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FAQs about Freshwater Puffer Disease/Health

Related Articles: The Nice Puffer: Colomesus asellus , the South American Puffer by Neale Monks, Freshwater PuffersAlone But Not Lonely: The Importance of  Keeping Puffers Individually by Damien Wagaman, Freshwater to Brackish Puffers, Puffers in General, True Puffers, Family Tetraodontidae, (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: FW Puffers 1FW Puffers 2, FW Puffers 3, FW Puffer Identification, FW Puffer Behavior, FW Puffer Selection, FW Puffer Compatibility, FW Puffer Systems, FW Puffer Feeding, FW Puffer Reproduction, BR Puffer Identification, BR Puffer Selection, BR Puffer Compatibility, BR Puffer Systems, BR Puffer Feeding, BR Puffer Disease, BR Puffer Disease 2, BR Puffer Reproduction, Puffers in General, True Puffers,

puffer with a problem      1/2/17
hello, and happy new year. i work in an aquarium store and am in charge of all facets of husbandry. two weeks ago we purchased a freshwater leopard puffer. since i am at home right now, i can't be more specific about his species.
<A photo would help. But assuming this isn't a Figure-8 Pufferfish (and these are very distinctive) then the two "Leopard Puffers" of the trade, Tetraodon nigroviridis and Tetraodon fluviatilis, are identical in terms of size, diet, water chemistry and social behaviour. So doesn't really matter which species you get!>
he was perfect. happy. swimming and eating well. on Tuesday last, i found what appears to be a cyst beside his left eye. it is the size of a marble.
he has stopped eating, and has taken on the disastrous gray belly
. he still swims a bit, but is otherwise miserable. he is in brackish water. any guidance you can offer will be much appreciated.
<First things first, how brackish? Some folks think adding a teaspoon of salt per gallon is enough. It's not. Brackish, for these puffers, means a sizeable fraction of full seawater. Given seawater is 35 gram marine aquarium salt per litre (about 4.75 oz per US gallon) what you're aiming for is between one-tenth to one-quarter that amount, i.e., 3.5 to 9 g per litre (0.5 to 1.2 oz per US gallon). If you have a hydrometer, that's something like 1.001 to 1.005 at 25 C (77 F). The ideal for a young pufferfish is probably about 20% seawater strength, or 6 gram/litre (0.8 oz per US gallon). Alternatively, if you have a marine aquarium in your pet store, mixing one part marine aquarium water with four parts dechlorinated tap water will produce 20% seawater. Proper brackish conditions will go a LONG WAY towards inhibiting bacterial and fungal infections, as well as reducing stress. You can also use antibiotics safely with pufferfish. But you need to avoid the commonplace medications that contain formalin and copper, both of which are quite toxic to them. Pufferfish do heal quite quickly when given good conditions, and are actually quite tough fish. But the grey belly implies stress, and damage to the eye region, likely through careless handling, will need good conditions to heal properly.>
thank you.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Sick Fahaka Puffer Question     12/3/13
Hey Crew,
Long time reader, first time writer.  I have a sick puffer that neither myself nor my aquarium savvy circle of friends can figure out.  The setup is a single Fahaka puffer that I've had for just over a year (was under 1 inch when I first got him/her, so tiny!) living in a 55 gallon freshwater, lightly planted tank with a sand bottom that I perform roughly a 30% water change a week.  Nitrite is at 0, Nitrate is <20ppm, and Ammonia at 0 as well.  Diet is currently chopped squid, prawn, mussels, and clams (and the occasional peas when I can sneak them in) soaked in VitaChem.  The problem started a week ago when I noticed a loss of pigment at the base of the caudal fin on one side, but it looked kind of like a small scrape.  No redness or inflammation, just white tissue with seemingly no break in the skin (like just the pigment peeled off).  Two days later a small red stripe along the bottom of the caudal fin developed and the puffer stopped eating.
I ramped up water changes, doing 5 gallons a day, and the red stripe disappeared, but the white area remained and grew to both sides of the base of the caudal fin.  Over the weekend, the white spot turned more into only what I can describe as 'flesh eating bacteria.'  It now looks like a break in tissue and getting worse (and turning red).  Also, the caudal fin is undamaged and seemingly fine as he is still wagging it in the stream of water from the powerhead.  Oddly, the puffer is more active and swimming around this past weekend with it looking horrible than all of last week (though still not eating).  Attached are two pictures, one from mid last week with the beginnings of the white spot and the other from this morning.
It's getting worse and any advice you have for me would be much appreciated.  Nothing new has entered the tank other than frozen food in months so I can't pin point any sort of source.  I was planning on doing a Methylene blue dip this evening and take things from there.  Any guidance or hunches would be greatly appreciated!  You have a great website and set of experts here!
All the best,
Nick
<Hello Nick. Thanks for the kind words about WetWebMedia. I think your hunch about a bacterial infection being to blame is a good one, though a skin infection (such as Costia) might have been a triggering factor. Hard to say without doing appropriate examinations of skin and slime material under the microscope. A treatment of antibiotics (such as the classic Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination) would seem the best way forward. Don't worry about the lack of appetite; as/when the fish gets better, it's appetite will recover, and in the meantime this fish can go several weeks without food and not come to any harm. Do also visit ThePufferForum.com and post your pictures there. There are some very knowledgeable people there.
Do also review environment, diet, and so on critically. I would recommend more than 55 US gallons for this species, and while your water quality sounds good, I'd plan on a bigger tank and presumably a bigger filter too.
Cheers, Neale.>

Dwarf Puffer - Died     5/24/13
Hi,
<Daniel>
Yesterday one of my dwarf puffers appeared very bloated and wasn't at all active, this morning the puffer fish has died.
<Bunk!>
On close inspection, one side of the puffer fish is red and it looks very large and swollen.
<Mmm>
My tank is 180L and I have (had) 2 dwarf puffers and 3 Otos.
<Well... there is some overlap twixt these fish species chemical/physical environmental ranges>
Temp:77-80F
Nitrites:0
Nitrates:  40ppm straight out of tap,
<Yeeikes! I'd get/use an RO device for your potable needs>>
so using a nitrate removal filter to
Nitrates: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0.001(from Seneye, verified as "0" with an API test kit)
Adding co2 (KH 12, bringing ph down to 7.2) - controlled via a PH controller. PH verified with Seneye
My other dwarf puffer appears fine.
<Mmm, mysterious>

This was really unexpected and happened very quickly within the space of 48 hours.
Do you have any idea what could have caused this?
<Likely "something internal"... These puffers often have lumenal parasite issues. I so wish the trade would prophylactically treat all imports w/ Metronidazole and an anthelminthic (Likely Praziquantel)... Do read re these medications on WWM>
Regards,
D
<Sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Carinotetraodon travancorius sick     6/4/12
Good Morning,
<Hello Catherine,>
Please could you give me some advice regarding my lovely dwarf puffer?
<For sure.>
Some background info on the tank; 35L BiUbe,
<A bad aquarium, full stop, and the wrong size and shape for these pufferfish.>
ammonia 0.25 despite daily 20% water changes (50% change three days  ago, but not sure if it's making things worse, will get to that..),
<The problem here is the BiOrb family of aquaria, including the BiUbe, have a poor surface area to volume ratio, and this means there's not much undergravel filter given the amount of water that needs processing. Net result, good water quality is extremely difficult to maintain.>
nitrate 0, nitrite 0, pH7 (using API liquid test kit), temp 26C. The tank is planted with Amazon sword/java fern/Anubias nana/java moss, on rock and bogwood purchased from lfs.
<Okay.>
I introduced three of these little guys about 4 weeks ago, fed twice daily with frozen bloodworm defrosted in tank water prior to feeding with tweezers (about 5 worms each at each meal). 
<Bloodworms aren't a good staple food, and (arguably) aren't a safe food either. You'd be better off with demonstrably safe foods, such as enriched frozen brine shrimp and small pieces of cockle and white fish fillet.>
A fortnight ago I went on a short holiday and left the fish with a pet sitter, I returned to two dead puffers, I was very surprised as they'd appeared very healthy and happy in their tank. The pet sitter told me one had a 'cotton wool' like appearance.
<Fungus, but could be post mortem just as easily as being the thing that killed them.>
I tested the water at that time (10 days ago) and had the above parameters, on the advice of my lfs stopped feeding for a couple of days with a 20% daily water change.
<Good.>
There was no improvement in ammonia after a week so 3 days ago I did a 50% change and filter change. There is still no improvement in water quality. I use a dechlorinator with aloe and 'Pure' bacterial balls plus a weekly plant fertiliser 'Ferropol'.
<In turn these are good, pointless, and probably needing to be used sparingly given your plants are all slow-growing types (the Amazon Sword won't last long under the pokey lights in BiOrb tanks, so treat as disposable and focus on the plants that have a reasonably chance of growing, the Anubias, Java moss and Java fern).>
For the last week my remaining puffer has looked well, been active and eating, however yesterday developed very glazed eyes, a shrunken belly and tucked tail fin, he was obviously distressed sitting on leaves at the bottom, this deterioration happened suddenly, within a few hours and I was sure he was going to die.
<I'd concur.>
However this morning he's bright eyed, active and eating again, with a nice round stomach.
<Good.>
I have a horrid feeling this pattern may repeat if I don't get to the bottom of the cause.
<Agreed.>
I worry it's the ammonia, in which case what else should I be doing to improve water quality?
<Reduce feeding amount overall; divide meals up across the day so there's very little in the tank at any one time; remove uneaten food promptly; maintain the built-in filter to the highest standards, e.g., with weekly rinses and removal of junk like carbon with more useful biological media;
and if possible upgrade the existing filter or add another.>
He did have very grey skin yesterday and what looked like a fluffy white patch on his head, and the smallest white dots on his body, barely visible to the naked eye. These have improved today.
<Very good.>
I'm so sorry for the long email, I'm very inexperienced and desperately want to do the best for my little fish,
<I'm sure this is true. However, you've chosen a relatively difficult species to begin with (not intrinsically delicate, but demanding) and the aquarium you have is one of the worst possible designs for beginners (expensive yet unable to hold as nearly as many fish as its volume might suggest). A "dream" set up for your first Dwarf Puffers would be a low, rectangular aquarium around 35-45 litres/8-10 Imperial gallons; a good but simple internal canister like the Eheim AquaBall or else a large sponge filter and air pump; a heater; sufficient lighting to see the fish and 1-1.5 watts/gallon if you wanted a few shade-tolerant plants; and lots of lava rock onto which you could tie Java fern, Java moss, and Anubias if you wanted to. You'd have only just enough sand to cover the glass (all three of those plants are shade-tolerant epiphytes) and maybe some ceramic ornaments to provide additional interest to the tank. All of this would well under what you likely paid for the BiUbe 35-litre system.>
so thought if I gave the entire background you could pick out the parts that are actually relevant.
<Indeed.>
Many thanks in advance for your advice,
Catherine
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

South American Puffers, need info.    1/8/11
Hi,
I had 3 South American Puffers up until this week. On Thursday morning all 3 were happy and content, they fed well. That evening I came home from work and all 3 still seemed good. I went out to the grocery shop and when I came back 1 was dead. I tested the water, it was fine.
<? What does this mean? Put yourself in mine/our places... need real values, measures, units>
The dead puffer looked well, no signs of fungus or fighting etc. Under the advice of a friend I treated the tank with Kusuri wormer, just in case.
<... What gave you an indication that this might be due to worm infestation?>
Tonight, I was sitting watching TV but also looking into the tank now and again (as you do). All of a sudden 1 of the puffers puffed up.
<?! Strange>
Nothing seemed to startle him. I was looking into the tank from the other side of the room so I couldn't have spooked him. I'm worried something is wrong with him now. Could there be any reason for him puffing like that?
<Yes... stress, shock... but from what?>
At the time I remember the other SAP being at the other end of the tank so I don't think it was him either.
Worried SAP owner,
Lisa.
<Take the long read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpuffdisfaqs.htm
and the linked FW Puffer files above... does anything "jump out" for you?
Bob Fenner>

Just wondering about my S.A.P. Puffer, hlth...    8/20/10
Hello,
<Hello Hannah,>
I have a couple of questions regarding my South American or Amazon Puffer.
<A nice species.>
About three weeks ago it's tank mate ( another puffer) died and since then it hasn't really been eating or swimming around too much. I've tested my water and everything is normal. Also, she looks physically healthy and normal, the only problem I can find with her is that she has stopped eating.
<Various issues here. What was the other puffer fish species? An SAP? You mention loneliness below, and yes, that can be an issue. But also check diet has been suitably varied; like are carnivores, overuse of thiaminase-rich foods such as mussels and prawns can cause poor health, even death.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
A good diet for SAPs will include occasional mussels and prawns but lots of thiaminase-free foods including cockles, tilapia fillet, earthworms, bloodworms and mosquito larvae.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm
>
I spoke to the owner of the LFS where I purchased my puffers, he told me the since everything tank-wise was fine, that adding another puffer would help as my puffer is probably sad to be alone.
<Yes; I would buy two more, and keep a trio.>
So I went to look at the store's selection of S.A.P. Puffers and they are about 2 inches smaller than my puffer back at home. I thought this might be a problem because my puffer is so much bigger than these little ones and I'm not sure if she would harm one of them.
<Unlikely to do so. SAPs are not territorial, and generally different sized specimens get along fine.>
I spoke to the LFS owner and he told me he honestly wasn't sure. So I was wondering if you guys knew anything about S.A.P.'s having problems with size?
<Well worth doing. Good luck, Neale.>

