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FAQs about Euthanasia and Pet-fishing

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Related FAQs:  Anesthesia

to euthanize or not? :(   7/11/12
Dear WWM,
Well, you can tell from the subject line that I have a sad question. We had a nasty heat wave last week, and, in spite of my efforts, my tank got too hot. (BTW: 12G planted, established for some years; regular water changes, good water stats; 1 Nerite snail, 2 dwarf gouramis, fewer oto's than last week, possibly just 1 now.) We had one confirmed Oto death, and 2 are MIA and presumed dead.
<I really like the genus Otocinclus... but they do have issues w/ small volumes, low oxygen situations>

The last has been swimming around, eating and pooping almost like normal, but he looks terrible: his fins are a little... deflated? Without the usual lovely Oto fin perkiness. And the worst is this discoloration on his head - started as a small white spot between his eyes, but has expanded so that most of his head, down onto his snout and back behind his neck, is now white.
(I know oto's are a problematic fish, so I do want to say that I've kept them for a while and they have flourished; the surviving guy is probably 11/2 or 2 years old. That is, it's the heat that killed/is killing them, I'm certain. I also decided not to replace them; they're too delicate. I'd be happy to hear suggestions for alternative algae eaters in a small tank like mine, incidentally...)
<SAE's.... for a while; started small. Please read here re:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/algaeeaterfaqs.htm>
I don't know if there's any chance of him recovering,
<Some; yes>
 although I certainly hope there is. However, if he's suffering and there's no chance of recovery, I feel like I should end it. In your experience, can an Oto come back from this? If not, what would you do for / with him?
<I shy often on the side of hope... I'd hold off here; increase aeration if you can; be patient. Bob Fenner>
Re: to euthanize or not? :( 7/11/12

Thank you! The little guy is still bumping around, and his fins are looking perkier, but that white head is downright ghastly. Do you know what causes it? In reading around, I've come across a number of people who've had the same experience, but no identification of the problem, and no suggested treatment. Just a severe stress reaction?
<I do think so>
 Anyway, I've done my best to up the aeration, and at least the weather is cooperating a bit, so the temp is back in the safe range. Fingers crossed for now.
Thanks also for the SAE links - I am so fond of Otos and thought it might be nice to have a similar kind of fish, but it seems like my small tank could only handle
<I do so look forward to many other species being offered in the U.S.>
1. Maybe I'll just stick with the gouramis and snail for now - an understocked tank never hurt anyone, after all. And my last attempt at shrimp just resulted in fat gouramis...
And a general thanks: after not having been on it in a few months, I had a great time yesterday and today browsing around the WWM site, it's a wealth of accessible and clear information, and I always check it out before making any changes in my setup.
<Thank you for your kind acknowledgement. BobF>

One more thing, euthanasia   7/9/12
Hi Neale, I know this is a mute point now but I cant stop wondering, when I hurried to look up directions on how to put fish down with clove oil, I was hurrying and now think I did wrong, I know this sounds crazy but I need to know one way or another
we put fish in bucket, added almost two gallons of water, it was about a 7 inch fish, I then took another gallon of water and added about 1/4 of the little tiny bottle the clove oil comes in , maybe a bit less then a 1/4, don't know how many drops that would be, but I didn't shake it like I read later, we just poured this mixture in bucket with fish, we watched for about 30 minutes, fish just sit on bottom, did from beginning, even without clove oil mixture, we checked to see gill movement and still had some for awhile, we never sit and watched for a full minute like it says to, we would just look at it once in awhile, I guess my question is (not knowing beforehand that this can be used to just put them to sleep) if it were just sleeping and we took it out of bucket and buried it in a box right away, would it have suffered or awakened, I know I don't think I did it right,
but that is what is bugging me so bad today and all last night, Ill take whatever you say and appreciate your honesty
<A dead fish should be pretty obvious! If all else fails, wait for rigor mortis to set in. Anyway, 30 drops of clove oil per litre of water generally does the trick humanely destroying fish.>
Thanks again
I most likely or hopefully wont be bothering for awhile!
<Let's hope there's no need to euthanise any more fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Euthanasia FAQ-Thank you!    10/15/11
I have been to your website numerous times in the past, and I just want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all of the work and care you put into your site.
We recently had a goldfish show 'dropsy' symptoms (as I've learned here, it is a symptom not a disease), and we tried everything we could find on your site (numerous water changes with the salt recipe on the site, peas, spinach, Epsom salt baths, and the meds you like best, etc), but the little guy was just getting bigger by the day.
Even though I have been in the hobby for almost 20 years, I was still very uncertain exactly how to put down this fish, so I came to you, and you did not let me down. Your Euthanasia FAQ was spot on, and the clove oil treatment was the least emotional, cleanest, and 'best' way I have ever put down a fish.
Thank you so much for helping make the worst part of the hobby a little easier to bare and for your obvious passion for the hobby and the delicate animals we do our best to make happy.
Keep up the great work!
Bruce J. Spagnola
<Thank you for your note Bruce; will share w/ Neale (Monks), the author of the article. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Euthanasia FAQ-Thank you!  10/16/11

<Thank you for your note Bruce; will share w/ Neale (Monks), the author of the article. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
<<Glad the article was of use to you, and appreciate the kind words.
Cheers, Neale.>>

Hi Crew - Clove Oil     6/12/11
Hi Crew,
I bought Clove Bud 100% Pure Essential Oil that is used for aromatherapy, is this the correct stuff to use for euthanizing a fish?
<Yes. It should say on the bottle "pure Eugenol" or similar. You don't want things like alcohol or other oils in the bottle.>
The bottle is quite small, 15ml or .5 oz, what is the correct ratio to water? I want this to be as easy and painless on the fish as possible.
<I find 30 drops in a litre of water (taken from the aquarium) works perfectly for small fish up to the size of Mollies.>
<Mix in the Clove Oil, then catch the fish, put into the killing solution, then cover the container with a towel or something to cut out light and stop the fish jumping out. It will become sedated within a minute without
stressing it in anyway, I use this method to sedate Pufferfish prior to trimming their teeth and they pop back to life once removed. After a few minutes the fish will be essentially comatose, and a few minutes later it'll be dead. Vets will count death as 10 minutes after the last gill movements; I simply wait half an hour. Air-breathing fish like Corydoras, Bettas, etc. may need to be held underwater, in which case use the net to pin them down. Don't forget to dispose of the body appropriately -- not down the loo! If you're far from natural waters, then burial in the garden is as good a method as any, and a good way to mark the passing of a loved pet if you have children. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi Crew - Clove Oil     6/12/11
Hi Neale,
Thanks for your reply!
The bottle says the ingredient is: Syzguium aromaticum (clove bud) oil.
Eugenol is not mentioned at all. Is this the right ingredient or should I return it and look for something else?
<Syzguium aromaticum is the Latin name for the clove plant.
So this sounds right. Good luck, Neale.>

Lady clown, the other Youth In Asia   9/26/10
Hello bob,
Greetings from PA.
Not my favorite topic: Euthanasia
My 17 year old Arc Eyed Hawk is now in the hospital tank, it's her time.
I have Clove Oil and MS 222-
<Use the clove... just a few drops...>
Which is the best way to go here.
When the Fish Vet came to take care of Lady Clown
He left the powder, I have about 2 tablespoons of it- will it work?
<... This is a whole bunch... Use the clove>
so sad, heart broken, and not yet , but close, crying a river
Thank you Rob,,
Donna Hackert
Hawk  9/26/10
How long does it take.????
<Minutes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Thank you Bob, for being there,  9/26/10
It was not easy.
A new river named Hawk!
Keeps bring me back to that damn song:
" What's it all about,____ Alfie?"
<Got my own version: "... Alky?">
Well, Bob, I may see you at the Splash Event in CT next weekend.
<Ah, good>
We will share a cocktail this time- are you in??
I had three shots of Hennessey since my lasting writing!!
Thank you, bob, and hope to see you .
<Take care dear. B>

Ethics of fish euthanasia 5/26/2010
Dear WWM,
<Hi Hannah>
My guppy (a male) is dying, however my question is not about how to help it.
I understand fully well what caused it thanks to reading many of your FAQs, and while I tried my best to remedy the many mistakes I have made, I fear he isn't getting any better. The other one died this morning and my last one is currently going fast.
<Sorry to hear that.>
My question is should I put him down? I've been thinking about it all day and he's just getting worse and worse. I don't want him to continue to suffer, and I read on your site how to do it painlessly (I was going to do the clove oil method), but I'm very shaken over the whole thing, as my dad said to "just leave him to die" and my friend said it he isn't in much pain and it would be kinder to leave him be instead of stressing him further by removing him from the tank. Since I know full well it was my ignorance that caused my dear guppies' sickness I want to be responsible about it and end his pain if that is best.
So all in all my question is, is it best to put him down or just leave him be?
<It is an opinion question. I personally think it would be much more humane to put him down with the clove oil method. How do we know he isn't in pain? Ask yourself, 'If I were dying of _____ would I prefer to be put
to sleep painlessly, or left to slowly die?' That should be your answer.>
Thank you for the help.
<Hope we helped.>
Sincerely, Hannah.
<Scott T.>

