10-22-2010, 10:50 AM
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Sorry about your swordtail :( It's never easy to put down a fish IMO. I agree that I couldn't chop off my fish's head (no offense Redknee). Here's the method I use. Clove oil, or eugenol, is available at most drug stores and is sold as a toothache remedy. It has been used for years as a fish anesthetic for surgeries and tagging procedures. Clove oil will put a fish to sleep and ensure it feels no pain. The fish can wake up from this sleep if removed from the clove bath, however. The last step of adding the vodka will ensure the fish expires. Here are the steps for fish up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length: 1. Add tank water to a measuring cup or mixing bowl. Measure the amount of tank water you add to the cup or bowl and make a note of it. Place the fish in the container. If the fish is in a clear cup, place a dark towel around the cup to calm the fish. 2. Fill a small, clean jar or bottle with tank water, leaving some room at the top. You might use a baby food jar or pill bottle. Put 1 drop of clove oil in the jar or bottle, cap, and shake vigorously. The clove oil should emulsify, turning the water milky white. Gently pour about 1/4 of this emulsified mixture into the fish's container. The fish will begin listing as it starts to fall asleep. Let the fish be for about 10 minutes. The fish should be resting on the bottom of the tank when it has fallen asleep. It will look dead, but if you watch closely, its gills will be breathing once every few seconds. If after 10 minutes the fish is still rising off the bottom and swimming intermittently, retrieve the jar or bottle of emulsified clove oil, re-shake, and add the same dose to the fish's container. Wait again. 3. Once the fish is asleep on the bottom, add 20-25% white grain alcohol. For example, if the fish is in 8 oz (240 ml) of water, add 2 oz (60 ml) of vodka. Let the fish stay there for at least 20 minutes. 4. Check the fish carefully after 20 minutes for any gill movement. If there is no gill movement over a 60 second period, the fish has expired.