HomeTank MaintenanceHow To Clean A Fish Bowl - Your Easy 4 Steps Guide!

How To Clean A Fish Bowl – Your Easy 4 Steps Guide!

Fish bowls are great for beginner fish keepers because they’re small and can hold easy-to-care-for fish like bettas and small gourami. But since fish bowls don’t have systems for aeration, filtration, or heating, you’ll need to put more effort into keeping them clean.

Here are steps on How To Clean A Fish Bowl, and make your fish bowl an excellent place for your fish:

  1. Prepare new water: When cleaning your fish bowl, you’ll usually need to replace all the water. The new water must be treated to make it safe for your fish. Use a water treatment kit to eliminate harmful things like chlorine, chloramines, and metals.
  2. Move your fish: Before you clean their bowl, find a safe place for your fish to stay. A small container filled with water from the bowl can work well. You should give your fish a salt bath to protect them from parasites. Be sure only to leave them in the salt bath for 15 minutes.
  3. Empty and clean the bowl: Use a water siphon or a wet/dry shop vac to empty the dirty water and clean the gravel in the bowl. To clean any decorations in the bowl that might have algae, soak them in half a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per quart of water.
  4. Clean the glass: Scrub the bowl with a paper towel or clean cloth, and rinse it well. Once it’s clean, dry it with a towel, then put everything back inside and fill it with the treated water. Use a net to move the plants and fish back into the bowl.

Regular Water Changes in Fish Bowls


To keep your fish bowl clean, you must change 50-100% of the water daily.

When you do this, be sure the new water is similar to the old water so your fish won’t be stressed. If you don’t want to change the water daily, consider getting a filter.

How To Clean A Fish Bowl

Preparing the New Water

When it comes to preparing the new water for your fish bowl, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. The need for regular water changes in small fish bowls cannot be overstated, as it helps hold a healthy and clean environment for your aquatic friends.

Treating tap water is also crucial, as it may contain harmful chlorine or heavy metals that can harm the fish. To ensure optimal conditions, allowing the water to age overnight can help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and stabilize important parameters.

Treating Tap Water To Make It Suitable For Fish

Proper tap water treatment is essential to create a suitable environment for fish. Following a few easy measures, you can ensure that the tap water is safe and nourishing for your fish.

  1. Use a de-chlorinator when treating tap water for fish. This product removes chlorine and other harmful chemicals that may be present in the water supply. The correct de-chlorinator will neutralize harmful substances and make the water safe for fish.
  2. Aerate the tap water to improve its suitability for fish. This can be done by gently stirring or shaking the water to increase oxygen levels. Aeration helps remove any remaining dissolved gases and provides a healthier environment for fish.
  3. Test the treated tap water before adding it to the fish tank. You can use test kits to measure parameters like pH, ammonia levels, and nitrate levels. Ensuring that these levels are within acceptable ranges will help maintain optimal conditions for your fish.

While treating tap water may seem like an extra step in maintaining your fish’s home, it is crucial for their health and well-being. These measures allow you to create a safe and suitable environment for your aquatic pets.

Moving The Fish To A Temporary Home

  1. When it comes to moving your fish to a temporary home, there are a few key steps to consider. First, you’ll need to create a temporary container to hold your fish during cleaning safely. This will ensure that they stay relaxed and secure.
  2. Then, using a net is a reliable method to transfer the fish from the tank to the temporary container without causing them stress or harm.
  3. Additionally, an optional salt bath can be used to prevent parasites and maintain the fish’s health.
  4. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth transition for your fish during the cleaning process. (Reference Data: How To Clean A Fish Bowl)

Creating A Temporary Container For The Fish

Creating an Interim Fish Habitat:

With the need to temporarily transfer fish during cleaning, ensuring their safety and well-being is essential. Here is a step-by-step guide for creating a suitable temporary container for the fish:

  1. Selecting an Appropriate Container: Choose a spacious container to accommodate the fish comfortably. It should be free of any chemicals or residue that may harm the fish.
  2. Preparing the Container: Make sure to rinse the container thoroughly with clean water before use. Avoid utilizing soap or detergents as they can be toxic to fish.
  3. Adding Water: Fill the temporary container with water from the main aquarium or treated tap water. Ensure that the water temperature and quality match the conditions in the main aquarium to prevent any shock or stress to the fish.
  4. Providing Hiding Places: Add some plant material, rocks, or additional decorations to construct hiding places for the fish in their temporary habitat. This will assist in reducing stress and provide a sense of security.
  5. Monitoring Conditions: Monitor the temporary container’s temperature, oxygen levels, and overall water quality. Regularly check and make necessary adjustments as needed.

It is important to note that this guide does not cover all potential scenarios, and specific requirements may vary based on individual circumstances.

Emptying The Bowl

When it comes to emptying a fish bowl, there are a few techniques that can make the process much easier. One method uses a water siphon, which allows for effortless water removal without disturbing the fish or their habitat.

Another helpful tool is a filter, which can be used to drain the water effectively while preventing any unwanted debris from escaping.

Lastly, if you have algae-covered decorations in your fish bowl, soaking them in a hydrogen peroxide solution can be an effective way to clean and disinfect them.

These techniques will ensure a smooth and efficient emptying process while maintaining your fish bowl’s overall health and cleanliness.

Using A Water Siphon For Easy Water Removal

A water siphon is an effective tool for easily removing water from a fish bowl.

By utilizing this method, the process of maintaining a clean and healthy fish bowl becomes more manageable.

Using a water siphon provides a simple and efficient way to remove unwanted water, ensuring that the fish are not stressed during this essential cleaning task.

  1. Prepare the water siphon by ensuring there are no kinks or blockages in the tubing.
  2. Place one end of the siphon tube into the fish bowl and submerge it below the water’s surface.
  3. Suck on the other end of the tube to initiate water flow through the siphon. Alternatively, use a pump or priming bulb to create suction.
  4. Allow the water to flow out of the tube and into a suitable collection container or bucket.
  5. Continue siphoning until enough water has been removed from the fish bowl for cleaning or regular maintenance.

Using a water siphon for easy water removal ensures that debris and waste particles are effectively eliminated from the fish bowl. This helps maintain optimal water quality, reducing stress on the fish and promoting their overall health.

Cleaning The Glass

When it comes to cleaning the glass of a fish bowl, there are a few key techniques that can ensure a sparkling and pristine result. First off, using a paper towel or a clean cloth to scrub the bowl gently can effectively remove any dirt or algae buildup.

small brush can be employed for stubborn stains to provide a more thorough cleaning. Avoiding detergents and soap-based solutions is important, as these can harm the fish.

Lastly, thoroughly rinsing and drying the bowl will help eliminate any residue or moisture, promoting a healthier environment for our aquatic friends.

Using A Paper Towel or Hygienic Cloth To Scrub The Bowl

To ensure the cleanliness of a fish bowl, one effective method is to use a paper towel or clean cloth to scrub the bowl. This process helps remove any dirt, algae, or other residues that may have accumulated on the glass surface. Using a paper towel or cloth provides a gentle yet effective way to clean the bowl without causing any damage.

Here is a 4-step guide on how to clean a fish bowl using a paper towel or clean cloth:

  1. Dampen the paper towel or cloth: Start by moistening the paper towel or cloth with clean water. Ensure it is not too wet, as excessive water can harm the fish and cause unnecessary stress.
  2. Gently scrub the glass surface: With the dampened paper towel or cloth, gently scrub the glass surface of the fish bowl. Pay extra attention to areas where algae or debris may be present. Use light pressure and circular motions to remove any stubborn stains.
  3. Rinse and repeat if necessary: Rinse the fish bowl thoroughly with fresh water after scrubbing. If stubborn stains or residues remain, repeatedly dampen the paper towel or cloth and gently scrub until all contaminants are removed.
  4. Dry the bowl before reassembling: Once the cleaning process is complete, allow the fish bowl to air dry completely before adding back any ornaments, plants, or water. This will assist in preventing any residual moisture from causing bacterial growth in the tank.

