View Full Version : Euthanasia, when and how.

02-18-2003, 08:39 PM
Hi all,

I would like some feedback on the above topic. I have on occasion had to euthanize a fish. I have gotten different views on ths mainly from books.

One book said throw the fish against a wall, or in a bathtub, another suggested severing the spinal cord just behind the head. I also read to put the fish in a glass of soda water CO2, puts them to sleep? Another suggested to immerse the fish in rubbing alcohol. Yet another said put the fish in a specimen container and then into a freezer, the gradual decline in temp will also put the fish out. This last one makes sense to me, however when I attempted it I found myself running to the freezer and rescuing it.

I have not done this often but when I have tried one of these methods they did not go well for me. Believe me I hated doing it, but for the sake of the suffering fish which is worse; letting them die slowly or a quick end??

Don't know :cry:

Any and all input would be appreciated.

Thank you,


02-18-2003, 09:13 PM
take a look at this thread: http://www.cichlidforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=764

02-18-2003, 10:13 PM
Sgypsy, I like the clove oil / vodka solution, never tried it but this way you could take a few nips off the vodka while putting your fish to sleep, which would make it painless for both :wink:

02-18-2003, 10:26 PM

02-19-2003, 03:51 AM
According to my vet, there's some kind of anesthetic that can be administered to the fish in a speciemin container. I forget what it's called, but some pond supply places have it so you can use it for koi.
I can't get it here though, it's illegal. Probably is where you are too.

The next best, most humane solution is (again according to my vet) to take a scissors and snip the spinal cord right behind the head. You have to cut in on an angle towards the head, right behind the gills. The fish dies instantly because all nerve impulses are cut off and the bodily functions cease immediately. Supposedly there is no pain. because there is no nerve function.

The next way, (a little less humane) is to immerse the fish in a container of ice water. The metabolism slows and eventually respiration and other functions cease. It takes a couple of minutes, though, but my vet assures me that it is no different than a person in the same situation. There is no pain per se, there is just cold, then nothing.

Personally, I don't have the "killer instinct" when it comes to my fish, so I can't do the first way. I have always used the ice water. I do not put the fish in the freezer. This takes too long, and the fish is still suffering while it is waiting to die. Besides, if you have to do it, the ice water is quick. Two minutes and it's all over. In all my years (25+) of fish keeping, I have used this means successfully on many occasions. It's not pleasant, but it is effective.

Never, I repeat, never, would I flush a fish down the toilet. It pollutes the water system. It is also disrespectful to the fish, which was a living creature that you chose to care for. If anything, put it in the compost heap, or bury it in the yard near a plant or bush so it will act as a small fertilizer and give itself "back to the earth." At the least, if you are not overly sensitive, wrap it newspaper and throw it in the trash. It will rapidly decompose and aid the decomposition of the items around it, thus giving back to nature as well. (I'd take that garbage outside right after I did this, though.)

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that the fish is a living creature, and ideally you are trying to prevent it from suffering.

02-20-2003, 08:35 PM
You forgot boiling water!! I've seen that in a few notes around the web. Last time I did it was Listerine in tha toilet bowl. It' didn't take longer than 1 minute, but now that I read that it polutes the water I'm not sure if will be the quick instant ice water or the slower version.

02-20-2003, 08:39 PM
I wouldn't do boiling water. It is painful since it scalds the skin first and then slowly saps the oxygen from the internal organs.

Would you want to be killed that way? Personally, I'd rather freeze to death. You go unconscious and never wake. This is just me, though.

02-20-2003, 09:01 PM
I like the vodka idea....gives me an excuse to have it around..lol

My girlfiend hates vodka, would wild turkey 101 work too?

I like my vodka with cranberry and a twist of lime...Swedish if you please

Personally I like the sushi 6" knife (or fillet) and just chop their heads off. I was a sushi chef in previous life so it doesn't bother me much.

Nothing better than a Henkles!

I only did this with one fish, an aratus that didn't play well. I do this all the time fishing. One time I had to use a Magnalite on a 20lb Northen Pike in the boundry waters. I got him in the canoe and he hit the bottom fighting and broke the hook off in my hand (I was all alone).

I do not support or agree with capitol punishment with humans or animals.

02-21-2003, 07:19 PM
I tried the slice behind the head but the fish twiched, and it seemed like forever. Just nerve impulses I'm sure, but unsettling to say the least.

Next time I take my dogs to the vet I'll see if I can get something.

Thanks for the feed-back, sorry it was such a depressing subject.


02-21-2003, 07:41 PM
I do not support or agree with capitol punishment with humans or animals.

Odd comment after saying you dispatched an auratus for not playing well with the others. Was it sick or something when you euthanized it? :?

02-21-2003, 08:09 PM
No pet stores would buy it back. I tried giving it away even.

If I had it t do over again I would have snuck it into petco and dumped it into one of their tanks.

The ice cube in the freezer treatment is much better I have since found.