Vodka is a bit controversial substance to use as a euthanizer to humanely kill your sick or old fish. However, its popularity has grown among aquarists and pet lovers due to its effective and efficient outcome.

Using vodka with clove oil is a humane and popular way to euthanize a dying fish. While vodka ensures a swift and well-structured death, clove oil, with its anesthetic effect, makes sure of a fast and painless departure.

If you have to apply this method to euthanize your fish, you must be aware of both correct and incorrect ways to avoid mistakes and swift execution. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about using vodka to euthanize your fish.

How To Use Vodka To Euthanize Fish

Vodka can be a boon or bane substance when it comes to euthanizing fish. Balanced incorporation of vodka can help to euthanize easily and clearly for both fish and the owner. But impromptu vodka mixture without any measurement and calculation will eventually burn the skin and gills, causing immense pain to fish.

The correct ratio of vodka and water should be 1:4. So, in a bowl or container where you are performing the euthanizing, 20-25% of the total concoction should be vodka, depending on the size of your fish. In calculation, if you have 240ml of water in the bowl, you should add 60ml of vodka.

In addition to vodka, you should calculate the amount of clove oil to anesthetize the fish. For each gallon of water, 10 drops of clove oil must be added. Thus, for every 4 liters of water, you have to add more or less 10 drops of clove oil. For example, for every 1 liter of water-

1000ml of water+ 400ml of vodka+4 drops of clove oil

Step-By-Step Guide To Use Vodka For Euthanizing Fish

Vodka for euthanizing acts like a two-edged sword. It can be the fastest and most efficient way, or it can be the cruelest and most inhumane way. Without the proper knowledge and skill, you can hurt your fish on their deathbed without even knowing it. So, in this article, you can learn the proper way of using vodka to humanely kill your fish.

Step 1: Fill A Container With Tank Water

Performing euthanasia in a tank or aquarium is the first mistake people make. You need to separate a container. Fill the container with tank water. Fishes are very sensitive to water parameters and get startled and stressed by a sudden change of water. If the container is transparent, wrap it with a dark towel.

So, with a measuring cup, add the tank water into the container and calculate the amount of water according to the size of your container, the size of your fish, and the amount of vodka you would like to add it. Make a note of the amount of water you put in.

Step 2: Make A Clove Oil Mixture

In a bottle, add some tank water keeping some space on top. Add some drops of clove oil, measuring the water on the container and the vodka. Close the lid of the bottle and then shake the bottle vigorously for a few seconds. When you see a milky white texture, you will know the mixture is ready.

Step 3: Place The Fish In The Container 

Gently scoop the fish from the tank and add it to the container. Now, drop 1/4 clove oil mixture into the water and let the fish fall asleep. It may take more or less 10 minutes for the fish to lie on its side and take a nap. Notice the fish’s gill and its frequent movement during these 10 minutes.

If the fish wakes up after a few minutes and starts swimming in between, shake the bottle again and pour the mixture with the same dose. Repeat the procedure until the body of your fish numbs down and it gently lays on the bottom without waking up.

Step 4: Add The Vodka

Once the fish is resting on the bottom, add the calculated vodka to the water. Instead of pouring it in one point, spread it evenly. This action will immediately euthanize the fish while the fish is in anesthesia due clove oil mixture. Even so, you need to wait for 20 minutes before you take the fish out.

Observe the movement of the gills and skin of the fish. If the gill is still in motion, add a few more drops but don’t overdo it. Do not take out the fish without the assurance of death. It will only elevate the pain for the fish. After 20 minutes, if there is no gill movement for 60 seconds or more, you can declare the fish dead.

Step 5: Freezing

In a plastic Ziplock bag, freeze some water halfway through it until it gives out a slushie texture. Store the fish inside the bag and freeze it with the fish inside. It will slow down the metabolism of the fish and eventually put an end to it.

What Can Be Substitutions Of Vodka?

Without a doubt, vodka is a popular method to euthanize a dying fish. Nevertheless, if you are not too comfortable with this method or can’t procure this material easily, there are other ways to humanely kill the fish. With just the use of clove oil, you can achieve the same goal, but it will take a longer route and stronger doses.

You can also use baking soda to euthanize the fish. Baking soda is widely used and available. Since the procedure is so easy, you don’t have to worry about messing it up. Also, ‘stun and stab’ is also another way to perform euthanasia. All you have to do is hit the fish with something blunt and stab the head with something sharp. It may appear inhumane, but it is painless and swift.

Precautions To Take For Using Vodka To Kill The Fish 

Vodka as a euthanizer is a risky substance for you and for your pets. When you decide to perform euthanasia with this method, you must take some precautions for a safe and sound procedure. If you are a beginner, it is recommended to take help of professionals.

Use Pure Grain Vodka

Vodka is typically made from grain. Grain vodka without any chemical additions is safe, and you can use it to do your job. But some vodkas are made from corn or potatoes. Since fishes are susceptible to infections and bacteria attack you should avoid these types of alcohol. Any added flavor or chemical might prove fatal for your poor fish.

Get The Correct Proportion

The proportion of water, vodka, and clove oil should be perfectly proportioned. Extra vodka in the water can burn the inside part of the fish and also gill and skin. It will create an oxygen-less environment, making it too painful for the fishes to bear.

Moreover, if you add less clove oil, the anesthesia will take time, and it may wake the fish up during the procedure. Also, do not overflow the container with water. Keep a gap on the top, and don’t close the top with anything.

Temperature Rise

When you add vodka to the water, the temperature of the vodka-mixed water will rise in a notch. It may not be noticeable to you, but your fish could certainly feel that, even with anesthesia. So, wrap the container with a wet towel so that the temperature can rise up a little and comfort the little guy.

Final Words

For a swift, infection-free, efficient procedure, vodka can be a great option. However, the risk of this procedure is not minimal, and one wrong move can cause chaotic pain to your fish. Thus, do not take any action abruptly and use the method in the instructed way.

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