[Zbrafish] Help needed with Fish room practices

Thomas Bartman thomas.bartman at cchmc.org
Fri Oct 6 11:04:04 EST 2006


I have posted to this group before with similar issues about 2-3 years ago 
as I was getting a facility started here in Cincinnati.  You might be able 
to look back and see people's answers to my original query.  However, I 
have had experiences since then, and can fill you in (AAALAC is actually on 
our campus today).  Answers to your questions (by number).

1) When I arrived here, I aimed for the model you have - no involvement of 
Veterinary Services whatsoever - because that is what I had seen from where 
I came.  But, Veterinary Services here expected total involvement, like 
they would with mice or any other animal.  So, we came at it from very 
different perspectives which led to a few years of bitterness.  We have 
reached a point where we both agreed that we had different strengths and 
weaknesses, and we would find a way to complement instead of antagonize 
each other.

Our facility is located in space assigned to Veterinary Services, although 
separate from the main animal facility.  My lab and I do all but the 
simplest maintenance - we do the feeding, fry rearing, changes of in-line 
filters, adjusting of water quality, etc.  They change filter pads under 
the racks, check each tack each day and leave a note of their concerns 
(sick looking fish, dirty tanks, inadequate water flow, etc.) which we 
correct, and they do all documentation for AAALAC, etc. (keep logs of water 
quality, maintenance tasks that we perform, etc.).  So, they are pretty 
hands-off, but do take care of all sorts of paperwork, etc. that is 
required for regulatory agencies.  I can imagine if/when I get more 
comfortable with their understanding of the animal and the facility that I 
may gradually transfer some more tasks to them, although I am not ready to 
do that yet.

I do pay a per-tank per diem for their oversight.  In one sense, I think it 
is silly, but on the other hand my lab/division does not pay overhead on 
the space so it still probably works out in my favor, and the rate is 
acceptably low.  And, they do make our job a little easier when they point 
out a sick/dead fish that we didn't notice during our feeding.

2) No.

3) We use typical laboratory tape (various colors from Fisher).  It was an 
issue that Vet Services raised, because AAALAC has criticized it at 
times.  However, I felt there was no good alternative - especially since we 
wanted a quick way to identify the lab member responsible for each tank.  I 
spoke with Dr. Kathryn Bayne, director of accreditation at AAALAC 
(301-231-5353), and asked if laboratory tape could be used in the fish 
facility.  She was a pleasant woman and we had a very nice 
conversation.  She stated that there is no fixed rule against using tape, 
that no one has ever lost accreditation because of tape, and that she has 
seen taped used in other facilities.  She said a worst-case scenario would 
be that its use would be mentioned as a "Suggestion for Improvement", which 
is something that institutions are free to ignore with no consequences (and 
she doubted that it would even get listed at all).

She stated that their concern, which could theoretically cause tape to be 
listed as a "Suggestion for Improvement", is that residue left behind when 
tape is removed could collect dust and grime.  Given that, she said that if 
we documented a) that we were aware of this potential concern, b) we had a 
mechanism for dealing with it (i.e., a statement that any time tape is 
removed it is removed completely), and c) that its use had a specific 
benefit or that there was no good alternative, then using tape would be 
fine.  I suggested that the specific benefit was that we had different 
colors for different lab members allowing us to notify the correct person 
if there is a problem with a tank - and she thought this sounded great 
(especially as the lab expands towards a dozen members).  I mentioned that 
the only alternative is static labels, but that they fall off, and she 
agreed that if there was a chance of this (and thus having to sacrifice 
tanks because the fish were no longer identifiable), then it would be 
better for the animals to use tape.

4) We have had no rust.

5) I would avoid this at all costs.  There are fish facilities with fume 
hoods in them for experiments which may cause vapors, but I would not paint 
anything in the room after animals are in there.

At 10:46 AM 10/6/2006, you wrote:
>Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
>Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
>         boundary="----_=_NextPart_001_01C6E956.256F3989"
>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?
>2)       Are you required to wear disposable lab coats, booties, and/or 
>face masks to enter your facility?
>3)       What do you label your tanks with?  Does anyone else use tape? Is 
>this an issue?
>4)       How do you deal with rust in your facilities?
>5)       How do people feel about using paint or other chemicals that 
>leave fumes in the facility?
>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: <mailto:rburdine at princeton.edu>rburdine at princeton.edu
>Admin Assistant: Cathy Falk (609) 258-1604
>Zbrafish mailing list
>Zbrafish at net.bio.net

Thomas Bartman, M.D., Ph.D.
Divisions of Neonatology, Pulmonary Biology, and Developmental Biology
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
3333 Burnet Ave, MLC 7009
Cincinnati, OH  45229-3039

Office: 513-636-9902 
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