Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Puffer Pathogenic Disease

FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease: Marine Puffer Disease 1, Marine Puffer Disease 2, Marine Puffer Disease 3, Marine Puffer Disease 4, Marine Puffer Disease 5, Marine Puffer Disease 6, Marine Puffer Disease 7,
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Treatments
<Plus see below re Disease by Category per Puffer Family>
FAQs on Marine Puffer Disease by Group: Marine Puffers & Kin, Velvet & Crypt, Boxfish Disease, Tetraodont Disease, FW Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Disease, Toby Disease, Burrfish Disease,

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

Related FAQs: Puffers in General 1, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Compatibility, Puffer Selection, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Reproduction, True (Tetraodont) Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Boxfishes


Whole groups of external and internal Protozoans, Worms... even, hey! Crustaceans at times.


Diodon holocanthus with crypt     4/4/17
 I know there are some threads on this, but I have a hard time sorting  through and finding the information I need. Please forgive me.
<The search tool (on every page) should bring folks to what they are looking for>
I have a 210 Aqueon tank, pH is 8.0, kH, 9, SG 1.023, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates ~10.
I have a small Diodon holocanthus who came down with a case of crypt nearly  overnight.
<Was always there; just "sub-clinical">
He was fine on Saturday night and had it on Sunday evening. He was (and still is) acting perfectly normal. None of the other tankmates (harlequin tusk, dwarf fuzzy lion, dwarf eel, Kole tang, foxface, and coin bearing angler) have even one sign of crypt.
<Mmm; not to bum you out (excessively) but your system "has it">
I started treatment with Kordon Herbal Ich attack
<Mmm; often doesn't work... complexed by...>
as that is all I could get at the LFS that wasn't copper based. I had a > porcupine for 4 1/2 years previously who used to beat the ich on his own.
<Ah yes>
I would just use Voogle (immune booster) and feed. Sometimes I added kick  ich,
<Scam, sham>
but it is hard to say what the actual cure was. I was just happy he was cured. After 3 days of the Ich Attack he seemed to be getting better, then it reappeared and has been pretty bad for the past week or so. I started the
treatment of Kick Ich which I had to order. I cannot get my hands on any Voogle at this time. He does not seem to be getting any better or worse.
If  you couldn't see the crypt, you wouldn't know he had it. He is still eating like a horse and outcompeting fish that are 3 times his size.
<Good signs. Are you lacing/soaking the foods....?>
He's still in the main tank as all I have for a QT is a 10 gallon which I can have set up in about an hour so that is where I have been treating.
<Too small for this>
Here is what I know, copper is not an option (is Cupramine safer but still  copper?),
<Yes; search on WWM...>
hyposalinity is not good for puffers, so where do I turn. I read your  praises of Chloroquine. Is Chloroquine safe for puffers?
Any side effects?
<Yes; possibly>
I ordered some Dr. G Anti-parasitic caviar and I am going to lace the food  with this. Should I leave him in the main tank and target feed him the food
so he is not stressed or set up the QT?
<I'd do the former>
Should I just keep him well fed and happy until he beats it on his own?
I have also shortened the light cycle so he can rest longer. No one else in the tank is picking on him or pays any attention.
Thanks for any help,
Jason Russo
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm 
and onward re soaks (vitamins, HUFAs...) when you get to a link. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt    4/4/17

Yes, I am soaking the food in Selcon, garlic, and VitaChem.
<Ahh; good>
Which do you say is a scam, the kick ick, Voogle, or both?
<The first; don't know what Voogle is>
Also, what do you mean by "complexed by?" Does it make it worse?
<Mmm; makes it non-existent... trouble/s w/ organics added to marine systems; they're highly change-able>
I will read your links, thank you for the response.
<Welcome. B>

Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt     6/1/17
So I have good news to report. I ended up transferring all my fish to QT and treating with CP for 28 days. I'm happy to say that my porcupinefish is cured. I had to dose some erythromycin as well to help with a cloudy eye
condition, but that is all cleared up as well. His fin scars are all gone and he is eating like a horse (my dwarf lion from another post is also doing very well in the same tank).
<Ah good>
My reason for the message is that my puffer has developed a bump/growth on his lower lip. I don't know if I should be concerned about it. Is it just a skin tag?
<I think so... an owee, from rubbing its face against the tank side likely>
Will it fall off on its own? It doesn't affect him in any way and I will just ignore it if it is nothing.
Jason Russo
<I would count on this self-curing as you state. I would move all back to the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Diodon holocanthus with crypt     6/1/17

I would love to move everyone back, but I am doing the fallow thing. I hear 76 days is the norm. Is that correct?
<Mmm; a trade off... stress to the hosts, vs. loss of virulence in the display... You must judge when>
It's unfortunate because I know everyone would be happier in the big tank.
<Yes; and healthier>
<BobF, who would be moving all. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm>

Parasitic isopods in pufferfish     3/8/17
Hi all,
Recently I bought a blue dot Toby puffer that seemed to have a mild goiter.
It was in a copper-treated quarantine (2.5ppm plus hypo at 1.015) for the last two weeks and seemed to be doing fine, albeit a little sluggish, but this morning I found it dead. In my experience a dead puffer with a bulge that won't go down is a sign of gill parasites, and lo and behold, a necropsy revealed a pair of gigantic isopods wriggling away inside a very warped gill chamber.
If the copper and hypo didn't kill them, is there anything I can do to help a fish with this kind of parasite?
<Yes. Gone over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
plus read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm >
Toby puffer gill openings are very small in the first place, I wouldn't have been able to pull them out without cutting an opening. I also have to assume this is a rare occurrence or else there would be more literature about treating
them, though this is the second time I've seen them pop out of a dead Toby.
<Mmm; not an uncommon marine fish parasite group... But as the saying goes:
"Successful parasites don't kill their hosts" (generally)>
I've attached pictures of the puffer from when he arrived, plus a photo of the isopods. Thank you for your help as always.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Nematode in spiny pufferfish eye -Puffer with crypt and worms - 8-12-08 Hello Crew, <Evening, Mike here> I searched your site for similar cases, but came up with nothing. Here's the situation: My spiny pufferfish (Diablito) co-habited a 50-gallon tank with aValentine puffer (Bumblebee), a Chocolate Starfish (Chip) and two snails. <Cute name! The tank is a bit small...> Two or Three weeks after purchasing Diablito, he was attacked and covered completely by Ich and Bumblebee showed one or two spots. They were both quarantined to a 20 gallon tank to be administered daily water changes and treated with Kordon Rid Ich+. After 2 weeks, neither puffer is showing any signs of Ich. <If your display wasn't fishless for at least 4 weeks, you've basically accomplished nothing - the crypt is still there> However, four days ago, Diablito's left eye appeared to have the small white line curly Q'ed in it. Now it looks like an adult worm. (I have attached a photo) <Hmmm...> So far, I've treated with Jungle Labs Anti-Parasite Fish Food (Metonidazole (1.0%, Praziquantel (0.5%) and Levamisol (0.4%) and Jungle Fizz Tabs Parasite Treatment with Praziquantel. <Fish food isn't likely to help his eye, but will help rid him of internal parasites. Be sure to dissolve the 'fizz tablets' in a separate container of water first, or they will drop your pH like a rock! Seachem and Kordon make good anti-external parasite medication, you may try one of these brands if the Jungle product doesn't seem to be working> Am I on the right track? Do you have further suggestions and/or suggested time frame to continue administering above treatment? <You could freshwater dip the puffer, which would probably remove the external parasite(s). See our FAQs regarding. Also, you're going to need to eradicate the crypt from your main display - also in our FAQs> Thank you, <Anytime - also, please do visit/sign up at our forums: bb.wetwebmedia.com> Lisa <M. Maddox> Lisa Street <PS. I see you're living in Houston - lived there for a while before going to school. I miss the aquarium stores there!>

