Zantiks AD


Multiple Zantiks AD systems installed in a laboratory in London.

For automated operant conditioning and tracking studies

The Zantiks AD unit’s affordability, and simple functionality, means that it is ideal for both animal behaviour labs that want to scale up their studies easily, achieve higher throughput and improve lab efficiency, as well as for scientists who are interested in quickly screening animal behaviour as an invaluable edition to their main research area and need a system that is simple to operate.
Find out how the Zantiks AD systems helped increase research output in Caroline Brennan’s lab at Queen Mary University of London in this case study.

zantiks ad, zebrafish, animal behavior
Zantiks AD unit shown with a variety of inserts and example of the web browser that controls it as featured on a mobile phone


Target organisms

Adult zebrafish, mice and many other species.

Target studies

The Zantiks AD unit is suitable for both tracking fish in experimental environments (e.g. startle, PPI, novel open field, Y-maze, CPP) and also for training fish and mice (with food reward) in operant tasks, such as discrimination reversal learning, 5-choice serial time task, or match to sample. Multiple fish can be tracked in experiments like Pavlovian avoidance learning (mild electric shock) learning or conditioned place preference.

Find out how the Brennan lab, at Queen Mary University of London, used the Zantiks AD to measure 2-5 choice discrimination as well as matching-to-sample from their poster at SfN 2016, The use of zebrafish to identify genes affecting working memory and age-related cognitive decline.

Please contact us if you have anything specific in mind. 3D shoal tracking will be available shortly.

Built-in stimuli

  • Solid and liquid delivery – both solid and liquid food reward, as well as chemical liquid stimuli (ie alarm substance) can be supplied when specified by the Zanscript script.
  • Vibratory stimulus – vibration length, strength and pattern can be controlled with ms accuracy for startle and PPI studies.
  • Visual stimuli – supplied on a screen from underneath the tank. These can be specified with sizes, shapes, colours, locations and bitmaps. As they are displayed via a screen, response times and update times can be controlled up to the 60Hz refresh rate of the display.
  • Overall illumination – supplied from above the tank. This can be used to provide ambient lighting, circadian rhythm and/or light flashes to elicit startle responses. Colour brightness and duration can be specified with ms accuracy.
  • Aversive electric shock – supplied with controllable voltage and duration.

Fully networked

Zantiks units are supplied with a router and controlled via a web browser, allowing users to operate them from their own phone, tablet, laptop, PC or Mac. From the web browser users can edit scripts, start and stop chosen scripts, view live video, download results (.csv) files.

Video and tracking

Tracking of multiple single housed zebrafish can be carried out at up to 30Hz. Video recordings may be made simultaneously.

Dimensions and tanks

Overall unit size (external, approx. mm): 220 width, 300 length, 500 height

Tank size (internal, mm): 140 width, 200 length, 150 height (water to 100)

Inserts: a variety of inserts will be supplied – these may be fitted into the included tank to create different environments for testing. Suitable inserts for operant testing with a food hopper and 5 apertures, and for aversive learning in arena dividing inserts to create up to 4 separate testing compartments useful for CPP and fear conditioning.

The five aperture and food hopper inserts are used together in one tank to create the experimental environment for the 5-CSRTT in zebrafish. The food hopper insert is designed to form an area for the fish to enter and collect food reward, without the food escaping into the remainder of the tank, as well as an entry point for initiating trials. The five aperture insert creates five distant entry points at the opposite end of the tank from food delivery. The five holes act in a similar fashion to the five nose poke holes in a rodent version of the task.

The dividing inserts are used to create four separate testing compartments for tracking four fish in one unit, as required in CCP study on zebrafish. Stimuli are presented from the integrated screen below the testing tank. The stimuli can be comprised of colour, shapes, or stripes and be both biased and unbiased in presentation (see image B above where green and blue light stimuli are used).

Further inserts and tanks can be supplied on request, e.g. Y-maze

Racks for multiple units are under development.

Sample videos from experiments carried out in the Zantiks AD unit.

5 choice serial reaction time task


The task is initiated by the fish swimming above the inner light to the left of the image (at mid height). The fish then needs to swim to the lit chamber at the right hand side – if it swims into the lit one it is immediately supplied with food mid height extreme left side of the image (indicated on this video by a light).

Aversion Learning

The video below shows a baseline condition with fish swimming over both green and blue underlighting.


And the ‘probe’ video below was recorded after the fish had been delivered a mild electric shock by the unit when the underlighting was entirely blue.



As you can see, the fish now tend to avoid the side that is underlit with the blue colour.

Zantiks AD Manual

If you would like further information on how to use the Zantiks AD, please email us or take a look at the manual:

Download the Zantiks Manual