Question on NOT breeding [RMF, any opinions on euthanising unwanted fish?] 4/16/10
Well hello WWM Crew,
I just stumbled across this site and thought I might ask a question. I just adopted what turned out to be a very overstocked tank filled with convict cichlids. I have about 2 dozen in a 10 gallon tank that an old coworker just left at the office.
I have had the tank for a few months and just did my first full cleaning.
Shortly after I noticed a pair was acting a little abnormal. I looked in a shell to find well over 2 dozen tiny pin sized fry floating around. Because my tank is already over stocked and no local pet stores will even take them for free what can I do?
<Do review Euthanasia, here:
There is nothing immoral about painlessly destroying juvenile or even adult fish if you cannot genuinely provide them with the care they need. This is precisely what happens with unwanted cats and dogs, and while unpleasant, it isn't unethical. Quite the contrary in fact.>
I definitely can't have babies in the tank though. Plus the pair wont let a single fish over on that half of the tank. Please help and thank you in advance.
<If this was me, and I had a 10 gallon tank, I'd [a] try to rehome the convicts via a pet store or fish club; [b] establish whether upgrading the tank was possible, to say a 55 gallon system, and then simply remove any eggs as/when they appear; or [c] painlessly destroy all the fish, and then stock more carefully with species appropriate to a 10 gallon system, such as Neons, Pygmy Corydoras and Cherry Shrimps.>
Warmest Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.> <<I'd add trying Craig's List to finding potential aquarists who'd be interested. BobF>>

Re: Help My Goldfish Bandi - Dropsy? Questions about MetroMeds & Methionine 5/8/2009
Yes that is what I meant, I took out 5 gallons of water and replaced it with fresh tap water treated with Stress Coat, added the right amount of salt mix to the 5 gallon bucket and put that in the tank. Checked the salinity level and it was exactly as it was before I did the water change.
<All sounds good.>
I have heard of cases where fish that have dropsy actually have lived quite a while, but I agree it seems off.
<I'll make my point again: Dropsy is a symptom that can be easily misunderstood or confused with other problems.>
My fish has had this for only about 1 week and already looks really bad.
There is no sign other than the scales being pineconed (no darkness on the belly or buoyancy issues for the most part) but I don't know what to do. I am doing all I can and like I said, I can't tell if he is in pain or if I should wait out the 14 days of MetroMeds, which most people say it can help, others say it is pointless and to put the fish out of it's misery.
<Indeed, you're doing everything you can; we can't save every fish that gets sick, any more than not every person who gets ill gets better.>
I will look for your article, as the only thing I have heard was clove oil, which seemed humane.
<It's here:
Other things I have heard (freezing the fish, cutting the head off etc.)
just sounds too much for me to do. I am just waiting it out a bit longer for now. At times he seems like his old self, but I have to remind myself that it is a fish and can't speak, so how do I really know how sick or in pain he is. Very sad.
Night Neale. Thanks again.
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Re: Help My Goldfish Bandi - Dropsy? Questions about Clove Oil 5/8/2009
Well Bandi is starting to have irregular (and somewhat rapid) breathing and I think he is really suffering now. Can you please tell me if this is the right way to mix clove oil for a fish that is about 6.5 inches long by 3.5 wide? Does it matter how much you need for the size of the fish? Should I wait 2+ hours?
<Strictly speaking, you add clove oil according to the weight of the fish. In practise, putting in a lot seems to do the trick; I find about 30 drops per litre works.>
I don't want to mess this up if/when I have to go this route:
Have a gallon of tank water in a bucket and put the fish in it. In another container, mix 2-3 ml clove oil with 8 ml.s vodka. Pour the clove oil mixture in and mix a little. The fish will be unconscious within minutes.
<I'd skip the vodka; the vets and scientists specifically describe using clove oil alone, and they're the ones who've studied the thing, not the hobbyists. I'd suggest keeping the vodka for wake after the fish has died...>
I got this info from:
Thanks WWM!
<Do see here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Help My Goldfish Bandi - Dropsy? Questions about Clove Oil 05/09/09
I bought 2oz of clove oil, I looked at the WWM page and it says 400 mg/l, but you said it is largely based on the size and weight of the fish, my fish is quite large and I am not sure how much water or clove oil I should use. 4 liters? 2? Should I use half a bottle? A full bottle? Both?
<The density of Clove Oil is very slightly higher than that of water. Since 400 mg of water = 0.4 grammes = 0.4 millilitres, 400 mg of Clove Oil would be a shade under 0.4 millilitres in volume. If you have a pipette or syringe with the millilitre (ml) scale on it, then measuring the Clove Oil out shouldn't be too difficult. Failing that, I find 30 drops per litre does the trick; that happens to be about 10 times the amount used to sedate fish.>
In terms of the amount I have on hand, what would you suggest? Also I read that leaving the fish in for at least 2 hrs is recommended and/or pithing or freezing should be done to make sure the fish is dead. Should I do any of these (I would rather not but I don't want to have him come back after administering clove oil).
<The Clove Oil works fine alone; what it does is induce hypoxia by preventing gill ventilation. Once a fish stops breathing it quickly loses consciousness, and eventually dies. By all means follow what Burgess et al (1998) suggest, and leave the fish in the bath for 2 hours before removing the body.>
Sorry for all the questions!
<Happy to help, Neale.>

Clove oil works.   4/9/09
Hello Neale,
After explaining as gently as I could about what I was going to do and why - All day today, I heard my 4 yr old daughter explaining over and over to our 3 yr old that Mommy was going to put the Gourami to sleep and then she would die and then we would bury her under the tree in the backyard beside Bubbles the Betta that died a few weeks ago of old age. She was insistent that she wanted to watch, so I called her when it was time. I heard her yell to her brother, "Come on, Mom's going to kill the fish now!"
<Well, yes, children show a remarkable ability to react in ways you'd not imagine. They're much less sensitive and delicate than we often assume.>
She went so peacefully - just like everyone said about the clove oil. I put some tank water in a small container and then put her in. I then quickly dripped clove oil in by drops at a time until I had put in about 60 drops - to be sure it would work quickly for her. After about 30 seconds, she swam around the container once and then just fell asleep. It was pretty uneventful.
<That's the idea! Euthanasia is all about relieving pain and stress.>
It was quite amazing to see how her color came back at the very end and she was beautiful again. I used to work in hospice and have seen something similar happen when people pass away. In all, it took just over 10 minutes for her to stop breathing completely, but we waited for an hour before we buried her - just to be sure.
<Quite right.>
The children sang "You are my Sunshine..." and said a little prayer by Margaret Wise Brown of "Goodnight Moon" fame. This is from her book, " A Child's Goodnight Book"
Dear Father
Hear and bless thy beasts and singing birds
And guard with tenderness
Small things that have no words.
...a much nicer prayer for children than "Now I lay me down to sleep..."
<Would agree.>
Children instinctively know so much more than we give them credit for. We adults too often foist our hang ups on them in our well- intentioned and misguided attempts to "protect" them from what we think of as the hard truths of life - that they recognize as simply "what happens".
<On the flip side, dealing with the death of animals is often the first way children prepare themselves for the death of humans around them. That they can see death can be peaceful, as here, is a useful counterpoint to the violent deaths they see in action movies and the TV news.>
A true story out of the mouths of babes:
When our now 13 yr old son, Christian was almost 5 yrs old, our Betta, "Tortellini" died of old age. That was his first experience with death. We planned a little funeral, to say goodbye and thank you for the enjoyment he gave us. I dug a little hole in a flower bed and was about to gently lay the fish in it, when he shrieked "What are you DOING?" So I explained again, and he complained that he thought I would put him in a box first.
I had to look around for a nice little box before we could proceed. Box found, back to laying Tortellini in the earth. "MOM! I meant a NICER box." There was no nicer box to be found. So I removed my wedding pearls from their silk pouch and asked if that would be good enough. "Yes, Mom.
Thank you..."
Tortellini was laid to rest in a lovely blue silk pouch. Pouch was placed in small box and was about to be laid in the earth...again.
"MOM! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!" By this time, my nerves were frazzled just from trying to remain patient through our little ceremony that was fast turning into something from a cartoon. "What is it now, Christian?"
Very matter of factly, he asked me, "Well, how are the ants supposed to eat him if he's stuck in that box?"
<Smart kid! The "circle of life" as explained on the Lion King; when the lions die, they turn into grass, and the antelope eats the grass, and then the lions eat the antelope.>
He thought I should put the fish in the pouch during his prayer and then take him out and bury him directly in the soil. "...of course, " thought Mother. So I had to remove the pouch from the box and the fish from the
pouch and of course, dead fish slime all over my now ruined silk pouch. We laid the fish ON the pouch and THEN I was permitted to bury the poor little dead fish.
When it was all over, he said to me, "Mom, that was a pretty fancy suit for a dead fish - maybe we could dig it up for you after the ants are done with him..."
<Ants are used in museums for precisely this. If you want a fish skeleton to go on display, you put the fish somewhere with a colony of "tame" ants.
The ants clean the meat and skin without disturbing any of the bones.
Voila, a cleaned skeleton ready for mounting.>
That was good preparation for 3 weeks later when our beloved dog, Molly, died of old age herself at 13 years old on Valentine's Day.
Many thanks again for your compassion and patience and for helping us let go of our little friend and for helping her to have a peaceful, and hopefully, a painless end.
Take good care,
<Thanks for this thoughtful message. Cheers, Neale.>

