How To Clean A Betta Fish Tank The Right Way

steps to clean a betta fish tank

If you do not know how to clean a betta fish tank, Cleaning can be a scary little process. Every fish tank requires regular cleaning and maintenance; however, some fish tanks require it more often than others. 

Whether you change the water regularly or clean the tank thoroughly every month, the fish tank’s condition depends on your efforts. Regular water change, replacing filter media, substrate vacuuming are some of the common and important things you need to follow to maintain your fish’s health. 

This guide will walk you through all the steps you need to follow in cleaning the fish tank. Trust me! After reading this article, you will have no more doubts about cleaning your betta fish tank.

Preparing Steps

Preparing in advance to clean a betta fish tank will make the entire cleaning process a lot easier. 

Gather All The things

Gather all your cleaning tools and equipment in one place. Nobody likes to get up in the mid of cleaning process to get the tools.

These are some of the things that you will need:

  • An algae scrubber 
  • A toothbrush 
  • A gravel vacuum
  • Razor/Plastic Razor
  • Water Conditioner
  • Gloves
  • A large container (for decorations)

Wash Hands and Put On Gloves

Contaminating your aquarium is the last thing you want to do; therefore, make sure to always wear gloves. First, wash your hands properly with soap and then put on gloves. This is just a precautionary measure to avoid any harm to the fish. Your bare hands can do a lot of damage to the fish. 

Some of the main reasons to wear gloves when you clean a betta fish tank are:

  • Avoid bacterial infection

The betta fish tank is not just a place where it lives, but it is an entire ecosystem. There are a lot of bacteria prevailing in an ecosystem, which can cause big problems for you. For instance, you have open sores or cuts on your hands, these bacteria can travel inside your body and do big damage.

  • Avoid water contamination

Another important reason why wearing gloves is important to clean a betta fish tank is to stop water contamination. If you have any kind of residue in your hands, it can come off in the aquarium. This can welcome new bacteria in the fish tank, which can breed and even kill your betta fish.

Sometimes any kind of liquids lingering on your hands can kill the betta fish outright. For instance: you have a tiny splash of petrol or gasoline in your hand, and you put your hands in a fish tank. This can kill the betta fish directly.  

  • To avoid transferring bacteria in your house

Wearing gloves minimize the risk of introducing new bacteria from the fish tank to your house. If you are carrying bacteria and viruses on your hands and touch something in your home, you will end up contaminating your home. If possible, wear elbow high gloves to minimize any risk of contamination.

Remove Aquarium Decorations

Before you start to clean your fish tank, it is important to remove all the aquarium decorations. This will make the Cleaning of all the decorations easier. Place all the decorations in a container and remember to take out one thing at a time slowly. Tank cleaning is a stressful experience for the betta fish; therefore, take your time when taking out things.

Turn off Everything

The last thing that you need to take care of before you start to clean a fish tank is turning off everything. This includes heater, lights, air bubbler, filter, etc. Once you turn them off, take these things off the aquarium. 

Be careful not to touch any equipment that is meant to submerge in the fish tank.

Steps To Clean A Betta Fish Tank Properly

Now that you have gathered all the things you will need to clean a betta fish tank, it’s time to start the actual Cleaning. Follow the below-listed steps:

Remove Algae

The first step in the cleaning process is to get rid of algae overgrowth in your fish tank. To do this, you will need razors and algae scrubbers. If there is very little algae intrusion, use a magnetic algae scrubber. Start by cleaning the whole tank and remove algae starting from the grime of the fish tank.

Using a scraper alone will do just fine; however, if not, you can use a razor to scrape off algae buildup. Always use a plastic razor in the aquarium to avoid scratching the sides of the tank.

Clean Fish Tank Gravel

After removing algae from the fish tank, it’s time to clean a betta fish tank gravel. If possible, use a gravel vacuum to clean the fish tank gravel because:

  • It will make the cleaning process easy and eliminate all the debris, food waste, and betta fish poop that may be stuck on it. 
  • It will also remove some of the water from the tank.

You need to remove at least 10-305 of the water from the tank to clean it. The smaller is the fish tank; the more water needs to be removed.

When you use a gravel vacuum, put the siphon at a little height above the gravel. Remember to put the other end of the fish tank vacuum in another bucket or container to avoid water spills on the floor. 

Continue vacuuming the gravel until enough water is removed from the fish tank. Hold the siphon a little higher to get rid of sand lying on the aquarium bed.

Clean Aquarium Decorations

One of the biggest tasks that come in front when you set out to clean a betta fish tank is cleaning the decorations. Fortunately, you do not have to clean the fish tank decorations every time you clean the aquarium. Only do it when you notice algae buildup or other grime. 

