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Euthanizing

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Guest Prune

After some research on the Web I want to add the following points:

Freezing should not be done slowly. The fish will suffer from decreasing oxygen concentration and temperature.

If you drop the fish into ice water (~0*C) the thermal shock acts very quickly.

Regarding the clove oil method from the first post -- adding alcohol in the beginning would cause irritation from the alcohol. The clove oil should be mixed with an emulsifier such as milk instead. The clove oil will anesthetise the fish, and alcohol can be then added to assure a complete kill.

Unbuffered MS222 solution is caustic, and this is especially discomforting if crystals are not predissolved, causing local areas of high concentration. It should be buffered. This is coming from a post elsewhere by someone that does it routinely at the NIH.

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Caution: Blunt Opinion Ahead. May Offend Some.

From a carnivore's viewpoint, I think this is all rather stupid to be worrying about. Just kill the darn fish and get it over with already. Stop moping about "Oh, is this humane or not?" Just smack it's head off and be done with it already. Or just let the poor thing die by itself the natural way.

I was just never one for thinking of pets as anything other then the animals they truly are. I don't treat them like my children. That only creates behavioral problems. Yes I love them, but I don't pat them on the head and give them a treat for every cute thing they do, y'know?

I've never had to deal with this, as all my fish die overnight or when I'm not home.

Edited by TetraLover

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This thread is informative and helpful. There are always going to be times when the most humane thing to do is to end a life. Knowing how to do so in the least painful method is a valuable piece of knowledge.

Tetralover - the people on this site DO care a great deal for their fish. They would not be here if they did not. Because of that, they care how they feel - even in death.

It is my personal opinon that you can view animals as "animals" - that is all fine and good - if you wish and that works for you. No one is asking anyone to attribute "human" attributes to the fish, but it is "human" to care for all living things.

There no room in my life for lack of care and concern over the pain and suffering of anything alive. If something must die, then it should be done in the least painful method with the least fear involved. It matters little if that creature is a human, dog, cat, fish, or bird. It deserves the respect due to its life - and inevitable demise. That death should not be callously brushed off or ignored. Death may be a fact of life, but where I am concerned, a nearly painless death, done as gently and "humanely" as possible is the honest way. I morn every loss, no matter how small - even when it is I who chose that death.

The method that accomplishes this may, in fact, be a knife behind the gills. Death may come via a clove oil bath, or a plunge in ice water. (knocking a fish up against wall is NOT recommended for death is not a guaranteed thing - nor may it be a quick death when it happens) As long as it is done with the respect and gentleness and thought that a precious life deserves. EVERY life deserves that respect.

This discussion may help someone, in the future, to make just such a choice.

Please keep in mind that this forum will be kept civil. Some posts within this thread may be removed if necessary - an I would, personally, rather see them all remain. This is information that is needed, at one time or another, by all.

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Guest Kiki Lola

Gosh none of those sound pleasant! It's such a shame for the poor fish, but I suppose a few minutes of suffering to put it to rest is much better than weeks of suffering an illness...

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I adopted a one eyed goldfish from a pet store because they hadn't noticed his "deformity" and would probably have just flushed him. The lady gave him to me for free and I loved that little dude.. He swam to the side and I pretended he was my pirate fish.

Unfortunately he got fin rot and after 4 days of watching him suffer I just couldn't do it anymore.. I had to kill him. I put him in a ziploc with a wet paper towel and stunned him against the ground. This actually ended up killing him as he EXPLODED.

Traumatized for life. ugh.

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i had to euthanize my betta awhile ago cuz he couldnt eat or swim due to sbd, i used the clove oil/vodka method, it took about 10-20 minutes and he struggled a bit at first but I think its probably the most humane way, he didnt really appear to b in any pain

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Guest insanity.rainbows
Thanks for the info i have had to euthanise two of my fish in the past and was led to believe freezing was a kind way to let them go I think it will be the anaestetic way for me from now on.I feel guilty now tht i may have caused my fish to suffer

cry3.gif

I was told it made them fall asleep TT-TT

When i had to put Fifi down just 1 day after gettign her I felt horrible. She had somehow jumped out of my tank. While flipping around she ripped of her fins and scales leaving me to find her still alive on the carpet finless. I put her in a bag and put her in my freezer. I felt horrible that whole day and now feel immensly guilty

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Guest Fish Food

I've actually always used the freezing method to put my fish to sleep. My mother would think I was nuts running around to 10 different stores trying to find an oil to euthanize my fish with. I've never done it slowly though because I think thats cruel. :/ I take a bowl, fill it with cold water (From my fridge since it's colder than tap water) and then fill it with ice cube. I make it as fast and easy as possible on me and the fish. I let the bowl of water and ice sit in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and then I remove the fish and drop it in. Longest time to die I've ever witnessed was 3 seconds and I've put down more fish than I can count. (I had a strain of Guppies who threw out severly deformed fry. It didn't ever show until they got bigger which I always found weird.)