Swim Bladder in one day.. I think... Cichlid, Neotrop., Texas... env. dis.  12/17/08 Hi I am begging for help. <No need to beg; we're happy to help!> I have a 4 yr old Texas. <Texas cichlid, I presume?> She had babies about 8 months ago. She has killed the convict father, and tended to the babies herself. <She cross-bred with a Convict cichlid? Never heard of that before. Hope you didn't sell/give away the fry. Hybrid fish are a blight on the hobby, and while fine enough as your own pets, it's very unfair for a retailer to sell them to unsuspecting fishkeepers.> She started not eating about two weeks ago, and stayed away from them. <Broodcare in most cichlids does indeed weaken after a few weeks, though this varies.> A few picked on her, but she ran them away. I try to clean the tank a lot, due to messy babies. It has never been a problem. <It's almost always best to remove cichlid fry 2-3 weeks after hatching to their own tank for separate rearing. Because fry are very sensitive to water quality, they often stunt or otherwise do poorly when kept with the adults.> I unfortunately let the water level get low. After doing a partial clean, and refill, today I go see them, and she is swimming at the top, in a horrible U shape, Head down, and taking gasping air. <Almost certainly a reaction to a sudden change in water quality, water chemistry, or temperature. Texas cichlids need hard (10+ degrees dH), basic (pH 7.5) water around 25 C (77 F). If the pH had dropped between water changes, in particular because of insufficient carbonate hardness, then doing a big water change could have switched the pH from something acidic to something basic, putting a massive (and potentially lethal) stress on your cichlid. The only other thing that would do something similar is the introduction of some toxin; specifically, if the bucket had residues for something like bleach or detergent, that can cause severe reactions in your fish.> I moved her to small tank, fresh water, and Epsom salt. She doesn't swim anymore, unless disturbed, but still in a U shape, moving her fins rapidly but wont swim straight. <Moving fish in shock is rarely a good idea; much better to leave them to recover from the first shock rather than impose a second one on them.> I really don't want to lose my girl, I have always taken care of her the best I could. She is about 8" and healthy(i hope) the tank she was in is a 55gl, she has about 30 babies (still under 3in small) some smaller. <Please don't give away or sell those hybrid fry. It's one of the most irresponsible things any aquarist can do. If you can't house them yourself, then painlessly destroy them. I don't say this to be mean, but because of the "big picture" that sometimes gets lost when people get attached to animals as individuals.> Her new hospital tank is a ten gal, and Epsom salt with 82* water. How long should she take to heal, she wont eat anything, so i am really scared. <If she's going to recover from shock, then it may well take a couple of days before she's swimming right, and maybe even a week before she's ready to act normally around you and feed. Cichlids are among those fish that react badly to sudden changes. If the problem was poisoning, then performing repeated water changes to flush out toxins would help, but obviously the incoming water MUST have identical water chemistry and temperature to the outgoing water. I don't normally recommend freshwater aquarists use carbon for a variety of reasons, but if you suspect poisoning, then this is one those few situations where fresh carbon makes sense. As you know hopefully, carbon needs replacing every couple of weeks, so any old carbon in your filter will be doing precisely nothing useful.> Please help me..I love this fish <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Swim Bladder in one day..I think... (Euthanising hybrids, why it's necessary; RMF, feel free to comment) I must first say Thank you for the help you gave me. I now think that could have been what happened. She is still in the same condition as before, but now the color is much brighter, and she look a bit more relax, Thank for all your help. <Glad to hear it.> NOW, Yes the Texas and the Convict did mate, they were the only ones in the tank, for that four months. So yes these are hybrid babies. <Oh dear.> But really, you would purposely destroy (kill) a fish, that had no choice in what they were born from. <Yes. But before you condemn me for it, think logically for a moment. Single species fish are predictable in terms of size, temperament, breeding behaviour, likelihood of genetic diseases and abnormal growth patterns. Hybrids are none of these things Hybrids may be fine as youngsters, but they may be pre-disposed to problems as they mature, may exhibit reduced fertility, or may behave in aberrant ways compared with one or both of their parents.. By passing hybrids on to other aquarists, you also increase the chances of genes from species A getting into fish sold as species B. Someone buys species B, and then find it isn't doing any of the things it should be doing. It doesn't look like it should, and it's the wrong size, it can't breed normally. In many cases species cultivated by aquarists come from very specific places. This is common among the cichlid varieties from the Rift Valley lakes and Central America. These varieties are particular colour forms of species with distinctive genes. When "mixed" in aquaria that genetic uniqueness is lost. Is that a big deal? Yes, if you're a collector. But it's incredibly important if you're a scientist. Some of these varieties are endangered in the wild, a few even extinct. They only exist in captivity. Hybrids put additional stress on wild populations of fish as well. Sensible fishkeepers don't want to keep hybrids because of the problems mentioned above. Because so many hybrids are in pet stores, any serious fishkeepers demands wild-caught examples of many species prone to hybridisation. This means that instead of the trade building up supplies of captive-bred cichlids, there's still a huge industry collecting wild-caught fish, in some cases having a very real impact on the populations of wild fish. When aquarists allow them to hybridise or cross-breed, they're reducing the chances of keeping that species or variety from extinction. In every possible way, hybrids are bad. Hybrids are unpredictable, they're prone to problems, they make it impossible to set up balanced communities, and they increase the chances of wild fish going extinct. Hence as a broad comment, hybridisations is something aquarists should actively try to avoid. I'm an animal lover. I spend an hour or more per day volunteering at this web site to help people save the lives of their fish and reptiles. But I'm also a scientist and try to see the big picture.> I have read this type of article before, it had something to do , with breeders, losing money, Many fish from breeders are new breeds, cross bred, and a new species is born. Flowerhorn, is one to start with. <And pretty awful it is too. Nature has managed to come up with around 2000 cichlid species by herself, each one finely adapted to the environment it finds itself. There are plenty of different colours and behaviours, more than enough for everyone. And yet breeders in Asia thought they could out-do Nature and come up with something themselves. I suppose it's a question of taste, but to me the Flowerhorn is the fish equivalent of Pamela Anderson: silicone breasts, nose jobs, peroxide-blonde hair and tattoos all over the place. May be Hefner's thing, but certainly not mine. I'd sooner take the cichlids Nature has created, and do my best to learn about these wonderful fish on their own terms.> As far a fish stores, telling me they have no way of selling hybrids, people don't like them, so they wouldn't purchase them from me, but they would be willing to just take them off my hands for free. K-M-A... I was born in '69 not '99. <I'm assuming "KMA" is an insult. Fine. You may indeed keep your hybrid cichlids from breeding. But what about the other people? How long before they cross them with some other Convicts or Texas cichlids. And then, before you know it, there are messed up genes all over the place. And I'm here, having to answer questions from a person keeping what he or she thought was a Convict, but it's the wrong size, behaving in the wrong way, or getting deformed or sick for no apparent reason. What you're doing is selfish and irresponsible. You're doing what you think is acceptable by your personal standards, without considering the repercussions for everyone else, including the fish.> These are some of the most beautiful fish ever. They are big and colorful like the Texas, with black stripes like the convict..You can you tube some..but i haven't seen any as nice as these.. I am not a hobbyist, I just happen to have two fish, that had fry, so should I kill the fry, because of nature taking it's course? <Yes.> As a professional as you proclaim to be, I would think you would have some heart for the fish, that you spend much of your time learning, shame on you. <Why shame on me? My love for animals and for the hobby doesn't need your justification. I'm the guy spending an hour each day helping people. I think my wish to help animals have better lives is perfectly obvious. That I'm a scientist and fishkeeping writer as well simply means I'm looking at the situation from a wider angle than you are.> I would never kill anything, maybe you are someone that doesn't believe in mixed races also..what a shame. <Am mixed race, so your comment here is insulting as well as irrelevant. Humans are all one species, and certainly not one in any danger of extinction. Convicts and Texas cichlids are different species separated by millions of years of evolution, each adapted to different environments. With so many cichlids threatened with extinction in the wild, it's up to aquarists to help preserve them in captivity. Indeed, some are effectively extinct in the wild already, and the only ones on Earth exist in aquaria: species from Madagascar and Lake Victoria in particular.> I do thank you for helping me with my fish, but i also wished i had never come across your site.. <Look, as I said in the original message, I am genuinely not trying to be mean. But I do have a responsibility to everyone in the hobby and not just you. If you don't care about anyone else who might end up with your fish (or their descendants), and have no interest in the welfare of cichlid species, then that's not really something I can get my head around.> P.S. I do not sell these fish, I give them to close family, and the truth about them being hybrid. Plus they must give it back, if unable to care for it, just so they wont become fish food, for larger fish. They have a right to live just as anything else..Horrible, and shame on you... <I suggest you read some of what I've said about feeder fish and euthanasia for example. When it comes to senseless killing of fish, I'm absolutely against it. Much of what I write here is about keeping fish happier as well as healthier: bigger schools of tetras, livebearers with lots of females not just males, and so on. My record on animal cruelty is pretty clear. It's a shame you don't see that on those few times I recommend painlessly destroying fish (note the word "painlessly") it's not because I like killing fish. It's because there's a bigger picture here. If you're a vegan who has never harmed an animal in your life, then that's one thing; but if you eat meat and dairy, wear wool and leather, then you're already responsible for far more animal deaths than would be the case by euthanising some hybrid cichlids. The "right to life" you talk about is contextual; as a meat-eater and wool-wearer, I abhor animal suffering, but I accept that in some situations killing animals is necessary.> May Santa miss your chimney this year..for your evil thoughts... <Doesn't seem a very nice thing to say. Please look at the big picture; this isn't about cruelty to animals, but about responsibility and conservation.> Yes i know i am to old to believe in Santa, and 'no' he does not exist,. But it's snowing here, and i still have some holiday cheer...so...have a safe and pleasant holiday this year, okay I'll talk to Santa..you may have children.... <Well, okay. Cheers, Neale.> <<Mmm... the issue of producing, allowing hybridization between species in our care is important, and still (obviously) a bit controversial. For the reasons stated above in plain, simple terms, I am in agreement with Neale (Dr. Monks, he has a doctorate in Palaeontology (spelling in proper English)...). I too wish that we would choose to avoid this sort of "polluting"... as it is my concern that our planet is just too small, changing too quickly in ways that are damaging... self-defeating... to preserve the mix of genotypes/multiple allelism that is the overall biota of our world. Methinks that too much, too fast tinkering in allowing shifting of this mix is very dangerous indeed. I have several speculations as to probable ultimate outcomes from breaks in the "web of life" in a given biosphere... even world-wide... None are pleasant to contemplate. Mmm, lastly a further general statement re our choices, choosing as individuals... It has been my desire to impress on others how paramount it is to understand themselves, facts... science behind important decisions... Whether we have captive aquatic systems may seem minor compared with issues of our own "carbon footprint", ultimately whether we reproduce ourselves... But I assure you, the long- and- profound effecting actions of releasing non-indigenous species to habitats that they displace, affect other flora and fauna, and this question of mixing species that can, will possibly persist, go on to possibly genetically mix further, IS of extreme importance. I ask you as a fellow hobbyist, citizen and human of Earth to think carefully, to not engage in this practice. Bob Fenner>>

