Help! Net Stuck On Catfish Nose

chadcf

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Out of my two twig catfish, one has not been thriving. It's small and skinny and doesn't seem to eat and hides all the time. Until I could figure out what to do with him I figured I'd move him to a 10 gallon tank and see if I could get him to eat. Unfortunately I foolishly tried to net him and his nose got stuck in the net.

I tried to extract him with scissors and managed to get him free but now there is a single net loop caught around his nose. I don't see any way I can possibly get him out of it without hurting him.

What do I do?

I'm wondering if I should not let him suffer any more and euthanize him. Or try to anesthetise him and remove the net but that will be darn tough and I don't know where I can find clove oil at 9pm.

Any advise?
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Use a smaller/finer pair of scissors my friend. Perhaps only consider euthanization as a very LAST resort...
 
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chadcf

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I think I'd have to try and knock him out for that and pull him out of the water to somewhere I can see. I'm not very confident in my ability to do that but it's probably worth a try. I honestly don't think he's going to survive in my tank anyway, the other one has grown significantly and eats well, but this one has not grown and just hides all the time. If I get the net off I don't know what to do with him, I feel like he's going to just slowly starve to death anyway.
 

yukondog

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If you don't get the net off he will probably die for sure, I assume it can breath or we would not be talking about it, have you tried a pair of tweezers to try and work it off?
 
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chadcf

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I honestly have no idea where they breath from... His mouth is much further down on the bottom, not sure if he takes in water through the mouth or nose. I also believe they have barbs up there or he would have been able to wiggle free so i feel like tweezers won't work. For now I put him back in the tank and tomorrow I will try to get some clove oil and fine point scissors and see what I can do. I'm not at all confident about being able to properly anesthetize him with clove oil though... But I don't see how I can possibly get it off with him struggling. Here's a picture of this species:
Freshwater-Algae-Eater-Fish-in-Aquarium-Twig-Catfish3-630x380.jpg


The net is stuck around the slim nose portion.
 

Gypsy13

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Please at least try to get the net off. Be very very careful with the clove oil. Don’t give up on the little guy. Some of them are just a little slower than others. I currently have three corys the same egg batch. Two are bigger than the other. Why? I don’t know cause I can’t see them. They all eat.
So just please don’t give up on him. You can get some tiny scissors and cut that off. I have confidence in you!
 

MissRuthless

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Oh no! I made the mistake of netting one of my pictus cats once when a tank had cracked and I was panicking, and got him pretty badly tangled up. He was so badly injured in the aftermath that he ended up needing "surgery" (as in I cut his longest pair of barbels off) and was permanently stunted, and now he's a mini-pictus I caught him in a good sized mixing bowl, then wrapped his body up tightly like a little fish burrito in a piece of non-woven cloth that I had soaked in tank water, and used a tweezer, forceps and surgical scissors to remove the net. It was quite nerve wracking, but not terribly difficult - and I didn't think to sedate him with clove oil first but I bet that would have helped. If you do that, I would only use a drop or two and only leave him in it for a couple minutes tops before "operating". The most important parts are to use a thoroughly soaked piece of cloth that no spines can get caught in (I used one of those shamwow cloths but you could probably use a piece of fleece or felt), make sure when you wrap him that all his fins are flat at his sides and not sticking out or bent back, make sure your scissor has good thin pointed blades and is very sharp, and work quickly and calmly. My fish was yelling at me the whole time which made that part hard!

I do not think the fact that he wasn't doing well beforehand is any sort of reason to not do your absolute best for him, and definitely not to euthanize. Farlowellas are slow moving and easily outcompeted for food, especially if you don't have a good amount of algae in the tank. Cories are little pigs, and I imagine your danios are probably interested in the bottom feeders' food as well, so he may just not be as bold as the other one and hasn't been getting enough. You could move him to another tank if necessary, or rehome him as a 38g tank will eventually be a very cramped space for one of them, let alone two, but simply not thriving is never reason enough to euthanize a fish or neglect its needs.

Edit to add that if you do what I said above, when you let him go afterward do not try to unroll him all the way, or he may get stuck. Instead lower him into the tank, and then slowly loosen the cloth around him until he wiggles out, or if he doesn't go on his own try to help him kinda slide out of the rolled up cloth. This is just to prevent any spines getting snagged on the way out.
 
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chadcf

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Yeah I will try I'm just scared!

Where can I even buy clove oil? And how long can he be out of the water while I try to work it free?

After that re-homing him was my thought. The other one for some reason is much bolder. He comes down at nightly feeding time and joins in the frey for sinking pellets and is out and about glass sucking all day. He's grown significantly and seems to be doing fine. The other one though just hides on wood all day and won't come out for food. I'm sure he gets a little biofilm off the wood or glass but probably not a lot, as the current snail infestation is competing for food. I thought about moving him to the 10 gallon betta tank which is currently overrun with algae, but that's obviously not a long term solution and I also worry the betta will pick on him.

So trying to find him a home would be best though there probably aren't many people around with an algae rich twig species only tank...
 

