How Do I Keep My Fish Tank Clean?

“Fish are friends, not food,” is the iconic line that many of know from the acclaimed Pixar film Finding Nemo. This quote can be true for many of us, as we have fish as pets around the house.

The reason so many of us are drawn to having fish is that they are a fantastic high-quality decoration. If you get the proper fish tank and fill it with a beautiful background, and great plants, it can definitely be captivating if you invite guests over.

Another reason people love having fish? They are easy to take care of. They are probably the easiest pets to have, as they do not need to be constantly looked after and given attention.

While both dogs and cats are amazing, they can be really needy, and they come with a variety of tasks to really take care of them. This is why many opt for fish instead, because you can let them be for a while without even looking at them.

Keeping it clean: How do I keep my fish tank clean?

With that being said, there are still things that you need to be aware of when having a fish. The two biggest are these: Their home must be clean and they must have food to eat. Other than that, there is not much to do when it comes to fish. So, let’s focus on the first one: keeping their home clean.

Fish tanks when you first buy them are usually beautiful, you can fill them with crystal clear water, put a backdrop in, put various plants in, and then fill it with fish. But if you were to turn your back and come back several months later, it would be disgusting.

Algae and bacteria from fish waste will have built up in the water and turned it green, and many of your fish would be dead. That is no way to live, and which is why cleaning is so important. The good news is cleaning can be a breeze if you know how to keep your aquarium clean and when to clean it.

Buying a water filter and pump

Before you even purchase a tank, it is crucial to see whether it comes with a built-in water filter or not (many on the market these days do). If the tank you buy has no water filter we strongly recommend that you buy one. Not only is this going to keep the water free from a buildup of harmful bacteria, it is also going to decrease the amount of times you have to clean your fish tank.

The water filter decreases the bacteria, decreasing any buildup of algae, keeping the water clean. You also need a water pump to pump the water through it and to keep it crystal clear. Some of the best water filters will keep your tank looking good as new, but that does not mean you are free from washing it ever;you will have to do some of the work yourself.

Cleaning out the water/removing the fish

Twice a year we recommend doing a thorough clean. It will not take you more than a couple hours and it is going to be worth it. So, the first thing to do is remove the fish from the tank. Now this is a lot easier than it sounds, but remember they need water.

We recommend having a secondary tank on hand to put the fish in while you clean the primary tank. There are a lot of tanks that are cheap on the market that you can put them in. Once they are relocated, it is time to clean.

Cleaning the tank is simple: dump the water, take out any plants or rocks, and give it a thorough scrub with warm water and soap (there is also cleaning products built for aquariums). By doing this you will be left with a clean tank and it will be looking good as new again. Fill it with fresh water, transfer the fish back and you will be good to go.


So how many times should you be cleaning the tank? Well, it varies depending on the size of the tank, the type of fish you have, and the filter you have as well. The best thing you can do is to incorporate a weekly checkup into your routine. You can check in and see how the tank is doing and make a decision from there.