Martineau & Associates, Inc., of Menlo Park, CA, Launches CanaryTank, a 24/7 Adult Zebrafish Monitoring and Real Time Behavior Analysis System

January 5, 2024

A novel system providing continuous monitoring of zebrafish behavior in real time has been launched by Martineau & Associates, a leader in computer vision monitoring systems. The new tool, CanaryTank™, video-records and analyzes zebrafish directly in their tank to ensure normal behavior. It detects conditions that may endanger the fish health and wellbeing—for example, the ominous behavioral symptoms portenting mass mortality events—so that corrective measures can be taken with no delay.

“Continuous monitoring of zebrafish behavior in real time could save millions of dollars in costs and prevent the loss of irreplaceable zebrafish lineages”, says Pierre R. Martineau, PhD, the company’s president. “It allows fish facility managers and veterinarians to focus on immediate threats to fish health and well being, enables the next level of care, and saves time and money.”

CanaryTank also offers an invaluable way for Principal Investigators to study zebrafish directly in their familiar tank, in the normal conditions of the fish facility, without having to be transferred. CanaryTank will have a major impact on medical research quality and reproducibility.

Over one million zebrafish tanks are maintained worldwide today. Despite their critical role in all domains of medical research, zebrafish are kept in facilities lacking behavior monitoring tools. CanaryTank fills this gap by leveraging the Martineau & Associates patented Remanent Imaging Control¹ (RIC) technology. It operates directly in the ambient light of the fish facility, thanks to its patented illumination system². Continuous behavior analysis is made possible by a video recording technique that enables real time extraction of fish trajectories.

CanaryTank is currently in operation at the Zebrafish International Resource Center (ZIRC) of Eugene, OR. ZIRC is recognized worldwide as setting health and husbandry standards for zebrafish facilities.

“CanaryTank unveils unique and novel behavioral insights in zebrafish, offering a proactive solution for swift responses to water quality or husbandry issues,” said Zoltan Varga, PhD, director of ZIRC. “By bridging a vital gap in colony monitoring, CanaryTank directly links behavioral observation to welfare monitoring, setting new benchmarks for welfare standards in zebrafish care.”

According to David Lains, Principal Aquaculturist at ZIRC, zebrafish health monitoring is an ongoing priority. “CanaryTank provides us with an unprecedented new system to actively record the behavior of our zebrafish day and night, setting a new standard for comprehensive health surveillance,” Lains said.

Single or multiple units of the system can be easily deployed in facilities without interfering with the flow of activity in busy aquatic facilities. It integrates with any existing watering system and tank rack provider.

CanaryTank end users can choose from a variety of subscription options to the company’s cloud-based WatchYourFish™ service which provides incident alerts, email reports on fish behavior, event replay, access to historical data, and advanced data analysis.

CanaryTank is funded by a Phase II $2M 2-year grant awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that follows a Phase I $550,000 grant from the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP).

About Martineau & Associates

Martineau & Associates, Inc. designs computer vision instruments of a new type to advance knowledge of the living world and the understanding of complex animal behavior. The company is focused on zebrafish (Danio rerio), the fastest growing animal model in neuroscience research.

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¹US Patents # 11,343,430 and 10,805,538 for “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR REMANENT IMAGING CONTROL”.