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FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Disease 2

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

Porcupine puffer with damaged spine and lump -- 08/01/07 Hi! <Hello Leah.> So I first want to say thanks for all of the helpful information you have on your site. <I'm glad you like it.> I've been reading through these pages for months as I've set up my newest hobby :o) I've successfully set up a tank with a Narrow-lined Puffer <Nice. Haven't seen one in years.> and a Flame Hawkfish (Save for a few Ich incidents, which have been remedied by the recommendations I've found here). Anyway, I'm upgrading to a 100 gallon tank since my little puffer inevitably will become much larger, and in the process am picking up some more tank mates. <I fully understand the desire to fill a 100 gallon tank, but honestly, doesn't upgrading and adding new fish (which will grow quite large, too) sound paradox?> This cute little Porcupine Puffer has been hanging out in my LFS for a few weeks and I decided today that I must have him. He's appeared healthy each time I've gone in to visit. Today I put him and a Sailfin Tang (picked up at the same time) in a 20 gallon tank until my 100 gallon is established (they're both very small still). <OK. 100 gallons may sound and look like a lot, but you will have 2 large puffers, which each would likely need more space than that. Your fish may work in that tank, but be sure to have excellent filtration. Also ensure your puffer is a Diodon holocanthus and not a D. liturosus or D. hystrix, the latter ones get too large by far.> They've acclimated very well and quickly, but I just sat down and noticed an oddity on the porcupine little puff. There's a lump or bump on his side. Looks like what an ingrown hair looks like on humans. And in the same area, hard to tell if it's on it or next to it... one of his spines is very long and brownish/black, as opposed to the rest which are yellow/white for the most part. I'm concerned this may be a problem. <Could be. I'm not sure from a description only, but possibilities are: problem with the base of this spine due to netting (if he was netted wrong, which should not be the case) or a bacterial infection (see .g. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BurrfishDisFAQ2.htm  for the post 'Sick porcupine puffer 05/13/07' and similar posts and compare pictures). I'd watch and provide pristine water quality in combination with a varied and vitamin enriched diet. An infection would likely need sampling and a microscope or veterinarian. Also, see if there is something moving in this lump. Any growth of it as well as a general decline of the puffer's health would be a signal to act, too.> His temperament appears fine, though, so I'm hopeful it's nothing big. <I hope so, too.> Any idea what this might me? I could get a picture, if you need. <Pictures usually help, but your own 3D observations will likely be much more precise with regard to diagnosis, if possible at all from just looking at this lump.> Let me know. Thank you, Leah. <Hope that helps so far. If you can get a good picture you may want to send it, maybe there is some visible detail overseen. Cheers, Marco.>

Porcupine puffer with damaged spine and lump II -- 08/02/07 Marco, <Leah.> Thanks so much for the quick reply. <Most welcome.> I am almost certain he is a Diodon holocanthus, (markings, long spines on head, etc) so that's good. <I agree seeing the pictures.> I realize the 100 gallon might end up too small, but this is too good of a deal to pass up for now on my college student budget. Maybe I'll be a successful architect by the time they reach their full-grown size and can afford a larger tank, haha. <Good luck. I've always hoped for similar things to happen, too.> Anyway, I'm not sure if it's because I've been sleeping and am disoriented or not, but the bump looks a tad smaller. <That would be good news.> I'm sending some pictures I snapped this morning to see if that adds anything into the equation, but they're hard to read since he's such a tiny little thing right now. I circled the areas in red where the bump is and have an arrow pointing to the long dark spine/scale. <Quite well visible. I think this is an issue with this single spine and the tissue it is anchored in. Hopefully not infected and will heal by itself. My guess is it was caught with a net and the spine and tissue was damaged.> I checked out the earlier posts but it doesn't sound quite the same. I did a large water change before they were put in the tank, and all conditions are perfect, so hopefully he just heals. <As already noted keep the water quality high (low nitrates, 0 ammonia and nitrites), provide a varied diet (enriched with vitamins) and monitor the bump. Don't stress the fish too much.> My LFS said he might be losing the scale <spine. Puffers don't have scales.> and have a little infection along with it <possible> and to wait it out. Not sure if he knew what he was talking about, though. I added some Stress Coat to the water from his advice just in case. I'll write again if his health declines. <OK.> But so far he's doing just fine. Thank you again for the speedy reply! Leah <No problem and good luck. Marco.>

Bloated Puffer 7/5/07 Hi Guys, <Hi Chris, Pufferpunk here (I'm a gal).> I have been reading WWM for a few years now and found a ton of advice on this "obsession" of mine, but have never written, until now. <Aren't we all obsessed after a few years?> I have a 180 gallon FOWLR that includes a Blue Face Angel, Emperor Angel, Naso Tang, Hippo Tang, Porcupine Puffer and a Niger Trigger. All of the fish are at least 5" or bigger (in the case of the Angels). They have been happy in the tank for over 18 months and have not had any issues other than eat $1500 of my coral (hence the FOWLR he he). <Too bad...> My fish are literally pigs and will eat anything you put in the tank with them but the puffer will only eat frozen krill. <Really bad diet for a puffer. I have seen way too many incidents of puffers fed a main diet of krill, developing lockjaw & eventually starving to death. See here for better diet & methods of getting it to eat other foods: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/category/feeding/  > He has done this for the 3 years that I have had him and I feed him 1 time every other day or third day (basically feed him till he can't eat). <Letting a puffer gorge itself isn't good for him either. It results in a lot of non-digested food, causing a liver problems (fatty liver) & a polluted environment. Feed until a slightly rounded tummy.> He has been very normal till a day or two ago when I noticed that he was trying to poop and the Hippo tang was trying to eat the waste before it even came out (since it is pure krill). <Exactly> But at the same time, it wasn't allowing Puff to get out all his excess. He was picking so bad that when Puff tried to squeeze some out...the tang was attacking his "hole" and really aggravating the fish. <Poor puffer!> So I have been watching him and his belly is getting larger and hasn't eaten in 2 days. I am afraid that he is scared to poop now and will hold in the waste till it literally kills him. <It is possible but also it may just be constipated.> Have you seen or heard this before? Is there anything that I can do to help? <You could try to feed it vegetable matter, like peas or algae wafers (puffers usually won't eat these but some have). Otherwise, add Epsom salt, 1tbsp/5g. It would be best to quarantine the fish. This is one of the many reasons, it is suggested to keep a puffer in a tank by itself or with less aggressive tankmates it can't catch. ~PP> Sincerely, Chris
Re: Bloated Puffer 7/6/07
Hi PP, <Hey Chris> Thanks for the reply. I know that the krill only is not the best diet, so I actually tried silversides (didn't eat them) <Most puffers are not fish eaters.> and recently put in a cleaner crew of 100 Turbos and 100 blue-legged crabs. To my surprise he ate every single one! He would pick up the shell and crush them. So his diet isn't just krill really. <Yes puffers ware crustacean eaters & will generally eat your cleaner crews. This doesn't change the fact that up till now, his diet was mostly krill. He needs to get off that food immediately.> Is it possible that he ate something that he can't digest? Maybe ate one of the crab shells without crushing it first? <I really doubt it, since that is it's natural diet in the wild.> I read the link you sent and when he gets better I will definitely vary his diet. <I'd still try to offer him some veggies & see if he tries them.> Thanks for your help, <Of course! ~PP> Chris

Porcupine Puffer stung by lionfish! 6/28/07 Hey there, <Hi Jeff, MacL here with you tonight.> I have been using your website to research and learn for many years now and it appears I can't find any information on my current problem. I have a porcupine puffer who would be about 5 inches, and he shares the tank with a 6 inch Picasso trigger and a 5 inch Volitans lionfish and a yellow head moray eel.. All tankmates seem to get a long most of the time with the odd argument between the puffer and the trigger, (he has never puffed up though as a result)<You know I have had my puffer for five years and haven't seen him puff up once.> however about a week ago during feeding time (which is awe inspiring to watch them all eat) <Lord I bet, I can just imagine> the lionfish had not yet engulfed his whole fish when the porcupine puffer decided it was time to get some of that fish from his mouth. Now as he swam toward the lion the puffer ever so lightly swam down onto the dorsal spines of the lion and quickly dashed in the other direction. After about half an hour the puffer had a small ring of blood in his left eye and it eventually went away and now that one eye is cloudy. <Definitely sounds like they had a close encounter. I've seen animals recover from being stung but having personally been stung it hurts like you wouldn't believe.> He seems still relatively happy and he still has a fine appetite however he has become far more docile than he used to be. Of course he comes out a little more at night but he used to follow us around the room and now doesn't come out as often. <I'm sure he's both wary of the lionfish and wary of his tankmates since he does have an injury and possibly cannot see as well as normal. While I do not advocate medicating unless its necessary I would definitely keep an eye on his eye to make sure its clearing up on its own quickly. I personally recommend adding something like Selcon with vitamin C to assist in the cure but if the eye doesn't appear to be healing on its own you might need to consider adding an antibiotic. I wouldn't add it unless he appears to be having problems healing because it does mess with the tanks bacteria on occasion as well. > I guess that it is cloudy eye due to the stress of being stung by the lion but just wanted to double check there is nothing I should do, as we would be devastated to lose our cute little ET impersonator!!! <To me its sounds more like he was stung in his eye because you saw the ring of blood in his eye. Usually there is a mark where they get stung. Keeping your tank healthy is the best thing you can do for your fish as you very well know. If he doesn't show signs of improvement in two or three days I would look into antibiotics for assistance. Your tank sounds lovely and amusing. Good luck, MacL> Any advice would be appreciated.. Regards Jeff

