Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

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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.

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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.
gonk
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Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

1) Your water parameters

pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0-5ppm
Specific Gravity 1.026

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants.
- 32 gallon Biocube
- 2 total inhabitants: 1 GSP, 1 chocolate chip starfish

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)

- Feeding: every other day, frozen krill or frozen shrimp (he always eats)
- I have used red slime remover (UltraLife) but his behavior does not dependent on this product
- 10% water change every 2 weeks
- currently battling cyanobacteria and algae growth

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so.
- I've switched from saltwater from LFS to ocean seawater (I live near a very desolate beach, far from known pollution hazards).

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it?
- I acquired this entire aquarium and contents from a friend who could no longer care for them. I assume the tank was cycled based on the nitrite/nitrate/ammonia readings I get. I have had the tank in my possession for 6 mos.

Pics of puffer:
https://ibb.co/dtdTfKH
https://ibb.co/1mfsbK8
https://ibb.co/93dmcNR
https://ibb.co/BNg8rRT

Problem info:

Hey all, thanks for your help in advance here. I have an (I believe to be) young adult GSP. Since I've gotten him, he cycles belly colors between black and white (as expected). Recently, I've become concerned because he stays black for most of the day (but never the whole day) and I see him swimming aggressively faced toward the window and trying to escape. He was not always like this. He would always be black in mornings and he would always swim up and down the side every once in a while, but he would not aggressively try to escape from the glass like something is wrong. He has always been in a full saltwater setup since I've gotten him.

He does still respond to me when I walk by the glass (always notices me) and he still eats just fine. His belly does turn white throughout the day, but lately it's been more black than white. I currently only keep the light on from 2PM to 9PM (but light reaches the tank from the window) to reduce algae growth. I did notice that when I first got him, he would remain black in the morning until the light was turned on (he would then turn white).

To me, the problem seems to be either something about the ocean water he doesn't like (bacteria?), internal parasites, or possibly oxygen levels (can't test this, but I do have two aerators, so I'm not sure why that would be the problem). I'm not sure if it's coincidental, but the starfish seems to be dying as well (just today he started falling apart after sustaining an injury from falling on a rock about a month ago). I'm out of ideas and don't know what to do to keep this guy happy. What might be the problem?

Thank you!!
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

Sorry you are having issues! How much live rock is in there? Protein skimmer?
Do you have the option of not using ocean water?
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!"
gonk
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

Hey there,

protein skimmer: yes
live rock: yes, a lot for him to hide in. The entire center of the tank is live rock.
ocean water: yes, i do have the option of not using ocean water but was using ocean water to reduce the amount of plastic jugs I was buying.
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31832
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: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

Obviously, fresh-made filtered tap water is going to be your safest option. I'd QT or toss that starfish before it completely pollutes the tank. How large is the puffer now? Have you treated for parasites? I would also lower the SG, as long as you have no corals in there, it really is fine at 1.020.
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!"
gonk
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Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:16 pm
Location (country): US

Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

Thanks for the advice Pufferpunk. I did take the starfish out and since then, the puffer is still climbing up and down the sides, but exploring more and has not had a black belly all day. He's also not aggressively trying to escape anymore. I've noticed he gets a black belly when I start doing anything inside the tank (IE scrubbing algae, etc). This seems to visibly stress him out.

Parasites:
I have not treated for parasites but have a kit. I was going to put some of this in his food just in case.

How large:
About 3 inches, see pics in my original post.

SG:
How slow should I lower the SG? Can I use distilled water to lower it? I'm just concerned because he's always been in saltwater since I got him, so I don't want to shock him into more brackish conditions.


I'm going to take a video of him swimming so you can hopefully tell me if you believe his behavior is normal. Will also take a video of the tank so you can tell me if I should change up his decoration, because I believe the tank should be big enough (32gallons, now the only fish in the tank). It pains me to see him go up and down the tank (even though his belly is no longer black) because it does seem like he is not interested in the tank and would like to go elsewhere. Will post a video of behavior here shortly..
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31832
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: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

I'm glad he's doing better!
1.020 is still SW. Puffers are very intelligent & appreciate a complex environment to explore.
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!"
gonk
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

I will lower the SG to 1.020.

This is his normal behavior (see this video: https://youtu.be/GhK1Fc6HSgs). He's not black anymore, but he does still tend to stick toward the side of the aquarium. He goes in and out of the live rock (he sleeps there at night) but is there a better way I could decorate to keep him less on the sides? Anything else I could do to keep him entertained?
gonk
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

Or..do you believe that his behavior is okay?

