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Anonymous asked in PetsFish · 8 years ago

Is tap water harmful to frogs?

Hi everybody,

So I honestly never knew you shouldn't use tap water in a frogs tank. I have two separate tanks, one with a 13 year old African clawed frog and one with two African dwarf frogs (one about 2 years old, one almost a year) and a new apple snail. For all their lives, I have used tap water with the tanks and no filters. Honestly, is tap water bad? Does it depend where you live? I mean my ACF is 13 years old still going strong *knock on wood* and I know people with filters and water treatments and their frogs die after a few years? So just wondering. Also if anyone knows, do I need to do something different with my snail or will it be okay in tap water too?

Thanks in advance

2 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Is your tap water from a private well? If so chlorine or cloramines are not in it & you don't usually have to treat it with a water conditioner. Your family would probably know who to see to test the water for free nitrogen (from agricultural fertilizers) and other pollutants.

    If your town or city has tap water from wells, usually not a lot of EPA mandated chloramine (chlorine + ammonia to hold it in solution) is in it. The EPA mandated report from my town (which is mailed out to all homeowners, maybe all citizens) suggested there was only 1/10 of 1 PPM (part per million) chloramine. I can rinse somewhat sensitive blackworms in the stuff & put their blue worm box in the refrigerator using that water & they are fine.

    If your municipal water is from Lakes or rivers, a lot more chloramine in put in there and the tap water should be treated with a water conditioner designed to break down chloramines. (Those bond temporarily with the ammonia & the chlorine is released.) That stuff might burn some skin or delicate membranes. Also amphibian skin is often able to exchange gases and absorb a little oxygen and we don't want chloramines in any quantity next to their skin..

    Some aquarists run a hose to a tank, 5-gallon bucket, 5-gallon water cooler carboy, 32-gallon Rubbermaid garbage can or a 50-gallon food quality barrel. All of those of course are exclusively used for things fishy. Often they are set high on a table or over a piece of Styrofoam to insulate against cold floors. Some people also put a submersible heater in the bigger containers so the water

    is the same temperature as the tank & the fish aren't shocked. Leaving the water in there at least overnight allows noxious gases (such as free nitrogen, carbon dioxide and chlorine to be released. That also allows a little bit of free oxygen to be absorbed by the usually oxygen poor tap water. Occasionally someone drops an air-stone in there too.

    I learned from a discus guy to put a carbon filter on the hose to take most any pollutant out of the water before spraying the water into a holding container. For the long life of the carbon cartridge that takes out the harmful stuff mentioned above & heavy metals. Then the water just sits to "season" at the right temperature.

    You are probably either using tap water pretty free of chloramine or other pollutants if your frogs have been thriving in the stuff. "If it ain't broke..."

    One the other hand we have well water that I diluted with a certain amount RO (reverse osmosis) water. Lowering the high mineral level is essential so that rain forest fishes can be coaxed into spawning. Suddenly they stopped spawning and even some plants died. We discovered that the village changes wells and almost doubled the TDS or Total Dissolved Solids from 445 PPM to 775 PPM. By comparison the Great Lakes, whose water is generally very good for fish, is about 160 PPM hardness or 9 DH & 200 PPM TDS. We had to add a lot more RO water to the mix.

    Those EPA/ village water reports will you a lot about water is in your water. Because I depend upon modest mineral levels (no minerals tends to kill fish) for spawning many killies, tetras, Corys, peacock gudgeon, some South American cichlids and even Cory, I can take TDS measures and figure out how much of what is in the water. TDS meters cost about 1/2 of hardness meters & may be called the poor aquarists hardness meter.

    If you aren't trying to spawn anything, within limits, all you have to do is gradually add new prepared water. We seldom hit this all the time, but many of the more successful advanced fish keepers try to do serious gravel vacuuming (getting up fecal material) and replacing 50% of the water a week. Since nature in the wet seasons tends to replace 90% of the water daily in ponds or head water streams, the 50% business (most of the time) shouldn't hurt the fish or frogs.

    Your's is a very reasonable concern. Probably you will be able to continue what you are doing unless your water suppliers change what they are doing. That clawed frog is living to a ripe old age. Our nephew's clawed frog lived a few more years than that despite some pretty casual care.

  • 8 years ago

    yes, most tapwater contains chlorine which kills the biology of the filter, damaging the health of the tank and also harms frogs. And yes, it depends on where you live and time of year etc.

    It's not quite as serious because frogs breath air (fish gills are burned by chlorine and it blocks their ability to absorb oxygen from the water). Snails will also die especially in summer when the water services add more chlorine.

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