Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Puffer Disease/Health 1

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

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

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

Puffers are relatively disease-resistant. Here's a "clean" Ostracion cubicus in Mabul, Malaysia. 


Copper and puffers (07/26/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> 1. Had beautiful gold spotted puffer in tank with serious Ich outbreak.  LFS said treat with copper power in show tank.  NOW know that was a bad idea. <I would never treat anything in a show tank...> Conscientious Marine Aquarist suggested puffer fish OK with copper Ananda said get out of copper and do daily water changes in QT tank Which is right????? <To some degree, both. I always try to steer people away from using copper with puffers and other scaleless fish because they are *so* touchy with copper. While it is *possible* to treat puffers with copper, it is also *difficult* to maintain the copper at a level which is sufficient to kill the parasites without endangering the puffer. (As an example, a couple of days ago, one reader lost a puffer moments after putting it into a coppered tank. The tank had been used to treat an angel, which survived the same level of copper that was lethal for the puffer.) Add to that the fact that copper will also kill all beneficial bacteria in a setup, and that means the hospital tank is likely to have some ammonia -- which is deadly to any fish. The combination could easily prove too much for a puffer to take. Freshwater dips are significantly less dangerous to the puffers (as long as you keep their heads submerged so they can't gulp air!). And the daily water changes are designed to do accomplish two things: keeping the ammonia levels down and removing any Ich from the bottom of the tank.> 2.Also, tank had constant bubbles from Iwaki 55rlt pump with wrong sump ( too small) and couldn't keep up with water flow and was sucking air too.  Is this a source of stress for fish? <It could be.  --Ananda> Thanks, Russ

Cotton spots? (03/18/03) <Ananda here this morning...> our porcupine puffer "gizmo" has little white, cotton like spots on his eyes. we're not sure if this is common. he doesn't act any different but this is something that we are concerned. please help!                   thanks <Sounds like it might be Ich. Do check out the articles on dealing with same, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and with FAQs linked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm -- and also the articles on dealing with puffers and catching/moving them, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm ...Also check your water quality and do a water change if you have any ammonia or nitrites, or if your nitrates are over 20 or so. --Ananda>

Porcupine puffer not doing well (03/18/03) Hi, <Hi. Ananda here this morning...> I would really appreciate some advice about my porcupine puffer fish. Fist of all this is my set up 28 gallon tank <Gah! Way too small for an adult porcupine puffer. Put a zero on the end of that number and you're looking at a better tank size for these fish.> 1 x Fluval 304 filter GF with 2 x power heads <I am not a fan of either canister filters or undergravel filters on a marine tank. There are better options. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm> stock 1 clown 2 damsels <For a 28 gallon tank, those three fish are enough. With two damsels, possibly more than enough.> 1 snowflake eel 1 poorly porcupine puffer <see size comment above> AM = 0 NI = 0 NA = 20 PH = 8.4 <These readings are pretty good.> tank is 4 months old <I'm concerned that you have added too many fish too quickly.> The puffer has taken a bit of a turn over the past couple of days, to start off he got a coating over his fins of brown stuff, then next day the skin on the back of his neck has started to peel of revealing white skin underneath, in general his colour is not as strong either. <This does not sound good. I would put this fish into a hospital tank immediately. I am not sure what this is, so will forward this back into the queue for others' comment(s).> Now his eyes are not as vibrant or puffer out but glazed, and has stopped eating, I have spoken to someone on the phone at the shop and have said its a bacterial infection, and that I should treat it with something called myxcel *Spelling. <I'm not familiar with that one.><<Me neither, maybe an antibiotic from the spelling... would not use this here... likely as you hint the root problem is environmental. Possibly just low dissolved oxygen.>> Do you know of this to happen to a puffer? what causes it? how can it be prevented? is my fish going to live and look as good as he once did? is he going to live? <I'll hold off on answering these, as I don't know what the disease/problem is, precisely.> I'm desperately seeking advice as I'm very upset as I love the puffer <The porcupine puffer is my favorite fish, but I don't have one...I'm waiting until I can get a nice big tank (I'm holding out for a 240 gallon). It'll be a few years yet. Until then, I will continue to enjoy them from a distance. You might need to do the same.> Thanks Ryan <You're welcome. --Ananda><<Bob F.>>
Porcupine puffer doing poorly (03/19/03)
Hi Ananda, Thanks for your quick reply, <You're welcome. Hopefully more of my brain cells are functional at this time of day.> I don't have a hospital tank to put the puffer into, and definitely cannot afford the expense of a whole new tank and filter system. what can i do? <You don't need to use an actual glass tank for this -- a Rubbermaid-type container would work as well in this case. For filtration, an air-driven sponge filter would suffice. You NEED to put this fish in a hospital tank before it infects the other fish in your tank. I found out that the symptoms you mentioned are indications of an Oodinium pillularis infection -- aka marine velvet. More info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetfaqs2.htm > I've spoken to the local shop and he said to use myxinal in the tank, an non-copper based treatment which is not harmful to the other fish. <Must be new and/or UK-based...I couldn't find any mention of this via either a Google search or a Dog pile search.> thanks Ryan <Hope this helps.... --Ananda>

Puffer Trouble!   3/17/03 Hey guys!<Hey!  Phil here, "Bozek" on the forums.. you're "Dissolution" on the forums right?> Purchased a Dogface puffer Friday night.<My favorite puffer> He seems like he got used to the tank fairly quick.  Seemed ok. My room mate did a water change with water that was slightly cooler (72 degrees) because the moron didn't think to check the temp.<Not good>   Not only that - when he was taking the water out the heater cracked because the water level went below it.<This is sounding worse by the minute!> I had to do a 40min drive to the only place that was open to get a new one.   Now the water is at the normal temp 78degrees.<good> The problem is that between the water change and the temp drop he got stressed out.  He just sits at the bottom and occasionally moves to a new spot and chills there.  His color is off (like when some fish fall asleep - then they get the colors back). I've been reading over the FAQs - and it doesn't seem like a "horrible" behaviour - but I know its not normal - and I'd like to get my new buddy all feeling better. What can I do?<Make sure he's eating and keep the water quality high!  These are tough fish and should be able to take this like a trooper!  Please e-mail me back if there is any change in appearance/ behaviour!> Thanks so much!<No problem! Phil>
Re: Puffer Trouble...   3/17/03
Hey Phil,<Hey there!> The little guy "passed on" later that evening.<I'm very sorry, the loss of a fish is never easy!>  Do you think it was the temperature drop?<It probably was...>  It didn't seem to really affect the other fish too much (the initial temp drop freaked them all out).   It really didn't get back up to 78 for awhile.<The stress of moving tanks was probably hard on it, the added stress of the water temp drop was probably too much.>   Yeah, I'm Dissolution on the forums. Thanks again.<Once again I'm sorry> In some good news I got a killer lighting system from one of the LFS.  Got 9 lights (3 "ballasts"?  (1 per 3 lights).  They were tearing down one of the display tanks so we got that cheap.  I got to make a new hood to accommodate it but we got a good deal.<Do I smell a reef tank?? lol.. Phil>

