cleaning goldfish tank

More Tips On Cleaning a Fishtank

Here are some tips on how to clean a fishtank aquarium

How to clean them the right way is to not lose all the beneficial bacterial build up in the water that eliminates the waste produced by the fish in the fish tank water.

For that reason you want to be careful about cleaning things such as the filtration system the wrong way because you may be losing water quality benefits from ignorance.

If your tank is in extremely bad condition not knowing how to clean a fish tank the right way may mean that you have to start from scratch.

How to keep everything clean is easy but requires a little time and elbow grease together with a few easy to obtain cleaning materials such as:

Algae scraper or pad


• Bucket – (Always use a new bucket and keep it for the sole task of cleaning your fish tank because if you use a bucket that has had soap or detergent in it, you could introduce deadly chemicals into the water of your fish tank.)

Filter brush

•Filter medium

Lime remover and glass cleaner for aquariums

•Razor blade for glass tanks and plastic blade for acrylic tanks

•Old bath towels

•Paper towels

Water siphon

The first task is to make sure you have everything you need for cleaning and to gather them together ready to tackle the job. Then you need a simple plan of action to complete the job.

The best way is to clean things is in order by first removing the fish from the water to a safety environment.

And then start with the inside glass or acrylic of the tank. Then take care of the rocks, plants and decorative items.

Next it is the gravel and then the outside and fittings of your tank, including the filter. Be careful as you remove everything form the tank and just go easy step by easy step in a regular order so that nothing is missed.

Also be careful not to damage the aquarium filtration systems and mechanical filters.

Cleaning A Fish Tank Aquarium

As I’ve already said keeping everything looking good in your aquarium just takes a bit of frequency, elbow grease and some simple tools.

Let’s quickly look at them.

Using algae pads or scrapers to remove it is great for glass tanks but care needs to be taken with acrylic tanks because once scratched they are ruined.

So razor blades for glass and plastic for acrylic is a good rule.

There is a big selection of scrapers available in most pet stores and of course online.

Beware of those from hardware stores because they may be impregnated with chemicals and any chemical particles will be deadly to your fishes. Care needs to be taken not to introduce dangerous substances by cutting corners.

Using bleach as a cleaning agent is much better than soap or detergents because these are very difficult to remove completely. Any trace of detergent or soap in your tank will be lethal for your fish.

The bleach cleaning solution needs to be 10% bleach and you need to soak the items for cleaning for between fifteen and twenty minutes. Scrub clean and rinse well under running water.

Then leave to air dry. For plants (not stem) a weak solution of 5% bleach can be used. Soak the plants for a couple of minutes and the rinse, rinse, rinse well.

A water siphon should be used to clean the gravel of the fish tank and there are a number of various types available in stores or via the Internet.

Get the best you can afford because it’s the gravel that holds most of the debris in your fish tank. How to clean a fish tank isn’t rocket science but using the best tools you can makes it more effective.

Knowing how to clean a fish tank aquarium the right way means taking care with the outside of your fish tank and all the fittings because household glass cleaners contain ammonia, which is toxic to fish.

Regular lime cleaners are even more toxic. So you need to look for cleaning products designated as aquarium safe. A safer alternative is vinegar but again use caution and rinse everything well two or three times to remove residue.

Work on the principle of clean rinse, rinse and rinse with clear cold water.

Once the cleaning of the outside of the aquarium is completed, the rocks, plants, gravel and other decorations may be reintroduced in the tank.

It is best to wait a couple of weeks before cleaning the fish tank filtration system because the major clean you’ve just carried out has disturbed the beneficial bacteria found on the rocks, plant, decorations and gravel. 

The filtration system also acts as a home for these beneficial bacteria and you don’t want to eliminate this bacterium completely.

comet goldfish

If you changed the filter when you cleaned the tank you would be removing these beneficial bacteria that eliminates toxins from your fish tank.

This is just one benefit of knowing how to clean a fish tank aquarium the right way.

Cleaning is carried out in two stages, first the tank and then a couple of weeks later the filtration system. There is some disagreement as to whether you should clean or simply replace the filtration medium.

Some experts’ say that replacing this removes too many of the beneficial bacterium and others argue that a sufficient bacterium resides on the rocks, plants, decorations, accessories and in the gravel.

lionhead goldfish

Some say that if your filter contains carbon, ammonia absorbers, or ion-exchange resins, it should be replaced if it’s more than three weeks old.

A filtration system that uses ceramic rings, fibers or sponges should be gently but quickly rinsed in water, that is the same temperature as the fish tank water, instead of being replaced.

This way the bacterium growing on them will not be lost entirely. Care should also be taken to clean the tubing and other parts because doing things right will benefit of your fish.


If you maintain your fish tank on a regular basis you will find that the need for a major clean will be eliminated.

Scrape the glass or acrylic every week and clean any rocks, decorations, accessories or plants as soon as you see dirt or algae on them. If you remove this you will help your pets.

Clean the water filtration system and accessories every month, either by replacing the medium, or by rinsing it.

Also, vacuum the gravel bed every time you change the water.

Remove dirt from the water filtration and be vigilant in your aquarium care.