There have been recent reports that aging aquarium water is essential. What is Aged Aquarium Water and How Can Aquarium Lovers Get It?
Simply put, aged aquarium water is water that has been left for at least 24 hours and “aged” before use. Anyone can age their water. The bigger question is whether using aged water is preferable to using chemically treated water. Pros and cons.
Why use aged aquarium water?
In the early days of the aquarium hobby, the standard was to use aged water. At that time, neither department stores nor pet store chains existed. LFS (local fish shops) are usually far away and only open for limited hours. Therefore, it is not always quick or convenient to treat tap water with chemicals before using it in the aquarium. Aged water, on the other hand, only needs time to let it sit. As such, it is a popular alternative to chemically treated tap water to remove chlorine or other treatments used by local water treatment facilities. Nearly everyone has buckets or tanks around and they are aging.
Another advantage of aged water is that the chemical composition of the water can be stabilized. The water delivered to the faucet is under pressure and therefore contains dissolved gases, especially carbon dioxide. Large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide can temporarily lower the pH of the water. After standing for a while, the pH will rise, sometimes significantly. Variations will vary based on the amount of dissolved CO2.
Changes in pH, no matter how small, can stress fish. If the change is extreme enough, it can be fatal. Aging the water to a more stable pH is good for fish health.
Is chemically aged water better?
With the advent of department stores that offer basic aquarium supplies and are open 24 hours a day, getting chemical water treatment has become easier. Aquarium products, such as water treatment products, can even be ordered over the Internet and delivered to your door. Additionally, most new aquarium packages come with a small bottle of water treatment. As a result, the trend has shifted away from using aged aquarium water most of the time, and now owners are now using chemically treated water most of the time. Does this mean it’s better to “age” the water with chemicals? unnecessary.
Chemical treatment has two main advantages. They make the water safe to use almost instantly, which is a huge improvement over aging water that waits a day or two. Another advantage is that the chemicals neutralize heavy metals and other dissolved components that the aging process cannot reach. This is especially important in areas with high mineral content in the water source. Most chemical treatments also include an ingredient, such as a stress coating that soothes fish skin.
By aging the water, the dissolved gases have time to be driven off and the water temperature can be stabilized within the desired range. Using chemical treatment ensures that any heavy metals or other harmful chemicals are neutralized. An added benefit of stress coating is the use of chemical treatments. Disadvantageously, water aging takes time, while still incurring additional costs for chemical treatment.
How to Age Aquarium Water
There are two ways to age water. One is to put the water in a clean bucket or jug (without the lid) and let it sit for a few days. This method takes longer but does not require any additional equipment. It is often used to age small amounts of water, whether for a small tank or to refill a large tank. The disadvantage of this method is that less water can be aged with this method. It also does not allow to adjust the water temperature to the desired range. However, since most homes are warmer, this is usually not a problem if the water is just being used to refill a larger tank.
Another way to age water is in an aquarium. It could be that the fish will be added to the aquarium later, or just an extra tank just for the purpose of aging the water. Aging water in this way has several advantages. First, it allows a greater amount of water to age. It also speeds up the process because filters, powerheads, or other devices that agitate the water can be used. Vigorous aeration of the water more quickly can drive out dissolved gases as well as chlorine. What takes three days in a kettle can be done overnight in a heavily aerated tank.
Another great advantage of using an aquarium to age water is that you can use a heater to heat the water to the desired temperature. By stabilizing pH and temperature, aquarium owners can minimize stress on the fish. When setting up a new aquarium, I highly recommend aging the water in the tank for at least a day or more. With water treatment, you get the best of both worlds. But keep in mind that aging water doesn’t start the nitrogen cycle. This will not work until you add the fish to the tank.