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Aquatic Pet Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a subject that no pet owner enjoys speaking about. Sometimes, there are moments when we are forced to make a decision. What is the right thing to do in a certain situation?

We are writing this article as a last-resort option. When you have already tried everything you possibly can to improve deteriorating health conditions in which the animal is left suffering, invasive species that overpopulate and become an overall concern, or if a fish outgrows its environment and another home cannot be found.

There are many things we can do as pet owners to avoid these scenarios including doing extensive research on the particular species that you are looking to inquire about. It is most important to ensure that you are prepared to provide adequate housing conditions for the pet and are aware of the lifespan that some aquatics have. If you aren't prepared for the long haul and responsibilities that come with pet ownership, another option needs to be considered for the sake of the animal.


Although the method of euthanasia using clove oil is common within the aquarium trade, it is not a method that we personally agree with nor recommend. Clove oil acts as an anesthesia for some species, but not all of them. It is common to hear about bad experiences using clove oil, this can be due to a few different factors.

  1. Not all species are affected by clove oil the same as some fish are.

  2. The clove oil did not mix into the water and sat on the surface. To accurately distribute the oil in the water, mix with salt to form a paste and then mix into the water.

  3. Some report thrashing from certain fish which can be more traumatic for both you and the animal.

  4. The shelf life and potency of the clove oil makes a difference in mixing a lethal dose.


Blunt force is the quickest and most ethical way to euthanize an animal without any prolonged suffering. Although blunt force trauma may seem barbaric, or even cruel in our minds and hearts, we must consider that we want to end this suffering for the fish as quickly and painlessly as possible. By striking firmly down on the top of the head with a blunt object, the result is pretty much instantaneous. There will not be added or prolonged suffering for the fish, while we wait for its time to end.

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