DaphTox II source-water protection

Biomonitoring using Daphnia


Surface water applications

  • dam monitoring
  • waterway analysis and assessment
  • general environmental monitoring

Drinking water applications

  • intake assessment
  • drinking water supply

Research applications

  • risk analysis
  • limnological work
  • research and education

Sensitive detection of toxic substances in water via computer-assisted digital image analysis

The bbe DaphniaToximeter II observes daphnids, commonly known as “water fleas”, under the influence of constantly running sample water. Based on the Extended Dynamic Daphnia Test, bbe developed a new sensitive method to detect hazardous compounds in water from rivers (source-water protection), plants, distribution systems and production drains to preserve human health and to monitor water.

Sensitivity data are available below.

Sample water (0.5 – 2 l/h) continuously runs through the measuring chamber containing the daphnia. The live images obtained using a CCD-camera are evaluated online with an integrated PC to analyse changes in the behaviour of the daphnia. If the change is statistically significant, an alarm is triggered. The method of image analysis enables a series of measurement methods and plausibility tests to assess the daphnia’s behaviour using different criteria.

Measurement using digital image analysis
Observation of speed parameters:

  • average speed
  • speed distribution
  • distance between daphnia

Observation of behaviour:

  • swimming height
  • location
  • fractal dimension: measurements for turns and circling movements, curviness

Observation of growth:

  • determination of daphnia size

Toxicity Index
The concept of the toxicity index is based on the evaluation of certain measurands, such as speed or height, and changes in these measurands. Only when 2 or more of the measurands simultaneously show unusual results within a fixed period of time does the DaphTox II trigger an alarm.


Chamber and camera

  • 1-chamber system with up to 10 daphnids or other organisms
  • optional 2-chamber system with enhanced reliability
  • easily removable daphnia chamber – prevents air bubbles and increases detection rate

Sample preparation

  • integrated sample treatment (microfiltration, ultrasonic cleaning and pre-heating)
  • air-cooled peltier element – no separate cooling water

Low maintenance, few consumables

  • simple operation:
    15″ touchscreen PC with splash-proof flexible USB keyboard (supplied), Windows XP software
  • automatic, prepared concentrated algae feeder syringe – no algae culture necessary
  • fewer tube connections

Data transfer options

  • LAN
  • Modem
  • Relays
  • 4-20 mA
  • USB
  • ModBus


The database software is used to record and analyse the data.
The most important features are…

  • easy data analysis and management
  • new upper and lower threshold values for all relevant measurands
  • parameterisation of the measurements
  • saving of data and parameters in a database
  • graphic display of measurement values
  • data export to Excel or text files
  • two protected user levels
  • print function
Toxicity detection due to video analysis of daphnia behaviour with regard to the following:
  • average swim speed
  • speed distribution
  • swim height
  • average distance
  • fractal dimension of paths: curviness, turns
  • no. of daphnia
  • distribution in chamber
  • size of daphnia
Measurement procedure video image analysis
Housing material varnished steel plate
Weight 60 kg
Dimensions (H x W x D) 800 x 800 x 500 cm
Protection class IP54
Mains supply 110/240V 50/60Hz
Power consumption 600 W
Temperature Sample: 0 – 30 °C / Environment: 0 – 35° C
Transmission suitable for max. 100 FTU
Sample volume 30 ml
Maintenance interval > 7 days
Sample inflow free inflow/tube pump
Hardware integrated Windows touchscreen PC, splash-proof, flexible USB keyboard
  • modem
  • LAN
  • analogue output 4-20 mA (2 X) (optional)
  • relay output (2 X)
  • RS232
  • USB


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