Finfish Examination

Examination of fish is best undertaken in live fish. Fish tissues undergo rapid post-mortem changes making examination of fish that have been dead more than two hours of minimal diagnostic value.

NOTE: Fish necropsy can only be performed at our Glenside, South Australia laboratory.Please contact the laboratory to arrange a suitable time for submission.

In general fish are submitted to determine:

  • cause of death/disease
  • export certification

To determine cause of mortalities/disease

Submit 4-6 fish, live, in water.

Provided that the fish will reach the laboratory within at most two hours after death, one can submit 4-6 fish packed 'on ice', NOT FROZEN.

Supply a pertinent background history

If water quality testing has been undertaken e.g. oxygen level, pH these findings should be included in the background history.

Alternatively supply a water sample. We recommend at least 250-500 ml in a plastic pot/bottle. This will be forwarded to a referral laboratory for water quality testing.

The fish will be necropsied and samples collected for histopathology and bacterial culture and forwarded for other tests as deemed necessary by the pathologist on duty.


For export certification

Hatchling or fingerling fish can be submitted, usually 25 - 50 in 10% buffered formalin.

Histopathology is undertaken and culture if requested. For the latter, submit fingerlings (30-60mm). Smaller fish are too small for gill and kidney sampling for culture.

Supply a list of the diseases for which the importing country requires exclusion testing.

We require at least five working days to process and examine fish prior to issuing a report.


We only certify for absence of histopathological lesions consistent with the diseases specified. For definitive exclusion testing we advise the submitter to contact the relevant state government laboratory or the Australian Animal Health Laboratory of CSIRO to determine what samples should be collected.