How to Clean a Fish Tank

Fish are a fantastic, low maintenance pet, which can add an exotic touch to any home d├ęcor. While fish don't need to be taken for walks or neutered, they do require water changing and tank cleanings on a regular basis to ensure that their environment is healthy and clean. How often you clean the tank will depend on the size of the aquarium, the type of filtration system and how many fish you have [source: Aquarium Pros]. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to clean a fish tank.

  1. Disconnect all the power to your fish tank. This includes the filtration system, lights and heaters.
  2. Lift the cover on the glass and clean it with paper towel. Also clean any other outer glass panels that may need cleaning or wiping.
  3. Siphon at least 10 percent of the water out of the tank and into a bucket [source: Aquarium Pros].
  4. Rinse off any parts of the filter, pumps or hoses that need cleaning with the water in the bucket. It is important to use the aquarium water and not tap water when cleaning the tank parts [source: Pet University].
  5. Vacuum the aquarium's substrate (i.e. gravel, rocks, etc.). Stick one end of the siphon tube into the gravel and the other end in a bucket. The tube will suck up all the dirt and debris stuck between the gravel and deposit it in the bucket.
  6. Clean any algae or alkaline deposits on the inside panel of the aquarium, with an aquarium cleaning product. Check that the product can be used when the fish are still in the aquarium [source: Aquarium Pros].
  7. Mix up a saltwater solution using commercial salt mix and dechlorinated tap water for your saltwater aquarium. If you have a freshwater aquarium, simply fill the tank with dechlorinated tap water. Make sure the new water is the same temperature and salinity as the rest of the water in the tank. Slowly pour the water into the tank, so as not to disrupt the fish inside.
  8. Replace the tank cover and turn the power to the tank back on [source: Pet University].