Well Water is Great for Aquariums
One little-known perk of having well water is how beneficial it can be for the home aquarium. Fish love lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks and all of the natural sources of water, and since well water is drawn directly from the earth, fish love well water, too. Here in North Florida we have the benefit of tapping into the vast and clean Florida Aquifer, which is the perfect source for great aquarium water.
Municipal water is typically treated with chlorine and can sometimes have additives like fluoride, and can require the dosing of special solutions to make the water habitable for fish. Well water directly from the ground does not have any chlorine added to it. Water conditioners like chlorinators and softeners can have the same effect as municipal treatment, so it is best to have a valve installed in your pump system allowing you to get direct access to the untreated water. The important part of well water with aquariums is that you have control over what is added to your water, and you can have the water tested to get exact knowledge of what you're working with.
The presence of phosphates or nitrates in the water is the biggest concern for the health of the aquariums using well water. Both of those elements can cause significant algae issues in an aquarium. These can often be the most difficult sources of problems to detect, as a hobbyist might not think to test their 'clean' water for contaminants found in fish waste.
This is not to say that well water doesn't have its own issues, which is why testing of an aquarium's source water is a very important part of keeping a healthy tank. As mentioned above well water can have phosphates leeched into the ground from fertilizers. There can also be the presence of high quantities of naturally occurring elements like calcium and iron. High levels of iron in water can also create an algae issue in aquariums.
The reason well water is so wonderful for aquariums is the complete control over the water's quality and composition. Aside from the ability to bypass chlorinators and softeners, there is other equipment like reverse osmosis filters that can purify the water to an aquarist's exact specifications. Control over your water's parameters is, after all, fundamental to a healthy aquarium.
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