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What to do when goldfish gets gravel stuck in their mouth

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My little black moor is around 3" long and today he was laying on the gravel not moving a lot. So when he swam up a noticed a piece of grave was stuck in his mouth. He swam around frantically going crazy, then smashed into the glass and the grave fell out of his mouth. It was just one single piece, and he continues to pick at the gravel very carefully like he is afraid it will happen again.

Is this bad?

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I started to have this problem with my fish, and even kept a pair of tweezers by the tank for emergencies. Basically, they are like having toddlers, at some point, they are going to try & put everything into their mouths.

My tank is now barebottom and will be staying that way.

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Once my babies got big enough to pick up the gravel, i switched it out for sand. Sand wont get stuck and if they accidentally swallow some then it'll pass through easily :)

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Usually they will get the gravel back out on their own.

If not, most of the time it helps to catch the fish. The process of catching the fish itself will usually get him to spit the gravel out, or if you get a hold of him, carefully lift him out of the water, face pointing down.

This is also known to get them to spit gravel back out.

Sometimes it may be necessary to use tweezers (with round tips) to pull the piece of gravel out.

If you are worried about the gravel, you could always either go bare bottom, or change to sand, or river rocks. :)

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Once my babies got big enough to pick up the gravel, i switched it out for sand. Sand wont get stuck and if they accidentally swallow some then it'll pass through easily :)

Mine have been doing it since I got them about a year ago. My common is around 5" long and could easily swallow the gravel if he wanted to. He swallowed an algae wafer whole and it was the size of a penny... I was like take it easy!!

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Once my babies got big enough to pick up the gravel, i switched it out for sand. Sand wont get stuck and if they accidentally swallow some then it'll pass through easily :)

Mine have been doing it since I got them about a year ago. My common is around 5" long and could easily swallow the gravel if he wanted to. He swallowed an algae wafer whole and it was the size of a penny... I was like take it easy!!

Swallowed an algae wafer?!?! :o Your fish have some big mouths!

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try to find plastic tweezers online. i found some years back and then tried again recently as some members were trying to find them and couldn't. i couldn't find them again either, however, my niece received a toy microscope kit, it had plastic tweezers in it and i took them as she didn't need them. so check the toy shops too.

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Is this bad?

Yes, it's bad. It's a definite sign that your substrate is incompatible with the fish. :(

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Similar to what Fang said, my fish would spit it out as soon as I caught them. Pain in the butt catching them and I worried about them getting something stuck when I was gone so I switched substrates. Sand was great since they can't possibly choke on it. When I moved up to a bigger tank I went to eco-complete and its smaller size has been great. Not one incident with it.

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