First thing’s first, why isn’t it safe?
Tap water is fit for human consumption, so why would we question whether it’s suitable for fish?
The answer lies in the chemical composition of tap water. In order to make tap water safe for us to drink, local water companies add chlorine and chloramine (completely safe for humans) in order to kill bacteria.
While that’s great for us, it’s not ideal for aquatic animals.
It’s important to remember that fish require specialised environments to live.
Simply placing them in a tank full of water won’t necessarily mean they are in the ideal habitat for them to thrive, especially because fish don’t swim in chlorine in their natural environment.
What can chlorine and chloramine do?
So what effect chlorine and chloramine actually have on fish?
Different concentrations of the two chemicals within tap water can have varying amounts of damage on fish. This is important because while there are methods of testing tap water to discover the amount of chlorine and chloramine present, readings may not always be consistent.
Increased temperature levels in summer in comparison to winter means that there’s a greater risk of high bacteria levels and in turn, water companies will add higher levels of chlorine and chloramine to keep the bacteria at bay.
High amounts of chlorine are certainly poisonous for fish but even at lower levels, these chemicals can still cause damage to fish gills and in turn cause stress.
Consequently, tap water must be specially treated before it can be used in aquarium tanks.
How to make tap water safe
Tap Water Conditioners works to neutralise chlorine and more importantly chloramine, which can only be treated in such a way. Tap water treatments work by binding together ammonia molecules within chloramine, causing it to become harmless to fish. The best tap water conditioners don’t only treat tap water, they also include essential nutrients such as Vitamin B and Iodine, that help to reduce stress in fish and prevent disease.
In essence, tap water treatments work as a neutralising and nourishing system that transforms the tap water from being harmful to fish to something that is a closer match to the ideal water parameters that the fish would naturally found.