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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Preserved Fish Skeleton  (Read 34052 times)

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MANBEARPIG

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Alright fellas, I really want to preserve some fish skeletons of different species for display.  Ive always been into biology and such, and think it would be a cool project.  But when I search online, I only find the masters degree explanation.  :smt011 Can anyone break it down and give me the Junior college explanation on the process. :smt003 Any materials I might need?  So far I have read that there are certain bugs that will eat the meat but leave the bone intact.  I have also read about boiling, but im worried that will turn the bones into a gelatonous mess. How do i get started???  :smt006
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HamachiJohn

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sounds like a pretty cool project.  Would love to see the finished product!

Btw, bring over a fresh fish to my house.  I'll give it back to you with all the meat picked clean and only the bones remaining.   :smt003
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Tote

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Remove as much of the meat as you can from the fish w/o damaging the skeleton. Put the cleaned fish in a cage so no animal will take it. Make sure it can't be dragged off (tent stakes and rope). Place the cage on an ant hill and give them some time.
Not sure I can get any more basic than that.  :smt044
<=>


MANBEARPIG

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Remove as much of the meat as you can from the fish w/o damaging the skeleton. Put the cleaned fish in a cage so no animal will take it. Make sure it can't be dragged off (tent stakes and rope). Place the cage on an ant hill and give them some time.
Not sure I can get any more basic than that.  :smt044

That's great advice, thanks Tote! I was thinkin something like that, but couldn't figure out a way to keep the critters off it. The cage is the secret weapon. You da man!  :smt003
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas Edison


fishshim

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Don't boil a fish, they have a lot of cartilage that will dissolve in boiling water and the bones can get all warped.BTDT :smt044
The pros use dermistid beetles to eat away the flesh. Totes idea of ants will also work. After you get the meat off, the bones have to be de-greased and bleached to look clean and white. Not with chlorine bleach more like hydrogen peroxide.
 
Here is a little blurb I found http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/factsheet10.pdf
Heres another
Quote
In my exprerience fish bones need to be cleaned using beetles and degerased in ACETONE.
Im guessing you dont have access to beetles so either find someone who will clean them or SIMMER in straight water, dont boil.
Degrease in acetone. Fish bones are layered, even the jaws, if you degrease in
warm water and dawn (washing up liquid) they will fall apart!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 05:57:05 PM by fishshim »


BigRed

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Dermestid beetles are easier to find that you'd think...  you know those fuzzy little wormy things you sometimes find in containers of bait crickets or mealworms?  Those are dermestid larvae.  Also, you can collect your own by putting something dead out for a day in the sun -- the beetles just fly on in!

Or you could buy 'em from a science supply catalog.
http://wardsci.com/ has them.
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Rock Hopper

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I imagine you could also put the carcass anywhere there is a high concentration of yellow jackets. Might be faster than ants.





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When I was a kid i did the bleach solution thing on a number of bones skulls (bird, possum, etc) and it worked great.
I tried  the bleach solution on a huge ling skull my dad & I found in Oregon and it dissolved into mush. I was bummed, but my mom was most irritated that I'd insisted we bring the dried out old fish head home from OR in the first place. I never heard the end of it.

I would love to try tanning some ling hide but just haven't found the motivation yet.
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ab10

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I've done it with a lingcod skull.  It was more of an assignment, so I was required to boil the head until the meat came off then dry the bones in the sun (protected from scavenging of course)  I then went to Monterey Bay Aquarium where they have an articulated lingcod skeleton, took a bunch of pics, then proceeded to glue gun the bones back together.  The boiling part is tougher with oiler fish like salmon, tuna, etc... then they start to break down more or so I was told.

If you do it right, the end result is great.  Mine came out good enough that the professor kept my skull. :smt011


Rob

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I am doing the same thing with the ling that i got last week. After i filleted it I put the whole thing in the freezer until I find time to get it started.
 How did yours turn out?
Rob


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I thought about doing it with that WolfEel skull but it was too tasty and I got carried away picking the meat off the head jaws and pulled most of it apart!!
 :smt005 :smt005
I saved the skull and the top set of molars still attached to it....top of the skull on that thing is crazy alien looking...once I get back from GS5 will play with it and take some pics so you all can see!
 :smt006
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Der_Huntsman

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Found this while pretending to work. Manbearpig, did you try it and how did it work out? I have done exactly what Tote said with deer skulls, but curious how it worked with a fish. Maybe wrap in cheesecloth since the bones are so much smaller to keep the bugs from dragging them off one by one? I would like to do something like this and put it in a shadowbox. Any new info someone may have would be appreciated.
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scottymeboy

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Did this with salt and boraxo last summer,
It was my PB Ling- 37 1/2 I got at Albion.
Poured salt and boraxo all over the skull,
Put it in a box and stuck it in the shed for
3 months
Looking for a nice piece of driftwood I can mount it on....
Scotty
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Does that thing stink? It looks like it might not be for the indoors.


Der_Huntsman

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I've done that with rattlesnake skin pinned to a board before Scotty. It's pretty well mummified WildernessMedic, I doubt it really smells like much unless you put your face right up to it.
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