Fish Pathology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​AHL undertakes testing of aquatic animals from both freshwater and seawater. Please notify the laboratory prior to sending whole animals for necropsy.

Field Sampling - Finfish

  • Fix tissues in 10% buffered formalin, at a minimum ratio of 1:10 tissue to fixative; 
  • Detailed guidance on field sampling can be found in

  Guidelines and Procedures Manual for Field Sampling of Fish for Disease Investigation and Health Monitoring   (624Kb)​

Laboratory examination


  • select moribund animals; 
  • immediately pack on crushed ice and send without delay; (fish should arrive the same day as they are sent; the interval between collection and arrival should not exceed 24 hours);
  • small fish, 1-10 g in size, can be submitted live in plastic bags containing water and sealed under oxygen. Fish submitted this way should be kept cool and arrive the same day as collection.

Molluscs or crustaceans

  • submit in an insulated box;
  • ​multiple ice-bricks should be placed around the samples and dispatch immediately;
  • animals should arrive at AHL within 24 hours.
  • provide a clear history including lease number, growing conditions (e.g. sub-tidal or intertidal), salinity, temperature etc.

Larval materials/spat

  • ​fixed in 10% buffered seawater formalin or submit in seawater – clearly mark the container with the liquid content
  • NB – refer to Fish Microbiology and/or Molecular Biology sections for further information.


Animal Health Laboratory - Specimen Reception
(Postal) PO Box 46
(Delivery) 165 Westbury Road
Phone: 03 6777 2111