Venting a Swim Bladder: Black Cap Basslet

Discussion in 'Fish Disease Treatment and Diagnosis' started by Bmwm235i, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure some of you have seen my last post in regards to my Black Cap from Divers Den arriving with a swim bladder issue. After not receiving any help from LA Divers Den except "we hope your fish gets better" i decided to look into venting the swim bladder. With the help from @Humblefish he directed me to some literature that i studied the best i could. The day of the procedure, when i had the fish in a glass container right before it went onto the table, it actually floated to the top and was sticking out of the water, that's how bad the swim bladder was. The first picture below is how the fish was the entire 2 weeks i had it. It would wedge its self in between the PVC so it didn't float to the top. The second picture is the fish 3 days after the procedure. I am not in the clear yet as a bacterial infection may occur at any time. My gf who recorded it accidentally hit pause on my phone so please excuse the cut in the video. I wanted to share this with everyone as there isn't much information and How To's on venting swim bladders for such small fish. Hopefully this will help somebody one day. 20151029_114027.jpg 20151101_181143.jpg



    Tools Required:
    Surgical gloves
    Rubbing alcohol
    Iodine
    Q-Tips
    Clear platform with bright light for under the platform
    30 gauge insulin syringe
    Understanding of swim bladder location and organ locations.
    Clean qt tank
    General antibiotic for healing/prevention of infection. I used Maracyn Two.

    Step 1: Have all the items out and ready to go, having the fish out of the water for least amount of time is best.
    Step 2: Place the fish on the clear platform, laying the fish on it's right side. (It's a good idea to have some aquarium water on the platform already.)
    Step 3: Identify the swim bladder, it will be easy to see as it will be behind the pectoral fin. (I made sure to study the anatomy of fish, so I knew what I was looking for and looking at.) Once the swim bladder is identified, lightly place some rubbing alcohol on the area to be pierced using a Q-tip.
    Step 3: Take your syringe and insert it on a angle towards the front of the fish, inserting in the middle of the swim bladder. You will feel resistance at first as the needle breaks through the skin, then it will slide right in. It's best to hold the syringe near the bottom to have better control. Be careful not to go through the other side or hit organs. You do not need to insert far, just under the skin. Slowly pull back on the plunger to suck out the gases. Be sure to know what your fish is suppose to look like normally. If you suck out to much air the fish with not have any buoyancy and will have a hard time staying afloat. (I looked at hundreds of videos and pictures of healthy black caps. I used a 30 gauge insulin syringe, I believe the smaller the needle the better. Some do not list what kind of gauge to use but let's think about this for a moment. Humans use these for insulin, HGH, HCG etc and we are going to stick a very small fish with it... I think we best use the smallest syringe. If you break it down to scale a 30 gauge syringe is similar in size of some pores on humans, to the fish I performed this on it's similar in size it the fish's pupil. How would you feel to get stuck with a needle the size of your pupil? The smaller the gauge the quicker the wound will heal.)
    Step 4: Pull the syringe out and place far away from you. (always be carefully when working with needles)
    Step 5: Place iodine on the injection site with a NEW Q-tip.
    Step 6: Place the fish back into its QT tank and leave the lights off for 1-2 days. ( be sure that there is fresh clean water in the tank, no other fish and all equipment is clean, this will reduce stress and chance of
    infection.)

    The fish might look like it is dead and that is normal. The first night was the worst as I'd keep checking for movement on his gills.

    Step 7: On day 2 I started meds. Meds can be good and bad. They will help prevent infection but also can suppress the fishes appetite.

    The fish might not eat at all for a couple of days, this is normal. Feed twice a day but feed lightly. Be sure to squirt the food near the fish so it doesn't have to move to far for food.

    After 3 days or so after starting the meds if the fish is not eating remove some of the meds from the water using water changes.

    You should be performing water changes every 3 days, I had a 15 gallon qt and replaced 5 gallons every 3 days.

    My black cap started to come around on day 8, continue with the care for atleast 3-4 weeks. You want to observe the wound to make sure it is healing and there is no sign of infection. It might have a whiteish look a couple days after that is normal mostly from the rubbing alcohol.

    After 3-4 weeks if all looks good and you fattened him/her up then they are ready for the dt!

    Feel free to pm me for any questions you might have!

    We take these living things from their natural habitat, for our own enjoyment. The least we can do is provide them with the best care possible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2015
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  2. Spit.fire

    Spit.fire Well-Known Member

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    very good video and description, i have done this numerous times, not every time was a success but it was better than not trying.
    one thing i do differently tho (generally on larger fish) is i use a thin cloth soaked with tank water to cover most of the fish as an easy way to hold the fish down, i also find they dont flap around as much when they have the cloth over them


    and always be careful around needles
     
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  3. melypr1985

    melypr1985 totally addicted Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Expert Contributor Partner Member Article Contributor

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    Very impressive! Thanks so much for sharing this. You seemed absolutely confident also, which i wouldn't have been at all. I'm sure this will help many people who have to do this procedure.
     
