HydroPac® - An "Alternative Water System for Rodents" is here on the UNMC Campus.

The water bagger, proportioner and bag/valve disposal units were delivered to Comparative Medicine on Monday, February 8, 2005 and were installed in the DRC I on Tuesday, February 9. We have successfully used this system for both mice and rats since then.

UNMC was the 4th institution in the world to install the HydroPac® system.

By working very closely with the manufacturer, we have transitioned from using water bottles and eliminated related problems. We now successfully provide high quality water for over 95% of our research and breeding colony mice in four animal facilities on campus and our facility at UNL. Our cage change interval with the use of the HydroPac® system is once every two weeks or sooner, if indicated.

What Is HydroPac®?                                                                                      

HydroPac® is a rodent watering system developed and produced by Lab Products, Inc. of Seaford, Delaware. It consists of a proprietary one-way, disposable water valve that is attached to an FDA approved food-grade water-filled pouch that provides fresh high quality water to rodents for up to two weeks. Water bags are produced and filled with reverse osmosis quality, filtered, and chlorinated water for the entire UNMC campus with the HydroPac® machine. The water can also be hyperchlorinated, medicated or acidified both automatically or manually. Water bottles are now only necessary for "special requirement" use.

Here's how HydroPac® has improved our rodent care operations:

  • We replaced water bottles, caps and sipper tubes
  • It streamlined our animal husbandry procedures
  • It reduced our labor and operating costs and we have been able to lower our per diem rates.
  • It helped to reduce repetitive motion injuries associated with servicing water bottles
  • It allowed us to extend our cage and water change time to 14 days for mice
  • Cage flooding has been eliminated when the system and technique is applied in the recommended manner
  • We no longer have to use our autoclave system to sterilize water
  • We no longer replace water bottles, or associated parts, since the pouch system is disposable


As with any watering system, including automatic watering, it is extremely important to make sure that animals introduced to the system learn how to access the water quickly. Typically, starting the water flow will accomplish this.

You MUST monitor animals closely until you have determined that they are drinking. You must not introduce the system to any more animals than can be carefully monitored. We ask that all investigators and their staff watch animals that arrive from vendors or other institutions to help the Comparative Medicine staff monitor for proper water intake. With our close attention to detail we have been successful in introducing almost every animal to the system.

Any issues that have arisen while implementing this system have been promptly and thoroughly addressed by the manufacturer.

If you have questions about the use of the HydroPac® system with your research animals, please call the Comparative Medicine Administrative Office at 559- 4034.

For a video demonstration of the system please visit the HydroPac® website.