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Abstract
Zebrafish is a model species with a high variability of feeding regimes among fish facilities. The use of live feeds for early life stages is a common practice, and few studies have focused early weaning into microdiets. The lack of standardized feeding protocols among research facilities promotes discrepancies in biological performances, and few studies relate dietary regimes to zebrafish development. The objective of this work was to assess the effect of an early transition into microdiets in zebrafish development by evaluating growth, survival, reproductive performance, and skeletal anomalies. These parameters were assessed in one group exclusively fed on Artemia nauplii and two groups fed on microdiets (commercial and experimental). Results showed that an early weaning with the two microdiets significantly improved zebrafish growth and reproductive performance, while a decrease in incidence of vertebral column anomalies was observed. A high survival was also maintained in fish fed microdiets at an early developmental stage when comparing to exclusive Artemia nauplii feeding. In conclusion, early weaning with high quality microdiets is beneficial for zebrafish growth, reproductive performance, and skeletal development, contributing to the standardization of zebrafish husbandry practices.
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