Tattooing Fish is Cruel! Better kill them all…

by alphamonkey on October 2, 2007 · 7 comments

in Uncategorized

Tattoo FishOklahoma City police officials seized a load of tropical fish from a wholesaler last week because the dyed and tattooed fish were in violation of the city laws. One would gather the law was passed because fish often die during the dying or laser tattooing process, so what did the OKC police do with the contraband fish? They euthanized them, of course.

That makes me wonder a bit how exactly one would go about euthanizing a fish (my guess? Giant toilet bowl.), but mostly I’m curious about the process of tattooing a fish in the first place. As much as I’d love to visit a shop where burly men with flaming skull tattoos gingerly pin down Nemo for a little ‘Mama Didn’t Love Me’ memento, in reality the process is almost more bizarre.

It turns out that there are two methods for altering a fish’s coloration: Dyed fish (otherwise known as Painted Fish) are often dipped in a type of caustic liquid that removes a fish’s natural slime coating, and then injected via syringe with colored dye (often multiple times). As you might guess, the mortality rate for this procedure isn’t so hot for our finned friends, but hey that’s the price they pay for the world’s low-brow tastes, right?

The other method involves using a low-intensity dyed laser to tattoo a pattern directly onto the scales of a fish, and this is the method that results in simply ridiculous patterns like the one in the image to the right.

Of course there’s still the tried and true method of breeding the freaky ones to produce wildly varying colors, but that lacks a certain je ne sais quoi for this digital age, ya know?

I’m curious as to how anyone could think Ma Nature’s already gorgeous homebrew designs needed a little help from the animals that made Hallmark a corporate behemoth…

Thanks to Pat & Martha for the heads-up.

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  • Mom

    It probably wasn’t a very humane method of euthanaisa but I do remember a cute little 4 year old boy, who shall remain nameless, who decided to give his fish a bubble bath.

  • Mom

    oops … I do know how to spell euthanasia

  • Alan

    At what point in the evening do you get drunk enough to think “I know, lets give them there fish a tattoo”?

  • .alphamonkey.

    I’m going to say the 3rd ‘I love you, man!’ and probably before you try to marry a pelican.

  • Alan

    That’s all I needed to know, thanks.

  • Busymm101

    As far as euthanasia goes there is a fish anaesthetic called Finquil. It is used for catching wild fish, you dump a few 50 gal barrels over the side and take what floats up to your pet store. Most store that sell fish carry the stuff to put down extra sick fish, you just put 10x the needed dose into a small ammount of water and nemo don’t wake up.

  • Fishperson

    This is an old article by 2+ years, but on the topic of humane euthanasia – You can sedate a fish by using clove oil, which is how I tattoo could be done on a fish without inflicting pain.

    Adding a few drops will sedate a fish, but adding more cause it to basically die peacefully in its sleep without feeling pain.

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