Innovations in zebrafish research solutions

We see a world in which interest in zebrafish behavioral studies is rising. And with that rise, challenges also become evident. While many behavioral tests have been translated from rodent research to zebrafish studies, there is still lack of standard behavioral test systems. 

For example, operant conditioning tests in rodents have been standardized and are being used for several decades. For zebrafish models in the field of behavioral neuroscience, solutions are lagging behind.

Currently, tests are often performed in small do-it-yourself test arenas in which the fish are placed briefly before the test starts. In addition, the handling of the fish from the home tank to the test area produces heavy, long-lasting stress. Social isolation worsens this effect.

At Noldus we aim to find solutions to better suit the current needs of zebrafish researchers. For example, in close collaboration with 5 leading labs we defined a potential solution in which the aspects described above are circumvented by testing in the home tank of the fish. In this setup, fish would have visual contact with other fish. 

If you are interested in discussing such as solution, or other innovative setups for zebrafish behavioral testing, with us, we’d love to hear from you! 

In this video a possible solution for operant conditioning of zebrafish adults in a home cage is depicted. 

Problems current solutions (way of working) Proposed solution
• Too small test tanks • Large arena / increased living space / testing in home cage environment
• Handling fish causes stress • No animal handling
• No standardization (DIY) • Standardized protocols / Test automation / No DIY
• Stressors of noise/ light/ vibrations • No stressors
• Social isolation • Social context