Analyze the toxicities of benzalkonium chloride as a COVID-19 disinfectant in physiological goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Sisilia Rivanda Arianto, Fendi Aprian Syah, Luthfiana Aprilianita Sari, Ayu Lana Nafisyah, Sulastri Arsad, Nadirah Musa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and Aims: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) impacts increasing the use of disinfectants (benzalkonium chloride), which indirectly accumulate in water. The disinfectant accumulation in waters has been studied, but there has been no study of its impact on aquatic commodities, especially fish with a high sensitivity, one of which is goldfish (Carassius auratus). Benzalkonium chloride can potentially affect several body proteins, including the cytoskeleton, nervous and endocrine systems, and fish physiology. This study aimed to determine the impact of benzalkonium chloride as a disinfectant on the level of color brightness, growth, gill histopathology, and mortality in goldfish. This investigation provides input into the impact of using disinfectants to prevent COVID-19 on aquatic commodities. Materials and Methods: This study utilized goldfish specimens sourced from Tulungagung, East Java, Indonesia. The experiment involved different concentration levels of benzalkonium chloride: (T1) 0 mg/L, (T2) 0.03 mg/L, (T3) 0.06 mg/L, (T4) 0.09 mg/L, and (T5) 0.12 mg/L. The research data were subjected to an analysis of variance for analysis. In cases where significant differences were observed, Duncan’s test was conducted for color brightness, growth, and mortality data. Furthermore, if the gill histopathological data yielded significant differences, additional tests were applied (Kruskal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney test). Results: The findings of this study demonstrated significant differences (p < 0.05) in the level of color brightness, growth, gill histopathology, and mortality in goldfish in response to varying concentrations of benzalkonium chloride. The relationship between the length and weight of the goldfish was analyzed using regression coefficients (b values), which were determined as 4.86, −0.04, −0.2, 0.8, and −0.07, respectively. Notably, the brightness level in the T2 group exhibited positive color results with a hue value of 11.55°, while optimal growth was observed in the T4 group, as evidenced by b value of 0.8. The gill histopathological data showed significant differences (p < 0.05). The scoring of histopathological damage in the goldfish gills ranged from 0 to 10, with higher scores indicating more severe damage. The highest total score of 10 was observed in the T5 group exposed to a concentration of 0.12 mg/L, resulting in an 85% mortality rate. This indicates that benzalkonium chloride, with its toxic compounds, can disrupt the respiratory system of fish and lead to death. Conclusion: The effects of benzalkonium chloride were evident even at a concentration of 0.03 mg/L. With increasing concentration, there was an increase in mortality rate, a decrease in growth, and a rise in histopathological damage to the gills. These findings highlight the negative impact of using conventional disinfectants on water and its organisms, emphasizing the need for further research on environmentally friendly alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1407
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary World
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • color brightness
  • fisheries management
  • freshwater species
  • integrated multi-trophic aquaculture
  • mortality


Dive into the research topics of 'Analyze the toxicities of benzalkonium chloride as a COVID-19 disinfectant in physiological goldfish (Carassius auratus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this