Aquarium Maintenance

How to clean a Fish Tank for Beginners

How to clean a fish tank

Learning how to clean a fish tank is a compulsory skill in fishkeeping. A clean aquarium not only looks good, but also helps maintain the health and happiness of your fish. This is because over time, nitrates and metabolites can form, which can affect the appearance of your tank and the well-being of your fish. While most fish tank owners buy filters to help keep the water clean, even the best versions on the market are not enough to keep your tank clean and completely healthy.

How often should I clean my fish tank?

Knowing exactly when and how to clean a fish tank will depend on many factors including the size of your aquarium, as well as the number of fish, the type of fish and the filter system you have. However, there is a standard program of cleaning activities that can help you..

There should be no need to clean your tank every day, but there are other things you can look for that will help you understand if your tank is cleaned often enough to keep your fish healthy. Just look at them for a few seconds to make sure they are behaving normally and are not out of breath or looking lazy.

For a large tank, a weekly water change can be very helpful to the health and well-being of your fish. To do this you must remove about one-quarter of the volume of water in the tank, and replace it with treated water.

It is also important to keep an eye on the levels of ammonia, nitrate and pH inside your tank and a monthly check should be sufficient. Ideally they should remain solid every month, so keep a record in a safe place so you have something to compare your reading with. Other indications of problems with your water quality may include discoloration, cloudiness or if your fish behave abnormally. You should also clean your filter cartridges at least once a month.

Twice a year you should do a complete thorough cleaning of your tank and all associated equipment. This means removing everything connected to it and check if everything is in a good condition, including filters, pumps, lights and other. Be sure to replace any broken or damaged parts, and use your tools to remove dust, dirt and more.

Supplies You Will Need
  • Cleaning pad or algae scrapper
  • Bucket
  • A bowl or container to temporarily house the fish
  • water conditioner
  • Cup
  • Filter media
  • Plastic razor to remove stubborn dirt off the glass
  • Fish net
  • Siphon or gravel vacuum
  • Paper towels
  • Water in a bowl for refilling


Here’s a to everything you need to know about how to clean a fish tank.

How to Clean a Fish Tank

Step 1: Turn off all equipment

Before removing any water, be sure to turn off or remove all appliances. Aquarium heaters and filters are not designed to operate without water so they can be damaged when they run in dry air. if you have ornamental plants Or artificial plants, remove it too.

Step Two – Water Removal

Use a siphon gravel vacuum, with an attached hose to clean the gravel and remove water. The siphon has some suction and you can use this to absorb any dirt or debris that sits on the bottom of the tank.

Drain the water and put it in a container to keep your fish while you clean the tank. Use a fishnet net and gently remove your fish from the tank, placing them in a container you have just filled.

Step Three – Clean the Inside Glass

Use an algae pad to clean the inside glass. There are a variety of algae scrapers in the market, from magnetic scrubbers to long-handled scrapers. Do not use algae pad with soap or chemicals to clean as this can kill the fish.

For stubborn residue on the glass that won’t go off, use a razor blade to scrape them off. Be careful not to cut yourself. For an aquarium that is acrylic, you can use a plastic razor to prevent it from scratching.

Step 4: Prepare the decorations

When the inside glass is clean, remove stones, artificial plants, and ornaments with algae growth or dirt. Do not wash with soap or detergent. It is very difficult to remove the soap completely as they can be harmful to the fish. Use an algae scraper to clean the ornaments and rinse with warm water to remove algae and dirt.

Step 5: Clean the filter

Start by unplugging and cleaning it using water and white vinegar. Then scrub it with a filter brush to remove any algae, and then let it dry, or you can after unplugging the filter this, remove it and rinse it.

You should do this at least once a month. Many beginners think of filters like a black hole where fish poop and dirt disappear magically from the water. In fact, filters are like garbage cans, which must be cleaned regularly to remove any debris before the filter clogs up.

Check your filter cartridge and clean it as well, then rinse with cold clean water.

Step 6: Refill the water

At this point, you can finally refill the tank with fresh, clean water that matches the same temperature of the aquarium. Put your fish in the tank when you think it is ready.

Finally, connect the heater and arrange all your artificial plants and decorations in a way that pleases you. Do not turn on the lights immediately. By keeping it dark for a few hours after the water has been changed and cleaned, you can reduce the impact of stress on your fish.

Sit back and enjoy your clean tank.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fish Tank Maintenance

Here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions about fish tank maintenance.

Q: How do I remove algae from my fish tank?

A: Algae growth is common in aquariums, but you don’t have to wait for your regular aquarium cleaning to remove algae.

Tools such as magnetic scrubbers can be used to gently scrub off the algae on your tank walls. As the parasite blooms regularly following events such as overeating, it is important to exercise self-control when feeding your fish.

If this unwanted algae growth continues, increase the frequency of water changes.

Q: How often should I clean my sponges or filter pads?

A: As often as possible!

Mechanical filtration achieves little or no effect if the trace of a living organism is allowed to rot in the area. In addition to the practices suggested above, cleaning your filters regularly helps to control algae growth and maintain water clarity.

What If You Don’t Clean Your Fish Tank Regularly?

Over time, if you do not clean your fish tank regularly, you can expose your fish to ammonia buildup, as well as nitrites, which can pose a serious risk to your fish.

Not cleaning it regularly can also affect your fish environment as this can cause discolouration, your fish may start to fall sick or exhibit decreased energy, so if the tank is not properly cleaned, this can lead to death. Cleaning your fish tank regularly as well as other contaminants, is important.

How Large Should Your Fish Tank be to keep the water clean and healthy?

Ideally, if you have small fish of three inches or less, you should not store more than one inch of fish per gallon of water. Large fish will take up a lot of space and emit a lot of waste. If your fish tank contains a large number of fishes, your fish tank will see a lot of waste formation. If you keep few fishes, your fish tank will be easy to control and you can go a long way without cleaning it.

How long does it take to clean the aquarium?

The time required to completely clean a fish tank will depend on the size of the fish tank itself. Typically, a small tank of one to five liters will take about 15 minutes to clean, while larger aquariums can take about an hour. Dirtiness and associated equipment will also interfere with the time to clean the aquarium.

How do I clean a fish tank with eggs in it?

You can simply wait till the eggs are hatched, most eggs hatch within a week so they should not affect your cleaning schedule much.

But if you still want to clean, just simply avoid where the eggs were laid. If the eggs were laid in the gravel, just avoid the gravel areas and clean the other areas.

If they have been laid elsewhere – just avoid that area during your regular cleaning and do not expose the eggs to air.

Should I remove my fish during water changes?

Unless you have a very small bowl, you do not need to remove your fish while making a water change.

Fish don’t like to be disturbed and removing them can create stress. If necessary, keep them in the same water as their aquarium.

Ideally, you should do a water change with a small bowl.


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