Here are some frequently asked questions about how to purchase and use Zantiks units. If you have any queries that are not answered here please don't hesitate to contact us.

About the units

What are the dimensions of the Zantiks units?

The Zantiks systems are designed to have a small footprint. Full dimensions can be found on the product pages for the MWP, AD, and LT.

What is included with purchase of a Zantiks unit?

Zantiks systems are fully integrated: camera, computer, software, lighting, and stimuli. A router, LAN cable and 12V power cable are also included. The individual systems vary in terms of the stimuli and add on equipment (e.g., tanks & inserts) that are included. Full specifications can be found on the products page.

What type of computer do I need to operate the Zantiks systems?

The Zantiks systems are all fully integrated with a computer, and are networked. As such, you can use any device that connects via WiFi or LAN to access the systems console (e.g., PC, Mac, smartphone, tablet etc.). Each Zantiks unit has its own IP address. When your device is connected to the unit’s network, you can access the console page via the IP address in any browser. There is no minimum running software needed for your device.

How many systems can be run by one networked device?

Currently, up to 32 separate units can be run from one interface.

Do I need to know how to code to use a Zantiks system?

You do not need to have any prior coding experience to operate the Zantiks systems. Units are shipped with standard scripts pre-loaded. Complete scripts for standard assays are readily available to be downloaded directly from our website and run on your system. We also have example codes for all stimuli and data output options on the support tab of our website. Online support for any scripting queries you may have is free to Zantiks users.


Data output

What is the format of my data output?

The data output is in a .csv file, which easily opens in excel, sheets, numbers or even notebook.

Regarding the output data, what kind of variables/information is provided? Can variables be customised?

The Zantiks software currently exports distance travelled, time spent in a specific target zone, and number of entries into specific target zones. Mean pixel change within an arena or a specific target zone can also be exported. For experiments, such as discriminations, correct, incorrect, omission and premature responses are counted. However, variables can be added and customised through the scripting language. Raw XY or XYZ coordinate data can be produced if required.

What is the unit my data is output in?

Time spent in specific target zones is written in seconds. Number of entries into a specific zone is an integer count. Distance travelled is written in millimetres. (If using software prior to May 2021, distance travelled is written in pixels. TIP: If your data output always shows values as integers, then the data is in pixels. If your output shows decimal numbers, then the data is in mm. See the Pixel to millimetre conversion ratio page for more details.)

Which way are the arenas/zones ordered on the asset .bmp files (e.g., which is zone1)?

The arenas and/or zones order normally moves from the top to the bottom and left to right. However, this is dependent on how the arenas have been defined / the script defining the arenas has been written. Arena 1 or zone 1 will conventionally be the topmost one or the one furthest on the left. We recommend you test this for yourself by using the 'fake fish' provided to test tracking, and the results output.

Why is my experiment overrunning from what has been scripted? / Why does the runtime not exactly match the time bin data? / Why does a 1 second time bin last 1.002 seconds?

When the system is asked to perform a WAIT statement it will never wait less than the time asked, it will always either wait the exact time in the command or it will wait a few milliseconds longer (this is because the program can be 'busy' performing another task). When collecting data, users are able to select a time bin of their choice. A 'bin' of data is essentially a WAIT command in between a start and stop data collection command (this is explained in detail in the writing and exporting data support page).

Typically this is not an issue, but for a long experiment with data collected in small time bins, you can incrementally gain extra time. For example, for a 6 day experiment with data collected in 1 second time bins that equates to 518,400 individual WAIT commands. This many WAIT commands can accumulate between 6-17 minutes over the course of the 6 days. You will be able to see this happening by looking at the RUNTIME column in the data export.

If this is an issue there are various adjustments you could make. You can reduce the total number of time bins, by increasing the time bin length. A larger time bin will result in fewer WAIT statements over the 6 day experiment, so the total time gain will be less. Another alternative is to make the time bin very slightly shorter - e.g. 0.999s rather than 1s. The result may then on average be 1 second. Please note the errors are dependent on how much processing the unit is doing, so a script that is not tracking (e.g. just measuring MSD, and making video) is likely to 'gain' less time.


The purchasing, warranty & delivery process

How do I request a quote for Zantiks system(s)?

Contact us and let us know which system you are interested in, how many units you would like and where they should be delivered. We will send you a formal quotation that lasts for 30 days. We do give discounts for multiple purchases of 3 or more units. We may ask for more details about your test species or experiments to get an idea about which system is better suited to your research.

Where are you based, where do you sell your products?

We are based in Cambridge, UK. We frequently attend conferences and workshops worldwide if you would like to meet us in person. We also offer free live demonstrations online. We ship our products globally.

When will my Zantiks unit be shipped?

Unless otherwise stated, products are typically shipped within 4 weeks of an order being placed.

Will I have to purchase software upgrades later on?

Currently all software upgrades are free to Zantiks users for the life of their systems. We send a downloadable *.zup file when the time comes to update.

Would tech support/ part replacement/ warranty be available to labs with Zantiks units?

All Zantiks systems come with a 2 year warranty. This covers the physical unit. We provide free online support to get you up and running, and answer any questions you may have in the future.

If we needed to use the warranty or order replacement parts in the future, would we be sending/ receiving packages to/ from the UK and be responsible for shipping costs?

If replacement parts are needed, we ask that you package the equipment for shipping, Zantiks will cover the shipping costs.


