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Best Fish Euthanize

author
Ava Flores
• Sunday, 20 December, 2020
• 45 min read

There is no one method that can be considered as suitable for the euthanasia of all types of aquarium fish as they vary greatly in size and their adaptation to different environments (e.g. temperate, tropical, fresh and salt water). Aquarium fish can be safely and humanely euthanasia by administering an overdose of anesthetic dissolved in water.

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Contents

This method is especially appropriate for large fish that are difficult to handle but needs to be carried out by a veterinarian as the recommended anesthetics (MS-222 Tricking methanesulfonate and Endocrine hydrochloride) are not available to the public. Advice should be sought from a veterinarian on the best way to euthanasia a particular species of fish as some species react differently to anesthetics and may require a secondary method of euthanasia after the anesthetic overdose to ensure a humane death (for example, goldfish).

Around 400 mg of clove oil per liter of aquarium water is sufficient to cause death in exposed fish. When exposed to clove oil at this concentration fish quickly lose consciousness, stop breathing and die from hypoxia.

However, there can be considerable stress imposed by prior handling and many people are uncomfortable with using these methods. It is not recommended that you attempt physical methods without prior training as hesitation or lack of skill and experience will lead to a poor outcome for the fish.

If you know that your fish is in so much pain and is gradually getting weak, you may consider euthanizing it. In this case, you have to realize that euthanasia is the only option left for your fish.

You may choose this routine, or you can go with speeding the process for your fish sake. So, read on to find out the two primary ways on how to euthanize a fish.

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When a fish can no longer fulfill these things mentioned above, it will stress out. When your pet’s illness becomes contagious or untreatable, you have to make its suffering stop.

These pets become the primary source of infectious pathogens in your aquarium. When you want to breed your pet, especially for fishes with particular characteristics like guppies, discus, and fancy, you may have to euthanize them.

You may need to cull the fry which does not seem fitting to reach their natural growth and development. Lastly, your fish becomes a candidate for euthanasia if he could infect the ecology.

If your fish falls under the categories above, it is more humane to choose euthanasia than to let it die slowly. These strategies are the most traditional among pet owners, especially those who do not have time to select other methods.

The only way they would accept this method of cooling is when the animal is already euthanized before freezing it. As what it apparently means, decapitation is a method that involves getting the fish out of the water.

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A lot of pet lovers agree with this method as long as it goes with anesthesia. Carbon dioxide typically fills the water your fish lives in because of the process of respiration.

What you need to do is to add more carbon dioxide to the water and lower down the oxygen content of the environment. But, for most people, it is still quite disturbing to see their fish moving around and gasping for oxygen.

Thus, to make sure of its death, you may try to decapitate or freeze your fish. Veterinarians suggest at least eight tablets of Alka-Seltzer for each gallon of water for this process to be successful.

Fish die instantly by hitting it with something hard or cracking its neck using the kitchen counter. But, before you proceed with the method, you need to put the fish in a plastic bag.

A lot of people say that decapitation is a more efficient way to break the neck of the fish. Average pet owners usually use the methods above to euthanize their fishes.

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A lot of these ways are more typical in the vet’s clinic than at home. It is a method that is most probably used by people with a little experience when it comes to euthanizing a fish in a humane manner.

In fact, universities commonly use this method when using animals for experiments. You see, you have to combine the medication with ethanol or acetone to blend it in the water.

It is a humane approach because you need to make the fish unconscious first before euthanizing it. However, you will somewhat find this method quite difficult to execute, especially that you still need the vet’s prescription.

Vets typically utilize this approach all the time for pets that needs euthanasia. Euthanasia may be one of the hardest tasks to fulfill, especially for pet lovers.

If your fish suffers from a severe disease or is not responding to treatment, euthanasia may be the ideal option. It may seem harsh to allow the death of your fish, but if it is in pain, then it is the kindest thing you can do.

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If you decide to go for euthanasia, you need to make sure that you follow the methods listed above. You have tried everything to nurse your fish back to health but to no avail -- it is dying and in distress.

Most people determine their actions by considering the fish's quality of life in its last days. When researching this article, we looked at public opinion on the Internet, the American Veterinary Medical Association (ALMA) 's opinion on euthanasia and how many universities across America euthanize fish for research purposes.

Many colleges use ALMA as their standard in determining the humane way to euthanize animals. The ALMA puts out a report about every decade where they survey acceptable means to euthanize animals.

Most college and universities have acceptable methods for euthanizing animals for research. The University of Washington's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee released their policy for euthanizing fish in 2002.

George Mason University published their own standard operating procedure where they have categorized methods of euthanasia. These methods are the most common among fish -hobbyists, especially those that did not have the opportunity to spend much time researching euthanasia options.

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Alka-Seltzer is a popular source for carbon dioxide to be released in water. The euthanasia methods used above are those which are most commonly used by the average aquarium hobbyist to euthanize their fish.

Foster and Smith carry it ; a bottle costs $24.99 plus shipping and handling. You can also buy this from Pond Rx ($14.99 plus shipping and handling for a 5 gram bottle) and Argent Labs.

