Minimally invasive evaluation of the anaesthetic efficacy of MS‐222 for ornamental discus fish using skin mucus biomarkers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Ming‐Yan Ouyang, Bin Wen, Huan‐Chao Ma, Chen Chen, Jian‐Zhong Gao, Yuan Zhang, Zai‐Zhong Chen
Aquaculture Research
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Skin mucus has been demonstrated to provide stress biomarkers for evaluating the physiological status, providing new convenient and non‐invasive methods to detect stress response in fish. Here, we investigated the anaesthetic efficacy of tricaine methanesulphonate (MS‐222; 75–115 mg/L) for discus Symphysodon aequifasciata (34.27 ± 4.46 g; 8.10 ± 0.59 cm) using skin mucus stress biomarkers. The induction time, recovery time and respiratory frequency were also determined. According to the criteria for anaesthesia and recovery, discus fish to reach stage A3 (deep anaesthesia) within 3 min and to reach stage R4 (full recovery of normal behaviour) within 5 min were observed at 95–105 mg/L MS‐222. Respiratory frequency increased first and then decreased during MS‐222 exposure and increased after recovery. At 10 min after deep anaesthesia, a lower mucus glucose was only observed at 115 mg/L MS‐222. No change in mucus cortisol and increased lactate were observed in all treatments. Increased mucus protein was observed at 75, 85 and 95 mg/L MS‐222. At 10 min after recovery, increased mucus glucose and decreased mucus protein were observed at 85, 95 and 115 mg/L MS‐222, but increased mucus cortisol only at 115 mg/L and lactate only at 75 and 105 mg/L MS‐222. At 24 hr after recovery, mucus glucose returned to the initial level only at 75, 95 and 105 mg/L MS‐222, while cortisol at 75 and 85 mg/L and protein and lactate at 75 mg/L respectively. Overall, the effective dose of MS‐222 for discus fish has been suggested to be 95–105 mg/L.


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