Chances are good that your Goldfish might spit the rock out on their own if you wait a little bit.
Take careful note if your fish is struggling. If they are swimming about normally and actively opening and closing their mouth trying to spit out the rock you can wait.
If your goldfish is sitting at the bottom of the tank then it is time to act. Chances are they are giving up on trying to get the rock out, and will eventually starve if you don't intervene.
#Alt Keywords: Pebble, Stone, Gravel
Step 1: Tools You'll Need
Here is a quick list of items to have on hand:
- Towel to wipe up any splashed water
- Fish net
- Scissors to cut a hole in your net
- Slanted or square tipped tweezers (not sharp pointed tip ones)
- An extra pair of helping hands
Step 2: Wet Run
Most people are freaked out on what to do, so it makes sense to do a dry, or wet practice run.
Take the net and gently corner the goldfish.
Scoop fish into net and keep fish's head at the bottom of the net if possible. Look closely where the gold fish's mouth is on your net.
Release the fish and scoop again to see if you can gently get your goldfish in the same position in the net, again paying close attention to where their mouth is.
This time bring the net to the surface and with one hand on the net handle use your other hand to gently put your fingers and thumb around the underwater net and lightly press against the fish between his fins and tail.
Hopefully your fish is chillax, but may decide to squirm. Take care to keep the fins below the water line or you'll get splashed. If your fish is relaxed enough gently bring the goldfish's head above the water with the net still draped over him and his fins still underwater. If the fish will stay still for up to 20 seconds you'll have a good chance of pulling this off.
If this fish is fighting you, take things easy and just keep practicing until it starts to fill routine for you and the fish.
Take careful note where you are going to need to cut a small incision into the net for the tweezers to get to your fish's mouth.
Release the fish from the net and pull the net out of the tank.
Step 3: Showtime - Time to Extract That Rock!
Using your scissors cut a small v cut into the net where the fish's mouth will be.
I use the center sew line as a gauge and then put my incision slightly lower where the mouth would be if their forehead was centered on the net.
Check to make sure your tweezers can easily get into the cut, but the fish can't get through the hole in your net.
Now repeat the previous step and capture the fish with the net, bring the net closer to the surface and use your hands to gently hold the fish in the net.
Bring the fish's mouth to the surface once you have it aligned with the hole (a good hole will have the fish naturally pushing their mouth up against it).
Now have your friend with the tweezer gently put the tweezer into the fishes mouth and try to pull the rock out.
If the rock is stuck do not force it. Try moving the rock sideways in hopes of realigning it so it can more easily come out.
After a failed attempt or 20 seconds put the fishes head back under the water line and wait another 10 seconds before trying again.
You can often feel the goldfish's pulse and if it starts to go to fast or the fish struggles to get out of your grasp, release it and try again in a few minutes after it has had a chance to calm down or become tired.
Try again with the tweezers. Usually a slow pull with the fish's mouth puckered will get the pebble released.
Step 4: Post Mortem
Hopefully you are successful. My wife has successfully done this twice on our son's fish.
The first time this happened we took a close examination of the rock we extracted and decided to get bigger aquarium gravel that was larger than the fish's mouth.
The second time this happened Me Goldfish had grown several inches and could now get the larger gravel stuck in their mouth.
I would recommend getting smaller fish tank gravel that doesn't have sharp edges, a lot of fish gravel is colored and coated with smoother edges so that would probably work better than our pretty Mexican river rock aggregate.
If you've used sinking food pellets your fish may be trained to Hoover the gravel looking for pellets and picked up this nasty habit of sucking up gravel in their mouth. Switching your goldfish food to floating crisps might be another solution.
Hope this Instructable was helpful in rescuing your distressed gold fish!