Jacobsen, J. V., Steen, K., Nilssen, K. J. 2019. Anaesthetic efficacy of Aqui-S, Benzoak, and MS-222 on lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) fries. Impact from temperature, salinity, and fasting. PLOS ONE 14(1), e0211080.

Large numbers of lumpfish are produced for the Norwegian salmon industry and are used to combat sea lice infestations. Periodically high mortality of farmed lumpfish demonstrates the need to improve farming conditions and animal welfare. As part of such efforts, the present work tested the efficacy of three anaesthetic chemicals on lumpfish fries (average weight of 0.97 g). The anaesthetic impact from salinity (15 ppt–18 ppt), temperature (12°C versus 7 and 18°C), and fasting conditions (three days) was also examined. Surgical anaesthesia was induced within 3 to 5 min (preferred time) at concentrations of 18 mg/L (Aqui-S), 37.5 mg/L (Benzoak), and 60 mg/L (buffered MS-222). Safety margins were regarded as low when using Aqui-S; therefore, this chemical was not considered suitable for prolonged exposures. The lumpfish made a rapid recovery from both Benzoak and MS-222 even after 20 min of exposure. A 6°C increase in exposure temperature (reaching 18°C) was found to delay or inhibit recovery. The effect of a 5°C decrease (down to 7°C) significantly reduced induction time for MS-222 and was insignificant for Aqui-S, while it prolonged Benzoak induction time significantly and gave a longer recovery period. Fasting resulted in 70% recovery after 20 min of Aqui-S exposure compared to 0% in fed fish but had only minor effects on Benzoak and MS-222. Use of brackish water (15 ppt–18 ppt) gave 20% recovery from Aqui-S and significantly shorter recovery time from MS-222 exposure, while the effects on Benzoak were insignificant.

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