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Pea puffer not eating, 6 days now.


RogueAquarium
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 I need some help with a bit of a fish saga. I finally decided to get a pea puffer because my desktop 5.5 opened up and I've been dreaming about one for about a year now. I went down to the only fish store in 200 miles and picked what I thought was a good one. plump belly, yellow fins, but as soon as I got it home it started acting weird. swimming laps, bumping into the wall at every corner over and over again, only that. No hunting, and no interest in food. I put some in it's path, it swam into it and kept trying to swim like it didn't realize it had bumped into the tweezers holding blood worms. It kept doing this until I woke up on day 3 and it had passed away. the tank has been established for over a year and a half, and the perimeters where completely normal. (PH a bit high at 7.6 but same as the store)

Store replaced it, but all the others looked like they had sunken stomachs... I picked the one with a bit of yellow on it's fins that was the most active. It got home, and had been active and hunting around my tank for micro-fauna, but stopped doing that on about day 3.

Upon recommendation I treated with general cure (finished 4 day course yesterday), as I am told Pea Puffers generally have internal parasites (which might be why the stomach looks pinched and the fish looks thin) but it could also be that the store is just COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT. I called and asked what they had been feeding and the guy who MANAGES the fish room said, and I quote "oh, you know, just the general store flake, and occasionally some blood worms) so who knows how long it's been since this one has eaten anything. They also had their pea puffers in with a school of Juli Cori cats... poor things.

I have baby brine hatching, but they are being stubborn because I was a fool who didn't buy Aquarium Co-op brand eggs. First batch failed to hatch after 72, and I'm now on 36 hours with the second batch.

 There are about 15 perfect sized baby snails in the tank, which it has completely ignored. It pecked at one of the 2 large bladder snails on day 1, but nothing since then. It runs away when I try blood worms with a tweezer or pipette, but it doesn't run from a syringe with an air hose attached so it doesn't see that my hands are on the other end, but it still wont eat offered frozen blood worms or frozen brine shrimp from the end of it, it just doesn't run away.

I am starting to get very concerned. Today it's acting different. less active, more shy. It used to hunt around for micro fauna, but it has stopped doing that and is just lounging around near the sponge filter.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I just procured enough Fenbendazole for a 5 day course from my vet, and it's pre-dissolved in zylatol (I believe that's the carrier liquid) so it should be easy to administer. I am worried about starting that with baby snails in the tank though.....

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Ok. Here’s how I’d approach this / what I’d do:

(1) Do not worry about the snails. If they die, snails are not hard to come by.

(2) Try feeding him mosquito larvae. Go find outside standing water, and suck up larvae with airline + liquid medicine dispenser.

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If he won’t eat something that wiggles, there’s issues.

(3) Turn down lights outside the tank, and the tank light itself. Just let your pea puffer “relax”

(4) Perform small 10% water changes each day. Remember to treat water.

(5) Dose meds as prescribed.

Here’s a video of ours from awhile back...

 

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Thanks a ton for the speedy reply. Ill see if I can find any of mosquito larvae in our area. I worry he won't eat things that wriggle, as he didn't eat the snails crawling around actively or the blood worms when wriggled. 

I have also turned the lights WAY down and have made the rest of the room dark and will try doing that for a few days to see if that helps him acclimatize himself.

On 6/14/2021 at 5:17 PM, Fish Folk said:

 

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Thanks Big Green, Do either of you have any good ideas where I should be looking for Mosquito Larvae? I went to 2 local streams and the local reservoir shore and couldn't see any wrigglers on either. we are a desert community, so apart from that and the irrigation ditches there isn't a whole lot of other standing water.

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On 6/14/2021 at 8:41 PM, RogueAquarium said:

Thanks Big Green, Do either of you have any good ideas where I should be looking for Mosquito Larvae? I went to 2 local streams and the local reservoir shore and couldn't see any wrigglers on either. we are a desert community, so apart from that and the irrigation ditches there isn't a whole lot of other standing water.

Look for stagnant water.

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On 6/14/2021 at 9:41 PM, RogueAquarium said:

Thanks Big Green, Do either of you have any good ideas where I should be looking for Mosquito Larvae? I went to 2 local streams and the local reservoir shore and couldn't see any wrigglers on either. we are a desert community, so apart from that and the irrigation ditches there isn't a whole lot of other standing water.

I got two 5 gallon buckets set up out side, I set them up when it started to heat up outside. I know that is no help but any water that is stagnant. I use a small fish net to catch them and rinse the net and larva off befor I put them in my tank.....

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On 6/14/2021 at 8:35 PM, BIG GREEN said:

I got two 5 gallon buckets set up out side, I set them up when it started to heat up outside. I know that is no help but any water that is stagnant. I use a small fish net to catch them and rinse the net and larva off before I put them in my tank.....

