How to Care for Your Plastic Fish Tank

How to Care for Your Plastic Fish Tank


To keep your aquarium looking spotless and your fish healthy it is recommended to siphon off 20% of the aquarium’s water with a gravel vacuum every 3 to 4 weeks depending on the number of fish you have and amount of daily feedings and replace your filter cartridge.

In some cases you may have stubborn algae growing all over the tank and want to remove it. As your fish tank is constructed of impact-resistant plastic the algae cannot be scraped or scrubbed off as damage to the tank may occur. Do not use soap, detergents or glass cleaners as they may leave residues and damage the tank.

Do not use a sponge or scrubber as they may scratch the plastic.

Do not place in dishwasher or very hot water as damage to the tank may occur.

Preparation for Cleaning Tank

You will need to move your fish to another container, preferably a 5-gallon bucket that has never been used with soaps or detergents.

1. Unplug your filter, light, and heater (if used). Take existing water from the fish tank and fill the other container with enough water where your fish will be comfortable while you are cleaning the fish tank.

2. Net your fish out of the fish tank and place them in the other container. Be sure to use an air bubbler or power filter to keep sufficient water movement.

3. Remove ½ of the gravel and place in another container that has never been used with soaps or detergents. Place the container to the side for now.

You can use one of two methods. If you are wanting to give a dirty tank a good cleaning, vinegar and water is a quick and efficient solution.

Vinegar Solution to remove difficult algae or cloudiness caused by hard water build up. White vinegar can be used to clean your tank, filter, plastic plants, decorations, and heater using a 1:1 vinegar/water solution.

1. Using a gravel vacuum, siphon the water from the tank, emptying it completely. You can leave remaining gravel and plastic plants in the aquarium while you are performing cleaning process.

How to Care for Your Plastic Fish Tank

2. Fill a spray bottle with ½ white vinegar and ½ water and spray the inside of the aquarium and decorations. Allow the solution to remain on the tank for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

3. Refill tank with new water.

4. Then siphon the water completely out with the gravel vacuum.

5. Refill tank ½ with new water and add a tap water conditioner to make water safe.

6. Add the gravel back to the tank you had placed in a container, spreading evenly across the bottom of the tank.

7. From the other container holding your fish, fill a small plastic bag with water and gently net your fish, placing them in the plastic bag. You may need multiple plastic bags depending on the number of fish you have.

8. Fill tank with remaining water from other container. The tank is ready to be used.

9. Place filter and heater (if used) back on tank and turn on. If adding heater, wait 15 minutes before plugging in so it can acclimate to water temperature.

10. Float plastic bags with water and fish on tank’s surface for 10 minutes.

11. Release fish, pouring bag with water gently into tank.

Bleach Solution to remove stubborn algae. Only use regular household bleach, do not use a bleach mixed with other detergents. The recommended solution is usually nine parts water to one part bleach.

1. Using a gravel vacuum, siphon the water from the tank, removing all of the water from the tank completely. You can leave remaining gravel and plastic plants in the aquarium while you are performing cleaning process.

2. In a spray bottle mix 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, a 9-1 water/bleach ratio. Be careful not to splash bleach onto surrounding areas as bleach can be very corrosive.

3. Spray water/bleach solution on areas with algae and grime accumulation. Allow the solution to remain on these spots for 2 hours.

4. Refill tank with new water.

How to Care for Your Plastic Fish Tank

5. Then siphon the water out completely with the gravel vacuum.

6. Refill tank ½ with new water and add a tap water conditioner to make water safe.

7. Add the gravel back to the tank you had placed in a container, spreading evenly across the bottom of the tank.

8. From the other container holding your fish, fill a small plastic bag with water and gently net your fish, placing them in the plastic bag. You may need multiple plastic bags depending on the number of fish you have.

9. Place filter and heater (if used) back on tank and turn on. If adding heater, wait 15 minutes before plugging in so it can acclimate to water temperature.

10. Float plastic bags with water and fish on tank’s surface for 10 minutes.

11. Release fish, pouring bag with water gently into tank.