Puffer with worms? Really worried!   1/23/07 Hey Crew! My Puffer, "Blinky" has been doing fine, great; hungry all the time.  Late this afternoon I noticed the front part of him puffed up (just like a bullfrog).  I thought he was mad because I hadn't yet fed him, but also noticed that he coughed a few times.  So I gave him a defrosted (washed off) tail of a shrimp with the shell still on (because I thought this would be good for keeping his teeth in check and he seems to enjoy it).  He ripped at it hungrily until the Clown fish stole it for her Anemone.  He followed over, and after many attempts of trying to get it back (with the clown head-butting him ever so often), he (the Puffer) coughed up two (what looked like pale orange worms followed by the shrimp meat; white in color and in chunks that I recognized as just having fed him).  Now I couldn't tell if the worm things were actually living worms because the other darn fish ate them so quickly I didn't have a chance to see them wriggle).  I became very nervous and just fed him some krill because I thought the shrimp shell might have upset his stomached.  He ate that happily.  but I am concerned about the wormy things and his puffing up. <Mmm, I would not be concerned re either at this point... the worms may well be just part of the shrimp you fed... and the puffing... just an expression of sorts> I am going to ready my 10 gallon hospital tank just in case advised to move him.  What percentage of new water to old water ratio should I be using? <... I'd move all to the new tank from the old> And if discerned that these wormy things are in fact worms ingested by the other fish should I now be treating the whole tank and just leave Blinky where he is? <... would depend on what these worms... if they are... actually were... Microscopic examination>   Everybody else seems fine (with the exception of the vomiting Puffer), but as you know that could all change in a matter of hours.  Have you ever see anything like this?  And is it bad when a Puffer "puffs up" and coughs?  Best advice appreciated.  Really worried, Please get back to me ASAP! Thanks so much for being there! Lisa <There are general Anthelminthics that can be utilized here (see WWM, the Net with this term and the word "aquarium"...) But I would not panic, move the puffer... if it is eating, all seems well otherwise... I'd just go forward as you have been. Bob Fenner>

-Possible Isopod issues-   1/20/06 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 its 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 when the puffer breaks off spins or nips fins.  do keep an eye out for long term issues.  You also will probably need a bit bigger tank long term for these guys as all the fish get to 15" + other than the damsels.> 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 anti 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 are 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.> 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)>  

Dogface Puffer w/Internal Parasites? 9/25/04 Greeting all! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a possible problem I'm hoping you can offer advice on. I recently purchased a dogface puffer who was very skinny. It was a rescue from a chain store - I know I shouldn't have as it just encourages them to buy more, but the poor thing was in a 10g tank (its nearly 6 inches long) looking at me with sad eyes begging "please, please get me out of here!" Anyway, they said they had trouble feeding it, but were only offering it frozen brine shrimp. Upon getting it home, I discovered he was more than happy to eat Krill, Clam, Ghost and Mysis shrimp, as I suspected. <Brine shrimp for a 6" puffer?  Poor thing.  Brine shrimp is mostly water & not very nutritious at all.  He's lucky to be in your home, eating the "right" foods.  Try whatever you can find in the fish dept of your grocery store (except fish).  I buy a lot of assorted goodies & freeze.  Then I thaw in warm vitamin water, as needed.> Mr. Puff has now been in quarantine for about three weeks with lots of meaty food daily, but isn't getting as fat as I had hoped. He's not nearly as emaciated as he was when I first got him, but is still rather streamlined for a puffer, especially after he poos. I'm wondering if he may have internal parasites, or if I'm not giving him enough time to recover the lost body mass. Would it be advisable to treat for parasites? If so, any suggested medication? <It certainly couldn't hurt.  I have had great success using Discomed, by Aquatronics.  Unfortunately, that company has gone out of business, but there are still some boxes around for sale.  Here's a guy that has some to sell: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=lounge&action=display&num=1095291341 & a thread on alternatives to that med: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1093270673.> I have heard adding Fenbendazole to the food is good, and it is available at the local farm supply store, (though figuring out small enough dosages could be a problem). However, I'd rather not treat unless necessary. <You are correct that the med has to be added to it's food.  Some folks have had some success with garlic, but I think that will just enhance appetite, not rid the fish of internal parasites.> I also had a question related to damsel compatibility. When he's out of quarantine, he will be making his home in a 75g aquarium. I was thinking I would like to add blue damsels for color. I realize it might not work because the puffer might decide to eat the damsels, but that isn't much of a concern for me. Not that I want them to get eaten, but if they do, its really not much different than offering feeder fish. <I don't see any problems with adding damsels with your puffer.  they are quick & can hide out in places the puffer can't reach.  I have had damsels for quite some time with much more aggressive puffers, without any problems.>   What I am more concerned about is after reading about damsels going after divers, that they might turn on the puffer. Is this a reasonable fear? Or would they likely leave their potential predator alone? <I have been "bitten" by many a damselfish while diving.  There is no way those little teeth would be able to do any harm to a puffer's leathery, spiny skin.  Not to worry!> I was thinking of adding five or six blue devil or yellow tail damsels, or even doing three of each to keep their battles for territory occupied with each other and not the puffer. If this sounds reasonably safe, what would the best order to introduce them be? The puffer and the damsels at the same time, or one before the other? <I don't really think it matters, but if you are concerned, add the damsels first.> Thanks so much again for your assistance! <Sure & enjoy your puffer!  ~PP> Take Care, Tami

Puffer with Worms in eyes, What Do I Do? (9/8/04) Hey guys, I wrote to Mike D and am hoping to hear back from him, but I need to know something pretty soon. <Leslie here this morning, Mike may be out battling the hurricane........hopefully I can help.>    I was observing the dogface puffer that I got in about 2 months ago.    He had small white spots on his fins when I got him in. He has never really gotten better ever since I have had him and I have tried a variety of medicines. <Possibly Lymphocystis believed to be viral due to environmental causes. The best results have been reported from providing good water quality and good nutrition. > Over the last week his health has gone down hill.  I have tried a variety of medicines without any luck.    < For future reference ......It would be useful to know what medications you used, the dosages and time frames as well as in what way the fish has gotten worse, any other symptoms,  what how much and how often you have been feeding and if there is anything new or different in the tank.  Medicating with either inappropriate, to much or to little medication can actually do more harm than good.  > I checked the water and everything seems fine. < Actual numerical water parameter values are much more helpful when one is assisting with these sorts of problems. > But tonight I was observing him and I noticed that he has been squinting a lot lately.  I was looking at his eyes and noticed a small mass of greenish worms actually inside his eyeball.  They were squirming around and actually in the cornea area. < Yuck....I am not a fan of worms. Puffers are often carriers of worms, but I have not seen or heard of anything like this before. I consulted with Anthony and he passed on the following information... "although uncommon, some fish can develop a worm cataract (larvae found within the eye). They supposedly are not contagious/communicable in the aquarium and the fish can live just fine with them believe it or not."> What the hell should I do in regards to this...is there anything I can do to save him or should I just find some method of putting him out of his misery painlessly (and if this is the case is there anything you recommend?). Thanks, Mike <As I have heard Bob say many times "long as there is life there is hope, my friend". Since the Puffer's health had been on the decline in the last week with other meds having no effect and if you have not already tried an antihelmenthic (deworming medication), perhaps one of these is in order.  You may have read some of Kelly the Puffer Queens posts....she has had excellent results with deworming Puffers using Praziquantel AKA Droncit. I have obtained it online and it is frequently used for eliminating intestinal worms in dogs and cats,  so you might be able to get it from a Veterinarian. The dosage according to Dr. Noga's book Fish Disease  Diagnosis and Treatment is 23 mg/pound of body weight. So this would require you weigh the Puffer. It is most effective administered internally via food, so the fish needs to be eating and you have to get the medication into the food. If he is not eating it can be used as a dip or bath. It sounds as if he may have something else going on as well. To be honest though,  if effective in killing the worms my guess is that the only way for them to eliminated from his body  would be for them to be reabsorbed. It is a good possibility that this could leave the Puffer with impaired vision, if not blind but I am not certain..... There is a place called National Fish Pharmaceuticals here http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/.  they have a few broad spectrum antihelmenthics.  I can't really tell you what to do.....I can say if it were my Puffer I would try it. If you need more help with this please do not hesitate to write back. Best of luck with your Puffer. HTH, Leslie>
Review of a Query Response Please ....Puffer with Worms in Eyes Hi Bob and Anthony, Hope you are having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!! I am attempting to answer a query and would appreciate if you could just review my response prior to my submitting it......re a Puffer with worms in it's eyes.....poor thing.....have either of you seen or heard of this.......if not Anthony if you see Kelly perhaps you could ask her what she thinks and for some input. Here is the email and below my response .... <Excerpted> Thanks so much!!! Leslie <Leslie, I like your response altogether, content and format-wise. The small spots could be a single-celled organism (Microsporidean possibly) or encysted worms of some group... in all cases, with the observation of likely nematodes in the eyes, I would prescribe the same sorts of treatment. Bob Fenner>
although uncommon, some fish can develop a worm cataract (larvae found within the eye). They supposedly are not contagious/communicable in the aquarium and the fish can live just fine with them believe it or not. Anthony back from a long weekend... whew! not so relaxing after all - re-plumbed Kelly's 600 gallon tank. Yikes! Much better now for the tank, but not much sleep for me <G>
Hi Bob, Thanks so much I appreciate the guidance. Anthony also responded and mentioned "that some fish can develop a worm cataract (larvae found within the eye), which are supposedly are not contagious/communicable in the aquarium and the fish can live just fine with them. " It sort of gives me the creeps knowing there are worms in the eye and not treating them. <Yes... reminds me of the Loa loa worm of humans... no thanks> The young man responded. Based on the fact that he has used hyposalinity of 1.010, Rid Ich, then ParaGuard for 3 weeks and now Met for 2 weeks I have drafted this and will send it off if you think it is good advice..... <I do. Bob F>

