Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

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Since this board has been up, we have found there are several questions that routinely get asked in order to help diagnose problems. If you can have that information to begin with in your post, we'll be able to help right away (if we can!) without having to wait for you to post the info we need.

1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers.

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include algae eaters, plecos, everything. We need to know what you have and how big the tank is.

3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc)

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so. Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference.

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it? If you don't know what cycling is read this: Fishless Cycling Article and familiarize yourself with all the information. Yes. All of it.

We want to help, and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster.

While you wait for assistance:
One of the easiest and best ways to help your fish feel better is clean water! If you are already on a regular water change schedule (50% weekly is recommended) a good step to making your fish more comfortable while waiting for diagnosis/suggestions is to do a large water change immediately. Feel free to repeat daily or as often as you can, clean water is always a good thing! Use of Amquel or Prime as a dechlor may help with any ammonia or nitrite issues, and is highly recommended.

Note - if you do not normally do large water changes, doing a sudden, large water change could shock your fish by suddenly changing their established water chemistry. Clean water is still your first goal, so in this case, do several smaller (10%) water changes over the next day or two before starting any large ones.

Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:14 pm

I bought a Green Spotted Puffer yesterday, my old one having died several months ago, and she seemed happy. Buzzing around the tank with bright colors and a white belly. I fed her frozen bloodworms and her belly got huge but then within the hour she was back to being the flat bellied little thing that she was when I bought her. So I presumed it was an intestinal parasite and quickly went out and bought Metronidazole, which was referred to me by a different pet store than where my puffer came from. I mixed some into her food-taking one of e cubes of frozen bloodworms and mixing it with one dose (125mg) of the medication plus a tablespoon of e tank water. I fed her a little bit more and she grudgingly ate some but just to be sure I put a dose (125mg/40 L (40 L being 10 gallons)) straight into the water.
Now, the next day, she's swimming slowly and bumps into Inge now and then, her color seems more gray though her belly is perfectly white. Dd I overdose her? Is there someone wrong with my water? Is she dying? Did the parasites finally get to her? Does the Metronidazole naturally change their behavior a bit? I don't think I could stand the loss of another puffer.
For reference the Ph is a 7.6. She was in neutral Ph in the tank at Petland, where I got her from. She was sharing the tank with some cichlid-type looking fish and two evidently starving puffers. She's in a 10 gallon tank, which she will not be staying in for her whole life, when she gets a little bigger I have a 20 gallon for her. She's in the tank with a snail which I also got at Petland yesterday (the snail seems to be doing fine). She is in freshwater but I know that Green Potted Puffers are brackish fish and I plan on starting at once she's healthy enough for me to do so.
She's sort of at the top of the water with her head pointing upwards but her body tilted downwards. Was the Ph difference too hi and it's killing her???
Sorry for the massive information and questions, I'm just really worried about her.
Last edited by SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby puffykid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:36 pm

Welcome to the forum, I was wondering how you cycled your tank and what your water parameters were, do you have a test kit (strips or liquid)? Also his eventual home will have to be a 30g + tank not a 20long.

In a tank as small as a 10g it doesn't take long for him to be sitting in his own wastes cause its not space for him and puffers have heavy bioloads. Finally how does your wc schedule look?

Hope your new friend feels better soon


The classic sign of a puffer with ip is a belly that is seems sunken and that after feeding will shrink down within hours.

Personally I would choose jungle fizzy tabs over what your using because its more effective and its easy to find (just go to your local walmart that has a fish section) This needs to be addressed sooner rather then later but may not be the underlining cause right now for why your buddy isnt feel well.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:48 pm

I originally took 5 gallons of water from my 75 gallon African Cichlid tank and then added 5 gallons of distiller, that was three months ago when I first set up the ten gallon for my first Green Spotted Puffer.
I have a Ph test kit but other than that I don't have anything to test the ammonia levels or the nitrate levels. I suppose this might sound dumb of me but I figured that since the tank had been cycling for so long and it had water from a previous tank, then the ammonia and the nitrate levels would be fine. :/
I literally just got this little puffer yesterday so I've yet to do any water change at all. I figured I would do that next week, hopefully a 50% water change so that I can start creating a brackish tank for her.
I have a 20 gallon long and then I have a 55 gallon breeder which she can have when she gets a little bit bigger, that's no problem at all and I know she can't stay in the 10 gallon tank.
I can see if I can find some jungle fizzy tabs but the difference in her color from yesterday to today is shocking and I'm very concerned that, maybe, it was something I've done. Be that Ph or temperature or anything. I had just cleaned the filter yesterday and made sure to stir up the gravel on the bottom before I even put her in to get rid of any possible trapped gasses in the gravel. The tank has been sitting empty for about two weeks before yesterday.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby puffykid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:11 pm

I hate to be tell you this but tank water has very little good microbes in it so your tank isn't cycled and your gsp is being poisoned by his/her own waste. Do you have some filter media or some decor you can transfer over immediately from the 75g tank? It'll help with the build up of bioload thats within your tank right now.
Turning the water over to brackish isnt that important right now when they are young they can be in fresh water. First you need to get the tank cycled. turning water into brackish water can be raised by .002 a week to not kill off your good bacteria but again getting him into better water conditions is what you need to be concerned with right now. Since your tank isn't cycled would it be possible to set up the 20g for your gsp and put some media in there? The reason I suggest this is that it'll give you more water to work with which will help with the water conditions. Do a 50% wc right now to help him out and use that time to put in some decor or filter media puffers are scaleless fish which means that they are much more sensitive to nitrates and ammonia then other fish.


