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[Zbrafish] Help needed with Fish room practices

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Old 10-06-2006, 04:04 PM
Thomas Bartman
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Default [Zbrafish] Help needed with Fish room practices


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:

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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