Caring for a special needs fish

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by konstargirl, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. konstargirlWell Known MemberMember

    Hi guys I have a question. Now this is isn't relating to my betta( Who is half blind) needing care or anything, but what do you do if you accouter a special needs fish( Blind etc.)? What I mean is if you see one of these little fish, would you take them in or do you think they will probably need the same medical attention as to other special needs animals?

    For me if I accouter a special needs fish, I will try to do everything I can to save his or her life .. I don't know if anybody hear stories on fish going to the vet because of that and not just litlte stuff like if a fish has fin rot or something. I mean like if the fish REALLY needs to see one.

  2. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    :;hpI have a "special needs fish" that is blind in one eye. He is an Oscar and can't be housed with any fish his size or they will kill him. He can't be housed with smaller fish, because he still tries to eat them. So, he has his own tank to putter away in. But, the answer is yes, I would and will take in fish that have problems and I don't mind making the accomidations for them that they need. As for taking a fish to the vet, I do not think there is anything a vet can do that we cannot. I know most of the common diseases and other than that I can't think of a reason to take a fish to the vet. No, maybe if it was my huge Oscar and I could not figure out what was wrong with him I would, but not tropical fish. The best thing to do is keep them healthy so there is not a reason to treat them for anything. Most fish problems are preventable.
  3. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    There are very very few fish practitioners in the vet industry. Thus we are normally left to our own devices. Now special needs fish can refer to a variety of issues that deem it special needs. Care for these fish will be different depending.

    Chronic Swim Bladder Disorder(floating):
    In the case of a fish that is floating due to SBD id advise for starters a low flow tank to prevent the fish from being blown around. Low lighting so that they arnt constantly exposed to tank lights in the event they are floating on the surface. Floating ornaments/cave like betta logs will allow them to feel safe and hidden even though they are afloat. Soaked pellet food or frozen food will help prevent them from taking in any more air when eating so as they arnt doing more damage. Keeping the heat at optimum levels and keeping the tank clean is also important to help aid healing and recovery(regardless if its possible or not).

    Chronic Swim Bladder Disorder(sinking):
    Unfortunately this happens a lot with labyrinth organ fish. The first thing to do in the event that your fish does have a labyrinth organ or absorbs oxygen through its digestive track, you will want to have a lowered water level. Low enough so the fish doesn't struggle to reach the surface to breath. Sinking pellets are a must and you may need to deliver them via tube. A bare bottom tank will also help the fish from not being buried in sand or scraped by gravel, as well as making it easy to clean and easy for them to find food. Adding soft silk plants and mosses will provide them with soft areas to rest. Caves that they can easily access will be appreciated. Once again, clean water and just optimal conditions will help.

    Blindness can happy many ways in the fish world. Unfortunately i don't have the will power to write out the possibly causes and cures. In the event you have a blind fish, weather in both or one eye. special care for them needs to be taken. The first is establishing a feeding area. When you feed them you will want to feed them in one area of the tank, every time. Tapping the glass by the area will help them find their way to it. This way, the fish knows where the food is. Now, in this case you will probably want a floating pellet. Cleanings should be regular to remove any missed food. Tank mates would preferably be avoided as we don't want competition for space and food. If the fish is in a school, it will probably be doomed as the school will eat and it will simply not get the chance, separation may also be too stressful on the animal, don't be surprised if they go down hill. Try to avoid over crowding ornaments so the fish isnt bumping into things, soft plants and mosses will make good for them.

    Missing fins
    In some cases a fish may loose its tail or pectoral fins and be left struggling to swim. Sometimes these fish still manage just fine other times they may be left swimming lopsided or in short bursts. For fish that breath atmospheric oxygen a lowered water level will help them breath. Keeping the water flow down will keep them from being blown all over the tank. Keeping the tank devoid of sharp objects and substrates in the event of a crash landing. Giving them broad leaves to lay on will allow them to rest as needed. You can also put some near the surface of the tank to allow the fish to rest while it eats. Avoiding tank mates is best in these cases.

    Spinal deformities
    Touchy subject. In many cases i will say euthanize the animal. If its causing them to twitch or preventing them from trying to eat then its not worth it to them. However, if its just retarding their swimming functions then the above advice's given on fish with SBD and Missing fins should suffice. A fish that actually breaks its spine will normally not fair as well as a fish born with a deformity. To prevent breaking of spines in fish always provide them with adequate space to swim, proper tank mates, do not spook them for fun and watch to make sure no one is running into tank sides or ornaments.

    In the end, do not be afraid to put down a fish that is struggling to survive. Sometimes they dont fair well and others they get along fine with assistance. If its obvious the fish is in pain, loosing weight or just overall a mess then euthanasia may be the kindest thing for them. Im not here to tell you "Kill your fish" or "dont ever kill your fish" im just giving some adivse on to how to make them comfortable.
  4. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I agree with SK, I know of no vets that see fish. I used to work for one, and we never saw any, but that may just be because no one ever brought one in :) However, a vet is more capable of euthanising. We have a saltwater tank, and one of the eels suddenly decided to eat half of a fish. So unfortunately he had to be put to sleep, but rather than dealing with clove oil and imprecision, we used the same solution for cats/dogs/etc, dosed to the fish's weight. This may be an option, but I don't know when taking a fish in for an appointment would be necessary. As Wendy said, what can they do that a regular person can't? You can't get antibiotics for your dog at PetSmart, but you can get them for your fish. And I don't think anyone will be doing any surgery on fish... :)
  5. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Feeding the Oscar

    That is what I have to do with my one eyed Oscar. I have to feed him in the same corner every time. He seems to have no depth perception issue. He can't aim at anything. At least he does know when it is feeding time though.:;cr
  6. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    They tested laser therapy on fish with balance issues, supposedly it worked :)
  7. konstargirlWell Known MemberMember

    I also hear stories that if a fish gets a tumor,than i has to be remove by a vet or something.. I don't know if that's true also.

    I don't know if we are allow to show videos on here( that are from youtube) but there were quite a few fish doe's that they were on a sling. It was so touching to watch and they were functioning better with a sling.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

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