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How To Recognize A Stunted Fish


number20121

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I am just curious. When you see a fish for the first time, is there any way to tell if it is stunted?

For all I know when I go to the LFS that cute little 3 inch fish might already be two or three years old before he gets to the LFS, but is stunted and looks small and might be mistaken as a baby by people who don't know better - like me.

One of the reasons I wonder is because I believe I read somewhere on here that one of the signs for a stunted fish is their fins curling up or something like that. What exactly does it look like? The bottom of Spicey's tail fin is curling up a bit. You can even tell in my sig, the very bottom, about 2 mm are curling in, kind of towards each other.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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I've wondered the same thing. Since I love all my babies and want them to grow big and strong, it would be a shame if they were already stunted before I got them.

I'll admit that my brother brought a goldfish back to the store after he kept it in a two gallon tank for three years. I sometimes wonder if he/she was purchased again by an unexpecting owner.

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So, about stunted fish... my oranda is most certainly stunted after living for 3 years in a 1 gallon fishbowl :( one of his tail fins does curl slightly, and he is still pretty small, and has shown breeding tubercles. He doesn't even really have a wen yet (though the area has definitely become more pronounced since getting him out of that bowl).

So I guess I'd just like to know more about stunted goldfish. I know this must mean he will not get very large and his lifespan must be shortened. What other health problems might he have? And to what extent is his growth/lifespan limited i.e. how big can I expect him to get, and do you think he will ever grow a wen?

Poor little guy.. I'm going to do everything I can to take the best care of him :(

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Thank goodness none of mine are stunted- the lfs I got them from overstocked them (I've found that most lfs do) but the water and tank was very clean, and it wasn't grossly overstocked as a lot of ones at chain stores are.

But this is sad- my cousin keeps a common (or comet, can't tell which)in a one gallon fish bowl that's half filled with gravel! So the poor thing has less then 1g of water and is fed nothing but flakes. He's several years old (I think) and only 1.5-2 inches long. He look kind of..oddly shaped to me. I pretty sure he's stunted :( It's always so sad to see him like this :(

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Darn it. For some odd reason, I never thought about a pet store having stunted fish. :( I guess I figure they just get sold too fast for the environment to effect their growth.

I read some more on this after reading this post; like Lupin said, the eyes sound like they're the big indicator. I read in another forum (not sure if I'm allowed to link it here) that if the space above and below the eye equals to one eye-height, then it's most likely stunted. (I hope that makes sense). Also the fins tend to look too big for the body of the fish (such as twice the size).

It would definitely be a challenge for me to pick out, though. Guess I'll have to be extra observant when I go goldfish shopping.

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1. Bulging or popping eyes

2. Disproportionate eye size

3. Breeding signs at such a small size

Those are how I usually determine possible stunting.

Exactly. And another is if their tail is growing longer and faster than their body; like if it is twice the size that the fish is. One of the mods once told me that long ago.

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I see. Then maybe Spicey is not stunted, as she seems proportional. Her wen didn't grow any yet, but if she is young then it will take a bit. I can only tell that the skin on the top of her head is thick and slightly uneven looking, but nothing that you could call a wen. Her eyes are normal size too, so are her fins although she got a nice big fantail already.

Compared to what she looks down here in my signature, she is way rounder now, looking at her from the side; and her fins grew a bit. Maybe the body too and I just remember her bigger than she really was. I should have taken her measurements when I got her.

It just got me that her vent looks so similar to Hugo's who is definitely a girl, but I read that fish have to be about a year or older to be identified as male or female. Maybe she is just mature earlier :D

But yeah, I wondered if breeders maybe eventually sell a fish they used for breeding. Who knows how the breeder kept the fish and maybe even the parents are already stunted. Not sure how that works, but you never know.

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