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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My parrot fish is bloated on the right side, very bloated. I

Customer Question

My parrot fish is bloated on the right side, very bloated. I don't know if its a tumor or some bacterial infection. Fish is eating and swimming normally, just has this huge bump.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. There are all sorts of infestations fish can pick up. I'll have you talk to the veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. How old is fish?
Customer: About 13 years old which I understand may be another problem. What is the lifespan for a Parrot fish?
JA: Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about fish?
Customer: This is a wonderful playful and beautiful fish who I love as much as my dog. Sounds crazy, but true.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.


I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just logged on and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in fish. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.I don't think you sound crazy at all. Many fish have delightful personalities, and I've been very attached to some of mine, too.

Average life span for parrot fish ranges from 10 to 15 years, so yours is certainly elderly. From what you have described, the bump is most likely a tumor. If it were an infection, the fish would not be active and eating well. Tumors in fish can be benign or cancerous. When they are benign, a fish can live with them for quite some time. If a tumor eventually grows to be big enough to interfere with eating or swimming, it may be best to humanely end a fish's suffering.

Right now, you'll have to make a decision. An aquatic vet may be able to surgically remove the tumor. The vet would have to evaluate your fish in person to determine if she/he is a good candidate for surgery. Age will be a factor in that decision. If you want to pursue this, this link will take you to a directory of fish vets:

The other choice is just to wait and see what happens. You may have seen YouTube videos of people operating on their own fish. It would be very risky to undertake that with an elderly parrot fish. If you want to try surgery I recommend having an experienced vet do it.

If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well.


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Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.

Hello again,

I'm just checking to see how your fish is doing, and if you need any more information.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
At the moment, I am keeping an eye on him. He does sleep a little more than usual but otherwise swimming and eating. She does not look terribly uncomfortable. I know this thing is going to keep growing. Is there a humane way to euthanize?Thanx so much for all your help.Deanna
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
You're right that it will probably continue to grow. You'll have to use your judgement as to when to euthanize. When you decide to go ahead with euthanization, you’ll need some clove oil (eugenol) and some vodka. Clove oil is sold in pharmacies as a toothache remedy. It is used as an anesthetic for fish surgery. First take some water out of the tank, enough to fill a container just big enough for the fish. Measure it and keep track of how much it is. Then put in the fish. Next take a small jar or bottle and fill it with water from the tank. Add a few drops of clove oil, and shake well. The clove oil will emulsify in the water, which should then turn white.Pour some of the clove oil/water mixture into the container the fish is in. After about 10 minutes, the fish should be asleep on the bottom. If it isn’t, add more of the clove oil/water. When the fish is asleep, add 25% vodka to the container. That means if you used one cup of water to begin with, you’ll add 1/4 cup of vodka. The vodka is what causes passing. The clove oil prevents pain. Wait about 20 minutes. Check the fish to see if it is still breathing through its gills. If the gills don’t move for one minute, the fish has died.I have used this method many times, and it always results in a peaceful passing.Let me know if you need anything else.Anna