Moral Side of Tear Down - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Moral Side of Tear Down

Weird title I know.. but I'm struggling with this. The below debacle is my current(and only tank).. its just a sort of side hobby for me. It's a mess.. nothing grows that well..I have too much algae. I would like to blow it up and restart. But those darned swordtails are my problem. They won't stop multiplying. It has been like this for years now. I've taken out all the cover I think they were using(it all started with java moss).. but now they have hit like critical mass or something. But what do I do. What do others do? No pet store will take them. But I struggle with just flushing them all(not even sure ecologically if that is safe).. and I have young kids so I have to explain it too(though they will take it mostly in stride). So... what do you people do in this situation? I figure I could take all the plants out and hopefully they will finally stop, but then I have an ugly tank while I wait for them all do die. I could flush them and move on. I dunno. I'm open to any and all thoughts and opinions.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 02:45 PM
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I know this sounds strange, but have you tried posting them to craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or a local Facebook aquarium hobby group? If you are in the Denver area I would think you could find someone, or multiple people to take them. I would give that a shot first for sure.

Also, those are pretty messy fish in general. When I was younger I kept them and remember thinking how can these little things make such a mess!



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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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They are messy! Guess I haven't updated my profile in a while.. I live in a mid size Midwest town anymore. I think in Denver they would have been easier to get rid of. I could still try it here, but I don't think it is a very prolific hobby around me! Thanks for the idea though!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 02:57 PM
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I agree with @Grobbins48 if you post on those platforms and even in a local buy and sell website you have free fish for pick up somebody will likely be willing to make a drive.

If you want to avoid the issue in the future then you need to rehome the females and have a male only tank

I'm Canadian so I don't know what you guys have down there for buy and sell sites, I don't think Kijiji is a thing there :P

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 04:58 PM
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I also agree with the re-homing idea.... Free fish on craigslist would probably work pretty quickly. I have the same problem with my Coral Red Platys. They multiple like crazy. Started with 4 and now have over 30.... they seem to stay around this amount now. I think the weak ones get sucked up into the filter.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 08:06 PM
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Yes, rehome and definitely don't flush. If you do decide to go down that sort of route then humanly euthanise and dispose of the bodies in the bin. Flushing can put invasive species into the wild and even if they don't make it that is not a pleasant way to die and still risks introducing diseases.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 08:15 PM
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Are those sword tails or platys? Please don't flush. As others have said, there are several places to post ads for free fish. Even if you had to drive half way to meet someone from a little distance away, it would be worth it.

In my area, the local Petco used to take in fish as "adoptions", although I haven't been there for some time so not sure about current practices. I'm also lucky enough to have a good LFS nearby, which is how I got myself out of a guppy nightmare - similar, but a bit worse, than your situation - several years ago. If you can find a LFS, it would be worth a one-time drive to have these fish re-homed properly.

You might also look to see if there is a local fish club nearby. They will often have sales/trades at their meetings or can spread the word further.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 09:29 PM
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Swordtails aren't messy. 'Messy' fish are often the result of feeding lower quality commercial food. These foods are made with low quality fish meal with a copious amount of grain and grain starch as binder/filler. Fish can't process the carbs so it passes through as excess waste.
Many years ago when I switched to higher quality fish food I was amazed at the resulting difference in fish waste - believe it or not!

The fish club auction is a good way to go if you can't find a LFS to take them. My local fish store gives me store credit for quality fish.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 09:49 PM
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Also, try posting here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/47-illinois/ or in the classifieds or RAOK sections of this website.

If you are willing to ship, I'd gladly take them! I'm setting up an aquarium fish aquaponic system with a 50 gallon. Also I have turtles that would love to eat any excess young.

Also, if you must "put down" any fish, don't flush! They suffer greatly by death from flushing. Instead, use Clove Oil mixed into a bowl of water, it gently sedates the fish and they quickly die with minimal suffering.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 12:05 AM
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I live in an area with many good quality LFS' and they all take "donations." You probably don't have many options in Rockford. You might have to drive the hour to Hoffman Estates area, but I'd call first ... if you really want to go to that extent.

