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Field Trip

Field Trip to the NIH Zebrafish Facility

Join us on Friday, October 5, 2018 for a fun-filled day visiting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 19,000 tank zebrafish facility.  We will leave the hotel at 7:55 am and take the Washington metro to NIH.  We will make every effort to return to the hotel in time for workshops and talks.

NIH Zebrafish Facility

Scientists have found a big ally in a small fish as they strive to prevent birth defects and develop new treatments for human disorders.  The zebrafish, Danio rerio, has many genes in common with human beings.  Researchers can extrapolate what they learn from studies of zebrafish to human disorders and conditions. Popular in home aquariums throughout the world, zebrafish are native to south Asia. They reach about 1 ½ inches in length and have alternating horizontal blue and white stripes.

The NIH zebrafish facility is the largest in the world, with enough space for 19,000 tanks to accommodate 100,000 fish. The facility uses 25,000 gallons of water, only about 40 percent of which circulates through the tanks at any one time. The remainder flows through a high tech filtration system to remove wastes. The water temperature is maintained at 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the water chemistry is rigidly controlled. Before entering the tanks, the water is pumped past ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria or other organisms with the potential to cause disease. Lighting simulates a 24-hour day, with dawn and dusk. The fish are fed a variety of foods, including a dry, prepared mix as well as live brine shrimp.

The facility is operated jointly by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. A number of other NIH institutes also conduct research at the facility.  Learn more at