Best Water For Goldfish Tank/Bowl (Tap, Distilled, Or Well Water?)

If you really want to take the best care possible of your goldfish, then making sure they have the best water possible is paramount! After all, they need fresh, clean water as much as we need fresh, clean air.

In this article, not only will you learn which water is best for goldfish, but you’ll also learn how damaging the wrong water can be for them! So keep reading to find out the best water conditions for your goldfish!

Best aquascaping fish for freshwate...
Best aquascaping fish for freshwater aquarium

Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water?

Tap water is the most commonly used water in goldfish tanks. So YES, goldfish can live in tap water as long as it’s been treated with a water conditioner first. If you don’t treat tap water before adding it to your goldfish tank, then it will most likely kill your goldfish, as it’s full of things that are harmless to us but extremely harmful to fish.

Why Is Untreated Tap Water Bad For Goldfish?

Believe it or not, there are actually several reasons that untreated tap water is terrible for goldfish. This is because tap water isn’t natural; it’s actually full of ingredients that help keep it safe for us to drink!

Here are the reasons tap water is so bad for goldfish.

It Contains Chlorine And Chloramine

Chlorine and chloramine are both added to public water systems to stop waterborne bacteria from making us all sick. In fact, if it weren’t for them, a lot more of us would probably end up with illnesses such as E-Coli and Cholera.

However, if your goldfish is swimming around in chlorine and chloramine, then it’s going to damage their lungs mainly by burning them and making it difficult for your fish to breathe. When you put your goldfish in water contaminated with both, damage occurs quickly, and it’s also irreversible.

(If you’re wondering what the difference between chlorine and chloramine is, then it’s pretty simple! Chloramine is essentially chlorine that has been combined with ammonia. While chlorine often dissipates pretty quickly, chloramine often takes many hours.)

All Bacteria Is Removed From The Water

Another problem with treated tap water is removing all the bacteria. And when the water is chlorinated, bacteria will be unable to grow in it. This sounds great until you remember that beneficial bacteria need to be present in the tank for a fish tank to thrive.

If you’re constantly adding untreated tap water into your fish tank, you’re going to be damaging the bacteria colonies housed in the gravel and biological filter. In some cases, these colonies can even be wiped out.

Heavy Metals In The Water Are Damaging

Water conditioner doesn’t just remove chlorine and chloramine from water, but it also removes heavy metals in them. Heavy metals like mercury, lead, and copper are found in our tap water. And while it’s not ideal for us, it can actually be fatal for goldfish.

Just the presence of them in your goldfish tank can cause their immune system to weaken dramatically.

How Long Can A Goldfish Survive In Untreated Tap Water

Long story short, if you’ve placed your goldfish in untreated tap water, then you need to remove them and place them in treated water immediately. Untreated tap water is so damaging that even minutes of swimming in it can be fatal.

This is just as true for water that you’ve added to old water, as well as a tank full of untreated water.

How Can You Make Tap Water Safe For Fish?

Believe it or not, there are actually a number of different ways you can make tap water safe for your fish. However, the easiest and fastest method is simply adding a water conditioner to the tank.

The water conditioner I use is API Stress Coat. However, there are plenty of other great ones to choose from! What I like most about API Stress Coat is the fact that not only is it a water conditioner, but it also contains aloe vera, which helps reduce stress in fish which improves their immune system!

But what are other ways you can make sure that tap water is safe for goldfish?

Reverse Osmosis

Another method some people choose is to use a reverse osmosis unit to remove everything from the water. They work by pushing water through a permeable membrane that essentially removes all the small particles and debris in the water, such as chlorine and heavy metals.

This sounds great, but the only problem is that it removes EVERYTHING from the water. This includes the essential minerals that nourish fish. However, you can get around this by using a remineralizing buffer such as Seachem Replenish.

Leaving Water Out

Another option some people opt for is to simply leave water out until it dechlorinates on its own. Most people recommend doing this for 26-28 hours. However, sometimes it takes up to 5 days for chloramine and chlorine to leave the water completely.

So once again, the simplest way to make tap water safe is to simply add a water conditioner to it.

What’s The Best Water Conditioner For Goldfish?

To be honest, any of the big brand water conditioners are going to be great for your goldfish. I personally use API Stress Coat, but it’s definitely not the one.

API Tap Conditioner and AquaSafe For Goldfish Water are also great choices as well.

Can Goldfish Live In Distilled Water?

Some people often ask whether they can use distilled water in their goldfish tank. Distilled water on its own isn’t a good idea as all or most of the minerals have been removed from it. With that being said, once again, adding a remineralizing buffer to the water can make it habitable for your goldfish.

If you’re going to use distilled water, there’s one time when it’s best to be used. And that’s topping off water lost due to evaporation. Doing this won’t reduce the number of minerals in the tank because it’s the only water that has been lost through evaporation.

Can Goldfish Live In Well Water?

Depending on where you’re from, adding well water to your tank may be an option. However, is it recommended? Often it’s not recommended to use well water, as you don’t know what bacteria or metals could be harbored in it. Unless you can test it for everything, it’s not worth the risk.

And while you may have heard that some people have had success using well water, remember one well may be completely different from another.

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Can you Use Bottled Water For Your Goldfish?

Bottled water can be used in your goldfish’ tank; however, you should treat it the same way you treat tap water. You should treat it with a water conditioner before adding it to your tank as it may still contain chlorine which is harmful to goldfish.

Can Your Goldfish Live In Tap Water Without A Filter?

It is entirely possible for your goldfish to live in tap water or any water without a filter. However, if this is the case, then you’re going to have to perform water changes a lot more often to make sure the water doesn’t become dirty. An even then, without a filter, it’s much more likely that disease and illness are going to plague your fish.

So What’s The Best Water For Goldfish?

As you can see, most water is going to be suitable for your goldfish. As long as you can treat it properly, they can all work. However, if you’re just starting out, I’d definitely recommend conditioned tap water. It’s the easiest and cheapest to come by, and it’s going to do the job just fine.

One important thing to remember is that if you’re going to be keeping your goldfish in a tank or bowl, you need to make sure that it’s big enough. They should be kept in a tank that is at least 30 gallons in size. And each new goldfish will require an additional 10 gallons.

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