How to Keep a Betta Fish Tank Clean: Step by Step Guide

Last Updated on May 28, 2021

Keeping your betta fish tank clean will be a responsibility every aquarist has to learn. Learning how to keep a betta fish tank clean is a must for all fish keepers. This will give your betta a longer life span overall.

Betta fish enthusiasts will always make sure that the water of their betta fish tank remains in excellent condition as much as possible. Good water condition affects the health of your betta fish.

It is possible to overclean a betta fish tank which will lead to a lot of problems along the way. Let us go through the process of how to clean your betta fish tank and also discuss when you need to do a complete and thorough cleanup.

Materials Needed

It is best to have all the following items ready for cleaning your betta fish tank.

  1. Gravel vacuum/aquarium water siphon
  2. Bucket for dirty water and artificial decor
  3. Algae scrubber for the aquarium glass (sponge or magnetic type)
  4. Razorblade/plastic razor / old plastic card
  5. Water Conditioner
  6. Gloves

Step 1: Wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Rinse off all soap then dry your hands with a clean towel. We don’t want to introduce any bacteria and substances that can hurt your fish. Wear your gloves in order to protect yourself from any bacteria you may encounter within the aquarium especially if you have any small cuts on your hands.

Step 2: Turn off all aquarium equipment

Turn off all aquarium equipment for safety reasons. Unplug the filter, light, heater, and other equipment that run on electricity. This will prevent any accidents from happening. If you can remove the light and heater, then do so. Put them in a safe area away from all the action. This will prevent any breakages.

Step 3: Remove aquarium decors

Remove artificial plants, rocks, or other aquarium decors that you need to scrub. Take out those that have a lot of grime on it such as algae and fish waste. Place them into the bucket for now. Leave your betta fish inside its tank. It will be more stressful for your betta fish if you remove it from the tank. This may lead to temperature shock and stress.

Step 4: Scrub aquarium glass

Scrub the aquarium glass using the magnetic algae scrubber or a simple brush. You’ll soon notice that your aquarium’s glass becomes a lot clearer. If your aquarium is glass and you see any brown spots or green spot algae, then you can use a razor blade to scrape this off. Use a plastic razor or an old plastic credit card to scrape off the tenacious green spot algae for acrylic made tanks.

Related: Do Betta Fish Need a Lid on Their Tank?

Step 5: Use an aquarium gravel vacuum

Use your aquarium gravel vacuum or water siphon to suck out any visible detritus (accumulated fish waste and unwanted food) which have collected on the gravel. Use the bucket you have placed the decor into earlier to receive the water being taken out. You can gently agitate the gravel with a swishing motion to lift off the detritus from the gravel so that it can be sucked up by the siphon without disturbing the substrate.

Water will be removed together with the detritus. Make it a target to remove 20-30% of the tank’s water. This will be enough for weekly water change in betta fish tank maintenance.

Step 6: Remove siphoned water

Throw away the water which has been siphoned out. You can use this to water your houseplants and outdoor garden plants because it has the compounds which these plants need! Rinse off the decor with tap water while brushing off any grime that accumulated on it. You can use a sponge or a toothbrush bought only for this purpose. Once these are visibly clean then you can set them aside.

Step 7: Clean the filter

Cleaning the filter should not be done all the time because this is where most of the beneficial bacteria in your fish tank are located. If you are really keen on cleaning your filter then make it a once a month task. Here are a few steps to consider.

  1. Gather water from your aquarium and fill a bucket halfway. Do not use tap water because the chlorine and chloramine will kill the beneficial bacteria.
  2. Take your filter cartridges or sponges and swish them through the water and gently squeeze out as much debris as possible.
  3. Repeat until the water that drips from the filter sponges is clear.
  4. Do not over clean the filter because you will kill the beneficial bacteria.
How To Keep A Betta Fish Tank Clean

Why so much fuss about these beneficial bacteria? Well, these bacteria are in charge of keeping the Nitrogen Cycle established in your tank. Without them, ammonia will accumulate and kill your fish. Fish produce waste from the food they eat and uneaten food rots away. These produce ammonia which is very toxic to fish. Nitrosomonas bacteria eat the ammonia and convert it into Nitrites which is a little less toxic for fish. Nitrobacter bacteria then eat Nitrites and convert it into Nitrates which is far less toxic for fish. Water changes dilute Nitrates and live plants use Nitrates to grow.

It is best to clean your filter once a month or if it isn’t visibly dirty then it can go for another month.

One of the best ways on how to keep a betta fish tank clean is to keep track of the amount of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates present in your tank is by using a Master Test Kit. This will guide you in determining the water parameters for you to decide if the filter really needs to be cleaned.

Step 8: Prepare the water and conditioner

Prepare water to place back into your betta fish tank. Use the correct amount of water conditioner indicated per gallon. See the details in your water conditioner instructions. Rinse the decor in the conditioned water and place them back into your betta fish tank. Slowly fill up the betta fish tank by using a jar or you can use the water siphon as well.

You can use this step by step guide for keeping a betta fish tank clean regularly. A complete, thorough clean up only needs to happen if your betta fish was exposed to a disease or when an algae bloom occurs. Fortunately, you can prevent it by keeping your betta fish tank clean. This will bring good health to your betta and not let too much-dissolved organics to accumulate which leads to algae growth.

Related: Fish Tank Yellow Water: Causes, Prevention, and More!