Garden Hoses & Fish

garden hose

Aquatic pets are loads of fun when you have their care figured out, but when you’re first getting started, there’s a lot to remember. One misstep and you could accidentally hurt or even kill your fishy friend, so it’s vital to do everything properly the first time. If you (like many newbies) are stuck Googling “Can I use a garden hose to fill my aquarium?” then you’re not alone. As such, we gathered a few of the most common questions related to garden hoses and your water-based friends to get answered here on Dreamy Home.

So what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

Now let’s dive right in, shall we?

Garden Hoses & Aquatic Pet Care 101

Most of these will be super simple, short, and sweet answers – my favourite type! Let’s not waste any time and just get into things, yeah?

Can I Use a Garden Hose to Fill My Aquarium?

fish tank

You can absolutely use a garden hose to fill you aquarium, though there are a few caveats.

Run water through the hose for a couple of minutes to flush any buildup or impurities in the hose itself, and filter the water if you’re using standard tap water. This is because, depending on where you live, you could have anything from fluoride to chlorine in your tap water, none of which is good for fish.

More on the chlorine bit below.

How Do You Drain a Fish Tank With a Garden Hose?

Okay, draining a fish tank with a garden hose is actually quite simple! Let’s get you a specific walkthrough.

Step One

Remove all of the fish from your tank. You’ll need to slowly remove each one individually with the proper-sized net to ensure you don’t accidentally hurt or even kill the fish. Again – fish are delicate beings, and even a small misstep can be fatal for them, so exercise caution here. I promise, this is the longest part of the whole process – it gets much easier from here.

Either using two nets or partially removing some of the water will make this process much easier.

Step Two

Once all of the fish are out of your tank, it’s time to cut the power. Turn off and unplug all electronic devices attached to (or near) your tank, including your heater, filter, and light source(s).

This prevents you from having an accidental fish fry – remember folks, combining water and electricity is a big no-no.

Step 3

Remove any decorations or extra bits in your tank. You don’t want that tiny fish castle getting damaged while replacing the water. Lay down a few towels while doing this to catch any water that may spill during the next steps.

Step 4

Ensure your tank is above the bucket or container into which you’re draining the water. This will allow gravity to do its thing and help you out.

Place a bucket or container with enough volume to hold all of your tank’s water beneath the aquarium.

Step 5

Place one end of your hose in the bottom of the aquarium and the other end in your bucket. Have a friend hold the hose on one end while you hold the other end to prevent the hose from escaping.

The hose should form an upside-down “U” shape, otherwise, this won’t work.

Step 6

Allow the water to drain. If you need to stop it, simply lift the end in your tank out of the water and allow it to drain. Repeat this process as needed until the tank is empty and clean.

Check out this video for a handy visual guide if you learn visually, like me.

Does Water From a Hose Have Chlorine?

Chlorine in water, chemical composition

While this will depend on where you live and how old the plumbing in your home is, the truth of the matter is that most homes will have a number of harmful minerals and additives in your water system. This is generally less true of tap water, but hose water comes straight from your provider and picks up whatever is in the pipes without being filtered.

The most common things in hose water are:

  • Chlorine
  • Lead
  • Antimony
  • Bromine
  • Organotin
  • Phthalates
  • BPA

Each of these can be harmful to humans, let alone delicate turtles, fish, or other aquatic life. To get around this, you’ll need to do a few things. First, let your garden hose run for a minute or two to let some of the buildup get washed out.

Following that, you can use a high-quality hose without plastics inside to cut down on a number of the plastic-related chemicals that leach into your water. Check out our “Garden Hose Maintenance 101” article for details on choosing a high-quality garden hose.

You can also store your hose somewhere cool and dark to cut down on sunlight damaging your hose and leaching potentially harmful chemicals into the water.

Finally, it’s good practice to filter any hose water that you plan on using for yourself

Can I Use Hose Water For My Turtle Tank?

Turtle in tank

Yes, just as with fish, you can use hose water for your turtle tank.

But, once again, you’ll need to ensure you’re filtering it or using a water conditioner to ensure it doesn’t have any added stuff that’s harmful to your little shelled buddy.

Can You Use a Garden Hose For a Fish tank?

Once again, yes, you can use a garden hose for a fish tank.

It’s worth noting that most pet supply stores sell hoses made with this explicit use in mind, and they’re often smaller, meaning they’re a bit less unwieldy than a 7-10 metre garden hose in your home.


All in all, you’re generally okay to use a garden hose to fill or clean your fish or turtle tank. Just remember to properly filter your water, let it run for a bit, and use a high-quality hose to cut down on potentially harmful additives in the water. And if you need to replace the water in your tank, the easiest way hands down is to siphon water from your tank with a hose!

Now, let’s go get those fishy friends in a comfy new home with freshly-filtered water, shall we?