Porcupine Puffer 911, no useful data, bizarre treatment  - 06/27/07 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, I have a question for you regarding my Porcupine Puffer. I went out of town last week for 4 days and when I got back I noticed that my puffer is only hanging out in the top left corner of the tank. His tail fin is ragged and disintegrating (his other fins are fine), and his back is hunched up (like a hunchback). He is breathing a little heavier than normal, but he does eat frozen food and dried seaweed with gusto every time I feed the tank. I currently have the temp cranked up to 88 degrees <Why?> (for 36 hours) and I have been adding monocycline antibiotic tablets for the past 2 days (to help with the tail fin problem and ward off secondary bacterial infections). <?> Any idea what is wrong with him? Is there anything else I should be doing to treat him? The other fish in the tank seem just fine, and there weren't any problems until I went out of town. I was only gone for 4 days, but something is definitely wrong with him. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys! --Danny <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer with white-spot disease, lots of reading required -- 06/16/07 I reviewed your site and needed help saving my porcupine puffer. <Will do what I can.> We got her probably about 3 weeks ago. She was swimming around and eating adapting to her new environment rather well. All of a sudden she started getting little white dots all over her body. I called the store that I bought her from and they said to put marine C in the tank daily and see if that helps <...>. I also put a lot of fish in at once and they advised to do a water change daily due to too many fish introduced at a time <...>. That actually worked <Seems it didn't>. Everything was great for about a week. Then all of a sudden we woke up one day and she had clouded eye on one eye <secondary bacterial infection.>. I called the store again and they advised to use MelaFix for 7 days and then do a 25% water change <Melafix won't help much in this case.>. If it doesn't clear then repeat for 3 more days. It has been three days now she is swimming around a little. She has white spots all over so I gave her a fresh water dip. During the dip I noticed that on her back it looked like her skin is pealing off <Losing her slime coat>. Please help?? What do I do to save her and keep the other fish in my tank alive at the same time? <You need a hospital tank (no live rock, no invertebrates, no substrate.>. All fish need to be transferred to this tank while the display tank stays fallow for at least 4 weeks. If the white spots are salt-grain like, treat against Cryptocaryon with hyposalinity or chelated copper (see WWM re; if you use copper, do not overdose and monitor well). If the spots are tiny and numerous, treat against Amyloodinium with chelated copper or formalin (again: read all about it on WWM and do not overdose). The latter disease would be very bad and can kill a puffer in 48 hours. It seems you need to read a lot. Aside searching WWM for Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium with the search tool, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm and the linked FAQs on diseases. All you need is already written on WetWebMedia. Good luck. Marco.>  

Puffer vs. Power head... and the winner is... sys., dis.   5/31/07 HI crew, <Jesse> Last night I added two new power heads to my 220g tank that were rated for 400g/h. This morning I woke to find my Porcupine Puffer stuck in the intake of one of the power heads. <Not an uncommon occurrence> I am sick about it and quickly removed him while turning off the other power heads. He suffered a giant hickie around his front fin, but has been swimming around rather well. The color also began to return to the area within an hour of the event. My big worry is that he is not really using his gill on the affected side of his body. It is pretty swollen will he be able to heal from the wound? <Hopefully> Is there anything I can do for him other than maintain healthy water conditions and a good diet? <This is about "it"> My wife and I are both very upset. He is our favorite fish in the tank. I assume the color returning is a good sign, but please let us know if there is anything else, we can do to help him heal. Thank you, Jesse <Intake skimmer/s on all powerhead/s... Supplied or retrofitted. Bob Fenner>

Sick porcupine puffer   5/13/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have been an avid reader of your website for over a year, am constantly reading up on your answers to people with situations similar to my own (as well as non-similar - in case something unexpected comes up), and recommend your site to others.  This is however my first time writing to you, and I'm sorry but it is a kind of long story. <No worries. Take your time>   I currently have a sick porcupine puffer, he was about 6 inches, end to end when I first got him about a year and a half ago, but now he is approximately 9 inches.  He has been sick for about 2-3 months now.  The illness first manifested itself as a swollen nose, which we did not think too much of, assuming he had bumped his nose on something. <Likely so>   However the swollen nose turned into 3-4 well defined and separated bumps and he stopped eating or being very active.  At that point we removed him from his tank (75G with a 20G sump-he is the only fish, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates hover around 40 <Too high...> which we try to bring down to less than 10 with frequent water changes-water comes from an RO unit) and put him in a 75 gallon bare bottom quarantine tank.  He continued to get worse and soon we noticed he was breathing hard.  With a flashlight we saw white spots on his gills, about the size of sand grains, and so we assumed he had Ich as well as a bacterial infection in his nose. <Mmmm... much more likely these spots were something else... even just resultant from the nitrate poisoning...>   We began treating him with Cupramine in the quarantine tank, carefully monitoring the copper levels twice a day.  Since he still wasn't eating we twice had to anesthetize him using clove oil and force feed him (his diet typically consists of thawed shrimp, mussels, squid and whatever else we buy at the seafood dept at the grocery store, soaked in VitaChem).  During one of the times he was anesthetized we aspirated some pus like liquid from his nose using a sterile needle (we are microbiologists) to look at under the microscope. <Neat> A local vet we found not long after biopsied one of the bumps and sent it for analysis, concerned Tiki (the puffer) might have fish TB.   <Mycobacterial problems in ornamental aquatics... are quite common... But there is always the issue of cause/effect to consider...> While we were waiting for the results we began treating with Isoniazid, Kanamycin, and vitamin B6 and Tiki actually began to get better.  His breathing has completely slowed down, the white spots on his gills have disappeared, and he has been eating on his own for about 2 weeks now; responding when we hold a glass in front of the tank and tracking us with his eyes or coming over when we come to look at him.  The bumps on his nose have also gone down.  However, the current problem (and I'm really sorry it's taken so long to get here) is that one of his eyes is cloudy and has white spots on it. <Very likely this is secondary... unilateral involvements are almost always... resultant here from a "bump", trauma...> I really believe this is related to his nose infection and I can tell that it bothers him since he sometimes rubs his eye against the side or bottom of the tank.  The eye has been cloudy probably for almost two weeks now, the white spots are new since yesterday.  Also the results of the lab analysis came back and they found gram positive coccobacilli in the material from his nose, however the bacteria was not acid fast, aka it is not fish TB. <Correct>   From what I understand a gram positive infection is fairly rare in saltwater fish.   <Also correct> So I am curious as to which antibiotics I should now begin administering for both his eye and his nose.  If anyone could offer any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much. <Well... a bunch to state, or that could be stated... IF you were to avail yourself of antibiotic use I would definitely make this an injectable... As you have access to a Vet, and are in the micro- field/s... I would "skip right ahead" and locate/use Chloramphenicol/Chloromycetin (in a succinic acid base)... See (Ed) Noga re this if your Vet cannot relate the use here. I WOULD definitely fix the nitrate issue (this could actually be the a priori cause of all problems here)... See WWM re NO3 cures... AND I would like to encourage you to delve a bit more into pathogenic fish disease and perform at least body slime/smears, sans staining next time you believe a disease-causing organism like Crypt is present. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer has Discoloration   4/24/07 Hello guys! <Mark> I just recently discovered your website - seems if you do a search for any kind of fish problem, Google points right to your site. It has been very helpful. <Ah, good> I picked up my porcupine puffer 3 days ago and right away he was up swimming around the tank (not pouting at all). He has been eating fine and everything seems to be healthy with him except today he has developed this discoloration all over the top part of his head. <I see this> He didn't have any signs of this when I first purchased him. I don't see any spotting or anything so I am assuming this isn't Ich, but could not find anything about this in any other postings. I have attached a picture of my puffer (the best I could get anyway). Is this some kind of disease and should I be concerned? Or maybe it has to do with stress of being moved? <Am hoping just this latter... there are some infectious agents that can result in this "whitening" appearance... But actual treatment is not recommended here... Bolstering this animals immune system with foods soaked in vitamins/HUFAs (e.g. Selcon), is about all I would do here> Thanks for any help or advice you can give! It's appreciated. -Mark
<Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer with discoloration, probably a bacterial infection -- 04/22/07 Hello guys! <Hi Mark. Marco here with you today.> I just recently discovered your website -- seems if you do a search for any kind of fish problem, Google points right to your site. It has been very helpful. I picked up my porcupine puffer 3 days ago and right away he was up swimming around the tank (not pouting at all). He has been eating fine and everything seems to be healthy with him except today he has developed this discoloration all over the top part of his head. <Not good.> He didn't have any signs of this when I first purchased him. <Porcupine puffers often get ill when stressed.> I don't see any spotting or anything so I am assuming this isn't Ich, but could not find anything about this in any other postings. I have attached a picture of my puffer (the best I could get anyway). <I assume your tank is cycled? Check your nitrates, which can be another stress factor.> Is this some kind of disease and should I be concerned? <Yes and yes. Looking at the picture you took he probably has a bacterial infection, maybe  Vibrio if it is reddish. If it grows, you need to act as soon as possible. You will need an antibiotic for gram negative bacteria (e.g. Maracyn Two). You can treat him in a bare bottom hospital tank or (using higher concentrations) apply daily half an hour to one hour aerated dips. Read all about bacterial infections/treatment/antibiotics at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm and the related FAQs. Also search for Vibrio.> Or maybe it has to do with stress of being moved? <Stress leads to a weak immune system and consequently to an outbreak of diseases.> Thanks for any help or advice you can give! It's appreciated. <Hope he pulls through.> -Mark
Porcupine puffer with discoloration, probably bacterial infection II -- 04/24/07
Marco, Thank you so much for your reply. You were the only person we could get to give us any real advice and it is so much appreciated. Unfortunately, our puffer passed away last night. :( He was my favorite fish and I'm still very sad about this. <I am very sorry for your loss. Happens much too often with porcupine puffers, they are so sensitive. I'd check the water parameters to be sure everything is ok with your tank, anyway.> I wanted to ask if there is any way to support your website. I think it is great what you do. <Thanks for your kind words. With regard to support maybe Bob has something to add. Being a conscientious aquarist and keeping on to learn is a good way to honor the work of the crew in my personal opinion.> Thank you again, Mark. <Take care. Sorry he did not make it. Marco.>

