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Nostril infection/lodged gravel - Blacky

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Hello,

I'm back (if anyone remembers Blacky; I've now had him 11 years!!), in a bit of a sticky situation. 

History:

  • 2018 Blacky got a small piece of gravel lodged in his nostril which never came out
  • It never caused an issue so just left it there
  • In the last week/2 I feel like he has either gotten another small piece of gravel lodged in the same nostril OR the same piece has moved a bit, it is hard to tell, which I believe has led to the current situation

Recently:

Last week Blacky was a bit off colour and had a slight white tinge to the gravel nostril so I treated him from the 11th-13th Sep 2020 with the standard dose esha2000 as a broad treatment, whilst being mindful of goldfish's copper sensitivity. After a nearly 100% water change on the 14th he was acting a lot better in himself.

 

Today on the 17th, he again looks a bit off, his dorsal fin is floppier etc. and he also has a lot of mucopurulent looking discharge now coming out of gravel nostril (thinking back I have actually been seeing this in the tank for around a month during water changes but just disregarded it a bit as he has been fine and potentially just stringy poops from times of low food passage).

 

I'm not really sure if it is infected or just irritated, but due to the white discharge would lean towards infected. I presume this is due to local irritation from the lodged bits of gravel (which you now can't see due to the discharge).

 

I don't really know what to do here, and just looking for advice or anyone that has been in a similar situation?

My current thoughts are:

1. Try to suction the discharge and gravel pieces out with a piece of airline tubing. However restraining him will be a challenge and very stressful for him as he is a very big fish now.

2. Anaesthetise with clove oil and use a bobby pin sort of instrument (sterilised beforehand) to remove the gravel pieces (if possible not doing this as I would be a nervous wreck and would hate to accidentally do anything completely wrong)

And then treat with esha2000 again as a preventative for infection/help heal current infection

3. Or just do another round of esha2000 and hope that resolves it without needing to remove the gravel pieces. 

 

I would really appreciate any advice :( I love this boy to bits, he's my best friend.

 

Thank you in advance

I will test my water now and update the post accordingly but I don't think this is a water quality issue. Photos/videos attached.

 

 

Test Results for the Following:

 Ammonia Level(Tank)

 Nitrite Level(Tank)

 Nitrate level(Tank)

 Ammonia Level(Tap)

 Nitrite Level(Tap)

 Nitrate level(Tap)

 Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

 Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

Other Required Info:

 Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops (NB out of date)

 Water temperature? Room temperature 

 Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 24 US gallons, roughly 7-8 years

 What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Fluval U2, 400L/hr

 How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly-biweekly - 80-90%

 How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? - 14th Sep (3 days ago) 80-90%

 How many fish in the tank and their size? 1, length of hand (no tail)

 What kind of water additives or conditioners? Fluval aqua plus water conditioner only

 What do you feed your fish and how often? Repashy soilent green, everyday 

 Any new fish added to the tank? No

 Any medications added to the tank? esha2000 11th-13th Sep 

 List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank.Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Within last 2 years nothing else

 Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? White mucupurluent discharge from affected nostril. A few odd whiter patches on body but he does go through phases of a few marks etc.

 Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Not himself, dorsal fin a bit floppier. Still eating and swimming

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8456.JPG

IMG_8455.JPG

IMG_8452.PNG

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Ammonia Level(Tank) 0ppm

 Nitrite Level(Tank) 0ppm

 Nitrate level(Tank) 20-40ppm (on higher side)

 Ammonia Level(Tap) 0ppm

 Nitrite Level(Tap) 0ppm

 Nitrate level(Tap) 5-10ppm

 Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2-7.6

 Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6-7.8/8

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It looks a bit fungusy to me, what do you think @koko?

 

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25 minutes ago, FishyMandy said:

It looks a bit fungusy to me, what do you think @koko?

 

That does look like fungus.

I would salt the tank first. If that doesn't work. Maybe methane blue.

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7 hours ago, FishyMandy said:

It looks a bit fungusy to me, what do you think @koko?

 

Thank you!

7 hours ago, koko said:

That does look like fungus.

I would salt the tank first. If that doesn't work. Maybe methane blue.

Great, thank you.

 

I will come back and update you both 

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Hi I-Goldfish, 

In addition to the above info, I didn't see the nostril before but In the pictures on this post it looks slightly different/ damaged in comparison to the other nostril. Hard for me to tell by the photo - is that the case? if so is the change recent? It also looks fungal to me, and I ask this to try to better understand how fungus might have taken hold.

