Over the last decade the zebrafish has emerged as a major genetic model organism. While stimulated originally by the utility of its transparent embryos for the study of vertebrate organogenesis, the success of the zebrafish was consolidated through multiple genetic screens, sequencing of the fish genome by the Sanger Center, and the advent of extensive genomic resources. In the last few years the potential of the zebrafish for in vivo cell biology, physiology, disease modeling and drug discovery has begun to be realized. This review will highlight work on cardiac electrophysiology, emphasizing the arenas in which the zebrafish complements other in vivo and in vitro models; developmental physiology, large-scale screens, high-throughput disease modeling and drug discovery. Much of this work is at an early stage, and so the focus will be on the general principles, the specific advantages of the zebrafish and on future potential.