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How to prepare tap water for a home aquarium

Hello, friends. In today’s article I would like to touch on one specific topic that worries many novice aquarists.

Its essence lies in how to prepare tap water for your aquarium, because water from our water supply system, to put it mildly, is not very suitable for aquariums if it goes there directly from the tap. Let’s understand why!

The main reason why it is not recommended to pour water from the tap into an aquarium is the presence of chlorine and other undesirable gases harmful to the aquarium dwellers in it. In the free state, chlorine has the appearance of a green-yellow gas. It is perfectly dissolved in water, therefore, the task of every aquarist is to neutralize it.

This gas is introduced into the tap water for the purpose of disinfection.

Today, our water suppliers use sodium hypochlorite (NaClo), which subsequently decomposes into salts, oxygen, and chlorine itself. If the concentration of chlorine is high, then it represents a serious danger to living organisms. Excessive gas concentrations can be easily detected by sniffing water.

If you hear a characteristic smell, then it’s time to do the tests. But this does not mean that this gas is added to tap water 365 days a year, because some water utilities use ozonation to disinfect water.

The concentration of chlorine can vary depending on the seasons, but as a rule, in our latitudes, the greatest concentration occurs in autumn and spring.

For the main mass of aquarium fish and other inhabitants, the maximum permissible concentration of chlorine is 0.25 mg per liter of water, but the concentration of 1 mg per liter will be fatal for all inhabitants. Of course, even lower concentrations of chlorine can also harm aquarium fish, damaging their gills.

There are two most common ways to purify water from chlorine – chemical and water sedimentation. First, let’s talk briefly about upholding.

In water, chlorine is not constant and it can independently evaporate into the atmosphere. And here it will be in the subject to discuss the duration of settling.

As a rule, it is recommended to withstand tap water in open containers for 2-3 days. However, the authors of books on modern aquarium and the use of chemistry, called the numbers of the order of 5-6 days. For settling water, it is necessary to use containers that have a large area of ​​contact with the atmosphere.

To speed up the process of removing chlorine from water, you can make a strong jet from the tap or pour water into a wide basin through a shower. In addition, in the process of settling, water also gets rid of other undesirable impurities that will be considered in this material.

Chemical cleaning

The fastest and most effective way to purify water from harmful gas is to use a dechlororator, which reacts with dissolved chlorine and neutralizes it into less harmful substances. In aquarium chemistry, the most common substance is sodium sulfite and sodium hydrosulfite (Na2SO3 and NaHSO3, respectively).

In addition, other more complex chemical compounds such as hydroxymethane sodium sulfinate CH3NaO3S can be used in aquarism.

When you use dechlorinators, keep in mind that the instructions for use indicate the average dosage, and the concentration of chlorine, if you remember, may vary depending on the time of year. There have been cases when aquarists used water conditioners from the Tetra company when starting the aquarium and all the fish died as a result of acute chlorine poisoning. Accordingly, the indicated dosages from the manufacturer were insufficient.

Remember this moment when you are dechlorinating water.

From the broad mass of various conditioners for aquarium water, there are three main, which are analogues of each other: Tetra Aquasafe, AQUAYER Antitoxin Vita and Sera Aquatan. Let’s sort through each of these drugs in order so that you can choose for yourself which one you will use later to remove chlorine from tap water.

This preparation removes various harmful substances from tap water, such as: lead, zinc, copper, heavy metals and naturally chlorine. Liquid conditioner allows the fish to quickly adapt to tap water, this is especially true when starting the aquarium.

AquaSafe almost completely removes chlorine from the water and, thanks to a colloidal solution, the mucous membrane of aquarium fish receives additional protection, as well as the vitamin B1 and magnesium contained in the preparation, reduce stress. All air conditioners, without exception, are best used in conjunction with other drugs that, in record time, allow us to create suitable conditions in the aquarium.


  • Dosage: 5 ml for every 10 liters of water;
  • Add the drug when you first start the aquarium and with regular changes in the dosage specified above;
  • Use the drug with another Tetra solution called TetraVital

This drug from Sergey Ermolaev has already become popular among domestic aquarists, so I included it in the list. It is used to prepare the water of the aquarium, which will not contain chloramines and chlorine directly, heavy metals and other harmful impurities.

That is, you do not even have to defend the water for several days. This is especially true if you first start a large aquarium and you do not have the opportunity to defend a few hundred liters of water.

In addition, if you regularly use AntiToxin, you can protect your fish from the onset of various diseases. And the presence in the composition of the drug magnesium and vitamin B1, allows you to minimize the stress state of your pets.

Instructions for use:

  • Dosage: 1 ml of antitoxin per 8 liters of tap water;
  • The drug can be used with regular changes and when starting the aquarium;

Antitoxin Vita, unlike Aquaseyf, does not need to be used with other aquarium chemistry, as it is able to cope with complex tasks on its own.

The preparation from sera also reliably removes all sorts of harmful impurities and chlorine from the tap water. The presence of protective colloids allows you to strengthen the mucous membrane of aquarium fish. In addition, the drug can be added to the shipping container when transporting fish from the store home.

Thanks to this, you can minimize stress in purchased fish.

Instructions for use:

  • Dosage: 20 liters of tap water should be used for every 5 ml of Aquatan
  • When transporting fish, add a few drops of the drug to the shipping container.
  • For the purpose of prevention, transfer the purchased fish to a separate container and pour 20 ml of the preparation there. Place the acquired fish for 45 minutes in the resulting solution and after this time, the fish can be transferred to the general aquarium.

As you understand, the above preparations are analogues with similar chemical properties and compositions.

Of course, chemicals are good, but the most reliable method is to run tap water through a carbon filter. Chlorine will adsorb to activated carbon and lose its toxic properties.

In practice, this can be implemented using flow-through carbon filters through which water is passed from the tap. Or, you can use an internal filter, in which one of the fillers is activated carbon, and it does not have to be a special aquarium, the usual one copes well with its task.

In addition, for water purification from chlorine, you can use boiling or heating water to a temperature of 90 degrees. Of course, by boiling you will make the water “dead”, since all the useful trace elements in it are neutralized, but you can also lower the hardness of the water.

But that’s another story!

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