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View Full Version : How do you euthanize your fish?



Lady Hobbs
09-28-2006, 11:11 AM
We're told to not flush them or turn them lose in a lake. I've read to wrap them up, put them in a freezer for 20 minutes but that doesn't appeal to me, either. Have you found a humane way to dispose of ill fish that's better than the above?

Severus
09-28-2006, 05:00 PM
Personally i have heard stories of a woman who had to Euthanize two Pacus after a long and unfortunately unsuccesful journey to try and give them away, sell them, etc... They were about 2' at their time of death and this might sound gruesome, but im sure was a very quick efficient death. She wrapped them up in paper towel,put a board underneath them and from her 3rd step off her deck dropped a large cinder block on them. She made sure they were dead and obviously they were. Im sure the fish had no clue what happened and might sound a little cruel but what was really the best thing for a fish that large. I would imagine that would be a decent death for any fish

William
09-28-2006, 05:29 PM
Depends on the size of the fish.

Severus
09-28-2006, 07:34 PM
yea, for a 2' Pacu i guess that death would be appropriate

Lady Hobbs
09-28-2006, 09:41 PM
Ya, you sure couldn't put a 3ft fish in your freezer. It would be flopping all over the place. I have to admit I have flushed a few. I figured by the time they hit all those toxins, they were goners anyway. But you couldn't cram a 3 footer down the john either.

Possibly there really isn't a nice method but I can kill one easier than I can see one suffer for days and possibly infect other fish.

Severus
09-29-2006, 12:44 AM
yea, it is a tough call...

turbomkt
09-29-2006, 02:10 AM
The freezer method is to put them in a dish of water and put the water in the freezer. Since they are cold blooded they slow down until they die with no apparent trauma other than death.

Severus
09-29-2006, 12:12 PM
I heard it is best to try and get the water as close to freezing without actaully being frozen over and you dip the fish in head first. Almost an instant death

William
09-29-2006, 06:01 PM
You can always use boiling water for small fish.

Severus
09-29-2006, 07:41 PM
I would think boiling them would be one of the better ways to euthanize them

NorthernBoy
09-29-2006, 08:47 PM
As far as the pacu goes and smashing it...I thought fish percieve pressure as pain. I am probably wrong but would not that hurt more than say just removing some water and dropping in like 50# of ice.

Severus
09-29-2006, 09:56 PM
She threw the cinderblock down on them and im sure before they even felt any pressure they were dead.

mariposa
09-29-2006, 10:26 PM
The fish wouldnt feel boiling water? I always heard that crawfish and lobsters made noises when they hit boiling water. I cant stand the thought of it so I have never witnessed this before. We have a lot of crawfish boils here so I didnt want to think about it. If I thought they wouldnt feel it and it was an instand death I would be a little more as ease.

Lady Hobbs
09-29-2006, 10:39 PM
I guess it would be pretty quick but man....not a nice thought either. I wonder about putting it in a bag and just filling it with ice. Turned into a rather morbid thread didn't it?

NorthernBoy
10-06-2006, 06:06 AM
Ok so I found out some new info on euthanizing fish.

1) MS-222 is a veterinary-grade anesthetic for fish. Place the fish in 350 ppm MS- 222 (350 mg MS-222 per liter of water) for 10 minutes. You can bring your fish to the vet for this.

2) Clove oil (Eugenol)
5 drops of Eugenol to each gallon of water will anesthetize a fish, commonly done to handle a fish for procedures such as minor surgery or treating wounds. One ml (20 drops) would be enough for four gallons. The fish will quietly expire if nothing is done to reverse the anesthesia. In order to reverse it, place the fish in clean water.

I think these are both acceptable even for a large fish!!!

Jamieross1978
10-06-2006, 01:30 PM
Your talking about murdering a fish. As long as its quick then who cares? Putting it in a bag then in the freezer so it slowly freezes? Ha ha ha leave it out!!!!!