Dead puffer with cut open side; Tetraodotoxin release ? -- 04/16/07 Hey, How are you all today? <Hi. Don't know about the others, but I'm ok.> Well last week my puffer died due to Ich. I tried everything to get rid of the darn parasite, but nothing has helped. <Sorry for your loss. Much too common with porcupine puffers.> I worked up to see my porcupine puffer dead. I couldn't recognize the fish. The skin was off and his under side was cut open (yes I saw his stomach!!). I don't believe my eel attacked it, because my eel would maybe be dead due to toxins. I'm guessing my starfish tried to eat it, but left it alone after it tasted the puffer. <Not necessarily. Moray eels are resistant to several similar toxins, so, although I do not have specific information about them and Tetraodotoxin (marine puffer toxin), it seems well possible for moray eels to eat puffers. However, in your case I suggest he tried to puff (as they often do before they die) and his connective tissue (weak due to whatever reason) and skin cracked. I have seen such cases or/and the results in tanks with no other fish.> My question is: did toxins release from the puffer into the water? <Improbable. Tetraodotoxin does not dissolve well in saltwater. In contrast, boxfish (not puffers) can secrete ostracitoxin (informal name for the still unnamed boxfish poison), which does dissolve in saltwater. To be on the safe side you may want to filter with fresh carbon.> It seems like my lionfish wants to eat, but he can barely open up his mouth to grab the food. Any thought? <Watch him. Could be lock jaw, which in general is supposed to be caused by an unvaried diet or vitamin deficiency. Could also be a sign of an infection with the parasite your puffer had. See if he is breathing heavy to confirm.> Oh, I'm also selling the aquarium setup if your interested! Thanks! Ben. <Take care. Marco.>

Porc with possible bacterial infection 03/26/07 I was hoping you could assist me with my puffer problem. <I'll try. For further questions consider visiting http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ . Many experienced people with regard to puffers can be found there.> I have a Porcupine Puffer and he seems so be fine as far as eating and swimming, but I noticed a pale spot on his head. It has grown from the mouth to his fin and surrounds his eye. His eye looks ok it is not cloudy or enlarged. The area is very pale and appears almost as if a layer of skin has been removed. The rest of his body is normal. Could cooper have caused this issue because I had treated my tank with copper power for Ich 8 weeks ago and I am currently using activated carbon to remove it as of yesterday? <Probably a bacterial infection due to a weak immune system.> My LFS instructed me to leave the copper in to make sure the Puffer did not get Ich. <After eight weeks you can remove the copper.> My water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0 nitrates 40 (I will be doing a water change this week) it is a 220 FOWLR and the temperature is 80 and gravity is 1.016. <Your water change should be 50%. Provide a varied diet of mussel flesh, prawn and squid. Soak the food in vitamins. Inappropriate diet consisting only of one type of food is the number one reason for sick porcupine puffers. Start increasing the specific gravity again by 0.002 per week.> Should I treat with an antibiotic? <If it keeps on spreading: yes. Ask a vet to identify if the bacteria are gram positive or negative. If you cannot find a vet, who does that, treat with antibiotics recommended for gram negative infections, since they occur more often.> <<Heeeeee! You can't get most Americans to change the oil in their cars! RMF>> Thank you, Jesse. <Good luck. Marco.>
Porc with possible bacterial infection II 03/27/07
Thanks, but I unfortunately lost my puffer. Last night when I returned home the infection had spread and he was blind in his left eye. This is the second puffer I have lost, while all my other fish are very healthy. I feed them krill, mussels, prawns, scallops, squid, Spirulina enhanced brine shrimp and all are soaked in Zoa vitamins (recommended by LFS). I recently purchased. I tried to QT him, but it failed and this morning he was gone. The disease spread very fast. Is this common with porcupine puffers because I have tried to be very careful with the specimens I have purchased. I have researched constantly, but seem to have very bad luck with these fish. Jesse. <I am really sorry for your loss. Bacterial infections are common with weak Percs. Stress and bad water quality are factors that need to be avoided. Your diet sounds perfect, probably something else impaired his immune system, maybe the high nitrates, maybe the low specific gravity, maybe the copper treatment. Marco.>

Head down bum up porcupine fish   3/19/07 Hi guys and g'day from down under You are the greatest! <G'day! and thank you.  Brandon here.> You gave me some much appreciated advice with my seahorses last year, and now I'm in need of some help with my porcupine fish. <Glad to hear that the Seahorses turned out ok.> I've had him for 12 months now, I got him when he looked like a spiky little olive, about an inch long. <They are so cute when they are little.> It took about 8 months for him to come out of his shell and become active. He used to only come out of his cave at feeding time, but now he's out most of the time. <Good.> He is about 3 ½ inches long and has been fine up until now. 2 days ago I came home to find him in the corner with his tail facing upwards, and his face in the sand. He has a small bulge in his rear end, and I assume he has swallowed some air. <This sounds very likely.> He snaps at food on the surface aggressively, like a savage little dog, and spits bubbles out regularly during feeding. <Spitting out the bubbles is a good sign.> I have read other messages on WWM advising on burping to release the trapped air, and I have tried this. The problem I have is when I hold him with his face up, he puffs up and his spikes become very hard as they point outward. <You can try this, not something that I would do personally.  Make sure that his head does not come out of the water.  This will just compound the problem.> I can't rub him to try to expel the air, because I don't want to end up with a spike through my skin, and if I tap him gently with one finger, but he just keeps puffing. He does deflate, and then puff up again, but no bubbles come out of his mouth. I have tried twice with no success, and I don't want to stress him anymore. Is there anything more I can do, or is there a preferred method of trying to release the air? <Let him try to do it on his own.  Not much else you can do here.  Bob, am I missing something?> <<Mmm, not to worry re the "spikes" poking through your skin... they're pretty dull... I would capture this fish (two nets) and gently squeeze it from the underside, rear, moving fingers toward the front... to try and expel the air here. RMF>> Thanking you in advance, and all of my sea creatures thank you as well. <You are welcome.  I hope that this helps.  Check the dailies to see what Bob has to say.  Brandon.> Dario.
Re: head down bum up porcupine fish
 3/23/07 <Hello Dario.> I appreciate your advice, and you were right. <Ahh. Good.> It took about 4 days, but my puffer sorted the problem out himself. <Did you check the Daily FAQ section on the site?  When Bob replied, he said that you should not worry about being poked with the spines.  Just rub gently from below the air bubble, up the stomach to the mouth.> He is all cool again. <This is good.  Glad to hear it.> He still pokes his head out of the water during feeding time, but at least now he has experience in getting rid of air bubbles by himself. <Hmmm.  I would still try to get the food in the water before he has a chance to stick his head out.  Safer in the long run.> Thanks very much. <You are most welcome.  Brandon.>

Porcupine Puffer and Ich... need... to read... develop a trtmt. strategy... and act!  3/6/07 I have had a Porcupine Puffer for about 3 weeks now. I haven't added anything new to the tank, but about yesterday I noticed that she seems to have come down with Ich (lots of white spots all over her body and fins). <Lots?> I did a fresh water dip and a 33% water change yesterday and most of the spots seem to have gone away by this morning. However when I got home from work today, I found that she seems to have broken out again. <Ah, does read like this is Crypt> I did another dip and water changes immediately. <... Your system has the parasite... dipping, water-changing won't effect a cure here> In my freshwater tank, I use Mela-Fix, <Worthless> but I am leery to use chemicals in the puffer's tank because of the possible use of copper. The bottle of Mela-Fix I have doesn't explicitly say it does or doesn't have any copper in it, <It's a "tea" made of soaked Melaleuca leaves... a marginal bacteriostatic... at best> but I am not sure. Do you know of any products that can help treat my water that is copper free? Should the chemical say one way or another about its copper use? Thanks, -Chris Meyer <Please read here (and soon): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Web Burrfish with ripped up face   2/22/07 Hi WWM crew! <Anthony> I have a Chilomycterus antillarum in a 150 G tank that must have recently scrapped it out with one of his tankmates.  I woke up one morning to find that the side of his mouth and upper lip had been torn off.  Aside from that, he seems to be ok, swimming, eating normally.  The tears don't actually touch his eyes, but they come very close to his right eye.  This morning when I woke up, he (? - is there any way to sex these things?) <Not externally; as far as I know> had what looked like little white squiggly lines ( inside?) his eye.  Kind of like little tiny pieces of spaghetti I guess.   Could this be caused by stress related to his injury? Thanks, Anthony <Mmm, maybe... could even be a parasite it "got" while in the wild, expressing itself... in all events, I would do what you can to discover, remove the bully/cause of the injury here, and bolster this fish's immune system with vitamin supplementing its favorite foods. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Pectoral - 02/09/2007 Hello WWM crew member of the day, <Alana> I have a little Porcupine Puffer in a 75 gallon tank with a Black & White Heniochus butterfly, 50 lbs of live rock, a mated pair of Percula Clownfish (that have been laying eggs lately), and just added two days ago, 2 curly Q anemone. <Yikes... may be trouble here... esp. with the puffer> This morning when we woke up we noticed our puffer was not really using one of his side fins and then with a closer look we saw that it's fin was white and looked a little swollen and that there is also a white spot on it's body right under it's fin.  We also noticed that our Heni also has a white patch on it's pectoral fin also but not as big or swollen looking.  I have looked on your site and others for a while and can't seem to find what it could be.  My question is, do you think the anemones could have stung them or is it a virus? <Most likely stung... and could be consumed by this puffer in time> I have included the best of almost 50 pics I tried to take ( not a very good photographer hehe). Please any info would  help. This is the web site I get all my info from.  Greatly appreciated,  Alana Mills <Mmm, well... would be better to move the anemones elsewhere really... The Burrfish will very likely self-heal in time. Bob Fenner>

