Chlorine is used to purify our drinking water and keep it safe; however, chlorine can cause numerous issues to your aquatic animals and can harm your fish and plant life.
Chlorine is used to control harmful bacteria growth in our water. If left untreated, the bacteria could make us sick. The chlorine found in tap water is not harmful to us because only a low amount of chlorine is used. The chlorine found in our tap water can be removed by allowing the water to stand overnight or by boiling the tap water. In nature, chlorine is a gas; therefore, the chlorine found in tap water will evaporate over time or when the tap water is boiled.
Although chlorine is unlikely to harm us, it can cause problems with animals such as koi or goldfish that are more sensitive to the chemicals. In fact, chlorine is toxic to most aquatic life and can cause stress and nasty burns on your pond fish as it enters their gills. Heavily chlorinated water should always be treated before it is used in ponds with fish, especially if a large water change is being performed. We advise any Koi and turtle pond owners to make sure they have a bottle of “dechlorinator” or “dechlor” by their pond in case of any pond emergencies. If you need an emergency pond service call us at (714) 613-0123 today
You can remove chlorine and its derivatives from your tap water using several methods, including activated carbon, a dedicated filtration unit, or de-chlorinator treatments. Each of these options removes chlorine and makes the water safe for koi, goldfish, and the rest of your pond’s ecosystem.
Chlorine and Chloramine – What Is the Difference?
Water companies can use chloramine or chlorine to sanitize tap water. Both of these chemicals should be removed before you add tap water to your pond. In the past, chlorine was used to disinfect tap water; however, recently, a new substance has been developed called chloramine, which is a mixture of both chlorine and ammonia. This mixture lasts longer than chlorine and does not evaporate into the atmosphere. This is good news for water companies because they can efficiently treat tap water, and the tap water will remain disinfected for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, this is bad news for pond owners because they can no longer allow tap water to stand and remove the chemicals. Furthermore, older water conditioners can only remove chlorine. The chloramine would remain in the tap water.
What Is the Solution?
You must make sure that your de-chlorinator treatment neutralizes both chloramine and chlorine. Newer water conditioners remove both of these substances. If you are unsure which chemical is used to disinfect your water, opt for a dual treatment. You can also double-check by contacting your local water treatment company and asking which chemicals are used during the treatment process. Some states and counties continue to use chlorine, while others have begun to use chloramine. The only way you can know for sure is to ask your water treatment company.
Why Is Chlorine Dangerous to Fish and Ponds?
Chlorine and chloramine can be deadly to aquatic life. It can cause stress, burns, or even death.
Chloramine and chlorine are reactive substances that bind and react to organic compounds. A sufficient dose of chlorine is a powerful disinfectant, which is why it is used around the world in tap water to destroy bacteria. The problem with chlorine is that it cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria and will, therefore, kill off all types of bacteria in your pond and filter box. Beneficial bacteria are essential to your pond’s biological filtration system and will be destroyed by chlorine. This would cause the water quality to decrease and allow waste products to increase.
Chloramine and chlorine are toxic to aquatic life. Even a trace amount of these chemicals can cause stress and damage to your fish. Upon contact, the chlorine will burn and damage the scales, gills, and breathing tissues of koi and goldfish. It can also enter the bloodstream and cause internal burning and significant pain to the fish.
How Do You Measure Chlorine? What Are the Ideal Water Values for Your Pond?
The ideal amount of chloramine and chlorine in a pond should be 0.00 ppm or as close to zero as possible. Chlorine offers no benefit to a pond. It will kill off beneficial bacteria in the pond and stress, injure, or kill your fish; therefore, all traces of chlorine or chloramine should be removed from your pond water. It may be impossible to remove all the chlorine or chloramine; hence, a reasonable goal for a pond with fish is to have around 0.01 PPM in your pond. If your climate is hot and has a lot of natural evaporation, you will need the top off your pond water often, which means you need to be more careful about the chlorine levels in your pond water compared to someone who lives in a colder climate. Original content source: koipros.com – New ponds and those that require frequent water changes can experience high levels of chlorine or chloramine due to the amount of tap water added to the pond.
To measure chlorine levels in a pond, you will need an electronic testing device, or you can test your water for ammonia. If there is a trace amount of ammonia present in your tap water, you very likely have chloramine in your tap water. The alternative is to assume both chloramine and chlorine are present in your tap water and treat your tap water before you add it to your pond. Your tap water will always contain at least one of these chemicals. There are commercial treatments available that remove both substances, which would eliminate the need for testing.
How to Dechlorinate Pond Water
1. Allow water to stand for 24 to 48 hours. This method is recommended for smaller ponds that contain fish and will only work with tap water that contains chlorine.
If you have a small pond and need to add a small amount of water or do a small water change, allow your water to stand in a bucket for at least 24 hours. This method allows the chlorine to reach the water surface and escape into the atmosphere. Because this method requires no further treatments, it is an excellent choice for small ponds with fish that do not have a large volume of water that needs to be topped off.
Unfortunately, this method only disperses chlorine. Chloramine is much heavier and cannot be removed using this method. If you have tested your water and it contains ammonia or you have contacted your water company and ascertained your tap water contains chloramine, you will need a dedicated treatment option like the ones listed below.
