Abstract Aeromonas isolates were collected from cultured fish, characterized phenotypically and identified to species using 16S rDNA. The pathogenicity of all isolates was assayed on the basis of haemolytic and proteolytic activity and challenge tests were performed for isolates from healthy fish. A total of 131 Aeromonas isolates were obtained and identified as follows: A. hydrophila (13), A. bestiarum (23), A. salmonicida (motile biogroup) (19), A. caviae (2), A. sobria (18), A. veronii bt. sobria (42), A. jandaei (1), A. encheleia (11) and A. allosaccharophila (2). All isolates of A. hydrophila and A. bestiarum and most isolates of A. salmonicida and A. veronii were classified as pathogenic. Aeromonas hydrophila was isolated only from diseased trout except for one isolate obtained from carp fry. The other potentially pathogenic Aeromonas species were present in diseased as well as healthy fish. The pathogenicity of isolates from healthy fish was correlated with their enzymatic activity and was also tested by challenge experiments. The dominant pathogenic species were A. veronii bt. sobria, A. bestiarum and A. salmonicida in common carp and A. hydrophila in rainbow trout.