As your goldfish forages along the bottom of his tank in search of stray flakes of food, he picks up pebbles and immediately spits them out. If the rocks you have lining your tank are the pea-sized variety, your scavenging fish runs the rare but possible risk of getting a rock stuck in its mouth.
tweezers image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com
Wash your hands and arms and rinse thoroughly to remove any traces of soap. Unplug your tank's electrical source to avoid risk of shock. Slowly reach one hand down into the tank and gently close your hand around the fish to keep him still. Do not squeeze too hard. Hold the fish as close to the side glass as you can to ensure you have the best visibility.
Lower a pair of tweezers into the tank with your other hand. Use the tweezers to carefully grasp the stuck pebble. If necessary, carefully slide the ends of the tweezers further into the fish's mouth to get a better grip on the pebble. Gently pull it out and then release the fish.
If holding the fish under water doesn't work, use a net to remove your fish from the tank and place the fish in his net on a clean, firm surface such as a plate. Gently cover the fish with one hand to prevent him from jumping out of the net. With the other hand, use your tweezers to extract the pebble and quickly return the fish to his tank.
Consider increasing the size of the rocks in your fish tank. Purchase rocks from your local aquarium store that are too large for your goldfish to suck up into his mouth. Alternatively, collect larger rocks yourself, but consider their influence on water quality. Select only rocks that do not contain chemicals or minerals that will affect water parameters, and boil your selected rocks to sanitize them before use.
Nancy Lovering is a writer, photographer and teaching assistant. She took novel writing at Langara College and photography at British Columbia Institute of Technology. She obtained her teaching assistant certificate through Delta School District Continuing Education. She previously worked as an assistant controller while in the Certified General Accountants program, and has training in dog psychology through Custom Canine Teaching Ltd. in Vancouver, BC.