Sea Life

How to Euthanize a Betta Fish?

how to euthanize a betta fish

One of the most painful feelings ever for a fish owner is saying goodbye to their pet fish. When a betta fish seems to be so ill that there are rarely or no chances for their survival, it is better to euthanize them to humanely or gently put them to death. But this decision must only be made if the betta fish has been in pain for a long period of time and there is no chance that it will survive or recover.

When to Euthanize a Betta Fish?

It must be made sure before euthanizing a betta fish that there are no chances of their survival. Otherwise, if there is any possibility that the fish may survive, the betta fish owner must avoid making such a decision. Some of the betta fish illnesses that are difficult to be recovered and rarely or never gets cured are the following:

  • Dropsy (swelling under the skin)
  • Late stage tumors
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Acute bacterial infections

But, for the fish owners, it is recommended to first diagnose the disease or consult a specialist. Then, do proper research on the disease after figuring out what is wrong with the fish. Try to properly treat and cure the fish and have patience because not all the fish take the same amount of time. Younger fish are believed to cure in less time as compared to the older fish because they have good immunity, unlike the older fish. Even if the disease is fatal and is very difficult to be cured, give it a chance and have some patience. When there comes the situation that it seems to be completely impossible for the fish to recover even after giving it time, then the best option will be to gently euthanize it. 

Best Ways to Euthanize a Betta Fish 

Many people have misconceptions about euthanizing the fish and people try different ways that are very painful for the fish. The best way to euthanize a betta fish is to either euthanize it using clove oil or using baking soda. Using clove oil is so far the best possible way because it is the least painful process as compared to the others.

Using Clove Oil 

You can get clove oil from any pharmacy or a supermarket. Clove oil slows down the fish’s breathing unless the fish ultimately stops breathing. It is the least painful because the clove oil acts as the anesthetic for the fish. Follow the process described below to know the correct way to euthanize a betta fish using the clove oil:

  • Add almost three drops of the clove oil in warm water and then mix it until it dissolves into the water properly. 
  • Add the mixture into the fish tank or water container and mix it properly. 
  • Put your sick betta fish in that mixture and wait until it stops breathing or moving. 

Using Baking Soda 

Sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide and hence takes the oxygen away from the betta fish. Using baking soda is also considered a good way to euthanize but it is not as less painful for the fish as using clove oil. Follow the process given below to know the right way to euthanize the fish using baking soda: 

  • Put almost 3 spoons of baking soda per gallon of water in the fish tank or container and mix it properly.
  • Put the sick betta fish in the mixture and wait for it to stop moving and breathing.

What Not to do While Euthanizing the Fish

As stated earlier, there are alot of myths and misconceptions about what is right and what is not while euthanizing the betta or any other kind of fish. Let’s discuss some of the common ways that people do to figure out how are they wrong and must be avoided:

Taking Out of Water 

People find it the easiest way to euthanize the fish to simply take the fish out of water. But, the reality is that it gives slow and painful death to the fish because the fish do not suddenly die if you take them out of water, rather it will take time. 

Using Alcohol

Secondly, there is another big misconception that adding alcohol to the water tank causes a peaceful and painless earth. But, the reality is that alcohol does not do the same to the fish as it does to human minds. So, you should refrain from using alcohol to euthanize sick fish.

Using Freezing Water

Similarly, using freezing water to get them an ice bath will cause them pain. It will create ice crystals on their bodies causing them pain. So, you should never try to freeze a sick fish to euthanize it.

The Bottom Line 

Firstly, the fish must not be euthanized unless you have already tried out your best to cure the fish. If nothing works, the most suitable option to euthanize the sick fish is to either use clove oil or use baking soda. There are some other ways that are very common amongst people like using alcohol, taking the fish out of water and putting the fish into freezing water but since they all are very painful for the fish, you should never consider them.

About the author

Hadia Atiq

A Writer passionate about learning and spreading the knowledge of sea life. I like to spread the knowledge of different types and species of fish and other aquatic creatures.