I have some fishkeeping books that my mom dug up from the 70's - some of the things I read in there dropped my jaw!
It's true that this hobby can be as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. You don't have to be a scientist to play with water tests - I actually think it's fun! ^_^ Like you said, FishieLuver - neat stuff!
Personally, I'd recommend that anyone entering the hobby with an intent to do it right should go ahead and get a kit, too. By coming to a better understanding of the water, you'll be able to come to a more complete understanding of the animals you keep and their needs. I don't think anyone can deny that's a good thing!
This is fantastic advice advice for anyone:
Originally Posted by Tolak
If ever in doubt change water, and double dose with a good water conditioner such as Seachem Prime or Tetra Aquasafe.
And then, when the fish are safe, I'd do some tests on the water I pulled from the tank in the hopes of understanding what the problem was - so I could prevent it the next time!
Another good thing to know about your water before getting fish is if you have hard or soft water. Not all water is created equal - and to a fish? It is THE
most important thing!