There is a method of using some drops of clove oil in water in a seperate container then add the fish for you wannabe fish vets, Or just get some tissue and a hammer, bigger fish? BIGGER HAMMER! After all you are killing the bloody thing... lets not get this twisted, how you murder it doesnt matter.. YOUR STILL MURDERING IT..

It will go to fish heaven card board cut out style.. but if its been a fish satan worshipper it can still slip through the iron bars of the pearly gates in its new flatter form ;) so your doing it 2 favours!

NorthernBoy
10-06-2006, 02:51 PM
How did I know you were from London. lol

Severus
10-06-2006, 04:19 PM
How did I know you were from London. lol

LOL LOL (not enough characters)

lefty
01-10-2007, 01:19 AM
Geez,what happened to the good old way?9MM to the head LMAO

Glasstapper
01-10-2007, 01:28 AM
The fish wouldnt feel boiling water? I always heard that crawfish and lobsters made noises when they hit boiling water. I cant stand the thought of it so I have never witnessed this before. We have a lot of crawfish boils here so I didnt want to think about it. If I thought they wouldnt feel it and it was an instand death I would be a little more as ease.

Hey, I grew up in Louisiana! :) That "screaming" noise you hear when the crawfish are put in the boiling water is NOT them actually screaming. They don't have any vocal chords to accomplish that. The noise is actually similar to a kettle releasing steam, which is what is happening there. Since their insides are cooked so quickly, the steam is released out of tiny little cracks in their shell (like a kettle). So yeah, it's definitely instant death for them.

Drumachine09
01-10-2007, 01:40 AM
This might be one of the more greusome methods, but it works for pest fish in lakes. Grasp them firmly behind their gill plate. grab its head with your forefinger and thumb on opposite sides.Push in twist and pull. It severs their spinal cord/coulmn instanly makeing them feel no pain. If you happen to have a large catfish, ill tell you how to skin em'!

jeffs99dime
01-10-2007, 02:17 AM
This might be one of the more greusome methods, but it works for pest fish in lakes. Grasp them firmly behind their gill plate. grab its head with your forefinger and thumb on opposite sides.Push in twist and pull. It severs their spinal cord/coulmn instanly makeing them feel no pain. If you happen to have a large catfish, ill tell you how to skin em'!

that's what i had to do once when i was fishing

Drumachine09
01-11-2007, 01:18 AM
Introducing white perch into a new lake...BIIIIIGGG mistake. They breed like rabbits and multiply exponetioally. Some time when we go fishing we have to dispatch 50 a peice in this manner. and i think someone has introduced gar into a local pond in my neigbor hood. i SWEAR is saw one while i was wading and fly fishing. if i catch one, im going to fillet him and grind him up with onions into meat balls. That makes me hungry.

jeffs99dime
01-11-2007, 01:53 AM
Introducing white perch into a new lake...BIIIIIGGG mistake. They breed like rabbits and multiply exponetioally. Some time when we go fishing we have to dispatch 50 a peice in this manner. and i think someone has introduced gar into a local pond in my neigbor hood. i SWEAR is saw one while i was wading and fly fishing. if i catch one, im going to fillet him and grind him up with onions into meat balls. That makes me hungry.

i caught a chain pickeral and he swallowed the 3 point hook. had to do it!

Drumachine09
01-11-2007, 01:54 AM
It sucks trying to unhook a treble. But you did what you had to do.

jeffs99dime
01-11-2007, 01:55 AM
It sucks trying to unhook a treble. But you did what you had to do.
yup!!!!! it sure does

Drumachine09
01-11-2007, 02:01 AM
I love going long nosed gar fishing. We dont use hooks. We use 4-5 inch lengths of nylon rope. The gar think its a shad and bite it. They snap their mouth shut on instinct, and get their teeth stuck. When you squeeze them behind the gill plate, they open up thier mouths and you can take it out. They you break their neck and throw them to the rocks. Gar are a BIIIGGGG pest species in Kaw lake in oklahoma. its a shame though. They are dang cool looking fish.

bettaboy691
01-11-2007, 05:07 PM
ive heard putting a tropical water fish into coldwater or in the freezer just makes the fish feel so cold it goes into shock then heart failure, like if you were put into a freezer, you wouldnt just slip away would you? a good way ive read is to simple, but bloody, chop the head off with a knife. or use other methods like someone was saying with oil.