· Endocrine Hydrochloride is a drug requiring a veterinarian's prescription; you cannot buy it over the counter for your fish. This article probably covers using the clove oil/vodka method is most detail: What is the Most Humane Way to Euthanize a Fish by wiseGeek.com.

This process is not advocated by the ALMA in their 2000 report due to lack of research. The problem with this method is you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get your hands on it since it's a controlled substance.

The ALMA advocate only using Sodium Phenobarbital as other barbiturates may cause pain when injected. If your fish has been suffering from a severe illness and none of the treatment methods have been working, euthanasia might be the best choice.

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Now that you have a dead fish on your hands, you could choose to bury them in your backyard (follow your local ordinances on the matter), wrap them up and throw them out with your regular trash, or contact your veterinarian and ask them to dispose of your fish for you. If your fish is suffering, you may want to consider euthanasia as an option to humanely end his pain.

Well worth the small cost to know they died peacefully and are no longer suffering. This method is effective and the least stressful I have found if you follow it properly.

Anon1000345 August 28, 2018, I just used this method again and my poor beta seemed severely stressed. My goldfish probably had a bad infection, the belly was red and sucked in, and it barely moved on the aquarium floor.

He was so weak he left us when he fell asleep due to the oils, but I also poured in the vodka to be sure. Just follow the directions exactly, and I believe the majority of the time it will succeed.

My fish reacted to the clove oil mixture being put into the receptacle, but it wasn't a violent reaction. After he fell asleep I added a little more clove oil -- just to be sure -- and waited another 10 minutes or so before using the vodka.

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Even though this was hard to do because I was sad, it is better than watching my fish languish on his side and starting to fill up from Dropsy. Anon996925 October 26, 2016, I used this method for my son's Black Khoi Coach, I tried to nurse him to health in a sick tank for weeks, and he only got worse.

I believe he had TB, bent spine/sunken tummy and white sores on skin. The poor coach tried moving, but movements slowed way down and then within 15 minutes he was resting.

I added another dosage 1/4” of the bottle mixture and his breathing slowed way down. I then added the 1/4” cup vodka to the water and set the timer for 30 minutes.

I checked on him 10 minutes into this procedure, and he was still breathing even with the vodka in the water. Anon992571 21 hours ago I just used this method to euthanize a valiant little fish.

I had the vodka measured and ready to go, but didn't need it as she passed away peacefully with just the clove oil. She fell asleep quickly and uneventfully with the first dost of clove oil.

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The fish was somewhat agitated for a few seconds when it got a taste of the eugenol mixture, but then fell asleep and settled on the bottom. After an hour of no gill movement, into the freezer overnight to be absolutely sure.

Anon987172 January 31, 2015, I do it real quick, and it sounds crappy, but I crush them as fast as possible. Anon975482 October 27, 2014, One of my green barbs had very bad fin rot due because the others nipped him (despite their large group).

I used the clove oil (so glad someone in the household recently had a tooth problem) and he went under rather quickly, which I expected since he was so weak. After 10 minutes, there was no sign of gill movement, so I then proceeded with vodka, and it was done.

And just to clarify, fish have scientifically been proven to have a six-month memory, and goldfish are even capable of recognizing people with very different characteristics. You wouldn't euthanize a person cruelly, so show the same respect for fish.

I used this method to put down my beta when the time came, and he passed very peacefully. To make sure I got the vodka and water amounts right, I used Pyrex measuring cups: the fish and 16 oz.

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I used all clove oil and no vodka and my parrot fish fell asleep and passed away very peacefully. Anon947392 April 25, 2014, I want to thank you sincerely for helping me to put our goldfish out of his misery tonight.

My son had a 13-year-old fish he won from a fun fair. He became a big fish, but a week ago he became ill. We tried a number of things but he just steadily declined until he was lying on the bottom of the tank on his side, gasping and heaving.

I first added 15 drops of clove to a small jar of water and emulsified it and stirred it in to the bucket slowly. As I added this second dose, a teaspoon at a time, he suddenly bucked against it but then almost immediately calmed, he stopped gasping although his gills were still moving, but the movement slowed considerably.

When I stirred the water, he didn't move at all, and it was obvious (because it's hard to discern) that he truly was asleep. I removed 2 liters of water and added in 200ml of vodka, and his gills stopped moving.

Poor little Upside Down Catfish passed on peacefully this evening to the Great Reef in the Sky and is no longer suffering. Anon355384 November 15, 2013, I just put my beautiful goldfish to sleep that I raised from birth.

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He was a large goldfish, so I put him into three liters of water in a bucket and added 15 drops of clove oil I had shaken up in a separate jar. The key is to add the oil and water mixture very slowly to the bucket.

He quickly and peacefully slowed his breathing and then rolled onto his side. After waiting ten minutes to make sure he was definitely asleep I emptied out the water from the bucket leaving a little less than a liter, and then I added 200ml of vodka and waited 20 minutes before I buried him in my garden.

A peaceful and dignified death for a creature who has given me much joy over the years. When I catch a fish I use this technique to kill it, since I am conscious of it being a living thing.

