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Blackwater Tanks and Water Conditioners – Common Aquarium Questions

As aquarists, we want our aquariums to be the best environment possible to support the beautiful fish, plants and inverts we love. One recent email presented a FAQ topic that may be helpful to some of you out there on the topic of water conditioning.Mike asked:

What water conditioner would you recommend to replicate the water conditions in the Amazon Basin that would be ideal for discus and freshwater stingrays? When a product is called water conditioner, does that mean it is used to turn tap water into water that is ideal for fish?

MarineBio@thatpetplace.com responded:

Making a home aquarium the ideal environment for the fish you want to keep can sometimes be daunting with all of the products available on the market today. Some fish can live and thrive in variable conditions, while others prefer or need specific conditions for optimal health and appearance.

Water conditioner” is a general term for any water additive that alters the existing chemistry of the water. They are used to make the conditions in the aquarium friendly for fish in general, especially after water changes and other disturbances. These products usually do several things such as dechlorinating water, detoxifying ammonia, and help the fish to maintain or recover electrolytes caused by being stressed amongst other things. Each product may be a little different from the next, but they are all intended for the same basic purpose.

Some specific types of fish benefit from additional additives or equipment that helps you to mimic water conditions from their natural habitats. For example, discus and freshwater stingrays prefer soft, acidic water which may be created by using an RO unit to purify your tap water and adding a pH buffer to set the pH where you would like it. Seachem’s Discus Buffer would be ideal for buffering the pH on the low side where these types of fish prefer it. It will also help to reduce the hardness of the water if you’re not using RO. Additives like Blackwater extracts and Discus essential can also be beneficial as they add essential minerals, nutrients and elements that are found in their native waters.

Feel free to send us any questions you may have about your tank.

Until next time,


One comment

  1. avatar

    Such a great post. Thanks for this and keep posting.

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