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A question I really don't want to ask...


viking_snail

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As some of you may know, my comet Gerald (the calico fish in my sig) has been having issues for quite some time. I'm pretty certain it's swimbladder related..

He started off with some general buoyancy issues - sometimes floaty, sometimes sinky. I'd see him swim about, looking like it was a fair bit of effort, then when he stopped he'd sometimes float to the top or sink to the bottom. Like he couldn't stay wherever he fancied without putting effort in to it.

Occaisionally he'd rest almost vertically (head up) wedged in the plants at night time. I figured this was probably down to having trouble staying put and getting worn out having swimming issues.

This behaviour gradually got more and more frequent, and he started to spend alot of time at the top of the tank - always one particular spot, I'm thinking maybe there's a deadspot in current there. He'd only usually do this at night, acting fairly normally during the day (well, as normal as I came to expect anyway). He'd be nearly vertical, head up, but not really gasping or anything. Again, this became more and more frequent.

Now he's at the point where he spends the majority of the time at the top of the tank like this. At night it gets worse - he's curved over on his side at the top most of the night now. He can straighten up while swimming, and he still eats, but it seems like it's so much effort for him to swim and not float. Sometimes he'll still wedge himself between plants, but that seems like the only way he can stay still without floating or putting alot of effort in.

I began to fast once a week, with peas the day after. I got rid of all processed foods, and switched to agar in my gel food. With each change, I noticed a little improvement, but it never seems to last. I've played around with the rocks and such in the tank to change current or create hiding spots, but that doesn't seem to help. I'm always on top of testing and changing water, keeping things clean. The other fish all seem totally fine.

Gerald is showing no other unusual signs of illness, and given the slow process this has been and how the other fish seem unaffected, I can think of no other explanation that it's a swimbladder issue that I don't think I can do anything about. He's about 5 years old now, and while that isn't particularly old, he didn't exactly have the best few years of life before I realised all I was doing wrong. At the moment, his quality of life I think is.. limited. He can swim if he really puts his mind to it, and he eats, but the rest of the time he looks pretty sad. And it's getting worse as each day goes on. Also, I can't be certain whether this is due to him being curved over at the moment, but his scales are looking a little dubious ...

I really don't want to ask this, but I think I need to start looking into this if/when the time comes ... what is the best way to euthanize a fish? :(

It's horrible to even think about, but I need to think of his quality of life. And at the moment it's not so great, and I certainly don't see it getting any better. It's breaking my heart watching him and writing this post ... :(

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I know how you feel hun.

just this morning I had to put Sushi down. She had been suffering along time with a bacterial infection. This morning I woke up to her really sick. So I got my glasses on :o She had Dropsy's. After treating her with everything I could possible give her, I decided to let her go.

She didnt fight me at all, she had the look of Mommy let me go please.... So I scooped her up, got a Quart baggy with tank water, and about a table soon off Clove oil... Watched her till she wasnt breathing, Said I was sorry and put her in the Freezer.. :cry

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Oh I'm so sorry Koko :( Sometimes it's the kindest but the hardest thing to do.

I certainly don't want to end Gerald's life prematurely, but I also don't want him to suffer any longer than is necessary. I don't want his last days to be a horrible stuggle with me trying anything and everything to get him better.. because of course I don't want to give up on him, but at the end of the day I know my fish and I just don't think he will improve, only deteriorate. :(

From what little I know, clove oil seems the best option. I haven't got it in me to remove heads or anything like that..! How much clove oil? I'd be tempted to use more than recommended, to be on the 'safe' side, but would too much cause pain?

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When I put Pharoh down he was 9" long. I had to get a Gallon Baggy and put about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of clove oil for him.

So Sushi was only 4" long and went down with about a table spoon.

So the bigger they are the more you need. :(

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Many health food stores carry clove oil. I remember in Austria you could even find it in the essential oils section of various stores.

If he is suffering more than he has quality of life, I agree that it is better and more fair to let him go :) We are all here for you, hun :)

Too much clove oil won't cause pain, but it might be difficult to mix with water. I don't know for sure, but if there is too much oiliness going on, it might irritate the fish's gills before he dies.

