Fahaka puffer not eating :(

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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.

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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.
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Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

Hi all,
I am from Nottingham in the UK and have just joined this forum- it looks great! I didn't know it existed until I Googled my fishy problem just now:
I have a lovely fahaka puffer, he's probably about 5 years old now and I've had him for about 4.5 of those. He was about 2 inches long I bought him, and is about 8-9 inches long now. I feed him on aquatic snails (his favourite, yum), mussels in shells, whole prawns and crayfish meat.
I'm worried about him because his behaviour has changed and he's refused all food for the past 5 days. How long can he survive without food? :(
He's also started half burying himself in the sand periodically, and this is a completely new behaviour, he's never done that before. He looks kind of moribund when he buries himself, with just his eyes moving slightly. On other occasions he swims around completely normally.
He's been in the same 300 litre tank for about 3 years now and has lived with 2 upside down catfish for the duration- he leaves them alone most of the time...! They are both about 1.5 inches long, and are behaving normally.
I have a large Hydra internal filter and an Aquamanta external filter. I don't have carbon in the filters at the moment, but water chemistry just now is as follows:
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Phosphate 5, pH about 6.8/7 although it's tricky interpreting the colour changes of these test kits. I did have high phosphate and nitrate 2 weeks ago but 3 x 10% water changes since then have brought it down. It's hard to get the phosphate and nitrate to zero, as the tap water seems to contain both, and the rain water contains nitrate...
He's developed a TINY patch of what looks like fungus on the tip of both pectoral fins and his mouth looked slightly red on one side at the weekend, although I can't really see that at all now. I'm currently treating the water with Protozin, on day 3 of that at the moment. Is that the problem? It's really a tiny amount of fungus for such a large fish. Could his mouth be hurting him? Or is the protozin upsetting him because he doesn't have scales? There are no lesions on his body, tail or other fins. He's never been ill before, and he's only ever puffed himself up once, years ago, when he decided to jump out of the tank while I was cleaning it. He deflated as soon as I plopped him back in the water, and recovered very quickly- in fact he seemed to recover from the ordeal a lot quicker than I did...
I've noticed over the past week that he sometimes seems to hyperventilate (gill flaps moving faster than normal) for long periods when he's stationary, which seems odd, and other times they don't seem to move at all. Occasionally he "yawns" as well, and yesterday he seemed to sort of gulp a lot of water all at once, almost as if he was choking, for a few seconds, and then went back to normal.
He's very intelligent (for a fish!) and I'm convinced he knows who I am. He has become very tame around me, although he will only normally feed in front of me, not if anyone else is watching, bless him! Any advice would be much appreciated as it would break my heart to lose him :(
Thanks in advance,
Bryony
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Pufferpunk
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My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
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Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
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Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Pufferpunk »

Hi, welcome to the forum! I do believe your fish is stunted. He should be bigger by now. Minimum tank size is 120g/460L, but it would be much happier in a larger tank. Mine loved his 180g/680l tank! I'm not sure why you'd be treating with that med. Seems bacterial to me. You could try adding salt at 1 tbsp/10g (you do the math for your measurements ;) ) & Melafix/Pimafix.
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!"
Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

Hi Pufferpunk,
Thanks for your reply and for declaring that my fish is stunted - I can certainly get a bigger tank for him, that is not a problem.
I'm using Protozin because it is a protozoacide and fungicide. I had been wary of using salt, given his lack of scales, but perhaps I should give it a go.
Thanks again,
Bryony
User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31834
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: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Pufferpunk »

That amount of salt shouldn't harm your puffer.
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!"
Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

My puffer STILL isn't eating, and has started floating at an angle at the top of the tank with the tip of his tail fin sticking our of the water and his nose pointing downwards, at an angle of about 45 degrees.
He doesn't roll when he swims but when he swims across the tank horizontally his rear end drifts upwards all the time.
Could it be that he's got air trapped that is making him float like this?
It's not normal and I really do not know what to do - could it be a swim bladder problem?
User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 31834
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: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Pufferpunk »

Puffers dop not have swim bladders. Definitely sounds like air.
library/hospital/help-my-puffer-is-air-filled/
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!"
Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

Hi, thanks for your help. It's not that he's inflated himself, his body actually looks quite skinny because he's not eaten for so long. Thanks for the link, which I've read, but if I try to expel air out of him I'm worried it will stress him further...
Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

I also don't understand how he could have taken in air- I've not transferred him between tanks so he's not been out of water at all, and I don't feed him anything that contains a lot of air. Unless there's something inside him that's rotting and producing gas? I've never wormed him, but I've not seen evidence that he has IPs in the 3 years I've had him, stringy poo for example.
Lucozade
Puffer Fry
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 7:15 am
Location (country): United Kingdom

Re: Fahaka puffer not eating :(

Post by Lucozade »

Puffers have physoclistous swim bladders, unlike fish species with physostomous swim bladders that open into the gut, the puffer's swim bladder is closed, and gas exchange takes place via the vasculature. The bladder of T. lineatus has 2 conic expansions posteriorly orientated (as opposed to anterior orientation in other tetraodontid species)- the posterior orientation might explain why he is floating tail up :(
Last edited by Lucozade on Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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