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 about the best water for your 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!

Key Takeaways:

  • Treated tap water is recommended as the best choice for a goldfish tank due to its cost-effectiveness. However, treated bottled spring water can be used if tap water has high pH or hardness.
  • Goldfish can live in tap water, but it must be treated with a water conditioner first to remove harmful substances like chlorine and chloramine.
  • Untreated tap water is harmful to goldfish due to the presence of chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals, which can damage their lungs, eliminate beneficial bacteria, and weaken the immune system.
  • Water conditioner, such as API Stress Coat, is suggested as the easiest and fastest method to make tap water safe for goldfish. Other methods include reverse osmosis with remineralizing buffer and leaving water out to dechlorinate.
  • Distilled water lacks essential minerals, but if used for topping off water lost through evaporation, it can be suitable by adding a remineralizing buffer.

What’s The Best Tap Water For Your Goldfish?

Picking the right water for your goldfish is vital for their longevity, and ensuring they have a healthy life.

Treated tap water is the best choice for your goldfish because of how cheap it is. However, with that being said, treated bottled spring water can be substituted if your tap water’s pH or hardness is too high.

Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water?

As you can probably guess tap water is the most commonly used water in goldfish tanks.

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, then the heavy metals, chloramine and chlorine may end up killing your goldfish.

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.

Check out this video by True Aquarium on whether Goldfish can live in tap 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?

Water Conditioner (e.g., API Stress Coat)Adding a water conditioner to the tank, such as API Stress Coat, is a recommended and easy method to make tap water safe for goldfish.– Fast and simple method – API Stress Coat contains aloe vera, reducing fish stress and improving immune system.– Relies on commercially available products – Some variations in effectiveness.
Reverse Osmosis with Remineralizing BufferUsing a reverse osmosis unit to remove impurities from tap water and then adding a remineralizing buffer like Seachem Replenish to restore essential minerals.– Effective at removing impurities – Allows control over mineral levels.– Removes all elements, including essential minerals – Requires additional steps.
Leaving Water Out to DechlorinateAllowing tap water to sit out for 26-28 hours (or up to 5 days) to let chloramine and chlorine dissipate naturally.– No need for additional products – Simple and cost-effective.– Time-consuming process – Variation in dechlorination time.

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. These minerals are essential for your goldfish’ health, and without them, they’ll begin to get sick.

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.

How To Add Water Conditioner To Your Goldfish Tank

If you want to water condition your goldfish tank, prepare the water you want. Add the correct amount of water conditioner slowly to the water while mixing it well. Make sure you test the water parameters before adding your goldfish, and do it every time you change the water. 

It’s essential to follow the instructions on the bottle and not add too much or too little conditioner, as it can hurt your fish.

How To Prepare Water For Your Goldfish’s Bowl

Taking care of your goldfish means you have to get their water right. They need clean and fresh water without nasties to stay healthy and happy. 

First, pick the right kind of water to get the water ready. Of course, dechlorinated tap water is your best choice, however, you can also use spring water too!

Once the water is ready, check the temperature and pH levels to ensure they suit your fish. And if you wan to keep the water even cleaner and healthier for your little buddies, think about adding some water conditioner.


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.

And even then, without a filter, it’s much more likely that disease and illness are going to plague your fish.

Is Purified Water Good For Goldfish?

Purified water could be better for your goldfish. Goldfish need minerals and other stuff in their water to stay healthy and happy. Purified water often doesn’t have these essential nutrients. So, the right thing to do is to use a re-mineralizing buffer to make it all suitable for your fish.

What’s The Best-bottled Water For Goldfish?

When it comes to bottled water for your fish tank, spring water is usually the way to go. It has the minerals your goldfish need to stay healthy and happy. Bottled spring water can be a good choice if you’ve got a small setup. But, if you’ve got a massive tank, using bottled water to fill it up and change it will cost you a pretty penny.

Can You Use Filtered Water For Goldfish?

Filtered water can be a solid choice for your goldfish if your tap water has a bunch of chlorine or other gross chemicals. Ensuring the water is safe for your little buddies is still essential. So, even using filtered water, use a water conditioner or de-chlorinator to remove nasties and make it all suitable for your goldfish.

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.

If you liked this article, make sure to check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!

3 thoughts on “Best Water For Goldfish Tank/Bowl (Tap, Distilled, Or Well Water?)”

  1. You can use distilled water in the aquarium in a number of situations: First, when the water in the tank evaporates, the minerals will stay. You can increase the amount of water by replacing the evaporated water with distilled water. You can also use distilled water to lower the pH in the tank. This also reduces the carbon hardness of the water. Additionally, when the distilled water is remineralized, you can use distilled water to replace all the water in the aquarium.

  2. By the sound of things it my be better for the goldfish to stay in his pond and not change the water. Would that be alright, am I just cleaning it for my sake?

    • I don’t know too much about how to care for goldfish in a pond, however, if you’re keeping them in a tank then you should be cleaning the water regularly.

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