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  1. #1
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    How I almost lost my thumb to a baby butterflyfish.

    I still can't believe this but figured I'd better post about it in case it might help others and well, for the amusement of the general populace.

    Last weekend I brought home a baby auriga butterflyfish, about 2.5" long. She was apparently anxious to get out of the bag because when I opened it to begin acclimation out she jumped! She really spooked me - I dropped the bag of water and she landed in a feeding bowl I had on the table. I rushed over to the quarantine tank with the bowl and dumped her in. She's fine.

    I posted about that much last week but what I didn't mention, because I just wasn't sure, was that in the split second between when she jumped from the bag and landed in the feeding bowl something painful happened to my thumb. Afterwards I seemed to have something stuck in my thumb, I could see a speck, but it was my right hand and I couldn't get it out. It wasn't a fish bite, but I couldn't figure out what it was if it wasn't from the fish.

    Anyway, time went on and the thumb got more and more painful and a couple days ago started swelling. Last night it was throbbing and I decided to try, again, to see if I could squeeze or dig anything out. Along with some puss (sorry) came a sickle shaped sliver. Upon close inspection it was obviously bone type material and razor sharp - I could even see the vein line in it. It was a small dorsal spine from the fish!

    I've been keeping butterflyfish for some time now and often wondered why other fish backed down when they do that prone dorsal display thing with their cute spiky fins upright. I know now! Those cute fins are hiding deadly weapons! And apparently they can use them very quickly!

    I'm going to have to go get a shot for this I suspect, the infection is really deep in my thumb. The spine was embedded way in which was why I couldn't see it before. The speck I could see turned out to be just blood.

    Arden, the auriga butterfly is still in quarantine and doing just fine although she's missing at least one dorsal spine weapon.
    Susan

  2. #2
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    Good to know you're dine. That's amazing. Another day, another lesson- Stay away from jumping angelfish

  3. #3
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    Well I have a special bond with this one. I actually carried a piece of it around in my body for a week! She's a delicately beautiful little butterfly, a little bit sassy too.
    Susan

  4. #4
    Senior Member tang_man_montreal's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you're ok Susan!
    Now where's the pic of the sassy girl?
    What type of butterfly is she?
    I am Homer of BORG... Prepare to be..OOOO!! DONUT!!!!!!

  5. #5
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    Glad your OK Susan .... and YES all butterfly fish have very sharp bony spikes within their dorsal fins. They use them when threatened and if really threatened they will turn sideways pointing them at the aggressor. I have seen this behavior when aggressive Tangs approach them.
    Rob

  6. #6
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    I'll try to get some pics tomorrow. She's a little Chaetodon auriga. She's going in the 300g after quarantine and will grow up to 9".

    The raccoon butterfly in with her isn't doing so hot - it was a very bad shipment (40+ hours in the bag - Westjet mixup) and he had some scale damage which is now possibly infected. I'm treating with antibiotics but, well, we'll see.

    I've seen the prone dorsal display lots of times but just couldn't figure out why it was so scary. I do now!
    Susan

  7. #7
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    Geez!! If I were you, I'd sleep with pillows around me!! It seems like you're going to experience "all" the biblical plagues!!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    LOL!!!

    Glad you're ok. What an awful thing to happen.

    I think we can learn from this, if other fish are weary, then we should be too....

    A photo would be great.
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    Heh, I know Toutouche. It's a good thing my luck in this hobby doesn't carry over to the rest of my life!

    The thing that still amazes me the most is that this little fish actually jumped out of the bag and stabbed me. Now that's some spunk! I'd hate to see what she'd do if she hadn't been weakened by such rough shipment. Yeesh.

    The little raccoon butterfly didn't make it through the night. I did a big water change after removing his body. Hopefully Arden will still be ok. I saw her scratch twice this morning but no other signs of trouble. Here's a couple pics:



    Susan

  10. #10
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    While these fish are kinda common in the hobby, they still are very pretty and nice to have. I also had one way back when.., before the reef bug hit me and my tank was a FO. Back then, it was my favorite.

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