I asked for clove oil at the health food store, and they gave me a bottle. It broke my heart to cause him so much discomfort after he has been sick for so long.

Thank you for these instructions, they worked perfectly and got the job done without apparent suffering. Anon309174 December 15, 2012, Being an avid aquarium, reading this article has been a bizarre experience.

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My Beta seemed to be really stressed and grasping when I poured it into the 8 oz I had put him in. Luckily, his stress only lasted 10 seconds or so before he stopped moving, and then I added more and then the vodka to be safe.

My goldfish lived for 12 years and grew to be over 8 inches long. He was a feeder fish who we rescued from being used as part of a centerpiece at a college prom.

He survived despite my incompetent fish keeping skills, but I’d like to think he was fairly happy for all those years. I hope others show you more compassion when someone, or something, you have cared for and loved for many years' dies.

It does take a lot of vodka even for a gallon bucket. I bought him a fifth of Sky vodka and reserved a shot for myself which I drank as I poured the rest of the bottle into the bucket as he slept.

The damage was bad, and it had ulcerated, and he was unable to eat, so we continued with the euthanasia stage which also worked well. I did not have vodka so when three of us could not see any gill movement for about three minutes, we wrapped him in cling film placed him in a bag and bumped his head the way you do when fishing.

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It was not a nice process, but I can honestly say the fish was sedated to the point of being handled and showed no signs of knowing about it. I was a bit dubious after reading that it wouldn't work on Betas, but nowhere offered me a more appealing alternative, so I tried it.

He initially wiggled around a bit, but he was knocked out pretty fast. Just thought I'd share my experience in case anyone else was in a quandary about Beta euthanasia.

Anon276027 June 21, 2012, I didn’t want to use this method after reading about all the bad experiences, but my large seven-year-old goldfish (6×2 inches) was suffering badly from dropsy, so I decided to go through with it. I chose the large fish lethal dose rather than the vodka method.

I didn’t have a baby jar, so I put 200mls of tank water into an empty 500mls water bottle (relatively the same size of a baby jar), and added 30 drops of clove oil and shook the bottle vigorously. Note: I found it difficult to get the drops out, so I removed the top and used a pipette.

I used a black marker to mark the 200mls solution into four quarters and then added one-fourth slowly into the sick tank. After another 10 minutes he became visibly sleepy, but I wanted to make sure, so I added another one-fourth of the solution.

After 10 minutes he was completely asleep and not reacting to any stimuli and his gill movement was really slow. I refilled the bottle with 200mls of tank water and added 150 drops of clove oil and shook it.

Thank you so much for writing this article, it took a very heavy burden off my shoulders. I know people say it's just a fish, but if you have the responsibility of ending a life, you want it to be as peaceful as possible.

They probably had the fish in too much water to begin with so the clove oil wasn't enough to induce sleep. I filled a small pill bottle with tank water and added two drops of clove oil (85 percent clove oil; 15 percent sesame).

I added a generous quarter (or so) helping of this mixture to his tank. But to be safe, I waited 10 minutes like the article recommended and then finished the job with 100 mL of vodka.

I had this Oscar for over 10 years and wanted to stop its suffering from hole in the head disease. I am talking about a fish that had been sitting sick at the bottom of his tank for weeks and had not moved.

The fish was so stressed that it severely injured itself to the point of bleeding from its head, eye and mouth. I decided to add more clove oil to put him to sleep, and he lay at the bottom of the tank breathing very hard for more than two hours.

I decided to place him in the deep freezer while I guess he was asleep. Anon255061 March 15, 2012, I had a huge Jack Dempsey that got a spot on his fin.

I thought the most humane thing to do would be to just whack it with a hammer but that didn't exactly work. I looked up ways to do this more humanely and found the vodka approach.

I put him back in, and he acted fine for an hour or so until he started floating upside down and swimming around in circles again. Gill movement ceased almost immediately, but I still waited.

He is 12 yrs old, and on his side on the bottom of the tank, and it looks like blood coming out his mouth. Anon244475 February 1, 2012, One toilet, add fish, close lid and flush.

If you see eggs dropping from fish belly, put her back (unless you eat roe). Kill humanely by hacking head, with one sure stroke with a cleaver.

Give back the same loyalty the pet showed you when it gave you comfort. Anon231588 November 25, 2011, I had a gold dust molly that had been having a tough time for several weeks.

His protruding cloud eye went down some, but he never ate, stayed at the bottom and was very inactive. I waited a few more days, did a good water change and even tried feeding him independently, and it was sort of a lost cause.

So I walked across to CVS and bought the Red Cross toothache kit which has cleaved oil, and a bottle of Smirnoff (for later)... and followed the instructions. As a high school junior, even I know that the tale that fish have a two-second memory span is a lie, that even though they have small brains they aren't emotionless creatures swimming around aimlessly.

Anon215567 September 18, 2011, I recently used a product I found online called QUITS 10 Ornamental Formulation. It worked quickly to anesthetize my serape tetra, as he was already rather bad off.

So, I would say if you have a rather ill fish who are barely struggling to begin with, this is a good and peaceful method. When melted, add garlic, dill and lemon peel.

