An aquarium water conditioner provides healthy, purified tap water for the inhabitants of an aquarium, for the fish, but also for the delicate invertebrates such as shrimps. Tap water is instantly suitable for biological life, and in particular free of all chlorine elements.
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Can too much water conditioner kill fish?
Water conditioner for aquariums is obviously a chemical product, so you have to be careful not to use too much of it, because if you do, it could cause illnesses in the fish or even kill them. The best thing to do is not to use water conditioner, because it is possible to clean the water without chemicals.
Furthermore, too much conditioner would remove all the chlorine, but would produce ammonia in your aquarium water. No danger to humans, but not to the fish in our aquariums: ammonia poisons them, even in small doses.
How can ammonia from water conditioners kill fish?
The fish defends itself by producing more mucus, by increasing the thickness of the epithelium of its gills… It is thus understood that, even if the fish partially succeeds in preventing ammonia from penetrating the organism, the “useful” exchanges with the external environment will be strongly disturbed: the penetration of oxygen at the level of the gills will decrease considerably leading to a respiratory distress which can be fatal.
Under these conditions, lesions of the internal organs, under oxygenated, will be inevitable. The liver and the kidney being affected, the fish will intoxicate itself as soon as it will not be able to eliminate the products of its metabolism.
What is the purpose of water conditioners?
In order for water to be drinkable by humans, it is cleaned of bacteria and various pathogens through the use of chlorine. Chlorine can be detected by the smell of the water and its characteristic taste. Unfortunately, what is “good” for us is not necessarily good for our fish (and vice versa!).
Chlorine is toxic for fish and harmful for the balance of our tanks: it burns the gills, among other things) and also destroys the purifying bacteria present in the filter.
It is therefore necessary to get rid of it before any water change. How to do it?
How to get rid of bacteria in water without water conditioner?
A first method is to simply let the water sit in a bucket for 48 hours before adding it to the aquarium (make sure it is at the right temperature before pouring it into the tank): stirring it on the surface with an air pump speeds up the process; it is also possible to filter it with activated carbon (which removes chlorine and heavy metals). This method will not be effective if your tap water contains chloramine (see box at bottom of page).