How to Deep Clean Your Fish Tank

Keep your fish tank clean if you want your fish to be healthy and happy. Here’s a step-by-step break down to help you ensure that you’ve cleaned your fish tank the right way.

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to Deep Clean Your Fish Tank
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Do not clean your fish tank frequently as it can kill the beneficial bacterial colonies. However, if there is visible algae growth, it is time to clean the tank. Make sure you never use soap or any other kind of detergent, as the chemical residue can harm your fish.

Why You Should Clean Your Fish Tank

Water in your aquarium can easily become harmful to your fish if it is not maintained correctly. When people find out you keep fish, they probably imagine a crusty, algae-coated tank where you can barely see anything swimming inside.  Fish, like every other pet, require love, commitment and care. Part of keeping your fish happy and healthy is cleaning your fish tank on a regular basis, which includes partial water changes and water testing — all which are easy to do at home.

Ingredients to Keep Handy:

  • Fish net

  • Bowl or bucket with water

  • Algae scrubbing pad

  • Razor blade

  • Bleach

  • Water

  • Rubber gloves

  • water siphon pump

  • Vinegar

  • Cotton cleaning cloth

  • Filter brush

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Follow the steps given here for a thorough clean-up.

  1. Step 1: Take Out Your Fish

    Use a fish net to remove your fish from the tank and transfer them to a large bowl or bucket with some water from the tank.

  2. Step 2: Clean the Glass from Inside

    Grab an algae pad and clean the insides of your aquarium thoroughly. Algae pads are readily available in pet stores. For stubborn dirt residues, you can use a razor blade.

  3. Step 3: Clean the Decorative Items

    Take out the plants and other decorative items from your aquarium and soak them in warm water. Scrub gently with an algae scraper to get rid of the algae. If the residue is truly stubborn, mix 1 tsp. of bleach in ½ a bucket of water. Soak the plants and decorative items in the bleach solution for 10 minutes. Rinse the aquarium rocks and plants with water until there is no chlorine smell. Don’t forget to use rubber gloves when using bleach.

  4. Step 4: Clean the Gravel

    Use a water siphon pump to clean the debris from the gravel. The pressure in the gravel vacuum should be able to suck the debris from the gravel without sucking the gravel itself. The water that gets sucked in along with the gravel debris should be replaced with dechlorinated water. Water that contains chlorine is not safe for your fish, thus, it’s important to use dechlorinated water.

  5. Step 5: Clean the Exteriors

    Now, it’s time to clean the exteriors of your glass tank. You can use vinegar or a cleaner that has been labelled aquarium safe. Be sure to rinse the surfaces with a clean, damp cloth.

  6. Step 6: Clean the Filter

    Put back the decorative rocks and plants in the aquarium. Clean the filters at least 15 days after cleaning the rest of the tank to maintain good bacterial levels in the aquarium’s ecosystem. Use a filter brush to clear the sludge. Soak the filter assembly in a bleach solution for 5 minutes and then rinse all the parts with clean water thoroughly. Always use rubber gloves when using bleach.

Your fish tank is now a clean and happy place.

Originally published