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  4. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Partner Member Article Contributor

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    Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! #reefsquad it would be awesome if we could this thread posted on FB, daily updates, etc. :)

    Just to add, below are a couple of good articles on swim bladder disorders and venting procedures:

    http://reefbuilders.com/2011/12/01/...s-simple-procedure-correct-downswimming-fish/

    http://www.reefdup.com/2014/01/05/swim-bladder-inflammation-in-fish/

    And below are two good threads on the subject:

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/wrasse-swimbladder-issue.202289/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/butterfly-bloated-stomach.202909/
     
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  5. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    I'll certainly be sure to post updates.
     
  6. kschweer

    kschweer Zoas!!! Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award NJRC Member Partner Member

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    Very cool. If I'm not mistaken @revhtree and @mdbannister do most of the Facebook postings. There's also a video out there of Joe Yaiullo venting a very expensive angelfish. I'll see if I can find it.
     
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  7. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    Today's update is unfortunately not great. The fish hasn't ate anything today, he just opens his jaws and swims towards my feeding tool. Tomorrow I will try some live brime even though he has ate the frozen brime. I can't have come this far and fail now.
     
  8. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Partner Member Article Contributor

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    Hang in there and keep trying to feed. The antibiotics may be suppressing his appetite, so if he doesn't eat tomorrow you might want to pull them out of the water by running carbon.
     
  9. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    Day 4 Update:

    Finally he ate a couple of brime shrimp today. His breathing is normal but not to active today. He has 2 more days on the meds then I will do a 1/3 water change. The side of his body where the syringe was placed is whiteish. Could be from the rubbing alcohol. Is the normal behavior of this fish to open its jaws wide and swim towards the feeding tool?
     
  10. Naiad

    Naiad Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like he might be afraid of the tool and displaying warning behavior. Does he open his mouth wide swim up to it stay there for a second then go back to his hiding spot? A pic of the white discoloration would help with figuring the cause of that.
     
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  11. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    Yes he opens his mouth wide and swims up towards the feeding tool then swims back down. He never did that prior to the procedure. I'll try and get a picture but he's been very shy the past couple of days.
     
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  12. Naiad

    Naiad Well-Known Member

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    Good sign then! That is a basselet's way of saying I'm big and bad don't mess with me. Before the procedure he knew he was in no shape to make that claim.
     
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  13. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    Day 5 Update:

    He is still not eating much. The whitish patch on his side where he was punctured is fading away so I'm assuming it is healing. Took me forever to get these pictures. He is still very shy and swims around only when I'm far away from the tank. I think he thinks to himself "if I hide when that guy is around then I won't get poked with thing that really hurts" lol.

    uploadfromtaptalk1446651091709.jpg uploadfromtaptalk1446651096294.jpg uploadfromtaptalk1446651100100.jpg uploadfromtaptalk1446651103108.jpg
     
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  14. drstratton

    drstratton Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I'm glad to see that he's swimming around & healing. I'm so impressed with this whole process!
     
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  15. Naiad

    Naiad Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried live blackworms to bring back the feeding response?
     
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  16. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    I have not... I'm not to sure actually if my lfs has them. I'll swing by there later. Anything else I could get if they don't have them?
     
  17. hutch2828

    hutch2828 Active Member

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    This is awesome! I find that basslets hate new environments and usually take a while to get their confidence back. Glad he's in good hands. I got to see Humblefish talk in person at the Louisiana reef club meeting a few weeks back. He certainly is a wealth of knowledge.
     
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  18. Naiad

    Naiad Well-Known Member

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    The other thing I can think of is to put live brine or mysis (if you can find them) in the tank and just walk away. He just has to get over his fear now. I would be sure to rinse any live salt feeds so you don't introduce any thing from the stock water.
     
  19. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Partner Member Article Contributor

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    FWIW; Basslets are typically shy, reclusive types even once put in a DT. They will usually find a hidey hole inside a rock and spend most of their life there. They also don't require as much food as more active species. Their metabolisms aren't as high. They are, however, very susceptible to external parasites such as ich.
     
  20. Bmwm235i

    Bmwm235i Well-Known Member

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    Day 6 Update:

    Not much of a change still not eating much. Unfortunately I will be away the next 2 days and do not have anyone to come by my place, so he will have to hangon until I get back Sunday. I did a water change today along with adding carbon to remove the meds. Will post a update when I get back.
     
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