Precise knowledge of the health status of experimental fish is crucial to obtain high scientific and ethical standards in biomedical research. In addition to the use of sentinel fish, the examination of diseased fish is a fundamental part of all health monitoring concepts. PCR assays offer excellent sensitivity and the ability to test a broad variety of pathogenic agents in different sample types. Recently, it was shown that analysis of environmental samples such as water, sludge or detritus from static tanks can complement PCR analysis of fish and is actually more reliable for certain pathogens. In our study, we investigated whether the analysis of filtered water mixed with detritus of tanks including fish showing clinical signs of illness is suitable to complement health monitoring programs in recirculating systems. The obtained data indicate that pathogens such as Pseudoloma neurophilia or Myxidium streisingeri were exclusively or mainly found in fish, while mycobacteria were predominantly present in environmental samples. A combination of both sample types seems to be required for the detection of a broad range of infectious agents in zebrafish colonies using real-time PCR technology.