Best Fish Survival Story

  • #1
I had a cardinal tetra swim into my python tube and get sucked all the way to my sink's faucet head. I had to unscrew the python's sink connector which took a solid few minutes to go get right size screwdriver, unscrew the tiny screws, and then carefully take it apart to make sure I didn't pinch him anymore than what it probably experienced. After all that, he was somehow not dead so I wishfully placed him back in the tank. After a couple minutes he was swimming around with his school again. To this day I can pick him out because he has a misshapen dorsal fin. That was 2 months ago and he's had no signs of disease, eats well, and is a functioning member or his school today.

I also had a red eye tetra jump out of the tank on to the floor in front of the tank while I was away at work. The timing was just right because I got home and immediately noticed it laying on the floor. It was still a little moist so I knew it must have only recently escaped the tank. I rinsed it off and placed it back in the tank. Again, kept an eye on it and never had any signs of distress after that. The crazier thing I think is that I have a dog who is not crated while I'm away. She could have easily eaten this guy but for whatever reason didn't notice it or want to eat it, not sure.

What's your best experience in keeping a fish alive that was very close to death?
  • #2
It was just a surprising recovery, my new male EB ram bit the tail off the female in QT one day. The next day, I could see her tail fin was infected and it started to eat away into her body tissue.

I freaked, moved the male out so she could have the whole tank to herself, changed water everyday and added salt. Btw, java fern and anacharis are tolerant of salt.

Anyway, I did this for 2 weeks, that's all it took for her to heal up totally!

I was so nervous for her because they can be sensitive fish, but she pulled through so nicely! I was so proud of her!
  • #3
Mine was a little albino cory. This little guy wedged itself into a hole in a piece of decor that I didn't think it could possibly fit into. It took hubby and I at least an hour to finally get the little guy out. It had a few scrapes but appeared to otherwise be alright. This little guy went on to live several more years until I had a heater failure and the tank got too hot. That incident kept me out of the hobby for almost 6 years.
  • #4
mattgirl I don't like that it kept you out of the hobby, but glad you are back! And so nice that you were able to free him and he lived on for a few years.

I just remembered one of my male BN plecos got his bristles wrapped all in some thread used to tie some bolbitis that had become stray. He was stuck tight to the driftwood I again freaked, proceeded to cut little by little with my scissors to free him. He was so wound up, he could barely move, I guess that was good because I was so scared to snip him. I couldn't believe I got him free without an issue! Picked out all the thread pieces and he went on to have another clutch of babies and is still king of the tank

Btw, I'm going to use tiny elastics to secure rhizome plants to hardscape from now on, courtesy of kallililly1973's gf
  • #5
Nothing in my adult life happened, but as a kid I used to just grab my bettas by hand to clean the tank and put them in a cup. Well he went flying out my hands and landed on the carpet. I washed him under the tap water to get the hair off then put him back in the water. He lived. I also had a frog escape and found him covered in hair and fluff all dried up. He looked dead, but I put him in water in his tank and he perked back up.
  • #6
mattgirl I don't like that it kept you out of the hobby, but glad you are back! And so nice that you were able to free him and he lived on for a few years.
Thank you. It broke my heart to see all of my fish belly up. It took me a long time to get over it.

I just remembered one of my male BN plecos got his bristles wrapped all in some thread used to tie some bolbitis that had become stray. He was stuck tight to the driftwood I again freaked, proceeded to cut little by little with my scissors to free him. He was so wound up, he could barely move, I guess that was good because I was so scared to snip him. I couldn't believe I got him free without an issue! Picked out all the thread pieces and he went on to have another clutch of babies and is still king of the tank
Oh my goodness. What a horrifying experience. I would really freak out if that happened to any of my plecos

Btw, I'm going to use tiny elastics to secure rhizome plants to hardscape from now on, courtesy of kallililly1973's gf
Those tiny rubber bands are the very best thing I have found for securing plants.
  • #7
I was netting a large angel when I was first starting in the hobby. I only had smaller nets and he just fit in it. I was transferring him I think or something, but didn't cover the top of the net and he flipped out on me onto the bar, he flipped flopped across the bar and into the carpet below. All this time I was flailing my arms, shaking, freaking, I didn't want to touch him with my hands, so I scooped him with my net again and just plopped him back in the tank. He was fine! Not even a traumatic experience! Fish are so funny and amazing!
  • #8
Few years back I lost power for 8 days in the middle of winter after a real bad storm. I had made 0 preparations, no pump, no generator, nothing. Water temp got down to around 40. Sadly I lost my black neon school (aside from 2), but EVERY SINGLE balloon molly survived with no ill effects. I was very nervous because it reached the point they were laying on the bottom barely breathing. But once the power kicked back on, they were swimming around like nothing ever happened within a few hours. I'm convinced mollies are bulletproof now.
  • #9
I got two pepper Corys recently and was pouring the store water out over a net into the sink. They were tiny and somehow got into the sink. The drain was broken and so they were wedged I. Between it (it wouldn’t close) and were
Flailing around in sort of soapy suds. Rinsed them off in the net and put them in tank. One then got stuck upside down between the cave and the wall. Fixed that and they have been with me fine since
  • #10
I have a story to tell... but it’s not a fish, so I hope that’s okay.