MBU seeming sick HELP!! Please 12/02/08 Hello, <Hello,> Over the past year I have had Two MBU puffers. The first one was given to me as a gift and died within 3 weeks. <A very difficult species to maintain; not recommended for home hobbyists without lots of experience.> He had ich when I received him and seemed to get through it then developed a extended rectal area and seemed to swell a little over the entire body and then died over a few days. <Likely some type of bacterial infection, but difficult to say precisely what. Certainly never a good idea to purchase fish with obvious Ick infections. But since the fish was a gift (!) then that's not really your fault.> Now I am on my second MBU. He has done very well for a couple of months until I put a Palm house plant near his tank I had brought in for winter. It seemed it really freaked him out to have this thing in the same room because he hid for about 2 days and developed Ich himself. <Hmm... Ick doesn't come out of nowhere. It's important to understand the Ick parasite cannot survive outside of a host fish for more than a few days. Hence, once you exterminate the Ick infection in an aquarium, it should NEVER come back, UNLESS something else brings new Ick parasites into the system. Do take care to identify diseases properly: Ick can be mistaken for other things, such as early stages of Finrot or Fungus. These two infections are MUCH MORE related to stress. The organisms that cause them are normally harmless, even beneficial, in healthy aquaria. When fish are in good condition, their immune system prevents problems. When a fish gets stressed, these previously harmless organisms can cause disease.> Now please note he has eaten fine but had to be fed near his hiding area. I raised the temperature to 82 F for the Ich. He has about 10 spots that come and go over the past week. My water is; am. 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20, ph 7.6, lots of plants, 2 Fluval 405, 1 Eheim 2236 Ecco. in a 100 gal tank. <Water seems fine. Do ensure the filtration is adequate: I'd recommend filtration around 8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. By my reckoning you have 185 + 340 + 340 = 865 gallons per hour total, for a 100 gallon tank, which seems fine. But do ensure the filters are working properly, not clogged up.> This has been going on for the past week. <You must deal with the Ick immediately. Add salt (5 g per litre should be ample) and raise the temperature to around 28 C (82 F) but be very careful with the temperature because Puffers are highly sensitive to low oxygen concentration. The warmer the water, the less oxygen it contains. Salt is not at all dangerous to this species: Tetraodon mbu occurs in brackish water in parts of its range and has a high tolerance for salty water. In fact this is true for puffers generally, so the addition of salt can be used safely as a way to kill Ick parasites. Leave the tank "warm and salty" for around two weeks, or at least a week after the last white spots disappear from the puffer. By contrast, copper- and formalin-based medications are toxic to at least some pufferfish species and should be avoided where possible.> Now to why I am asking you guys to help. Every night at 7:30 he goes to his sleeping area since I have had him. Every morning when I turn the light on he takes about 15 min. to wake up and start his food begging. But this morning he didn't come out. I had to kind of move him out because I couldn't tell if he was alive or sick. He isn't begging for food and is sitting on the bottom. He did eat the 3 Prawns I gave him. but is still just sitting on the bottom. <I wouldn't bother feeding the puffer while he is sick.> This morning I put Jungle products Parasite clear in the tank. I hope this isn't really bad! <Would not use this in a Puffer aquarium.> I did this because it seemed to fix my little girls Dwarf puffer ( that clearly had IP) and because I observed some small slug looking things (about the size of aquarium salt grains) on some Java moss I purchased two weeks ago from the store I purchased the 1st puffer from who died. <I have no idea what "IP" is, so you'll need to explain. The white "slugs" are probably harmless invertebrates, such as planarians. In general, anything visible in the water or on the substrate won't be disease-causing. But these things can be a sign of overfeeding, since they're eating leftover food.> His diet consists of snails, prawn, shrimp, crab legs. <Would vary the diet some. Crustaceans (i.e., shrimp, crab) contain thiaminase, and this destroys Vitamin B1, and over the long term WILL make animals sick if fed as a majority of the diet. So by all means use crustaceans as, say, 20% of the diet, but make the rest other things. Snails are good, so are mussels and especially things like clams and oysters. Squid is a cheap and extremely useful food item. I'd also add some lancefish. Obviously DO NOT use "feeder fish" because the risk of making your puffer sick is ridiculously high.> This is all really discouraging because I have purchased a couple Eheim 2250's and have a 300 gallon tank on order. And I really am not interested in other types of fish. Thanks for the help. Ed <I hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: MBU seeming sick HELP!! Please 12/02/08 Thank you for the fast reply! I have installed carbon and done a 30% water change to help remove any of the Parasite clear. <The carbon will remove formalin, but it'll have no impact on copper concentration. <<Mmm, not so. RMF>>  I'd be doing a succession of water changes, 50% a day, for the next 3-4 days if at all possible. The more water you can flush out the system, the better.> I have added the salt as recommended. He isn't eating today, so far. <No big deal. When he's happy, he'll eat. In fact it's a good "barometer" of pufferfish health: when they're healthy, they will eat anything and everything!> He appears to be breathing a little heaver and has bouts of what I would describe as coughing. <Could be a reaction to water quality, or something in the water even. Do consider possible toxins: paint fumes, stuff kids might have tipped into the tank like soda pop, and so on.> I also have seen him winking with the eye that has a spot on the rim of the eye. And one other thing I noticed is he will kind of dart around for a couple of seconds, kind of a shake would be a better description. <Darting about is often (though not always) a reaction to irritation to the gills, sometimes by parasites (Ick, Velvet) and sometimes to water quality (ammonia).> I don't know if any of this changes you thoughts on what could be wrong other than the Ick. Thanks again Ed <Cheers, Neale.>

Need Help For My Sick West Nile Freshwater Puffer 9/5/08
Talked to you guys last year and you were so helpful. I'm hoping you can help me out again.
<We'll do our best!>
Apparently my puffer, Tupac, was given bad food. We should have known, but didn't. It was dried shrimp - and we've been feeding him this for a long time. We must've gotten a bad batch, because the nitrates shot up in his water. Once we caught on that he was sick we started working on the water, changing it until we got it under control. However, Tupac is still sick; but seems to have gotten a bit better.
<Dried food goes "off" quickly when exposed to air and moisture, so it's always important to check packages are sealed and then to keep opened packages in airtight containers. Because of this, I honestly prefer (wet) frozen foods. So long as they're kept cold, they should be safe.>
At first, he just laid on the bottom of the tank with only his eyes moving; he wouldn't eat anything. After a few days he started getting better color and would swim around for awhile, then rest at the bottom again. We have him ghost shrimp and he ate a couple, then wouldn't eat again for a couple of days. Didn't want anymore ghost shrimp, but he did eat a snail. We
picked up some frozen shrimp from our aquarium store, and he ate one hunk of that, defrosted in his own water, but since that initial bite, he won't eat anymore of that. We've offered him snail, which he will eat, but no more than one a day.
<Leave things be. An adult pufferfish can go a long time without food. Let him clear his gut out and generally settle down. Maybe offer some tinned peas as a source of fibre (frozen peas sometimes work as an alternative). But leave it as that. Once he's healthy, he'll be hungry. If he's unwell, there's no real point offering him food and risking the problems associated with uneaten food and nitrate. Fish aren't "warm blooded" and don't need a constant source of calories like us. So "feeding a fever" may make sense for humans, but it makes no sense at all with fish.>
He does perk up for short periods, especially when he sees us, swims around a little, gets good color, then returns to rest in the sand.
<He's out of sorts. Really, all you can do is wait. He's either going to recover from his bout of poisoning, or he's not; there's nothing much that you can do beyond optimising water quality and ensuring oxygen concentration is high.>
My questions are, does he have a chance of recovering from this?
<Absolutely impossible to say for certain. My guess would be yes, he'll recover in time.>
Is there anything we can do to build his strength? Is there some type of tonic or food that he's likely to take that would boost his recovery?
<Nothing that I'm aware of. A systemic antibiotic like Maracyn might be used, but it doesn't sound as if the fish has a bacterial infection.>
Any help you can give me is appreciated more than you will ever know. We love this guy a lot, and we don't want to lose him.
<I think you're doing the best you can.>
Thank you,
Judy
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Need Help For My Sick West Nile Freshwater Puffer 9/5/08
Thank you for the reassurance and the advice.
<You're welcome.>
We'll follow your instructions and try not to impose our anxiety on Tupac. I am inclined to turn his tank light on every morning and off at night; my husband says he's getting enough daylight through the window, and the light might add to his stress.
<Most freshwater fish would prefer to be in gloomy conditions, so by all means turn the lights off/down if you want. Unlikely to make or break things either way though. Do provide at least some shade for any fish: a flowerpot on its side, for example, is a great hiding place for big fish. Plastic/silk plants also work great.>
This argument won't cost us our marriage, but any tips will be received with gratitude.
Thank you so much for your help.
Judy
<Cheers, Neale.>  

State of health declined / AW: Pufferfish, MBU, with lump - 05/06/08 Pufferfish, MBU, with lump - 06/02/08
Hi Marco & the WetWebMediaCrew, <Hello Lars.> Some weeks ago Heike emailed you about our MBU (+50 cm size) with a lump on the left side next to his mouth. <I remember.> Back then - apart from the lump - the fish was in good shape (active, eating regularly etc.). <Did you find out what caused the lump, was the lump sampled (e.g. syringe = a hollow needle) in cooperation with a vet? I understand this sounds difficult and potentially dangerous to the fish, but it is done with Koi, and large puffers also have been sedated successfully in order to cut their teeth. Those samples could have been cultured and you would have known if it was a lump caused by a bacterial infection.> Unfortunately the state of health declined by Wednesday/Thursday this week, when he (or she) stopped eating. He is not moving and/or eating anymore. <I am very sorry to hear that. Sounds really bad.> Attached please find a picture from today, showing the MBU laying in the water on his back. Heike gave the puffer a massage and some air <Did he swallow air (increase oxygen content of the tank water in this case)? Or did you see gases that were produced by bacterial processes inside the fish?> went off his body already (he/she started swimming a few minutes). She is keeping up with the massage which hopefully help ... <I believe touching will rather stress the animal, potentially harm its protective coat of mucus. Should only be done when air was swallowed cannot be expelled by the puffer himself.> If possible, please provide us with additional tips that will help to save our beloved brother (or sister). <I suspect (from description, this is not a fail proof diagnosis) a bacterial infection that originally caused the lump and now has spread to other organs. You can try an antibiotic treatment (only in cooperation with a vet and in a separate tank to avoid a kill-off of filter bacteria), I fear it is too late for sampling and a bacterial culture now. You know/have called the Koi Vet in Stelle (Fisch-Reha-Zentrum Nord), east of Bremen? Or Annette Bley a vet in Bremen?> Best, Lars. <Good luck to you and Klaus, even if I have to confess it does not look good for him. Marco.>

Sick Dwarf Puffer 11/23/07 Hi, I recently bought a 1/2 inch dwarf puffer to kill off the bazillion snails that are taking over my guppy tank (5 adult guppies/10 gallons). I removed the guppies, heated the tank to 80 Fahrenheit, and made sure it was ammonia-free. But rather than doing some snail extermination, the little guy has just been laying in the sand with his tail curled since I bought him two days ago. He jumps up a few inches whenever a snail tries crawling on him, but then he spirals back down. I don't know what to do. I'm hoping you might help...otherwise, I'll have to exchange the poor little guy. Thanks, Jessica <Hello Jessica. Pufferfish are basically hardy animals provided their twin needs for correct water chemistry and good water quality are met. So the things to check here are water chemistry and water quality. Dwarf Puffers -- Carinotetraodon travancoricus -- are freshwater puffers that appreciate pH 6.0-8.0 and moderate hardness. Water quality must be good: zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and nitrates less than 20 mg/l. Water changes need to be around 50% per week. Your water temperature is a bit too high: aim for 25C/77F. As water temperature goes up, oxygen content goes down, and pufferfish are intolerant of stagnant water. Pufferfish need a varied diet, not just snail. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and even small amounts of plant material are required (in planted tanks they will take bits out of the leaves occasionally, but otherwise supply things like tinned peas). Now, talking of snails... pufferfishes aren't the solution here. Snails turn excess organic matter into more snails. It's a simple equation. If you put too much food into the tank, or take too little organic detritus out, the snails will eat that surplus and make more snails. If there isn't anything for the snails to eat, they obviously can't multiply themselves (contrary to popular misconception, snails don't magically break the laws of physics and make baby snails out of nothing!). So anyone who confesses to a plague of snails is actually saying they overfeed their fish and don't clean their fish tank out properly once a week. Denying this is akin to a fat person saying they don't eat that much. If they ate the right amount, they wouldn't be fat! Likewise, if you control the amount of food going into a tank and remove organic wastes from the tank regularly, the snails won't breed rapidly. In a balanced tank the snails can only eat algae, and that might allow them to survive, but not much more, so you end up with a steady, small population of them you can remove by hand if need be. Cheers, Neale.>

