When you have a small fish tank, it's easy to fill with spring water when doing a water change or setting it up for the first time. Due to their size, ponds and water features are typically filled with tap water. You can use tap water for fish ponds and aquariums, but you must remove chlorine and chloramines first with the right water treatment. Chlorine can harm and even kill your pond fish!
What is Chlorine? Why is it in Tap Water?
Chlorine is a disinfectant used to kill bacteria. It's put in tap water to eliminate bacteria that would make people sick. Chlorine is considered safe for humans, animals, and most reptiles to drink. People commonly use chlorine in swimming pools to get rid of bacteria and other contaminants, so it's safe to swim in. Chlorine is mixed with ammonia to create chloramine, which, unlike chlorine, is not a gas that will release from the water and into the air. It's more effective at killing bacteria and is often used to treat water.
Dangers of Chlorine in Ponds
Our digestive tracts (and most other animals) neutralize chlorine and chloramine in the water we drink before entering the bloodstream. Fish and many aquatic critters are more sensitive to chlorine and chloramine; it absorbs through their gills and goes directly into their bloodstream.
Chlorine causes fish stress and often death when the levels are high enough. Chlorine damages gills and burns the scales of fish and other pond life. Once the chlorine enters the bloodstream, it causes internal damage too. Chlorine and chloramines do not discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria. It will eliminate the good bacteria in the water, leading to poor water quality. Chlorine levels are a problem even in a fish-less pond.
How to Remove Chlorine and Chloramine
The best way to remove chlorine and chloramine is to use a chlorine remover water treatment. You should use this every time you add tap water to your pond or put your fish in a temporary tank (like a quarantine tank). Tap water is most likely added when you're doing a water changeover (partial or total) or in the summer when the water begins to evaporate and the water levels drop. If doing a total water change or adding fish to a new pond, use the smartpond Chlorine Remover plus Conditioner 24 hours before adding fish.
The smartpond Chlorine Remover plus Conditioner naturally removes the chlorine and chloramines using natural botanical extracts and also removes ammonia and dangerous heavy metals. The botanicals also are a conditioner, boosting your fish's protective slime coats.
Test for Chlorine and Chloramines
You can't tell by looking at your pond when chlorine levels are too high. The best way to prevent chlorine levels from getting too high in your pond is to do regular water tests.
How much chlorine is okay?
Ideally, 0.0, but if it's really hot out and you have to add water to your pond frequently, 0.01 PPM is okay for most fish but not ideal. Whenever you add tap water to your pond, add a chlorine remover too.
During the summer, water levels naturally drop due to evaporation and need to be topped off with fresh water. When water quality is bad, a partial or total water change can help restore balance. Tap water in a pond (regular water from the hose or sink) increases chlorine and chloramine levels in the water. These chemicals help disinfect the water, so it's safe for humans and animals to drink, but it is dangerous for fish and other aquatic critters. It's important to use a chlorine remover water treatment when adding tap water to your pond.