GuppyDazzle

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My two cents. Yes, clove oil is used as a sedative for fish, but it is also used as a means of euthanasia. Without knowing exactly what the dosage and procedure would be to use as a sedative, you're very unlikely to hit the spot where the fish is sedated but it's not lethal. If you're going to do the procedure, IMO I'd just do it. Would it be uncomfortable for the fish? Probably, but the fish will forget all about it in 10 seconds if you're successful. Can fish feel pain? Yes, but I don't think it's accurate to equate human feelings with fish.
 

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I've never euthanized a fish with nothing but clove oil. It can take hours. Clove oil can cause blindness if you get it in your eye, and it burns your mouth if you use it straight on a toothache. I don't really like the idea of soaking them in it all that time, I prefer to use it as a precursor to pure alcohol and end their suffering as quickly as possible. A fish needs to not move their gills for ten minutes to be dead. Under deep sedation, the gill movements are shallow and infrequent, and easy enough to miss that I imagine lots of people probably dump their sedated fish down the toilet. Here is a study on clove oil as anaesthetic and euthanasia for tropical fish:

@chadcf you can buy clove oil at any pharmacy. It's almost always behind the counter so you have to ask. Catfish survive longer out of water than most fish, as long as you keep them wet. I took a break with mine after about three minutes but I was being very conservative Sedation will increase the amount of time you have to work with as the respiratory system will be depressed. I reeeeally wish I had thought of that when I needed it!
 

Mcasella

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Use tweezers to lift the loop so you can cut it off, even if it isn't hindering his breathing as he grows it will cut into his snout. Hold him firmly but gentle (had to trim the net off a pictus pectoral, he was not happy about being held and tried to stab three or twelve times, i used my plant scissors because the point was better, sewing scissors might be the best thing for trimming line though), closer to the head minimizes movement.
 

GuppyDazzle

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You can also get clove oil at health food stores. Here's a tip. Don't tell the clerk you're getting it to euthanize fish. You'll get a frowny face.
 
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chadcf

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Ok great success! I did get clove oil but decided to try without first. I put him in a shallow baking pan with only 1/2" or so of water and got some helpers. One person grabbed held him still while another held a flashlight and magnifying glass and I was able to work with tweezers and a sharp pair of small scissors. I managed to work it free and cut enough to get it off and I'm 99% sure I didn't even nick him in the process!

So that's a relief! Luckily twigs are very passive and tend to freeze and pretend to be a stick when scared so that helped make it a bit better.

I hope the stress doesn't kill him now... I also need to figure out if I should rehome him or not as he's not thriving like the other one is and feel he'd do better in a home without competition. I am also facing a similar problem with the otto's in my daughter's tank though, one died today. They were doing well but lately they just hide in a decoration and never come out and suck on the glass.

So I'm actually thinking I should get a tank for the remaining two ottos and the shy twig, they can co-exist nicely and won't have any real competition for food. But that's kind of a bare tank, I'd have to think of what else to put in there with them.. Or find them a new home...
 

MissRuthless

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Awesome! I would honestly rehome him unless you want another tank that's larger than your current one. They do get pretty large! Though bigger is always better, and as we say here, it's just one more tank...

What else lives with your daughter's otos? Perhaps if you can tell us more about their situation we can figure out what's going on with them
 
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chadcf

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The otos just live with a betta. They seem active today though after a tank cleaning. I was out of town for 2 weeks so they got no water changes and algae got a little insane. I'm wondering if the water got too bad and that's why one died, however generally it does great with nitrates.

I did however dose it with flourish excel to try and help with the algae some time ago. I noticed after doing that they otos were just hiding inside a decoration rather than out and about eating. I have been worried that the betta has been aggressive and picking on them and that's why they started hiding, however I'm also suspicious that maybe the flourish excel was the reason for their change in behavior. I did an 80% water change today and they're very active and out and about now...
 

MissRuthless

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I have a bottle of excel that I've never used. I've heard a lot of different things about it that make me nervous. One of the things I've heard from multiple sources is that because it's basically liquid co2, you have to be cautious with it, especially in smaller tanks. It's often recommended to start with 25-50% of the normal dosage and see how it goes. I have heard that you can kill fish with it the same way as with a co2 diffuser system - by adding too much, forcing oxygen out of the water and suffocating them. If this is actually the case, perhaps they were suffering the effects of depleted oxygen. It would make sense that it affected them and not the betta, because the betta comes from habitats with very low oxygen and can breathe at the surface, whereas otos come from fast flowing rivers with very high oxygen content.

Edit: were you using excel just for the algaecide, or are there live plants as well?
 
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chadcf

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there are live plants in there, not a lot though. Got some java moss on driftwood, a micro sword and an anubias.

I do think it might be the excel though I googled it and plenty of people reported no problems with otos and excel. Who knows. But since the water change they are still out and about sucking on glass. After adding the excel they were all hiding inside a fake tree decoration and not eating. We'll see if they stay out and about as my only other theory was that the betta was harassing them even though I've never seen it.
 

GuppyDazzle

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Good news. Teamwork! I love it.

It's fine if you want to rehome the fish, but I'd wait a while so it can get back to health.
 

MissRuthless

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I looked and couldn't find anything about issues with otos, but it would make sense that if you dosed it for algae and there aren't many plants to use the carbon and turn it into oxygen, the fish could show symptoms of oxygen deprivation until you added new water. I've heard hydrogen peroxide works well on algae, bur I've never used it myself so you'd need to research and find out exactly how to dose it and such.
 
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