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Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water? What You Need To Know!

Goldfish have a reputation for being low-maintenance pets that are ideal for beginning aquarists. It is true, but only partially.

Certainly, we have many erroneous preconceived notions regarding the life circumstances and maintenance of goldfish. Sadly, this can occasionally result in the untimely demise of your bright little fish.

It is incorrect to suppose, for instance, that a goldfish can survive and flourish in a tank filled with tap water. Yes, you must purify tap water before adding it to your aquarium, since its contaminants might be fatal to your goldfish.

Learn why toxins in tap water are dangerous to goldfish and how to make it safe in "Can Goldfish Live in Tap Water? What You Need To Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

What Types of Contaminants Are Found in Tap Water?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drinking water can have four primary categories of pollutants. Yet, low concentrations of these pollutants may not always constitute a health danger to humans.

  • Physical pollutants: These are impurities that change the appearance or other physical qualities of water. For instance, sediments and organic materials from lakes and rivers.
  • Chemical pollutants: Elements or compounds of natural or anthropogenic origin. Nitrogen, salts, insecticides, heavy metals, and poisons are examples of substances created by bacteria.
  • Biological pollutants: include creatures such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are present in the water.
  • Radiological pollutants: These are chemical elements that are capable of emitting ionizing radiation, such as uranium or plutonium.

Why Is Tap Water Not Suitable for Goldfish?

To be deemed safe for human consumption, drinking water is treated based on its amount of bacterial (E. coli, fecal coliforms, and enterococci) and chemical (natural pollutants and those manufactured by people) contamination (pesticides, nitrates, hydrocarbons). The presence of lead in the plumbing can potentially pollute drinking water.

The greater the number of analyses indicating water degradation, the greater the treatment required.

The main threat to control for drinking water is microbiological. To mitigate these hazards, chlorine is utilized, and its byproducts are still present in tap water. In truth, chlorine is added to drinking water as a disinfectant to decrease or destroy microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. The use of chlorine considerably minimizes the likelihood of waterborne illness transmission.

However, chlorine is hazardous to fish, since it may cause damage to their gills and respiratory issues. Fish take water straight into their circulation, unlike humans and other domesticated animals.

In addition to chlorine, tap water can include heavy metal residues such as copper, zinc, cadmium, and lead, which can damage the immune system of your goldfish.

What Kind of Water Is Safe for Goldfish?

If you cannot simply fill your tank with tap water, what additional choices do you have?

There are two options:

  • Dechlorinate the tap water with a dechlorinator

Fill a container with tap water and let the chlorine to evaporate over several days. Nevertheless, although chlorine may be removed by simple aeration in a short period of time, chloramine (another substance used to disinfect drinking water) is considerably more stable and can be difficult to remove completely from water.

Thus, it is advised that you obtain a water conditioner and dechlorinator to treat tap water on your own. Just follow the instructions on the container, but carefully check the label to ensure that the product eliminates both chlorine and chloramine.

  • Purchase preconditioned water

You may also purchase pre-conditioned water online or at pet stores, however this option is more costly. It is also known as “Instant Water” and may be put to your aquarium immediately.

After that, you only need to add your goldfish! Given the significant long-term expenditures, this solution is not suggested if you have a very big tank.


Other Water and Filtration Requirements

You must also install a robust aquarium water filter in addition to treating tap water. Actually, goldfish produce a great deal of waste, necessitating regular tank cleaning. The purchase of a high-quality water filter substantially simplifies this task.

Additionally, goldfish thrive in water that is more alkaline than acidic, thus the optimal pH range for goldfish water is between 7.0 and 7.4. Lastly, the water temperature should be maintained at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but goldfish may survive in colder conditions.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned earlier in “Can Goldfish Live in Tap Water? What You Need To Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), goldfish may be simple to care for, but they still require precise environmental conditions to thrive.

Due to the chlorine, chloramine, and other toxins contained in tap water, it is not at all acceptable for filling their tank. You may either treat tap water with a dechlorinator or purchase pre-conditioned water.

Remember that an aquarium is, first and foremost, an ecosystem and that its equilibrium is fragile. So, you must monitor the water conditions to prevent your goldfish from being ill or worse.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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