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Name:  Gigi
Status:  educator
Age:  30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

How can I preserve a specimen (fish) for dissecting in the classroom?

I do not recommend such things in classrooms without proper ventilation...The typical aldehydes that are used are noxious. The least objectionable is using ethanol or isopropyl alcohol which in conjunction with refrigeration work ok...The more modern approach used by many colleges and high schools is to get a software that illustrates the same thing and/or an internet site which does the same. There are some fantastic web sites that show tomographic anatomical breakdowns of various life forms including humans.


The fish and lampreys I have preserved have been done using a high concentration of ethyl alcohol.

We had success using 100+ proof, the higher the better. You will need to use an injection of this solution to preserve the internal organs effectively. The sooner you do this after the fish has deceased, the better. Do not mix the alcohol with any aldehydes. I recommend not waiting too long to do the dissection. Also, rinse the specimens very well before allowing any student to work on the animal. The above is intended to be used for demonstration dissections and not for student use.


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