Pat fish dry with paper towels and place in fry pan. Using medium to high heat (do not allow seasonings to burn), cook 2-4 minutes until outer edges of fish turn white.

Anon205996 August 14, 2011, It is a false claim that fish have a two-second memory and do not feel pain. Once the fish is asleep, pull him out with a net, put him in a bag and hit him on the head with a hammer or similar object.

The fish will not be scared or feel pain or suffer any longer. I would keep the vodka for your self to down your sorrows after clonking your beloved fish on the head.

Anon194875 July 9, 2011, I was glad to stumble upon this because my beta was practically decaying, and it was so sad. I kept trying to figure out if I should flush him, but I felt so guilty knowing he would just suffer more.

This way worked well, and he passed with no stress just calm and peaceful, and I know he didn't suffer once the clove oil kicked in. I think he was so weak that the clove oil might have done the job, but I added some vodka just in case.

You don't deserve your five minutes back, nor does anyone else who left heartless remarks. For me, the clove oil and vodka approach is the only way I am willing to use to put my fish babies out of their misery.

He had a tumor, and it was clear his quality of life was no longer good, he seemed very unhappy and laid on the bottom of his net box 95 percent of the time. Finally, after the three doses and almost an hour, he's stopped moving, and I see no gill movement at all.

Add the clove oil-water mixture in drops, not a whole 1/4 of it, over a much longer period of time. Anon160381 March 15, 2011, For expensive Vodka on which a tax has been paid, why not substitute denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or anything toxic to kill the unconscious fish (e.g., bleach).

My goldfish, Lupine, was suffering from Dropsy and was obviously in pain. Anon143492 yesterday I find the “vodka” part of the instructions pointless, beyond any speculation of a fish's palate, it is an incredibly expensive option.

I keep a beta sorority tank and the girls are amazingly protective of each other. On Emerald she had just about every infection you can imagine, fuzz, skeptic and blisters.

The advice I got from the local aquarium store was to just freeze them and, sadly, I didn't think it through. They breathe air, and I'm absolutely sure death by brain-freeze is the most painful thing a fish can experience.

Now when I have to put down my fish I net them out into a little punch cup with about 3/4 inch of water in it then slowly add 90 percent isopropyl alcohol until they lose some color, heart death. I commonly euthanize small tetras simply by netting them out and putting a drop of hand sterilizer on them.

Anon138025 December 29, 2010, This evening I had to euthanize an entire tank, at least all that remained in it; 5 goldfish and 2 coaches. The new goldfish I bought last week brought a bacterial infection.

I bought medication and got that under control (lost a few goldfish in the process) and everything seemed fine. I bought medication but after 2 days the fish were looking worse and seemed to be suffering.

This may sound barbaric, but the only quick way I could think of euthanizing them was to use the carburetor. Wanting to end the suffering sooner than later and seeing the trouble others had with finding clove oil, I looked for an alternative.

I found in my husbands drawer an old bottle of Lanka, which contains endocrine. In an article regarding anesthesia for animals, Novocaine was used only when needing higher dosage to ensure death.

I would suggest looking up anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals, page 526-527. I mixed about a 1/4 teaspoon with water in a pill bottle and poured it in the container the fish was in.

No thrashing -- just stillness for 10 minutes and to be sure I did add about 25 percent vodka. Anon130540 November 29, 2010, Just wanted to say thanks to the authors of this site and give a quick update on the sunburst platy that I planned to put to sleep using the clove oil method.

I therefore mixed two drops of the clove oil into my pill bottle/tank water, shook vigorously and started to add it. The fish then sank to the bottom and didn't move though I could still detect gill movement.

I waited the ten minutes and then decided to overdose on clove oil alone, rather than using the vodka. I overdid the overdose and put in 20 emulsified drops instead of only the 10 that should have done the trick.

I feel sorry for the owners whose comments I read that describe it as being ineffective at first. I also raised the temp in the tank to 81 degrees before performing the procedure as I read that temperature is integral for the fish metabolizing the clove oil.

Either way, if the unhappy need arises in the future, clove oil is the method I will be using. Anon130264 November 28, 2010, I have been keeping tropical fish for about ten years.

Ever since, about a week ago, said platy seems to struggle swimming, balancing, eating, and is now getting picked on by tank mates and spends every unnecessary minute hiding in the castle. I did so at that time by adding it to virtually freezing water (which seemed to almost instantaneously and painlessly take effect).

I am hoping that my recent and more diligent research this time will ensure a stress-free passing for my little tank buddy and me. I see some comments on this site include smacking a fish against concrete and the use of blunt force trauma.

Anon127028 November 14, 2010, I have a five-year-old red tail catfish, and we are wonderful pals, But a month ago his whiskers started to rip off without reason. Now his skin is rotting away, and he barely can take a breath through his gashed gills.

He had a bacterial infection with fungus over a month ago, which he healed from, then fell sick again rapidly with no external signs. He lived for two more weeks-breathing rapidly at the bottom of the tank, not able to control his swimming and trips to the top for air.

