Having a happy aquarium with joyful fish swimming inside certainly brings moments of pure happiness to the entire family. However, this can sometimes quickly turn into a crying episode.

Indeed, fish will eventually die just as any other living being. And when something like that happens, it is good to be prepared and to know how to react in order to minimize the possible damage.

And of course, it is in everyone’s interest to react legally, ethically and as neatly as possible. In order to help you with the best ways on how to dispose a dead aquarium fish, here comes our first-aid guide. 

Remove the Dead Fish

First of all, it is extremely important to remove the dead fish as soon as possible. Obviously, if the fish has died because of having jumped out of the tank and you have found its body on the floor, this will start emitting bad odors in no time.

Therefore, this is certainly something everyone wants to avoid. Make sure to clean the area where the body was, so that bacteria and germs cannot stick around also thoroughly. This is particularly important with wooden floors, as these are capable of absorbing.

Another possible scenario is finding your dead fish inside the tank. In such cases, it is still of uttermost importance to remove the body immediately. A decomposing body may soon bring to ammonia spikes as well as to an unbalance of the water parameters.

This, as a consequence, may lead to dangerous environmental conditions for the rest of your fish inside that same tank. All decomposing matter, including dead bodies and rotten plants and also food leftovers need to be removed from the tank water as soon as possible.

Last but not least, a third possibility is suspecting that your fish may be dead but not being able to find it. This can sometimes develop into a hazard, as the body may be decomposing either inside the tank or outside in your living room.

Try searching among the most hidden spots such as under decorative rocks, inside tunnels, or rarely even inside the filter. If there is no sign of your missing fish, the others may have already eaten it. Now, this can be harmless, or it can transfer diseases in other cases.

Ways to Dispose Your Pet Fish

– Burial

Burial is the classic yet simplest way of disposing your dead fish. The only condition which you need to meet is having a place where to bury it. Backyards or gardens are often a great place to bury our beloved pets without too much hassle. Simply wrap it into a tiny blanket or a towel and bury it inside the ground.

When doing so, be really careful to dig a deep-enough hole, or you will be otherwise risking for local predatory animals on digging your pet out and eating it. This is certainly not a pleasant sight, especially if you have kids around.

– Memorial Plant Pot

Remarkably similar to burials, plant pots are an amazing solution for those who do not own a private yard or garden. Instead, you can place your fish deep inside your favorite pot and let it decompose there.

For the first few days, it is suggestable to keep the pot exclusively outdoors. However, once this process is over, the pot will have an amazingly efficient fertilizer, and you can even craft a memorial for your pet.

This is one of the best ways of decomposing dead fish bodies if you have kids in your family, as they will always have a place where to head when wanting to ˝visit˝ their pet.

– Trash Can

A trash can is probably the quickest place where to safely dispose your dead fish. Fish are usually exceedingly small so it should not bother any local authority if their bodies are disposed in such way.

However, an extremely important thing to be careful about is to surround it firmly with plastic. To obtain that, you may simply place it into a simple plastic bag, to firmly wrap it so it secure, and to then release it into the bin.

This will avid any bas smell releasing from the can and attracting either unwanted insects or lager animals once it finishes outside.

– Cremation

Last but not least, you can decide to cremate your fish if you want to. This is the most efficient way when it comes to avoiding any bad smells or organic residues around your garden or backyard.

You can place it into a fireplace or improvise one, and to simply light a fire around it. The tiny fish will disappear soon enough.

Don’t Flush Your Fish!

Whatever you decide to do with your dead fish, please do not even think of flushing it down the toilet. First of all, this is illegal in most world countries.

Secondly, this may become a hazardous activity with dangerous health consequences. There are plenty of better and more efficient (and ethical!) methods for you to choose from.

How Long do Pet Fish Usually Live?

A general life expectancy is extremely difficult to make, as various species have various lifespans. However, most common pet fish species nowadays can survive anywhere from 3 to 15 years. Some may even live for 30 years or more, so they may actually outlive their human keepers.

Wrapping Up

Losing a pet is never easy. We humans like to get extremely affected to those adorable little creatures who entirely depend on our good will. So, once they are gone, we always want to provide them with the decent and respectful burial which they certainly deserve.

Apart from burying it in your garden or backyard, you may also decide to devote a whole garden pot to your deceased pet. Alternatively, you can either decide to burn it or to even dispose it into a trash can.

However, whatever you may decide to do, please never ever flush it. Let’s show some respect as well as to act responsibly towards our environment together.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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