Goldfish are the most sought-after species in the aquarium trade. They come in various colors and shapes; although the popular belief is that goldfish are easy to care they all need clean air and water as much as any other species. So what kind of water do goldfish need? Well, goldfish thrive well in clean and oxygen-rich water.
This fish can easily live up to 15 years when properly tended to. Some can live beyond 20, while a few varieties exceed 30 years if properly nurtured. For example, Tish, a goldfish, lived 43 years in a bowl in the UK. So, with this knowledge comes the necessity of upkeep, especially regarding the kind of water where goldfish can thrive.
You would want to maintain clean water to handle your goldfish and prolong its lifespan in a carefully controlled environment.
I suggest attentive maintenance because many goldfish are known to not fulfill their lifespan potential due to poor housing conditions. And this, of course, has a lot to do with the water itself, which is the main focus of my article here.
So, let’s read and unravel the details on giving your goldfish adequate care so they can fully thrive and live to their full potential.
What Kind of Water Do Goldfish Need?
A significant cause of illness and death of goldfish is poor water quality. So, a good understanding of their water requirements is the way to ensure your Goldie’s long life.
Goldfish prefer water with alkalinity to acidity. Thus, water with a pH ranging between 7.0 – 8.0 is encouraged, specifically 7.4 or 7.5.
However, the pH value is not critical. Rather than chasing a perfect pH number, it is advisable to focus on maintaining a stable pH throughout; goldfish need some time to adapt to their environment, including water pH; hence, goldfish do not do well with sudden or drastic changes in the pH range.
Goldfish produce a heavy bioload; they eat non-stop and excrete quite a waste in the water. But, of course, if you have a goldfish, you would know how monstrous eaters they are and what kind of waste they produce; If left unchecked, Ammonia levels in the water can spike up; Ammonia poisoning can turn your fish white or black or at times even kill. On the internet, you can find many goldfish enthusiasts concerned about why my goldfish turn black or why my goldfish turn white?
We recommend using an effective aquarium water filter to prevent ammonia poisoning, regularly indulging in small, frequent water changes, and cleaning the tank properly.
Besides, the ideal water temperature for goldfish can survive in water between 68 to 74°F (20 to 23.5°C). So once again, you do not want to chase the ideal temperature; instead, maintain a stable temperature for the fish to have a stable metabolism.
Ideal Water Parameters for Goldfish
Water parameters are specific chemical measurements one must pay heed to in maintaining a healthy aquarium. Therefore, in addition to the water parameters surfaced in the previous section of the article, we would want to pay attention to Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates.
Nitrite is produced from ammonia disintegration by nitrifying bacteria. Hence, like ammonia, you would be highly cautious and keep the nitrite level in the aquarium water at 0. Otherwise, it can cause severe nitrite poisoning in your Goldfish.
However, it can be dealt with by performing small, frequent water changes as you deal with ammonia.
Nitrate is a byproduct of the breaking down of nitrite. Although it is less harmful, it can lead to lethargy and inappetence in your Goldfish.
Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that nitrate levels are always low in your tank, usually around 20ppm or less. However, up to 50ppm is also considered safe.
The breaking down of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate is called Nitrogen Cycle.
Another parameter to keep in mind is the GH/KH, where the former refers to the general hardness of water and the latter to the water’s carbonate hardness. Usually, Goldfish thrive in water with a GH between 100-300ppm and a KH of 70-140ppm, a measurement that most tap water fulfills.
Therefore, when you ask, what kind of water do Goldfish need? It involves different parameters, and you need to take care of them.
Can I Use Bottled Water for My Goldfish?
Yes, you can surely use bottled water for your Goldfish! But do test and make adjustments accordingly before adding it to your tank.
I’d recommend treating it with a water conditioner before adding it to your aquarium because bottled water contains high chlorine levels, which is dangerous for your Goldfish, so it’s a must to remove it.
Many brands in the market bottle spring water containing minerals great for your Goldfish; nonetheless, do not forget to test its pH and hardness before adding it to your fish tank.
However, using bottled water to fill, top-ups or refills during water change can be way more expensive. Hence, it is not feasible to use bottled water for an extended period; save it for emergencies.
Can I Use Tap Water?
The answer is definitely yes! Tap water is the most popular choice for goldfish tanks. These fish species can thrive in tap water so long the water has been treated with a conditioner before adding to the tank.
Tap water usually contains high levels of iron or magnesium. As with bottled water mentioned above, tap water also often contains chlorine or chloramine, owing to many public water facilities using it to purify the water. Additionally, tap water contains many chemicals that will indiscriminately remove the colony of good bacteria and harmful bacteria.
With that said, we conclude that you can use the tap water, but you will need to treat it first – that’s it. Since tap water is readily available in most households is the best option for your goldfish tank.
However, test the for all the required parameters, such as temperature, pH, hardness, etc. adjust them to goldfish standard if you find it off the chart. Always ensure the tap water sits for 24 hours in a bucket or a tub for the chlorine to evaporate; if you find any traces of chloramine, it is necessary to get rid of it before your fish goes in there. Though a water conditioner neutralizes chloramine from the water, to get rid of chloramine from the water, using a granular activated carbon filtration system is effective.
How to Treat Tap Water for Goldfish?
Unfortunately, we cannot fill the tank with the tap water straight; we need to treat the tap water with a good water conditioner, and we need to do it before every water change, either the partial top-up, where you remove some portion of water from your aquarium and replace it with treated water or complete water change.
