Water Conditioners Part 1 of 3: Chlorine

All aquariums and ponds need water. However, not all water sources are equal in quality. Water conditioners make tap water safe for aquaria by neutralizing and/or removing various toxic substances. The most common toxic substance in tap water is chlorine. Municipalities use chlorine (or chloramine) to kill bacteria in drinking water, making the water safer for human consumption. Unfortunately, these chemicals are extremely toxic to fish, other aquaria, and to nitrifying bacteria. Chlorine irreversibly damages the gills of fish and impairs gas exchange. The toxic effects of chlorine are obvious within thirty minutes. Fish death due to chlorine can occur within twenty-four hours. Water conditioners remove chlorine by breaking, or reducing, the chlorine molecule into non-toxic chloride molecules that cannot reform into chlorine.

An excellent conditioner for chlorine removal is DeChlorit (AL8343) by Aquarium Life Support Systems. Aqualife Complete (AL102) by Aquarium Life Support Systems also performs well at removing chlorine. A 16 oz bottle of Aqualife Complete removes chlorine in 960 gallons of water. Aqualife Complete can be dosed up to 10 times the regular dosage without becoming toxic to livestock. Common water conditioners are toxic at over 2 to 3 times the normal dosing rate. In addition, Aqualife Complete has multiple features beyond simple declorination that will be discussed in parts 2 and 3 of this article series.


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