>Documentation &
  Downloads

Instructions for 10:1 Visible Implant Elastomer (PDF 130K)
Sistemas Manuales de Inyección de Elastómero (PDF 146K)
VIE Manual Injection Kits (PDF)
APE02 - 10:1 Elastomer material safety data sheet (MSDS) (PDF 40K)
APE03 - Tagging Small Fish with Visible Implant Fluorescent Elastomer (PDF 62K)
APE04 - Instructions for tagging shrimp with the Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) system (PDF 58K)
APE05 - Fluorescing Visible Implant Elastomer and Visible Implant Alpha Tags (PDF 43K)
APE06 - Visible Implant Elastomer Tag Project Manual - Guidelines on planning and conducting projects using VIE and associated equipment (PDF 287K)
APG02 - Tagging Reptiles and Amphibians (PDF 60K)
NMT VIE Color Code Generator (MS Windows Installer 922K)
Project Manual (PDF 287K)
Elastomer Tag Air Driven Injection System Manual (PDF 395K)
APE06 - Visible Implant Elastomer Tag Project Manual (PDF 287K)
NMT VIE Color Code Generator

 

>Related

 

vie
VIE tagged coho salmon (O. kisutch) smolt under ambient light

vie2
VIE tagged coho salmon (O. kisutch) smolt viewed with NMT's VI Light.

Visible Implant Elastomer Tags (VIE)

frog
Photo courtesy of K. Kendall,
Alberta Fish & Wildlife Division

Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) is a two-part silicone based material that is mixed immediately before use. VIE tags are injected as a liquid that soon cures into a pliable, biocompatible solid. The tags are implanted beneath transparent or translucent tissue and remain externally visible. In many amphibians, VIE tags are even visible through darkly pigmented skin. VIE tags are widely used for marking an ever-broadening range of finfish, crustaceans, reptiles, and amphibians. Extensive information about using VIE is available in the Visible Implant Elastomer Tag Project Manual (PDF 294K)

VIE is available in six fluorescent and four non-fluorescent colors. The fluorescent colors are highly visible under ambient light and provide the option of greatly enhanced tag detection when fluoresced with the VI Light.

This feature was used to advantage by Buckley et al. (1994) [Abstract] in recovering small tagged reef fishes underwater; and also by Bonneau et al. (1995) [Abstract] in enumerating tagged trout in streams at night.

The pliability of the cured VIE tags, the small volume of material required to make a visible tag, and its tendency to occupy available space rather than displace and irritate surrounding tissue, combine to make VIE usable in specimens smaller than most other tags can accommodate.

For example, Frederick (1997) [Abstract] successfully VIE tagged reef fishes as small as 8 mm. Godin et al. (1995) [Abstract] applied VIE tags to shrimp as small as 0.2 grams.

Important Note:

Please note that components of different VIE formulas are not interchangeable. Please use only the components that are shipped together. The syringes will be marked with a date code. Both components should have the same code.

  • VIE Manual
    Injection Kits
  • VIE Manual
    Elastomer Injector
  • Air Driven Elastomer
    Injection System
  • VIE Colors
  • VIE Code Capacity
  • VIE Tag Detection
  • Filters
  • Videos

 

VIE Manual Injection Kits

Northwest Marine Technology's Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) tags are implanted internally beneath transparent or translucent tissues but remain externally visible. VIE tags are widely used for marking an ever-broadening range of finfish, crustaceans, reptiles, and amphibians. VIE is a medical-grade, two-part silicone based material that is mixed immediately before use and then injected as a liquid that cures into a pliable, biocompatible solid. Immediately after mixing, the user will have between 45 minutes (in warm environments) and 2 hours (in cold environments) of working time during which the tags can be injected.

VIE tags are available in ten colors, 6 fluorescent (red, yellow, orange, blue, green, pink) and 4 non-fluorescent (brown, black, purple, white). The visibility of our six fluorescent colors is greatly enhanced through the use of the VI Light. VIE tags are ideal for identifying batches, but by combining different colors, multiple tags per animal, and multiple tag injection sites, many individual codes can be created.

NOTE: VIE comes in 3ml syringes and can only be ordered in lots of 3 mls.  

The choice of color is critical to the success of the tagging effort. Please see Selecting VIE Colors and contact our biological support staff for more information.

