Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science


Neuroscience researchers that wish to address compelling questions in psychopharmacology would benefit from the use of zebrafish, which have a behavioral repertoire that is rich and complex and that reflects many fundamental processes in humans, such as those that evoke anxiety. Zebrafish behavior is easily quantified in diverse test environments, but it is important to consider the conditions used to house the fish, prior to the behavioral testing, when designing experiments. Studies show that fish housed at high densities exhibit elevated cortisol levels as compared with fish housed at lower densities. The literature is less clear about the behavioral consequences of housing and handling. We examined the effects of housing (group versus paired) on several behavioral parameters. We observed that group-housed fish exhibited an anxious phenotype as evidenced by tank diving and meandering. Other more general indicators of movement and spatial navigation were unaffected by housing. This study focused on two specific housing environments, and the results support the need for continued research in this area to further elucidate the contributions of housing and handling on the subtleties of zebrafish behavioral markers.



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Zebrafish Behavior, Anxiety, Behavioral Phenotype, Animal Model