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Basics Of Zebrafish Husbandry

Zebrafish Husbandry: Essential Guide To Optimize Breeding And Housing Conditions

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how we take care of our zebrafish, starting your own rack, what to feed your zebrafish, or anything zebrafish husbandry related? You have come to the right place. We have put together a series of educational videos to help answer your zebrafish husbandry questions and give you an inside look into our work here at InVivo Biosystems, focusing on environmental enrichment and daily basis care.

Zebrafish Facilities Tour

Want to learn more about our own zebrafish facilities? We put together a lab tour (~19 minutes in length) to provide you with an overview of our facilities in addition to sharing more about how we care and maintain our fish, ensuring zebrafish welfare and adhering to animal welfare standards. Some of the sections in this video can also be found below in condensed versions, including insights into zebrafish tank breeding.

Maintaining Water Quality in Your Tanks

Maintaining water quality is crucial for successful zebrafish maintenance and husbandry, especially during the startup of a fish rack. This video discusses how to keep track of the water quality parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and ph), gives an example of how we started our fish rack, and the process of the nitrogen cycle for initial rack set-up, emphasizing the importance of biological filters and constant water motion.

Zebrafish Screening Using Fluorescence

How can you better study your gene of interest? Fluorescent tagging! This video showcases InVivo Biosystems’ fluorescent screening process using zebrafish. Watch the video for example photos of embryos that have fluorescent markers, a critical technique in zebrafish genetics research.

Zebrafish feeding: Live vs. dry food

What type of food should you feed your zebrafish? Optimally, zebrafish will be fed live food and dry food, as part of our comprehensive zebrafish feeding schedule. This video provides a look at food portioning and times per day feeding schedule, and how we grow and maintain our live food (rotifers), contributing to zebrafish health.

Tracking Zebrafish Health

This video discusses the daily maintenance and upkeep of zebrafish, including keeping track of population health, our daily zebrafish rack checklist (water flow, buffer fills, etc.), and the fish’ feeding schedule, a key part of fish health monitoring.

Cleaning & Disinfecting The Tanks

An important (but time-consuming) aspect of zebrafish maintenance and husbandry is the proper cleaning and disinfecting of lab equipment. Tanks should be cleaned every 5-6 weeks — this video walks you through the handling of zebrafish during tank to tank transfers, and the cleaning of the old tank, ensuring fish tanks clean standards are met.

Zebrafish Crossing and Breeding Strategies

Are you wanting to learn more about zebrafish breeding? Have you ever wondered how to tell the males from the females when they’re all swimming around? Our zebrafish team put together this insightful video to show the process of breeding zebrafish and sexing, highlighting pairwise breeding and natural breeding behavior.

Zebrafish Crossing Basics

This video provides a brief overview of the zebrafish breeding process: first, the fish should be sexed then placed in a tilted breeding container to simulate their natural environment and allow for the easy collection of embryos, as an essential part of embryo development.

Zebrafish Crossing In Depth

This video is a step-by-step guide to breeding zebrafish, also called zebrafish crossing. It is an in-depth look into zebrafish husbandry, covering the process of breeding from selecting mates, to collecting embryos, the injection of transgenic materials and dye, cleaning the plates, screening, and finally, prepping for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is crucial for genetic diversity studies.

Zebrafish Embryo Injections

How do we inject zebrafish embryos? This quick video gives a great summary for how we perform zebrafish embryo injections and some tips and tricks so you can ace your next injections too, a foundational technique in the genetic manipulation of zebrafish for research.

Basics of Zebrafish Husbandry FAQs

Having very high similarity in genetic makeup with humans, zebrafish has proved to be an important model for human genetics and disease. By using zebrafish knockout or knock-in models, genes can be manipulated to understand different disease pathways.

Ensuring optimal zebrafish welfare involves several key practices, including maintaining high standards of water quality, providing a balanced diet of live and dry food, and adhering to animal welfare standards. Regular monitoring of water parameters such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH levels is crucial. Additionally, environmental enrichment and daily care routines help in promoting the well-being of zebrafish. A wide range of enrichment items and husbandry practices tailored to the needs of individual fish can significantly enhance their health and welfare.

Recommended husbandry practices for zebrafish include maintaining a clean and stable environment through regular cleaning and disinfecting of tanks, ensuring a constant water flow and the use of biological filters to maintain water quality, and feeding zebrafish a varied diet on a daily basis. Tracking the health of individual fish and populations closely and implementing breeding strategies that support genetic diversity are also key to maintaining overall fish health.

Zebrafish should be fed a combination of live and dry food two to three times per day, as this promotes optimal health and reproductive success. Live food, such as rotifers, encourages natural feeding behaviors and provides essential nutrients, while dry food offers convenience and ensures a balanced diet. Adjusting the feeding schedule and diet composition according to the developmental stage of the fish—from juvenile to mature—is critical for maximizing reproductive success and ensuring the well-being of both adults and offspring.

Effective strategies for zebrafish breeding include setting up dedicated breeding tanks with conditions that mimic the natural zebrafish habitat, such as controlled light conditions and water flow. Pairwise breeding or tank breeding methods can be employed, depending on the goals of the breeding program. Providing environmental enrichment and optimizing tank conditions to support the natural breeding behavior of zebrafish are crucial for high embryo production. Regularly inspecting fish for signs of readiness to breed and carefully managing the density of fish per liter in breeding tanks also contribute to successful reproduction.

Water quality management is fundamental to successful zebrafish husbandry. Key water quality parameters include ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels, pH, and the concentration of carbonates. These parameters should be monitored regularly to ensure they remain within the optimum range for zebrafish health. Implementing a reliable filtration system, ensuring a consistent water exchange rate, and using dechlorinated or suitably treated water are essential practices. Maintaining constant water motion through biological filters and managing the nitrogen cycle effectively can prevent the buildup of harmful substances and support a healthy environment for zebrafish.

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