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Old 05-22-2013, 05:25 PM   #1
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Can you force feed a fish?

I have a pair of female Parrot Cichlids that haven't eaten for a few days and have turned pale as paper. I have a plastic medicine syringe that could fit into their mouths. Do you think I could try force feeding them some peas and frozen blood worms? I recently moved them from their 20 gallon to a 90 gallon with a pleco and they haven't eaten since. One got so bad that I had to move it to another tank because it was turning upside down. It's better now but still pale and not eating. I'm worried and would feel so much better if I could feed them something even if it means getting splashed by a 2 lb fish.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
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It is unlikely that you will be successful. This is a small sign of a bigger problem. Have you tested your water? You did good in moving the fish to a bigger tank, as that may have very well contributed to the dilemma.

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Old 05-22-2013, 08:33 PM   #3
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Sounds like your fish are stressing over something. Being grabbed and having a tube put in their mouth wont likely elevate that stress.

Fish can go several days with out eating.. so I wouldnt worry about them starving to death any time soon. Better to focus your energy on finding out whats bothering them and resolving the issue. Ive heard/read good things about those garlic supplements as far as helping fish get their appetites back and bolstering their immune system. Might be something to consider. I believe New Life Spectrum has several foods with garlic already in it. The "Thera +A" variety is the kind I have.

Best of luck.. hope things get better
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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What are you feeding? Or trying to feed :P I would try some treats like bloodworms or live foods. Maybe that will get them to eat. Good luck
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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Yes you can force feed fish without any issues, make sure you use a pipette with a soft tip so you don't damage the esophagus. I would give them some time to settle in before you get to concerned, leave the overhead lights out for a couple of days to let them explore the new tank without interruption from the outside world.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:03 AM   #6
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Maybe try soaking some dried blackworms in garlic? The only time it didn't work for me it turned out intestinal parasites were involved.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:44 AM   #7
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They were originally in seperate 20 gallon tanks and eating like pigs. After I moved them they stopped eating and one is still incredibly pale that I put it in the 30 gallon hospital tank. It's still really pale and not eating but it's upright now and stronger (It smacked me so hard on the arm that it nearly left a mark). The pleco that is living with my more aggressive cichlid is eating very well in the 90 gallon so I don't know if the water has much to do with it. Regardless I've been changing 50% of the water every second day. My aggressive BP is pale in the morning but a deep orange at night. Should I somehow try to cover the tank up? I feel that it would never settle in if I do that though.

Can I just use garlic from my kitchen? I think this method would be better than trying to feed them forcefully.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:58 AM   #8
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Yeah, just crush/mince it and soak it in some hot water. Heck, you can even try feeding some of the actual crushed garlic. It's supposed to be very good for them.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:46 AM   #9
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I tried a few hours ago and they took some interest but didn't really eat anything. One BP ate a tiny piece of garlic but that was it. The other pale one seemed scared of it's food... It backed itself into the corner while the food was kinda swirling at it from the water movement of the filter. :/ What am I going to do?
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullmoonnight View Post
I tried a few hours ago and they took some interest but didn't really eat anything. One BP ate a tiny piece of garlic but that was it. The other pale one seemed scared of it's food... It backed itself into the corner while the food was kinda swirling at it from the water movement of the filter. :/ What am I going to do?
Hang in there. My fish didn't eat for weeks and had a very sunken belly, but once the problem was fixed, he very slowly began eating again. He still doesn't have the greedy appetite that he used to have but his tummy has filled out again.
The hard part is identifying the problem.
Are your fish getting skinny?
Is your ph and water hardness constant?
Do they have their own territories in the tank with decor to break up the line of sight?
Is the pleco bothering them during the night?
Is there too much current?
Too much light?
Sorry- just trying to help brainstorm
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:23 PM   #11
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Could be shock of moving to a new tank.....??

I had a molly do that recently i moved him to a 30 gal he was swimming on an angle not eating i kept the light off a few days and changed some water out and he is doing much better now.....he tries to eat here and there but each day he gets better and better.

i'd say like others said keep the lights off a few days do a water change to freshen the water for them and wait it out.

hope all goes well
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:12 AM   #12
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Finally got both of them to eat yesterday YAY! Ironically they wanted to eat the algae wafers. It was like watching a coin fit into a piggy bank. I wasn't sure how they could get it in but they managed One is still very pale though. I hope it'll get it's colour back soon.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:53 AM   #13
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what good news!
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:02 PM   #14
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I wonder if fish feel lonely? I had my fish in the hospital tank for awhile and it was always pale down there. The one in the 90 gallon would be pale in the mornings ad a little darker at night but since I moved them both together, they're both bright dark orange all day long and eating like little pigs. Maybe they just missed each other haha.
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