Blinded fish - how to help it heal?
My stupid yellow-tailed blue damselfish got his right eye scarred up. He's eating (although a little bit subdued and not his usual obnoxious self) and has nothing wrong with his left eye. The lens of the right eye is scratched and milky. There was nothing wrong with his eye this morning, and nothing on his scales, so I don't think it's an infection. I think the dumb fish just scratched his eyeball up somehow.
Is there anything I can do to help the fish relax and heal? I don't think his sight is going to be coming back in that eye, but I'd like to know if there are any steps I can take to prevent infection. The tank is a 20 gallon with shrimp, hermit crabs, and anemones, and I don't want to kill them off with some kind of water additive. The damsel is the only fish in the tank at the moment.
I am not a big salt guy but I have used Melafix and/or Pimafix from APA I believe on many fw maladies such as yours. You may want to check them out as they are natural and not pharmacutical. I do believe that these products can be used on both salt and fresh water fish.
I would strongly suggest a quarantine tank to treat your damsel. Inverts especially are going to be sensitive to ANY meds that go into the main tank, as will the biological filtration.
Can you post water params please? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, and specific gravity/salinity, in exact numbers is needed to help much more at this point.
Also, the number of and specific species of everything in the tank will help in case we do need to suggest a safe medication for you to use.
What is the temp? What kind of filtration are you running?
How much live rock is in the tank? Sand or crushed coral at the bottom for substrate?
Okay, I went ahead and re-tested everything just now to make sure I have the correct information:
Temp: 76 degrees F
I'm not sure where my calcium kit is, but I'll look for it later!
I've got 1 strawberry and 4 blue-leg hermit crabs, 3-5 small marine shrimp (NOT mantis, they look kind of like teeny orange peppermints) that snuck in on some live rock, and ditto for a tiny orange crab of unknown origin. I've also got several feather dusters, two small brownish-orange anemones, a red brittle star, and a cluster of long tentacled anemones that all hitch-hiked in on the live rock. The live rock itself weighs about 8 pounds in total. 3/4 of the substrate is crushed coral, while the remainder is sand. I've got a bio-wheel and a small venturi skimmer. The last partial water change (~10%) and cleaning was last weekend.
Thanks a ton for any advice you may have!
With water params like that, if you can keep it like that, I'd say the best thing to do is to just leave it alone to heal on its own. Mabe reduce the light by an hr or 2 each day, give him a bit less stress without hurting anything else, but other than that, he should be fine.
Good luck and please post again if you need more help or have any other questions.
Okay, thanks! I'll reduce the light and keep a close eye on him to make sure he stays eating.
Just posting to say that I've been watching the water quality like a hawk, turning off the lights early, and feeding the fish lots of nutritious stuff. :) His eye is still somewhat clouded over but looks much better. Thanks for the advice!
and mst of all, try to figure out how he damaged his eye and see to it that a repeat of the incident will be prevented
Sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent injury. We can protect a fish from bumps and bruises no more than we can prevent our children from getting them. In a natural habitat, even fish get injured. If you can find the cause, great... fix it... but sometimes you will just never know.
I'm glad to hear that the fish is doing better.
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