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Policy#: 529-351

Title: ANIMAL USE PROCEDURE: Freshwater Fish Health Surveillance Program

Effective: 8/1/2021



The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that appropriate procedures should be in place for disease surveillance and diagnosis. The intent of this policy is to provide guidance on health surveillance of aquatic species used for teaching, research, testing, or demonstration on campus.


The health surveillance program for fish species requires that, at a minimum:

  •  Testing must be performed annually at a minimum. More frequent testing may be necessary in colonies where new fish are routinely introduced from outside sources.
  • Fish from each laboratory must be tested for the Mycobacterium species. (Agents listed under “Mycobacterium Profile” by IDEXX Bioanalytics Diagnostic Laboratory for testing ( Additional pathogens may be tested for at the discretion of the attending veterinarian.

Typically, fish selected for submission will include those housed in the pre-filtration sump, fish showing signs of illness, and/or fish selected randomly from tanks. Alternatively, environmental samples (biofilm, sediment, detritus) can be submitted frozen to a diagnostic lab. Details for sample submission can be found at

Researchers are encouraged to consult with the Campus Veterinarian to define the details of the health surveillance program most appropriate to their research.

In addition to the above health surveillance program, research staff should contact the veterinarian if their colony experiences an increase in fish morbidity or mortality. Additional diagnostics may be warranted in such situations.

Investigators who wish to modify their laboratory’s health surveillance program from this policy should submit a written justification in an AUP/amendment for consideration by the IACUC.

Record Keeping

Labs should keep copies of test results and provide a copy to the veterinarian for review. Records should be kept for approximately 3 years.


The cost of fish health monitoring is the responsibility of the labs maintaining the fish colonies.


Approved May 17, 2021; Effective: August 1, 2021