In this study, we aimed to develop new biocompatible membranes on the basis of chitosan (CHIT) and fish scale powder (ESC) from the species Leporinus elongatus. The possibility of using the uncrosslinked membrane (ESC/CHIT) and membrane crosslinked with sodium tetraborate (ESC/CHIT-B) for tetracycline release was investigated. The drug-release kinetics were studied at 30 and 37°C in phosphate buffered saline (pH 7.4). For ESC/CHIT, the drug release was faster, about 6 days, whereas the release time of tetracycline impregnated in ESC/CHIT-B was about 7 days. The in vitro release behavior of tetracycline from both membranes followed the Peppas and Higuchi kinetic models. The kinetics of drug release from ESC/CHIT were regarded as a coupled diffusion/polymer relaxation mechanism, whereas drug release from ESC/CHIT-B seemed to be controlled by polymer relaxation. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 39943.