Best way to put a dting fish out of its misery?

msavoy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
120
Reaction score
48
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Montreal
Édit: sorry it’s supposed to say “dying fish”

About 2 weeks ago my silver bellied wrasse went to the bottom of the tank between 2 rocks and stayed there for 3 days. I assumed it was sick and was going to die. As one last effort I tried swishing him out from between the rocks. That’s when I noticed he seemed to be stuck there. I’m not sure if he was really stuck all this time or was sick and it went there to die. Anyway after I freed him he swam around the tank for the next week but there was something definitely wrong with his tail. It seems that when he was between the rocks maybe it damaged him. But he was still swimming and even eating, so I thought that maybe he would get his strength back if he continued to eat.

Last week he managed to find a little whole between the rocks and the sand and he once again wedged himself in there and stayed there for the week. I knew he was still alive because his tail was moving. I tried numerous times to get him out without success. Today I finally moved the rocks and was able to free him. He’s in rough shape and just laying on the bottom of the tank. I figured if he was sick he would have died much quicker than this since it’s been a week he hasn’t eaten. I feel that it is suffering but I’m not sure what to do. A friend said to flush him so he doesn’t suffer anymore but I don’t know if that’s a cruel thing to do. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Zoanthids

Sharkbait19

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
4,512
Reaction score
4,766
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
New Jersey
Personally I think that it’s best to let it go until it dies. It’s never too late until it’s too late.
Don’t flush it, I can’t imagine it being fun to go into freshwater and have all of your cells explode, all while being put into a centrifuge and then sewage.
Clove oil is a commonly used sedative for fish that can euthanize a fish if needed.
Put it in a separate holding tank and see what happens.
 
Last edited:

lapin

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
9,644
Reaction score
16,833
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Austin
 
OP
M

msavoy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
120
Reaction score
48
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Montreal
Yes this is exactly what it looks like, a spinal injury. I thought maybe he got crushed between the rocks but then he has brief moments where he does swim well so I’m not exactly sure what’s happening.
 
OP
M

msavoy

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
120
Reaction score
48
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Montreal
Personally I think that it’s best to let it go until it dies. It’s never too late until it’s too late.
Don’t flush it, I can’t imagine it being fun to go into freshwater and have all of your cells explode, all while being put into a centrifuge and then sewage.
Clove oil is a commonly used sedative for fish that can euthanize a fish if needed.
Put it in a separate holding tank and see what happens.
Thanks for your reply. I agree with you, I feel like there is always a chance. When I saw him eating I thought it was a good sign until he put himself back into a hole. I’ll keep watching him and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.
 
Maxout

Tired

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
1,721
Reaction score
1,678
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Texas
Clove oil until completely unresponsive, then freezing, can work. As can clove oil until unresponsive, then double the amount of clove oil and leave it for hours if not overnight. Remember that fish rendered unresponsive with clove oil can revive if left in clean water.

Clove oil is the best gentle method. If someone is confident about it, any method of physically destroying the brain in one motion is also humane, but you can't hesitate or the fish can suffer. I've used that method with lizards a cat had gotten; put them on the sidewalk with a paper towel over them to make them calmer, then take a brick and bring it down on the head as hard as you can, in one go. Something can't suffer if it's got no brain left. Obviously there are additional complications with aquatic animals, though.
 

Gup

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
394
Reaction score
264
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wildwood
Édit: sorry it’s supposed to say “dying fish”

About 2 weeks ago my silver bellied wrasse went to the bottom of the tank between 2 rocks and stayed there for 3 days. I assumed it was sick and was going to die. As one last effort I tried swishing him out from between the rocks. That’s when I noticed he seemed to be stuck there. I’m not sure if he was really stuck all this time or was sick and it went there to die. Anyway after I freed him he swam around the tank for the next week but there was something definitely wrong with his tail. It seems that when he was between the rocks maybe it damaged him. But he was still swimming and even eating, so I thought that maybe he would get his strength back if he continued to eat.

Last week he managed to find a little whole between the rocks and the sand and he once again wedged himself in there and stayed there for the week. I knew he was still alive because his tail was moving. I tried numerous times to get him out without success. Today I finally moved the rocks and was able to free him. He’s in rough shape and just laying on the bottom of the tank. I figured if he was sick he would have died much quicker than this since it’s been a week he hasn’t eaten. I feel that it is suffering but I’m not sure what to do. A friend said to flush him so he doesn’t suffer anymore but I don’t know if that’s a cruel thing to do. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


I just lost a Clown in a similar fashion. But she was so weak, she didn't put up a fight when I netted her.

I use a different method to put her down. The garbage disposal. No doubt these are difficult decisions, but they must be made so as not to foul the tank.

I choose this method because it is instantaneous. But it doesn't make it any easier
 

Tired

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
1,721
Reaction score
1,678
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Texas
I'm... really not sure that's instantaneous. What if the blades miss the vital bits? I'd want to see someone do some kind of non-live testing on that, and I would definitely not advise anyone try it.

If a dying fish is of a sufficient size to be a worry in the tank, and euthanasia isn't an option for some reason, there's always a container with hiding places, clean water, and circulation. Small fish should be handled just fine by the biofilter and scavengers.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Tired

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
1,721
Reaction score
1,678
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Texas
That's not a good technique. There's concern of ice crystals forming in and on the body, and also, for that method, the issue of the fish being out of water and stressed because of that. Freezing isn't a laboratory-approved method, which is a decent way of judging humaneness, since labs can only use euthanasia methods that are reasonably thought to be humane.
There is a form of freezing that's approved, but it's tricky to do and only works on very small fish, as you have to chill the entire body below a certain point instantly.
 
http://www.marcorocks.com/
Top