Some conditioners remove chlorine from the water, whereas others condition the water cohesively by eliminating heavy metals in addition to dechlorinating the water.
So, I suggest you do your research while shopping for your water conditioner. A few conditioners even include effective stress coat boosters that aid your Goldfish in warding off diseases.
However, a water conditioner can eliminate chlorine and remove heavy metals, and some conditioners even coat the tank water with anti-stress agents for your Goldfish. Still, none of the conditioners can remove chloramine from the water.
Although the usage of chloramine to disinfect water supply has come down, still some city water supplies use chloramine as a disinfectant as it is a more stable germicide that inhibits bacterial regrowth in the extensive storage water system than chlorine; chloramine is a chemical compound that contains ammonia in addition to chlorine. But unfortunately, the same trait that provides stability against germs becomes a poison to our friends in the aquarium.
So, if your tap water contains chloramine, you will have to use a granular activated carbon filter to remove chloramine effectively.
There is no fixed answer to the frequency of water top-up or water change, as it depends on multiple factors. However, as a general rule of thumb, a 50% weekly change is recommended, while some suggest changing half of the water in the tank every 3-4 days.
Can I Use Well Water for My Goldfish?
Of course, you can use well water for your Goldfish. Well water is directly from the earth; for one thing, it doesn’t contain any chlorine. Also, it contains natural minerals and other chemical compounds that pertain to the well’s location; your Goldfish might need these minerals and chemicals. As a result, Goldfish can thrive in well water.
However, it doesn’t mean goldish will thrive in any well water; sometimes, well water may contain heavy industrial and farming chemicals, pesticides, insecticides, etc. always run a full test of your source of water with a test kit or with the local water board before using the water for your Goldfish. Then, use only the well water treated to meet specific conditions for your Goldfish.
For the first time, you may want to bring a sample of water to your local water board, do thorough testing, and for the top-up or refilling of your tank, use your test kit to test for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
Also, test pH and hardness levels and correct them to the desired levels.
Distilled Water for Goldfish
What is distilled water?
Distilled water is nothing pure H₂O that doesn’t contain any metals, minerals, chemicals, etc. in nature, pure H₂O in the liquid form doesn’t exist; it is achieved through vaporization and condensation; H₂O in the vapor stage is stripped off all the chemicals, minerals, metals, etc. But, like all living beings, Goldfish also need certain minerals, metals, and chemicals in the water to thrive.
However, water with no TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) can be hazardous due to osmotic pressure as it will draw out all minerals from the fish’s body. It’s like we humans drinking distilled water; yes, it is used to purify our bodies; when you drink it, it sucks minerals and other chemicals from your body to process itself; that way, it cleans up excess deposits of minerals, metals, or any other chemical compounds in our body.
However, if you don’t drink distilled water everyday water consumption, it can kill you in only a matter of days. So, likewise, it can kill your Goldfish too. So, no distilled water for your Goldfish unless you are remineralizing the water with all the required minerals, metals, chemicals, etc.
How Do You Prepare Water for Goldfish?
Once finishing the tank, set up and decorate it as you please or according to your pet’s liking; installing a filtration system is the best way to start prepping.
We all know a filter is a vital component of your fish tank. So, it is a good beginning step to get the appropriate filter for your tank size and the number of species you are planning to have in it. Also, it’s good to weigh your options between going for an external filter or an internal one.
The former rests on the exterior part of your fish tank while the latter gets submerged in the tank.
Although both the external and the internal types work for a goldfish aquarium, external filters are generally more popular as they come with a greater capacity to store filtration media and thus clean water more efficiently; you do not want to forget that Goldfish produce enormous waste.
The next step includes treating whatever water you add to your Goldfish tank accordingly. Then comes the essential stage before adding your fish is Nitrogen Cycle; i.e., wait for the water to build a good bacterial colony before adding your Goldfish into it.
Besides, you should also pay heed to regularly cycling the aquarium once a month, which implies changing the tank water completely. Proper execution of these steps will ensure that your Goldfish gets the best aquatic environment.
Suggested Readings: Nitrogen Cycle
How to Change Goldfish Water?
Changing goldfish water is crucial in maintaining a clean and healthy aquarium.
The best way to change the water wholly or partially is to use siphoning pump; siphoning helps to suck out dirt, food wastes, and plant and other debris from the tank. Remove the big scraps such as decomposing plant leaves or leftover food with your hands as and when you see them in the tank.
Try not to scrub the decors while cleaning as they house the best part of the good bacterial colonies. So, it would be best if you made minor changes to the goldfish water habitat by replacing some portion of the existing tank water with fresh, clean water. It will replenish the increasing nitrate levels, making it a healthier place for your Goldfish to live.
The frequency of partial or complete change depends on the tank size, the number of specimens in the tank, the species in the tank; also, and the temperature you are maintaining in the tank water. Some aquarists do it weekly once, and some may do it every three days once. You will learn the frequency at which your aquarium needs cleaning and water change.
What is the best water for your Goldfish?- Final Thoughts
As we have seen in this article, there are many options for choosing the water supply for your Goldfish; it all depends on how well you prepare the water before adding it to your tank; always choose whichever is convenient.
You would need a test kit, a good water conditioner, and a granular activated carbon filter, especially if there is a presence of chloramine in the water.
Enjoy your aquarium!