How To Clean A Fish Tank Filter

How To Clean A Fish Tank Filter

Are you planning on buying some fish?

Your fish tank filter is going to be one of the most important components of your fish tank – as besides helping to get rid of all the dirt, debris, and organic matter – it also helps to maintain a healthy living environment for your fish. 

Just like the way air filters are able to regulate the air that we breathe, fish tank filters do essentially the same thing by helping to regulate the water that your fish live in.

But, if a fish tank filter comes dirty or clogged, then it won’t be able to do its job, and that can wreak havoc to your tank’s natural ecosystem. 

This is why it’s so important to make sure that you are keeping your fish tank’s filter as clean as can be!

In this article, we are going to be talking you through how you can easily and effectively clean your fish tank’s filter. So, whenever you’re ready, just read on.

How Often Should I Clean My Aquarium Water Filter?

Before we talk you through how to clean your fish tank’s water filter, you might currently be wondering how often you should be cleaning it.

Aquarium filters are essentially designed to remove impurities from the water, while also providing oxygenation and filtration. 

The filter media is usually composed of activated carbon or sand.

Aquarium filters require maintenance to ensure they continue working properly.

So, if you don’t regularly check them, you risk clogging the filter and causing problems.

Alongside the above, a dirty filter will also result in poor water quality which can cause disease or even worse for your fish!

This is why it’s so important to make sure that you are either cleaning your fish tank filter periodically or alternatively opting to replace it with a brand new one. 

Even though you will be the best judge for deciding when you need to clean or replace your filter, it is generally recommended that you should clean your filter at least once every 1-2 weeks, or whenever you decide to change your tank’s water.

This brings us to our next point. 

How To Clean A Fish Tank Filter

To avoid this problem, it’s important to periodically clean the filter.

To do this, simply turn off the power supply to the tank and drain the water.

Remove the lid and use a soft brush to scrub away all the debris. 

Next, pour fresh water into the tank and refill the filter with new media.

It’s recommended that you replace the filter every 6 months, although if you feel that you need to replace it more frequently please do so.

Cleaning your fish tank filter can be tricky, especially if you’re just starting out, which is why we’re going to be breaking the process down into steps below:

How To Clean A Fish Tank Filter: Step-By-Step Instructions

How To Clean A Fish Tank Filter: Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One: Remove The Lid

To begin cleaning your fish tank’s filter, you should first begin by removing the lid and then turning off the power switch.

This will then allow you to go in and remove the filter so that it can be cleaned without causing any damage to its overall system.

Step Two: Check For Leaks

Before you go in and start cleaning your filter, you should first take a moment to check the connections at each end of the filter housing.

Make sure all the hoses are tight and secure. If there are any issues or signs of damage, then we recommend opting to swap out the filter for a new one. 

Step Three: Clean The Filter

If all the connections are in working order, then you can go ahead and begin cleaning the filter.

To do this, take a clean, soft sponge and some warm soapy water.

Then, gently begin wiping the surface of the filter to get rid of all the residues from the dirt and debris.

All the while, be very careful not to damage the filter material.

Step Four: Replace The Lid

Once you are satisfied that your filter has been cleaned, all you will then need to do is place the filter back inside, replace the lid and make sure the power switch is turned back on.

Step Five: Test The Filter

After you have successfully cleaned your fish tank’s filter and you are ready to begin using it as usual once again, we first recommend that you test the filter to make sure that it is working correctly.

To do this, all you will have to do is simply turn the power switch back on. 

You’re more than likely going to find that your filter is working just fine, but if you can see dirt, debris, and matter floating through the tank, then this is an indication that the filter is not working, so you will need to go back and check that the filter has been re-fitted correctly. 


Now that you have taken the time to read through this guide, we’re hoping that you can see how your fish tank filter is essential to keeping your aquarium healthy.

As we have already mentioned above, aquariums and fish tanks come with their own ecosystem, and this can lead to your tank’s filter becoming clogged and dirty as the filtration system works to maintain the optimum balance inside your tank.

With that being said, the most common reason for failure is neglecting to clean the filter!

Fortunately,  so long as you are making sure that you are following all the steps and advice that we have provided you with above, you shouldn’t have any problems cleaning your fish tank filter and ensuring your fish tank remains in optimum condition. 

Thank you for reading! 

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