"Ingrown" Spines on Puffer?    2/3/07 Thank you for you help. <No problem.  Pufferpunk here with you today.> I have spent a couple of days reviewing your website and have not found my answer. <Thanks for looking 1st!> With the purchase of our home we "inherited" a salt water tank. We are not very knowledgeable but have grown very attached to our fish especially our dog faced puffer and we feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for these fish. <I can't blame you.  They're more like a dog, than a fish.> Your site was most helpful when he was very sick with Ich about 1 yr ago. He is acting well, eating with none of his previous symptoms. However, over the last few weeks I have noticed some bumps (about 4-5) over his back and now some are protruding like small spines or spikes. It started with some a couple and now there are more and 2 are protruding spines! There is no redness and as I said he is acting fine. Our fish service person has "no idea" what it is, but we want to make sure that it is nothing serious before it is a real problem. <Sometimes their spines stick out, like an ingrown hair.  Nothing to worry about.  ~PP>    Thanks for either reassuring me or helping me if I should worry. Thanks, Brenda I. Troche MD

Burping Your Puffer  1/28/07 THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. <You're very welcome Ben, Pufferpunk here.> My wife and I purchased a porcupine puffer today.   <Wonderful, personable pet!> The LFS we bought it from is highly reputable with the 4 saltwater clubs in my area.   <Good choice.> When the owner of the store approached the tank with a net, I asked if it should be caught with a container instead.  The owner said not to worry and caught the puffer easily with the net and placed it in a very large bag while still inside the tank.  The puffer was not exposed to air and didn't flinch during the entire process.  I acclimated the puffer over 2 hours using the drip method.  I then used my large net to move it into my tank.  Of course it puffed up while being transferred this time.   <Ummm... I don't get it.  You didn't want the shop to catch the fish with a net but you did instead???> The puffer came out of the net easily but was full of air and couldn't even get away from the water's surface.   <Which is why a puffer should never be caught with a net & exposed to air.  Can prove to be deadly.> My wife rushed to the PC and WetWebMedia.  She searched for "puffer air" and found one of your replies regarding how to burp a puffer.  It's now been about 6 hours and the puffer is eating Mysis, picking at my snails and small hermits and resting near the sand bed at the bottom.  I'm so grateful for your wisdom, experience, and willingness to share them both. <Glad you found that info.> I do have one question though.  My puffer, even when sitting near the sand bed picking at shells, uses its front fins more than I think it should.  It's almost as though it's fighting a small air bubble to stay near the bottom of the tank.  Do porcupine puffers have their front side fins in constant motion?   <Puffers do not swim like other fish.  They need to constantly move their fins to "hover" in the water.  It should however, be able to lay motionless, without struggling to keep upright, when resting.> There could be a small air bubble still inside, as the top line of the puffer from head to tail isn't exactly straight.  It has a very slight, hunched appearance. <Here is more info on burping: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library.php?p=54 You're welcome to join in on that forum & post about your puffer.  There are many good articles in the Library there & also in the Marine Puffer section.  Enjoy your new puppy, er... puffer!  ~PP> Thanks in advance, Ben

Puffer Problem  12/20/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Our porcupine puffer was purchased approx. two weeks ago and was fine for a week. <Was he placed into a fully cycled tank?> Now he has white over his eyes and appears to be blind. He is not eating and is lethargic. He is breathing shallow and doesn't even attempt to escape upon being touched. We treated him with a freshwater dip for the Ich but are not seeing improvements. Help!!!! <What Ich?  Ich cannot be treated with 1 FW dip.  Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4576 Please post your water parameters: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH.  ~PP>

Porcupine Puffers... a paucity of useful info. re dis.  - 11/11/06 I have two porcupine puffers purchased at the same time <When?> but housed in different aquariums, both exhibiting the same symptoms, one beginning yesterday, the other today.  They have been eating well, seem to have adjusted, then developed a darkening and swelling of the skin, which seems to be spreading quickly.  Now lethargic and not eating, within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.  Treating with PimaFix and oral penicillin. <Neither likely useful...>   Do you know what this is or what I can do? <Time to "punt"... look to root causes... Highly likely (both) environmental... What water quality? Filtration to spiff up?... Bob Fenner> Thanks so much!
Re: porcupine puffer?   11/15/06
thank you , yeah I know he will out grow it but I'm just going to start with a 2-3 inch for now then go to a 200 gallon maybe and thanks for helping me. <Mmm, Hotay! BobF>

Blind Porcupine Puffer? 10/15/06 I have a 150 gal saltwater aquarium. About a month ago, all of my fish had signs of ick after the addition of a new fish. I treated the entire tank & they all seemed to be back to normal. About 2 days ago, i noticed that my porcupine puffers eyes were both completely white & he seems to be blind. He is moving around the tank at night, and he seems to smell the food, but does not attempt to go after it, which is completely abnormal behavior for him. I'm worried because he has not eaten for 2 days now. Could this be related to the ick outbreak? <More likely due directly to the medication or indirectly by altering the water quality.> Any suggestions? <Try a good 10-15% water change and follow it up with another one in a week or so... keep your eyes on things. The puffer can go for several weeks without food but you may want to try offering favorite food items on a feeding stick to encourage the puffer to eat.> Thank you for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Puffer with serious Ich outbreak... writer w/ serious lack of reading    10/3/06 Crew,    <Ben>   I have a porcupine puffer and he just recently got a serious Ich outbreak. The parasite is everywhere on him. I did a freshwater dip on him for about 5 min.s. <?> The Ich has no signs of dieing. Do I need to do a hyposalinity? I was told that freshwater dips are the way to go? But the Ich will not die! How many times do I need to freshwater dip him, every day?      Appreciate all your help,   Ben <... help yourself: Read on WWM re Diodontid Disease, Cryptocaryon, hyposalinity if you want. BobF>
Re: Puffer Question   9/26/06
Bob - <Daniel> Thanks for the response... I plan to eventually move him to my 250g tank - wanted to start him in the 75 where I could keep an eye on him. <I see> I'll try a few of the tricks on the site - particularly the ghost shrimp.   When should I begin to worry? <Weeks...>   He doesn't look skinny, but when I called the LFS where he was purchased from, they told me the puffers in the tank had been "picky lately". thanks again! <Happens... not generally... "anything". I would not be concerned at this point/juncture. BobF>

Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System - 09/13/06 Hello to you all. <<Howdy>> Your site is excellent and very helpful, I recently bought a porcupine puffer, I've read a lot on how to look after these fish, it's taken two days to settle in and eat properly, he is the only fish in a new 55 Gallon tank. <<Mmm...I think you may not have done enough reading-up on this fish as this tank is too small for the long-term good health of this fish>> With about 25kg live rock and live sand.  Water quality is all good, as I've used my previous marine tank water. <<...?  No water tests?  Just how "new" is this tank I wonder...and if it may have something to do with the fish's behavior/getting "stuck"?>> This morning I woke up and found him to be wedged in a rock in a very tight space, he was struggling so much to free himself, so I started to take the rocks off one by one, and finally freed him. But now the puffers underside belly has torn it's skin, you can see its pink flesh but not bleeding and he was puking something out his mouth.  Don't know whether he ate his skin.  I've monitored the puffer for a while and seems to be fine and happily swimming around like nothings happened, he's not puking anymore, it took 10 minutes till he looked normal again. <<These are quite hardy fish...will likely be fine>> I've added some Vitazin and Stress Coat/Zyme supplements. <<Ok>> But I don't have a clue whether he'll survive or will it heal overtime, will it eat? <<Sure...have you tried to feed it?>> The length of time it will take to heal, and is there any medicine I could use, how about the juice of garlic cloves etc? <<You could dose some iodine (per manufacturer's instructions>> Thanks I really would appreciate your help and advice. Adil <<The puffer should recover fine...but you really do need to consider larger quarters.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System  - 09/14/06
Thanks for the Info, <<Welcome>> It's a new tank but the same RO used Water from my previous tank which had been running for a year, so I wasn't cycling the tank. <<Mmm, sometimes can be done...but definitely requires close monitoring of water parameters/certainty the quantity of available microbes are sufficient to deal...>> Anyway came home from work, only to find the poor thing lying dead underneath a rock. <<(sigh)  Likely poisoned by this too new/improperly acclimated/cycled system>> It's bad luck, I was going to call it Gizmo. (So cute). <<Not "bad luck" my friend...more likely your "bad decision" or lack of knowledge and proper preparation of a suitable system in which to place the puffer is what killed it>> You are right, I'm not going to purchase another puffer unless I get bigger quarters. <<Indeed...and properly cycled/know your water parameters this time>> Thanks for your response, and your site is brilliant. <<Please better use the information available.  EricR>>
Re: Injured Porcupine Puffer...Too Small Tank/Questionable System - 09/14/06
Hello again, <<Evening>> Understood from previous response. <<Ah...good my friend>> Ok my LFS guy, tells me I can have at least 10 fish in my 55 UK gallons, and probably 15 with a sump. <<Let's see, that's about 66g US...could be done...would depend much on the species selected>> He said 2 Clarkii Clowns, Three Tangs (Hippo/Powder blue/Naso), 1 Pink Anthias, <<This doesn't tell me anything>> 1 Fox Face, and few small fish like gobies. <<Grossly over stocked...and "none" of these tangs are suitable for this size tank, even on their own>> Personally I think this maybe too much. <<Way too much>> LFS says it should be ok, as long you put all three tangs together and to put other fish in first before you introduce the tangs. <<The LFS is not taking the size of the environment in to account here (or the "delicate" nature of the Powder Blue Tang)...please do not do this>> I know you're going to lecture me that the tangs aren't even near suited for a 55 UK gallon tank so I ask what would you suggest? <<I'm heartened by the fact that you realize this on your own (consider yourself lectured <grin>).  The clowns, Anthias (I recommend a lyretail, Pseudanthias squamipinnis), and the Foxface would all be fine additions (once your certain this tank is fully cycled, that is).  And a couple smaller fishes in the way of cardinals or gobies would be ok as well I think (Sphaeramia nematoptera and/or Elacatinus oceanops)>> Thanks for your info. <<Regards, EricR>>

