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Your views on euthanasia


30 Jan 2021
Ive got two fish that have been super poorly for weeks.
I tried everything I could to help them recover but I am very new to this and my efforts didn't have any effect. I don't have the knowledge nor the resources
The Honey Gourami has been playing dead for days, then moves, then dead again for hours. It doesn't practically eat.
The molly sits on the bottom. Doesn't eat either.
I don't really know how they keep going.
Flatmate insists that I should end their sufferance but I feel a knot in my stomach only at the thought

Advice please
This is a difficult subject to comment on as the potential for the thread to become too emotive is huge and also the responsibility of offing incorrect advice is a responsibility in its self!
I worked on a commercial fish farm for many years and I found it difficult but important to recognise any ailing fish beyond medical help, unfortunately without first hand visual information I can’t comment any further than say ...it must be your call.
Might be helpful for members to diagnose and offer further advice if you can post some photos, possibly a video. And also what have you tried? What meds do you have to hand? Are they in the main tank still?
If you have exhausted all treatment options you are capable of performing and the fish’s health has not improved and you feel that they may be suffering in their current state then euthanasia may be the kindest option.

For a small fish around the size of a Tetra then Blunt Force Trauma is probably the quickest way to euthanise, remove from tank place between tissue and hit it very fast with a hard heavy object, this will obliterate the fish including its brain before it has a chance to register the trauma, the fish will suffer the least stress and no pain.

Using chemicals to Euthanise is best done in a dose to first ensure anaesthetisation of the fish before delivering the lethal dose into the water, if you dose a lethal dose before the fish is asleep then it will cause the fish to suffer extreme stress and possibly pain. Clove oil is sometimes used but it is not effective on all fish you would need to find and source which appropriate product to use on your fish.

I think you may be best exercising the first option, remember you are causing unsurvivable trauma not to purposely inflict pain but to relieve it in the quickest way possible.

You have a duty of care for your fish you should never let them suffer unnecessarily.
Might be helpful for members to diagnose and offer further advice if you can post some photos, possibly a video. And also what have you tried? What meds do you have to hand? Are they in the main tank still?
Nt Labs antiparasite
Carbon filter
Esha Exit + esha 2000
That ended like a week ago.
Lost one Molly and one Honey Gourami
Second molly it's been I'll.for a.month. just sitting at the bottom. It diesnt swim.
It's very thin
Honey gourami it's very thin too but it has a swollen belly. Its stands in its tail. Looks dead for hours (upside down ot on its side) then comes back to life.
Today I noticed white cotton in its gills


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For a small fish around the size of a Tetra then Blunt Force Trauma is probably the quickest way to euthanise,
I agree, i think this is the best way. I had to do this with two lemon tetra last year, removed from the tank and folded them in some kitchen roll. I had two bricks ready outside so i quickly went out and laid the kitchen roll in one brick and then the other a firm flat hit and it was done. Not the nicest thing I've had to do but it was best for the fish
This is a always a very difficult decision for me. I have read that a good way to euthanise is using clove oil.

I had no idea about the blunt trauma method. Personally I have resorted to placing a sick fish in a small cup with some tank water and put it in the freezer. In my heart this is what I thought was the most painless for the fish.
clove oil from the chemist - it is what I used on a daily basis at work. 15 drops in a black bin bag of just enough water to cover the fish, shake it up till cloudy. And the add the fish - takes less than 20 seconds to kill the fish.
I don't like the idea of a death that lasts 20 seconds, something near instant is surely kinder? As mentioned above blunt force trauma with a heavy object works well or maybe cut the head off with a very sharp knife?
I used to do quite a lot of sea fishing where I used to take the odd fish home and always carried a large wooden batten or priest in my bag to dispatch them as quick as possible. A fast, strong hit to the head would sort most situations.
However when I lost my Harlequins last year I used clove oil due to the stress Id put them through to catch and individually euthanize each one. So I dosed the hospital tank, large amount of clove oil dissolved into some warm water and poured it in, took less than 5 seconds if not almost instantly. It looked very pain-free and effective, I'm sure they didn't suffer.
This comes up from time to time, and like @foxfish mentions above it's a highly emotive subject, and it's impossible to make the right call remotely. But you might find the discussions below of interest...

I think that destroying the brain is probably the best way, although it sounds barbaric. Just beheading a fish doesn't work, it can continue to live for some time afterward. And I'm not sure about the clove oil method. Is there any peer reviewed research to back it up? Similarly, I know the use of acetone solution was popular in the industry at one time, rightly or wrongly.
This pdf (Australian) mentions several ways and the relevant pros and cons of each, it mentions clove oil.


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I remember working in a shop and feeling bummed the whole day because I lost a neon. It gets easier to a point where you know you are doing the right thing for the animal in your care. It is silly that we get so attached considering we should be hunter killers but I feel it's great we care so much.

For me blunt force trauma is the best way. For larger fish that it's harder to do this with then using clove oil to anesthetize them first is best. If you get the dose right you can stop the fish breathing. It's a gentle way to send them to sleep.
As far as I know, Clove Oil is also used as anaesthesia on bigger fish if surgical treatment is necessary... Only too much or for too long will finally kill the fish... It goes unconscious and slowly will stop breathing... :( :)


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