Sick Dwarf Puffer

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by K3ls0, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. K3ls0New MemberMember

    hello! I have a planted 15 gallon dwarf puffer tank with 5 DPs- they’ve been in the tank for about 2 months now. There is also a zebra snail and a few little pond snails(mostly eaten at this point). The tank cycled for two months with plants and seachem stability before any fish were introduced. I feed the DPs bloodworms once a day, skipping a day once a week. I do 20-30% water changes once a week. Water stats today were ammonia 0 ppm; nitrite 0 ppm ; nitrate ~5ppm (maybe between 5-10). pH is 7.6 and water temperature is 76. I run a built in filter with Purigen, sponge and filter media with a bonus nano filter set up with just a sponge filter to help increase water flow/air flow(it is raised out of the water). This little guy has not been eating so well (everyone else in the tank seems to be pretty excited come food time). He’s definitely a bit sucked in the belly. LFS said they treat/medicate all incoming fish, but that said, can’t rule out parasite as he’s very skinny and I understand it can be common. I moved him out of the main tank today during the water change (Water changes Wednesday) and kept put him in with some tank water and a few plants into a mini hospital tank. He is swimming very erratically when he does move. When not moving you can barely tell he’s still kicking. Does this look like internal parasites or something else? Just want to make sure I treat the tank if nothing else. I’m pretty worried this guy is a goner - but I’d like to do anything I can to help him get better. Hard to get a good picture but I have included one.

    Attached Files:

  2. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Oh my! This little one sounds like it’s in terrible shape. I’m going to get more eyes in here. I’ll need pictures of your other fish too please. One question I have is why are you only feeding bloodworms? How long has this one not been eating?
    @AquaBaby @BringKermitBack @Rtessy I need eyes here. Please?

    And, I forgot. Hello. Welcome to fishlore. Thank you for reaching out to try to help your finbaby.

  3. K3ls0New MemberMember

    Thanks for the welcome and responding! I’ve been sticking with bloodworms (supplementing with snails) because that’s what they’ll reliably eat. They turn their noses up at anything other than blood worms and snails.

    This guy has been not interested in food this week. I know I saw all of them eat Sunday for sure but he wasn’t too into it Monday/Tuesday. He inspected the food but I didn’t see him eat any.

    Attaching some pics of the other fish- they’re zippy and really well camouflaged in this tank so I apologize for the picture quality.

    Also the tank is near a window so I have to do some regular algae battling.

    Attached Files:

  4. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    They’re all sounding a bit thin. Can you add some complete food to their diet? They need something with vitamins and minerals they can’t get from just bloodworms and snails. I don’t think I’d fast these guys at all. I don’t think they can afford to skip meals. Do you have API General Cure? I’d start there. You may need antibiotics as well. But I’m hoping if you increase the amount/variety of their feed and use the general cure you’ll be able to save these guys.
  5. K3ls0New MemberMember

    I’ll do that- thanks for the advice. I have some that I’ll use. I feel terrible- I always fast bettas because they’re such greedy guts- I should’ve thought it through more on these guys.

    I was thinking blood worms and snails were nutrient rich for a carnivorous fish :-(. Any suggestions on other foods to try? They refused daphnia and brine shrimp. I’m not 100% sure what you mean when you say “complete food”. Were you thinking something like trying to get them to eat New Life Spectrum pellets or similar? I have some of those but since they’ve been ignoring the daphnia and shrimp I didn’t even try it.
  6. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes. A commercial food. Whether flake or pellet that’s going to have their daily needs as far as vitamins/minerals. New life spectrum is supposed to be one of the best. My fish don’t like. But, if you’ve got some, try it. It’s a big problem right now. You’re not alone. We’ve been thumping the “don’t overfeed” thing so much people are afraid to feed what the fish need. I’d rather clean up after I feed than risk someone not getting enough. For the one that won’t eat, can you get hold of some baby vitamins? If so, you could put a drop right in front of it. I realize it’s late. But I don’t give up easily.
  7. K3ls0New MemberMember

    Tried the new life spectrum- the hungriest sassiest remaining fish chased it around and is seriously considering eating it but hasn’t taken a bite.

