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Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water?

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Goldfish And Tap Water

Goldfish aquarium with treated tap water

Well, so you live in an urban area, and you don’t have your own spring of water or any sort of your own natural water source. So you are relying on tap water for everything. Now you have suddenly decided to have a beautiful tank of goldfish and started to worry, “Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water?”.

Obviously, you don’t want your first ever Goldfish to die right after you put it in your freshly build aquarium. So it’s better to know if the Goldfish can live in tap water without damaging their health.

So can Goldfish really live in tap water? The answer is Yes and No.

Goldfish can live in tap water if it is treated with a suitable water conditioner to dechlorinate it.

Without the treatment, tap water can be fatal for Goldfish or any other freshwater fish. Because tap water contains chemicals like Chlorine and Chloramine.

Why Untreated Tap Water Is So Bad For Goldfish?

Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water?

Tap water contains Chlorine and Chloramine

See, tap water is not natural. The tap water has been mixed with chemicals like Chlorine to make it human drinkable water.

You drink chlorinated tap water every day, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Chlorine is a chemical element known to kill parasites, bacteria, and viruses. It’s also responsible for killing bacteria in water treatment facilities, meaning your water is free from E-Coli and Cholera.

The tap water can also contain Chloramine. It’s a combination of chlorine and ammonia and is a form of disinfectant used in many countries.

Why chlorine and Chloramine is bad for Goldfish?

If you keep your goldfish in untreated tap water, you’re doing a lot of harm to its insides. Because chlorine and chloramine, both of which are harmful chemicals that can burn and damage your fish’s gills. If your fish swims in those contaminated waters without you realizing it, they will develop gill damage rapidly, and the effects can be irreversible and fatal.

Visible signs of Chlorine damage in Goldfish

Visible signs of Chlorine damage in Goldfish

The chlorine in water can damage and kill the gill tissue of your Goldfish, hence they will develop signs of hypoxia and neurologic signs; abnormal behaviors like swimming upside down, and troubles with body positioning and balancing.

What to do if you accidentally put your Goldfish in Chlorinated tap water?

If the poor Goldfish has stayed in chlorinated tap water for long enough, there’s nothing you can do to save it. The damage caused in the gill tissues by chlorine or chloramine is irreversible.

However, you should immediately take the fish out from the untreated tap water and put it into the normal water or treated tap water. If it hasn’t been in the wrong water for a long time, the chances are that your Goldfish survive. It will heal and repair itself given the proper care and time. The key is to act immediately.

The tap water contains zero beneficial bacteria

This is another reason that you shouldn’t use tap water for your Goldfish tank. Even after treating it for Chlorine and Chloramine, the water contains zero beneficial bacteria. These bacteria include nitrifying bacteria essential for the nitrogen cycle in your aquarium. Without these good, beneficial bacteria, the aquarium and its filtering system are unable to break down harmful ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate. Hence the water cannot “cycle” itself. Nitrogen spikes are very dangerous for the Goldfish as they will be poisoned by ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.

How To Treat Tap Water, So The Goldfish Can Live?

A beautiful Goldfish aquarium with treated tap water.

Here we are at the most important section of this article. So can Goldfish live in tap water? Yes, they can! Not everyone has access to natural water sources, especially in urban areas. So a lot of people use treated tap water to use in their freshwater aquariums.

Using a tap water conditioner

One of the best and quick options to treat tap water is using a water conditioner, so we can remove the harmful chlorine and chloramine from it. This process is known as dechlorination. Hence the Goldfish can then live in tap water!

How do water conditioners treat tap water?

The common water conditioners are very good at neutralizing chlorine. And they are also able to break chloramine into chlorine and ammonia, then destroy the chlorine. But the resulting ammonia can be poisonous to the Goldfish.

So you should buy a water conditioner both capable of neutralizing chlorine and ammonia if your tap water contains Chloramine. Or buy another separate product to remove the ammonia from the water.

Water conditioners can also remove heavy metals like Lead, Arsenic from the tap water if they are present. This is an added benefit.

Check out the following products that you can buy online to treat tap water to make it suitable for your Goldfish.

API TAP Water Conditioner

Brightwell Aquatics Erase-Cl

TankFirst Complete Aquarium Water Conditioner 

Leaving the water out to naturally remove chlorine from your Goldfish aquarium

Natural dechlorination of Goldfish aquarium water

This method doesn’t require buying anything. You simply let the water dechlorinates by itself. However, this requires time and patience, as it can take up to one day. Sometimes it can take longer to completely remove both ammonia and chlorine from the tap water. So it’s better to test the water before adding your Goldfish if you are using this natural method.

Test Assured Easy Chlorine Test Strips


So Can Goldfish Live In Tap Water? Yes, they can, but only if the tap water is treated with a tap water conditioner or if you let the water dechlorinates by itself. Untreated, chlorinated tap water can be lethal for you Goldfish. The damage chlorine can have in your Goldfish’s gill tissues are irreversible. If suspected of chlorine poisoning you should immediately put back your Goldfish into the normal water or into the treated tap water.

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