Rockfish Given Fake Eye to Keep it From Being Bullied by Other Fish

Posted on January 12, 2015

Rockfish eye surgery at Vancouver Aquarium

A rockfish at the Vancouver Aquarium was given a fake eye to keep it from being bullied by the other fish. The rockfish's eye was removed because it had developed bad cataracts. The lack of an eye resulted in the fish getting picked on by other fish in the tank.

Other fish in the aquarium would reportedly steal food from the one-eyed fish by sneaking up on its blind side. The other fish would also bully the one-eyed rockfish. The bullied fish was not doing well and spending much of its time at the bottom of the tank.

To solve the bullying problem Dr. Martin Haulena, the head veterinarian and the Vancouver Aquarium, replaced the damaged eye with a taxidermy eye. The fake was attached to the bone above the rockfish's eye socket with nylong sutures and titanium clips. The rockfish was under anesthesia for the operation. The taxidermy eye surgery was performed on the fish that had already had its eye removed in a previous operation and on another rockfish.

The rockfish with the prosthetic eye is doing better now that its fellow fish think it has two eyes. Here is a video of the eye surgery being performed on the rockfish. Two rockfish at the aquarium have now had the procedure. Dr Haulena says, "Some people don't realize how much effort we give fish." Take a look:



Photo: Vancouver Aquarium