How to Clean an Aquarium Naturally and Make It Spotless




Intro: How to Clean an Aquarium Naturally and Make It Spotless

What should you do if your fish tank has lots of algae and is looking dirty? Should you clean it without emptying the tank? Should you empty it completely? Or order a new tank?

Whenever we see Aquarium in movies, hotel lobbies or at aquarium Centre, we think about what is the thing that they do regularly to look water crystal clear. Do they hire professional cleaners? Or they are trained to do cleaning spotlessly? Why my tank water turns green and how I can get rid it of permanently? As I can’t afford professional cleaners, can I clean my tank on my own and make it sparkle again?

Too many questions….. Too many answers…. But nothing seems to work……

Well….. Not anymore with me.

I do own aquarium tank measuring 24”X12”X12” and have 18-20 fishes of different kind. But nightmare of water turning dark green never resolved until I found few tricks to maintain the tank with crystal clear water. Earlier I used to clean and changed the water in the tank once in week but nowadays I am hardly changing the water, it remains crystal clear and guess what less fish mortalities.

Let’s start……………….

Step 1: Follow These Steps to in Sequence As Below When You Clean the Tank……

  1. Inside glass
  2. Outside glass
  3. Decorations (rocks, plants, etc.)
  4. Gravel
  5. Other accessories such filter tube, food feeder etc.
  6. Water Filter pump

Step 2: Supplies and Tools for Cleaning Aquarium

  1. Toothbrush
  2. Potassium Permanganate
  3. Chlorine remover
  4. Aquarium Plant Algae Cleaner
    • Convenience and easy to handle.
    • Please wash the brush after use it every time.
    • Good to clean for the Aquarium, fishing glass and tank.
  5. White Vinegar
  6. Aquarium Fish Tank Vacuum Water Change Exchange Siphon Filter
  7. Fish catcher net
  8. Bucket – Be sure to get a new bucket and designate it for aquarium use only. If you use a bucket that has had soap or detergent in it, you could introduce lethal chemicals into your tank. See if you can use new bucket or bucket which was not used earlier for washing. If it happened to use the bucket earlier for washing with detergent, please ensure you rinse it thoroughly with fresh water to remove any residual of chemicals from the bucket or else this will mix with water and will contaminate the fish tank later
  9. Towels
  10. Rock salt
  11. Sponge
  12. Stored water. Normally I store water in fresh bottles for weeks or months before use it for replacing
  13. Paper towels

Step 3: Cleaning Steps: Transfer Fish to Bucket

Remove rocks, artificial plants, decorative items, pumps, tubes, light fittings from the tank

Half empty tank:

Before you remove any fish from tank, empty the tank to the half. This will make easy to trap the fish in the net or else it is hard time catching the super active fish running away for life and in process might get injured.

Transfer fish from tank to bucket

Take 2 liters of fresh water and add one spoon of Chlorine remover into bucket. Carefully remove the fish from the tank and transfer it to bucket. Keep all fish in an environment where they will be safe for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 4: Empty the Tank

Once you remove fish and transfer them in the clean bucket, you can empty the tank. I will not throw away all water to the drainage, but will keep one third of the tank water to re-use at later stage.

With the help of vacuum siphon filter remove all the water from the tank. As you reach at the bottom of the tank, you can see the dirt assembled over the period that causes water getting contaminated

Now it is time to remove the gravels with dirt trapped in it.

Step 5: Inside of the Tank

Use Algae Pads or Scrapers for Cleaning the Inside Glass

Start by giving the glass a good cleaning on the inside with an algae pad. There are a wide variety of algae scrapers on the market, from long-handled scrubbers to magnetic scrubbers. Buy algae pads at a pet shop instead of the housewares department of a regular store. Although they may look the same, the housewares pads can have soap or chemical residue.

Alternatively you can use sponge to remove the marks from the tank. Ensure you use only fresh water without any chemicals or any detergents.

Rinse the tank with fresh water.

I will use Algae cleaner brush to clean the areas where I cannot reach .Do not use any detergents or chemicals to clean the inner side of the glass. Ensure the brush is washed thoroughly before use. I prefer brush I am using for cleaning the tank is solely used only for this purpose and not for cleaning any other stuff in my house. This ensures brush remain untouched to harmful chemicals.

Harsh chemical products should never be used on a tank where an animal lives. Instead, try white vinegar. Vinegar neutralizes odors, cleans glass and is safe enough to use for spot-cleaning

Fill the tank halfway with white vinegar, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Dump the vinegar out of the tank.

Step 6: Outside of the Aquarium

Calcium deposits build up on the glass, what can you use that will quickly strip these deposits off? If you think about commercially available window glass cleaner,” BIG NO! Most of these commercial available window glass cleaners contains ammonia, and it can kill fish, even if just a slight amount of the spray enters the water. Never use a window glass cleaner containing ammonia around an aquarium.

