Resource icon

The Various Stages of Anaesthetics

When I posted my first aid kit for fish a few days ago there were questions as to what is MS222 my answer was a fish anesthetic.

I went to my site and brought this article back for you............

Do not use anaesthetics when taking a scrape..... why because anesthetic in some cases will kill what you are looking for.
It will render most infections [parasite} immobile. [i;e costia] which in turn would be disastrous if missed, as scrape would look clear.

There are various forms of anesthetics in the fish world, however I have come across many people who are afraid to use them. Preferring, instead, to get someone in to do it for them be it another hobbyist or fish professional.

I'm attempting to take away the mystique in the hope of getting other fish keepers to use it.

Please note that with Benzocaine I was always told to mix with White spirit before using (I doubt you will be able to get this anymore I was using it 20 years or more ago)...............

MS222 is in powder form. I use it in 5ml steps ( if the fish is fighting the anesthetic use another 5 ml and so on).

The third is the most available to you and that is oil of cloves this is used at 10 ml per 2 gallons of water. Always use a plastic bucket or for larger fish a measuring bowl......(again as above go up in 10 ml steps).

Please note:
I will also tell you what to look out for at the various stages of anesthetization, in all there are four stages a fish must go through in anesthesia lets mark them

1) 2) 3) 4)so you don't get mixed up****

Please note:
Dose rates vary from anesthetic to anesthetic****
As a disclaimer I must say please always check with a fish professional before mixing, as I am a hobbyist not a fish professional.

As such I don't wish to get the dose rates wrong as this is purely from my observations of my own fish over the years at rates give to me by other hobbyists.

1). Sedation of fish :- MS222, Benzocaine, Oil of Cloves etc.....
This form simply reduces reactivity to any external stimuli with a slight decrease in the breathing of the koi and as such is the lowest form of anesthetization in a koi.

2) Light anesthesia of fish :- MS222, Benzocaine,Oil of Cloves etc........
This form results in a partial loss of the koi's equilibrium.
You will note how he fish rolls and attempts to right itself with a further decrease in breathing of the koi.

3) Deeper anesthesia of fish :- MS222, Benzocaine, Oil of Cloves etc.......
You will note that form results in a total loss of the fish's equilibrium, its breathing is reduced.

4) Surgical anesthesia of koi :- MS222, Benzocaine, Oli of Cloves etc.......
You will note at this level you will see a total failure to respond to all external stimuli. The fish's breathing rate is now very slow. The fish must be at this level for any surgical procedure. If now you need to euthanize a fish at this point, just leave in the anesthetic mix for a further eight hours the fish will painlessly and gently slip away.

A good way to check this level is if there is no movement in the fish's tail, the fish is totally under. If there is movement place the fish back in the anesthetic for a few seconds more till the movement stops.

Reviving your fish......................

To bring your fish round gently hold the fish loosely in a flow of water mixed with bubbles of air. After a short while you will feel the fish begin to come around, the movements will become stronger and stronger until the fish is ready to be released.
Take your hand out from under the fish and it will swim away none the worse for wear.

I hope this has helped those that haven't as yet used anesthetics on their own fish. It is an extremely useful tool to know and have in your arsenal of treatments.

Tranquilize fish:

Tranquilizer:- Namely elbagin crystals, use a small pinch of crystals only enough to turn the water yellow "do not overdose"!!!!!...........

It is used as a tool for the transportation of your fish too and from fish shows.
This reduces the metabolic rate of your fish, however the fish "must not"
loose its ability to maintain its normal swimming position.

Foot note:- You will find should you choose not to use elbagin that there are other products out there that will help to keep the stress level of your fish on its journey to and from shows.
There are probably differing products in various counties These are the ones we use in the UK......
JBL has one called Acclimol, API has one called Stress coat.

Last but not least and by far the cheapest option, the good old black plastic bin liner should you have none of the above. I use anyway with any of the above............

I hope this helps you guys and that in future you pass it on to others especially if you need to euthanize a fish.

Hitting it on the head or putting it in the freezer is now considered cruel in the fish world here.....

Note:- four stars means ultra important to remember ......