How To Euthanize A Fish Without Clove Oil (All Methods)

Many people do not realize that euthanasia is an option for fish, but how to euthanize a fish without clove oil?

If your fish is dying a slow and painful death, it is something you might want to consider rather than letting it suffer.

How to euthanize a fish without clove oil

Think of it as a mercy killing as you put it out of its misery.

This blog post will discuss your options when it comes time to euthanize your pet fish without clove oil.

What Is Clove Oil, and Why Is It Used To Euthanize a Fish?

Clove oil is derived from clove trees and is obtained by distilling its dried flower buds, stems, and leaves.

It also comes in different types, from colorless to light yellow, with a strong spicy aroma.

Traditionally, clove oil is used as an antimicrobial, pain reliever, and a treatment for problematic digestion and respiratory illnesses such as cough and asthma.

Aside from its benefits, clove could also be used to euthanize a fish due to its eugenol content.

Eugenol could also be found in fungicides, weed control products, and pesticides.

Since eugenol in clove oil is a natural anesthetic, your fish becomes unconscious when exposed and dies quickly.

The sudden death makes clove oil human, enabling your fish to die without enduring pain and suffering.

Not only are they human to euthanize your fish, but clove oil is also considered environmentally friendly since it contains no harmful substances.

9 Methods People Use To Euthanize a Fish Without Clove Oil

1. Snapping the Fish’s Neck or Decapitating the Fish

You would place your fish in a bag and hit a hard surface, such as a kitchen counter, to snap its neck.

The force of the hit would cause whiplash, snapping the fish’s neck.

For decapitation, you could use a sharp knife to cut the head off of the fish.

Note that the Fish can remain conscious after decapitation, so it is recommended that you pith the fish after the head is removed.

Pithing is when you physically destroy the brain with a metal rod.

2. Stun and Stab the Fish

You hit your fish, just above the eyes, with a blunt object for this method, then stab it in the head with a knife.

It sounds inhumane, but it will be quick and painless if done correctly.

When you hit your fish, it disables the nervous system so that your fish does not feel the stab.

It may look like the hit has killed your fish, but you will still want to follow through with the stab in case it only knocked the fish unconscious.

It would be helpful to wrap the fish in aluminum foil before you start so you do not make a bloody mess.

3. Freezing or Boiling the Fish

Two methods of euthanizing a fish without clove oil would be to freeze or boil the fish.

To freeze the fish, you would freeze water in a bag until it is slushy.

You will then place your fish in the bag and return it to the freezer, freezing the bag until it is solid ice.

Many people disapprove of this method and consider it the most inhumane method of fish euthanasia.

The other includes boiling a pot of water on the stove and putting the live fish in the water.

It is considered more inhumane and painful than freezing the fish, although death usually occurs faster in boiling than in freezing.

4. Alcohol Poisoning

Another way to euthanize your fish without clove oil is with alcohol.

You start by making a solution of 1 part vodka to 4 parts water, then place the fish in the solution.

It will cause the fish to pass out and die from alcohol poisoning.

However, it is not recommended because it hurts the fish’s gills before it passes out.

It is a slow and painful process.

5. Carbon Dioxide in the Water

For this method, add carbon dioxide to the water to decrease the oxygen level, which suffocates the fish.

Alka Seltzer is the most popular carbon dioxide product.

What you need are eight tablets per gallon of water.

Baking soda is another product you could use.

You need to use three tablespoons per gallon of water for baking soda.

To ensure death, you must leave the fish in the mixture for at least 10 minutes.

It is considered more humane than freezing and is approved by many organizations for fish euthanasia.

Another way to suffocate your fish would be to remove it from the water.

This is considered an inhumane method and is not recommended because it causes the organs to shut down before death.

It is a very long and painful process for the fish.

6. Flushing Your Fish Down The Toilet

This method of euthanasia without clove oil is simple.

You just flush your fish down the toilet.

Many people still use this method, although it is not recommended.

You are not necessarily killing your fish while doing this.

Your fish will likely survive being flushed and will just die a slow death in the sewers or at the water treatment plant.

If it is sick with a contagious disease, flushing the fish will release it into the natural water source, potentially infecting the native fish.

If you want to flush your fish, do one of the other methods first to ensure the fish is dead.

Then you can dispose of the body down the toilet, as long as the fish is not sick.

7. Using As A Feed Fish

This method is only an option if the fish is not dying from a contagious disease.

This method involves using the “to be euthanized” fish as food for a predatory fish.

You can check with local aquariums or anyone who owns big fish and ask them if they need any feed fish.

It is a quick natural death and helps another fish with its death.

8. Overdosing With Anesthetics

For this method of euthanasia without clove oil, you will need to purchase MS-222, also known as Tricaine Methanesulfonate (TMS), which can be found in many pet supply stores.

You can also use Benzocaine Hydrochloride, but you will need to see a veterinarian to have it prescribed, as it cannot be bought over the counter.

With these, you would need to administer double the normal recommended dose for it to euthanize a fish.

These anesthetics are simply dissolved in the water and absorbed into the fish’s bloodstream.

Additionally, this method is usually used for larger fish that would be difficult to catch and handle.

With this method, it can take up to 30 minutes for death to occur, but it is recommended that the fish be left in for at least 2 hours to be sure of its death.

Best ways to euthanize a fish without clove oil

9. Injecting Barbiturates IV

This is a method only a veterinarian must do as it is a controlled substance and will be impossible for you to get.

It consists of simply injecting barbiturates through IV into the fish’s bloodstream.

Using Sodium Phenobarbital when using this method is recommended, as other barbiturates may cause pain when injected.

Disposing of the Body

How you dispose of the body depends mainly on the size of your fish.

It would be easier to dispose of a little goldfish than a big angelfish.

For little fish, you can flush them down the toilet, bury them in your backyard, throw them out with the regular trash, or contact your veterinarian and ask them to dispose of your fish.

For larger fish, you can do all the previously mentioned methods except flushing them down the toilet.

You can also look into selling them to fishermen for them to use as bait/chum.


You could use different methods to euthanize your fish without clove oil.

Choose one that you will be able to follow through mentally and physically.

If your fish is already suffering, you do it a favor by putting it out of its misery.

If you are unsure if you will be able to go through with killing your fish, contact your veterinarian, and they will be able to do it for you instead.