Tap water contains chemicals and compounds that are safe for humans but can be bad news for fish. Municipal water is routinely treated with chlorine. This kills dangerous bacteria, and makes water safe for humans. The amount of chlorine that actually runs through a faucet is minimal as far as humans and most pets are concerned. Well, water is known to have high levels of heavy metals. The amount of chlorine, heavy metals, and other elements typically found in tap water is safe for people but is toxic to fish.
When filling a new tank, or when changing water in an established tank during regular maintenance it is important to use a water conditioner treatment. An aquarium water conditioner neutralizes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. Any ammonia or nitrites in the water are detoxified. This renders the water safe and hospitable to fish.
Many fish tank water conditioners are designed to recreate the conditions of the species natural habitat. This can reduce stress levels and lead to fish acting similar to how they do in the wild, and create a more enjoyable tank for the aquarium inhabitants and the fishkeeper. There are also water conditioners formulated to protect and improve the health of fish. Fish naturally produce a protein secretion called a slime coat. This slime coat creates a barrier and works as a defense against bacteria, parasites, disease, and infection. Some aquarium water conditioners strengthen the natural slime coat, or create a synthetic slime coat, while also reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
Make sure to use a fish tank water conditioner that is suited to your aquarium. Some products are intended to be used in tanks containing specific species. There are conditioners formulated just for freshwater aquariums or saltwater fish tanks. There are water conditioners specifically intended for setting up new tanks, as well as products designed to be used for regular maintenance of established tanks. In some instances, the water conditioner can be used at any time, either for new or existing tanks. Since each fish tank is different make sure to read the instructions and select an aquarium water conditioner that meets the needs of your tank.
Fish Tank Water Conditioner Reviews
Tetra AquaSafe PLUS Water Treatment
Quickly neutralize chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals to make tap water safe for an aquarium, using Tetra AquaSafe PLUS Water Treatment. This fish tank water conditioner can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It also helps enhance the slime coat that protects fish from scrapes and abrasions, while speeding up the time it takes injuries and wounds to heal.
A healthy aquarium draws on good bacteria to help keep the water clean and clear. The BioExtract formula of this water conditioner utilizes seaweed extracts to support the growth of beneficial filter bacteria, which supports the entire tank and aids in cleaning the water. A blend of vitamins and minerals improves the quality of the water and promotes increased activity in fish.
The slime coat will help protect fish, but it also covers the tank in a thin coat of slime, which can be unsightly. If the tank inhabitants have abrasions or other health issues the slime coat can be very beneficial and makes this water conditioner a good fit. If the fish are healthy this product may not be the most ideal option.
Natural Rapport All-in-One Water Conditioner
One bottle takes care of it all when it comes to the all-in-one water conditioner from Natural Rapport. This conditioner is formulated to make tap water safe for use in freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It removes or neutralizes chloramine, ammonia, nitrites, chlorine, and heavy metals. This solution also buffers the pH to prevent fluctuations.
To further aid in fish care this water conditioner for the fish tank adds electrolytes to the water. In times of stress, fish may lose electrolytes. Replenishing the salt in a tank will help restore balance and relax the fish. Electrolytes also help treat parasite infestation and offer protection against nitrite poisoning. This all-in-one water conditioner also adds a synthetic slime coat to help fish ward off harmful parasites or bacteria, while speeding up the healing of abrasions or cuts.
The instructions on the bottle are for treating larger quantities of water. If using this product for a small tank or even a bowl, it is not clear how much of this water conditioner to use. You can do the math to determine how much to add, but under or overusing this product both carry consequences, so it would be ideal to have a definitive answer.
Keep your tank clean and safe by using Seachem Prime when setting up a new tank or changing water in an established tank. This water conditioner de-chlorinates tap water for use in saltwater or freshwater aquariums. It also detoxifies heavy metals, which can be found in both municipal and well water. By promoting the nitrogen cycle this water conditioner converts harmful ammonia into a safer form that can be removed by a biological filter. This solution does not over-activate protein skimmers.
Prime supports the production and regeneration of a natural slime coat. Fish secrete a protein-based mucus that covers their fins and scales and provides a line of defense against illness and bacteria. This natural protective layer also helps to heal scrapes and wounds and prevents the loss of electrolytes and body fluids. Prime promotes a healthy slime coat which provides protection for weakened fish and gives them the ability to quickly heal.
In order for this water conditioner for fish tanks to be most effective, it needs to be used in aquariums that have biological filtration. Without biofilter nitrates, the end result of the nitrogen cycle can accumulate. In large quantities, nitrates can be harmful, so it is necessary to remove this build-up.
API Stress Coat Water Conditioner
Maintain a healthy aquarium with an API Stress Coat water conditioner. This product is formulated to remove chemicals and elements found in tap water that can be harmful and even lethal to fish. Use this water conditioner when setting up a new tank, changing the water during maintenance, replacing water lost to evaporation if fish are injured or sick, or when adding new fish to an aquarium.
Fish can become stressed during handling if exposed to poor water conditions, and when tank water is changed. Stress can impact the health of the fish by reducing their ability to naturally produce a slime coat. This coat is a protein-rich mucus that protects fish from bacteria and parasites while also helping to heal abrasions and wounds. Stress Coat is formulated with aloe vera extract to replace fish’s natural slime coat with a synthetic barrier that protects the fish while also reducing stress. This stand-in protective layer allows fish to heal and recover until they are able to naturally produce their own slime coat.
