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When considering freshwater sources for your fish tank, you may think about using spring water. And why wouldn’t you want to? It’s natural, has minerals and offers a more organic environment for fish.
So, can you use spring water in a fish tank? You can, but there are many caveats and conditions to consider before attempting it. Understand it’s not often that you’ll be able to use spring water directly from a source.
Can you use spring water in a fish tank?
Although spring water can have the potential to be great for an aquarium, you will have to test the water for contaminants and its composition. You may have a soda spring on your hands, which means it contains a lot of sodium carbonate, or salt. You can either get your own home test kit (see Amazon) or send it o a professional lab.
The three main things you want to check for are hardness, pH and whether it’s carbonate or bicarbonate. Then you want to see if it has impurities like fluoride, chlorine, nuclear waste or other environmental pollutants. If the water’s okay, then use it straight. Otherwise, you will have to treat it prior to putting it in your aquarium.
How can you treat spring water for a fish tank?
The way you treat the water will depend on the fish in your tank. So, having an idea of what they require will determine your approach. For high pH, you can add tannins via driftwood, Catappa Leaves, or buy a commercial product. If the pH is low, add baking soda, crushed coral or gravel will help make it more alkaline.
The mineral composition of the spring water will also present their own control issues, indicated by the hardness levels. If too many minerals comprise the water, then this can be harmful to fish.
Reverse osmosis filtration is best for this. It rids water of harmful toxins, heavy metals and high mineral content up to 99%. RO systems remove fluoride, chlorine and pesticides too. Then, use a commercial water conditioner to ensure the water is comfortable for fish.
What sources provide spring water?
Spring water is the result of a natural aquifer, or water reservoir, that fills to the point it seeps through to the earth’s surface. This flows out through groundwater and stored in the aquifer until a large enough amount pools. This releases into lakes, streams, rivers, brooks, ponds and etc. Once discharged, it fills up again and the process repeats.
Unconfined and confined are the only two types of aquifers. Unconfined means water seeps through directly and confined sits between two layers of soil with low permeability. Confined cannot flow into or out of the aquifer. Most aquifers are unconfined, so water trickles with ease through the ground.
Can you use bottled spring water for a fish tank?
Don’t use bottled spring water in your fish tank. Believe it or not, this is even more unpredictable than sourcing it from a natural spring. Unfortunately, many water companies use the phrase “spring water” as a marketing ploy. People are more prone to purchasing water advertised as “spring” than “purified.”
Unless you can trust the brand and know it’s safe for fish, don’t use any bottled water from the store. That said, it’s always a good idea to have a back up supply of bottled water in the case of an emergency.
But here, do some research and see which brands are best. So, this means you’ll have to test a bottle of interest or go to your local water store.
Can you use any other types of water for a fish tank?
There are many suitable sources for fish tank water if you find treating water from the local spring too much work to prepare. The best three options are:
- Rainwater: You will still have to test and treat this; it’s generally low in minerals and can become easily polluted. What’s more, water collected from gutters or roofs may pick up additional contaminants.
- Tap Water: Although most tap water is free of most bacteria, fungi, contaminants and other harmful substances, you still have to test the water. Unfortunately, many municipal water supplies contain things like chlorine and fluoride, which will harm fish. This means, regardless of the reading, you will have to treat and condition the water.
- Well Water: Depending on the well, this water is similar to spring water. There can be a variety of contaminants and pollutants that you will have to treat and filter before putting it into your aquarium.
What kind of water isn’t good for a fish tank?
Distilled water is the worst kind of water for your tank. Although very pure, it’s too pure because, theoretically, all the contaminants disappear through a process involving boiling. If you choose to use this, you will have to add potassium, calcium, phosphates and others to make it appropriate for your fish.
Plus, it’s impractical because you will need many gallons in order to make it work. When you combine this with the cost of mineral and pH additives, it can be exorbitant on your bank account.
Although you can use spring water to fill up your aquarium, it’s tricky. You have to test it before attempting to put it in a tank. If you are lucky enough to live near a spring that’s unmolested by pollutants and contaminants, then go ahead and use it straight away.
If you find the results to be fair and only need to do a few things to treat the water, then you’ll be safe to add spring water to your tank. But avoid using bottled water or distilled water. Only use bottled water from a trusted company or your local water store.
Any water you choose to use will have to undergo some testing and treatment before you use it in your aquarium. This is because you must ensure it’s safe enough to keep your fish happy, healthy and thriving.