I was very touched by spillie's thread, that i felt compelled to write this, because i wanted her to 'feel' she can do it again in the future, and for anyone else, (since i was a nervous wen trimmer my self once upon a time). At my first wen trim i was a bag of nerves, but for the love of my fishes, i was gonna do it...
In 4 yrs and over 10+ trims, I've never encountered any post-trimming problems, so i feel it is safe. It's straightforward now, I've never had any deaths or problems(by being prepared), even with my first. * touch wood*
my warnings: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IF;
1. You are nervous about holding a fish for a pro-long period of time
2. You have shaky hands in general
3. You think you may hurt the fish, if you're too emotional, it will be hard.
4. They are very slippery, the wen feels soft, but its very tough - sharp sharp tools.
1. A live blind fish is better than a dead sighted fish, so only have a go IF you are sure.
2. A sighted fish will have a better quality of life, but not at the expense of his life, so only have a go IF you are sure.
When i first considered it, i did a lot of research and watched vids etc and followed their way...
Then as you become familiar, you adapt it...
1. clove oil and a small glass jar with lid for mixing
2. various sharp cutting tools
3. kitchen timer and or someone with a stopwatch
4. air stone
5. 2 identical but different colour vessels (hold 1-2 usa gallons of water, with a large surface area)
6. a lid / tray of sorts
6. natural kitchen light preferred and no background noise and no people traffic
(optional a shot of whisky or skinneygirl margarita in my case, to steady the nerves lol)
1. Always sterilize the sharp cutting tools, and keep a couple of different ones at hand (big cuts, small cuts, angle cuts, tough cuts, soft cuts). I have them all laid out (you don't want to be looking for it, when in the middle of it). You don't want wen infection.
2. check and clear the table area
3 Fill 2 vessels with clean recently water changed tank water ( i do 1 usa gallon each), sterilize cutting tools
4 put air stones in one and place lid over it (throw in a floating thermometer if you like), you'll be amazed how quickly the temp drops.
5. in little jar, fill it half way, with tank water from the uncovered vessel, add 5 drops of clove oil, close lid, and shake hard - look milky
6 use a container to scoop fish from the main tank, then use hands to move fish into uncovered vessel.
7. add the milky clove mixture around the edges of the vessel, away from the fish.
8. set kitchen timer to 10mins - never leave fish unattended, keep an eye on it.
9. with my finger tips i swirl the surface -manual surface agitation, and to quicken the process, move the milky clove towards his mouth
10. once he starts leaning to the side, test by holding him, if he's thrashing, he needs more time ( if not he's ready)
11. once the timer rings THATS IT -TIMES UP. Any more is a risk.
12. get a good hold (kind of like a new born baby - gentle but firm hold, with head support)
13. i get it so i can feel his heartbeat, but not always possible. That ensures me he's ok, or if you can have him in a position to see his gill movement.
14. I hold with my left hand and trim with my right-hand. ( my oldest fish is now too big for me to hold one handed, i hope i never have to trim him)
15. i use my left wrist to angle his head for the cutting. (Like a camera pod stand angling the camera).
16. i trim over the sterilized lid tray. (i've never dropped one, but why risk it)
17. watch out for the tail, its their strongest part - control the tail, they won't thrash.
18. Get a good hold - enough to avoid slipping, but to control the inevitable thrashing, allow visual to their gill movement. Hand holding her head, position it at a good angles, to cut smoothly, otherwise it will be a raggy mess. As I'm right-handed, the right eye is easy to angle, the left eye is trickier to angle.
I need good light to see, but remember they don't have eyelids, you don't want to shine a bright light into their eyes. so i try to cut in good natural kitchen light, and somehow shelter their eyes from the direct light.
From this point on - Time is of the essence! ;
"1 minute of cutting (out of the water) and 30secs (back in the clove vessel)" - repeat when necessary - need a quiet person with a stop watch - or set a timer etc
My OH stands in the background with his watch, chiming " he needs to go back into the water " / "cutting time up"
With this method, he's continually anesthetised and gets some much needed air, but not pushed over the edge
19. i only trim around the eyes - that's all I'm concerned with - giving them better sight. Besides i love a big wen lol.
20. when cutting - for me - the best cuts are if you are able to slip the blade under the wen, and on the junction of the blade, one snip and its off. The tip of the scissors is the worse for trimming. The junction the best. Before the cut, make sure you haven't snagged flesh etc i read stories about blood drawn - but there shud be no blood, there are no blood vessels there.
If you're not able to slip the blade under the wen, then use a smaller item, and snip at it - like tree pruning.
21. once cutting begins - 100% concentration - multi-tasking - eyes on; the gills, the blade, the wen, the clock - i usually do it quickly, i want them out of anaesthetic mode asap.
22. It takes me about 5-10mins - i want them out of anaesthetic mode pronto. (The longer they are in anaesthetic mode, the longer it will take for them to wake up, and easy for complications to set in), so i do it properly and speedily.
Note: i use to, use bio bandage (cos i followed their procedure), no need now - sterilize the tools and clean water.
23 Once trimming done. Take lid of non-clove vessel, and place him gently near the air stone......now we wait....i keep hold of him in my palm, stops him from rolling, hold them from underneath and gently forward and back, to draw the aired water into and out their gills, this speeds up waking time, then he starts switching, starts coming around, then swishes my hand away, and then i take my hand out, he's in control again. Usually i now start clearing up, with one eye on the recovering fish, by the time i've cleared up, they're total awake, abit disorientated, but awake, then i put them back in the recently water changed main tank, and they swim rapidly around....wooo i can see...
You're in luck I'm doing a HP swab today, so I'll include a bit of wen trimming just to show you. Its not a full wen trim, since he had his done, a couple of weeks ago.
As you can see, I'm swabbing my own skin as well as his. So if it hurts, I'll know too.
The white patch on his tail, is the HP doing its job. Back in the main tank, it will be surrounded by tiny bubbles - couple of hours /days, normal again, and hoepfully taken the red infection with it.