I'll setup a 2 gal food grade tomorrow and see if we get anything... wish I had known to do this before I grabbed him.

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Just an update. Puffer still alive this morning, but not looking like it ate anything over night. 2nd batch of Baby Brine shrimp failed to hatch after 72 hours. Will post my rig, just in case I have messed that up somehow, but I think the issue is the eggs. They must have gone bad, which is weird because I just hatched out a batch last month.

not sure what to do. Going to go out and search some mountain ponds and such a bit away from town and see if I can find any larvae or something. 20210615_130439.jpg.0fa35bb0877903f4c547504ee4e3df0b.jpg

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Update: I've been calling a LOT of puffer owners, and made a bunch of new connections in my local fish keeping community (I was somewhat of an island in that respect until now) and upon the advice of one SUPER puffer enthusiast (she has 4 dedicated pea puffer tanks... it was crazy awesome) she says SOME of her puffers just don't do well alone... so I grabbed one that is confirmed female and put her in with him temporarily. If they do well I will move them to a 10 and grab another female. If not, then at least I have this female I guess..... PLEASE EAT LITTLE GUY!!!!!

One of her hopes was that having another puffer around that was eating live food would get my puffer interested and competitive. That may have worked, as I've seem him hunting micro fauna at least a bit! No other luck getting him to eat. I've been keeping track of baby snails in there, and apart from the 1 the female knocked out as soon as I unbagged her, they are all still kicking. No blood worms, no brine shrimp..

Additionally, scoured EVERYWHERE for some stagnant water, but my desert community is ALSO experiencing a drought, so there is nothing.  I went so far as to ask my friends in the experimental aircraft club if they have spotted anything while up flying, lol.

 So it looks like Mosquito larvae is out.

On the brighter side my new puffer friend gave me several hatches worth of known good brine shrimp, and ANOTHER awesome new Beta breeder friend gave me a starter colony of Vinegar eels, which should be ready to draw off the top of the bottle and feed by morning (fingers crossed)

When the female was introduced he was at first scared of her, but quickly calmed down and they now seem to hang out together. he's not "bothering' her yet as i've heard may happen long term. I should move them to a 10 and get another female by then if he starts eating and I can stop worrying about it.

 I'm going to try blood worms and vinegar eels in the AM and hope SHE eats and it makes him interested. Will update.

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OH... update to the update. Been thinking about names... If it's hopefully going to be a trio, I was thinking maybe naming them after a famous love triangle from history or literary fiction. 

Lysander, Hermia, and Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is the first that springs to mind, but I'd love to hear other ideas.

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Morning Update:

2 more baby snails are missing, and both puffers are looking less thin this morning. I added a LOT of vinegar eels and I SAW him eating them!!!! He was doing those little 1 inch chomp sprints after I put them in. Still no interest in frozen blood worms or brine shrimp, but I have a batch of known good baby brine that should be ready by tomorrow morning at the latest! As long as he keeps eating the little things we might be OK!!!! 

If he eats the first batch of baby brine shrimp, ill do another batch and gut load them with spirulina. 

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On 6/15/2021 at 11:06 PM, RogueAquarium said:

OH... update to the update. Been thinking about names... If it's hopefully going to be a trio, I was thinking maybe naming them after a famous love triangle from history or literary fiction. 

Lysander, Hermia, and Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is the first that springs to mind, but I'd love to hear other ideas.

I think names are so personal. Try calling them that and see if it feels natural. Miss Ethel went through a few names before she settled on that one, whereas Nicodemus and E-schi just clicked. 🙃

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Update. The two are getting along well, I don't notice any aggression, and our little guy keeps hunting micro fauna, but dispite watching the female eat MANY baby snails, he still shows now interest, and I don't think I can keep up with just micro fauna. 

Devised a new feeding tool that will hopefully tempt them both to frozen blood worms, and provide ME with easy clean up. Behold. It's a stainless steel chopstick hot glued to a sterile plastic condiment cup, with air tubing curled around so anything that gets pushed out the far end should land in the cup, and a hose long enough to let me hide, but sill do little pulses on the syringe to make to worms dance.

I filled the device with baby snails earlier and set it down in until they got used to it and swam around it. Ill load up a syrange with worms in a bit and report back how it goes.

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On 6/16/2021 at 1:06 AM, RogueAquarium said:

OH... update to the update. Been thinking about names... If it's hopefully going to be a trio, I was thinking maybe naming them after a famous love triangle from history or literary fiction. 

Lysander, Hermia, and Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is the first that springs to mind, but I'd love to hear other ideas.

 

stooges_primary.jpg

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