The Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory (SARL) is the central facility of the Aquatic Biomedical Models Facility Core (as well as Project 3 - Systems Approach to Define Toxicity of Complex PAH Mixtures with SRP). SARL is a unique national and international resource that continues to grow in size and capabilities.


The core facility serves a number of Center investigators by providing essential services. For example, investigators are provided study design assistance, research animals, tank space, complete fish husbandry services, standard and custom diets, morpholino design, microinjections, chemical exposures, transgenic production, data collection and data analysis assistance. These services are also provided to researchers at OSU, other US institutions or with international research groups to support, small pilot projects as space and resources are available.

SARL Facts and Specifics

Recirculating fish room capacity = 25,000 fish
Flow-through fish room capacity = 17,000 fish

Flow-through Water System versus Recirculation

Recirculating systems filter and clean the water for recycling back through fish tanks. Water is then replaced to make up that which is lost due to splashing, evaporation, filter changes, or to flush out waste materials. It is a closed controlled system where water is continually pre-filtered upon return to stock tanks. In contrast, a flow through system makes a single pre-filtered pass through tanks and is then discarded.

Both systems require robust filtration, chemical and temperature monitoring to maintain ideal water requirements suitable to zebrafish for health and optimal performance. All of these requirements as well as biosecurity is necessary for maintaining an SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) facility for mycobacteria.

Utilizing a Robot for Mass Production

On average, dechorionated embryos can be loaded from personnel into 96 well plates at a rate of 20-25 minutes per plate. At SARL, a single pick and place robot pinpoints and selects viable dechorionated embryos and places them in individual wells of 96-well plates at a rate of 15 min per plate.

Further information

Articles and Stories

K-12 Outreach Opportunities and Resources


At SARL there are many rows of zebrafish in mounted tanks. These tanks allow for efficient use of space. The tanks are back-lighted.


Dr. Robyn Tanguay and Eric Johnson discuss the status of the water processing equipment.

Dr. Robyn Tanguay holds one of the tanks from the rack system (seen in background) to check the health of the zebrafish within.


Eric Johnson checks the status of the computer controlled water processing system used to supply the zebrafish racks.