Re: puffer with a possible prolapsed colon? I would love to hear from Kelly on this -- it isn't the first time I've heard about this happening with puffers.  There's one email in my box (Help!! South American puffer...), but we've been dealing with this one more on the website in the 911 forum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=8101 --     Ananda Yikes! With reptiles/small animals it is sometimes tucked and stitched... often times left untended (for better or worse). I haven't a clue here. If Bob cannot advise, we could pass it to a friend Kelly J who has great passion/experience with puffers and other large fishes. Antoine --------------------------------- One of the guys who posted and emailed about his puffer now thinks said puffer may have a prolapsed colon. I haven't got a clue on what to do for that. Is it treatable? Thanks, Ananda <As far as I'm aware, there is not much to do here other than isolate the animal (so others don't bother it) and wait/hope for the everted part of the tract to be taken back in. Bob F who will cc Kelly.J re>

Sick Dogface Puffer (03/10/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight as the puffer patrol heads for the ocean...> I have a dog face puffer and he hasn't eaten the last two days.  His face and lips seem to be very swollen. His eyes do not stick out at all and are very cloudy. He sits on the bottom and looks like he's having a hard time breathing.  He'll swim around a little but he runs into stuff since he can't see very well. <My first suspect is water quality. Have you tested the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates in this tank? Ammonia and nitrites should be at zero, and nitrates should be under 40. If you have *any* ammonia or nitrites, or nitrates over 40, I would do a water change of at least 20%.> I also have a lionfish and yellow tang in the tank.  The tang appears healthy.  The lionfish also has cloudy eyes and hasn't eaten in the last two days but he is stubborn sometimes with his food and is still swimming around like normal.    <Hmmm. What did you add to the tank two days ago?> I did a 20% water change today. Do you have any suggestions, I don't want to lose my puffer!!!   <Another 20% water change might be in order. There are also some bacterial infections that can cause cloudy eyes, but I would like to rule out water quality issues first. I know nothing about your tank, so water quality is my first suspect.> Thanks so much!  Lea
Re: Sick Dogface Puffer (03/10/03)
We lost our puffer  :(   <So sorry to hear that!> Now our lion is swimming around at the top of the tank with his head out of the water possibly gasping for air.  He started this as soon as the dog faced puffer was removed.  The Lionfishes eyes are still cloudy.  Our ammonia is .5, nitrite is .1, nitrate is between five and ten, and ph is 8.2.  We did a 20% water change about 6 hours ago and the levels have stayed the same.   <Then do another water change as soon as you can. A 40% water change is not out of line. The ammonia and nitrite is a deadly combination.> We also put in prime ammonia remover but that starting yesterday but that hasn't helped.   <Prime can neutralize the ammonia, but it will still show up on some tests... a difference between "free" ammonia and ammonia that is chemically bound up and not free.> We don't know what to do we don't want to lose our lion too.  Thanks, Lea <Another large water change is in order, pronto. And once you get the next one done, start another batch of saltwater mixing for yet another water change.... I'll be online for several hours yet, so let me know if the big water change doesn't help. I'll be doing some research on this in the meantime. --Ananda>

Swollen jaw Hi Ananda, Thank you for the quick reply. <Bob Fenner here>   Puffer is still sick- his condition is getting worse. Before getting sick he ate krill, snails and seaweed among other things, but over the course of the past month, his appetite has crashed and he finally stopped eating completely 6 days ago, though he hadn't been eating much before that. <Not a good sign, but not necessarily the "end of the world". Have known of puffers that didn't eat for months that recovered fully> I am now treating him with Maracyn and Maracyn 2, (Maracyn 2 for 7 days-- I will stop at 10; and Maracyn for just 2 days so far).  The Maracyn was added yesterday for the first time and seems to have helped the swelling  on his chin, though it is still pretty swollen.  I force fed him for the first time yesterday with a little success. He perked up after and came to the top as if looking for food, but showed no interest in eating. He is very thin and this morning his eyes are deeply sunken in and I can see white around them. There does not seem to be redness or other discoloration around them. One other thing I've noticed since he first got sick, is that he tends to orient mouth down, so that his chin is touching the floor, but his tail is up an inch or two. I checked the pH and found that it was low- around 7, so I've slowly increased it to around 8 so far. <Yikes... this is quite a large difference... pH scales are in base ten... a whole point difference is ten times hydrogen/hydroxyl concentration> I'm making daily water changes, I also added aeration yesterday (which also seemed to help a little), but I don't know what has caused the sunken eyes. Everything I force fed him today he was able to spit back out. <You need to force the food down further in the throat, into the stomach> I soaked it in Kent marine Zoe vitamins "heavy Spirulina formula"- does this product sound ok? <Yes> He's still in the 10 gal which is outfitted with an Aquaclear 150 filter made for a 30 gal tank (the carbon is removed now for treatment). I like the idea of a plant refugium and will set that up to control nitrates, but also keep up with the daily water changes until nitrates settle down. <Good> Is there anything else I can do? He has been a beloved pet for at least 6 years, I got him 2 years ago. Any suggestions for keeping the food down? <Yes, place it further into the body. There is much less likelihood of it being regurgitated... this will not hurt your fish> I put it in pretty far, about an inch past his teeth, but he is able to spit it out. Does it sound like he could still recover? <Yes> He is a very hardy fish, but I'm worried he is too weak to get better. Thanks again for all your help! <You are welcome. Bob Fenner>
Puffer with swollen jaw cont'd (03/05/03) Hi Ananda, Thank you for the quick reply.   <You're welcome> Puffer is still sick- his condition is getting worse. Before getting sick he ate krill, snails and seaweed among other things, but over the course of the past month, his appetite has crashed and he finally stopped eating completely 6 days ago, though he hadn't been eating much before that. <Not a good sign - have you tempted him with live ghost shrimp?> I am now treating him with Maracyn and Maracyn 2, (Maracyn 2 for 7 days-- I will stop at 10; and Maracyn for just 2 days so far).  The Maracyn was added yesterday for the first time and seems to have helped the swelling on his chin, though it is still pretty swollen.   <If it helps, keep using it.> I force fed him for the first time yesterday with a little success. He perked up after and came to the top as if looking for food, but showed no interest in eating. He is very thin and this morning his eyes are deeply sunken in and I can see white around them. There does not seem to be redness or other discoloration around them. One other thing I've noticed since he first got sick, is that he tends to orient mouth down, so that his chin is touching the floor, but his tail is up an inch or two. <Odd. This is not a behavior I've seen in puffers.> I checked the pH and found that it was low- around 7, so I've slowly increased it to around 8 so far. I'm making daily water changes, I also added aeration yesterday (which also seemed to help a little), but I don't know what has caused the sunken eyes. Everything I force fed him today he was able to spit back out. I soaked it in Kent marine Zoe vitamins "heavy Spirulina formula"- does this product sound ok? <I have not used this particular additive, but it can't hurt and may help. If you try ghost shrimp, first feed the shrimp something you have soaked in this so the puffer gets some added nutrition.> He's still in the 10 gal which is outfitted with an Aquaclear 150 filter made for a 30 gal tank (the carbon is removed now for treatment). I like the idea of a plant refugium and will set that up to control nitrates, but also keep up with the daily water changes until nitrates settle down. <Sounds good. Keep me posted on how the plant refugium works out - due to space constraints, I've not been able to try that myself.> Is there anything else I can do? He has been a beloved pet for at least 6 years, I got him 2 years ago. Any suggestions for keeping the food down? <Try soaking it in garlic juice (from the spice aisle at the grocery store) - some fish go nuts over food soaked in the stuff. You could also try clam juice, which might be more enticing for the puffer.> I put it in pretty far, about an inch past his teeth, but he is able to spit it out. Does it sound like he could still recover? <If the Maracyn is reducing the swelling, there is a chance… but I am not sure.> He is a very hardy fish, but I'm worried he is too weak to get better. Thanks again for all your help! <You're welcome. I wish I could do more. -Ananda>

