Morris Water Maze

Last updated: August 20, 2015

I. Purpose

The Morris Water Tank (270 gallon modified stock tank) is utilized by investigators to swim rats to test their cognitive abilities. The purpose of this SOP is to ensure that the water within the tank is free of enteric and pathogenic bacteria that could adversely affect the health of the rats.

II. Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the LAR staff to monitor the sanitation of the animal’s environment which is inclusive of the Morris Water Maze tank (MWM).

III.   Monitoring sanitation and water in the Morris Water Maze Tank

A. Monitoring the water within the MWM tank will begin when studies utilizing this tank are initiated. Monitoring will utilize Hygiene SytemSure Plus (AquaSnaps and UltraSnaps)

B. Getting started

  • Before filling the MWM tank, position the tank so that the water release valve is over the room drain and in the closed position
  • Add 270 gallons of well water using the designated water hose within room 15B. Monitor the filling process to ensure the tank does not overflow. The filling process requires about 25 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of Clorox bleach to the tank.
  • Check the water temperature of the tank with the immersible thermometer
  • The required temperature of the water will be listed within the approved AUP. Add the large or small stock tank heater until the desired temperature is achieved. 

C. When MWM tank is in regular use

  • Test ATP with Hygiene AquaSnaps
    • After 3 days of animal use within the MWM tank, test the water with Hygiene AquaSnaps. The baseline of Hygiene AquaSnaps will be <150 RLU - ATP
    • If the Hygiene AquaSnaps reading is <150 RLU - ATP after 7, days empty the tank by opening the water release valve (emptying the tank will take approximately 3 hours)
      • Sanitize the tank using the sponge/scrub pad designated for the MWM tank. The designated sponge/scrub pad is located at the well valve.

      • Wipe out the entire tank (do not use any soap or detergent in tank)

D.  Document the cleaning on the clipboard spreadsheet located in Room 015B

IV. Procedure for use of Hygiene AquaSnaps

A.  Getting started

  • Press red power ON/OFF button (program will default to Program #0)
  • Select test plan
  • Press*key to get to menu (Select User ID will appear)
  • Use up arrow key to get to the test plan menu
  • Press OK key - plan # will flash
  • Use arrow keys to locate desired plan
  • Press OK to select plan
  • Select location within plan (or select location without selecting plan)
  • Press P key
  • Use arrow keys to locate desired location
  • Press OK to select location

B.  Calibration (monthly, use positive/negative control kit to verify accuracy of SystemSure- step by step directions for the positive control kit are listed in the Hygiena instruction booklet)

C.  Testing

  • UltraSnap Swabs - Environmental Testing
    • Obtain swab from drugs & medical supply refrigerator in HSB 016
    • Let swabs sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before testing
    • DO NOT touch the bottom end of test tube
    • Withdraw swab by gently pulling and twisting the swab from the swab tube
    • Swab surface in a four X four inch square (~100 square centimeters) while rotating swab
    • Put swab back in swab tube
    • Hold the swab tube firmly and use the thumb and forefinger to break the Snap Valve by bending the bulb forward and backward, snapping it completely off
    • Squeeze the bulb twice to expel the liquid
    • Shake swab tube back and forth for 5-10 seconds
    • Open lid on SystemSURE and insert swab tube, holding the device upright (90 degree angle)
    • Close lid and press OK
    • Results will appear in 15 seconds
  • AquaSnap Swabs - Water Testing 
    • Obtain swab from drugs & medical supply refrigerator in HSB 016
    • Let swabs sit at room temperature for 2-5 minutes before testing
    • Do not touch the bottom end of test tube
    • Withdraw swab by gently pulling and twisting the swab from the swab tube
    • Submerge sample collection tip in sample water.  Aquasnap will collect 100 microliters of sample
    • Put swab back in swab tube and gently shake to release sample off the collection tip and into swab tube
    • Hold the swab tube firmly and use the thumb and forefinger to break the Snap Valve by bending the bulb forward and backward, snapping it completely off
    • Squeeze the bulb twice to expel the liquid
    • Shake swab tube back and forth for 5-10 seconds
    • Open lid on SystemSURE and insert swab tube, holding the device upright (90 deree angle)
    • Close lid and press OK
    • Results will appear in 15 seconds

V.  Interpreting Data

A.  Water baseline measurements in HSB are 0