How To Euthanize A Betta Fish, Simple Easy Techniques

Is your betta fish very sick to the extent that you feel that it is suffering? Keeping fish in an aquarium in your home or office is an exciting venture. You get used to caring for your fish to the extent that you are bonded to it.

When your fish falls sick, the first course of action is to medicate it. Tirelessly but with determination, you do all you can to make it better. However, sometimes, despite all your effort, you realize that it isn’t getting better.

It may be suffering from dropsy or even pine coning. As time goes by, you notice that its breathing is labored and it isn’t playing around in the tank. You are now faced with the question, what do you do next?

If your fish seems to be suffering and you can feel that keeping it alive is doing the fish no good; it begs the question, how to euthanize a betta fish? Before we delve into the quick ways to show your fish mercy, you need to address these issues before you decide on the course of action to take:

Factors To Consider Before You Decide To Euthanize Your Fish

Is It Time To Euthanize Your Fish?

As much as keeping a fish is fun, when it falls sick, it ‘s hard to determine what is causing the sickness. This is so because many fish enthusiasts lack access to scientific equipment that would help diagnose the ailment of their betta fish.

This lack of necessary equipment makes it hard to distinguish whether the betta fish is suffering from a parasitic, viral or bacterial infection. Hence, one is prone to jump to conclusions on whether or not, the time has come to euthanize your fish.

The internet, other hobbyists, and books could prove a useful tool at such times. Seek guidance and direction from those who have had a similar experience as yours. It could be that your tank needed some cleaning up and you only have to change the water.

Have You Done Enough To Treat The Fish?

An ill-informed diagnosis will lead to one using the wrong treatments on the fish. Consult widely on the ailment of your fish and ask for recommended remedies from experts. Do extensive research on the possible illness of the fish and the best ways to treat it.

You need to be patient with your fish as its immune system is also trying to beat the condition. Treatment requires time and patience. Most ailments of the betta fish require straightforward and easy to administer, procedures. These include:

  • Warm and clean aquarium water
  • Antibiotics
  • Antiparasitics

Ensure that you have exhausted all the possible ways to treat your fish before you choose to euthanize it. Change your aquarium water if need be, warm it just in case the water temperatures are low.

Keep some aquarium salts on hand for the quick fix situations.

Has The Fish Lost The Will To Fight?

The stage is dependent on your opinion of your betta fish. A healthy betta fish is always fluttering around and flaring its fins and gills. Once it succumbs to illness, it becomes less active and may even have its fins clamped.

You may have noticed that, once it is in terrible pain, they rarely move around and often time, they are found at the bottom of the aquarium. Its breathing may also be, labored, which you can tell as it gasps for air.

The age of the fish also matters, younger fish are more able to fight infections and vice-versa. Depending on what you can see, you can decide if the time has come to say goodbye to your betta fish.

Some people reach out to the sick fish in the tank. If it shows no movement, then they decide to pull the plug. Remember that the decision solely lies with you. When you finally come to a decision, here are some of the options to choose from:

Ways To Euthanize A betta Fish

Option 1: Use Alcohol

This method is one of the ideal ways to euthanize your betta fish. All you need to have is a container of tank water and some alcohol, say vodka.

Mix 2 parts of water with 1 part of vodka.Shake the mixture and add it to the tank water. Place your sick betta fish in the mix and wait for a few minutes. At first breath, the fish will be stone cold drunk, and within minutes, it will be dead.At least it will pass away in a happy state.

Option 2: Use Clove Oil

Most people use clove oil to euthanize their fish. The procedure is almost similar as when you use alcohol. These are what you will need for the process:

  • Essential clove oil or pure clove oil- this can be found in pharmacies, health food stores, and some supermarkets
  • A Large empty container that the fish can fit in. The fish should be able to move around without being cramped in the container.

You will also be able to observe the change in movement, of the fish as you continue with the process.

  • Air pump(optional) & small container for mixing clove oil and

Steps to take:

  • Fill the empty bowl with de-chlorinated water or simply with water from the tank.
  • Using your other container, filled with tank water, pour some 3-4 drops of clove oil in it. Shake to mix, as oil doesn’t dissolve in water.

You can also use the same number of drops of oil per cup of water.

  • Switch on the air pump and place it in the large container. Pour the mixture of clove oil and water into this bowl. Disperse it evenly.

If you do not have an air pump, all you need is to shake the mixture till the water becomes colored.

  • Place your fish into the mixture in the large container and wait for a few minutes (2-3 minutes).

The clove oil works as an anesthetic causing the fish’s breathing to slow down. If done correctly, you will notice a flinch or two as the fish falls to the bottom of the container.

When it has stopped moving, you can then add a tablespoon of clove oil to the mixture, to complete the procedure. This amount may vary from fish to fish. Some people add alcohol to the mixture instead of more clove oil.

Keep in mind that you need to add the clove oil to the mix, gradually so as to reduce the stress on the fish.


There are several methods on how to euthanize a betta fish. You could choose to use alcohol or the clove oil method. Some of the methods, such as freezing the fish, increase stress in the fish than reduce it.

The choice of the method to use solely lies in your hands. Remember, do not be too hasty to euthanize your fish, give it a fighting chance. Also, ensure that you have diagnosed your betta fish correctly before implementing any remedies.

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