Jump to content

Goldfish Can't Open Her Mouth To Eat


Guest GoldieGrandma

Recommended Posts

Guest GoldieGrandma

I need some urgent fish advice. Our goldfish can't open her mouth and it?s been several days since she?s eaten. There seems to be a almost-transparent membrane of some sort over her mouth, like the shell that comes off garbanzo beans. After searching the internet I?m pretty sure she has mouth rot/ columnarius/ flexibacter and I?m treating her with meds. Today was the fourth day of treatment with Maracyn and Maracyn-Two together.

I found a picture on a French website of a (dead!) goldfish whose mouth looks a lot like ours: www.passionbassin.com/bacteries_koi.php. But our fish?s mouth isn?t open at all. Is there some way I can open it a little so that she can suck in some food? I know that sounds drastic, but if she doesn?t eat soon she?ll die. It?s already been at least a week since I?ve seen her eat anything.

She's a Common Goldfish over two years old.

She's the only fish in a 5 gallon tank.

Filter inside the lid and bio wheel run all the time.

No other aeration

We feed her goldfish flakes.

I?ve done a series of water changes over the last week using tap water treated with Amquel Plus with a teaspoon of salt added. Here are the water test results:

Ammonia: 0-.25 ppm (closest in color to the 0, the next color on the chart would be .25)

Nitrate: 0-20 ppm (closest in color to the 0, definitely not as pink as the 20 ppm)

Nitrite: 0-.5 ppm (looks white like the 0)

Total Hardness (GH): "soft"=75 ppm, not green like 25 or lighter brown like 150)

Total alkalinity (KH): 0-40 ppm (but looks just like the 0 color not green like the 40)

pH level tested with the drops: 7.2 (not as light as 7.0 or as dark as 7.6)

This is my daughter?s fish and currently our only family pet. I?d really like to save her. What do you think I should do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Hi GoldieGrandma and :welcome

Mouthrot is easily one of the nastiest things I've seen, especially when the skin grows over the mouth or it becomes so puckered, there's no opening to take in food.

First thing I would do is keep the water perfect and the meds might cause a bump in your cycle - so checking the water often will help. Unfortunately, the reason for the disease usually starts with stress and a lowered immunity plus poor water conditions. How often do you do waterchanges? How large are the waterchanges when you do them?

Now the bad new is that 5 gallons for a comet is way too small and this could've been the reason for the stress.. Comets need a good 20 gallons of water to grow healthy and strong - so perhaps in the future, you could perhaps upgrade her to a bigger home? :)

Now for the mouthrot - when you look at her mouth, is there an opening at all? Has the skin grown over the mouth? Is it puckered? Is there any muscle movement at all? My friend and I had to take drastic action once when her koi developed mouthrot and while his health improved, he could no longer eat. Thankfully we had a vet with us and she made an incision at either side of the mouth to reopen it. It can be done but would depend on how the mouth has distorted.

Is there any chance you can take a picture of your guy to show us?

Please post back soon :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest GoldieGrandma

Thanks for the reply. Answers to your questions:

I tried to vacuum the gravel once a month taking out 1 to 1 1/2 gallons and replacing with distilled water. I'm planning to do partial water changes much more often now with tap water treated with Amquel Plus. I thought everything was fine since our fish was swimming and eating and living a long life. But now I know I need to do much better on maintaining the water quality.

Her mouth looks okay if you just look at her, until you realize that she can't seem to open it. She looks like she is trying to open it so I think there is just [skin?] stretched over the opening. Every once in a while she seems to open and close and open and close it. I can only get a look at it when she has it "open" and then only if she is turned the right direction for me to see. I don't think I can get a picture. I watched her for a long time tonight and it seems like there are a couple of tiny holes there now. But it might just be thinner. Did you look at the French website picture (the goldfish on the right)? See how its mouth sticks out like a rectangle on the front of its face instead of its face coming to a point? Do you think that's her bottom lip hanging down? The skin over our fish's mouth looks like the part that is lighter/thinner on that picture.

I was asking my husband tonight if he would help me try to net her and hold her to try to open her mouth. I hate to admit it but I'm really afraid to do this. But if he'll hold her for me then I'll try. I was thinking of using a toothpick to break whatever the film was over her mouth. But if you think it is actually skin then I'm not sure that will work. How do we hold her still without hurting her anyway?

Do you think there is any chance it will open up on it own as the meds work? Her fins were clamped and raggedy before I started the treatment and they seem better now. And she's seems to have plenty of energy. Is there some way to tell if she is really getting close to starvation?

