I was thinking about this the other day:
We spend a tremendous amount of effort, time, and money at replicating the physical and chemical aspects of natural environments for our fishes. We have amazing water pumps, heaters, water conditioners, and lighting systems.
We use them to replicate, in a broad way, conditions similar to what we encounter in the natural environments where our animals come from.
However, I'm curious why we never have done much to replicate "seasonal" variations in weather by manipulating lighting conditions (like intensity, spectrum, duration, beam angle), temperature, and water chemistry (I'm sure that the pH, alkalinity, etc. vary slightly in say, the plains region in Africa, or the Pantanal region in Brazil during the rainy season versus the dry season).
Interesting stuff, especially when you consider the technology, knowledge and information at our disposal which we didn't in have years past. And think about it. Haven't you had situations where a fish spawned spontaneously after say, an accidental temperature dip or an intentional water change, or...? Was it just a coincidence? Sure, we've seen and even played with pH and its relationship to sex ratios in certain fish species, but there seems to be so much more we can do...
I imagine a convergence of technology and practice which addresses some of these more nuanced ideas. As someone who plays with leaf litter and such in his aquariums, I can't help but wonder if, even though they might be obvious, some of these adjustments may make a significant difference in our success with fishes. We've seen this a lot in the reef end of the hobby; trying to manipulate environmental conditions to optimize coral growth.
And of course, we've been doing "blackwater" and "Rift Lake" water condition manipulations for years, with obvious benefits...so the next set of more subtle adjustments might just bring some spectacular results for fishes who's reproduction in captivity has been elusive to date.
Something to ponder...and play with! More on this soon...
Stay curious...Stay inventive.
And stay wet.