How Long Does A Water Conditioner Take To Work?

A water conditioner plays an essential role in any aquarium. It is responsible for neutralizing any harmful chemicals in the tank water, making your tank safe.

Some aquarium owners need the water conditioner as their tank water is high in chloramines and chlorine, which are in tap water.

So how long does the water conditioner take to work? Let’s read to see more!

What Is a Water Conditioner?

Water Conditioner

A water conditioner makes the tap water safe for your fish

A water conditioner is known as a solution that adjusts the tap water’s chemical makeup to ensure it is optimal.

The water conditioner typically refers to Dechlorinators, which make the tap water safe for your fish by neutralizing chlorine, chloramine, or dissolved metals.

Other water conditioners include solutions to lower/raise pH or neutralize the ammonia.

How Long Does A Water Conditioner Take To Work?

You will find this information on its back. It doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to condition the water, after which you should add aquatic species.

In general, the answer depends on the water conditioner type you choose. Also, you will usually find the time frame on the back of your water container.

A water conditioner typically should begin to work instantly, provided the water is well circulated. For instance, my Betta aquarium typically experiences low pH levels, so we fine-tune our tank occasionally with the API’s pH.

How Do The Water Conditioners Work?

Many call the water conditioner a Dechlorinator as it is responsible for removing chlorine from their tank, which is dangerous to their fish tank.

The fact is that tap water contains chlorine and chloramines to remove viruses, parasites, and bacteria that are the cause of many diseases in humans.

But unlike humans, fish are pretty sensitive to chlorine which also harms beneficial bacteria. So it is essential to get rid of chlorine and chloramine from your tank water before adding your fish.

The water conditioner comes in contact with water molecules and removes chlorine from them. It might seem complicated, but it is one pretty easy and quick process.

The product contains sodium thiosulfate. It will turn chlorine into chloride, which is less harmful to your fish. Besides, a great product will remove chlorine and ammonia, which is a by-product of this process.

It can also remove slime coat protectors and heavy metals from the tank water.

When Should You Use a Water Conditioner?

Goldfish in aquarium with green plants

When should you use a water conditioner?

You should use the water conditioner when adding new water to your aquarium to make the tap water safe for fish. It might include routine water changes or after cleaning the aquarium.

There are no hard and fast rules for how often you should add a water conditioner. Hence, you should follow your water change schedule to use the water conditioner.


Does A Water Conditioner Work Instantly?

The water conditioner typically takes a few minutes to make the tank water safe for your fish.

So if you fill a bucket and begin by adding conditioner, it will typically work by the time your bucket has been filled adequately to be all set to be poured into the tank.

Do All Fish Tanks Need a Water Conditioner?

Some tap water does not need a water conditioner, but it is rare. In most cases, tap water will include chlorine to neutralize harmful chemicals and protect fish.

Hence, you will need to neutralize your tap water with a water conditioner before releasing your fish into it.

Can I Add a Water Conditioner While My Fish Are Still in The Tank?

If you do a regular water change from 10 to 20%, it is okay to add a water conditioner while the fish is still in your tank.

Besides, if you perform a complete or large water change, you must put your fish in another aquarium that is cycled and already contains a water conditioner.

If you are doing one small water change, you should start by mixing the tap water and the water conditioner. You should not add tap water directly and then add conditioner afterward.

Also, adding the water conditioner directly to your tank can be risky as you create a high chemical concentration in one area of your tank.

Any fish swimming through this area will be exposed to your chemical instead of the optimal water they are used to.  It might harm or distress your fish.

Is It Okay To Utilize Too Much Water Conditioner?

You should not add more than the suggested dose, as some fish species are sensitive to water parameter changes. They can even become ill or die when adding too many chemicals, such as water conditioners.

Do Water Conditioners Remove Ammonia?

The water conditioner neutralizes ammonia by binding to molecules. That way, it converts ammonia to ammonium which is harmless to your fish. It is not technically removing ammonium, although the outcome is the same!

Do Water Conditioners Remove Nitrites?

The water conditioner binds to nitrite molecules in the tank, allowing the bacteria in the filter to alter them to nitrate. It means the nitrites aren’t removed, and they are converted to one different chemical instead.

Do Water Conditioners Lower The Nitrates Level?

The water conditioner can lower nitrate levels in the aquarium by altering it to nitrogen gas or binding to nitrate molecules and rendering them harmless.

In our opinion, it allows bacteria in the biological filter to destroy nitrate molecules, reducing the overall nitrate level in your tank.


We’ve helped you answer, “How long does a water conditioner take to work?” In addition, we have provided you with valuable information on the same topic.

Hopefully, you will always use the recommended dose on the bottle because abuse of the water conditioner might be harmful to fish.

Thank you for taking the time to read the post!