Puffer with Worms in eyes, What Do I Do? Foll0w Up (9/8/04) Leslie, Thanks for the response.   <Your welcome I hope it helped> Tank parameters: Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: <5 ppm,  PH: 8.3, Temperature:  current 79 ( goes from 78-80) and Current Salinity: 1.016 . <Thanks for the info.... All looks good except I would be tempted to bring the salinity up closer to 1.018 and I like to keep my tanks a tad cooler in the 75 to 77 range if possible.  I have found that lower temps help to minimize bacterial populations along with routine water changes. > Medicines and procedures used: Hyposalinity 1.010 as recommended by LFS with half does of rid Ick (per container and Mike D. for scaleless or sensitive fish). <I have had stubborn cases of Ich where 1.010 was not sufficient to effect a cure. As soon as I lowered the specific gravity to 1.008 the visible spots were gone in 3 days and after 4 weeks at that salinity they never returned.> Brought the salinity back up now per Mike D. Hyposalinity needs to be used for at least 3 weeks to allow for the complete life cycle of the critter, with 4 even better. I have used it as long as 6 weeks. > Used Para guard for 3 weeks...improved for a while then came back. Dosage per container. <I have heard varying reports on the effectiveness of this treatment> Currently using Metronidazole.. been using for 2 weeks some improvement until 3 days ago then ick came back and discovered the worms. Dosage 6 scoops every other day as per container's directions <Metronidazole, is an antiprotozoal drug with a antibacterial effects against anaerobic bacteria only. If this is Ich it will not treat it.> The only thing I have been able to find in my own research was the possibility that it is a copepod eye parasite.  I'd send a picture, but I don't currently have the ability. <Oh that's to bad a photo would be helpful as well as educational. > He was housed with a moray when first quarantined.  The Eel never showed any signs of the disease and was removed. <These guys are pretty hearty. Glad to hear the eel did well and has been separated from the Puffer. Good job!> No other changes to the tank.  Tank filtration consists of a Bak Pak skimmer/filter and a bio wheel with carbon removed.  Live rock (7 lbs).  The tank is a 29 gallon quarantine tank. <Glad you have the fish in quarantine. One other thought that comes to mind is that depending on the size of your Dogface Puffer 29g is on the small side unless you have a tiny guy. > The Eel has been moved to the display after separation and observation. Anything else that you need?  I finally did make contact with Mike D. He is in the middle of the hurricane and said he would get back to me when he could. < I had a feeling Mile was in the middle of that storm....hope he and all his critters are safe. Hmmmmm. I think I would give the puffer a break from the meds for a bit. I once had the MOST stubborn case of Ich, near about drove me nuts.  I used dechlorinated  pH, temp adjusted freshwater dips daily for 7 days, as recommended here on the site by Bob,  in conjunction with hyposalinity at 1.008 for 6 weeks. It is imperative that you use a calibrated refractometer when employing hyposalinity.....all the other methods of measuring salinity are far to inaccurate, leaving to much room for error....... below 1.008 is not recommended and much above that you are not really treating the parasite. Scott Michael has a recent article on marine parasites in which he mentions the use of FW dips for up to 30 minutes if the fish is comfortable and tolerating the dip. My Puffer did very well for the full 30 min, he even ate in the dip bucket.   Slight increase in gilling would be normal but thrashing, spitting  at the surface, gasping, rapid gilling  or rolling over on to it's side would all be signs of undue stress and reason for immediate removal from the dip. I have found the following article and FAQs invaluable..... The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease & FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Nutrition plays a big role in how any of us fare with illness...enough cannot be said for optimal nutrition all around but particularly during times of stress and illness......if you are not already varying his food and providing a good vitamin supplement you should start ASAP. Bob frequently recommends liquid baby vitamins. Have a look at this article ..... Nutrition: Foods and Feeding for the Marine Aquarist http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm If you have not read the articles here on the site re marine parasites please do have a look at these as well....Marine Aquarium Parasitic Diseases and FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Steven Pro has an excellent article called Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon irritans - A Discussion of this Parasite and the Treatment Options Available, Part I & II which can be found here ... http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm  and http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-10/sp/feature/index.htm If it is Ich those should help. However Bob Fenner responded to my request for assistance with this and here is his response..... "The small  spots could be a single-celled organism (Microsporidean possibly) or encysted worms of some group... in all cases, with the observation of likely nematodes in the eyes, I would prescribe the same sorts of treatment" Your puffers spots may not be Ich and may very well be related to the worms in the fish's eyes......I wish I had a definitive answer for you. Once  he has had a chance to recoup a bit from the previous meds and has had some supplemental nutrition in the way of vitamins, all things considered in addition to the fact that Puffers frequently come to us with worm infestations I would be inclined to go ahead and treat for worms with one of the antihelmenthics. It would be important to do this while he is still eating. One of the antihelmenthics from  available from National Fish Pharmaceuticals may be easiest to use. I would also recommend frequent water changes any time one is dealing with pathogens. The water changes function to keep the environment clean as well as reduces the pathogen load, fewer pathogens are easier to fend off than larger numbers would be. Again best of luck with you Puffer and please do let us know how he does or if you have any additional questions. HTH, Leslie>

White worm in puffers' eyes 5/20/04 I'm battling an outbreak of skinny, white worms affecting at least two of my puffer fish (a Valentini puffer and a striped Burrfish). The worms seem to gravitate to the fishes' eyes but also have appeared on fins and poking out of flesh. I haven't find any info online, so any advice much appreciated...Thanks, Jenn P. <for success with fishkeeping long t term, you will want to have a good diagnostic fish disease book on hand. For a cheap, reliable book look for Untergasser's old but accurate "Handbook of Fish Diseases) (TFH press). The best modern work to date is that of Noga's. To address your problem now though is fairly easy. Any parasitic worms that large to see can easily be dropped off with a proper freshwater dip and/or use of Formalin. Please do a keyword search of our site for these terms and protocols if unfamiliar. Best regards, Anthony>

