What many people do not seem to realize is that it is perfectly alright to use tap water in your aquarium, provided you use a proper water conditioner.
The main purpose of a water conditioner is to neutralize chlorine and chloramines in the water. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from using conditioners if you have a well or other water supply that does not have chlorine in it as there are several types of heavy metals in most municipal water supplies that can harm your fish as well.
Important: not all water conditioners neutralize potentially harmful metals! When selecting a water conditioner it is imperative to your fish’s health that you find one that takes care of those metals, as well as chloramines if you’re not sure whether your water is treated with chlorine or chloramine. This is where Aquasafe comes in.
I currently have eighteen tanks of my own that get weekly water changes. For the past several years I have used only Start Right by Jungle Labs in my tanks because it is the cheapest conditioner that meets all of my specifications.
I also clean other people’s aquariums, and on occasion my customers will move and be unable to take their aquariums with them, for two different customers the answer lay in giving me the aquariums and all their fish and equipment. One of these customers had a fresh bottle of Aquasafe, the conditioner she used for her partial water changes on the weeks I didn’t vacuum her gravel. I am not one to waste aquatic supplies if at all possible, so I stuck the bottle in the drawer with all the things for my downstairs tank and started using it, keeping Start Right in the upstairs tanks.
At the time I started using the Aquasafe, Start Right had no additives in it for enhancing a fish’s slime coat (it has since been added), which is very nice if you have recently netted or picked-on fish. Aquasafe has aloe to enhance the slime coat, and so I quickly fell in love with it. My downstairs tank is the one all visitors see, and the one my young son has access to. While the gouramis in that tank are pretty tough troopers, I still do everything I can to pamper them in the slightly more stressful setting than the isolated upstairs fish have, and they do seem to appreciate this new conditioner.
It is important to remember that a water conditioner makes water safe for fish, but that does NOT mean that a tank is ready to be inhabited directly after filling and conditioning that tank. Most fish deaths occur through a misunderstanding or complete ignorance of the cycling a tank must go through. A tank, when first set up, has nothing in it to break down the ammonia from a fish’s waste. The bacteria that does that job takes time to get in the tank, and until then there should be either no fish in it or frequent partial water changes to keep ammonia levels down.
When setting up a tank the water conditioner must be in the water before the cycling process can begin, as all the things that are harmful to fish are also harmful to the bacteria the fish need in the tank. Follow the dosage on the back of the bottle when filling the tank, and when doing partial water changes you need only put the amount of water conditioner in for the new water, not the entire tank capacity.
Since I started using Aquasafe in my own tanks I have also offered it to my customers at a slight additional charge and a large percentage have chosen to pay that in order to have Aquasafe in their tanks.
Aquasafe comes in a screw-top bottle, it is available in most Wal-Marts in both 3.3 ounce and 8.4 ounce bottles. I buy the 8.4 ounce bottle for $5.64 and it treats 500 gallons. I have not seen any conclusive evidence that Aquasafe is better than my old stand-by, Start Right, but it is obvious that it does the job it is supposed to do and is reasonably priced, so well worth purchasing for your routine fish care. If you’d like to get a higher quality conditioner than this one, Stress Coat and Seachem Prime are the usual favorites for aquatic professionals, though their price reflects that reputation.
In short, Aquasafe will get the job done at a pretty good price and the product stands by the manufacturers claims.
Note: this product is approved for use with both saltwater and freshwater fish. My opinion reflects its use with freshwater fish only as I have no experience with saltwater fish.