9 Steps to clean fish waste from a freshwater aquarium

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Just like us humans, fishes thrive in a clean environment as well. Whether in their natural habitat or a fish tank, cleaning the fish tank may seem like a significant task, but it’s just like any passing house chore when you are used to it. 

We suggest that you put this by heart to make sure that you are doing it correctly. If you fail to perform it regularly, your tank may be susceptible to many harmful bacterias formulated inside the unclean water. 

Also, if you think that it is easy to do this, you need to follow some guidelines to avoid harming the fish. It doesn’t work by removing and reading water, especially if it is a freshwater tank. Kings of the Aquarium perform safe measures in executing a tank clean-up. 

Given that, let us all move along in knowing the steps in cleaning a freshwater aquarium.

The Importance of Cleaning the Fish Tank

A clean environment does not promote aesthetic purposes. Instead, it manages to touch your mental health and well-being. As for the fish, they also experience stress due to a lot of factors. One of them will be an unclean tank. If they are in the wild, they will automatically leave when there are changes in their waters. And since they have nowhere else to go in a tank, cleaning it can ensure their long life. 

Also, an unclean tank will welcome a lot of harmful bacteria that will endanger the fish. Too much exposure to this environment will result in fish diseases that are much harder to look after. Prevention is better than cure. Aa cliché as it sounds but this line applies to aquariums as well. 

Steps in Cleaning a Freshwater Fish Tank

This section contains the steps that you need to perform when cleaning your aquarium. Each of them can help you to maintain excellent performance. Here is the following;

Step 1: Fish In or Not

In cleaning your tank, you can opt to put the fish in a separate tank or not. It is safe to vacuum inside the tank while they are swimming free. Just make sure that their fin won’t be sucked up in the vacuum. Also, if you choose to remove the fish from the tank, make sure that the temporary tank that they will stay in for the meantime has the same water value as the original tank. What we suggest is that you somehow use the same water from the uncleaned tank. Then the moment you transfer the fish back to the clean tank strains that old water

Step 2: Ready your Equipment

Ensure that all the things that you need are within reach as you clean the tank. It will be pretty tiresome to go and look for what you need in the process of cleaning up. Here are the things that you will need: 

  • Water testing kit
  • Water conditioner
  • Thermometer
  • Siphon gravel vacuum
  • 5-gallon bucket (you can choose a giant bucket if you want)
  • Algae pad or magnet

Step 3: Unplug and Remove!

Unplug the heater and the filter or the air plug. It is to avoid getting problems as you perform the clean-up. Also, if you have any decorations, remove them and clean them up outside the tank. 

Step 4: Ready your New Water

We recommend doing this the night before the clean-up day. Put a water conditioner on it and let it sit for a night. It is to make sure that you will remove unwanted water chemicals from tap water.

Step 5: Clean the sides of the tank

Use the algae pad or magnet to clean the sides of the tank. Scrub as little as possible. It is better to wipe in one direction. Also, use the algae pad or magnet in cleaning the decorations too. 

Step 6: Siphon the water

As you siphon, you can slowly siphon the sand to get 

the fish poos and debris from cleaning the sides of the fish tanks. 

Step 7: Rinse the filters too

Cleaning the filters can ensure a problem-free tank experience. Also, to make sure that it is not clogged, that might make the tank dirty. 

Step 8: Add the New Water

Check the temperature of the tank. Once you ensure that it is perfect, gradually add the water. If you have problems lifting the water bucket, you can use a pump for an effortless water transfer. 

Step 9: Clean the outside of the Tank

It is not necessary, but it can keep the glass clean. Also, there will be spots of water that might be marked with dust. If left for a long time, it will stain the mirror and be unaesthetic to look at. 


Your fish tanks are the haven of your amazing fish friends. Keeping it clean makes it very liveable for them. Even though they are just animals, a clean environment is essential in keeping them healthy. 

We hope that this section helped you on your next tank cleaning day. Follow the guide that we have provided for easy and tank-safe cleaning instructions.

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