Re: Swim Bladder in one day..I think... (Euthanising hybrids, why it's necessary; RMF, feel free to comment)  12/18/08 I was just going to send another e-mail, asking the Doctor to please excuse my language in my earlier reply. I in no way, personally meant to insult the Doctor, on his/her personal preference on the subject of mix race.. I too am of African/German heritage. I was completely out of line. <No harm done. Let's drop it, shall we?> I was am still stressing about my beloved Texas, She isn't doing any better, i can only pray that she does.<Cichlids do react badly, sometimes violently to sudden changes. Have done this myself once, when changing water, and accidentally adding freezing cold water from an outdoor rainwater butt into a dwarf cichlid tank. The fish went crazy, rolling onto their backs and turning black. They did all recover though. Keep the fish calm, ideally in a quiet, even dark, tank, and she should settle.> I may also assure you, that I am not in anyway, trying to inter breed any type of fish. They just happened to mate, they were in the same tank for three years, and then one day, there were babies. I still have them, because I don't want the fish store to pass them off as something else. They wouldn't buy them, but would take them for free, same story, different line... <OK, we agree on this. There's nothing wrong with hybridising fish for your own pleasure; it's when they get into the "food chain" so to speak, that things get messy. To be fair, many fish we keep as pets are likely hybrids already. Angelfish, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies, perhaps even Goldfish, to name a few. But these fish are normally sold as domesticated animals, and there's no risk of confusing them with wild-caught specimens because wild-caught examples of these are virtually absent from the trade. But cichlids are different, because we sell them not as domesticated fish but as true species, and so confusion between the "real thing" and a hybrid can cause problems.> Please let him/her know that the KMA is Kiss My Angel fish..I should have said that straight. <Good catch!> Still I under stand what you are saying, but even in the wild these things happen, so i would not understand, killing them because it happened in my tank. We all have our own reasons for things. But, to kill Gods creation, because of inter breeding, is not something i would consciously do. <That's fine. If you want to keep these fish at home and give them a good life, that's great. Giving them to people you know won't breed from them is also good. But please don't let them turn up in a pet store!> I do thank you other wise for the generous help your doctor gave me, to try and save my girl. <I'm a doctor of rocks, not animals. Not sure why Bob mentioned it, and it really isn't something that makes a difference here!> I thank you once more. Lori <Good luck, Neale.> <<Mmmm, I mention your scientific status for twofold reasons... that I'm impressed that a person of such academic caliber is willing to devote their time/efforts to help others in our hobby interest, and secondly, to bolster credence in your response (this IS the west after all). I would like to last make a comment re the supposed-safety of entrusting others with hybrids, or any matter outside of ones immediate control. This doesn't happen... no one has any recourse, knowledge of what might occur once this life is outside their systems... To make utterances otherwise belies a lack of veracity, knowledge or both. History is replete with examples of "animals, plants, algae, microbes... let go"... and their lessons/consequences. Lastly, the hypocrisy and lack of thought in ascribing to god/s our own actions/non-actions I find more than distasteful. I reject such assertions out of hand. We made these idols and make our own lives. That there is life, there is death... by "keeping" some, you doom others... Bob Fenner>>

For Neale, please. Re: "pro-life view on fish hybridization"  12/18/08 Hi Neale, <Hello Nicole,> I hope this doesn't add to the spectacle, but I just thought I would say, once again: you have the patience of a saint! Your reply to the person who purported to have the "pro-life view on fish hybridization" was incredibly gracious, given that much of the message was personal bashing directed at you. <I prefer to view these things as simple miscommunications, and figure it helps if both sides try and state things a bit clearer next time around.> At least you were able to find a silver lining, and expound on the topic like the scholar that you are - informing many web denizens for years to come, surely. <Thank you.> I would like to reiterate the obvious: since fish are not able to be neutered or sterilized, if you are going to keep together species of fish that hybridize, and they breed (as is inevitable), the only sensible thing to do is to euthanize the fry or keep them yourself. Even giving them away to friends and family could be tricky, since a handful of hybrid fish containing males and females might well mate again and form yet another aberration! Giving them to the store who will accept, but not pay, for them - well, two words: feeder fish. <Unfortunately what you say is quite true, and an angle I'd not considered (feeder fish being virtually unknown in the UK). It is a disturbing though that any fish you give away to a pet store expecting to be re-homed could well end up becoming food for a piranha. That being so, painlessly destroying unwanted fry yourself is very definitely the humane option. It's also worth remembering not even one in a hundred cichlid fry survive to maturity in the wild; that's why most species produce hundreds of fry every couple of months, given the chance.> The "innocence" of the fish has nothing to do with the responsibility we have -- as their keepers in glass boxes -- to euthanize the fry. To ascribe innocence or guilt to a fish would be absurd. <From a theological perspective you are quite right; animals, being amoral, can be neither innocent nor sinners. To be honest though, I tend to work from a particularly good 'Calvin & Hobbes' cartoon where Hobbes makes the point that he doesn't *want* to be given human motives or behaviours, since he rather looks down on them. So why bring a decent, noble animal down to our level!> These fish simply cannot be sold, the same way a garden variety canine mutt cannot be sold at the pet store (only those designer hybrids like labradoodles and cockapoos, but that's another story - there's a fine line in there somewhere, certainly). <Variety dogs and cats are all within a single species, so though the parallel isn't precisely the same as humans (different "races" of humans don't equate to different breeds of dog) certainly all dogs are as closely related to one another in terms of genes as all the different humans on the planet are. That said, my dog breeding friends insist that there is much harm done in the dog world by careless breeding, not just in terms of unwanted mutts. But also things like German Shepherds cranked out on farms with genetic disorders, or "en vogue" puppies of various types mass produced with little interest in quality, just money.> Besides, if they bred once, they will likely breed again, and then what are you going to do with 40 more Texvict cichlids? I bet your friends and family will be less enthusiastic to receive them this time around! <No argument from me here.> Common livebearers are basically a lost cause, a "purebred platy" is an oxymoron. Malawi mutts are practically there, too...but now, this? <Again, no argument. As someone who loves telling people that African cichlids can be like coral reef fish in terms of colours, it's disheartening to see the same "mixed blue Africans" in the pet stores, again and again.> Keeping species of American cichlids from interbreeding is so preventable, and to say that these fish are desirable because of having such unique colors and shape is just unreal. Sir, that was born in '69 not '99 - who are you to be creating a new breed of fish? <In this case, it was a genuine accident, and while not something I'd personally want to see happen in everyone's aquarium, these things do happen. Like teenage pregnancies, there's a difference between what you might say in terms of public policy, and how you'd react when it was your own son or daughter involved. Not that I'm putting these things on an equal footing, I hasten to add! But simply as an analogy. As I said earlier this evening, there's nothing wrong with homing these fish yourself and enjoying them. But the main thing is that these fish aren't "turned loose" in the marketplace. If these fish did spawn again, this is one situation where removing the eggs and disposing of them would be entirely appropriate. Any catfish or loach of your choice should do the job for you, if you're squeamish!> Thanks for listening to my rant, in reply to the ranter. I personally hope that Neale finds lots of fish and telescope equipment in his stocking! <Hmm... wet fish flopping about in my underwear... sounds fun!> Wishing you all a very happy holiday, your friend in fish, Nicole <Thanks for writing, and have a merry Christmas yourself. Neale.>

Re: Swim Bladder in one day..I think... (Euthanising hybrids, why it's necessary; RMF, feel free to comment)  12/19/08 Hi Bob, <Neale> I appreciate this, and thank you. But in all honesty, I doubt my (pretty minimal) scientific credentials matter much compared against the cumulative experience of the WWM crew generally. It's just a pleasure to be part of this team. Cheers, Neale <Ahh, my friend... in the final synthesis, we are indeed only whom we are, what we do... However, the benchmarks of our activity, credentialing is of note, use at times. As for myself, I am satisfied to have acted in my own best self interests, and have shared, am continuing to share with others. For their enjoyment, edification... BobF>

Re: Betta with body bloat, & euthanization f'  - 1/24/08 Hello again Mr. Fenner, I'm worried about Steve Johnson. His eyes seem "vacant", his color is not great, and he is still spending the majority of his time leaning on his plants at the top of the tank. Tonight, when he didn't have a plant to support him, he kept leaning so much so that he almost went belly up before he gulped some air and righted himself. He did this a couple times before he found a plant to lean on. Last night he sat at the bottom of the tank for quite a while. Is he still trying to recover or is he dying? Thanks again, Nicole <Just keep doing what Bob suggested, only time will tell whether he will get better. Optimise water quality, do lots of water changes, keep him nice and warm (especially the air above the tank), and hope for the best. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat - 1/24/08 He's definitely dying. He's got a pop eye now and can't keep himself from floating. Thanks for all the help. Nicole <Too bad. If so, please use a painless destruction technique to prevent further suffering. It's not nice to watch a fish die by inches, especially if the only reason we don't destroy the animal quickly is because we're "squeamish". See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat - 1/24/08 Thank you for the compassionate advice, I did not know there was such a way to do this for them. I'll get the clove oil and ease his suffering if he's not gone already by the time I get home. Nicole <Hello Nicole. Destroying a pet is never pleasant, but being able to end an animal's suffering is simply one of the most important aspects of being a pet keeper. Clove oil does the job well and apparently painlessly. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat, & euthanization f'   1/25/08 After reading all accounts to humanely euthanize poor Steve Johnson. I decided to go the Clove oil/Vodka two step process outlined on wisegeek.com. I went to Whole Foods and got some 100% Clove Bud essential oil. Is that the same as what I would get as Eugenol at the Pharmacy? <Yep, exactly the same.> I called several pharmacies and they would have to special order it. <Pah! It used to be used widely for treating toothache and such. It's a very useful thing to have about the house, having quite strong pain numbing properties.> I don't want SJ to suffer anymore. <Indeed.> If it's not right, I guess I'll use the hypothermia method. <Eek... this probably isn't a nice way for a fish to die.> Thanks again for the help. Nicole <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat  1/25/08 Thanks again. You all are so great during this awful time. <We're happy to help. You *can* become attached to fish, just like any other animal. Not everyone expects that. But just because something is "only a fish" doesn't mean it can't suffer, or you can't feel compassion towards it.> I did not want to do the freezer thing b/c I too thought this was an awful way to die, especially if you don't feel good to begin with. <Quite so.> Anesthetic and vodka--numb and drunk I'll take that over freezing myself. <Indeed!> Nicole <Cheers, Neale>

