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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11466
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My 9 yr old's small guppy just got its fin caught in the filter.

Customer Question

My 9 yr old's small guppy just got its fin caught in the filter. We don't know how long it struggled for. We unplugged the filter and it swam away but is not looking good, seems to be having trouble keeping upright. I knew getting fish would also lead to lessons on life and death. She keeps asking me if there;s anything we can do?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the guppy?
Customer: Not moving very well. Staying near the bottom. Breathing heavier than normal. I told her maybe it's just tired...
JA: Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the guppy. What is the guppy's name?
Customer: She calls him Fern.
JA: Anything else I can tell the Veterinarian before I connect you two?
Customer: That's all I know.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in fish. I also was a middle school science teacher for a number of years, so I know how attached kids get to their pets.From what you have described of the guppy' injuries, it sounds like the swim bladder has been injured in the accident. The swim bladder is the organ that maintains proper balance and position in the water. A minor injury can heal, but in a fish this small, an actual rupture of the swim bladder is more likely. The rapid breathing may be due to a gill injury or an internal organ injury. There will not be very much you can do, but we want to let your daughter we are doing something to help. You can add aquarium salt (sold in pet stores) at the rate of one teaspoon per gallon of water in the aquarium. Salt can help fish cope with any kind of stress. You can also add a product called StressCoat, again, sold in pet stores, according to directions on the bottle. It can help with external injuries and heal the guppy' s slime coat.I must be honest with you. Unless the guppy is less severely injured than it appears, he is not likely to survive. The measures I gave you above will at least assure your little girl that you are trying to help. With some luck, they may help the fish, too. However, it would probably be a good idea to prepare your daughter for the possibilities. You could tell her that you're giving the guppy some medicine that might help, but that he may have some serious injuries inside his body that may not heal. Assure her you are doing all you can.If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope the guppy will beat the odds and recover.AnnaOnce you have all the information you need, please take a moment to rate my service. I am not compensated unless you do. I will appreciate it very much. Thank you! You can ask follow up questions at no additional fee even after you rate.