Clearly, in an aging colony, accurate identification of individuals' ages must be provided. Thus, attention must be given to establishing a record-keeping system and housing method that allow fish ages to be identified. We typically maintain approximately 20-30 fish from any one birthdate in a tank that is clearly labeled with the birthdate of the fish. When using animals, consideration should be given to the fish's ages in order to minimize time of the experiment. For example, if one needs fish at 6 months and 2 years of age, it would be more efficient to start the 2 year fish aging, and then approximately 1.5 years later, start the 6 month fish aging. This will result in both groups reaching their target ages at the same time and thus allow for consistency during animal collection and test procedures. Additionally, it will serve to minimize overall experimental time (in this example, to approximately 2 years) as opposed to aging the 6-month-old animals and then starting the 2-year-old animals.
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