Can Goldfish Live In Well Water? (Yes and No, Here’s Why)

Can Goldfish Live In Well Water? (Yes and No, Here’s Why)

Can Goldfish Live In Well Water

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Goldfish can live in well water, but not in all well water because not all water is of the same quality. Your goldfish can safely live in well water if you do the following:

  • Test your well water for impurities like ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and find out your water’s pH.
  • Treat the water if impurities are found.
  • Continue to test the well water periodically to ensure that it is still safe.

Goldfish must be kept in an optimal water environment, and well water could work. However, there is a lot to consider when it comes to using well water for your goldfish. Keep reading to find out more about whether well water can be used for your goldfish, water impurities that harm and kill goldfish, how to treat well water, and more.

Well Water For Goldfish: Making Sure It’s Safe

We assume that you know what well water is, but just in case you are not totally sure, it is water that comes from a well.

Often, in rural areas, the only water available is well water.

So now that we know what well water is let’s examine how to make sure that it is safe for goldfish.

After all, if the water is not safe for the goldfish, there can be negative consequences for the goldfish, ranging from a variety of health problems to even death.

Some people think and tell others that well water is fine for goldfish as long as it is fit to drink. This is not true.

There are elements in well water (and water from other sources) that are safe for human consumption but could kill a goldfish fast.

Therefore, the only way to know if well water is safe for your goldfish is to test it for impurities.

Testing Your Well Water

So, how do you test well water? The first step is purchasing a test kit.

It would be wise to purchase a test kit that measures the levels of the following:

  • Ammonia,
  • Nitrites,
  • Nitrates,
  • pH.

Let’s examine each of these and see how they affect goldfish.


Ammonia is toxic to fish, so it is essential to have your well water tested for it regularly.

This API Ammonia Test Kit on Amazon tests for ammonia for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

To perform the test, follow these instructions:

  • Dip one of the strips into the well water.
  • Remove the test strip and observe the color on the strip.
  • Match the color to the color chart in the kit.

This helps you to easily determine whether ammonia levels are too high.


Nitrites are toxic to fish. They come from organic waste, which may be higher in well water than in city water.

You will want to monitor and limit nitrites in your goldfish’s water.

If you only want to check your well water for nitrites, you can get this API Nitrite Test Kit from Amazon.

You need to perform this test differently than you would do for the above ammonia test.

Instead of dipping the strip into the water, you’ll combine a sample of well water with the solution provided in the test kit.

The liquid will change color. Use the color chart to interpret the results.


A high level of nitrates in your water indicates that organic waste in the water is too high.

While nitrates are not as toxic to goldfish as nitrites, nitrates are still dangerous for your goldfish.

Keep in mind that the levels of nitrates should be monitored and limited consistently.

This API Nitrate Test Kit on Amazon tests for Nitrate levels for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

To perform this test, you should obtain a sample of well water and combine it with the provided solution in the test kit and use the color chart to interpret the results.


Water with a pH that is too high or too low could be harmful or even fatal to your goldfish.

Ideally, the pH levels must be between 7 and 7.5 to be safe for a goldfish aquarium.

To test pH levels, you can use the API Aquarium Water Test Kit on Amazon.

Test your water by dipping the test strip in the water for 2 seconds and then lay the strip flat for 15 seconds.

You can then read and interpret the results by using the color chart.

This test detects:

  • pH,
  • Total Alkalinity,
  • Total Hardness,
  • Iron,
  • Copper,
  • Lead,
  • Nitrate,
  • Nitrite,
  • Fluoride,
  • Free Chlorine,

Note that this test does not check for Ammonia.

All-In-One Aquarium Water Test

To test for all of the above substances, use the API Freshwater Master Kit on Amazon.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging to test your well water.

How Often Well Water Should Be Tested?

Testing the well water once will not be sufficient.

Due to the nature of well water, it’s likely that the quality of the water will fluctuate.

So, test often to observe levels of harmful substances.

Some sources instruct that you should test the water weekly, while others say that biweekly or monthly testing is enough.

So, you’ll have to use your best judgment. Personally, we would start off testing the water weekly.

If over time, the water is fine, we would space testing sessions out to every couple of weeks to a month.

A helpful tip that you can use is to keep a log of pertinent substances that you test the water for.

Simply write a list of substances such as:

  • ammonia,
  • nitrates,
  • nitrites,
  • pH.

Review these over time; you may notice some trends.

In terms of actually tracking the log, we like to use a Google Docs Sheet on the phone.

However, other methods that are popular include using sticky notes, notepad (for mobile devices), and so on.

Do You Have to Treat Well Water for Goldfish?

If you don’t treat contaminated well water, your fish will likely fail to thrive. It doesn’t take much to kill a goldfish accidentally.

So, save yourself from having to break the news to your kid by properly treating the water.

If you test your well water and impurities are found, then the answer is yes.

In this case, you will definitely need to treat your well water if you want to use it for your goldfish.

If the test results indicate that your well water is fit for your goldfish, there is no need to treat the water.

But make sure that you do retest the water frequently (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) to make sure that the water is still safe for your goldfish.

Certain things may alter the state of the water in the tank.

For instance, when a fish has died in the tank, certain chemicals can be released.

Also, when a fish is sick, this can throw off the balance of the water.

How to Treat Well Water for Goldfish?

Once you find out that your well water isn’t fit for your goldfish, it will need to be treated.

How do you go about this?

Well, you’ll need to get your hands on an RO/DI Unit.

An RO/DI unit is a filtration system specially made for aquariums.

The filtration system removes pesky impurities that could hurt or kill your goldfish.

These RO/DI Systems are considerably more expensive than most other equipment that you need for an aquarium.

So, ensure that you actually need this system before you go out and buy one.

Once you’ve installed your system, test the water again to make sure that it is clean before placing your fish into the water.

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