View Full Version : Euthanasia advice

11-29-2006, 02:16 PM
In my very first post I mentioned that I was having some trouble with an angel of mine that was being quite badly bullied and who had become very withdrawn and started eating poorly as a result. I guess it didn't help that two months ago I moved them to a new tank, but he was already being bullied before the move and i hoped that maybe the fighting would stop since they'd have more space.

Well, the fighting has stopped, the two single males and the mated pair all have their own spaces which the are happy with. The big problem is though (and this is what has me really upset atm) is that all that bullying has left its mark on the one angel, and his eating has gone from poor to nothing. He is happy in his space, his colour is good, fins not clamped, no sign of disease, external parasites, or injury, my water parameters are perfect (except N03 which is building up a little) and my tank was stable when I introduced the fish.

Other than not eating he is behaving more like his old self, occasionally locking lips when the other males get too close and trying his luck with the only female. The last time I saw him eat (and not spit it back out) was about a week ago. He was looking really thin then but now he looks so bony and emaciated i just want to cry when I look at him.

Before he stopped eating I tried all sorts of foods to try and get his appetite going, but nothing worked. Now that he's not eating at all I just don't know what to do. I know when people starve to death, their bodies start breaking down their internal organs in a last attempt at staying alive, causing a great deal of suffering. I don't want him to suffer, I grow very attached to all my fish and it pains me when they die, but I'm thinking it might be kinder to euthanase him before he dies of starvation.

I've never euthanased a fish before, do any of you have some advice on how its best and most gently done?

11-29-2006, 03:31 PM
Glasstapper found this information and it sounds like it would very well, he posted it elsewhere.

A humane euthanasia for your fish.


I found this browsing around, and I thought I would pass on just in case anyone didn't know about this one. I didn't, and now I wish I would have known this method a couple of days ago.


If the link doesn't work search for a post with the word "euthanasia" and it should bring it up. It sounds like a very good plan, and you can always do a toast to the fish for having fought so long and hard at the end.

Lady Hobbs
11-29-2006, 05:25 PM
I would not put him down without a fight to keep him well. The fact that he is still swimming around and you see no damage to him and he doesn't appear to be suffering all that much, I would take some drastic measures to get him well again. Fish will often stop eating for various reasons. He could also have internal parasites but I suspect he's either bullied when he tries to get to the food and has become afraid to even try to eat.

I have a Moonlight gourami that went after my angelfish last night and it took me about 3 seconds to net him and throw him down the toilet!! I hated to do it but moved before thinking about it much. This is the same angel that just got healed up from a large wound on his side due to some parasite. Then here comes that gourami tearing at his fins. I figured that angel has gone thru about enough abuse for now.

My temper got the best of me, I'm afraid.

But back to your angelfish, as long as you can write "He is happy in his space, his colour is good, fins not clamped, no sign of disease, external parasites, or injury" I would not give up on him. If he was not feeling well or under stress, you could tell by his outward appearence and he doesn't seem to be struggling that much. Try different foods to entice him to eat, some greens and blood worms, etc.

11-30-2006, 07:56 AM
Hmmm, Hobbs, I think your right. I think I've lost perspective with this fish and have maybe been too negative about it. For all intents and purposes he does seem much better behaviour wise, hes just not eating.

I have already tried many different foods (3 different types of flakes, granules, pellets, freeze dried tubifex, frozen bloodworm and i grew up some brine shrimp for him too but they weren't a big hit with any of the fish). I also try to keep the other angels away from him at feeding and feed them on different sides of the tank. You mentioned trying greens, is there anything that your angels like that I could try with mine?

Do you know how long a fish can safely go without eating? Up until about a week ago he was still eating the occasional blood worm and one or two flakes.

Lady Hobbs
11-30-2006, 12:22 PM
Right now my angels aren't eating much either. I have moved them around switching tanks and possibly they need to do some adjusting. Maybe they just aren't hungry? I've often wondered if they aren't picking things up off the bottom when the lights are out. They also require less food as they get larger.

I switched not long ago from the Tetra food to Warblers and they didn't care for that as much. I will get them some New Life Spectrum as suggested by reptileguy for the nutrition valve they need. Have you changed the flake food at all?

My small angels eat the heck out of roman lettuce but the large ones could care less about it. Also, what are the temps in your tank? Sometimes if they aren't happy with temps they will stop eating, as well. My two tanks are at 82 and could be 84 but I just adjusted that temp two days ago.

These have been my only cichlid but they sure are temperamental and will probably be my only cichlids!

Currently I feel bad for my angels as both are totally alone in their separate tanks. I can't help but feel they must miss the company of their own kind but it isn't my fault they want to fight now, is it? I tried small angels that got their fin torn so had to move them. I tried dither fish that got chased constantly. I tried adding a gourami that went after the angel. I tried each other. ppttfff!

When my angel had a large slash in it's side, after a month of fighting this wound I actually had the fish in the net ready to destroy him. I just couldn't do it altho I've had no problem getting rid of others in the past. I think it was because he still appeared fine, had his fins raised up nicely and had a nice color. If they appear to be suffering then it's another whole ball game and like you, won't put up with the suffering.

Mine will not touch the Tubifex cubed worms either. Didn't like them even when they were eating better.

I have read when angels stop eating to try them on a live worm. I have actually thought of going to the bait shop to get some but will wait it out for a while and see how it goes. I'm not too nuts about keeping worms in my refrigerator! Possibly they are like us and just have their times when they don't feel hungry.

Let me know how your fish are doing and I'll let you know on mine and maybe putting two heads together will come up with something.

Lady Hobbs
11-30-2006, 12:35 PM

11-30-2006, 02:05 PM
I wonder the same thing about my angel, maybe he's picking at some leaves or the catfish pellets after lights out. As for the others though, they all have very good appetites (they'd eat until they burst I'm sure of it).

The flakes that i use now are tetra min, they're a big hit with the angels and the loaches (they come to the top and hoover them right out from under the angels noses) and they're only kind my skinny angel was interested in up until a week ago.

The temp in my tank sits at 27.5 - 28 degrees, I think that's like 81 or 82F. I'll try some lettuce too, if he's not interested my plec will devour it for sure. As for the live worms, well, let's just say that i'm not too keen on that either, but if I do try them I'll let you know how it goes.

Interesting link btw, that chaps problem seems pretty similar to mine, my skinny angels eating disorder has been going on for three months now, so like he said, if it were internal parasites or something I'm sure he wouldn't look so healthy.

I'm also going to start upping my water changes and see if it will help him thrive.

Thanks for your help and support Hobbs, I'm glad I talked about it cause I think i really was getting too negative and depressed about the situation. I will definitely keep you posted on skinnys progress. Glad to hear that your angel is doing better, sad to hear about the Gourami, you just can't win sometimes!

Lady Hobbs
11-30-2006, 02:13 PM
I am going to get some Spirulina flakes, as well. A bit of vegatation will do them some good and it's what my Silver Dollars should be having anyway. Adding some of the stuff fresh to the tank can sure cause a mess if not removed right away.

11-30-2006, 09:45 PM
Here are some euthanasia options.

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.