In desperate need of your expertise!! <Ananda here...> I've been keeping in contact with a chat group on puffer for about a week now, and would like to have you confirm, and maybe give me some advise as to what might be going on with my aquarium. Here is the journal that I have been keeping through these chat rooms. <Uh...okay... but would really prefer a condensed version.... > Hello everyone, I was wandering if you could help me out. We have a salt water aquarium at work and science I started there a year ago, I have found a new love. Puffers!!! Anyways, There are two puffers in the tank Donny-(dog face), and Danny-(porcupine). A few days ago I went into work turned on the lights and almost jumped out of my skin when i saw Donnie. A normally completely yellow with a few black spots here and there fish was half black on the entire upper half of his body. I immediately called his owner, and told him what I had discovered, and he came right in. He said that he had never seen Donnie do that, and had no idea what was going on. I began researching on the internet, but nothing explained directly what causes this. Two days later, he still looks the same and is also acting a little weird. He keeps getting spooked really easily, and t he funny part of it is that when I was trying to take his picture to post on the internet, every time I lifted the camera, he got mad and swam across the tank really fast. (camera shy)!! how cute!!! The levels in the tank haven't been to high to be concerned, and we have been doing water changes pretty regularly, but I'm not an expert and couldn't tell you what i think it might be. I did read however, that these fish are sensitive to diet, water levels, itch, velvet, lockjaw, and other puffers. He has been eating Shrimp pellets, and regular shrimp, I will recommend that he start eating more shellfish for his dental hygiene, and give him some garlic, and copper as recommended on sites that I have visited, but think I am off track as to what this black (fungus looking) color is. Any help for my buddy would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks <Okay, I'm not going to include the rest of the thread here -- it is extremely long, and I have no way of knowing if these people have given you the okay to send their responses here for inclusion in the dailies. That said, they've given you some good advice. Check the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. In a 125 gallon tank, you mention "the two puffers, the yellow tang and the trigger. There is a snow flake eel, a lion, a hippo tang, and one other smaller fish that I'm not sure of the name of." I think you may be overstocked, which could contribute to the problem. I have insufficient information on your filtration system and skimmer to comment on them. So... my guess is that the fish is stressed. I would move it to a different tank -- preferably a large hospital tank -- and see if his color improves. If not, there is a mention of something like this in a book I have. This possibility is far less likely than stress, which is why I'm suggesting the hospital tank first. Do check to see if there is any swelling behind the operculum or on the floor of the mouth. If you find swelling or anything else unusual, let me know and we can proceed from there. --Ananda>

Re: diagnosis help needed for sick porcupine puffer Here's the text from the message:  "The problem is that my porcupine  puffer is sick now and I am not sure what it may be. She just sits at the  bottom of the tank and doesn't respond like normal. It looks like her skin  is getting eaten away and the skin is brownish in color. She is also  breathing heavily. She also seems a bit swollen." After flipping through Untergasser's book, I think it's either mycobacteriosis or a Costia infection. The rest of the issues in that message are easy to answer, but it's the diagnosis I'm a bit hesitant on.  --Ananda <Don't exactly follow what this writer is getting at... Mycobacteria (causative organism in TB) or Costia (a protozoan)... what? A danger in reductionistic thinking (that is, given/giving a few choices, photos and descriptions to "fit" a given set of observable phenomena. Likely a check, improvement in water quality and nutrition is what is called for here. Bob>

