In the relatively short span of four decades, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has emerged as an increasingly important model organism for biomedicine and other scientific disciplines. As the scale and sophistication of zebrafish research expands, so too does the need to develop standards that promote the production and maintenance of healthy animals for experiments. A major, but long overlooked, contributor to fish health is nutrition. Historically, feeding practices for laboratory zebrafish have been designed to promote growth and reproductive function. However, as the field matures, it is becoming increasingly clear that the nutritional goals for these animals should evolve beyond basic production to the maintenance of clinically healthy research subjects. This review outlines weaknesses and limitations of current approaches and provides a justification for the development of defined standardized diets that will strengthen and facilitate the continued growth of the zebrafish model system.