How to Clean a Small Fish Tank

Safe living and healthy living for fishes in the aquarium is a reflection of one’s attitude towards the maintenance of the fish environment.

The moment you choose to make your aquarium environment look immaculate, that’s the moment you insured the life of your aquatic pets. This is why you should learn how to clean a small fish tank because you will love the effect it has on your pets.

The ecosystem in your fish tank is delicate and you have to keep it liveable for the fishes at all times regardless of how delicate the environment is.

The safety of the water in your fish tank can easily switch from safe to dangerous for the fishes if you do not give the required attention or maintenance to the fish tank.

Once you opt for cleaning and maintenance of the fish tank you would not have to go through the stress of having to eject the water all at once. It is important to note that removal of all the water present in the fish tank at once will kill all the beneficial bacteria present in the fish tank.

Beginners aquarium keepers should make good findings on how to clean a small or large fish tank so that you can keep the water in the fish tank stable at all times. However, this article is a great way to do the learning.

Understanding the importance attached to cleaning a fish tank is paramount and you need to know what regular cleaning does to your fish tank, and all the parameters involved in the process of cleaning your fish tank.

Why are you cleaning your small fish tank

There is a  thin line between why some aquatic pets live long and why some do not. This is simply about quality living which is the simple difference between the two sets of aquatic pets.

You want your fishes to live long, then you are tasked with making their environment liveable.

Below are the three major reasons for cleaning your small fish tank:

  • To make sure the nitrogen cycle process is active and continuous.
  • To eject all forms of dissolved organic wastes or compounds in the fish tanks.
  • To have the lost minerals replenished in the small fish tanks.

Below are several ways to clean your small fish tank

Prepare for the cleaning of your small fish tank by making sure the following items are in place for the process:

Paper Towels


Tooth Brush

Dechlorinated Water (minimum of two gallons supplied)

Water conditioner

Tap water dechlorinator

Fish net

Large container or bucket (approximately one gallon)

Smaller fish tank or container

To get the above listed utensils, you can visit the local grocery or pet store around you. Getting the fish net is not absolutely mandatory but it will ease the process of catching the fishes. Getting a bowl or cup to catch the fishes could also work.

The toothbrush can be exchanged for any other scrubbing material available for use.

First step

After making provisions for the washing process you will need to have all attached equipments or pieces removed e.g. the decorations, filter pumps,  bubblers etc.

Start the process by having your hands clean and be sure that no soap is left hanging on your palms. This is because fishes are allergic to soaps.

Remove the fish tank from all electric outlets because of the danger of getting shocked. Nothing should be remaining in the tank except pebbles that are left in the tank.

Second Step

After removing the fishes in the tank, place them in a safe bucket and be sure to have a clean water in place for them. Having done this,  get a bowl or cup to have some water scooped out of the tank, place the water in a safe bowl beside you without adding anything to the water.

This is because the scooped water will be needed later on in the tank because of the beneficial bacteria present in the water.

The remaining water can now be discarded and you can continue with the washing process.

Third step

Cleaning the tank should be done with the use of a paper towel which will also be used in the wiping of the edges of the fish tank.

This process will help get rid of any form of algae present on the glass tank. Should the glass appear too dry, you should wet the glass with a tap water. Do not make use of any form of soap or chemicals while cleaning the glass.

The soaps will get your fishes killed which is why you are advised against using soaps.

Replace the paper towel as they begin to get dirty for effective cleaning of the glass tank.

The process of cleaning the small fish tank is complete when there are no more dirt present in the glass or algae.

Fourth step

The cleaning of the rock should be done by the addition of tap water to the tank. Shake the fish tank gently so the water can evenly move over the rocks for cleaning.

Continue the process of moving the water in the tank till the debris can now be seen with, this is when to have the water poured away from the fish tank.

Repeat the above process until the water no longer picks up any form of debris. This is the easiest way to remove wastes from the tanks. Should you opt for a thorough wash, you can get the pebbles out and wash gently one after the other.

Fifth step

To have the attached decorative equipment cleaned, make use of the toothbrush or any other scrubbing material available. The toothbrush will pick up algae during the process, wash off the algae and continue the process. You have achieved your clean environment when you no longer see algae on the brush again.

Sixth step

Having done the proper cleaning of the fish tank and the attached pieces, you can now add back the water that was set aside into the tank. The next process is to add a new water into the tank now to mix with the little old water.

The new water must be Dechlorinated. After mixing of the water you should add two drops of water dechlorinator into the tank. You can now add the water conditioner into the water to make the water safe for the fishes.

Seventh step

Having done all the necessary thing to do with the water, you can now switch back on your tank so that the water can mix properly. Leave this process for a 30 minute period before adding your fishes back into the fish tank.


Healthy living for pets will forever be the keyword for pet enthusiasts as they always strive to keep their pets in good shape by taking good care of their habitat.

The knowledge gained from this article will really help the process of keeping your small tank aquarium clean and safe for your aquatic friends.

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