Increasing the Efficiency of your Zebrafish Operations
There’s a wide variety of aspects that go into running and maintaining a zebrafish operation – husbandry, system design, regulatory compliance, environmental monitoring, and staff knowledge/training – just to name a few. Figuring out ways (small or large) to improve everyday tasks within your facility can make a significant difference in the long run. Here are several aspects to take into consideration if you are trying to optimize your workflow.
- Reducing your Energy Consumption and Water Usage
- Use a biomechanical filtration unit that uses air, instead of water, to backwash. This reduces the overall water usage of your system, helping to preserve water resources and cut back on energy demands. Most systems commonly use water to backwash, but nowadays there are units becoming available that have more sustainable features. The amount of water used on a weekly basis by a zebrafish facility can be alarming, therefore adapting new technology (especially if it’s just as effective) to conserve water is a win-win situation.
- As far as energy consumption and reducing your electrical bills, consider having one compact, single, centralized filtration system as opposed to having separate, individual filtration units for each system (rack). This can significantly lower your energy demands and cut down on your lab’s operating costs. Not to mention, this would also decrease your yearly consumable items that need to be purchased.
- Refining Everyday Routine Tasks with Simple, Practical Upgrades
- Invest in a fish feeder to help automate feeding procedures and make everyday, tedious tasks quicker and more precise. Feeding hundreds of fish can be time-consuming and can take away a large amount of time from technicians, especially as your scale your lab, if you plan on bringing more fish into the lab. Using a handheld feeding device can decrease your time spent dispensing food into tanks and increase your available time that can be dedicated to performing research.
- To ensure your system’s water quality remains up to par and stable – ensure water parameters are being consistently and accurately analyzed. This is easier said than done sometimes. There are many water quality instruments and techniques on the market to monitor your system. LaMotte’s WaterLink SpinTouchFF is an easy, precise, and compact water analyzer that analyzes up to 8 key parameters in less than 2 minutes.
- Digitize and Manage Your Fish Data with an App
- Running and maintaining a fish facility can become overwhelming. There are an array of variables that should be tracked and monitored in order to ensure operations remain effective and efficient – such as breeding schedules, lineages, water quality, mortality, and staff. This information can be documented via handwritten logs, digitally, or a combination of the two.
- Investing in a database app to help organize all related data in one place, that all team members can update and access at any time, can significantly increase efficiency and streamline workflow. Although lab animal colony management software can range from being free to being pricey, it can save a lot of time and energy by making your data more organized, accessible, and functional.
- Consider Having Well-Written, Up-To-Date SOPs Available in Your Fish Room
- As team members come and go, whether it is a student, technician, manager, etc. – having clear, concise, and detailed SOPs already in place within your lab can dramatically reduce the amount of work you have to do when onboarding a new team member.
- SOPs can even be digital and readily accessible for new staff to read over and refer to. This can include text, photos, and flowcharts in how to go about certain tasks such as breeding procedures, feeding protocols, water quality testing, system calibrations, etc.
- Along with practical husbandry-based SOPs, it is also advantageous to stay on top of regulatory compliance rules and regulations – which can be organized and streamlined in ways that can be easily understood and remembered by all lab members. This could include integrated notifications in a system that sends out reminders and having a localized place to store related materials.
- Zebrafish System Design, Upgrades, and Optimization
- Whether you’re building a new facility from scratch, revamping a pre-existing one, or looking to make less intensive, more minor modifications – there is a lot that goes into a zebrafish facility design.
- This can include how and where the major filtration components are set up and constructed, what type of zebrafish tanks and racks to choose from, live feed production methods, and so on.
- Some considerations for an effective and efficient filtration skid could include a streamlined design to save space (with a smaller footprint), a backup pump (in case of emergencies), easy ways to access components for fixing/maintaining, and a good (alarm, monitoring, and dosing) system in place to accurately track/record parameters.
- At Danio Lab, we offer products and services including – zebrafish IVT rack & tank systems, zebrafish filtration skids, and we can optimize/service pre-existing systems through our technical support program.