The Best Aquarium Water Conditioner For Fish

What is a water conditioner?
An aquarium water conditioner is also known as a de-chlorinator or a chlorine neutralizer. It is a mandatory aquarium supply as long as you use tap water in your fish tanks. The primary purpose of the aquarium water conditioner is to remove the chlorine and chloramines from the tap water and to make it safe for the fish.

What are Chlorine and Chloramine?
Water companies use chlorine and chloramine in tap water for disinfection. While they are harmless to humans, both can be lethal to fish. Traditionally, the tap water would become safe for aquarium use by just letting it sit in a bucket for a day or two. It is because chlorine is highly unstable with a half-life of approximate 4 hours. Most of it will release into the air after just one day.

Nowadays there is also chloramine in the tap water because it is said to be better at disinfection than chlorine. Chloramine is a much more stable compound.  It is not going anywhere until you use a water conditioner to neutralize it.

Commercialized aquarium water conditioners

Most aquarium water conditioner comes in the form of liquid in a bottle. They are fairly cheap and easy to use. You can find them in all the pet stores as long as they sell aquarium fish.

Since there are many different brands of aquarium water conditioners out there, some new fish keepers might have a hard time to decide which one to use. Sometimes it can even be confusing which product is a water conditioner.  There are many other aquarium supplies in the form of liquid in a bottle. Here is a quick way to identify it. If an aquarium product does not mention the removal of chlorine and chloramines on the bottle, then it is not an aquarium water conditioner.

All of the aquarium water conditioners have the very same basic purpose – to neutralize chlorine and chloramines in the tap water. Some of them have other secondary functions. Such as the removal of heavy metal, the detoxification of ammonia and nitrite, etc. all of which can come in handy in certain situations.

The following is a list of the most popular aquarium water conditioners currently available on the market.

#1 – SeaChem Prime
Prime has a useful secondary function. It can detoxify ammonia and nitrite for up to 48 hours. During these 48 hours, the toxic ammonia will temporarily turn into the harmless ammonium. It can be very useful for new aquariums where the aquarium nitrogen cycle hasn’t been established yet.  Just keep doing partial water changes with Prime every day or every other day if there are ammonia and nitrite in your aquarium.

By doing so, you can minimize the damage to your fish even in an uncycled aquarium. SeaChem also claims their product can provide fish with natural slim coat and detoxify heavy metal in the water.

Dosage: Use one teaspoon of Prime for every 50 gallons of water.
(1mL treats 10 gallons of tap water)

#2 – Kordon NovAqua+
NovaAqua+ can also remove heavy metal from the water. The manufacturer claims it can help condition water by buffering tap water and adding electrolytes. The product can also provide a protective coat. It is said to be able to reduce the toxicity of nitrite by blocking the intake of nitrite by aquarium fish. Additional features including the ability to aid nitrifying bacteria in the filter by creating a slime coat in the filter media, and add some beneficial organic herbs and vitamins.

Dosage: Use one teaspoon of NovaAqua+ for every 10 gallons of water.
(1mL treats 2 gallons of water)

#3 – Hikari Ultimate
Ultimate can remove ammonia, detoxify nitrite, and replace skin slime coat for reducing fish stress. It can also add essential electrolytes and remove heavy metal to the aquarium water.

Dosage: Use One teaspoon of Ultimate for every 10 gallons of water.
(1mL treats 2 gallons of water)

#4 – API Stress Coat+
Stress Coat+ is another widely used aquarium water conditioner. It can remove heavy metal, detoxify ammonia and nitrite, create slime coat for fish, and add electrolytes.

Dosage: Use one teaspoon of Stress Coat for every 10 gallons of tap water.
(1mL treats 2 gallons of tap water)

#5 – Tetra Aquasafe
AquaSafe is a very basic aquarium water conditioner with the least secondary features. It can create slime coat to help wounds and the healing of fish, and it can protect the fish from abrasions. There is another enhanced version called AquaSafe+ BioExtract with the ability to removing heavy metal from the water.

Dosage: Use one teaspoon of AquaSafe for every 10 gallons of tap water.
(1mL treats 2 gallons of tap water)

The best aquarium water conditioner

All of the water conditioners can neutralize chlorine and chloramines in the tap water just fine. They are all good products. There is not much difference since more or less they all have the very similar chemical makeup. Their secondary functions are not as essential. Amongst all the current water conditioners on the market, SeaChem Prime has the highest concentration and thus making it the most cost-effective.

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