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Housing and care of aquatic species

Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Zebrafish tanks

Over the past two decades the use of zebrafish in research has been increasing year on year. Zebrafish now rank as one of the major species used.

However, specific husbandry requirements for zebrafish are still far from fully understood and protocols for feeding, grouping and breeding these animals, plus environmental factors such as water parameters and provision of environmental enrichment, can vary from laboratory to laboratory.

Investigation into the natural ecology of the zebrafish and its environmental preferences, and systematic efforts to establish optimal standards relating to the housing and care of zebrafish are only recently beginning. There is a clear desire for a fuller understanding of the behaviours and requirements of these animals and a need to better define the factors that may affect their welfare.

This RSPCA resource (free to download) aims to help improve the welfare of zebrafish by:

  • facilitating understanding of zebrafish behaviour and their requirements
  • highlighting welfare considerations relating to breeding, supply, housing and care
  • identifying, where possible, consensus for appropriate environmental and care conditions
  • providing recommendations for improving health, welfare and egg quality, and for reducing the potential for stress and suffering
  • stimulating discussion and research to identify ‘good practice’ in areas where current knowledge is sparse or inconclusive 

Guidance on the housing and care of zebrafish (2011) (PDF 1.28MB)


African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis)

Xenopus laevis frog

A similar resource (free to download) was published in 2005 relating to the housing and care of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

Guidance on the housing and care of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis (2005) (PDF 564KB)

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