New member to the aquarium. Porc. puffer  - 08/26/06 Hey crew,   Well my dad and brother came home with a porcupine puffer Wednesday. I notice a small thing under his belly. I don't have a picture so I'm going to have to describe it as best as I can. The little bump thing on the puffer is pretty small but small enough to take off with a tweezers if it is a parasite. The color is pink and it's like a oval shape. The thing looks like a booger (from your nose...), remember I'm doing my best to describe it lol. It looks like it is attached to one of the quills on the puffer. Does this information I have given you work for you? <Yes... But no useful data re water quality, the make-up of this system, other tankmates... This spot is likely an "owee"... not parasitic, not "treatable" per se> I have look everywhere on your site and other places but can't get an answer. Could this be a parasite? Maybe a bruised quill? Also there are some white spots, like sugar sized, on his tail but only a couple. Looks like Ich but he had it since Wednesday and there isn't anymore white spots on him. Maybe scars from Ich?   Thanks for your help.,   Ben <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: New member to the aquarium... more on Porc. puffer - 08/26/2006
Crew,   My water quality is good. The puffer had this "thing" on him at the store I'm guessing. My water parameters are   Nitrate-10   Nitrite-0   Ammonia-0   pH-8.2   Saltinity-1.025   The other fish are a Goldentail moray, V. lionfish, and a Niger trigger. <In how large a system?... Regardless, not compatible... see WWM re...> They all get along fine. The puffer acts normal and shows no sign of stress. He swims up and down the glass and looks at the rocks, ect. <No such word> I'm giving him Vita-Chem every week. Thanks for you help.   Ben <Keep reading. BobF>

Porcupine Puffer fading fast ... killed through mis-over-stocking, trtmt.   8/24/06 I am afraid it may be too late... but I just came across your site and thought I would try once more. <?> I have a porcupine puffer in an 80 gal aquarium along with a powder blue tang, French angelfish, a lionfish and an eel. <... eighty gallons? Way too small...> When I first set up the tank... I noticed he swam constantly near the surface, but wouldn't eat a thing. I had a problem with nitrites for a week or so, but I removed the fish and fixed the problem. I left the puffer out for a bit longer in my local stores tank (they were nice enough to hold him for me)....they said he ate a little when he came in...but then quickly quit again. He mostly lays around on the bottom of the tank and hides... <...> He is now back in my aquarium for the last few weeks, but then I developed an Ich problem (I wouldn't be surprised if he brought it back with him) which I have been treating with Prevent-Ich. The Tang and the Angelfish were the worst affected, but the problem seems to be almost completely under control as the Ich spots have all but disappeared. (Darn Prevent -Ich seems to have stained my coral though)... Anyway...through all this, he still hasn't eaten that I have seen....and now he seems to "puff-up" involuntarily occasionally, which I know is not good for them... HELP! One last odd thing....i had my hand in the tank the other day cleaning something when he swam by me and pretty much swam into my hand.......I just held him lightly...open palm...basically letting him rest in my hand....but he didn't puff and made no effort to move....weird huh? Anyway...thanks for any help you can give! Tod Phoenix, Arizona <You... need... to... move... this livestock into much larger, more stable quarters. Bob Fenner>

White worm parasites. Porcupine Puffer dis... mostly   8/3/06 Dear Bob, <Robert> First of all, I wanted to thank you for your time in answering this and so many other questions and for having such a fine resource online for helping out aquarists (especially new ones, such as myself). It seems that anytime I search the net for info on taking care of my puffers, I get this site - and usually all of the answers I need. <Ah, thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated> I decided I needed to write in for this one, however, as I didn't find exactly what I was looking for in the previously answered emails. <Okay> My wife and I recently started a 55 gallon marine tank and have two Mollies (suggested by the pet shop for starting the cycle) and two Porcupine Puffers... <! Will be way too much here... even for initially "loading" this system/volume... and these species are by and large non- to anti-social with their own kind> One because my wife had fallen instantly in love with it (the particular fish, not just puffers in general) and the other because she was afraid it would be lonely by itself. <Not so. Please relate this to her. Not found in the wild in close association, "pairs" except during spawning...> This turned out to be not such a good idea, as the two puffers decided that the tank wasn't big enough for the both of them. <Oh, yes> The smaller (and cuter) Puffer (named "Fluff") is less territorial and less aggressive and seems more interested with swimming the length of the tank. The larger Puffer (named "Nutter") isn't as active and seems to get aggressive when Fluff intrudes upon his area. <...> We've remedied this for the time being by placing a divider in the tank. (I can almost hear your comment here about how they need more room - <Heeeee! Am I really becoming that/this predictable? Good> I agree) At least they have more room than they did in the pet store, if that's any consolation. <Mmm, not much. Do understand that pet stores are an aberration... that they only intend to stock life short term... that of a necessity they can't afford to not temporarily overcrowd their for sale charges> Our plans are to buy a second tank (probably another 55 gallon - at least for now) and put a Puffer in each. <Do see WWM, fishbase.org... elsewhere re the size of this species... Need much larger quarters, volume... not "when" larger, but now> We hope to do a much larger tank that's architecturally integrated into the wall, but we are still reeling from the money we've spent so far. <Planning... based on investigation, facts my friend...> The reason for this letter, however, is what I am assuming is a parasitic infestation. <"It?"> The appearance is of small worms that are exactly the same size as their spines, but instead of laying back against their bodies, they are sort of limp and upon closer inspection, appear to be attached to the puffers skin. It's hard to say exactly how long ago this began, as Fluff had what we thought was a 'dead' spine. We had thought that this was a result of Nutter attacking Fluff, but now that Fluff has healed up from the attack and they are separated, we've noticed several of these worms on both Fluff and Nutter. I was considering either a Freshwater dip or Formalin, but the idea of Formaldehyde worries me. <It should... toxic... to the fish and you> I was wondering if I could solve this problem and prevent against Marine Ich by simply reducing the salinity of the tank. <Mmm, not likely> If so, what range is good for killing off parasites and not too low for puffers? (I'm not worried about the mollies, as they're freshwater fish.) Would it be better (less shock to the puffers) to reduce the salinity to kill the worms rather than do the Fresh Water bath? <You can read re the use, efficacy of so-called Hyposalinity Treatments here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm and the linked files above. I am decidedly not a fan of this technique... Not often useful, conclusive... too much stress on the hosts...> Thanks in advance for your rapid reply and as always for your helpful info. Robert Perkins <Let's see... the "worms" may well be a fluke (Flatworm) of some sort... and could well be a type of crustacean (likely a parasitic copepod of some sort)... These possibilities could be treated with a biocidal dip of formalin/formaldehyde (detailed on WWM), but require the animals to NOT be placed back in the infested system/s (obviously eh?). Instead, I'd try administering (either together or serially) a vermifuge like Praziquantel or economic poison/DTHP (in various generic nominations... see WWM re), or a combo. of both as in a product like "Fluke Tabs"... Much to relate re this... and I do wish we were near by where I could take a scraping, look under my cheapie microscopes, show you which is which here... But do read on re the above... and write back for clarification, more if all does not become clear in your searching. Bob Fenner>

Inflated Porcupine puffer   7/25/06 I read the article and my puffer doesn't have any air trapped.  He is on the bottom of the tank partially inflated with water.  He doesn't have air trapped in him, because I burped him several times, if he does its very, very minimal.  The problem is, he seems he can't expel the remaining water.  He can inflate fully and can expel the water down to about half his size, but no further. Any other ideas? <<Puffers are built to inflate, and expel water with water with ease.  Does a little bit of air come out when you burp him?>> <Mmm, just give it time... RMF> Thanks John

Puffer With A Protrusion - 07/18/2006 Help!  I've looked for information via the search engine and posted a question in the public forum prior to emailing.  I have a spiny box puffer with a protrusion coming from the rectal area.  I've had the puffer for approximately a year, during which time he's been very healthy and active.  He's approximately 6" long and is housed in a 46 gallon tank with a pacific blue tang, a sail-fin tang, and a clarkii clown.   <Too much life for this small system....  the tangs need a great deal more space.> The protrusion swollen and puffy, pinkish in color, and is about the size of a pea.  He's still mobile and active, although he didn't eat last night which is very uncommon.  That was when I noticed the growth. Any suggestions as to what this may be and what treatment is needed? <There's just not enough information to go off, here.  Water parameters of course are key - without this and a great deal more insight on the system, we really can't offer any ideas.  Please get reading, starting here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and the links, in blue, at the top of that page.> Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.   Thanks!  Vann   <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Porcupine puffer and burping   7/11/06 Please, Please, Please help!  I have been searching on your site on how to burp a puffer.  Mine has an air pocket in the left back area.  When I put on my marine gloves and grab him to try to burp him he immediately puffs up.  Impossible for me to burp him when he is a huge spiny ball, there is no give.  Any suggestions....please, I am very concerned.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. <<Please don't stress too much!  Here you go: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html.  Hope that helps. Lisa.>>   Sincerely        Naomi Patton