My fish... Mis-mixes... FW dis. issues  11/23/07 Hi WWM crew I have 5 fish tanks at the moment all freshwater. I had 4 but I had to buy a new one because my big convict cichlid was picking on the littler one. Was this a waste because I could have put my little convict in (1.5 inch) with my grey bichir but I decided since my grey bichir (4 inches) is my favorite. could I still mix them and have an extra tank? or should I just leave them be. Also on my goldfish I noticed a black spot on his fin is this bad or should I just ignore it? Thanks for all of your help. <Ave! Mixing a female Convict cichlid with Polypterus senegalus could be possible, though it would depend on the temperament of the two fish. An aggressive Convict could harass the Bichir. Polypterus senegalus is a very mild-mannered species that does best in quiet aquaria. A couple of days ago I visited an aquarium store in London where the retailers had mixed Polypterus senegalus with a variety of Mbuna; the result was that most of the Polypterus senegalus had their pectoral fins nipped right down to the bone. Very nasty. So, in a biggish sort of tank (at least 30 gallons) with plenty of hiding places for both fish, I'd try it out and see what happens. A female Convict will probably be fine with the Bichir. As for the black spots on the Goldfish, these could well be Black Spot, a relatively uncommon disease that is caused by larval flukes. Normally the infection clears up by itself and causes no problems to the fish. So for now, just keep an eye on things. If you notice a large increase in the number of black spots, that would be more serious, and you should then treat with an anti-helminth of some sort. Jungle Labs 'Gold Care Parasite Care' is said to treat Black Spot Disease, and there may be others. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Dwarf Puffer  11/24/07 Hi again, <Greetings!> Thanks for the advice, but water quality wasn't the problem. I vacuum out around 10% every week and use carbon and Zeolite in my filter. I'll replace 50% now, as you suggested. I double checked the water--nitrates/nitrites, ammonia, pH, hardness, and chlorine/chloramine content are all safe. Since you mentioned ammonia being a serious threat to dwarf puffers, I purchased a detector that hangs inside the tank. I lowered the temperature to 77, too. <OK. Removing 10% per week is completely inadequate even for generic fish, let alone puffers. So I find it hard to imagine the nitrate levels were low. Carbon is useless in this sort of tank and so is Zeolite, so remove those and replace them with more biological media. To cut a long story short, carbon removes things water changes dilute anyway, and Zeolite removes ammonia which is being used up by the filter bacteria more efficiently. So neither does any good. Their main purpose is to remove money from the pockets of less experienced fishkeepers. Simple as that.> I admit I was definitely overfeeding the guppies for a while to ensure that their fry got enough food near whatever rocks they were hiding under, and God only knows how much my mother gave them while I was away at school. <Hmm... overfeeding is never good.> So I decided to feed the growing snail population algae discs to make them nutritious enough for a dwarf puffer (and to get them to leave my plants alone). <Won't work. Snails will either completely ignore plants (e.g., Malayan livebearing snails and Nerites) or view them as a salad bar no matter what you feed them (e.g., Apple snails, pond snails). Putting aside extra food for your snails is simply going to cause the snails to feed and breed more rapidly.> It turns out that my puffer was killed by an unknowing pet store worker. A much more knowledgeable worker told me today that the symptoms I mentioned are from the puffer having puffed air, which is fatal, which he must have done while he was being caught and transferred to the bag. <Nope. Pufferfish are perfectly able to gulp air and puff themselves up safely. They do this when captured by terrestrial predators like water birds. It certainly isn't fatal! What sometimes happens is they can't deflate themselves. This doesn't kill them directly, but means the fish can't stay underwater, and its gills dry out, and it suffocates. So unless the Pufferfish was floating upside down at the top of the tank with its belly out of the water, air wasn't the problem, and I have no idea where that store worker got that idea from. The "cure" when puffers do this, by the way, is to hold them head-upwards by the tail so the air can bubble out. This problem is exceedingly rare. Almost all, REPEAT, ALMOST ALL, pufferfish deaths in captivity are caused by improper water chemistry and/or water quality. They are otherwise extremely robust and easy to keep animals. So please, make sure you do large, regular water changes using a good dechlorinator and, in summer, if it gets too warm provide extra aeration to prevent the water becoming stagnant.> I received an exchange puffer, and this little guy is having all sorts of fun chasing snails and a couple fry that I had missed when I moved the guppies. Thanks for suggesting other foods for him--I ordered bloodworms and blackworms online today. <Very good. He will off course attack the Guppies, so not a good idea mixing them.> Thanks again for your help! Jess <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Dwarf Puffer  11/24/07 Hello once again, <Indeed, Hello again!> Sorry, I actually clean 20%-- two gallons out of 10. Sometimes more, when I've got an empty cat litter container I can use. I don't do the math thing very well sometimes... <I know the feeling..> So carbon and Zeolite are useless? <Not useless, but rather they have specific functions in freshwater aquaria. In the average tank, neither is essential and indeed wastes space in a filter that could be put to better use.> A few sites said that Zeolite was okay if I cannot find Bio-Spira, which I can't. <They don't do the same thing at all, so I have no idea what those sites were babbling about. Zeolite is an ammonia remover; nothing more, nothing less. You use it *instead of* biological filtration. Suppose you had an aquarium at pH 5.5 for acid-loving Apistogramma, you'd have to use Zeolite, because filter bacteria won't live at this acidity. Bio-Spira is a culture of filter bacteria used to jump-start a new aquarium's biological filter. You add it as per the instructions when setting up and (in theory at least) the tank will be near-instantly matured, read for adding fishes.> I used to have some, but all the stores in the area have stopped selling it. Do you know of a good alternative or a site for information about it? <This one, for a start. But regardless, once an aquarium has been running for more than 6 weeks, the filter bacteria will be more or less fully established. So Bio-Spira becomes completely redundant.> The point of the extra food was to make the snails breed more. Once I had decided to get a puffer, I wanted to have lots of healthy prey for him, and a forum suggested using a few of my pleco's algae discs. I know the fish will kill guppies; that's why I moved most of them. I missed a few fry, but losing two out of 30 is not a big deal. Besides, they're good food for the puffer, I hear. <They're not good food for the puffer at all. No captive pufferfish needs to eat live fish. Some people enjoy feeding live fish to their pet fish, and that's a different issue. But there are absolutely no advantages whatsoever to feeding live fish to vast majority (99.999%) of aquarium fish sold as pets. Quite the reverse in fact. In any case, the natural diet of your species of pufferfish, and indeed Carinotetraodon spp. generally, are insect larvae. If you look at their mouths, they are slightly upturned and are used for snapping up small insects they find around and among water plants.> I know that larger puffers can puff air, but every site I've gone to says that dwarf puffers will nearly always die if they do. <Some aquarium sites are great, some not so much. All I can tell you is that the writers at WWM know what they're talking about. Go look at a copy of this month's 'Tropical Fish Hobbyist' and you'll see an article by me all about freshwater pufferfish including your species and its maintenance. But let's suppose air somehow "killed" your puffer -- the symptoms would be obvious. The pufferfish would be floating upside-down with its air-inflated belly sticking outwards. Its gills would be unable to get below the waterline easily, and that's how they die, they suffocate. Unless your pufferfish did this, air wasn't the issue. End of story. Simply lifting a pufferfish out of a tank and putting it into a bag won't kill it. If the fish was swimming underwater when it arrived in your aquarium, then it hadn't inflated with air, and air wasn't the issue. So, was your fish floating upside-down or not?> Another person on here had one with the same symptoms as mine, and the helper didn't know what was wrong. I was just hoping that maybe someone else would know... <Not sure what your symptoms were. You may need to remind me. If we're talking about "the fish was kind of unhappy in my tank, it didn't eat anything, stayed at the bottom, and then died" that's almost certainly a water chemistry/water quality issue.> Maybe it's nobody's fault and he was simply stressed from being shipped to the store, stuck in a tank full of other puffers, chased by a big net, not very carefully tossed into a bag, and driven for half an hour. <Nope. That's not enough to kill this species at all. I've done far, far worse to pufferfish and they've settled down afterwards just fine. I just rescued a species about a month ago that was emaciated, had no tail-fin, and couldn't eat because its teeth were overgrown. It's fit as a fiddle now. Pufferfish are really and truly very robust animals. I'm not saying that things can't go wrong, but if you do this precisely by the numbers, there's no real difficulty keeping these fish, and they're certainly well worth keeping.> Sorry for being a nuisance and thanks again for all your help, Jess <One last thing. Do check your Dwarf Puffer actually was a Dwarf Puffer. Sometimes brackish water species -- and even marine species -- get sold as freshwater fish. The name "Dwarf Puffer" really applies to Carinotetraodon travancoricus, but sometimes a variety of other puffers get sold under this name. Different species have different requirements. When I was at university, I picked up two "Dwarf Brown Pufferfish" from a freshwater aquarium store. Imagine my surprise when I discovered these were juvenile marine pufferfish (Arothron hispidus) that grew to more than 40 cm in length! This is why experienced hobbyists sooner or later abandon common names and stick with Latin names -- it's simply so much easier! I hope this helps, Neale.>

Nile Puffer losing color and becoming listless   9/16/07 We've had our Nile puffer for about a month. Tupac was doing great in the 20 gallon tank he calls home, until we did a water change two days ago. We emptied out about a third of the water, replaced it with water and conditioner and biological treatment. Since then he's been pale, appears to be ?breathing? in a labored fashion, hangs out at the bottom of the tank behind the décor, and doesn't interact with us as he usually does. We had the water tested yesterday, and there's a slight trace of ammonia, although (we've been told) not enough to bother him. Because of the ammonia's presence, we added a bit of a different conditioner yesterday and today, and plan to do the same tomorrow. But Tupac still remains unhappy. What can we do? Please help. We have very little experience with this type of fish and  have become very attached to him. <Greetings. Tetraodon lineatus are -- like all freshwater puffers -- very sensitive to ammonia. The reason yours is "out of sorts" is almost certainly because of this. In the long run, the fish will die. A pufferfish aquarium should have consistently zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. There's no safe levels of either other than zero, this point cannot be stressed too strongly. Let's recap the basics. This is a big pufferfish (around 30-40 cm in captivity) that needs a suitably large aquarium (around 300 litres, 75 US gallons being about the minimum). Filtration should be appropriate to the size of the fish, producing not less than 4x the volume of the tank in turnover. In other words, for a 300 litre tank, the filter should have a turnover of 1200 litres per hour or more. Water changes must be generous, around 50% per week, if not more. A suitable dechlorinator should always be used, and if your local water board uses chloramine in the water supply, choose a dechlorinator that neutralises chloramine as well. Water chemistry is relatively unimportant as this species is found in a variety of fresh (and to a less extent brackish water) habitats, but ideally you want neutral to slightly alkaline, moderately hard freshwater. These are difficult to look after, and I'm afraid failure to cover any of these bases inevitably ends in the death of the fish. I hope this helps. Good luck, Neale.> Re: Nile Puffer losing color and becoming listless  9/20/07 Very helpful info. Thank you so much for your help. It appears we were overfeeding poor Tupac. We cleaned the tank and filter and have cut him back on the munchies. Your quick response was reassuring and helpful. <Cool. Just keep on top of water changes, and make sure ammonia and nitrite stay at zero. Do that, and your fish should recover quickly. They're nice fish, but difficult to keep. So do things "by the numbers". Cheers, Neale>

Ich-look-alike? Skin parasite on Dwarf Puffer 06/17/07 Hi Crew, I really need your help with my male dwarf puffer. First, the vitals: two dwarf puffers, heavily planted six gallon tank, one Amano shrimp tankmate. Water tests with a consistent 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 5 Nitrates (which is how it comes out of the tap in these parts). Weekly 30% water changes, and their diet is 80% Grindal worms that I raise on a high-quality dog biscuit and 20% snails from my large planted tank. About six weeks ago, he began developing a handful of white specks that looked to me like a classic case of ich. <These are almost certainly Cercariae...> I thought it fairly strange, since I've had him & his female tankmate seven months with no additions to the tank. But I began a heat/salt treatment right away, bringing the temp to 82 with the addition of 1/2 tsp of salt per gallon of water. After two weeks's time and no change whatsoever in the appearance of the spots, I began thinking I was mistaken. Perhaps these were just skin flaws of some kind? <Mmm, no. Please read the second, third ref. here: http://www.google.com/search?q=cercariae+on+puffers&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA> I have treated many cases of ich over the years successfully with heat & salt, and have always seen that familiar dropping off of the cysts after a few days of treatment. So I brought the heat back down and waited. A few more weeks went by with no change, and then in the course of a week the spots began to increase. I tried again, this time with the temp at 84 for two weeks. No change. Heat back down to normal. Spots are now increasing slowly but steadily. The poor boy is at least eating and remains active, but I am seeing occasional flashing so I know this is bothering him. Whatever it is, it's spreading, and I am stumped. The female is totally unaffected by the way. Any ideas? Is this some kind of ich-look-alike skin parasite? There are no visible worms, no red spots, no clues of any kind. I am in terror of using anything stronger than salt on such a sensitive fish as a DP, but the heat and salt are obviously doing nothing. I've attached a couple really poor photos which will likely be too blurry for a diagnosis of any kind but will at least give you a sense of scale and placement. Thanks in advance for your help. <Will need to use an anthelminthic... My choice? Prazi/quantel... particulars are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Ich-look-alike? Skin parasite on Dwarf Puffer 6/19/07 > >> I really need your help with my male dwarf puffer... > >> About six weeks ago, he began developing a handful of white specks that looked to me like a classic case of ich. > > <These are almost certainly cercariae...> > >>Thanks in advance for your help. > ><Will need to use an anthelminthic... My choice? Prazi/quantel...  particulars are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner Bob, picked up PraziPro on Sunday and began treatment (bath, following label instructions). Two full days now and no change at all in the cysts. If anything he seems to be getting weaker. Recommendations? Is there anything else it could be? <Yes... and I absolutely hate this guessing... Do you have a microscope? A way to send along pix from such? BobF>

Re: Ich-look-alike? Skin parasite on Dwarf Puffer    6/20/07 >> >> I really need your help with my male dwarf puffer... >> >> About six weeks ago, he began developing a handful of white specks that >> >> looked to me like a classic case of ich. >> > <These are almost certainly cercariae...> >> >>Thanks in advance for your help. >> ><Will need to use an anthelminthic... My choice? Prazi/quantel... >> particulars are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner >Bob, picked up PraziPro on Sunday and began treatment (bath, following label instructions). Two full days now and >no change at all in the cysts. If anything he seems to be getting weaker. Recommendations? Is there anything else it could be? ><Yes... and I absolutely hate this guessing... Do you have a microscope? A way to send along pix from such? BobF> No, not anymore. Years ago I could've gotten you a lovely scanning electron micrograph. <Look into the cheapy but great QX-3 to -5 units... on the Net> What to do? Malachite dip? <No... perhaps a regimen/one-shot treatment with Flagyl/Metronidazole... but this is only speculation... starting from the more likely to be efficacious to the outright guessing... B> Thanks again.

Floating Puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)  5/16/07 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I found my pea puffer in an odd position, floating vertically with her nose at the surface of the waterline.  I've never seen this before and she stayed like that for several hours yesterday.   <Is it possible she swallowed some air at the surface?   See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/help-my-puffer-is-air-filled/ > I didn't see her eat any bloodworms or little snails that we added to entice eating and her belly doesn't have the roundness that it usually does.  Today, she is only in the surface position intermittently and does swim around and contemplate for a few minutes before returning to that odd position.   <It is possible she could have internal parasites.> We added 3 small mollies to help with clean-up <Mollies prefer brackish water.> and completed a water/filter change as we always have over the past 2 years but no other change was made.  Do you have any ideas about what may be wrong and how we can fix it?  It is so disconcerting to watch our puffer in this one position for so long, with very little interaction or curiosity.  Thank you for any advice to help our Puffy feel better.   <If it is indeed internal parasites (Maybe brought in by the mollies) & the puffer is not eating, you can try treating with Flubenol 15: http://www.flubenol.co.uk/   You can also try enhancing appetite by soaking it's food in garlic.  If after eating again, it's still skinny, you can soak it's food in Levamisol: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7   I hope your puffer is feeling better soon!  ~PP> Puff-n-Diablo

Auriglobus modestus with Lip Problem  3/29/07 Hi there, <Hi Leanne, Pufferpunk here> I have written to you in the past about the 2 Auriglobus modestus I  purchased at the end of August/06. <Cool fish, one of my favorite puffers!> Unfortunately one did not make it, he just wouldn't eat.   <I had 3 of them.  One jumped out of the tank (forgot to close the lid) & one just died.  The 3rd one is getting very large & seems quite happy, living with a big, Royal Pleco.> The other one has been doing great, until yesterday I noticed that he has a red bump on his top lip.  It went away when I fed him last night but it is back again today.  (He gets a diet of raw shrimp tails every other day and snails sometimes.)  I gently cradled him in my hand to get a closer look at it.  It is not a cracked tooth, they look to be in good shape and it is on his top lip, right in the center of his mouth and protrudes out and down so that you cannot see the top tooth unless you gently move it.  It looks like a little bubble/triangle blister. I was wondering what it is and how to treat it.  He is acting normal, swimming about happily and eats  with vigor.  Water parameters are as follows: nitrate 20ppm, nitrite 0ppm, hardness 120ppm, alkalinity 180, pH 7.5 and temp 79.  I do weekly 1/4 tank (20gal tank) water changes and vacuum the gravel.  Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have grown very fond of him. <1st of all, I'd bump those water changes to 50% weekly & get the nitrates <20.  Check out this thread: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8448 I'm not sure if it's the same thing or not but it wouldn't hurt to post at that forum about your puffer's lip.  ~PP> Thanks, Leanne

Pufferpoo  1/26/07 Mbu health <Hi Shazza, Pufferpunk here> I have a 5 month old Mbu Puffer, he has always been fine, eats well and happy. Today ive <I've> noticed a very large bowel movement coming from him,<.> its <It's> thick and lumpy, whitish with red veins going through it. I am very worried. It is still joined to him and is as long as he is (4.5 inches at least)<.>  Please help<!> Thanks<,> Shazza <Please read your letter before sending, to be sure you have used the proper punctuation & capitalization.  I corrected this one.  These have to be posted in our FAQs.  My thought about your puffer is that it may have a prolapsed rectum/intestine.  You can try treating with 1 tbsp Epsom salt/5gallon.  It may just be a superpoo.  Epsom salt wouldn't hurt in either case.  You might be overfeeding your puffer.  In that case, the food is only partially digested & this may be what you are seeing.  Here is an excellent Mbu story by a puffer keeper of close to 50 years: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=150 You are welcome to join in at that forum & post about your puffer!  ~PP>

