How do you choose the right type of water for your aquarium? There’s too much information out there and it can be really confusing.
Here’s exactly what you need to know about water for your aquarium.
Can I Use Mineral Water For My Aquarium?
Most aquariums are filled with freshwater directly from the sink. Municipal water tanks have often added chloride to the water so you will need to add conditioner in order to remove the chloride. Tap water is also an option but the easiest and cheapest solution is tap water.
Let’s dive in a little deeper. We will have you started in no time…
What Exactly Is Mineral Water (In Regard To Fish)
Mineral water basically means that the water hasn’t been depleted of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. These are good and the vital minerals that we need as well as the fish.
But that might also be other things in the mineral water that we need to pay attention to.
Mineral water can contain:
These chemicals are not ideal to have around in your aquarium depending on how high the levels are. The levels of fluoride for example in normal drinking water is around 0.01 -0.3 mg/L.
These levels vary from city to city and you will have to check with your local municipal water supplier. Or better yet, you can consult your local pet store personal. They will know exactly how to help you and they will have experience with your local water when it comes to levels of minerals.
This is higher than the fish will naturally have around them in freshwater. But we know very little about how this might affect the fish are not affect them at all.
The take away here is to start out with tap water and use a good water conditioner (more on that in a minute).
Which Aquarium Fish Live In Mineral Water?
Here’s a good list of fish you can safely keep in your aquarium with mineral water.
- Betta Fish
- Neon Tetra
- Zebra Danios
As you can see these are all some of the most known fish for aquariums. Most aquariums are filled wi a mineral water.
The other option is to go for a saltwater aquarium. This requires more work and you will need to know exactly what you doing. This is not your typical beginner’s aquarium but you can definitely get some really cool fish breeds for saltwater as well!
Can I Use RO Water For Aquariums?
RO water is also called “Reverse Osmosis” water and This is water that has been cleaned off all minerals and additives. This means that you will have to add this separately.
If you are getting an RO/DI unit you just need to make sure whether it also cleans the water from chlorine and chloramine. That might be the case or it might not be the case.
It’s important to know because if it doesn’t remove the chlorine you will need to do so afterward.
What’s The Difference Between Mineral Water & Purified Water?
Mineral water is what you find in the sink. You will also find this many places in nature and if there is a fine clean well in the area this will be a good source to get the water for your aquarium.
When we talking about purified water, however, there is not an accurate definition of what we mean.
The term says nothing about what has been purified or how the water is purer now than before. It might have been purified from chloride or it might’ve been purified from minerals. So it’s a very vague term and you cannot tell anything about what’s inside the water just because it says “purified” on the bottle.
It will probably be good drinking water. But it might not be the water you want to pour into your aquarium to create a good environment for the fish.
The best option for you is to use tap water and then make sure you use water conditioner (which we will explain in a second).
How About Distilled Water?
Distilled water is another expression to clarify that the water has been cleared from minerals. So this is a pretty bad option as well.
We don’t want our fish to live in water that is depleted from minerals or other good things. Besides that, distilled water is more acidic which might have benefits for humans but not for the little fish.
Should I Use Bottled Water Or Sink Water?
Bottled water is just fine as long as you make sure it’s not sparkling water. But it’s a quite expensive way to fill up your aquarium because you will need a lot of bottles.
You also need to pay close attention to what might be added to the bottled water.
Many companies will add minerals, taste, flavors, and colors to the bottled water and we don’t one these additives inside our aquarium environment.
It’s typically better to just use tap water to fill up the tank.
The thing is the tap water is 40% of the time simply tap water filled into a bottle. So there’s nothing special about it other than it might on might not be cleaned in some way. So it’s much better to know exactly what you’re getting by starting out with tap water.
It’s just really important that you know what’s inside your sink water as well. In some areas that won’t be (too) high levels of chlorine in the water. This is something you can check with your local pet store. They will know exactly how you should condition your local water in order to create the perfect environment for your fish.
Using tap water is not only a much cheaper solution (than bottled water) but it also makes it easier for you to know exactly what goes into the water. It’s hard to understand what’s going on through the etiquette of the bottle.
If you do have high levels of chlorine in the water in your area you should remove it by using water conditioner.
What is a water conditioner?
A water conditioner is important to add to your aquarium because the tap water we get from the sink is filled with chemicals that are bad for the little ones.
In order to keep the water clean in the sink, we are adding “Chloramine” across America. The levels will vary a bit from place to place but all over the place we are adding these things to the water to keep it “clean” and “drinkable”.
It’s mostly to remove any bacteria in the water.
While this is a great way to keep the water clean and drinkable for humans, these levels of chloramine are too high for fish to thrive (or even survive!).
So what to do about it?
The answer is that we add water conditioner!
When you at the de-chlorinators (conditioner) to the water it is cleaned within minutes and the fish can be put in the water safely.
How often should I add the conditioner?
When you have conditioned the water you don’t need to do it again. You should only condition the new water you add to the aquarium whenever you need to change the water or clean it.
Should I Boil The Water Before Adding It To The Aquarium?
When we boiled the water with typically do so to kill any bacteria that are in the water.
But while it may kill all the bacteria it’ll also serve to concentrate the minerals in the water.
So there’s not really any point in boiling the water before you add it to the aquarium. Instead, you should use the conditioner to make sure the tap water is safe for the fish.