In addition to that, your concern about the possible gravel lodged in the nostril, it may be possible for you to see this with a flashlight.

I have read of people taking the fish into a dark space in a clear shallow container ( keeping fish submerged of course ) and shining a bright flashlight through their little bodies to " X-RAY" them. I have not done this myself but it seems safe enough and minimally invasive.

My only concern is that the fish have no eyelids so one must be careful not to shine bright lights directly into the eyes.

Hopefully someone with more years of fish keeping experience will confirm or debunk this method.

You could also do a combination of your proposed solutions to this gravel problem, KO - then suck out the gravel with air hose instead of surgery

Wish you all the best and Blacky a speedy recovery.

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1 hour ago, J.Allen said:

Hi I-Goldfish, 

In addition to the above info, I didn't see the nostril before but In the pictures on this post it looks slightly different/ damaged in comparison to the other nostril. Hard for me to tell by the photo - is that the case? if so is the change recent? It also looks fungal to me, and I ask this to try to better understand how fungus might have taken hold.

In addition to that, your concern about the possible gravel lodged in the nostril, it may be possible for you to see this with a flashlight.

I have read of people taking the fish into a dark space in a clear shallow container ( keeping fish submerged of course ) and shining a bright flashlight through their little bodies to " X-RAY" them. I have not done this myself but it seems safe enough and minimally invasive.

My only concern is that the fish have no eyelids so one must be careful not to shine bright lights directly into the eyes.

Hopefully someone with more years of fish keeping experience will confirm or debunk this method.

You could also do a combination of your proposed solutions to this gravel problem, KO - then suck out the gravel with air hose instead of surgery

Wish you all the best and Blacky a speedy recovery.

Hi,

I think that is just the way it's appearing on the angles of the photos, both nostrils look the same and normal in person! 

 

Yes there definitely are small pieces of gravel lodged in there (one bit has been there for 2 years!) so my theory is these have caused local irritation which has given the fungus  the opportunity to cause infection.

 

The fungus is already starting to clear, but the issue of getting the gravel out seems challenging. I'm not sure if sucking would be strong enough... We'll see how it goes and get rid of the fungal infection first.

 

Thank you so much :) 

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Hello everyone,

Just as a plan for the future, the fungus is currently clearing up nicely, hopefully it continues this way and doesn't recur!

 

Regarding removing this piece of gravel. I really don't know if it's going to be feasible without causing a lot of injury and more problems than it's worth, especially due to the delicate olfactory lamellae? It is really lodged in there and I think may be bigger than I originally believed (rather than two smaller pieces) as it can be seen clearly from the anterior nostril opening (see attached photo) and also the posterior opening (not pictured).

 

His other nostril that I was concerned also had a piece in seems clear though, so that's some good news.

 

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts would be regarding leaving it/attempting removal after the infection has cleared (fingers crossed). And if anyone has any idea on how they would approach this?

 

What complicates matters more is I am supposed to be moving away in a few days for university, anything with Blacky always seems to happen just before I move away :(

 

TIA

IMG_8491-1.thumb.PNG.9edd978b455d4cf93516eb0c09ee4b28.PNG

 

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TIA,

Glad to hear the fungal issue is clearing up. As far as the future goes if Blacky has been able to survive this log with the nostril issue only now needing additional treatment I think you have some time to figure this out and make the best decision that both you and Blacky will be most comfortable with, I know you mentioned you are leaving for study but block the pressure of the time clock from your mind while you make the next play.

As I see it, I would say you have 3 main options in my opinion.

Option 1: Do nothing. this is the least invasive procedure. Blacky has survived like this for some time now, and can probably survive like this some more, depending on whether or not more gravel has entered the nostril or its the same will determine if now Blacky is more suseptible fungus, if so Blacky might be totally fine and require occasional fungal treatments. This is minimally invasive but could possibly expose Blacky to medications for prolonged periods of time, I don't know what the effects of that might be, but I would think its better just to avoid prolonged exposure to medication if possible unless it was something like StressZYME with Aloe to help slime coat but even still, if you can get away with less that's better. Blacky might not ever get fungus again and the possibility of needing occasional medication sounds a lot less scary than surgery.

