If you are reading this, you probably own an aquarium and want to learn the best ways to clean it? I’ll show you all the tricks!
Taking care of aquarium fish is a rewarding hobby to pursue. Adding fish to your tank can be exciting, especially if you have kids as I do. However, as time goes on, it can also be a big responsibility to care for the fish and the tank's water condition.
Truth be told, cleaning an aquarium over time can be a pain in the neck. However, it is important for various reasons. For example, it helps keep fish healthy. In fact, this article reveals the secrets of how to clean aquarium properly and in less time, so, stick around!
Table of Contents
Best Water To Use For Aquarium
As a beginner, you should know that nearly anything can be harmful to your fish, even using the wrong water is not a good idea. Below is a table containing what can and cannot be used.
|Use||Should Not Use|
|Well Water||Tap Water(With chlorine presence)|
|Bottled Water||Distilled Water|
|Rain Water||River or lake water|
Method 1: How To Clean Aquarium - Light Cleaning
Estimated Time To Finish - 1 Hour
This isn’t the major cleaning method we will be covering in this article. The thorough cleaning method I will be sharing later is going to take a lot of your time, if you don’t have time on your hands, I would suggest you use this light cleaning method.
Supplies You Will Need;
- Aquarium Siphon Hose
Note: While siphoning make sure the aquarium is higher than the bucket below it. This makes it easier for water to go through.
Step 1: Clean The Sand or Gravel
For this, you will need a special siphoning tool. It is cheap and can be gotten almost anywhere, you need to place the hose inside the aquarium and suck up the dirt that has accumulated over time in the sand or gravel.
You can do this without removing the fish from the aquarium. We have already covered a detailed article on how to clean aquarium sand and how to clean aquarium gravel. Give it a read for exclusive content on how to clean the sand or gravel.
Step 2: Clean The Decorations
The decorations in your aquarium are another spot that contains a lot of residues, a quick way to clean decorations is also by using the aquarium siphon hose. Just place the hose inside the aquarium and then at the corners of the decorations. It will suck out the dirt from the decorations.
Step 3: Clean The Outer Glass
The last step involves cleaning the outer glass. If you have kids, they probably have greased the glass of your aquarium, using a towel with a little bit of vinegar can help revive the glass. Also, clean the hood, and top of the aquarium.
Doing this should make your aquarium glass look as good as new, but if it doesn’t, then you probably have a glass with the dreaded white residue. Not to worry, we have covered some tips on how to clean aquarium glass white residue.
As I said earlier, this is the light cleaning method, it shouldn’t take much of your time.
Method 2: How To Clean Aquarium: Deep Cleaning
Estimated Time To Finish - 3 Hours
This method would require time and patience, we have made it easy to understand for beginners. Unlike the light cleaning method, deep cleaning involves detailed cleansing of the entire aquarium.
Ensure that you read thoroughly and understand all the steps before beginning the deep cleaning process.
Supplies You Will Need
- 3 Bowls
- Bucket (Large enough to contain old aquarium water)
- Algae Scraper
Step 1: Remove Fish
The fish step involves removing the fish from the aquarium. To do this you need to get a bowl and simply scoop the fish with a fair amount of the old water inside the bowl. Do Not add water from another source, you will need to use the exact same water from the aquarium.
If scooping the fish with a bowl seems difficult, you could also use a net, however, you need to be careful so you don’t damage the fish fins. Take out the fish and place it inside the bowl with old water.
Step 2. Scoop Out Old Water Into Bucket
Use another bowl to scoop out water from the aquarium and empty the old water inside a bucket. Keep on scooping until about 5-10% of the old water is remaining in the aquarium.
You can throw away the water in the bucket, however, the 5-10% in the aquarium should be kept. This is because it contains beneficial bacteria that the fish needs to survive.
Step 3: Remove Flowers & Other Decorations
The next thing to do is carefully remove the flowers, caves, rocks, and just about anything you had placed in your aquarium for the sake of decoration. The rocks and other things can go in the same bowl, tray, or whatever.
The flowers need to be placed together in a different bowl as we do not want them to get damaged.
Step 4: Remove 70% Of Gravel or Sand
Remove about 70-80% of the gravel or sand in your aquarium into another bowl. After doing this, you can clean it by doing a thorough rinse with a bucket and water. Just put the gravel or sand in and give it a proper wash, then use a filter to drain out the water leaving only the clean substrate. After this is done, set aside the clean gravel.
Step 5: Use Algae Scraper
Have you noticed an excessive build-up of algae inside your aquarium? Well, the algae scraper is an amazing tool for getting rid of algae in your aquarium. After completing the steps above, now is the best time to use the scrapper.
Simply scrub in an up-down motion carefully removing the algae from the glass. After removing a fair amount your aquarium should look better than it was.
Step 6: Clean The Decorations
If your decorations look fine you can skip this step, however, if they look dirty and have algae on them, you will have to clean them before inserting them back in the aquarium. The cleaning process is easy.
Get some water, place them inside, and use an algae scraper to remove the dirt. Do not use detergents or soap. If the algae seems stubborn you can prepare a 10% bleach solution and soak the decorations in for about 15 minutes then scrub off residue.
Rinse the decorations thoroughly with tap water and allow them to be completely dry, give it a sniff with your nose, if you smell bleach, you’ll need to rinse and dry again. Do not place it inside the aquarium if it still has the smell of bleach.
Step 7: Put The Gravel Into The Aquarium
Your clean sand or gravel is ready to go back into the aquarium. Place the substrate at the bottom and use your fingers to make sure it is leveled appropriately.
Step 8: Put Back The Decorations & Plants
Carefully put back your aquarium plants and decorations. For the plants, you need to make sure the roots are sunk into the sand.
Step 9: Add Water
Now It’s time to add water. You can use well water, or bottled water as they do not contain harmful substances that might kill your fish. Tap water can also be used, however, be certain that it doesn’t contain chlorine.
Step 10: Bring In The Fish
The final step is bringing in the fish. While the fish is still having fun swimming in the small bowl containing old water, place the bowl into the aquarium and cover the aquarium up. This is done for proper acclimatization.
Allow the fish to stay in the bowl while it is inside the tank for about 15 minutes, then slowly introduce the fish and old water to the aquarium. Remove the bowl afterward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take fish out of tank when cleaning?
You are expected to clean your fish tank at least twice a month, but that doesn’t mean you have to take out the fish every time you want to clean, doing this would stress the fish and you could also hurt them accidentally. My suggestion is; leave your fish in the tank while cleaning, but you can take the fish out once a year where you drain out all the water and clean the aquarium gravel or sand.
How do you clean a fish tank without killing the fish?
Do not use other solvents. Make sure you are cleaning the tank without any other chemicals. If you must use solvents, carefully transfer your fish to a safe temporary water jug that contains the same water from the main aquarium. Also, when using the hose to clean aquarium sand be careful not to siphon the fish into the tubing. If you are careful enough, your fish should be just fine during tank cleaning.
How often should you completely clean a fish tank?
You should clean your fish tank twice a month and it should look great. Although a thorough clean can be done once in a year, this is where you would have to take out all the fish, snails, and other livestock, you’d also need to drain out the water completely.
How often should I clean gravel in fish tank?
Most people clean the gravel using the siphon method once a month, but I would recommend cleaning the gravel twice a month (once every two weeks). You can also take out the gravel and wash it thoroughly once a year. Also, if you have a habit of cleaning your fish tank twice a month, feel free to take a break for a month, it won’t hurt.
That’s the end of this guide on how to clean aquarium. There are other methods out there, however, I would highly recommend this for beginners looking at cleaning their fish tank without causing harm to their fish.
Remember, the last thing you want to use in your aquarium is a detergent or any other chemical. The wrong amount could kill your fish.
Thanks for stopping by, feel free to comment below if you have questions or contributions regarding this article.