[Zbrafish] Re: Question about Personnel to Rack/Tank Ratio

finchg from ohsu.edu via zbrafish%40net.bio.net (by finchg.ohsu.edu from gmail.com)
Tue Sep 8 15:38:51 EST 2009

On Aug 30, 9:32 am, Caroline <cdietz.hun... from gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello All,
>      I'm the Zebrafish Technician for a facility with 18 racks (~1100
> tanks), and 3 more are scheduled to be installed tomorrow ( for a
> total of 4 separate recirculating systems). Currently, I'm the only
> staff member who cares for the fish and facility, and I'm quite
> concerned that I will not be able to keep up with the workload. Since
> aquatic model organisms aren't as strictly regulated or as well-
> established as the murine species, I've not been able to find any
> information regarding the "typical" job description of the Zebrafish
> Tech, how other institutions delegate fish facilities duties, and how
> many people they employ to cover these tasks. So, I was hoping to get
> some feedback on this matter from other members of the zebrafish
> community for a means of comparison, and hopefully some information to
> take to my supervisors.
> Thanks so much
> Caroline

      We have two full time fish techs in our lab caring for about 16
AHAB-style racks of fish and additionally raising fry, culturing para/
shrimp, doing extensive test crossing, and fin-clipping.  You are
correct that there is scant information with regards to "typical" job
responsibilities for a fish tech.  I think that job description varies
a lot from facility to facility, sometimes a tech might be responsible
for crossing lines, raising fry, ordering supplies, doing janitorial,
washing cages/tanks, fixing broken system components, etc. whereas in
other facilities they might be just feeding (though this is probably
rare).  In many cases the PI may have little or no sense of the work
load involved in caring for the fish, therefore I am sympathetic to
your plea for some hard data to take to them.  Don't be afraid to ask
for help or to let your superiors know if your work load is
unreasonable.  If you work at an undergrad university, many facilities
use work-study students as aids to their fish techs.  Remember, as a
fish tech your primary responsibility is to keep the fish healthy
(which might mean asking for additional help).  Good Luck

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