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Re: Dechlorinators

I was hoping that one of the list "chemists" might have chimed in on this,
but maybe they missed it.... so here goes nothing....

"Just to mess you up, I do 30-60% water changes very regularly with no
dechlorinator, and I *never* lose fish/plants."

I'd say that you are lucky. But Lady Luck is a fickle gal.....she can leave
you for someone else with no advance warning.

"I was under the assumption that chlorine gas is a very volatile substance
when dissolved in water. Any turbulence will send it out of the solution,

True.....to a point.

Water utilities have two main options for treating water that they put into
the distribution network for delivery to your tap. At the water treatment
plant, they usually use Chlorine as a disinfectant during the treatment
process. Sometimes, they give the water an extra shot of Chlorine just
before they send it out. This is to keep it safe to drink as it travels from
the plant to your home. Sometimes they add Ammonia to it. Chlorine + Ammonia
= Chloramine. Chlorine treated water is usually safe for fish after it sits
exposed to the atmosphere for 24 hours, as the Chlorine will just escape
into the air. Turbulence helps. Chloramine isn't as accommodating, and can
remain detectable in water for several weeks. That's why the water utilities
use it in the first place - it provides a long term solution to water
disinfection. Water treated with Chloramine can travel through miles of old
pipe on its way from the treatment plant to your home and remain safe to
drink. The only way you can know how your water is treated is to contact the
water utility and ask.

To complicate matters, different water utilities will quite often change the
amount of Chlorine and/or Chloramine they put in the water, depending upon
the time of year. There might not be much in the water in January, but don't
bet on it in July or August.

Chlorine can be removed either by allowing the water to sit for a day or by
using sodium thiosulphate (photographer's hypo). If you try this with
Chloramine treated water, you will break the Chlorine - Ammonia bond and be
left with water which contains Ammonia. Some dechlorinators are formulated
to deal with this Ammonia and so are safe to use with Chloramine treated
water. I use Seachem Prime on my water, but I'm sure that there are other
products - just read the label and make sure that it says it will deal with
Chloramines as well as Chlorine.

While lots of people claim to get away without using anything, they are
either just lucky, as John Wheeler, or live in an area where there isn't
much of anything added to the municipal water. Making general
recommendations based on local conditions isn't very wise - my water and
your water are different, and what I have to do you might not find
necessary. Again, contact your local utility to find out what might be
appropriate for where you live.

"Dechlorinators" and "Water Conditioners" are really 2 different things,
although many companies produce products which do both. Dechlorinators ONLY
deal with the Chlorine (or Chlorine-Ammonia). Water Conditioners can remove
heavy metals, add stuff claimed to help slime coat production, etc., etc...
If you want that stuff, fine, if you don't, why add it? Does anyone really
think that any fish, any where, at any time, ever naturally came in contact
with the juice of the Aloe Vera plant? Yet, companies add it to their "Water
Conditioners" and people buy it. It might actually do you more good if you
spread it on your skin and rubbed it in rather than putting into a fish
tank. I don't think that it will hurt your fish, but I don't think that its
necessary - its just a marketing gimmick.

James Purchase