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Am J Vet Res. 1997 Feb;58(2):131-5.

Effects of ammonia and nitrate concentration on hematologic and serum biochemical profiles of hybrid striped bass (Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis).

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061, USA.



To investigate the effects of poor water quality on hematologic and biochemical analytes in hybrid striped bass.


Hybrid striped bass (reciprocal cross: female Morone chrysops x male M saxatilis) maintained in 2,000-L tanks with undergravel filters.


Fish were acclimated to high ammonia (0.15 mg/L) and nitrate (200 mg/L) concentrations for 6 weeks prior to sample collection. Hematologic and biochemical profiles were determined for these fish and for fish kept under normal conditions (control). Comparisons were made among the 3 water qualities and with reference intervals determined previously.


Significant differences in hematologic and biochemical analytes were observed between fish in the various groups; however, most of the values were within established reference intervals. All values from fish in the high ammonia concentration tank were either within the reference interval or not significantly different from control values. Fish from the high nitrate concentration tank had higher serum creatinine values and lower chloride values than did control fish, and both analytes were substantially outside the reference intervals.


High ammonia concentration of 0.15 mg/L did not affect any of the blood analytes measured. The hypercreatininemia and hypochloremia observed in fish from the 200 mg of nitrate/ml tank were considered to be pathologic changes associated with the high nitrate concentration.


Determining the effects of water quality on hematologic and biochemical values helps to develop clinical pathology as a diagnostic tool in fish.

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