Standard Operating Procedures for use of sea water facilities

Wet Lab Facilities Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures

1. IACUC approval is needed for all vertebrate animal work. Information on FIU's Animal Care and Use Program can be found on the Department of Laboratory Animal Research's website.

2. Species specific Standard Operating Procedures are required for animal work. The facilities basic SOP's can be found here. In recognition of the fact that there are numerous aquatic species from a diverse range of environments, and subsequently a comparably diverse range of captive husbandry requirements, this SOP can not cover all aquatic species. This document provides guidance on the general issues that must be addressed in an SOP, as well as items such as lab hygiene that are not variable. It is a good basis to create your specific SOP's. AAALAC also provides some excellent guidelines for aquatic animal work in their Eighth Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC 2011). Additionally AAALAC also uses the standards from the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes, Council of Europe (ETS 123, with Appendix A containing the information pertinent to aquatic animal research. As FIU is AAALAC accredited (this covers both vertebrate and invertebrates), these sources should factor highly in planning your experimental animal husbandry, research, and creating a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your specific research animal needs.

3. Training is necessary for use of the facility. This training is simply to teach the personnel doing the wet lab work about the operational requirements of the facility. Not only will this help ensure the facility isn’t damaged by user error, but also ensures your lab personnel will be able to fully function within the facility to get your research needs met.

4. Set up. Guidance and basic help for set up is available from the building manager, Bill Chamberlain.

5. Wood items, such as used for making tank stands or work benches, need to be sealed with paint or polyurethane. Paint is usually preferable, as it is very obvious to the casual onlooker.

6. As these facilities are often shared with other researchers, please keep things clean and avoid sprawling equipment, supplies and such outside your assigned area. Avoiding clutter also helps your research area pass routine IACUC inspections.

7. When done with the facility, the area needs to be left clean. Especially any facility provided equipment, such as tanks, that were used. If not left clean, there will be a charge billed to your lab.

8. Any problems with facility related equipment should be brought to the immediate attention of the building manager.

“Aquarium Room”

1. Pipes from ceiling supply seawater directly from the buildings seawater supply. This source can be directly hooked up via vinyl hose for use in filling aquaria or flow thru systems.

2. For organisms requiring high quality seawater, there is a 200 gallon reservoir of treated seawater. This water is filtered with a protein skimmer and ozone, making it suitable for work with sensitive organisms such as corals and larval fish. Due to the small volume of treated water, this is only available for closed system work.


1. Several small tanks (about 250 gallons ea.) are available to be used as closed system or can be set up as low volume flow through. These can be fed with either fresh “tap” water or sea water from the well system.

2. 3 large tanks (about 10,600 gallons ea.) are also located in this area. Each has independent recirculating filtration. These filters must be backwashed regularly to maintain the sand beds. When running empty, this is a weekly need. With animals, this backwashing will need to be more frequent. Sometimes as often as twice a day in heavily stocked systems. Backwashing of filters will be the responsibility of the user.