If one has a fish tank with many fish, and one of the fish happens to die on shabbas, can one remove the dead fish if the chances are significantly high that other fish in the tank will die because of the dead fish?


1 Answer 1


According to Rav Yehoshua Y. Neuwirth z"l, in his work Shemirath Shabbath [Ke'hilchata] (27:29):

a. A fish which has died may be removed from an aquarium, so that the other fish should not die, if a considerable financial loss is involved.

b. Taking out the dead fish is not a breach of the prohibition against selection, since the dead fish cannot be said to be mixed together with the live fish.

[If there is a dog or cat in the vicinity, the fish should be fed to them].

I note that the above answer seems to assume that leaving the dead fish in the fish tank will endanger the other fish. However this is questioned by some.

See discussion here: Are there health risks to leaving a dead fish in the aquarium?

  • 2
    I must admit i never expected someone to bring a source that adresse the exact question, this post definitely deserves credit
    – user15464
    Mar 7, 2019 at 10:08
  • Looking at the linked question, it seems one common cause of fish dying is because of disease or parasites. If there's reason to suspect those you probably shouldn't feed it to a dog or cat.
    – Heshy
    Mar 7, 2019 at 11:36
  • The OP there writes: "... fish might die simply because they get old, or have a shorter life-span due to its condition before being sold to you, or because some other fish had a fight with it. - If only one fish died, without white / black spots, no sign of fungus or parasites, no alteration in the gills, I usually rule out diseases of environmental problems". Mar 7, 2019 at 12:24

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