I'm not sure how anyone knows what the pain and/or suffering is of a fish when it dies under different conditions other than making assumptions based upon watching a fish striving to find water and assigning human sensations and thoughts to it, so I'm not going comment on what works best for fish. However, if you had to die, what would you prefer? I'd take getting hit by a truck while I wasn't aware that it was coming. For a fish, maybe that means a hammer.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 01:42 AM
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To circumnavigate the moral issue you could eat them and say you've been farming food... Actually never eat aquarium fish, we don't know if certain aquarium products could be harmful to you.

I agree with trying to re-home 1st, but if you absolutely have to euthanize, the Clove oil suggestion is a rock solid one. I've unfortunately had to do this to terminally ill fish, (fancy goldfish w/ dropsy and a koi over the years) and they seem to go very peacefully. If it where me, I'd prefer to leave this world under anesthesia, or in a deep sleep.

Another option would be to reach out to the predatory fishkeeping community(they're all over Craigslist), but that would be harder for me personally. Just a thought tho. As far as the kids need to know, whatever happens "they went to a new home" just my 2 cents
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 02:50 AM
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Any of your kids' friends want them? Separate the males and females into separate containers until you're able to give them all away. You could use a tank divider to do it as well until they're all gone. You'll have to keep an eye on the females because they could be pregnant when you separate and you'll have to cull the fry right away.


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 06:22 AM
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I actually had to finally register to comment on this. I see clove oil mentioned a lot but folks rarely offer the simpler solution: namely, you can just sever their head with a sharp knife and the crush it. Just aim at the spot behind the fish's head (first verterbra) like you would do when preparing a caught fish.

Swordtails are small enough for not requiring much strength but large enough for you to be easily able to hold them down. You don't even need to crush the head unless you miss and the fish still gasps after head is severed. I'd crush the head anyway just in case. This is usually how I dispose smaller fish, decapitation followed by head crushing. For really small fish like tetras or fry you can do the crushing between your fingers but for swordtails hammer or similar works (press gently but firmly, not overhead swing so that the head splatters everywhere). Just separate the head first! Prepare by placing them on a paper towel or similar easily recyclable surface and toss them into compost or bio-recycling bin afterwards. Less messy and easy disposal.

Just never EVER flush an aquarium fish! Not only it's slow death but they may actually survive (depending on how your wastewater is treated) and contaminate native waters.

You don't even need to dispose of all fish. Dispose all males or all females and they no longer breed obviously. Assuming you can't separate them otherwise.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 01:22 PM
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How is crushing and chopping up tons of small fish one by one "less messy" than throwing the lot of them into a bucket with clove oil? Not only does the decapitate method take longer and is more gross, many people just don't want to do that to the fish.

The proper term is called "decapitate and pith". You must quickly destroy the brain of the fish after removing the head to ensure that this method is completely humane.

In a case where you have TONS of very small fish, the decapitate and pith method would take way longer than netting them all into clove. Makes no sense to use that method here. If you couldn't get rid of say... Two Oscars, then yeah... But tons of tiny fish? Nah, way harder this way. Go with the clove.

And I have an issue with lying to kids. When we grow up, we realize we were lied to and it sucks. I always prefer honesty. We tell our kids that honesty is the best policy and then we lie to them.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2019, 03:55 PM
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I have to agree that euthanizing many fish with a knife or meat cleaver is a bit barbaric and I wouldn't do it. It seems to me that the clove oil method seems much more humane.
I'm also equally unsure of the getting hit by a truck method...that's gotta hurt and leave a mark!!!

Personally I'm shooting to die in bed at 95.... at the hands of a jealous husband....but that's just me! lol

<please forgive my attempt to lighten the tone/mood of this thread>
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