Help with another query please, Re: Tank Overload    7/1/06 Hi Bob and Crew, <Leslie> I think I got in a bit over my head..... this is this gents 4th email  back and forth. <I see> Can anyone who has time take a peek at the photo in my inbox, the  subject is Tank Overload. It is a Porcupine Puffer with some white  spots on top of it's head. My guess is it is some sort of bacterial  infection. <Secondary to... something lacking, amiss with the environment, nutrition...> I was wondering what you think and what you would  recommend besides the usual good water quality and nutritional  components. I have already recommended he either return some of his  fish or get a much bigger tank sometime in the near future. Thanks so much, Leslie
<I agree with your prognosis, suggestions. BobF>

Eye Ulcer/Cloudy - Porc Puffer  - 06/07/06 I have a small Porc puffer which I purchased about 2 weeks ago.  She is in a QT tank.....and I have been treating her for her eye with lowering the salinity and making sure the water quality is tops.  The eye seems to be even more cloudy and even looks somewhat like an ulcer.  I don't know if the eye is getting better as in the issue is shrinking or worse! I have also used Epsom salts as well. <Good> But if I am taking water out for changes, how often do I need to replenish the Epsom salts. <Each time> She is eating well ... mind you today was a bit picky.  When I got home from work she was on the bottom in a rock hole and I thought she'd died! <Mmm, do sit about a good deal of the time... in the wild and in captivity> I picked her out of the store because she was the "underdog" and I seem to always take the fish I feel I could help give a better life to.  This includes all my pets... Should I dip her in fresh water. <Maybe enroute to your main tank> I could send a pic if necessary.  Please help I really don't want to lose her and I don't want her to suffer. Janet <I would likely foreshorten the quarantine period here and risk moving this animal into larger quarters... Much more likely that a good deal of the stress/component of this manifestation is due to being kept in small confines than it carrying a pathogen. Bob Fenner>

-The one eyed Porc-   6/1/06 <Hello Janet> I have had a juvenile porcupine puffer for about a week.  She is in a quarantine tank with no other fish and has been since bringing her home.  I had noticed one eye is cloudy and has steadily gotten worse over the past week. <Are you keeping up with water changes and maintaining a clean tank?> She looks blind!  Will this clear up?  She seemingly had white spots as well, but they have cleared up and are looking better.  She is eating very well.... so far. <Good sign on the food, continue to feed nutritious foods and keep that water quality up.>  The quarantine tank is small, so I am cleaning out any uneaten food every time I feed.  I decided to use copper, but was advised by LFS that puffers don't take well to copper. <Yes puffers and copper are never a good mix.> Stopped this and haven't really done anything except brought down the salinity...slowly and am still doing so.  From 1.025 to 1.18 or lower?  Should I treat her with anything else?  Or simply leave her in the quarantine tank until she is completely healthy. Janet <Continue to lower the salinity down to 1.012 and keep there for several weeks, continue water changes as above, and add Epsom salt at 1tsp per gallon of water for the eye.  Most of the time a cloudy eye signifies dirty water issues, and porcs are able to ruin a fish tank fairly quickly, a very high bioload animal.  On the flip side, puffers in clean water are very hardy, and generally bounce back from most illnesses / conditions.  I would NOT move the puffer from Q/T until it is fully healed.> <Justin (Jager)>

Spiny Box Puffer with Ich - 5/17/2006 What is the best way to treat a Spiny Box Puffer that has Ich?  It is currently in a quarantine tank. <<Read here: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9. >> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>
Re: Spiny Box Puffer with Ich - 5/28/2006
I started the treatment described in the link you gave me for Hyposalinity last week.  For the first few days the Ich started to clear up nicely, but over the last two days it has gotten progressively worse.  It is now much worse than it was before I started the Hyposalinity treatment. <<What SG is the puffer in now?>> The Spiny Box Puffer will no longer accept food.  Is there something else I can do? <<He is very, very stressed.  It sounds to me like something is off in your water parameters.  Are you keeping a close eye on water quality?  Please search WWM re hyposalinity.>> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Diodon nicthemerus with an air bubble - 5/8/2006 Hi guys, good morning from the U.K. <<Good morning from Canada!>> After doing some searching, I still seem to have a couple of things that need my attention A.S.A.P. On Saturday I purchased a young puffer, about 4" long from a local LFS.  Before I could stop the genius bagging the fish for me, he lifted it out of the water in the net, 5 seconds to get the top of the bag open, and then dropped it in. It was obviously stressed and puffed up; on going into the bag it expelled a large amount of air. <<That's no good.>> After introducing the poor creature to my tank, I noticed an air bubble, about 1/4" diameter, at the joint of his body and tail fin. I posted in the forum to try and find out whether there was anything I could do, or whether just to watch and wait, but received no replies. Don't shoot me, but my first thought was to puncture the bubble to release the air if it was causing distress. <<Bad idea!  Please read here on expelling the air bubble: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html. >> When introduced, the fish was almost looking as if it was bleached it was so pale, but has since regained some color. At this time, it is staying in the corner during lighting times, and cruising after lights out, I have tried to feed with shrimp etc, but he seems to have no interest. Flake seemed to inspire him a little, but I realize this is not going to do anything to improve him, I'm guessing that that was all he was fed in the store. <<Likely.  Read here on feeding: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html.>> Your thoughts would be hugely appreciated, the feeding is not bothering me to much at the moment, he is just settling in, so that I will just keep an eye on, my main worry is the air bubble. <<Read linked articles.  If this is indeed a Diodon nicthemerus you have, be aware that they grow to 24 inches in length, and will require a system in the hundreds of gallons.>> Thank you all in advance, Mike <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Porc V. Powerhead - 05/05/2006 Hi <Hello> Last night we brought a porcupine puffer, he settled in well; just as we were about to go to bed he swan near a power head and got stuck. <Ouch> There now is a see through bubble coming out underneath him he is laying on the bottom of the tank now and is not moving.  Is he going to be ok? If his he dying, don't want to lose him. Yours sincerely, miss Kate Lamb <Well, I don't understand the end of your email, but i do believe that your puffer has a big bruise from being sucked into the powerhead.  Feed him well, and keep the tank clean.  All you can do at this point for him is keep his life stress free.  If the area wont heal in a week use an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone to help.> <Justin (Jager)>

Horribly sick spiny box Hi Bob, I feel as though this is a lost cause already, but my spiny box is half white. <Some necrosis now!> It looks as though his skin is literally peeling off, and has become bright white in place of what used to be the typical tan coloration. This problem goes back some months to when I first got him. It was around early January, and  he came (mail order) with an already present case of Ich and was on a hunger strike. After force-feeding and treating with hypo, the fish started to come around. 5 weeks of hypo and the Ich had disappeared, and he was eating like a pig. Then little by little, white spots started appearing. Not Ich, but much smaller. <Mmm> Aggressive skimming, QT, and large water changes seemed to take care of the problem, but over this past weekend it started slowly to come back. I was traveling this past week, so I wasn't around to adjust much (I had a friend feeding for me), but I skimmed wetter than usual and did water changes right before I left. I just got back, and the poor little guy is about ½ white, not moving, not even moving his mouth. His fins are barely moving, and that is about the only sign of life he is showing. He is still all by himself in QT. Attached are some bad quality pictures, but I think they get across the idea. I'm highly doubting that the poor puffer will pull through, but if there is anything I can do, or if you have any idea what may have caused this, please let me know. It really is the saddest thing I've ever seen happen to any of my fish. Thank you very much for your help, <Have seen symptoms like this over the years... even in the wild... Don't know what the root cause/s might be... nor (obviously) cures... Good water quality, nutrition, avoiding toxic circumstances... perhaps the use of "Miracle Mud" or such... would be about all I would know to do. Bob Fenner> Dave

Puffer using one gill  - 04/15/06 Hello WWM, <Irene> I have read on your web site that sometimes when a fish is using one gill, that this is normal behavior;  it will go away in time.  I have also read that this could be a sign of gill flukes.  This is my situation: <Yes, it can be either or....> I have an 80 gallon tank.  Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, pH is 8.3, temp is 78 and Nitrate is 10.  I have a 4" Porcupine Puffer, a 12" Snowflake Eel and a 4" Sailfin Tang.  I purposely keep the stock low to maximize growing space for each fish and I know in time the puffer will need a larger tank of her own. <This is probably too much now, I would begin the 125 or larger tank search and saving now.> For the past day, my porcupine puffer breathes with one gill about 95% of the time.  She uses the left gill only rarely.  She does not breath heavily and there is no sign of scratching.  She swims mainly within the bottom third of the tank and seems active enough, especially in the morning and at night. <Eating fine and no other issues?> Please tell me that my fish is just exhibiting normal behavior.  Is this one gill thing common among puffers?  I plan to watch her carefully for any improvements and hope that she is just doing something funny but normal. <Not normal, but does happen sometimes.  may be a sign of aggression on the tangs part and or stress related.  Keep watching the puffer to see if it improves or degrades.> Thanks, Irene <Justin (Jager)>
Re: puffer using one gill
  4/18/06 My porcupine puffer is breathing with both gills now.  I do believe it was stress related.  I recently moved him from one tank to another.   <Great to hear!> The Sailfin Tang is not bothering the puffer.  However, the Tang does have a history of aggression with a Regal Blue Tang.  Both Tangs live in separate aquaria now.  (I have two 80 gallon tanks).   <Sounds like a good deal> I have a question about Miracle Mud.  I have seen it used in refugiums. <Yes, an alternative to just DSB refugiums.> My question is can a small bowl of the mud (kept separately in the bowl) be placed in a corner of the main aquarium for nutrient and water conditioning?  Or would the mud spread all over the tank?   <Depends on water flow through the area where you'd be placing it.  I'm really not sure you'll get the results you're looking for with this though.  There wouldn't be too much water flow through the mud, which is how it counts, so I believe it would just be a waste of time/money.  Have a good one, Jen S.> Irene

