General Goldfish Advice by Iggy!


Superstar Fish
Jun 25, 2003
Leduc, AB, Canada
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I've never tried clove oil... but I have heard of it before. From what I understand, it can put them to sleep, so I think you still need to 'chop-chop' in the end to ensure they don't wake-up!

Aug 23, 2005
bellaire, ohio
there is another post about this somewhere, i think someone suggested vodka.

if u wanna freeze and kill, mayeb try vodka on the rocks and serve it to your least fav neighbor afterward.

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Small Fish
Oct 17, 2005
Scotland (Glasgow).
Thanks for your reply.
Well, He's gone now. I couldn't watch him any more. He was obviously in much suffering, if not pain also. I could never have chopped him , sorry, I know you were trying to help, but you are obviously a man! :cool: Jees, no way I could do that. I had read about the vodka thing. So, I got him out and put him in a tub with some vodka/water. There wasn't much resistance. Within a minute I was sure, he was gone. Gill movement and everything else, etc, stopped.
I had him for 10 years and I know he was just a fish but he will be, and is, missed already by me, my sons and by the other two fancies. :-(
Thanks to all who helped with advice.


Medium Fish
Sep 18, 2005
I took this from in the human disposal method:


Preferred Method: Clove Oil and Tank Water Method

Buy pure clove oil. You can get it at a health food store for under $10 for a ½ ounce bottle. Put the fish in a medium sized mixing bowl in his own water from his tank. In a small jar or something with a lid (I use a cleaned out jelly jar) mix the clove oil with tank water. Put the lid on and shake it like crazy over and over until the liquid in it is white. Then pour a little into the mixing bowl with the fish. Swirl it with your hand. The fish might fight it just a little bit and then slow down. Then pour a little more in and swirl again. He should just go to sleep and appear dead. If he doesn't, try a little more of the clove solution, always shaking very well before an addition to the bowl. When he goes to sleep, leave him in the solution for a good 10 minutes and then put him in a small cup or zip-lock baggie and put him in the freezer. Pain free death. Very humane. We should all go so easily.

Clove Oil and Vodka DON'T USE!!!!

The clove oil and vodka method is often sited as a humane method of fish euthanasia. Clove oil (eugenol) is used as an anesthetic in fish for surgery. The vodka is used to disperse the clove oil in the water. The clove oil/vodka mixture is placed in water and then the fish is added and supposedly dies peacefully. This doesn't work! Use the clove oil and tank water method described above.


Then here's something on the freezer method from the same site:


I read your humane disposal of fish section. When cold blooded animals become chilled they cannot move so their death appears peaceful but there is some evidence (I cannot remember where I read this as it was 7 yrs ago when I was researching this subject in regards to humanely killing frogs). However, the animal can feel the pain of ice crystals forming in the body while it freezes. The eugenol method as written above is far more humane since I believe it is an overdose of anesthetic which stops nerve function thus eliminating pain. We switched from freezing to using an overdose of an anesthetic (the active ingredient in Anbesol) for frog euthanasia.


So it looks like from these posts, the best way would seem to be the clove oil solution making sure it is mixed around well enough, and then freezing to make sure. Shoot, even after that, I'd also cremate JUST to make sure. I can somehow see the fish re-animate or something after the ice melts around him :).

The freezer method actually causing pain makes sense to me, but I can't be sure. Overdose of the anesthetic and then the freezing seems the best way to me (I am NOT saying I'm 100% sure though).

Nov 25, 2005
I have two fantails in a ten gallon. I know they will need a larger tank, but they seem healthy and happy with weekly water change of 25-50%. I think we will scale up in the spring or summer. One was my first fish (as a new hobbyist). I killed one with my first cycle. They grow so fast. And they don't touch my anarchis and java moss. These fast growers cut down on nitrate and algae build up. They are very cute and have the most personality of all my fishes. They feel the most like pets, and I hope to have them in the family for a long time.


Small Fish
Feb 27, 2006
Oh No

I feel terrible, for a fair while i've been under the impression that freezing fish was a humane way to help them to fish heaven. Boy was i wrong. I will be more thoughtful and try the other methods recommended here from now on.

Having just recently bought a new tank and gotten back into goldfish this is a very useful thread to read. The only thing that i would like to add from my previous goldfish experience is that even though goldfish dont require a heater, they seem to do very well in heated tanks. I hadnt been aware of this until i read an article in one of the aquarium magazines and decided to try it. It worked so well and the fish are nice and active as well as happy.

Im not saying everyone should do it but that i followed the article and that it has worked for me.



Large Fish
Dec 25, 2006
Tampa, FL
Well, I know this thread isn't really supposed to be about fish euthenasia, but I've read a quick and effect method is to scoop the fish up in a cup, and send him down the garbage disposal. Gory, but quick.

I think one of the main reasons people assume gold fish stay small is because 95% of them die within a few weeks of being brought home!!

Great article Iggy.. even though we've ended up completely off topic. :)


Large Fish
Jan 26, 2006
Quebec, Canada
I Had gold fish almost all my life and it is not true that they can't live long lives in a fish bowl. I had two goldfish in a fish bowl and one lived 5 years and the other 7 years. Plus I waited until the water was so cloudy you could hardly see them to change the water and they lived that long. Now hoping my betta fish will live as long but of course with more water changes.

Sep 6, 2006
NS, Canada
Sorry, but that's like owning a horse and bragging that you kept it alive for 5 years in bad conditions when they're supposed to live 20-30.

We should always have the health and well-being of the animal on the top of our priority list.

Mar 4, 2008
I know goldfish can survive in cold or room temp water; but mine "seem" to do better if I do run a heater and keep temp around 75-76 F. This seems to help keep disease away! (I had a nasty bout with anchor worms at one time)...

Edit: I have 4 goldfish in a 55 gallon tank.

Iggy do you also recommend a 0.03 salt mixture? How important is a little salt to goldfish? Thanks!

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Feb 20, 2008
My fantail 4" goldfish thrives in 74-76* F temperatures. Sure this is around room temperature, but I keep a 50 watt heater in there turned down real low to help regulate the evening drop in temperature the tank is prone to.


Large Fish
Nov 16, 2008
Aquarium salt is widely used to help prevent illness as well as treating different diseases. Salts are widely used because they have so many benefits compared to using medications. I use the salt level test in my Master freshwater pond test kit to guide the amount of salt added. You would add less if you have live plants, but the test gives great directions and guidelines on how much to add. Very beneficial to your fish IMO.


* Salt will not harm your filters
* It is cheap to use
* It does not cause any harm to the person administering it
* It is not harmful to the majority of fish species
* It will not send a sick fish over the edge
* It quickly eliminates 7 out of 9 parasites


Superstar Fish
Jul 13, 2005
Western NC

Goldfish are coldwater fish... as are koi and carp. Black moors are a type of goldfish.

Swordtails, as well as mollies and guppies, are all tropical fish.

Google 'goldfish tankmates' to determine proper tankmates for goldfish such as black moors.