With that being said, it was D.H. Lawrence who wrote 

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”


― D.H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems of D.H. Lawrence

While Blacky is your friend and has been domesticated- and while you might worry, Blacky is a wild thing. You have already given Blacky a much higher quality of life than that of  wild carp and probably most of other people who keep fish ( as proven by the 11 years of age)  as well as showered Blacky with your affection and attention from what I see here. Sometimes wild things get into things and it goes awry- but they never stop to pity themselves, they just keep doing the best they can with what they've got. I believe that totally trying to suppress the wild nature of a thing can actually negatively impact its quality of life, but thats a whole other philosophical debate for another place in time.

Option 2 : Risky but still minimally invasive. I think would be to try to " suck" the gravel out, if it went in that way- it can come out that way. I think that if you felt comfortable knocking Blacky out with the clove , you might be able to use a piece of air hose with an inside diameter of similar size to the nostril or maybe one of those " flavor injector" syringes without the needle. The key here would be to get a diameter that is almost the same size as the nostril, and keep Blacky wet and slimy to get a good seal around the hose and the nostril then using your mouth on the other end of the hose or the syringe suck the gravel out if you can. While you're not cutting into Blacky the risk is in knocking him out, and in that if the gravel has shifted into a different direction inside the nostril removing it with suction will cause a scrape wound, however, that could then be treated and heal and the voila! no more gravel and healed Blacky.

Option 3: ( Highy experimental and theoretical I do not condone experimenting on animals- hopefully this doesn't cause a riot or get me banned) Option 3 Would be my last resort and would require you to do a lot of independent research on fish anatomy, and VOC content of chemicals, and become your own DIY fish surgeon. While I don't recommend this I do believe its worth a mention incase things reached a point that was very bad and there was not much else to be done anyway. There have been studies in the past about how they treat human burn victims with tilapia fish skin, the idea behind this is that the burned human flesh can heal and maintain moisture beneath the fish skin , which does not require the frequent and uncomfortable changing of bandages. This got me thinking that if fish skin is so close to human skin , can liquid bandage or liquid stitches for humans be used on fish? The connection would be that depending on the situation, it might be necessary to make a small cut in the end of the nostril so that it can stretch out a little and the gravel be pulled out with very sharp tweezers like used for watch making. This creates the problem of an open wound which would compromise Blacky's protective barrier. If you could stitch Blacky with that sterile glue that would greatly reduce the heal time and chance of infection - However sealing the inside of the incision and monitoring the inside of the nostril for fungus or infection would be extremely difficult. You would also need to consider Blackys age and Quality of life.

I feel that the most important thing though is: whatever you feel in your gut about this trust it and you won't go wrong. If it feels uncomfortable don't do it. Try the most minimally invasive non surgical options you and anyone else here can think of and when you feel like you or Blacky has had enough, let it lay if necessary. Always acknowledge your instincts as an addition to your other 5 senses if you can. As we grow older if we don't use them we lose them. As long as Blacky is Eating , pooping, and foraging he is some kind of okay and at the end of the day that's all any of us can really ask for. 

this concludes my opinion piece.

Best Regards to you and Blacky,

Jordan

 

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In addition to my last posting, I thought about this over the night and I shared Blacky's story with my girlfriend, She contributed that one of the things they use to suck out new born baby snot at the hospital might work too. 

IMG_7368.thumb.PNG.0a9dd3eb36516e6c9abc327fc61ff67a.PNG

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19 hours ago, J.Allen said:

TIA,

Glad to hear the fungal issue is clearing up. As far as the future goes if Blacky has been able to survive this log with the nostril issue only now needing additional treatment I think you have some time to figure this out and make the best decision that both you and Blacky will be most comfortable with, I know you mentioned you are leaving for study but block the pressure of the time clock from your mind while you make the next play.

As I see it, I would say you have 3 main options in my opinion.

Option 1: Do nothing. this is the least invasive procedure. Blacky has survived like this for some time now, and can probably survive like this some more, depending on whether or not more gravel has entered the nostril or its the same will determine if now Blacky is more suseptible fungus, if so Blacky might be totally fine and require occasional fungal treatments. This is minimally invasive but could possibly expose Blacky to medications for prolonged periods of time, I don't know what the effects of that might be, but I would think its better just to avoid prolonged exposure to medication if possible unless it was something like StressZYME with Aloe to help slime coat but even still, if you can get away with less that's better. Blacky might not ever get fungus again and the possibility of needing occasional medication sounds a lot less scary than surgery.