Depending on the size of your betta fish aquarium and the quality of your filter, you can decide when to clean the decorations. 

Clean the fish tank decorations when you notice:

  • Mineral Deposits
  • Bacterial Waste 
  • Algae Buildup

Steps to clean fish tank decorations:

  • Once you have removed all the aquarium decorations, turn on the heater. Then fill the container with water and avoid adding any soap or cleaning agent. Start boiling the water and add your decorations to the container. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to kill the bacteria and get rid of algae buildup. 
  • If the decorations are very sensitive and cannot handle the heat, then throw them and avoid using them in your tank. Now start scrubbing the decorations using a toothbrush. Make sure to use a toothbrush that is only meant for cleaning the aquarium.
  • Clean your decorations with clean water to get rid of the remaining dirt and grime.

Cleaning the filter

When you plan to clean a betta fish tank, you do not need to clean all the things at once. This is because the ecosystem in your aquarium is delicately balanced, and it requires a minimum amount of bacteria to keep the betta fish alive. 

These bacteria grow normally in your betta fish tank filter and substrate. If you clean them all at the same time, you will risk destroying all the bacteria at once. 

Before you clean the filter, decode if it truly needs cleaning. This depends on how big the aquarium is, the type of filter you have, how messy the fish is, and many other factors.

Follow these steps to clean a betta fish tank filter:

  • Take out some water from the fish tank in a container. This water will be used to clean the filter cartridges. 
  • Turn off the filter and remove all the cartridges.
  • Once it is done, start rinsing the filter cartridges in the container. Make sure to use a light hand and avoid putting in too much force, or you will end up damaging it. You just have to swish the cartridges in water to remove debris. You can also use a sponge to clean the filter cartridges. 
  • Use a clean cloth or sponge to clean the inner part of the filter. Get in every nook and corner of the filter. 
  • After cleaning the inside of the filter, put the cartridges back into the original place. Now turn on the filter.

Why To Clean A Betta Fish Tank?

You may wonder why it is important to clean a fish tank, gravel regularly. Most times, the water in the aquarium may appear crystal clear, but there might be a lot of dirt and bacteria accumulated in the tank. It may be clean for you but toxic for you small betta fish.

These are some of the reasons why you need to clean a betta fish tank regularly:

To keep Nitrates, Ammonia and Nitrates Low

Any kind of biological waste that is broken down by the bacteria turns into ammonia. Ammonia is deadly for a betta fish. And when the bacteria breakdown ammonia waste, it turns into nitrite, which is extremely toxic for the fish. Lastly, there is a type of bacteria that breaks down nitrites into nitrates. Higher levels of nitrates can affect the ecological balance of aquariums.

Therefore you need to regularly keep changing the aquarium’s water so that old ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites buildup are frequently removed.  

To Replace Nutrients and Minerals 

A lot of minerals and nutrients that are required by a betta fish are present in the water. Because the water in a fish tank is contained, new minerals cannot be introduced like in flowing water. When you clean your fish tank and replace the water, you refill the nutrients and minerals that keep the fish healthy. 

To Remove Waste

This is one of the biggest reasons to clean a fish tank. Betta fish poop and other debris just sit in the bottom of the tank. The fish tank filter sicks most of the waste, but some still remain in the tank. Regular cleaning and vacuuming of the fish tank will get rid of all the water and grime.

When Should You Clean A Betta Fish Tank?

Now that you know how to clean a betta fish tank, another important thing to learn is when to clean a betta fish tank.

There is no fixed answer to this question. The cleaning time of the aquarium depends on a number of factors like- the quality of the filter, size of the aquarium, etc. You do not need to clean the entire fish tank every time. Just remember to regularly change the water, clean the gravel and use a fish tank vacuum.

The smaller the tank will be more often you will need to do the Cleaning. Do not store a betta fish in a less than 5-gallon fish tank.

Tank Maintenance

Tank maintenance is an essential part of cleaning the fish tank. There are a few things that you can do to maintain your tank properly. If you scrape off the algae every week, clean the filter as specified by the manufacturers, and regular water changes along with the using fish tank vacuum, the gravel will reduce the number of times you need to clean the tank thoroughly. 

Final Words:

Betta fish may seem like one of the easiest pets to own, however like other pets; these also require upkeep and care. Cleaning a betta fish tank is not as simple as cleaning up after a cat or dog. It requires practice and time. This guide on how to clean a betta fish tank will make you a pro at cleaning aquariums. Now fix your schedule and clean your fish tank this weekend.


Hey There! I am A Makeup Artist turned into a Content writer. Intrigued by the world of digital marketing, I am currently working as an SEO Content Writer. Being a fashion enthusiast I enjoy writing blogs on Beauty, Fashion and Fitness Trends.

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