Enrichment for Laboratory Zebrafish—A Review of the Evidence and the Challenges
Animals in Science Department, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex RH13 9RS, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lars Lewejohann, Christa Thöne-Reineke, Paulin Jirkof and Helene Richter
Received: 2 February 2021 / Revised: 3 March 2021 / Accepted: 4 March 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
The zebrafish is one of the most commonly used animals in scientific research, but there remains a lack of consensus over good practice for zebrafish housing and care. One such area which lacks agreement is whether laboratory zebrafish should be provided with environmental enrichment—additions or modifications to the basic laboratory environment which aim to improve welfare, such as plastic plants in tanks. The need for the provision of appropriate environmental enrichment has been recognised in other laboratory animal species, but some scientists and animal care staff are hesitant to provide enrichment for zebrafish, arguing that there is little or no evidence that enrichment can benefit zebrafish welfare. This review aims to summarise the current literature on the effects of enrichment on zebrafish physiology, behaviour and welfare, and identifies some forms of enrichment which are likely to benefit zebrafish. It also considers the possible challenges that might be associated with introducing more enrichment, and how these might be addressed.