The University of Iowa

Zebrafish (Policy)

IACUC Policy


Policy: The IACUC has provided a set of guidance documents (Policies, Guidelines, and Informational Sheets) for use when planning animal procedures at the University of Iowa. An exception to a Policy must be described and justified in the Animal Protocol and approved by the full IACUC at a convened monthly meeting.






The purpose of this document is to describe when zebrafish species are covered by the Public Health Service Policy (PHS) on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  In addition, this document will describe when it is required for zebrafish to be housed in OAR facilities.    This document is intended for use by researchers at the University of Iowa.


Requirement for Submission of an Animal Protocol1

  • Live embryos are only applicable to the PHS Policy once they hatch (larvae typically hatch from their chorion or egg shell between 3-4 days post fertilization (dpf)). 
  • However, the adult females laying the eggs are covered by the PHS Policy and their use requires an IACUC approved Animal Protocol
  • Larval forms of fish have vertebrae and are covered by the PHS Policy; thus an IACUC approved Animal Protocol is required to cover all research procedures utilizing larval forms of fish



Housing Location

  • Housing of adult zebrafish (greater than 14 dpf) outside of OAR vivaria must be described and justified in the Animal Protocol and approved by the IACUC
  • Larvae up to 14 dpf can be kept in a laboratory space approved by the IACUC.  Larvae up to 14dpf will be housed in conditioned clean water.  No additional water quality monitoring is necessary for fish up to this age
  • If unfamiliar with zebrafish husbandry practices please contact an OAR veterinarian for guidance


Record Keeping

 For Zebrafish greater than 14 dpf, a log/record will be kept in the room documenting the following:

    • Room/enclosure temperature - must be recorded DAILY
    • Water changes- each occurrence must be recorded
    • Feeding of fish –occurrence must be recorded DAILY
    • Observation of fish health - must be recorded DAILY
    • Records must be kept indicating the age of Zebrafish in any given container


  1. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) FAQ:


Last reviewed by the IACUC 11/10/2021