How Does Dechlorinator Work?

akudewan

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So we have this mystery liquid that removes chlorine from water...how exactly does it work?

When I have to do a WC, I take a bucket, fill it with water and add dechlorinator, and thats for my rather small 23gal tank. People out there with large tanks..you don't really make buckets of water, do you? :unsure:

Do all dechlorinators also work as stress-coats ?
 

Synirr

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Not the writer of this information:

There are many products sold for aquarium use that are specifically intended to remove chlorine. Several brand names include: Prime, AmQuel, AP Tap Water Conditioner, Aquasafe Plus, and many more. These all include Sodium Thiosulfate, which reacts with the chlorine (or the chlorine portion of the chloramine) to form harmless chloride ions. The chlorine is completely and totally removed. This reaction happens instantly. The tap water doesn't need to be mixed with the dechlorinator for any amount of time before adding it to the tank. It's safe to just add the dechlorinator as you add the water into the tank.
There is one potential problem if your water is treated with chloramine. As stated above, the dechlorinator reacts with the chlorine portion of the chloramine. The chlorine is eliminated, leaving the ammonia free in the water. As you hopefully know, ammonia is toxic to fish, even in low levels. So, if you use a simple dechlorinator that only contains sodium thiosulfate, you are solving one problem (chlorine) and creating a new problem (ammonia).

Lucky for us aquarists, our aquarium product companies have a solution. Many of the dechlorinator water conditioners include chemicals to convert the ammonia into harmless ammonium. Look a a few labels. My favorite one, Seachem Prime, states: "Removes chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia". Others that I'm sure handle the ammonia include Tetra "AquaSafe NH/CL Formula", Jungle's "ACE", Kordon's "AmQuel", and Kent's "Professional Ammonia Detox". If the label doesn't specifically mention that it neutralizes ammonia, then don't depend on it to safely treat water containing chloramines.
 
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akudewan

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Oh, wow Synirr...thats some really useful info...I never knew that ammonia is formed in the process. I'll try to get a conditioner that explicitly mentions that it takes care of ammonia. :)
 
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People out there with large tanks..you don't really make buckets of water, do you? :unsure:

Do all dechlorinators also work as stress-coats ?

Unfortunatly i do make lots of buckets of fresh dechlorinated water for my 125gal, i usually take out and put in 12 10litre buckets of water every water change(thats 120 litres in total :hyper: ), but its not bad once you get used to it and is my equivilant of excercise ;) . Some lucky people use a hose. I use AquaSafe dechlorinator myself, comes in nice huge bottles(also small ones as well) which make it handy for large tanks, i think only special dechlorinators act as stress-coat ones, i use StressCoat on my quarentine/hospital tank to help settle in new fish or treat sick ones :) .
 

Synirr

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Oh, wow Synirr...thats some really useful info...I never knew that ammonia is formed in the process. I'll try to get a conditioner that explicitly mentions that it takes care of ammonia. :)
I'm not sure I'd do that in a cycled aquarium... not sure what effect that would have on the cycle, as the ones that specifically mention neutralizing the ammonia also neutralize much of the ammonia actually formed in your tank that feeds the bacteria. Just get one that says it takes care of chloramine and that should do the trick, it'll have enough chemical in it to neutralize ammonia created by the chloramine breakdown, but not enough to potentially hurt your cycle :)
 

Bignose

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Sodium thiosulphate (Na2S2O3) is the most commonly used chemical to declorinate water.

Na2S2O3 + Cl2 + H2O --> Na2SO4 + S + 2 HCl

remaining sodium thiosulphate will also react with the acid (HCl)

Na2S2O3 + 2HCl --> 2NaCl + H2O + S + SO2

The amount required to complete both reations will depend upon parameters like pH and temperature, but most bottles come with more than 5 parts sodium thiosulphate to 1 part chlorine.

Since many water companies use chloramines today, there also has to be a chemical used to cleave the chlorine-ammonia bond, in addittion to chlorine neutralization.
 

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