A new integrated approach including computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA), viability staining and fertilization was used to study the quality of cryodiluents used in fish sperm cryopreservation. As an example the sperm quality of an African catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822), was assessed by its fertilizing ability, motility and viability at day 0 (fresh), after 2 days' storage at 4 degreesC and after 2 days, 5 months and 10 months frozen at -196 degreesC using solutions containing dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) or glycerol as permeating cryoprotectants. Four of the best freezing solutions were used, namely, Steyn's extender (S1, S4) and Mounib's extender (M3, M4) associating 10% hen's egg yolk. Progressive sperm movement measured by CASA and expressed by the straight line velocity (VSL), the average path velocity (VAP) and the curvilinear velocity (VCL) was highly correlated with hatching rates obtained from fertilization using minimal sperm:egg ratios. After 2 days, the motility of spermatozoa frozen with DMSO and 10% egg yolk had deteriorated less than that of spermatozoa stored at 4 degreesC. Post-thaw hatching rates reflected the post-thaw sperm viability, which was cryodiluent dependent: 14.9+/-2.0% (S4), 17.0+/-4.2% (S1), 25.9+/-3.7% (M4) and 52.1+/-3.4% (M3) after 5 months of cryopreservation. The percent motility of 10-months-frozen spermatozoa was high in M3 (70.7+/-11.4%) and M4 (64.0+/-2.0%) cryoprotected sperm when measured between 5 and 20 sec after activation, but decreased rapidly to 24.3+/-8.3% (M3) and 23.0+/-9.0% (M4) between 21 and 35 sec after activation. Mounib's extender (M3, M4) provided the best cryoprotection to the spermatozoa for all post-thaw sperm quality measurements and at all freezing durations. Sperm motility was positively related to fertility. Our method will make it possible to develop even better extenders and cryoprotectants.