[Zbrafish] Help needed with Fish room practices

Sillitti, Joseph (NIH/NICHD) [C] via zbrafish%40net.bio.net (by sillittj from mail.nih.gov)
Fri Oct 13 12:39:09 EST 2006

My responses are below in blue.
Thank you.
Joseph Sillitti, LATG
Aquatic Project Manager
Charles River Laboratories/NIH-Contractor
14G/104A 14 Service Rd. South MSC 5590
Bethesda, MD 20892-5590
Phone: 301-451-1398
Pager: 800-429-1610
Fax: 301-480-1317
Email: sillittj from mail.nih.gov <mailto:sillittj from mail.nih.gov> 

From: Burdine, Rebecca D [mailto:rburdine from Princeton.EDU] 
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 10:46 AM
To: zbrafish from magpie.bio.indiana.edu
Subject: [Zbrafish] Help needed with Fish room practices
Hi everyone,
Our fish facility at Princeton is under my supervision and animal care
has minimal input into our facility.  The only thing they do is take the
trash out that we place in the hallway.  However, each time we come up
for inspection by the University Committee on Animal Care or larger
inspections from the AAALAC, we begin to have some disagreements with
the departmental animal care staff.
I would like to hear how other fish facilities are run with respect to
animal care and proper AAALAC practices.  In addition, if anyone has
answers to the questions below, I would appreciate it.
1)       Does a University Animal Care group run your facility?  If not,
how much input do they provide?
Here at NIH we have a Research Animal Management Branch.  We have a
branch that is dedicated to running all the aquatic facilities and they
are in charge of managing all the fish and frog rooms here on campus.
They are responsible for working with the care staff and implementing
all policies and procedures that are used in the rooms.  The care staff
is mainly responsible for coming up with the guidelines and the RAMB
staff approves them.  They are basically the liaison between the
research staff that uses the animals and the husbandry staff that cares
for the animals.
2)       Are you required to wear disposable lab coats, booties, and/or
face masks to enter your facility?
We do not wear any kind of PPE in our facilities.  We always provide
gloves if users would like to use them but they are not required.  I
think that it is too hard to feed and get slippery when they get wet. 
3)       What do you label your tanks with?  Does anyone else use tape?
Is this an issue?
We use vinyl tape to label our tanks.  This works very well to write on
and you are able to transfer it from tank to tank without any residue
being left.  It also comes in many different colors and we can use it to
differentiate different labs and researchers.  We have never had any
issues with this tape and AAALAC has never said anything about it being
a problem.  We have started to test some bar code labels in one room
also.  I don't have much info yet but could pass that on when we get it.
We are basically thinking of putting the bar code on the vinyl tape so
it can be transferred from tank to tank just like the tape can be
4)       How do you deal with rust in your facilities?  
Unlike most other people we have dealt with rust in our facilities.  We
have a few rooms that have been set up for about 10 years now and the
metal stands that some the racks were on rusted pretty badly.  We had to
have a structural engineer look at them and he deemed that they were
unsafe to work around and we had to have them replaced.  This was one
isolated incident so I don't think it is a huge deal and something that
most facilities would have to deal with.  What we did in this situation
is cut back out population as much as we could and we were able to move
tanks around and replace the rack stands in small sections.  Usually we
deal with the surface rust by using a scrub pad and just scrubbing it
off using RO water.
5)       How do people feel about using paint or other chemicals that
leave fumes in the facility?
Chemicals in the facility I think are a much bigger issue than the
paint.  We only use bleach in our fish rooms for cleaning the floors.
We do not use any other chemicals in the holding rooms for fear that
they might get in the system.  We have painted small sections of rooms
in the past without any problems.  We would never paint over an open
reservoir of system water or anything but on a yearly basis at least we
have a crew that comes through and patches and paints any problems that
we may have with the wall, ceilings, doors, etc.
On a side note, we did do a fry survival test in one of our facilities
when a new floor was being put in.  An adjacent facility was having a
new floor installed by Life Science and we wanted to see if the use of
those chemicals or the process of putting the floor in would harm the
fish.  We housed fish in the room where the floor was being put down and
housed the same line of fish in one of our regular fish rooms and did a
survival comparison.  We saw absolutely no difference in the survival of
the two sets of fish.  We wanted to do this because the chemicals used
on the floor say that they are safe for animals and the fumes will not
harm them but that was based on the use of mammals and there was nothing
about aquatics.  So in the future we are pretty confident that if work
like that is being done around our facilities that we won't have to
worry about it.
Any input would be greatly appreciated! 
Rebecca D. Burdine, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Molecular Biology
Princeton University
Washington Road Mof 433
Princeton, NJ 08544 
Phone: (609) 258-7515
Fax: (609) 258-1343
Email: rburdine from princeton.edu
Admin Assistant: Cathy Falk (609) 258-1604
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