Puffer With Possible Ich  4/28/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just transferred my false eye puffer into my new 120g tank using a high quality net and proper acclimation.  I noticed that he has 3 white spots on his fins.  That was 4 days ago and he is not scratching and is eating well.  The other fish show no signs of Ich or spots.  I'm concerned this could be Ich but could just be trauma to the fin's.   <If he's not scratching, eating well & it's only a few spots, I wouldn't worry yet.  How long did you quarantine?> If it turns out to be Ich what is safe and effective treatment for this fish? I would also have to treat my purple tang and tomato clown.  I can use my old 55g as it is set up as a hospital tank .  Do you recommend a freshwater dip at this time?   <Yes, FW dip & hyposalinity for the puffer would help, if it is indeed white spot, but don't panic yet.> Please help, Concerned in Minnesota.  Thanks! <I think your puffer will be just fine.  Keep an eye on him for more spots & then you can take action.  ~PP>
Puffer with Possible Ich  4/28/04
Hi,  Thanks for your reply.   <Sure, that's what I'm here for!> Sorry I didn't give more info.  I've had the puffer for 2 years in a 55g tank.  I just transferred him into the 120g tank with my other 2 fish.   <Sounds like a nice tank for him.> After I transferred him into the new tank I immediately noticed the 3 white spots on his fins.   <Possibly stress related...> That was about 6 days ago and he is acting fine, no scratching and eating voraciously as puffers do.  The tank is doing well with nitrates, ammonia and nitrites at zero. The spots are still there however.  The other fish are fine.  I'm hoping that the spots are just trauma from transferring with a net.  I tried to catch him with a container but had no such luck.  If it does turn out to be the dreaded white spot are there any treatments along with  FW dips, hyposalinity and temperature elevation that is safe for puffers?   <Really, those methods are the best.> I also have a tomato clown and a purple tang.  I've thought about getting a cleaner shrimp but the puffer may  eat him.  I have some snails in the tank and he leaves them alone but I'm not so sure about a shrimp.  I guess I could try one and see if he's aggressive to it and then place the shrimp in my reef tank. <Have you seen a shrimp inside many a predator's mouth?  It might work, if it is indeed a parasite.> Thanks, Finally defrosted in Minnesota after a beautiful 90 degree day today. <Ooooh nice!  I live in breezy Chicago.  !PP>

Puffer with...pimples? (12/18/03) Hi Crew, <Hi! Ananda here today...> First off, I love your site.  It's a wonderful source of information.   <Thanks for the kind words.> I've asked Santa for your Reef Invertebrates book for Christmas.  I haven't been a good girl so who knows if I'll get it :). <Heh. Maybe the guy in the red suit will see this and it will show up...we can but hope. ;) > Here's my dilemma.  I have a small dog faced puffer that developed Ich but now has Ich, cloudy fins and small bumps on his body like black head pimples. <Do look up "black spot" on the WWM site and see if that might be it.> I don't know if this is just Ich or Ich and something else.  The tank is a fish only 26 gal with a Fluval 204. I have 1 dog faced puffer, 1 clown, 1 blue green Chromis, 1 red fire fish and 1 Hawaiian algae blenny.   <You should add a new fish tank to that list for Santa... a 26 gallon tank is far too small for your current batch of fish. I would suggest at least a 75 gallon, though bigger is better.> A 5% water change is done weekly and new charcoal every 40 days.   <Charcoal is exhausted fairly quickly -- within days, not weeks. By the time you're changing it, it's developed a good quantity of nitrifying bacteria.> Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, pH 8.2 - 8.4, nitrate 80, temp 78. The nitrates have gone up in the past few weeks from 40 to 80.  I'm trying to bring the nitrates down. <Got a skimmer? Refugium? Deep sand bed? All will help -- and removing the charcoal more frequently might, too. But the thing that would help most is a bigger tank; the high nitrates are a sure sign you're overstocked. Do increase the amount and frequency of your water changes until you get these guys into a bigger tank.> The fish are fed every other day. <I'd suggest daily feedings, and more frequent water changes.> This problem started on the second day after introducing a new Hawaiian algae blenny to the tank. <Ack! No quarantine?> The only fish that had Ich was P-Fishy (puffer).  I immediately did a 20% water change, turned off the lights as instructed by my LFS, removed the charcoal and treated with  Quinsulfex.  The next day the Ich was gone. <Well, it *appeared* to be gone...but was hiding in the tank. There is no such thing as a one-shot-and-it's-gone cure for marine Ich.> I waited 5 days then did a 10% water change and added new charcoal back in.  Boom, the Ich was back on P-Fishy the next day.   <Yup. I'm not surprised. Ich does that.> I did a 5% water change, removed the charcoal, and treated with Quinsulfex.  Again, the next day the Ich was gone. <Or so it appeared.> As the medication instructions noted, this time, I treated the tank for a second time with Quinsulfex.  With no Ich detected after 14 days, I did a 5% water change and added another new charcoal.  Bada-Bomb-Bada-Bing the Ich came back.   <Yep. Marine Ich has a one-month life cycle.> This time there was the addition of white clouds on the fins and small spots on his body. <Likely stress from the on-again/off-again treatment is a contributor...as is the poor water quality.> Every time I think it's gone and add charcoal, the problem resurfaces.  I guess that's why they call it ICH. I've read the plethora of information on your site about Ich.  I don't understand why it's only attacking P-Fishy and not the other fish (not that I want it to).   <Because puffers are "Ich magnets" and will show signs of infestation before the other fish in your tank....> Am I dealing with something other than Ich?   <Quite possibly.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Your first order of business is to get a hospital tank set up for these guys. (That may coincide with getting a bigger tank for -- even a 55 gallon tank would do "for now", if you can get a bigger one later, and then you could use the 55 for a sump/refugium. You could use the new/larger tank as your hospital tank while the current tank goes fallow for a month or so. Then play musical tanks/fish, with the fish and sand, rock, etc. currently in your 26 ending up in the new tank. Then you can use the 26 as a quarantine/hospital tank.) The puffer needs to be in a hospital tank, where you can treat him for Ich with hyposalinity and daily water changes. If the other spots are "black spot", you need to treat that, too, and that's best done in a hospital tank. I would definitely recommend that you let the main tank go fallow, which means that ideally, you should have one hospital tank for the puffer and a different quarantine tank for the other fish. But as that main tank is just too small...I'll ask Santa if he can get you a new tank as an early Christmas present, but if you can do that, maybe he can get you some of the other stuff on your list.> Thanks, Felicia <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Dogface Puffer - is this ICH ? (11/13/03) Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I've had freshwater tanks for years, but am only about 6 months into my first 90gallon saltwater tank. My favorite fish, a 4" dogface puffer with great personality developed small white dots about 12 days ago. Based on my reading, I assumed this was Ich and immediately quarantined him the first day it showed up.   <Good move. What else is in the tank?> Since then, he gets daily freshwater dips (with Methylene blue) and 20% water changes every other day, vacuuming the bottom of the tank.    <Excellent. Have you started hyposalinity?> The dots have gone from about 10 total, to covering much of his body and seem to be getting worse rather than better.   They seem to fill in pores in his skin, while some pores are still clear.  I've attached 2 pictures, can you please look and tell me if you think this is indeed Ich or something else?    <A few people have looked at these photos, and we're not sure what this is. I'm curious -- when you do a freshwater dip, how long is the fish staying in the dip? Do any of the spots fall off during the dip? Also, in these photos it's hard to tell, but are the spots raised at all? Is the fish exhibiting any other signs of Ich, such as "scratching" on things? Is he eating like usual? Breathing more heavily than he used to?> Can you suggest additional treatment? <If you haven't started with hyposalinity and increased temps in the hospital tank, I would try those. They won't harm the puffer, but should prove detrimental to the parasites if that's what they are. More info about your tank and its occupants might help us figure out what this is, or at least rule out some possibilities.> Thanks so much for your help, and the great site! Gregg <You're quite welcome! --Ananda> <Ananda asked all the WWM Crew to look over your images... the white "dot markings" showing may be simply a developing color pattern... or possibly signs of some external parasite (perhaps Trematodes/flukes). If it were me/my fish I might try a pH-adjusted freshwater bath to see if these spots "dropped off", otherwise I would simply keep an eye on the specimen and see if its health seems mal-affected. In either case, these spots will likely "cycle off" causing little trouble. Bob Fenner>

