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Disposal of dead fish

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This article is going to solely deal with disposal and not causation. Just the best way to dispose of your departed pet.

Loosing a fish is an unfortunate part of the hobby. So of a process it like we were pulling a dead plant out of our tank other are very emotional of about the whole situation. No matter who you are your dead fish should be disposed of in a responsible and respectful manner.

How to dispose of a fish?

Three Practical ways?


Burial is probably the most popular option for an honorable disposition. Cremation takes quite a bit of work, and throwing the fish into the trash can seems a little heartless, so most fish owners tend to decide on burial.

So let’s take a look at how to bury a fish.

First, prepare the fish’s body for burial. If the burial will take place more than a few minutes after you discover the death, you will want to preserve the body. This will prevent an unpleasant odor. Also, do not leave the fish in the water, as it will most likely swell.

Double-bag the fish inside two sealable ziploc plastic bags – place the fish inside the first bag, seal it, and then put that one inside a second baggie. Place it in the freezer, away from any food that might become contaminated. You may want to place the double-bagged fish into a plastic container as an extra precaution.

Make sure that you wash your hands before and after each time you handle the fish.

Next, you’ll want to find a suitable spot for burial. Most likely this will be in the backyard. Make sure that you dig deep enough that a dog or scavenging animal won’t smell and dig up the pet. Three feet is an ideal depth. Several fish owners have suggested the idea of burying a small fish in a flower pot. This gives you a built-in memorial plant.

Last, consider a burial casket for the fish. You can actually buy some (see below), or have the kids participate in making one out of eco-friendly cardboard. You can also bury the fish in a wide variety of containers: Glass jars, tupperware, tins, small keepsake boxes, a cardboard box, an envelope, eco-friendly bags, or small keepsake urns.


Fish cremation

This isn’t the easiest method, but some pet owners prefer cremation as an honorable way to say goodbye to a beloved fish. There are several ways to cremate a fish, here is one from a real fish owner on

  1. Place the fish on a piece of aluminium foil and on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on 200-250 degrees, starting at 15 minutes. Keep in longer if needed. You need to make sure you dry out the fish as much as possible.
  2. Once dry, take them out and put them on a plate and let them cool for a few hours.
  3. Take an old pot that you don’t mind a fish being in, and build a fire. Make sure the fire and embers are nice and hot, place the pot on the hot embers. This will take several minutes.
  4. Once it gets to a certain point, you may need to gently press the fish to create more ash than char.
  5. Once you have the ash consistency you want, remove from the fire and let the ashes cool COMPLETELY before bagging 

Landfill disposal

In other words, throwing the fish in the trash. If you don’t have kids, or if your children are not very distraught at the death of the fish, this can be a simple and easy option for you.

Make sure that you put the fish into an airtight container first – a ziploc bag will do nicely. This will prevent any odor and will also help prevent a foraging animal to try to get into the outside trash.

We would advise double-bagging the fish in two sealable plastic baggies, then placing it inside your regular garbage bag. Tie that up well and place it into your main garbage can.

However, you’re probably reading this article because your family was very attached to the fish, and you would like to pay some proper respects to both the fish and to those in your family who are saddened by the loss. That leaves cremation and burial as the best disposition options for your pet fish.


When disposing of a dead fish you should not consider flushing the dead fish down your toilet or drains? This is because your fish may be carrying harmful bacterial and diseases that could be released in to waterways and harm other native or wild fish in the area.

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