How to Clean a Fish Tank

We have 3 fish tanks in our house that my kids love. Our fish are our family pets! We’ve become masters throughout the years in how to clean a fish tank because it’s important to make sure your fish are in a clean tank. Just like you take care of other family animals, it’s important to make sure you take care of the fish, too.

How to Clean a Fish Tank

how to clean a fish tank

You should be taking the time to regularly to make sure your fish tanks are always clean and healthy. I know it can be overwhelming to look at a large fish tank and figure out how to clean it, but it’s worth it. When you take the time to learn how to clean a fish tank, you’ll be glad you did.

I’m going to give you some basic things that you can and should be doing when it comes to cleaning your fish tank. I’m also going to share some products that are great to have on hand at home, too. I wish it was as easy as just taking a sponge from the sink to clean it, but it’s not. It’s a little more involved than that, but still easy (I promise).

how to clean a fish tank

When you’re looking at ways on how to clean a fish tank, this post is centered around fish tanks that are already in use. I wanted to make sure I shared about how you can take care of one once there’s already fish in it. I know it can look a little involved, but this will keep your fish alive and healthy!

First piece of advice when it comes to how to clean a fish tank is to keep yourself on a schedule with cleaning one. Take the time to circle a date on your calendar. You need to make sure you do it regularly, not just when it looks all nasty in side. We take the time to clean them at the beginning of every month.

how to clean a fish tank

There are some pretty incredible and in-depth videos out there for how to clean a fish tank, but I wanted to do a solid overview of what we do and what we have (in terms of products) for fish tank cleaning. It’s a process and something you should commit to with your family.

There a few things you need to think about when doing your routine cleaning of your fish tank.

1. Algae build-up

2. Filters

3. Aquarium sand

how to clean a fish tank

When it comes to how to clean a fish tank, these are the (3) biggies that we check off of our list each month.

OK, first step for how to clean a fish tank? We always clean the inside of the glass. (The outside is important, too. You can do that with a rag and cleaner.) You need to make sure you have the proper items to clean the inside, my advice is to get a API Algae SCRAPERS and Hand HELD Pads. These are the best and what we use.

how to clean a fish tank

API HAND HELD ALGAE PAD FOR GLASS AQUARIUMS quickly removes unsightly algae from glass aquariums. ALGAE PAD uses a durable scrubbing pad with hand-held control to clean nooks and crannies. Not for use on dry surfaces; rinse pad with tap water before and after each use.

To avoid breaking or scratching aquarium, do not use extreme pressure on ALGAE PAD. Product contains 1 scrubbing pad for use on glass aquariums. With API Aquarium products, it’s easy to keep a beautiful saltwater, freshwater or reef aquarium.

For over 50 years, API has been creating innovative, research-driven solutions that make it easier to care for your fish and aquarium. API Aquarium Treatment Supplies are designed to work in conjunction with each other to provide best results to control algae, promote healthy bacterial growth and help control and cure fish diseases and conditions such as ich and fin rot.

They work to provide a safe, hospitable environment for fish such as tropical community fish, cichlids, goldfish and more. With API, you can spend more time admiring your fish, and less time scrubbing your tank. Make sure to use all products as directed in order to ensure the best results.

I just want to reiterate how inexpensive these are, less than $10.

how to clean a fish tank

Many of us have decor in our fish tanks. I know it’s one thing that my kids love to buy when we’re out at the pet store and add into their tanks. You can and should clean these items when you’re cleaning your tank. Years ago my husband asked at a pet store how we should go about cleaning these items and they said with water and bleach.

We were worried about the bleach, but it’s true – it works. Take a large bucket (we have one designated solely for fish tank cleaning, which is something I would suggest). Fill the bucket up with water and then add about 1/4 cup of bleach into the water. It will still smell, so be careful!

Take all of your decor and toys you have inside the tank and just immerse them into the water solution with the bleach. Let them sit in there while you clean the tank. We usually let them soak for about 30 minutes. Then we take them out and rinse them REALLY well with water from the sink and wipe them down. After you do this process and when your tank is ready, they can head back in.

I have to say, just buy cleaning the toys and the inside of the fish tank, you will already see a big difference! These are 2 things when it comes to how to clean a fish tank that really make a fantastic transformation.

Let’s talk about cleaning the gravel and potentially draining the water when cleaning your fish tank. You need to make sure you have a Fish Tank Siphon and Gravel Cleaner, which also serves as A Hand Syphon Pump to Drain and Change Water. You can grab one for less than $20

how to clean a fish tank

With this tool, you can remove the dirt from the bottom of your aquarium. Supplied with long suction pipe, it is suitable for both large and small aquariums

This tool is easy to install and use. You can use this tool freely for its high safety performance Innovative auto siphon pump (Semi-automatic Water Changer ), quick & easy.

When it comes to figuring out how to clean your filter in the “how to clean your fish tank” series, this one is an easy one for you, too. Make sure you purchase an Aquarium Filter Brush.

Aquarium Filter Brush

FLEXIBLE DOUBLE ENDED BRUSH:made of high quality soft nylon bristles and stainless steel, flexible two-end long brush, sky blue plastic and it can reuse for many times, easy to push and pull.

PERFECT TOOLS FOR TUBE CLEANING:this hose brush is perfectly used to clean small diameter pipes and it remove the gunk build up and even algae when they run into the tubing. Ideal for all aquarium,fish tank,pet drinking fountain and home kitchen.

I just want to reiterate here that this isn’t something you need to do every single month, we do this many every 2-3 months. You also don’t want to do this at the same time you’re doing the other cleaning methods in the tank because it’s too much disturbance for the water.

how to clean a fish tank

It’s also a good idea to give your fish tank a good wipe down on top, too. I just grab a wet rag and wipe down the top. I don’t like dust collection on top and figure if I’m taking the time with my family to clean inside the tank, the outside should be clean, too.

Let me know how this goes for you when learning how to clean a fish tank. Is there anything that YOU do that I didn’t mention. We all learn together! I just feel that one thing I always hear from friends with tanks is, “How do you clean a fish tank?” And so now – I hope you know!

Here are 10 Things To Do Before Bed to make your mornings easier.

If you’re not into real fish, check out my post on HEXABUG AQUABOT!





How to Clean a Fish Tank was last modified: March 24th, 2021 by Audrey McClelland
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How to Clean a Fish Tank was last modified: March 24th, 2021 by Audrey McClelland