Any feedback greatly appreciated. Thanks ya'll / Pufferpunk!
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Posts: 31832
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: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

He looks much better! Perhaps a more complex environment with rocks fashioned with swim-throughs. You could add tall silk plants along the sides.
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!"
gonk
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Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:16 pm
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by gonk »

Thanks for the advice. Any recommendation of silk plants to use? Is there any concern of him chewing and eating them (digesting plastic)?
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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31832
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: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

I have had no issues with silk plants sold for aquariums.
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!"
Dianamarie7
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Dianamarie7 »

Ammonia 0, no3-20, no2 0, oh 7.5 kh 180 tank size 36 gallon bowed tank. Screen top. Artificial plants real rocks from a saltwater aquarium store not live rock. A piece of driftwood two filters one for 30 gallon tank hang on the back filter and a 20 to 30 gallon filter inside the tank that I also use as a agitator that has biological and filter media in hang on the back has carbon biological and Sponge Filter I also have an AirStone strip on the back wall. This tank was set up in March 14 2020. I have had the gsp for over a year. I started with 2 gsp and over a month ago I lost one. It jumped out of the tank. When I had two I was planning on moving them to 100 gallon tank by the end of the year.The one that was left wouldn't eat for a couple days after but then seemed even more active afterward. Now my GSP is sitting at the bottom of the tank with a black belly and won't eat. My gsp never has a black belly really only if stressed or when the lights first go on but after about a minute my Gsp belly goes back to white. I did a water change on the 5th and the salinity level is usually 0.016 but when i checked today it was 0.014 I fixed that today and got the levels back up to 0.016. I feed 6 days fast one. My gsp eats clams live snails shrimp and beef hearts. An on occasion blood worms and live black worm. Temperature 78 to 80 degrees I live in Florida it's very hot that is why I have a screen on top of the tank and not a glass. This is not my first puffer fish I do have dwarf puffers and a fahaka puffer. I hope I didn't get too much information I just wanted to be thorough. If anyone can help I appreciate it so much thank you!!!
User avatar
Pufferpunk
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Posts: 31832
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: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Pufferpunk »

When did the other one jump out? Can you please start a new thread on this?
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!"
Dianamarie7
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Dianamarie7 »

How do.i start a new thread???
Dianamarie7
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Re: Black belly / visibly stressed Green Spotted Puffer (GSP)

Post by Dianamarie7 »

May 18 2020 I was doing a water change and the back of the screen had a gap and he jumped out. He was always a jumper it wasn't the water quality and make that the made him jump he would always swim to the side of the tank and then flop up that is why I always had a screen on the tank and it's green instead of a hardtop cuz he's slamming to the hardtop hence the screen being softer and not hurting him he was a crazy fish. I bought them from a family-owned aquarium store in Florida. if it was male or female. She was always the more shy of the two of them and would wait for him to eat would wait for him to come to the front tank before she would. When he jumped out I got very worried that she was just going to stop eating and everything which she did for a couple days. But after about a week she seemed to be doing great in the tank by yourself and liking it more. I had a problem with her going up and down the tank in the back and being fixated on it. I would check on her in the middle of the night and she would be up just swimming up and down the back of the tank. Eventually I put a plan in front of there and it seemed to just take her away from there and have her swimming around the whole tank and enjoying her space. But now I've tried everything from freshwater dipping her to hiring her salinity to heating the tank up. I know there's really not a lot of medicines you can give a scaleless fish. It used to be before where she was comforted and her black belly went away when I came in the room and now she's doesn't want to be around anyone when I come in she'll be in the front of the tank and then go all the way to the back to hide. I clean the tank out regularly so it's not her being afraid of my hands being in and out of the tank. I always make sure my hands are clean before going in the tank no lotion no perfumes nothing on me I really have no idea what is going on with her I went to several different fish stores it's just there isn't much people know about them and I was hoping joining this form would be able. She is a room.just designated to fish there sport tanks in there I've been trying to leave her alone as much as possible I have only been putting night time lights on. The only thing I've done different in this time is move plants around which the other day I moved them back where they were originally cuz I don't know what's going on at know if it's stress. I can send photos of what she looks like now her teeth are overgrown they're fine she always ate lots and lots of snails they also chew on the coral Rock I have in there. It has been hard for me to get clams from the pet store. They keep selling out so I have been going to my local grocery store buying fresh clams freezing them and feeding them to them I don't know if that could be something. I also feed the live blackworms not often just very very radical because I feed the live black worms to my pea puffers. It's about to be a week since she hasn't eaten I've offered her food every single day since also up left a clam in there I know that's probably not smart but the water parameters are going down since there's no waste in the tank usually when she eats she makes quite a mess I have two filters I also don't know if I should turn one off. I know that this is all over the place I'm sorry just trying to get you as much information as possible since I know these messages have to be approved first.
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