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Protect your Pets

posted November 15th, 2011 by

Chloramine now in Tulsa water

We know your pets’ safety is always a top priority, so it’s important that fish owners are knowledgeable about an upcoming change to Tulsa’s water. While the conversion will further protect Tulsans’ health, it will also change the way you care for your fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Chloramine now in Tulsa waterBeginning in February 2012, the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) will begin adding chloramine to the City’s water instead of chlorine for disinfection in the distribution system. Chloramine, a chemical combination of chlorine and ammonia, provides longer-lasting protection against naturally occurring bacteria in the pipes bringing the water from the treatment plant to your tap.
Chloraminated water has been used safely in water treatment systems in the United States for more than 90 years, including nearby cities such as Oklahoma City, Sand Springs, Lawton, Norman and Dallas.

For the protection of your aquatic pets, chloramine, like chlorine, must be removed from the water before it is added to your fish tank or pond.
“Chlorine removal treatments that are commonly used include letting water sit for 24 hours until the chlorine dissipates, boiling the water or using a chlorine removal tablet, but these treatments will no longer protect your fish,” said Joan Arthur, project manager for the City of Tulsa. “Chloramine must be removed from the water using water conditioners or filters specifically designed for treatment of chloramine.”

Treating your wat er Local pet stores and suppliers carry low-cost chloramine water conditioners for pet owners. These water conditioners contain a combination of ingredients used to neutralize the chemicals in your tap water that may be harmful to fish. To keep your fish safe, be sure to choose a water conditioner that removes – not just neutralizes – both chlorine and ammonia.

It’s best to consult your pet supplier to see what product will work best for your fish, but commercially available dechloramination products and specialized carbon filters with highquality granular activation carbon are typically most successful in removing chloramine from the water. Most commonly, chloramine conditioners chemically change the chloramine to a compound that is not harmful to fish.
Pond owners will also need to change the way they treat the tap water they add to their ponds. Slow replacement, adding small amounts of tap water to your pond, is a common chlorine treatment option for fish in a pond setting, such as koi. Since chloramine does not decrease its concentration nearly as quickly as chlorine when exposed to air, the chloramine should be removed from the water before adding significant amounts of tap water to your pond.

Chloramine can be removed by adding the recommended amount of either a pond conditioner that is formulated to remove chloramine or by adding sodium thiosulfate. “If you use sodium thiosulfate to remove chloramine, you will need to monitor the ammonia concentration and be sure you have a healthy bio converter to reduce ammonia to safe levels,” Arthur said. “Typically, you want your pond’s ammonia level to be zero.” Sodium thiosulfate is an easy-tomake pretreatment stock solution. One gallon will treat up to 60,000 gallons of water. Make a solution consisting of four ounces sodium thiosulfate crystals, which are available at pet stores, pool supply stores or online, and dissolve in one gallon of distilled or de-ionized water.

You can test your pond for ammonia using a Nessler kit or salicylate-based test kit, which are available at pet supply stores.
With pond conditioners, it’s important to follow manufacturers’ instructions to maintain your fishes’ health.

Why is chloramine harmful to my fish?
When people and other animals, such as dogs and cats, drink water it is neutralized by the digestive system before it reaches the blood. Fish and other water life don’t just drink water, they breathe it. When the water contains chlorine, ammonia, or chloramine, these substances enter the blood stream through the gills and chemically bind to the iron in the red blood cells, which makes it difficult for those cells to carry oxygen. Eventually, the fish is in danger from a lack of oxygen. Using a chloramine water conditioner easily removes chloramine from your tank or pond and will maintain your fishes’ health.

Is chloramine harmful to fish, reptiles and amphibians living in our rivers and lakes? The water in our lakes and rivers is from a variety of water sources – run-off water, storm water and water we’ve used in our homes and businesses. By the time chloramine travels through our water system to the lakes and rivers, its presence is so minimal that it has no effect on the natural life cycle of fish and water animals.

Why the change?
The City’s change to chloramine disinfection will benefit water customers by reducing the levels of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in our water system, while still providing protection from waterborne disease. In addition, it allows the City of Tulsa to meet stricter government-regulated requirements for water, which go into effect in 2012. Chloramine provides longer-lasting protection, as it does not break down as quickly in the pipes.

History of chloramine use
Chloraminated water has been used safely in cities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain for more than 90 years. Cities in our region that use chloramine disinfection – and have for decades – include Oklahoma City, Sand Springs, Lawton, Norman, Denver, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and St.Louis.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves the use of chloramine as a disinfectant in our drinking water. With new EPA regulations going into effect in 2012, it’s expected that even more cities will convert to chloramine use like Tulsa.

Look for these products
There are many quality water conditioners sold at local pet stores and suppliers. Brands such as AmQuel, Ammo-Lock or AquaCleanse will remove chloramine from the water. Refer to your pet store and water conditioner labels to select a product that’s best for your pet.
In general, a good water conditioner will remove chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and other various chemicals.

For more information about how to protect your water pets, visit your local pet store or visit You may also contact the City of Tulsa Customer Care line which is 918-596-2100

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