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Freshwater fish tanks are a beautiful accompaniment to any home or office. However, they require tactful observation and a cautious eye, particularly with the water parameters. These must be pristine so everything residing in the tank is happy. One of the most essential components to this is using water conditioner.
But is too much water conditioner in a fish tank really a problem? It is possible to put in more water conditioners than is necessary. But, it shouldn’t pose too much of a risk unless the whole bottle somehow gets in there. Regardless, you should be exacting and watch how much you add to your tank.
Alternatively, if you don’t use it, the likelihood of your fish dying increases exponentially. This is because it helps to balance and maintain the stasis of water parameters. Knowing the how, what, when and why about adding water conditioner will keep fish healthy and thriving.
Why Will too Much Water Conditioner be a Risk to Fish?
Depending on the product and its ingredients, too much conditioner can kill your fish. Oftentimes it would take dumping the entire bottle into the water to kill them. At the very least, however, they can get sick or become lethargic. This is because it does have the potential to increase the instance of algae.
Too Much Can Kill Fish that Are Already Sick
That said, it won’t matter how much conditioner you add if your fish are already dying. If this is the case, anything you add can have the potential to end your aquatic life. So, it’s advisable to watch your fish if you believe you’ve added too much conditioner.
If you think it’s affecting your fish, you can take them out and do a big water change. But, you might also want to test your water levels and contact your vet to make sure nothing else could be wrong.
Why Is Water Conditioner Needed in a Fish Tank?
Tap water generally contains chemicals and treatments that tend to be toxic for fish. Therefore, water conditioner is the perfect additive to create a more inhabitable environment. This is why it’s advisable to use reverse osmosis water or a topnotch quality water purifier for your aquarium as well.
Plus, the ingredients in the conditioner help to moisturize the skin and scales of your fish. Because this is a major component of your fish’s environment, it also helps the fish swim better because of how soft the conditioner makes the water.
Is There Such a Thing as the Wrong Kind of Fish Tank Water Conditioner?
Unfortunately, it is possible to use the wrong kind of water conditioner in a fish tank. There are three types of conditioners available: complete conditioners, chloramine neutralizers and dechlorinators.
Each one takes care of different water parameters that you start out with. Complete conditioners are good for Neutralizing heavy amounts of ammonia and removing chlorine along with heavy metals. Chloramine neutralizers will breakdown chloramine and ammonia. But dechlorinators will only take care of chlorine and nothing else.
How Do You Know What Kind Is Right For Your Aquarium?
When first starting out, it’s best to get your water tested with a full panel by a professional. At the very least, get a high-quality testing kit for at-home use. There are many schools and private institutions that will do it for a nominal fee.
Results Determine Type
When you get the results, you’ll be able to gauge and know which one will be best for your tank. For instance, if you use a complete conditioner, this may not be good if your water doesn’t need chloramine neutralized. In another scenario, you might be only using a dechlorinator but your water needs a complete conditioner.
Actually, using the wrong conditioner will create more issues for your fish tank than adding too much. If you’re unsure, either ask around in an online forum or go to your local aquarium store.
Start with an Aquarium Store
In fact, it’s best to make your initial purchase from a brick-and-mortar aquarium store. That way you can get a hands-on experience in what will be best for the kind of fish you want and how to maintain your tank. After that, then browse around online for the next time you have to buy the conditioner.
What Times Are Best for Adding Water Conditioner to a Fish Tank?
The only times when you’ll add conditioner is right before you add the fish to the tank and when you clean it out with partial water changes. You always want to create a mature tank before you add fish. This will reduce shock and help them acclimate better. Add water conditioner at least 24 hours prior to housing fish.
Regular Water Changes
Cleaning and partial water changes are when it gets a little trickier in regards to knowing how much water conditioner to add and when. There are a couple of ways you can approach this situation depending on how much water you’re changing out.
For the average weekly or biweekly cleaning, you’ll probably do anywhere from 10% to 30%. Therefore, you can add the conditioner right into the water with the fish so long as you’re adding the water immediately after. If you have to remove 40% or more, it will be crucial to mix conditioner and water before putting it in.
Also, pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for a full dosage into a completely clean tank. While some brands list how much product to add to water given by percentages, others do not. In this latter case, you will have to make a conversion chart for yourself to reference when you need it.
Configure the full dosage and subtract that by 10%, 20%, 30% and so on. However, this will be more poignant to do for fish that easily succumb to the smallest changes in water parameters, like betta fish. This is merely a suggestion for those who wish to be as precise as possible.
A Quicker Method
But, if math isn’t your strong suit, you can always mix the water before adding it to the tank with the recommended measurements. That way you’ll always put in the right amount. However, you will waste more water conditioner this way.
How to Handle too Much Water Conditioner in the Tank?
Of all the additives and treatments you can put into a tank, water conditioners are one of the safest. Most manufacturers develop their conditioners with a huge margin of error. Therefore, even if you add more than you should, the overabundance shouldn’t create too much of an issue for your fish.
Balancing the Water
However, if you’re worried about having added to much water conditioner, there are a couple of things you can do. You can either perform another water change or simply add a little more plain water to the top of the tank. This will rely on how bad you think it is and how much water you’ll need to switch out.
Read Product Instructions for the Water Conditioner
Even though there’s room for mistakes with water conditioner, it’s always best to go by the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid adding in a larger dosage than you should. You can add some plain water to the tank, little by little, if you think it will help.
Do Another Partial Change
In the event plain water won’t do because there’s far too much conditioner, you can remove the fish into a quarantine tank. Clean out the main aquarium and perform a reset of the tank. However, there’s a likelihood of this stressing out your fish. So, do this judiciously.
Wrapping It Up
While it’s not a good idea to add too much water conditioner to your fish tank, it shouldn’t prove to be too traumatic either. That is of course your fish are already sick or if you end up pouring out the entire bottle. If you feel you’ve put too much into the tank, you can always add a little extra plain, untreated water to balance it out.
Also consider the possibility that you’re not using the right conditioner in relationship to the water you’re treating. This is why it’s imperative that you get the water fully tested by a professional so there’s little room for mistakes. Doing this will ensure healthy fish and maintain the parameters of the tank.