Goodwin, N., Westall, L., Karp, N. A. et al. 2016. Evaluating and optimizing fish health and welfare during experimental procedures. Zebrafish 13(S1), S127-S131.
Many facilities house fish in separate static containers post-procedure, for example, while awaiting genotyping results. This ensures fish can be easily identified, but it does not allow for provision of continuous filtered water or diet. At the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, concern over the housing conditions led to the development of an individual housing system (GeneS) enabling feeding and water filtration. Trials to compare the water quality measures between the various systems found that fish housed in static containers experienced rapid deterioration in water quality. By day 1, measures of ammonia were outside the Institute's prescribed values and continued to rise until it was 25-fold higher than recommended levels. Nitrite levels were also outside recommended levels for all fish by day 9 and were twofold higher by the end of the trial. The water quality measures for tanks held on the recirculating system were stable even though food was provided. These results indicate that for housing zebrafish, running water or appropriately timed water changes are a critical component to ensure that the ethical obligations are met.