OPPTS 850.1500: Fish Life Cycle Toxicity Test

In the Fish Life Cycle Toxicity Test fish are exposed to chemicals from one stage of the life cycle to at least the same stage of the next generation (e.g. egg to egg). It is used to detect adverse effects on development, growth or reproduction over an entire life cycle. For the testing of endocrine disruptors further parameters can be added which are responsive to endocrine modes of action.

Test Organisms

  • Danio rerio (zebrafish)
  • Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow)








Course of the test

Freshly fertilized eggs (before beginning of gastrulation) are exposed to a range of test substance concentrations under flow-through conditions. The test covers the hatching of larvae, a growth phase of juvenile fish and reproduction. Once the fish are mature and start spawning, the egg number and fertilization rate is documented. The hatching success and survival of the F1 generation are evaluated. Depending of the fish species under investigation the study durations is 100-190 days.


  • spawning, egg numbers, fertility, fecundity, behaviour and morphology
  • for the testing of endorine disruptors e.g. vitellogenin, sexual sex characteristics and gonad histopathology
  • statistical evaluation


Phase Day of exposure (Danio rerio) Endpoints
Early Life Stage 0-60 days post hatch Hatching, survival, behaviour, morphology
Growth 61-90 days post hatch Survival, behaviour, morphology
Reproduction 91-130 days post hatch Egg number, fertilization rate, behaviour, morphology
Early Life Stage F1 131-160  days post hatch Hatching, survival, behaviour, morphology
Test termination   Vitellogenin, gonad staging, sex ratio







Guidelines and literature

  • EPA Ecological Effects Test Guidelines OPPTS 850.1500 Fish Life Cycle Toxicity Test.