External parasites killing dwarf puffer - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy External parasites killing dwarf puffer

Yesterday my dwarf puffer became very ill out of nowhere...he was fine at about noon and by 6 he was "breathing" heavily in the corner of the tank. I tried to get him moving around and he just cruised around aimlessly for a few minutes, didn't really notice me at all, and then went back to the same spot. This morning I noticed that some of the little planaria-like creatures that lived on an algae-covered rock in the tank had taken up residence on his skin, and there has been an overall population boom in the tank; they're all over the glass near the substrate. He's really lethargic and moves around every once in a while but his little fins are going slower than I've ever seen them move. I'm going to try to feed him in a few minutes once the bloodworms thaw.

What medications can I try to get rid of external parasites? Is there anything else that could be making him sick and the planaria are just taking advantage and not actually causing the problem?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Update: I was watching him swim around for a few minutes and he started doing this little "choking" thing he does sometimes when he tries to swallow a bloodworm and he's already full. It looked like a couple tiny chunks of something came out near the end of his fit. Maybe something is stuck in his digestive tract? No luck with feeding him, btw.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 04:37 PM
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It sounds like he could have ip's, or flukes. Is he the only DP? What size tank, and how long has it been set up? That many planeria in your tank, could mean you are overfeeding. With Dp's I like to feed with a tweezer, one bloodworm at a time, so as not to add too many nutrients to the tank. First, I would recommend you test the tank for PH, temp,PO4,NH3, NO2, and NO3. How is the O2 in the tank? Dwarf puffers cannot be subjected to certain meds, because they have no scales. Have you read at www.dwarfpuffers.com ? Good info there on them.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
It sounds like he could have ip's, or flukes.
Thanks...what really confuses me is that you'd think IPs would show up quickly, but he's been in there for around 3 months now. The tank params were fine and it's about 9 months old, and I also feed him exactly how you described. Temperature is 78F. I decided not to buy medication because I needed metronidazole for flukes and IPs and the LFS only had one brand which was mixed with another med that would kill my cherry shrimp, which cost a lot more than him. In addition the medication only came in a large box which also cost much more than the puffer (treats 100 gallons when I only need 2.5 haha). I'm going to cross my fingers and see how he does over the next few days...I probably wouldn't be so upset if he was another species of fish without those big puppy dog eyes
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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I think that somehow he's going to pull through this. I wound up buying the metro/praziquantel last week and started treatment around Tuesday, after I read somewhere else that it was shrimp-safe (and it is). After three days of medication he wasn't improving, and he hadn't eaten for a week at this point. I was about ready to find some clove oil and humanely euthanize him but I figured a few more days wouldn't hurt. Around this time I noticed many worms, about 1/2 a cm long and thinner than a thread appearing on the walls, rock, and plants, and floating freely in the tank. I suppose these worms could have been coming out of him or at least had something to do with his condition.

Yesterday he finally ate, after a week and a half. I had to wiggle the bloodworm in front of his face and he grabbed it after a few seconds. The new problem is that he appears to have severely impaired vision. He can see my hand if I put it up to the glass or wave it over the water, but he used to acknowledge me when I was within sight of the tank, and now he can hardly see his food. Hopefully he'll improve with time, but even if he doesn't I don't mind feeding him like this, I'm just happy he's alive
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 08:01 AM
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What is your reading for PO4, and NO3? Worms everywhere sounds like the tank is being overfed. I hope he pulls through ok for you.
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