How to Clean a Fish Bowl

Unlike cats and animals that have their own cleanliness standards, fish lovers have to enforce their own cleaning techniques for their beloved pets, which isn’t always easy. Fish bowls are far from immune to the green gunk our fish friends create, and there are plenty of ways to rectify that and other messy situations.

June Cleaver Technique

Firstly, you can go the old fashioned route. Transfer your fish (and its water) to another container. DON’T take your fish, sans water, to another tank- the temperature change is enough to send Nemo into shock, and unlike the movie, he won’t be faking death when he hits the toilet water. Run the fishbowl and decorative pieces under moderately warm water, tending to each item. If you have rocks or gravel at the bottom, move them around under the flow of water to ensure you got every piece. Another health risk to your fish is using soap- no amount of rinsing can assure that the harmful chemicals are completely washed away. To put your fish back, make sure the clean water your put in the tank is the same temperature as the water the fish was in while you cleaned the tank.

Shamu and Conditioner

Water conditioner is a liquid for your bowl that’s strictly for your fish’s health. It neutralizes the chemicals in tap water that could potentially be harmful. Cleaning to the bowl may be tedious, but cleaning out a dead fish isn’t a good alternative.

Scrubbing Bubbles

If you’re looking to get grime and algae off the walls of your tank, you have one of two options. Scrubbing the tank using the first technique in this article, along with a wash cloth or sponge may work, but beware of spreading the germs around. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the bowl (and toss the cloth) afterward. If you’re not a hands-on fish owner, look into buying a “sucker fish.” These algae-eating fish are sold at pet stores, and they literally suck the algae off of the bowl’s walls. They’re generally non-combative with other fish, and reduce your cleaning responsibilities significantly.

Climate Cop-out

For those who hate cleaning but can’t stand the sight of their dirty fish tank, consider outdoor “storage” for your pet. Small ponds and dwelling areas are perfect for goldfish and the like, and also give them more room to grow and swim. Out of sight, out of mind can’t apply here- you obviously still have to feed them regularly. Also keep in mind that temperature and climate have an effect on these fish, so talk to a professional at the pet store before you toss your tank and start digging.

Betsy Cline

Betsy Cline has been a professional house cleaner for 15 years and also a mother of 4 amazing kids (who make lots of messes). She is the founder of How to Clean It and loves to share tips and advice for cleaning up anything life throws at you.

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