Aidan Cramer made 'a life jacket' for his girlfriend's goldfish, Sally, using a cork and an old bikini string to 'give her some buoyancy.'
A crafty boyfriend won hearts online after he made a custom lifejacket for his girlfriend's 23-year-old goldfish to help it get back to swimming. In a video posted by TikTok user Aidan Cramer (@aidancramer), the goldfish is flapping around at the bottom of a hospital tank, "where we put sick fish, so we can treat them and try and get them better," Cramer explained in another post.
According to Newsweek, he then built "a life jacket" for the ailing fish using a cork and an old bikini string to "give her some buoyancy." Cramer said: "Eventually we got her swimming again. The video then shows the goldfish swimming around the tank while wearing a custom-made life jacket.
In a follow-up video, Cramer explained that the goldfish, Sally, has a swim bladder issue, which regulates how they go up and down. A user commented that feeding Sally half a pea can help empty the digestive tract, but that is no longer effective now that she is older, so they had to use this new technique.
The swim bladder holds oxygen and gasses to help maintain "neutral buoyancy at the fish's desired depth," said Jessie M. Sanders, an aquatic veterinarian for PetMD. The swim bladder is "very significant in the overall health of fish," said Sanders, adding that along with helping with posture and swimming, the organ is also used for sound production and detection in some fish.
Sanders warned: "It is always recommended that owners discuss their options with a veterinarian before attempting any buoyancy compensation devices, such as floats or weights." Tying foreign structures to a fish's body can have catastrophic effects on its skin and mucus production. Any sort of external device will not provide a long-term cure," she noted. Moreover, swim bladder issues are common in goldfish due to their round body shape and "a very curved spine" in some cases.
Sanders said that poor water quality can lead to sudden and chronic stress in fish and that "stress causes disruption in regular homeostasis." This can further cause negative buoyancy (spending too much time at the bottom of the fish tank) or positive buoyancy (spending too much time at the top) disorders.
My friend made a wheelchair for a goldfish pic.twitter.com/QghXTY7rme— Taylor Nicole Dean (@taylorndean) March 10, 2017
Swim bladder problems can also be a result of dietary issues, with excess air entering the gastrointestinal tract during feeding time. If your pool is struggling with buoyancy disorder, "the water quality should be checked immediately and corrected if necessary," Sanders advised. For dietary problems, the veterinarian said giving your fish "a sinking or neutrally buoyant diet may help correct mild disorders" and prevent excess air from entering the duct leading to the swim bladder.
Swim bladder issues can be temporary or permanent, and people with cases of the permanent condition "can still live a full and happy life with some lifestyle modifications." For instance, you need to hand-feed a fish with a buoyancy disorder. " When hand feeding, do not grab your fish! Bring the food to them in whatever position works best for them," Sanders added.
The viral video has garnered 8.7 million views on Tiktok, with over 4k comments from people who were delighted with Cramer's creativity and not-so-delighted with the fish tank. "So, did it live, or did the vest damaging the slime coat do more harm than good? You've got to try something sometimes. Hope it worked out," commented @lazarusmastiffs.
"So wonderful! I'm glad. One thing that might help is a larger tank. Unfortunately, her organs are growing but crushing. It causes disabilities," noted @debatingaftershock. "I'm getting so tired of opening comment sections for animals. What do you want them to have—a ginormous tank with a whole town inside?" said @mds_glowstick.