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One-eyed pet wrasse gets prosthetic eye

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 27, 2016 09:00 AM
Kiwi, a thalassoma wrasse, developed blinding cataracts in one of his eyes, which was surgically removed. Other fish would bully Kiwi because of his disability, so his loving owner and a crafty veterinarian decided to do something about it: give Kiwi a prosthetic eye in hopes of improving his quality of life.
One-eyed pet wrasse gets prosthetic eye

Kiwi under anaesthesia getting his new artificial eye

Fish can sense weakness, and like most wildlife, they're usually not sympathetic to the less fortunate.  Weak fish are usually harassed, often to the point of death.  Such was the case with Kiwi the wrasse.  His tankmates became aware of his one-eyed blindness and would harass the poor wrasse to no end.

Kiwi's owner, Julie Morgan, brought her fish to the vet for cataract surgery, but they were unable to restore his vision.  Kiwi's eye eventually was removed, leaving nothing but an obvious empty eye socket that served as a screaming beacon for other fish to bully him.  Julie had no choice but move Kiwi to his own solitary tank, but this wasn't an ideal long-term solution.

Enter Dr. Megan Baebler of Kersting Veterinary Hospital in Chesterfield, MO (USA).  Dr. Baebler hand-crafted an artificial eye for Kiwi with the hope that the false eye will fool other fish and stop the bullying.  Kiwi is still recovering from the surgery in his own solitary aquarium, but Julie hopes that one day Kiwi can rejoin the community tank.

Whether the prosthetic eye works, this is a remarkable story of a fishkeeper's love and dedication.

We thank Joe Faszl of SeaScape Studio for bringing their customer's inspiring story to our attention.

(We apologize for the tiny default video below.  Once you click play, click on the diagonal arrows to view the video in full screen.)

P.S. We ♥ crazy fish lady.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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