Aquarium Pharmaceuticals INC’s Tap Water Conditioner doesn’t have a fancy name or a fancy label (although I believe AP is redesigning their packaging so that all their products have similar labels, an improvement over the current plain red and orange label) but I’ve used this water conditioner for awhile and I don’t plan on switching anytime soon.
For starters, it doesn’t contain any slime coat enhancers. Many products out there have additives that claim to stimulate your fish to produce a heavier slime coat and some even claim to replace your fish’s natural slime coat altogether. Other conditioners claim to have healing properties. Fish have produced and managed their own slime coats since before we put them in glass boxes and they seem to do such a good job of it themselves that I don’t really want to interfere. I also do not like to treat fish if they are not ill or wounded. There are certain situations where these products might come in handy but I do not like to use them all the time on healthy fish. I have also heard that Aloe Vera, added to some conditioners for its healing properties, might clog or interfere with your fish’s gills although I haven’t seen any hard evidence to substantiate those claims. Either way, I play it safe and leave the additives out.
Although AP’s Tap Water Conditioner leaves out those slime coat enhancers, it does everything I need my water conditioner to do; it neutralizes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals.
Best of all, its cheap. If you have a lot of tanks to maintain, or if you just like getting a good deal, this is the product for you. Its priced about the same as other conditioners in terms of dollars per ounce but it is much more concentrated. One teaspoon treats 40 gallons of water, compare that to most conditioners that require one teaspoon for every ten or even five gallons of water you want to treat. One 4oz. bottle treats 2,400 gallons of water, that works out to about one drop per gallon. Again, compare that with other products that require 5-8 drops to treat a gallon of water.