HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

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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.
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Marknicolaus
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HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Marknicolaus »

1. PH: 8.0, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrates: >20, Salinity: 1.006
2. 29 gallon tank, quiet flow filter, heater (keeping it about 76°), and LED lights on the top. Inside we have sand, a few rock structures/caves, 5 fake plants, and a few other small aquarium decorations.
3. Feeding schedule: once a day (mainly frozen bloomworms and brine shrimp), 40% water change weekly, and we are using API QuickStart and Prime water conditioner.
4. In the last week we’ve made one 20% water change and one 40% water change.
5. The aquarium has been set up for 3 weeks, and was fully cycled by using API QuickStart before introducing the fish 2 weeks ago.

Hello,

My girlfriend and I got our first puffer (Mr. Edgar Allen Puff) about 2 weeks ago. We did as much research as we could before getting him, and for the first week plus a day or two he had been acting fine. Before he was introduced our table was fully cycled. Ammonia and nitrite both at 0, and nitrate at 15-20 ppm.

We noticed the ammonia and nitrite levels both start to spike to .25 ppm on Monday. We did our first 20% water change then as we did not want to shock him by doing it too early.

Since that water change, the ammonia level went back to 0, but nitrite was still at .25 ppm. Mr. Puff was very sluggish (but still eating) and only wanted to lay down on the sand, and would get up only every hour or so. Because of his weird behavior and the nitrites still being above 0, we did another water change last night at 40%.

After that water change, ammonia/nitrite are back to 0 (nitrates at 20 ppm or less throughout this whole period). But he still hasn’t been acting normal. He’s now just spending time surfing the glass, breathing heavily, and this morning he didn’t eat for the first time every since we fed him.

I have a feeling our ammonia and nitrite levels spiked because I think we over fed him for the first few days and had waited too long for our first water change. Not sure if this is an accurate assumption but either way we want to help Mr. Puff! Every time we help him it seems another problem pops up.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Mark
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Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Pufferpunk »

Did that bottle contain LIVE bacteria?
What test kits are you using?
Just the 1 puffer in there?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
Marknicolaus
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Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Marknicolaus »

Yes, API QuickStart contains love nitrifying bacteria. We are using the API saltwater master test kit. And yes, just 1 puffer.
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 32321
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Pufferpunk »

I looked into this product & it's just dead bacteria in a bottle. Nothing more than adding fish waste to your tank. Your tank is not cycled. There is absolutely no way a bottle can offer Live FW & SW bacteria, as they are totally different. Tetra Safestart or Dr Tim's is your best bet.
The reason your ammonia/nitrite were 0 is that there were no fish in there. Once you added the bioload of a fish, the cycle started. Ammonia/nitrite poisoning/burn can cause permanent damage to a fish's skin, eyes & gills.

Are you using the API liquid test kits? FW would be the one I would use. Get Safestart (easier to find), do a large (80%) WC & add it directly to your filter.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
Marknicolaus
Puffer Fry
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:59 am
Location (country): USA

Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Marknicolaus »

Yes we are using API liquid test kits. We will get safestart and do an 80% water change ASAP… but what do you mean by “add it directly to your filter”? Is there any YouTube video that can show exactly what this is?
Marknicolaus
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Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:59 am
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Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Marknicolaus »

I just looked into the difference between Tetra Safestart and API QuickStart. I’m seeing that Safestart can only be used in freshwater, whereas QuickStart can be used in fresh or saltwater.

Our water is brackish with 1.005-6 salinity. Just wanted to make sure Safestart will work properly in brackish before trying it.
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 32321
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: HELP! Figure 8 puffer is breathing heavily and not eating

Post by Pufferpunk »

What kind of filter are you using? I meant to pour it into your filter because that's where most of the nitrifying bacteria live.
There will be some die-off with the BW.
How is your puffer doing today?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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