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

Puffer Problem Last week I purchased a Porcupine puffer for my fish only 300 litre marine tank. I have had a porcupine puffer previously with no problems whatsoever (apart from when it died of an injury). However, my new tank mate after settling in nicely and eating greedily as puffers do, overnight lost his appetite, hangs around the protein skimmer outlet, and more worryingly, both eyes are slightly swollen and opaque. <Not good> I have looked through the FAQs on puffer fish ,which is excellent by the way, and it appears that this condition is a symptom rather than an illness in its own right. <Well, usually a symptom of sub-par water quality or other environmental conditions> I don't think this is Popeye, as I've seen that with my  freshwater tropical fish. I don't think its an injury either as its both eyes and his appetite has also gone. <Well, hard to be certain- but the condition seems like a bacterial infection to me> I have checked the standards, i.e. Salinity, Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia, and pH, and all are near perfect! I have performed a water change anyway as a precaution. Is there anything else I should be checking for? <Well, these types of symptoms usually relate to diseases, brought about through poor environmental conditions (not yours, in all likelihood!) and improper handling from the reef to the LFS. Initial quarantine, prior to placing this, or any fish in the main tank, is very critical> What exactly can cause this condition, and what can I do about it. Fresh water baths/ Medication? I had a spiny boxfish which had the same condition, and never recovered so i think i need some help! Other tankmates are: Golden Hawkfish, Flame Hawkfish, Male and female bird mouth wrasse, scooter blenny, and a fox-face rabbit. None of these guys are showing any abnormal symptoms and all get along nicely (no aggressive behaviour) Both my external filter and protein skimmer are over rated for the tank size, and there is good water flow. I have 5Kg of live rock and a marine friendly coral based substrate. Any help is welcome. Thanks in advance. Richard <Well, Richard- I'd execute a couple of freshwater dips for this guy, followed by treatment with a commercial antibiotic treatment, such as Maracyn, in a "hospital" tank. These puffers are usually pretty tough fishes, in my experience, and should respond well to rapid intervention and treatment! You may want to do a quick check on the WWM site regarding bacterial diseases, just to confirm that you're dealing with such a situation. With quick, decisive action, your fish should be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Problems with Puffer ...But I think it's too late Hi there I'm looking for any insight you can give.  I purchased a Black Puffer ( nice specimen ) about a month ago.  When I put him in the tank I think my Niger Trigger may have nipped at him.  Anyway a week or so later he started getting little white dots all over his body that would not rub off. I figured it was Ich. About another week went by and the spots were still there.  I read about Fresh water dips and started to do those every night. ( about 5 minutes each night) on one of the last dips I used Kent Marine RxP which I thought might help as the spots were still present. <This product is garbage... worse than a placebo. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrtmtfaqs.htm and the linked files (in blue, above)> a couple of days later his eyes started clouding up real bad and he was becoming more recluse,  Another day later and I noticed his back fin had been 1/2 ate off ( Niger Trigger possibly ).  I moved him to a 10 gallon QT ( all I had ) and started treating with penicillin. Both of his Eyes Burst and now he is blind. I am now giving him Maracyn and feeding him by hand.  My question is can he live like this or is it just a matter of time. <Everything is "just a matter of time", but this fish may live a good long while in your care> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <My real advice is to study, ask the people who suggested RXP what they think it's made of, if they've ever used it to their satisfaction... to seek out better advice, learn to judge for yourself what to use when your livestock are sick. Bob Fenner> Thanks Mark Gutshall

Puffer Losing His Skin? Hi, I have a porcupine puffer, he has a white spot on his right eye which looks like the skin is being eaten away, today, it has spread lower, almost to his underside , do  you know what this could be or how to treat it?, The only other fish with him right now is a long-nosed butterfly, which I'm not sure is aggressive or not to have done this to him. Thanks for your help...Shelly <Well, Shelly- it's hard to be 100 percent certain from here, but it sounds like it could be either some form of fungal infection, or, quite possibly- Head And Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). If it is HLLE, this is thought to be an environmental disease, possibly caused by degraded water quality, improper diet, or even stray voltage. I'd do a thorough check of all basic water parameters, review the fish's diet, etc. If the condition is some kind of fungal or bacterial disease, then you may want to remove the fish for possible treatment with an antibiotic, such as Maracyn (perhaps after a freshwater dip), in a separate aquarium. Before reaching any conclusions and commencing treatment, be sure to check on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on possible diseases. Hope that this helps! Good luck! Scott F>

Puffer Problem I will try and make this brief.  Yet still give you all the facts.  I have a spiny box puffer, I guess also known as striped Burrfish.  When I purchased him from LFS he had what appeared to be an injured spine right behind his eye.  It looked like a old injury that was healing, the spine was a little different color, and shorter like it was growing back.  This was 2 months ago.  All seemed well.. weeks have passed, although spine never seemed to get any bigger or better looking, it was like a scar, and didn't seem to effect him. Until now. Now it's like the injury or whatever it is came back.  In just a short time it has swollen up around the spine turned light in color and today when I check him, the spine is completely gone, in the area it's quite swollen like possible infection.  The whole area is light in color, not exactly white, but very pale as in compared to his color. I have had someone with a lot of experience tell me what to do, but his treatment scares me.  It's like, if the treatment don't kill him, it will work!  He told me to move him and start treatment with copper, and then on 4th or 5th day add in formalin (spelling?).   <Copper sulphate and Formalin are generally used for parasitic maladies, such as Ich. It sounds to me like this is the result of some sort of trauma (possibly an injury). The swelling could possibly be an infection, so do keep an eye on this fish. The fact that he's eating and behaving normally is a very good sign. Rather than dose him with powerful medications back to back, which may not be appropriate for the condition which he has, I'd try something more simple: Remove the fish to a separate aquarium and use some ordinary Epsom salts in the water (about 1 teaspoon per gallon). Epsom salts have proven effective for swollen eyes caused by injury, so maybe this will do the trick. If his condition worsens after a few days, I'd do a small water change, and use a commercial antibiotic preparation, such as Maracyn. After about a week, I'd discontinue treatment. If no improvement is seen in the condition, but no further deterioration of the fish's condition is observed, I'd return him to his regular tank. Perhaps the injury will heal on its own. Do be sure that you maintain excellent water conditions and feeding at all time> The treatment seemed drastic, but then I don't know. <I like copper and formalin, but I think that they should be used specifically with parasitic infections. If the condition were definitely parasitic in nature, I'd give the copper a try (in the separate tank).> So far, he does seem okay, but the area has grown in size, so I believe without some sort of treatment he will not get better, but I just don't know what to do.  I have spent all morning sifting through your FAQ but can't seem to find or have missed a situation like mine concerning my Burrfish. <Well, I'd start with simple treatments, as outlined above, at least to start>   By the way, by looking through all these facts I know I have been feeding the little guy wrong, he has only been getting fresh cooked shrimp to eat. (LFS told me that's what they eat) Could it be that from lack of nutrition the injury or sore had chance to become infected? <Do provide a varied diet, by all means. I doubt that the diet that you're feeding caused the condition to appear or worsen on this fish. Do check your water chemistry in his tank to make sure that your water quality is up to par> Please if you could help me in what direction to go in for treatment?  I don't know whether to feed medication or dip, or treat with copper..  I am so confused as to what to do.  I don't know whether to move him to another tank.. <Well, I'd only medicate in a separate tank.> Thank you so very much. Kerrie. <Hang in there, Kerrie. The fact that this guy is eating and behaving normally at this point is a good sign. Just keep observing this fish, take simple, not drastic, treatments, and let us know if you need more assistance. Regards, Scott F>

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

PLEASE HELP I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY SPOTTED PUFFER I have a large spotted puffer fish and today when I came home from work I saw that he has a air pocket on his side near his tail. He is now floating on top of the water.  I do not no what to do.  I think he is stressing out. Please if you could tell me what I can do. Thank you for your time. <Sounds like your puffer has swallowed air (from the surface). Hopefully it will expel same. Not much you can do directly. Bob Fenner>

