Is rainwater better than tap water?

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Is rainwater better than tap water?

Postby dant1875 » 2009-01-25 14:54

I have recently read that rainwater is better to use than tap water - is that true? If so, it solves a few issues as I have a huge water butt in the back garden & living in Birmingham it would provide an endless supply as the sun doesn't like this area :D . I assume if you do use it, there would be no chemicals present & therefore safer to the fish, which is always a good thing. As for bringing the temp up, if you boil the water in a kettle is it then safe to add straight to the pre-prepared water when doing the water change?
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Re: Is rainwater better than tap water?

Postby KittyKat » 2009-01-26 12:47

Very controversial subject. Ignoring all external factors here is how it is: rain water is soft and acidic as it does not contain calcium and many other minerals commonly present in tap water. It also does not have chlorine and chloramine (now commonly use alongside/instead of chlorine) added to it, both of which are toxic and does not stagnate/pass through pipes (some of which may leach copper - also toxic - into it. BUT now we introduce external factors: if you live in a polluted area or when collecting rainwater have it run over lead (commonly used for seals on roofs), then the water can be considered "contaminated" as both are toxic to fish. Also, if you want to use rainwater for hard-water fish (eg. African Rift Lake Cichlids) then you need to add minerals and buffers to the water. I can not honnestly recommend the use of buffers as either safe or non-harmful to fish. BUT again, in many areas, tap water is hard and rainwater is a natural substitute which is perfect for soft-water fish (eg. SA Cichlids, Tetras).

I did use as much rainwater as I could for many of my soft water tanks, but I did live in a pollution-free area (some people say that the clouds will pick up pollution well away from where the rain falls and while I beleive this is very true, it will also pick up pollution where it falls on the way down). I would recommend you do some general tests on your rainwater before using it.
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Re: Is rainwater better than tap water?

Postby dant1875 » 2009-01-26 21:09

Thanks very much - will test ASAP & have a think depending on my results :D
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