How To Clean a Betta Fish Tank For Beginner (4 Easy Steps)

How To Clean a Betta Fish Tank For Beginner

Cleaning your fish tank for the first time can be scary for a new betta owner. especially if you don’t know what you are doing. And if you don’t know exactly what to do, you might end up killing your cat. But don’t worry; this guide will walk you through all the steps you need to take. When you’re done reading about how to clean a Betta fish tank, you’ll be such an expert. And you will never have to worry about cleaning your tank again!


Preparation and knowledge are the two most important aspects of cleaning a Betta fish tank effectively. Here’s what you’ll need to do before you learn how to clean a Betta fish tank in 2023.


When getting ready to clean your tank, you’ll need to do a few things. And if you do these things first, it will be much easier to clean your tank.

Step 1: Get all of the things you need.

The first thing you’ll want to do is, of course, get all the tools you need. When you’re in the middle of cleaning, the last thing you want is to realize you forgot a tool.

The most important things you’ll need are:

  • an algae scrubber (preferably magnetic).
  • Razor/Plastic Razor
  • A gravel vacuum
  • conditioner for water
  • A brushing tool (or something similar)
  • A big bowl or bucket (for any decorations)
  • Gloves

After you’ve gathered everything you’ll need, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Washing your hands and putting on gloves

Next, you need to make sure your hands won’t make your aquarium dirty (and vice versa). You should start by thoroughly washing your hands. And if you use soap, make sure to scrub it off after you’re done. You might not think it’s important to wash your hands if you’re also wearing gloves. But it’s just an extra safety measure that won’t hurt anything.

After you’ve washed your hands, put on your gloves. Don’t forget that you might not think you need gloves, but anything on your hands could hurt your beak a lot. Here are some reasons why you should wear gloves when you clean your betta’s tank.

Bacteria Are Rampant in Your Aquarium

Your fish’s tank doesn’t just hold him. It’s a whole system that is made to keep going on its own. There are also a lot of bacteria in that ecosystem, and some of them can make you sick. This is very important if you have any cuts or sores on your hands. Even though lots of people put their hands in their tanks without gloves, it’s not a good idea.

To Prevent Contamination of the Water

One important reason to wear gloves is to keep dirt from getting into the water. If you have residue from anything on your hands, it will probably end up in your tank. even if it’s not visible on your hands. This could be enough to give your fish bacteria that could make him sick or even kill him. If you don’t, it could cause other bacteria to grow and spread to your betta.

Also, some liquids that stay on your hands are going to kill your betta right away. even in small quantities. For example, if you fill up your car and get a little bit of gas on your hand, that will be enough to hurt your betta very badly. and that’s after you’ve cleaned up what you can see.

You’re not going to spread any bacteria around your house.

And lastly, you won’t spread bacteria around your home if you wear gloves. If you have bacteria from your aquarium on your hands, you will spread that bacteria to everything you touch until you wash your hands again.

Coralife Aqua Gloves are a pair that I like to use a lot. They go up to your elbow, so you don’t have to worry about getting water on your skin or putting bacteria from your skin into your tank.

Step 3: Take all of the decorations off.

Next, you’ll need to take all the decorations out of your tank so that you can clean them later. You should use the container you found earlier to put them in. And don’t forget to take the decorations out of the tank one at a time and slowly. Cleaning the tank can be stressful for your betta, so if you take your time, you’ll make things a little bit easier for him.

Step 4: Turning Everything Off

Last but not least, turn everything off before you start cleaning your tank. This includes everything in your tank, like the lights, heater, filter, air bubbler, and anything else. Once that’s done, move them away from your aquarium (unless they’re made to be submerged). The main reason to do this is, of course, to keep yourself safe. Even though they are made for water, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And second, some parts of your gear are made to fit in your tank, while others aren’t. You don’t want to knock something into your tank by accident that shouldn’t be there and then break it.

You won’t have to leave your equipment off for that long, and if you leave it off for a short time, you’ll reduce the risk to yourself and your fish.

Step by Step: How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank for Beginner

Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to clean your betta’s tank. When you know how to do it step by step, it won’t seem as hard, and you won’t be afraid to do it again.

Step 1: Get Rid of the Algae

The first thing you should do is start taking algae off the sides of your tank. Here is where your algae scrubber and razors will come in handy (for stubborn algae).

If you want to be as quiet as possible, use a magnetic algae scrubber. If you don’t have one, a long-handled one is also a great option. Start going over your whole tank and getting rid of as much algae and dirt as you can. Most of the time, all you need is a scraper. But if it isn’t, you should use a razor to scrape off any hard-to-remove buildup.

