Abstract We evaluated the use of the gnotobiotic zebrafish system to study the effects of bacterial infection, and analyzed expression of genes involved in zebrafish innate immunity. Using a GFP-labeled strain of Vibrio anguillarum, we fluorescently monitored colonization of the zebrafish intestinal tract and used gene expression analysis to compare changes in genes involved in innate immunity between nongnotobiotic and gnotobiotic larvae. The experiments performed with the gnotobiotic zebrafish reveal new insights into V. anguillarum pathogenesis. Specifically, an alteration of the host immune system was detected through the suppression of a number of innate immune genes (NFKB, IL1B, TLR4, MPX, and TRF) during the first 3 h post infection. This immunomodulation can be indicative of a "stealth mechanism" of mucus invasion in which the pathogen found a sheltered niche, a typical trait of intracellular pathogens.