A while back I was sprouting some lotus in my tank. I had them in a little container floating in my tank. I would take the seeds out every day and rinse them to keep from getting slimy. One day I went to take the container out of the tank, didn’t realize that Mac (my jumbo gold mystery snail who has since passed of age) was stuck to it. In short, he dropped 5 feet onto a dirty, hard wood floor. I heard the thunk and looked around, saw my beloved snail covered in dirt on the floor. To my great surprise, I picked him up and he didn’t had a single crack (he had a really healthy shell). I quickly put him in the tank (I was worried sick), then threw a green bean in (he loved those, so I knew if he was okay then he would come out to eat it). Left, came back a moment later and he was happily munching on the green bean.

  • #11
Two of my goldfish lost an eye the other day. Both are alive and well.
  • #12
I had a white molly story that went on for a while... he was one of 3 larger mollies we had. As molly owners know how personable they can be always front n center then one day he snapped n was flying around the tank n got stuck between my at the time Aqueon filter. Freed him up he was fine then almost daily when I went to the tank he would fly around the tank like a nut b actually thought he could fly and I picked him off the floor at least a dozen times... even not being near the tank at my counter I heard him hit the floor the sound became all too eerily obvious and knew what I had to do.. eventually he jumped in the middle of the night n I sadly lost him and this was when I had lids he still found the little opening in the back where the plastic needs to be cut for equipment. R.I.P. lilly Larry ( we thought he was a girl at first cuz we didn’t know any better ... these were the big three... tomatoes lilly Larry n kalup ps yes I know tomatoes was a platy ... mama whippys was already moved to a different tank that was my other molly


  • 6C00139B-01E6-49AC-9C54-CD2F2181F915.jpeg
    95.5 KB · Views: 67
  • 7D1D5951-A147-4F21-8C9F-BCECBEE9CA54.jpeg
    155.3 KB · Views: 73
86 ssinit
  • #13
Well in October one day while I’m at work the intake sponge on my fx6 fell off in the tank. Sucked up every plant near it and one of my discus got stuck to it. It managed to get free but had a big suction mark on it. I did think I would lose him.
0C9F11CA-0AD3-4801-9933-1803D372211D.jpegbut he all good and now sports a circle mark . Guess he’s gona be the rowdy one .
  • #14
Last summer we had an extreme heatwave (shattered local records) and our house is only built to keep heat in, not vice versa..
I have a "coolwater" tank that sits around 72F in winter and goes to 76-78F in summer.
... and then indoor temp skyrocketed to 97F while my tank was still sitting at 77F.
Luckily the volume was large so the temp increase was only around 8F a day, but the temperature did rise to around 86F and stayed there for a good month while I did my best to keep it from rising further in the 90F+ room temps.
Considering the tank inhabitants all have max ranges of around 76-80F I count myself very lucky that I didn't lose a single fish. They didn't even look stressed (though some got a little lethargic in the heat).

More bizarrely, a much smaller tank of mine (7G) doesn't have a heater or temp control - usually hovers around 68F - and houses Asian Stone Catfish, with a max temp (according to the interwebs) of around 75F. I'm pretty sure it went well over 86F given the room temp and the lack of temp control, moreover given the small volume the temperature must have spiked way over 10F a day on its way there. But somehow the little guys were totally fine. Hardy fish for wildcaught ones. I can only guess they must be used to very shallow waters in their home region and may not be a stranger to sudden temperature fluctuations..

I guess I now understand why people have basement fish rooms

... not sure if it counts but I have a betta infected with columnaris that's lasted three months and is still alive and kicking? An achievement to some extent, maybe. Though I doubt she'll live much longer than 2-3 months more. We'll see.
  • #15
Mine is a snail story & just happened a few hours ago. I went to turn off the light on the new 6 gallon Aqueon Ascent for my betta that I just moved. low & behold, I see a dark spot on tank glass. I look closely and it's a mystery snail, lol. I never housed one in the new tank.

