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Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Dechlorinator

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    Don’t use it because I use RO water. If I wasn’t using RO I would use it as I don’t trust the water board at all (having to deal with them everyday doesn’t raise my opinion of them). If they can wipe a whole river out in the space of two days they can certainly b*gg*r my tank up!!!


    Byron Hosking

    I know this thread is old (last September was the last post), but as a fairly new member of the forum I have only now got round to checking this folder’s postings, and felt I should share some thoughts on this topic of whether or not to use a water conditioner when making partial water changes.

    From glancing down the list of members who responded, almost all are from the UK. That is significant, because if an aquarist in most parts of North America (Canada or USA) changed 30-50% of the water in an aquarium with untreated tap water, he would have dead fish within minutes.

    In the 1980’s I lived in Victoria BC, on the southern end of Vancouver Island. I was a member of the local aquarium society, and none of us used conditioner. The water from the tap was very soft and slightly acidic, and while there was probably some chlorine it was miniscule. No one ever had problems. Then one summer there was a sudden bloom of some bacteria in the water supply reservoir, and the water board dosed the water with chlorine without (as far as we knew) advance notice. All of the members who routinely did weekly partial water changes lost fish. From then on, we used conditioner.

    I moved to Vancouver in 1988, and the water here was (and still is) soft and slightly acidic, but chlorine and flouride (and perhaps other stuff) have always been added to the water. Some days you can smell it if the tap is running. This topic came up in another forum I belong to, again most members are from the UK, and the responses were similar to those here. Except from one aquarist who mentioned that during a trip to the US the previous summer, he had noticed the terrible amount of chlorine in the water; he said he had skin rashes after showering from the chlorine, and couldn’t bear to drink the water. I must say many over here do buy bottled water regularly. Anyway, the point is, that NA water is generally heavily treated.

    One day when doing the weekly 40% water changes on my 115g, 90g and 70g tanks, I sat in front of them to observe things afterwards, as I usually do just to make sure everything is still OK (haven’t forgotten to turn the filter or heater back on, etc.). I noticed that almost all the fish in the 70g were at the surface, with very red and expanded gills, gasping and gulping air; nothing was amiss in the other two tanks. Immediately I instinctively knew that I had forgotten to squirt the Kordon conditioner into the 70 tank when starting the refill. I dosed the tank with more than enough, and in a few minutes the fish were beginning to swim around again, although still obviously in shock. I lost only a few luckily. This experiences does not support the idea someone mentioned that chlorine added to “mature” water is safe. I doubt it.

    I think the issue is first knowing what is in your water, and second knowing how much you can trust the water board to be consistent or provide sufficient advance warning. I suspect the latter is somewhat academic, because in an “emergency” they are not going to risk people’s lives just to provide some fish keepers with advance notice.

    Another significant point though is what substances may be in the water besides chlorine. Some water supplies have heavy metals. If one replaces the water pipes in their home, using copper pipes (standard in NA), there will be considerable amounts of copper in the water for months; I know of people who have lost fish due solely to this. I heard (in another forum) only yesterday of an area in NA where ammonia in the tap water reads 1.6 which is significant. If any of these problems are present, a good water conditioner is mandatory to prevent stress on the fish at the very least.

    Someone mentioned that chlorine will be removed from water with vigorous agitation, or letting it stand for 24 hours. That is true; the Vancouver water board has stations along the pipeways to add additional chlorine to the water, since the chlorine added at the source (the reservoir stations) dissipates from the water or at any rate loses much of its strength by the time it has travelled the 50 or more km to residents in the area. But if there is significant chlorine how much agitation is “vigorous”? And letting the water stand for 24 hours would require vast tubs of water for those of us with 100+ gallon aquaria. And obviously neither of these methods answers the problem of chloramine, ammonia, heavy metals, etc.

    Another poster wondered about the chlorine killing the bacteria. Yes, it does; aquarists regularly advise newbies to rinse filter media in water from the tank to avoid the chlorine in the tap water killing more of the good bacteria. And the only reason chlorine is added to municipal water in NA is to kill everything bacteria-wise.




    totally agree byron, it definately comes down to where you live, im very lucky where i live with the water supply but if i lived elsewhere it would be a different story. when i first kept fish i used it religiously and would reccommend to new aquarists (or even if you move to a new area) but now it has no visible effect. i do use it if i add new fish (mainly to minimise stress etc) or if i have sensitive fry but otherwise its ok.

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