How to Clean Fish Tank Glass- Most Effective and Easy Ways

Dirty/Unclean aquarium glass blocking your view to the inside of the fish tank? Believe me; I know how painful this is because I have one myself. So, it’s a very common problem for aquarium hobbyists. If you have an aquarium yourself, I believe you do, since you’re here reading “How to Clean Fish Tank Glass?”.

There’re several ways to clean aquarium glass, manual removing by wiping the inside and outside of the glass. Paper towels, algae scraper/pad, sponge, and other things can be used to clean your fish tank glass. You can clean your aquarium glass with manual effort. You can keep some algae eaters (fish and snails) in your aquarium; they will help you to have a clean fish tank glass and overall tank.

That’s not all; other methods can be applied to clean the aquarium glass. Today our topic is about how can you clean an aquarium glass easily? So, if you have related problems or queries, you can keep reading.

We’ll share multiple methods to do the glass cleaning process. Adopt the best one suits you. Let’s start the main discussion without further ado.

How to Clean a Fish Tank Glass

Before starting the details about cleaning a dirty fish tank glass, you should identify the problem you have, like an alga or calcium build-up, or it just becomes dirty from not cleaning or changing the water for a long time.

How to Clean Fish Tank Glass

If you don’t know which type of Algae you have, check out this article- Aquarium Algae

Identifying the problem and the reason behind it can help you prevent your fish tank’s glass from becoming dirty again in the future.

Now, there’re 3 best ways to clean your aquarium glass

1. Manual Cleaning

2. Having Algae Eaters

3. Use an Automatic Cleaner

Manual Cleaning

You can perform manual cleaning in different ways. Let’s talk about it one by one.

Wiping the Fish Tank Glass with a Sponge

Wipe the Glass:

The most common way to clean the fish tank’s glass is to wipe it off by using a sponge. Having a mild alga in your aquarium, wipe it through a sponge.

Method 1: If you need some extra scrubbing, use a sponge with an abrasive side. Be careful not to have any sand on the sponge; your glass can get scratched from it. So, wash it thoroughly before using it in the fish tank cleaning.

Method 2: You can use a long-handle scrubber if you don’t want to use your hand directly.

Method 3: Using a fresh, dampen old towel is another way to clean your fish tank glasses.

Method 4: Among all the manual cleaning processes, the best and easiest way to clean your fish tank glasses is to use paper towels. Using a paper towel to clean the aquarium glasses helps you maintain your optimum aquarium’s pristine quality.

Cleaning Fish Tank Glass with a Paper Towel

A Paper towel also won’t create any scratches on your fish tank’s glass. Paper can help you from not making a mess in the aquarium. Using other methods like a sponge or razor blade or something similar won’t hold the dirt or algae from falling into the water.

Yes, you can use a fresh dampen towel too, but to me, it’s easier to perform with a paper towel.


The second method of manual aquarium glass cleaning is scraping the algae from the glass.

Scrapping aquarium glass for Cleaning

Tougher algae need a scraper to remove from the glass. Aquarium stores have different tools for this job. You can buy an algae scrapper from there and use it for cleaning.

Razorblade is an alternative tool to algae scraper; if you don’t have an algae scraper, use this instead to clean your aquarium glass. However, if you have an acrylic aquarium, use a plastic razor for cleaning; otherwise, it can get scratched.

There could be a time when you don’t have an algae scraper or razor blade; what can you do then?

Don’t worry; there is another alternative you can use; if you have an old credit card or some pass/ID with a sharp edge, you can use those sharp-edged tools for scrapping.

Using Aquarium Magnet to keep your glass Clean

Use an Aquarium Magnet:

The 3rd manual fish tank glass cleaning approach is to use an aquarium magnet. Aquarium magnet helps you to clean your fish tank without putting your hand into the tank. The scrabbing pad will be inside the glass; as you move the outer part around the tank, the inside will move too.

Always be careful about keeping the aquarium magnet in sand and gravel-free area. Don’t get it near them; they will catch those too, which will be hard to remove and cause a scratch on your aquarium glass.

Clean the pad after every time you perform cleaning. Also, don’t leave the magnet on your glass while not cleaning.

