How long can a fish be out of water?

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Wayne on May 21, 2006 at 00:27:54:

I know this is not dive related, but it is fish related and where else would I turn but this group.

Tonight my wife and I returned home from a hot date to Big Lots. When we returned home I heard a shriek from the wife and ran to the kitchen to find her running out white as a ghost. One of our 10 year old goldfish had apparently jumped out of the tank and was laying on the floor very dry and not moving. I could see spots of dried blood where it had flopped a few feet across the floor. I picked it up to dispose of it, but it moved.

I put it back into the tank and held it in the stream from the filter and after around 10 minutes, I noticed that it was trying to swim from my hand. I have removed its tank mates to make sure they do not go after their weak "friend". It has been a few hours and it is barely swimming, has no ability (or maybe no motivation) to control its orientation, but is breathing steadily.

I suspect that its gills were pretty dry and it is still hypoxic. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of injury / recovery? Any suggestions? As much as we often complain about these fish for living so long, we do not want to have the poor fellow die if we can help it.


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