change) are about 80. <Yikes! Too high> In The LFS he was in 28 degrees temp, but I have gradually lowered him to 26 degrees in preparation for going in main tank. <S/b fine> Anyhow, the puffer was fine until 2 days ago when I noticed a couple of white spots on his tail and above his eye. I have read that they are susceptible to Ich so I decided to try and nip it in the bud and gave him a freshwater dip. <Mmmm> I caught him in a plastic container and it all went fine, he didn't seem stressed at all. Only problem was, I had to put him back in the QT. The next morning, he looked fine. But the following morning, he was covered in little white spots !! <Now, this IS likely Crypt> I did another freshwater bath (temp and PH adjusted) and decided to leave him in longer this time, got him to 8 min.s when he blew himself up, so removed him and put him back in the QT. This time I have decided to do a 100% water change, using 75% water from main tank and 25% new water. I couldn't do this yesterday because it takes a while to make the RO water. Now I'm ready to do this, I want to remove him to another tank with medication while I do the complete water change. The question is, what medication do I use ? I know from your website not to use copper. Can I use formalin, if so, how long can he stay in it? <I would use an emersion bath...> Or can I use Methylene blue, again how long? <Just the formalin> Or should I just do another freshwater dip? <No, I would add the formalin> This time he is going to return to a cleaned tank. My other question is what do I need to remove from this tank to make sure I remove all the Ich? <? I would perform one last pH adjusted Freshwater and formalin dip enroute to moving the puffer to the main display, dump, air-dry the treatment tank> At the moment, it has some liverock and some sand. I know I should remove the sand but should I also remove the liverock? <Oh! I would just let the material run "fallow", sans fish hosts for a couple months> Should I also clean out all equipment that has come into contact with this water, i.e. filters, tubing, etc with tap water? <No... the absence of fish hosts...> All this time, he has behaved normally and eats well. So last question, is there anything that could be confused with Ich ? ( they definitely aren't water bubbles !) <All sorts of Protozoans, some worms and crustacean parasites... and spurious "dots" from stress...> Did I react too quickly to those first few spots and make matters worse by stressing him ? <Maybe... but the Crypt is good to catch at this stage...> I would really appreciate some straightforward answers , even better, direct instructions on how to proceed with this? <I would also treat with quinine, and vacuum the bottom of the treatment tank during the dip/bath procedures (to remove cysts)...> Apologies for sounding like an ignoramus but different LFS's give out different advice (often dud) and I never know who to believe, except you guys of course ! Many thanks Debs <Is this all clear? There is a large amount of material to understand, counting cautionary statements, remarks... Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer with suspected Ich- please reply ASAP - I need to move puffer today - thank you !  -- 11/17/07 Hi again- thanks for your advice. <Welcome Debs> I have refrained from doing anything until I got your reply which is just as well as I had decided to use Methylene blue as LFS had urged me NOT to use formalin. Can I just ask a couple more questions, just to be sure ? When you say 'immersion bath ' with formalin, how long does he stay in for? An hour ? And then followed by a freshwater dip, presumably the 8 min.s he managed last time was about right ? <Mmm, no... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked files above> And you definitely think I should put him in the main display with the other fish? <Yes> Is that because of the chance of this reoccurring due to the QT tank being so small? <In part... more to be gained by moving> I raised the temp overnight by 1 degree to 27 degrees, but the puffer is currently at 27.9 degrees ( I have a Aquastar system) - will this drop in temp bother him? <No, not likely> I'm a bit worried because I don't have a hospital tank big enough for all the fishes if it reoccurs. Thank you so much ! Debs <Welcome. BobF>
Re: Puffer with suspected Ich - further question  -- 11/17/07
Hi again Bob, <Debs> Just thought, if I'm going to put the puffer in the main tank , would it be a better idea to add formalin to the QT tank he is already in to make it less stressful, i.e. one less move? <Could do> I will remove the live rock and biofilter before doing this, and then replace them when I've completed the treatment and cleaned out the tank and filled it with new water. Or is it wiser to mix the formalin in a separate tank and move him to it ? Also, formalin strength, should I go for half normal dosage ? Thanks ! Debs <... posted... BobF>
Re: Puffer with suspected Ich  -- 11/17/07
Hi Bob , Sorry to pester you again with a third follow up e-mail but I forgot to mention something !! Since we got him, the puffer has crisscross scratches on both his eyes. I looked it up and found that they can get this from being netted, which the LFS guy did to get him in the bag. I was hoping it would heal on its own, but hasn't. Any idea what it could be ? Sorry to be such a persistent pest !! Debs <Likely are scratches, as you state. RMF>

