Building Zebrafish Neurobehavioral Phenomics: Effects of Common Environmental Factors on Anxiety and Locomotor Activity

Zebrafish. 2015 Oct;12(5):339-48. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2015.1106. Epub 2015 Aug 5.


Zebrafish are emerging as an important model organism for neurobehavioral phenomics research. Given the likely variation of zebrafish behavioral phenotypes between and within laboratories, in this study, we examine the influence and variability of several common environmental modifiers on adult zebrafish anxiety and locomotor activity. Utilizing the novel tank paradigm, this study assessed the role of various laboratory factors, including experimenter/handling, testing time and days, batch, and the order of testing, on the behavior of a large population of experimentally naive control fish. Although time of the day, experimenter identity, and order of testing had little effect on zebrafish anxiety and locomotor activity levels, subtle differences were found for testing days and batches. Our study establishes how zebrafish behaviors are modulated by common environmental/laboratory factors and outlines several implications for zebrafish neurobehavioral phenomics research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Models, Animal*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Phenotype
  • Zebrafish / physiology*