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Old 08-24-2012, 02:30 PM   #1
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Red Tail Catfish rescue!

Today I got myself into another heap of trouble lol I was at a lfs today and I see a little 2" red tail catfish without a price tag, I asked an employee and they said because 1 of the gills was curled and he had a triangle shape injury on his head so the employee said they can't sell him so they had to "get rid of him" so I suggested I have him and he asked his boss who agreed it was ok, anyways I now have another RTC and I was wondering how I could help the gill curl? Is he to small and I should wait to try the massage technique? Or is surgery the only option? Any help appreciated
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #2
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I have a friend that has rescues them as well, I've helped with the massaging method and it worked around 50% of the time. This really depends on how far the curl reaches, has it hit the plate yet? I would be doing daily water changes in the meantime, this will not cure anything but will certainly help to ensure it doesn't get worse.

They are one of those fish that truly should not be sold in the aquarium trade, I can search my local Craigslist and find at least 1 per month for sale. They all have gill curl from poor water conditions and being kept in tanks that are far to small.

Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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Yea he is in his own tank and will be having daily pwc and it's still only the membrane and not the plate so I am hopeful I can cure it but I will just give him the best life he can have either way. Do you think he is big enough for the massage treatment? And how exactly do you do it? Just pull the gently pull it back until it's back to normal? And should I sedate or just try to keep him calm and still?
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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I've only assisted a couple of times but in a fish that small where the tissue is still soft and pliable I'd do the daily water changes, feeding a high quality diet, with good aeration and monitor the curl as I've seen some very young fish recover on their own.

If the fish does not show signs of improvement over time then I would attempt the massage. We used a small rubbermaid container and added some clove oil to help the fish relax(acts as anesthesia) and then after the fish drifts off then manually massage the tissue.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Ok thanks for the help I will monitor it and see if it improves by its self for a while and if it's no better I will try that.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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We used a small rubbermaid container and added some clove oil to help the fish relax(acts as anesthesia) and then after the fish drifts off then manually massage the tissue.

i've heard that too much clove oil can be dangerous, so just be careful how much you use to sedate... (i COULD be wrong all together but why take the risk to begin with)
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:28 PM   #7
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Yea I heard that it is possible to over dose with it but I will be researching thoroughly before I take any action
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:17 PM   #8
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Be careful, clove oil can be used as a form of humane euthanasia
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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Yea I heard that it is possible to over dose with it but I will be researching thoroughly before I take any action
Yes it can be, I use a liquid dropper slowly adding drop by drop until their breathing slows down. It's really not dangerous unless you over do it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #10
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Update: I done the massage technique last night using clove oil as the anaesthetic and it was a partial success! The fish is compleatly fine and happy again now with no noticeable negative side effects so far, the gill curl is a little better but not completely it's still turns up slightly right at the edge, should I retry this method in a week or 2, or see if it heals when he is a little bigger and perform the GC surgery if it's necessary then? And thanks to all the previous posters with your advice and concerns.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:29 PM   #11
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Keep doing the daily water changes then after 1-2 weeks repeat the procedure, it's so much easier that they are small and tissue hasn't hardened yet.

I'm glad it's working, good luck with him/her.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:32 PM   #12
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Yea I will carry on with the daily PWC until he is healthy enough to go in the main tank and ok I will, thanks for all the help.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:27 PM   #13
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Update: there was no need for doing the massage technique another time, after the 1st time it got better and better and is now perfect and he is so much happier now, very active and nice colours so a complete success! now just have to wait for him to grow enough to go in the main tank
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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Glad to hear it, just keep the water clean in a HUGE tank and we will never have to discuss with again.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:35 PM   #15
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Yes I plan to, thanks.
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