Mbu Puffer in Non-Cycled Tank  11/16/06 Hey, <Hey yourself, it's Pufferpunk here.> I own a 4 inch (not including tail) MBU Puffer and I've had it for a week so far.  He had been introduced to a tank that had been matured for a month and he has a very healthy appetite, eating everything from cockles, mussels, shrimp, bloodworm but the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels in the tank sky rocket so high that I have to do a 50% water change every 2 days to stop him from dying! <I'd raise that to 80% daily, until you can get that tank cycled or your puffer will definitely not make it.  They are extremely sensitive to those toxins, because they are scaleless & have no gill covers.  What do you mean by, "matured for a month"?  If you just let the tank run for a month, that's not cycling the tank.  Or were there other fish that would equal the bioload of that puffer in there for that month & the water parameters were perfect (0 ammonia & nitrItes, <20 nitrAtes), then removed, when you placed the Mbu in there?  How big is the tank?  That puffer will grow VERY quickly, needing at least a 300g tank in 2 years, upgrading even larger after that.  If you don't understand the facts of cycling a tank, you may not be ready to house such an exotic fish like the Mbu.  Please do a search for "fishless cycling".  If you insist on keeping this fish & are prepared to buy it much larger tanks & huge filtration systems (including veggie refugiums, to keep the nitrates down), in the very near future, then you can instant cycle the tank with Bio-Spira.  Do an 80% water change, before adding it to your filter.> I have a fully functioning filter and I regulate the amount of food he eats (around 2 cockles or 1 mussel a day) but the water gets dirty so quickly that I'm worried about his health. What can I do to keep the levels stabilized so I don't have to change the water so often and why is this happening?  I use Amquel to reduce the levels when I don't have time for a water change. <You're going to have to MAKE time for this!  Eventually, plan on a 1,000 gallon tank for this beautiful, 30" tank-buster.  Forget about Amquel, it is just inhibiting the cycle.  Bio-Spira is the only way you're going to save this fish.  You may have to search around for it but more shops seem to be carrying it.  To dechlorinate, use Prime.   Please read this Mbu story, written by a puffer keeper of over 50 years: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=150   I know it sounds like I'm being really hard on you but personally, I think these fish only belong in public aquariums or in the wild, where they have room to grow & swim.  ~PP> Thanks, M

Puffer fish ... ID, disease/env./sys.  11/16/06 Hi <<Hello>> I just bought 2 spotted puffers a couple days ago. Did they look like this?: http://www.pufferresources.net/puffer_profiles/viewtopic.php?t=19>> They were completely normal until yesterday when I noticed that one looked like he had ick. First of all what can I do about the ick. I am putting some medication in the water. <<Please dont before you know what kind of puffer you have, what ails it, and have them in a cycled, aquarium.  If these are indeed GSPs, (Tetraodon nigroviridis) then they need 30 gallons of water each minimum, and require full marine conditions as adults.>> Second, the same puffer sits in this one corner all the time while the other puffer is swimming around the tank. Is this normal? <<No. Please get back to me, and visit www.pufferresources.net.>> Thanks <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Nile/Fahaka Puffer, Tetraodon lineatus  11/14/06 <Hi Jo, Pufferpunk here.  I have corrected all your improperly capitalized words, so we can present this email to our FAQs.  Next time it will be sent back for you to correct!> I bought a Nile puffer 3 days ago and was really badly informed by the shop. I wish I had looked on the internet first! <Did they tell you it will grow as large as 18" & require a minimum of a 120g tank within 2 years?  They grow fast!> They told me it would be fine to fill up the new tank with water from my other tank with various tropical fish and put the puffer in the tank the same evening. I now know the filter wouldn't have matured and now my puffer has a cloudy looking eye and isn't moving much. I've tested the water and the NO3 is on 0 and the NO2 the others seem fine too. I'm not too great on the technical side so if you could explain in a way I would understand I would be very grateful. <For cloudy eye (due to poor water quality--fish don't get sick in healthy water), add Melafix.  The bacteria you need to cycle a tank does not live in the water.  It lives on the surfaces of the  tank.  Mostly in the filter material but also on gravel, glass, decor, etc.  You can squeeze the "dirt" from your older filters into your new filter to help the cycle along.  You should be doing 50-80% daily water changes, until your tank is cycled.  After the tank is cycled, do 50% weekly water changes.  My best suggestion would be to add BIO-SPIRA to your filter, to "instant cycle" your tank.  I highly recommend this.  It really is not a good idea to cycle a tank with a puffer at all!  They have no protective scales or gill covers.  Very sensitive to ammonia/nitrites.  How large is the puffer & what size tank is it in?  For more info on your fish, go to: www.thepufferforum.com  ~PP> Thank you, Jo

Lumpy Mbu Puffer  9/11/06 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a MBU puffer fish called ASBO. He is not very old and has formed a lump on the right side of his mouth. I have looked all over the internet to see what it could be. The only thing I can come up with is a cyst or tumour. He seems to be eating fine and his mood is fine also. Do you know what it could be and is there anything you can suggest? I have tried putting Melafix in his tank. I did a seven day treatment then done a 25% water change. The lump got bigger but now is staying the same size. I love my puffer fish and don't want him to die, please help.  What can I do? <I have seen most lumps like these are just cysts that get absorbed back into the fish.  In some cases, it has been caused by a shell fragment stuck in their mouth.  Have you been feeding him snails?  Keep his water pristine--be sure you have extra-heavy filtration, large water changes are in order for these fish (50% weekly) & extra large tanks, eventually close to 1,000 gallons for these monsters!  See www.thepufferforum.com for more info.  ~PP>

Auriglobus modestus  8/31/06 Hi there, <Hi Leanne, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased 2 Auriglobus modestus (aka. golden or bronze puffer) from my LFS, one is 2.5" and the other is 3".  They seemed very active in the store and ate with vigour.  The second day home they seemed to lose interest in food.  I have tried frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried krill, live rams horn snails and (because this is what the LFS was feeding) live feeder fish.   <Get those diseased feeder fish out of your tank!  Your puffers are mostly crustacean eaters.  On food for puffers: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html > They showed a bit of interest in the krill this morning (day 4) and the feeder fish has a little of his tail nibbled on, the only other tank mate (besides the feeder fish) is a tiger barb who has resided in that tank for over a year.   <As soon as your puffers get comfortable in there, the barb will be toast.> They are in a 10 US gal tank, temp 73F, water parameters are:   nitrate 30ppm, nitrite 0ppm, hardness 120ppm, alkalinity 180ppm, and pH approx 7.2.   <I'd get those nitrates <20 with some water changes.  Temp should be 78-82F.  They really need 20g each.  I kept one quite happily with a large royal pleco, in a 50g tank.  Be sure the tank is heavily decorated with lots of broken lines of sight, to prevent intraspecific aggression.> LFS said to add 1/2c. aquarium salt to lower the hardness but it was my understanding that these are full freshwater puffers and the directions on the box said 1 tbsp/5 gal so a 1/2c.  Seems a lot.   <That makes absolutely no sense at all.  Adding salt will make your water harder.  They need no salt.> I have been doing daily water changes of 1/3 to 1/2 in attempt to lower the nitrates but they haven't moved, LFS said the   levels are high because of all the rain we have been having. Could   the nitrates be the reason they are not interested in feeding?  If so  how can I lower the levels, would bottled distilled water work?   <Your nitrates are high but  really aren't at toxic levels yet.  Are you cleaning the gravel & filter media?  The puffers are in a tank that is too small for them & may just be sulking (puffers do that a lot).  It takes a few days for puffers to adjust to a new environment.> The  substrate is small gravel (the kind you can buy anywhere in any color)  and I just added a sword plant yesterday.  They seemed alot happier  with the plant in there, they circle around it or rest in the leaves.  Any suggestions you have that will make my puffers happier would be greatly appreciated. <Here is a profile on your puffer: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/ug.php?g2_itemId=48  Check out that puffer forum too.  ~PP> Leanne Deceased Dwarf Puffer-Hoping You Can Help Me Understand  8/24/06 Dear Crew, <Hi Shellie, Pufferpunk here> I was hoping I would never have to write you one of these letters but the time has come. I purchased two dwarf puffers for my son's 10-gallon tank.  Since the goldfish were in it, I have kept it cycled in order to avoid a wait time for new inhabitants. One puffer seemed full grown while the other is rather tiny. My water numbers were all within the correct ranges (sorry I cannot be more specific for you) <Always helpful to post exact numbers in a letter like this.> and there are tons of plants for them to hide among, preventing aggressions.  They were bought three days ago and the bigger one crossed to the rainbow fish tank after less than two days. <Sorry to hear that! :o{ > I have looked all over the web for what might have ailed it and cannot seem to find what might have happened. It will not bring my poor baby back but it might help me understand. I have had a lot o reassurance that he or she was sick when I got them for the fish to have died that quickly but I will always wonder if there was something I did wrong.  The larger Puffer, DJ, seemed to have two seizures early Monday afternoon. Since there are so many plants I assumed he was having trouble getting out of the spot he was in. Until later that day there were no other signs of the problems to come. That evening I noticed that his body was very stiff when he swam and his tail stayed curled. For a while he could stay afloat regardless and I still had hope. I lost the hope about the time he would head for the surface with his curled tail and then fall back down in a swirling motion due to the curl. I watched, horrified, as the poor thing laid there in the sand breathing but unable to go anywhere. Every time he tried, the same thing happened.  I prayed to whatever fish God there is and was up until two A.M. reading your site and the Dwarf Puffer forum to no avail. In the morning he was gone. Despite that being yesterday and only having him for two days, I am still very upset. As you know from my care of the goldfish and their tank, I am extremely conscientious with my tank cleaning. The little one continues to thrive but I am anxious every morning and constantly scan the tank for the tiny fish. <A couple things come to mind.  The 1st being, if you didn't completely clean out your tank after raising GF in it, there could have been some pathogens that the GF might have been carrying.  GF are very dirty fish & can carry a lot of diseases that tropical fish can't handle.  My other thought is that your puffer could have had internal parasites & come to you sick.> On another note, I have managed to get a Puffer to eat something besides live or frozen and maybe this tip will help others. He has Omega One pellets (protein), freeze-dried brine shrimp and freeze-dried bloodworms. I put a little of each in a baggie and smash it to nearly powder with a meat tenderizer. Amazingly he does eat this since it is so tiny the current swirls it like live food. I do intend to get him snails and some black worms but I wanted to let people know it is possible to get them to eat other things. <Yes, in rare cases puffers will even eat flakes!  Some of mine ate algae wafers too.  A varied diet is best for them.> I apologize that I cannot seem to send you a short post. Hopefully this is not too long and the point was not lost in the length. I hope you can help me and DJ, although he is beyond help. <No problem, I'm glad to hear your whole story & I hope you have more luck with your lil puffer (& your new one).  Check out www.thepufferforum.com, for more puffer info.  ~PP> Thank you again, Shellie

Re: Grieving the Loss of a Puffer...  8/27/06 Dear Pufferpunk, Thank you so much for your reply. I was very careful about cleaning the tank since it was for goldfish and actually had to go through quite a process to get it ready for the Puffers. I know actual numbers are best on test kits but I still have those darn strips until the first of the month. I apologize for that. I am still sad about the lost Puffer but Lightning is helping. He is definitely a delight and always curious to see what we are up to. It's hard to find him in a 10-gallon tank yet often he finds me before I find him. For now he's a lone Puff and he seems happy that way. I did purchase his black worms and frozen bloodworms yesterday with the result being a tiny pot belly. I will quit worrying about what I did wrong in the case of the bigger one and simply enjoy the little squirt. I am finally content I did everything I could and just had the bad luck to purchase a sick fish. <I'm sure you did your best.  You still have room for 2 more...  Just try to be sure you keep the 1m-2f ratio.  ~PP> Thank you, Shellie

Losing Battle with Dwarf Puffers  7/27/06 Crew, <Hi Roy, Pufferpunk here> I need some help!  Although I have been in the hobby since Axelrod was Innes and have kept all manner of both fresh and marine tanks (I currently have 2 thriving Nano-reefs), I am at a loss as to what is killing my Dwarf Puffers. The tank is a 20 long, lots of silk plants and caves and hideaways. Cycled with the addition of Bio-Spira and with the occasional thawed mysis shrimp for about 25 days.  The tank parameters after cycling are:     pH is 7.2     Temp   80     Ammonia 0     Nitrite 0     Nitrate 5     They were the same this morning:     pH is 7.2     Temp   80     Ammonia 0     Nitrite 0     Nitrate 5 I measured after another DP turned up dead! About one month ago I placed 5 Dwarf Puffers (and a Dwarf Albino Cory) in the completely cycled tank.  I did not quarantine because the tank was new and all occupants were together in the LFS.  I have been feeding them a combination of live enriched brine shrimp, live black worms and freeze dried bloodworms once a day.  I have been loosing one a week; only one remains. The Cory seems fine!  The only thing I can think of (short of them being ill when purchased) is that I overfed them. <Hmmm... tough one!  I would think if you were overfeeding, there would be much higher nitrates.  Either your tests are off (try testing again at your LFS), your puffers were from sickly stock, they had internal parasites or you had all males.  Check: www.dwarfpuffers.com & www.thepufferforum.com, for more info.> Any insight would be appreciated. <Sure sounds as if you're doing all the right things with your puffers.  Sorry for your loss!  ~PP> Roy

"Pea" Puffer ... health, sys.   - 06/30/06 Dear XXXX, <It's Pufferpunk here.> About a month ago I bought 2 pea puffers and they have been doing pretty good. But it seems like there starting to lose some of the color on there spots any tips. <what size tank are they in?  How well is it decorated?  What are you feeding them?  Water parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH)?  Without really knowing what's going on in your tank, it's hard to tell.  See www.thepuffeforum.com & www.dwarfpuffers.com  ~PP> Thanks, Austin

Lackluster Dwarf Puffer  5/20/06 So, I have a question. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Just recently we set up a tank with three pygmy (dwarf) puffer fish. <How recently?  Did you cycle the tank 1st?> For a while the newest fish (Seiko) and the oldest fish  (Yasu), hung out together and played while the other one (Kichi) hung out by itself. However, a few days ago Seiko got sucked into the filter and died unfortunately. <Sorry to hear that.  Is there a strainer cover on your intake tube?> So, we brought home yet another one (Aku). Now, Aku and Kichi hang out together all the time and Yasu has been acting strangely. Yasu hangs out on the bottom of the tank and just lies around. Yasu lacks the energy he had and doesn't really play the way he used to. Do you have any idea what would change the fish's mood or if he is sick. <Info on water parameters would help.  Ammonia, nitrites & nitrates. If those are good (ammonia, nitrites 0, nitrates <20), then maybe the 2 that are getting along, have paired off & left out the 3rd.  Be sure your tank is large enough (at least 10g for 3) & there is plenty of decor.  I suggest visiting www.dwarfpuffers.com & www.thepufferforum.com for more info.  ~PP> Thanks, Samantha -MBU in trouble-  - 04/10/2006 Hi Bob, <Justin with you today.> fortunately we've found your resource on the web (hard to find more detailed info about the MBU anywhere else here in Germany). <Well we will do what we can.> We're the owner of a small MBU (10 - 15 cm) since end of last year. We have serious problems with him for the last 10 days: - He is not eating anymore (we've offered him mussels, prawns etc.) - He often turns upside down and remains there for minutes (sometimes hours), but recovers and returns to normal position afterwards - Sometimes his belly blows up near the tail fin - His anus stays open sometime and it looks like (at least something similar to) a worm is visible - Small white dots are visible on his fins and the body <Well to cover your list so far,  He has trapped air in his body.  most likely at this point it is in his intestines, you can try to help him by burping him (read here :http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/airpuff.html).  He has ich which needs to be treated with Saltwater dips or with anti ich medication like formalin in his own quarantine tank. He may not survive if the air has entered his bowels as that is what it sounds like has happened.  but there is not much at that point you can do short of taking him to a veterinarian who specializes in fish.> Some additional info: - He is living in a 450 ltr. tank together with other fish - We medicate him with antibiotics (separate tank, 15 minutes per day, Nifurpirinol) - We medicate all fishes with drops against the dots (although no other fishes seems to show up with dots at this moment) <This is acceptable for now, however if this puffer survives this it will grow to somewhere north of 3 feet long or close to 1 meter.  it will need a 1000 gallon tank and serious filtration.  The is not a puffer for the general public.  you might look into a fahaka or another smaller freshwater puffer.> Attached please find two small pics of our MBU: <<Rats... file not moved/saved, seen by me for this. RMF>> - They have been shot yesterday and today - One shows up with the white dots - One shows up with upside down position and blown up belly. It would be great, if you would be able to share some ideas. It's hard to see his torture, we�ll see him better again ... If you provide me with a phone number in the US, I would love being able to give you a call. We're lost with ideas how to help this poor guy ... <Just follow the article and keep offering food. That is unfortunately all you can do at this point. Keep the water pristine and keep other fish from bullying it.  www.thepufferforum.com has quite a bit on this puffer as does www.fishbase.org .  I recommend you read up on here and at both those places.> <Justin (Jager)> Thanks Lars

