Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

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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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STJackson
Puffer Fry
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 3:17 pm
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Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

Post by STJackson » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:54 pm

My (probably male) dwarf puffer Nugget has changed his behavior pretty suddenly in the past two weeks. I had a friend feed him on Memorial Day weekend (May 28 and 29), and he said that Nugget would take one bloodworm directly from him and that he'd leave him 1-2 more to eat. (I'm not sure if that means my friend spooked him, or that something was wrong already). After that, Nugget got more shy or skittish when I would feed him, and he's been hiding in his house practically all day; and for the past week, he's been up at 6-7 AM, but gone back into hiding by 8 or 9 AM after my boyfriend feeds him (since I found out the Nugget is out and about then). He ate two worms with gusto yesterday, but this morning didn't make a move to eat the worm or the snail that my boyfriend dropped right in front of him. I saw him yesterday morning, and he looked the same as always in terms of color, post-meal size, etc.

Before this, Nugget had been much more outgoing (if a little skittish) for the past half a year. He would hang out at the front of the tank all morning, looking out for me at feeding time and investigating his surroundings afterward (not really glass surfing). He would usually go inside his house by the evening or hide in some plants, so I rarely saw him after then anyway (unless he was investigating a tank cleaning, or the rare times he'd be up at night darting around). For the first couple of months I had him, he was much more skittish and prone to hiding.

Other than being spooked by my friend who fed him, the only things I can think of are that I've had the same live bloodworms for a few weeks (though I change their water every day and keep them in the fridge, so they're still alive and look fine), and there's some red and green algae on the plants and log in the tank. It might also be a bit brighter and warmer in the room since we're approaching summer. Long-term changes: he's started eating snails in the past two months, and his water parameter readings have always been slightly unclear (see pictures below).

Here are my questions: I'm wondering if there is anything I can or should do for Nugget, either to find out if there's something wrong or to treat a likely cause for his behavior change? Or could this just be a change in mood/personality that will go away like last time? I was planning to go out of town for a week starting tomorrow morning (leaving him in the care of a roommate who's more used to his neuroses), but now I'm wondering if I should stick around until Sunday (when I have to leave to go out of state for three days) so that I can observe and/or treat him. Right now that obviously feels a bit futile since he's only up for a short period of time, but I want to help him. Any advice about possible causes, steps for investigation, or treatments would be very appreciated!

UPDATE: Right after posting this, I tried luring him out of hiding by placing a worm near the "door" of his house and it worked! He ate one worm off the ground and then took another from the pipette directly. He looked dark at first and acted kind of slow, but when I fed him another small worm piece a few minutes later he darted over eagerly and looked more brightly colored. (see more pictures below). Still wondering if there's anything about his environment or schedule that I can change, or anything about his appearance I should look out for.

1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate).
pH = 8.2-8.4 (closer to 8.2)
ammonia = 0 ppm (I'll include a picture below--it's never looked as yellow as the 0 on the chart to me, but it doesn't look green either...)
nitrite = 0 ppm
nitrate = less than 5 ppm
temperature: 77.2 degrees Fahrenheit
(these readings are all identical to those I've gotten as long as I can remember)

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants.
10 gallons, single dwarf puffer with occasional pest snails (which he's taken to eating immediately when offered)

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)
Fed once per day in the morning, 2-3 bloodworms or 1 pest snail (though since he's started hiding, he's missed 2-3 non-consecutive days of food).
Water changes every 7-8 days, using Seachem Prime to dechlorinate.

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so.
New babysitter two weeks ago for two days.
Food offered earlier in the day (6-7 AM, rather than 9 AM).

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it?
Aquarium set up just over 1 year, cycled for 3-4 weeks using media from other (turtle) filter.
IMG_5484-1.JPG
IMG_5485-1.JPG
IMG_5482-1.JPG
IMG_5483-1.JPG
(please excuse the upside-down photo--not much to see anyway, just the algae that's gotten a bit out of hand on the plants/log)

After feeding (in chronological order--you can see he gets lighter)
IMG_5486.JPG
IMG_5487.JPG
IMG_5488.JPG
IMG_5490.JPG
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hadla
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Re: Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

Post by hadla » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:30 pm

It's ok if they don't eat every day, he looks well fed and not sick at all :)
Never trust big puffers. The fingers you save may be your own. -RTR

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Welch4
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Re: Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

Post by Welch4 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:41 pm

Hello ST,

Way to post on the hospital section like a pro. More people should read and respond to the red as you did, good job! As far as your DP friend its looks very healthy. As far as the discoloration on the plants it appears to be a type of alga i have personally observed when i have had eleveated levels of iron in my planet tanks, nothing to worry about, i have seen this same thing multiple times in my high tech planted ans it ebbs and flows but never impedes fish health or plant growth. As far as your dp being skiddish it may have not liked the feeding from someone they did not know well. If so its way smarter than than mine. : ) I don't think its anything to be worried about. Puffs will show odd behavior from time to time, it is usually nothing, but keep a log of it so you can tell if something more serious is going on.

Happy Puffing,
Joe
Forget other advice about puffers you don't hear here - Pufferpunk

STJackson
Puffer Fry
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Re: Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

Post by STJackson » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:36 pm

Thanks for both of your replies! I'm happy to hear it sounds like puffers can be a bit moody, I guess that's half of the fun of an intelligent fish :) And I'm glad that the info was clear and helpful--I just hope I've been reading those ammonia tests right.

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Welch4
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Re: Suddenly Shy/Early Bird DP

Post by Welch4 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:45 pm

Ammonia looks fine, just remember if you don't wait to test after a feeding you can show some levels of ammonia until your colony picks it up and devours it.
Forget other advice about puffers you don't hear here - Pufferpunk

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