How To Clean A Fish Tank

Have you ever walked by your fish tank and smelled THAT smell? You know the one. A serious funk that you can’t ignore any longer. Here are some tips to help you learn how to clean a fish tank and get rid of that funk.


There are quite a few factors for you to consider when you decide how often you need to need to clean your tank. It depends on how big your tank is, what kind of filtration system (if any) you have, as well as how many fish you keep.

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For the sake of this article, we recommend cleaning your tank once a month, but you should always be aware of the fact that your fish tank may have different cleaning needs and you should be in tune with that.


Let me start off by saying that for a general clean, there is no need to take your fish out of the tank. You aren’t required to drain the tank/aquarium for this process, so they’re perfectly safe to stay in the tank. It’s also more stressful and harmful to transfer the fish in and out of the tank than it is for them to be in it while cleaning.

Now, if your tank has a heater, filter, and/or an air plug, you will need to unplug those before you start your cleaning process. You’ll also need to take out any artificial plants and decorations. Trust me, your fish will survive without their shipwreck-themed home for a little bit.

You’ll begin by cleaning the inside of your tank’s glass. You don’t even need to buy a fancy cleaning tool. A microfiber cloth works great. Be sure to rub in small circles to avoid streaks. You will also want to take the temperature of your water. This will come in handy later.

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For this next part you’ll need a gravel siphon. You can find these at any pet store or easily online. Take out about 1/4 of the water in your tank, siphoning it off into a bucket or bowl (depending on the size of your tank) so you can dump it out later. Siphon at the bottom of the tank to collect settled debris, even if you don’t have gravel.

Next, scrub any and all of the decorations you have in your tank, even the fake plants. Then, if you have a filter, be sure to rinse that off with clean, cold water. Once these steps are done, your decorations and filter pad are ready to be returned to the tank.

Finally, it’s time to dump out the old water you siphoned off and replace it with fresh, clean water from the tap.

Remember to adjust the water temperature as necessary to match the temperature of the water in your tank. This is to ensure that your little fishy friends aren’t shocked by a sudden temperature change.

You can now plug your heater, filter, and/or air plug back in and you are all done!