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Old 10-07-2011, 10:41 PM   #1 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Should I euthanize?

Here's the deal... I got my male betta Cortez in... April, I think? May? Sometime around then. At that point, I didn't realize that the university I would be attending in the fall doesn't allow fish to be kept in dorms... *facepalm*. When I figured this out I tried to rehome him, but nobody wanted the poor bugger. So my mom said she would feed him and turn his light on and off, but wouldn't do water changes. I thought I'd be coming home more often since my school is only an hour away, but I've been caught up...

I came home after two weeks and he was completely fine. The filter was a bit clogged with algae, so I fixed that and did a 100% water change.

Now I came home three weeks later and the poor thing is nearly dead. My mom claims it happened suddenly over the last two days, but his tail is nearly gone. :/ He's also very bloated and sits on the bottom. He usually hides in his castle... The filter was not working. I had instructed my mother maybe two weeks ago to check if the filter was clogged (like it was the first time) and she said it was, so I got her to fix it but the thing must have become detached from the tank wall when she did that because it was sitting on the bottom. Still technically running, but it wouldn't have be able to suck up anything.

I did a 100% water change, cleaned all of his gravel, plants, etc., fixed the filter, and added a bit over a teaspoon of aquarium salt. I'll do this everyday until I leave, but I'm leaving Tuesday morning and my mom won't continue doing this for me... blah. I've also stopped feeding him, since he's very bloated.

I don't know if I should bother continuing treatment, since I can't see him getting any better in a few days. I'm starting to wonder if I should just end his suffering now... I don't know how to euthanize a fish though. Thoughts? I can provide pictures tomorrow if needed.


What size is your tank? 1.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? 78 F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Nutrifin max pellets/ bettamin flakes.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily.


How often do you perform a water change? I used to change twice a week, but so far only twice this month. :/
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? When I did it twice a week, 50%. Now 100%.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aquaplus.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: Was at 0.5 before water change. Now 0.
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Tail is very nearly gone. It's just a thin line. He is also very bloated.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Hides in his castle, and struggles to swim to the top (when he does, he rushes up for air then sinks back down).
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today... my mom said she noticed them two days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? 100% water change, gravel & decor cleaning, aquarium salt, and fasting.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He has had finrot before, when I got him (which escalated a bit but was eventually cured).
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him six months ago from a pet store.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:32 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
I don't think anyone wants to say yes to killing him.. but if you can't treat him due to going back to school, and your mom isn't willing.. I think it would be best to end his suffering.
It sounds like he had gotten fin rot (again) that got out of control due to not having the water changed enough while you were away. It will take more then a couple days to treat him, and if your mom can't/won't, and you know no one else who could take it on.. then you need to do what you believe would be best for him.

If you go the route of helping him pass, here are a couple ways to go about that is humane:
Clove Oil/Vodka Method. Many fish keepers advocate using clove oil to anesthetize fish. You both anesthetize them first with the clover oil and dispatch the fish with another method or you give them such a strong concentration of clove oil that the clove oil alone will kill them.
Decapitation. The fish will probably feel something as you slice the knife in; even it is momentary pain. At least this method is quick (as long as you do not hesitate once you start the task).
Freeze. Freezing is a commonly used method for euthanizing warm water fish. To freeze your fish, freeze water in a small bag until the ice is slushy. Then place your fish in the water and continue to freeze it. Out of all the "old-school" methods, this process seems most humane.

Again, I am so sorry your guy had gotten sick =( You could only do so much being away.. I wish you the best.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:31 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Canada
I'm really sorry you're faced with such a tough decision. I was wondering if it would be a possibility for you to get a bigger tank that could be cycled and not need such frequent water changes? Maybe your mom would be able to do the less frequent maintenance necessary. That might not even be feasible though if you weren't around to cycle it. I know what a pain cycling can be and you have to pay attention to what is going on. Sigh.. I'm just trying to think of any alternative but not to have to put him down. :(

Alternatively, maybe you could prepare a large quantity of conditioned water and see if your mom wouldn't mind just emptying out part of his old water and replacing it with new. It might keep him going until you come for another visit.