Not sure how a cold water method would work for Goldfish though since they're cold water fish and can live in partially frozen ponds. I'd say boiling would probably be best (If you can't handle hitting it with something, cutting it's head off, can't find clove oil, ect) since it'd work in the same way as the freezing water, the temperature change is so dramatic in change the fish goes into shock and dies.

Keep in mind I've never used a freezing method for anything larger than a 3in Guppy (I mainly have only had to do Guppies but I've also had to put down a beloved Betta like this too. :cry1 ) so I have no idea how long it'd take to kill a larger fish.

I wouldn't ever slowly kill a fish by putting it in a bowl of water and then letting it sit in the freezer to die though. :( My brother killed all but 4 of my tropical fish (I had over 100. Cherry Barbs, Platies, Plecos, an Oscar, a Corydoras and Pluppies which are Platy/Guppy hybrids.) after he left the garage door cracked on a really cold night. (Dropped to like 20 degrees F) Needless to say I first discovered my Oscar who was laying on his side at the bottom, the Pleco who was with him was by some Java Moss laying as if he just froze where he was. My little fish were huddled together for the most part, some laying on the bottom as if they were sleeping. I have described my findings as the scene from Titantic where they're going through the ocean trying to find survivors but everyones frozen over. I managed to find 5 Platys and one lucky Pleco alive. One of the Platys died the next morning though. (Pleco and the other 3 Platys are doing great. :)) My Goldfish survived the night as well. I've always been against slowly killing a fish but after that (Rather tramatizing experience because it gives me the creeps to go in the garage now. I even took out my Goldfish just because I didn't want to feed them in there much less do anything like water changes that they needed. So I got them out so I'd feel better.) experience I'd never in a million years consider it. I do like using the freezing water method but never making it slow.

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Guest Musicmadmk

Hi

I have had aomebody look today with me at my goldfish, (she keeps fish in a pond) and we both agreed that poor Garfunkel is on his way to the fish spirit world.....he is struggling so much to live that it is a real effort for him...watching him trying to eat is heartbreaking and his tail is bent upwards so he spends most of his time in a U - shaped position at the top of the tank. Swimming is so hard and he is unbalanced during his brief bursts of energy. I know he will die of his own accord eventually, but I can't bear to see him suffer like this, so I have decided to buy some clove oil and put him to sleep. I really have done everything I possibly can for him, and it's no good offering him to anyone with a large tank or pond as he is 7 years old and probably won't survive the move. I believe from reading my book on fish and the internet that he has swim bladder disease.

Thnks for all your help and advice, I really should have sought it sooner then I might have had a chance to save him.

Michelle

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Guest lennie

I have just euthanazed by fantail with the clove oil vodka and water mix :(

He had got white spot and he was happy swimming about.

I couldn't get any treatment when I first discovered it as it was Saturday night and had to wait til Monday to get the anti white spot treatment.

Shortly after I put the correct dose of the meds in,he got worse......the other fish picked up.It was too late for him :(

He was suffering real bad for two days.He was under a big stone head first in the gravel and wouldn't eat or swim,just panting.

I knew he needed to rest in peace,and thanks to the post on euthanzing I was able to help him.Thankyou.

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Awwwww... :cry1 ..thts sooo sad..I am sooo sorry..you are very strong to do that..I know how hard it could have been...I am so sorry... :( ... :cry1

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Ethanol is very good way, in my opinion.

It is a central nervous system depressant, and I imagine fish would react to it like humans--simply feel drowsy and drift into a coma peacefully. No pain, no gasping, no struggle. It's also easily available.

I wonder whether anyone tried pumping carbon monoxide into the water. It might be a great way for the fish, but it's very dangerous for the owner.

Potassium chloride might be a good way too. It stops the heart in humans, and it's quite a peaceful way to go. I think this is how death penalty is carried out for prisoners (plus some other anesthesia drugs and paralytics).

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I would think that ethanol would really burn the fish. I'm not sure, but it would be contacting their eyes and gills, sensitive tissues to have such a strong substance come in contact with.

I still swear by clove oil. But since I've started working in fisheries science, I can also say that the old fashioned knife works very quickly, if you have the guts/nerve for it (I wouldn't for my own fish).

