The use of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in biomedical research has expanded at a tremendous rate over the last two decades. Along with increases in laboratories using this model, we are discovering new and important diseases. We review here the important pathogens and diseases based on some 20 years of research and findings from our diagnostic service at the NIH-funded Zebrafish International Resource Center. Descriptions of the present status of biosecurity programmes and diagnostic and treatment approaches are included. The most common and important diseases and pathogens are two parasites, Pseudoloma neurophilia and Pseudocapillaria tomentosa, and mycobacteriosis caused by Mycobacterium chelonae, M. marinum and M. haemophilum. Less common but deadly diseases are caused by Edwardsiella ictaluri and infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus (ISKNV). Hepatic megalocytosis and egg-associated inflammation and fibroplasia are common, apparently non-infectious, in zebrafish laboratories. Water quality diseases include supersaturation and nephrocalcinosis. Common neoplasms are spindle cell sarcomas, ultimobranchial tumours, spermatocytic seminomas and a small-cell carcinoma that is caused by a transmissible agent. Despite the clear biosecurity risk, researchers continue to use fish from pet stores, and here, we document two novel coccidia associated with significant lesions in zebrafish from one of these stores.