I have 2 snails, 1 in the large sorority tank ( lives in the driftwood, just climbed in and rarely leaves it) and 1 in the 38 gallon. the 38 gallon is about 6 feet away & I just did a partial water change with lid off yesterday. That means lid leaned against dishwasher face & snail crawled 6 feet and then climbed into that new tank ( it's planted, so okay for snail) or it was out of tank for a while in a piece of decor I used in new tank. Either is a possibility . the decor sat out over a week so snail would have been in that decor no water inside an empty tank I keep on dining room table!

it's a snail mystery! I saw the snail in the 38 gallon yesterday but it had been a few weeks.

I hope he likes the 6 gallon, lol
  • #16
As a kid I had my tank heater go Crockpot. At first I was confused as to why all my fish were not only just dead but coated in an inch of opaque slime. Then I noticed that the thermometer was pegged.
Then I noticed my Weather Loach was still alive.
So I panicked and used child logic "The fish needs to be cooled down immediately so he doesn't die!"
I found a pail and ran to the bathroom and ran the cold water (drawn from a deep well) until it was as cold as it would go, say 45F(? it hurts when you run it on you for a while).
I filled the pail, ran back to my tank, netted the loach and pitched him in. 60-70 degree instant temp shock. Loach was fine.
Later in the winter a heater died and his tank iced over, he was fine (sole survivor again IIRC). I guess this is why weather loaches are banned as invasive in my state, so I can never own one again.
  • #17
I have two.
Story #1; I had a betta in one of those Fluval ChI tanks. No lid. I came home from work one day and he was missing. I looked all over the room on the floor, assuming he had jumped. When I couldn't find him I figured one of the cats must have fished him out and eaten him, or eaten him after he jumped out. So I left the tank running and went out the next day and bought another betta. In he goes, life is grand. A week later I pulled the filter block off the tank because the lights had gone all green with algae (they're on the bottom of the overhead filter, in the water, if you have never seen one in person). I take the filter block to the sink and start taking it apart, and who flops out into the bathroom sink? The original betta. Of course, I had no place to keep him now since his tank had an occupant, so I grabbed a cup of tank water and put him in. He lived in there until the weekend when I got him set up with my son. We named him Elvis (Elvis is NOT dead, Sport, he just went home). He lived another year or so.
Story #2: I went to look at a used saltwater setup at my local reef farm, run by a friend. It was a 90 gallon with a 30-gallon sump, and it was being stored in the greenhouse where the coral vats are. The vats are heated but the greenhouse isn't, other than being a greenhouse. It was October. There was some leftover water in the sump still that just hadn't been drained out when the tank was dropped off, so we start tipping out this nasty, opaque, tan, two-week-old, leftover, 65-degree sump water...and something moved. One of the guys made a grab and came up with a beautiful little inch long baby Picasso clownfish. Alive and seemingly well! They dropped him in one of the fish systems nearby with no acclimation of course, assuming he would be a goner. Well, he lived through the night, and one of the guys that was helping us took him home and put him in his reef tank, where to my knowledge he has gone on to live a perfect life. The original owner didn't even know he was in there - all his fish had been accounted for when he took the tank down. He was apparently a survivor from a spawn of his clownfish that went over the overflow and somehow managed to grow up in his refugium in complete security with plenty of food at hand. We just couldn't figure out how he lived in that nasty water in the cold for two weeks!
  • #18
I just remembered "Scabs", poor Scabs.
2 years ago we went to a wedding on a lake and partied hard.
At some point at night my wife was walking around in the water and saw some baby bullheads so she walked over a caught one (she is fish whisperer good at bare handing fish), put it in a small bowl, and put it in our cabin room. Well sometime well in the AM when the party wound down I went to bed.
Sometime later I heard a splash splash and just though something spooked the fish and thought nothing of it.
Well after noon I got up and looked in the bowl.. no fish.. So I looked around the floor and there was the fish, dead, dried, scabby looking, and bent in a semicircle where it finally gave up on ever finding water. So I picked it up and tossed it the bowl.
Hours later when my wife woke up I told her her fish was unfortunately dead after jumping out of the bowl. She looked in and said "No, he isn't.". So I checked and he was no longer dead.
So the fish got named Scabs. We took him home and I explained in no uncertain terms that trash fish do not get to go into expensive fish tanks and eat all the expensive fish. So she put him in a Spec 3 where he hid under java moss next to some Cholla. Well after 6-9 months (a year?) the pump quit in the Spec 3 and my wife didn't check on him. After a day or two I went in and checked and he was 5" long and dead. Poor Scabs.

Similar Aquarium Threads

Franny & Gary
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked


Top Bottom