But you must be very careful when using a plastic razor on acrylic tanks. So, there won’t be any scratches on the sides. But if you have a tank made of glass, a regular razor will work just fine.

After getting rid of as much algae as you can, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Clean the gravel and get rid of the water.

The next step is to clean your tank’s gravel. The best way to do this is with a gravel vacuum, because it will help you in two ways. First, it will help clean your gravel and get rid of any trash, feces, or old food that might be stuck in it. Second, some water will be taken out of your tank. Depending on how big your tank is, you should try to get rid of 10–30% of the water. The more water you should take out, the smaller the tank.

To use a gravel vacuum, just put the siphon a little bit above the gravel. Make sure the other end of the vacuum is in a bucket or another container, or else water will get all over the floor.

The gravel, along with any other debris and water, will start to get sucked into the siphon. However, while the water and debris will enter your container, the gravel will be too heavy.

You should keep siphoning the gravel out of the tank until all the water is gone. And if you think your gravel vacuum is too strong, put your thumb over part of the end that is in your bucket. When you do this, you can control how quickly or slowly water leaves your tank.

Don’t be concerned if you believe you haven’t thoroughly cleaned your gravel.After a week, you can vacuum the gravel again to get the rest of it.

And finally, if you have sand instead of gravel in your tank, the process will still be the same. But you’ll have to hold your siphon higher if you don’t want to get sand in it!

Step 3: Removing All the Decorations

When you clean your aquarium, one of the most important things to do is to clean the decorations. You won’t need to do this every time you clean your aquarium, though. You only have to do it when you see algae and dirt building up on them. Depending on the size of your tank, how well your filter works, etc., you may only need to clean the decorations every few months.

If you see the following, you might want to clean your decorations:

Mineral deposits, buildups of algae and bacteria, and sludge

If you see any of these on your decorations, it’s time to clean them. And here’s what you need to do:

  1. Slowly take down each one of your decorations. Your betta will be less stressed out and have less trouble sleeping if you do this. Put them in the container you picked out before. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any chemicals or other things that could hurt you. One way to do this is to wash it out several times with warm water.
  2. After you take all the decorations out of your tank, you might want to turn the heater back on. The next step can take up to 45 minutes, so you don’t want the temperature to drop too quickly, especially if you have a smaller aquarium.
  3. Fill the container with water once this is done. It doesn’t need to be treated, and you can use tap water instead. It’s critical to remember not to add ANY cleaning product at this point.
  4. Begin boiling water. Once you have enough boiling water, you can start putting your decorations in it. Let them soak for 20 minutes once they’re in the water. After 20 minutes, all the bacteria will be dead, and it will be much easier to get rid of the algae and any other buildup.
  5. If the boiling water is too hot for your decorations, you will have to throw them away. Don’t put them back in your tank at all. But if you bought sturdy, high-quality decorations, they shouldn’t melt anyway.
  6. Then, use a toothbrush or something similar to start scrubbing your decorations. Make sure that your toothbrush has never been used for anything other than cleaning your aquarium. Once you are sure of this, start cleaning your decorations thoroughly until all of the dirt is gone.

How To Clean Aquarium Decorations With Bleach

Even if you do all of these things, your aquarium decorations might still look dirty. If this is the case, you can make a solution of bleach and water. But you shouldn’t use bleach if you can help it, because it can be dangerous. So only use it when it’s really important. If you don’t mind spending some money on new decorations for your tank, that will be the best choice.

If you want to keep the same decorations, you can clean them with bleach as follows:

  1. Mix bleach with water in a bucket. Use 5% bleach mixed with 95% water. (Two teaspoons per gallon of water is a good rule of thumb.) and avoid using hot water. Bleach can be made useless by adding hot water to it.
  2. Next, put your decorations in the bleach solution and leave them there for 5 minutes. You should only do this with plastic decorations and never with anything made of natural materials.
  3. After letting your decorations soak, you should give them a good scrub with a toothbrush again. You’ll see that it’s a lot easier to clean up whatever was left.
  4. Once all the algae is gone, run water over the decorations to clean them. Each one should be rinsed for two to three minutes. and rub the surfaces with your fingers to make sure all the bleach is gone.
  5. Also, you’ll need to clean your container or find a new one that hasn’t been contaminated. Fill it up with tap water and the right amount of water conditioner when you have one. Leave your decorations in the water for the specified amount of time.It depends on what kind of water conditioner you use. But all you have to do is look at the instructions on the back.
  6. Once your decorations have soaked long enough, you can put them back in your tank.

