Should You Flush A Fish Down The Toilet?

What happens when you flush a fish?

You might think, flushing a fish would help your pet find a nice new home in the natural world. Or in your case you might consider flushing a dead fish as a way of euthanizing it or disposing of them. 

But guess what? You are not just hurting your pet—you’re messing up other things. And above all, the method, that seems so quick and simple, could be illegal.

Flushing a fish down the toilet is nothing but an inhumane farewell to your dear pet, be it alive or dead. However, let us give you more selfish reasons to think twice before you give your fish to the royal flush. 

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The Giant Goldfish Case

Before we look at the consequences of this age-old method to get rid of fish, here is what happened when a goldfish was dumped into a toilet.

A goldfish of 14 inch in length was caught by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW) from the downstreams of wastewater treatment plants. The fish was found in Black Rock Canal of New York’s Niagara River. 

Apparently the fish was sent down through a sewage system or was let loose by its owner in the river. Regardless of how it got there, the fish was believed to be damaging species already living there and their habitat. 

It is believed that such fish grow to giant sizes and have no natural predators, thus proving Jennifer Fees statement, the marketing director of BNW.

“They’re winning, they’re lasting longer and they’re continuing to live and grow.”

This means, a fish when contaminated with noxious waste in the pipelines, turns into a voracious eater and a threat to other species.

What Happens When You Send Your Fish Down The Toilet?

That’s A Cruel Farewell For Your Pet

Just think of a creature who was your family member a few days before, is now suffocating in pipelines for hours or even days. Sounds ruthless, right? Not knowingly but this is what you’re doing with your pet fishes by flushing them into the toilet.

Causes Plumbing Disaster 

The septic system is not built to handle anything other than human waste, water and toilet tissues. A fish will could potentially cause a plumbing disaster by clogging pipelines and let us tell you, you might have to bear a significant expense for this damage.

Responsible For An Eco-Nightmare

These fishes can introduce pathogens and foreign species to the water, damaging the ecosystem. This impact on the environment could be a nightmare in future.

Disrupts Wastewater Treatment

Living creatures could create problems in the process of wastewater treatment. This damage could be a quite a drain on your finances and that of the water treatment plant.

Involves Potential Health Risks

Your dear pet might survive flushing but it will probably turn into bad fish. It can potentially transmit germs, parasites and diseases it might carry to wastewater treatment workers and to other species in the water.

Damages Aquatic Life

Besides disrupting the wildlife and the waterways, these fish prey on local fishes and destroy vegetation. They may also compete with other species for food and resources.

What Are Some Better Ways To Say Goodbye To Your Pet Fish?

Sending your fish on a toilet cruise isn’t a safe solution for your pet itself. Not to mention, healthy fish have no reasons to be found in the pipelines. But if you feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of pet ownership, here’s what you should do.

  • Return the fish to the pet store/former owner.
  • Donate the fish to an aquarium, school, nursing home or office.
  • Advertise; You would be surprised to know there are many pet owners willing to pay you for your unwanted fish.
  • Reach out to a fish club in your region.

What if the fish is dead/diseased?

Even a deceased fish (that could still be alive) is not in the list of flushable items. So, here is what you need to do.

  • Have it checked by a veterinarian to confirm the passing out of your pet. 
  • If dead/diseased, have it euthanized by a veterinarian.
  • Have it wrapped in a plastic bag before tossing it in a bin. The method is less preferable but only if you could check with your local rules to keep things legit.

Final Thoughts

The consequences are very alarming to have your fish flushed into the toilet. Plus it’s a slow and painful death for your pet, when you think it is a simple farewell.

The most humane way and a proper disposal method is to return it to the store or have it euthanized by a veterinarian. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to treat your pet with a sense of compassion and prevent anything that could harm it, other species and the environment. 

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