Elastomer may be mixed in small or large quantities as needed. The number of tags that can be made with each ml of elastomer varies depending on time, temperature, and the size and availability of specimens to be tagged. The Manual Elastomer Injector is designed to apply maximum pressure, allowing for the elastomer to be dispensed easily from a 29-gage needle.

master

60ML Kit

The VIE 60ML Kit is the largest of the manual kits. It has enough material for approximately 12,000 tags. If you will be tagging many thousands of animals, please consider using the VIE Air Driven Elastomer Injection System. 

The kit contains:

  • 60 ml of elastomer (customer selects up to ten colors)
  • two Manual Elastomer Injectors
  • mixing and injection supplies
  • one VI Light
  • one VIE Color Detection Standard
  • field carrying case
  • written and video instructions.

4

24ML Kit

The VIE 24ML Kit is ideal for projects requiring a variety of colors.

The kit contains:

  • 24 ml of elastomer (customer selects up to eight colors)
  • one Manual Elastomer Injector
  • mixing and injection supplies
  • one VI Light
  • one VIE Color Standard
  • field carrying case
  • written and video instructions

single

6ML Kit

The VIE 6ML Kit is designed for projects where one color is needed for either a single batch tag, or for multiple batches where several tag locations are used.

The kit contains:

  • 6 ml of elastomer (customer selects up to two colors)
  • one Manual Elastomer Injector
  • mixing and injection supplies
  • one VI Light
  • one VIE Color Standard
  • field carrying case
  • written and video instructions

trial

Trial Pack

The Trial Pack is ideal for small tagging projects or for pilot studies evaluating the tags for larger projects.

The kit contains:

  • 1 ml of elastomer (customer chooses one color)
  • mixing and injection supplies
  • written and video instructions

 

refill

6ML Refill

When the supplies in your kit have been exhausted, NMT offers 6ML Refill Kits containing elastomer, mixing and injecting supplies.

Pricing

60ML Kit
60 ml of elastomer
(customer selects up to ten colors)
Two Manual Elastomer Injectors
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Detection Standard
Field carrying case
written and video instructions.

 

$1,165              

24ML Kit
24 ml of elastomer
(Customer selects up to eight colors)
One Manual Elastomer Injector
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Standard
Field carrying case
Written and video instructions

$535            

6ML Kit
6 ml of elastomer
(Customer selects up to two colors)
One Manual Elastomer Injector
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Standard
Field carrying case
Written and video instructions

$250

Trial Pack of Elastomer
1 ml of elastomer
Mixing and injecting supplies

$42

6ML Refill kit 
Mixing supplies
(Customer selects up to two colors)

$110

 

See also:

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VIE Manual Elastomer Injector

The VIE Manual Elastomer Injector is a heavy black sleeve which fits over the injection syringe when VIE will be injected manually. While some researchers prefer to tag without the Manual Elastomer Injector, most prefer the added comfort, control, and safety that the injector provides. The VIE Manual Elastomer Injector is included with VIE Kits and is also available separately to accommodate additional taggers.

manual injector
The NMT Manual Elastomer Injector.

manual rainbow
Tagging a rainbow trout with VIE using the Manual Elastomer Injector.

Pricing

Manual Elastomer Injection System
VIE tags can be purchased in a variety of kits to suit project designs. Elastomer material has a recommended shelf life of one year.

VIE Manual Elastomer Injector

$32

60ML
60 ml of elastomer
(customer selects up to ten colors)
Two Manual Elastomer Injectors
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Detection Standard
Field carrying case
written and video instructions.

 

$1,165              

24ML Kit
24 ml of elastomer
(Customer selects up to eight colors)
One Manual Elastomer Injector
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Standard
Field carrying case
Written and video instructions

 

$535            

6ML Kit
6 ml of elastomer
(Customer selects up to two colors)
One Manual Elastomer Injector
Mixing and injection supplies
One VI Light
One VIE Color Standard
Field carrying case
Written and video instructions

$252

Trial Pack of Elastomer
1 ml of elastomer
Mixing and injecting supplies

$42

6ML Refill kit 
Mixing supplies & up to 2 colors

$110


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Air Driven Elastomer Injection System

air driven
The Air Driven Elastomer Injector

Air Driven Elastomer Injector

Large -scale VIE tagging projects may be best accomplished using NMT's Air Driven Elastomer Injection System. This system uses a pulse of compressed air to push the elastomer from the injection syringe and can greatly reduce hand fatigue.