Re: Big problems with our Tetraodon MBU -Mbu in trouble 2-  - 04/11/2006 Hi Justin, <Lars> thank you very much for your speedy reply. <Sorry that it was too little too late.> Unfortunately our MBU died two days ago (hopefully it was better for him to stop his torture). Since he has been the dearest fish of our son, no ... not true ... the dearest fish for all of us (gentle, relaxed, friendly ...), it would be great to know about other puffers that could make sense for a 450 gallon tank.   <In your previous email you said the tank was in liters.  which is 120 gallons, however, regardless a Fahaka would love it.  try www.pufferlist.com for a very complete list of the common to the trade puffers in freshwater.> You've mentioned to think of an Fahaka, what other puffers would make sense to think of? Nevertheless it would be important for us to know, why our MBU went seriously ill, since we did not experience something similar with all our other fishes. <I believe that based on your photos he swallowed air, and was unable to clear it.  that blocked its bowels and it died.  Not a good way to go.  Puffers don't do well in air and should always be moved in water or bagged in the water.> Thanks for your help. Best, Lars <I'm sorry you lost the fella.  If you want another puffer try the pufferlist above and www.thepufferforum.com both of which have a vast knowledge base on the friendly little/big guys. > Ich--Out of Control!  3/19/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am in tears right now over my fish. I recently set up a brackish tank because I fell in love with the   puffer fish. One of the  first fish that I added into my BW tank was two zebra  puffers.   <Colomesus asellus?  See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/sapuffer.html > I had some scats in the tank to cycle the water and everything was fine until I got a couple GS puffers and 3 F8s  from another pet store.   <A lot of bioload to add all at once.  Scats grow as large as dinner plates & require 50g each (adult size).  Green spotted puffers grow to 6", require marine conditions as adults & 30-40g each.  F8s like low-end BW (1.005), need 15g for one & 10 more for each extra puffer.> I was then informed  that the Zebra puffers were not BW fish. <Correct.> So now I had two fish that had no place to go.  I do have a FW tank, but it is pretty full and I thought that I saw some ick on the Z puffers, so I did not want to spread into my other tank. I decided to remove the Z puffers.  Yes, they had ick... <This species in particular, is very sensitive to ich.  Must be quarantined & treated right after purchasing.> So I am thinking that maybe they were stressed from the BW conditions and I moved them into a small, already cycled 16 gallon tank.  I treated the ick in the 16 gallon with JUNGLE Ick clear, along with my BW tank.  I saw a few spots on the scats and a couple F8s by this time.  Well, I treated both tanks for 3 days and the ick cleared up in both tanks. <Just long enough for them to become immune to the treatment.  It's like not using antibiotics for the full recommended period.> About 6 days later I noticed that the Z puffers in the 16 gallon FW had signs of ick again, so I immediately used JUNGLE ick and I had  gotten 2 glass fish for the BW tank and I swear, by the time I got them home and dumped them in the tank - not more than 1 hour passed and the glass fish had ick spots, so I also treated that 40 gallon BW tank with JUNGLE Ick again also.  Well, after 3 days of treatment, my Z puffers had  not responded to  the treatment and have gotten steadily worse.  My BW tank has held its own but still no signs of improvement.  I then put the carbon back in the 40 gallon BW tank (Fluval) and  the 16 gal tank, waited 12 hours, did a 25% water change and switched medicine to Kordon Prevent Ick.  I used that for 2 days in both tanks, cutting the medicine down a little bit because of the puffers being sensitive and all of my fish seemed to have gotten worse.  So, I then changed medicine AGAIN with Kordon Rid-Ick.  Now, after 3 days all of my fish that were infected are either the same or worse.  The Z puffers look so bad - one is also starting to get fin rot, that I have thought about putting them out of their misery, ether by having a friend of mine freeze them or me flushing them.   <Overdosing with clove oil is best (found in the toothpaste isle of the drug store).> My BW tank with the three F8s seems to be getting worse and I just don't think I can see any more of my fish suffer so.  I talked to a friend of mine at the pet store and he told me that there are all sorts of strains of ick, and that all medicine might not kill that strain. <There is FW "ich" (Ichthyophthirius multifilius) & SW "whitespot" (Cryptocaryon irritans), with similar habits to freshwater ich.> I do not understand how ick could be living in my BW tank with the   temp being 80, and the hydrometer reading at .006 - .008. <You could be making the strain resistant to meds, with all the different meds you are using, for not a long enough time.> So to sum it up I have a 40 gal tank with 2 scats, 2 knight gobies,  1 GS puffer, 3 F8s, 2 butterfly gobies, 5 Bumblebee gobies, 2 glass fish and 2 black Mollies.   <Waaaay overstocked!  With that kind of overstocking there is always going to be constant stress & lowered immune systems--no chance of fighting disease at all in there.> The 3 F8s are steadily getting worse and I am sure my fish are stressed from constant 24hr water changes along with new doses of ick medicine. <Water changes are the very best thing you can be doing right now.  Here is an article on Treating Puffers with Ich: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9 > My 16 gallon tank has 2 Z puffers and 2 white mollies COVERED with ick.  I do understand that it takes more than 3 days to clear up ick but I have had ick in the past in another tank. <The parasite have a greater hold on scaleless fish.> I have - a FW 40 gal and after 3 days the ick has always maintained the same appearance or gotten a bit better.  So, if you are wondering why I have not waited before trying a new med is because every day, even with the ick medicine the puffers have gotten steadily worse.  As of now I have put the carbon back in the tank and am going to try a new medicine called Super Ick Cure, by Aquarium pharmaceuticals Inc.  I am still debating as whether to do another 20% water change before attempting this.  I feel that the more water I take out and put in, the more stressed the puffers get.  My Z puffers are suffering so, I know that I cannot watch any more of my fish get that bad so please, if you have any answers on how to get this under control - PLEASE write back.  If I have to watch my F8s suffer like the Z puffers,  I don't think I'll be able deal with having any more fish.  :((((( <I understand your affection for these wonderful fish!  I'm afraid your tanks are in trouble with all the fish you have in there.  Please read the links I have given you.  You can also add Melafix to help with the fin rot--caused by the parasite eating off the fish.  Look through the other articles on the species you have & consider many larger tanks for all your fish--if they make it.  For now, leave the meds alone, heat & water changes, water changes, water changes.  Be sure it is the same temp & use Prime to dechlor.  ~PP> Kathleen

A Modestus Puffer with Infected Tail  3/4/06 <Hi Jess, Pufferpunk here> I have a bronze puffer in a 55 gallon tank. When I first got him I noticed  a small pink spot on the tail. I asked the guy at the pet store what it was and he said it was like a scab and it would go away. Well it never went away, it  just spread all over it's tail. It's tail is now really swollen and puffy and kind of a pink, white color and it looks like its fraying at the ends. It seems  to be spreading up to his body. I'm wondering what medications I should use. He  still swims a lot and eats but his whole tail is just a mess. <Sounds like some kind of bacterial infection.  Did you purchase the fish this way?  I'd add Melafix, Pimafix & a tbsp salt/10g on the 1st day & a tbsp/5g the send day & keep those doses  going.  Make sure the water is pristine.  Do large water changes (at least 50%/week).  What are the water parameters (ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, pH)?  Are there any tank mates?> Please help. I  want to save the little guy. Thanks, Jess <If he doesn't seem better in a few days, you will have to quarantine & use a stronger antibiotic.  I hope he pulls through.  ~PP> Dwarf Puffer--Internal Parasites  9/21/05 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> After battling parasites in my main 30 gallon tank for the past 2 months I've finally won.  Finally I thought I could begin to restock my tank.  I learned my lesson so I've set up three QTs.  I got three dwarf puffers and one appears to have a parasite.  I'm not sure what kind of parasite it is.  The puffer is just under 3/4" He's lethargic looking, extremely skinny, dark coloring.  I noticed one worm hanging out around the anus (I guess that's what you'd call it).  It was no thicker than a thread and is white and just under 1mm long.  I've also noticed long stringy white bumpy feces coming from him.  I have added Jungle's Parasite Clear to the tank. <Internal parasites really need to be treated from the inside of the fish.  I have had great luck with Discomed, by Aquatronics.  Unfortunately, that company has been out of business for a while now, so you may be hard pressed to find that med.   See: http://www.thepufferforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=7> I was wondering if you would recommend doing a copper dip?  I would really rather do a dip than treat the whole tank for a month.  Even if you don't recommend doing a copper dip for future reference what exactly do put in a copper dip, the chemicals I mean and the amount of each chemical. <Puffers are extremely sensitive to meds, ESPECIALLY COPPER!  You can add a garlic remedy to the tank, to help with appetite, as you will need to treat the puffer's food.  I'd go ahead & treat all the puffers, if they came from the same tank.  A good forum for puffers is: www.dwarfpuffers.com  Good luck with your new friends.  ~PP> Thanks in advance, Logan Tetraodon schoutedeni Hello everyone, <Hi! Ananda here today..> Firstly, thank you for such a helpful site: I have found it to be invaluable!   <Glad it has helped.> Now, to my question. I purchased a T. schoutedeni at my LFS 3 days ago. I placed him in a 55 gal tank with a 4" Bala shark,  3 tiger barbs, 2 balloon mollies, a silver molly and a 6" fantail goldfish who is a real b**ch.  This tank has been in operation for over a year and I've had it's occupants for no less than  10 months.   The temp is a constant 78, ammonia 0, pH 7.6 - 7.8 and I maintain a tablespoon of salt per 10 gallons for health purposes. 1/4 water changes are done weekly. <Okay> My 2" puffer ate voraciously the first 2 days, (I fed him dried Tubifex worms and raw shrimp cut into small pieces) but today he only mouthed some food, spit it out and swam away.   <Hmmm. What did he refuse? The shrimp? Dried Tubifex? Puffers are fussy eaters and prefer -- nay, demand -- a variety of foods in their diet. Do check out the assorted Puffer Feeding FAQ pages for both marine and freshwater/brackish puffers.> Then he began to dive and surface, dive and surface, ad nauseum in the corner of the tank while facing the glass. He's behaving the same and it has been several hours. <He's bored. What kinds of decorations do you have in the tank? I like to create a veritable jungle gym for my puffs...  you want lots of stuff to break up sight lines in the tank so the puff can play hide'n'seek with the other fish -- well, even if the puffer is the only one who knows what the game is. And rearrange stuff a bit with each water change.> I have read that a puffer's belly color is a good indicator of mood/health, and when I first arrived home his tummy was rather ashy/gray.  It whitened up for a short period, but has since gone back to gray. <Hmmm. He's stressed for some reason. What are your water parameters? Ammonia & nitrites should be zero, nitrates preferably less than 10...> I know this is all rather vague, but any ideas or suggestions you might have would be wonderful. <Get yourself over to the WetWeb chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk -- many people in the brackish forum have puffers and would be happy to chat about them. Thank you,  Michelle <You're welcome. --Ananda> Injured T suvattii 1/11/04 Date:  Fri, 9 Jan 2004 10:03:38 EST <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a Tet. suvatti, pignose/arrowhead/Mekong puffer. <I also have one.> Currently about 4" in body. Haven't had him long, few weeks. ph 7.0, pure freshwater, temp 80, all water tests clean, 36gal tank. Working on training him to non live food, a slow and frustrating process to say the least! <How are you doing this?  I just thread a needle & poke it through a shell-on shrimp (the friction holds it on)  No knot, I'm not going fishing!  I hang it over the tank into the outtake flow of the filter to get it moving.  My suvattii now eats from my hand.> Well after a week of turning down food I finally gave him lives I bred and fed well. Sometime yesterday he must have been going after one and run into a rock. His lower lip area has a white bone like object projecting out about 1/8". It does appear slightly bloody around it. Now I have not pulled him and examined the "bone" closely as I don't want to stress him. However from close examination through glass I can discern it's not a fungus puff or other such thing. I cannot find much in the way of information on what is safe to treat this puffer with. So far I am just keeping the tank clean. <good> Is there anything safe to add to the water to promote healing and stave off infection? Thank you ever so much for your help. <Mine got his lip pinched by a crab.  It turned red & swollen.  I added Melafix & salt & he is fine. I just feed him female crabs now.> Also if you know of any sites/books that cover this species please do let me know. <Several folks on this site have suvattis: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi   Have a wonderful day! <Thanks & same to you!--Pufferpunk>

Puffer injury (1/8/04) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I have a Tetraodon suvatti, pignose/arrowhead/Mekong puffer. Currently about 4" in body. Haven't had him long, few weeks. ph 7.0, pure freshwater, temp 80, all water tests clean, 36gal tank. <Hopefully this is the only fish in the tank...> Working on training him to non live food, a slow and frustrating process to say the least! <Worth it, though, in the long run. Have you tried "sewing" a raw shrimp onto a thread and bouncing it around a bit? Or even just putting it in the filter outflow so it moves around.... Do check out the WWM site, reading up on how to wean lionfish from live food for more ideas. The procedures should be similar.> Well after a week of turning down food I finally gave him lives I bred and fed well. <Kudos for using food you raised and is disease-free, but I think I'd've tried going a couple more days.> Sometime yesterday he must have been going after one and run into a rock. His lower lip area has a white bone like object projecting out about 1/8". It does appear slightly bloody around it. Now I have not pulled him and examined the "bone" closely as I don't want to stress him. However from close examination through glass I can distend its not a fungus puff or other such thing.   <Good -- just let it be. I'm checking with Pufferpunk on this, as I know she's got one of these fish (normally, I'd let her answer this, but she's having computer difficulties). She says these fish have soft cartilage for a mouth, so what you're seeing is a bit of that cartilage.> I cannot find much in the way of information on what is safe to treat this puffer with. So far I am just keeping the tank clean. Is there anything safe to add to the water to promote healing and stave off infection? <Pufferpunk's T. suvatti got nipped in the mouth by a crab. She added Melafix to her tank to prevent the injury from getting infected, and added a cup of salt to the 15 gallon tank the fish is in. If the area starts to turn "furry", then other medication will need to be used to deal with it.> Thank you ever so much for your help. Also if you know of any sites/books that cover this species please do let me know. Have a wonderful day! <Have you tried using Google and Dogpile to search on all the names this fish has? You might also check out Pufferpunk's forum: http://puffer.proboards2.com or the discussion boards at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk      --Ananda>