I put him in a glass, added two drops of clove oil in some water slowly. He did swim frantically for less than 10 seconds, but no more so “agitated” than normal as he had obvious balance/swim bladder issues.

We put him in the freezer to make absolutely sure, but his gills stopped altogether after about three minutes. I've never had a beta die this slowly, and I am thankful for ending his pain.

I put him in 7 oz of tank water, added the emulsified clove oil and he almost immediately stopped moving. Thanks for helping me put an easy end to the fish's suffering.

It is instant death (within milliseconds, in the time it takes it to hit the cement), it is cheap(free)and efficient. Anon112998 September 22, 2010, My baby Anubis recently became bloated and pine coned within the last couple of days.

Anon105120 August 19, 2010, I was dreading doing this but, as heartbreaking as it was for me, it seemed to be completely stress-free for the fish. The vodka took slightly longer than I expected it to, but it now appears to have had the desired effect.

Our Mickey Mouse platy had been sick for a while and after several medication treatments, no luck. I watched helplessly for almost one year as my fish went into decline: first dropsy, then swim bladder disease, and finally a large black lesion on its face.

At first, the local pet store owner foolishly told me to overdose my fish on Melanie. The poor fish only became more agitated to the point that I frantically drove to six drug stores at 9 p.m. at night, only to no avail.

Anon99922 July 27, 2010, For those who didn't like this method, your local vet or aquaculture supply company should have something called MS 222 (FINUL or Tricking Methosulfate) which in high doses will cause death. Barring that, baking soda can be used in a pinch -- same idea as Alka-Seltzer without the effervescence, which is probably traumatic and painful to a fish.

Of course, nothing is quite as sure as decapitation, but it takes a certain constitution to first stun a fish then finish the deed, but the stun ensures a minimal amount of pain in the event of a botched or hesitant cut. There was a tiny struggle, for a few seconds, but soon he was asleep, and I poured the vodka in.

My eel jumped out of the tank and when I found it, it was half alive. I put it back in the water and had to watch it helplessly for a good 30 minutes.

My fish had dropsy or liver cancer (very bloated, couldn't swim upright, eating very little, mostly on bottom of tank). I gave up and poured in 1/4 bottle of vodka, and he was dead within seconds.

Just wanted to warn others because it was painful for the fish I'm sure, and it didn't make me feel very good either! Anon90731 15 hours ago I had to put down my beta because he had ICH, velvet, and his fins were rotting off.

I didn't do any research, but instead fed him one last meal of blood worms and then gave him the chop. I make homemade mouthwash and in a cup and a half of mouthwash, there are only two drops of clove oil and that makes it spicy (original recipe calls for only 1 drop).

Too much at a time is just going to burn your fish (you shouldn't even put one drop on your own skin because it will burn and cause a rash or reaction, you use a carrier oil to apply to your skin). The one drop and stir every few mins might help if you are afraid of a traumatic experience for you both.

I had two goldfish that were sitting at the bottom of the tank for a few weeks, and they didn't recover from treatment. So I used a lethal dose of clove oil and vodka to ensure that they wouldn't wake up and that it was almost impossible for them not to pass.

Very peaceful method, they didn't panic, didn't struggle, acted just like normal only within a few minutes of applying the clove oil they were asleep. Anon77586 April 14, 2010, I have had a “feeder fish goldfish for the past 15 years.

Over the last few months she developed a large abscess on her butt. Like I said we have been through a lot, and she is a survivor, and she was okay with it for a while but lately it has gotten so large she can barely swim and just floats at the top the tank.

The clove put her right to sleep (she of course is floating at the top not the bottom) 10 min. This was very hard for me to do, but I have to say I am glad she is no longer in pain and that I didn't appear to cause her any more suffering.

Anon77429 April 14, 2010, After watching our 12-year-old parrot fish suffer for the past few weeks with dropsy and struggling to breathe, we made a family decision to put him to sleep. I filled a baby food jar with tank water and added 15 drops of clove oil.

We then emptied some water out of the bucket so that it had only had 1.65 liters in it and added 20 percent vodka which was approx. It helped make a very hard thing to do a little easier.

Anon75981 April 8, 2010, Quite opposite to what you said, my biology teacher who specialized in aquatic animals said that she used Alka-Seltzer to knock fish out and follow it up with decapitation or freezing. Anon65932 yesterday I've just had to put my Goldfish Lizzie to sleep, I've had her for twelve years, and she finally got an illness that couldn't be cured despite my best efforts.

For the last two weeks she just was at the bottom of the tank upside down and couldn't move or eat and her eyes were clouding over and didn't respond to any medicine. It was very peaceful and Lizzie didn't appear to suffer, thank you so much for giving this advice.

When I added the clove oil solution to the water my poor little molly instantly became agitated and began to swim erratically for about 15-20 seconds before she finally passed. Later I applied a drop of the clove oil on my own skin, testing its other uses, and found that almost instantly it began to burn, to the point I had to wash it off with soap and water, then apply a calming oil to cool the burn.

I admit that I may have measured wrong, but believe that either way my fish would have felt this same burning. This is an easier method and less gruesome as the others listed, but if I were to do it again, I would decrease the amount of clove oil; increase the water amount, and do it more slowly to ensure there is no chance of suffering.