2. Water Conditioner and De-Chlorinator Products – These products are recommended for small ponds that contain fish.
Pond Primes Treatment removes chloramine, ammonia, nitrate, and chlorine from your tap water. A second option is a water conditioner that strips chloramine, chlorine, and other heavy substances from your water. Water conditioners are good options for both small and large ponds. The water may be treated multiple times until the desired chlorine levels are reached. Water conditioners are perfect for new ponds consisting of tap water. It can also be used with every water change to neutralize all harmful chemicals before they can harm the ecosystem of the pond.
Although most newer water conditioners neutralize chloramine and chlorine, you should always read the label first to ensure that the water conditioner removes both types of chemicals. Modern water conditioners can be used to treat water before it is added to the pond, or it can be directly added to your pond. This provides you with a flexible choice if you already have water in your pond, and you’re worried that you still have trace amounts of chlorine or chloramine in your pond water.
We recommend either choosing API Pond Prime’s Chlorine and Heavy Metal Neutralizer or Pond Prime’s Chlorine or Chloramine Remover. The API Pond treatment removes heavy metals, including lead and zinc. Conversely, Pond Prime removes excess ammonia and nitrates from your pond water. If you are only concerned about chlorine and chloramine, either treatment works well, and you cannot go wrong.
3. Activated Carbon Charcoal Filtration – This choice is recommended for small and large ponds that contain fish. Activated carbon neutralizes organic pollutants that regular filter media does not remove.
Activated carbon removes heavy organic pollutants that biofiltration and mechanical filtration cannot remove. The carbon works through adsorption. Adsorption causes pollutants to stick together and then adhere to the carbon. The pollutants are neutralized using this method. The activated carbon should be replaced every two to three months as it becomes saturated with pollutants. The contaminants that can be removed using this process include pesticides, medicines, chlorine, chloramines, perfume, and tannins.
Activated carbon enhances clarity as it removes chlorine and chloramine from your pond during a water change. Because activated carbon is cheap, many pond owners choose to keep activated carbon in their filter box to improve water quality and remove all residue pollutants. Activated carbon can be used year-round to improve filtration and has no drawback other than the cost.
You can treat water before it is added to the pond with activated carbon, or you can add carbon to your filter box, and the water will cycle the water through the filter box and neutralize the chlorine. This is especially beneficial for new ponds during their cycling as it will naturally bring down chlorine levels, and it improves bacterial populations allowing you to add fish safely.
You can find out more about activated carbon by reading our article located here.
4. Carbon Filter Hose Attachments – Carbon filter hose attachments are perfect for small and large ponds that contain fish.
Carbon filter hose attachments are convenient for pond owners who regularly do water changes.
An interesting method that can be used to reduce chloramine and chlorine from your tap water is to add a carbon filter to the end of your garden hose. Typically, most refills and water changes are done using a hose; therefore, adding a carbon filter can ensure chlorine and chloramine are removed from the water before it’s added to your pond. These filter attachments have become popular for gardening ponds and drinking water. Unfortunately, they cannot effectively filter tap water for a pond. Most filter cartridges run out within a few hundred gallons. If you have a larger pond, you would be replacing the filter constantly.
Newer models of filter attachments provide a more substantial capacity (up to 5,000 gallons), meaning they are much more suited for larger ponds and frequent water changes. The filter attachment is fitted to the end of your water hose and contains an activated carbon filter chamber. As the water passes through the chamber of the filter, the carbon will neutralize chloramine and chlorine in the same manner that activated carbon does. The benefit of this method offers is that it allows you to instantly add de-chlorinated water to your pond without treating the water beforehand or after it’s added to the pond.
If you are interested in trying a carbon filter attachment, ensure that you choose one that has a larger carbon capacity; otherwise, you will be replacing it frequently. Common carbon filter attachments are intended for only small amounts of water, and you will need something more substantial for your pond. We recommend the Ideal H2O Inline Carbon Filter. The filter lifespan on this carbon filter attachment is 8,000 gallons of water, making it the perfect choice for small and large ponds.
5. De-Chlorination And Water Filtration Systems – This type of system is the preferred method for large, heavily stocked ponds. A dedicated water filtration system removes chlorine and chloramine.
Although this system is not the best choice for all pond owners, those who have a heavily stocked fish pond or those who perform water changes regularly may wish to invest in a dedicated de-chlorinator system. This powerful system is used industrially to remove chlorine, sediment, and chloramine from large volumes of water quickly. The system uses activated carbon, however, on a much larger scale than carbon filter attachments. The carbon in the system is more refined to ensure a higher degree of purity to maximize water filtration. Most systems have a carbon treatment lifetime of approximately 50,000 gallons, which means it would work for many years without needing to be replaced.
This system may be a bit of an overkill for smaller ponds; however, it is a viable option for a larger pond that requires regular water changes such as a pond used by fish breeders or fish sellers. These systems can be connected to a UV clarifier to enhance purification and increase the number of bacteria, tannins, and algae that are removed making your water clear and cleaner.
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