Small white/yellowish spots on Burr Box fish... a mess of mis-mixed livestock, pouring medicines in main displays, not knowing what you're doing. Read! Hello, I went though the web page and searched for some help regarding my striped burr fish ( spiny box fish). Throughout the past few weeks he has signs of small white-yellowish sand like dots randomly covering his entire body including his fins, I'm very concerned, he was eating like crazy and now is not eating. He swims though out the tank as though he is suffering terribly, shaking and itching himself among the rocks, and resting often. <Something is amiss with your system, water quality here> I've dosed him in several FW baths, <Won't help if this animal is returned to the same system> some seemed to help, but then they come right back. Yesterday, I tired giving him a FW bath and he blew up before reaching the water causing him to get stuck in the net, after deflating and questioning if i should try this again. <You shouldn't> Now it appears his underbelly is caved in nearly an inch. Our water quality is good and we are frequent water changers, our tank has a strong Rio power head, wet/dry filter and recently set up our protein skimmer. Our Clown trigger is now beginning to show sign and is itching <Not a good mix...> its self along the rocks and bottom. Both of this fish are also spending quiet a bit of time near our filters in take box looking as though they are gasping for air and breathing heavily. In our fifty gallon tank we also have a small angler fish, snake eel, <... not good to mix...> damsels, long nosed file fish, <What species?> (we have managed to keep alive!) and crabs. The water is currently being treated with rid-Ich <... a very poor idea...> as so for the past week and a half, with no evidence of it working. Is there anything else that may be better to cure my fish before matters get even worse, even if it means getting rid of our crabs and killing live rock? <... You're joking?> I know copper isn't completely safe for puffer fish but I am desperate, our puffer fish went from eating out of our hand to looking miserable and not eating. Please help us, Thank you Sarah Delmotte <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Bob Fenner>

-Locked out-  - 04/10/2006 Hello WWM, <Steve>   I've a porcupine fish that is showing signs of lockjaw, and I'd like to start treating with iodine.  Is there any brand treatment you'd recommend?  The LFS carries Lugol's Solution, but I wasn't sure if that would work. <Should be ok, but any pure iodine solution is fine.  Also mixed iodine and reef supplements are good to dose the tank with to maintain iodine levels constantly to avoid future issues.  Kent's essential elements is a good one.> Thanks, Steve <Justin (Jager)>

Webb burr puffer... beh., dis.    3/27/06 Hi,      If you are able to answer any questions or help us with our dilemma we really appreciate it. Thank you in advance.      We have a Webb Burr Puffer that we have had for about 4 weeks now.  He has been incredibly healthy and active up until recently. He has started to act very tired and spend more and more time at the bottom of the tank ~ not like he was usually. <Not unusual for puffers of all sorts to go through this sort of "phase" on arrival...>   He, before, the last couple of days was always very active, eating well and towards the top of the tank.  Now he doesn't really seem to want to eat, though he does come to the top once he knows it is feeding time, but eats very little.      We also have a yellow tang, a couple little damsels and a Achilles Surgeonfish ~ which was just added a couple of days ago.  We have a 46 gallon tank.  The puffer is a juvenile and about 2 inches long. <Quite small>      We were told by our pet store to add Life Bearer/parasite treatment to our tank to try and cure him.  We also have copper levels of approx .10 in our tank.    <Uhh, no... these compounds are toxic... adding to the puffer's troubles, not alleviating them>   I also am a little concerned about a couple of newer white/clear spikes he has on his back.      Can you please tell us what we should be doing and what we can do to try and help him?  Thank you. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pufferdisfaqs.htm and the many linked files above... And cease the "medicating". Bob Fenner>
Re: Webb burr puffer... still not reading...    3/27/06
Thank you so much for your quick response.  He looks even worse today.  Looks like he has some sort of blister on his chin and one of the white/clear spikes looks as if the casing around it is coming up and around it.        So ~ I should cease the parasite med AND the copper?      <Please see prev. corr....>   We were told by the pet shop to keep the copper level up around .10 to help with ick on the other fish.      <No... this amount of free cupric ion is not of sufficient strength to be therapeutic... See WWM re...>   What levels should we have any type of meds, if at all?    <.........................>   What else can we do to try and help him?      Thank you,   Bridgette and Mike <............ Read where you've been referred. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine Puffer Trouble - 2/20/2006 Greetings. <<Hi Dan.>> I have a 6-year-old porcupine puffer who is about 10 inches head-to-tail and lives in a 55 gallon tank. <<That's too bad.  At 6-years-old your puffer should be 18', and in a 125 gallon tank.>> As of the last few months, his desire and ability to eat has diminished greatly.  Over the years, I've fed him a steady diet of frozen krill and frozen silversides, with an occasional helping of romaine lettuce, which he used to love. <<Good as a treat perhaps, but poor nutritionally.>> He no longer touches frozen krill, and only on "good" days will swallow a piece frozen silverside.  Mostly, he now eats floating dried krill, but still with difficulty. Part of the problem, I think, is that he can't close his jaw. It's always open. When he sucks in a piece, he'll usually spit it back out and try again until he finally holds it down.  Based on what I've read on your site so far, it sounds like he either has nutritionally induced lockjaw or overgrown teeth, but I can't really tell. <<Can you see his teeth/beak all the time? I find your pics hard to make out.  Is he getting food down?  You should try mussels, Clams, cockles, crabs legs.  If he is eating at all, you have a chance to reverse any damage a poor diet may have caused. Soak the foods in garlic to stimulate his appetite, and a good supplement like Selcon, Vita-Chem, or both.  What's your water quality like? Number readings would be very helpful here.>> Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! <<As above.  Most of all your puffer needs a bigger tank.  Please get back to me! Lisa.>> Regards, Dan
Porcupine Puffer Trouble II- 3/1/2006
Thank you very much for your reply. <<You're welcome.>> I've been traveling, so I couldn't respond sooner. <<That's ok, hope you enjoyed your time.>> I ordered the supplements that you suggested. The tank size is another issue. I'm torn over whether I should invest in more equipment or find someone to adopt him. Can you offer some advice on finding a good adopter? <<Your best bet would be to go to www.thepufferforum.com.  It's the best puffer site out there, and you can post your puffer available there.>> I should also mention that he's been blind in one eye for the last five years. (... a bad encounter a with a former yellow tang tank mate). <<You may have trouble adopting out a severely stunted, half-blind puffer, but it is certainly worth a shot, if you are not able/willing to house his properly.>> He is eating, but not as much as before. Freeze-dried krill is the only thing he can consistently hold down. He goes in and out of phases. Sometimes he'll show his voracious appetite and get very excited when I'm near, and other times, he just ignores me. <<HA! Maybe he's just moody :)>> Yesterday, he was very excited about feeding, but when it came time to swallow the silverside, he tried a couple of times and then gave up and lost interest. I can see his teeth/beak all the time. I can snap some more pictures if you can suggest a good angle, but it's very hard getting him to pose and remain still. <<There is a great puffer-dentistry article at ThePufferForum as well.>> Water quality is probably not so great, although the ammonia readings have always been at zero. What else should I be looking for? <<NitrItes, nitrAtes, pH, to name a few.>> Is skimming important? <<Yes>> I had a cyclone skimmer running for a long time, but it never seemed to collect much. <<Likely not powerful enough.>> Right now, I just have a powerhead running during the day to provide additional aeration. For filtration, I use a BioWheel. Your advice is greatly appreciated! <<As is your desire to learn.  Take care.>> Thanks, Dan <<You're welcome.  Lisa>>

Porcupine Puffer   1/31/06 Please help me - I have had my porcupine puffer for about 11 years. He stopped eating about a week ago and is just lying at the bottom of the tank hardly moving. <A heart break> He seems to only move once or twice a day purely to turn around but still remaining in one corner at the bottom of the tank. He went blind about two years ago (not because of poor water condition) so we hand feed him with a tong. He usually eats whole mussels and cockles. We have put food into his mouth but he just spits it out again. I can see him getting thinner and feel so helpless. The water levels are fine and our other two fish (Regal and Powder Blue Tang) are fine. We examined his teeth as he lets you hold him in the water and they seems fine. He has no other visible signs of disease or injury. Any help would be very much appreciated.       We buy our water already salted from our local marine shop. We run two tanks the other being a reef system. The fish in that are fine and water levels are also good so I don't think it can be anything to do with that. Although we did do a 20% water change when he started to not eat as a precaution but had no effect.      Also all three fish get on very well and we never see any signs of bullying or distress in any of the fish.      Many thanks      Marie <Do please see WWM re force-feeding these fishes. My Google search: http://www.google.com/custom?q=force+feeding+puffers&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com This is what I would (plan to) do here. Good luck, life to you. Bob Fenner>

