Fish are Big Bullies

Life in a tank must be boring. All you can do is swim around and see the same places over and over again. That’s why fish generally have to make their own fun. Sadly, that fun can often come at the expense of the other fish. And just like with humans, if fish sense a weakness, they will exploit it.

Such was the case for a fish in Missouri who only had one eye. Kiwi, a light green saltwater fish, had to have an eye removed after it developed a cataract. In the time after the surgery, Kiwi’s friends started picking on him.

They figured out which eye was not working. They’d go up behind him, biting his tail. He had chunks of his tail taken out. -Julie Morgan, Kiwi’s owner

How do you help your pet to live a full life when it’s being picked on because of a physical defect? You get it surgery to fix the defect, of course. So Morgan arranged to get Kiwi a prosthetic eye.

A Fish Prosthetic Eye

Morgan was in luck since a precedent was set with a fish from the Vancouver Aquarium. The fish in the video attached to this story had the same problem as Kiwi, and he had the first surgery of its kind performed on him.

While he was being bullied, the Vancouver fish stayed at the bottom of the tank and tried to avoid contact with the other fish.

Ever since we put in the prosthetic, the fish is right back in the mid-water column, interacting with other fish. He’s more robust. -Dr. Martin Haulena

Julie Morgan was hoping for a similar recovery for Kiwi. She contacted the vet, Dr. Megan Baebler, who had performed the surgery to remove Kiwi’s bad eye in the first place.

This pet fish was being bullied in his tank so a vet made him a fake eye https://t.co/38xPlOGXcT pic.twitter.com/DQSToE3Rlt

Baebler designed the prosthetic eye herself.

I actually hand-painted the eye myself. I used a mixture of some nail polish and some eye shadow pigments, actually, to give it some iridescence.

Once it was created, all that was left was to implant it. The surgery lasted 30 minutes, and Kiwi was under anesthesia during the procedure.

Now, Kiwi is doing much better.

I think he’s doing great. He’s eating, he’s swimming. He’s happy. -Julie Morgan

Kiwi’s story is a beacon of hope for others who may be getting bullied, it shows that it really does get better.