Freshwater Aquarium Treatment Options

By delaneydit123 on Oct. 18, 2017

All freshwater aquariums require similar basics – a good tank, a solid stand, quality accessories and maintenance tools. However, freshwater fish come in all shapes and sizes with wide ranging requirements for their living conditions. When you walk into your local Petco, you are likely to find an array of freshwater treatment products, and making sense of which ones you need can be somewhat daunting. This freshwater treatment blog covers the major types of water treatment products and what they are used best for. 



Sooner or later algae occurs in most freshwater aquariums. A small amount of algae growth can be beneficial, as it can provide a food source for some fish. But, if the growth becomes excessive, it can be harmful to live plants, and possibly even the fish. Use algaecides to effectively control green water, blue-green algae, black beard, string or hair algae, or blanket-weed algae. Make sure to always read and follow label instructions carefully. Also, it is important to note that most algaecides are not intended for use in aquariums containing crustaceans such as freshwater lobsters; be sure to look for callouts that an algaecide might be safe for use on the back of the bottle.

Water Clarifiers

Over time, aquarium water can become cloudy due to fine particles of algae, dirt, silt, fine sand, and other debris. Freshwater clarifiers clump tiny, floating particles together into aggregates that are large enough to be filtered out via mechanical filtration, or heavy enough that they drop out of suspension and fall to the gravel bed where they can be vacuumed up. Most water clarifiers are safe for all tanks, but be sure to read product descriptions carefully and following dosing instructions closely.

pH Treatments

Depending on the type of fish you are keeping, it may be necessary to raise or lower pH to ensure ideal aquarium conditions. 

  • Alkaline Buffers raise water pH and alkalinity to make it suitable for cichlids and other freshwater species that require higher pH.
  • Acid Buffers lower water pH to make it suitable for tetras and other freshwater species that require lower pH.
  • Water Softener Pillows soften water by removing Calcium, Magnesium and heavy metals.
  • Neutral Regulators adjust pH to neutral and maintain it. Some may also remove both chlorine and chloramine and precipitate toxic metals.

Freshwater Salt

During disease and stress, healthy gill function of fish is disturbed. This can lead to the loss of electrolytes through the gills, reducing the intake of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide. Freshwater salts are designed to add natural electrolytes, improve gill function, reduce fish stress and temporarily block the toxic effects of nitrite to freshwater fish until water quality improves. Follow dosing instructions carefully of the product you prefer to use. 

Have a question? Visit your local Petco and consult an aquatic specialist!  


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