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Old 03-19-2006, 07:20 PM   #1
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Dogface puffer HEEEELPPPP

I have a question.

I had set up a saltwater aquarium after losing my brackish baby thor. (It was extremely depressing. Pet store sold me bad food. no way for them to know it was bad I suppose so I don't blame them but I was extremely depressed because i've had him so long and he was doing so well.)

anyway...everything seemed to be going great. I tested the water everyday and everything always tested at either acceptable, safe or Ideal.

so finally after a few months of circulation I bought a porcupine puffer.

first I put him in the water in his bag for like a half hour, then I added tank water to the bag for like another half hour, then I released him. I kept everyone out of the room and all the lights off so that it would be stress free.

I didn't bother feeding him that first night in case they had fed him at the pet store and because I wanted to give him a chance to acclimate to the tank.

the next morning he was looking scary bad, so I moved him to a sick tank where he died an hour later.

I took the water from the sick tank and my tank to two aquatics stores (not where I bought him so they couldn't tell me it was my fault. I wanted someone impartial.) both impartial places told me my water was perfect. The Alkalinity was ideal, the saltwater ph was between acceptable and ideal, the Nitrate was between ideal and okay and the nitrite was safe.

the sick tank was even better.

so I cleaned my tank from top to bottom and let it circulate again and this time I decided to get myself a hardier fish, a Dogface puffer. He was so cute and seemed to take to me when I was looking at this neon pink and blue angel fish.

I had the water tested at the store and once again they said it was perfect, I had changed from gravel to this new sea sand type stuff that is suppose to help control the PH levels of saltwater tanks, and I have the water temp set at 78 degrees right now. I put a pink blanket over the back and sides of the tank so its not completely dark but its not bright inside so he isn't stressed out, and I've turned off the 100 watt helogen bulb for the day/night.

when I got him home he examined the tank, then he kind of clung to the side of the tank and started breathing really heavy. then he swam some more, and then laid at the bottom of the tank. He wasn't breathing very hard anymore and I was panicing that maybe he was dying.

His tail was curled up around him and he just sat there slowly breathing. I bent down and as soon as he saw me he swam up to me, and when he sees me he swims up to me... and occassionally he'll swim around... but he seems to spend a bit of time on the floor too. but his breathing has slowed now, he's not doing that panting.

after how quickly my porcupine puffer died, I'm a bit panicy. Is this normal for a dogface puffer? Is he maybe just a bit stressed right now? is he in trouble? Is the fact that he's swimming at all when he sees me and isn't panting a good sign? Should I try feeding him or wait till tommorrow? should I turn his light on tonight or keep it off to keep off the stress?

anyone have any good info or sights on this fish?

Thanks much for any info!
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Old 03-19-2006, 08:21 PM   #2
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Just a wag, but have you checked the water temp lately?

If he is coming to you then I suspect he might be hungry. My porcupine puffer would always go nuts when I came to the tank. He wanted some food. Even spit water at me if I didn't move quick enough after opening the lid.

You have any new LR in the tank? Maybe something that could have hurt him or bite him or something off the wall.

HTH
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Old 03-19-2006, 09:48 PM   #3
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there aren't any other fish in there with him due to the fact that I hear dogface puffers can be a tad aggressive if they think other fish are food. I was also told to hold off on feeding the first night due to the fact the pet store may have fed him, and the less interaction the less stress the first night.

the thermometer says 82 degrees, but when I felt the water, it didn't feel that warm, but just in case I turned off the heater. the thermo still hasn't come down which is why I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a wrong reading. but I'm leaving the heater off for now until it comes down to at least 78 where it should be.

My only concern is that he spends more time at the bottom of the tank now than he does swimming. I'm not sure if that's because its getting later and that's just how these puffers are, or if its because the temp is too high or if there's something wrong.

