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Discussion regarding only Lake Tanganyika species.
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Altolamprologus compressiceps jaw problems (pics included)

Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:09 pm

My Alto Comps upper lip/jaw is extended and stuck. He still seems to be eating fine. Is there anything I should do?


Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:16 pm

You can try to catch the fish and gently push the jaw back in.

This is a condition that is very common. As long as he/she can eat the fish should be fine. It just doesn't look the best.

Know that the longer the jaw stays that way the better the chance that it will stay that way. Also, even if you pop it back in place it can pop out again....

IMO it is caused by aggresion... or ramming into something.

Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:50 pm

It happened to one of mine a few times. I have another that has a bone sticking out.

Sat Nov 28, 2009 1:50 am

Very common: it is a torn tendon. There is a bone (or cartilage) that is supposed to slide back into the head bone, kinda like a switch blade. This is hard to explain. You can press that "switch blade" bone down and gently slide the mouth back shut. If you catch it early you may have a slim chance of fixing it. Most likely, it will pop back out.

They will adapt and do fine with that condition.

BTW: you have a very nice looking comp. What species is it?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:53 pm

It was sold to me as Altolamprologus compressiceps "Red fin"

Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:08 pm

Yes catch him and, GENTLY, pull the lip forward, pressing the bone (The long skinny one that is most obvious) into alignment with the head. The guide.push, GENTLY, the bone and mouth into the proper closed position.

If you leave him like that for too long his tendon will heal and, usually stay like that irreparably. It's not that big of deal but it does look weird. If you can get it back in place you should separate him into his own hospital tank, feed only every 2-3 days for a couple weeks, feed small pellets or flakes (So he doesn't have to open his mouth all the way to get whatever it is). The idea is to give him less reasons to extend that joint until it heals. That way, you have less of a chance that the tendon will be destroyed by repeated use or micro-trauma.

I know it's just a fish but they're fun to fart around with, especially when it helps them out. I have a friend who is an M.D. and a Tang keeper and this happened to a big Calvus of his... So using a butterfly (very Small) suture needle and a human hair we applied "Kanka" as a numbing agent (Mostly as a joke/experiment because "Kanka" contains a gel which hardens like a layer of skin once it's wet. It also contains a bit of Benzocaine for numbing) and then performed a single "loop" to knot suture (one hole) from the cartiledge the very tip of the nose, extended the loop over the mouth and knotted it off. Effectively wiring the upper jaw shut. He ate and healed just fine as his mouth could still open and shut, he just couldn't "suck" food up like what is necessary when they're hunting live food.

I'm almost embarassed that we did that but, wether or not that did it, that fish has not had the same problem again. :lol: We were very particular about using the smallest of needles and the hair was also because it was very fine and smooth. We were planning to remove the suture but after 3 weeks, the hair grew brittle and the Calvus shook it out. It cracks me up to think what his patients thought about this fish with stitches in the waiting room! :lol:

Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:14 am

this condition has happened to two of the three comp's I bought 2 weeks ago.I'm pretty sure one was like this when I bought it.
only thing I know for sure is that it really sucks...but oh well, if the fish can get by this way its fine by me

Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:27 pm

How long has it been like that? Sure You can gently push it back but IME most of em go back within a few days without help. I had one that got this regularly, I only once pushed it back once in over 7 times and only after it was stuck like that for over a week.

No panic 8) I know it looks horrid but it is not rare I think.

The white on the top of the mouth seems to indicate a bang slightly infected. Maybe a dose of a gentle anti bacteria agent (Metafix ect) is in order too but it may well heal fine anyway.

All the best James

Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:29 am

I believe the white on top of the nose is in fact the loose bone where the tendon is supposed to be holding/returning the bone to place

Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:58 pm

I can only guess mine was not the same problem. I got no white bit and no problem with the mouth going back on its own without intervention (Most times).

Live and learn thanks for that. :thumb:
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