Improving ornamental fish welfare during commercial transport

Myriam Vanderzwalmen, Katherine Sloman, Donna Snellgrove, Peter Carey

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review


Millions of ornamental fishes undergo transport every year and as a result can experience high levels of stress. Previous research has focused on maintaining good water quality during transport; few studies have considered how the transport environment might be manipulated, e.g. using water conditioners or enrichment to enhance fish welfare. We investigated whether a commercial water conditioner (containingAloe vera) or environmental enrichment could improve the welfare of variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus) during commercial transport. Firstly, water conditioner was added to transport bags for either long (Singapore to Scotland, > 30 h; n=16 bags of fish with and without water conditioner) or short (wholesaler to retailer within Scotland, < 9 h; n=11) commercial transports. Secondly, enrichment was added to transport bags for short (< 9 h; n =12 bags with and without enrichment) commercial transports. Behaviour, mortality and body injuries of platys were monitored on arrival at their destinations. No differences in mortality or body injury were seen between treatments and controls; mortality remained low throughout (<5%). Following long-haul transport, platys shipped with water conditioner showed less erratic swimming and were less aggressive during recovery. Addition of water conditioner during the shorter transport also resulted in less erratic swimming behaviour, although here an increase in chasing behaviour was seen during recovery. These studies indicate that the use of water conditioners and enrichment warrants further research, particularly within transport chains were higher levels of mortality exist.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019
EventSociety for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting: Costa Del Science - FIBES II Conference and Exhibition Centre, Seville, Spain
Duration: 2 Jul 20195 Jul 2019


ConferenceSociety for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting
Internet address


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