It took three doses of the clove oil mixture, but she went to sleep peacefully and is now released from her suffering. Thank you for providing info about this option and a place to share our stories.

He'd jammed his fins through, so he couldn't move backward and his belly started right after, so he couldn't go forwards. We've since plugged the offending hole, but my tank has never looked so empty.

Still have a lovely green severum, so he will be getting my full attention. Usually fish come out when I have food at tank, but they came out and watched the bucket I had him in when he died.

Anon52577 November 15, 2009, Worked as described for my (dwarf) Malawi Mount. I put about 1/4 cup of tank water into a cleaned-out 16 oz soda bottle, added one drop of clove bud oil (purchased at Whole Foods for about $6 in the “aromatherapy” section), shook it up and added about 1/4 of the emulsion to the container with the fish (which I'd covered with a towel this whole time).

Observations cease here for 20 minutes, when I left the container covered with a towel. After 20 minutes passed, I observed very intermittent respiration on the part of the fish -- again, just as described above.

After 10 minutes, I observed no motion of the fish whatsoever, and I stuck him in ye old freezer. Anon49963 October 24, 2009, The method above is unclear in how much water to emulsify the clove oil in.

My jack Dempsey who was about 5 inches just stopped swimming, and no thrashing. However, I put a drop of the clove oil on my tongue, and it burnt, so hopefully his eyes or gills didn't burn.

Anon37114 yesterday I used it on my very old, very sick beta, and it worked well exactly as described. I had a little black moor who got an infection and wasn't reacting to treatment, his eye fell out.

I read up on freezing and was told that the cells of the fish expand and split which was enough for me not to at least try it without clove. Remember to use a small container and measure out exactly what you need.

My Tree Guinness Moor flicked twice then settled still breathing. I didn't want to see any thrashing and panicking when I added the vodka, but I'm fairly sure he was dead before I did that.

I hope I never ever have to do it again and that my other fishes will live till old age. Anon35594 July 6, 2009, I had a beta that was very ill, he had many diseases over the past two months and was dying a very, very slow death.

A friend recommended clove oil, so I followed the directions and rather than adding the vodka I added the remainder of the clove oil mixture (which was two drops in about a tbsp of tank water). I had my beta in 6oz of tank water and he “slept” within seconds of the first dose of clove mixture, no suffering at all.

Plenderman June 18, 2009, My beta fish was so sick she barely had enough energy to swim to get air. I thought that the clove oil would speed up the process, so she wouldn't have to suffer and could go peacefully... but I was wrong.

I ended up adding the entire clove oil mixture, after several dosages, to make sure my fish was asleep. I added about 3 tbsp water with 5 drops of the oil in it, to try and put him to sleep.

In all, beta fish, even when on the verge of death, have a fighting nature, so add plenty, I mean heaping, amounts of clove oil, and wait 30 minutes after the last dose. Anon32729 May 26, 2009, Thanks for the post, I had a very strong zebra Dario as he was growing up I observed that he was getting a curved spine, fast-forward a year later he just weakened, just laying at the bottom of the aquarium floor, and just breathing very fast...his situation worsened a few days later, till I found this article.

I couldn't stand seeing him suffer, so I went out and got some clove oil or eugenol at a nearby health store. Anon29449 April 2, 2009, Sadly my fancy goldfish is very ill with dropsy and swim bladder problems.

My mother's blue paradise fish had been declining for a while, and today he couldn't swim enough to feed himself. I hated the idea of watching him starve, so I used the method listed here.

Anon28515 11 hours ago I want to tell you how grateful I am to you and your site. My beta Scarlett has been very ill, and I was faced with needing to put him out of his misery.

I could not bring myself to decapitate him (the recommended method by my local aquatics store) and I was beside myself with indecision. I had settled mentally on boiling water when I found your site.

Scarlett thrashed twice when I added the clove oil (found easily in a local health food stores) and then settled on the bottom and was motionless. Linux March 15, 2009, This method of Clove Oil worked very well for my sick Beta.

Although I saw no gill movement for 60 seconds, I followed up with the Vodka just in case. For details, and for absolute certainty (not Vodka), I finished with a quick decapitation.

It was a hard decision, but there comes a fine line between good and bad quality of life when a pet owner must make the decision to euthanize based on the well-being (especially taking mental distress into consideration) of the pet. Once this fine line between quality of life is determined responsibly, do not doubt yourself.

Put your pet out of misery and do it in a *humane* way like this method here. Remember, we are so lucky that now-a-days, we get “put to *sleep*” before a major operation, are given *painkillers* when we wake up to comfort us, etc.

It took me days to get the courage to do this, but I feel relieved he went peacefully and is not suffering anymore. Anon27410 February 27, 2009, I just had to do this unfortunately.to be honest I was a bit skeptical as I had a pretty big Brand. I had to use a little more clove oil than suggested, however it eventually worked and my little guy went out peacefully it seems.

I just hope the remaining serape continues to stay healthy. Since he is so large it would take quite a bit of clove oil and alcohol to use this method.

