When we think of swimming pools, we usually think of chlorinated water. It's not particularly enticing to drink, which raises the question of whether or not tap water contains chlorine. "Yes," is the answer.
Because chlorine is the primary disinfection method for city water systems, practically all tap water contains it. The amount of chlorine in tap water may fluctuate, but it is usually between 0.5 and 2.0 parts per million (ppm).
While relatively harmless to humans, chlorine can be deadly to fish. And now that we have established that tap water contains chlorine, we will proceed to explore the effect of chlorine on fish, how to test water for chlorine and some ways to dechlorinate tap water.
Chlorine effect on fish
Chlorine can produce burns on the body of a fish. The area where a fish's gills are located is the most vulnerable to burns. When the water contains too much chlorine, these can quickly become burned.
Additionally, the burns will cause other issues. They can cause a variety of illnesses, and chlorine burns can even kill your fish. Something important to note is that chlorine will be taken into the fish's bloodstream, resulting in burns all over its body.
Stress is another detrimental consequence of chlorine on fish. If the chlorine isn't strong enough to kill the fish, it will certainly stress them out. After all, they may be in excruciating pain all of the time.
So, how to know that your aquarium’s water is high in chlorine?
How to test water for chlorine
There are different solutions to measure chlorine in water and they are divided into digital meters and color wheels.
Color wheel test kits use a powder or tablet chemical DPD (N, N diethyl-p-phenylenediamine) that causes a color change to pink in the presence of chlorine.
The color wheels are simpler and less expensive than digital meters because to measure the intensity of the color change, the field worker uses a color wheel to visually match the color to a numerical free or total chlorine reading. Chlorine levels must be at zero for the water to be safe.
How to dechlorinate tap water
Now that you have your water tested and figured out that it has chlorine, there is no need to panic we got you covered with 6 ways to dechlorinate tap water:
1. Let it sit for 24 hours
To remove chlorine from water, this is the simplest technique. Simply put, if you put some tap water in an uncovered vessel, most of the chlorine will evaporate. Yes, you read that correctly.
In most cases, tap water contains a standard amount of chlorine, which can evaporate in as little as a day if left standing in a vessel. If you prefer a faster solution, check out the other four options listed below.
2. Use a UV light
A UV light is also a useful instrument for dechlorinating some tap water. Why? If you place a UV light next to some tap water, the chlorine will be neutralized. That's all there is to it.
The length of time this can take is mostly determined by the volume of water you are attempting to purify chlorine. It's ideal if you do it in ten-gallon increments. In this manner, you can be certain that chlorine has been removed from the water.
To make the most out of this method, it’s advised to use it while you leave the water outside for 24 hours. If you put water in a vessel and leave it there for 24 hours and you also add a UV light upon it, you can be sure there will be no chlorine in it when you’re done.
3. Boil the tap water and let it cool
This is the most effective method for dechlorinating tap water. It's because it's quick and simple to use. It's so simple that anyone can do it. All you have to do is boil the water for about 8 to 10 minutes to get rid of the chlorine.
Don't forget to let it cool down after you've finished boiling it. Your fish won't be able to survive in that environment otherwise.
4. Install carbon filter
Some hobbyists rely on a simple carbon filter as an effective tap water dechlorination method.
However, to treat tap water before adding it to your aquarium, you would need to install a carbon filter in a separate tank, treat the water, test it, and then transfer it to your main display aquarium.
That’s a time-consuming, laborious endeavor, and it’s not the most practical solution.
5. Use Vitamin C
Yes, vitamin C can be used to dechlorinate tap water. This is actually one of the most popular approaches since, as with some of the other methods mentioned above, it's quite simple to implement.
All you have to do is add vitamin C to your tap water, and the chlorine will be neutralized. The disadvantage is that you will need to purchase vitamin C tablets or powder to combat the chlorine.
A comprehensive study on how vitamin C can neutralize chlorine in water can be found here.
Regardless, this strategy is pretty effective. Even pools, hot tubs, and bathtubs are dechlorinated using it, not just little amounts of tap water. As a result, it will undoubtedly complete the task.
6. Dechlorinate tap water with chemicals
Chemical dechlorination is the process of filtering water and removing chlorine using various chemical compounds. Water conditioners are what they're called. They have the ability to efficiently remove all of the chlorine from the water.
The problem is that these conditioners contain all sorts of chemicals, that in most cases affect your fish in a negative way. They can lead to multiple health problems and even diseases inside your tank.
How long to dechlorinate water?
Usually, it takes 24 hours for the water to settle down completely to dechlorinate. Maximum it will take 5 days for chlorine to be completely evaporated.
We hope you enjoyed this guide explaining some of the methods that you can use to dechlorinate tap water before adding it to your fish tank. And we think when it comes to beginner fish hobbyists, it’s best if you go the natural route, instead of using water conditioners.
Whatever method of dechlorination you decide to use before adding any tap water to your fish tank, we advise that you test the water to ensure that the levels of chlorine are zero.