My fish is dying

I was cleaning and changing his water today when I noticed he didn’t look right. He had a bump on his side, and when I got a top view he was pine coneing. (google exists don’t ask what it is it makes me feel worse.) I just… I feel sick. I recently learnt that his tank wasn’t healthy/good for him. That it needed to be bigger, warm, etc. So I started doing that.

(graphic medical stuff tw) But now he is in pain. I know he is in pain. He probably has dropsy, which is an infection that bloats him, pushing his organs out. I feel guilty looking at him. Did I somehow make that happen to him? Could I have done something better?

He is old (5), so he has lived a long life… but… I just… I feel awful. I feel responsible.

He is all I have left. Once he is gone, I won’t have any more pets. I’ll have the empty tank I was getting ready for him. I will have to wait a bit to get a new fish for it. I’m just… My dog died about a year and a half ago and now him. My Nana died over a year ago… I’m just… I’m losing so much.

(euthanasia tw) My mom won’t buy clove oil to put him down. So he just has to suffer. I hope he dies overnight, but it’s selfish. I don’t want him to be in pain.

my mom did say that I will probably be able to get a dog in June/July, and they’ll be my responsibility. Which is exciting!! But… I’m just so sad.

And it’s a fish.

Its stupid

I’m so upset over a fish.

I cried for over an hour, and I’m not sure I’m done crying. I just… feel so bad.

EDIT: he didn’t pass overnight. he isn’t eating, he is bloated, and his gills are starting to stick out some. my mom and aunt think i should “leave him in god’s hands.” i just… I will leave him tonight. I hope he will pass then… is it bad that I want him to pass?


Sakura, I don’t think it’s stupid you are upset over this. Your fish being on his final moments is bringing up a lot of other emotions and memories for you. Situations you went through that you might not fully be over yet either. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you and doesn’t have an exact timeline on it. It shouldn’t matter what kind of pet you own, if they are important to you, doesn’t devalue what he means to you. Take your time to grieve, in whatever way that might be. While it is sad, remember all the good times and joy this fish brought you.

Having a pet is a learning responsibility, even if it might have been a little late you were trying and that’s what counts. I think you should take this time to also reflect on losing your dog and Nana too, like I said the grieving process is different for everyone. Acknowledge your pain and accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions. A cat that I loss years ago, I still get worked up over. I can’t look at pictures of him without crying and getting emotional but it is getting easier and I believe time does heal but we don’t ever fully forget.

I want to leave you with an article of coping with grief and loss. I hope this can help you moving forward. Stay strong, @sakurasangel.


Will I be a bad person if I put him down? He… didn’t pass overnight and is struggling.

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you are not stupid my dear,
you did not now this was going to happen im sure, you have taken care of him for 5 years and that is pretty long for a fish i get the sense of loss you feel it is not a good feeling i know but you have done so much for your fish and kept it alive with your knowledge. as for putting the fish down, you may do whatever feels right, the struggling is not good btu maybe he can still heal? maybe do some more google research and figure out the chances of him making it with his swelling. talk with your mom in the end and make a final decision. stay strong you can do this :heart:

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my mom is convinced I will regret it. his condition is “usually fatal.” I don’t have a hospital or other tank that can take him. He wouldn’t eat when I tried to just feed him. I was about to put him down and my mom came out and got mad at me saying I will regret it and being mean. she said i can do what I want, but I dont want to see him get worse. my mom says he isn’t suffering, but how is he not?

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Hi Sakura!

I’m a freshwater fish hobbyist. I can tell that you are a very caring person who wants to do whatever you can to help your fish. Fish can be just as special to us as a dog or cat might be to someone else. What’s most important is that you keep learning and improving, and it sounds like you have learned a lot about what the ideal tank is like for this kind of fish. That’s amazing!

If you like, I can help you figure out what to do. I put some fishy questions below if you feel up to answering them. In the very least, I can empathize with you about how incredibly helpless it can feel when your pet is sick and it’s not the norm for that pet to go to the vet, like a dog or cat would. Even vets that specialize in aquatic medicine are limited in the care they can give, and there are way more questions than answers when it comes to fish disease and illness.

