There are many more pets available than the typical cats and dogs. Many families may not be able to get cats or dogs due to limited space, allergies, or limitations and rules in leases. In such cases, families may look to alternatives, like gerbils, hamsters, birds, and fish. Fish in particular are good pets for those who have limited space and who want to have a number of animals to care for. Fish tanks can hold multiple fish depending on the size of the tank and how many gallons it holds. Some fish, however, are better kept alone, like Betta fish. No matter what kind of pet fish you and your family have, whether a goldfish, a tetra, or a Betta, it’s important that the fish be treated with respect and dignity after it passes away.
Proper Fish Burial
Many times, it isn’t always obvious when a fish is sickly or close to dying. Often, you simply wake up and the fish is floating in the tank or has sunk to the bottom. However, you should always examine the fish closely to determine if it is actually dead. You should look at the gills to see if they’re moving, even slowly. If the skin has become discolored, it may have already begun to rot. The eyes, though, are a good indicator – if they’re grey or glossed over, the fish is likely dead. Therefore, it’s important that you clear the fish out of the tank quickly if you have other fish present as well, as you do not want the water to become toxic.
Contrary to popular actions, it isn’t exactly the best practice to flush a pet fish down the toilet. While it doesn’t cause any harm, it does showcase a lack of dignity for the fish. If it were a part of the family, it should be buried in the same way as any other pet would have been buried.
You may have a spot in your yard where you can dig a small hole and bury the fish. It’s possible that you might live in an apartment, though, and not have a yard that is your own. There are locations where you can bury the fish away from home, or where you can even have the fish cremated or used to give back to the environment, such as food for a larger animal.
A popular alternative to a backyard burial is a potted plant burial. This allows you to take the fish with you if you were to change homes, and it allows you to keep the memorial at all times. Instead of a grave marker, you will have a flower that you can continue to keep alive. Your family will also be able to help water the plant when it needs to be watered, which can be used as an explanation for how life continues to feed into life.
Fish can be cremated, if you so choose. You can even opt to cremate the fish yourself with a bonfire, but it would be very difficult to collect and keep the ashes. Many pet service centers offer cremation options, but you should reach out to see if they are willing to cremate a fish.
To cremate a fish and be sure to keep the ashes, you should first dry it out by keeping it in the oven for a little while. Then, you can place it in an old pot (or pick up a disposable pot from a donation center for cheap) and place it over a fire. Don’t let the fish char as if it’s being cooked; continue to press and move it so that it burns completely. Once the fish has turned to ash, collect the ashes and keep them wherever you wish, whether in a box or in a bag, as a commemoration.
There are other options for burying a fish that are extremely eco-friendly. A number of companies manufacture pods that are biodegradable after they’ve been buried, so your fish will return to the earth that spawned it. These are good options if you want to bury your fish in a backyard or in an area that has a lot of scavengers.
Lessons from a Pet Fish Burial
A pet fish burial can be hugely beneficial for your family. Many families elect to let their children get fish as their first pets because they require minimal upkeep and they are generally not a decade-plus commitment. It helps teach children about responsibility and pet ownership. Importantly, when the fish dies, it can be a crucial lesson for grief.
During a pet fish burial or funeral, you can encourage children to show emotion, to express philosophical ideas, to appreciate the life of the fish when they kept it as a pet, and to remember the joy it brought them during its life. Although fish are not animals that you can handle and cuddle, they can still provide comfort in many ways. Families may have decorated the tank or sat and watched the fish to try and relax.
A pet fish funeral can help set your child up for the passing of future pets. You can stress that what’s important is that the animal had a loving, caring home. Even though it’s just a fish, you can assert that it was still part of the family.
Pet Funerals and Aquamation and Gentle Pet Crossing
At Gentle Pet Crossing, we make sure that families and individuals have a connection with their pet as they prepare to move on. Our sanctuary is open for pet owners to visit and spend the last moments with their pets. We provide euthanasia services for those who know the time has come to relieve their pet of any suffering.
Our location also uses aquamation instead of cremation to give you the remains of your pet. This process is more emission-friendly than cremation and allows more ashes to be retained. If you have any questions about aquamation or any of our services, Gentle Pet Crossing will be glad to help you during such a tough time.