Built-in stimuli

What manipulanda and cue signals are available?

All Zantiks systems have LED ‘house-lights’ from above, a sound card to allow audio output, and a motor for vibration (and/or to operate a pump or feeder). In the AD and LT systems visual cues and stimuli are displayed from a screen underneath the tank (or an optional side screen). The MWP comes with a light stimulation plate for startles or optogenetics and temperature control.

Can we present moving images as the visual cue (e.g., approaching predator)?

In the AD and LT systems, visual stimuli are presented from a screen under the tank or via the optional side screen. The screens can display both still and moving images in colour, or black and white.

How is the vibration generated in the MWP?

The vibration stimulus is generated by an integrated stepper motor. The stepper motor is mounted so that attempted movements flex a sheet on which the stand for the multi well plate is resting, resulting in the water within each well vibrating. Instructing the motor to move with different step characteristics will cause different strength and frequency of vibrational stimuli. Please bear in mind the stimulus is not acting directly on the water - but the motor stimulus is consistent, precisely controllable, and repeatable.


Using the system

Where do I find video files on the Control Console?

Media files, such as images and videos are found in the Media Directory in the bottom Administration section of the Zantiks Control Console Home page.

Where do I find the data files?

There is a Data Files link in the lower left of the Zantiks Control Console Home page. There should be a list of data you can download directly onto your computer. There will be a single file and a compiled file for all the same experiments run within the same day.

How should the video recording facility be used?

Video recording was added to the system to help users show others what the system was doing (e.g., videos for presentations) or to quickly check for desired behaviours (e.g. startle responses to stimuli). We also offer time-lapse video which provides a small video file of an entire experiment. This allows whole experiments, even long term assays, to be quickly scanned prior to data analysis. All of our tracking is performed live in the system so that data is readily available in real-time, the video recording is not used for data collection.

How do I ensure that I have good tracking?

We expect 100% reliable tracking in the Zantiks systems when used correctly. However, there are ways of using the system which can produce poor tracking quality. An extensive guide on how to troubleshoot tracking issues can be found here.

Why is a zanscript downloaded from the website not working on my system?

The most likely cause is that you are operating on an older version of software which does not support a new feature that you are trying to execute in zanscript. Contact us for the latest software update. Note that all zantiks software updates are back compatible, so any existing scripts/experiments will work on later software versions.

When a service is loaded and being executed by the system, does my computer have to still be connected while the experiment is running?

Your computer (or any other connected device) does NOT need to remain connected. Once you see the red RUNNING banner at the top of the console, you can disconnect.

When trying to set up a new service under the relevant slot, the system warns there is "no .zex file by that name"?

The script needs to have been built and not simply saved. Sometimes when copying and pasting the script's name into a service button, an extra space may be added to the front of the name that will need deleting. You do not want any extra spaces before or after the name. You will need to delete the '---' and leave off the .zs extension as well. All the characters need to be joined, this can be done by use of an underscore _ if wanting to separate words.

What is the storage limit of the unit?

The storage limit is approximately 120 GB. The available storage is displayed on the Zantiks Control Console Home page. When the storage is low, this will be highlighted in red. You can download files and delete them from the unit when you wish to free up more space.

What kind of well plates can I use in the Zantiks MWP?

Any standard well plate or petri-dish can be used. Up to 96 wells can be tracked at once.

What type of food can I use for a reward?

For adult zebrafish, the food commonly used in the UK is the ZM400 (size range 400-600 microns) from ZM Systems. Zebrafeed 400-600 from Sparos has also proved reliable, and is now available in North America. However, any similarly sized, slow-sinking fish food that does not become sticky will work reliably for fish reward.

For rodents, we recommend sucrose pellets that are 12-20 mg in size, these will fit neatly into the pellet feeder.

How do I ensure my laptop (or any of my devices) remains connected to the Zantiks wifi after I log on?

Sometimes if you connect wirelessly to the Zantiks wifi, but have set up your device to ‘always connect’ with another local wifi network, your device may disconnect from the Zantiks wifi in favour of this local network. You can either 1) change the settings on your device, or 2) you could connect directly using a standard network cable to the Zantiks router, or 3) you could connect the unit to the local network of your choice. If you choose the third option you will need to check the unit’s screen to see what IP address your local wifi network assigns to the unit, and type this IP address into the web browser on your device to connect it to the unit.

Does my computer (or any of my devices) need to remain connected to the Zantiks wifi in order for my experiment to run?

No, once you have begun the service on the Control Console (by pressing 'RUN'), the experiment will continue to run even if you disconnect from the Zantiks wifi. It will continue until either you stop the service manually (by pressing 'STOP') or the entire experiment has completed.

When I capture an image, the result was only a black screen, how can I troubleshoot this?

You should be able to view the cage/tank/well plate from the capture image screen. If the image is black, this typically indicates that the IR light is not connected. A red & black wire should be the IR plug and plugged into the CN1 or CN2 input on the top board. Ensure the plug is pushed in as much as possible. If this doesn't help, try tightening the connection. You will need a small phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the screws on the green connector plug. Press the wires into the green plug snugly and then tighten the screw.

How do I shut down the unit if the control panel appears to have frozen?

The only way to shut the units down is from the browser interface and it is best not to just simply turn the power off. One possible reason it appears to have frozen is that the network connection to the unit has failed. It is likely not frozen, but that the browser cannot reach it. Rebooting the network router will likely help.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.