Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2061, USA.
Seven-month-old zebrafish (Danio rerio) were fed four different diets to test the hypothesis that diet affects spawning success and resulting characteristics of eggs and offspring. The diets were: the recommended feeding regime for zebrafish (a mixture of Artemia, flake feed, and liver paste); Artemia; a flake feed; and a commercially available trout diet. The number of eggs laid and average egg diameter were significantly different as functions of male, female, and individual matings. Fish fed the flake diet produced significantly fewer eggs (mean, 116) than fish fed all other diets (means, 166-187). However, the percent hatch of eggs from fish fed the flake diet (62.5%) was significantly higher than from fish fed the trout diet (19.5%). The percentages of hatched eggs from fish fed the control diet (36.2%) or Artemia (35.6%) were not significantly different from each other or from fish fed the other two diets. Wet weight and diameter of eggs were not significantly affected by diet. Larval length was significantly higher from parents fed the flake diet (14.5 mm) compared to larvae from parents fed Artemia (13.7 mm). Length of larvae from fish fed the control or trout diets was intermediate and not significantly different from fish fed the flake diet or Artemia. Larval weight was not significantly affected by dietary treatment, but offspring from fish fed the flake diet were heavier than larvae from adults fed any of the other diets. Feeding adult zebrafish the flake diet alone resulted in more viable offspring and larger larvae and is a simpler feeding regime than the current recommendation. The authors recommend feeding adult zebrafish flake diets to satiation three times daily for maximum production of viable offspring.