I re-tested the water again and still everything looks really good ph wise and such. I'm at wits end with this hobby. First my brackish puffer doesn't last more than 7 months, then my saltwater porcupine doesn't last the night, now this one is giving me concerns. And I have no clue what I'm doing wrong. I'm doing everything I've been told to do. Keep it alone, keep it quiet, keep it dark the first night, keep it as stress free as possible, keep the temp between 76-80, check the water conditions which are great, I just don't get it.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:25 PM   #4
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I tried feeding him this morning, so far he's refusing the shrimp. All he'll do is puff up. I even put my hand in the tank and wiggled it in front of him to make it look alive. he just sits there and stares at it. he won't do anything.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:38 PM   #5
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Please describe how you acclimated the fish to the tank. I also noticed that the tank info given says a 29 gallon tank. The minimum recommended tank size for this fish is over a hundred gallons. The fish might very well be stressing because of the small environment.

http://www.fantasyreef.com/database/...d=7&item_id=35

Researching fish ahead of time is the best plan, although not always possible.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:24 PM   #6
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actually that's old info from my small brackish puffer. This fish is in a 75 gallon starter tank because he is still very small. I'm getting the larger tank circulated a tad more until he's a bit bigger.

when I started him out I placed him in his bag (the one he came in from the pet store,) for about a half an hour. He seemed ok. Just knawed at the bag with his teeth. Then I added a bit of the tank water into the bag and let him sit for another 45 minutes. He seemed fine then too.

After about an hour an 15 minutes or so I released him and he seemed fine. Swam around explored, didn't seem too stressed. then he eventually floated to the bottom and now its about all I can get him to do is sit there.

today I added a shrimp treat and all he'll do is puff for it. in fact, if he sees it, he won't stop puffing. So I had to fish it out and cover the tank with a blanket and turn off all the lights so its completely dark in hopes he'll be less stressed.

I tested the water again and its fine, the temp is down to 77 degrees and I took a sample to the pet store where they said the levels are perfect so its not the water. They told me it may take a few days for him to get use to everything and maybe even a few days for him to feel safe enough to eat.

They recommended a small live guppy of some sort to temp him. Something that moves around to catch his eye.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:19 PM   #7
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These fish should be drip acclimated for a minimum of an hour IMO. If there is a significant difference between the stores water chemistry and yours, then a much longer time is needed. I have had to take three hours to acclimate fish when the LFS keeps their water at 1.019 and mine is at 1.024. Acclimation issues could be the problem.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:24 PM   #8
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is it too late to resolve this? I mean I can't just stuff him in a bag and start all over. he's already in the tank. so do I sit and pray for the best right now?

(I'm seriously starting to think this hobby is more stressful on me than the fish. I may return him to the pet store if he pulls through simply because I don't want to kill him and this is too much stress for me. lol. I'm doing everything to the letter of what the aquatics store and saltwater magazines told me to do not to mention the obsessive compulsive way I test the water and so far I lost one puffer and this one seems iffy.)
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:06 AM   #9
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Moving him at this point is not a good idea. It would most likely seal the death warrant if he is stressed out. The acclimation again would make the matter worse and not better. Nothing you can do about that process now.

Just hang in there and hope for the best. Keep the room activity to a minimum if possible.

Hara makes some good points about teh acclimation process taking 1 hour. Some fish are way more sensitive to this process. Following that process is always a good routine.

That live fish is a good idea. I'd usually go for about 2-3 goldfish for this instead of paying the $1 - $3 for a guppy. It's cheaper and those that don't live beyond 5 min should be fished out and tossed in the trash. Not that I like killing fish off (reason why I couldn't feed my FW breeders to the puffer myself).

HTH
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:26 AM   #10
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he seemed minimally better yesterday.

I put a blanket over the tank so it was completely covered and dark. When I checked on him, he was unpuffed and he had moved around a bit. When I rechecked on him an hour later he was still unpuffed and he moved to the other end of the tank.

So that I hope is a good sign. but he still didn't want the shrimp I put in there. I left this one in in case he changed his mind, but he's not interested in eating right now so I'll have to fish it out. But at least he's moving.

Maybe the aqauatics store was right and it'll just take a few days before he'll be comfortable and start moving and eating. That's what I hope. I'm not one for feeding live animals to other animals, but at this point I'll try anything. I'm just going to find one or two really small fish that will swim around. He's still a runt so I don't want him to get scared by anything too big.
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