Flushing Fish in the Toilet
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Flushing Fish in the Toilet

Many home aquarist's dispose of critically diseased or dead ornamental fish by flushing them down the toilet. This approach is common because it is a very convenient method of disposal. Some pet fish enthusiasts will have no qualms about getting rid of an unwanted and dying tetra simply by dropping it inside a toilet bowl, and flushing it down with the mere touch of a button or lever.

Overview

There are some who believe flushing fish down a toilet is actually good for the pet. Do you remember the 2003 movie “Finding Nemo”? Hundreds of children in the US who watched that film reportedly tried to liberate their fish via the toilet bowl. These kids wanted to re-create the escape of the aquarium-bound clown fish Nemo via a spit basin for an eventual reunion with his dad in the sea.

Any adult, however, can readily comprehend that Nemo’s is a miracle that only happens in the movies. Flushing a fish down the toilet is highly unlikely to result in its survival. The result will certainly be fatal if the circumstance involves an enclosed septic tank. The same can be said in a fish landing in a sewage system where only the hardiest of creatures can survive the waste disposal mechanism.

Simple and Convenient Doesn’t Mean It’s Okay

Many home aquarist's dispose of critically diseased or dead ornamental fish by flushing them down the toilet. This approach is common because it is a very convenient method of disposal. Some pet fish enthusiasts will have no qualms about getting rid of an unwanted and dying tetra simply by dropping it inside a toilet bowl, and flushing it down with the mere touch of a button or lever. This is usually the method used for ornamental fish that have badly damaged fins whose looks degrade the aesthetics in an aquarium.

However, it is a cruel and inhumane practice to merely flush a pet fish down a toilet. Fish have nerves and can feel pain like all animals. They also have their own specific personalities, traits that are the very reasons why they were kept as pets in the first place.

Sentimental and Practical Reasons vs. Fish Flushing

Indeed, sentimental reasons could and should restrain a pet own from flushing fish down a toilet. This is especially true for long-lived denizens of a home aquarium that may already have earned their own designated nicknames like the celluloid hero Nemo had. It would certainly be such an inglorious end for a favorite but badly diseased clown fish, for instance, to just end up in a septic tank or sewer. This sad situation is best avoided especially in a household with young, impressionable children who may be adversely affected not only by the demise of the pet but also by the way it was henceforth treated.

Finally, there are those individuals made of sterner stuff who’ll have no misgivings on dumping a Nemo into the sewer. They may think that a dead fish is biodegradable anyway, and flushing fish down a toilet won’t harm the environment. Nonetheless, certain risks still remain. Fish disposed via the sewer can be host to disease-causing organisms that seep through the environment and can also contribute to clogging of a sewage system.

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