Sin
01-14-2007, 04:16 AM
hobbs , this is an interesting thread you started and something we all have to face sometime or another...i too am guilty of flushing sick fish into the toilet...had to do it to two of my sharks since they werent looking soo good and were not eating at all...can not risk getting my other fishes sick either....anyhows...i heard long time ago that if you placed the fish into a bag then slammed it hard on the ground it was instant death...but when your dealing with much larger fish it can be hard to do....majority of people just dont have the heart to do it...and i dont blame them...but such is life i guess

Drumachine09
01-14-2007, 04:17 AM
Fact of life i guess.

kimmers318
01-14-2007, 11:57 AM
There was an excellent thread posted awhile back linking to information about euthanizing a fish. I will see if I can find it and bump it, if not, I printed the article and will search for the link.

Drumachine09
01-14-2007, 03:08 PM
Hey, i saw your bump!

Blakes
01-14-2007, 06:29 PM
Well, not too long ago I was doing some research on ponds and Koi carp because we were thinking of having a pond in our back garden. I read somewhere that the best way to kill a sick fish was to wrap it in newspaper and throw it as hard as you can on the floor a few times! Seriously, that is what I read! However, a friend of mine used to keep marine fish and one unfortunate day the tank cracked pretty bad and started leaking water quickly, so he took the fish out one at a time and took an axe to them, chop-chop-chop-chop-chop-chop! Shame, his Blue Tang (think that was what it was) was a nice looking fish.

Drumachine09
01-14-2007, 06:33 PM
WOW tangs are EXPENSIVE

cocoa_pleco
01-14-2007, 06:49 PM
ive always used clove oil and vodka, or jack daniels. The clove oil makes them literally sleep and the vodka/daniels destroys their blood circulation, a very non-painful death.

Blakes
01-14-2007, 06:52 PM
It was a Blue Tang, just looked on a website to check.

Sin
01-14-2007, 07:11 PM
blake ,couldnt the guy just grab a huge tub or something and throw the fishes in there to save them untill he got another tank? worst case senerio...thats what id do!

Sasquatch
01-14-2007, 10:52 PM
Some of the methods mentioned so far are very effective, but often it comes down to what makes the aquarist feel better.

Both the clove oil and the MS-222 methods are very effective. I've used MS-222 to sedate fish and a few times to kill them. If the concentration is high enough the fish turn belly up in a few minutes. The biggest problem is finding the chemicals and forking out the $$$. I don't know about clove oil, but last time I bought MS-222, it cost a fortune.

The freezer method is also quite good, though it only really works for small fish. For bigger fish (like those 2 footers), it takes so long for the cold to penetrate and actually kill the brain that the fish does suffer a little.

Then there the "best way", pulp the brain ASAP. For small fish (less then 4") a hard flick (like when you play marbles) to the head is all it takes. For those up to 1', stick them in a plastic bag and whack them hard against a counter. If you have bigger fish, you have to get creative, but most stores that sell fishing equipment will sell wooden clubs to KO fish.

The reason I said "best way" is because it's best for the fish. Done properly the fish are out of water for a few seconds and then it's all over. But often it's not the "best way" for the aquarist. Ever heard the expression "Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off". Fish do the same thing. With no direction coming from the brain, the nerves fire off randomly and the fishes body goes epileptic until all the chemicals to contract his muscles are used up. But since the brain is completely destroyed, the fish doesn't feel anything. He's already dead.

