Well one of the most important thing to raising and breeding fish is to make sure that the water conforms as closely to the fish's natural requirements as possible. Some fish like White Cloud Mountain Minnows can tolerate wide ranges of temperatures, pH levels and hardness. On the other hand some fish, especially when considering breeding require very strict water levels and balances. There are several variables in maintaining water quality; the next few paragraphs will lightly touch on each subject.

Fish do not appreciate sudden changes in temperature or extreme ranges in temperature. Consult your Fish Specialist or the Species Pics and Profiles section of this web site for the proper temperature range for your fish. Most tropical fish do well in a range from 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Most can live, although uncomfortably in water as low as 68 deg. and as high as 85 deg. Fahr. If you need to adjust the heater in your tank, always remember to do it gradually over a period of hours, about 1 Deg. change per 6-8 hours of time.

Water used in today's aquariums usually come from heavily chlorinated tap water. Chlorine in concentration can kill your fish. The good thing is that if the water is exposed to the air for  three days prior to adding to the tank the Chlorine will be entirely dissipated or at the very least be reduced to a harmless level. If you aerate the water the dissipation will be much faster. Water can also be neutralized by chemical means, however I never recommend adding chemicals that are not necessary.

The "Hardness" of water is a measure of the amount of Calcium or magnesium compounds dissolved in water. It is usually expressed as grains of calcium carbonate and may be measure as "Parts Per Million" or more commonly as "PPM", sometimes people recall hardness as "Degrees of Hardness" or "DH". One "DH"=17.1 ppm.
A hardness rating between 50 and 200 ppm is the general range of tropical freshwater fish. Some fish do require more a stringent range of Hardness. As always, consult your Fish Specialist or ask one of us at the club if you need to know the requirements of your fish.

This is a measure of how alkaline or acidic the water is. To check your pH a test kit is used, normally consisting of a small vial and a drop or two of an indicator solution (Bromothymol Blue). The color in the vial after the indicator solution is added is held up to a color chart to determine at what pH your water is currently at. A reading of 7.0 is neutral, 7.1 and above is Alkaline and readings of 6.9 or below are Acidic.
Several chemicals are available to change your pH reading, from a common brand name of "pH Up" or "pH Down", chemical names like those of Sodium BiPhosphate, Monosodium Phosphate and Sodium Bicarbonate can all be used to control pH to some degree. Any and all changes in pH that are chemically induced (meaning that you put stuff in the water) should be gradually as to not stress out your fish. Most fish can thrive well in a not to stringently controlled tank; some however need-exacting pH levels or risk killing the fish. This is especially true in scaleless fishes like certain eels and knife fishes.
If chemical additives are not something you want to subject your tank to, there is somewhat of an alternative. A little bit more of a natural approach is to add "Peat", "Bog Wood" or "Baking Soda" to adjust your pH levels just to name a couple. I will not give out any "Magic Recipes" here because simply there are none, everyone's water and conditions is unique, to see what may work bets for you,  consult with us at the Club for what may work best for your particular situation.
Watch your fish, certain fish will change colors or swimming habits as the pH changes. Remember if anything ever seems out of the ordinary, TEST your water!

One thing that is common among all tanks and bowls is some sort of water filtration or cleaning. Some smaller bowls/containers rely on simple water changes to keep the water quality good. The other majority of aquariums utilize a wide range of brand/models of filters of various sizes, shapes and methods of filtration.
To learn more about the basics differences between filters click here.

  The Balanced Aquarium:
First a little history, When it was discovered many years ago that plants gave off oxygen during Photosynthesis, the theory of a balance aquarium became very popular. The balanced aquarium theory is simply stated as; since fish take in oxygen and give off Carbon dioxide, while plants do the exact opposite, it should be possible to set up a situation in which the natural functions of the plants and of the fish support each other. Things didn't quite work out the way they were hoped. Since it took an illumination source to get the plants to produce oxygen, no one wanted to leave their lamps on 24 hours a day and stress out the fish. So now we add little things to our tanks to help nature along. Heaters, aerators & power heads among other things help nature out and allow us to keep fish for years and years in small environments.
However there are extreme and cruel products marketed across this country with normally disastrous results, when this theory is taken well beyond its intended limits. Such as small pint sized enclosures holding multiples of small fish and a twig of a plant.
AquaBabies is such a product, and is a prime example of how the quest for profit is placed ahead of the health of animals. If you want more information on AquaBabies and the movement to stop the animal cruelty please Click Here.