Sorry about your fish
. I really agree with jetajockey here. I've taken his advice myself and started using salted water as well. It truly does make a difference.
I've had to do this several times, and the best, fastest way to prepare and most efficient method IME is-
- Fill a bowl with water and dissolve a heavy amount of salt into it.
- Fill the bowl with ice and leave it sitting out for a few minutes until most of the ice has melted. This helps bring the temperature down quickly.
- Stick the bowl in the freezer, stir it occasionally to prevent it from freezing over (or break up the ice when it does) and let it continue cooling.
* (Even though the salt dramatically lowers the freezing point of the water...I suppose it will only cool to the temperature the freezer is set to...so there's no point in doing this all day).
- Once the water is as cold as you believe it's gonna get...like shockingly cold where it hurts your finger...quickly net and hold the fish under the water.
Before I began following jeta's salted water advice...I did have the fish kick on me for a few seconds. Since I used his method, I can say from experience that it is instant.
I agree clove oil is a good option but I've had trouble finding it near me. I've asked pharmacists if they carry it, and a couple of them didn't even know what it was. When they asked what it was for...and I told them I needed it to euthanize sick fish...they looked at me like I was a future serial killer, lol.
One thing I've heard about clove oil (not certain if it's true) is that it is an anesthetic as opposed to an instant euthanasia method. I believe people choose another method of putting down the fish (e.g. severing the head, placing the fish in the freezer) after the clove oil has been used to ensure the deed is done.
. This is a non-enjoyable aspect of fish-keeping...but it goes hand in hand with taking care of them and is often the best choice.