Lymphocystis on Fahaka Puffer  10/24/04 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 5" Fahaka puffer with what I think is called "lymphotosis"?.  It looks like Ich but will not go away with any treatment.  I was told that it is a specific virus that will not spread to other fish.  He also has a small Styrofoam looking yellowish ball on his anal fin. like one of those bean bag beads).  It won't come off!  Is he doomed to this or should I let him back into his 120.  Right now he's in a 10g hospital tank. <I know you posted this question at The Puffer Forum.  I also answer most of the FW puffer questions here (sharing them with Linearchaos).  The best I can do would be to have you search some of these disease sites: http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/disease/clinicalsigns.htm & http://www.fishdisease.net/ Since the virus isn't contagious, I highly suggest putting the fish into a larger tank.  I'm afraid a Fahaka that size in a 10g tank, will definitely do more harm to your fish, than good.  It will cause stress to the fish, lowering it's immune system, making it even sicker.> Thanks, Mike <I hope you find the answers you are looking for.  ~PP>

More Pignose Puffer (T suvattii) Problems Hello, <Hi, it's Pufferpunk again) Thanks for your reply last week. I have the pignose puffer with the white spots on him. I figured out that it is fungus by looking at pictures of fungus online and comparing. So I bought MarOxy by Mardel and used the recommended dosage yesterday and again this morning. Now, though, the fungus is worse and it is growing off of him about a half-inch long. Otherwise, his behavior is normal. Should I continue with the medication? Should I change the water and change medications? I'm getting very worried. Thanks, your help is appreciated. <Do you ever see him hanging out by the heater?  This may have caused the initial problem.  You might want to get a cover for it. See: http://www.aqua-addiction.com/forums/index.php?s=083f74272c7f36849e32b197851f9ff1&showtopic=6879  As far as getting rid of the fungus, I would continue with the Maroxy, but also add Melafix & Pimafix.  If that doesn't work, use something stronger (sorry, I don't know a whole lot about meds).  Make sure you keep the water pristine & do bi-weekly water changes, so as not to stress the puffer w/any waste build-up.  I hope your puffer feels better soon.  ~PP> -Eric

Ick on Brazilian Puffer and Hatchet Fish Hey guys <Hey yourself, it's Pufferpunk here> I have a 29 gal freshwater tank with a power filter that has all three filtration methods, heater set at 78 degrees. In the tank reside 1 1.5" Brazilian puffer, 6 serpae tetras, 5 hatchet fish, 1 blue crawfish, 1 weather loach, 2 Glo-fish, 2 butterfly loaches, 1 pleco and some ghost shrimp for the puffer. I did a 25% water change and promptly got the ick REAL bad on the puffer and somewhat on the hatchets. I have been treating with 1/2 dosage of "Quick cure" (for the tetras sake) for 3 days and the ick seems to be getting worse. What are your recommendations? <I generally don't like to use meds for curing ich, especially on scaleless fish like puffers. The water change wouldn't have caused the ich, unless the siphon was used in a diseased tank. Generally it  comes form a new addition to the tank. The puffer will be the most susceptible to this parasite, since it is a scaleless fish. See: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1086103674  In short, large water changes while vacuuming gravel to remove free-swimming parasite, high temps (86 degrees) & 1 tbsp salt/5gal.> Thanks a bunch Dave <I hope your fish will be feeling better soon. ~PP>

Parasites??? Please help my dwarf puffers! 1/26/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I think two of my four new DPs have parasites, although they don't quite match the descriptions I have read. The first one I noticed yesterday. It seems to have a large (almost 1mm in diameter and 1 mm in length cylindrical white lump (poo?)) which comes and goes from behind its anal fin. Since this puffer is still a juvenile, whatever is coming out is larger than it's regular poo (definitely not stringy). The other one I just noticed had a bit of white stringy poo coming out, but as they haven't been fed in almost 24 hours, perhaps this is normal? Both of these puffers seem fat and healthy and they stay fat for 24 hours after feedings. <Your pufferpoo sounds fairly normal. If your puffers are not thin, I don't think you should worry.> I have had these DPs (purchased from Petsmart) in a 10g planted tank with some otos and Amano shrimp for about 2 weeks now. The tank was new, but I cycled it with an entire package of Bio-Spira and all parameters seem normal. <Sure sounds like you're doing everything right!> I recently began feeding them live blackworms because one (the second puffer mentioned above) wouldn't take frozen bloodworms or Mysis shrimp, and the baby pond snails I am breeding haven't quite finished maturing. Is purchasing live blackworms a bad idea because they can contain parasites or is it more likely that parasites would have come with the fish from Petsmart? I know PetSmart breeds DPs, so they are not wild-caught. <Another reason not to worry about internal parasites in those puffers. I have been feeding live blackworms to my fish for over 25 years. As long as the worms look healthy & are rinsed well, before every feeding, they should be great food for your fish.> I have been looking for Discomed in case it becomes necessary, but with no luck. I can't even find it through Google. Are there other acceptable alternatives (Hex-Out or Hex-a-Fix) or do you know where to find Discomed? <I have never had problems finding Discomed online. Just a quick search led me here: http://www.123fish.net/gc/getDetail.php?ItemNo=AQ1000  There were many more. Here is a discussion on the alternatives: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1093270673 > On an unrelated note, I have read that a pH of 7.0 is ideal for a DP tank, but my tap (which I mix with RO) seems buffered to 8.0, which is where my tank remains. Is 8.0 an acceptable pH for DPs? Should I be using something like RO Right so that I can use exclusively RO water? <I would not bother with RO water for a FW puffer tank. Most fish can adjust to most any pH, as long as it isn't fluctuating much. Here's a link to "pH mythology": http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&num=1105913797 > Quick help on any of these topics would be greatly appreciated... I don't want to lose my puffers! Thanks, Jeremy <I think your puffers are in very capable hands! Here's another link for you: www.dwarfpuffers.com ~PP>

Did Puffy Huff or Puff? Works on/w freshwater and brackish water puffers as well... <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels> We have a spiny box puffer fish. He is pretty small still and we had him about a month. He has been fine and eating fine but we have noticed that he is swimming weird lately. He seems to struggle to swim and swims at an angle with his tail fins upward. He can dive to the bottom of the tank but it looks like he is struggling. Does this mean that he has swallowed air? <possible but uncommon once established... usually occurs after netting out of water when sold/moved> Since this swimming problem has started he does not seem to eat anymore either. We also have some larger fish that are bothering him. The fish who are the villains are a Sailfin tang, blue tang and a Heniochus. What can we do to help puffy? <needs quarantine immediately. Ultimately may never work with current tank mates, but suffer and die if forced to do so> If it is air, how exactly do we help him release it without getting bit or hurting him? <gently net underwater with a soft nylon cloth net (not coarse green fabric). Securely grab the fish through the net and orient the fish tail-down/ mouth- upward. The struggle to get free will often massage a burp of air out if it exists. You should only need 5-10 seconds to complete if it will work at all. Quite frankly, it may not be air at all and the symptoms are general. Stressed by harassment from other fish, it could have a pathogenic infection... that is why quarantine for isolation, treatment and observation is critical to save its life>  Thanks for any help with our little guy. <please write back with a success story! Anthony>

What is the title of your book? (and puffer lymph) It looks to me like you have written a book on marine aquariums (from some of the emails) <Likely you're referring to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Sold by fish shops, Amazon et al. on-line booksellers, many etailers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm> What's its title and where can I get it? I think I have two puffers with lymphocystis,  <Very/too common> but my fish have clear blisters on their fins, which is a little different from the descriptions I have read of lymph. Is there anything else this could be?  <Chemical, physical "burns", secondary bacterial (though often labeled as fungal) infection...> They look like clusters of bubbles in their fins. <Oh, this IS likely lymphocystis. Look at pix here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm> Thanks, Brenda <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Puffer Question I have two Spotted Congo Puffers. Or at least I'm fairly certain that is what they are from the description on your site. My tank is in good condition, all fish seem healthy and all readings are normal. The only problem is that last Monday I noticed one of my fish (not puffer) had ich. Which means all my fish have ich. <Not necessarily... but your system does...> So I bought Rid-Ich and used it as directed for a week. This seemed to get rid of the ich. But now I see that my two puffers are staying at the bottom of the tank, not eating as much, and are still rubbing up against rocks. They are not darting around however. My question is, does ich cause loss of appetite and non movement?<It can, but definitely the medication does.> They used to be very active but now seem to stay in the same place. I don't see signs of parasites on them and their color is still bright, most of the time. Do you think they have ich and I should continue to treat with Rid-Ich? Or any other suggestions. <I would not continue the treatment at this point, but wait a good week or two, see if other (spotty) symptoms recur... then go the "elevated temperature and some salt" treatment route for two weeks, if so. Your livestock is better not chemically treated for now. Bob Fenner> Thank you for any help, Isaac Vollaire ps. Sorry if I didn't give enough info or if anything is confusing.

Gray sores on my poor puffer hello bob, thanks for taking the time to read my question. I recently bought a young leopard puffer AKA green spotted puffer. and have been doing my research on how best to care for him. He lives in a 10 gallon with a few ghost shrimp (which were intended for him to snack on), a juvenile Pakistani loach, a Plecostomus (sp?) and female beta. He is rather shy and scared of the beta. (I will be moving her soon) I have been gradually increasing the salt content over the last three weeks. it is now up to 1.004. He eats frozen blood worms and brine shrimp. I even set up a smaller tank so that I could bread snails for him to eat. He acts healthy, has good coloration and eats like a pig. The problem he has developed two dark grey-ish spots around the bottom corners of his mouth. I have notices them for about four days now. They are circular and the center of them appears as shallow open sores. they are lighter in the center and darkish grey on the outside. do you know what this could possibly be and how I might treat it? <Are the colored spots sort of symmetrical... about equal on both sides? This may be "nothing"> I love this little guy. out of all my fish in four different aquariums he is my favorite. please help. thank you. -David <If it were mine I'd keep on the path you're on and not worry. What you have related that you've done thus far (other than the difficulties of this being a small system) looks fine. Bob Fenner>

CO2 I moved my figure-8 puffer into the new 45 gallon tank a couple of days ago.  His color is quite pale and he is ventilating heavily.  Is this just from the stress of moving or is it possible that the DIY yeast Co2 generator has saturated the water with too much Co2; especially given that I only have a few plants and very little lighting, just one bulb (N.B. my tank has 10 ghost shrimp and a bumblebee goby; the bumblebee goby made the move at the same time as the puffer and appears to be doing quite well).  I think I will add an airstone right away to inject more air, is this a good idea?  Also, should I disconnect this Co2 generator?    A speedy reply would be appreciated.  Paul <Hi Paul, I highly doubt the DIY yeast Co2 could diffuse enough Co2 into a 45gal to harm the fish.  This is most likely stress from the move.  Check the rest of your water parameters to make sure they are all within range.  An airstone could not hurt at this point.  Eventually if/when you really get into the plants and the Co2, the surface agitation from the additional aeration might pose a problem, but right now the fish are your main concern, so I would go for it. Best of luck, Gage>

Possible Co2 poisoning in figure-8 puffer? I put in an airstone and some duckweed  and Poof seems to be doing much better, although he really isn't showing much interest in the ghost shrimp.  Oh well, I guess they can just be tank cleaners then... Thanks very much for you help Gage!  Paul <Good to hear, I'm sure his appetite will return shortly.>

Figure Eights with Ich Okay Okay...so here's the deal: I'm a college student with a ten gallon tank FILLED with puffers,  mean, I just love the goofy bastards. Okay, so, I had to go home for Thanksgiving break and I didn't know WHAT to do with the guys. I mean...I had to bring them home cause they needed to be fed...I mean what else was I going to do right. So perhaps this wasn't the best idea, but to get the home I drained the tank half way and sat with them in the back seat the entire car ride. So we were in the car for four hours, those poor guys splashing around and with no circulation like there was no tomorrow. So, I get the home, and I was in such a hurry to fix up their little home that I forgot to put anti stress coat in about half the water I put in. NEXT THING I KNOW...two of my little Figure Eights (the ones I know as Millhouse and Itchy) have these white spots on their back. Big old white spots. I don't know what's going on there, but it's really upsetting to me...a father of 6 puffers. They don't look like they're going away and I just don't know. There are 4 other puffers in the tank and they seem fine. JUST HELP ME! HELP THE PUFFERS. WHAT DO I DO...for the LOVE OF GOD WHAT DO I DO? Some people say it's ich...how do I take care of that? Thanks for your help. <Dude Bro, I hate to ask you to study while you are on vacation, but... I've got some reading for you to do.  If it is ich you will want to begin treatment with a formalin based medication.  Before you make the trip home make friends with someone at your local fish store, and ask them to pack them for the move home.  These fellas will be needing a larger home as well, they are little fish with big attitudes. disease - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm moving aquariums - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm -Gage

- Freshwater Puffer Woes - Hi Bob, <Actually, JasonC today...> I was wondering if you could answer a few of my questions and concerns that I have regarding my green puffer. <I can certainly try.> I have had this fish for a little over a year and it shares a 20 gal tank with a Labidochromis, a blue cobalt, a bumble bee and a pleco. The puffer has given me few reasons to be concerned about it, but recently it has been acting different than it has in the past. For one thing, the fish does not swim around as much as it used to. Now the fish either sits at the bottom of the tank without moving or sits on the various rocks that are set up throughout the tank and hardly moves. In addition, the puffer has started to close his eyes, almost like he is blinking. I don't know what this is but I have never seen the fish do this before. I don't know if the fish is sick or maybe just stressed from a recent water change. <Or both... these fish are sensitive to water conditions and I'm sure over the last year all the fish in this tank have grown, which would alter your bioload, and also your water quality if you're not on it 100%.> Any advise, help or some solution that may help would be greatly appreciated. <I would keep an eye on it, perhaps isolate it in a separate system if things don't improve. You should also read through the multiple pages of FAQ's on these puffers. This is a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffaqs.htm > Thank you, Chris <Cheers, J -- >

- Freshwater Puffer Treatment - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have two green spotted freshwater puffers. One has been in the 40 gal tank about a month now and seems to be having difficulty with his eye. He had ick (some on the eye as well)  and was treated with Maracide for 5 days. It didn't work so I gave it a day and treated it with quick cure this seemed to get rid of the ick however while it was being treated for ick I noticed what seemed to be pop eye and so after quick cure I started the tank on Maracyn.  Now after five days of treatment it still has a cloud in the one eye that had had ick on it. Any advice where to go from here? <Yeah... provided the parasitic problems are dealt with, I'd stop treating the tank. Give the eye time to heal on its own. Pop-eye is usually the result of injury/trauma to the eye itself so that treatments like Maracyn and the like will do little to nothing to solve the problem. I've also heard of using small amounts of Epsom salts to help the fish regulate its fluids, but I'd wait for a little while [a week or so] before giving this a shot. Cheers, J -- >

Puff Daddy! Hi there, Thanks tons for the advice on the puffer, I'm afraid it was too late though. <Sorry to hear that. Sometimes, animals don't make it despite our best intentions, I guess> I'm starting again, but I would like to know if I could put 2 green spotted puffers in a 55 litre tank with a bumble bee goby? <I think that they would be okay for a while, but they may require larger quarters at some point. You'd want to keep an eye on the goby to make sure that the puffers are not harassing the goby excessively> Would it be the same salinity and temp as was for figure of 8 puffers? <That would be fine, IMO><<Low amounts of salts for Figure Eights, please. RMF>> Cheers, Tom Hird <Good luck with your new fishes, Tom! regards, Scott F>

