Anechoic aquarium for ultrasonic neural telemetry. Academic Article uri icon


  • An acoustic neural telemetry tag has been developed for recording from free-swimming aquatic animals. Microwire electrodes were implanted into the VIIIth nerve of the toadfish, Opsanus tau, and interfaced to the subdermally implanted tag. The telemetry tag frequency modulates the neural signal, converting it into a varying frequency, which is amplified and transmitted acoustically (centre frequency of 90 kHz and a 20 kHz bandwidth). This acoustic signal is detected by a receiver hydrophone, and the receiver reconstructs the full neural waveform from the acoustic signal. However, due to the multipath environment in the experimental aquarium, the acoustic signal is quickly degraded as the hydrophone is moved away from the source. In order to receive the signal independent of fish position, an anechoic aquarium was designed. Streams of microbubbles (ca. 70 microm diameter) were generated to produce a curtain of sound-absorptive material along the walls and water surface of the aquarium. Microbubble generation significantly reduced the multipath artefacts, and allowed signal discrimination independent of fish and hydrophone position. The anechoic aquarium will allow the recording of neural activity from free-swimming fishes in quasi-natural habitats, thus allowing better understanding of the neural mechanisms of behaviour.

publication date

  • September 29, 2000