Fish may warrant euthanasia for a variety of reasons, but euthanasia may be difficult to accomplish or confirm because fish can recover from deep anesthesia even after cardiac and respiratory arrest. The efficacies of three types of anesthetics were evaluated to compare their suitability for euthanasia of Unga cichlids (Sarotherodon linellii). Thirty cichlids were randomly assigned to be immersed in one of the three anesthetic solutions: tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222), 2-phenoxyethanol (2-PE), and clove oil (CO) at doses of 1,000 mg/L, 2 mL/L, and 500 mg/L respectively. The opercular rates and caudal fin stroke rates were quantified, and the time to cessation of physiological measures (CPM) including caudal fin strokes, the reaction to external stimuli, the righting reflex, swimming, and operculation were recorded. Varying anesthetic induction times were observed with all three euthanasia solutions; the time to CPM in the 2-PE group occurred at a significantly slower rate than in the MS-222 group (P < 0.01). No significant differences were identified for the time to CPM when comparing the standard length or weight of the cichlids in all euthanasia solutions (P > 0.05). The cost of euthanasia per cichlid was calculated, with the most economically viable option being 2-PE; at more than seven times the price of 2-PE, MS-222 was the most expensive. After a 60-min immersion in the euthanasia solution, the presence of an audible heartbeat was identified in 100% of the cichlids immersed in 2-PE, 100% immersed in CO, and 90% in MS-222, indicating that they were not reliably euthanized. Therefore, a two-step protocol is recommended in cichlids for euthanasia: heavy anesthesia via immersion followed by an intravenous or intracardiac injection of euthanasia solution, or other secondary method of euthanasia.