When you first get into keeping fish, it seems very simple. You add a few fish to some water, perhaps get an aquarium filter and a pump and you're good to go. However, any good fish owner knows that the water in the fish tank also needs to be oxygenated in order to keep fish happy and healthy.
You see, fish breathe through their gills, sucking water in, processing the oxygen and expelling the water. The problem is that when the water has low oxygen content, the fish can't breathe properly and they will eventually die if care is not taken. In general, the more fish that are in a tank, the faster they will use up the oxygen. The bigger the fish, the more they use, as well. The more water surface there is in a fish tank, the better the oxygenation will be.
Tropical fish, in particular, need more aerated water since they prefer warmer conditions and this is not conducive to good oxygenation. The warmer the water, the more likely the fish are to suffocate rapidly if you do not take measures to prevent this.
How to Oxygenate Your Aquarium
There are several ways to make sure your fish are getting plenty to breathe. First of all, using a wider, shallower tank will help.
Having live plants is another good option. You can easily include several beautiful aquatic plants in your fish tank and they will provide oxygenation, as well as a place for your fish to hide. Plants tend to encourage algae growth, however, so be prepared to clean more.
Other options include waterfalls and pumps that agitate the water enough to whip some air into it. There are also aquarium decorations that look pretty while producing bubbles to aerate the tank.
Whichever option you choose, you will find that your fish are far healthier and more energetic when they can breathe well.