Sad ending... Re: Betta bloat... euthanasia  – 1/26/08 Greetings Mr Fenner and Neale, Well, I did it. Steve Johnson is now a memory. Everything went as described in the 2 step emulsified clove oil, vodka process. He did not flop more than 2 times due to the presence of the clove oil. He calmed right down, belly up and then fell asleep and dropped to the bottom. After a few moments he was still breathing once or twice every 60 seconds, I put the vodka in. He expired as peacefully as he could. I feel horrible. He was so beautiful. He was just so miserable looking for the past couple days. He used to wiggle his tail when he'd see me but he'd just barely moved his eyes to look at me lately. I hope I made the right decision for him. <I'm sure you did.> We haven't broken the news to our 5 year old son yet. Any advice? <Honesty.> Of course I won't tell him I was the one to do the deed. <Why not? It's a good lesson to learn that animals don't live forever, so you shouldn't take them for granted any more than people, and cherish the time you do have. It's also worthwhile that children should understand that pet animals depend on us, not just for food and exercise, but also for kindness and, when the time comes, to be relieved of any pain and suffering that disease brings on. Animals aren't "things", but creatures that live and suffer just like us, and so when we get a pet, it's not like buying a toy or computer game, but a responsibility as well as a source of pleasure.> He's got a good grasp that death is part of life. My mother died of brain cancer and he was a witness to some of the process. <I'm sure a difficult time for him, but a growing one too.> As I was looking over your site for future fish I have a few questions so that this doesn't have to happen again. <Sure!> SJ was kept in a 4 gal Baby Biorb by Reef One by himself. Is this what you call a fully cycled tank? <It should be by now... but you'll need to keep it thus! Add a pinch of flake every day or two until such time as you buy another Betta. The bacteria don't care where the ammonia comes from, and rotting fish flake is just as good as fish waste.> How do I know if it is or is not? <Nitrite test kit: if the reading is zero, even when you add some flake food, it's cycled.> If it is not can I make it one and how? <Time. From zero to hero takes about 4-6 weeks for the average aquarium, assuming the tank receives some ammonia either directly, through fish, or from rotting food.> Is this a good tank for Bettas? <Small tanks are *by their very nature* less easy to maintain than big ones. I personally find the 8-10 gallon tanks just about the minimum for a really stable, reliable aquarium. Bettas are distinct in the sense they're air-breathers and to some degree adapted to swampy conditions, but still, they're not immortal, and their mortality in "Betta Bowls" is alarmingly high. A 4-gallon tank with a heater and filter would be, in my opinion, borderline for any fish. That said, many people keep Bettas in similar tanks without incident. A lot depends on maintenance: if you're changing 50% of the water every week, your chances of success will be a lot higher than if you did the usual 20-25% every other week a lot of people seem to go for. Simply having a heater and a filter is a significant boon, too.> If not what fish would be more suited? <Very small tanks work best with things like Cherry Shrimps and small snails, to be honest. If I *had* to choose a fish for a 4-gallon tank, I'd perhaps go with something like Sparkling Gouramis.> What is a proper pH for Bettas? <Not at all critical, but in a small tank I'd recommend hard water simply because that will help you maintain a more stable environment. So aim for at least 5 degrees KH and a pH around 7.5.> What is the best way to sanitize the tank for re-use? <Ah, a tricky issue. If you sanitise the tank completely (which is easy enough to do just by cleaning under a warm tap and a bit of scrubbing and then thorough air drying) you'll kill the filter bacteria. The tank will then need to be re-cycled for up to 6 weeks.> How long should the new tank be prepared with conditioned water and temp before getting a new fish? <Conditioning the water is instant, and assuming the water isn't icy cold, the heater should warm it up in a few hours.> What should be tossed out and replaced? Filter cartridge? Plastic plants? Ceramic media? Decorative "rock" (plastic) hide-out? <Anything removable like the plastic plants and rocks can definitely be washed and air dried. Most of the pathogens that trouble fish are not tolerant of dry air, and assuming you wash away the algae and sludge, they'll quickly die when exposed to dry air and especially sunlight. But anything that is left un-cleaned, such as "live" filter media, is a potential refuge for pathogens.> How often do I test for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrites? Anything else I should test for and how often? <The two things any less-experienced aquarist should do is test the nitrite and the pH on a weekly basis, at least for the first few months. If you have nitrite in the water, you have a biological filter problem, and if the pH fluctuates, then you have a water chemistry problem. Everything else refines things, letting you dig deeper into the problem, but these two are excellent first-pass indicators.> What is the best way to introduce a new Betta or other fish to his new home? <The best way is this: put new fish into a bucket with water from the bag it came home in. Make sure the bucket is no more than 1/4 to 1/3 full. Put a lid (or magazine, or towel) over the bucket to stop the fish jumping out. Every 5-10 minutes, add a cup or so of water from the aquarium. Do this for anything up to an hour. What you're doing is gradually filling the bucket with water from the aquarium so the fish can adjust to the temperature and water chemistry. Use a net to lift the fish out of the bucket into the tank. Discard the water in the bucket. This way you minimise the risk of letting parasites from the shop get into the fish tank, and more importantly, none of the horrid ammonia from the bag water gets into the tank either.> I have only one tank, so how do I get him used to the proper temp (78-82 degrees F???) from his confining little cup from the pet store to the tank? Is there anything else I should know? <Do read some of the Betta articles here. I'm sure there are some nice Betta books out there... see if your public library has one, or else buy one. Bettas are interesting fish in their own right, what with the history of breeding and "fighting" and all, and having a handy reference is always a plus.> I want to thank you again for your help and compassion. This site is the best!!!! You truly care about these creatures as do those seeking your advice. Nicole <Glad to help, and sorry the outcome wasn't the one we were hoping for. Cheers, Neale.>

Euthanizing my big fish -12/14/07 Hello, I have a problem. I bought one of those huge cichlids at the pet store about 2 years ago, and he's had what I think is swim bladder disorder for the past few weeks. I feel it is time to put him out of his misery. This is a huge fish, he's almost a foot long and is residing in a 30 gallon tank. So my question is, how to I kill him? I cant put him in the freezer simply because he is just too big, and I really don't want to have to cut his head off. Also, I don't really want to use clove oil to kill him because I don't know how much to use. <Depending on concentration, it takes very little... a few drops. This is the route I would go> I'm afraid if I poor too little in the tank, he will be able to survive it, and if I put a half a bottle in the tank he'll suffer. Do you have any suggestions on what I should use to kill him? thanks- Sammy <I would go the Clove Oil route... lower the water level down two thirds or more... Put in ten drops... if there is not discernible narcotizing effect w/in a few minutes, add another ten drops... Bob Fenner>

Betta Euthanasia 12/1/07 Dear Chris, <Hello> I am very sad as I have done all I can for my Betta fish Strauss, but he is dying. <Sorry to hear.> It is taking a very long time - he sleeps all the time, comes up for food, but his swimming seems jerky and slightly disorientated. <Sounds typical of old Bettas.> How can I mercifully put him out of his misery? I cannot bear hit him on the head, so is there something else that would cause him little suffering, or at least less than he is experiencing now. Thank you Pam <A few choices here, can be frozen in a bag of water, which most believe to be fairly painless, or an overdose of clove oil, which is an anesthetic and available in most grocery stores. A few drops of this in a cup of water should put him down quite peacefully. Sorry to hear about you situation, it is one of the toughest parts of the hobby.> <Chris>

Re: Question... deformed FW fishes, euthanization    7/4/07 Thanks Neale, I appreciate your response. Most of the fry are really healthy so I think I will take your advice and destroy the unhealthy fish with the exception of "Dave" ( I swear I could see fear in his eyes when I read your email) he'll get a plush new aquarium with all the mod-cons... My next question is what is the best way to humanely kill them - they are fairly small so I won't get a good grip to hit them. Thanks, Jon. <Hello Jon. Sounds like you're making the right choices. I, too, have sometimes kept particularly deformed fishes as quirky pets. Provided they aren't otherwise suffering, there's no harm done. The main thing is they don't breed. Anyway, different methods for euthanising fishes is explained here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm . For very small fish, I find the overdosing clove oil method works very well. 2-4 drops per litre is a good sedative for fishes (useful for things like trimming pufferfish teeth), but if you use well above that, say 5x as much, the fish basically goes into a coma and then dies. You can buy clove oil (eugenol) in any pharmacy or even health food shop. It is used as a herbal remedy for things like toothache. It deadens the nerves for a while. In fish, this causes suffocation I believe, as it stops the gills from ventilating. In the case of small fish (neon size and less) death comes within 10-30 seconds, but the fish is unconscious almost at once. Cheers, Neale>

