Ingredients in Fish Water Conditioners

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Many considerations lead to the decision of taking on the sometimes difficult but always rewarding task of owning an aquarium. It's important to know how big a tank should you get, how many fish, supplies needed and how to keep a clean tank and healthy fish. Choosing the right fish water conditioner is essential in helping you toward your goal of keeping healthy fish.

Aquarium Water

Most freshwater fish owners simply use tap water to fill their tanks. Tap water contains various components harmful to fish, such as chloramines, which are a combination of chlorine and ammonia used to kill bacteria in drinking water. Use a fish tank water conditioner to neutralize these threats to your fish.

Fish Water Conditioners

You can purchase water conditioners online or from your local pet supply store. Conditioners come in two forms, liquid or crystal, and sell at various prices. The number of different products available can seem overwhelming; just look for a product that will diffuse the chloramines, ammonia, chlorine and other chemicals found in tap water.


By acting as a sort of shock absorber, the water conditioner diminishes the pressure on the fish and, most importantly, introduces electrolytes into the environment. Most water conditioners contain sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and chloride. Some variations of these elements are sodium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride or bisulfate. Basically, water conditioners add salt to your tank.

Why Salt?

Salt, or sodium chloride, is important to the health of your fish. However, table salt should not be used as a substitute for water conditioner, as the iodine in regular table salt can alter the ph balance in the tank, and the anti-caking agents found in consumer salt prevent the salt from dissolving completely, both of which can be potentially harmful to your fish. Electrolytes from water conditioners not only neutralize the unwanted components (such as chlorine) in the tank water, but they can accelerate healing of diseased or injured fish and also ward off "ich," a disease pervasive to aquarium fish. Electrolytes also aid in protecting the “slime coat,” a secretion that covers the scales and guards against bacteria and disease. And that is the goal–happy, healthy little swimmers.

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