The system includes a main control box and all the necessary supplies to inject VIE. A VI Light is supplied with the injector to aid in tag detection. The user must supply compressed air at a minimum of 60 psi.

The injector works using a credit token system.  When you purchase supplies to use with this system you are also provided with a token which allows the machine to be operated for the number of tags purchased (plus an allowance for setting up and testing).  More than enough VIE material is supplied for the number of tags purchased.  The customer therefore pays by the tag rather than by the quantity of material supplied.

 

 

 

Pricing

Air Driven Elastomer Injection System

$5,500

Monthly Rental

$415           

Elastomer Marks

Quantity
5,000 - 9,000
10,000-99,000
100,000 - 999,000

Price
$163/1,000
 $126/1,000
$105/1,000

VIE Colors

NMT has developed Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) tags in ten colors. Red, orange, blue, yellow, green, and pink fluoresce under the VI Light for enhanced tag detection. Brown, black, white, and purple do not fluoresce. Certain color combinations can be difficult to distinguish. Researchers using VIE should carefully consider the colors they select for each project and the circumstances in which their tags will be recovered. In particular, we recommend that green and yellow not be used together in a study because they are difficult to distinguish when fluoresced or when placed under pigmented tissue.


VIE colors in ambient light (left) and fluoresced with the VI Light (right).

Selecting VIE Colors

Proper color selection is a vital part of good experimental design. Your choice depends on how much contrast you need with the background pigmentation, how many different colors you require, and the type of light you will use to fluoresce the tags. Please contact the biology office (email: biology@nmt.us) if you would like assistance.

General recommendations

  • Exhaust all possibilities with fluorescent colors before using non-fluorescent colors. Maximum tag detection is obtained using the VI Light and fluorescing elastomer that contrasts with the background pigment of the animal to be tagged.
  • Use non-fluorescent colors only when there is no potential for the tag to become obscured and when all tag detection will occur in bright light.
  • Fluorescent colors that blend with the background pigment allow cryptic tagging.
  • When using the VI Light, we recommend that the first four colors selected be red, yellow, orange, and blue.
  • Test the product under field conditions before beginning large-scale projects.

Colors that may be confused – Ambient Light

  • Black and brown appear nearly identical.
  • Brown and purple look similar. In deep-violet light, purple will appear much lighter while brown does not change. This feature may be used to help distinguish these colors.

Colors that may be confused – VI Light

  • Green and yellow appear nearly identical.
  • Red and pink look similar but can be separated if the VIE Color Standard is used and if the samplers are trained. We recommend that you test these two colors in your animal and with the samplers who will recover the tags.

Colors that may be confused – Blue Light with Amber Filters

  • Green and yellow appear nearly identical.
  • Red and pink appear nearly identical.
  • Blue does not fluoresce with blue light.

Fading

We are aware of a single project in which red, green, and blue elastomer tags faded after the fish were released into, and resided in shallow, sun-exposed streams. This unusual circumstance has not been reported elsewhere.

 

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VIE Code Capacity

While VIE is primarily used for batch identification, a surprising number of batches or individuals can be generated by combining multiple tags, multiple tag locations, and multiple colors. For example, researchers tracking seahorses have used this method to track more than 500 individual seahorses at one time. Please refer to Selecting VIE Colors or contact our biological services staff before selecting the colors for your project.

Six fluorescent colors (red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and pink) and four non-fluorescent colors (black, brown, white, and purple) constitute the only intrinsic VIE codes. If only one tag per fish were used, the number of potential unique tags is simply the product of the numbers of colors used and the locations. However, if two or more tags are used in each specimen, in combination with several different locations, many unique codes can be devised. In any tagging program, it is important that all of the study animals have the same number of tags. That way, there can be no confusion between animals which lost tags and those which began with fewer tags.

In general, the number of unique codes is found by the formula:
 

Where:

C = number of colors used

L = number of body locations

N = number of tags

For example, three body locations used with four colors (C = 4, L = 3, N = 3) would provide:

example

unique codes

NMT has created an application to calculate and list the unique codes available for a given number of body locations, tags and colors.  You can download it using the link below
 

Download

VIE TAG DETECTION

Color perception is highly variable among samplers. Colors appear differently in ambient light, in clear tissue, in pigmented tissue, and when fluoresced. Tags of different colors can generally be distinguished in ambient light in clear tissue, but those same colors may be confused if the marks are poor or are placed under pigmented tissue.