Euthanization via clove oil.   1/19/07 Thank you for your response to my question.  After many different things you recommended I try, sadly nothing worked. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I purchased the clove oil today and used it.  I have two further questions if you have time. <Of course!> How long does it take for the oil to take effect? <Usually within a few minutes...it's a gradual, "going-to-sleep" effect.> How much do I use?  I have a one gallon tank. <I usually use a small Tupperware container, take water from the Betta's current tank, so you don't shock him, and then add the fish to the Tupperware.  Then, I add a decent amount (maybe an oz. or so; in all honesty, I've never measured) and let my little friend go to sleep.  Be sure that the fish really is deceased before disposing of it; the clove oil slows the fish's respiration gradually, so look carefully to ensure that his gills are no longer moving.  Generally, this happens within 10 minutes.> Thanks again for your help. <Sorry I had to help with something of this nature...I sympathize for your loss. Best wishes, Jorie> Wendi

Question about Humane Euthanization:  - 10/13/06 <<Tom here once more.>> Mr. Betta is quite the fighter, but I think what appears to be a tumor is not good.  He swims toward my finger when I put it near the tank and is happy to see me, unfortunately, when he swims, it's in almost a "painful" looking sideway motion (but he floats on top like normal) and cannot seem to swim well. As mentioned in my previous messages (saying again in case someone else is reading/answering this) he is 4 years old and has lived a good life. His quality of life has obviously deteriorated over the last 48 hours with no meaningful recovery foreseen, so I'm wondering, is there something I could add to the water that would just sedate him so he goes into a permanent sleep/passes away peacefully? <<I’d like you to take a look at this: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-humane-way-to-euthanize-a-fish.htm. I’m very sorry that it’s come to this but there are times when ending a pet’s life peacefully and painlessly is no less an act of kindness than the loving care you’ve given for the last four years. I’m a little more saddened in your case because I’ve yet to personally respond to anyone who’s had the wonderful fortune to keep a Betta as long as you have. My very best to you. Tom>>

Re: Attn: Bob Fenner- Naso Tang problem   9/4/06 Hi Bob, <Sue> I'm very sad to say it looks like Blondie's not going to survive this ordeal.  He still hasn't eaten since Thursday night and this morning is pointing nose down in the tank. <Mmm, I would not give up hope...> I've tried reading the FAQ's for euthanasia, but it seems like a lot of conflicting opinions - clove oil, Alka seltzer, freezing...   What is your suggestion for a fish of this size?  And if that's freezing - can you tell me just how to go about it. Thanks, Sue <A "plastic fish bag", no water... Bob Fenner>

Re: Attn: Bob Fenner- Naso Tang problem, euthanasia  9/4/06 > Hi Bob, > <Sue> > I'm very sad to say it looks like Blondie's not going to survive this ordeal.  He still hasn't eaten since Thursday night and this morning is pointing nose down in the tank. > <Mmm, I would not give up hope...> [The swelling seems to have spread about half way up his side; he's nose-down in the sand and he's motionless except for his labored breathing. How long should I keep hoping?  I care for him too much to see him suffer needlessly.] <<... not too much likelihood of remission, but...>> > I've tried reading the FAQ's for euthanasia, but it seems like a lot of conflicting opinions - clove oil, Alka seltzer, freezing...   What is your  suggestion for a fish of this size?  And if that's freezing - can you tell  me just how to go about it. > Thanks, > Sue > <A "plastic fish bag", no water... Bob Fenner> [Then into the freezer, or am I just suffocating him?] Thanks. <The cold will quickly deaden nerves (as with humans...). Bob Fenner>

- My Dead Puffer, Pete 8/27/06 - I came home from work today, and after 10 yrs, my puffer had suddenly died. He was on the bottom of the tank, and the funny thing is he was not even sick. <Am very sorry for your loss.> After crying for an hour, I realized that I do not know what to do with him.  In a panic, my neighbor removed him for me, and placed him in his freezer. <Good intermediate step.> I would like to bury him in a special box, I really do not want to throw him in the trash, or flush him.  Any suggestions, or what is one supposed to do? <I like to 'bury' my fish friends in their own house plant. That way they get to go on a new journey. Actually, I once got a tattoo of a favorite fish that had passed... you could do that.> Hi is about 8 inches in length. <Could well fit in a small indoor tree or palm...> thanks for you help, Kim in Cali <Cheers, J -- >

Euthanasia   8/16/06 Hi Bob, Hi Julie, James today.> I have been reading most of the night about euthanizing fish. I can tell you that clove oil is not the way to go with Bettas! They keep surfacing for air and jump out of the water. I usually just overdose my other type of fish and while they thrash around a bit they go quickly. Not so with the Betta. 45 minutes after I had put in the oil she was still trying to get out of the container. Since both of us were traumatized I drove her to the LFS where they fed her to the shark. Do you have a better way to euthanize Bettas? <A trip to the freezer works well.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Julie

Goldfish euthanasia    6/6/06 Hi <Hello> My daughter has a 10 year old Goldfish, PO (Tellitubby days!) and it has serious swim bladder prob.s and is very bent. <From what cause/s?> It is lying on the bottom unable to swim and stay upright and I feel it is a matter of time before she (?) dies. <As is the case with all of us> I have tried feeding on shelled frozen peas (thawed of course) but she is not eating. It is distressing to me to see her like this. I am upset to see it.  I have considered euthanasia but I am against this in the human world and can't think of why its different for animals and certainly couldn't do it myself. My husband wants to flush it down the loo which fills me with horror. I have read about the clove oil and that seems the kindest method but I just cant do it. My question is just how long will she survive like this ? <Perhaps minutes> She shares with another goldfish (aged 12) who is leaving well alone so no problems there. JD <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Euthanization suggested method  - 05/20/2006 Hi, I was just reading the section about how to euthanize a fish. I had that issue a couple months ago. I didn't like the freezer idea but had to do something. Somebody told me to mix 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water. If you have a bigger fish just double or triple it. Mix it together and then put the fish in. It worked real quick on my 7 inch shark. It seems a very humane way and only takes about 10 minutes. I can't imagine how long it must take for the fish to freeze in the freezer. Thanks for all your great advice and such. I love this website.  Mary <Thank you for this input and your kind words. Bob Fenner> Euthanasia  - 03/25/2006 <Hello, Sherri. Tom> I have a fish I don't think I'll be able to save. <Sorry to hear> The fish health book says I can use an anesthetic at overdose level to humanely euthanize this fish and the only one available from the pharmacy is clove oil. <Probably the most common> I don't know how much of this would be an overdose. <Re: the use of clove oil, please see http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-humane-way-to-euthanize-a-fish.htm taken from the WWM FAQ's> Others at pet stores tell me they use hypothermia. <Do they? There's no clear-cut consensus on this method and, therefore, I don't/won't recommend it> Is there a painless, stress-free way to euthanize a fish and, if there is, could you please explain. This is torturing me. <To provide you with the most accurate information that I can, the method offered is, in fact, not absolutely "stress-free" simply because the fish needs to be handled. This, as you know, is always stressful to the fish. No reasonable person would "split hairs" over this point but I add it for the sake of "completeness". Rest assured that the procedure is both painless and humane which is most important. Tom>

Re: euthanasia    3/27/06 Thanks so much for the euthanasia information. I know now I can do this when I have to without torturing the fish. This is a big relief. <Circumstances notwithstanding, Sherri, I'm glad we could help. Tom>

Euthanasia For Fish?...For Coral? - 02/16/06 Hey guys; <<Howdy>> This morning I came out and our angelfish, Butthead, was dead (or mostly so, I'm not sure as I had hubby take him out of the tank). <<Sorry for your loss.>> He was 12 yrs old and wasn't beaten up/eaten by the other inhabitants, I think it was just his time. <<Likely so>> If he really was dead, no problem, he's in the freezer to be buried later.  If he wasn't......well that brings up the question.  What is the most humane way to euthanize a fish? <<Several ideas about on this, but what you did (freezing) is a very common and accepted method.>> Corals? <<This is a good question, and perhaps Bob will render his opinion as well, but I don't believe corals have the same sense of "being" as the higher life forms.  Although freezing could be employed here as well, this would seem to me to be much like freezing your weeds after you pull them from the garden.  I don't mean to sound crass or cruel, just saying I don't think the method of disposal has much/any effect on what the coral "feels".>> <Me either. RMF> You provide a valuable resource, thanks for being there! Margo <<Thank you for the kind words.  Regards, EricR>>

Euthanasia for a fish 01-08-06 Hi- <Dana> I would like to know what you feel is the best way to euthanize a fish. I've had "Spike" for fourteen years now. I know for sure he is on his last leg-- he has been twirling in circles rapidly and doing swift summersaults for over a month, hasn't eaten in about that long, is scraping his flesh off by running into rocks, his one eye is all white (he lost one twelve years ago)....etc. Believe me, I know it's his time.  I don't believe in keeping animals just to prolong their suffering. He is a mono, and his other  mono buddies died a few years ago. I'm positive it's his time to go, and I hate to see him suffering so. A pet store said they could euthanize him on Monday, other people have said to put him in the freezer, which sounds horrible to me. Of course, catching him, putting him in a plastic bag and transporting him to a store to be put down sounds stressful too. Do you have any advice on this? I want to do what's the least traumatic for this poor guy. <I personally suggest the freezer method. You can do it at home and it is the least traumatic. Sorry for your loss, Travis> Thanks a lot- Dana Mardaga.