Dogface Puffer - is this Ich? The mystery deepens... (11/15/03) <Sabrina found more info for all of us: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400 ... Note how several of these puffers have those white spots in similar arrangements. Sabrina mentioned "Looks like all the Arothron genus have these bumps." If that is the case, we're probably looking at one of a few things: some sort of natural occurrence, some parasite that is common to puffers, or just maybe some sort of symbiont that is common to puffers. The puffers in these photos that have these white spots appear to be healthy, but unfortunately we don't have life histories of those fish. If you could both please look at these photos and tell us if your fish have (or had) something like this, I would appreciate it. Thanks! --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer - is this ICH ? -- Nope! (11/15/03)
Thanks for the quick response!   <Hi! Ananda here with good news!> The 90gallon has a yellow tang, 12" snowflake eel, a small valentini puffer and two domino damsels. The puffer is alone in the QT tank. <Keep him in there.> The QT tank has salinity of 1.019 and the temp is 82 degrees, compared to 1.025 and 78 degrees for the 90gallon. Since the puffer has been in QT for about 14 days now, with the daily FW dips and the spots have only increased, I'm thinking this must not be Ich after all.    <If the FW dips did not help *at all*... doesn't sound like Ich, especially if the spots are not raised.> He seems healthy, eating and swimming around as normal. As you and Bob suggested just keeping an eye on him, do you think it is necessary to keep him in QT? As I understand it, flukes are not contagious - is this correct? <I don't know about flukes, but another reader wrote in about her puffer, named Chompers, and what worked for them.> Thanks again! Gregg [quote from Lindie:] Hi Ananda, I was just on your daily questions and saw the picture of the dogface puffer. That is what Chompers looked like from what I could see from the picture. See if they can find some of the receiver 2. I am telling you, that stuff works like a champ! I never dipped Chompers or anything, just the Q/T and fed him and he cleared up in a week/2 weeks and he is looking so good now. Especially since he is away from the Meanie Queen Angel. I hope that beautiful Dogface heals up nice and fast. Chompers waves a fin to you and the crew and blows bubbles to his new friend who he hopes gets back on his fins real fast. Lindie [/quote] <If you can't find the Receiver 2, Lindie was kind enough to send us the list of ingredients of the stuff: "Polymers, salts, Nitrofurazone, Methylene blue & sulfas: Diazine, Methazine & Merazine." All of those are anti-bacterials. Nitrofurazone and Methylene blue are easy to find. You might try treating your puffer with those, at half the usual suggested strength. Let us know how this works out! --Ananda> Another Dogface Puffer...Answer! (11/15/03) Hi Ananda, <Hi!> I was just on your daily questions and saw the picture of the dogface puffer. That is what Chompers looked like from what I could see from the picture. See if they can find some of the receiver 2. I am telling you, that stuff works like a champ! <Woo-hoo! Thanks for the info. I will pass your whole message along to the person with the sick puffer.> I never dipped Chompers or anything, just the Q/T and fed him and he cleared up in a week/2 weeks and he is looking so good now. Especially since he is away from the Meanie Queen Angel. I hope that beautiful Dogface heals up nice and fast. <Me, too!> Chompers waves a fin to you and the crew and blows bubbles to his new friend who he hopes gets back on his fins real fast. Lindie <Thanks so much for this. More info coming... --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer - is this Ich? More on Receiver #2... (11/15/03)
Thanks!  These are great pictures!   <Yup! Will pass the thanks along to Sabrina.> I'd not seen this site before and not had any luck finding similar pictures. <Fishbase is a wonderful site....> Several of these look exactly like the spots on my fish. Arnig_u5.jpg is a good example, although the spots are not as dense on my puffer (although they are getting denser over the last two weeks). Also, Arnig_u6.jpg and Arnig_ub.jpg, although those specimen look fatter or slightly puffed up. <Could be either. For those reading along who missed the previous one, here's the link for the thumbnails of these pix: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400> Right now my plan is to keep him in QT for a couple more weeks and see if I can locate the Receiver2 product that Lindie mentioned.   <As it happens, due to a *totally* unrelated thread on the forums, I know what else to have you look for if you can't find the Receiver 2. BettaMax, which is sold in capsule form by Aquatronics, has almost identical ingredients: "250 mg capsules of water soluble Nitrofurazone, Methylene blue, Polyvinylpyrolidone (PVP), vitamins, NaCl, Sulfas: Methazine, Diazine, Merazine". If you go with these, I would dose at full strength, given that this is designed for Bettas that are much smaller than your puffer.> I have been using Methylene blue in the daily freshwater dips - the only result being that he doesn't seem to like me as much...  (no effect on the spots). <I'm just imagining your puffer, pouting in his freshwater dip....> If you do find any more info about this condition, I would be very interested. <Me, too!> I'll keep you posted on the hoped-for recovery. <That would be great.> Thanks again. Gregg <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Dogface Puffer -- Mystery continues (11/18/03)
Ananda, <Hi!> In looking at those pics, <at   http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=6400 > I noticed that a lot of those puffers were in "puff mode" or going in or out of it. <Yeah, I saw that too. Either that, or they'd eaten heartily right before the photos were taken....> And when Chompers would puff and any other one of my puffers does he gets a funky spotting on him. <Interesting. I haven't personally seen a saltwater puffer puff up -- could you describe this "funky spotting" a bit more, for my own info?> It is not the same as the indented spotting that occurred on his body when the Angel was picking on him. Just my opinion though. <OK. I wasn't sure it was the same thing, but thanks for looking at the photos.> I hope my lil tid bit with what I went though with my lil Chompers will help out some. <Me, too. That's why we do this! :-) > Did they say what kind of fish their dogface is in with? They could have a "picker" in there too. <Possibly, but I think there were too many spots for that to be the case, and the spots kept increasing even when the puff was in isolation.> Take care. Oh I do have a question for you, can you keep more than one dogface together in the same tank? <I've seen photos of that being done before. Dogface puffs are so mild that I think they'd be fine together. You might want to rearrange your rock when you add the second puff, so that any ideas Chompers has about "his territory" get diffused.> Lindie <Thanks! --Ananda>

Porcupine puffer with possible Ich - 2/13/03 Our 6 inch porcupine puffer has recently developed small white spots on his body, but they seem to be concentrated on the dorsal side (or maybe just not visible on the white belly).  I am thinking that this may possibly be saltwater "Ich".  We have had him for over 1 1/2 years, and nothing new has been introduced to the tank recently other than food (clams, silversides, prawns, and marine cubes, all frozen).  This happened shortly after a stressful event when he got stuck to a new powerhead. <Yep, stress will often cause an Ich breakout.> I am a bit confused because he is acting totally normal.  Normal activity and feeding, and doesn't seem to be scratching on anything or breathing heavily.  In fact he seems to be in perfect health other than these small white dots. <Good signs.> The dots are very tiny, but not as round-looking as freshwater Ich.  He also may have one or two worms, but we can't decide if these are actually worms extending from the skin or something else. Does this sound like a parasitic disease, <Definitely> and if so how should I treat it. <Standard procedure for Ich: start with a freshwater dip in pH-adjusted, temperature-adjusted water with Methylene blue added.... more info here and on the linked pages: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm ...just do NOT use copper for the puffer!> It is a 80 gallon FOWLR tank with the only other inhabitant being 1 blue damsel that looks perfectly healthy. <Keep an eye on him.> Thank you, Ariel <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Porcupine puffer with Ich (part II) - 2/15/03
Thanks so much for your quick reply! <You're welcome.> We will purchase the Methylene blue and do the dip tomorrow.  Just a few questions on the treatment: How much Methylene blue should I add, and how long should I dip for? <The bottle should have directions on how many drops to add. Try to keep the puffer in there for at least five minutes, but if he doesn't deal with it well and starts to look too stressed, be ready to pull him out.> Any suggestions on how to get the porcupine out of the main tank without introducing too much saltwater to the dipping area?  We have to catch him in water, obviously, to prevent him inhaling air if he puffs. <Try putting some food into a large container. Let him swim into it. Then drain off most of the water in the container -- it's okay if his back and tail get out of the water, just keep his nose in -- before putting him in the dip bucket. If you use a sufficiently large container for dipping, any saltwater that gets in will be less significant.> I'm thinking we'll use a smaller Rubbermaid container for the dip as long as the Meth blue isn't too expensive, <Much less expensive than a new puffer...> otherwise we could us a water change bucket from one of the freshwater tanks. <Sounds good.> Also, would you recommend lowering salinity and raising temperature in the main tank, or should we hold off to see if the problem clears itself up? <Definitely raise the temperature. I would lower the salinity gradually, and not below 1.018. We don't want to kill off the live rock.> Thanks again! Ariel <You're welcome. BTW, the damsel needs to visit the hospital tank, too; you'll want your tank to be fish-free for a month so the Ich dies off. --Ananda>

