Zebrafish in Aquariums and Research

For many years, the bright colorings of the zebrafish, known by the scientific nomenclature of Danio rerio, have made it a popular choice for people who keep aquariums in the home. Even for beginners to the aquarium scene, this fish is a good option for those who would like brightly colored fish without the maintenance problems of keeping a saltwater tank. The zebrafish is considered to be a tropical freshwater fish and there is much information about fish available to make the maintenance quite easy. Research about fish will show that the zebrafish is related to the common minnow, but there are several differences that make it more suitable for the aquarium environment.

One of the main advantages of keeping zebrafish in an aquarium is that they are omnivores and will eat many different types of food. In the wild, the species usually dines on a bevy of food sources, including insects, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and larvae. In the aquarium setting, the fish will also eat traditional food flakes as well as tubifex worms. A person can expect the zebrafish to live for approximately two to three years, but there are documented records of individual fish that have lasted up to five years.

In addition to home aquarium use, the zebrafish has also become an important species for scientists working in fields that involve genetics. A sequencing project has been completed that mapped the full genome of the zebrafish and this is being used by many research organizations. Because zebrafish embryos come to maturity in a quick time frame, it is possible to keep a number of specimens for study and the data collection part of the projects can be completed rapidly. In contrast to research about fish of other species, the zebrafish also has a human connection, with certain aspects of the fish being close to the nature of mammals.

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