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Clean Your Fish Tank the Right Way – Cleaning Products & Process

If you’re one of those people who wish to have pets but want to get away from the efforts of training and grooming them, then fishes are unarguably the ideal pets for you. Unlike cats and dogs, they don’t need playtime, or they are not needed to be taken on walks. These quiet underwater creatures are said to be great first pets for children. Their presence in the house is even linked to positive health benefits. All fishes need healthy roommates, a clean place, and to be fed at regular intervals. Here in this article know how to clean a fish tank in a proper way.

Having fish as pets is relaxing and easy. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Although fishes have a bad reputation for having a short life, clean surroundings and proper care will ensure that they live for a minimum of three to five years. Feeding them on time is not enough; the tank quality also plays a key role.

How to Clean a Fish Tank?

Firstly, your aquarium needs a proper filtration system, clear water, appropriate light, and a water conditioner to balance the pH levels. A common misconception is that setting up a filtration system will cover up for cleaning fish tanks. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. 

What could go wrong if you don’t clean your aquarium fish tank regularly? This could lead to the buildup and exposure to ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. These can have severe effects on your fish, that include loss of appetite, reduced energy, weakened immune system, and even death. If kept under unfavorable and non-ideal conditions, aquatic animals can face severe health problems. Hence, a clean tank not only looks great but also helps preserve your fish’s health and happiness.¬†However, self cleaning fish tanks are also available.

Things Required to Clean a Fish Tank

You shouldn’t worry if you’re losing your calm thinking about cleaning fish water tanks, we have you covered. Fish tank cleaning process isn’t as complicated as it sounds; you don’t even need the big fish tank cleaners. First, get the aquarium cleaning supplies you’ll need while cleaning the fish tank. Next, the things required to clean a fish tank include:

  • Algae scraper/pad
  • Bleach
  • Paper towels
  • Bucket
  • Filter media
  • Filter brush
  • Water
  • Chlorine remover
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Best Way to Clean a Fish Tank

One great way to make your fish bowl shine its glory is still to do it yourself. With a little time and effort, you can have a sparkling clean fish tank that your fish will be happy to call home. Follow this stepwise procedure to clean a fish tank without any hassle.

  • Firstly, unplug the water heater and filter.
  • Clean the inside glass with an algae pad or scraper. You can buy algae pads from a pet shop. 
  • Once you clean the inside glass, remove the artificial plants and decorations that are noticeably dirty and have a buildup of algae in fish tank. It is difficult to clean them with soap or detergent, so you could use an algae scraper to remove the algae buildup. 
  • For particularly stubborn cleaning problems, prepare a 10% bleach solution and soak the things in that solution for not more than 15 minutes. You could rinse it with running water to clean the remaining residue. 
  • Don’t put them back in the aquarium instantly; wait for the chlorine smell to fade away. Once no more chlorine-like smell is present, you could then put these back in. Alternatively, add a de-chlorinator (sodium thiosulphate) to water to make things easier. 
  • Use aquarium gravel cleaner and vacuum away the debris. The fish tank gravel cleaner vacuum should remove the debris without sucking up the gravel. 
  • Once you have cleaned the inside glass with fish tank vacuum, clean the light, tank top, and outside. Standard lime and regular fish tank glass cleaners contain ammonia, which harms fish health. It is strongly recommended to use a clear that is aquarium-safe or vinegar solution. Later, rinse it off with a damp cloth. 
  • Once the major cleaning is done, wait two weeks to clean the filter. Because of cleaning, we could have disturbed the beneficial bacteria colonies in the water. If we clean the filter at the same time, we could cause an ammonia spike which would be difficult to eliminate toxins without the presence of beneficial bacteria.
  • You can clean the filter and other filter assembly parts using a filter brush, as the brush will help you clean out the splurge that builds up in all the small crevices. 
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Things to Avoid While Or Before Cleaning Fish Tank

Some specific things to avoid while cleaning an aquairum are as below:

  • A common misconception is that your fish must be removed from the fish tank. But this could cause unnecessary stress, and there will also be room for unprecedented accidents that could risk hurting them. So, let the fish stay in the tank during cleaning unless you have to do heavy and rigorous cleaning. 
  • Do not completely remove the old water from the tank, as this will also remove the beneficial bacteria that live in the tank. You could instead go for a partial water change. 
  • Get a new bucket that is designated for aquarium use only. Do not interchange this with a bucket that you use for other things; this will ensure that you do not introduce your 
  • Usually, a 25 percent water change is recommended after cleaning the fish tank. 
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap when handling aquatic animals or their habitat contents. 

How Often Should you Clean your Fish Tank?

There are no hardcore rules regarding the time intervals of cleaning the fish tank. The intervals to clean largely depends on the type of aquarium and the fish inside it. You don’t need to clean the tank daily unless necessary or advised by professionals. If you feel that your fish are behaving differently or appear sluggish or stressed, then clean the tank right away. Also, keep an eye on the partial water change requirements.¬†

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Clean large tanks at least once a week or twice a week. Depending on the filter used in your fish tank, you can get away with cleaning it once a month. You should avoid deep cleaning your fish tank on a regular basis because it disrupts the equilibrium and can harm them. Regular cleaning, once or twice a month, will ensure that deep cleaning is not necessary. Be vigilant and double-check that all the fish tank filters and pumps are working properly. You can also perform an ammonia nitrate test to ensure the right pH balance in the water. 


Although fish tank cleaning won’t be a chore of our choice, it is our responsibility as pet owners. A healthy fish tank will contribute to a healthy life for our fish. It will keep our aquatic companions happy and safe. Fishes are sensitive animals; if you don’t take proper care of their food and surroundings, you might lose them early. Some people also find cleaning therapeutic. So if you do this chore with a positive attitude, you too could become one of them. Hope you’ve understood the best way to clean a fish tank and how often should you clean your fish tank.