With that being said, it was D.H. Lawrence who wrote 

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”


― D.H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems of D.H. Lawrence

While Blacky is your friend and has been domesticated- and while you might worry, Blacky is a wild thing. You have already given Blacky a much higher quality of life than that of  wild carp and probably most of other people who keep fish ( as proven by the 11 years of age)  as well as showered Blacky with your affection and attention from what I see here. Sometimes wild things get into things and it goes awry- but they never stop to pity themselves, they just keep doing the best they can with what they've got. I believe that totally trying to suppress the wild nature of a thing can actually negatively impact its quality of life, but thats a whole other philosophical debate for another place in time.

Option 2 : Risky but still minimally invasive. I think would be to try to " suck" the gravel out, if it went in that way- it can come out that way. I think that if you felt comfortable knocking Blacky out with the clove , you might be able to use a piece of air hose with an inside diameter of similar size to the nostril or maybe one of those " flavor injector" syringes without the needle. The key here would be to get a diameter that is almost the same size as the nostril, and keep Blacky wet and slimy to get a good seal around the hose and the nostril then using your mouth on the other end of the hose or the syringe suck the gravel out if you can. While you're not cutting into Blacky the risk is in knocking him out, and in that if the gravel has shifted into a different direction inside the nostril removing it with suction will cause a scrape wound, however, that could then be treated and heal and the voila! no more gravel and healed Blacky.

Option 3: ( Highy experimental and theoretical I do not condone experimenting on animals- hopefully this doesn't cause a riot or get me banned) Option 3 Would be my last resort and would require you to do a lot of independent research on fish anatomy, and VOC content of chemicals, and become your own DIY fish surgeon. While I don't recommend this I do believe its worth a mention incase things reached a point that was very bad and there was not much else to be done anyway. There have been studies in the past about how they treat human burn victims with tilapia fish skin, the idea behind this is that the burned human flesh can heal and maintain moisture beneath the fish skin , which does not require the frequent and uncomfortable changing of bandages. This got me thinking that if fish skin is so close to human skin , can liquid bandage or liquid stitches for humans be used on fish? The connection would be that depending on the situation, it might be necessary to make a small cut in the end of the nostril so that it can stretch out a little and the gravel be pulled out with very sharp tweezers like used for watch making. This creates the problem of an open wound which would compromise Blacky's protective barrier. If you could stitch Blacky with that sterile glue that would greatly reduce the heal time and chance of infection - However sealing the inside of the incision and monitoring the inside of the nostril for fungus or infection would be extremely difficult. You would also need to consider Blackys age and Quality of life.

I feel that the most important thing though is: whatever you feel in your gut about this trust it and you won't go wrong. If it feels uncomfortable don't do it. Try the most minimally invasive non surgical options you and anyone else here can think of and when you feel like you or Blacky has had enough, let it lay if necessary. Always acknowledge your instincts as an addition to your other 5 senses if you can. As we grow older if we don't use them we lose them. As long as Blacky is Eating , pooping, and foraging he is some kind of okay and at the end of the day that's all any of us can really ask for. 

this concludes my opinion piece.

Best Regards to you and Blacky,

Jordan

 

Hi Jordan,

Thank you for taking the time to reply with such thought and detail!

 

I agree, when he was only the length of a finger he actually had gravel stuck in his mouth that had to be coaxed out however I decided to not remove the substrate so he could exhibit natural foraging behaviour, which he loves! 

 

I've decided I'm going to continue and make sure he recovers from the infection first and then see how he goes without trying to get the gravel out, seeing as he's been perfectly happy and healthy for 2 years with a piece in there! Hopefully it won't become a nidus for infection/re-infection and the problem will be sorted and will just continue to keep an eye on it!

 

And yes option 2 will be my second option. I don't personally feel too comfortable using clove oil, however would consult with a vet about the possibility of having a vet help me use alfaxalone and I already have some extremely small plastic tipped tweezers which I think would do the job, and also your latest post about the baby aspirator is a really good idea!

 

For your option 3 I do see where you're coming from however I definitely don't think it will come to that in this case! Welfare wise as well it would require analgesia and probably prophylactic antibiotics so would be a fish vet situation, but obviously stuff like this is done in the right conditions for sure!

 

Yes he's doing great in himself, back to his normal cheeky self now the infection is clearing up so I'm hoping this won't turn in to a situation of constantly battling against reinfection and he'll carry on just with a piece of gravel there!

 

Thank you, I'll update this thread to let everyone know how he gets on with this plan!

 

 

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