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Thread: It's taboo, but we did it & he lived!

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    ScorpiosWife's Avatar
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    It's taboo, but we did it & he lived!

    Well guys, it's been a rough 12 days but this is our story. As I mentioned in another thread, when we came back into town, the day before Christmas, it looked like 1 of the 4 Oscars had swallowed a golf ball. He couldn’t fully submerge himself without making an obvious effort & the top inch or so of him was sticking up out of the water.

    RESEARCH TIME!

    I asked yall for help & was advised to use Epsom salt & heat. We tried it, no improvement. We tried hand feeding him shelled peas (cooked & uncooked), no improvement. We tried massaging the area, little improvement for a couple of days. *sigh*

    Fast forward 10 days...



    No improvement & still hasn’t eaten or pooped. I woke up on the 10th day & he was floating on his side at the top & his swim bladder was the size of a racquetball. I am NOT exaggerating. He was at least 3 inches across at the biggest part of the swim bladder. Something had to give. His swim bladder was either going to burst or this poor Oscar was going to starve to death.

    PANIC!

    I happened to be on the phone with Ally & she suggested some meds. I also contacted Sunny who told me of some other meds. I was on my way out the door to go to Ultimate Fish when I decided to call to make sure they had them in stock.

    I talked to a very nice young man who asked me a LOT of questions. After answering them he informed me that Oscars don’t often get float, a medical route for a fish this size (13”) would take weeks & he would die before there was significant improvement. He suggested a taboo alternative, piercing the swim bladder with a hypodermic needle.

    I needed to marinate on this for a day; mentally file it & deal with it. He wants me to stab my fish with a needle. I moved him from the 180g to a 50g & mentally prepared myself to do this. I tried talking Shawn into stabbing him, but I realized that I needed him to hold the fish still. He also made it clear that he did not want to be responsible for stabbing him in the wrong place & killing him. Yay me. :/

    MORE RESEARCH!

    Well, this is not a common practice. I found 2 videos; one at sea with an 80 pound fish & a filet knife & one Frontosa with a hypodermic needle. I watched these videos over & over, paying close attention to where they were piercing these fish, at what angle, etc. I read what I could (which wasn’t a whole lot) on jabbing a needle into your fish but I learned quite a bit about what causes float & studied fish anatomy for a few hours as well.

    D-DAY!

    Day 11 - “This is it. I’m really going to do this. I don’t want to do this. I have to do this or he’s going to die. I don’t want to kill him but I don’t want him to die. Crap.” “If I do nothing, he’s going to die. If I stab him in the wrong place, he’s going to die. If I do this right, relief is instant & he lives. I don’t want him to die because I messed up.” Those are the things that kept running through my mind.

    I went to Walgreens, explained to the Pharmacist what I was going to do & he sold me the needle for a whopping 30 cents.



    I had to do this. I watched the videos again, one last time & called Shawn to catch & hold him. The Oscar didn’t fight after Shawn caught him. He never flopped or even flinched. Not one splash. It was like he knew we were trying to help him. If any of you have ever removed a large Oscar from a tank, you know you’re in for a soaking. There was none of that. He was very still after Shawn caught him & was the best little 13” patient, ever.

    Now, let me tell you something. Stabbing a needle through scales is NOT easy. I couldn’t do it & even gave up at one point. I tried HARD. I tried trading places with Shawn but he insisted that I could do this. I looked at the end of the needle and there was a scale stuck to it. I removed it & tried again, only to come back up with another scale. I had to remove 3 layers of scales before I got to his skin. Ah, finally!

    By now, I’m shaking. I’m really about to stab my fish with a needle. This is the moment that’s either going to save him or kill him & it’s all in my hands. I focused on the area where the swim bladder was largest, pushed the needle through his skin & WOW. It looked like someone was holding an air hose under water. Poor fish! After the initial pressure was released with no manipulation from us, we massaged the area until no more bubbles came out. I removed the needle & Shawn let him go.

    BREATHE!

    I don’t know who was more relieved, me or the fish. He swam away, happy as a clam! I ran around the house high fiving Shawn every time I passed him yelling “I did it! I did it & I didn’t kill him!” Man, that felt like I just performed my first successful brain surgery or something! WOO-FREAKING-HOO!

