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i think my bp might have a peice of gravel stuck in his throat! please help!

my male bp sun, is always picking up gravel and spitting it back out. but hes been doing this thing the last day or so  its almost like when they yawn,but it looked like he was choking a little or was about to throw up. then i just put some krill in the tank and he tried to grab a big hunk and had that choking look then spit it back out. well his mouth was open enough to see something black back in there (my gravels black) what do i do?! if i could see it then i dont know why he cant throw it up or spit it out? please help?


Yikes. That is so scary. I read about this happening to a fish once.

The person giving advice advised the fish owner to get a large pan and fill it with tank water. Then lay a towel across making sure the towel was in the water. Then gently net the fish and lay him on the towel so that he was under water. Wrap the wet towel around the fish so that you can gently hold him under water and see if you can either use tweezers or gently massage the rock out of his mouth. You have to do either very gently as to not injure him. Move slowly with the tweezers and make sure you don't push the gravel further down.

I have to be honest, it would scare the heck out of me having to do this. If it hasn't been very long, maybe give him a little more time to see if he can dislodge it himself.

Please keep us posted.

I would be surprised if your fish had a rock in his throat. But I would say that anything is possible with fish. Until he hasn't held anything down for a day or two, I wouldn't panic. Unless he is actually choking and needs immediate help. I do know fish will choke on food that is too big to eat. I have heard of that. Get half down and not all of it.
To make you feel better, I had to remove a catfish from the mouth of a huge fish one time. It was really scary, when it was over, it was funny. Both patients lived. Less than half the catfish was sticking out. One was choking and one wasn't getting anything, Those catfish barbs are tough to move backwards in a fish mouth. It was wedged in really tight. I did it all over the side of the tank. Holding the big fish and working on the catfish with my other hand. Most things they can get out on their own, but that would not have ended well for either.

Here is some info that might help
To understand why fish yawn you first must know how fish breath. We all know that fish have gills but do you really know how they work? Water only holds 5% of the oxygen that air does and is 800 times denser than air so fish must have a very efficient means of getting oxygen and using energy. Most fish have a buccal cavity which they use to pump water across their gills. As the water flows over the many blood-filled gill filaments, CO2 is released and O2 is absorbed all by simple diffusion through the gill walls.

The gill filaments actually strain the water so they will acquire small particulate matter in them too. When a fish "yawns" it is forcing water to backwash across the gills cleaning the trash off that is blocking the filaments. So now you know. When you see them yawning they are just doing a little housekeeping. The more you understand you fish and its environment the better chances you have of keeping them for a long happy fish life. Until next month keep that water aerated and those fish happy.
Originally posted by cjaxx:
I'd heard that yawning can be due to a lack of trace elements required by fish. Since I heard this, I started adding Kent Freshwater Essential at the weekly water change. My fish have not yawned since. Apparently overfiltering can remove trace elements as can the addition of carbon (I'm only quoting what I was told, although by people that I do respect!). As I said, since adding the freshwater essential, fish seem happier, more lively and don't yawn
Yes. Fish yawn. Quite often if they tend to be rock movers.


Even if a fish were to eat a pellet large enough to lodge in their esophagus, it will usually soften enough in a few minutes to pass. A rock (gravel) is a different story. Your fish will try to expell this on his own, and if it isn't stuck too far down, he'll usually succeed. If a rock lodges in the intestines, that's more of a problem - it it doesn't pass, it will cause an impaction that could prevent further wastes from being eliminated. You could try feeding a good amount of brine shrimp (acts as a laxative) or vegetable material (fiber) to try to get the obstruction to pass, but surgery may be the only option if you want to save the fish.

Also, some fish do a "choking" type of display toward other fish - opening the mouth and rapidly shaking the head from side to side - so it may be a matter of aggressive/mating behavior rather than a digestion problem.


My dear 10 year old feeder goldfish has swallowed a rock... he hasn't eaten in two days and keeps trying to 'cough' it out. I held him and looked in his mouth/throat but couldn't see anything!
Does anyone have any ideas about what I could do?

although you say you cannot see anything the fact that he is trying to choke it out means there is a good chance it is still lodged where you can see it-have another look.-first of all you will need to set up a good source of lighting near your tank, you also need tweezers-preferably plastic round tipped ones but any will do as this is an emergency. If you don't have any tweezers & can't easily get some quickly then straighten out a paper clip & bend one end around into a shepherd's crook shape. If possible get yourself a helper to assist while you 'operate'.

