How To Clean Fish Tank Decorations- Aqauristland

Decorations add more beauty to your fish tank. Fish loves different decorative items; they hide behind them and play around with the aquarium decorations. Like the fish tank, decorations also need cleaning once in a while.

Aquarium ornaments are a favorite place for algae to grow.   So, you need to keep them from getting dirty. Cleaning the decorations isn’t a hard job. But need some time and dedication. If you’re willing to put in some effort, it’s easy and enjoyable.

How to Clean Fish Tank Decorations (Without Any Chemicals):

  • Boil Some Water
  • Clean your Hand without Soap
  • Remove the decorations from the tank
  • Put them in a (soap-free) clean bucket or sink
  • Apply Boil Water (soak them for 15-20 minutes, if require a good cleaning)
  • Try an aquarium sponge to wash them
  • Use a clean toothbrush rub off the tight spots of the decorations
  • Rinse Thoroughly
  • Dry them (Not Mandatory)
  • Put them back into the aquarium

This is the easiest and fastest way to clean your aquarium decorations, doesn’t require any chemicals, hard work, or too much time.

Those’re concise guidelines we’ve provided. Now, let’s discuss those points in detail for easier to perform.

Boil the Water:

Using boiled water to clean is an effective method. It’s not only for cleaning your fish tank decorations. Prepare a bowl of hot water, and don’t add anything like soap or chlorine.

Keep the water hot until applying it to your aquarium decorations.

Clean Your Hand:

Before putting your hand inside the fish tank, wash them. And try not to use the soap or detergent while doing so. Because soap and detergent are harmful to fish, they can even kill your fish. You can use warm water to wash your hand.

But if you use soap or detergent, make sure you rinsed them thoroughly and leave no remains.

Remove the Decorations from the Tank:

Start moving decorations one at a time. No more than 25-50% one at a time. Removing all the aquarium ornaments together will shock your fish and upset the balance. Also, the decorations are home to beneficial bacteria, which helps your fish keep in good condition.

  • Don’t need to move or transfer the fish.
  • Pull out one by one.
  • Move the live plants to a corner.
  • Use a vacuum to clean the debris from the sand and gravel.

Put Them in A (Soap-Free) Clean Bucket or Sink:

Use a bucket or sink to stock the aquarium decorations. Make sure it’s no soap remaining before use. Choose a big bucket or sink, which is big enough to hold the whole decoration.

It’s better to keep a bucket for this job only.

Apply Boil Water (Soak Them For 15-20 Minutes, If Require A Good Cleaning):

Hot water removes the algae and soil from the decorations. Slowly apply the water to them. According to the necessity, if the decorations are affected by algae deeply, soak them in hot water for 15-30 minutes.

If your decorations get wasted from the hot water, you better remove those from your tank. Those are no good.

Use an Aquarium Sponge to Rub-off the Remaining Algae or Soil:

Now use an aquarium sponge to clear off thoroughly. If there is an algae attack on the aquarium ornaments, you may need rigorous cleaning. Don’t leave behind any soil on them.

You may do this step more than one time if they aren’t clean properly.

Use A Clean Toothbrush Scrub the Tight Spots of The Decorations:

Tight and compacted places on the decorations need different cleaning methods other than aquarium sponge. Use a clean, soft toothbrush to scrub those spots. A toothbrush will help you reach every corner of your decorations.

A toothbrush is a good tool for cleaning this sort of item. You can try with other cleanings too.

Rinse Thoroughly:

After all the rubbing and scrubbing, rinse the decorations with clean water. Make sure water reached all the corners. Using a garden hose also a fine option. Put your decorations into the bucket or sink, then release water through the hose.

For better cleaning, you can keep the decorations drowned in the water for a while before rinsing.

Dry the Decorations:

Before putting them back into the tank, you can dry them. This isn’t mandatory. But, if you use any chemicals during the cleaning process, putting them under the sunlight will help you absorb any chemical remains.

You can skip this step, and went for the next one, it won’t be a problem.

Put them Back into the Fishtank:

After completing all the cleaning steps, put back the decorations inside the tank. After a few days, clean the remaining decorations. Continue the cycle until cleaning all the aquarium ornaments.

Replace the decorations one at a time and slowly. Otherwise, you could disrupt the interior or giving stress to your fish.

If your fish tank’s glass needs cleaning, please read: How to Clean Fish Tank Glass

How To Clean Fish Tank/Aquarium Decorations With Bleach

If your decorations are covered with hard algae, typical rubbing won’t work. You will need a mixed solution of plain bleach with no other ingredients (only sodium and hypochlorite) to clean those decorations.

However, bleach can take out the color from clothes, so use it carefully. You can also use a garden hose to circulate the water.

  • Clear Your Hand.
  • Prepare Bleach Solution (Follow the below instructions).
  • Remove the Aquarium decorations (Follow the previous guidelines during this method too).
  • Put them into a bucket or sink where the water will hold.
  • Apply the bleach solution (leave them for 20-30 minutes, the amount of time is depended on how dirty your decorations are).
  • Remove them from the bleach solution and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a toothbrush for the tight spots.
  • Wash them thoroughly with cool water.
  • Preparer a bucket of dechlorinated water.
  • Soak the decorations for about 15-20 minutes in there.
  • Make them air dry or under sunlight (Not mandatory)
  • Put back the decorations into the fish tank.