The clove oil works like an anasthetic. It is used in fish medicine to put fish "to sleep" for procedures, but in overdoses it will gently euthanize the fish.

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I just did this for the first time. A lot of online sources say to mix vodka and clove oil in water, but I followed the directions in the link in Goldlumpen's recent posts on euthanizing, which said the vodka was the second step to ensure death. Sleep first made sense to me, and felt kinder. I put about 12 drops of clove oil in about 1/4 cup tank water, shook it up, and put my little pealie in a small tupperware in tank water. Then I added the clove oil water a bit at a time. Once she was asleep (or possibly gone, hard to tell), I waited about 20 minutes or so, then I added the vodka to be sure.... She did not seem distressed, maybe a bit surprised when the clove oil first entered the water, but it acted very quickly. I am sorry your fish is ill.

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Like others have said, the vodka isn't needed to make the clove oil work. It's simply used by many people (myself included) to completely mix the clove oil with water. Since oil and water don't mix naturally, the vodka binds to the oil, and disperses it into the water evenly so you can use less. When I use clove oil, this is how I do it:

Add about 5drops of clove oil to 5drops of vodka (or tank water if you don't have/don't want to use vodka) in a seal-able container. Shake vigorously until the mixture turns white. Put fish in just enough water to cover it's body and slowly pour the clove oil directly onto it's head (this ensures it breathes as much in as possible).

Don't be alarmed if the fish jerks when the clove oil first hits him. It doesn't smell good, and I suppose it doesn't taste good either. He's not in pain, just startled. Leave the container with the fish alone for at least 20 minutes to ensure the oil has done it's job.

I have never had to use more than a 10 drops of clove oil to put a fish down. Even large fish should go quietly with 10 drops.

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I believe the vodka can burn the gills and isn't really needed. Clove oil alone should work just fine.

If you use clove oil alone, then I think you would want to use more than I did, to be safe. I saw various suggestions for how much to use in 16 oz of water, and felt quite unsure as to what would simply put her into deep sleep and what would actually put her to sleep. That's why I did the vodka as the second step even though she seemed not to be breathing at all (and the reason I did not mix it with the clove oil in the beginning, as many places suggest, since I had read it would burn the gills). This is the advice I finally followed for procedure, but I used more clove oil than this article suggests: http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/97346-a-question-i-really-dont-want-to-ask/page__fromsearch__1 . In my case, adding the clove oil/water mixture gradually seemed to cause little distress. Others with more experience may have more to say on this topic--it was my first time to euthanize, too. It is a hard thing to do, and I sympathize... :(

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I've done this with one goldfish and several tropicals. I usually add more than the recommended dose of clove oil and I use a container with a lid, then shake it really, really good (before I add the fish of course!!!!) to mix it in. Then I added the fish immediately. Each time I've done this, the fish has been gone within 5-10 seconds (at most).

Just wondering, how long has Gearld been like this now?

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Thankyou for everyone's support - it really means alot! He is much the same today, had a little swim about in the day and something to eat, but has spent the majority of time at the top of the tank. As night comes he goes onto his side .. :(

Gerald has been having problems for probably about a year or so, and they've gradually got worse. He seems to be going downhill quicker these past few weeks..

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It takes a while for things to freeze in the freezer. How do you know they do not wake up before they are fully frozen?

We have mainly talked about using clove oil, which doesn't involve freezing :)

But (for everyone's benifit) here's a very detailed thread about euthanisia. This topic has come up a lot lately and really, this thread sums it all up http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/32080-euthanizing/

Viking snail...maybe you could start a D&D thread about this, since that seems to be where it's going? Or of course you can do whatever you feel is necessary :heart

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Thankyou so much for all this guys! And that's a such a kind offer, Fede, thankyou :):heart

As for a hospital tank .. I have one spare tank (which I keep saying I'll get round to resealing .. I think it's ok, but it scares me a little lol) but it's depth isn't really a vast amount different to what he's in. The smaller tank has a depth of 12 inches, this one is just less than 15. I don't know whether that's enough to make a difference, but from what little I know it's usually sinky fish that have more pressure problems?

