On: 12 March 2021 

Owning A Fish Tank

Before purchasing your first fish tank, it’s important to understand the maintenance required to create a clean environment for your fish to live in. If you have an aquarium in your home or workplace, it is vital to keep your fish tank clean, not only for a better appearance, it is also essential to ensure your fish stay healthy and avoid unwanted diseases. This includes cleaning the ornaments in your tank with the correct method.




1. Cleaning The Inside Of Your Tank

Utilise an algae scraper or pad to clean the inside of your tank.It is best to purchase a scrubber that is designed for fish tanks in order to avoid damaging the glass and to make sure you can effectively clean the algae that builds up in your tank. Magnetic scrapers are pretty ideal for tanks that require a quick clean regularly.

If you find that your cleaning pad leaves residue in the tank, you can carefully use a stainless steel blade to clean the hard to tackle spots. If you have an acrylic tank, make sure you use a plastic scraper.

cleaning an aquarium
fish tank ornaments

2. Clean Fish Tank Ornaments

After you have finished cleaning the inside of the glass in your aquarium the next step is to clean the ornaments that have a large build-up of algae. To clean these ornaments give them a good scrub inside a bucket of warm water using an algae scraper brush. Plants that have an unhealthy build-up of algae can also be removed and replaced with new plants.


3. Cleaning The Water & Gravel

Turn off your heater and filter when beginning this process so it does not get exposed to air, then use a gravel cleaner siphon to remove debris from the bottom of the fish tank. Siphon hoses work great because they will remove the waste water without taking the gravel out of the tank. The water that is removed is discarded and replaced with dechlorinated water.

There are also water testing kits available in-store so you can safely adjust the levels of your tank water back to their natural balance. When using a siphon to clean the gravel, shake this about 5-10cm above the gravel to begin the siphoning process, aiming for about a 25% drop in water.

clean tank water & gravel
Clean Your Canister Filter

4. Clean Your Filter

It is necessary to perform maintenance on your filter as a build-up of detritus over-time can begin to release waste back into your tank. This is why it's ideal to choose a canister filter that is easy to clean and one that might give you the option to change your filter media to suit your tank. Cleaning the filter will usually last a little longer than the inside of your tank, however it is best to check your filter each time you clean the tank. Turn off your filter and open the cleaning compartment and remove the filter media, place this in a bucket of water and thoroughly clean the media. Then take your filter brush and scrub the tubes and compartment of the filter. If you are struggling to clean the filter media, this might also be a good time to change it.


5. Cleaning The Outside Of Your Tank

Use glass cleaner spray on the outside of your tank and wipe this away with a dry, soft lint-free cloth. Purchasing a micro-fibre cloth is a great way to ensure you don’t scratch the glass.

Cleaning Your Glass Tank

6. Let Your Tank Do The Work!

Add bubbles to your tank. Making sure your aquarium’s water is aerated and has an appropriate filter is also a great way to increase the time between these necessary maintenance days.

You can also let your fish do the work too! There are a variety of fish that you can purchase that love to eat algae and might help reduce the amount of cleaning. Below is a list of freshwater fish that are great additions to your aquarium (tank size permitting)


Fish That Will Clean Your Tank!

Frequently Asked Questions

As a team of fish lovers, we have been asked a number of questions over the years and have incorporated some helpful and frequently asked questions that should help you clean your fish tank properly without disrupting your fish or the healthy bacteria that has developed over time in your tank.

How Often Should I Clean My Fish Tank?

It really depends on how many fish you have and how efficient your filter is at cleaning the tank. It is usually recommended to clean your tank once every week. Creating a cleaning schedule is highly recommended so you keep on top of this.

How Long Does It Take To Clean An Aquarium?

The length of time to clean an aquarium largely depends on how big your tank is and how dirty it has gotten. It usually takes around an hour to clean your aquarium thoroughly.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Tank Regularly?

Your fish may die due to a build-up of nitrates and other toxic chemicals in the tank. There’s a good chance your water will turn green due to an algae build-up and you won’t get to enjoy the beautiful environment you have created for your fish. You can usually check for signs of unhealthy water in your fish by checking for loss of appetite, discolouration and slower movements.

Should I Remove The Fish When I Clean My Aquarium?

Fish do not like to be disturbed, so for regular maintenance and cleaning it is usually best to keep your fish in the tank. Just be careful when using siphons and scrapers that you do not injure your fish in the process. If the aquarium has a large build-up of algae, usually due to a broken filter or heater, this might be the only time it is recommended to remove the fish before doing a thorough clean.