Fish "Euthanasia" - 11/30/05 I have read your euthanasia section, which was very helpful, but I have an additional question. My daughter's goldfish, Goldie, has Popeye and major swim bladder problems and seems miserable. She was our first fish, and when we bought her we didn't know enough about tank maintenance. Now I know more, but it seems its too little too late. <Sorry to hear about your predicament. How terribly sad.> Anyway, she is the only fish in the tank (just a 2 gallon one), and I would like to euthanize her without having to net her and put her in a new environment. I'm not sure the tank will fit in my freezer. Can I just remove some of the water from the tank and add ice to the tank water? Do you know how much ice I should add? I'm afraid I'll do it wrong and she'll suffer.  <I do not see freezing as a humane way to euthanize a fish.... it is reported that ice crystals can form in the bloodstream, which can cause pain.  <<I don't think I could agree with you MORE!  Marina>> If you are sure that water changes will not help effect a recovery, then a humane (for both you and the fish) way would be to anaesthetize the fish with clove oil. This is the ingredient in the toothache remedy Eugenol, which can readily be purchased at a pharmacy. A good protocol for this process may be found here: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-humane-way-to-euthanize-a-fish.htm . You may wish to subsequently freeze (in a small bag) if you are worried about her coming back to life.> <<As I've posted before, the truly most humane method is to quickly net up the animal, and whack it very hard on a hard surface.  Death *is* instantaneous, and the netting is nothing out of the ordinary.  These other methods are more for our benefit than the fishes', as John has alluded to.  Marina>> Thanks! Floshoe <Welcome! John> P.S. Would a Betta do better in the small tank? It has a filtration system and everything. <Yes. As you have found, a 2g tank is unsuitable for a goldfish. A single Betta would be fine. Test for ammonia and nitrites before purchasing, and if the tank is to be empty for a while, drop in a small amount of food daily to provide a "bio load" for the biological filter to process and remain active.>  <<<An aside, here....  "Popeye"/exophthalmia and the "swim bladder" (likely malnutrition) problems can be helped with adding Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate)....  Also, there is more vital information here about goldfish nutrition and nutritional disease:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .>>>

Re: Euthanasia  12/1/05 Thank you so much for the reply.  <You're welcome> I actually euthanized before I got your response, I just emptied about half the water from her tank and then gradually added ice. She seemed to go very peacefully, although I felt bad when I read what you said about ice crystals! <No worries, opinions on this can be subjective. You did the best you could, and acted out of compassion.> She was a tough little fish, she survived so much of our ignorance until this last bout. Anyway, I am cleaning her tank and am planning to set it up again pursuant to the instructions on your website, and get a Betta (and, hopefully, do a lot Betta this time, ha ha). Thanks again! Floshoe  <You're just fishing for puns now. I think your tank will be much more suited to a Betta. Good luck! John>

Pond goldfish  11/20/05 I have a goldfish in my small pond. It is around 4 years old. It's just the common goldfish that you see at Wal-Mart. I started with a dozen all about 1 - 2 inches long. Only this one survived. It is now about 6" long. A few months ago it started to get a swollen place on it's side. My friend who raises Koi told me to salt the water. I did, no change. I tried not feeding for a couple of days still no change. Now it is so big that it can't touch it's mouth to the bottom or come to the surface for a sniff. It seems to be eating but I am sure it is not happy or comfortable. I am assuming it is some type of tumor. <Yes, likely so... cause?> It's scales are stretched and it looks like it could pop any minute. My question is...how do you euthanize a fish?? Sincerely, Lynda in Florida <Place in a small bag of water, place this in turn in the freezer... alternatively liquid cloves (a few drops) can be added to a bit of water... Bob Fenner>  <<Also known as "clove oil", easily found at a natural foods market.  Marina>>

Re: Goldfish Euthanasia  11/21/05 Dear Bob, Thank you for your kind reply. Yesterday after writing to the "crew" I took a longer browse thru your website and found the info on what to do. So I carefully put my lovely goldfish into a pail of water that was large enough to let him be comfortable and quickly iced him down. He didn't struggle, just seemed to go to sleep. <Yes> I don't think it took more than a minute before he had quit breathing. I placed the pail into the deep freeze just to make sure then later that day we buried him in the garden. He now has a nice stone over his head. We are moving from FL to MO and I hope to have a pond there too. Thanks again for your kindness and your great website. Sincerely, Lynda in Florida <Thank you for your kind follow-up. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> 

- More of the Powder Blue Blues - Hi Crew, I am just checking in again with my Powder Blue Tang problems.  Although your advice has likely not changed, I guess I am just hoping you will see something in the attached picture or some little bit of information will trigger you to say: "Oh, I've seen this before and all you need to do is this..." (hey, I can always hope -- right?). I am now treating this fish with Maracyn, Maracyn-Two and Melafix.  Instead of improving, the situation just appears to be getting worse (see attached picture). <Not good - at this point you have a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing this fish recover.> In addition to the large wound in the fish's head and discoloration on its sides, now its fins are rotting off.  Half of the left pectoral fin is now gone and the dorsal fin is rotting in about a 1/2" section.  The right eye has now also clouded over.  The only slight encouragement is that this fish still has a healthy appetite.  He is regularly eating Formula II, Spectrum Thera+A and Nori.  There are also hundred of tiny white creatures crawling over the glass in the hospital tank.  I am hoping, since these are large enough to see, they are only harmless 'pods of some sort although some are surrounded by "legs". I have spent MANY hours scouring the web to fins photos or descriptions of fish diseases, trying to determine what this is and how to treat it but obviously this is not working.  My best guess is that this is some sort of external bacterial infection. <Actually, what I see from the photos is a fish in serious decline...> Since I have read that bacterial infections can quickly take over at temperatures above 76?F, I have lowered the hospital tank temp to 75?F.  I am doing 25% daily water changes (taking water from my 180 gal main tank to minimize drastic changes) and all parameters are staying fairly normal (1.023 SG, 0.25 PPM ammonia, 0.25 PPM nitrite).  I have tried to keep the ammonia down but I think the combination of gram positive and gram negative antibiotics has really reduced my biological filtration capabilities. Is there ANYTHING else I can do to try to save this fish? <My friend, this fish is very likely doomed. If these pictures were all I had to go on, I wouldn't bet on it if it were the only horse in the race. I'm sorry to say this, but if it were mine, I'd be considering euthanizing it rather than prolonging the inevitable.> Do you know what disease this could be? <It seems to me to be just general break down, and no real specific or single disease.> Should I try an anti-fungal medication? <I wouldn't do anything else at this point except end its suffering.> I do not like to keep treating this fish without knowing for certain what is wrong but I really do not want to see it die either. <You are already doing this, watching it die, I mean.> Sorry for the long email but I am just want to be certain I am doing everything I can to help this fish (rather than harm it).  I greatly appreciate all the great advice you provide via this forum! Greg
<Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Pax, J -- >

Euthanizing a goldfish <Hi -- Ananda here tonight...> Hi, I have a 2 year old bug eyed goldfish (Mr. Wiggles) that has had some sort of swim bladder problem for about 4 months now. He is always upside down and now rarely moves. Also somehow he has gotten some sort of parasite and has very red streaks on his tail and large white bumps on his fins and he looks like he's constantly gasping to breath. Could you please recommend a painless way I could put him out of his misery? It doesn't look like he'll pull through even with the medication I'm giving him and I just want to put him out of his misery.  Thanks in advance. -Richard <Sorry to hear your goldfish is doing poorly, but I commend you for writing in about a painless authorization method. I had to euthanize a pet molly recently, and I found a very, very fast way to do it. Get a bowl or container big enough to hold the fish. Fill it with enough tank water to cover the fish completely. Then add some clove essential oil. It's a natural anesthetic. I'm not sure how much you will need to add, as it will depend partly on the size of your fish. Once you add the essential oil to the water, mix it well to disperse the oil. Then put your fish into the container. He should stop moving fairly quickly. If he doesn't, add more clove oil and swish the container again. When I did this with a full-grown molly, he was gone in less than 30 seconds after I put him into the container with the clove oil. Do be careful to avoid getting the clove oil on your skin, as it can numb an area it comes into contact with.  A few more details here: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=24&thread=10498 --Ananda>

Painless euthanasia I had to euthanize one of my favorite mollies yesterday. I had recently read about a fish-tagging operation where they used clove oil to anesthetize the fish before they inserted a data recorder into the fish. (My apologies for not being able to find the link right now.) Clove oil has a long history as an anesthetic. It's an old folk remedy for toothache. I found out that works very well as a method for fish euthanasia. I used about a half-teaspoon, perhaps more, perhaps less, in about a cup or two of tank water. (Sorry I don't have more specific information, but I was a bit stressed.) When I put the molly in and swished the stuff around, he was anesthetized and paralyzed almost instantly, and gone within seconds -- literally. And painlessly. The whole thing took less than a minute. <not the case with many techniques! Good to know> The clove oil I used is clove essential oil. It's inexpensive as far as essential oils go; I bought an ounce several years ago for under $3. I would seriously recommend this method to anyone who needs to euthanize a fish. --Ananda <Thank you for sharing with us! Many ways to do this sad act, but none are easy. -Ryan>

Euthanasia Hi Crew- I'm beginning to think fishkeeping is not for me. Righting my wrongs, learning about something AFTER I've lost a fish is pretty painful. I've been reading about the freezing method of euthanasia which WWM seems to support. I read elsewhere that ice crystals forming in the body are painful to the fish and Alka-seltzer was suggested to remove the oxygen in the water. I had a stressed zebra Danio last night, darting, crashing, one fin out one in, laying sideways on bottom. I couldn't watch it anymore and decided to try the Alka-seltzer method. By the time I netted the poor guy he was really in bad shape. (because of stress avoiding the net). Would I have been better to leave him alone? It took 8 minutes in the Alka-seltzer for him to die. I just wonder if I'm doing the right thing by these guys. Please help so I can at least know I'm giving them the best I can. Marty <I am still a much bigger "fan" of freezing... way before the sensation of pain from ice crystal formation, the cold removes sensation of any pain. Bob Fenner>