I'd suggest calling your local veterinarian for something that might be easier that they can prescribe for this purpose, or call Sea World in San Diego and ask for someone on staff to direct you to the correct party for advice. I happen to know that Sea World maintains a 5000 gallon freshwater display that includes several Pace.

After reading all the entries, I'm not sure if the clove method would work for such a large fish. Anon26888 February 20, 2009, So I Was weary after reading everyone's experience with the Clove oil on their Beta's.

So I put some of his water in a jar and one drop of clove oil and shook it well. I figure if your Beta is sick enough it will work, *so make sure he is really on his way out before you do this×.

I don't want to do what the pet store said to do (hit his head with rock, freeze him nor do I want to cut off his head) he was a pet to the gentlemen that I bought house from a year ago. He had to move he was dying of brain cancer and recently just past away. So I feel this fish should go peacefully like him.

We had a large tiger Oscar and had tried everything we knew of, but he continued to worsen, and we didn't want him to suffer anymore. He eventually got to where he was not eating and just hiding in his cave or leaning next to his wood decor.

Also, this morning I noticed he started growing fungus on his tail and tummy. My brother has a small man made pond in his backyard that freezes every year.

Every year the water thaws in the spring and goldfish is just fine. :(I'm really upset as I was trying to find a peaceful method for him and I think I made it way worse than if I would've just chopped his head off.

Now it seemed like he was asleep, his gills weren't even moving, so I poured in the vodka. My poor little bubble eye had dropsy bad, her little stomach was filled with blood and her scales were sticking out, and she was floating upside down.

I had a creamily female Molly, who after giving birth, became seriously ill and disfigured. Anon22520 December 5, 2008, I found this article when I was looking for a humane way to send a group of guppies to their watery heaven.

A man gave me a tank full of fish that were just awfully twisted, deformed and sick. After about 30 minutes of them being asleep, I added the vodka and their gills stopped moving.

It made me feel better knowing that they went peacefully after a life of such pain. I don't know if armored fish are somehow different, but he completely spaced and died, and I was so upset.

So, tonight I looked at one of my Purple Moscow Guppy babies. Be very careful when using clove oil to put fish to sleep temporarily.

Anon21516 18 hours ago I bought clove oil at GNC for 6.99 for my large Oscar and followed the 10 drops per gallon then after 10 minutes added the vodka. While I did add more clove oil after ten minutes after I added the vodka (just in case) my Oscar went very quietly.

I should've done this all along being a science major, but I figured this other way sounded nice enough. They have a special organ that lets them use air in addition to dissolved oxygen.

If you don't let betas take a gulp of air, they will die. I woke up this morning to find one swimming upside down and covered in fungus, and the other still upright, but just as fungus.

By the time I'd come back from getting the clove oil, the upside down one was dead, and the other was clearly beyond saving. He has been very sick for the past fortnight with White Spot and is in treatment for that. But hasn't responded.

All I know is, I certainly couldn't live with myself if I had to chop off his head or put him in a blender. And I most definitely couldn't flush him. I had a goldfish which was about 6 inches long with severe dropsy and I could not bear to see him lying on his head at the bottom of the tank upside down any longer.

I read this article and purchased some clove oil from Boots and some Smirnoff Vodka. I followed the directions for a large fish and within 10 mins he was fast asleep.

After waiting the stated time I added the vodka, once again no movement and ARE pasted away very peacefully. Anon17521 August 31, 2008, My poor baby beta had a tumor the size of a marble.

He was still eating, but gulping for air and I couldn't bear to watch him struggle to swim and breath. He clearly did not like the addition of the clove, so I covered the bowl and pretty sure he was gone before I added the vodka.

I followed the directions on this site exactly as stated, and the clove oil did not put my fish to sleep. They gasped for air at the top, and I could see the skin around their eyes was all red, which it had not been before.

Anon15398 July 10, 2008, Fish are cold-blooded, they do not feel temperature differences as humans do, their metabolisms simply react to their changing environment. Fish, unlike frogs, cannot survive freezing solid and will expire once this occurs.

The MOST humane method is to remove them in a container (with top) of tank water large enough for the fish to be upright, and then place this in your freezer. Depending on the amount of water and other variables it will take 1-2 hours for your fish to have frozen.

I have kept fish for over 30 years and have tried clove oil and other methods and still have observed the most serene and peaceful deaths occur with freezing. Clove oil is highly effective and only causes minor stress, but it does not work naturally.

As previously noted, clove oil is not effective for all fish, and several in the hobby would place in apparently excruciating pain when subjected to the lethal dose you suggest. Freezing does not require knowledge of the fish's biology and works painlessly with any species that will be commonly found in the hobby.

I set everything up next to the tank and the whole procedure takes just a few seconds and the fish is at peace. It is violent, it is unpleasant, but the fish knows so very little about it and I work hard to keep it that way.

I have read up on several ways but can't be sure I will get any of them right. Anon13584 May 30, 2008, My Blue Tang was found listing upside down this morning.

The clove oil worked perfectly, and as he relaxed his color came back to its brilliant blue hue. The entire process was very peaceful except for the brief transition from the tank to the container with the clove oil.