Puffer Twitch <Ananda here answering the puffer questions...> I have a green spotted puffer which I just acquired today, my question is concerning the new one although, I must first tell you what happened with my former puffer. I had purchased one in early December and had him for 2 weeks till he died. <Sorry to hear that.> After a week of having Cazmo he developed this twitch like seizure like action. Soon after he started to be very disoriented and running into the gravel. Looked like a plane that was out of control.   <Can be a sign of something toxic in the tank... Are you using a water conditioner that treats both chlorine and chloramine?> He had salt in the water for him, and he ate just fine before this got bad. So I looked at some web sites and came to the conclusion that he had some sort of internal bacteria of some sort. I read that Maracyn II (cant remember if that is correct) <Probably Maracyn II> would fix it.  So i went to the fish store and they gave me a more generic version called tetra-cycline. <Tetracycline is a completely different drug, but is also used for bacterial infections.> I administered the drugs to the tank and at the last day of treatment he died.  So I waited till after Christmas to try again with a new one.  Today I put him in his new home, and he started to do the twitch. <Did he start to twitch immediately when you put him in the tank? If so, it sounds like it is definitely something in the tank and/or filter. I would remove the fish from your tank to a quarantine tank -- or any other clean container he will fit in, if you do not yet have a quarantine tank. Then clean and sterilize the tank, filter, gravel, and all decorations. Read here for more details: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/disnfecgerfaqs.htm> I can not figure out what is going on in my tank that is causing this problem. <Whatever it is, it has stayed in the tank since your first puffer, thus the necessity of sterilization to get rid of as much of the cause of the problem as possible.> The tank is fairly new, but it has been running for about a month and 2 weeks.  He has no tank mates right now.  And I had my water tested and it showed up ok.  What is causing this?  I do not want to lose this one too!   <It is difficult to say with certainty exactly what is causing this. If the puffer's twitchiness continues after he is in a cleaned/sterilized system, please let us know. --Ananda>
Puffer Twitch
I have a green spotted puffer which I just acquired today, my question is concerning the new one although, I must first tell you what happened with my former puffer. <You should have researched enough to know that puffers, in general, are really not very hardy...particularly the green puffer You setting yourself up for failure> I had purchased one in early December and had him for 2 weeks till he died.  After a week of having Cazmo he developed this twitch like seizure like action.  Soon after he started to be very disoriented and running into the gravel.  Looked like a plane that was out of control.  He had salt in the water for him, and he ate just fine before this got bad. <Just the pains of dying!> So I looked at some web sites and came to the conclusion that he had some sort of internal bacteria of some sort. <Who knows?> I read that Maracyn II (cant remember if that is correct) would fix it.  So i went to the fish store and they gave me a more generic version called tetra-cycline.  I administered the drugs to the tank and at the last day of treatment he died.  So I waited till after Christmas to try again with a new one. <I suggest trying a new species of fish> Today I put him in his new home, and he started to do the twitch.  I can not figure out what is going on in my tank that is causing this problem. <Maybe not the tank...The fish is suffering from a terminal case of fragility> The tank is fairly new, but it has been running for about a month and 2 weeks. <It probably needs to be set up longer to stabilize. I assume that you have tested all of your water parameters and everything is as it should be?> He has no tank mates right now.  And I had my water tested and it showed up ok.  What is causing this?  I do not want to lose this one too!   <Good luck! These fish just aren't very hardy for anyone. Beautiful? Yes. Delicate and fragile? Yes. Die easily? Yes. David Dowless>

Figure 8 puffers (02/20/03) I have two in a 10 gal tank.  They were doing fine until we added two Monos and a Bala shark(?). <Hmm. A Bala shark is a freshwater fish; if you're talking about a brackish fish, perhaps you have the "silver shark catfish"?> Soon after adding the new fish, one of the puffers stopped eating.  This has been going on for about 2 weeks, or we just don't see it eat.  Then it started getting grey and black markings on its white underside.  Now the other has grey on its underside, but not as much.  This second one has also kept on with a healthy appetite. <Do try to entice the fist puffer to eat, with snails, shrimp, bloodworms, other puffer treats...the grey is the calling card for puffer stress. The black markings are more worrisome. Do check all your water parameters and do a water change if you see any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate.> We set up a 40 gal brackish and transferred the Monos and shark to it, thinking the puffers would do better, but it did not seem to make a difference.  I have absolutely no idea what I should be treating them for. <Possibly something the monos and shark brought in... I would go back to the fish store and check their remaining stock to see if they are healthy. The presence of the other fish in their tank may have been the initial stressor -- do the puffers have hiding spaces in their tank?> We did move the puffers into the 40 gal tank with the others thinking more room might help.   <It might, or not. If they do not improve, consider moving them back to their more familiar quarters.> Your help is appreciated! <You're welcome. --Ananda><<... this tank is too small, psychologically and physiologically... for this livestock. RMF>>

Re: puffer with black spots hi.. your site has been very helpful. i have a green spotted puffer that looks like it got the ich....doesn't seem as energetic and also noticed where his white belly starts...black specs???? he's in a freshwater tank ph like 7.2 7.6... should i do a saltwater dip on this fish??? how would i do this.. <Hello, It is hard to say without a picture.  If the spots are raised then it may be the Turbellid parasitic at work (Black spot).  Possibly treat with formalin, but I would make a positive ID before any treatment.  Check out the link below.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >

Puffer Color Change Hello, I enjoy the WWM site a lot...lots of good content. <excellent> I have a question...I have a green spotted puffer (Pepito). About a couple of months ago, he started turning kind of blackish/greyish colored. What might it be? <Have you tested your water quality lately?  Are you adding salt? What is the spg?  These puffers are ok in fresh water while young, but as they grow older they should really be kept in brackish water. It could also be related to mood, diet, or just a normal color change with age.  Check out the link below and related FAQs for more information.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm > Thank you, Kristine

New Mbu Review (03/21/03) Hi, <Hi. Ananda here today.> We are the proud parents of a beautiful Mbu Puffer.   <And here we missed the baby shower.> We briefly have put him in a 37 tall (he is 7 inches) we are having a 135 delivered and set up with an established filter system tomorrow. <The 135 is a good starter tank for a fish this size... you are making plans for that 300+ gallon tank you're going to need when it gets to its full-grown length of 26 inches, right?> My question is last night my husband was on the other side of the mirrored side of the tank. He adjusted the heater and this scared the Mbu, "Simon". Simon moved so fast across the tank I could not believe it. <Despite the fact that they swim like tugboats most of the time, puffers can move amazingly fast when they need to.> He bumped into the other side of the tank. He hit so hard. He then sat on the bottom of the tank and I noticed blood coming from his left gill every so often. After about 1 minute this stopped. <Ouch! Sounds like the fishy equivalent of a bloody nose.> This morning and afternoon he is swimming and is colored up beautiful. Do you think this hurt him? This was really scary. <For him, especially!> Please let me know what you think? <Keep an eye on him. If there will be movement near his tank when the people come to set up the 135, cover his tank with a blanket so he won't get startled.> Also we have fed him mystery snails and shrimp.. <You don't have to use mystery snails; ordinary pond snails will work fine, too. You might want to set up a snail farm tank. Check out the article here: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/snailsforpuffers.shtml> My husband says its ok to take the shrimp out of the freezer and leave in the refrigerator for a few days and feed it to him. <Sort of like leaving bread out on a plate for a few days before you eat it....> I say no, its not safe. Better to take the shrimp out the night before and feed the next day.. <I just take the shrimp out of the freezer and drop them into the tank. (Though I have to chop them up a bit, first; my puffers are little guys.) Hard and crunchy foods mean more wear on his ever-growing teeth. Do vary his diet a bit more; check out the puffer feeding FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm ...Also check the various puffer FAQs, including the marine ones -- your puffer is closer in size to marine puffers than to the more common fresh/brackish puffers.> Help... Vivian Rahman <Have fun with your new family member. --Ananda>

Aquarium service woes... (03/24/03) Ananda, I write you with a heavy heart.. On Thursday the Aquarium Service came and were supposed to replace the heater and the eclipse filter on the Mbu Puffer's tank. The young man took it upon himself to put salt in the tank thinking he was salt or brackish. Mbu "Simon" was dead in 2 1/2 hours.. We came in at 6:pm and he was on the bottom his gills barely moving and covered with white looking powder. We did a 3/4 water change he was dead before we got through. He has been so happy and colorful all day. I wish I had stayed home to make sure all had gone well.. He was 7 inches long.. The owner of the company will be compensating us. His employee argued with me on the telephone the next morning and told me that we did not know what we were doing, that all puffers required salt and the puffer died because we had him in fresh water. He did this in front of his co-workers, who were mortified. The owner called my husband and they both cried on the telephone. It was a very painful death for Simon and I will never forget what happened. We are getting another Mbu Puffer this weekend. He is smaller 4 inches. He has a cute personality and he will be in our family for a very long time. From now on when the Aquarium people come I will be home and will monitor what they are doing.. I will never forget Simon. The technician was fired from the company.. Thank You, Vivian <I am so sad to hear about this. I will post it in hopes that another such tragedy might be prevented. Thank you for writing. --Ananda>

Help!!  South American Puffer Illness (and sometimes the forums are faster than the emails...) (03/13/03) Hi there, HELP!!! <Ananda here tonight, as the puffer patrol heads south...> I was checking out the site (excellent) and hoped you could help me.   <I recently got done reading the forums... where I posted an answer to this very same question. Here's the link: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=8101 :-) > I have a 1 ½ inch South American Puffer that I purchased in November.  It has generally been very active and healthy.  My setup is a ten gallon tank and the only tankmate is a chocolate albino pleco which is about 2 1/2 inches long.  My tank conditions are generally about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, around 1.002 salinity, PH of about 7.4, and based on tests conducted by my pet store my ammonia and nitrate levels are "normal" (I don't know the specific values but could find out).  I have bio-wheel filter and little rocks as opposed to gravel.  I usually do a water change, about 40%, every few weeks and the last one was maybe 6 days ago.  I usually feed my puffer freeze dried krill.  He generally refuses dried blood worms (though he used to love them?), dried brine shrimp, or even frozen food (haven't tried live food).   <Snails. Puffs go *nuts* over snails....> This morning I looked in the tank and noticed that the puffer is very lethargic.  He seems disoriented and he shows no expression.  He has some stool hanging out from his behind and his body seems slightly thinner and gaunt. He has little in terms of other physical signs except for maybe dull coloration and maybe slightly cloudy eyes.  This evening I tried feeding him krill and he made a pathetic attempt at going for a piece but couldn't get up the energy to get any of it. <Not good... more ideas in the response I posted.> This morning, I frantically ran to the store and picked up some medicine.  I administered Maracyn, Two-two, and Melafix (tea tree oil) to the tank. I also raised the temperature of the water a few degrees and added some more salt to the water.  I haven't yet noticed any improvement.  I also took the pleco out of the tank in case he tries to bully the puffer. <Good idea.> I'm trying to figure out if this is a water quality issue or a disease.  Are the rocks maybe trapping some nitrates or ammonia, causing the levels not to be recognized by the tests?  Have I changed too much of the water?  Too little?  Have I kept too little salt in the water?  Is this an infection or maybe a parasite?  Is the stool thing an indication, I haven't noticed it before?  I'm racking my brain for answers??!! <My ideas are posted, and others will chime in with their ideas...> Any help you could provide would be GREATLY appreciated!!  Thanks and great job on this site!! Frank <You're welcome, and thanks! --Ananda>

Puffer looks blind (04/14/03) Hi Bob, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I need HELP, or rather,  my little puffer does! he hasn't been eating well lately, and he looks like he is just picking at his food, but i had a closer look, and it looks like he has cataracts or something, as one of his eyes looks slightly cloudy. Water conditions are stable, and i know he is hungry, as he gets excited when he smells the food in the water. just that he doesn't seem to be able to see it and find it. <Cloudy eyes are most commonly attributable to poor water quality. You say your water conditions are stable, but what are they? What are your water parameters? (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, specific gravity, etc.) Come to think of it, what kind of puffer is this?> he has lost weight, and spends the night lying down on the substrate, and it appears he is ventilating quite heavily. how can i care for him? <First off, do a water change. Diluting any ammonia/nitrites/nitrates in the water can only help. Aside from that, I need to know what type of puffer this is before making any specific suggestions... this might have been caused by a bacterial infection.> I've recently put live Tubifex in a feeder cup for easier access, but he doesn't seem interested.. should i try bloodworms? he just swims around and sometimes bumps into things. I'm at a loss. any suggestions would be most appreciated! <Have you "trained" the puffer to take food from a worm cone? If not, you might try using shrimp or perhaps freeze-dried or frozen/thawed krill. He should be able to smell it. Hold the piece steady so the puffer can munch on it moving it every time he touches it. --Ananda> cheers Marcus Tan
Re: My puffer looks like he is BLIND (04/15/03)
Hi Ananda, <Hi again!> Sorry I wasn't more specific, but I was really at a loss.. it is a Palembang puffer (according to the LFS i bought it from) <Commonly called a figure-8 puffer here in the States.> and when I wrote to you, I had just moved it to my hospital tank. <Oh, good.> I changed the water in the original tank only a day before, so the tests I did when I noticed the problem were not conclusive of anything, but I suspect my undergravel filter was to blame, as I had that running for about 6 months, and in that time, I'd not been able to do anything more than regular water changes (20% every 3 days) the tank is pretty small, about 6-7 litres, but well aerated, and planted, and the water changed regularly. <Too small a tank for this puffer... even with fairly large and quite frequent water changes.> I think my mistake was in not cleaning the substrate regularly, as after I moved Fugu out, i cleaned it with a siphon, and it was full of muck. more than I could imagine would be there. <Yup. Puffers are messy fish, thus the need for a bigger tank and more filtration than you might need for other similarly-sized fish.> but all the while, the water was clear... <Unfortunately, clear water does not necessarily mean good, healthy water.> So anyway, since moving Fugu, he has picked up a bit, and seems a little more energetic, but is still having trouble finding the food. I'm trying to hand feed him, and he manages about 1-2 freeze dried bloodworms a day, which hope is enough. <Depends on how big he is, but I doubt it, unless you have bigger bloodworms than I've seen around here...do try to feed him something larger, or feed him more frequently. Also, feed him from the exact same place in the tank, every time. You might also consider using something to hold food there.> Any idea if his sight will ever return? <Time and pristine water quality may help... will pass this along to others for their opinions. --Ananda> marc

