How To Dechlorinate Tap Water For Aquarium Use?

Written by Dennis

In case, you don’t know how to make tapwater safe for fish, then in this article, I will discuss all the ways to dechlorinate your tap water and make it healthy for your fishes.

Using plain tap water without dechlorination can be severely harmful to your fishes. Many beginner aquarists do not treat their water properly before filling the fish tank that results in the death of the aquatic lives. Be it a fish tank of small capacity or large.

If your fishes are getting sick every now and then, it might be the case that the level of chlorine in the water is affecting the health of your fishes. In that case, you can check the amount of chlorine, by using chlorine test strips which are easily available on the market.

If the level of chlorine is more than 0.5 ppm per gallon water then you must treat your water for dechlorination immediately.

How Can Chlorine Affect Your Fishes?

 Most of the Municipal water companies use chlorine or chloramine (Chlorine + Ammonia) to sterilize the tap water. While a limited amount of chlorine can be safe for human consumption, it can be harmful to your fish.

An excessive amount of chlorine can be used as a chemical weapon, because of its deadly effect. Chlorine gives chemical burns and causes necrosis (cell death) in your fishes. It mainly affects the gills causing breathing trouble or even asphyxiation.

It also enters the bloodstream and causes burns throughout the body. Hence, fishes get severely sick and many health issues start to pop out. Chlorine has the same effect on the invertebrates too. Clearly, this chemical needs to be eliminated from the tank water as soon as possible to save the aquatic lives.

How Costly Is Dechlorination?

Regular dechlorinators are not at all costly. You can avail any within few dollars and use it the entire year for your tank. Apparently, this is a very cost-effective deal to keep your fishes in good health.

How To Make Tapwater Safe For Fish?  – Steps Of Dechlorination

One of the most effective ways to make the fish tank safe for fishes is to remove chlorine from water. Several dechlorination processes are there to do that. I have listed some of the best ways to eliminate chlorine so that your fishes can have a safe and healthy housing to thrive in.

How To Remove Chlorine From Water With Dechlorination Liquids?

Seachem Prime is one of the best dechlorination liquid that you will find on the market.

One single 100 ml bottle of the Prime has the ability to treat 1000 US Gallons of tap water. The liquid has the ability to remove both chlorine and chloramine from the water. Apart from that, it has a binder that renders nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia non-toxic.

This liquid works through the reduction process with which dissolved chlorine gets converted into non-toxic chloride ions (Cl-). To remove the chloramine, this liquid breaks the bond between the nitrogen and chlorine atoms and free the CL molecules by replacing them with nitrogen. Thus ammonia gets released into the water. This process is similar to other dechlorinator liquids.

With several other dechlorinators, you will get a lot of ammonia build-up in the tank water but Seachem prime uses the ammonia binder to detoxify it and keep the water safe for fishes.

Dosage For Seachem Prime:

It is recommended to use 5 mL liquid for each 200 L or 50 gallons of new water. This removes approximately 1 mg per Litre ammonia, 4 mg per Litre chloramine, or 5 mg per Litre chlorine.

Now, if you want to try other dechlorinators on the market, then for appropriate dosage you can refer to their labels, because each dechlorinators are made with separate chemical compositions, so the dosages will vary.

How To Make Tapwater Safe For Fish By Using Dechlorination Tablets?

Let, me tell you in the first place, that although dechlorination tablets will remove chlorine from the tank water they are incapable of eliminating chloramine. If you are genuinely sure that your tank water does not contain chloramine, only then proceed for the dechlorination tablets.

Dechlorination tablets are nothing but the constitution of sodium sulfite. Sodium Sulfite is a chlorine neutralizer. People largely use it in aquariums, swimming pools, and several other industrial usages. These tablets are really effective in removing chlorine from tap water for aquarium use.

The compound works in the below process:

Na2SO3 + Cl2 + H2O = NaCl + H2SO4

You can use 0.2 dr (US Mass Unit) of pure sodium sulfite to reduce 5 ppm chlorine for every 10 gallon water. Make sure the tank water is properly circulating while you are mixing this chemical. You can use an airstone for 30 minutes to create bubbles and circulate the water properly.

Now recheck the chlorine level with the chlorine testing strip and add some neutralizer again to get the best results.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Chlorine?

One of the best and effective ways to remove chlorine from water is to use an RO filter that will also clean all the dissolved organic impurities and harmful chemicals from the fish tank water.

As, RO filters have Granular activated carbon or GAC, which is highly used to dechlorinate water, having this unit will be highly beneficial for you. Though chloramines are significantly harder to eliminate from the water than chlorine, an extended period of contact with the activated carbon, which is referred as the empty bed contact time (EBCT), can bring good results.

Using RO filter to purify the tank water increases the chances of eliminating both chlorine and chloramine. So, I will definitely suggest you, to use water filtered through the Reverse Osmosis Process to prevent your fishes from chlorine poisoning.

Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine?

If you are certain of the fact that your tank water contains only chlorine and not chloramine, then boiling it for 15 minutes will let you remove chlorine significantly.  But it is obviously not an effective way to rely on compared to the above solutions. As the boiling point of chlorine is much less than that of water, this process works for a small quantity of water. Would it be an efficient choice if you own large fish tank like these?

Not only it will be time-consuming, but it will also take a huge effort to boil the entire tank water. On the other hand using a dechlorinator liquid or RO filter will be much more cost-effective if you calculate the charge of the fuel that you will be burning to get chlorine-free water.

Another way to remove chlorine from water is the evaporation process. You can keep the water open for 24 hours to the contact of the air and the chlorine will get evaporated. To speed up the process you can add an airstone and increase the surface area. It will help in the fast dissipation of chlorine.

Bottom Line:

If your fishes are dying frequently, one of the reasons can be the excessive level of chlorine in the tank water. So, it is highly recommended that you must check the amount of chlorine every time you refill your tank with tap water.

If the level of chlorine is significantly high then you should immediately use the dechlorination liquids or tablets to remove chlorine and chloramine from the water. In case you want to refill your tank then using the Reverse Osmosis filters will be the best decision.

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