The use of hydrogen peroxide in aquaculture is growing and there is a need to develop fundamental guidelines to effectively treat diseased fish. The safety (toxicity) of hydrogen peroxide treatments was determined on eggs of representative warm- and coolwater fish species. Eggs of northern pike (Esox lucius), walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), yellow perch (Pel ca flavescens), white sucker (Catostomus commersoni), lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) were cultured in egg jars or aquaria. Treatments were initiated with non-eyed eggs and continued until all viable eggs had hatched. Eggs were treated daily for 15 min Monday through Friday with either 0, 500, 1000, 3000, or 6000 mu l l(-1) of hydrogen peroxide. For all species, the mean percent hatch was greater in eggs treated with 1000 mu l l(-1) hydrogen peroxide for 15 min than in the untreated controls. Common carp, lake sturgeon, and paddlefish were the least sensitive to hydrogen peroxide with percent hatch ranging from 40 to 48% in the 6000 mu l l(-1) hydrogen peroxide treatment. Fungal infections reduced or eliminated the hatch in most controls whereas nearly all treated eggs remained free of infection; hydrogen peroxide inhibited fungal infections on fish eggs. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.