Fish of gold: Australian woman cashes in $500 to save her $12 pet

© Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services
Here is Conker, probably the most expensive fish Down Under – the pet’s owner paid $500 to save his life when she noticed that he had swallowed a pebble while feeding.

The goldfish’s owner, 21-year-old Emma March, said she ran the one-year-old Conker to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service in Greenslopes, after she realized that he had begun to choke.

“I treat fish like they’re any other pet,” she told Courier Mail.

Doctors were amazed by the size of the pebble, which was about a fifth of the fish’s length.

“He is 13g and only 5cm long. The pebble was about 8 or 9mm long and was stuck lengthways across the side of his mouth, which is why he couldn’t spit it back out,” veterinarian Emma McMillan said, as quoted by Courier Mail.

“He was making excessive mouth movements trying to dislodge it... if we did nothing he would have starved to death,” she added.

So how did they manage to save the little goldfish?

They dripped anesthetic into Conquer’s water until the goldfish fell asleep, then lifted his mouth a bit out of the water, inserted forceps very carefully, and dislodged the pebble.

When they were finished, the owner was out $500 – the emergency consultation cost over $100, and another $400 had to be paid for the anesthetic and an overnight hospital stay.

Conker the fish is doing fine, local media said – at least for now.

The hospital posted pictures of the operation, which garnered hundreds of likes and dozens of shares, with users commending the skill of the vets.