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I wanted to share my experience with euthanization for anyone who is struggling with a suffering fish and the thought of putting it to sleep. My quite large oranda, Roxanne, had been suffering from dropsy for over a month without any improvement. I made the hard decision to euthanize her to minimize both of our pain.

First, clove oil is the most effective and least traumatic (for you and your fish) way. You shouldn't have to go to multiple stores to find it, either. I simply went to my local pharmacist and asked for clove oil. They kept it behind the counter, not with the supplements. The tiny 3.7mL bottle of clove oil cost me 5USD and was more than enough for my big fish.

Second, clove oil will burn your hands and sting any open cuts or sores, even when diluted in water. So wear gloves and be careful when handling it to avoid any irritation.

Third, you do NOT have to use a chemical emulsifier in order to use the clove oil method. I poured the bottle of clove oil in a ziplock bag with a tablespoon of water in it, sealed it, and shook it vigorously for 30 seconds. The water will turn milky. This physical emulsification will work perfectly fine as long as you use it right away.

I put enough water in the bottom of a 5gal bucket to cover my fish. Then I carefully put her in the bucket, shook the clove oil bag, and poured it in. She stopped breathing within seconds and I knew she was gone. It was fast, peaceful, and painless. Although it hurt me to do it, I knew it was the right thing to do.

Now this next part is not for the faint of heart. I could have simply left her in the bucket for a long time to ensure that she was dead, and not simply asleep, but personally I couldn't bear it. I took a needle and pushed it through her head. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I swear that it actually physically hurt me to do it. I do NOT recommend doing that-- it was terrible.

That was my experience with euthanasia. It's never easy but it doesn't have to be violent. RIP Roxanne

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I need to put my panda telescope to sleep... he's been sick for over 5 months now in a hospital tank. i've tried everything i could. it kills me to even think of killing him but i cant see him suffer anymore. @ thoughtsofjoy: you said you used clove oil ONLY? no vodka? i just bought some clove oil... but i havent had the guts to do it yet... :(

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I need to put my panda telescope to sleep... he's been sick for over 5 months now in a hospital tank. i've tried everything i could. it kills me to even think of killing him but i cant see him suffer anymore. @ thoughtsofjoy: you said you used clove oil ONLY? no vodka? i just bought some clove oil... but i havent had the guts to do it yet... :(

I really feel for you. :cry1 I had to put my 4 yr old danio to sleep recently and it was really hard. I used the vodka and clove oil and it was over very quickly. He was in a fish bowl already so I just mixed the vodka and the clove oil and added it to his bowl. He swam around for a few minutes very peacefully and then he went to sleep.

It takes a lot of courage to do right by our little finned friends. :hug:heart

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Thank you. I dont have Vodka... I was hoping I didnt need to use it... :( How much clove oil and vodka did you use?

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Here is the way I did it: mix 2-3ml clove oil with 8ml vodka (makes a milky suspension), pour into a clean bucket and add 1 gallon tank water and stir gently. Transfer your fish to this bucket and wait. I left him in this solution for 30 minutes just to be sure and then I froze him in a little plastic glass with just enough of the water to cover him.

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the water you used to freeze him was from the solution or clean water?

I just scooped him out with the cup and used the water with the solution. It really is just a precaution he was already gone.

I'm really sorry you have to go through this. :heart

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Thank you for your help! I'll get some vodka tomorrow... and will let you know later what happened :(

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I'll be thinking of you. :heart

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I used clove oil on my beloved dying oranda, and it was the most peaceful way I can imagine that she could have gone. She just slowly stopped breathing....took a couple minutes but it was very stress-free for her.

I'm sorry but I have very little respect for those who flush a living fish down the toilet. It is beyond selfish and so thoughtless and heartless for the fish...who knows how long they will live and what pain they will have to endure? Those of you who do that should really be ashamed...have half a heart and give the poor thing some peace in it's final moments, it's not asking very much.

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I used clove oil on my beloved dying oranda, and it was the most peaceful way I can imagine that she could have gone. She just slowly stopped breathing....took a couple minutes but it was very stress-free for her.

I'm sorry but I have very little respect for those who flush a living fish down the toilet. It is beyond selfish and so thoughtless and heartless for the fish...who knows how long they will live and what pain they will have to endure? Those of you who do that should really be ashamed...have half a heart and give the poor thing some peace in it's final moments, it's not asking very much.

It's hard to believe some people still do that isn't it? :( When I used the clove oil I was so afraid my fish would struggle but he just went to sleep and the few seconds he swam around he was doing it so peacefully.

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OMG,you guys are breaking my :heart:cry1

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