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How to Treat a Sick Pet Puffer Fish

After knowing the signs of a sick pet pufferfish, you need to know the ways to treat your sick pufferfish. This might be the last step you can do with your pet puffers. So, please make sure you have the right treatment for your fish.

How Do You Treat A Sick Puffer Fish?

Again, we mentioned how to save your sick pufferfish based on each sign in the article about signs of a sick pufferfish.

If you’re the owner of a pufferfish or looking to get one, then you’ll know that it is one of the rarer fish to have.

It not only takes a lot of care but also a smart selection of products that can help your pufferfish should it be injured, damaged or lethargic.

Prepare some good equipment for your pufferfish

Purchasing and the use of products do not necessarily mean neglect of your tank and water quality.

Prevention is better than treatment.


Many of the products mentioned should be used in conjunction with excellent care for your pufferfish tank, water quality, and food selection.

Rather use them as preventive measures than healing solutions because by then it will be harder to help your pufferfish.

Having said that, it can be difficult to decide what to do, what to choose and how to think about looking after your pufferfish should they become ‘sick’.

That could mean you notice something is off about them, either they are lethargic, have pop-eyes, the ich, or a cottony growth.

They could also have clamped fin. You’ll immediately notice the difference in your fish, either through the way they look or through a lethargic swimming pattern. 

Fortunately, we’ve gone through the checks and balances to pick out products that you can treat your sick pufferfish should they become sick.

These are all highly recommended to be used in conjunction with good overall care and hygiene of your tank and water quality.

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

The root cause of much of your pufferfish sickness generally stems from stress created by a lack of water quality.

A solid water filter that appropriately fits your tank is generally the first solution you need to investigate. 

Aqueon QuietFlow E Internal Power Filter Extra Small - 3 Gallon
  • Efficiently cleans and filters water
  • Easy to install using suction cups and/or hanging clips
  • Auto-start pump requires no priming, automatically restarts if power is interrupted and restored
  • On average, change filter cartridge every 4 weeks
  • Carbon Cartridge included for chemical filtration; removes odors and discoloration from water

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter is one of the best in the market in terms of regulating water for your pufferfish.

A bonus feature of the product is the ability of the head to rotate at different angles.

This allows the water to stream from different sides.

The suction cups also work quite well, as they are quite strong and you’re able to easily place the filter anywhere in the tank. 

Also, you’re able to get in your night’s rest as the filter is quiet – there’s nothing worse than a filter that sounds like you’re grating concrete.

Fortunately, the design of this filter is smooth and soothing. This is the first product you’d want to get if you notice your pufferfish seeming off.

API AQUARIUM SALT Freshwater Aquarium Salt

API AQUARIUM SALT Freshwater Aquarium Salt 65-Ounce Box
  • Contains one (1) API AQUARIUM SALT Freshwater Aquarium Salt 65-Ounce Box
  • Promotes fish health and disease recovery with increased electrolytes
  • Improves respiration for fish in freshwater aquariums
  • Made from evaporated sea water for all-natural results
  • Use when changing water, when setting up a new freshwater aquarium and when treating fish disease

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another thing you may notice is your pufferfish acting ‘sluggish’ or their swim patterns inconsistent.

At this point, you may want to check the level or the quality of the salt in the tank. 

Good aquarium salt helps promote general fish wellbeing and can heal wounds that have been created. So how does it work?

Well, the tap water you place in your fish tank contains chlorine.

The 65 OZ, Aquarium Salt neutralizes the ammonia levels in the water making it safe for your pufferfish. 

After using it over a few days, you will notice pufferfish be slightly less sluggish and move around with more freedom.

It converts ammonia into a source of nutrition for the pufferfish. It also strengthens the gills of the fish.

Kent Marine Zoe Marine Vitamin

Kent Marine Marine C 1 Fluid Ounce
  • Aids in enhancing the immune systems of fish and invertebrates
  • Helps to facilitate the metabolism of fatty acids
  • Stimulates the repair of damaged tissue
  • Not for human consumption

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Prevention is better than cure, and there’s no better product that speaks to this than a good multivitamin for your pufferfish.

The multivitamin works in a multitude of ways, by preventing disease, promoting gill health, and helping with recovery. 

Kent Zoe is the recommended multivitamin for your pufferfish.

The most important thing is that it does not contain “phosphates” – i.e. it will not proliferate the production of algae, unlike many of the other supplements on the market. It’s effective in that it’s one of use that will last you for an entire year. 

The smell is good, and my pufferfish responded quite well. After a while, my pufferfish got its color back and improved energy.

This product must be used in conjunction with good care for your pufferfish, such as regular and good water changes.

Aqueon 100527256 Fish Tank Aquarium LED Kit, 10 Gallon

Sometimes to heal your fish properly, you need to remove them from their regular habitat with other fish and place them in a ‘hospital tank’. 

Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit with LED Lighting 10 Gallon Fish Tank
  • All the equipment needed to get started in one box!
  • Low profile full hood contains vibrant cool white LED lighting to bring your aquatic environment to life
  • Filter has a red LED light that flashes to indicate when it’s time to change the cartridge
  • Simply add your favorite style of plants and decor
  • Preset heater will keep your aquarium temperature at a constant 78 degrees, appropriate for most tropical fish

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our recommendation is the Aqueon 100527256 Fish Tank Aquarium. It’s fitted with LED lighting meaning you can always clearly see what’s going on at any time of the day. It is also a feeding door which is important during the healing process of your pufferfish. 

The tank also comes with ‘hospital tank’ essentials, such as a heater, a thermometer, and fish food. It takes a while to put together. However, it comes with an easy-to-use manual to set up.

The tank is also low maintenance and has a built-in light to let you know when the cartridge must be changed. 

I rate this tank quite highly, particularly for a pufferfish that has been sick and needs to be isolated from other fish. Be careful with handling as it can get easily scratched.

The attached filter is easy to put together and some betta pellets are included as well.

Before using, you need to fill the tank and check for any leaks as it is quite a delicate product.


Your pufferfish may have the “ich” and this needs to be remedied quite quickly. 

API LIQUID SUPER ICK CURE Fish remedy, Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Medication 4 fl oz(Pack of 1)
  • Contains one (1) API LIQUID SUPER ICK CURE Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Medication 4-Ounce Bottle
  • Treats "ich" white spot disease in fish and secondary bacterial fish infections
  • Quickly kills ich parasite, typically within 24 hours of first dose
  • Use only in freshwater and saltwater aquariums not with reef aquariums
  • Dose every day for five days when symptoms first start occurring

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A product we can recommend is the API super ick cure. This is the perfect cure for the white spot disease on your pufferfish. If you notice those weird white spots on your pufferfish, add a dose of this remedy and it should be cured within 24 hours. 

The package comes in an easy-to-use packet and needs to be used twice in 48 hours the instance you notice white spots. If not, your pufferfish is at risk of getting severe damage to its gills and skin tissue. The API super ick cure not only helps with protection but also creates a coat around your pufferfish that acts as a ‘synthetic protective layer’ against other infections. 

You may notice that your water discolors as a result of using this product. Just add active carbon to the filter to normalize the color of the water. It won’t stain your tank, but just take the last step as a cautionary measure.

Jungle TB630W Tank Buddies Fungus Clear Tablets, 8-Count

One of the reasons your pufferfish is probably doing well is the appearance of fungus in the tank.

It’s usually caused by the poor quality and combination of water and liquid in the tank.

This can often be caused by an injured fish or general poor tank maintenance. 

You’ll notice a cotton-wool-like entrance, and that’s when you know it’s time to treat it.

The Jungle TBx Series Tank Buddies Fungus Clear Tablets works like magic in treating fungus. 

Jungle TB625W Tank Buddies Ick Clear Tablets, 8-Count
  • Package Dimension : 3.302 centimeters L x 7.366 centimeters W x 12.954 centimeters H
  • Safe medication
  • No need to raise the water temperature
  • Model Number: TB625W

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It was a solution that personally helped me after trying and trying to clear the fungus.

After using about a half tablet, my pufferfish injuries started to heal. I also used a few more as preventive measures. It not only clears fungus but also helps with bladder issues and secondary infections.

Seachem ParaGuard, 500 mL / 16.9 fl. oz. – 603

Seachem Stability Fish Tank Stabilizer - For Freshwater and Marine Aquariums, 16.9 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • TANK STABILIZATION: Seachem Stability will rapidly and safely establish the aquarium biofilter in freshwater and marine systems, thereby preventing the #1 cause of fish death: "new tank syndrome".
  • TREATMENT: Stability is formulated specifically for the aquarium and contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria which facilitate the breakdown of waste organics, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  • BACTERIA GROWTH: The necessary conditions for the growth of Stability's bacteria strains encompass a very broad range. When other bacteria begin to die off (usually from high organic loads caused by the unknown death of an organism), Stability simply becomes more effective.
  • USE: Shake Seachem Stability well before use and turn off UV/ozone filter. Use 1 capful (5 mL) for each 40 L (10 US gallons) on the first day with a new aquarium. Then use 1 capful for each 80 L (20 US gallons) daily for 7 days. Fish and other aquatic species may be introduced at any time as long as dosage is maintained for 7 days.
  • SAFE: The bacteria employed by Stability are non-sulfur fixing and will not produce toxic hydrogen sulfide. Stability is completely harmless to all aquatic organisms as well as aquatic plants, thus there is no danger of overuse.

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dropsy is caused due to an infected kidney, usually through contact with bacteria. It doesn’t just occur out of nowhere. As with most problems mentioned, it starts with poor water quality and then also the appearance of tiny organisms in the tank. You’ll immediately notice the swollen stomach and loss of appetite because of dropsy. 

The best way to treat your pufferfish in this instance is with parasite treatment, and we’d recommend Seachem ParaGuard, 500 mL / 16.9 fl. oz. – 603. It’s one of the only parasite control products on the market. It uses a combination of fish protective polymers and aldehydes to control parasites and eradicate things such as dropsy or ich. 