Sick puffer, Burrfish env.   11/6/07 Hello people, <Jesse> I am hoping that you can help me with my Porcupine Puffer. I have had him for about 6 months and he has been doing great. He is in a 250g tank and the parameters are Ammonia: 0, Nitrate: 0, Nitrite: 30 (this has become a common reading since he was first introduced to the tank. <I would be reading, making plans on how to lower this...> Temp: 76-79, PH: 8.4, Gravity 1.020 (I was advised to lower it from 1.025 by my LFS). <Mmm, I would not do this... for the reasons stated on WWM...> About 3 weeks ago, his skin became blotchy and he developed dry spots across his back. The LFS said it looked like a fungal infection, <... no> but did not offer a remedy other than serious antibiotics. <... a very poor idea> I decided to raise the temperature to 81 degrees, and perform fresh water dips with Methylene (sp?) blue for 15 min.s. <... ditto> I also turned off the lights for most of the day. The puffer ate regularly, but often hid under rocks or rested in between rock formations for the majority of the day. I would also find that he would occasionally puff up after I had turned out the lights. After a week of treatment, he seemed ok. The infection <Not an infection> was no longer visible and he was back to his normal self. Last Monday he suddenly stopped eating. He has not eaten in over a week and swims away as though he is afraid of the hand that usually feeds him. He usually eats squid, prawns and octopus supplemented with Vita-Chem. <Good> I also occasionally feed him snails and crayfish to wear down his teeth. I have no idea what to do with him. My only other thought was that another fish was picking on him. I had added an Emperor Angel to my tank about 2 months ago, but I have never witnessed any aggression between him or the other fish. I hope that this was enough information; I would be terribly embarrassed if this was the funkiest question of the day. Thanks, Jesse <Heeeee! No worries. I would improve the environment... slowly raise the spg to seawater concentration (like a thousandth per day) and seek out the means of reducing and keeping the NO3 below 20 ppm... See WWM re... and this fish will return to good health. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Problems - Help! Error upon error upon...  10/27/07 Hello All; I'm in distress. We have a porcupine puffer in our 30 gallon cube (I know too small but for now so is he). We have Ich. I started to treat the tank with Cupramine (suggested by Store owner) <... not in the display tank... You'll kill off all beneficial life...> as I have no QT. I took all the inverts out and did the first dose. Tonight is the scheduled second dose but I am reading here that I may have made a mistake with this..... Simply put, what should I do now????? Sincerely, Tim and Doreen <Read... and either move the fishes to treat them elsewhere, or ask someone else (the helpful store?) to do so. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm  and the linked files above, particularly on copper use. Bob Fenner>

Very very sick porcupine puffer, needing to read re sys., fdg....    8/30/07 I have a 90 gallon salt water tank. <Too small...> My porcupine puffer ate alot <No such word> of krill <Insufficient diet> for about 8 months and was always in great shape. Over the last 6 weeks when he tries to eat he kind of spits the shrimp back out with alot of air bubbles and would try a few more times and give up. I started breaking it up in smaller pieces and once in a while would eat a little. He always wanted it but had trouble. Until today he was still swimming around the top of the tank. Tonight he is on the bottom, kind of curled up and breathing heavy. He also seems very pale with white undertones. I am afraid he wont make it through the night. what can I do? Thanks Dean <Read. Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Burrfish With "Ich"? 8/7/07 <Hi Mark, Pufferpunk here> I was trying to find out if a burr puffer could get ick? <Actually Ich, which is a freshwater disease, short for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.><<Mmm, both fresh and marine are commonly called "Ich". RMF>> I have had him for a month or two, its doing great, eating fine. I just started seeing little white dots on its fins and body. Could you help me and what could I do. <Yes they can get crypt, short for Cryptocaryon irritans (the marine form of Ich). Best treatment is hyposalinity. You can look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm in addition to countless other articles at WWM on the subject. Also: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/swich/ How long have you had this fish? There is a high death rate of this fish in captivity, due to refusal to eat. ~PP> Thank you, Mark.
Re: Burr Puffer with SW "Ich"  8/9/07
<Hi Mark> I have had him for about two months and he has no problem eating and even takes food from my hand. He is always looking, for or eating food non-stop. Will the puffer work thru this or should I do something? He is housed with a Huma trigger, Yellow tang, Snowflake eel, Lyretail wrasse and a pair of Maroon Clows. <Maroon clowns?> Should I worry about any of these fish? <It's up to you, whether you should treat all the fish or wait it out to see if the Burrfish gets any worse. He's more sensitive to the parasite, since he has no scales. Sometimes I have seen a light case of crypt goes away on it's own but you are chancing all the inhabitants getting it. I'd at least QT the puffer & treat it. If you see the parasite on any of the other fish, then you will have to follow the instructions for hyposalinity for everyone (in QT of course) & leave the main tank fallow. Were there any new tank mates added recently? ~PP> Thank you for all your help, Mark

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