Aquarium Cleaning: a Clear View of the Aquarium

In order for your aquarium to remain a visual highlight, you have to invest some time in aquarium cleaning. It is an advantage to have good tools on hand that not only save work but also time. We present the most important helpers in aquarium cleaning here.

One often hears the prejudice that aquarium cleaning takes a lot of time and is always accompanied by flooding of the pool area: If you do it right, however, this is by no means the case. In general, you should spend as little time as possible on cleaning, because every intervention in the aquarium stresses its residents and can also affect the stable water values. So that you can do the necessary cleaning work in a minimum of time, we are now introducing some cleaning tools – broken down according to different cleaning work.

Windows and algae coating

So that you always have a clear view of the inside of the tank, the aquarium panes must of course be clear, streak-free, and clean from algae. Here we introduce you to some helpful utensils for your purpose.

Cleaning wipes

To keep the outside of the aquarium clean, there are special glass cloths that can be used to quickly and easily create streak-free clarity. However, it is more important – also because of the water parameters – to keep the inside of the pool clean. Here, too, there are cleaning cloths that do not require any chemicals and also help against deposits.

Algae magnets

Magnetic window cleaners are also very popular, as they enable the inside of the aquarium to be cleaned without getting your hands wet and stressing the residents too much. The practical thing about many of these magnets is that they float and float to the surface when they separate from their counterpart on the outside.

Window cleaner

A third option is window cleaners that are equipped with blades. Here, however, you have to be careful not to scratch the panes. Once you have learned how to use this cleaner, you can remove even the most stubborn deposits.

Animal helpers

In general, by the way, you do not have to clean all the windows in principle. If, for example, you have algae-eating fish or snails in the pool, you can safely leave the side windows algae, as the residents do the cleaning here – of course only if they are not fed too full. The steel helmet snail is a particularly hard-working helper. If all panes are cleaned, however, you also have to make sure that all algae-eating animals get enough food. However, the algae must be removed if they are blue-green algae or brownish diatoms: These can, under certain circumstances, have a negative effect on the biological balance.

The gravel cleaning

The flooring of your pool also needs to be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, there will be a mauling, which swallows a lot of oxygen and has a detrimental effect on the water values ​​in the long term.


Well suited for this are sludge vacuum cleaners, which are also known under the name sludge bell. With the help of these cleaning tools, the floor is freed of sludge and scraped off algae, but without destroying all the useful bacteria at the same time, which would be the case when replacing the substrate. Such gravel cleaners are also available in sets with useful accessories. They are unsuitable for fine sand, as this would be absorbed. Better to loosen up the sand in the meantime or use burrowing fish.

Clean the filter step by step

The aquarium filter also has to be cleaned at some point, but there is a lot of discussion about the right time: Opinions vary widely from “every three months” to “once a year” to “only clean when the filter performance declines”. In the end, you have to decide that yourself, but cleaning will be necessary sooner or later.

So that not all useful bacteria are completely removed, you should never replace the entire filter material at once, but one after the other with enough time between renewals. And be careful not to clean the filter material in the water that is too warm: this kills the valuable bacteria! Of course, cleaning agents are also taboo. Occasional rinsing of coarse dirt usually helps, preferably in a bucket of aquarium water.

After cleaning, starter cultures can help so that new positive bacteria can settle again quickly.

Maintain the water

The water in the aquarium is the basis of life for all biological processes, which is why you should pay special attention to it: For this reason, regular water changes are mandatory when cleaning the aquarium. The frequency depends on the vegetation and fish population: the more animal and plant life, the more often the water has to be changed.

With such a water change, however, not all of the water is completely replaced, only 10-30% of the total volume is sucked off and replaced with fresh water. Through this procedure, the biological balance in the tank remains as well as the bacterial cultures that have built up.

However, since tap water often contains chlorine and other harmful substances, it must be made suitable for aquariums with special technical systems or liquid water conditioners. In addition to the amount of chlorine, the lime content is a frequent problem, but it can be remedied with calcium reactors; the holistic treatment can be carried out by an osmosis system.

However, you can also get by without such a technique by using special water additives that are added directly to the water.

Aquarium cleaning also means plant care

Keeping the aquarium plants in shape is also one of the cleaning and maintenance tasks in aquarium cleaning. Above all, you have to intervene here if the plant growth becomes too strong: In such a case, plant shoots that are growing tall or to the side must be removed, for example with planters. In addition, you have to remove dead plant leaves and stabilize plants with exposed roots again in the substrate.

Less is more

Aquarium maintenance is definitely important. However, it is even more important not to overdo it. Aquarium keepers who are “crazy about cleaning” usually have more problems. Because they regularly and often very clearly disturb the balance that is leveling off in the aquarium. If cleaning measures are necessary, limit yourself to the essentials. We advise you to do smaller jobs on a regular basis rather than start large cleaning campaigns. In this way, you maintain the natural balance and enjoy a stable underwater world.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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