911 Porcupine puffer has swallowed air

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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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911 Porcupine puffer has swallowed air

Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

:cry: I got up this morning and saw that my little guy was floating at the top of the tank when I walked over to him I saw a lump on his back very close to his tail fin, he tried to swim but just floated back up to the top, I went and gently held him and rubbed his belly to get him to burp the air out but he puffed up I would release him some what so that he felt like he could deflate head up and he would still have that lump. The only thing that I can think of is that when I was feeding him his bloodworms last night the frozen type when I had thawed them out he ate a big bunch of them that was floating at the top before they sank, I think he got the air in there. The air bubble is so close to his butt do you think he might pass the air out from that end if he has food on both sides of the bubble. I just don't want to loose the little guy I have had him for 3 weeks in a Qtank and he has captured my heart with is silly face. Please help. Should I have held him and shook him everything else that I did didn't move the bubble it has stayed in the same spot at the same size. I had to go to work now I'm just sitting here worring about him. If there is anything else that I could do shake him head up, I will ask to leave early for the day and go home to try to help him, right now I have him in a large clear box at the bottom of the 20 gallon tank to keep him from sucking in more air when he was floating at the top of the tank. Should I have done this, I didn't know what else to do.?? :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
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Post by Puffer Queen »

Putting the puffer in a plastic "critter keeper" box on the bottom of the tank (may need to be weighted down) is what I do in this scenario. Make sure the container is vented and a power head blowing through the vents helps with oxygenation/aeration - otherwise there is a risk of oxygen depletion if there aren't vents and water flow
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Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

The plastic containter is a in tanke refugium that has suction cups that hold it on the side of the tank and has a mini water pump that pumps in to circulate the tank, is sinks to the bottom even without haveing to put the suction cups on the side to keep it in place, I'm going to be leaving work here in 30 mins should I go home and try to hold the little guy and rub his tummy again and gently shake him, from side to side and up and down to get the bubble to work its way up. Or should I just leave him in the box and hope that he can get the air out himself. I just don't want to have to touch him and stress him out more than he already is. I'm thinking since the bubble area is so close to his butt he might just pass it out with his waste ???
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Post by Pufferpunk »

Either method should work but I'd always go w/PQ 1st.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Post by Puffer Queen »

I would not rub the puffer as this does disrupt the skin integrity and the natural antibiotics of the skin.

I would leave the puffer in the box. I have seen them take severals hours to evacuate by themself.

Best of luck.
Kelly
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Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

Well the little guy passed a bunch of waste while I was at work and there were several bubbles in the top of the container, he was swimming much better. I put some stress coat in the tank to help since I had touched him earlier. He still has a small lump by his tail fin on his top side it seemed to get bigger after he ate his usual thawed bloodworms and 3 small ramshorn snails. This morning he was sleeping in his plant his butt was up higher than the rest of him but he was still in the plant trying to sleep, I guess as long as he is eating that is the best he can do and he will eventually work the bubble out. Thanks for you help
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Post by Pufferpunk »

I am wondering if a big part of his problem is you feeding your SW puffer, FW foods. I'd be feeding it more SW-type crustaceons.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Post by puffergeek »

Glad to hear your puff is better!

I agree with PP on the food stuff. I buy more seafood for my fish than for the humans in my house... the grocer must think I'm daft for buying just a few of this and a few of that.

My favorite way to get a lot salt water food stocked up for my puffers:

Go get several pounds of raw, shell on shrimp. Cut off the tails leaving a bit more meat than normal (I usually cut at the first "joint" in the exoskeleton in front of the tail). Rinse the tails really well, dry them on a paper towel, then place them in a ziplock and freeze.

Make shrimp creole with the rest of the shrimp and enjoy some Cajun goodness!
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Post by Pufferpunk »

It is also important to vary your puffer's diet & not feed it just 1 thing.
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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Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

Well thanks for the input on my little guys diet. But I have had him for 3 weeks and the blood worm and maybe a bit of krill is all I have ever been able to get him to eat. I have 2 other dogface puffers and they are hogs not picky and eat a variety every day of, krill, squid, shrimp with shell, rams horn snails, crab meat, mussels which I soak in zoe every other day especially on the krill since it is just for snacks. I have tried to not feed the new porcupine puffer for a day then go back and try the shrimp, big chunks little chunks, bounce them off his head wiggle them at the surface of the tank or floating down to the bottom of tank, he just looks at the other food then swims away even if i soak it in zoe or garlic. I just can't get the little guy to eat anything else, i'm hoping that once I get him out of the QT in 2 more weeks that he will pick up the habbits of his new tanks mates and start eating a variety of different foods. He won't even touch peas that puffers are supposed to love as a treat. He is the only picky puffer that I have ever seen.
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Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

thanks again for your help with him.
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Post by Boxermom »

They don't always knows what is good for them and that's where our job as their caregiver comes into play. My son would like to eat nothing but Lunchables but I make him eat other things because I know its not good for him to just eat Lunchables. Training him may take more than a day, but don't worry, they can easily go a couple of weeks without starving to death. Withhold any other food except the one you want to train him to eat. Offer it at regular meal times but don't offer anything else. Just keep offering it and it'll eventually give it a taste, and that's all it will take. Took me 2 weeks to train my palembang to eat anything other than feeder fish but after awhile, he got hungry enough to taste a piece of shrimp and now he attacks it quite heartily. Just be patient and don't give in.
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Post by puffergeek »

SaltwaterPufferGirl, don't give up! It can take time to get a puffer to eat a variety of different things... believe me I have a very stubborn congo and I'm still trying to get him to eat new things. Other puffers seem to eat anything that hits the water. My F8 will even eat some of the spirulina flakes I sometimes give to my mollies!
Pufferpunk wrote:It is also important to vary your puffer's diet & not feed it just 1 thing.
I totally agree PP and Boxermom! Just mentioning an easy (and yummy) way to stock up on one item as an example. I'm not big on mussles or chowder so it is not as interesting an anecdote, but I do buy them for my puffers (just picked up some clams today as a matter of fact). I even feed my smaller puffs good stuff like mysis shrimp between crunchy meals.
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Post by SaltwaterPufferGirl »

Well I have stopped feeding the little guy any bloodworms. Friday till sunday I offered him a variety of, squid, mysis, crab meat, marine cuisine, mussels that are frozen in cubes after I thaw it and whole out of the shell he took a bite at the mussels that were the frozen type( thawed) one morning but then spit them back out then continued to spit jets of water at me since I wasn't feeding him what he wanted he will eat the krill now soaked in Zoe and garlic, if I soak anything else or leave them plain he still won't eat it. Going to keep trying to break him of this bad habbit. Other than his eating habbits his lump went away and he is doing fine no signs of ick due to being stressed out when I was holding him to massage his stomach to get the air bubbles out. He is just bright eyed and fussy. :) I will have to post some pictures he is too cute. next weekend he is going to move to his 150 gallon home. I bet he will ove it.
Last edited by SaltwaterPufferGirl on Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Boxermom »

I never feed my puffers frozen food still frozen, I always thaw it first. Might have been too cold for him.
Tina

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