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Betta Euthanasia - How To

Discussion in 'Betta Splendens' started by red-devil0602, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. red-devil0602

    red-devil0602 Member

    Jan 13, 2005
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    Betta Euthanasia

    We all know it’s not nice when we have to let go of one of our betas, but it makes it all the worse if we are the ones who have to put them out of their suffering.

    The best way I have found in done in two steps
    · Put the betta to sleep
    · Make sure it doesn’t wake up

    This method is often thought of as mixing clove oil and vodka together. This is wrong. Clove oil must be used first, making the betta fall asleep before you add the vodka. Vodka will be very stressful for a betta if not anesthetized.
    Eugenol (clove oil) is available at any pharmacy as a cure for toothache. It has been used for many years as an anesthetic for fish during tagging or surgery.
    Clove oil puts the betta to sleep and makes sure it feels no pain. Be warned, the betta can still wake if taken out of the clove oil before drowning, by adding the vodka you are making sure the fish dies.

    Here is how to euthanise a betta

    1. Put the betta in a container of tank water but make sure to measure the amount of tank water and make a note of it. If it is a clear container please put a towel around it to calm the fish.
    2. Fill a small jar with tank water but leave a gap at the top. Add 1 drop of clove oil to the jar, put the lid on and shake hard till the water turns a milky white, this means that the oil has mixed with the water. When it has turned white, place about ¼ of the mixture in with the betta. The betta will begin to fall asleep, leave for about 10 minutes after this it will look dead, but if you watch closely it may be still breathing, if it still alive get the jar and shake again and add the same amount as before and wait again.
    3. Once the fish has gone to sleep on the bottom, add 20-25% vodka, i.e. if the fish is in 8oz of water add 2oz of vodka, leave the betta in there for at least 20 minutes
    4. After 20 minutes check for gill movement, if you don’t see any within 60 seconds, the betta has died.

    It is not essensial to add the vodka with betas as they are air breathers; this means that when they are asleep in the clove oil they would just drown peacefully. I use the vodka for my own peace of mind.

    Another method is an anesthetic called Tricaine Methanosulphate (TMS). 1g of TMS in 1 liter of water makes a bath that will put the betta to sleep peacefully.

    What not to do.

    · One very popular way people suggest is to put the betas in the freezer, where it is said to go slowly to sleep and die without suffering. Obviously someone who has never felt the pain of truly being cold started this. What actually happens is the betta will live for quite a while because it is such a slow method? During this experience a very high level of stress and pain as the cells in it’s body slowly by ice crystals forming in their organs, until too many cells are damaged for the betas life to continue.
    · Never flush a live betta down the toilet as this is very cruel, because the fish may survive a long time
    · Do not simply take the betta out of water and wait for it to doe as they are air breathers, they will take along time to die by dehydrating.
    · Do not drop into hot or cold water since both take a while to work. Both also cause pain and suffering.

    The above examples are horrifically very common. Do not under any circumstance use any of these.

    British Veterinary Zoological Society

    Guidelines for Acceptable Methods of Euthanasia for Zoo, Exotic Pet and Wildlife species
    British Veterinary Zoological Society [BVZS], 7 Mansfield Street, London W1M 0AT, UK. http://www.bvzs.org

    No. 2: Ornamental Fish
    There are many situations where euthanasia (humane destruction; 'putting to sleep') of an animal is necessary. It is essential to the animal's welfare, and a legal requirement, that the method chosen does not cause unnecessary suffering. This document gives Veterinary surgeons and others suggestions on current acceptable methods of euthanasia. The guidelines are for informational use only. They are not exhaustive. Other methods may occasionally be applicable.
    Euthanasia of fish is a difficult task to those not accustomed to treating these species. Problems arise mainly because of unfamiliarity of the anatomy (which limits access to sites for injection) and physiology (different response to anesthetic drugs). It is difficult to ascertain with certainty that a fish is dead rather than heavily anaesthetized (complicated by the possibility of slow metabolism of anesthetic drugs).
    Suggested methods of choice:
    The following methods are rapidly effective and straightforward to perform.
    · Overdose of a soluble anesthetic agent added to the water (MS222, Benzocaine [in acetone /alcohol], Eugenol [clove oil])
    · Intravenous overdose of anesthetic agent, primarily pentobarbitone.
    · Trauma sufficient to induce complete and instantaneous loss of brainstem activity (e.g. shooting, captive bolt, massive blunt trauma, cervical dislocation or fracture)
    · Dropping into liquid nitrogen to provide near instantaneous complete freezing (individuals less than 1cm max diameter only)
    Methods acceptable if methods of choice not possible:
    These methods are effective, but involve a prolonged (hours) delay before the animal can be pronounced dead.
    · Intracoelomic overdose of pentobarbitone
    · Some methods used in commercial fisheries
    Methods considered unacceptable:
    The following methods have been suggested for ornamental fish euthanasia in the past but should now be considered ineffective or unacceptable:
    · 'Asphyxiation' (simple removal from water preventing respiratory exchange)
    · Freezing (excepting method suggested above)
    · Use of other anesthetic agents added to the water (Pentobarbitone, Isofluorane, Halothane)
    · Trauma (other than cranial & cervical trauma as described above)
    · Carbon dioxide by non-commercial methods (Alka-seltzer® tablets, soda-stream® carbonation)
    Confirming death:
    Death (loss of brainstem activity) is difficult to confirm in fish.
    Suggested criteria to evaluate include:
    · Lack of external reflexes (Movement, response to external stimuli)
    · Lack of detectable respiratory activity (no spontaneous opercular movements)
    · Lack of detectable cardiovascular activity (Doppler ultrasound, ultrasound, ECG)
    Fish which are heavily anaesthetized will have few, if any, outward signs of activity and appear dead by the criteria above yet may regain consciousness (after, e.g. metabolizing or excreting anesthetic drugs).
    Methods of ensuring a fish does not regain consciousness include:
    · Do not return a fish anaesthetized by in-water methods to fresh water. Leave it in the euthanasia solution or wrap it in towelling soaked in euthanasia solution to maintain anesthesia until death occurs.
    · Inject a massive overdose of intracoelomic pentobarbitone once unconsciousness has occurred.
    · Once the animal is unconscious and insensitive to external stimuli, perform pithing (physical destruction of the brain tissue) or freeze the carcass.
    Information with thanks to
    British Veterinary Zoological Society
    Fish, tanks and ponds
    Wise geek​
  2. red-devil0602

    red-devil0602 Member

    Jan 13, 2005
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  3. Ethos

    Ethos Member

    May 11, 2005
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    i didn't expect that kind of topic..... :thumbs:
  4. RandomWiktor

    RandomWiktor Rabid Betta Activist

    Jan 24, 2005
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    I've found that if you give a significant OD of the clove oil, you don't even need to add the vodka. I let them sit until thier eyes glaze, body goes all pale, and slime coat sheds; it is usually a pretty good indication that they are 100% dead.

    Great of you to post this though! Many people still think that freezing and flushing are ok. :no:
  5. red-devil0602

    red-devil0602 Member

    Jan 13, 2005
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    that is why i wrote this piece as i hate it when people say the horrible ways they do it when there is this nice peaceful way :/
  6. traveling

    traveling Member

    Oct 14, 2007
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    It's too terror. :angry:
  7. devon_charm

    devon_charm Member

    Aug 18, 2007
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    I'm glad this has been done. I can't beleive people put them in the freezer thats just so wrong.

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