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Mouse, Rat

Porsolt Forced Swim Test

Product Code:40122/40123

The Porsolt Forced Swim Test (FST), or Porsolt Swim Test (PST), also known as the Behavioral Despair Test, is centered on the way rodents respond to their threat of drowning. This has been correlated to their mood, or, more precisely to their level of depression, with non-depressed animals that swim longer than depressed animals, who, instead, give up and float immobile.

By measuring the immobility time of the animal within a water-filled cylinder, one can test the effect of antidepressants or do gene screening of depression models. In the Ugo Basile device the immobility measure is automatically achieved through video-tracking by position one or more cameras in front of the water cylinders, which are surrounded by a metal case to avoid animals to being able to see each other.

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This product warranty can be extended up to 24 Additional Months.
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Fully automated, multiple animal detection and combination with Tail Suspension Test

  • The Ugo Basile system is fully automated through video-tracking immobility detection and result display
  • All optional can be ordered for a complete system with cylinder, dividers, software, camera, lenses and tripod for filming and tracking of immobility
  • Multiple animals can be tested simultaneously thanks to the software ability to track up to 6 apparatus at the time and to the metal dividers, so that the animals don’t see each other
  • The metal dividers can be optionally ordered with lids with a special hook designed for Tail Suspension Test, another classic test for depression studies. Also in this case the test is fully automated and multiple animals can be assessed at the same time.
  • The water cylinders come with holes for easy transportation, drain to empty them and are easy to clean, ensuring the best transparency thanks to the high quality Perspex material
Classic test, fully validated Easily accepted for publications
Fully automated scoring of immobility No experimenter bias and variability
Cylinder, dividers, software, camera, lenses and tripod can all be ordered Complete system ready to go with all options
Multiple animal assessment High throughput up to 6 animals at the time
Combo version compatible with Tail Suspension Possibility to run a battery of depression tests
Best quality transparent Perspex and “special grey” dividers Improves video-tracking performance with all animal colors





19 cm

29 cm


40 cm

60 cm

Water Max Capacity

11 L

39,5 L



Warranty Sociability are covered by a 12-month warranty + 12 after product registration 
UB-Care Additional UB-Care can be added for other 12 or 24 months

The test has been a standard for decades and it is still the cornerstone, together with the Tail Suspension test for depression studies.

However, a few considerations must be made in order to perform it correctly:

  • Water temperature and depth must be adequate (25-30°C and 30 cm for rats; can be a bit less for mice)
  • Animals should be dried in a warm environment after the test (warm lamp or pad suggested).
  • The water should be bacterial free, so it needs to be cleaned from feces and urine after each test

From a procedural point of view the duration of the test is very variable in the literature and goes from 4 to 20 minutes (see Crawley JN, “What’s wrong with my mouse for review).

Normally the experiment takes place under a constant white noise around 70 dB. Animals should not be left unattended as if they start sinking, they should be immediately removed from the cylinder.

A comprehensive procedure is available at Jove (Journal of visualized experiments). 

Porsolt Forced Swim Test


Porsolt forced Swim test large Rats. Immobility Videotracking available on request (60000-FST)


Porsolt forced Swim test for Mice and small Rats. Immobility Videotracking available on request (60000-FST)


Divider for Porsolt Forced Swim test for large Rats


Tail Suspension lid for Porsolt forced swim test for large Rats (need 40122-320)


Divider for Porsolt Forced Swim test for Mice and small Rats


Tail Suspension lid for Porsolt forced swim test for Mice and small Rats (need 40123-320)


ANY-maze for Porsolt and Tail Suspension Test immobility scoring


BW USB camera with 1.8-12 mm day & night varifocal lens

Porsolt, R.D., Le Pichon, M., & Jalfre, M., 1977, "Depression: a new animal model sensitive to antidepressant treatments.", Nature

Porsolt, R.D., Bertin, A., & Jalfre, M., 1997, "Behavioral despair in mice: a primary screening test for antidepressants", Arch. Int. Pharmacodyn. Ther.

Roger D. et. al., 1978, "Behavioural despair in rats: A new model sensitive to antidepressant treatments", European Journal of pharmacology

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