This water conditioner is not an all-in-one solution. That is not to say this product is not a good fit for certain aquariums and water types, but it does not remove ammonia or nitrites. In tanks with a low bioload, or aquariums outfitted with biological filtration a water conditioner that handles ammonia may not be necessary. In tanks that do not meet those requirements, it may be best to supplement Stress Coat with another product or find a different all-in-one formula that can take on all of the tank’s needs.
API Tap Water Conditioner
Tap water can contain elements and chemicals that while safe for people, are toxic and even lethal to fish, particularly tropical fish. Products like the tap water conditioner from API treat tap water to make it safe for use in both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. By neutralizing chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals, such as copper, lead, and zinc, water is made safe and hospitable for fish. This water conditioner should be used when adding or changing the water in a tank that is already set up or when starting out and filling a new tank for the first time.
The super-strength formula is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. This is economical since one bottle will last a long time.
This water conditioner does not detoxify ammonia or nitrites. In order to address these compounds, it is necessary to use a biological filter in addition to other conditioner products that are formulated to handle ammonia. Each tank is different, so this water conditioner may very well be ideal for many aquariums, but for others, an all-in-one solution may be a better fit.
API Quick Start Water Conditioner
Rid an aquarium of harmful ammonia and nitrites by adding API Quick Start when starting a new tank or during water changes in an established tank. This water treatment can be used in both freshwater fish tanks and marine aquariums.
The live nitrifying bacteria support the nitrogen cycle which converts ammonia and nitrites that are harmful into much safer nitrates. This bacterium helps to establish and maintain an aquarium biological filter (filter not included), and can also be used when changing filter media. Quick Start should be used any time ammonia or nitrites are detected in the tank to help restore the balance to levels that are safe for fish and live plants.
API Quick Start does not neutralize other harmful chemicals and compounds found in water. It needs to be used in conjunction with products that remove heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramines. If there are recurring problems with high levels of ammonia this product helps address those issues and can offer an excellent solution. If a tank does not have problems with high levels of ammonia an all-in-one water conditioner may be a better option.
Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner
Quickly prepare water for smaller fish tanks using Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner. This water conditioner can be used when setting up a new aquarium, or when changing the water in an existing tank as part of regular maintenance, or replacing water lost to evaporation. When mixed with tap water this aquarium conditioner instantly neutralizes chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, and heavy metals, all of which are dangerous to fish and live plants.
Fish naturally produce a slime coat, which is protein-based mucous that wards off bacteria while also helping to heal wounds. Stress can inhibit the natural production of a slime coat, which leaves fish susceptible to illness and infection. This tap water conditioner helps restore a natural slime coat to keep fish safe while allowing time to recuperate until they are able to naturally produce this protective barrier.
The packaging is not very durable or secure, and the bottle is prone to leaking. This is primarily an issue if ordering online and having it shipped.
Hagen Fluval Water Conditioner
Whether setting up a new fresh- or saltwater tank or going through a routine water change in an established tank use Hagen Fluval Water Conditioner to prepare the water. This aquarium conditioner strips the water of harmful elements, such as chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals, while also detoxifying any ammonia that is present.
Pure herbal extracts aid the natural slime coat by offering additional protection. Stress can diminish the ability of a fish to naturally produce a slime coat or protective barrier. Actions such as transportation, handling, and acclimation to a new tank can contribute to stress. By working to restore the slime coat fish are able to heal from any wounds or injuries. This reduces stress which enables the fish to naturally produce a slime coat.
The quality of tap water can vary greatly. This water conditioner works well under most circumstances, but it is possible that it may react negatively with certain types of water, due to the content of the water. A negative reaction can range from making the water cloudy to losing fish when exposed to water that has been treated with the conditioner.
Water straight from the tap is not safe for an aquarium, but with the aid of a water conditioner solution it can be made safe. Elements like heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramines can be dangerous, while ammonia and nitrites are toxic. Fish tank water conditioners remove these components, while also in some instances adding vitamins or helpful minerals.
Water conditioner treatments are just one part of maintaining a healthy aquarium. When selecting a fish tank water conditioner, evaluate the other treatments and filters used in your aquarium. It may also be helpful to test the water prior to selecting a conditioner in order to find a product that meets the specific requirements presented by the water.
Review the amount of conditioner necessary to treat water. Some aquarium water conditioners are highly concentrated and only a small amount is needed to treat a tank. Other products may require a high quantity to treat a tank. Determine how much is needed and how often the conditioner will be used, along with the price per bottle, in order to evaluate the financial cost of using a water conditioner in order to find a product that is cost-effective.
Please comment on this post with feedback, questions, or firsthand experiences you would like to share.
Terry Mulhall says
Going to start cycling a 29 gal this month and I can’t remember what product I used before that adds the live bacteria needed for cycling, but I know it worked well. Any suggestions other than the above products.
Sean Winkler says
Good question. I would probably start with Tetra SafeStart Plus or similar product. That should add the bacteria needed.