How to Clean a Fish Tank – Follow These Tips

2 fish are swimming inside the fish tank

Taking care of a pet fish is just like taking care of any other pet that a person might own. Aside from feeding your beloved friend and always checking up on its health to make sure that everything is fine, you also need to make sure that it is leading a clean and tidy lifestyle. Knowing how to clean a fish tank properly will not only prolong the life of your fish, but will also create a clean environment for it to live in, even if it's just a tiny aquarium that you have on your nightstand.

But how to clean a fish tank properly? In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your fish tank and help you maintain the aquarium your pet fish deserves, and also needs for a more healthy life.

Why Should You Clean a Fish Tank?

Gold Fish inside the aquarium

Image by spiritseed from Pixabay

Just how you take care of your own body by showering and keeping it clean, animals require that same amount of attention as well. Taking care of your fish tank is the same as giving your favorite dog a bath, because not only does it keep the dog clean, but it also washes away germs and pollutants that might cause sickness or any other illness.

Another way to look at the situation and answer the question is to think about what would happen if you didn't clean the fish tank. As time passes, chemicals like ammonia and nitrite begin to form within the fish tank, all of which will have a negative impact on the fish itself. Not cleaning the fish tank will cause your pet fish to develop various health problems like decline of energy and a loss of appetite, ultimately leading to death. In order to avoid losing your pet, cleaning the fish tank is important.

And it's not just the effects that will impact your fish! Cleaning the fish tank will also help regulate the nitrogen levels within the aquarium as well as replenish important minerals that fish need for survival.

Next, we will help you understand how to clean a fish tank and what items you will need for the procedure.

How to Clean a Fish Tank

Before we can explain to you how to clean a fish tank, it's important to note that this guide will talk about two different types of fish tanks: freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. Since there are many species of fish that you can own as a pet, some require saltwater while others need freshwater to live. As a result, it's important to know which method you need for which fish tank.

Before doing anything, you must first have the proper tools for the job. Ideally, these items will make the cleaning process easier and more effective, especially when it comes to removing all the waste from the fish tank.

  • A clean container with water to move the fish
  • An algae scraper or algae pad
  • Gravel vacuum
  • Water siphon
  • Bleach
  • Salinity probe (for saltwater fish tanks)

Now that you have the proper equipment, you can begin the process. For convenience, the section has been split up into two parts: freshwater fish tank and saltwater fish tank.

Freshwater Fish Tank

The first step in cleaning the fish tank is to remove the fish from it and place it into another water container. Afterwards, use the algae scraper/pad to remove all the algae that got stuck to the glass. It's important to note that if you are using a pad, try to scrub as little as possible so that you don't damage the glass. If you come across a rough algae patch, use the scraper to gently remove it.

Next, remove the dirty water from the fish tank. One important note to make on how to clean a fish tank correctly is knowing how much water you have to remove. As a general rule of thumb, change 10 to 20 percent of the water every two to three weeks. However, if your fish is sick, you want to change somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of the water. To remove the water, use the water siphon while making sure that the container where the water is going is clean and doesn't have any chemical residue on it.

Gravel and Decorations


Saltwater Fish Tank

In some ways, cleaning a saltwater tank is exactly the same as cleaning a freshwater one. You have to move the fish, then remove the algae, after which you must siphon the dirty water. Once you finish with that, you have to clean the decorations and vacuum in between the gravel for waste and debris. However, since you are dealing with a saltwater fish tank, there are a few extra steps that you have to do.

Salt Residue

Adding New Water


clean fish tank with 2 fish swimming inside

Image by PDPics from Pixabay

Now that you know how to clean a fish tank, both, a freshwater one and a saltwater one, taking care of your friend is going to be much easier. Even though you only have to clean the entire tank once every few weeks, regular maintenance will make the job much easier. If you scrape the glass once a week, remove algae from decorations as soon as you see it, and vacuum in between the gravel, then not only will your fish tank look more tidy and beautiful, but the fish within will have alonger and healthier life!

Featured Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here