And that’s how to use bleach to clean aquarium decorations. Remember that you should put it off as long as you can.

Step 4: Cleaning the Filter

You don’t want to clean everything in your aquarium and in your filter at the same time when you’re cleaning your tank. Because the balance of your aquarium is delicate, if there aren’t enough bacteria in it, your betta will get sick. Most of the time, the bacteria grow in your substrate and your filter. If you clean both at the same time, all the bacteria will be killed.

If you decide to clean everything at once, the most likely result will be a huge rise in ammonia that could kill your betta.

Before you clean your filter, you should decide if it needs to be cleaned or if it would be better to just get a new one. And how you do this depends on things like the type of filter you have, the size of your tank, how dirty your fish are, and so on.

For the purposes of this article, we will only talk about cleaning the filter and not about replacing the cartridges. (Your filter’s manual will tell you how often you need to replace the filter cartridges.) Here’s a quick guide so that this article doesn’t get too long.

  1. Put some water from your tank into a bucket or other container. You’ll need enough to rinse your filter cartridges.
  2. Turn off your filter and get ready to take out all the cartridges.
  3. Once you’ve done this, take the filter cartridges out of the filter and start rinsing them in the container. You don’t want to be too rough with them, or you could hurt them. Remember that all you have to do is move them around in the water to get rid of any big pieces of dirt. When you clean a sponge filter, you should also squeeze it a few times.
  4. You can also clean the inside of your filter with a clean sponge or cloth. Make sure you look in every corner and crevice.
  5. Once the inside is clean, put the cartridges back where they came from. and turn back on your filter.


Bettas are pretty low-maintenance pets, but you will need to do a few important things for them.

Follow this plan to make sure your fish are as healthy as possible.


  • Feed your fish (once or twice per day)
  • Check the filter to make sure it’s running normally
  • Check the water temperature to ensure it’s in range (TK degrees)


  • Test your water quality with test strips or a test kit
  • Change 25%-30% of the water


  • Clean the filter
  • Clean algae from tank decor

Products to Avoid When Cleaning Your Betta Fish Tank

A simple dechlorinator, or “water conditioner,” is all that is needed to change the water. No other chemicals are needed.

But when setting up a tank, most people who are just starting out want to clean the tank before they put water in it. Betta fish like clean, fresh water.

They use soap to clean the tank too often. This is not a good idea because soap and detergent can hurt or kill your Betta fish.

Your Betta fish will be hurt by even small amounts of soap or detergent. In short, soap stops the gills from working, so your fish will drown. This can happen very quickly, but it’s easy to stop.

If you know that soap has been in your aquarium or any of its parts, you should quickly drain up to 80% of the water and refill the tank. You want to get rid of the soap as quickly as possible.

Do this process more than once. Adding activated carbon may help get rid of the soap. This makes sure that the water in the tanks is clean.

When cleaning a tank that has already been set up, it is always best to rinse off as much as you can with used aquarium water. But if you are starting with a new tank, you might want to clean it before you put water in it.

Luckily, there are a few things that are just as easy to get and are much safer than soap. For example, food waste in the tanks can be cleaned up with soft brushes.

Proper fish care starts with making sure the water is great, that there is the right amount of ammonia, that the environment is rich, and, finally, that the water is a good place for fish to live.

Most aquarium decorations and accessories can be cleaned with white vinegar that has been diluted. Just mix equal parts water and white vinegar, then rinse or soak.

Make sure to rinse the things you cleaned with vinegar a few times to make sure there is no vinegar left on them. Vinegar can also change pH levels, which is unlikely if you rinse well.

When in doubt, just use warm water. This is especially true for new setups where you can still dry off surfaces so that tap water doesn’t stay in your system.


Why Do You Need to Clean Your Betta’s Tank?

You might not think your fish tank needs to be cleaned. When you look at it, the water often looks as clear as glass. Even though this is usually a good sign, you can’t see how much bacteria is in the tank. Even if it looks clean, your betta could be living in a very dangerous place. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should clean your tank often:

To Keep Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates Low

Here is a simple explanation of what the nitrogen cycle is:

  • Any waste that comes from living things in your tank is broken down by bacteria, which turns it into ammonia. Ammonia is poisonous, and if it stays in this form, your betta will die.
  • Another kind of bacteria starts to break the ammonia down. When it breaks down, it turns into nitrite. Still, this is very dangerous for your betta.
  • And finally, a different kind of bacteria turns the nitrites into nitrate. Nitrate is still dangerous in large amounts, but it is safe in small amounts. And a healthy aquarium only has a small amount of it.