    Unfortunately the erratic swimmer seems to have passed on to the big river in the sky. When I saw how he was swimming, I knew it wasn’t good but it’s still hard. Hopefully I can get the other ones fattened up and through this. Thanks for your help and responsiveness.

    I should say “of the remaining” not just “remaining”. The others are still zipping about for now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2018
  8. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    I’m so sorry about the little one. :(
    Do keep trying with these guys. If you can get API General Cure use it. One of the benefits of using general cure is most fish get hungry. Keep us posted? Please?
  9. BlackOspreyWell Known MemberMember

    Just as an owner of another skinny pufferfish, is there some kind of live or frozen food that can offer better nutrition than bloodworms or snails? My puffer is just as picky as OP's and commercial foods are basically a lost cause.
  10. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    If you can provide a wide enough variety of live stuff including daphnia, black worms, brine shrimp etc, they’ll be ok. But you need a variety. Not just a couple all the time. You can try to add vitamins but they’ll usually spit the food out. Snails offer a lot of nutrients. The only reason I was suggesting the planes or pellets is because these guys need lots of nutrients fast. But, you know pea puffers, gimme something wiggling please!
    Give them a variety of live things and they’ll love you for it.
  11. K3ls0New MemberMember

    I’ll definitely update - hopefully with good news...

    If I can’t get them to eat a commercial food, I might try using a supplement to soak the food in - it might help while I find something they’ll eat...  

    Or I heard sometimes garlic makes fish find food more appetizing?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2018
  12. BlackOspreyWell Known MemberMember

    I mean, I would LOVE to give them lots of live foods like that, but there isn't a single store that carries any sort of live food aside from the occasional live adult brine shrimp. If I fed them snails gut-loaded with commercial foods and veggies, would that compensate?
  13. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    It does. My fish don’t like the garlic guard but do like fresh. Saying that, pea puffers are different. But oh so cute!

    Snails do pack the most nutrition per bite.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2018
  14. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Hi, one thing I notice is that you don't have all that many tall sight breaks. I've honestly never seen anyone keep more than 3 in a 10 gallon, with two being recommended, so I'm not sure that 5 was the best for a 15. I'm so sorry for your loss, but was there any signs of aggression? It's possible the others were picking on the one guy.
    As for food, bloodworms are too fatty to be the main meal, try adding in things like blackworms, white worms or grindal worms, or even fairy shrimp (can be hatched with distilled water and grown in a small greenwater tub. I kept a few in a 1/2 gallon greenwater tub, and they lived for almost their whole life span (2mo).)
  15. K3ls0New MemberMember

    @Rtessy - I appreciate the insight! I was told 3 gallons for each fish so I thought I was solid. I haven’t noticed much aggression other than the first few days when they were staking our territory. After that everyone pretty much stayed in their spot other than to eat/ check out the siphon during water changes. It is hard to tell from the picture but there is space under the big driftwood piece and little caves built out of the rocks. They seem to spend a lot of time spelunking. That said, I’ll look into getting some taller plants as well because I want them to be as happy as possible. Definitely want to help prevent aggression/any other potentially contributing factor.

    Today I’m searching out #alltheworms so hopefully the remaining 4 get better nutrition. Since they like blood worms, hopefully they’ll go for white and black worms too. Picky little fellas.

    Thanks for your time and advice!!
  16. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    I'm glad you didn't notice any aggression, you may have just had slightly more peaceful puffers than normal. That one guy did look worse than just not getting food though, do you happen to have an antiparasitic like PraziPro or even API general cure just in case? If you start noticing others with the same symptoms, you'll want to get one of those meds.
  17. K3ls0New MemberMember

    Hey it’s been just about a month and I wanted to give an update if anyone was interested. I lost another puffer almost immediately after the last one (about a month ago now). Since then I’ve had three puffers in the 15 gallon. I rescaped, did many water changes and used an anti parasite medicine. I also started supplementing with black worms in addition to blood worms. I’m happy to report I still have three happy and MUCH fatter puffers. Two females and one male. I have noticed them getting a bit more aggressive- which honestly I’m taking as a good sign that their energy level is where it should be. I’ve worked on building more vertical sight blockers. No one has damaged fins so I think we’re getting closer to a more reasonable equilibrium. Thanks again for everyone who gave advice before!

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