P.S.: Applying bleach solution on gravel and rock can be harmful to your tank if they hold any bleach remaining on them. And you should use rubber gloves while handling the bleach solution. Bleach solution also very effective for cleaning old aquarium decorations.

If your whole freshwater tank or aquarium needs cleaning, please read: How to Clean a Freshwater Aquarium/Fishtank  

How to prepare a bleach solution for sanitization:

If the algae could be easily removable, prepare a 5:1 bleach and water solution with 2 gallons or 7.6 liters of water. Add 4 teaspoons of bleach.

Or in 4 gallons of water, put 2 ounces of bleach to prepare a 5% bleach solution. Water can be cool or warm, but avoid using hot water.

Consequently, if you need a higher bleach solution, make it 10:1. But, the lower the amount, the better.

When should you use Bleach Solution:

Unless necessary, avoid using bleach solution for cleaning your decorations. However, you should use it when-

  • You have severe algae problems and want to clean them properly., especially green spots or brown algae.
  • Recently have a viral/fungal infection in the tank.

Why You Should Use Bleach, And No Other Chemicals:

Bleach is an effective and powerful disinfectant. Sodium hypochlorite denatures protein in micro-organisms are active ingredients and fruitful for killing viruses, fungus, and bacteria. Hence, the experts recommend the bleach solution for disinfection of facilities in the household.

Source: Why Use Bleach

Can Bleach Kill Fish:

As we’ve mentioned before, bleach effective against bacteria, algae, and fungus. And it’s also could harm your fish, turtle, and other pond or aquarium, inhabitants. Even bleach can kill your water habitants.

That’s why you need your clear the decorations thoroughly after applying the bleach solution.

Does Bleach Kill Algae:

Bleach is effective against algae, bacteria, viruses, and fungus. However, using bleach in an aquarium or pond can kill your other pond habitats too. So, using bleach requires scrubbing and rinsing separately.

How to Clean Aquarium Decorations with Vinegar:

For softer cleaning than bleach solution, you can use vinegar to clean your decorations. Vinegar will help to remove common stains and leftover after scrubbing and brushing. It’s also safer than a bleach solution. Hence, we recommend vinegar over bleach.

  • Prepare the Vinegar Solution (1:1 vinegar and water)
  • Clean your hand.
  • Remove the Decorations.
  • Put them into a sink or bucket.
  • Pour the vinegar onto them.
  • Scrub them using an algae sponge
  • Use a brush for compacted places.
  • Rinse the decorations thoroughly with cool fresh water.
  • Preparer a bucket of dechlorinated water.
  • Soak the decorations for about 15-20 minutes in there.
  • Make them air dry or under sunlight (Not mandatory)
  • Put back the decorations into the fish tank.

Can You Clean Aquarium Decorations with Vinegar/Why Use Vinegar to Clean:

Vinegar is a safer alternative than bleach. Vinegar is acidic and good for removing icky buildups, hard water brine, and soap scum. It’s good for cleaning your fish tank and its decorations.

Source: Why Vinegar Is Good Cleaner

If you’re want to know how to clean an aquarium with vinegar: Cleaning Fish Tank with Vinegar

Is Vinegar Harmful to Fish:

Vinegar contains mild acidity. It’s effective because it can break down hard stains, algae, and other icky buildups. However, vinegar isn’t harmful to fish. So, it’s safe to use for cleaning your aquarium or its decorations.

Does Vinegar Kill Algae:

Vinegar has soft acidic action, which acts as a good algae remover. So, you could apply a vinegar mixture to get rid of algae. Use 1:1 white vinegar and water, spray the mixture on the affected area to kill the algae.

How to Clean Aquarium Decorations Before First Use:

Before putting them into the tank, new Fish tank decorations need mild cleaning.

  • Put them into a bucket or sink full of water.
  • Rinse them properly.
  • Rewash them (Use warm water to rinse your rocks, gravel, and other ornaments.)
  • Don’t use soap or detergent for cleaning.
  • You can also use a vinegar solution for cleaning your new fish tank decorations.
  • Dry them before putting them into the tank (Not Mandatory)
  • Put the new decorations in the tank.

Should I wash new aquarium decorations-

The best practice is to wash your new fish tank ornaments with warm water. Rocks, decorations, and gravel wash them properly. Using cool freshwater also ok, if you clean them thoroughly.

How Often Should You Clean Fish Tank Decorations:

If you change your fish tank’s water frequently, the algae or other icky buildups will have less chance to grow on the decorations. But you need to clean them once in a while. For frequent water change tank, once in a month or two should be fine.

For lesser water changing tanks, clean the decorations at least once every month.

Wrapping Up:

Cleaning fish tank decorations is easy. Just follow the given guidelines or steps. In general, follow the first cleaning method. If you need more than a regular cleaning, try to follow the vinegar solution. However, if you think the vinegar won’t be enough, follow the bleach solution method for cleaning your aquarium decorations.

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