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To identify and characterize six chitinolytic bacterial strains isolated from ornamental fish.Six different isolates of Deefgea chitinilytica were detected in healthy as well as diseased ornamental fish in Germany over a period of 2 years. Bacterial strains were identified using 16S rRNA partial gene sequencing and further characterized using different biochemical microtest systems and additional standard biochemical tests.We show that commercially available biochemical microtest systems are useful for identification of D. chitinilytica, supplemented by 16S rRNA partial gene sequencing. Furthermore, this study provides new information about the occurrence of D. chitinilytica, as this is the first isolation of D. chitinilytica from animals and first described isolation in Europe.Deefgea chitinilytica may be isolated regularly in fish diagnostic laboratories. Therefore, accurate identification of this bacterial species is important. Involvement of D. chitinilytica in opportunistic infections of aquatic organisms cannot be excluded and has to be further investigated.