Gray Puffer Not Going Back To White! Help!

Discussion in 'Puffers' started by YasM, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. YasMNew MemberMember


    My 2 puffers are approximately 6 months old now. I have them in a 50 gallon tank and I have them in Brackish water. I changed over from Fresh water to brackish approximately 2 months ago. I have noticed recently that one puffer is always grey on the belly while the second puffer has really brightened up with a more yellow appearance on his back. The bright yellow puffer rarely turns grey underneath (usually he's white) but here and there he will get a bit of grey. They do not fight with each other as the tank is so big they can hide on different sides. They sleep on opposite sides of the tank in their plants / hiding spots but during the day they seem to swim around together. I have been testing for   levels  ,  ,  , NO2 and NO3.

    Can someone give some advice on what I need to do to fix the puffer that is always grey? I don't want him dying.

    Test results as of 10 minutes ago

    Ammonia = 0.25
    GH = 120
    KH = 40 (i think that is pretty low?)
    PH = 6.5 (again, is this too low?)
    NO2 = 0
    NO3 = 160 (I double tested as this number seems really high)

    What is going on? Are my readings way out of wack? How do I get the tank stable. I should mention I have approximately 10 ghost shrimp in the tank for food at the moment.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Cori ElizabethWell Known MemberMember

    I'm no expert on puffers, but could it be natural? If your other puffer is doing fine then I don't see why this one wouldn't. When you purchased them did they come from the same place?

  3. YasMNew MemberMember

    Yes, I purchased them from the same place and the same day - they were tank mates. From my understanding and research grey on the belly means - aquarium is not big enough, water is not healthy or the other puffer may be bullying and causing him stress. I know that a bit of Grey is okay as they are able to change back and forth but the one guy has been grey for quite a while now. I changed them over to brackish water as I thought maybe the fresh water was an issue, but I have seen no change. I have added more plants and hiding spots to make sure he has a safe space in case he was getting picked on, but I have yet to see any negative interaction between the two. He is eating fine and is active but the grey is a bad sign - or so I keep hearing.

    I have attached a photo for reference if that helps.


    Attached Files:

  4. Cori ElizabethWell Known MemberMember

    Have you observed any bullying in the tank? That would be my best guess.

    EDIT: just saw that you havent seen anything, maybe observe closely for a while?
  5. California L33Well Known MemberMember

    Those reading are out of whack, way out. If your nitrate really as at 160 it's way beyond the danger zone. You also shouldn't have any ammonia in a cycled tank.

    I'd do those tests a third time just to confirm, because if they are that far off they call for serious and fast action that will be a lot of work in a 50.

    If you've got Prime you can add it to bind the nitrates and protect your fish while you get the numbers in line. (You can find more info in the forums here, or over at the Seachem site.)

    You need to get your nitrate below 40. I'd do it in stages, but quickly- change 40%, see what the nitrate drops to, if it's still above 40 change another 40% in 2 hours. The problem is, as I understand it, puffers are rather sensitive fish, and I don't know if a high volume water change (like 80%) all at once can shock them. It's a pain because you also have to match salinity as well as temp, and dechlorinate, and if you're using buckets- big pain.

    Also, what kind of puffers do you have?
  6. YasMNew MemberMember

    Approximately 2 - 3 hours ago I did a 40% water change so it looks like I'm up to speed. The bad thing is I have just retested the water and my readings have not improved.

    Ammonia = 0.25
    GH = 120
    KH = 40
    PH = 7
    NO2 = 0.5
    NO3 = 160

    I have never been advised to test for salinity until I spoke with someone earlier on this site. I will have to get a test kit on Tuesday once all the stores reopen. It seems I have been really lucky so far to not have caused any issues doing water changes and not monitoring the salinity. I have 2 Green Spotted Puffers.
  7. California L33Well Known MemberMember

    Here's the Fishlore profile on the Green Spotted Puffer-

    Green Spotted Puffer Fish

    It advises, "They are intolerant of ammonia and nitrite, and should be kept with low nitrates," and by any stretch your nitrates are high. I'm afraid I'm not an expert on them, though. I've kept a lot of fish, but never that one. As you're changing their water conditions, I imagined you'd want to keep the salt levels the same since you're changing the other chemistry (intentionally, and for the better) so much, but this is not the voice of experience. I hope a Green Spotted Puffer expert here will chime in to give some advice.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  8. YasMNew MemberMember


    Today the greyish puffer woke up and was fine all afternoon. I just went to check on him and he was curled up almost laying on the bottom. I was going to move him to a cycled quarantine tank in case he is stressed but he dashed away and is now hiding in his skull ornament. My readings are better today.

    Ammonia = 0 to 0.25
    GH = 120
    KH = 40
    PH = 6.5 to 7
    NO2 = 0.5
    NO3 = 40 hooray!!!

    But with the better levels it seems like he is getting worse? I don't understand what is going on.
  9. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

  10. California L33Well Known MemberMember

    I'm glad your numbers are looking better. As I've said, I've never kept Puffers, so I just don't know why he curled up. I did, however, just Google it, and found this on a Puffer forum-

    Q: m3m0ri35 wrote: Also when puffer "sleep" do they curl up in the ball like shape? I once came home from school at night found it curled up beneath the bridge decoration, and I was wondering if that is normal, since I couldn't find any information on that.

    A: This is normal, kind of like pulling up the blanket.

    Here's a link to the much longer QA-  
  11. YasMNew MemberMember

    Smart thinking. Current reading
    Ammonia = 0 to 0.25 closer to zero
    GH = 180
    KH = 120
    PH = 6.5
    NO2 = 0 to 0.5 closer to zero
    NO3 = 0 to 20 closer to zero

    The water seems pretty good other then the hardness... almost too good?

    What is your opinion?
  12. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    None of those are awful. Good information to know so that you can rule out things.
  13. YasMNew MemberMember

    Oh that is great news. I was looking at it almost like a sign of extreme stress which is why I left him alone when he ran as to not stress him more.

    Thank you all for your guidance and support. This site is such a great find! I'm glad I found this forum.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice