So your dearest friend, Speedy the Goldfish, has passed on and it is time to give him the respectful, dignified sendoff he deserves. Or maybe you are just tired of taking care of him. Either way, odds are you are headed to the toilet, that gleaming porcelain solver of problems. Just flush and everything goes away. Before you send Speedy off to that great aquarium in the sky (ground?) take a moment to think if you are doing the right thing.
Flushing fish actually has surprising consequence which most people would never think of. Septic systems are not designed for the disposal of living or once living things. Fish are definitely not on the list of flushable items, and for good reason. A deceased fish could be a potential carrier of disease or parasites. Water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and odds are you do not know why your fish passed away. Avoid flushing dead fish down the toilet, the last thing you want is to be responsible for someone else getting sick.
What if Speedy is still alive when you flush him? Well that can cause its own problems. Fish are survivors, it is possible for a flushed fish to brave the dangerous of the septic system and go on living in whatever body of water he ends up in. In California alone 13 separate species of aquarium fish have been found living in the state’s natural bodies of water. These foreign fish can have unanticipated and potentially hazardous effects on local ecosystems, sometimes wiping out entire populations of native wildlife!
Next time you find yourself needing to dispose of a close friend like Speedy why don’t you head to the backyard? A ceremonial burial might be the perfect way to say goodby to your friend!