Also please pick up a liquid test kit (suggestion around here is api) so you can see what is going on chemically within your tank.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby scpion on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:16 pm

Since u have a spare 20G, pls move him in immediately. Forget about the water in the current tank. I would use 30% water from your "established hopefully disease free" cichlid tank and the rest would be fresh clean water. Move some filter media from there too. Your bacterial could have died off in the 10g when u left it empty. Making your 10g totally uncycled. The 3mth ago to 2weeks ago leaves alot of ?? as well but that is no longer important. Water does not hold nitifying bacterial. Smaller tanks can be pretty unstable and tricky as well if not maintained properly. Pls get the kits and monitor the water closely.

Ammonia/nitrite poisoning imo. So, please act quick. U do not have till next week.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby puffykid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:19 pm

scpion wrote:Since u have a spare 20G, pls move him in immediately. Forget about the water in the current tank. I would use 30% water from your "established hopefully disease free" cichlid tank and the rest would be fresh clean water. Move some filter media from there too. Your bacterial could have died off in the 10g when u left it empty. Making your 10g totally uncycled. The 3mth ago to 2weeks ago leaves alot of ?? as well but that is no longer important. Water does not hold nitifying bacterial. Smaller tanks can be pretty unstable and tricky as well if not maintained properly. Pls get the kits and monitor the water closely.

Ammonia/nitrite poisoning imo. So, please act quick. U do not have till next week.



Don't use the water, again water has very little actual beneficial bacteria in it. Move over some decor and filter media from the 75g please.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:25 pm

I don't have the larger tanks with me right now. They're at my parent's house which is an hour away. I'll do the very best I can though. I'll do a water change and hopefully it'll be enough until I get get the larger tank. :/ I feel so terrible that I'm causing my puffer so much stress and suffering due to my negligence. Thank you very much for the well needed information.
As a question, the 10 gallon tank has been running for at least 3 months with quite a bit of decor. It's housed fish all except from April 4th to April 15th. I'm sure that before April 6th it had good bacteria in it as it was running for months before that with decor and fish inside it. Did all the bacteria die off from April 6th to April 15th? Did it die off because there was no fish in the tank??
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby scpion on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:26 pm

puffykid wrote:
scpion wrote:Since u have a spare 20G, pls move him in immediately. Forget about the water in the current tank. I would use 30% water from your "established hopefully disease free" cichlid tank and the rest would be fresh clean water. Move some filter media from there too. Your bacterial could have died off in the 10g when u left it empty. Making your 10g totally uncycled. The 3mth ago to 2weeks ago leaves alot of ?? as well but that is no longer important. Water does not hold nitifying bacterial. Smaller tanks can be pretty unstable and tricky as well if not maintained properly. Pls get the kits and monitor the water closely.

Ammonia/nitrite poisoning imo. So, please act quick. U do not have till next week.



Don't use the water, again water has very little actual beneficial bacteria in it. Move over some decor and filter media from the 75g please.


I said 30% from the "established hopefully disease free" cichlid tank and the rest would be fresh clean water. Move some filter media from there too. :wink:

Coz imo the water in the 10g now is practically poison.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby puffykid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:42 pm

SaraGarcia1701 wrote:I don't have the larger tanks with me right now. They're at my parent's house which is an hour away. I'll do the very best I can though. I'll do a water change and hopefully it'll be enough until I get get the larger tank. :/ I feel so terrible that I'm causing my puffer so much stress and suffering due to my negligence. Thank you very much for the well needed information.
As a question, the 10 gallon tank has been running for at least 3 months with quite a bit of decor. It's housed fish all except from April 4th to April 15th. I'm sure that before April 6th it had good bacteria in it as it was running for months before that with decor and fish inside it. Did all the bacteria die off from April 6th to April 15th? Did it die off because there was no fish in the tank??



Ya in order for a tank to continue considered being cycled you have to drop in the amount of food that the fish that would inhabit it would consume and allow that to break down so that the bacteria is being feed and a die off doesn't occur then do small 10-15% wc's a week depending on your readings.

Please though when cycling a tank move over decor or filter media.
Last edited by puffykid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby bertie 83 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:44 pm

I would do 80% w/c adding fresh dechlorinated. Water and another 30% or so in an hour. And yes add some filter media from your other tank. Bacteria die off is really fast
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 pm

Okay well thank you very much. I've learned quite a bit. Hopefully, I haven't caused the death of my little puffer. I'll do a water change today, get the API test kit and work on straightening out this mess. Thank you, evryone, very much for your help.
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby bertie 83 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:51 pm

We all make mistakes. I would work on picking up a larger tank ASAP to help this little fella, you will find it way easier to stabilise him in larger water volumes. Big regular waterchanges are essential also.
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:03 pm

So I did a 50% water change and even added two tablespoons of instant ocean salt for good measure. I tried to feed her but she won't eat. She was just sort of floating at the bottom of the tank but she just swam up a bit but now she's back down at the bottom again. Maybe I should do another water change later today?
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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby Pufferpunk on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:06 pm

Absolutely, yes. What are you using for dechlorinator? Are you matching the temp? Have you gotten the test kit yet?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Re: Sick Green Potted Puffer!!!

Postby SaraGarcia1701 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:35 pm

The temp is fine being 82 degrees. I wound up Getting bottled water from the store. I still don't have the kit, apparently Walmart didn't have any and I figured doing the water change was a little more important.
Should I do another 50% water change later today?
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