How To Clean A Goldfish Tank | In 9 Easy To Follow Steps

By making sure that your goldfish is living in a clean environment, it will help to promote a long, happy and healthy life whilst living in captivity. Goldfish tanks are relatively easy to clean and shouldn’t take you more than 30 to 45 minutes to do.

Goldfish typically produce a lot of waste so making sure you clean the tank properly is very important.

cleaning a goldfish tank

Checklist Of Things You Will Need

List of things you will need to clean the tank

  1. Aquarium Glass Cleaner Magnet : This is by far the easiest way to clean the glass on your tank (Available to buy on amazon)
  2. Container or Bucket : To remove water from the tank
  3. Aquarium Gravel Cleaner : Not needed but recommended (Available to buy on amazon)
  4. Water Conditioner : To treat the tap water for the gold fish (Available to buy on Amazon)

Steps To Cleaning A Goldfish Tank

Below are the steps you need to take to clean your goldfish tank

Step 1 : Remove your goldfish

The first action of doing a thorough cleanout of your goldfish’s aquarium would be removing your goldfish. Have a separate container and fill it up with water from their aquarium. Carefully remove your goldfish from the tank. To avoid any injuries when moving them, it would be best to use a net. Place them into the container.

Step 2 : Remove Accessories

Now that your goldfish is separated from the tank, next, remove the accessories from inside. You want to fill a bowl with hot water, make sure that you don’t add any cleaning products because there is a possibility that it could be toxic. You want to leave the accessories to soak in the hot water for an extended amount of time (until you have finished cleaning the tank), by doing this it will help to clean the accessories thoroughly. It might be worth having a new scrubber to clean off any dirt/algae off.

Step 3 : Remove Live Plants

If you don’t have any live plants in your aquarium skip to step 4. You want to remove your live plants and place them into a temporary tank; this could be in the container with your fish. Make sure to be careful that you don’t disturb the roots too much as this could damage the plant.

Step 4 : Remove 40% Of The Water

You want to remove 40% of the water that is in the tank. You will need a small amount of the water for step 6 so put a small amount into a container or bucket.

Step 5 : Clean The Aquarium Glass

It is likely that after a month of not being clean, the aquarium glass will be dirty with algae, goldfish waste, etc. The best way to get rid of the dirt is by using an aquarium cleaning magnet (Available to buy on amazon here).

Algae can be quite hard to remove so it will require some intense scrubbing. If there are bits which won’t budge, use a razor blade to scratch it off. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t come off though as algae won’t hurt your goldfish.

Step 6 : Cleaning the Gravel

You should be left with the gravel and a small amount of water in the tank. If you have an aquarium gravel cleaner (Available to buy on amazon), you can use that to suck any dirt hiding within the gravel. It will also remove the excess water. However, you do not have to have a gravel cleaner to do this.

If you do not have an aquarium gravel cleaner, you can instead mix the water and gravel up; this will help to lift the dirt to the top of the water. Once you’ve done this, you can tip out the excess water.

Step 7 : Cleaning the filter(s)

You want to place the filter into the container with water, to rinse it. Shake it around to try and get any of the excess dirt out. Every few months you will want to put a filter replacement cartridge in.

Step 8 : Put Everything Back Into The Tank

Before adding the clean water, you want to start by putting the accessories and live plants that you removed back into the tank.

Step 9 : Add Tap Water To The Tank

This step is relatively easy to do. You want to fill your tank up with tap water, the temperature of the tank for goldfish needs to be between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ideally, you want it the same temperature as the water was before you cleaned the tank. Tap water needs to be treated before you put your fish back (I have written an article about this here)

You can treat tap water by using dechlorinators or water conditioners (Available to buy on Amazon)

Step 10 : Put The Goldfish Back Into The Tank

Now you have thoroughly cleaned your tank and got the temperature correct; you can now carefully put your goldfish back inside.

How Often Does a Goldfish Tank Need To Be Cleaned?

It would help if you regularly did a partial water change, we would recommend doing this once a week, but to thoroughly clean your goldfish tank out we would suggest that you do it once a month. This would include changing all the water, cleaning the tank surfaces and decorations and siphoning the gravel.

What is the Best Way To Keep a Goldfish Tank Clean?

To ensure that you keep your goldfish tank clean there are a couple of things that you can do, such as:

  • Regular Water Changes : If you regularly change the water inside of the tank, it will help to keep the water clean, as well as providing your goldfish with the oxygen that they need to survive.
  • Introduce Algae-eating Fish : If your tank frequently grows algae, you can get specific fish which will eat the algae and help to keep the tank clean.
  • Remove Any Leftover Food : Left over food will rot and will reduce the quality of the water

Can I Take My Goldfish Out of the Tank to Clean it?

We would highly recommend removing your goldfish from the tank when you are cleaning it. If you don’t remove your goldfish, it could become stressed, so it is best to avoid leaving it in the tank. You can fill up a container with water from its aquarium, and put your fish in there.

How Do You Clean Goldfish Poop?

Poop is easy to clean from your tank. If you notice goldfish poo floating around the tank, you could scoop it out using a net.

What Do Goldfish Like in Their Tanks?

Goldfish enjoy a variety of different things in their tank, but they also like having a large amount of space. Goldfish can grow quite large, which means they need plenty of space, especially if you have more than one goldfish within your tank.

  • Plants : Plants are loved by goldfish for many reasons. They can hide behind them, nibble on them, and it can provide them with a sense of security. Goldfish need oxygen to survive, plants are perfect for this, they can help to produce more oxygen within the tank, so this is an excellent addition for your aquarium.
  • Hiding Spots : Adding objects into your tank make great places for your goldfish to hide. They might use it as a resting place and somewhere to go to when they feel stressed.
  • Companions : Goldfish enjoy having companions with them. Ideally, you want to put them with another goldfish of the same breed.

Why Do Goldfish Die After Changing Water?

Changing water can be quite traumatising for your goldfish, this is why it is super important that you are careful with both handling your fish and with the chemicals and temperature of the water. Some of the reasons why goldfish die after a water change are as followed:

  • Water Was Not Treated : Tap water needs to be treated before you put your fish back, You can treat tap water by using dechlorinators or water conditioners (Available to buy on Amazon)
  • Temperature Not Right : Goldfish need to have the perfect temperature, too cold or too warm can be fatal. The ideal temperature for a goldfish is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Not adding de-chlorinator : Tap water has a small amount of chlorine, for humans this is OK, but for goldfish a small amount can be fatal, this is why it is crucial to add de-chlorinator.

Is it OK to Feed Goldfish Once a Day?

How many times you should feed your goldfish a day is quite a controversial topic in the fish world. Some recommend feeding multiple times a day, whereas some people will only feed their fish every other day.

We believe that feeding your fish once a day is sufficient. You don’t want to overfed or underfed as this can lead to health conditions. Your fish should be able to eat the food you have given them within a two-minute window of time.

For more information about feeding your goldfish take a look at another article I wrote here


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.

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