Fahaka on diet/starvation?

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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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Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

Hi all,

I am new to puffer found this forum and joined. Have questions and would like to consult the experience here. Thanks in advance.
I keep fresh water for years but not familiar with puffer that I have foster recently. I have read all the fundamentals. Here is what I have.

Fahaka: 5”
Teeth: no overgrown
Tank mate: 5” plecostomus has been with puffer all along
Tank: 90 gal (48x24x18)
Substrate: none for sanitary reason but can add if needed
Shelter: rocky caves & PVC pipe fittings
Temperature: 78-81 degree Fahrenheit (150 watt heater on each end)
PH: neutral at 7
Filtration/aeration: XP3 canister filter and two air-stones
Lighting: only filtered natural light & overhead ceiling light

Questions:

It has been three days; both fish have settled and adopt the new environment well. There is no sign of stress or illness but will not eat regardless what I offer such as fresh crushed crayfish and bite size frozen minnow, not even live ghost shrimp.
The puffer is calm and behaves, will not follow my hand and beg for food, very uncharacteristic, unlike what I read so must about their dominance and aggression even kill.
I start to worry and do not know what else to do to make things right. Please advise. Thanks again.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Pufferpunk »

I definitely would add substrate. What are the parameters?
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by bertie 83 »

Give him time to develop the anger that is common in a fahaka lol. I agree add substrate.
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Iliveinazoo »

Could be just settling in and it could be water quality, could you answer the questions in red at the top of the page please?
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Pufferpunk »

My fahaka went on a 2-week hunger strike when I moved him from a 55g to his 125g. Broke it with live earthworms. But we DO need to know your parameters & how this tank was cycled, to discount any other problems before they get worse.
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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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

Thanks for the quick replies, will check back with parameter data ASAP. Good day.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

Hello everyone, here is the overdue updates, please help, thanks.

PH = 6.6
NO3 = 10
NH3/NH4 = 0
Temp = 80F
Tank = 48”Lx18”Dx21”H
Substrate = Eco complete cover 50% of the tank at 2” thick; remain 50% is bare.
Shelter = artificial caves & rocks, plenty of hidden places but no plants

This 6” fahaka is shy from the beginning, he is healthy & alert (base on body color & alert clear eyes).
Image

It has been three weeks and counting since I brought the puffer home. He spends most time at the bottom lurking slowly like a submarine but not interested in explore this new home.

He does not eat or interested in food. When I wave in front, he will retrieve and turn around as it bothers him. I tried frozen silversides (garlic), krill, live bloodworms, feeders & shrimps so far but with no luck. Despite starvation the fish appears healthy and no signs of stress as food are an option.

This really worries me as I have exhausted my fish kept experience but do not answer above. This is my first fahaka (had GSP in fresh/brackish water before). All comments are welcome and appreciated. I anxiously await for your responses. Good day.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Pufferpunk »

What is the pH of your tap water? That is close to the pH of urine! Have you offered him live foods like an earthworm? Mine went on a 2 week hunger strike after upgrading from a 55g to his 125g. Earthworms did the trick.
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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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Dadof4 »

Why on earth is your tank so acidic? Did you put in some uncured drift wood? Tannin's will drop the pH like a stone, also poor oxygen/Co2 exchange will do that too. Co2 is an ionic acid and if you have a fully sealed tank, with a canister filter and little surface agitation you can have a Co2 build up that can cause pH to drop in a hurry. Urine pH is anywhere from 6.5 to 7 right after a person wakes up and 7-7.8 in the evening. More acidic in the AM because of Co2 retention in relation to slow breathing, more neutral to basic at night because you've cleared the Co2 from normal respiration.

Do like PP said, check your tap water pH and if it's normal find the source of the acid in the tank. The two I listed above are the most common factors in a newer tank. The Eco Complete should be giving you a little buffer from the Calcium Carbonate dust that it ships with too and raise the pH, so something is causing you a huge acidity issue. If the tap water is about 7ish look to taking out some of the drift wood and agitating the surface of the water with your filter return.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Iliveinazoo »

I don't think that a pH of 6.6 is that acidic for a Fahaka, it is only 0.4pH below 'neutral' at pH7 and within the parameters that it would expect to find in the wild? Many freshwater systems are acidic?

