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Old 11-26-2023, 02:17 PM   #1
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Sick Puffer

Help! I have 3 Amazonian puffers and one is resting on the bottom of the tank today and won’t eat. There’s nothing else in the tank with them. They eat ramshorns and pellets. Belly looks wierdly shaped. It seems a little wobbly. What should I do?

Update: it ate bloodworms I put in front of it
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Old 11-26-2023, 07:22 PM   #2
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If it ate after your post, I'd do nothing. It may have eaten a " bad snail" or ate something in the tank that didn't agree with him. Your substrate could become a concern if the fish eats a small stone and is unable to pass it. This is one of the reasons why sand is the recommended substrate for puffers. Not only for the eating reason ( because sand can be easily expelled if accidentally eaten) but also that if they wanted to hide in it, it's a softer substrate to dig into.
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Old 11-26-2023, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thank you! My LAS said they think it’s a rock too. I’ll add sand…
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Old 11-26-2023, 07:56 PM   #4
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Thank you! My LAS said they think its a rock too. Ill add sand
You might want to remove some of that gravel so that there is just a thin layer of of then cover it with at least an inch to 1 1/2" deep of the sand. If the bed gets too thick ( with the sand over the gravel) it can create anaerobic spots that can build up gas and cause issues if it's disturbed.
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Old 11-26-2023, 08:00 PM   #5
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I was JUST wondering how to switch my gravel over to sand… I have 3” of gravel should I take out 1.5” then add 1.5” sand?
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Old 11-26-2023, 10:08 PM   #6
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I was JUST wondering how to switch my gravel over to sand I have 3 of gravel should I take out 1.5 then add 1.5 sand?
You don't want beds that deep. You want to keep them under 3" deep to avoid anaerobic pockets. I suggest you change over in sections. Remove substrate from 1/4 of the tank and replace with 1" -1 1/2" of sand. If you have something you can use as a divider ( i.e. piece of glass or plexoglass) to keep the gravel from falling into the sand would help this tremendously. Change over 1/4 of the tank every 2-3 weeks so that each section has a chance to build up a bacteria bed of good bacteria while not overly depleting the bacteria bed already in the tank on the gravel you removed.
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Old 11-27-2023, 03:07 AM   #7
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I use the food safe very thin cutting sheets which are sort of like vinyl that goes on metal Metro shelving. Dollar store often has them, or Walmart. The other option is scooping up your rocks and adding them to clean rinsed knee high nylon stockings. knot the top and leave hanging in the back of the tank for a couple months if they are cycled and have good bacteria on them.

I would recommend CaribSea sand
https://caribsea.com/freshwater-substrates/
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Old 11-27-2023, 02:31 PM   #8
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Thank you, do you mean you use those food safety sheets for changing my gravel to sand? How many inches of sand for a 10g? I can get those today and start on it. I think it will be too big of a chance to take to remove it all at once and hang on the back. I can do 1/4 of my tank every 3 weeks?

In the meantime, now the puffer is floating upside-down but is alive. I am so bad with euthanization. My LAS said sometimes they can break down a rock or shell
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Old 11-27-2023, 08:00 PM   #9
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Thank you, do you mean you use those food safety sheets for changing my gravel to sand? How many inches of sand for a 10g? I can get those today and start on it. I think it will be too big of a chance to take to remove it all at once and hang on the back. I can do 1/4 of my tank every 3 weeks?

In the meantime, now the puffer is floating upside-down but is alive. I am so bad with euthanization. My LAS said sometimes they can break down a rock or shell
I believe she means the cheap vinyl cutting boards. Just cut it down to size so that it fits the width of your tank and make it about at least 6" tall so that your gravel doesn't go over the edge and you can place a stone or rock if necessary to keep it in place if the sand and gravel doesn't keep it in place. You are just using it as a temporary divider.
As for how much sand, the inches don't change for the size of the tank. You don't want more that 1" 1 1/2" inches deep in any tank. How many lbs of sand is the issue and to be honest, different sands come in different bag sizes. (i.e. play sand at Lowes or Home Depot come in 50 lb bags while you can get sand in aquarium stores in smaller quantities. ) Since you are going with a small tank. you will probably only need 10-15 lbs of sand but it may be cheaper to get a big bag ( i.e. the 50 lb bag) so compare prices before purchase. ( I use the play sand or pool filter sand in my cory tanks because they are cheap and I am using larger tanks. You may like the look of something else. )

As for the puffer, he also could have swallowed some air trying to get rid of what was inside him so I wouldn't be in a rush to euthanize just yet. This is just something the fish needs to go through. The best thing you can do for him is make sure he cannot be attacked by any other fish in the tank. Use a divider or even a guppy breeder net so that he doesn't have to over exert himself while trying to fix what is wrong.
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Old 11-27-2023, 10:12 PM   #10
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Oh wow thanks ok I put it in a little quarantine square inside to keep it safe. It’s struggling! Sigh tbd.

I like the Aqua Natural river sand, so I’ll start the change this week.
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Old 11-27-2023, 10:22 PM   #11
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Oh wow thanks ok I put it in a little quarantine square inside to keep it safe. Its struggling! Sigh tbd.

I like the Aqua Natural river sand, so Ill start the change this week.
The hard part with puffers is that they can get air bubbles if they come to the surface and suck it in or if they blow up when taken out of water and they don't always blow it all out. End result, they swim upside down until it either settles or kills them. In cases where they get intestinal issues, a gas can form in there causing them to form bubbles in the gut and it makes them float upside down. Here's the problem, you don't know which one it is unless you go inside the body to see what's what. :^s This is why with most fish, the suggestion would be euthanasia but not so with puffers. No guarantees they recover from what ails them but you have to give them the chance.
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Old 11-28-2023, 02:24 PM   #12
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The fish is looking much better today! Swimming upright and the bump is smaller. I can’t believe this!
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Old 11-28-2023, 05:47 PM   #13
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The fish is looking much better today! Swimming upright and the bump is smaller. I cant believe this!
Puffers are an amazing specie. This is why you have to give them a chance Just don't change anything until the fish is fully healed and eating on a regular basis.
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Old 11-28-2023, 07:36 PM   #14
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The fish is looking much better today! Swimming upright and the bump is smaller. I cant believe this!
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