I also wanted to point out one thing. You mentioned that he was very bloated and stting on the bottom and that you put in Aq salt. I know that is supposed to help with fin rot etc. but I have been told by many here that you should never use Aq salt when they are bloated as it will make them retain more water. You are supposed to use epsom salt for that. That said, I am not an expert, and since there are issues requiring both kinds of remedies, I will let someon more experienced give you advice on that. Just wanted to mention it so the poor guy didn't retain more water!

Good luck, I hope the solution will come to you and that it will be something not so difficult to do...
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:23 AM   #4 
Hisaki Yuki001
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Michigan
I know you said that you once tried to find a home for him. I was wondering where you lived. I highly doubt you do, but if you lived in Michigan, I'd take him, sick or not. I wouldn't be able to pick him up though. I would also not mind if you were able and willing to ship him.. I just wouldn't trust his well being doing so with him being sick right now though. :(

The only other two options I could think of for you would be either to sneak him in with you to care for him until he gets better or try finding a LFS store that might take him as is and care for him. I wish you the best though with any decision you make.

Last edited by Hisaki Yuki001; 10-09-2011 at 03:30 AM.
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:34 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
I've euthanised fish that I haven't had the room or time to treat. While it might sound callous to some, none of the fish knew what were happening and were dead within seconds of leaving the water (I used blunt force trauma). I have no issue with convenience euthanasia, particularly if the only other option is a decreased quality of life.

What I did to recently euthanise two sick bettas was to massively overdose with clove oil (the type found in chemists and used for tooth pain).

I added half a bottle of clove oil to a plastic container filled with about 1/4 of a litre of water. Then I shook this up until it went cloudy and poured it into the container my betta was in (which held about 1/2 litre).

Within seconds gill movement had stopped, but I waited a couple of hours before disposing of my fish.

While there was some initial thrashing, it didn't last long, and was less traumatizing for me than hitting my fish in the head with a hammer.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:55 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Canada
Originally Posted by Myates View Post
Freeze. Freezing is a commonly used method for euthanizing warm water fish. To freeze your fish, freeze water in a small bag until the ice is slushy. Then place your fish in the water and continue to freeze it. Out of all the "old-school" methods, this process seems most humane.
i heard somewhere that freezing is actually very painful to the fish, and is a slower death.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:03 AM   #7 
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It most likely is.. I've only done it once, and that was back in 1999. But I don't know for fact.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:41 AM   #8 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Thank you everybody for your replies. :)

My mom won't let me get a larger tank... I actually looked into that before I left, but she doesn't want more fishtanks hanging around the house since we used to have a ton and we got rid of them a year or so ago. :P

She might be willing to change it if I prepared the water for her... that's a good idea. Though honestly, he's getting worse rather than better. I'm not sure if there's much point.

Thanks for the offer Hisaki_Yuki001... I live in Nova Scotia (Canada), so Michigan is a bit far away. :/

If he doesn't die on his own, I'll find time to get some clove oil tomorrow so I can euthanize him before I leave. Unless he improves... I'm also tempted to sneak him into my dorm... lol. My RA probably wouldn't be too pleased with me if she found out, but I doubt she'd kick me out of residence (which is what they're suppost to do if you have animals in your room... crazy eh?)
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:36 AM   #9 
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I wouldn't risk losing your home for him, not that he isn't worth it.. but since he is so sick if you lost him then your home.. there is no good outcome from that.
If your mom is willing to do daily water changes, you can start him on 1tsp Epsom Salt per gallon with 100% daily water changes for 10 days to get the swelling down. Then he would have to go into treatment for fin rot which would be 10-14 days in AQ salt with daily 100% water changes. And that is the conservative method, he may need medicine if the rot is as bad as it sounds. Poor guy.

I have a friend who lives up there.. we used to play WoW together lol. There is another member of this forum that lives up there too.. beautiful place. I wish you luck and the best, and we know you can only do so much and that you care and tried. That matters =)
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:43 AM   #10 
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Awww sometimes if you make a deal under the table with your RA, he/she might just let you have your fish in the room (if you live in a double, then you need your roommate's consent too) Im surprised that they don't let you have a fish tank in your room, because in my school you can have fish in a tank that is under 5 gallons. But i know some people have like hamsters and stuff because my RA has a bunny secretly in the closet anyway so......
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