Body condition scoring for Laboratory Zebrafish

Academic Article


  • Zebrafish are a rapidly expanding model in biomedical research. The numbers reported in Home Office returns do not always show the true numbers of Zebrafish actually held in facilities, as much work is conducted on embryonic forms that do not need to be included. The true husbandry requirements of Zebrafish remain elusive; much work is still required to identify their actual needs. This lack of information is reflected in many unstandardised husbandry methods, the true impact upon some scientific disciplines is now beginning to be understood. Currently there are no standardised methods for health monitoring of Zebrafish. In this paper we describe how we have developed and described a tank side body condition scoring system, which may also be called the traffic light system. We created a pilot study to trial this system, using 45 volunteer participants from a variety of backgrounds. We asked them to score fish in various different conditions without any training and then again after receiving limited training to try to identify whether the participants' responses could be standardised. From our trial we determined that using Body Condition Scoring is a way of standardising health monitoring and how such a system could be implemented. Although the idea of Body Conditioning Scoring for a Zebrafish facility does require further work, we believe that it has many advantages over current methods being used. It can standardise basic health monitoring within a facility and complement other health monitoring processes such as sentinel, water quality and biofilm screening.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Wilson C; Dunford K; Nichols C; Callaway H; Hakkesteeg J; Wicks M
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 7
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 1