Tsang, B., Zahid, H., Ansari, R. et al. 2017. Breeding zebrafish: A review of different methods and a discussion on standardization. Zebrafish 14(6), 561-573.
In recent years, a rapidly increasing number of scientific papers have been published that utilize zebrafish (Danio rerio) as an alternative model organism in the study of a wide range of biological phenomena from cancer to behavior. This is, in large part, due to the prolific nature, relative ease of maintenance, and sufficiently high genetic homology of zebrafish to humans. With the surge of zebrafish use in animal research, the variations in methodologies of breeding and husbandry of this species have also increased. Investigators usually focus on the development and implementation of rigorous laboratory control that is specific to their studies. We suggest that the same scrutiny and attention may be required for the methods of breeding and housing of zebrafish. This article reviews a variety of zebrafish husbandry and breeding techniques and conditions employed around the world. It discusses factors ranging from numerous aspects of rearing/housing conditions through the sex ratio of the breeding group to the composition of the diet of zebrafish that may vary across laboratories. It provides some feedback on the potential pros and cons of the different methods. It argues that there is a substantial need for systematic analysis of these methods, that is, the effects of environmental factors on zebrafish health and breeding. It also discusses the question as to whether some degree of standardization of these methods is needed to enhance cross-laboratory comparability of results.