PLoS ONE 13, e0199712 (2018)
Adult zebrafish are fast, capable of covering 15x their body length every second. Larval zebrafish are much slower, but pick up the pace as they age. To measure bursts of activity and sustained swimming speeds, researchers need special flumes and will often customize set-ups to use with zebrafish across life stages.
Writing in PLoS One, a research team from Boston present step-by-step instructions to build a zebrafish-scale flume that can be used across the animal’s lifespan. The set-up is built with PVC components, a modified aquarium tank, and small commercially available pumps and flow meters. The water flow is controlled and monitored by inexpensive, open-source Arduino microprocessors, and the FlowControl software the team developed is available on GitHub. The number of pumps and valves operating in the flume can be adjusted to accommodate the age, and maximum swimming speed, of the fish.