It’s important to note that using a paper towel or clean cloth for cleaning ensures that no harsh chemicals or detergents come into contact with the fish’s habitat, keeping their environment safe and healthy.

In addition to these steps, it’s also recommended to use separate towels specifically designated for cleaning the fish bowl to prevent cross-contamination with other household surfaces. Regularly washing these towels after each use will help maintain their cleanliness and effectiveness in future cleanings.

Following these suggestions and using a paper towel or clean cloth to scrub the bowl, you can hold a clean and fit environment for your fish, promoting their overall well-being.

Brush away the evidence of those wild, algae-covered parties with a small brush.

Role Of Filters In Maintaining Fish Bowls

Sponge filters are a good choice because they’re affordable, easy to use, and clean water by absorbing impurities. Air pumps can also help by making seeing dirt and debris in the bowl easier.

Some fish keepers prefer under-gravel filters over sponge filters, as the former doesn’t take up much space. Regardless of the type of filter you choose, it’s crucial to clean it regularly.

Changing the water in your fish bowl daily might seem daunting, but there are ways to lessen this. Using a filter can greatly help remove waste from the bowl.

Sponge filters, which are both affordable and easy to use, are a good option as they provide the necessary filtration to keep the water clean. The sponge in these filters serves as a home for beneficial bacteria that convert harmful ammonia into CO2, making the environment safe for your fish.

Improving Water Quality With Air Pumps And Plants

Sponge filters are often paired with an air pump, which drives water through the sponge, promotes water movement, and enhances oxygen levels in the bowl.

Agitating the water makes it easier to see and remove debris. When the water is still, debris settles at the bottom, giving a false impression of cleanliness. Once the water is agitated, you can see if your fish is being overfed or if the tank needs cleaning.

In addition to filters, live plants can help reduce maintenance by purifying the water. They break down fish waste, produce oxygen, and keep algae growth in check.

The plants feed on the fish waste, but you can supplement their diet with aquarium-safe fertilizers.

Fast-growing and sturdy plants are the best choices for a fish bowl.

Java Fern, Anubias, Hygrophila, and Hornwort are all excellent options. Put romaine lettuce in the bowl if your fish are prone to nibbling at plants.

Selecting The Right Fish For Your Fish Bowl

Small fish bowls can be an excellent home for certain fish.

A 5-gallon fish bowl, for instance, is a comfortable space for one fish. Bettas are popular because they don’t need a large tank and do well in warmer waters.

However, it’s important to note that bettas can be aggressive toward each other, so only keep one in a bowl.

Other suitable species for a fish bowl are zebra danios, Endler livebearers, and sparkling gourami.

Zebra danios are colorful, low-maintenance fish that enjoy schooling together.

Endler livebearers are active swimmers and need warm temperatures, and Sparkling Gourami is unique and colorful but prefers to live in groups. If you keep gouramis, provide hiding spots in the bowl with rocks and shells.

Water Treatment For Fish Bowls

Tap water is okay to use in a fish bowl, but it needs to be treated first because it can contain harmful elements like heavy metals and chlorine.

You can use a de-chlorinator to remove these.

While some people leave the water to sit overnight to eliminate the chlorine, using a de-chlorinator is quicker and more reliable.

Pet stores sell liquid conditioners that remove heavy metals and neutralize chloramines and chlorine. Alternatively, you can use a reverse osmosis filter to purify the tap water, ensuring it’s safe for your fish.

