Last update: March 6, 2024

How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank

If you’re a first-time fish owner, specifically a Betta fish owner, there comes the time when you wonder how to clean a Betta fish tank. This task might seem terrifying, but it’s much easier than you think.

This post tells you everything from how often you clean a Betta fish tank to how to keep a Betta fish tank clean. We give you a step-by-step guide on Betta fish tank cleaning, so you know how to do it and how often to do it.

Cleaning a Betta fish tank won’t take as much time if you maintain your tank and its conditions, but it can depend on your setup, how many Bettas you have, and how big your tank is.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know on this topic!

How Long Does It Take To Clean A Betta Aquarium? 

how long does it take to clean aquarium

It usually doesn’t take too long to clean a Betta aquarium. Of course, that depends on how well and how often you clean the fish tank, but it also depends on your setup. 

This can also depend on what type of filter you have in your tank or the size of your aquarium, but also how many Betta fish you own. These factors will influence how long and how often you have to clean your Betta aquarium.

Also, if you only have a few decorations, fake plants, and gravel, it won’t take too long. 

We recommend you clean your Betta aquarium whenever you perform a water change. This way, you stay on top of the cleaning, and you don’t need to do it in several strokes. 

You can either perform a small water change every week or a big change twice a month. It’s up to you and how often you want to clean your fish tank and perform water changes.

How Often Do You Clean A Betta Fish Tank?

You don’t have to clean your Betta fish tank as often as you might think. There’s no real answer that will fit every Betta fish tank out there, as the setup could be different, like how big your tank is and how many Betta fish you keep in it.

The importance of a filter

The most important thing to clean in their tank for Betta fish is the filter. This way, you won’t have to clean the rest of the tank regularly.

You probably already know this if you’re familiar with these fish. A filter is essential to maintain good water conditions and quality. It also means you have to change the tank’s water less often, and it won’t take as long to clean your Betta aquarium. So invest in a good filter!

The importance of regular tank maintenance

importance of betta tank maintenance

 A filter is essential to any fish tank and can reduce how often you need to clean your aquarium. In the same way, it’s important to maintain your tank to provide a better quality of life to your fish and reduce how regularly you need to clean the Betta tank.

Here’s how you can maintain your Betta fish tank: clean the filter cartridges, vacuum the gravel, perform regular water changes, and scrape all of the algae in the tank.  If you do all of these regularly, let’s say once a week, you shouldn’t need to deep-clean your tank as often, and your Betta fish will surely be happy and healthy!

Another way to tell you when you need to clean your Betta tank is by checking the water chemistry.

How often you should clean your Betta fish tank

As for how often you should clean a Betta fish tank, it will depend exactly on the quality of your tank’s filter and the maintenance you do. For example, a 15 liter tank that only has one Betta fish in it and that has a good filter can be deep-cleaned every six to eight months.

However, if a 15 liter tank doesn’t have a filter, then you probably need to clean your Betta fish tank every four or five weeks or so. Without a filter, debris and excrements will build up and ruin the tank’s water quality, which can endanger your fish’s health and possibly give him some diseases.

As you can see, it’s essential to have a filter in your Betta fish tank, and a good one too. In some planted aquariums that have filters and fish that act as a ‘clean-up crew’, you don’t need to clean it for years.

How often you should perform water changes

how often change water

As for how often you should perform water changes, this will once again vary on the size of your tank, its setup, and how many Bettas you have in it.

Usually, the smaller the Betta tank is, the more often you need to perform water changes. Let’s give you some examples so you can get an idea of how often you should change your particular Betta tank. 

A five 5 to 10 gallon tank will need 10 to 20% of its water changed weekly. You usually don’t have to remove any decorations for weekly water changes or to clean your tank as often. You shouldn’t keep your Bettas in smaller tanks than five gallons anyway.

However, any tank bigger than 10 gallons won’t need weekly water changes, and twice a month is usually enough. Of course, this can vary as it heavily depends on your tank setup, size, and tank population.

Should You Remove Your Fish From The Tank While Cleaning?

Should You Remove Your Fish From The Tank While Cleaning

No. You really shouldn’t remove your Betta fish from the tank while cleaning or at any other point. In fact, you should do everything in your power to keep your fish in the tank, even while cleaning.

Otherwise, if you remove your Betta from its environment, it could stress it out, make it less happy and more prone to illnesses or parasites as this could shock its system. 

The way to clean your tank without removing your fish or bothering them is to be as non-intrusive as you can. Instead of removing everything from the tank each time you clean, you can simply perform regular water changes every month and maybe use a gravel vacuum. 