Use a felt under the outer magnet part, which will help you from scratching the glass.

Buy a stronger magnet for glass than an acrylic aquarium. Size shouldn’t be a problem; choose one which you feel comfortable working with.

Cleaning Outside Glass of a Fish Tank

Cleaning Outside Aquarium Glass:

Keeping clean the outside glass is also important. You can use a Paper towel or a fresh dampen old towel to clean the exterior aquarium glass.

Using a chemical to clean your glass isn’t recommended. If you want to use the glass cleaning chemical, spray it on a towel or wipe the glass. Don’t spray on the glass directly.

You can use vinegar to clean your aquarium glass. Only distilled white vinegar is safe to use.

Here’s an article on-  How to Clean Aquarium with Vinegar.

Using Algae Eaters

Introduce different algae eaters into your fish tank. Fish, snails, and crustaceans that eat algae are an excellent way to keep your aquarium clean and fresh. Algae eaters will eat from the fish tank’s glass too. So, your target to clean the glass will be achieved.

According to your fish tank (freshwater or Saltwater) and size, put some algae eaters into the tank.

Siamese Fighting Fish or Algae Eater

Some common aquarium algae eaters:

  • Otocinclus
  • Rosy barbs
  • Flag fish
  • Ramshorn snails
  • Nerite snails
  • Bristle nose Plecostomus
  • Amano shrimp
  • Siamese algae eaters
  • Twig catfish

Use an Automatic Cleaner

If magnet cleaner or algae eaters don’t satisfy your need, you can have an automatic aquarium glass cleaner. It’s easy and simple, turn on the cleaner, put it into the aquarium, and leave.

Automated Aquarium Glass Cleaner

Yes, that’s all!!

However, it will cost you some money, which is around $200 or more.

If you need to clean all sides of the tank, you need to reposition the cleaner, as it can’t turn corner sides.

Frequently Asked Questions (F. A. Qs.)

How do I get rid of calcium build up in my fish tank?

Calcium build-up, also called calcium creep or hard water stains can detract from the look of aquariums.

In the saltwater side of the hobby, the calcium crust can also contain salt crystals, making it even more painful. Calcium build-up looks bad; you can remove it with vinegar or regular work.

What can you use to get rid of a Calcium Build up?

Vinegar- apply vinegar on a towel or rag, then wipe the glass with that thoroughly.

Boiling Water- Use the boiled water to clean your aquarium equipment and glass.

Regular water change and maintenance can help you to get rid of calcium buildup.

If you have a betta tank, here’s an article on – How to change betta fish tank water.

How to remove lime/white residue/mineral water stains from the Aquarium Glass?

Relocate your fish in another place, remove all the water from the tank, remove all the decorations, aquarium gravel, and other substrates. Put your tank onto a towel and apply white vinegar on the affected area, then let it stay like this for around 20 minutes.

After that, use a razor scraper to give it good scrapping. Then use a towel or abrasive pad for wiping out thoroughly. If the stains don’t go away completely, continue the process. Then, rinse the tank with fresh water and let it dry out.

This method will also help you to clean an old fish tank glass.

How to clean fish tank glass inside?

To wipe off the fish tank interior glass, you can use an algae scraper, razor blade, pad, paper towel, or a fresh dampen towel. You can also use any sharp-edged tools to clean the inside glass. However, always keep in mind that it doesn’t get scratched on the glass during this process.

Please read the above article to understand how you can clean a fish tank glass, whether interior or exterior.

Final Say

Having a clean and fresh view of your fish tank is pleasing, and I can spend lots of time just looking at them. But a dirty aquarium glass can be a problem to have this lovely view.

Use manual cleaning if you have time and dedication, introduce algae eaters to keep your aquarium fresh for a long time, and use an automatic cleaner if you don’t have enough time to do it yourself.

Now you know how to clean fish tank glass. If you want to clean a freshwater aquarium, here’s an article for you – How to clean a freshwater aquarium.

Always keep your aquarium clean and fresh, and enjoy a lovely with them during alone time.

Now, we want to hear from you-

What is the Best aquarium glass cleaner you would recommend to others? 

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