ZAF, the first open source fully automated feeder for aquatic facilities

Abstract

In the past few decades, aquatic animals have become popular model organisms in biology, spurring a growing need for establishing aquatic facilities. Zebrafish are widely studied and relatively easy to culture using commercial systems. However, a challenging aspect of maintaining aquatic facilities is animal feeding, which is both time- and resourceconsuming. We have developed an open-source fully automatic daily feeding system, Zebrafish Automatic Feeder (ZAF). ZAF is reliable, provides a standardized amount of food to every tank, is cost-efficient and easy to build. The advanced version, ZAF+, allows for the precise control of food distribution as a function of fish density per tank, and has a user-friendly interface. Both ZAF and ZAF+ are adaptable to any laboratory environment and facilitate the implementation of aquatic colonies. Here we provide all blueprints and instructions for building the mechanics, electronics, fluidics, as well as to setup the control software and its user-friendly graphical interface. Importantly, the design is modular and can be scaled to meet different user needs. Furthermore, our results show that ZAF and ZAF+ do not adversely affect zebrafish culture, enabling fully automatic feeding for any aquatic facility.

Data availability

We provide all instructions to build the hardware and all code for the software in the wiki:github.com/royerlab/ZAF

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Merlin Lange

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    For correspondence
    merlin.lange@czbiohub.org
    Competing interests
    Merlin Lange, A patent application has been filed covering the reported feeders. (number 63/162,299).
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0534-4374
  2. AhmetCan Solak

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    AhmetCan Solak, A patent application has been filed covering the reported feeders. (number 63/162,299).
  3. Shruthi Vijay Kumar

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Hirofumi Kobayashi

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  5. Bin Yang

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  6. Loïc Alain Royer

    Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, United States
    For correspondence
    loic.royer@czbiohub.org
    Competing interests
    Loïc Alain Royer, A patent application has been filed covering the reported feeders. (number 63/162,299).
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9991-9724

Funding

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (N/A)

  • Loïc Alain Royer

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: This research was done under a protocol reviewed and approved by the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) of University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Stephen C Ekker, Mayo Clinic, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 29, 2021
  2. Accepted: December 8, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 9, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 20, 2022 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Lange et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Merlin Lange
  2. AhmetCan Solak
  3. Shruthi Vijay Kumar
  4. Hirofumi Kobayashi
  5. Bin Yang
  6. Loïc Alain Royer
(2021)
ZAF, the first open source fully automated feeder for aquatic facilities
eLife 10:e74234.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.74234

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