Making water safe is a priority for any aquarist. We mentioned in the earlier Video Tip 4) "What Kills fish in new water", that municipal tap water can often contain a chemical that will kill fish as well as bacteria.
In most municipal tap water supplies, the chemical of choice to make tap water safe is chlorine.
This is a gas that is added to the water in the pipes and will actually dissipate in still water over time, if left open, making water safe.
Many old style aquarists will draw water from the tap and let it stand in a clean container for a day or so to allow the chlorine gas to naturally escape into the atmosphere. This can be a good way to ensure safe water for very small aquariums, where the storage of water in this method is not cumbersome.
When an aquarium needs a larger number of gallons during its regular change, or when evaporation is occurring in a significant amount, it is much more effective to use a commercial chlorine remover instead. There are a wide variety of commercial preparations available to make tap water safe.
Some only offer the ability to neutralize all chlorine immediately. They are termed chlorine removers.
Water Conditioners offer more complete formulas to perform a variety of other important changes to the standard tap water and further benefit the fish as well. These make the water safer for fish in a number of other ways.
These advanced products often have added chemical properties that work on other problems than chlorine as well. Many "water conditioners" will add a compound that coats the fish with an artificial slime coat. That protects them from attack by parasites.
Some even have additives that safely reduce some of the stress for fish as well.
This feature is often a welcome relief to the fish in the aquarium after the rigors of cleaning and maintaining the aquarium and substrate, which can cause quite a bit of stress while the cleaning tools invade their space.
Another common benefit is that good water conditioners also include the ability to detoxify and chelate heavy metal ions that can cause problems in the environment.
These are often added by passing the water through copper or iron pipes or over other metal sources before the the water reaches the tap.
The chemical commonly used in both Chlorine removers and Water Conditioners works instantaneously. As soon as the product comes into contact with the chlorine, it is neutralized through a chemical reaction and drops to the bottom as a harmless white precipitate.
We cannot recommend strongly enough that the neutralization of chlorine always occur BEFORE the new water is added to the aquarium. The actual process is discussed in Tip 7) Safely remove chlorine from Tropical Fish water
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Beginning Aquarium Tips