How To Humanely Euthanize Guppy Fish?

In the journey of being an aquarist, we sometimes come to a situation where we have no choice but to put down our fish in a most humane way. So, How to humanely euthanize guppy fish? Let us find out.

The clove oil and the Stun and stab methods are the most humane ways to euthanize guppy fish. The clove oil method is a gentle way to put down fish, whereas the Stun and stab method is violent. Never eliminate your guppy fish by flushing them in a toilet or letting them suffocate outside the tank.

Below, we will discuss these two methods thoroughly and discuss more ways not to put down your guppy fish. So, let’s move forward and learn all about euthanizing guppy fish.

Euthanizing guppy fish

Euthanizing means killing painlessly and humanely.

In the case of guppy or any other fish, we can apply these two methods of putting them down most humanely:

  1. Clove Oil Method
  2. Stun and Stab Method

The clove oil method is a gentle way of putting your guppy down.

The Stun and stab method is violent and needs to perform correctly to put down your guppy in a painless way.

We will discuss these two methods thoroughly in the further article.

We should never perform ways to put down our fish, which we will also discuss in this article.

Why do we need to euthanize our guppy fish?

Being a fish keeper, you take responsibility for providing your fish with the best living condition.

Taking good care of your fish and fish tank is not that easy. However, there are many things for which proper care is needed.

A beginner who has just started keeping fish will not have much experience in the initial days, which will result in mistakes.

An aquarist with much experience can also end up not recognizing fish disease or any other injury.

There can be various mistakes that we can make as beginners, like not maintaining good water conditions or providing an inadequate amount of food to our fish.

Various mistakes can lead to a severe condition to your guppy’s health, like adding an infected fish in your tank or providing your fish with live food that carries disease.

We can perform more mistakes, like not cycling the water properly.

Some health conditions will not give your guppy a chance of recovery, and the only option that will be left is euthanasia.

Can your guppy recover?

The first thing we should do is to recover our guppy fish back to their good health.

You can visit your veterinarian so that they can help recover your guppies health.

There are various diseases and injuries of guppy fish that can be recovered if we provide proper medication and care.

Don’t just euthanize your guppy fish if you have an overcrowded tank full of guppy or you no more want to keep guppy.

You can do various things if you don’t want to keep guppy. Like:

  1. Sell them 
  2. Give them to someone
  3. You can become a breeder.

You can sell your guppy fish as there are markets that have a good demand for guppy fish, especially guppy fish with attractive colors.

You can give it to someone willing to keep the guppy fish.

Also, you can become a breeder if you have lots of guppy fish.

Methods to humanely kill your guppy fish.

Firstly, you should only use euthanasia if there is no chance of survival of your guppy fish.

Never use euthanasia to put down an unwanted pet or for a healthy pet.

If there is no treatment and your pet has no choice but to suffer, you should apply these methods to euthanize your pet.

There are two methods to put down your guppy fish humanely:

  1. Clove oil method
  2. Stun and stab method

Clove Oil Method

The clove oil method is a gentle way to put down your guppy fish and is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Clove oil is simply available in the markets, or you can buy it online. You should have a bottle of clove oil with you if such a situation of euthanizing your fish occurs.

All you need to complete this method are:

  1. Clove oil
  2. A container or a bucket
  3. A pill container or a small mixing bowl
  4. Gloves for protection (There are a disease that can be carried forward from fish to humans, like fish TB) 

Step No 1: Fill the container or bucket with water.

The volume of water entirely depends on the size of the fish. However, one gallon of water is enough.

Step No 2: Move your sick fish to the bucket.

Make sure to be gentle; don’t stress out your guppy while moving it to the bucket.

Step No 3: Mix clove oil with a bit of water before adding it to a bucket.

Make sure not to directly add the clove oil to the bucket as it will not mix and float on the surface of the water.

Four drops of clove oil are enough for your guppy fish, as guppy fish can last be 2.4 inches if it’s a male and 1.4 inches if it’s a female.

