How to Clean an Aquarium Guide for Beginners?


Topic: I have a 20 gallon aquarium full of guppies. I don’t know how to clean the tank though. My fish are really happy and love their tank setup. I need to clean the tank soon so it doesn’t get too dirty for them to have good water to breath in can somebody walk me through cleaning an aquarium with small guppy fish? Thanks for helping.


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Chris W:
tank of guppyYou can think of cleaning your fish aquarium in the same way to clean all fish aquariums. No particular one is going to be all that different. You first want to start by doing what is called a “water change”. You only want to change a maximum of 40% of the tank water. This is because your fish are used to this water and not the new incoming water. When you mix the new water with your 60% old water… they make a neutral mix that is easier for your fish to handle. (Note: don’t forget to add conditioner to new water)

Changing Filter Pad

Fish aquarium filters have a pad or a sponge like media in them that is cleaning the water of debris. Remove and change this pad when it is necessary. Remember that sometimes mildly used filter pads work well because they have “good bacteria” in them and as water passes through them.. they help the water. There is a fine line between an “ok” filter pad and “oh wow, I need to change this”. It is an art of mastering those fine lines.

Cleaning Items in Aquarium

You should clean your gravel every once and a while because it will get super nasty after too long. They make siphon vacuum tools that make it easy to do. You should also scrub the sides of your glass every once and a while too. I usually use a plain razor blade on the inside of the glass and let the fish eat what comes off (they love algae). Maybe clean your plants once a great while by rubbing your fingers through them. Algae may grow in them after a long amount of time.

Wrap Up

I would say the three biggest factors are your water changes, filter media, and cleaning your gravel. If you can master those three things, then you will have healthy fish. And remember that guppies have small bio-loads so you won’t have a lot of poop like some fish. Mainly your concern will be in new water changes because the fish will need new oxygen.

I’ve had a bunch of guppy tanks where I used some live plants in the tanks and I literally had to do nothing for months on end because the plants would consume waste that the fish put in the water. And the plants would create new oxygen for the fish and that resulted me never having to add new water. So maybe that’s an idea for you to throw around. A well rounded ecosystem always is the easiest to maintain but does take extensive research. Hopefully that helps some.


Posted by Natasha G:
I have personally found that if I clean the gravel once every two weeks my tank does the best. I don’t know what size your tank is but mine is a 30 gallon and I’m using medium-size gravel so maybe that helps and you can use the same cycle I do. It’s definitely important to also do water changes just like stated above and that is probably the single-handed most important factor. I would also recommend using gravel because some people think that their tank is more cleaning without it but actually holds a lot of beneficial bacteria in the gravel.