Sick puffer Hi, Thanks for responding.   <our pleasure> My puffer is a porcupine puffer and he has been ill for approx. 6 weeks. I tried to treat him with medicines in my tank, but nothing worked so I took him to my pet store where they kept him in a hospital tank for approx. 3 weeks treating him with Maracyn 2.  One eye cleared up some, but the other eye did not respond. <likely from natural healing... little or no help from the antibiotic> He is now back in my 125 gallon tank with a yellow tang and a blue damsel.  There are no other fish in there, only 100 lbs. of live rock.  He is eating okay, but it is difficult watching him run into everything.  Water quality and parameters are right on in both my tank and the hospital tank, as well as temperature. <good to hear> I am also concerned about the effectiveness of treating such a large tank or would it be necessary to remove him to another tank?   <agreed... almost never treat the display... does more harm than good. Best to remove to a quite QT tank> I hope you can help. Thanks for being there to ask questions about.  It is a great relief. Leanne <I am still very doubtful that this is pathogenic at all... it is clearly not a parasite, and most any bacteria would have waned or flourished  after such a long time. Compound that by the very sensitive nature of puffer eyes (our archives here are filled with puffer eye FAQs) and the nature of the ailment. With that said... if we are sure it is not water quality or parasite, I'm wondering if the fish has been held captive long enough to show this symptom as an expression of a dietary deficiency? Has this puffers diet been restricted to just 2 or 3 items? Less? Just a few months on silversides or feeder fish or krill almost to exclusion causes such symptoms and deficiencies. Hmmm... do consider and send us a clear picture if you can. What big city do you live near too? I'm wondering if we cannot put you in touch with specialists in a local aquarium club or friends of ours across the nation. Best regards, Anthony>

Puffer eyes Hi, <cheers> I hope you can help me <me too> with a treatment for my puffer fish.  He has cataracts and is blind in one eye and partially blind in the other.   <hmmm... what species of puffer, when did the symptoms set in, how long, any other fishes in the tank, size of all fishes, water quality parameters (specifically measured). More information please> I have treated him with Maracyn 2 and it hasn't helped.   <it is a weak drug (a synthetic tetracycline) and you may not need an antibiotic. In fact, cloudy eyes are rarely bacterially mediated. Often water quality, stress or physical trauma> Can you recommend another medication to cure this.  It is heartbreaking watching him bang into everything. Thank you for the help, Leanne <please advise us of the age of the fish too. Do nothing in the meantime... it is unlikely to be contagious if even pathogenic at all. Anthony>

Re: Puffers on FAQ Hi, <Hello Laura> I was just doing my daily (well, since I started reworking our tank) reading of the FAQ and came across the question on puffers.  These little guys are my favorite fish, and I have kept both species of green spotted, figure eights, freshwater dwarfs, Canthigaster valentini, C. jactator, and C. solandri (have avoided the larger dog-faced and spiny marine puffs due to tank size).  I was hoping you could forward this message on to Tyler Re: what species of puffer to keep in a 20 tall and ordering puffers online. For a 20H, you could keep 1-2 figure eights (sg 1.005), 1 green spotted (sg 1.010-1.015), or 1-2 male and 3-5 female dwarf puffers (freshwater).  Dwarfs are notorious for coming in starving or with severe internal parasites (breeding them would be a noble goal considering how many are lost in the import process). <Agreed> I've seen three batches from three different sources (two different LFSs and another group ordered online for a total of 18 fish) drop like flies even with heavy feeding of vitamin-soaked, meaty frozen and live foods (these guys just won't eat dried foods, not even krill like the larger species).  They also really need lots of live plants to hide from each other when things get sticky.  Sexing can be accomplished as cited in other sources: males are not as round and have a dark brown dorsal stripe and yellow bellies.  For a first time puffer owner, I would really not recommend them because they tend to be very delicate. <Yes... need to be quarantined for weeks, fed foods laced with anti-Protozoals, Anthelminthics... like Metronidazole/Flagyl, Piperazine, Praziquantel... to eliminate internal parasites.>   As far as ordering puffers online, I wouldn't worry about fig eights and green spotteds if your source is keeping them in brackish but I absolutely would not order dwarfs online. These are fish you really need to see in person before you buy, and even then buying them is a fairly big gamble.  I finally got some successful ones that had been started by someone else for a few months; your best bet is probably to find another hobbyist who has been keeping them long-term. Anyways, I'm sure you guys already know all of this and just don't have time to make such an in-depth reply to every single person who e-mails you, so I hope me typing it all out will help :). <Thank you for the excellent input. You will have aided many, and saved many fishes thereby. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Laura

Puffer Treatment I took your advice and got a separate tank.  The puffer is now in it with copper sulphate.  My worry is that he is recovering from a wound and since he has been in the tank with the copper the whitish area is now turning red.  Should I be alarmed? <Do keep a careful eye on this fish. Make sure that the copper is maintained at a proper therapeutic level. If the fish shows obvious signs of discomfort, or if the wound looks worse, you may need to reduce the copper level until the wound heals. Keep very high water quality and make sure that the fish is eating well. Good luck!  Regards, Scott F.>