Puffers and copper, take 2 (07/26/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I knew that scales fish do not tolerate copper well from experience treating my Sweetlips and powder blue tang. I was reading your website and it said copper is a good treatment for puffers maybe its a typo but this is under the disease section of puffers. "Puffer species are very susceptible to Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium (as well as the eye, skin abrasion, and gas from lifting maladies already mentioned), but fortunately respond well to copper treatments." <Hmmm. My response to another person who mentioned this recently: 'I always try to steer people away from using copper with puffers and other scaleless fish because they are *so* touchy with copper. While it is *possible* to treat puffers with copper, it is also *difficult* to maintain the copper at a level which is sufficient to kill the parasites without endangering the puffer. ... Add to that the fact that copper will also kill all beneficial bacteria in a setup, and that means the hospital tank is likely to have some ammonia -- which is deadly to any fish. The combination could easily prove too much for a puffer to take. Freshwater dips are significantly less dangerous to the puffers (as long as you keep their heads submerged so they can't gulp air!). And the daily water changes are designed to do accomplish two things: keeping the ammonia levels down and removing any Ich from the bottom of the tank.' I've just read too many stories of scaleless fish doing badly with copper treatments to recommend that people treat Ich with copper, when it is possible to treat it with freshwater dips, hyposalinity, and water changes. --Ananda>
Puffers and copper (07.25/03)
<Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I am sad to report that my puffer passed away. <Sorry to hear that.> I noticed that he started to develop ick. I had a quarantine tank setup already because I received a Angel that had been shipped to me with ick. The tank was medicated with copper so I placed the puffer in the tank. <Oh, no... never, never put puffers in a tank with copper. Copper is very dangerous to scaleless fish, as it will pass into the fish's system much more quickly than it would for a scaled fish.> After about 2 minutes the puffer started to go crazy spinning in a circle and trying to jump out of the tank I didn't know what to do I couldn't place him in my main tank since he had ick and he seemed to be suffering in the quarantine tank. <Back into the main tank would have been good, despite the Ich. Ich can be treated by other means besides copper (hyposalinity, freshwater dips).> Wasn't sure why he went crazy in the quarantine tank I keep all the stats the same in both my tanks so its a better transition when I move the medicated fish to the main tank. <Yes, that is a good idea... it's just that the puffers can not tolerate copper. Sadly, you are not the first person to make this mistake. Bob, Jason -- could we put a banner or something on every puffer page on the web site that says "Do not use copper with puffers!" or some such? And have it be a link to a short text as to the reasons why? This sort of story is far, far too common, and frequently fish store clerks ignorantly recommend copper to people with puffers. --Ananda>

- Parasite Problems - Hello guys/gals I have a problem with one of my tanks and wanted to see if you guys could help me. I have a 75 gallon tank in the garage with about 80 lbs of live rock with a blue dot puffer, a clown trigger and a Hawkfish that is my holding tank until my 375 gets in. Well everybody was doing fine for the longest time then about a month ago I noticed that my blue dot puffer was getting very skinny but he would still eat a lot therefore I went from feeding every other day like I've always done to feeding every day even though the other 2 guys were very fat. Well even with me feeding every day the puffer kept getting skinnier and skinnier until he died a few days ago and now my Clown Trigger is starting to look skinny. Is there some sort of disease or parasite that could cause this or am I just not feeding them enough. <Yes, I'm afraid so... nematodes and Cestodes are the most common culprit - like tapeworms, they can out-compete for nutrients.> I had the blue dot puffer for over a year and he was a nice size for the longest time. I feed them all sorts of stuff such as Mysis Shrimp, Blood Worms and Squid. Thanks for your help. <Do try to get a hold of some Fenbendazole from your local veterinarian. Your best bet is to put this fish in quarantine for about three weeks and treat the quarantine tank directly with the Fenbendazole for that entire time. The Noga book of Fish Disease recommends 2mg/liter or 7.6mg/gallon of tank water. This should give your fish the upper hand against these parasites. Cheers, J -- >

Diodon holocanthus with white spots Hello. I am writing to you as I am rather desperate. For about three weeks my puffer has had white spots (only on the fins). They appeared about a week after I bought the fish. I tried different treatments (lowering salinity, administering various medicine, FW baths). I am avoiding copper as I read that it was not good for puffers. <Agreed> Currently the fish is in a quarantine tank, being treated by a mixture of formalin, Methylene blue and some other thing (I forgot which).<would make sure you figure out what this "thing" is> The problem is that as soon as it seems that she is getting better, the spots reoccur. They have never disappeared completely. I am not even sure that this is a case of Ich, as the spots seem semi-transparent. Otherwise the fish is great, she doesn't scratch and has a very healthy appetite. Any advice would very appreciated.<Well if he/she is eating and otherwise acting "normal" then I would stop the treatment of these somewhat toxic chemicals, BTW it doesn't sound to me like ICH. IanB> Thanks,

Re: Porcupine puffer spots >Sorry Marina, just wanted to clear up that I must have had a typo and there are no nitrites in the system.  I have moved forward with treatment....thanks for your input! >>Ah!  Great, makes *much* more sense now.  The only thing I could think was that you might have been taking the tank apart and cleaning it thoroughly on a regular basis, thus creating a new cycle with each cleaning.  I know, I know, but there really are folks (way back in the very earliest days I was one of them) who do this!  I hope the fish will soon be on his way to recovery.  Marina
Porcupine puffer spots
It's been three days since I sent this message.  I don't know why I continue to not get responses.  I spoke with Anthony before about this and he mentioned that puffer responses get directed to a "puffer person".  I don't know if something is happening then, or if the person is just really busy.  But this long is unusual and I consider this an emergency. >>I'm sorry, don't know what's up with our puffer lady.  The message title doesn't indicate any emergency.  We apologize. ----------------------------------------------------------- Hey guys! >>Greetings, Marina here. >I have had my porcupine puffer for about 6 months now and things have been going great.  I had one small issue with a growth on its tail but that has since handled itself.  Within the past few weeks though, I have noticed white spots on his skin beginning to develop.  They do not resemble Ich, as in on the skin, but rather the skin itself seems to be spotting.  The water tests fine--NH3=0ppm, NO2=2ppm, NO3=5-10ppm, PH=8.2, SG=1.025.  I have no idea what this could be, nor if it is a problem.   >>I'm a bit concerned that you are still having *any* nitrite readings, especially with a system six months old.  This is a problem, and consistent, long-term readings can lead to stress.  I would surmise that this may be the issue with your fish. >I have included a picture to help identify what may be wrong. >>It's a bit difficult to tell, but they appear "dusty".  If you agree with my assessment of their appearance, then I suggest your fish has marine velvet.  Please see the following links: >> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm >> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffersysfaqs.htm I do hope this helps.  Marina