But even the bacteria in your tank can’t always keep up with getting rid of all the ammonia and nitrite in your aquarium. And that’s why you need to change the water in your tank often to keep it clean. When the old, ammonia-filled water is taken away, clean, ammonia-free water can be added. diluting the remaining ammonia and making it easy for the bacteria to deal with so that the cycle can continue.

To Replace Minerals and Nutrients

There are a lot of minerals and nutrients in the water that your Betta needs. But because the water is sealed off and there is no way for more water to get in, all those minerals will be used up over time. Unless you change the water in the tank when you clean it! When you do this, you add more minerals to the tank, which helps your fish stay healthy. If you want to learn more, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to choose water for your betta.

To remove waste

Last but not least, the main reason you will clean your tank is to get rid of any waste. Most of the fish waste and debris in your tank sinks to the bottom and stays there. Even though your filter is good at getting some of it, it can’t get all of it. That’s why it’s so important to clean your tank often and vacuum the substrate. It will let you get rid of most of the organic waste in your tank, along with any debris and old food that has fallen in.

When To Clean A Betta Fish Tank?

How often should you clean the tank for your betta fish? is another question that people often ask.

and there isn’t a clear answer. The truth is that it will all depend on how you have things set up. Things like how big your tank is, how well the filter works, if your Betta lives with other fish, etc. But in reality, you shouldn’t have to clean everything that often. You should be more concerned with how often you’ll need to change the water and vacuum the gravel.

The more often it needs to happen, the smaller your tank is. For example, 10–20% of the water in a 5–10 gallon tank should be taken out every week. However, the decorations won’t need to be taken out and cleaned as often. If the tank is bigger, it won’t have to be done as often. And your fish shouldn’t live in a tank that is less than 5 gallons.

You might not know this, but a betta or any other fish can’t live in a tank that’s less than 5 gallons. Here’s what you need to know about how big a tank your betta needs.

Should You Ever Remove Your Betta While Cleaning His Tank?

You should do everything possible to keep your betta from leaving his tank.He will be stressed out by being moved around and put in different tanks. Not only that, but it will also shock his system. If you want to put your betta in a quarantine tank, that’s the only time you should take him out of his aquarium.

You shouldn’t take your betta out of the tank to clean it. Instead, you should try to be as quiet as possible. And the real trick is not to take everything out of the tank, but to do small water changes and gravel vacuums often.

How long does it take to clean a betta aquarium?

How much you clean depends on how much you want to do. It won’t take too long if you have a betta aquarium with a little gravel, a few decorations, and a few fake plants. Our article on the “best Betta tanks” suggests tanks that are easy to clean and won’t take too long.

When you change the water in your aquarium, it’s a good time to clean it. This can be a small water change, like once a week, or a big water change every two months. This means that once the aquarium is clean, you can put some new water in it.

Should you clean the filter at the same time as the aquarium?

Your betta tank needs an aquarium filter, like the Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter, but you shouldn’t clean it or change the media at the same time you clean the tank and change the water. Filters have colonies of good bacteria that help keep the tank ecosystem healthy. Changing the water and the filters at the same time can cause a lot of trouble.

Why is my Betta fish tank so dirty?

There are a number of reasons why your betta’s aquarium might not be as clean as it should be or might be dirty all the way through.

  • The smaller the aquarium, the faster it gets dirty and the more often you have to clean it.
  • If your filter is too small, hasn’t been cleaned, is broken, or doesn’t do all three major types of filtration well, that could be why the tank is so dirty.
  • A dirty tank can also be caused by giving your fish too much food. If you give them too much food, some of it won’t get eaten and will go bad at the bottom. Also, if you feed your fish too much, they will produce a lot more waste.
  • People don’t clean their Betta tanks nearly enough, which is one of the main reasons why they get so dirty. The sad truth is that a lot of it comes down to people being lazy and not wanting to clean their tanks regularly.

Can you use soap to clean a Betta fish tank?

No, not even close. Soap should never be used to clean a tank. Fish are very sensitive, and even a small amount of leftover soap can make them very sick or kill them.

Even if you clean the tank well, you might not be able to get rid of all the soap residue, so it’s best to avoid doing this.

How often should you clean a 3-gallon Betta fish tank?

It doesn’t matter that much how big the tank is. The general rule is that every aquarium should be cleaned once a week.

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