Thanks again, I am very grateful for Jacques peaceful release from suffering. The combination can be used IF done properly but the majority of the cases of at home euthanasia the fishes gills are burned by the vodka causing a violent death.

Anon12653 May 11, 2008, Since vets use clove oil to perform surgery on fish, I can't see why it would not work on Betas, even though they breathe surface air. The extreme agitation doesn't make sense, and doesn't seem to occur in all cases, but only some.

I'm wondering if the clove oil used in those cases had additives that caused the aggravating factor. In that case the reaction would be caused by chlorine and other chemicals in the faucet water.

I got a 1oz (which is a TON for this purpose) bottle for 5.99 from GNC at the local mall. Sharyl April 8, 2008, spelling correction and additional factoid to my post: betas are Anabantids--labyrinth fish.

Sharyl April 8, 2008, I have had the same experience as til lab with betas on more than one occasion (I had over 70 at one time.) The betas become frantic, thrash, are in obvious terrible distress that doesn't get better with time or the addition of more solution.

My theory is that this happens because the fish are anabatoids--that is they breathe outside air from the surface rather than through their gills. I have seen many posts about clove oil working great on non-bettas and many that describe the same frantic scenario when it is used on a beta.

Anon9086 February 27, 2008, I followed the directions to the letter, using 100% Clove Bud oil (aromatherapy source). Gill movement ceased almost immediately, but I still waited.

My heart is breaking, but I couldn't put him in the freezer as the aquarium store suggested. If you are in an emergency situation and need clove oil, call your dentist office.

I had a tiger barb (>2yrs old) that had lost its tail fin due to nipping and even after moving to a different tank never got better. Eventually red sores (under the scales) started to develop, and I knew it was not going to improve.

Like others, for the first 3 seconds or so the fish got agitated, but very quickly after that it rolled on its side and is now comfortably asleep. Clove oil is not readily water-soluble (that's why it makes a cloudy liquid.

My platy tank appears to have come down with TB and I will be euthanizing at least one of them tomorrow (if she survives the night). I was really glad to have read this article with its step-by-step instructions and with other people's feedback and experiences as well.

Now I know to get 100% clove oil, if I can, and to leave the room for the 10-minute wait, so I don't have to see her gasping for air or any of that. Each week (or two) he'd get his water change, and every day he'd come to the top of the tank for his daily meal.

Over the past couple of weeks, things started to go badly for him. I put it down to age as the water was fine, temperature was good and there was no disease in the tank.

Today I dropped into the chemist and picked up a small bottle of 100% clove oil. I triple dosed the water with clove oil, mixing it in a separate container as indicated on this site.

I gently poured it in, and within seconds he had settled to the bottom of the bucket. I have a molly with a severely twisted spine, and who can barely control her movements anymore.

I am reluctant to hear the accounts of fish struggling and gasping, thanks for clarifying that this was likely due to the use of not 100% clove oil. Rowena September 16, 2007, I just wanted to thank you for suggesting the Alka-Seltzer method for euthanizing a pet fish.

Anon3113 August 12, 2007, I just used this method on four juvenile guppies with birth defects. Upon adding the clove oil mixture they began gasping at the surface and darting around, obviously trying to get away from it.

Very quickly however they began to sink to the bottom, and after only a few seconds there was no movement at all. They were too small to tell if there was gill movement, so after waiting the 10 minutes anyway I added the vodka.

Anon2967 August 3, 2007, In search for a more humane solution I tried this method on a small fish (not a beta) with apparently a tumor in its belly. After slowly administering the clove oil it became a little agitated (as earlier described), however it settled down pretty quick on the bottom.

It kept gasping, so I decided not to wait the full 10 minutes as described but administered the vodka earlier; perhaps it is a better to go away and wait a while, but after the vodka I noticed the fish became quiet and still, almost immediately! However, there were some spasmodic gasps after a while, so I put in an overdose of clove oil just to be sure and pretty soon the fish passed away.

All in all, albeit it is a bit slow and not entirely pretty to watch, it seems to me this is an effective and reasonable humane way to euthanize your fish, provided that you really mix the clove oil into the milky substance. If your family doesn't drink, buy a small bottle of vodka from a liquor store for less than $3 and keep it with your fish supplies for future use.

I assume you meant that the fish reacted at the introduction of the clove oil. Fish usually react for a moment to the clove oil just because they sense something in the water and will try to dart away from it.

I know it's too late now, but introducing the clove oil slower might have been less traumatic, or perhaps introducing more at once would have caused the same reaction but put him to sleep (not to death but to sleep) sooner. Tillalb June 24, 2007, I just tried your method on my terminally ill Beta, and it didn't work out well...

I do believe that your protocol might work if applied differently (I don't know what went wrong), but it's clearly not foolproof. Perhaps you should warn your readers (I've read before that clove oil didn't work on betas, but I sadly didn't heed that).

RIP, my dear Beta, and at least I now know that I will never again keep vertebrates for my pleasure. So you didn't die in vain (but I'm sorry that my learning process caused suffering).

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