Puffer Problem Hi -- I stumbled across your site looking for information about my golden Tonga puffer, Ralph.   <Hello, Sabrina with you today, hoping to help you and Ralph> I need some help with his breathing--I've had him a month short of two years and have treated him for gill flukes at least twice with Paragon with good success.  This time he's not responding at all, I've done four rounds and sometimes he will move it a bit but never really open it at all.   <By 'it' you mean his gills, right?  Well, gill flukes usually cause fish to gasp and have rather labored breathing due to the parasites causing damage to their gills, so the fish can't absorb oxygen from the water as well.  So far, this doesn't sound like flukes to me.> He's about ten inches long, six around and is in a fish only tank of 80 gallons with a pair of fire clowns, a squirrel fish and a coral beauty.  I'm running two emperor 400 hang on filters with activated carbon and a remora protein skimmer in addition there are two air pumps in his tank and I do at least a ten percent water change weekly.   <Sounds good, perhaps increase the amount of water that you change weekly, and be sure to check your water parameters, make sure everything checks out okay.  You're also going to want to consider going larger in tank size soon....> What would you suggest I do next for him?  He's just not a happy puffer--he no longer wiggles and splashes when I come home but is still eating his shrimp like a pig and some algae but not as much.  Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, he's my big yellow baby and I'm just desperate to maximize his life span.  When I travel I even have my family come over just to talk to him, he likes company!  Thanks so much, Janine <It may very well be that the very active squirrelfish is stressing your puffer out, and may be that your puff's just pouting about it, trying to let you know.  Keep us updated - hope Ralph perks up for ya!>
Puffer Follow-up
Thanks Sabrina, I appreciate your help.   <Sure thing, Janine.> He is perking up a bit.   <Glad to hear that!!> I've discovered if I make him "bite" at his food through the glass he'll cough and that forces that gill open---so I've been doing respiratory therapy with him and doing that 2-3 times a day <Honestly, I'm not sure if this will accomplish anything - but it'll certainly give him something to be excited about, and perhaps get him out of his sulkiness!> ... and doing more water changes is probably a good idea too.   <Yup, water changes are always good ;)> I've chucked in some Maracyn today just in case it is flukes but I'm with you, I don't think that's it.    <At this point, I'd like to mention that it's always best to medicate in a hospital tank, if you absolutely must medicate.  Many meds will really wreak havoc on your bacteria bed, which will result in ammonia problems, etc., etc. - and especially since we don't know what's ailing your puff (if anything), it'd probably be easier on him to skip the meds for now.> I'm leaning more towards some sort of obstruction and am considering having my vet x-ray him except he won't know what he's looking at once he develops it--- <Yeah, it seems to me that most vets really aren't terribly knowledgeable about fish.  I've seen unbelievably crowded fish tanks at vets' offices before, with incompatible species, even.  But I got to have somewhere for my cat to go when she's sick!> I'll keep you posted and thanks again for the help--I'm not sure the squirrel bothers him, it's more likely the female clownfish upsets him.  She darts at him when he gets too close to the clamshell she considers her "anemone"-- Janine <It could very well be the clown, then.  I know *I* wouldn't want to get in a fight with an aggressive female clown!  Do keep an eye on your fishes' behavior, as your puff's sulkiness may very well be from compatibility issues.>

- Puffer Problems - <Greetings, JasonC here...> We have a 150g tank with 160lb LR, Picasso trigger, Naso tang, Sailfin tang, yellow tang, spiny puffer, snowflake eel and 2 general sea star.  I have been dealing with my LFS for setup and everything seemed fine until last week.  I am extremely meticulous with following instructions and documenting readings, actions, etc. and checking in with LFS.  However, something went wrong somewhere... I said that it looked like the puffer had Ich.  No problem, prone to it... then I said that it looked like the yellow had it and wouldn't eat and the Sailfin had black Ich.  Again, prone and should go away... then I said looks pretty bad and around the eyes.  LFS came out to work on pump vibration and told him to bring treatment with him in case I was right.  Turns out, I was right and almost everyone in the tank has it and the puffer is really bad. <Sounds to me like you would have benefited greatly from using quarantine procedures... making sure all animals were parasite free before adding them to the main tank. More on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > That evening (Tues) we started first of 3 doses of 'Sano aqua remedy' and switched to only frozen Formula One soaked in garlic and Zo? Twice a day and tiger shrimp in am.  Next day added a cleaner wrasse and turned lights off. <Uggh... not the best selection for this problem, and also not quarantined... you are only adding to your difficulties. More on the cleaner wrasse here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm > Today the puffer has refused shrimp at both feedings... he was previously a good eater and ate out of my hand and would also eat frozen and flake.  His eyes are now totally clouded and his color is pale. <Not good signs... am not familiar with the treatment you added, but it is suspect IMO.> My LFS says there is nothing else to do for the Ich outbreak and to let it run its course. <Terrible advice - there is not only much you can do, but if you let any parasitic problem 'run its course' you will likely end up with a tank and no fish.> I am seeking other opinions because I have not come across this non-action anywhere else. <I would agree and consider 'firing' this fish store - their advice is worse than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.> Is there anything I can do to try and save the puffer...should I really just leave the tank alone and hope it goes away? <No, please don't let the tank alone - you need to take immediate action and start by isolating these fish. Please read the following links which will give you some background and remedial actions to take: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > I suggested taking out the sea stars and doing a low salinity shock in the tank or a fresh water dip for the puffer... no to both. <Hmm... hyposalinity is only mildly effective in my experience and should be part of a system of treatments. Likewise, your hunch that the Seastars should be removed is correct - hyposalinity will kill them.> Please advise as soon as possible... obviously at this point, time is crucial and I really don't want to lose my first, or several fish (pet) if I don't have to. <Start reading.> Thanks in advance for your help! --PT <Cheers, J -- >

Puffer Problem? Hi--I recently bought a puffer fish from a pet co and I am starting to notice that he is getting tiny little white spots on him that look like little bubbles or specks of sand in his fins and on his spines.  Please tell me this is not that awful ick that the store said that fish can get. If it is, is there something that I can purchase to save my fish?  Also, he looks unusually plump.  We have had a puffer in the past and that puffer wasn't as fat as this one...is this ok...maybe he is just growing?   <With regard to the little white spots- sounds a lot like Ich to me. After confirming this (see the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information), you may need to move him to a separate aquarium for treatment.> Aside from the puffer fish, our tank is about 2-3 months old now and we have had no problem with the water until now...it is starting to look a little cloudy. What does this mean and what should I do to make this go away. We are running a Tetra 300 I believe it is...anyway, it is way over the power we need for the 40 gallon tank we have <Just about the right size, but more filtration could never hurt!> and we also are running a skimmer though I am not sure if the skimmer is working well enough...we just got it about 4 days ago.  How do you tell if it is working correctly? <A properly functioning skimmer will have a very fine "smoke" of bubbles in the riser column, produce very dry foam, and will yield a very thick, dark gunky effluent in the collection cup> The tank is also starting to develop this brown stuff that is sticking on the back glass, on the top layer of sand and on the coral we have in the tank. Is this algae? Is it ok for the fish? <Yep- sounds like brown algae or diatoms. The algae themselves are not "bad" for the fish, but they are indicative of higher nutrient levels in the system. While they are routine in most new tanks, I am concerned in your situation, because you have a cloudy water situation, which could be the result of overfeeding, high nutrient levels, and diminishing water quality. Keep a very close eye on your tank, execute regular, small water changes, make sure that the skimmer is working properly, and use restraint in feeding your fish, and don't overcrowd this relatively small tank.> Another fish we have in the tank is a lion Dwarf. This fish will not eat anything but feeder fish (Toughies).  Is this healthy for him or should we be concerned about the amount of dirty little tuffy fish we feed him? <This fish can and should be weaned to frozen foods, such as krill, Mysis, clams, etc. There is no reason for him to subsist on freshwater feeder fish, okay? They are an inadequate diet, in the long run. He'll be much healthier with a variety of foods!> Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! <No problem! I'm glad that you found our site. Do refer to it for all kinds of information on your fish and their care. Arm yourself with a good basic saltwater book, such as Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", or Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium", and you'll learn a ton! Just take it slow, keep reading, and feel free to ask us questions if you encounter more difficulties! You'll be a successful aquarist with a little knowledge and a few  good basic maintenance habits. Take Care!  Regards, Scott F.>