It is slightly concerning that the pH in the first post is stated at 7 but then further down is stated as 6.6. Co2 injection could bring it down this far but since there are no plants I doubt that this is the case, wood or peat could reduce the pH to this new level but it could also be fluctuations in the accuracy of the test. pH can also be reduced by feeding too much and letting it decompose in the tank or too few water changes so this should be checked.

Other than that I wouldn't say that the fish looks skinny...
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

1. City water = 7.6
2. API Proper PH 7.0 was added but only one dose/10 gallon for experiment and no further.
3. All decorations are in plastic (aged)
4. Eco Complete (used), retreated from storage and washed in cold tap water thoroughly before introduce.
5. There is no cover on the tank surface; waterline is at 4-in recess to maximize aeration.
6. Tank is power with a XP3, Emperor 400 and two 1-in air stones.
7. All leftover food is removed in 24-hours.

20% water change and reset PH=7, feed 1-live night crawler worm (air hose size for visual effects), dances in front of the puffer but he only watch for a moment and ignored. I also tried feeder fish; they swim freely with no fear.

Puffer has not eaten since 3/1 (date acquired), I am progressing worry every day he does not eat, will follow all experience feedbacks. Please help.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

Updates

The puffer spends all day under a rock (cave) with belly bury in the substrate, will not come out or eat but no signs of illness other than slimmer by the day. I can almost see the outline of the skull at this point. :(

I am really frustrated and out of options, please lending a hand to save him, otherwise the end is near. Please help. Thanks.
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Minipuff »

Hi, how is your Fahaka doing now? Sorry to hear that he is not eating, that poor fish :-(

I see that there might be some pH issues - how do you measure pH? By strips or liquid test? This can make a difference in determining if pH really is a problem. It seems you're using some product to adjust pH. I know nothing about such products, I simply use baking soda in my DP tank (add it to tap water before adding the water to the fish tank, of course), to increase pH and carbonate hardness slightly - works out very well, my pH keeps stable between water changes. I've also heard that the Seachem acid and alkaline buffers (both products must be combined) work very nicely in stabilizing pH. What is the carbonate hardness of your tap water and in the tank?

If you have new driftwood in the tank, releasing tannins, it may help to cook the root for a long time. I've done this with a redmoor root that lowered pH from 6.7 to 6.0 (!), and it really helped a lot. The root does not seem to affect pH at all now, and it does not stain the water reddish anymore either.

Also, I could not see any mention of the NO2 level? I suppose the tank was fully cycled when you added the fish?

I hope you find a way to help your puffer. It looks so cute :-)
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by pufferme »

Thank you for answering my post, my last entry was withheld a few days before publishes for some reasons, though TPF has given up on me. Here is my updates, all inputs are welcome and appreciated.

Water change 20%
Temp = 8
PH = 7.6 (city water default)
NH3 = 0
NO3 = 15
NO2 = was told not needed when NH3 is in check
All test kits are in liquid, manufacture by API

Fish bury in substrate (2-in) with only eyes, mouth & back exposed, color is mottle not stripy, when I gently disturb him, will move on & return to same shelter spot shortly. The fish appears to be healthy other than slim with tail fin folded, still will not eat despite all suggested here.

It has been a month, I cannot bear to watch any further so I shoved a piece of shrimp (raw, 1/4” cube, unshelled) in his mouth and he chow it down. It is a temporary relief and I would not hesitate to repeat but this is abnormal and what about the shellfish that he needs to grind down teeth? Please help, I will not quit.

BTW, this is my first puffer and by far the most frustrated experience considers years I have kept fish successfully. Discuss fish (no eat = death warrant) was my only failure and hope this is not the case. Thanks for reading.
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2 T biocellatus
C valentini
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suvattii
burrfish
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Re: Fahaka on diet/starvation?

Post by Pufferpunk »

He swallowed the shrimp? By all means, keep feeding him this way! Be sure to soak it in Vita-Chem for an hour beforehand, also garlic, which will enhance 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!"
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