How Often Do You Need To Clean A Betta Fish Tank?

Why is it necessary to clean your betta fish tank?

If it ain’t broken don’t fix it, right? Well, it is wrong in the case of fish tanks. The fact that your aquarium water is clear does not necessarily mean that you should not clean it. Because while clear aquarium water is often a signal that everything is clean and okay, it can be deceiving. It can be deceiving because water can be clear and at the same time infested with harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms. Therefore, whether your aquarium water looks clean or not, you should clean it regularly to make sure it is genuinely and completely clean and safe for your betta fish. 

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Below are some of the reasons why you should clean your betta fish tank regularly regardless of the color and clarity of the water in it: 

  1. To reduce the levels of toxic waste

Fish eat and eliminate waste just like most animals. The waste they excrete includes ammonia, a chemical that is actually toxic to them. The food that fish do not eat usually ends up on the gravel at the bottom of the tank. When it stays there for some hours, it starts decomposing. This decomposition also releases ammonia. So ammonia usually comes from two sources in fish tanks – fish waste and decomposing food waste. This is the reason why it can quickly accumulate in fish tanks. 

Normally, properly set up fish tanks will have filters with beneficial bacteria that to continuously eliminate ammonia. The bacteria eliminate ammonia by breaking it down into harmless compounds. However, filters are usually not 100% effective. What this means is that they do not eliminate ammonia completely. This is the reason why there is a need to clean fish tanks to make sure all traces of ammonia are eliminated every once in a while. Because if ammonia is left in the fish tank, it can become extremely toxic to your betta. It could, in fact, kill your fish.

  1. To replace nutrients and minerals

All fish including betta fish need nutrients and minerals to survive. Fish typically receive nutrients via feedings and minerals via the water they swim in. Normally, fish tank cleaning usually results in water changing or replacing. The replacing water is usually treated with minerals to replace those consumed by the fish. In case regularly cleaning and proper water changes do not occur, fish will not receive minerals and this could affect their health and wellbeing. So if you want your Betta to live well, you better clean his or her tank regularly and change the water properly to ensure they get the minerals they need.

  1. To eliminate food waste and other waste

Any busy aquarium will probably have food waste and other waste that need removing every now and then. Examples of waste that would need removing from a busy aquarium include food waste, detritus, and dead leaves/ plants. If you do not remove waste regularly from your betta fish tank, the waste could decompose and lead to an increase of ammonia in the tank. Moreover, the clarity of the water could be greatly affected. 

  1. To remove algae

400;”>Aquariums are just as perfect for algae as they for fish; algae thrive in most aquariums. A small number of algae is not bad for aquariums as many aquarium fish species usually eat them. However, algal outbreaks not great for aquariums. This is because the algal bloom will deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water and make the fish in it suffocate. Therefore, if you do not want your betta fish to suffocate because of algae, you should clean your fish tank regularly to eliminate them. 

As you can see above, it is very necessary to clean your betta fish tank regularly. If you don’t, your fish’s health will be significantly affected and they will die.  

How often should you clean your betta fish tank?

This depends on many things. It depends on the size of your tank, the efficiency of your installed filter, whether your tank is planted, and the number and type of fish you are housing in the tank. 

If you have a 5-gallon tank with just a single fish and a good filter, you will need to clean your tank every six months. Generally, the bigger the tank, the more time you will have between every thorough cleaning. This is because bigger tanks have more water and, therefore, require more waste (and more time) to get to the point of needing a thorough cleaning.

If you are keeping a betta, it is important to have a very efficient filter installed. If you do have a good filter set up, it should clean your aquarium water regularly and thoroughly. This will reduce the need to replace water frequently and to clean your tank often. Therefore, if you have a good filter, you can take more than 12 months before cleaning your tank thoroughly. 

If your tank is planted and has a filter, then you can confidently go for years without it needing a thorough clean. This is because planted aquariums work together with filters to efficiently remove ammonia and other toxic chemicals. So there is no need to clean them frequently.

You will only need to clean your betta fish tank monthly if it does not have a filter or if it has many fish. This is because in both these situations, there is a quick accumulation of waste and ammonia and this can be dangerous for your fish. 

How long will it take you to clean your betta fish tank?

This depends on how thoroughly you want to clean it. If you want to clean everything, it will take you a bit of time. However, if you simply want to clean a few things here and there, it won’t really take you much time. 

How to thoroughly clean your betta fish tank?

Now that you know why you need to clean your betta fish tank, how often you should clean your betta fish tank, and how long it will take you to clean it, it is time to know exactly how to clean your tank. 

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and put on gloves. This is an important step because it reduces your likelihood of introducing harmful micro-organisms and bacteria into the tank and causing danger to your betta fish.
  2. Get the water you will use to replace part of your aquarium water ready. If you are going to change 50 percent of your aquarium water, you should have that amount fetched, water conditioned, and at the right temperature. This is important because it means that you can quickly complete the cleaning and maintenance of your tank. You do not need to prepare water and wait for everything to be right. 
  3. Remove your betta. This is a crucial step because you cannot clean your betta fish tank with your betta inside. You should use a large mug to remove your betta. This is because a large mug will have enough space for your betta. However, you should make sure you put a lid on the mug. This is because your betta can jump out and die. 
  4. Remove the amount of water that you planned to replace. For instance, if it is 50 percent, you should remove it at this point. Removing the amount of water you will later replace will give you an easy time to clean your betta fish tank.
  5. Remove artificial plants, rocks, ornaments, or anything else on top of the gravel that is not a plant. Once you have removed everything from the gravel, scoop the gravel out into a bucket. Once you have done this, you should scrub the aquarium to make it super clean and then rinse it with tap water. Once you’ve done this, use an aquarium scrub (it is like a sea sponge).to remove everything not glass from your tank. This will make it super clean. At this point, you should rinse the aquarium and with a water spray to clean out everything else left. Once the tank is clean, you can start cleaning the other things that were inside the tank.
  6. Wash the gravel you had removed. Many people usually ignore doing this but you should not. You ought to thoroughly clean and remove all waste, dirt, and debris from the gravel. You are also supposed to clean aquarium ornaments and fake plants. Basically, everything that was in your aquarium before you began the cleaning, needs to be washed and rinsed except your fish and any other live critter. 
  7. After cleaning everything nicely, you should start by returning your now clean gravel to your aquarium. You should then return the decorations, the plants, the ornaments, and so on. And then you should put back the water you were not going to replace. After doing this, you should add the freshwater you had prepared for your aquarium. You should then let everything sit for like ten minutes and run your filter to see if it is working. If everything is good you should pour your betta fish into your super clean aquarium. If you also wanted to replace your filter media or cartridge, this is when you should do it.


It is important to establish a regular cleaning schedule for your betta fish tank. This is because there is a need to clean it regardless of how clean the water and the tank look from the outside. The main need to clean the tank is to remove toxic chemicals that can make your fish sick or even kill it. Another need is to replace part of the water your fish has been swimming in with healthier fresh water. So do not hesitate to clean your betta fish tank thoroughly whenever you have the chance to after every couple of months.