In this study, the influence of a combination of different photoperiods and temperatures on the final maturation and social interactions in three-spined sticklebacks was investigated. Water temperature appears to be the principal signal affecting gonadal development and breeding activity of sticklebacks in pre-spawning and spawning periods. Males can mature independently of photoperiod and a stimulatory effect of high temperature is not diminished by light deprivation. On the other hand, low temperature can inhibit the development of secondary sexual characters in males exposed to long day or constant light. In females, lighting seems to be more decisive for complete maturation and the lack of light delays the maturation rate, even in high temperature. While kept under the same conditions, males mature quicker than females. The presence of light and visual information are crucial to establish the social position of individuals in the group. In light, a rigid social hierarchy with one dominant, sexually active male is observed. In constant darkness, however, several males in the group demonstrate every sign of sexual activity.