Figure eight puffers: weird thing in mouth? (06/19/03) Hello, <Hello! Ananda here today, having solved the browser problem....> I have a question regarding figure eight puffer fish.  I have a small aquarium which I keep on my desk at work.  I have had 6 puffer fish (only 2 at a time) in the past five months, all but one have died.  I keep the temperature appropriate and I feed them blood worms.   <First, I'm betting your tank is too small for your puffers. Second, they need far more than blood worms to survive! They need a variety of foods, including hard-shelled foods to wear down their teeth. Puffer teeth never quit growing, so they need to munch on snails, shrimp shells, and the like to keep their teeth worn down. Do check out the assorted Puffer Feeding FAQs on the WetWebMedia site (both the freshwater/brackish and saltwater FAQs will have useful information).> What I have noticed in the five that have died, and am currently experiencing in the last remaining puffer, is when I first got them, their mouths opened and closed repeatedly as they swam, very aggressive at feeding time and reactive to outside movement.  I understand that these are normal characteristics of this fish.  As time went on, it appeared as though their mouths closed up, no longer moving.  It looks as though there is something jutting down from the top of their mouth causing the opening to be very small.   <That would be their overgrown tooth! At that point, you may need to very carefully do some puffer dentistry to save the fish. Using a high-quality cuticle scissors, snip off the point of the tooth while the puff is completely underwater. You will need to hold the puff, who will probably puff up. Do a search in the brackish forum of the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for more details about how one forum member did puffer dentistry on her little guys.> When this first starts to occur, they try to eat but the food can't pass through the small opening.  Eventually, they don't try anymore until they die 1-2 weeks later. Have you seen or heard of this before?  Please let me know. Thank you, Kathy <You need to immediately start feeding these guys some hard-shelled foods. If your current puff's teeth are too long, they may need dentistry before they can eat the hard shells. But get some pond snails -- the tiny ones that show up with the plants at most fish stores, not the huge ones or the cone-shaped ones. And shrimp tails work well. Puffers are cute, but really need the right foods! --Ananda>

Puffer ich Hello, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a green spotted puffer in a 25g tank, brackish water. <Sounds like a good start.> One of his eyes has gone all cloudy, his back tail is breaking apart and has lots of white would looking spots all over the body, he is eating fine any ideas, I just did a 25%water change today after noticing the Nitrite Levels were at 8.0 <Ouch! I would do additional water changes to get the nitrites down to *zero*. How long have you had this tank?> I also have a baby moray eel in the tank and a red eye puffer, both of which seem fine, the eel looks like he has white spots on him too but its hard to tell. <Red eye puffers are notoriously bad tankmates. It will need its own tank.> No other fish just the three in the tank. <Okay. Depending on what your specific gravity is at, you should consider raising it a few points. That should take care of the ich.> Please help!!  Novice Puffer keeper! <Do check out the brackish forum on the WetWebMedia forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ...Ananda>

Sick puffer maybe I have 2 figure 8 puffers and 2 spotted puffers in a 5 gallon freshwater tank. One of the spotted puffers just recently started sitting on the bottom or close to it in the corner. It looks like it has a discoloration line between the white part of the belly and the spots. It is kind of a dark area, all the way around. If you know what this could be please write me back. Annie <Sounds like what folks term a "stress syndrome" of these fishes (the first species freshwater, the second brackish to marine)... with nervous involvement, parts of the body do discolor... I would read and heed the materials stored on our site re these tetraodonts: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm You need to add some non-iodized salt to the system, maybe some live rock (yes, as if this were a marine system) to speed (re)cycling in the different ionic environment... Bob Fenner
Re: sick puffer.........
I am sorry to bother you again but today when I woke up my puffer whom I  wrote to you about yesterday had puffy cotton like stuff on his body around  his fin. Could this be something different? The per store says that its  ick and I got him some "Furacyn" medicine but he looks worse today. :( Also, do I need to add salt to my tank? I mean, I have neons, swordtails,  shrimp, and baby swords. It is just a 10 gallon tank. Will the salt hurt  them at all? Sorry to bother! Thanks a bunch! >> <Not ich... did they ask if the appearance was white, discrete spots? Likely a secondary infection of some sort of fungus... and once again, nutrition and environmentally related.  If you can understand the following, do add the salt and amend the foods as previously recommended. No amount of medicine otherwise will stop this problem... No to adding much salt with the Neon Tetras... Please either trade the puffer in (it will eventually eat the Neons) or the Neons... otherwise, the Swords will be fine with the salt... The Puffer is a brackish to marine species and quite nippy/aggressive... with easygoing freshwater species... I would have encouraged you to leave such a fish out of your system. Bob Fenner

Hurt puffer......... Hello! I have a spotted green puffer. He is in a freshwater tank with  female swordtails and guppies. I feed the other fish tetra color and I feed  him brine shrimp pellets. His tail is curled up and his left fin is  starting to rot it looks like. Not like Ich but just deteriorating. I have  only had this tank set up for a week and the day after I got the tank set up  I had baby swordtails. My fish went through a lot of stress separating the  babies from the tank so that is probably the cause of this. What could be  wrong with him? Ich? Fin rot? Maybe just a fight with another fish? :(  I love my fish so much and I don't want to loose any! :) PLEASE help  me?!?! Thanks so much! >> <Likely the tail curling is nothing (this is what these puffers do) but pectoral fin is trouble... and likely due to being in a strictly freshwater environment (this species is actually more marine) and a too-limited diet... I would add "some" salt (a teaspoon per gallon ultimately... a teaspoon per day until you reach this amount... if you have no plants... or other livestock... the swords are fine... that are salt intolerant. And do look into other frozen, freeze-dried foods like Tubifex, mysids, krill, bloodworms... for your puffer. These two changes will reverse the current trend. Bob Fenner>

Ceylon FW Puffers Hello, I have two Ceylon puffers in my 55gal FW tank. We call them Jeckel and Hyde. One minute they are swimming around, or shall I say up and down, and eating like pigs, in full color. Their little bellies are white and the spots are bright. The next minute, they are laying on the bottom, all black in color and barely breathing. Once they start swimming again, their bright and healthy looking. We just don't get it. The smaller of the two is getting worse, with more down time, I think he might die soon if I don't do something. We feed the frozen brine shrimp and occasional blood worms. What could it be? Michelle <Hmm, couldn't find this common name anywhere in my feeble memory, on ICLARM's FishBase, in TFH reference works... but do know this is actually a marine to brackish water species... and that likely what is happening has to do with a lack of salt in your Puffers water. Can your other livestock tolerate much salt? Like a teaspoon per ten gallons or so of uniodized (ice-cream, kosher...) salt? Or better, the same amount from a synthetic salt mix (like for marine fish tanks)? This is what they really need. Maybe take a read through the freshwater puffers section and FAQs on the www.wetwebmedia.com site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm Sort of like you and I trying to "catch up" by drinking seawater... Bob Fenner>
Re: Ceylon FW Puffers
Hi Bob, Thanks for the email, I didn't expect to hear from you so soon. The real name for the Ceylon puffer is Tetraodon, I think.  <Ah, likely T. fluviatilis... common names are actually my bane!> I don't usually use the scientific names. They resemble green spotted puffers in body shape and size. Anyway, the smaller of our two Ceylons passed last night:( for reasons unknown. You do put the right salt in our tank after every water change, our water is brackish. As soon as the little one died, the big one started failing too. I don't no what to do:( Michelle <Any idea of how brackish your water actually is? Maybe the conductivity as a measure? I would/am still inclined to place more salt as I wrote last... Bob Fenner>

Juvenile Green Puffer I have two green spotted puffer, and two figure eight puffer's in a 30 gallon brackish aquarium. All have been living peacefully together (more or less :) for a couple weeks now. My question; one of the green spotted puffers developed a cloudy "film" over one eye last night while I slept. Do you have any idea what this could be? <A "sort of secondary" infection, likely bacterial, stress-related... likely from the system being so new... crowded puffer-wise... and likely will solve itself> None of the other fish have any evidence of this, and the one fish with the cloudy eye still seems to be swimming around healthy, and eating. Did he maybe get in a fight? Or do you think he is sick? Thanks for your AWESOME site, and priceless advice. Good-day! <Maybe a fight, and not really so "sick" as in treatable for a condition, agent. I'd just keep the system on an even keel and wait this out. And you're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick dwarf puffer Hi, I have had a tank with 6 freshwater dwarf puffers (most about 1/2 inch) in an eclipse system 6 (6 gallon w/ charcoal/BioWheel) for about half a year now... everything has been great with no problems until the largest one (almost 1 inch long male) developed a white spot in the middle of his back about a week ago. Since then, about 8-10 of these spots have slowly developed over his back and head. These spots look larger than any ich spots that I have seen, these are about 1mm in diameter and some have turned black. There isn't any noticeable bump or depression in the skin, however.  <Good descriptions, not likely ich... perhaps not even infectious or parasitic> He has no other symptoms except that he has recently developed a very small white spot on his fin and brown dot on his underside, he has also started to act a bit disoriented and seems to be having a bit of trouble eating, though he tries. I removed the filter and have tried a 5 day, full strength cycle of Quick Cure (malachite green) as well as adding a little over a tablespoon of aquarium salt. <Good choices in therapy... about what I would have tried... in addition to vitamin administration to the food, water> I also raised the temperature from the normal 82 up to 85 and begun daily 20 percent water changes but to no avail. A couple of spots have recently begun developing on a second puffer in the same progression (from the middle of the back to the head). Do you know what this could be and how I could treat it? Also, can I raise the temperature and salinity any more? <Could be a microsporidean, sporozoan infestation... Worth taking a look at scrapings of the area (even histological sections if you can secure help, do this maybe through a local college...) to determine origins... I would stick to what you're doing and add a complete aqueous vitamin and iodide mix to these fish's foods daily and to the tank water weekly. Such preparations are made and labeled for ornamental aquatics use by retailers, e-tailers. You might even try (yes, this is a semi-endorsement) a "garlic" prep. in their food. Good luck, life my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jeremy

Sick puffer Hi, I recently purchased a figure 8 puffer that's about an inch and a half long. He's currently in a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 4 painted tetras and a ghost shrimp. He occasionally chases the shrimp, but other than that he's left everyone alone. <So far... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/fwpuffers.htm> The tank has an Aquaclear 150 filter filled with the sponge and Ammocarb in a bag. The heater keeps the tank at about 78 - 79 degrees and the pH is about 7.3 . I leave the light on during the day (there's a Brazilian sword plant in the tank). The tank has cycled and I've added 2 tablespoons of Aquarium Salt.  <This is one of the freshwater puffers...> He was eating fine for about a week (fed freeze dried brine shrimp and live blackworms twice a day) but today he refused all foods at both feedings (morning and night). He looks thinner and seems weaker (hanging out on the bottom a lot). Is he sick? Is there anything I can do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help, Eric <Your Puffer may well be sick... perhaps just not acclimated... I would try offering it other foods, perhaps a bit of cut shrimp, squid or crab meat. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick puffer
Thanks for the quick reply ... unfortunately I just flushed the little fella. No idea what happened unless he wasn't well cared for at the pet store or maybe couldn't acclimate to the new tank. Thanks anyway. Eric <I am hopeful that your apparently cavalier action and message here are simply my (mis)interpretation. What did Pliny the elder write, "If a man would be unkind to his parrot (and you with a psittacine e-nomen), then why not his country...". Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Lymph on FW Puffer Great site. My figure eight puffer has Lymphocystis I believe.  <Very common> They are large clear bumps on his underbelly. I've asked several aquatics stores what to do, but they've offered little advice. Is there something you would recommend to treat this ailment? <If large enough, discrete... can be carefully prised off twixt thumb and a finger nail... Salt of appropriate strength/use helps, as does lacing/soaking foods with a vitamin preparation. Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner> Joe

Problems with a Figure-Eight Puffer <<JasonC here, helping out while Bob is away diving.>> Bob Fenner Hello I recently sent this message to the folks at PufferNet and they said to send my message to you. <<really.>> I just copied what I sent them put it on the bottom of this letter. The only thing new with my puffer is the worm looking thing in his eye was there one morning and when I got back from my run it looks like it popped out. <<hmm...>> My puffers eye is almost back to normal <<glad to hear this.>> but I worry that if it was a parasite he may have eaten again because I saw it nowhere in the tank. <<may have gone into the substrate.>> and he is always on lookout for food. <<sounds good.>> He also still has a bump on his back it doesn't look like it has moved to much. Again thank you for your time and any suggestions on what to do would be a great help. thank you Ed Purdy <<Ed, it sounds like you should probably take actions with copper or other similar mechanism that would kill those evil-nasties. I would suggest you read through the following FAQ on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwpufferfaqs.htm - from what I can gather your puffer will respond well to copper and so now might be the time to use some. Cheers, J -- >>
Re: Figure Eight Puffer Concerns
>Hello I own a figure 8 pufferfish, shortly after I >brought him home I noticed that he had a bump on his >back. It has continued to grow and since move. I think >he has a parasite of some sort growing under his skin >and don't know what to do? The parasite has since >split into two or multiplied at times it looks like >there is a worm in his skin. I never see it move I >just wake up and it is in a different spot. It is >currently in his eye and I can see what looks like a >little worm wrapped up in his eye. Please let me know >what you think this might be and what to do to help >the little guy out. Other wise he has a great appetite >swims fine and acts normal. Thanks for your time. >Ed Purdy
Re: Figure Eight Puffer Concerns
Jason, <<Hello,>> Thanks for the suggestions and I will check out the FAQ's on the puffers. But I am not familiar with copper. Is that copper like the metal? <<Same element as the metal, but in liquid form.>> Any way is it something that is normally carried at the pet store? <<Yes.>> Again thank you for your time and help. I'm sure my puffer thanks you as well. Ed <<Ed, also check out Bob's answers to various FAQs on Copper in Marine systems. Obviously your puffer isn't a marine fish, but I think some of the information in these links will be of some use as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm Hope that's helpful. Cheers, J -- >>

Puffer with problem Hi, My figure-8 puffer has a large growth on his tail just before his back fin. It looks like a blister. There is no discoloration. His appetite is fine. Antibiotics have been ineffective. What is it? How can I treat it? <Likely some sort of subcutaneous tumor... best to ignore it... chemicals won't "treat it", surgery is more dangerous, stressful than it's worth. Good water quality, feeding... will see this animal to its best health. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Paul

Picked a Peck of Pimpled Puffers (marine, but applicable to FW puffers as well) Mr. Fenner, <Geri...Anthony Calfo here answering Bob's mail while he is away studying to become a Tibetan Sherpa> I have 3 small green spotted puffers in a 30 gal brackish tank.  <adorable fish... you are keeping them brackish, right? what's your salinity?> They are all eating well and are very lively. I have had them about two weeks and two of them have developed small bumps (no discoloration-just raised areas) under their skin. The bumps were first noticed on their bellies and now one fish has a couple on his side. I need help in determining what these bumps are and if I need to treat them. Please reply-Thanks for the advice. <tough to diagnose from a general description of the symptom, but here goes: if the bumps/dots are symmetrical and identical in size... and not larger than a common grain of salt (as opposed to an uncommon 5lb grain...in which case you can forget the quarantine tank and just find a small deer to lick it off, hehehe) you may very well be dealing with an external parasite. Not at all uncommon with this species and not as obvious to you compared to pictures of large-scaled fishes in books. You must be very careful using medication with these fish and follow manufacturer's recommendations for scaleless fishes (or halve the dose for twice the time). Otherwise, large or asymmetrical bumps will rule out most if not all common parasites and you'll look for other pathogenic symptoms. I would highly recommend Dieter Untergasser's Handbook of Fish Diseases. A great and easy to understand book with pictures and fool-proof flow charts. We need to narrow the puffers condition down before we medicate. In the meantime... look for medicated fish food at the LFS and maintain consistent water quality. I'm (educated) guessing that your fish have common white spot and will need a parasite medication. Keep us posted, Anthony>

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