The Best Way to Clean an Aquarium

In general, fish are low-maintenance pets. They only need a bit of food, clean water and oxygen. In this article, we'll show you how to clean an aquarium in the right way so you can keep your fish healthy and calm.
The Best Way to Clean an Aquarium

Written by Jose Popoff

Last update: 10 October, 2022

Usually, we should place our fish in a ventilated area of ​​our room. The water traps substances from the environment that settle on the walls. Plus, the fish also make their own little messes. No matter where the tank is, however, it’s important to keep the aquarium clean.
Are you ready to learn how to keep your fish in a clean and healthy environment? Continue reading.

What do you need to clean an aquarium?

What do you need to clean an aquarium

To start, it’s important that you have everything ready before starting, including towels, because it’s likely you will spill some water out of the aquarium while you clean.
Keep in mind that your priority should be to cause the least possible impact on the fish. That’s why the water must be removed little by little. Now, these are the materials you must have on hand to start cleaning:
  • 1 empty bucket
  • Clean towels
  • 1 water siphon
  • 1 algae scraper
  • Water conditioner

See also: Find Out What Pet is Most Beneficial for You

How to clean an aquarium correctly?

Large aquarium in living room

Again, we’d like to remind you that you must be very careful not to disturb the fish so as not to cause them harm.
  1. Put the clean towel around your aquarium to absorb any water you spill. Place more towels around it if one is insufficient.
  2. Very carefully, remove all the ornaments from the tank and clean them with the help of a sponge and hot running water.
  3. Make sure you remove any algae that they may have. Do not use abrasive cleansers as they can leave residues inside the ornament and damage your fish. The chemicals contained in utensil cleaning soaps are toxic to your fish.
  4. Clean the inner glass of the aquarium using an algae scraper. Perform ascending and descending movements, slowly. First, use the roughest part of the scraper and then the smooth surface.
  5. Then, use the net to remove the dirt that accumulates on the surface.
  6. After, proceed to remove part of the water with the siphon. Place the smallest end of the siphon inside the aquarium and the widest part inside the empty bucket.
  7. Make gentle but fast movements with the siphon inside the aquarium until the water starts to come out through it. If you have access to one, you can also use a small pump that makes the job easier.
  8. Place the siphon on the gravel that is dirty so that it sucks part of the dirt off. Be careful not to suck up any stones that can get stuck in the siphon.
  9. When you already have 15 or 20% water in the aquarium, remove the siphon. You do not have to clean all the gravel in the aquarium, only some parts.
  10. Re-insert the clean decorations.
  11. Add clean water from the tap to the aquarium to finish filling the tank with the water conditioner. When pouring in clean water, be careful to do it slowly, in a corner, so as not to disturb the fish.

We recommend you read: Why Pets Are So Good For Our Health

Recommendations to clean an aquarium

Large and vibrant aquarium
  • Wash the aquarium at least once a week.
  • Do not use bleach, or soaps of any kind as you can poison the fish.
  • If you see algae growing on the fish, it’s necessary to clean it immediately.
  • Use the cleaning utensils of your aquarium exclusively for that use.  Otherwise, you could introduce bacteria that can harm your fish.
  • There are some fish known as “cleaning fish” (like small catfish) that eat the debris that floats in the water. Before introducing them, make sure they are compatible with the fish that are already in your aquarium.
  • Make sure that the new water that you are going to introduce is of the same temperature as the one that is already in the fish tank to avoid the fish suffering from thermal shock.
  • Finally, it’s important to be aware that the more fish there are in an aquarium, the faster the water will get dirty.
  • If you have plants, make sure to remove them carefully and wash them well.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.