How To Clean Fish Tanks

How to Clean Fish Tanks?


Fish tanks or aquariums are a magnificent form of hobbies. It presents hours of soothing, delightful amusement. They can be an excellent source for your children to learn about ecosystems. In another way, it will relieve their stress of everyday life.

A fish tank is a transparent pail, a container or a pool filled with water in which living fish and other underwater creatures and aquatic plants are kept. Some people love to think -a fish tank or aquarium are not the same. But most of the time we use both the terms interchangeably.


Setting up a fish tank and its maintenance is not an easy job. There are some areas of concern. If you are thinking to set up a fish tank, please go through the considerations that are given below:

  • Start-up expense and variation of  fish
  • Size and placement of fish tank
  • Fortitude and the cycle of nitrogen
  • Supplements and foodstuff
  • Purchasing hale and hearty fish
  • Radiator and thermometer
  • To clean up the fish tank

Cleansing Etiquette of fish tanks:

Most people buy their fish tanks from the giant ‘Box Stores' There nobody knows nothing about nurturing fishes instead their intention is to only sell you their stuff.

As a result, beginner fish tank enthusiast becomes uncertain of what to do with their aquarium, how to keep it running how to set it up, or how to clean fish tank.

Eventually, scum appears everywhere in the tank, makes it ugly and fish breaths its last breathe.

Is it creating frustration in you? Don't worry, be happy! I am here to tell you my fish nurturing knowledge. The formats are bit unique, but the recommendations are similar. In this section, I will provide you step by step lessons on cleaning a fish tank.

You need to apply the entire process once a month. But keep in mind this should be done every two to three weeks if you have predatory fish. In this article, I am illustrating how to clean a freshwater or saltwater fish tank.


Freshwater fish tanks:

Step 1:

Prepare your cleaning supplies. Make sure you have taken all the required tools and prepared your work space.

  • You need to estimate the amount of water, you want to  change;
  • An algae pad is mandatory to wash the inside glass of your tank;
  • A bigger container can contain 5 or 10- gallon water or even more;
  • A non-battery operated siphon type gravel vacuum;
  • You will need filter media if replacing media is necessary;
  • We will use vinegar based solution or nontoxic fish tank glass cleaner;
  • 10% bleach solution in a separate bucket which is  non-compulsory;
  • You may keep metal or plastic razor as an optional tool. But stay careful whenever you are up to wash acrylic tanks, they are very much scratchy;
  • If your fish are meticulous eaters, do not pour all the water cleaner in with siphoning the water. Siphon half of the tank in a week and do the rest after 2-3 weeks;

Step 2:

In this step, you need to wash up the sides of the fish tank with the help of algae pad.  A little scrubbing is necessary for removing the sticky algae from your tank.  

You can use plastic or metal blade to scrape off the tricky patch of residue. You may wear rubber glass during accomplishing this job but keep them away from the chemical. You can conduct this step after removing 10-20% of the water.

Step 3:

Here you have to calculate how much water you want to replace. Replacing 10-20% of the water once a week should be sufficient if you dirt free your tank on a consistent schedule and your fish are hale and hearty. You are recommended to change at least 25% to 50% of the water if you have ill fish.

Step 4:

Step 4 is related to siphoning out the stale water. Initiate the siphon and put the old water into a container, preferably a five or ten- gallon pail(or bigger if necessary).

My suggestion is to buy a new bucket only for cleaning fish tanks; residuals of soaps and detergents can be injurious to your fish.

Fish tank siphon connected to sink is available in the market; such sort of siphon inhibits water spilling from the pail.

While stuffing the tank using the taps, you can also select the absorption of the water as well as the temperature.


Step 5:

By pushing the gravel vacuum in the gravel, Fish waste, excess food, and other debris will be captivated into the vacuum. Do not use the shovel vacuum if you have sand substrate.  Utilize merely the hose portion of the siphon, gripping it under an inch from the surface to suck up waste without disturbing your sand.

Step 6:

Tank decorations require cleaning too as excess nutrients in the water instigate redundant algae. Using algae pad or a never used soft-bristled toothbrush, you can wipe off the decorations with no trouble. Apart from this, you can remove all the decorations and soak the items in a 10% bleach solution for 15 minutes.

Step 7:

In this part, you are going to replace stale water with fresh, treated water at the temperature of the fish tank. You can use the thermometer to verify the temperature. A major change in temperature can kill your fish. A simple trick is to use Declor that will turn the water into room temperature. And if the nitrates go up, you can mix 50-75% distilled water with your tank water.

How To Clean Fish Tanks

Step 8:

Do not forget to add fresh fish tank salt! Fish like Mollies, guppies, and platies live longer and healthier lives. Fish tank salt also assists to avert diseases such as (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis).

Step 9:

When the salt water evaporates, it creates salt creep; salt creep generates the tank environment cloudy. Wait for a few hours until it dispels.

Although you will find some water agents available in markets, my request is to avoid them. Due to underlying problems, the water still remains cloudy, and the agent will not be a permanent solution somewhat being a mask.

Step 10:

Now to move on cleaning the exterior. Swab the outer surface including the tank top, hood, beam, and glass. Only use fish tank-safe solution, regular cleanser generates ammonia fumes which can harm your fish. In regarding this, you can use vinegar based solution, and it will be the more fish-friendly agent.

Step 11:

Replacing cartridges once in a month is another step to keep your fish tank clean. If you do not change cartridges on a regular schedule, it can be detrimental to your fish health.

Because the filter cartridge contains carbon in it. You can rinse off cartridges weekly during changing the water, though the replacement of cartridges once in a month is obvious.

Saltwater fish tanks

In case of saltwater fish tank cleaning, the steps are similar to freshwater tank cleaning. We will only add an extra step to ensure the pH of water.

Adjoining saltwater solution into the tank is a bit different from the freshwater fish tank. Here we need to balance the temperature; salinity and pH of the water are all within a tolerable range for your fish.

You have to initiate a course of action, the night before you clean your tank. Purchase osmosis water from your nearby grocery shop. Put this water in a clean plastic pail which you will use only for this purpose.

Heat the water with a dedicated heater; available in pet stores. After this, add salt according to the rule of thumb. This rule means a half cup of mix for every gallon of water. Keep the water ventilate overnight.

In the morning, examine the salinity with a refract meter, or a hygrometer and temperature with a thermometer. The standard reading of salinity is between 1.021-1.025, and the temperature is between 73 and 82 degrees.


 Caution and Tips

  • Do not use the kitchen scrubber that could have the residue of detergent or cleaning chemicals; it can be the reason for your fish death.
  • If you keep the pleco in your tank, it will inhibit algae from growing excessively.
  • Do not forget to keep some space between the water and the top of the tank. This space provides enough oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange to breathe, and for that, fish can expand their top fin cheerfully
  • People often think goldfishes are a short-lived animal. But it can live for 48 years! All you need to keep your tank tolerable for its living.
  • If your kid pours edible iodine salt to your goldfish tank, immediately get the fish out and clean the tank. Iodine can poison your fish.
  • Get rid of sunlight if you want to get rid of the algae.

Final Words

In 1850, Robert Warrington, a chemist, fully developed the fish tanks' principles. Eventually, it has turned into a people's hobby. To keep your fish tank healthy and affable for your​ beautiful  fish, it needs proper upkeep.

I hope now the process of cleaning a fish tank has become more accessible to you. And you know what? Keeping your fish health fit means safekeeping your health fit.

About the Author Team Chooserly

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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