How to Easily Clean a Fish Bowl or Fish Tank

Are you spending too much time cleaning your fish bowl (or have no idea where to even begin)? Here's all you need to know about cleaning your fish bowl or tank, from water to algae.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

How to “age” your fishbowl’s water

Don’t add fresh tap water straight to a new bowl for your fish—you have to “age” the water first to remove gases and chemicals that come from treated water. To this, simply leave it overnight and/or treat it with chemicals from your petstore.

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Remove your fish to a temporary bath

Remove any decorations, as well as your fish. Some recommend putting your fish in a temporary bath that’s filled with the same water from your tank (even if it’s dirty). If the tank or bowl has been filthy for awhile, you might want to also prepare a saltwater bath to kill off any germs your fish has picked up. Even though goldfish are freshwater fish, salt will help your fish absorb much-needed electrolytes and kill any parasites on his fins. To get the saltwater ready, run tap water into a separate bowl and let it sit for a day as stated above. Add a teaspoon of non-iodized salt and mix until it dissolves. Then let your fish go for a swim in the salt water for approximately 15 minutes.

SEE ALSO: Everything Reptile's Four Low-Maintenance Pets for Children

Easiest way to clean a fish tank

If you have a water siphon, use it to get out the dirty water and clean the gravel. If you don’t have one, you can also use a wet/dry shop vac, along with some old pantyhose. Place two or three layers of pantyhose over the nozzle of the hose and secure it with a rubber band. After removing your fish to its temporary bath, stick the hose in the tank and turn the vaccum on to start sucking. The dirty water will find its way into the vacuum, but the rocks won’t make it through the nylon. If you have a small fish bowl, dump out the gravel into a strainer and run water through them, then dry with towels before adding them back to the bowl.

How to get the sides of your tank clean

If your fish tank is marked with hard-to-remove deposits, just rub the tank with a cloth dipped in vinegar while you’re cleaning it, then wipe with a cloth dampened with water and allow to dry. The spots should disappear. Just make sure you rinse the tank thoroughly and let it dry (use towels, if necessary) before putting your fish back in.

RELATED: Mighty Mommy's Tips for Choosing a New Family Pet

Eliminate aquarium algae

If your fish tank has got an algae problem, sterilize it with hydrogen peroxide. This multipurpose antiseptic works wonders in the underwater ecosystem: After 24 hours in water it decomposes into hydrogen and oxygen, which means no sweat for your fish! To kill algae on aquarium accessories, add a half-teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a quart of water. Then use this solution on the tank accessories while your fish is in his temporary bath.

If the problem is really bad, take the items out of the tank and soak them in the peroxide solution for a few days. Then rinse and add back to the aquarium.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.