Product Recommendation For Fish Bowl Filters

UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter 

  • 7-layer ribbed sponge design establishes bio-filter, offering 360-degree oxygen port rotation for clear, clean tanks.
  • Package: 1 sponge filter, 1 container, 2 suctions, 2 ceramic media ball bags, 2 spare sponges; needs 4mm air hose and pump.
  • Sponges are easily removable, offering both mechanical and biological filtration, protecting young fish.
  • Simple setup with airline and pump; clean sponges with tank water, not tap water.
  • Suitable for up to 40 GAL tanks in freshwater & saltwater; ideal for ornamental fish, small fish, and shrimp tanks.

As for the best filter for a fish bowl, the UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter, available on Amazon, is an excellent fit for small tanks.

We recently tried out the Upettools sponge filter, and it’s a game-changer for any beginners.

The 7-layer sponge is like a super-powered cleaner for the tank, ensuring the water remains crystal clear. We love that the oxygen port rotates all around – no more tricky spots in the tank that don’t get cleaned!

The setup is super user-friendly, even though we got it right on our first try. The package came with everything needed, and it’s fantastic how the sponges can be easily cleaned or replaced.

Plus, it’s suitable for freshwater and saltwater tanks, even up to 40 gallons!

This filter is perfect if you have smaller, decorative fish or even a shrimp tank. Trust us, fellow beginner aquarists, this is the one you want in your arsenal.

Maintaining Water Quality

Maintaining water quality in a fish bowl is crucial for the health and well-being of our aquatic pets. As a responsible fish owner, it is essential to understand the significance of:

  1. Regular water changes – This practice involves consistently replacing a portion of the water in the fish bowl. It helps remove accumulated toxins, debris, and waste, ensuring a sanitary and healthy environment for the fish.
  2. Cleaning the substrate during each change – The substrate, such as gravel or sand, can trap waste and uneaten food. By cleaning it during water changes, we prevent the build-up of toxic substances that can negatively affect the fish’s health.
  3. Ensuring that the replacement water matches the fish bowl’s conditions – Fish are sensitive to water parameters such as temperature, pH, and hardness changes. Using water that closely matches the current conditions of the fish bowl helps maintain stability and prevents stress for the fish.

Neglecting these aspects can lead to a build-up of toxins, bacteria, and waste, jeopardizing the overall health of the fish. It is important to prioritize regular water changes, substrate cleaning, and using appropriate replacement water to preserve a clean and healthy environment for our fishy friends.

Fish Bowl Maintenance

Maintaining a fish bowl requires regular work, but it’s crucial for the health and happiness of your fish. By performing daily water changes or using a filter, and adding live plants, you can create a comfortable home for your fish.

To conclude, taking care of a fish bowl may be challenging due to its small size.

However, you can create a healthy environment for your fish by keeping the water clean through daily water changes or using a filter and adding live plants.

And remember, if you choose to use a fish bowl, carefully select fish that are suited to live in such a compact space.

Additional Fish Suggestions For Fish Bowls

When choosing fish for a fish bowl, selecting those that can live in a more compact environment is crucial. Some good options could be:

  • Goldfish: They are often seen in fish bowls, but they actually need a lot of space as they can grow quite large. If you decide to keep a goldfish in a fish bowl, make sure to change the water regularly and keep a close eye on the water parameters.
  • Guppies: These small, colorful fish are an excellent choice for a fish bowl as they don’t need much space. They are hardy and easy to care for, making them a good choice for beginners.
  • White Cloud Minnows: These small, hardy fish could do well in a fish bowl. They are schooling fish, so they do best in groups.


To sum it up, maintaining a fish bowl can be challenging due to its tiny size. Regular water changes, a suitable filter, and the right choice of fish can make the task manageable and rewarding.

Remember, your fish’s well-being is essential, so always choose the living conditions that best suit your aquatic pet’s needs.

Fishkeeping Expert
Fishkeeping Expert
With years of collective fishkeeping knowledge, we are pleased to share the tank maintenance tips and fish care advice we've picked up along the way. Fishkeeping Expert is home to all fishkeeping tutorials and guides that will help you keep your fish healthy.


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