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

  1. #51
    ptran's Avatar
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    Great job! i would do the same if it come to that, and there is a chance I could save the fish.

  2. #52
    O'dessa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScorpiosWife View Post
    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 couldnít fully submerge himself without making an obvious effort & the top inch or so of him was sticking up out of the water.


    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 hasnít 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.


    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 donít often get float, a medical route for a fish this size (13Ē) 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. :/


    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 wasnít 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.


    Day 11 - ďThis is it. Iím really going to do this. I donít want to do this. I have to do this or heís going to die. I donít want to kill him but I donít want him to die. Crap.Ē ďIf I do nothing, heís going to die. If I stab him in the wrong place, heís going to die. If I do this right, relief is instant & he lives. I donít want him to die because I messed up.Ē 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 didnít 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 youíre in for a soaking. There was none of that. He was very still after Shawn caught him & was the best little 13Ē patient, ever.

    Now, let me tell you something. Stabbing a needle through scales is NOT easy. I couldnít 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, Iím shaking. Iím really about to stab my fish with a needle. This is the moment thatís either going to save him or kill him & itís 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.


    I donít 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 ďI did it! I did it & I didnít kill him!Ē 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 Iíve 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 13Ē 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 hasnít 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 & heíll eat when heís ready.

    Iím going to leave him in the 50g for at least a few more days & until he starts eating again, just to make sure heís alright. Heís been through quite an ordeal & heís living proof that relief is, in fact, instant with the stick of a needle in the right place. Its taboo & itís 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 youíve shown me. Yíall rock!
    Well it just so has it that your post has giev me the confidence to do the same. Beeathe. Better get to it then. Aaaarrrgh!!
    I'll give you an update soon.

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