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Man Becomes Hero After Making 'Wheelchair' for Struggling Pet Goldfish -- But Is it Safe?

Mar 18, 2017 12:18 PM EDT
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Gold fish
The fish is suffering from swim bladder disease, wherein the fish has a deformed bladder which makes it unable to swim properly or even float.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A customized wheelchair was made to help a tiny goldfish swim properly in its aquarium. However, is it safe for the fish?

The story was shared by Taylor Dean, owner of the goldfish, in social media. According to Dean, the wheelchair was made by his friend Derek, who works in an aquarium shop.

Touched by the kindness of his friend, Dean posted photos of the adorable goldfish in the customized wheelchair.

As reported by Telegraph, the fish is suffering from swim bladder disease, wherein the goldfish has a deformed bladder which makes it unable to swim properly or even float.

How did Derek come up with that tiny device?

In an interview with Buzz Feed, Derek said, "I got some airline tubing that people usually use in their tank and just placed it around the goldfish. I added some valves to the bottom of it, which acted as a ‘chair' to prop him up."

Derek further explained that he added weights to the bottom of the makeshift goldfish wheelchair. He determined the right buoyancy by removing pieces of the chair until it's just right.

"The bottom weight is almost equal to the pull on top so it works quite well for him!" he told the outlet.

While most people adored and praised Derek for the job well done, Smithsonian Magazine noted that the wheelchair might actually harm the goldfish more.

The science news outlet sought the opinion of Dr. Catherine McClave, a marine biologist at The Fish Doctor, Inc. McClave said the air tubing wrapped around the goldfish might result to skin injuries that might lead to serious infection.

"The integument, or the skin of the fish, is its first line of defense. And if there is something up against that that rubs [the skin] ... and the skin opens up, then they're going to be susceptible to whatever is in the water. And then it's really easy for them to get a systemic bacterial infection," the doctor explains.

"I can't imagine that the fish won't come down with other issues [caused by its wheelchair]," she added.

Aside from serving as the first defense in line against pathogens, fish skin regulates the fish's sensory activity, behavioral purposes or hormone metabolism, a separate study published in NCBI notes.

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