Effects of Formalin on Length and Weight of Fishes

Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 04/2011; 20(6):1441-1455. DOI: 10.1139/f63-098

ABSTRACT Sockeye smolts, pink and chum fry, and pink and chum fingerlings (Oncorhynchus) were sequentially weighed and measured when alive and after death in water and after killing and storage in formalin up to 225 days. The fish shrank within 12 hours to 97% and by 30–40 days to 96% of live length. Further changes in length were not significant. These same relative changes were observed from fish of different sizes, and the values were not significantly different among groups preserved in formaldehyde solutions of fresh or sea water. In fresh water, fish gained weight while yet alive but under anaesthesia. In freshwater formalin, fish gained weight rapidly for 1 or 2 days, then lost weight at a decelerating rate to the time of last measurement. Fish killed and stored in salt water formalin lost weight for the first few days, then gained weight at a decelerating rate. Relative magnitudes and rates of change were inversely related to size of specimens contained in the sample. These changes had pronounced effects on relative condition factors which varied from 97 to 135% of live values depending upon size of fish, type of formalin and time in preservative.



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