Aquarium Tap Water Filter

Kent tap water purifierNot every fish tank needs an aquarium tap water filter.  The first thing that any would-be aquarist should do before spending money on a filter for the water coming out of their tap is to get from their local water company or municipality the CCR (consumer confidence report) that will tell them exactly what is in the tap water they will be using.  These reports, by law, must be done once per year and most are available on line.  Whether it’s a fresh water or saltwater tank, some of the more critical elements in the report will be the nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and silicate levels.  If any of these levels are really high then maybe it is a good idea to shop for a filter to reduce or eliminate the problem. Chlorine and chloramine levels can be countered with simple conditioners like dechlor, novaqua, etc.

Many filter purifiers for drinking tap water will remove some but usually not enough of the issues that can be present in some municipal water.  Another consideration is the type of fish tank that you want to keep.  While a typical community freshwater aquarium may never be affected by water from the tap, many other aquariums that have live plants, discus and similar fish that require soft water, may only be able to thrive if the tap water is filtered.  Contrary to popular belief, most saltwater tanks do well with tap water, assuming that the nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, and silicates are within normal levels.  If it is determined that the type of fish tank you have decided on doesn’t necessarily need filtered water then you are welcome; you just saved a lot of money.

Now, when it comes to the above mentioned freshwater tanks that may require filtered water, saltwater aquariums that have high dollar R O systemsensitive fish, FOWLR (fish only with live rock) aquariums, or reef tank setups, many hobbyists insist on using deionized water (old school) or reverse osmosis or the combination of the two, reverse osmosis / deionization.  Depending on the size of the aquarium in question and the amount of produced water that will be needed on a regular basis for water changes and evaporation, there are a number of systems available.  If the amount of processed water is relatively small, then there are great savings to be had for units that only filter a small amount.  Of course, larger aquarium systems will need larger purifiers as well as buckets or containers to keep the water as it is produced.  Keep in mind that all of these filters will need maintenance and chemical replacement or replenishment from time to time.

R O DeionizationThere is also a real and justified concern that filtering tap water too much may lead to problems as well.  It’s been said that reverse osmosis in particular can remove so much from tap water that the cost to replace the essential elements and nutrients may not be cost effective.  In nature, with the exception of many of the chlorines and chloramines and / or fluoride that are in drinking water, most aquatic animals and invertebrates need the essential elements that are present everywhere.  As stated before, chlorine and chloramine can be neutralized quite easily and fluoride is typically removed by running carbon in your filtration system.  If in doubt as to whether you need an aquarium tap water filter, run the aquarium for several months to determine if there is an issue.  You can always buy one later.  By letting the system run for several months, you eliminate any problems that might just be associated with the nitrogen cycle or the “breaking in” period.  Try not to become a slave to your tank.  In the long run, the time that it takes to filter the water might not be worth the price.

Article Name
Aquarium Tap Water Filter
Determining if you need a water filter or your aquarium or fish tank should be the first thing before purchasing a tap water filter.

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