Unless it's absoloutely necessary I really don't want to move him .. I had to with my last sick fish, and it's horrible watching them spend their last days in a bare tank all alone .. Of course if it's totally necessary and likely to help, I will. But I feel anything I do now will be a last-ditch attempt, and so I don't want to put him through undue stress.

I can definetely give the medicated food a go! I guess that should be fed just to Gerald? As I obviously don't really want to move him, I'm pretty sure I can hand feed him ok if this is the case.

I will start a D&D perhaps tomorrow.. my brain is just too fried for all those questions tonight!

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When I have QT'd Puff and treated him with MMs for floatiness I only filled the QT tank up maybe 4-5 inches to start, and then continually added slightly more water at each water change. Granted I can't say how much this helps, since I am treating with MMs as well, but he definitely seems better able to maneuver around at the low water level :) It would be great if you could get MMs just to try as a last ditch effort!

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It takes a while for things to freeze in the freezer. How do you know they do not wake up before they are fully frozen?

The key is to overdose sufficiently on the clove oil and afterwards to check for any sign of gill movement for a few minutes, as under deep sedation they can still be breathing periodically, I understand. I used vodka as a second step after 20 minutes to be sure (because I was so worried about just that), but if you have sufficient clove oil you do not need to do that. The problem I had was not being sure what the lethal dosage really was. I actually believe 12 drops was sufficient for my very small fish, I do think she had passed, but I was worried about it.

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When I have QT'd Puff and treated him with MMs for floatiness I only filled the QT tank up maybe 4-5 inches to start, and then continually added slightly more water at each water change. Granted I can't say how much this helps, since I am treating with MMs as well, but he definitely seems better able to maneuver around at the low water level :) It would be great if you could get MMs just to try as a last ditch effort!

LionChu has successfully used this method on floaty fish. There are some threads from about a year or so ago on this. I think the idea is that the lower water pressure helps the fish regulate the swim bladder. As there is less water in the tank--and esp. if you do not have a filter in there--you need to do water changes daily or they can get ammonia burn (as I found out the hard way). Also, be sure it is in a room with steady heat if you do not have a small enough heater for that amount of water, as the lower volume cools off really quickly (as I also found out the hard way, when my house heat failed). [indeed, many of the things I have learned about fish I found out the hard way. Sigh.]

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Yes, absolutely, the ammonia can definitely build up fast due to the small water volume. :) I am using a cycled AC70 with a long piece of filter media hanging from the output so that there is no splash from the filter. I also do daily 50% water changes still. And using a heater to keep QT at 78.

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Thanks Chrissy!

Now here's the questions:


    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level: 0
  • * Nitrite Level: 0 (tap water often has up to 0.3 nitrite!)
  • * Nitrate level: 10 (tap is usually about 10)
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines): 7.5
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines): 7.0
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API and Nutrafin drop tests
  • * Water temperature? Room temp, about 22 (or 72) now
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 180 litres, has been running a few years
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 1 Interpet 4+, 1 Fluval U4, total 2000lph
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? 2 times a week, 1 25% change and 1 50% change

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Sunday (22/01), 50%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 4, 3 commons and 1 comet. Average size maybe 4 inch without tail
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Amquel plus with each water change
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? 2 small meals a day, something like frozen bloodworm/brine shrimp/fruit and veggies/gel food, with 1 day of fasting a week followed by a day of peas
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * Any medications added to the tank? No
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Since I found koko's, these fish have not been treated with anything. Before then (my fish are about 5-8 years old), I basically bought what the lfs recommended (obviously this usually failed..) so.. the possibilities are endless :/
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? None
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? General floatyness/weakness as described above, curling at the top of the tank..

The past 24 hours, Gerald has actually been a tiny bit less sideways! However he's still much the same, and is finding it harder to get his food. It's like he can't quite keep up with the food, it moves out of his reach too quick for him to react. I've started hand feeding him a few pieces so I know he's eaten. He still has an interest in food at least, though.

I am hoping he can hang on in there until I can give these MMs a shot!

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