As mentioned in Part 1 of this article series, chlorine is a highly toxic substance in tap water that must be neutralized before adding water to an aquarium or pond. Unfortunately, many municipalities now treat water with the more stable compound chloramine. Regular dechlorinators cannot detoxify this compound. Chloramine consists of chlorine and hydrogen atoms. When the chlorine atoms reduce to non-toxic chloride, newly freed nitrogen atoms bond with hydrogen in the water to form ammonia. Ammonia is also extremely toxic to aquaria. Fish excrete ammonia as waste through their gills. High amounts of ammonia in the aquarium prevent this process, resulting in gill damage and potentially in death. Complete water conditioners reduce this highly toxic ammonia to less toxic ammonium that will be processed by nitrifying bacteria.
One excellent water conditioner in Seachem’s Aquavitro line, Alpha, is excellent for removing chlorine, chloramines, and ammonia in reef aquariums. Alpha can be used in conjunction with other Aquavitro products. It is 50% more concentrated than Prime and has a lower odor. Aquarium Life Support System’s Aqualife Complete (AL102) also removes chlorine, chloramines, and ammonia. One ounce of Aqualife Complete eliminates chlorine and chloramine in 60 gallons of water. Each dose removes one part per million of ammonia. Aqualife Complete can be used at up to ten times the recommended dosage without being toxic to aquaria. Aqualife Complete is also FDA approved for use with food fish and shrimp. Pair these water conditioners with Poly-bio Marine’s Polyfilter for additional ammonia removal. The Polyfilter changes to a yellow color with ammonia removal. The Polyfilter can be rinsed if slime coat additives in the water conditioners slow the pad’s absorption.
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Articles: Chlorine – Quick Reference and Freshwater Solutions