Hi, greetings from Romania (Europe). I`m having some problems with my new pal, Puffini. He`s an 1 inch tetraodon biocellatus (figure 8 puffer) and he's scratching on the decor and on glass more than normal. Every now and then this thing happens, but not all the time. I have experience with other fish and I`m pretty sure this is not normal, either parasites or Ich.
Let me respond to the standard questions first:
1. Ph 8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.025, Nitrates below 10 and SG 1.005 ( I know nitrates are a bit high, but this tank is freshly cycled with used filter medium from my cichlids tank, and live bacteria from Prodibio - european stuff - same like your BioSpyra). Now, the tank is ending its mini-cycle, but values are tested daily and I`m using reputable (JBL and Sera brands, again European stuff) drop tests for all these values.
2. Tank size is 21" long with 13" wide and 14" tall. aprox 18 gallon. Species only tank with JUST the puffer. Fine sand substrate, couple of rocks and cured (boiled, water baths several days) driftwood/branches.
3. Feeding: frozen blood worms, frozen mussles, frozen cyclops, frozen whole shrimp, live snails (my own breeding tank, snails are here for more than 2 months, no new comers, disease free). Sometimes he gets couple of NLS Cichlid Formula granules and vitamins in his frozen food. I feed him 2 times a day, lightly, his belly just a bit round. His belly does not get sunken between feedings, but gets flat. WC schedule: 40% at every 3-4 days with prepared water using marine salt at appropiate temperature and SG. Now, I am using a floating hydrometer, and I hope the values are not that inaccurate compared to a refractometer.
4. Nothing changed drastically, just water from water change, but I feel his scratching has increased.
5. Aquarium has less than 20 days. Cycled with used filter medium (ceramics) from my 1 year established cichlid tank and using a BioSpira equivalent that really works here in Europe, although quite expensive.
Now, back to my problems. I do not see any Ich-like signs on his skin, but he's scratching, and the gills are a bit more opened (color normal) and the breath rate is increased.
My question is: should I start a treatment with heat and salt for Ich and check for improvements, or start with Parasites treatment? I do not like the idea of adding chemicals to his tank and I would prefer to start an Ich treatment with raised temperature, but considering that high temps would increase his metabolism should I be worried about parasites, in case I`m wrong and there are parasites.
Or it may be the effect of the 0.025 NO2 (Nitrite) but this values is considered to be quite low and not that toxic to a fish...
Besides this scratching, he`s quite okay, greeting at the glass, following me with the look and eating normal.
Thanks for your help,
PS His tank looks like that -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUMXpcxUI7U
Well that was filmed 2 weeks ago, I have added another cured driftwood like that and increased his so-called hiding places, but he`s always at the glass when I`m around begging for food.