The Fish Collection of the Museu Nacional is one of the largest and oldest fish collections in Brazil, dating back to the late XIX Century. The Collection holds about 40,000 lots, amounting to an estimated 500,000 specimens. The MNRJ Fish Collection was the basis for the monumental Fauna Brasiliense published by Alípio de Miranda Ribeiro between 1907 and 1915, and has been a continuous source of materials for numerous scientific publications since then. Currently over 29,000 lots have been cataloged and sistematically indexed. The collection includes 2,149 type specimens (including 394 primary types). Collection records and loan activities are computerized using the MUSE collection management system. The collection is a participant in the NEODAT project.
In 1995 the Fish Collection moved to new facilities in a building specially constructed for this purpose. All storage furniture was replaced and expanded by new steel shelving units provided by the UFRJ and a major grant from (Processo Proc. 6799-7). In 2005 the building was enlarged and part of the shelves was replaced by movable cabinets (compactors) provided by Fundaçla;ão Vitae.
Site visits by ichthyologists from other institutions are greatly encouraged.