In general, the only time you should remove your Betta fish from its tank is when you need to quarantine it from others because it could carry illnesses or parasites.

Should You Clean The Filter At The Same Time As The Aquarium? 

No. You should avoid cleaning the filter at the same time as the aquarium. Otherwise, all the beneficial bacteria in the tank could be removed.

This could send your Betta fish into shock, as any sudden changes in its environment could be detrimental to its health.

Tools You Will Need To Clean The Betta Fish Tank

To efficiently clean your Betta fish tank, it’s good to get to prepare all the tools you will need while cleaning. This way, you don’t have to stop midst-flow.

For this task, you will need a metallic algae scrubber, a gravel vacuum, a razor, a water conditioner, a container for your decorations, a toothbrush, and gloves. Apart from the specific tank equipment, you probably already have all of these at home.

How To Clean Your Betta Fish Aquarium Step-By-Step

Here’s how to clean your Betta fish aquarium in four easy stages, step-by-step with the tools mentioned above:

Step 1: Prepare To Clean Your Betta Fish Tank

prepare to clean betta tank

Before you can clean your Betta fish aquarium, you need to prepare. This will make it easier to clean your tank.

Wash your hands

Prepare the tools you need, wash your hands thoroughly, and put on gloves. This way, you’re preventing any contamination. Otherwise, you could harm your Betta fish and injure yourself. You can also prevent infecting your house.

Wear gloves

Bacteria could enter any cuts or sores you have on your hands, which could cause all sorts of problems for you. Not using gloves could also contaminate the tank’s water and introduce nasty bacteria in the tank, which could harm your Betta fish, and it could even be fatal.

Remove the tank’s decorations

Once you’ve washed your hands and put on gloves, you should remove all the decorations from your Betta tank. This way, you can clean them later. Just put them in the container you’ve prepared for now. To not stress your Betta fish, take each decoration slowly out of the tank.

Turn off everything

The final thing you need to do for this step is to turn off everything in your Betta tank. This includes the filter, lights, heater, air bubbler, and anything else that can be turned off in the aquarium. Put them away from the tank, just to be safe (unless they are waterproof). 

You don’t have to turn everything off as the cleaning should be pretty quick if you do it regularly and thoroughly.  It’s essential to turn every piece of tank equipment off for your own safety and your fish’s.

Step 2: Remove The Algae In Your Tank

importance of regular tank cleaning

Now, you’re finally ready to do the cleaning! You can do this. It’s not as daunting a task as what you might think.

The first step is to remove all the algae in your tank with your algae scraper. We suggest you use a magnetic one not to disturb your fish as much as you would with a long-handled one. If the scraper is not enough to remove the algae and grime, you can use a razor to scrape off any leftover buildup.

Just make sure that you use a plastic razor if you have an acrylic tank. This way, you won’t risk scratching your Betta’s tank. If you have a glass tank, you can use a traditional razor.

Step 3: Clean The Gravel And Remove The Tank’s Water

Now that you’ve removed as many algae from the tank as you can, you should clean the gravel with a gravel vacuum. This will help you to remove any debris, fish excrement, food remains and help you to keep your tank’s gravel clean. It’s also going to help you remove some water from the tank, which is necessary when cleaning a Betta fish tank.

To use the vacuum, you simply place the siphon above the tank’s gravel. Place the other end in a bucket or a container. Otherwise, you’ll have water all over you and the floor! Continue vacuuming until gravel is sucked, which happens when you remove water from the tank.

Cleaning the gravel should remove some water. Depending on how big your Betta tank is, you should remove 10 to 30% of the tank’s total water. You do your water change while you clean the gravel.

The rule of thumb is that the smaller your tank is, the more water you need to remove. You can do this with a gravel vacuum and just use it for this purpose in the previous step. 

Step 4: Clean The Decorations

This step is pretty self-explanatory. You need to clean the decorations before you put them back every few months if they have algae or grime on them. You can wash them with warm or boiling water and scrub them with a clean toothbrush.

Sometimes, you need to use bleach to clean some decorations. If that’s the case, use a ratio of 95% water and 5% bleach.

Step 5: Clean The Filter

The final step is to clean the filter if it needs it. Don’t clean the filter at the same time as your tank otherwise, you could destroy some beneficial bacteria.

Think of it really needs to be cleaned or if you just need to replace the cartridges. You can check how often you need to replace these in the user’s manual. Once you’re done replacing the cartridges or cleaning your filter with warm water and a sponge, put your filter back in the Betta fish tank. You can then turn it back on.

You’re now done with cleaning your Betta fish tank! That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Ian Sterling

Ian Sterling, founder of, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website,, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

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