Best Aquarium Water Conditioner: The Ultimate Guide

Many inexperienced aquarists make the mistake of overlooking proper water conditioning before adding fish to an aquarium. Most people understand that fish are sensitive to water temperature fluctuations. After adding water into an aquarium, most people would check the temperature, but often disregard the fact that there is chemical additives in tap water. The tap water in many cities are treated thoroughly with chemicals to make it suitable for human use. It may be great for showering and washing dishes, but not exactly suitable for fish to swim in. In fact, it can be highly toxic for fish.

The chemicals in unconditioned tap water can cause a lot of harm to the fish. A common chemical additive in tap water is chlorine and chloramines. High levels of these chemicals can destroy the fish gill tissue, and prevent the fish from breathing. In fact, even low levels of these chemicals will irritate the fish tissue and cause harm to the fish. Many fish die as a result of unconditioned and poorly conditioned water, and the ones that do survive experience a lot of stress. Therefore, aquarium water should be properly conditioned before fish are introduced into it. Conditioning water may sound complicated if you are not a scientist. Fortunately, there are many aquarium water conditioners on the market that will make the process of making water safe for your fish very easy.

Aquarium water conditioner makes water safe for fish

Best Aquarium Water Conditioners

There are many aquarium water conditioners in the market. Therefore, selecting one for your aquarium can be overwhelming. This article covers the reviews of popular aquarium water conditioners in the market along with their features. So, let’s dive right in!

Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner

If you are in search of a reliable and efficient yet budget friendly aquarium water conditioner, Seachem Prime should be your top choice. It is a multi-purpose conditioner that not only removes chlorine and chloramines from the water but will also get rid of ammonia. It balances the pH level of the water and also breaks down nitrogenous compounds in the water to ease filtration in the aquarium. This conditioner has won the hearts of thousands of fish tank owners around the world and is often known as the best aquarium water conditioner in the market.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Six different bottle sizes.
• Affordable and budget friendly.
• Removes nitrates, chlorine, chloramines and any other harmful chemicals present in the water.
• Maintains the optimal pH level of water.
• Naturally restores slime coat production.

API Stress Coat Water Conditioner

The API Stress Coat Water Conditioner is also one of the highly recommended and top rated aquarium water conditioners in the market. An amazing characteristic of this product is the fact that it not only removed harmful chemicals from the water but also adds beneficial components to it. The use of this product is especially recommended when you are moving your fish. This conditioner contains aloe vera which is known to reduce stress in fish and help them adapt to new environments easily.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Removes harmful chemicals from the water.
• Contains aloe vera which has a soothing effect on the fish.
• Comes in twelve different packaging sizes.
• Aids in filtration by removing debris and other buildup from the aquarium.

Tetra AquaSafe Plus Water Conditioner and Dechlorinator

Tetra is a renowned manufacturer when it comes to aquarium supplies and their aquarium water conditioner is also a popular product. This conditioner not only removes chlorine and chloramines but also dissolves any harmful metals that may be residing in the water. It is also very beneficial for the fish as it adds a slime layer to the fish which helps them heal faster and acts as a shield against the harmful toxins present in the water. The water conditioner is very concentrated, so only a small amount is required to treat the water. A small bottle can last you for a long time, making it a very economical choice.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Very affordable and budget friendly.
• A little amount goes a long way.
• Slime layer protects the fish and keeps them safe.
• Removed chlorine as well as harmful metals from the water.

Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner

The Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner is an comprehensive conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramines, toxic metals as well as ammonia from the water. The conditioner can be used when setting up a new aquarium and should also be added when changing water. It is a very affordable aquarium water conditioner that is available in a number of different sizes. The bottle comes with clear instructions on how to use the product and it is very effective and works almost immediately.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Colorless and odorless.
• Prices within an affordable range.
• Quick action that works within minutes.

Fluval Hagen Water Conditioner

The Fluval Hagen Water Conditioner is a very effective product that removes chlorine and other harmful chemicals from the water very quickly. It is a conditioner that is not only recommended for people who are setting up a new aquarium but also for those who are in search for a good conditioner to use for water changes. It is also a nitrogen exterminator so it will help reduce the nitrogenous compounds that can harm your fish. It has a diluted formula and does not harm the fish.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Protects the fish’s mucous membrane.
• Removes nitrates, toxic metals and chlorine from the water.
• Can be used for both saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Tetra BettaSafe Water Conditioner

The Tetra BettaSafe Water Conditioner, as the name indicates is especially formulated for betta fish aquariums. It not only cleans the water and makes it safe for the fish, but it also promotes the slime layer production in the fish that protects them and helps them heal quicker. The suggested amount is around seven drops per a gallon of water. This conditioner is not only fit to be used for betta fish. It can also be used for aquariums with other species of fish as well. This conditioner also comes in a number of packaging sizes so you can pick anyone that is suitable according to the size of your aquarium.