    The Oscar took a few minutes on the bottom, caught his breath & then took the nastiest poop I’ve ever seen an Oscar take. Then he proceeded to swim up & down & up & down, rip out all the plants in the tank & just in general have fun being an Oscar. I stayed up with him for 4 more hours,watching his every move, making sure he was ok.



    Day 12 - I woke up this morning, worried that he had died overnight. Nope. I breathed a huge sigh of relief to find him still swimming around, happy as a 13” Oscar can be, attacking himself in the glass, knocking the intake tube off of the HOB, grabbing the bottom of the heater & shaking it like a dog playing tug of war, etc. but he still hasn’t eaten. The food I put in for him last night is on the bottom, untouched. I think maybe he just needs a little recovery time & he’ll eat when he’s ready.

    I’m going to leave him in the 50g for at least a few more days & until he starts eating again, just to make sure he’s alright. He’s been through quite an ordeal & he’s living proof that relief is, in fact, instant with the stick of a needle in the right place. Its taboo & it’s not recommended, but we did it successfully & it saved his life.

    I know this is a long post, but I wanted to share this experience just in case someone else ever has this problem. Once again, thank you HFB for all the help & support you’ve shown me. Y’all rock!
    Last edited by ScorpiosWife; 01-05-2013 at 03:04 PM.
    180g - 2 Red Oscars, 1 Tiger Oscar, 1 JD, Convicts, convicts & more convicts
    75g - 1 Silver Aro, 1 Mean Koi Angel
    50g - Various platy & mollies
    10g - 1 Green Spotted Puffer

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    Congrats Dawn! Never would have thought to lance the swim bladder. Yay to the guy at Ultimate for doing a great job of figuring it out.

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    It's taboo, but we did it & he lived!

    Awesome story and Glad he survived!

    I remember going deep sea fishing and fishes we didn't keep the crew members would "poke" them before letting them go... Forgot the term and reason why...

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    Re: It's taboo, but we did it & he lived!

    Wow great job! Congrats!
    125g Geophagus
    40g Reef(ish)
    29g Wild Caught Tilapia

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    Re: It's taboo, but we did it & he lived!

    Great experience! I didn't want to even mention popping the swim bladder with a needle mainly because it's so risky. I've thought about it several times when I had my pike but decided not to take that risk. Chances of you missing or puncturing too far is great. Glad you were able to do it though!

    Sent from my spaceship using Tapatalk 2.

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  11. #6
    ScorpiosWife's Avatar
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    Thank you so much, Sunny. I'm going to call him & thank him. His advice, 30 cents & a whole lot of courage saved him!

    From what I learned, float/bloat is kind of comparable to a human having the bends. If they resurface too fast, the swim bladder can inflate just from the pressure alone. This happens a lot when people go deep sea fishing. They reel in a fish too fast, release it and it just floats. If you release the air in the swim bladder, relief is instant & the fish will swim away. I also learned they do this in bass fishing tournaments.
    180g - 2 Red Oscars, 1 Tiger Oscar, 1 JD, Convicts, convicts & more convicts
    75g - 1 Silver Aro, 1 Mean Koi Angel
    50g - Various platy & mollies
    10g - 1 Green Spotted Puffer

  12. #7
    barberking12's Avatar
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    My swim bladder is full.
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    great job. we use this process all the time while deep sea fishing

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    My swim bladder is full.
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    That's great news...You have excellent story telling skills btw!

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    Awsome they do it all the time on the party boats with red snapper

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    if anyone could do it, i knew it was you. the meds were a long shot, would have cost much more, and taken a long time. i'm very happy for you and your oscar.
    my fish house:
    2.5g- ramshorn hatchery
    6g eclipse- yellow shrimp, chili rasboras, yellow apple snails
    29g- geo grow-out, angels, 12"fire eel, dwarf frog, apple snails
    45g- jade sleeper gobies, native killifish, feeder endlers

    75g-
    2 oscars, parrot, silver dollars, albino channel cat, syno euptera, bichir, baby jaguar, convicts, yabby
    125g- fahaka puffer, rainbow shark
    and about a dozen bettas....

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