How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank? A Step-by-step Guide!

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Every fish tanks need maintenance, so do betta fish tanks.

For a novice betta keeper, cleansing an aquarium for the first time can be a bit frightening. Especially if you do not have a deep understanding of how to clean a betta fish tank, you might end up hurting or even killing your pets.

That’s the reason why we produce this writing. The article will walk you through every necessary step to make your betta fish tank completely clean.

Why Cleaning a Betta Fish Tank Matter?

Why Cleaning a Betta Fish Tank Matters
Cleaning a Betta Fish Tank is Important

Mostly, aquariums are self-sufficient ecosystems that operate themselves with the support of nitrifying bacteria, turning ammonia into nitrates. To understand the importance of cleaning a betta fish tank, you need to place your small encased system in the circumstance of your betta’s natural habitat.

In wild aquatic environments, there is a continuous importation and exportation of minerals or nutrients, gases, and wastes from flowing water, sediments, weather, evaporation, and creatures. In your aquarium, there is no input but what we bring to the system, and export is usually managed by filter media, plants, or corals. Aquarists often choose to solve this problem by changing the water regularly, preventing the nitrates in their tanks from accumulating.

Water changes can also replenish oxygen levels within the aquarium. You can use a filter, air stone, or powerhead to agitate the surface water and increase gas exchange. Specifically, water changes help generate movements throughout the aquarium and introduce new gases. Moreover, as pH is related to the amount of carbon dioxide, changing water can stabilize pH or boost pH if necessary.

Preparation for Cleaning a Betta Fish Tank

Before cleaning your tank, you need to take the below steps for preparation.

Step 1: Get everything needed

There are a bunch of things you need to gather in the first place, including:

  • An algae scrubber (magnetic recommended)
  • A gravel vacuum
  • Water conditioner
  • Razor/Plastic Razor
  • A large bowl or container
  • A toothbrush
  • Gloves

Step 2: Wash hands and wear gloves

Make sure that your hands will not contaminate your fish tank. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. You might think washing hands is unnecessary when you wear gloves. However, it’s just an additional precaution and doesn’t cause any harm.

When your hands are completely clean, put on your gloves. Anything on your hands can negatively affect your lovely betta.

Step 3: Take all decorations out

Next, you need to take all the decorations out of the aquarium to clean the tank easier. It’s important to do it one at a time and fairly slowly. Tank cleaning cannot be a good experience for your betta, so take your time making things a bit easier for your pets.

Step 4: Turn everything off

Turn everything off before cleaning your aquarium, including lights, filter, heater, air bubbler, etc. And remember to take them away from the tank unless they’re designed to be submerged.

4 Steps to Clean a Betta Fish Tank

How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank
How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank

Step 1: Remove algae

Firstly, use your algae scrubber and razors to remove algae from the sides of your aquarium.

You had better use a magnetic algae scrubber for the least amount of intrusion, but a long-handled one is also suitable. Start going over the entire tank and get rid of as much grime and algae as you can.

You should use a plastic razor on acrylic aquariums to mitigate the chances of scratching. Meanwhile, a standard razor will work fine for a glass tank.

Step 2: Clean the gravel

You can use a gravel vacuum in this step. This equipment will help clean your gravel and eliminate any feces, debris, and leftover food waste. Moreover, a gravel vacuum also aids in removing some water from the tank.

You need to put the siphon slightly above the gravel to use a gravel vacuum. Ensure the other end of the vacuum is put in another bucket, or you might end up with water all over your room.

The gravel will begin getting sucked into the siphon, drawing any debris and water. Keep siphoning your gravel until enough water has been removed from your aquarium. In case you find your gravel vacuum too powerful, then partially cover the other end with your thumb. That’s how you can control how slow or fast water is running out of the tank.

If you’re afraid that you haven’t cleared all of the debris from the gravel, you can vacuum it again one week later to remove the rest.

Step 3: Clean the decorations

If you notice the following, it’s time to clean your decorations:

  • Algae buildup
  • Mineral deposits
  • Bacterial waste & sludge

And here’s how to clean your decorations:

Slowly take your decoration out of the tank one at a time. That will not disturb or stress your bettas out. Place the decorations in a container. Make sure there is no chemicals anything detrimental in it.

Turn on the heater. The next step might take up to 45 minutes, so you don’t want the temperature to decrease too suddenly, particularly if you have a smaller tank.

Next, fill the container with water. It’s okay for you to use tap water.

Start boiling water. When you have enough boiling water, bring all of the decorations to water and soak them for 20 minutes. That can kill all bacteria and make removing algae and any buildup easier.

Then, you can use a toothbrush or something like that to clean the decorations.

Step 4: Clean the filter

As you clean a betta fish tank, you won’t want to clean everything in your tank and your filter simultaneously. As your aquarium is elegantly balanced, and if it doesn’t contain sufficient bacteria, then your fish will suffer. Usually, the bacteria grow in your filter and substrate. If you clean both of them simultaneously, you might remove all the bacteria.

If you clean everything at the same time, you might experience a huge ammonia increase that will threaten your bettas’ health.

Here’s how to clean a filter:

  • Take some water out of your aquarium and put it in a container. You will need to get enough water to rinse your filter cartridges.
  • Turn your filter off to detach all the filter cartridges.
  • Put these cartridges in the container. Swish them around in the water and eliminate any large debris. Or you can give it some squeezes if you’re cleaning a sponge filter.
  • Use a cloth or sponge to clean the inside of the filter. Remember to go into all the nooks and crannies.
  • When the inside is clean, bring all the cartridges to their original positions, and turn on your filter.

What to Watch Out for When You Clean a Betta Fish Tank

What to Watch Out When You Clean a Betta Fish Tank
Things to Watch Out When You Clean a Betta Fish Tank

Changing water is a good way to remove and add water and de-chlorinate; no other chemicals are necessary. However, as in building an aquarium, most novices want to clean it with soap before they fill it up with water. However, soap and detergent might be extremely dangerous to your betta fish.

Even small quantities of soap and detergent will affect your pets. Soap interferes with fill functions, leaving your fish to drown. However, you can prevent this. If your aquarium or aquarium accessories have been in contact with soap, let’s remove up to 80% of the water and refill the fish tank, you will want to dilute the soap as quickly as you can. Repeat that process a few times, and you can add activated carbon to remove the soap faster.

In addition to soap and detergent, diluted white vinegar is also a great alternative for cleaning most aquarium decorations and accessories. Just blend a 1:1 of water and white vinegar, then soak and rinse. Make sure there is no vinegar residue after cleaning; otherwise, vinegar can affect your pH levels.


That’s all about how to clean a betta fish tank. If you’re a beginner, please make it slow to avoid any mistakes.
Betta fish are comparatively easy to handle. However, that doesn’t mean they need less maintenance than other tropical fish. Before getting your first pet, you need to ensure how to clean a betta fish tank and all the required maintenance, keeping your aquarium in proper conditions. That way, your betta fish can grow happily and beautifully.

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