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The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #120 Euthanizing
December 31, 2023

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
December 2023
Issue #120

In This Issue

Euthanizing is a last resort when there is no possibility of a fish recovering from an injury or disease.


Many times on social media I have read posts suggesting a fish be euthanized simply because an injury looks particularly bad, or a disease is well advanced. In the majority of cases the fish had an excellent chance of recovery given the right treatment.

When to Euthanize

With injury, if the injury hasn’t killed the fish outright, and it is swimming in a normal upright position, there is a high chance it will survive with the right treatment.

Loss of an eye or eyes, ripped or torn fins, loss of scales, body wounds are NOT reasons to euthanize.

A salt bath to stabilize loss of electrolytes, warm pristine water and high quality food will quickly get an injured fish back to good health.

A fish with a broken spine, or a missing tail fin and badly damaged caudal peduncle would be reasons to euthanize.

90% of all Goldfish diseases are cured with a salt bath at 0.3% solution or, a tablespoon of salt per gallon.

If a fish is not too weak to take this level of salt, improvement should be seen within days.

Flukes unfortunately aren’t affected by this level of salt, but can be easily controlled with a praziquantel based medication such as PraziPro or API General Cure.

Swim bladder disorders are most commonly the result of diet rather than the swim bladder itself.

The affected fish won’t die from the complaint itself but from complications caused by, for example, floating upside down for long periods at the surface causing redness on the ventral region.

In these cases, it is a matter of trying different treatments and diets.

Internal tumors are hard to treat and require surgery when at an early stage. Most of us don’t have access to a specialist fish surgeon.

I euthanize once the fish either loses balance or develops dropsy. By this stage the fish is usually very swollen and has difficulty swimming.

External tumors look unsightly but don’t affect the fish unless they grow large, at which stage there is no harm in lightly anesthetizing the fish and removing the bulk of it. It will grow back, but the process can be repeated.

How to Euthanize

The most stress-free way of euthanizing a Goldfish is by anesthetic overdose.

Goldfish are large fish by aquarium standards and other options that could be used such as physical methods would take prior training and could lead to a very poor outcome for the fish and owner.

MS-222 tricaine methanesulfonate and benzocaine hydrochloride are used by veterinarians but are not available to the general public.

What is available to the public is Clove Oil which is readily available from health shops and chemists or pharmacies (drug stores) in 25-118 ml bottles.

Here is the method I use:

1. Place the fish in a 2 liter container.
2. Use an eyedropper to put 5 drops of clove oil into a small sealable container with about 100 ml of warm water. (Scale this up if your fish won’t fit in a 2L container).
3. Shake the container vigorously to mix the clove oil into the water. The water should become cloudy.
4. Add HALF the water from the small container to the 2 liter container, away from the fish, and stir the water to aid dispersion.
5. Observe the fish after 15 minutes. Breathing should be slow and the fish unresponsive.
6. Add the rest of the clove oil mixture to the 2 liter container.
7. Wait 30 minutes.

Check that all gill movement has stopped and there is no eye-roll when the fish is rocked from side to side. I usually leave the fish in the solution for another 30 minutes just to be sure.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you, your family, and your Goldfish a very happy and prosperous 2024.
Let's hope this year is an improvement on 2023, and some of the World's major conflicts are resolved.
Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think, or what topics you want to be covered.

Next Month's Topic

Black Moor Care

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