How should I dispose of a dead fish's body?

  • One of my neighbor's fish coincidentally died during the time I was caring for them. I immediately removed it from the fish tank, but I didn't know what to do with it. Flushing a pet down the toilet seems rude, and it might block the pipes. My mom suggested to leave it in an open space so any bird or street cat can eat it.

    When I think about it now, I fear this fish might have carried a disease which could spread to its consumer.

    What is a respectful way to dispose of a dead fish's body without affecting any other life form?

  • Beofett

    Beofett Correct answer

    8 years ago

    As Precious Tijesunimi mentioned, it is wrong to flush a fish, live or dead (perhaps especially not live, as this is how many harmful species get introduced to environments they don't belong to... not to mention it is cruel). Especially don't place it into a "natural" ecosystem! In fact, both of these options may be illegal in many areas.

    Depending on your area, cremation may not be a legal option (I know some areas have restrictions on open fires of any type).

    Burial and trash strike me as the best solution. However, there are some caveats:

    If you bury it, bury it deep enough that neighborhood critters (cats, raccoons, dogs, or any other scavengers) don't smell it (you don't want to smell it, either!). Consider placing a decent-sized rock over the burial location, both to discourage digging, and to mark the spot as a memorial.

    If you throw it in the trash... place it in a ziplock bag, first! Rotting fish is a very pungent odor, and your neighbors and your trash collectors will appreciate this basic step towards preventing the stench from spreading. Plus, it will also reduce the chances of critters trying to go through your garbage until it is collected.

    Beofett, Thanks for writing this. I want to add the point that Ankit brought up in the question--potential risk of spreading diseases. To me, this is the biggest reason not to flush a fish down the toilet. You're sending dead organic matter that potentially has diseases into a public water system. That fish could end up being consumed or just spreading that disease to other animals, especially us humans. Not to mention it will continue decomposing in the water where it ends up. You should never flush any fish down the toilet.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM