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My poor Meatball is 3.5 years old and apparently thinks he's still a spritely fry. I have...er, had...an ornamental ceramic pot with a small hole at the bottom about the size of a dime. The zebra danios in the tank fit easily through the end.

As I discovered first thing this morning, my poor Meatball, does not:





He's not fat, he's big boned. Poor guy!

I had to break the pot with a hammer and wrench to get him out:


He's back in the same tank, with a big scaleless gash on his back. He's definitely more than a little stressed out, is guarding his fins, and his left front fin is only being used sparingly:



He's doing better than I would have expected--I suspect he was there most of the night. I'm considering a round of tetracycline for him, but am curious what everyone would recommend.
 

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Poor baby! How is he acting now? If the gash on his back is not very deep, I would stick with clean water and nothing else. If you are especially worried, take him out and put him in a heated QT tank with 1 tsp of AQ salt per gallon.
 

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Poor baby! How is he acting now? If the gash on his back is not very deep, I would stick with clean water and nothing else. If you are especially worried, take him out and put him in a heated QT tank with 1 tsp of AQ salt per gallon.
All things considered, he's acting fairly normal.
My instinct is to leave him in the same community tank and monitor him.
The gash doesn't seem terribly deep, but is definitely down to the 'skin' and scaleless. It doesn't appear to have visibly bled and the other fish seem nonplussed.

He is using his left pectoral fin more frequently, but it does seem slightly damaged at the end of the fin.
His left pelvic fin is seriously damaged--most of the fin is missing.
His scales overall seem slightly standing on-end.

My major concern is his gills--they seem inflamed and are pushing the gill flaps open.
He does seem to be moving water through them effectively.
There was no direct damage to his gills, it must have been indirect from being trapped and resultant stress. He was 'panting' furiously when I found him.
 

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Bettas can literally drown if they are prevented from getting air from the surface so that's probably why his gills are still active and inflamed. If he seems okay and you don't think he'll be stressed by the activity, then you can certainly put him back in the community tank and monitor him. Make sure the water stays as clean as possible though to prevent infection in his wound.
 

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He's more active today and actually eating.
In fact, he ate half of one of the smaller RCS shrimp who just about walked right into his mouth.

Unlike yesterday, the lesion on his back appears to have small areas of blood seeping to the surface of the skin.

I've never seen an scraped wound like this on a fish before. Can I assume signs of infection are typical of those in other creatures, such as swelling and inflammation?
 

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Sounds like a bit of hemorraghing or septicemia. Yes, if the wound got infected, it would become inflamed and his behavior would probably change. You can keep an eye on him but if you have any doubts or concerns that he's getting an infection, put him into a smaller tank of his how and dose him with 1 tsp of aquarium salt to ward off the infection. I'm glad he's acting normally, although that RC shrimp probably isn't so thrilled. :p

If you can post a pic of his wound, that would be very helpful too.
 

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Thanks in advance, Sakura8.

This shows some of the pectoral and pelvic fin damage as well as a small scrape.
The gills are definitely reduced in their inflammation--by about 50% from yesterday.
(Please don't ask about the bag...its a leftover from cycling the tank but I have plecos that look like they want to spawn under there and I'd rather not disturb them)


More seriously to my eye, the dorsal wound.
Slightly blurred, sorry. Yesterday about 8 hrs after the trauma, the area was a solid light pink. Now, it has a slight blush of what appears to be blood coming to the surface in the center of the wound where the abrasion was the most severe:



Thanks again for any thoughts.
Although moving him to a small hospital tank with a bit of aquarium salt is a very good idea, I'm weighing it against the fact that he's eating and reasonably active in the tank. I'm wondering if the physical activity will do him good vs. treatment so far.
 

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The good news is the tissue still looks like a healthy pink, not inflamed and red. Any blood that was there seems to have gone away by the time you took the pics. I think if he's doing well and since his gill inflammation has gone down, it would be fine to leave him in the big tank. One thing you can add to help him produce extra slime coat is Kordon Fish Protector. I'm pretty sure they have this at Petsmart. It will help to provide a protective coating so infectious bacteria has a harder time invading the wound. It won't harm any of the other fish that are housed with him. Also, doing an extra water change during the week, if your schedule allows, won't hurt either. The cleaner the water, the better.

His damaged fins will heal up very fast and you should see new growth within a few days.

Also, make sure he's not rubbing his back against anything that could aggravate that wound. It looks good now but if he scratches it, it could reopen it.

He's a lucky guy you found him when you did. :)
 

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I have one of my wild bettas attempt to get out through the holes in the bottom of a plastic breeding box and she ended up with a huge indentation on the top of her head.

I just treated with aquarium salt and Indian Almond Leaves until I noticed that the scales were starting to regrow.

A fortnight on and I can't even tell which fish was injured.

His injuries don't look too severe and as long as they don't get infected, should heal up fine.
 
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