Re: sick porcupine puffer Thank you for your quick response. I have some new information to add.  After reading your response and the FAQs, I was thinking it was just a "hunger strike".  I added a small molly to the tank who at times was swimming right in front of his face, and nothing.  Then I tried a drop of Kent garlic extreme on freeze dried krill and still no result.  His behavior has changed to make me wonder if he isn't sick.  When he first stopped eating he was swimming around like his normal self.  Then it went to periods of sitting on the bottom and then periods at the top staring into the corner with he occasional lap around the tank.  At this point his swimming was still normal.  Now he mostly lays on the bottom with labored breathing. Whenever he does swim around, he appears to have a vertical buoyancy problem. He sometimes will bump into things and will always come crashing down to the bottom when he stops swimming.  Sorry to bother you again, but I thought the new symptoms might be a good indicator of something else. <As odd as the non-normal behavior seems, it is not atypical. If indeed there is something internally amiss, this will either correct itself (most likely)... other than doing your best at general husbandry there is nothing more to do... or that I would do. Do try to be patient, positive. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Paul
Re: sick porcupine puffer
So just ride it out? No meds or anything that I can add to he tank to help? <No med.s or anything to add. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Paul
Re: Puffer Unable to Open Mouth
Hi Again Bob, So sorry to keep bugging you :/ <No worries> Re: the force feeding of this very beautiful and stubborn DF Puffer, who is taxing and my patience and frozen training skills like no seahorse ever has.......I have a few more questions.  At least Puffers are heartier than WC seahorses!!!! We both have that in our favor!! <Yes> Gullet?.....? Not sure what/where you mean......if this guy is say  3.5 to 4", excluding his caudal fin,  how far into his oral cavity should I shoot for, just a rough estimate? <Just until the tip of the plastic feeding tube is inserted... the animal has rear-facing projections, a muscular sphincter to prevent egestion> I would like to get a general idea about how much volume he can accommodate at one feeding. Any idea how big his stomach might be or what volume it would comfortably hold? I am guessing based on what my other 2(about the same size) eat about 2 to 3ccs perhaps, 4 max? <Actually, these animal's have enormously distensible fundi... no worries re overstuffing. In the wild I suspect that they only come upon large amounts of food on occasion... and when they do, engorge themselves> I read somewhere many moons ago that a fish's stomach is about as big as their eye. Now I have a feeling this is not true in the DF Puffers case. I have 2 others and I see what they consume and how their bellies bulge after a good meal. <Yes> If I am going to get past my trepidation and squeamishness to actually do this I want to be sure I do it right and feed him enough. I certainly don't want to waste my efforts and stress him out just to under feed the poor guy. <I understand. As you've stated, if the specimen is eating now, I would not attempt to force it...> How many days would you recommend I do it for and should I continue to offer him live and/or frozen foods simultaneously 2 times a day as I have been. <Continue offering the frozen/defrosted foods, any live as you have been... if the animal goes off feeding, appears dangerously thin, I'd commence force-feeding it... daily till it takes food on its own> Just how nasty is a bite from one of those beaks? Have you ever been bitten by one this guy's size? I am a tad nervous. <Have been bitten... painful... though not as bad as a dog or Psittacine (parrot-like) bird> When I tube fed the seahorses I had a really clear picture of their anatomy in my mind? Hehehe,  by the way it is not all that hard if you have the right size tube, a pair of magnifying reading glasses and a helper....that long straight snout is an easy target :). I feel a bit blinded in this situation, as this is a new species for me and although I have done a lot of research I am no where near done. The seahorse's GI tract is quite simple and from my understanding and observation LOL, a bit different than most other fish, would you say these guys (puffers) have a more typical anatomy? <Puffers are very similarly arrayed... a short, straight tube more or less, for fast processing> Do you have any recommendations for appetite stimulants........I have the following which have been recommended to me.......Vita Chem, Kent Marine Garlic Extreme and Kent Marine C.? Would any of these be appropriate, or do you have a product you have had good experience using? <The Boyd Product (VitaChem) and Selcon are my favorites> OK one more sort of dumb question......they can't aspirate like a human could, can they? Is there any harm I can cause him or is there anything I need to be careful/aware of during this procedure. <Not to worry> I will let you know how it goes if you like. Thank you and have a great day!!! <Real good. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Leslie

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

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

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

Sick puffer help Hello,  <<and hello to you.>> I hope you can help me.  <<I hope so too... ;-) >> I have a golden puffer that seems to have come down with Ich. The only noticeable spots are on the fins. I don't seem to see any on the eyes or body. My puffer is scratching a little, seems irritated and hangs out in front of the powerhead. I have a liverock tank with a cleanup crew and the one puffer. I lowered the salinity to 1016 and raised the temp to 82. I hear these fish are hard to medicate and someone told me to use no-Ich or Maracyn and that I could put it in my main tank. I'm a little skeptical and decided to write the experts. Will a fresh water dip cure without medicine? <<It won't 'cure' exactly, but it will pop/kill a good number of the parasites that are bothering your fish. Best to dip for at least five minutes, and up to 10 or 15 if the fish isn't particularly distressed by the dip.>>  I'd really rather not set up a hospital tank. <<You may need to if dips don't have any effect.>>  I do have a 30 gallon I use for this. But it is not set up and has no biological filter. How do you keep the ammonia down while medicating. <<Daily, large [25-50%] water changes, smaller food portions.>>   I know so many questions. I hope dipping will suffice. I also heard to use a low dose of copper, but what about puffers being scaleless?  <<It just irritates them, it's not really 'that' bad... >> I love this fish. Her name is Daisy, she is eating well, but spends most of her time in front of the power head now.  <<Eating well is a good thing.>>  Hope you can help. I appreciate you. Liz <<Cheers, J -- >>
Re: sick puffer help
<<JasonC here...>> THANK YOU. I assume with the fresh water dip that I put baking soda in a bag of water and measure the PH so that it is about 8, what is in my tank, then float the bag to equalize temps.  <<That works, sure... is your tank pH really 8 - as in 8.0? You might also want to work on this and get it more into the marine range of 8.2-8.4>> Put the water in the bucket and the puffer in the bucket. How long, 5-7 minutes depending on signs of stress? <<No less than five minutes - shoot for 10 if you can... I would guess that you will be stressing more than the fish, puffers especially can do 10-15 but 10 should be fine. Good luck. Cheers, J -- >>