Why we recommend this aquarium water conditioner:
• Removes chlorine from the water quickly and effectively.
• No harmful effects on the fish.
• Affordable and budget friendly.
• Aids in protective slime coating development of fish.
• Especially recommended for betta fish tanks but can also be used with other fish species.


What is an Aquarium Water Conditioner?

Aquarium water conditioners are formulated to make tap water safe for fish. One of its main function is to neutralize chemicals such as chlorine and chloramines, which are typically found in tap water.
Many aquarium water conditioners have additional benefits such as detoxifying heavy metals, and neutralizing ammonia and nitrites.

Different manufacturers offer products with different benefits, but they are they are all intended to make the water safe and suitable for aquarium fish.

Why should I use an aquarium water conditioner?

If fish are added to water that are not properly conditioned, it can cause them stress or even death. Using an aquarium water conditioner is a convenient way to make tap water suitable for fish. It neutralizes harmful chemicals and heavy metals that are often found in tap water.

It is true that tap water can be aged for 24-48 hours to release most of the chlorine. Chlorine is very volatile, and it will evaporate from the water very quickly. If the water is exposed to a larger surface area, or air is bubbled through the water, this process will be accelerated. However, most tap water is treated with chloramine as well. Unlike chlorine, chloramine is non-volatile and it doesn’t evaporate very quickly. In addition, other chemicals and heavy metals are commonly found in tap water. In most municipalities, simply aging city tap water in a bucket for a couple days will not make the water safe for fish. For these reasons, using an aquarium water conditioner would be the best solution for most aquarist.

In addition to removing harmful chemicals from tap water, some aquarium water conditioner have the added benefit of other enhancement. Some manufacturers add components to restore the natural slime coat of the fish.

Can you use water conditioners while fish are in the tank?

When adding or replacing water to an existing aquarium with live fish inside, the best practice is to mix the tap water and water conditioner in a bucket and let it sit for a few minutes before adding it to the aquarium. This way, the water conditioner can be diluted properly and the tap water will be thoroughly treated before it reaches the fish.

Some manufactures do allow you to add their products directly into the aquarium. If you decide to add the water conditioner directly into the aquarium, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully. Some manufacturers recommend adding the amount of water conditioner for the entire aquarium if it is being added directly to the aquarium. For example, if you are adding water conditioner directly into a 10 gallon aquarium, you may need to add enough water conditioner to treat the 10 gallon of water. Even if you are only adding 1 gallon of tap water, enough water conditioner to treat the 10 gallon may be required.

How long does it take for aquarium water conditioners to work?

The chlorine and chloramine will be neutralized instantly by most products. However, many aquarium water conditioners today are more extensive with various enhancements. In order to take full advantage of the benefit each product offers, it is best to seek the manufacturers’ product specific directions.

How often should I use water conditioners in my fish tank?

Aquarium water conditioners should be used whenever water is being added to an aquarium. It should be used during the initial setup of your aquarium, and whenever water is being added or replaced.

What are common ingredients in aquarium water conditioners?

Most manufacturers do not reveal the actual formula of their aquarium water conditioners but there are some ingredients that are commonly used include:

  • Sodium Thiosulphate – The purpose of this chemical is to eliminate chlorine from water. It breaks chlorine into chlorine and ammonia. Chlorine is removed by Sodium Thiosulphate but ammonia needs to be removed separately.
  • Sodium Hydroxymethanesulfonate – This chemical is also used for removing chlorine and chloramine.
    Tetrasodium – This chemical dissolved and removes any metals that might be present in the water.
  • Nitrate Removal Chemicals – As the name indicates, these are the chemicals that remove nitrogenous components from the water.
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents – These are the agents that help control the growth of harmful bacteria in the aquarium.
  • Anti-Fluorine Agent – Although many people argue that fluorine is not harmful for aquatic life, some conditioner brands still come with an anti-fluorine agent that removed fluorides from the water.

How does aquarium water conditioner work?

One of the main function of an aquarium water conditioner is to neutralize the chlorine in tap water. The positive charged chlorine in tap water is harmful to the fish because it sticks to their gills and disable their oxygen intake. When the water conditioner is added to the water, the components in the water conditioners form ionic bonds very quickly. Instead of clinging to the fish gills, the chlorine sticks to the water conditioner instead. Sodium thiosulfate is a key component in this dechlorinating process.