Can You Use Tap Water for Goldfish?

Humans depend on oxygen to survive. Without air, we can’t breathe. The moment our airways are constricted, life loses its essence all at once. In the same vein, water is essential for the goldfish.

Yes you can but it is recommended to use a water conditioner that neutralizes both chlorine and chloramine before you add the water to your aquarium.  I recommend you use AquaSafe Plus as this will make the water softer and also add minerals to the water.

Can You Use Tap Water for Goldfish

The most essential part of a goldfish’s environment is water. The same way air fills our lungs, water supplies your goldfish with oxygen. To ensure your goldfish stays healthy, you must provide an adequate source of water. Not just any water, but Fresh and clean water.

We have all make use of tap water in our homes, and some of us might be thinking tap water is also ideal for goldfish aquariums. Here comes the shocker:

No. Tap water is not safe for your goldfish. You must not use tap water to fill in your tank.

Oh! But I drink tap water. if it is safe for me, why isn’t it safe for my goldfish?

First of all, let’s establish why tap water isn’t safe for your goldfish. Tap water is chlorinated. Chlorination is a process of using chemicals to treat your water.

Chlorine and chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) are used to remove microorganisms and bacteria, to make your water safe for drinking. Water comes from dams, wells, etc. Before water gets to you, it passes through various channels and in the process, may get contaminated.

Parasites and bacteria live in this water source and they could be very dangerous for human health. Hence, the need to be chlorinated. The irony here is that your goldfish can’t thrive in that environment.

This is because your goldfish need good bacteria to complete the nitrogen cycle. Tap water kills the necessary bacteria and puts your goldfish at risk of getting diseases or worse, killed.

While chlorine keeps you safe, it kills your goldfish. This is why you mustn’t use tap water.

Other Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Tap Water for Your Goldfish

  • Tap water contains heavy metals like copper, zinc, lead, etc. Your goldfish is very sensitive to these metals. They could burn their gills and make it difficult to breathe. Although your goldfish need little of some of these metals, too much concentration of them could cause permanent damage to your goldfish. And since tap water is heavily concentrated with these metals, it is only wise to not use tap water for your goldfish.
  • Your goldfish produce so much waste. This waste contains ammonia and as previously mentioned, is toxic for your goldfish. Your goldfish deals with this problem by cycling. Cycling is a process whereby bacteria are cultivated and turns ammonia into a less harmful chemical. This ecosystem is healthy for your goldfish. Adding tap water disrupts the process and makes it toxic because tap water already contains ammonia, and too much ammonia kills your goldfish.

Can I Use Bottled or Distilled Water for my Goldfish?

A lot of people see this as the next best option after tap water. Here’s the deal. Distilled or bottled water is equally as bad. This is because they increase the PH level of your tank. This upsets the PH balance of your tank and creates an unhealthy environment for your goldfish.

What Water is Safe for My Goldfish?

Dechlorinated water is safe for your goldfish. Dechlorination is a process of removing (chlorine + chloramine) and other chemicals from tap water. They condition the water, eliminating harmful substances.

Dechlorinators, also called water conditioners, are readily available. They can be found in every pet store. To be safe, buy dechlorinators that remove both chlorine and chloramine.

Water conditioners are fish friendly and create the best environment for your goldfish. Tap water should only be added to the tank after being treated with dechlorinators.

Ever heard of pre-conditioned water?

This is another safe alternative. As the name implies, water comes pre-conditioned (already treated and ready to use). Pre-conditioned water comes with important minerals for your tank.

These minerals create a healthy ecosystem for your goldfish. Another bonus of using pre-conditioned water is that some pre-conditioned water comes oxygenated, this greatly improves circulation in your fish tank. Pre-conditioned water can be added directly to the fish tank.

How Do You Treat Tap Water for Goldfish?

  • You treat tap water by using dechlorinators or water conditioners. All dechlorinators come with instructions with each, peculiar to the product. All you have to do is follow these instructions strictly.
  • Fetch tap water into a bowl (as much as can fill 2/3 of your tank), pour dechlorinator into the water and leave in for about 24hours. This conditions the water.

Water conditioners are a sure bet for treating your tap water.

Because water is an integral part of your goldfish’s health, here are some things you should know about the right water conditions for your goldfish.

Water Quality

Always remember, water is everything to your goldfish. Your goldfish will be grateful to you if you ensure its water is safe.

We have already established the importance of dechlorinators (this improves water quality greatly), but it is also important to regularly test the PH level of your fish tank.

Water Filter

Goldfish produce a lot of waste. This waste contains ammonia. Without a good filtration system, ammonia can build up and cause heavy damage to your goldfish. Filters remove harmful substances from your tank. Fitting the right size of filters will go a long way to promoting a healthy environment for your goldfish.

Water Temperature

The water temperature favorable for your goldfish varies with seasons. During the summer, the temperature of the water should be between 20°C to 23°C, and winter, 10°C to 12°C. Ensure to install a tank heater as this regulates the temperature of your tank.

Changing Water for Your Goldfish

It is necessary to change the water in your tank every week.  This reduces the level of toxic substances such as ammonia and nitrate. It also clears out fish waste and oxygenates the water, making it all the more habitable for your goldfish.

Note: Always refill the tank with treated water.


For your goldfish to live a long, happy and healthy life, you must; provide it with the best quality of water available, and also the best filtration system; Develop the right hygienic practice by changing water routinely; Always use dechlorinated water. Remember the safer the water, the healthier and the longer the life of your goldfish.

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