Re: Euthanasia Thank you Bob,  I read so many different things, but I'm just a short time into fishkeeping and I respect you guys and your site so much I will follow your advice. Many many thanks, Marty <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Euthanasia Hello again.   <Hi!> Well, I killed the loach.   <Egads!> He was just hanging at the surface, only to move with my attempts to net him.  He is at the bottom of an ice water bath right now.  I have killed fish with this method before, though smaller ones, and it had worked quickly. But this 8" loach took probably 7-8 minutes to succumb to the freezing temp. <For this size fish, that's not really surprising. I'm sorry to hear of your loss...> I know these are durable fish - but it got me to wondering; What is the Best Way to Euthanize a Big Fish?   <Many authors suggest putting the fish in the freezer and that's practically what you have done. IMO there is no easy way. Under the circumstances, I think you did the best thing available> Their larger body mass makes for a longer "resistance period" or whatever.  I have heard of sailors killing Dorados with booze dumped into the gills, though I have never caught a dorado.   <No!! There's no way damaging their gills would be faster than ice cold water> Maybe I should have beheaded him instead.   <You would do that to an "old friend?" Yikes!!> Thanks, one sad Erik <You're welcome...David Dowless>

Re: seeking advice on sick Betta Thanks for the response, Anthony. You have a way of making me feel a lot better about the situation. At any rate, I observed O'toole last night. He still wasn't eating and I noticed his belly is bloated. The scales on his gills were sticking out.  <Not good signs... dropsical condition> This morning, it seemed the scales on his sides were starting to stick out, too. I'm thinking he may have developed dropsy or something. If (when) the time comes that I need to euthanize, what is a good method?  <I still favor the freezing method for fishes like Bettas> I have heard so many conflicting reports of what causes pain and what's good to use including vodka/water, freezing, clove oil (I'm not sure where I'd buy this...one site said drug store or health food store). What do you recommend? As always, I thank you dearly for your help. Meg <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Euthanasia What is the best way to euthanize a freshwater fish? <If it is small, slow-moving, to place it in a small volume of water and freeze it> Someone suggested the following and I wanted to know what you guys would recommend so I know what I need to do when the tumor on Morgana gets too big and she is in distress. "the clove oil & vodka method: mix 2 ml clove oil with 8 ml.s vodka to make a 10 ml stock solution. Place the fish in a container with one gallon of water and add the 10 ml.s of clove oil and vodka to the one gallon of water, and the fish will just go to sleep quietly with no struggle. Clove oil (eugenol) is used as an anesthetic in fish for surgery, and the vodka is necessary so that the clove oil will dissolve in the water." Also, would I need to euthanize Morgana when the tumor interferes with her being able to open her operculum or? <For me, when the animal is apparently in distress, and hope is lost for its improvement. Bob Fenner> Many thanks for all the help. Anthea PS My friend's Betta did not make it. He died while she was at work this morning. <Sorry to read of this loss>

Re: euthanasia for fish Bob, Thank you for your kind words, it sure made me feel better. It is never easy to say good bye to an animal friend. It is amazing how attached you can get to an animal, even a fish. I especially like Bettas as they seem to interact with you. Jupiter our red Betta who just died used to swim back and forth eagerly when you approached his tank. We sure will miss him. <Yes, and enjoy reminiscing about your experiences> Still have Bozo my clown, my starfish who is getting pretty big, the horseshoe crab, and my cleaner shrimp in my salt water tank. Will have to get a bigger one soon this little ten gallon tank is getting a bit crowded for my gang! I am thinking about getting another Percula clown fish and maybe a few other interesting fish that will get along with my current gang.  <Wait till you have the new, larger quarters up and going> Any recommendations on filters and protein skimmers etc? I am looking to get a tank that is about 50 gallons or so. Not any bigger anyway. <All sorts... these are posted "in spades", along with some very qualified friends' input on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/> Hope all is well with you. Thank you again for your help! Kathy <We'll be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Euthanasia for Fish Hi Robert, <Steven Pro in this evening.> This is Kathy again. It has been a while since I wrote you. I have a question that I need to ask you. I have a Betta (Siamese Fighting fish) I have had him for about a year now. Unfortunately, he came down with Dropsy, swollen belly with protruding scales. I have treated him with antibiotics two courses now. I have tried everything that I could think of to help this poor little guy. Nothing helped and his belly is getting so big. He barely moves in the tank now, except when I come home from work and he wiggles a bit to say 'hello'. He is barely eating. I can't believe how long this little fish has been fighting to live, he is a tough little guy! I have heard from a few people on the reef central site that putting your fish in the freezer is an effective and not too traumatic way to euthanize your fish. I sure hope so because my husband could not bear to see this little guy suffer any more and has put the fish in our freezer in his little tank and all. We felt that he should at least have his familiar little home to be in during his last hours. I guess what I am asking you is that I hope he would not have suffered much dying this way. Is there another way to euthanize your fish that is relatively painless for the fish and a way that I don't have to do something gruesome like decapitation. <The freezer method is my preference. If you have done all you can do, many times it is the kindest ending.> Thank you again, Kathy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

euthanasia for fish Hi Robert, <Hello Kathy> This is Kathy again. It has been a while since I wrote you. I have a question that I need to ask you. I have a Betta (Siamese Fighting fish) I have had him for about a year now. Unfortunately, he came down with Dropsy, swollen belly with protruding scales. I have treated him with antibiotics two courses now. I have tried everything that I could think of to help this poor little guy. Nothing helped and his belly is getting so big. He barely moves in the tank now, except when I come home from work and he wiggles a bit to say 'hello'. He is barely eating. I can't believe how long this little fish has been fighting to live, he is a tough little guy! <Yes> I have heard from a few people on the reef central site that putting your fish in the freezer is an effective and not too traumatic way to euthanize your fish. I sure hope so because my husband could not bear to see this little guy suffer any more and has put the fish in our freezer in his little tank and all. We felt that he should at least have his familiar little home to be in during his last hours. <This is the best method> I guess what I am asking you is that I hope he would not have suffered much dying this way. Is there another way to euthanize your fish that is relatively painless for the fish and a way that I don't have to do something gruesome like decapitation. <A small amount of water, the fish will feel nothing. Bob Fenner> Thank you again, Kathy <You are welcome my friend.>

Re: euthanasia for fish Thank you for you quick reply. We put the fish in the freezer about an hour and a half ago and he just died. It seemed a pretty peaceful way to go. <Yes> Thank you again for your help. <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Kathy

Euthanasia Well this is the first time I am perusing your website trying to get knowledgeable on treatments for the *new* Velvet problem in my tank (which I caused due to what you would describe on your site as my own "lunacy!"). Your Website is great. Something compelled me to write to you after reading the FAQs in your Euthanasia section. Just have to tell you my fish youth-in-Asia technique; hope you will add it to the FAQs in that lightly populated area (only one FAQ entry I think). It takes less than a minute to execute (pardon the pun) if you have everything already setup for it, which takes no more than a few minuses. The fish is caught in a net - usually the most horrific and time consuming part of it all (for the fish). I bring the net to the surface of the water with the fish still submerged, and joined by whoever is around, thank it for the pleasure it has given us, and tell it that its suffering will soon be over. (If the fish struggles and appears to come to life again - I give it another day to try and recover), but if, as usually happens, they are so sick that they no longer care, I then lift the net and shake as much water as possible from it, and then lie the fish on about four sheets thick of paper towels. These I then fold over and over the fish, making a nice warm little rectangle, which I then place on the cement in the back yard. Wearing my large hard molded rubber soled hiking boots, I aim my heal for the fishes head, and stomp, stomp, stomp their brains flat. This has to be much faster than either the vodka, the toilet, or the freezer techniques presently spoken about in your FAQ site on this topic. The stomping area is cleaned up, and the bloodied paper towels are now either thrown into the trash, or buried under a cross in our backyard fish cemetery (the later only when the children are home). <Pretty brutal my friend.> I've been keeping saltwater fish for 30 years (recently started a reef tank - which is by the way 100 times more resistant to disease than a fish only tank - IMHO) and I always "knew" quarantining new fish was the way to go. But I was just too lazy (and looking back - just too lucky). However, the expense of buying new land for the fish cemetery here in California has now convinced me. As has the first real "communicable?" outbreak of any disease in my fish-only tank in over 3 years. (Due to my own lunacy in just dumping a new fish into the tank - water and all - last week!) Sure I had singular fish die before, but never a whole tank of fish all showing the same symptoms of death. Thanks for all the information on your site. I am going to treat my tank now with elevated temp and hyposalinity to try to get rid of the Velvet so I won't have to stomp stomp stomp any more. I am also going to invest in a new quarantine tank and procedure. And I just may flame-throw my old tank clean (or just use sodium hypochlorite if the family is around). -Steve <Yes, do get the quarantine/hospital tank so that we can keep the stomping to a minimum. -Steven Pro>

Disturbed by posting (Livestock euthanasia) Mr. Fenner, I used your book and the advice of as many experienced aquarists as I could get to talk to me to start and support my in my marine hobby. I have had some bad luck and some good luck too, thankfully. Anyway, the reason I am writing is because I just stumbled upon your website with postings about puffers, and read something disturbing. Someone euthanized a sick puffer by freezing.  <Yes... not an uncommon practice> I was waiting to reading some outcry from you about this form of "euthanasia." Wouldn't a last dip in a mix of vodka and water be a little more humane than freezing ? <Mmm, think they'd be about the same in terms of pain, duration... freezing apparently greatly reduces fishes capacity to sense.> I can imagine that even among aquarists there more sensitive individuals, but I almost punched out one of my friends for suggesting I flush an obviously doomed Naso Tang. <Agreed there. No flushing... the toilet assumption, "out of sight/mind"... Inaccurate> Love your site.
<Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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