Fish are coated with an external layer of protective mucus. This layer serves as the primary barrier against infection or injury, reduces friction, and plays a role in ionic and osmotic regulation. However, the mucus layer is easily disturbed when fish are netted, handled, transported, stressed, or subjected to adverse water conditions. Water additives containing polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) or proprietary polymers have been used to prevent the deleterious effects of mucus layer disturbances in the commercial tropical fish industry, aquaculture, and for other fisheries management purposes. This paper reviews research on the effectiveness of water conditioners, and examines the contents and uses of a wide variety of commercially available water conditioners. Water conditioners containing polymers may reduce external damage to fish held in containers during scientific experimentation, including surgical implantation of electronic tags. However, there is a need to empirically test the effectiveness of water conditioners at preventing damage to and promoting healing of the mucus layer. A research agenda is provided to advance the science related to the use of water conditions to improve the condition of fish during handling and tagging.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 31, 2010
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