Why Soap should never be used to Clean out a Fish Aquarium

When a first-time fish owner buys a fish tank, he or she probably assumes to use soap to clean it. Don’t we use soap to clean everything else? This is a reasonable assumption. However, you should never allow yourself to use soap to clean a fish tank. The reason for this is that soap is anti-bacterial. The very last thing you want to do to a stable aquarium environment is to add something that kills off bacteria. The reason fish in a fish tank do not die in their own waste and filth is because of beneficial bacterial colonies that break down and eliminate their wastes. When the beneficial bacterial colonies are killed off by soap, a strong bleach, or other chemical cleaners, this will upset and disrupt the fish tank water’s chemical balance, and in turn will kill off all the fish. I presume that no normal sane fish owner likes killing their own fish, so this is why soap is not an option for cleaning a fish tank.

Instead of soap, I would recommend using a razor blade for scraping off the algae stuck on the sides of the tank, a very weak bleach solution (around 10 percent bleach), a sufficient number of paper towels, a non-scratching soft sponge, and a lime remover or glass cleaner specifically made for use on aquariums. Use the non-scratching soft sponge and a bit of warm to hot water to clean the inside glass sides of the fish tank.

For residue or algae on the glass that will not come off with the sponge, use the razor blade to scrape it off the glass. If your fish tank is an acrylic one, use a razor blade made of plastic, as regular razors will undoubtedly scratch the acrylic surface. When the inside glass is clean enough, take out any decorations, rocks, or artificial plants that you believe are in need of cleaning. It’s imperative that you do not use soap or detergents to clean them either. Soak them in the 10% bleach solution for around fifteen to twenty minutes. Scrub any left over residue off, and then rinse them well in running water, and let them air dry. Clean the gravel afterwards by using a water siphon to suck away all the debris and waste. Be sure to vacuum the entire surface of the gravel thoroughly so that all the debris and waste is removed.

Changing the filter should be the last thing you do. After you change the filter, you’re left with a satisfyingly clean fish tank.