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Mercy Killing of fish

Discussion in 'Fish' started by MichaelL, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. MichaelL

    MichaelL New Member

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    Hello, this is my first post on this forum, so sorry if the topic is grim, but I need some sound answers.

    I started my first planted tank about a month ago. Because I had no experience I did not use any substrate only "pet shop gravel", luckily I have a friend who quickly corrected me on this error, and introduced me to natural tanks. I was really tempted to get pure natural river substrate, but because it was winter (you can't go dig for substrate in 1m of snow) I was forced to get "pet shop" substrate.

    Now in all the research I have done, I've never found any advice that says wash the substrate, so I didn't. I assumed that substrate especially this product I bought would not kill my fish, because it was designed to be used as aquarium substrate in a planted/fish tank.

    I added the substrate, then a layer of gravel on the top, and planted my plants, after this I waited for the water to settle and transferred the existing fish I had back to the tank (now with the substrate). I did this really slowly, so not to shock the fish.

    Unfortunately 1 of my black mollies displayed signs of stress, which has gotten progressively worse over the last 4 days. I did some research and found the source of the problem excess Nitrate in the water. I've been doing water changes everyday, and the water seems to be fine again, unfortunately the molly is not.

    All my other fish are fine, except this one molly which has been close to death for the last 2 days. it lies motionless on the top of the water for a while, then starts trying to swim, but it can't really swim in the condition that its in. Its almost like the poor fish is paralyzed. its a bit curled up, but its still very much alive.

    I decided to turn on the bubbles from the filter to give the water some extra oxygen, so that the poor Molly could stand a chance to recover.

    The question is - has anyone had a fish they thought would surely die, and didn't? When do you think is the right time to execute a mercy killing?

    I am not sure which is worse, I feel bad enough I basically killed the molly by messing with the substrate, now I can't do anything but watch it suffer.

    Do you think it could still recover?

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Michael,
    I suppose you are as new to planted tanks as to fishkeeping.
    You must know it sometimes happen that fish die and because they are fish and not human there is not much known about the reasons. So long your other fish are doing fine only this one Molly seems to be ill, your water conditions must be fine, as you said.

    I dont know which Molly you have, 10 years ago as I kept my first Mollys, I had those with realy big chest and they died quickly - not because of my foults or the water - just because the whole species was ill. Some breeders are breeding with the same fish for long time and do not add any "new blood".

    In case Fish cant swimm anymore there is only one you can do for them: Rest in peace in the glory toilete.
     
  3. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    How old does the setup before you introduce some fishes? My guess is your tank is not fully cycle yet. Ammonia probably leak out from your substrate. We need to wait until the tank fully cycle before we introduce fauna. What I mean is build up beneficial bacteria colony in the filter media. These beneficial bacterial will convert Ammonia to Nitrite to Nitrate. Ammonia and Nitrite are lethal to fauna. Typical cycle to be save is about a month, you can speed it up if you have some old filter media or water from established tank.

    Depending on the substrate, but usually we don't was the substrate. Water change can help, but remember to add anti chlorine. You can temporary put your fish in the bucket with air bubble.
     
  4. tirtha1979

    tirtha1979 New Member

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    Ditto :tea: Move the fish in a bucket and place an airator. Add bit noniodised salt to the water and if possible increase the temparature to 30 degree. If there is a possibility, then it will survive otherwise it will die.

    P.S: Do not feed that fish as of now.
     
  5. permafrost

    permafrost New Member

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    i hope it's ok to post links to other sites in this forum, couldn't find any relevant rules. so... i hope you haven't flushed the fish yet, doesn't sound much merciful to me! it seems the humane way to euthanize is clove oil, which is as easy to get hold of as chewing gum! so if you feel there's no return for your fish here's some links What is the Most Humane Way to Euthanize a Fish? and Euthanasia
    if you still got questions just ask..

    now as for your fish it might have already been ill when you first got it, and bad water as well as the moving to and from the bucket were the final blow.

    excess nitrates must be really too high to be the cause of death, a healthy fish could handle 30ppm NO3 if i'm not mistaken, so how high was your reading and what made it go that high? did you neglect water changes?
    have you ever tested for ammonia and nitrites? they're much more toxic and you've probably had some in your tank if it's been running with fish inside straight from the beginning.

    messing the substrate can also be dangerous for the fish and should never be done with fish inside the tank. i know you took them out first but perhaps you should have done a major water change before you put them back in?

    to sum up, from what you've said i doubt the fish can be saved and certainly don't know how that could happen, i think nevertheless it's important you examine all possible causes of the illness to avoid doing the same mistakes with your other fish.
     
  6. KDahlin

    KDahlin New Member

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    Agreed, the most humane way to euthanize a fish is clove oil. Flushing down the toilet is cruel.
     
  7. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say sharp knife is the most human way.Cut straight through behind the head and then through the brain.

    AC
     
  8. dg2606

    dg2606 New Member

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    I feed them to my turtle. To me, it makes sense not to waste a life no matter how small it may be. Not only am I providing my turtle with a delicious tasty treat to sustain her life, but when she poops it will provide fertilizer for the plants and continue benefiting the ecosystem.

    Food for thought:chestbumping:
     
  9. permafrost

    permafrost New Member

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    ok i've thought about it :Happy:
    and come to the conclusion, you only do this because it's small scale. if your pet cat got seriously and irreversibly ill, i bet you wouldn't feed it to the wolves, just to provide a tasty treat and fertilizer.
    so i thought, the suffering of the cat is obvious to us, but the suffering of the fish passes unnoticed, cause they're so small and can't scream.
     
  10. Vauxhallmark

    Vauxhallmark New Member

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    For small fish a very quick way to kill the fish is to put it into an empty fish bag (ie, without water), with its head in the corner, and then whack it very hard against the edge of a table or counter (the corner of the bag) - the whole thing from netting to pulp is only a few seconds. If I had a hungry predator that I was sure would kill it in as few seconds I wouldn't mind feeding the dying fish to them, but not if the predator was a fish - it might get the disease the first one had.

    Never put dead or dying fish into the toilet - too much risk of the pathogen getting into your local waters.

    Mark
     
  11. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    does anyone know what happen to fish when the water temperature drops down?

    Few years ago I was breeder Mantis and the the best way to kill them (if something went wrong during they changed their skin) was to put them into fridge - they simply fall sleep and would never wake up.
     
  12. Tomas Kubik

    Tomas Kubik New Member

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    Hi Michael I´m from Brno :) This is a common mistake of biginners. Find words "new aquarium syndrom" or "syndrom nového akvária" in czech.
     

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