How To Clean Aquarium Glass (A guide to maintaining a clean fish tank)

Having an aquarium in your home is wonderful, especially for those that are big-time fish lovers. You’ve got beautiful fish, nice decor, live plants, and all in your tank looking pretty in your apartment. However, they won’t look that way if your tank is dirty.

What’s worse? It affects your fish’s health and can breed unwanted parasites in your aquarium. While cleaning your fish tank isn’t the most exciting thing to do, it is very important that you do that for your fish’s sake.

How To Clean Aquarium Glass

This is why it is essential that, as an aquarist, you know how to clean aquarium glass. You may think it’s a lot of work, but it’s not.

Find out how!

What Causes The Fish Tank To Be Dirty

Many things can cause your aquarium to get dirty, and you need to pay attention to them so you can avoid them in the future. Some might be caused by you and others by unavoidable circumstances.

What are they?

1. Inappropriate filtration

When the filtration system for your aquarium doesn’t match the tank, it can’t cycle the water in it as it should to prevent it from dirt. This will cause dirt to gather and put a strain on the glass.

2. Lack of water changes

Leaving your tank without changing the water can cause it to be vulnerable to bacteria, algae, and fungi growing in it and eventually makes your tank smell.

3. Overstocking tank

Overstocking your tank with too many fish leads to more food and fish waste, causing your aquarium to get dirty. This case mostly occurs when there is poor water maintenance and filtration. 

4. Overfeeding fish

Overfeeding fish will lead to excess fish waste in the tank, which can cause ammonia and nitrite levels to rise in the aquarium.

5. Lack of live plants

Live plants help maintain a clean aquarium and contribute to your fish’s health. When they are absent, you leave your tank and fish vulnerable to dirt and unwanted organisms.

6. Overexposure to sunlight

Overexposing your aquarium to sunlight can cause algae growth in the tank, including every surface, like the decor, plants, substrates, etc.

7. Incomplete nitrogen cycle

An effective nitrogen cycle helps to prevent ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. And often, an incomplete nitrogen cycle can be due to a lack of live plants. Therefore, excess nitrogenous compounds take over the tank and can kill your fish when this happens.

Tools Needed To Clean Aquarium Glass

You need to be thorough when cleaning your aquarium, and this requires that you use some specific tools. What are the tools you need to clean your fish tank?

1. Aquarium scrapers

One of the tools aquarists use in cleaning fish tanks is the scraper. It helps to effectively scrub and remove algae from aquarium walls and dirt. 

Different types of scrapers are available for use, and you can use the one you want. They are:

  • Wand style scrapers

Wand-style scrapers can be long or short and with handles that you can hold while you scrub the inside of the aquarium. Some have titanium blades, and others have plastic cards that can remove algae and dirt from aquarium walls.

Some examples are:

If you don’t want to buy scrapers from stores, you can create your own. You can use tools you have lying around in your home.

For example, a razor blade effectively scraps dirt and algae in your fish tank. However, you shouldn’t use them in an acrylic tank because of scratch marks. Another thing you can use is a plastic card.

  • Magnet scrapers

Magnet scrapers are also good for removing dirt in fish tanks. You can use them without getting your hands wet, and the good thing is that they don’t leave scratches on the tank as long as you keep them away from sand and debris.

Some examples of magnetic scrapers are:

2. Microfiber cloths

You also need to use microfiber cloths to wipe both the inside and outside of your aquarium. You need to do that after cleaning the whole aquarium. They are effective and safe to use, however, if they’re not available, you can use paper towels or newspapers.

3. Aquarium sponge cleaners

This is a type of scraper, but they are different because they have an abrasive sponge-like material that does the scraping without leaving scratches. 

Some examples are:

4. Vinegar

You can remove white residue in your tank by using vinegar. Of course, this is after you have emptied the tank. Then, you spray the inside and outside with vinegar and wipe with a clean cloth after a while.

How To Clean Aquarium Glass The Right Way

After getting your tools ready, the next thing to do is to clean the aquarium. Once you’re familiar with it, it becomes easier to do. The following are the steps are how to clean aquarium glass: 

  1. You need to start by cleaning inside the aquarium. You need to use the aquarium scraper, blade, or sponge to remove algae, dirt, and their residue completely from inside the tank.
  1. Then, you need to remove all the decor from your fish tank and clean them. Place them in a clean container with warm water. Afterward, you need to scrape them, bleach, rinse and dry them thoroughly before returning them to the tank.
  1. Transfer your fish into another tank. This is why you should always have a temporary fish tank available. Ensure that the tank has the same water parameters as the initial tank because a sudden change can affect them.
  1. Then unplug all electrical devices connected to the aquarium except the hood light.
  1. Use a siphon to clean the aquarium gravel by vacuuming debris from the bottom.
  1. After you’re done cleaning the outside, you move on to outside the glass. Throw out the dirty water and use a clean cloth and aquarium lime remover to wipe the aquarium inside out.
  1. Then you need to clean the filter and remove any dirt or debris.
  1. After cleaning the tank, you need to gradually refill it with water, decors, live plants, heater, aerator, and everything you removed from it.
  1. Then add aquarium salt and water conditioner and let it settle for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  1. Finally, return your fish to the aquarium.

How To Continuously Maintain A Clean Aquarium

It’s easy for aquariums to get dirty with all that goes on in there. And some of the things that cause aquariums to get dirty are waste from fish, food, or plants.

This is why you need to continuously maintain a clean tank. How do you do that?

  1. Ensure you clean the aquarium’s filter every two weeks to aid proper water flow and cycle.
  1. Engage in regular and routine water changes.
  1. Scrape aquarium glass weekly to remove algae and other residues in the tank. 
  1. During your routine water changes, ensure you vacuum the gravel and remove all forms of debris from the tank. 
  1. Ensure you clean rocks and plants immediately you see debris and notice bacteria or algae growth in the tank.
  1. Monitor the tank and fish occasionally so you don’t miss any minute dirt or unwanted component in the water.
  1. Avoid overfeeding fish and remove leftovers immediately.
  1. Use the right filtration system in your aquarium.
  1. Reduce lighting in the tank and avoid direct exposure to sunlight

Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t view cleaning your aquarium as a tedious task. A clean tank equals healthier fish and happier you because you’ll have fewer things to worry about, like your fish falling sick.

Nevertheless, even with your fish tank looking clean, you need to have cleaning tools available so you can always use them when there’s a need. Once you know how to clean aquarium glass and you do that often, you won’t have to worry much about your fish.

Additional Contents:

  1. How To Lower PH In Aquarium
  2. Best Food For Clownfish | 5 food options
  3. Breeding Healthy Platys | How Many Platys In A 10 Gallon Tank?
  4. Best Aquarium Air Pump For Multiple Tanks | Top picks
  5. Guppy Grass For Sale | What to know before buying