Then what alternative you have to remove those deposits. Vinegar. You read it right. It is Vinegar. Household item that we consume in our foods

Step 7: How to Make Vinegar Spray Bottle -

You can use clean, brand new spray bottles purchased from store. You can make an excellent glass cleaner from ½ cup of ordinary white vinegar dissolved in ½ gallon of distilled water. Mark this bottle for aquarium cleaning purposes, and your fish will be perfectly safe.

Well, wait a minute… you don’t have to confine use of your home-made spray to the aquarium. Actually, you’ll discover that your homemade glass cleaner works very nicely on all glass surfaces, including windows and mirrors. Once you use this homemade cleaner, you probably won’t want to buy expensive commercial glass cleaners again.

Spray a little on a clean cloth and use that to wipe down the top of the aquarium. It will remove those white hard water deposits on the aquarium, restoring the cover to a like-new appearance.

Even if a couple of drops of your homemade vinegar spray should enter the water column, it won’t be toxic to your fish, and it won’t upset your water balance. Natural buffers in your water will very quickly neutralize the acetic acid in the vinegar, and no harm will come from it.

Step 8: Cleaning Gravels, Decorative Items

This is most tricky part of the cleaning process as dirt accumulates and stick to the parts forever. If you leave any dirt/ algae uncleaned, it will rebuild and contaminate the water again. If the dirt on the decorative item is beyond removal, I will suggest to buy new one instead putting back in the tank. I guess these decorative items are not more than few bucks. If decorative items are expensive and unique, then you can clean them thoroughly before putting them back in the tank.

. Scrubbing the Decorations and Rocks

Once the inside glass is clean, or decorations that have significant algae growth, or are noticeably dirty. Do not clean them with soap or detergents. It's very difficult to completely remove soap, and even a trace can be lethal to fish. Usually, a good scrub with an algae scraper will remove the algae and dirt from rocks and plants.

Once the outside is clean, the rocks, plants, and other decorations may be returned to the tank

When you are ready to clean the filter, should you clean or simply replace the filter media entirely?

If you have filter media containing carbon, ammonia absorbers, or ion-exchange resins, it should be replaced if it's more than three weeks old. After a couple of weeks, the absorbing qualities of the media have been exhausted, and it no longer serves its purpose.

A medium that acts as a mechanical filter instead of absorbing toxins (i.e. ceramic rings, filter fiber, or sponges) should be gently rinsed to remove debris and returned to the filter instead of replaced.

Don't forget to clean the filter tubing and other parts of the filter assembly. A filter brush will help clear out the sludge that invariably builds up in all the small crevices.

Step 9: Sanitize the Decorative Items, Gravels Etc

This is very important step to ensure any harmful chemical, bacteria washed away before you transfer the gravel, decorative items etc. back to the tank.

1) You can mix potassium permangnet into the water containing the gravel and rinse it with fresh water 3-4 times.

2) Once you done with Potassium Permangnet, you mix rock salt in the water and put gravels, decorative items in the bucket.

Let it remain the items in the salted water for 10-15 mins, Once they are sanitized, then you can rinse the items with fresh water again for 2-3 times before putting them back in the tank.

Step 10: Ongoing Maintenance of Your Fish Tank

Once you've gotten your tank in shape, make sure you clean it on an ongoing basis so it never needs a major spring cleaning again. Scrape the glass weekly, vacuum the gravel every time you perform a water change and clean any rocks or plants as soon as you see debris or algae on them.

Clean the filter weekly, either by replacing the media or rinsing it. While you are at it, soak your fishnets in a disinfectant solution to keep them clean and soft. With regular care, your aquarium will look beautiful all the time.

Step 11: More Importantly Following Facts Needs to Keep in Mind When You Own Tank.

1) Putting right amount of fish. Don’t overcrowd the tank

2) Selecting the right species of fish.

3) Water circulation in the tank. Ensure you exchange water before it starts turning green

4) High quality water filter

5) Ensure you do not use high power lights in the tank or for that matter UV grow lights, as these lights stimulates the rapid growth of the algae. Maintain the low brightness and ensure you place the tank where natural light is available not directly reflecting in the tank



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    3 Discussions


    7 weeks ago

    well, this is the best way how to NOT do it. Only if you want a dead aquarium. Every aquarium should have a bit of "bio" dirt in it, so plant can grown, and it cleans itself. By cleaning it with chemicals, you destroy all bacteries, bad and good ... and nothing will grow ever. Only plastic plants.

    I never cleaned my aquarium with any chemicals. Only sponge, clean front glass, and filter will do the rest. Clean filter once a week and everything will be OK.


    Tip 3 months ago

    A lot of these tips create a deep clean on a tank and completely reset the nitrogen cycle. Please, for the love of your fish, research the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium. Never fully replace your filter media at one time because it resets the cycle as well.

    IMHO, the reason you had problems with green water is due to overstocking. Goldfish are extreme waste producers. In your tank (looks like a 15 gallon), I'd recommend no goldfish (due to waste) and just a few, smaller fish in there, like guppies.


    Tip 3 months ago on Step 11

    As I don't know this exact "Potassium Permangnet"-product, you should ALWAYS be very carefull with this chemical!!!