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Zebrafish. 2012 Sep;9(3):140-6. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2012.0771. Epub 2012 Sep 5.

Methods for culturing saltwater rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis) for rearing larval zebrafish.

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Aquatic Resources Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The saltwater rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis, is widely used in the aquaculture industry as a prey item for first-feeding fishes due to its ease of culture, small size, rapid reproductive rate, and amenability to enrichment with nutrients. Despite the distinct advantages of this approach, rotifers have only been sporadically utilized for rearing larval zebrafish, primarily because of the common misconception that maintaining cultures of rotifers is difficult and excessively time-consuming. Here we present simple methods for maintaining continuous cultures of rotifers capable of supporting even the very largest zebrafish aquaculture facility, with minimal investments in materials, time, labor, and space. Examples of the methods' application in one large, existing facility is provided, and troubleshooting of common problems is discussed.

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