Lost My First Puffer, Diagnostic Help

Oh no! Sick fish?! Come here and see if someone can help!
Forum rules
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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Puffer Fry
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:19 pm
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Lost My First Puffer, Diagnostic Help

Post by ThatPufferGirl » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:01 pm

Hello everyone, I just lost my first puffer yesterday. His name was Petey and he was an Amazon puffer. I had only had him for about three months but I loved that little fish very much. I just lost him very abruptly yesterday and I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what could have happened. Nothing will bring Petey back but some answers would be helpful. Thank you.

So, at first I had a 10 gallon tank that, at first, only had a banded log sucker in it. His name is Marvin. I had Marvin in that brand new tank for about a month, because I wanted to be sure the tank was good and cycled before I had gotten a pufferfish in there. The day I was going to get Petey, I had tested the water parameters, and they were exactly what an Amazon puffer needed. But I even brought in a water sample into my local tropical fish store, so they could test it, just to make extra sure. I had gotten Marvin and Petey from the exact same shop. They spent a short 2 weeks together in the small 10 gallon, which was obviously temporary until I could set up my 29 gallon tank for a more permanent home.

So once I got that 29 gallon tank set up, I cycled it for a week and a half, it had about 6 adult plants in there, and then I went ahead and put Petey and Marvin in there. Both had had a really good appetite. I fed Marvin little bottom feeder pellets and gave Petey a bit of frozen blood worms for a good two weeks before I started feeding them every other day, and even gave Petey form freeze dried krill to munch on once a week to keep his beak down. I had gotten 3 clown loaches from another very reputable tropical fish store, that I also made sure treated their fish before selling them. The first fish store I got Petey from I had to wait as well because they treated their puffers for internal parasites. I had those five in there for a while. Petey was a very kind fish, he never nipped at other fish's fins, and I watched for signs of stress on Petey to make sure the other fish were treated him well. All was good.

Then I got three rosy barbs from the same store I got the loaches from to complete my tank. About a week after that is when Petey suddenly got sick. And I mean like in a day. I had fed all of the fish the day before, and when I went to check on everyone the next day, I couldn't find Petey. And he always came up to the glass to say hi. That's when I found him on the ground, motionless and completely emaciated. I didn't get why he was so skinny, I physically saw his stomach get a bit pudgy after every time I fed the fish. Then I thought maybe he had some internal parasites since puffers were so prone to getting them, I had made sure I had a box of the API general parasite cure on hand. So I dosed my big tank, put some of the tank water in a bucket along with Petey while I rinsed out and set up the 10 gallon to quarantine Petey. I dosed the 10 gallon with API general parasite cure, put a bit of frozen blood worms in there, a heater, and a sponge filter, and put Petey in there as well. I tested the water in the 29 gallon tank, ammonia was 0, nitrates 20, nitrites 0, hardness 150 ppm, chlorine 0, alkalinity 80 ppm, pH 6.8- 7.2. I did weekly 30% water changes in the 29 gallon tank.

Petey mainly rested at the bottom of the 10 gallon tank, occasionally tried swimming but swam very strangely, either doing corkscrews or getting pushed by currents. He had a strange seizure like thing one time and later died that night. My entire family was heartbroken and we buried him with some flowers in the front yard.

Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this, and I thank anyone who answers this. I just want some answers so I know how to provide the best life to my fish. I am going to continue to dose the 29 gallon just in case and I am planning on returning the rosy barbs to the pet store in the event in the future where I get another puffer.

~RIP Petey. We miss you.

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bertie 83
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My Puffers: lineatus R.I.P, South American puffer. Valentini puffer, porcupine puffer.
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Re: Lost My First Puffer, Diagnostic Help

Post by bertie 83 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:06 pm

Sorry for your loss, welcome to the forum. A week and a half is not long enough to get a tank set up, how did you cycle this tank? Puffers are sensitive creatures that need a well set up tank to thrive. Personally I think a 29 gallon tank is far too small for an active species like this but I feel your issues came from an unstable tank. Krill Will in no way help keep teeth trimmed, you need snails or real hard shelled foods to do this. Also fresh water fish do not drink water, the best way to medicate for parasites etc is to soak their food in a suitable med. hope this helps
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly

Puffer Fry
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Re: Lost My First Puffer, Diagnostic Help

Post by ThatPufferGirl » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:42 pm

Thank you so much for your help. It's been really hard but I have learned a lot from my mistakes. I am determined to not give up!

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