How to Wash Fish Tank Plants

Updated on November 28, 2016
Source

Aquarium decorations can be notoriously difficult to clean, especially when they become covered in algae. Never attempt to scrub algae off with soap or detergent, which is extremely toxic to fish.

Cleaning your aquarium and keeping up with regular water changes is essential to your fish's health. However, good bacteria will naturally build up in the tank and routinely scrubbing all of the décor at once will deplete these bacteria. If possible, only wash some of the plants in your fish tank at a time, instead of all at once.

There are several efficient, safe ways to wash your aquarium plants:

This aquarium plant is covered in algae, and needs to be cleaned.
This aquarium plant is covered in algae, and needs to be cleaned. | Source

Boiling Water

Hot water kills the algae, and the algae will scrub off easily once it is dead. Best of all, this method exposes your fish to absolutely no chemicals.

  • Boil some clean water.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and transfer water into a clean container.
  • Place décor in the water while it is still hot, and let them sit for at least ten minutes.
  • Scrub off remaining algae.
  • After the objects are completely cooled, place back in them back in the tank.

Bleach Solution

In extreme cases, a correctly applied bleach solution may be the only way to fully remove the algae.

Warning:

  • Bleach will dull the color of silk plants and harm fish if not completely rinsed from the product.
  • Never wash porous objects such as driftwood or coral in the bleach solution.
  • Never mix bleach solution with other chemicals.

Steps for safely washing aquarium décor in bleach solution from Freshwater Aquariums:

  • Mix one part bleach and nine parts water in a clean container. Never add more than 10% bleach.
  • Place decorations in the solution for no longer than 15 minutes.
  • Remove items and place in a container of clean water to soak for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse THOROUGHLY in clean water and scrub if needed.

Vinegar

Sometimes calcium deposits build up on aquarium glass and décor as the water evaporates. You can easily save yourself hours of scraping and scrubbing simply by making a vinegar solution. The vinegar solution is perfectly safe for your fish (although I would never recommend dumping any amount of vinegar into the fish tank).

In a clean spray bottle, mix

  • a half a cup of white vinegar
  • with a half gallon of distilled water.

Spray onto surface and wipe away the calcium. Rinse thoroughly with clear water.

I find the toothbrush to be the most useful cleaning tool in my arsenal.
I find the toothbrush to be the most useful cleaning tool in my arsenal. | Source

Tools

There are many household scrubbing implements that you can use to clean fish tank paraphernalia. Toilet scrubbers, toothbrushes, and bottle scrubbers are great.

However, never use an item that has come in contact with household chemicals. These chemicals could harm your fish, or even interact with the bleach.

Always keep fish cleaning supplies separate from other house hold cleaning supplies to avoid contamination.

Algae Prevention

If all of this cleaning has you down, you may want to try preventing further algae outbreaks.

One way to prevent algae is by adding certain species of bacteria to your system. These bacteria are available at your local fish store, and should be on the same shelf as the next option: chemical algae remover. Most mainstream manufacturers of aquarium chemicals produce some form of algae control/killer. A word of caution: pay very close attention to the dosing instructions. My boyfriend and I learned the hard way that dosing mistakes WILL create a toxic environment for your fish.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • sgiguere profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Giguere 

      5 years ago from Marlborough MA

      Thanks guys!

    • EricDockett profile image

      Eric Dockett 

      5 years ago from USA

      Great advice! Algae is always hard to deal with and cleaning those plants can be a chore. I think some fake plants look more realistic with a little algae on them, but others not so much!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      You have listed some helpful, natural ways to clean the plants in a fish tank. I always found it difficult and would wind up throwing out the plants. If I'd seen your hub I wouldn't have had to do that!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)