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Was it tiny bubbles? SAP South American Puffer raised white lines on tail


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This morning the lines area gone. Could it have been tiny bubbles attached to her from when I added water? There was lots of tiny bubbles in the tank - but they dissipated and what was on her tail remained. But she looks right as rain today for which I am so very grateful! 


40 gallon long with a sponge filter and a power head

Established moderately planted tank 2+ years

PH 8.0 (normal is 7.4) But I did feed a block of bloodworms if that makes a difference some how.

Nitrates 80 PPM* (the plants are helping - out of the tap I'm 80-160 PPM)

Hardness Unkown but I do live in an area for having Hard to Extreme water hardness

Nitrite 0 PPM (normal)

Ammonia 0 PPM (normal)

KH 300 PPM approx.

Water Temp 82 degrees


My well water is poisoned with Nitrates due to agriculture practices of big pharma. They have killed our soil and our water.. We are in process of purchasing a whole house nitrate filter. It is about $2K. I've vowed to purchase no more fish until this is resolved. When I began fish keeping I had no idea about water chemistry. I now know much more. Know better do better.


Earlier today I did a water change - about 40% - I match my water temp with a thermometer when refilling (I don't want to repeat a mistake I made once).

Prior to this water change I do not believe my SAP had anything on her tail. I usually keep a close eye on her as I have learned they can be susceptible to stress induced disease.

After doing the water change I noticed these distinct white lines on her tail. They are raised on one side only. I turned on the night mode on my lights to see if they would fluoresce but they did not. I also shined a UV light on her tail, but it did not react to that either.

Unless it is pertinent to the discussion of the disease I would prefer to not receive an endless diatribe concerning my nitrates. I have done every thing I can do short of driving many many many miles to obtain cleaner water at great expense for the quantities I would need to maintain lower nitrate levels. I am aware of the situation and dealing with it.

I'm more surprised by my ph. So much so that I ran the test again.

This is my absolute favorite fish. I absolutely adore her. She's mad at me for accidentally having my flash on and won't come near me now. These are the best pics I've gotten so far. I don't want to keep causing stress so I'm not pressing the issue right now.


(PS - don't let the calm nature of my post beguile you - inside I'm calmly freaking out - I don't want to lose her.)20200926_003204.jpg.d5d171dcfa671f17f3d6e69797347cde.jpg20200926_003359.jpg.5c2e17b8750921ce23482c4aa9057bd0.jpg20200926_002813.jpg.39dd9d5d24a77c937220de6ae5372bb4.jpg20200926_003327.jpg.cc2325d779af38f74f8565d6f3710681.jpg









Edited by braids
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I don't know enough about puffers to know for sure if it is gas bubble disease or not, but the large amount of small bubbles in your water after the water change suggests that your water is supersaturated with gasses. This can lead to something called gas bubble disease. I would recommend aerating your water change water before adding it to your tank. Although it is a little weird for this to occur if you are pouring in the water with a bucket...glad your puffer is OK though!

Relevant quote:

"Fins may be eroded with whitened fin tips and exophthalmia may occur with blood present in the anterior chamber of eye (...) Diagnosis is made by the observation of typical clinical signs and lesions. The presence of gas emboli in capillaries of the gills, fin rays, mouth and eyes are diagnostic."

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Interesting.  Never heard of that before.  Thank you.

I have well water and I use a Python to fill my tank. My water isn't usually that bubbly.  I did use a higher rate of flow and I have added an aerator on to the faucet that has an external thread that allows me to attach my Python straight to the faucet without having to change it out. Maybe I have to go back to a reduced flow.  I find it easier to match temps at a higher water volume.


Thank you for the information and response. 😊

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