Influence of Commercial and Laboratory Diets on Growth, Body Composition, and Reproduction in the Zebrafish Danio rerio

Academic Article


  • The value of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism continues to expand. In developing the model, current feeding practice in zebrafish laboratories includes the use of commercially available diets. In this study, we compared outcomes in growth, body composition, and reproduction among zebrafish fed five highly utilized commercial diets and one formulated chemically defined reference diet. Wild-type zebrafish larvae were raised on live feed until 21 days postfertilization and then fed diets for 16 weeks. All fish received a daily ration of >5% of body weight (adjusted biweekly). Growth varied among diets throughout the feeding trial, and at study termination (week 16), significant differences among diets were observed for terminal weight gain, body condition index, body fat deposition, and reproductive outcomes. In addition, the proportion of viable embryos produced from females fed the formulated reference diet was high relative to the commercial diets. These data suggest that metabolic profiles, most likely reflecting nutrient/energy availability, utilization, and allocation, vary relative to diet in zebrafish. Undefined differences in metabolic profiles could result in erroneous predictions of health outcomes and make comparisons among laboratories more challenging. We recommend that dietary standards should be defined for zebrafish to support their common utility in biomedical research.
  • Published In

  • Zebrafish  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fowler LA; Williams MB; Dennis-Cornelius LN; Farmer S; Barry RJ; Powell ML; Watts SA
  • Start Page

  • 508
  • End Page

  • 521
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 6