Very carefully net him & hold him gently but firmly so just his mouth is above the water-you will be able to see if there is anything in there. If you are using tweezers carefully insert them until you can grasp the object & ease it out with a slight side to side motion rather than simply pulling it straight out. If using the paper clip take care to get it around the back of the foreign object & again gently ease rather than pull-it will come out eventually. In either case you may have to try several times before you are successful as it may well slip. Bear in mind the Goldfishes mouth is quite flexible so it will only be discomfort for him rather than pain & if left it will almost certainly be fatal.

It takes a great deal of patience as well as courage to do this-I have done it myself, alone so I know it's stressful but persevere, you will only be helping him. So hang on in there-you can do it!

It maybe something else wrong but a foreign object & probably gravel is almost certainly the cause. If this is the case then you may want to rethink your gravel situation to avoid future potentially fatal accidents. Goldfish are forever grubbing around in the gravel & chewing it so we should ensure this is a safe media for them. The offending gravel is almost always the rough, irregular pea-sized stuff which often comes in a variety of bright colours as well as the regular builders mix from DIY stores.

Safe gravel solutions are the small 3mm round gravels which can be picked up & spat out with ease-also large pond-safe river rocks or pebbles from garden centres or even aquarium sand which is very safe but sand is best left to more experienced aquarists as it needs somewhat specialised cleaning methods.

Best of luck to you-I hope you can sort this out for him, he's obviously a much loved member of the family. Please feel free to email me if you need any further info or advice

I wouldn't have the slightest clue on how to get it out. I hope it works out thought. Just be careful if you try to get it out yourself.

If you are sure you can see the rock. Maybe you need to attempt to get it. Just be sure before you do. Has it held down any other food? If the rock has been there two days, he would not have been eating. Or give it the chance to dislodge it.
Good Luck
Oil of Cloves may be the safest sedative and anesthetic for ornamental fish. Even when dosing several times over the recommended amount, and waiting long past the "last" gill excursion, fish may be recovered after several hours.
H you might want to get some oil of clove, to calm the fish.

I found this about clove to sedate fish. I think I would try to get it at a health food store. Unless there isn't time. This might relax it enough to make removing the stone easier.
OR don't use it if it scares you.
Things you will need:

Clove Oil - to sedate the fish, so you can treat it. You should be able to find some at a pharmacy (look in the toothache section). PondRx also carries it.
Clean Towel and pillowcase
2 Buckets one for sedation and one to transport fish back to its tank

Set up your work area and make sure everything is very clean.
Lay out a towel and one of those hospital blue pads. a pillowcase on top would also work (it's smoother than the towel)
Lay out your other materials within easy reach
Place 5 drops of clove oil and some water in a ziplock freezer bag for every gallon of water needed to submerge the fish.
Shake well, then pour into container where fish will be sedated. Use water from the tank if possible and match tank temperature. An airstone would help to keep the mixture dispersed.
Place fish in the solution. When it turns over on its side and gill movements slow, remove it from the solution, perform the procedure. If the fish doesn't roll over in 5 minutes, then add another drop per gallon (shake it up in water before adding).
You will want to work quickly and finish the procedure you're performing as quickly as possible.
Make sure you keep one hand on the fish at all times in case he starts flopping around. Don't want any falls off the counter!
After you're done place the fish in a bucket of clean water and return him to the tank.
You may need to hold the fish for a little while in an area where fresh water is moving through its gills (e.g. by the outflow of the filter) until he gets less groggy.

You use clove oil to Euthinize fish

Good grief!!! This is giving me anxiety.
I feel like she's about to perform brain surgery!

im freaking out! i have to do it without the clove oil cause they didnt have any at walgreens.

this is my fault. i changed the gravel to smaller stuff so they could dig easier. i didnt think this could happen.

Don't blame yourself. You had no way of knowing this was going to happen.

I'm sure you're going to be able to get it out.

It's not like you let a catfish crawl in his mouth! Only I can do that!
If you blame yourself for everything that happens to fish, your in trouble! :)

Someone I know lost his oscar because the idiot ate a pleco and the spines killed him.

Did you check at a pharmacy (look in the toothache section) It is probably for toothaches and not listed as clove.

Do you think it will work on people, I need a drop or two!