How to Dechlorinate Tap Water For Your Aquarium

Tap water has to be treated with disinfectants to ensure that it is safe to drink.

This is a great thing when it comes to public health, since it eliminates water borne diseases that can be deadly, but it’s not great for fish.

Chlorine is an oxidizing agent and will burn the delicate gill filaments that a fish needs to breathe, eventually killing the fish.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to dechlorinate your water so it’s aquarium safe.

Well water has not been treated with any sort of disinfectant and can be used without any sort of dechlorination.

How to Dechlorinate Water

You used to be able to simply leave tap water to sit out and the chlorine would just dissipate.

But these days, more and more municipal water systems have switched from using chlorine (Cl-) to something called chloramine (NH2Cl), which is chloride and ammonia bound together. 

Unlike regular chlorine, which will naturally dissipate on its own, chloramine is much more stable and will remain in the water, even if you leave it to sit out for days at a time.

You can look up your water company online and usually find what kind of disinfectant they use on their website.

Because of this, the only way to make the tap water safe for fish is to add a water conditioner. It’s best to use a water conditioner that eliminates chlorine and detoxifies ammonia, because when you eliminate the chlorine from chloramine, the ammonia it was bound to is left behind.

I personally prefer to use Seachem Prime. It will instantly eliminate the chlorine and will bind the ammonia into ammonium, which isn’t toxic to fish and will eventually be eaten up by the beneficial bacteria in your filter.

I also like Prime because it is highly concentrated. You might pay a little more per bottle than other brands, but a bottle of Prime will treat a much higher number of gallons per bottle than cheaper brands. So, the cost to use it over time is actually much less than “bargain” brands.

Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner - Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 500 ml
Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner - Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 500 ml

    Last update on 2024-07-18 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Final Thoughts

    Dechlorinating tap water so that it’s safe to use in your aquarium is really very simple. Just adding a small amount of water conditioner will eliminate chlorine/chloramine, making your tap water safe.

    Again, I prefer Seachem Prime, but whatever water conditioner you use, make sure to carefully follow the instructions.

    I hope you find this article helpful.

    I wish you and your fish the very best!

    Katherine Morgan
    Katherine Morgan

    Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. An aquarium specialist, I've kept tanks for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast.

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