How to Dispose of Dead Fish?

An aquarium filled with joyful fish is an easy way to provide the family with some wonderful times. But sometimes, this can quickly escalate into a weeping episode.

After all, like all living things, fish eventually die as well. And when something like that occurs, it is wise to be ready and aware of how to respond to limit potential harm.

It is in your best interest to dispose of dead fish ethically, legally, and as neatly as possible.

Tips To Dispose of Dead Fish

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you dispose of dead fish. Follow it to a T, and you’ll be good to go!

Remove the Dead Fish

Firstly, getting rid of the dead fish as quickly as possible is crucial.

It goes without saying that if the fish died after jumping out of your aquarium and you discovered its carcass on the floor, it would start to smell.

And a fishy smell is something no one wants to experience. So, clean the area where your fish died properly. This will help remove germs and bacteria quickly.

This is especially the case if your fish died on wooden flooring. If not cleaned properly, your wood flooring will absorb the smell, and you won’t be able to get rid of it anytime soon.

Similarly, if your fish died in your aquarium, it is vital to remove it at once. A decaying body can rapidly cause ammonia levels to rise, unbalancing the water’s characteristics.

As a result, the remaining fish in that tank can experience hazardous environmental conditions.

Furthermore, the water in the aquarium must be immediately cleaned. This includes removing all decomposing matter, including food scraps, rotting plants, and fish corpses.

Another scenario is when your fish is dead, and you can’t find it.

This can be dangerous because the body can rot within the tank or outside your living room.

Therefore, try looking for the dead fish in hidden spots. These include the aquarium filter, decorative rocks, or filter tubes.

If you still can’t find the dead fish, it may have been eaten by other fish. This can be good or bad, depending on whether the dead fish was infected.


Cremation is often regarded as one of the most honorable burial options. This is because, through cremation, your life is being maintained and extended via people who loved you.

Similarly, pet owners who cremate their deceased pets do so to honor and remember them.

Three steps are involved in the home cremation of deceased pets like fish. The fish must first be dried. The easiest way to do this is to bake your fish in a pan in a hot oven.

The fish must be placed in a saucepan over a heat source once it has dried.

Then, you must let the fish’s body burn away into ash. However, remember that you might need to squeeze it slightly to ensure it doesn’t burn instead of drying out.

Furthermore, keeping your stove on low heat would also be wise. Otherwise, the fish will char.

Lastly, take your fish out of the saucepan and let it dry some more in its own residual heat. Once completely dry, pound the fish with a mallet or turn it into power in a blender.

Then, either store your fish’s remains or scatter them in the sea. You can also go one step further and get a custom urn for your pet fish, especially if you were attached to it.

Water Burial

Some pet owners prefer water burial. It is less time-consuming and allows the pet’s ashes to become one with the water.

As water is sometimes considered sacred in religious contexts, it makes sense why pet owners prefer water burials.

There are so many various ways to perform a water burial. Therefore, it isn’t easy to describe the process in steps. The only necessary details are the water and the ashes/body.

You can scatter your dead fish’s ashes into a lake, river, pond, etc. However, most pet owners send off their dead pet’s ashes on a small boat with flowers and other decorations.

At the end of the day, the possibilities are endless if you consider a water burial for your fish or other pet.

Backyard Burial

An age-old burial custom is to bury your pet in your backyard. Most pet owners who opt for this type of burial method appreciate how it resembles a traditional human funeral.

They believe it shows more respect and pays tribute to the very real life that their pet led.

Just like a water burial, there is no right or wrong way to perform a backyard burial. However, the first thing to do is to bury your fish deep in the ground.

This will prevent your other pets or kids from digging up the dead fish before it becomes one with the universe.

Start digging a deep hole in the farthest corner of your backyard. Then wrap your dead fish in plastic and place it inside the hole.

Lastly, properly cover your fish’s grave to avoid strong smells from entering your home.

Reformation into a Plant

The allure of turning your pet fish into fertilizer and turning it into a place is giving it new life. This concept is similar to a water burial.

A pet that has been transformed into a tree now exists as a tree in your yard. However, the owner can still remember them and, in a sense, keep them alive after death.

The most common way pet owners give their pet an afterlife in nature is to bury its body in their garden. They then plant seeds on their grave and watch as their pet comes to life as a plant.

Burying your pet’s body in your garden enables them to nourish the plant and achieve an extended new life. That said, doing it with ashes is more symbolic.

In fact, many pet owners take solace in knowing their fish gave up its life to create another life.

Never Flush Your Dead Fish Down The Toilet!

Sure, flushing your fish down the toilet is the easiest method to dispose of it. However, we strongly advise against it.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, if you flush the dead fish in front of your kids, this can disturb them mentally.

Secondly, this can also cause your plumbing to get blocked, leading to water backups.

So, whatever method you choose, never flush fish down the toilet. It’s unethical and completely wrong on a lot of moral grounds.

Tips To Increase Your Pet Fish’s Lifespan

Here are a few tips to help you keep your fish alive and well for the foreseeable future.

Maintain Your Fish Tank

Maintaining a fish tank requires a lot of time and effort. Not to mention, it is a life-long process. You cannot simply purchase a fish tank and a few fish and expect them to remain healthy on their own.

The best way to maintain a fish tank is by performing a visual inspection.

This will ensure everything is working as it should. For instance, if your filter isn’t operating at full capacity, install a new one. After all, a clean filter is crucial to maintaining water quality.

If you can see fungi or algae, then take a small filter and remove it ASAP. If the algae or fungi have sunk at the bottom of the tank, drain the water and replace it.

Regularly Change the Water

Even if your fish tank looks clean, the water might not be. There might be microscopic bacteria of germs present that might kill your pet fish.

Furthermore, the water’s vitamin and mineral levels might deplete over time. Hence, the urgency to change the water regularly!

To do so, remove 15 to 20% of the water first, replacing it with fresh water. This will help neutralize the PH level of the water and make you fish accustomed to it.

Whatever you do, don’t change all the water in one go. Instead, replace 15 to 20% of the water daily until it becomes clear.

If you do it all at once, your fish will probably die!

Feed Your Fish High-Quality Fish Food

You will have to choose your fish food accordingly, depending on the type of fish you have. Some fish eat plant-based fish food, while others eat meat-based. Similarly, some can eat both.

Your fish will probably die if you feed them the wrong food type. Furthermore, invest in high-quality fish food and avoid purchasing cheaper, bulk packages.

In the end, high-quality fish food is critical to keeping your fish alive and well for the foreseeable future.

Imitate the Fish’s Natural Habitat

If the fish tank’s environment closely reflects its native habitat, the fish will adapt much more quickly and easily.

For instance, fill your tank with barriers and plants if you purchase species native to more heavily forested locations.

This will keep your fish happy and allow them to acclimatize to the tank quickly.

Furthermore, if you keep freshwater fish in saltwater, they will die in a few hours. So, research your fish choices beforehand. It will allow you to give them the environment they need to live longer.

Wrapping Up

It is never easy to lose a pet. Humans have a strong emotional attachment to these loveable animals that rely only on our kindness.

So, once they pass away, we would want to give them the dignified burial they unquestionably deserve.

So, dedicate an entire garden pot for your fish or scatter its ashes into the sea. Do the dignifiable thing and give it a proper burial instead of tossing it into the trashcan!

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