Thanks again for your advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I honestly think if you and your husband are game then definitely give it a try. Usually, if you hold a fish out of the water for a few seconds, they'll stop wiggling OR, you can do it another way. Make sure your hands are super clean and then hold her in your hand while still in the tank then bring he to the surface. If you do this in your left/right hand (the opposite of the main hand you use) and hold her at the surface, you can have a good look.

I'm trying to work out if her mouth is like the fish on the right (of the French website) - wide open? If so, you can grab the toothpick and try to gently place it sideways on her mouth - like a dog with a stick in its mouth and this will hopefull close it a little. Try not to use too much pressure, just enough to see if her mouth will close. This is to try and get her mouth working again. If she can open and close her mouth, it may open it up to receive food. Is it wide open with skin stretched over the opening?

I think if she's to get well, your new maintenance schedule will do her the world of good. As she's in a tank that's too small for her, bi-weekly waterchanges of 50% will benefit her so in affect, you'll be doing a 100% waterchange each week (I can't stress how important this is for her) :) And hopefully in the near future, you can try and get her a nice 20 gallon tank - which is still compact enough to keep maintenance trouble free :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest GoldieGrandma

I'm sorry to say our goldfish didn't make it. We tried lifting her out of the water and looking at her mouth, but I couldn't tell anything and couldn't get the toothpick in sideways like a bone. (In answer to the last question, her jaw was not open like in the picture, but she would open and close it really fast. I just couldn't get the toothpick in there quick enough.)

She was only out of the water for a matter of seconds, but when we put her back in the water to catch her breath she didn't start swimming! I swished her back and forth in the net for a little while and then when I let her out she was breathing but barely swimming, hanging at the top gasping and getting caught in the current from the filter. It just made me feel terrible, but I really thought if we didn't do something to fix her mouth soon she was die from starvation anyway. I just didn't think we'd had her out of the water long enough to harm her. Seeing her getting caught in the current and barely able to swim out made me think we should put her out of her misery. But we left that decision up to my daughter and she wanted to "wait and see."

Later that day the fish was back to resting on the bottom -- so we'd come full circle back to the behavior that first made me think something was wrong! She wouldn't (couldn't, I still believe) eat and would only occassionally swim around a little bit. A couple of days later she was at the top, sometimes upside down, looking like she was struggling to breath. We covered the tank up so my daughter wouldn't see her before school, and then after the kids were out of the house I checked on her again. Still struggling. I just couldn't stand to see her like that, so after some googling on the subject of goldfish euthanasia I made a trip to the store for some clove oil and some vodka. (Some people think the freezing method would be painful -- and it would be hard to explain to a little kid.) I followed the instructions on http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-h...nize-a-fish.htm. I encourage you to add this method to your website as an alternative to the freezing method.

Clove oil followed by vodka worked well for me and it was a relatively easy procedure (except emotionally). I put her in a small plastic container, put in the clove oil and tank water mixture, and within a few minutes she was very quiet but still breathing occassinally. So then I put in vodka to finish her off. It sounds awful, but there was no way she was going to get better. After she had died I put her back into her tank (with the filter off so she wouldn't get washed around by the current) in case my daughter wanted to see her one more time to say goodbye. I'm not going to tell my daughter about my part in her pet's death, so I didn't want to leave her in the smaller container. Anyway, after school my daughter decided against looking at her but does want to bury her in the backyard. So I put her into a little box (lined with plastic wrap and paper towels), wrapped the box up in plain paper, and it's in my freezer until we can bury her with my husband this weekend. I still haven't emptied the tank, and everytime I walk by or glance at it, I instinctively look for our fish. It's amazing how much grief one little fish can evoke.

Thanks for all the advice. If we decide to get another goldfish I'm sure I'll be reading more on your site so I can do a better job of taking care on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I'm so sorry she didn't make it :cry1

We have a pinned thread on euthanasia which talks you through the steps using clove oil although I don't use vodka because clove oil is a natural anasthetic so will put them to sleep on it's own ... and unfortunately i've had to rely on this method a couple of times now. It really is sad :(

I hope you feel better soon :heart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 years later...
  • Admin

My goldfish has the same membrane thing around its mouth and I have already researched mouth rot/ columnarius/ flexibacter and I'm not sure it is any of those.....

this thread is 06 the op ist here any more please start a new thread dont reply to threads over a year old. thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...