I have often sat, gazing at my aquarium, wondering what life is like for those critters I keep captive. Are they bored and yearning to be set free? Are they content with their gluttonous lifestyle and constant pampering?
This is a question that is often raised with animals of a higher order, like pachyderm in the zoo, or chimpanzee. Those are easier to personify and to debate, but those are also, not often in our homes.
I keep my aquariums overgrown with actual live plant life. I have a flourishing ecosystem of natural plant filtration and invertebrates that I truly enjoy watching as they pick at the debris and bustle throughout the day. I test my water regularly to make sure it is optimal for the health of all involved. But my fish, well, as I said, I wonder about them.
This interesting study really has nothing to do with gaming for enriching the lives of the fish, but you can see that they’ve effectively made a game, where the fish tries to eat a projected dot. Some may argue that this is cruel, teasing the fish without actually rewarding its hunting instinct. Not only that, but striking the glass can actually harm the fish (you’ve probably seen larger fish with nasty wounds on their lips from this).
Lets say we reversed the “game” though. Many fish, especially in the type of aquarium I have, are shoaling fish. They are put at ease by greater numbers of their own. It has been proven that they live longer when stress is reduced, and these fish are easily stressed by being alone or in small groups. What if we were able to project a larger shoal of fish around them for their own mental comfort?
I don’t have an answer. I realize there are more important and pressing concerns that we should be tackling. I still wonder though, as I watch my fish.