Can goldfish live in tap water? It could be actually bad

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Woody Pet

Can goldfish live in tap water? Life in the city can be awesome sometimes. Having the majority of the basic services working for you most of the time it is such a treat for anybody. Electricity, waste disposal, Internet (of course), communications and water are definitely the ones we all look for while living in big cities.

When talking about basic services, water is definitely one of the most important (if not the most important). Probably the water you receive from your sink it can be actually fully treated with chemicals to kill the harmful bacteria that can produce diseases and make you sick. So, yeah! Water that you can drink directly from the tap. That’s amazing!

You will think then: If it is that clean it should be great for my little goldfish, right? Well, for goldfish it is most complex than that. Yes, they do like having great quality water but can goldfish live in tap water? To find answers to this tricky question, keep reading below.

Can you use tap water for goldfish?

Can goldfish live in tap water?

Can you use tap water for goldfish?

The short answer for that is yes, you can use tap water for goldfish… For a little bit and with a big catch. 

The thing is, the goldfish won’t have a longer lifespan depending on how many chemicals are present in the water to make it cleaner for human consumption. Chlorine can be especially really harmful in the long run for our little friends and it is pretty normal as a cleaning agent for the water we use to drink and do our activities.

The most important component of the goldfish habitat is the water around them. If it is dirty, they can actually refuse to eat anything, and if it is too clean with many chemicals it can disrupt the PH and the bacteria that can treat the ammonia produced by the fish activities. Too much ammonia can actually affect the goldfish lifespan (like us when too much carbon dioxide is present in the environment). 

So then: Can goldfish live in tap water? It is definitely not recommended to use tap water for goldfish to live in. It can be harmful in the long run, even while being hardy as they are.

Can I use bottled or distilled water for my goldfish?

For the same reasons as tap water, using bottled or distilled water for your goldfish can be a bad idea. 

You will think that the water that you can rest assured it can’t harm you while drinking or using it because it is the cleanest and can’t harm your goldfish as well. But that’s not true. It can actually be even worse than tap water.

Those kinds of water are actually very thoroughly processed with many chemicals and using various methods to make it sure you can drink it. Many of those chemicals don’t play well with animals, especially fish. 

Also, the PH in those processed kinds of water can be all over the place. It can be too acidic or too basic for a goldfish to survive. It can have too much ammonia or can destroy the bacteria that can actually help in the process of cycling (like the photosynthesis plants do every day but underwater. Producing oxygen that fish can breathe)

What water is safe for my goldfish?

Like we have water that is safe for consumption (potable water), there is water that is safe for your goldfish.

Pre-conditioned water is the kind of water that doesn’t have chlorine and have been already treated with minerals that may result even more beneficial for your goldfish. You can also find water that has been oxygenated, especially for use with fish. That can help a lot in circulation around your fish tank.

You can also buy water conditioners in pet stores and online retail stores like Amazon. Water conditioners’ function is basically removing harmful chemicals like chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia and delivering better water quality to goldfish playing around. 

And if you think to try to clean the tap water yourself by using a water conditioner, it is actually a safer bet than just using tap water. They can clean the chlorine present in that type of water.

How often do I need to change the water for my goldfish?

Even though it does not look like it, the water on your fish tank or pond can be getting dirtier and dirtier the longer the time passes, so it will be necessary to change it regularly to ensure a healthier environment for your goldfish.

But how often do you need to change the water for your goldfish? The best and safest bet it is to change it every week to be sure it does not accumulate fish waste, uneaten fish food, it clears it from toxic chemicals like ammonia and nitrate and oxygenates the water, especially when you complete it with a water conditioner.

Also, when cleaning a fish tank, you should not wash your filter, substrate and other things inside the tank in tap water. Remember about those good bacteria that treat and oxygenate the water? Those are the places when they mostly reside, so cleaning those things thoroughly with tap water would ultimately destroy them. Try washing them with treated water only to assure a healthier habitat for your goldfish.

Can goldfish live in tap water conclusion

So finally, can goldfish live in tap water?

If you want to not degrade the lifespan of your goldfish, avoid using untreated tap water. That would be ultimately so harmful that would shorten for how long you can have your little fish.

Remember that, in order for you to drink tap water, your city authorities and the water company probably have treated the water with chlorine and other chemicals that can be detrimental to the health of your pet. 

But don’t be discouraged. You can actually treat the tap water with water conditioners that can remove the damaging chemicals present in that to ensure a better and cleaner environment for your goldfish. 

Also, remember that you would need to change the water in your fish tank every week. Do it with treated water only as well to preserve the bacteria that can do the process of cycling, one of the responsibilities to provide oxygen to your goldfish.


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