How to Clean a Fish Tank Glass

How to Clean a Fish Tank Glass (1)

Keeping your fish tank clean and healthy is a very important part of owning fish.

It is a big responsibility, and you always want it to look good, right?

A lot of people struggle with cleaning the glass of their fish tank.


Because not all fish tanks are the same, and not all of them are made out of the same material.

That alone can make it difficult to know what to do, and finding the right tools can seem like an impossible task, but you’ve come to the right place. 

Let’s take a look at how to clean the glass of your fish tank properly!

Here, we will go through what can make the glass of your tank dirty, and the various ways that you can clean it, depending on the cause.

On top of that, we will go through some hygiene rules to follow to keep your tank looking and feeling cleaner for longer.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What Causes Fish Tank Glass to Get Dirty?

Like anything, a fish tank will gradually get dirtier as time goes on.

The number of fish you have in it, as well as what else might be in it (like plants) could also play a part.

Often, algae will form on the glass, and will be one of the common things you will have to clean off it. 

The outside of the tank can be dirtied by any number of things – hands, paws, spills, the list is endless.

Cleaning the outside of your fish tank is pretty easy, but we will go through some methods you can try below, just in case.

How to Clean the Glass of Your Fish Tank

Cleaning the Inside of the Fish Tank

  • Get some algae-eating fish – algae-eating fish will do all the hard work for you when algae start to form on the glass of your fish tank. It isn’t only fish who can be the algae-eaters, either – get amano shrimp or some snails that like algae and let them loose (in safe numbers, of course).

There are some things to consider when deciding on which algae eater to get – the other fish in the tank, salt or fresh water, and the size of your tank.

The last thing you want to go is overcrowd the space, get a tropical fish if your tank is saltwater, or get fish that will fight.

  • Clean the glass by hand – cleaning the glass by hand is super simple and easy. All you need is a good pair of gloves that you can dedicate to the cause, and the right equipment. You will need a clean sponge that will only be used for the tank, a window scraper, and maybe even an aquarium magnet.

Cleaning the aquarium by hand is inexpensive and might even be fun if you love watching satisfying things.

Make sure that the equipment you use is non-abrasive, as you will be able to tell if you have scratched the walls of the tank, and nobody wants to peer through ruined walls.

  • Get an automatic cleaner – if you don’t feel like cleaning by hand, and have some money lying around, you can always invest in an automatic cleaner. These usually cost a couple of hundred dollars, but are well worth the money.

All you need to do is attach the device to the glass, and it will do all the cleaning for you.

The only issue with these devices is that they need to manually be moved to each wall of the tank, as they cannot turn corners.

Cleaning the Outside of the Fish Tank

There are no real steps to take for cleaning the exterior of your fish tank.

All you need is a soft, clean cloth, and a spray.

Clean the tank like you would clean a window or mirror, but be careful not to get any of the cleaning solution into the tank.

Always make sure you are using a cleaner that is suitable for aquarium glass, or you can use something like vinegar.

If the small of vinegar bothers you, make sure to rinse it off thoroughly, or use a specialized cleaning solution.

While you clean the exterior, make sure that you clean all the other fixtures, too, like the lights and hood.

Fish Tank Hygiene Tips

How to Clean a Fish Tank Glass

There are a few things you can do to help your fish tank look and feel cleaner for longer, and ways to reduce the risk of algae taking over.

We’ve covered these steps in some of my other posts, but I’ll put them here too for good measure.

  • Limit the nutrients in the water – if the water in your tank has too many nutrients in it, algae will take advantage and use it. You can reduce the nutrients in your water by doing weekly 10-15% water changes and keeping live plants in the tank.

The water changes will help keep the nutrient levels down, and the live plants will absorb most of the nutrients, so the algae will have nothing left to eat.

  • Clean out organic waste – only feed your fish as much as they can finish in 5 minutes. Always make sure to empty the tank of any leftover food, or don’t feed your fish for a day, so they eat what is left.

Additionally, make sure to get rid of decaying organic life like dead plant leaves or fish, and get rid of fish waste regularly.

  • Don’t overpopulate the tank – too many fish in one tank will lead to it getting dirty very quickly, primarily due to the amount of waste that will be released into the water.
  • Take note of the lighting that the tank gets – too much light will help algae flourish in the tank. Limit artificial light to a maximum of 10 hours per day, and ensure that your tank in not sitting by a window.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning glass is simple and easy, and anyone can do it.

If you don’t like cleaning glass, get yourself an automatic algae cleaner.

Algae eating fish are a great option, too, but cleaning the interior glass by hand is the most effective, as you can really get into every crevice.

Hopefully this makes cleaning the glass of your aquarium a little easier, and now you know what to do the next time you start seeing dirt on that glass!

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