How often Should I Clean My Goldfish Tank?

Goldfish make for the perfect pets, especially for first-time owners and people who are normally allergic to cats and dogs. Not only do they make for great companions, but they’re relatively easy to maintain as well, even living up to more than ten years when properly cared for.

Even though they’re generally low-maintenance pets, it’s still a must for goldfish owners to routinely keep track of the tank’s sanitation. The cleanliness of your goldfish’s tank affects not only the appearance of their habitat but their health at the same time. Putting your goldfish in a dirty or cloudy tank only increases its susceptibility to various parasites, fungal infections, behavioral problems, and diseases.

That being said, you might find yourself asking the question: how often should I clean my goldfish tank? Should it be every day, once in a week, or just whenever you feel like it?

In this article, we will be listing some guidelines you can follow in keeping your tank clean, the recommended frequency of cleaning, and plenty of other helpful tips.

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Cleaning Your Goldfish Tank

So, how often should I clean my goldfish tank? The answer to this question is that the frequency largely depends on your type of fish and the aquarium by which they are housed. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to how often you should clean it. You might first want to consider the different factors that are involved when building your tank. This will help give you a general idea about how frequently you should clean your aquarium, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or longer.

For instance, if your goldfish bowl doesn’t have a filter, it’s recommended that you clean it at least bi-weekly. For a bowl that has a filter, you can opt to clean it once every seven or ten days. The general rule in terms of the frequency of cleaning is that you should at least clean it bi-weekly; however, if you think that your tank requires a specific frequency, it’s best to adhere to that as well.

These processes should be involved in your cleaning:

  • Check if the water filter is working properly. You can rinse the filter sponges in your tank using aquarium water to clean them thoroughly. It’s important to remember not to wash them with tap water since the chlorine will only kill the helpful filter bacteria.
  • Siphon the gravel. Siphoning the gravel allows you to eliminate any uneaten food or debris while changing about 15% of the water each time.
  • Wipe glass to remove unwanted algae.

If you feel like your aquarium is smelling nastier than usual, or if you generally have an algae problem, it’s best if you clean your tank more often than what is usually prescribed. Even so, having such signs indicates that there may be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Because of this, always try to test your water quality regularly whenever you clean to ensure that everything is fine.

Guidelines to follow when Cleaning your Goldfish Tank

Establishing a few maintenance guidelines on how often should I clean my goldfish tank can allow for a cleaning schedule that effectively addresses the goldfish’ needs. Here are some of them.

1. You don’t have to clean your tank daily.

That said, daily cleaning is unnecessary if your tank doesn’t have any disruptive problems that need immediate action, like toxic waste. Deep cleaning should also be avoided because it only disrupts the equilibrium of your goldfish tank. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your tank unless there are sea critters that thrive off other fish waste. Keep in mind that drastic changes in your aquarium water occasionally occur, so it’s recommended to have a daily observation of the water in your tank to ensure that water change isn’t required. It’s also a must to test nitrate, pH, and ammonia levels to ensure that they remain steady every month. Moreover, if you see your fish being sluggish or tired, take it as a sign of immediate cleaning.

2. Use a water filter.

Utilizing a water filter in your goldfish tank aids in increasing the time you can go between your water changes. For this, you must select a filter that is appropriate for the aquarium size you currently have. For example, if you have a ten-gallon tank, then you will subsequently need a ten-gallon filter. Also, change the filter cartridge according to the instructions in the package. Use warm water to sanitize the filter every two or three months.

3. Change your aquarium water regularly.

Besides cleaning, changing the water in your goldfish tank is also vital in keeping your pet healthy. Frequent water changes help you clean everything that you otherwise can’t see when doing regular cleaning. This also helps get rid of ammonia which causes pH imbalance and different health problems for your fish when left unattended.

 At minimum, it’s recommended that you change at least 10% of your tank water weekly using an aquarium vacuum. Use this to suck the debris out of the gravel located at the bottom of the tank by running it along the gravel. Afterward, you can replace the water with sanitary tap water with a dechlorinating treatment that is safe and harmless for your goldfish. Remember to follow the instructions stipulated on the dechlorinator package cautiously.

4. Use a tank clarifying treatment.

It would be best if you also use a tank clarifying treatment since it helps improve your tank’s cleanliness even further. Having such treatments is beneficial because they band themselves to the debris and disintegrate them in the process. This makes it easier and more convenient for an aquarium vacuum to pick up all the debris and waste, ensuring a more sanitary and healthier tank for your beloved goldfish.


Your goldfish deserves to live in a healthy and clean environment, just like you rightfully do. That said, while cleaning your fish tank may be quite a rigorous process, it’s a responsibility we must constantly abide by as fish owners. By following an appropriate cleaning schedule, using all the right equipment, and regularly keeping track of your tank’s sanitation, your aquarium will be a great place for your fish to stay in.