How to Humanely Euthanize Your Oscar Fish?

You may have heard of the term “Animal Euthanasia”. It is a simple and humane way of ending an animal’s life if it is suffering from an incurable disease or condition.

How to humanely euthanize your Oscar fish? Using clove oil and vodka is a good and a merciful option to euthanize your Oscar fish. However, there are many ways this can be done depending on the pet that needs to be put to rest.

Our main concern in this post would be to deal the specific case of euthanizing Oscar fish.

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While there are many ways you can end the suffering of your pet Oscar, only you can decide which way you want to opt for. These ways can either be quick and painless or slow and painful.

Every owner has their own wishes. So, there is no right or wrong way as long as you care for the pet and carry out the process in a humane way.

For one, you can impale the fish’s brain with a sharp object and give it a quick and less painful death. However, if this is too much for you, another way to end its misery is to sever its spinal cord found directly behind the head. This is a tricky process and needs to be carried out quickly or it could be extremely painful for the fish.

Or you can simply overdose the Oscar with an anesthetic. If you are unable to acquire an anesthetic.

The next best thing you can use is Clove Oil and Vodka. This is just a brief mention of the few ways you can euthanize the pet fish. Below is a detailed step by step process you can follow to end the life of your pet.

Using Clove Oil and Vodka to Euthanize Oscar Fish

Many people prefer using the clove oil because once it enters the internal system of a fish; it acts as an anesthetic and slowly knocks the fish out. Clove oil and vodka are available at various stores and can easily be bought without a prescription, unlike all anesthetic drugs.

Like any other anesthetic, overdosing your Oscar fish with clove oil can put it to a permanent sleep. But you cannot just feed the clove oil like its the fish’s food or something; you need to properly mix the oil in the fish’s water for it to enter its system safely and slowly.

Otherwise, exposing the fish to too much oil can result in a horrific and painful death.

Just follow these steps to end the creature’s agony humanely

  1. Take the fish out of the aquarium and place it into a bucket or something that is easy to clean or something that you won’t mind throwing away later.
  2. The second step is the trickiest part of the whole process. If you do not get this right, the Oscar will not be euthanized. Take half a liter of water and add 3 drops of clove oil in it. Thoroughly mix the oil in the water. If the oil keeps floating atop the water, the process will not work. This point cannot be stressed enough; mix the oil well with the water before you move on to the next step.
  3. Now pour the oil and water mixture in the bucket the fish is in and stir the water slowly. Use your hand to do this. If you have followed the previous step correctly, the fish should now start to look a bit sluggish, inactive, and lazy.
  4. Start this step by adding 2 or 3 more drops of oil, but not more than that, and continue stirring slowly with your hand. The fish should now be belly up in the water. It is important to remember that the fish is just unconscious and not dead. So the process is not over, but it is almost done.
  5. Add another 3 drops (not more), stir a little to mix it well. Now you need to introduce vodka in the mixture. Pour 4 oz of vodka in the water and mix it well. That should just about do it. To make sure the poor creature is out of its misery, look for any sign of gill movement. The gills should go from slow to still. If they are not moving, the fish is dead. Otherwise, add a few more drops of oil and mix in the water. Eventually, the fish will die.

Remember to add the oil and vodka only as instructed because adding too much at once could give the fish panic attacks and it could lead to a painful death.

While using clove oil and vodka is the most humane way to end the fish’s life, there are other ways to euthanize as well.

Following are a few common practices that many people perform in the name of euthanizing the Oscar or other types of fish. But these methods only make the death more painful. So, these should very well be avoided.

Flushing the Fish

Flushing down a live fish isn’t euthanizing; it is plain torture. The sewage has different water chemistry, chlorine mixed water and a different water temperature altogether. All of these factors do not kill the creature quickly. Instead, it puts it in a state of shock. The only time you should flush a fish is when it’s dead.

Freezing the Fish

This is another way people commonly practice to kill the fish. But again, this is not easy on the fish. In fact, it is one of the most painful deaths you can give the poor thing. Imagine your organs slowly freezing up until you die. Just the thought of it sends shivers down the spine. So, avoid doing it at all costs until there is no other option left to kill the fish.

Using Boiling Water

People use strange ways to get rid of their pets thinking that they are humane. One such method includes dumping your fish in boiling water. While this can shock the fish to instant death, if it fails to do so, the last minutes of your fish’s life become very painful.

Using the Blender

It amuses us to find out how many people use this method. Ruining a good blender is one thing but making a fish go through the blades? That is utterly the most inhumane thing to do no matter how fast the process may be. How someone can comprehend participating in such an act is beyond us. So, we would strictly advise you not to go with this approach.


We understand how hard it must be to part ways even with pets. But if there ever comes a time when one of your pet fish falls terminally ill, you can follow the steps in this article to put it to rest.

We also hope that you stop any practice that is considered humane but actually isn’t, as explained in this article. Just take good care of your pets and may you never get to reach the time when you actually have to consider euthanizing them!

Related questions

How long does an Oscar fish live? On average, the Oscar fish lives up to 10 to 12 years of its life. However, this number also depends on the quality of care given to the fish. If the fish is fed a proper diet and kept in a suitable environment, you can quickly increase the lifespan of the fish to 15 years or so.

How to Care for Oscars? Any person who owns an Oscar fish knows how messy they can be. So, it is highly important that you clean the tank on a regular basis and maintain it. You also need to consider the size of the fish when deciding the size of the tank or aquarium. As with other pet animals, overfeeding can be a problem with the Oscar fish too. It will only add to the waste and create a big mess for you to clean later.

Can I keep the Oscar fish with other fish? Do not keep the Oscar fish with other small-sized fish. Since the Oscar is aggressive, it can eat the little fish. Either keep them alone or put them in a tank with other cichlids fish of the same size.


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