To maximize tag identification:

  • Choose distinct colors for tagging (see Selecting VIE Colors).
  • Tag in clear tissue whenever possible.
  • Train your samplers – let them practice with the tag colors they will encounter before they start collecting data.
  • Use the VIE Color Standard to correctly identify colors.
  • Use the VI Light to fluoresce poor or obscure marks.

Using the VIE Color Standard

standard

NMT's VIE Color Standard presents the ten VIE colors on a clear card. This allows the sampler to place the color sample directly beside a tag for comparison, either under or over the tagged tissue.

Customized color standards can be made at the time of tagging by dispensing some tags onto clear stiff plastic and then covering them with clear packing tape after the marks have cured. Labeling the colors is helpful.

Using the VI Light

VI Light

NMT's VI Light

Test the VI Light with the VIE Color Standard to ensure that the tags are adequately fluoresced. Shine the light directly on the area where the tag is  thought to be. Do not use an amber filter with the VI Light. If you are working in direct sunlight, you will need to fluoresce the tags in the shade – even the shade of your body is probably enough. Very faint tags are best seen when fluoresced in darkness.

 
caution

CAUTION!

  • Never look directly into the VI Light.
  • Keep VI Light out of the reach of children.

Blue Light and Amber Filters

NMT recommends the use of the VI Light for fluorescing our elastomer tags.

If you wish to continue using a blue light and amber filter to fluoresce the tags, please be aware that your color choices should be different than if you were using the VI Light (see Selecting VIE Colors). In particular, blue does not fluoresce with blue light. Red and pink are virtually indistinguishable when fluoresced with blue light, as are green and yellow. Your first three color choices should be orange, red (or pink), and yellow (or green). If you need more than three colors, we strongly recommend you switch to using the VI Light. The VI Light has the added advantages of not requiring an amber filter, is more effective in bright light, and it will fluoresce blue.

Tag detection with the blue light is greatly enhanced when it is used in combination with the proper amber filtering glasses, and we recommend that both be used together in all circumstances. Amber glasses that appear to be identical can show remarkable variation when looking at fluorescent marks. You can test glasses by looking at the VIE color standard with blue light with and without the glasses. If the marks are much more obvious with the glasses, then they can be used.

Download

Selecting VIE Colors

Proper color selection is a vital part of good experimental design. Your choice depends on how much contrast you need with the background pigmentation, how many different colors you require, and the type of light you will use to fluoresce the tags. Please contact the biology office (email: biology@nmt.us) if you would like assistance.

General recommendations

  • Exhaust all possibilities with fluorescent colors before using non-fluorescent colors. Maximum tag detection is obtained using the VI Light and fluorescing elastomer that contrasts with the background pigment of the animal to be tagged.
  • Use non-fluorescent colors only when there is no potential for the tag to become obscured and when all tag detection will occur in bright light.
  • Fluorescent colors that blend with the background pigment allow cryptic tagging.
  • When using the VI Light, we recommend that the first four colors selected be red, yellow, orange, and blue.
  • Test the product under field conditions before beginning large-scale projects.

Colors that may be confused – Ambient Light

  • Black and brown appear nearly identical.
  • Brown and purple look similar. In deep-violet light, purple will appear much lighter while brown does not change. This feature may be used to help distinguish these colors.

Colors that may be confused – VI Light

  • Green and yellow appear nearly identical.
  • Red and pink look similar but can be separated if the VIE Color Standard is used and if the samplers are trained. We recommend that you test these two colors in your animal and with the samplers who will recover the tags.

Colors that may be confused – Blue Light with Amber Filters

  • Green and yellow appear nearly identical.
  • Red and pink appear nearly identical.
  • Blue does not fluoresce with blue light.

Fading

We are aware of a single project in which red, green, and blue elastomer tags faded after the fish were released into, and resided in shallow, sun-exposed streams. This unusual circumstance has not been reported elsewhere.

See also:

Download

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Using VIE Manual Injection Kits


Title Using VIE Manual Injection Kits
Date October 2008
Time 16:19
File vie_video.wmv (40.9 MB)
For a DVD version, please contact our Corporate Office.