How to Clean A Fish Bowl (04 Effective Steps)

Do you have a fish bowl sitting on your desk or coffee table? Are you looking for the best way to clean it without risking killing your pet and ruining that perfect picture of them? 

Well, I’m happy you asked because today, I will go over a quick and easy method for cleaning out those dusty bowls.

Cleaning the fish bowl is not the most fun task, but it is necessary. Fish get sick if their water gets dirty or stagnant, so cleaning them regularly is essential. 

If you’re looking for a way to execute this job easier on yourself, here are some advice and tricks on how to clean a fish bowl while still keeping animals happy and healthy! 

Materials You Will Need

Arranging those materials beforehand will help you during the tasks of cleaning the fishbowl.

  • Two water container
  • Water conditioner product (de-chlorinator)
  • Fishnet
  • Hand towel
  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • A small brush (toothbrush)
  • Aquarium thermometer
  • Water test strips or kit

How to Clean A Fish Bowl (Without killing the fish)

A step-by-step systematic approach is always better to break down the job and complete it effectively. Below you’ll get four steps to follow while cleaning the fishbowl. 

Step-1: Prepare the New Water

Unlike large tanks, a small bowl requires constant surveillance to make sure the water isn’t contaminated. In large tanks, a 20-50% water change is usual; however, for fish bowls, a complete change-up of the water is required (sometimes 50% can be done).

To avoid major shock for your fish and other inhabitants of this aquatic home, you should treat the water to remove chlorine or ammonia before filling up on their lifesaving supply.

The first step in cleaning the fishbowl is to prepare your water. Regardless of the water source, you should treat the water because of the following three reasons:

  •  One of the most critical factors in keeping fish healthy is maintaining a consistent water temperature. This will help avoid stressing them with an abrupt change from cold to hot, or vice versa!

How can you treat the water? Treating the water is sometimes referred to as ‘aging water.’ 

Step-1 Prepare the water

Follow the steps below to prepare the water: 

  1. Take some water equal to fishbowl volume in a soap-free container. 
  2. After that, add water conditioner products that will instantly remove chlorine, neutralize chloramines, and detoxify heavy metals from the water. 
  3. Use a testing kit to measure the pH of the water, and it’s essential to make sure the water pH is similar to your fish requirement. If it falls outside, some techniques can help bring it back in line with what you want. 
  4. Measure the temperature of the water using a thermometer, and adjust it to the correct temperature for your fish. 

Tips: A good practice is to keep a couple of water jugs filled with treated water to always prepare for emergencies.

Step-2: Remove the Fish from the bowl

In this step, you will temporarily move the fish and any live plants to a container filled with water from their own tank. Doing so will reduce any shock they might experience and make it easier on them! 

Step-2 Remove the Fish
  • Fill a small soap-free container with some of the existing water from the fishbowl. 
  • Use a fishnet to carefully remove the fish and live plants from the fishbowl to that container. 
  • Fill that jumps will behave differently under the stress of the new environment. The best way to handle a jumpy fish is with care and consideration. Place a lid over the container so they cannot get out. It also reduces the light, which calms them down and returns the natural behavior patterns that won’t lead them to jump around like crazy!

Step-3: Clean the Fish Bowl

This step requires meticulous effort from your side as you will remove and clean all the rocks, decors, and the fishbowl itself. 

Step-3 Clean the Fish Bowl
  • First, remove all the decors, and rocks from the fishbowl, put them in a colander, and take them to your sink. Hold it beneath the running water until all dirt is filtered out. Shake sides gently while doing so for an even cleaner end product! Do this until water runs clear underneath the colander. 
  • When it comes to removing stubborn algae (if present in a fishbowl or decoration), hydrogen peroxide is the best option for you! Get 3% over-the-counter peroxide solution, and soak the affected decorations for a few minutes. After that, rinse thoroughly to remove any residue from it! You can use it for removing algae from the glass of the fishbowl also. For more details, read my article on how to clean aquarium decorations in six easy steps.
  • Wiping the bowl with a cloth or paper towel is always best. If you want to remove any leftover lime marks, use vinegar (mix an equal portion of vinegar and water) and scrub it clean using a toothbrush before dipping it in freshwater to rinse out all gunk!

Tips: You can use bleach to clean and sanitize the decors and walls of your fishbowl. When used in proper concentration, it is safe for fish tanks as well! The right proportion should be 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) per gallon of water

Step-4: Reassemble the Fish Bowl

Now it’s time to set everything back in the fishbowl and offer a clean home for the fish. 

Step-4 Reassemble the Fish Bowl
  • Carefully place the substrate in the bottom of the bowl, distribute it evenly throughout, and place all the decorations in place. 
  • Now gently fill the fishbowl with previously prepared treated water. Adjust the decoration if needed after that. 
  • Bring the fish back into the bowl using the fishnet from their temporary residence. 

Tips: Feeding your fish the right amount will keep the fishbowl cleaner between each maintenance. Overfeeding your fish is the most common mistake that fishkeepers make. Usually, a little goes a long way, so overfeeding can cause excess waste and clutter in their tank, which could be dangerous for your fish. Tha also increases the cleaning frequency! Feed 1-2 times per day the amount they can finish in 2-3 minutes. 

How to Reduce Fish Bowl Maintenance?

Cleaning the fishbowl weekly or half-weekly is quite demanding and stressful. What if you can increase the duration of cleaning frequency? That sounds better, and yes, actually, there are ways. 

Filters are a fantastic way to keep your fishbowl clean and safe! There are several filters that you can use in your fishbowl. I recommend using a sponge filter, although some prefer an undergravel filter because it remains hidden under the gravel. 

Sponge filters provide gentle filtration for small containers; they’re affordable (and easy) so that you can use them in any size tank or bowl. Moreover, filtered water is free from dirt- which means happier inhabitants too! 

Moreover, sponge filters use an air pump to function. The air pump will ensure your fish in the bowl is never short of oxygen. You need to clean the sponge filter from time to time when it’s full of gunk. This helps to reduce the cleaning requirement of the fishbowl. 

You can also add live plants to your fishbowl for a more natural look and the added benefit of purifying water. Plants root houses bacteria which helps break down the wastes produced by fish. Plants utilize fish waste for their nutrient supply; also, you can add aquarium-safe plant fertilizer. 

Related Resources

Wrapping up

It’s important to keep your fishbowl clean since these containers usually don’t have filters. The small water volume means that toxicity can build up quickly. It also helps if you do a weekly filtration routine for the best results!

Thanks for reading! If you have any more questions, please drop a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer your inquiry. Have a wonderful day, and remember to keep those fish bowls clean!

Sujit Modak

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