Caring for your aquariums and appliances

Caring for your aquariums and appliances

The water we provide is safe and reliable for drinking, but there may be some impacts for your aquatic pets and household appliances.

Safe use of tap water in your fish tank, aquarium or pond

Water quality management: an ongoing requirement

The health of the aquatic animals living in your fish tank, aquarium or pond depends on many factors that influence one another. Tap water and the compounds it contains are only some of these factors that need to be managed.

The information below outlines the most critical elements that need to be addressed, and how this relates to the tap water we provide. It is not designed to replace advice of qualified pet shops or aquarium retailers.

How to manage a fish tank, aquarium or pond

To ensure the safety of your fish and other aquatic pets, such as hermit crabs, frogs, snails, turtles and the like, follow this general guide:

  1. Never add water straight from the tap to your fish tank, aquarium or pond.
  2. Know your tap water by checking your drinking water profile.
  3. Talk to your pet shop about the right testing kits and conditioning products for your fish tank, aquarium or pond and the type of aquatic or amphibian pets you keep.
  4. Perform ongoing water quality management of the water in your fish tank, aquarium or pond, frequently testing pH, temperature and free ammonia levels as a minimum, and making adjustments where required, as advised by your pet shop.
  5. Regularly change small doses of your fish tank, aquarium or pond water – no more than 10-20 per cent at a time.
  6. When performing water changes, prepare the tap water according to your pet shop’s advice before adding it to your fish tank, aquarium or pond. This can be done in a bucket.
    • For chlorinated tap water, follow the instructions on the conditioning bottle or product packaging.
    • For chloraminated tap water, see below. Manufacturers’ dosing recommendations may need to be increased.

Why tap water preparation and small water changes are important

Using tap water without correct preparation can create an imbalance in the nitrogen cycle of your fish tank, aquarium or pond. As a result, ammonia levels may increase to a level where they become toxic. This can happen even quicker with chloraminated tap water, which often contains free ammonia.

Even when preparing tap water correctly with water conditioner, free ammonia may still be present as it is not neutralised by common water conditioners.

Water changes can always have an impact on water quality in your fish tank, aquarium or pond. Only changing small amounts of water, no more than 10-20 per cent at a time, reduces the likelihood of water quality problems that could affect your aquatic pets’ health.

Critical elements to your aquatic pets’ health

Ongoing water quality management  is critical for your aquatic pets' health

Regular testing of your fish tank, aquarium or pond water is essential, and adjustments must be made where required.

These are the three most critical elements that apply to most aquatic pets – speak to your pet shop to get advice specific to your situation.

Three of the essential, regular tasks are:

1. Neutralising chlorine or chloramine

Most of the tap water we supply is disinfected with either chlorine or chloramine. While both compounds are safe for people and animals to drink, they are potentially harmful to aquatic animals that live in water, and must be neutralised before use.

When: Every time you add tap water to your fish tank, aquarium or pond, for example during water changes

How: Before adding the new water to the fish tank, aquarium or pond, prepare it with a suitable commercially-available water conditioner. This can be done in a bucket. Know what is in your tap water (chlorine or chloramine) and ask your pet shop for advice.

For chloraminated tap water, keep in mind:

  • You may need to apply more than the recommended dose of conditioning agents and ammonia removal resins. Be careful when using de-chlorinating agents that contain other additives which may be harmful in higher dosages.
  • Water conditioners may not remove free ammonia that is often present in chloraminated tap water (see point 3 below).

2. Measuring and managing pH and temperature

Incorrect pH or temperature can increase the level of the toxic form of free ammonia in your tank, aquarium or pond. Free ammonia is toxic to aquatic pets at high levels (see point 3 below).

When: Test straight after a water change and adjust if needed, then test regularly and manage where required, as advised by your pet shop.

How: pH testing kits, thermometers and heating equipment are available at your pet shop. Seek advice on what is suitable for your circumstances.

  • Different aquatic animal species need different pH levels and temperatures. Talk to your pet shop for advice.
  • Know your tap water – chloraminated water may have a higher pH level.

3. Measuring and managing ammonia

Ammonia is naturally present in fish tanks, aquariums and ponds as a waste product from fish excretions and decomposing organic materials such as uneaten fish food. Free ammonia in high levels is toxic to aquatic animals and it is not typically removed using water conditioners. Proper nitrogen cycle processes are the most effective way to manage free ammonia levels. This applies to fish tanks, aquariums or ponds that use any type of water.

When: Test regularly and manage where required, including during water changes, as advised by your pet shop.

How: Your pet shop can advise on how to manage free ammonia in your specific situation. Options may depend on the aquatic species you keep and may include:

  • Appropriate aquarium gravel or other products that support a balanced nitrogen cycle, such as products that may increase the number of helpful nitrifying organisms within your fish tank, aquarium or pond.
  • Some granular carbon filters can be useful for removing free ammonia.
  • Some aquatic plants also promote a balanced nitrogen cycle and can add to the aesthetic appeal of your fish tank, aquarium or pond.
  • Ammonia removal resins can reduce free ammonia levels significantly – they may need to be applied at a higher than normal dose when using chloraminated water.
  • Products containing ‘good bacteria’ (bacterial inoculums) may be used to promote a balanced nitrogen cycle within your fish tank, aquarium or pond. Speak to your pet shop for advice.

More information

This information is an overview of how to treat tap water before using it in fish tanks, aquariums and ponds. For advice specific to your own requirements, speak to your local pet shop or aquarium retailer.

Caring for your household appliances

Apart from ensuring you’re using water efficiently in your home, there are things you might need to know about taking care of your household appliances. There are some appliances that require some extra attention.

We recommend you are familiar with the instruction manual of each of these, paying attention to any comments about water quality, particularly as it relates to water hardness, chlorine or naturally-occurring iron.

Appliances that may be impacted by water quality include:

  • Hot water services
  • Dishwashers
  • Steam irons
  • Kettles

  • Major faults

  • Underway

  • Polkinghorns Rd
  • Arthurton
  • 18/06/2020
  • Water Supply On
  • 18/06/2020 03:05 PM - We are attending to an incident in Arthurton with no interruption to the water supply. The safety of our crews and customers comes first, and we always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as quickly as we can. Reference Number WO: 07505663.
  • See all major faults

  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • Spruance Rd
  • Elizabeth East
  • 11/06/2021
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 15/06/2021 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 15/06/2021 04:00 PM

    We’re improving your services and undertaking maintenance work in Elizabeth East. Sometimes our crews need to temporarily interrupt the water supply to our customers and/or manage traffic while they are working. Temporary traffic management may remain in place until reinstatement of the impacted road is complete. We always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as safely and quickly as we can.


  • See all scheduled works