Puffer troubles Hey Guys <Whassup?> got a mystery here on my end. I have a dog face that I just adore. Boyfriend owns a pet shop that specializes in fish ( been doing it for 35 yrs.) and he has never seen this before. All the level in my tank are right on the mark all the fish seem fine. Puffer eats great... he actually looks like the Pillsbury dough boy... But he get this rash once and a while.   <wow... so many jokes, so little time here> Its like an indention in his skin, odd shapes, different sizes and place with large white almost like pimples spot inside them. They are there one min. and gone the next. <the rapid appearance and disappearance of symptoms is strange. In fact, its strange enough that I would almost like to rule out a pathogenic organism (few if any can wax and wane so quickly). More likely something to do with the puffers ability to produce (sometimes copious) mucus. Still... if you are sure that this is not mucus/particle related... it may be the expression of a viral condition. Little tubercles (?)... pustules (?)... Bob, help me here... the water {among other things} is getting deep> <<I would have said about the same... not as well though. Likely viral>> My boyfriend the professional can't even figure it out. Any idea's, I love puff he the star of the tank don't know if I'm being a worry wart or not. <<Telling...>> Please get back to me if you've heard or know anything about this one.  Thank a MILLION and have a super day. <thank you for caring my friend. I will copy this to Bob and beg his input as well. Best regards, Anthony> <<Antoine, this is what I would have said... plus maybe some comment re viral mediated conditions... and their variable expression re environmental input... that maybe they could boost the animal's immune system with improved water quality, nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Cloudy Eye On Puffer My puffer has what I think is "cloudy eye".  I don't really know.  My water chem. was quite high when I discovered the problem. <By "water chem. quite high, I assume you mean something like ammonia or nitrite?> My percula clown was found dead.  A day or two later, I did a 1/2 water change (55+ gallon) tank.  After doing so, I noticed my puffer and clown trigger were showing sign of a slime coat and listlessness.  I did a fresh water dip on both of them.  I was encouraged to treat for Ich by local store owner.  I used Kordon's Herbal Ich Attack.  The fish seemed to be getting better.  (I think the water change may have been doing it rather than the medicine.) <I think that you're right. It sounds like Ich may not have been the cause- seems a bit premature that they diagnosed Ich from those symptoms..> The medication called for removing the carbon filter.  A few days after this, I lost my Trigger and blenny.  I stopped treatment for Ich. <FYI- never treat in your main system...Potentially too many problems> I put my carbon filters back in and did another 1/2 water change.  The last day or so, my puffer has a white bubble over one eye and the other eye looks almost normal, a little white.  He has been hanging out towards the water surface.  At times he seems like he is dead and floating.  Other times he seems to have labored breathing. <Not a good sign...could be indicative of any number of maladies or environmental problems> Occasionally he still finds enough get up and go to do his normal jumping out of the eater.  Seems to be even more so then usual.  At this time, all chem. seems OK.  Almost no copper existed.   My puffer is quite large, about 7 inches long.  I only had 6 fish in the tank, one starfish and a few snails.  I don't know what to do for him, maybe "time will heal his wounds"  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Lisa    <Well, Lisa, it's hard to be certain from here, but it seems like you're dealing with some kind of bacterial infection. Immediate action needs to be taken (in a separate treatment aquarium). Do confirm what disease you are dealing with using the WetWebMedia.Com disease FAQs, then treat accordingly. Good luck! Scott F.>

Help with Dogface Puffer Hi Bob, Leslie here.  <Hi Leslie, Craig here> You helped me a while back with a tank that had unsuccessfully gone through treatment for Amyloodinium infestations on 3 successive occasions. I asked about microwaving the contents of the tank, my Dad's suggestion... since I had tried everything else I could think of to kill the darn bug. <I can relate to the desperation!> Anyway...... I have had my Dogface Puffer for about 6 weeks. He is a real looker. Pitch Black with clear black speckled fins and a white caudal fin with black speckles. Several weeks ago he developed some of what I believe to be Ich spots on his pectoral and dorsal fins. I saw him flash a couple of times, nothing continuous. He developed an occasional spot on his body which have disappeared. This is a FO tank 50g. I know small for him, but he is only 4" at this time. I have plans for a bigger tank. The thought of investing in a huge tank for this fish, after all those tank crashes didn't seem to sensible. I figured I will get the BIG tank if I can keep him alive long enough to need one. I hope not a stupid mistake. At the suggestion of a highly respected published friend in the marine community I have been using something called OST....osmotic shock therapy. Are you familiar with this? If so what are your feelings about using it prophylactically in a Q tank as well as to treat parasites?  <Lowered SG in conjunction with copper and temp raised to 83F in a QT is the preferred treatment. This is fine if done over time....days.> The recommended specific gravity for FO tanks is 1.010. for 3 to 4 weeks. So I had this guy at that specific gravity for about 3 weeks, when I slowly slowly increased the specific gravity to 1.018 the spots began to appear. He otherwise looks and acts very healthy. The spots have been quite stubborn. I panicked at first because the Amyloodinium outbreaks started like this. I have since increased the temp of the tank....slowly to 80 to 81 degrees, fed garlic laced food and treated the tank with a product called Stop Parasites. The spots look about the same. One of the spots on the pectoral fin is a bit bigger, perhaps looking like 4 or 5 coalescing spots, but not as bright as the other spots. On that fin there is a tiny area at the fin tip directly in line with the bigger spot, that looks like it is worn away, just a very small area. I placed a 15w UV unit with a 90gph flow rate on the tank 3 days ago and FW dipped him last night for 15 min. He did very well......not even phased by it. They look a bit better today. Is it possible this is not Ich or perhaps something in conjunction with Ich? What else would you recommend I do for him. Thank you so much for your help :) Leslie <Yes, remove to quarantine tank and treat with copper @0.25 ppm free copper as above. For more on this go to WetWebMedia.com and enter "copper" into the Google search. I wouldn't advise any of the stop parasite type treatments. Craig>