You can add more drops if you have a fish more than 4 inches in size.

Add clove oil and some water to a small bucket or container and mix it up nicely.

Step No 4: Now mix the mixture with the water in your bucket or container.

Add the mixture of clove oil slowly to the water in your bucket or container. While adding the clove oil mixture to the water, gently stir the water with your hand.

Four drops of clove oil will not put your fish down. Four drops of clove oil will make your fish lose its consciousness.

You will see your guppy fish gills still moving. If your guppy fish is still awake after a couple of minutes, then add a few more drops of clove oil mixture.

Step No 5: Add a high dose of clove oil mixture.

Now that your guppy fish has lost consciousness, you must add more clove oil drops ( 12-14 drops ).

Adding more drops of clove oil will induce hypoxia, putting your guppy fish down.

You can confirm that your guppy fish has been euthanized by ensuring that the gills of your fish have not been moved for 10-12 minutes.

The Stun and stab method

This method is not for the weak-heartened person as it is violent. But, if this method is performed correctly, it is extremely quick and painless.

All you need to perform the Stun and stab method are:

  1. A sharp knife
  2. An aluminum foil
  3. A rolling pin

You can also use clove oil to make your fish unconscious.

Now we will discuss step by step how to perform the Stun and stab method:

Step No 1: Move the guppy from the tank and place it on the aluminum foil.

Move your guppy fish from the tank and place it on the center aluminum foil quickly. Take a square piece of aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil will help collect any amount of blood coming out from the fish. Fold over the square to prevent any blood or other mess.

You can also use a plastic bag. The only thing to take care of is that there should be no mess around.

Step No 2: Aim for the head of your guppy with the help of a rolling pin

Hit your fish in the head with some blunt object which will damage its nervous system.

Damaging the nervous system will make your guppy fish unable to feel anything.

If your fish is smaller in size, it will pass away quickly as soon you hit its head, and if not, continue performing the third step.

Step No 3: Stab your guppy fish.

This method is also known as pithing. Pithing is a technique used to immobilize animals by putting down a metal rod or a needle in their brain.

Cut just above the eyes; this will make your guppy down instantly.

Knowing all about this method, we know that this method will not be suitable for all people. But, this method is extremely quick and painless for your guppy fish.

However, if you don’t want to perform this method, you can always use the clove oil method.

How NOT to put down your guppy fish?

Above, we discussed how to euthanize our guppy fish most humanely. The clove oil method and the Stun and stab method are the best to put down your gyppy fish.

Moving fish in ice-cold water is also a way to euthanize your fish. But this doesn’t work on every fish like goldfish and can work for fish like Zebra danio fish.

As the ice cold water technique doesn’t work for every fish, we will not consider it as a humane way of putting down fish with remaining all these:

  1. Flushing down: Never flush your fish down the toilet as it will not help them pass away instantly; your fish can survive for a couple of days or even weeks. It has been found that goldfish can survive in this situation. 
  2. Letting your fish suffocate outside the tank: This process will make your fish suffer a lot, and also, it is a time taking process.
  3. Putting your fish in boiling water is the most inhumane way of putting your fish down. 
  4. Releasing carbon dioxide into the water: This too is a time taking process, and your fish have to go through unneeded suffering. 
  5. Alcohol bath: Alcohol will burn your fish’s gills, making them suffer.

No doubt all the above points will end up eliminating your fish, but not in a humane way. Some processes will take time, and some will make your fish suffer a lot.

Not doing anything and waiting for your fish to pass away by the time is also the most inhumane way to put down your fish.


There are two methods to euthanize your guppy fish, the Clove oil method and the Stun and stab method. The clove oil method is a gentle way of putting down your guppy fish, as the Stun and stab method is a violent way of putting down your guppy fish. Before using any of these methods, first try to recover your guppy fish health, as various diseases and injuries can be recovered with proper medication and care.

Never flush your fish down the toilet or let them suffocate outside the tank, as these are the most inhumane way to eliminate the fish.

Reference: RSPCA, ResearchGate

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