Dwarf Puffers are terrified

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md95
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Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by md95 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:06 pm

I have 3 dwarf puffers that constantly hide, don't eat, have this wide-eyed traumatized look on their face, and zoom around slamming into the substrate everytime I walk by. What is wrong with them? It started when I got my first DP, murdok. She used to be interactive and inquisitive as most puffers are, and then my mom got angry at me one day and slammed on the tank repeatedly (she broke it). After that, murdok became afraid of me and just scared in general. The behavior went on for a month or so and eventually I got 2 more DP's, 2 guppies, and upgraded to a 10 gallon. At first the two new puffers were calm and inquisitive but eventually they started following murdok around and getting scared just like she does. Then, I went on a trip for a month and a half and my sister took care of the fish while I was gone. She didn't take good care of them and said she never once saw the puffers eat while I was gone. When I got back the puffers were even more terrified and had this wide-eyed traumatized look in their eyes. I did a water change right away but the behavior didnt change. I still havent seen them eat either. I should also mention that the puffers seemed to get worse after I upgraded to the (pretty barren) 10 gallon and that the guppies seem to be dominant. Ive since ordered some large fake plants that should be here tomorrow. As for the guppies, the puffers aren't really scared of them but they do seem to have the run of the tank and occasionally nip the puffers. Note: I do water changes every 2 weeks. Although, when I was gone my sister did the water changes without gravel vacuuming.

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Pufferpunk
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:58 pm

Can't blame the poor fella! My guess is the wide-eyed look is because they are emaciated, due to starvation. Get some live bloodworms to feed them. A big reason they are so nervous, is lack of hiding places. Maybe they'll be more relaxed after you get those plants. But I am afraid they may be too far gone from starvation, to get them back eating. You can try soaking small bits of raw shrimp in garlic, to enhance their appetite.
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!"

md95
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by md95 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:36 pm

I don't think the traumatized look in their eye is caused by starvation since 2 of the puffers (female) have rounded bellies. The male is a bit thin but not sunken in or as thin as when we got him from the fish store. I should've mentioned that we assumed they must eat sometimes, just not directly from us or when people are in sight. There is a population of liveworms in the gravel and I put food in (liveworms/frozen bloodworms) every other day. I just got one of the plants today (its 3ft) and so far they are still terrified and mostly ignore the plant. One of them showed a tiny bit of inquisitiveness for like 3 seconds and then went back zooming up and down the glass and slamming into the gravel. Maybe ill try some live bloodworm/different livefoods and the garlic shrimp to try and get them to eat directly from me again.

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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 30019
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: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by Pufferpunk » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:02 pm

Sorry, from your 1st post, it sounded like they were starving.
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!"

MilesE
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by MilesE » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:37 am

I may have missed this but, how long have you had your puffers? Have you asked your sister if anything happened that may have scared your puffers when you were gone?

I'm not as familiar with dwarf puffer behavior but, provide some hiding places and try to keep things calm and stable. I think eventually they will settle down and become more bold. But puffers have such interesting personalities. My figure 8 puffer is pretty bold and usually doesn't get too bothered by anything - even when I do maintenance or cleaning in the tank, he is very inquisitive. BUT, as soon as I clean the outside of the glass with a white paper towel, he kind of freaks out and hides. I don't know why.

md95
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by md95 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:32 pm

I've had one for 6 months and the others for about 3-4 months. My sister said nothing happened that she knows of. I'll try getting some decor with caves in it. The puffers have actually (I think) calmed down a bit since I got the new fake plant. They have reverted back to their old behaviors (before I got the 10 gallon tank) of glass surfing much of the time and showing some aggression to each other. Which I think is better than them huddling together and hiding all day. I still wish I knew how to get them to stop glass surfing though. What is wrong in my tank that causes them to do that? My first DP murdok also used to glass surf a lot even before she became terrified from my mom.

Bleedingheartmommy
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by Bleedingheartmommy » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:52 pm

I'm not one to be negative, but your over stocked and change the water WAY too little. 50% per week is really the smallest you can go, especially in such a small volume of water, it does foul fast. These guys alone need 10xs water volume per hour in filtration (100 gph for your 10) and need 5 gal PER PUFF, and that's with the proper sex mix of 2 female to one male ratio. If you have all boys, then you would need even more then the 5 per puff, plus you have guppies in there. This my experience that people believe the internet which says five for the first and 3 gal for every one after, and time and time again it bears out that 5 gallon minimum per puff is absolutely necessary, especially when in smaller numbers in smaller tanks.

They are scared because of the lack of territory to choose and plants to hide in. You prob have males chasing your poor female to death! They are slamming into the gravel because the are threatened by their reflection and are basically fighting their reflection, a step past glass surfing. They NEED places to get away from each other or will exhaust to death from chasing and squabbling. I am sure the crazy tank breaking by mom started the fear, then with the poor care from your sister... and the improper environment- all makes for a huge ball of nerves and fear. They need more space, clean water, (a snail supply helps with grazers btw), some plants and hidey houses (you can make ones from coconut shells), and a consistent feeding schedule- will all go towards their renewed trust in you and safety in their tank. If their tank is not right they won't act right either. Please do t take this as harsh or rude, i just want the best for your fish and for you to enjoy them!
"Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."-Brené Brown

md95
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Re: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by md95 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:31 am

The puffer's seem to be doing a lot better. The key definitely seemed to be filling the tank with (fake) plants. The glass surfing seems to have died down a bit and they are eating again (in front of me). The 2 females spend a lot of their time "patrolling" the tank while the male hides in a little rock-cave most of the time. I'm seeing a lot more territorial behavior as well although im not sure which puffers are involved. Murdok used to pretty much bully Miko (the male) so im starting to suspect that the reason he still hides is because of the females. They are never that aggressive though, it mostly just seems to be chasing without biting. Sadly, my 2 guppies passed away, one a couple days after the other. One of them had fin rot (which I tried treating) and seemed sickly in general for a while. Im not sure why the other one died. The good thing is that the puffers have the tank to themselves now.

Im not able to upgrade to a larger tank since Im already pushing it with this 10 gallon (my mom didn't even want above 5 gallons in the house). As for the water changes, there is a lot of conflicting info that i've read online so im going to just do water tests to figure out what frequency works for my tank. If it needs to be every week though, I will do it.

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Pufferpunk
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Posts: 30019
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: Dwarf Puffers are terrified

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:07 am

I am telling you with 40+ years in this hobby, the trick to keeping healthy fish is 50% weekly water changes.
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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