Did You Know

Why You Should Never Flush A Dead Or Alive Fish Down The Toilet

Wikimedia Commons / torbakhopper - Flickr

Did you know that fish are the most popular pet in America? It's estimated that nearly 140 million freshwater fish are owned in the U.S.

Since these pets are cheap and easy to take care of, many families are willing to let these adorable creatures to swim in a bowl or aquarium in their home.

That being said, some fish owners can be lousy or irresponsible with how they take care of and treat their fish.

fish in bowl
The average life span of a pet goldfish is five to 10 years. Photo by Sarah Howell from Pexels

Oftentimes, children are given the task of taking care of these pets to learn responsibility, but as we all know, that usually ends in disaster.  

Whether you're tired of your fish, it's unwell, or the pet has died, whatever you do, just remember to never flush it down the toilet.

This isn't 'Finding Nemo'

Sydney University aquatic animal health lecturer Joy Becker told Daily Telegraph that there are two main reasons why fish should never be flushed down the toilet.

First, if the fish is alive, it may survive and end up in our waterways, where it will start to compete with native fish for food and resources.

"We don't condone dumping of exotic mammals, birds or reptiles for the same reasons," Becker added.

Whether dead or alive, fish can carry diseases that may wreak havoc on native species.

Studies have found that goldfish can spread life-threatening infections, such as herpes. The disease is called herpesviral haematopoietic necrosis, and it only affects these types of fish, so it's important that no sick fish get in contact with the ones in our water.

Here's what you should do instead

While flushing a dead fish down a toilet seems like the best way to honor its life, since it's going back in the waterways, having a burial or throwing it in trash is a better idea.

If you cannot care for your fish any longer, try to find it a caring home.

And if your fish is unwell, talk to a veterinarian who can euthanize it humanely.

Keep in mind, like any other pet, fish ownership is still a lot of work and they also deserve love and compassion.

[H/T: Daily Telegraph / Business Insider]

Are you guilty of flushing your pet fish down the toilet?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.