I've written a few animal care protocols and read my share of governmental guidelines on the subject. I've also euthanized around 3000 fish for various studies and, except for clove oil (which I've never used), all the methods above work very well, if done properly.

kimmers318
01-15-2007, 02:16 AM
I honestly don't know if I could club my fish in the head to kill it, just seems way to gruesome to me. I have used the freezer method and didn't feel bad about that because I have yet to be able to find clove oil. If it is a non aggressive way I have found I can deal with it, if it seems violent it is not for me. The first time I had to euthanize an animal was my kids kitty a long time ago. She had come home sick, the vet ran all kinds of tests and couldn't figure out what was wrong so we were just medicating and keeping her quiet at home. I kept her in a large dog kennel to keep the dogs away and keep her confined close to a litter box. She continued to eat and use the litter box right up until the end when she started having a seizure. My daughter was devastated seeing this so I sent her to get her PJ's on and while she was gone quickly smothered the kitty. She didn't even struggle, just stopped breathing right then and there. I had to make a choice to save my child the heartbreak of watching a seizure by getting over my squeamishness of having to physically kill another living thing. It wasn't easy, but I am glad I saved my daughter from having to watch the seizure until the kitty died naturally. Knowing that she didn't struggle made me realize that she was close to going on her own and that I just ended the struggle. That experience has made it easier for me to accept that sometimes you have to do what is right regardless of your own feelings.

Sasquatch
01-15-2007, 02:29 AM
Eeesh, that's a tough thing to do.

I've learned from experience that a lot of the things out there are to make it easier for the aquarist and in the end are more stressful for the fish.

Take for example clove oil and MS222. You have to take the fish out of the tank, place him in another container for the chemical to work. During those minutes, the fish is not happy at all. Having done this with healthy fish, you often have to put a heavy lid on the container to stop him from jumping out.

These chemicals are great for transfering fish and to keep them calm, but for euthanasia, unless it's a really big fish, I personally prefer a sharp blow to the head.

Blakes
01-15-2007, 12:30 PM
Sin, yeah I suppose he could have. But maybe he did not have 300 or so for a new tank. Maybe he did not have a huge tub. I don't know as I was not there. It was a shame because he had some really nice fish and the setup looked real good.

genitor
01-16-2007, 06:53 PM
you can use clove oil to euthanise
fish, I'm not too sure of the concentration though.

genitor
01-16-2007, 06:57 PM
You can use clove oil to euthanize fish. I don't know the exact concentration.

AquaQueen
01-18-2007, 06:32 PM
We're told to not flush them or turn them lose in a lake. I've read to wrap them up, put them in a freezer for 20 minutes but that doesn't appeal to me, either. Have you found a humane way to dispose of ill fish that's better than the above?

Hobbs I found somthing you might be interested in, I got a new Dr's foster and Smith Catalog yesterday and was flipping threw and remembered reading your question so here goes...There is this medication called Euthanase which contains clove oil which helps to minimize fish suffering and helps nature along...The answer to your question is so perfectly printed on the bottle..."The humane Alternative for sick and injured fish"...it's not too expencive either. I went and found the link if ya want you can check it out www.DrsFostersmith.com they have everything you can think of for just about EVERY pet you have and they send catalogs out to your home...Love them. Just go to the fish section and search the word Euthanase that is the easiest way to find it. Good luck!

Ivana
01-21-2007, 09:15 PM
I put mine in a small bowl or cup of water, and put them in the freezer. It's sad, but sometimes has to be done. I think of the methods mentioned above, it's the one I'd take if I had the choice of how I was euthanized. :) A friend had to euthanize her goldfish when they got a nasty parasite, and she dropped them in cold vodka.

Drumachine09
01-21-2007, 11:31 PM
I put mine in a small bowl or cup of water, and put them in the freezer. It's sad, but sometimes has to be done. I think of the methods mentioned above, it's the one I'd take if I had the choice of how I was euthanized. :) A friend had to euthanize her goldfish when they got a nasty parasite, and she dropped them in cold vodka.

At least they went happy!