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Old 12-31-2005, 03:58 PM   #1
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Plastic plants entrapping and killing fish

I have a general question to all regarding the use of plastic plants. Mainly the kind that attach to a weight at the bottom in one location, and then spread out from there. Similar to a corkscrew val. or a grass clump.

In my old tank from 5 years ago, I had several fish swim down the blades and get lodged in the tight area around where it attaches to the base, and die.

Recently, I lost my angel fish to the same problem. I did not personally see the fish literally swim down, get stuck and die, but that seems to me what had happened. Especially since if the fish were to die on it's own, I find it hard to believe it would float down the plastic plant and just wedge it's dead body there. But I could believe that once a fish goes down, they would have a pretty hard time backing up to get out.

Anyone else ever run into this problem?

I am slowly trying to figure out the live plant thing before this "death trap" gets removed, but I just wonder if I'm the only one?
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Old 12-31-2005, 05:03 PM   #2
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I've never heard of anything like this...I really think the fish is just drifting in there after it dies.
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:05 PM   #3
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I've seen the same thing and I agree with Codefox - the fish probably died and the current forced it deep into the plastic plant. No healthy fish would ever get itself trapped in a plastic or real plant. Now, evil hollow resin ornaments are another story.
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:14 PM   #4
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Actually, with the right sort of plants, it does happen....yours is but one of several stories of this I have heard....my aquarium society ways & means director even wrote a mini-article on the subject a couple of years back...you may wish to replace that particulr plant with one of another design.
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Old 12-31-2005, 09:08 PM   #5
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Sometimes I think that weird things only happen to me. Just yesterday morning, noticed that one of my angelfish was stuck in a plastic plant. At first I thought as Codefox suggested, that the angel was sick and drifted into the plant. I gently moved the plant aside and the angelfish quickly swam away. I have been observing the fish since then and it is swimming normally, eating normally, and otherwise does not appear sick in any way. But, that's just my experience, and a recent one at that.
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Old 12-31-2005, 09:13 PM   #6
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would it be possible to take some gravel and put it around that area so that wont be possible?
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Old 01-04-2006, 08:43 AM   #7
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I knew I was not alone in this phenomenon!!

fishyrican - I am amazed that you actually saw this happen before it was too late. I love this message forum, as my wife thought I was crazy.

nitrous - I don't think putting gravel around the plant will help, unless you cover up the first couple of inches of the plastic death trap. (that might look quite funny, a big mound around a plastic plant) Plus, it may not solve the problem.

I think we overestimate the power of the fish's fins, as I don't think they have a good backup strength when they get into a jam. Some of these plastic plants, when you or I touch them, think they a quite soft, but to a little guy swimming with 1/4" long fins, it may prove to be too stiff to maneuver through.

Everyone's best bet is to remove the plants and replace them with safer ones, real ones, or bury them down deep enough to cover the part at the bottom that proves to be too tight a squeeze for the fish.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
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I have seen fish get stuck in live plants too, specifically species that put out 'adventurous runners' like sage. or chain sword. The runners are so tangled, and the plant leaves so dense, that fish can get stuck sometimes.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:24 AM   #9
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I have to keep an eye on my betta as he always sits in plants. Usually with his head pointing straight down!

When i first saw him doing this i thought he was dead but when i moved the plant about he swam out.
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:51 PM   #10
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I still don't understand how a healthy fish can get so entrapped in a plant that it dies.
I've seen my smaller angelfish, cory, and pleco deep inside the amazon swords trying to get at a morsel of food. They always seem to be able to find the reverse gear shifter, and back themselves out.
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