Usually, one dose should work, and the results should almost be immediately noticeable. 

API MELAFIX Fish Remedy For Bacterial Infection

API POND MELAFIX Pond Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy 16-Ounce Bottle, Blue (176B)
  • Contains one (1) API POND MELAFIX Pond Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy 16-Ounce Bottle
  • Heals bacterial infections and repairs damaged fins, ulcers and open wounds
  • Contains natural, botanical tea tree extract to quickly and rapidly help fish
  • Helps treat newly-introduced fish to reduce risk of disease outbreak in freshwater ponds
  • Use daily for a week when treating infections and for three days as a preventative when adding new fish

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you notice your fisheyes are looking bulged, that probably means they have pop-eye. Again, caused by poor water quality and maintenance. 

API MELAFIX Fish Remedy For Bacterial Infection should do the trick.

As it is specifically made with reparation of damaged fins, open wounds, and infections to be treated.

It contains tea tree extract, which accelerates the healing of your pufferfish. 

Periodic use of this will also ensure that future outbreaks are prevented.

When you notice your pufferfish has pop-eye, then you need to use the product daily, for at least a week.

If you add new fish to your tank, use the product for about 3-5 days to assist with any new infections being contracted.

API PIMAFIX Antifungal Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Remedy

Another solution to removing fungus from your tank is with API PIMAFIX Antifungal Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Remedy.

API PIMAFIX Antifungal Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Remedy 16-Ounce Bottle
  • Contains one (1) API PIMAFIX Antifungal Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Remedy 16-Ounce Bottle
  • Rapidly and safely treats fungal infections on body and fins of fish
  • Contains all-natural extract from West Indian Bay Trees to help with fungus and cottony growth
  • Helps heal internal and external bacterial infections in freshwater, saltwater and reef aquariums
  • Use daily for a week when treating infections

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a safe and effective way to remove any infections you may see appear on your pufferfish and clear the “cotton woolly” fungus that you so often see. 

It’ll alleviate any symptoms caused by the fungus, such as a swollen stomach or the cotton appearance on the pufferfish fins.

The best thing is that it does not harm the natural aquarium and can be used regularly. 

A dose of about 5mpl per 10 gallons is what is recommended.

It can be used in conjunction with other products and good water treatment to ensure that its effectiveness is 100%.

You would need to remove the carbon from your filter and treat your water alongside using the API PIMAFIX Antifungal remedy.

Although it’ll create a “cloudy appearance” to the water, it will resolve back to normal after two days. 

In just a few days, you’ll see the white spots clear from your pufferfish and can sleep a slight bit happier.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals BettaFix Remedy

API BETTA WATER CONDITIONER Betta Fish Freshwater Aquarium Water Conditioner 1.7-Ounce Bottle, BETTA WATER COND, 1.7 OZ
  • Contains one (1) API BETTA WATER CONDITIONER Betta Fish Freshwater Aquarium Water Conditioner 1.7-Ounce Bottle
  • Neutralizes chlorine, chloramines, ammonia and other chemicals to make tap water safe for betta fish
  • Prevents tap water chemicals from causing gill destruction, tissue irritation and fish death
  • Formulated with aloe vera to and green tea extract to reduce inflammation and help heal fish
  • Use when starting a new Betta bowl or aquarium and when changing water

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Your pufferfish has a clamped fin, now what? 

Well, for starters identify why it happened and if it is a clamped fin.

A clamped fin is usually caused by a multitude of issues, including poor water quality and the presence of parasites.

You’ll know its clamped fin because your pufferfish will have its fin folded against its body – that’s not a good sign. 

The first step you need to take is to clean your water, as we recommend in many of the issues identified with pufferfish.

You can use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals BettaFix Remedy alongside that, alongside aquarium salt.

This will heal the damaged fins of your pufferfish and reduce the risk of future damage. It contains tea tree oil which is a catalyst for healing. 

It’s a natural antibacterial, so you can rest assured your pufferfish will have a good reaction to it. It not only heals it but helps with the regrowth of the damaged fins.

The damage can sometimes happen because of handling the fish. It heals both open wounds and promotes the prevention of future infections. 

So, before you decide on how to help your pufferfish, consider the symptoms and choose the appropriate product.

Again, always use it in conjunction with good care for your pufferfish tank and water.

Remember to always read the product and follow the recommended dosage.

Under-using the product could cause problems, and so could overdosage.

Consider how many of your pufferfish are infected and whether you need to use a ‘hospital tank ‘to treat one of your fish or all of them. 

Sick Pet Puffer Fish FAQs

Do pufferfish die after they puff?

No, your pufferfish will not die after they puff up, but it will take a while to get them back in the normal sharp

What can pufferfish live with?

Ideally, pufferfish can live with other fish, but you need to have a proper tank to ensure your fishes are having enough space.

Keep in mind

Your pets’ healthy is more important than many things.

Try to feed them with fresh food and provide the proper condition tank for them before finding some treatment options.

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