You are not a bad person if you choose to euthanize him. If a sick fish hasn’t eaten for several weeks, is laying lifeless in the tank, and treatment isn’t available, euthanizing is often the right decision. Clove oil, like you mentioned, is the best alternative to what they’d use at the vet.

Dropsy is often a symptom of a bigger problem more than a disease in itself, but I have only seen fish successfully recover from it temporarily. If he’s pineconing, that’s the main visual sign of dropsy. If he has dropsy, he is suffering.

What kind of fish is he?
Do you know what your tank water parameters are (ammonia / nitrite / nitrate / pH / temperature)?
How many gallons is your tank?
When did he last eat? What and when did you feed him?
What is your water change schedule frequency and % of water changed?

Sending you love and support!


I’m not sure his parameters, but it’s probably not great. I was in the process of cycling a new tank for him. He is a betta, and his tank is too small (1.5-2 gallons). I tried feeding him today, and he didn’t eat. He ate a little yesterday, after I did a ~80% water change

I may just leave him be overnight and hope he passes…

I’m sorry to hear he didn’t eat. Do you feed everyday? Skipping 1-2 days each week is good for their digestion and helps limit waste in the tank. If you don’t have a water test kit, some pet stores will do free water testing for you if you bring in a sample. You’ll need a test kit to make sure your new tank is cycled, but I understand if you don’t feel quite ready to keep that new tank going if your betta passes away. A 1.5-2 gallon is not ideal for a betta, but it is manageable at least short term with enough water changes. If your new tank is bigger, though, it will take less work to maintain good water quality and consistent parameters. Bigger tank = higher dilution of waste.

I’d keep the water as clean as possible with daily water changes (80% is great), stop feeding for 3-4 days to see if his bloating goes down and if he poops, and do what you can do keep his environment as consistent and comfortable as possible (adding a heater, silk or real plants, places to hide, for example). That will help reduce suffering for him. It isn’t bad that you want him to pass - he’s suffering and in pain. You care about him and don’t want him to suffer. Whatever happens, don’t let it discourage you from fishkeeping if you want to stick with the hobby. When I first started, I had an oscar, catfish, and green severum in a 29 gallon (that didn’t go well!). Now I wouldn’t keep those fish in anything less than 100 gallons.

Thinking of you and your betta <3

I don’t want to change anything right now to scare him. He likes the plant he has, even if it is plastic. I’d feel more guilty giving him something new and unfamiliar right now. I will keep up the water changes. Unfortunately, my current heater is too big for his tank too :frowning:

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I totally understand. Glad to hear he’s got a plant in there :slight_smile: If you can maintain a stable room temperature where the tank is, that would work well too as long as it isn’t too cold (below 75F). The water changes will help. You can also consider gradually adding a small amount of aquarium salt (work up to a .3% concentration) to help reduce osmotic stress caused by the dropsy. Hang in there!

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I dont have aquarium salt :frowning:

Even if you don’t have aquarium salt, keeping up the water changes is still helpful. You can only work with what you have. :slight_smile:


It’s not bad that you want him to pass. I know about that of that you want an animal to pass to stop suffering. I know about it an it’s not a bad thing, it means you are selfless. You’re a good person.
I know about getting upset over a fish… and it’s a beta fish right?
I had a beta fish that died and I locked myself in the bathroom and cried and wouldn’t get out of the bathroom, even though I had a performance that night… they got me out of the bathroom eventually and I sang in my performance…
You aren’t stupid. You are not normal either. You are unique, not stupid.
I know about losing so much. I seem happy in the day, but when I’m alone wit my sister, there we are, crying over what we have lost. Do you know what it’s like to lose a tree? One time, we went to our grandmother’s house, and looked, and the tree was gone. The tree that the animals had been buried next to. The tree that had statues. The tree that reiminded us that not everything had changed, even though that Joney the dog had died. And Rachel, the cat. mari didn’t die, but they sent Mari (a dog ) to a new home… and Naomi the cat, who had been there through all of this… was still alive… but I get worried about Naomi in the night… worried…

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sometimes parents dont understand especially with fish. they dont undestand that fish have medical conditions too. its not fair she was mean to you, you were just trying to look after your fish and do what you thought would be best. has your fish passed or is he still doing okay? much love :heart:

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