Puffer "Lock-Jaw" Hello again, Bob you keep referring me to your website and all it says is to use b12 as a stimulant what can I do about the lock jaw? I could see just prying it open but wouldn't it just break his jaw or would this be possible on only a 2-3 inch fish? Is there any chance to fix him or what? <What can you do about "lock-jaw" as in a fish? Depends on the root cause... am sure that in some cases these unfoldings are principally genetically disposed (have seen such deformities in the wild)... others are nutritionally mediated, resultant from traumas... What species, history do you have on this animal? Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer "Lock-Jaw"
The fish I have is a porcupine puffer I would say it is from nutritional because when we first got him he would only eat 2or 3 different types of food but now he just cant open his mouth more than about 2 mm if we used the fish anesthetic would I be able to pry his mouth open or would this break his jaw. The reason we couldn't feed him other stuff because he wouldn't eat anything else. <Mmm, to its apparent detriment. I would do the extreme here, Dremel tool (tm) the puffers teeth down (not painful to the animal) and force feed it a slurry of animal based material and vitamin mix (perhaps Selcon (tm) as well) via a plastic syringe. This is about the only path I know of to try to restore the health of this fish. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer "Lock-Jaw"
How would you be able to fit a Dremel tool in to his mouth when his mouth won't open enough to bite a piece of flake food or shredded up krill? <The tool certainly should not go into its mouth. Puffers have lips and eyelids unlike most fishes. Your assistant will gently pull back the lips with a blunt plastic utensil (plastic ware, credit card, etc). If the teeth are overgrown enough to be a problem, they will be quite visible and accessible from an exterior angle. And you're not being asked to put a 2" sanding drum on the tool!!!<smile> There are hundreds of attachments and tens of them are actually dental just like your dentist uses on some patients (tiny tips and wheels even less than 1/4 inch in size). Anthony>
Puffer Advice from the Puffer Queen
Hi Bob, I used to experience the same problem but have not had the problem in at least 6 years. I have heard many people attribute it to puffers eating too much freeze dried krill and developing "lock jaw". I do not believe excessive krill causes lock jaw. I do believe that the problem may be linked to a lack of some nutrient, mineral or vitamin. Since I have faithfully followed a varied diet supplemented with vitamins and weekly garlic, I have not lost a puffer to this ailment. I feed my puffers (my other fish and sharks as well) squid, shrimp, krill, prawn, tuna, red snapper, tilapia, swordfish, opah, marlin, mahi, scallops, crawfish, perch, mussels, commercially prepared frozen foods - shark and trigger formula, prime reef, as well as store bought frozen peas and Nori/seaweed.  <Wow, I want to be a puffer in your tanks...> I think many people t may tend to feed only krill as it is easy and the puffers love it but they forget that in the wild their diet is varied and they DO EAT GREEN/Vegetable material. All of my guys get peas weekly and seaweed at least every 2 - 3 days with their "main course" It is hard to say what one element has kept my puffers as well as some of my friends' puffers from suffering this ailment - but if I had to guess it is diet based - greens, vitamins, garlic and Variety. <Agreed> Vitamin B12 is a good appetite stimulant. I have successfully reversed some hunger strikes with B12 either given per feeding tube or injected. Unless the puffer is extremely weak or lethargic, it is often difficult to pass a feeding tube without him inflating or biting the tube in half. I find using MS222, to be far less stressful on me not to mention the puffer............. <For browsers, MS222 is a fish anesthetic, a controlled substance you might be able to procure through a veterinarian> and as you know stress can kill a fish or cause further disease/illness. This also helps prevent injury to the fish not to mention me! I have also successfully been able to get the large (14-20 inches) Chilomycterus antiga to eat within 36 -48 hours of transport from Florida by using heavy doses of Leng's Fish Solution. In the past, I have often had to jump start them with a tube feeding with B12 after 2-3 weeks of starvation............and believe me they were offered EVERYTHING under the sun. I often find trying to hold a puffer under the water and shove something in their mouth is unsuccessful and stressful - not to say that I have not had an occasion success doing this with my larger (14 plus inches) puffers. I have used a clear feeding stick with a whole shrimp and have stuck it in their mouths and they occasionally will then eat it - but like I have said it is not that often. <Yes> I think the longer the puffer goes without food, the greater the chance of succumbing to an opportunistic parasite or bacteria. Now I usually only wait 10 days at the most before I intervene...call me impatient but I tend to apply human medicine with some input from a friend who is a vet (mammals only) to my fish husbandry.  <I am of the same school of thought> Hope you are still awake and hope this helps. Let me know if I can elaborate, clarify or help in any other way. Kelly aka Puffer Queen <Thank you my friend. Will forward, post. Bob Fenner>

Sick puffer Hello <Howdy> I have a 100 gallon tank which I use 50 lbs of LR and 2 emperor 400s for filtration. I keep a 12" A. meleagris puffer and a 8" Lunare Wrasse only. Ammonia and nitrite are at 0. Yesterday I noticed the puffer had slightly cloudy eye and was hanging out at the filter outpours. I performed a 30% water change. Today I woke up and the puffer has full blown Velvet ( Lethargic behavior, dashes around a bit, cloudy eyes, and slimy skin. <Mmm... stress-related to some degree...> I have read through your web page and book and will try this: Treat tank with citrated copper and put antibiotics in the fish's food. <And maybe environmental manipulation... oh, see you mention this below> I was wondering if the following would also be useful : FW dips, lowering the Specific Gravity, or adjusting the temperature, feeding garlic. Also could you help me come up with a better treatment plan. right now I'm going to get the copper and a CU test kit and will treat the 100g tank. <I'd skip the dipping... unless this was being done enroute to moving the specimen to another/treatment system... but do the temperature raising, spg lowering... This may all take a while... a few weeks... to effect a cure... and your puffer will likely go on a feeding strike... not to worry much re the latter. And... I might try/risk a cleaning symbiont... likely a Gobiosoma/neon goby species. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Everett.
Re: sick puffer
Thanks for the prompt reply I guess I should not have done quite so large a water change in hindsight. I have applied copper to the water and the test kit shows it to be at .10 parts per million. What would you recommend I lower the sg to.  <To about 1.017... no more than a thousandth per day> It is at 1.023 right now. What about temperature?  <Mmm, please read through the marine disease sections of our principal site... perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm on to the many FAQs pages.> Its normally around 77. I will try to find a cleaning goby as well. Again, thanks for the advice and I hope he pulls through. <With your careful work, they will. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Puffer fish problem Hello, I have a 75 gallon FOWLR. My porcupine puffer knocked loose the foam block I had situated over the intake of a powerhead in my tank, and got sucked to the intake (on his back) <Yikes> Now, about a week later, the skin around the spot that was stuck to the powerhead has separated from his body and floated off. He has white fleshy looking tissue underneath it... with a few red spots. Is there ANYTHING I can do to help him recover? <If the area appeared infected (elevated, with an emargination) I might see that the balance between catching, manipulating, applying a dab of antimicrobial matter might be worth the trauma, stress... I wouldn't move this animal at this point. I take it it is eating? I would apply a vitamin complex to its foods daily, and the tank water weekly> Will he most likely recover?  <Yes> Should he be in a quarantine tank? (I don't have one, but could purchase one) <Not worth doing, moving at this point. Better to leave in place> The poor guy has only eaten once or twice in the week since it's happened, and he normally begs a LOT more than that. Thanks in advance, (Norman the puffer says thanks too) Bill <Do just keep a sharp eye on Norman for now... Puffers have amazing "powers" of regeneration. That yours has lived to this point, is eating, albeit only on occasion, are strong indications that it will fully recover. Do make/buy a better intake screen for that powerhead. Bob Fenner>
Re: puffer fish problem
Got the aqua clear intake with a grill that keeps the intake from being such a strong current tonight. <Ah, good> Thanks again, will inform you when/hopefully if he is all better. Applied stress coat tonight at suggestion of LFS <Good idea as well> Bill Hammond <Bob Fenner>

911 my fish is sick. Hi there, My name is Stephanie. I have a Fahaka Puffer fish, he's not feeling to well. If you can help me understand what is wrong I would really appreciate it. His name is Rocky- he's normally very active and aggressive. Yesterday he , for the first time, has slowed down and has become very sluggish. He has dark stress spots all over his body. he eats live feed, but is to slow to catch the feeders. the left gill is moving slower than the right and he is just laying on the bottom of our 60 gallon tank. Also his tail fin looks like its locked closed. I Love Rocky and want to see him well. Can you help me save my fishy? Thanks and God bless, Stephanie <Please do read through the various postings/FAQs on Puffers of all kinds on WetWebMedia.com. It is important here that you make efforts on at least two fronts: water quality and nutrition to rectify your fish's apparent malaise. Please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/allpufferfaqs.htm  and follow the links beyond. Additionally, please do share your concern with the folks on our Chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Bob Fenner>

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