-Possible Isopod issues-    1/19/06 Hello all! <Hello, Justin with you this evening.> First of all, THANK YOU so very much for your amazing site!  It is such a wealth of fantastic information, and is truly (in my humble opinion) the best wet-pet resource on the web! <Well it's all due to many people who help, and the crew here. Ill pass your thanks on to Bob.> I currently maintain a 120G fish-only tank.  In addition to the 3" puffer (Diodon holocanthus), there is also a 4" angel (Pomacanthus imperator), 4" lion (Pterois volitans) and a couple of small (1-1.5") damsels.  Salinity - 1.021, Temp - 80*F, Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0; Nitrates - 5ppm. <An interesting mix, have you seen any aggression out of the Lionfish?  most of the time puffers, and lions may squabble, much to the lions detriment.> A couple of days ago, I noticed a small white spot medial to my puffer's left eye.  The spot does not look like Oodinium or ick, but is rather large (2-3mm) and flat.  This morning, I noticed two more ventral spots... also 2-3mm each, flat, and completely circular!  They do not look like any sort of parasite that I know of, and it seems very strange to acquire trauma with those manifestations.  Also, the spots are bright solid white, and almost appear "indented" into the skin.  What on earth could this be?   <The indented part seems very odd, as most parasites are bulges outward or bumps. It may be an isopod of some sort that has decided to attach on. they can be fairly easily treated in hypo salinity dips or by using a ain't parasite medicine in a hospital tank for a few days.  However, From what you are saying it is hard to give you a definite answer on it.  Can you maybe send in a good photo of the area in question.  It would be much more helpful in identifying the culprit if one exists.  Also herding the puffer into a container and gently rubbing the area to see if it comes off or is an actual indentation may save you further headache here.  My puffer enjoys digging up substrate (I have sand) and little pieces get stuck in the spines and look very odd and area  a similar size to what you are saying.  Also mine enjoys playing in the sump return pipe and getting micro bubbles all over him as well.  It could be a benign item like that.> His attitude is perky as always, and he is eating great!  I am at a loss on this one... any ideas? <You have me a bit stumped as well on this, but Id check the basics first, and a gentle rubbing of your finger on the area may reveal a simple answer to your concern.  Try watching it for now and see if any more appear or if they disappear all together. I will forward this to Bob for some further ideas.  If you can grab a photograph of the area and send it in as I said above, it may be much more telling.> <<Mmm, nothing further. RMF>> Thanks in advance for everything! Christine <Thank you for being clear, and including everything tank wise I needed to know to focus on the issue.  Hope we can figure this out.> <Justin (Jager)>

Spiny Box with Ich... stressed by crowding, over-medicated...   1/17/06 Hi, I have been doing tons of reading on your site about puffer care. Your site is by far the best out there, thank you for maintaining such a place! <Welcome> I recently purchased a spiny box (about 3 inches long) for my fish only tank (46 gal right now, will be going to 125 as soon as I move in may, nitrite/ammonia 0 ppm, nitrate 20ppm). <Too small... I would have waited...> Acclimated him to my tank and he was harassed by my other fishes and came down with Ich, and refuses to eat. After about 24 hours in the main tank, I gave him a 15 min freshwater dip (adjusted temp and pH properly). <For? The system has the Ich...> Moved him into a quarantine tank and treated with copper based Ich treatment as well as with Melafix to help his tattered up back fin. <Copper is very hard on puffers/Burrfishes...> Tried feeding some internal parasite medication <...?> Treated all of his (or her) food with garlic extract, as well as added some garlic extract to the water Tried feeding a variety of delicious foods to entice him, such as live blackworms, live clam, uncooked  shrimp, frozen  bloodworms, krill, clam, sleeper goby, beef heart, and a few others. He won't take anything. I have also tried force-feeding him using a small plastic syringe just thick enough to suck in some mashed up pieces of food. When I try to force feed him, he just puffs up, sucking in the food from the syringe, and when he deflates he blows the food right back out. Am I doing this correctly? <Too much, too soon... the force-feeding I would do, not all these "treatments"... akin to punching one in the stomach then trying to feed a hamburger...> He would not eat from day one, and it is now about day 11 and I still have yet to see him eat anything. Additionally, the Ich spots all fell off for a few days, and then came right back. <Ah, yes> Is there anything else I can do to help this lil guy out? I'm very nervous now that it has been so long and nothing seems to be helping. Should I try hyposalinity? If I do, do I acclimate him slowly to the low salt water, or do it more like a fresh water dip and just toss him in? Thank you so much for your help, Dave <Dave... stop. Please read... through all the Puffer articles and FAQs files posted on WWM... following (if of interest, use) the links to other areas... Blitzkrieg approaches w/o sufficient knowledge will not serve you here. Take good notes. Bob Fenner>

Porc Puffer not eating, lack of info...  1/13/06 We need your help. <<I will try>>  My son has a saltwater fish tank in his house <<What size?>>...has had it for several years...all fish are healthy.<<A list of inhabitants would be helpful>>   Except--his porcupine puffer fish has suddenly stopped eating.   It comes to the top of the tank, all excited, wanting to eat and then just seems to "jab" at the food.   It has always had a good appetite.    He has been eating krill.   It's so heartbreaking.    At times it seems to head to the bottom corner of the tank and gasp a little.     Anything we can do? <<What are the readings for Ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes and pH in this tank? Your son's puffer, Diodon Holocanthus, can grow to 19" and will need a tank of at least 125 gallons at maturity.  Does he show signs of trying to open his mouth and is not able to?  An all krill diet has been linked to 'lock jaw'.  Essentially, your puffer needs a more varied diet, and probably larger quarters.  Often, an iodine supplement will ease the lock jaw enough to facilitate better feeding.  Please do get back to us regarding the questions above. Lisa>> Thank you!

Porcupine puffer disease diagnosis... unsuitable water quality, copper exposure,  - 01/12/2006 Hello, Your web site seems quite helpful in disease diagnosis, so I hope you can help.  I have a 100 gal. saltwater tank that I have had for about 8 months and have had the porcupine puffer for about 7 or so.  The problem is that he has not eaten anything in the last 2 weeks, he is still very active and always greets me with excitement. <... have you read on WWM re feeding puffers, Diodontids?> The water quality is good salt 1.022 <I would raise this to near seawater strength... 1.025> ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates less than forty <Keep under twenty...> as far as can tell.  I do use copper in the recommended dosage <Stop! This is toxic to your livestock... should not be used on a continuous basis... some folks think never on puffers... can/will account for the non-feeding by itself> and have so since I have had the tank. <This is a mistake> He shows no external signs of disease, he acts hungry  when I bring his feeding cup around but when i put the shrimp in he goes for it once or twice then just lets it fall to the bottom.  Before I could barely feed my bottom feeder because he would eat everything I put it.  I know I need to vary his diet other than shrimp but as of now he does not want to eat, food suggestions would be helpful.  The damsel, sailfin, and snowflake eel are all happy/healthy fish. I don't know what to do he does not match any disease charts he just wont eat.   Thanks <... not a disease, unless you consider iatrogenic/induced, poor supplied circumstances as cause... Read on my friend. Your answers are on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer  - 01/12/2006 Will drive in to town, to pick up the Selcane <Selcon> today, is the iodine included in it? <No, it is strictly a vitamin supplement rich in HUFAs.>We have been soaking the frozen brine, chopped up silversides and krill in the garlic extreme, so am I to mix the Selcane <Selcon> and Iodine in the soaking solution. <I would alternate between the garlic and Selcon.>  Yes the Nitrate is/was off the charts with the 5 gallon water change every three days it has been "coming back" I (the local fish store said the nitrates wouldn't hurt any of the fish). <Indirectly  they can with high levels.  The nitrate will end up as dissolved organics which in turn creates an acidic condition which lowers ph levels.  With high nitrate levels I suggest you test the dKH often. Sea Chem's Reef Builder is a good product to use.> I will write down exact ranges on all the tests today and get back to you.  It was great to see that lots of people with puffers feel the same as I do, they are wonderful pets. <And a very intelligent fish to boot.> Thank you for your service. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Marcia
Re: Selcon and Plankton    1/19/06
James, the Selcon has finally arrived. <Finally> I soaked some frozen brine shrimp in it last night and the Puffer ( BUBBA) ate maybe 3 tiny brines, the tank clouded for a while,
<All that is needed is about four drops on the frozen brine, should not cloud water enough to matter.> and I am assuming he is getting the benefit of the vitamins by just being in the water, (does he drink the water)<Not nearly as well as ingesting it.  They don't drink water as such.>  
We also bought some refrigerated marine plankton (sp?) and have been putting a dropper full a day in the tank he seems to somedays want to swim into it so I think he is getting some nutrition from it.  This morning I soaked the plankton in the Selcon and dumped it in.  Is this giving him some benefit?
<If he is eating it.> Should I be also medicating him with Iodine? If yes, how much, how often. <Just do the dosage rate on the bottle, no need to medicate him directly and by all means don't.> Also, he has not eaten any of the ghost shrimp as far as I can tell. We are still doing 10 gallon water change every 3-4 days, tank seems healthier .thank you again. <You're welcome and I hope your puffer pulls through.  James (Salty Dog)> Puffer Sick... more mis-matched titles...    1/19/06 James, Could you guesstimate how long it might take for the vitamins (Selcon) to help him?  
<Geez, that would be like you asking me how long your cold will last.  Without him eating the chances for recovery aren't going to be good.>
A week, 2 weeks, a month? In general he seems to feel better but is still not eating.. He doesn't seem to 'flip-out' as much these last few days when everyone else is eating. <Hope for the best.  James (Salty Dog)>  

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