Maierdiyali, A., Wang, L., Luo, Y. et al. 2020. Effect of tank size on zebrafish behavior and physiology. Animals 10(12), 2353.
Environmental conditions strongly affect experimental animals. As a model organism, zebrafish has become important in life science studies. However, the potential effect of living environment on their behavior and physiology is often overlooked. This work aimed to determine whether tank size affects zebrafish behavior and physiology. Tests on shelter leaving, shelter seeking, shoaling, stamina, and pepsin and cortisol levels were conducted. Results showed that zebrafish behavior is easily affected by changes on the tank size. Fish that lived in small tanks behaved less boldly, had poor stamina, and spent much time on movement. Sex differences in behavior were only evident in the shelter seeking tests. Tank size had no effect on pepsin and cortisol, but cortisol concentrations in males were lower than those in females. This study suggests that zebrafish behavior is easily influenced by their living environment, and future related studies should consider their living space.