Re: puffer with stringy growth and re-growth Hey Bob & Anthony, <Hey Kel> Sorry it took so long for me to respond........I was in Puerto Rico on "business"........actually I did attend a few of the medical seminars in between diving, hiking in the rain forest, touring the old forts and of course visiting the Bacardi Factory. <Ah, life is tough> In regards to the puffer, the pictures are hard to tell.........but the history does not favor infection. I am wondering if the "stringy, lint" "fuzzy stuff" is a parasite or worm. I have had large isopods and nematodes actually come out of a puffer's mouth. <Yick!> The recurrence makes me think that this could be the case. I would try a dewormer, such as Praziquantel (Droncit), Fenbendazole (Panacur) or possibly Piperazine (I haven't had good results the two times I have used this one). I would treat the puffer and repeat the treatment in 7 - 10 days. Since he is eating, I would soak his food instead of adding it to the tank water. I would also start adding garlic daily for at least two weeks and then at least once a week. I have dropped garlic oil on a nematode and it actually shriveled up.......please don't report me the PETA!!! The garlic will also help the puffer's immune system. <Okay> Keep me updated and let me know if I can be of any further assistance. If you get any better pictures, please forward them as I am very curious. I'm sending you a pic that I took off Culebra. I must have sucked down 500 PSI when I came around this reef and saw him and he did not swim off and actually let me fumble with my camera. I just got my digital camera and am trying to understand & learn how to take underwater pics.............so bear with me...........I haven't reached your level yet!!!!!! <You will... and beyond. Bob Fenner>
Kelly aka Puffer Queen

Puffer Diet/Ich Bob, Steven, Anthony: <Anthony Calfo at your service> I just received a Blue Guinea Fowl Puffer as well as a Juv. emperor angel that I am quarantining in my 20 gal. tank.  <magnificent fishes!> I am aware of the veg. diet for the angel, I was told that the puffer likes meaty items. How do I feed the new addition? By hand, drop food in, leave a closed clam for him to chomp on? Any help would be appreciated. <do read through the articles and FAQ's archived on this site, please. Extensive info on this subject is available here. In a nutshell though... this puffer needs a lot of shell on crustaceans like frozen krill and live crayfish for example. There is concern about getting overgrown teeth among other things> I also have lowered my salinity down to 1.019. The place where I picked up the fish indicated that he keeps his salinity even lower. I was told Ich can not live in salinity lower than 1.014. I informed him that I felt very uncomfortable lowering it that much and would go down to 1.019. I initially had my at 1.021, but I lowered before I acclimated the new arrivals to the tank. I am aware you lower the salinity when there is an outbreak of Ich, however he indicated that he rarely has problem with Ich due to the lower salinity.  <while some fishes will take the extremely low salinity, many will not. 1.017-1.019 is a nicely safe low end for most fishes> He is running a UV sterilizer as well. Is the combination doing the job, or one will not work without the other?  <fine for temporary holding (like a LFS) but unnatural to most and stressful to some fishes long-term> The subject is debatable, but I value your recommendations and if you feel that he is correct, I will lower even further. Thank you again for your assistance on this subject. Regards, Mendy1220 <you've got fine instincts. A little lower is OK, but do your water changes, feed well and simply be ready to medicate if necessary. Kindly, Anthony>

Puffer with Ich My striped puffer came down with Ich, so I'm treating him in the only other tank I have, an 18 gal that was to be my Caulerpa tank. I have isolated the tank from my main tank and it is a bare tank except for a heater and a magnum 350 with a micron filter (all I have). The puffer is about 5 inches long. The other fish in my 90 gal tank was a 6 inch tusk, which my LFS was kind enough to treat for me in one of his tanks (leaving my main tank empty for 4 weeks). I'm fortunate to have a good store close to me (he even quarantines his fish!) <Great to hear, read> My problem is that after only 2 days the ammonia level in the 18 gal is 1.0. Can I let it get any higher before I do a water change?  <Hmm, well puffers are more "ammonia tolerant" than other groups of marine livestock, but I would be changing water if this value was exceeded nonetheless> What should the level be before I change? How often would you suggest I change the water considering the size of the tank and fish?  <As/when it exceeds 1.0 ppm> Also, I've got a 29 gal tank with live rock that I can move the puffer to once he's been treated (using Copper Power), but I'm not sure how long he has to be isolated (the Whitespot were gone the morning after I put him in the tank with copper). <Two weeks> The last thing is that the Copper Power bottle says not to do a second treatment, that it stays in the tank, however, If I have to do many water changes won't that dilute the copper concentration? <Yes... and the copper will "leave" in other ways. Do monitor (with a chelated copper test kit) and replenish the copper daily> I'm thinking I should get a copper test kit and keep the level as recommended but I'm hesitant without guidance. I appreciate your help immensely! <Oh, yes... do get/use the test kit daily, record your readings, calculate and re-apply the product to keep up the therapeutic dosage. Please read through the "Copper Use" FAQs on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner> Learning as I go, Hank
Re: Puffer with Ich
One other quick question if you don't mind... When I do a water change on the 18 gal (treating the puffer with copper), how much water would you suggest I change? Thanks for the quick response to my questions. I really appreciate the straight answers... Thanks again, Hank <If you can limit these changes to a maximum of 25%... Like four gallons... and pre-made water. Cut/paste and read: http://wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm  Bob Fenner>

It's not getting better (Puffer troubles) Hi Bob, the hairdresser again. Sorry to ask you again, but I don't know if you remember, when I hooked up my 190g L-shaped tank, my puffers just got off an almost 3-week Ich treatment with Cupramine.  You advised me to put them in the new tank, because more than 3 weeks with copper is just not good. <Actually, any more than two weeks is too hard on most any/all fishes> You also told me that the white spots may never go away, I understand, but my puffers (mappa, starry, stars & stripes, dogface and narrow line) still have a few spots, a few more after I have put them in the tank. I am not sure what to do, occasionally I'll pull one out and dip them in order to kill a few parasites, but I just want to make sure that there is no other option to rid or at least better the system of Ich, should I adjust temp and salinity back to 1.015 and 85f or should I let things run it's course.  <Actually, a good friend (a helpful, knowledgeable one) who is the "Queen of Puffers", Kelly Jedlicki... is a "sister" to your arrangement... having many of these same puffer species... in quite large systems. I am contacting her here... think she would endorse the use of Garlic (she uses same, help Leng Sy with his formulation)... as an adjunct to nutrition, treatment here.> They don't really scratch too much, but is there anything I could put in my water with the live rock?? <I would/do advise the use of a liquid vitamin and iodide preparation as well. Added to the foods daily, and the tank water itself, weekly> Also in the tank a lawnmower blenny, banana wrasse and a tiny clown trigger without any signs of Ich. Today I just had to put a cleaner wrasse in, since my neon gobies ended up as lunch and cleaner shrimps are just not an option. <No, more expensive meals> My water levels are great and I even put grape Caulerpa in the tank, which on second thought I will build a refugium for in the next week, since this stuff grows like crazy. One last thing, the brown hair algae is gone, but I am still fighting green algae not Cyano) that look almost like grass. The lawnmower blenny is in heaven, but I am going bonkers.  My rock was so beautiful when I spent the money and now it looks like lettuce rock...does the system need more time to establish? How long can this take, the system is about 6 weeks old. <Just more time my friend> My main concern is the Ich,  <If this is what you are observing> are there any other ways to help? I have a quarantine tank, but I can't put all my little friends in there, it's only 20g. I know for sure there will never be any corals and such in the tank.  Is there something that won't kill all the live rock. Take care Bob and talk to you soon, SASCHA <Yes, Bob Fenner>
Re: it's not getting better (Puffer health)
Thank you for your response, I'd love to get the input of your friend, (Kelly Jedlicki) in regards the use of garlic, what brand/oil or the real thing,  <Leng Sy's/Eco-System Aquarium, or the real thing I suspect. Did send her the post, and this one too... may be on sabbatical or working (as a nurse).> which vitamins could I use or buy rather in bulk? Selcon is just a tiny bottle for my 6 tanks. What brand would be good but more available and cheaper? <Do come in larger size. Do check with the etailers on the WWM links page here> I would appreciate if you could forward my mail to your friend, especially since she loves puffers as I do. <Done. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much, SASCHA
Re: it's not getting better (Puffer troubles)
How about kick Ich, I know you don't like it much, but could I use this for the Ich without destroying the live rock?? <I would not use this product here. Bob Fenner> thank you, SASCHA

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: