Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Oh no! Sick fish?! Come here and see if someone can help!
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Read this before posting!!

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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puffers
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Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by puffers » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:28 am

Please help quickly! My porcupine puffer is not eating. He can't open his mouth in order to eat his food. He goes for the food, but his mouth can't open very wide so he can't eat it. His belly is looking very small now. The last time he ate well was 3 days ago. It isn't that long, but he isn't that big of a puffer.I can't see his teeth, so it's probably not a problem with his teeth being too long. I am afraid that he has lockjaw, but I have never fed him krill ever. His tankmates are a squirrelfish, a damsel, and a snowflake moray. They are not a problem with competing for food and being aggressive. Today, I soaked some clam in garlic and ripped it into small pieces. That way, I managed to feed him a little bit, but he can't go on eating like this. He is about 4 to 5 inches long and I got him 2 years ago. I have been feeding him a diet of squid and clams. The tank conditions are Nitrates: 0 ;Nitrites: 0; Ammonia: 0; Temperature: 80; pH: 8 or 8.2. I recently changed the water. Please help my puffer!

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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:36 am

Please answer ALL the Qs above.
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!"

puffers
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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by puffers » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:26 am

My puffer lives in a 75 gallon tank. There is live rock and sand inside the tank. I feed it every 2 days. In the last week, I have changed the water. I change the water about every month. I use an octopus skimmer and a Trutemp heater. I don't know the brands of the other equipment. I have had my fish tank for over 2 years. I cycled the tank by putting live rock in and activating the heater, skimmer, and powerhead. I waited for the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to go down. The salinity is 1.023.

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Pufferpunk
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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
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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:34 am

What foods has he been eating? Ever soak the foods in vitamins? How much water do you change? Sump? How much LR? Tank mates?
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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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by Infinity8 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:25 pm

what's your source for the squid and clams? are they frozen or...? i'm not really sure how much of a difference it would make, but the more knowledgeable members might know. my heart goes out to you, our porc puff had a similar stint like this and didn't make it. pretty sure it was lockjaw, but if you've never fed him krill i doubt that's it. :( best of luck, wish i could be of more help.

i think there might be an article on here about tube/syringe feeding, if it comes to that. check the puffer library under the Learn tab.

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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by FishFan » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:18 pm

puffers wrote:Please help quickly! My porcupine puffer is not eating. He can't open his mouth in order to eat his food. He goes for the food, but his mouth can't open very wide so he can't eat it. His belly is looking very small now. The last time he ate well was 3 days ago.
You describe a problem that needs to be resolved, but I have some suggestions that I think will help.
1. First, relax. Your puffer can go a long time without eating with no serious harm. If he has been well fed he could recover after not eating for weeks. This isn't a crisis yet!
2. You said he can't open his mouth very wide. He must be able to open it enough to breath, so getting food into him may be possible. If he is very hungry, he mayl accept adult brine shrimp or better still salt water feeder shrimp? If he is in a tank alone you can put feeder shrimp in with him and they may motivate him to eat even though in the past he may have seen them as too small to bother with. Adding other very enticing live food delicacies such as very small snails may result in some food consumption.
3. Make sure all your water quality parameters are top notch, but don't make very large changes to pH, salinity, or Nitrate all at once. Large changes in these parameters can cause a fish to become sick.
4. Consider treating with a Praziquantel bath. This is a medication for internal parasites (worms) that is very benign and will not harm your filter. It is a long shot, but deworming is a good prophylactic treatment practice for salt water puffers even when there are no symptoms. Just don't mix it with other medications. Salt water fish drink the tank water so the medication will get to the parasites in the digestive tract. Fresh water fish do not drink the water, making Praziquantel baths less certain for them. We use Prazi-pro for this.
5. Read up on anesthetizing fish and feeding with an eyedropper/tube/syringe. If in a couple weeks he is still not eating, this may be your best option. The most common mistake tube feeding is not getting the food far enough back to assure it gets in the stomach. If you read up on it now, you can buy what you'll need just in case it is ultimately needed.

For now, be at peace. You may need to act, but it is a way to early to become overwrought. Lockjaw isn't an understood phenomenon, may remit on its own, and can be treated successfully. If you have access to a fish vet or a knowledgeable fish keeper familiar with the procedure, you may be able to get help with the tube feeding if it ultimately proves to be necessary.

In the meantime tell us everything there is to know about your tank, water, other occupants, recent changes, etc. Check out all your equipment and make sure it is all working properly.

Once again, don't make a lot of changes.
A = Anne, R =Robert

There has to be a point.

puffers
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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by puffers » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:04 pm

My puffer's squid and clams are Hikari brand. It says they have stabilized vitamin C. They are frozen. My tank has a sump. I change 6 or 7% of the water in my 75 gallon tank every month. My puffer's tankmates are a snowflake moray, a striped squirrelfish, and a bluefin damsel. They are not a problem to the puffer. Today, I fed my puffer some little chunks of food. He can fit small pieces of food in his mouth.

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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by puffers » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:15 am

When my puffer stopped eating 5 days ago, it was right in the middle of a feeding. He was opening his mouth fine to eat the cubes of squid, and suddenly on the next cube of squid, he couldn't open his mouth. Maybe he choked on something? Is there anything to help my puffer, cause I heard peas held puffers poop, but I'm not sure.

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Re: Porcupine Puffer Needs Help!

Post by casc » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:26 pm

You have had your porc in a 75 gallon tank for 2 years? Thats too small, not to mention the tank mates are not really compatable. That's probably why he is only 4-5 inches. My porc was 2 1/2 inches when I got him less than a year ago. He is now over 7 inches. I have a 150 gallon tank and I do a 50% water change once a week. I'm surprised no one has said anything yet about that stuff.

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