Fresh Water Aquarium Additives
Water Conditioner / Dechlorinator
If you live in a city than you most likely have chlorine or even chloramine. If your unsure of the what is in your local water, phone the city to find out.
Cities add chlorine or chloramine to the drinking water to kill bacteria and disease and make the water safe for people. Unfortunately chlorine and chloramine are toxic to all aquatic life in the aquarium. Fish gills are destroyed by chlorine and chloramine, so prolonged exposure will definitely weaken and reduce a fishes life expectancy. The beneficial bacteria we want to grow in our filters is destroyed as well, so it is necessary to remove the chlorine or chloramine.
If you have chlorine in your water supply, there are two common ways of removing it.
One is two let water sit out in a pail with an airstone or water pump in it. After 24 to 48 hours the chlorine will evaporate. The other option is to use dechlorinator or water conditioner which will instantly remove chlorine.
If chloramine is in your water supply, letting the water sit out will not do. You need to take steps to remove it. Check the back of the bottle of dechlorinator or water conditioner to see if it removes chloramine or not.
Some water conditioners have slime coat additives like aloe vera. These additive help protect the fish by coating the body. During stressful times, like when your doing a water change, a fish can drop its protective slim coat leaving it venerable to disease. Some specialty filter medias such as Puragin are permanently fowled from slim coat additives. So if your using such filter medias use a very simple dechlorinator that does not use aloe vera.
Beneficial bacteria are sold in powder and liquid forms. The best is liquid, because the bacteria are live in suspension. When choosing a bacteria supplement make sure to read the instructions on the bottle. Some brands require refrigeration after opening and all bacteria supplements have an expiration date. I always use bacteria supplements with new aquariums
to help speed up new tank syndrome. I also use it when I'm adding larger numbers of new fish to my tank.
Depending on the species of fish you plan on keeping and the area you live in you may need to adjust the pH of your aquarium. To find out test the GH, KH and pH of your water.
Whether you are lowering or raising your pH uses products that have a buffer in them. This will help you slowly and safely adjust your PH. If you have a new aquarium setup, adjust your pH before you introduce new fish. I like Seachem neutral regulator and discus buffer for lowering pH. For raising pH SeaChem Tanganyika BufferT works great.