Pros: My fish is thriving and I'm using this
Cons: I am not sure that I really need this
When my son received his betta fish from his teacher she told us to use Spring Water instead of tap water in his bowl. The kid at the pet store told me that instead I could use regular tap water and add this water conditioner to it to dechlorinate it. Yet another friend told me that she just uses water out of the tap and doesn't bother with the water conditioner. So, what to do?
I know my luck and know that if I just used water right out of my faucet I'd see my son's fish floating around and I won't even go there about the guilt. So, since I didn't want to mess with getting spring water especially for the fish I decided to opt for the water conditioner drops. There were several brands available but the one that I've been using is Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner. For around $3 I picked up a 1.25 oz container of it. It comes in a small bottle with a dropper top that is child proof on it. Still, even though it is child proof I keep it up and and away out of little hands reach.
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals describes the product as follows:
Instantly detoxifies chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, and heavy metals in betta bowl or tap water, making it safe for your betta. Adds electrolytes and aids in healing with the power of aloe vera. Add directly to betta bowl as needed to detoxify ammonia buildup, reduce stress, and promote healing.
My understanding is that this specific conditioner has added ingredients to help promote a healthy slime coating which is good for your betta's coloration and health. The amount of product that you need to use depends on how large your tank is. The bottle states to use six drops per pint, 12 drops per quart, or 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of tap or betta bowl water. Since our betta is in a 1.5 gallon aquarium I use 3/4 of a teaspoon of solution each time I change the water in the small tank (so, on weekly basis). One bottle of this will last a few months with a small tank since so little of the product is actually required for use. It is very easy to dispense, the product is clear and looks like water but it does have a slight odor to it that is bitter but not offensive smelling (to me). I just measure it out and dump it in, very easy. I add the conditioner to the water when my fish is still in his "holding bowl" where he stays when I'm changing out his water. Since it states that you can use this "as needed" I gather you can add this directly into your fish's bowl or aquarium while they are in it, but I choose to treat and make our little guy's environment safe for him before adding him back in to it.
When I get to the pet store I'll most likely continue to stick with the Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner. So far this product has served our fish quite well and he is doing great. So far, he hasn't died and his coloring looks good - so I don't see the need to switch to a different water conditioner. As to do I need it? Well, while I know other people who just use straight tap water and others who use spring water. I personally feel better giving my fish's water a simple treatment that makes the water in his bowl safe and healthy for him.