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Water is the natural environment for fishes.

The fishes constantly need oxygen from the water, with some exceptions. (For example some lungfishes, loaches, arapaimas, anabantids and some species of catfish have developed organs and methods to use athmospheric oxygen.) Therefore it's important to make sure that the water in the aquarium water has an appropriate level of oxygen. With higher temperature, less oxygen can be in solution. Plants produce oxygen during the day when there is light, but at at night when there is darkness the plants use oxygen just like the fishes.

There has to be available oxygen for the bacteria to break down most toxic substances. (For example bacteria that breaks down nitrite to nitrate need oxygen.) To ensure that there will be a sufficient oxygen level you can use an airpump to oxygenate the water, but usually this is not neccesary if you have a normal amount of fish and no species that demand a very high oxygen level. A waterpump that makes a current on the surface of the water will usually do fine, however an airpump might still be useful, especially if you have a lid on the aquarium.

The pH-value and hardness of the water is often important when you are going to breed fishes. It's because the fishes and their eggs have adapted to certain water parameters in the wild. If these values are too low or to high the fishes may feel bad or don't feel very enticed to spawn. If they spawn anyway, and the eggs can't develop in those specific water parameters, the eggs will be ruined.

The temperature should usually be around 24 to 26°C for most normal tropical fishes. Species that live in for example fast flowing mountainbrooks need cooler water. Species that live in for example calm ponds that are heated by the sun may need a bit hotter water.

When it comes to waterchanges many people think that means to change all the water in the aquarium. It's not so good to do that and it will hurt the balance in the biological system that has (hopefully) had time to settle. Instead, if you change about 30 % of the water regulary, about one to four times per month, both the fishes and the plants will feel better. If you have time to do so, it's even better if you do partial water changes more often, but it should always be done on a regular basis. Naturally there are exceptions. Fry and some sensitive species (like discus) may need larger waterchanges, more often, to grow well and prosper.



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