How to clean aquarium with vinegar (2023)

For an avid hobby fisherman like me there is nothing more satisfying than watching my fish thrive and happy through clear glass. I never thought I could do it without hard-to-remove algae or limescale spoiling my view. Then I discovered a miracle cure for tank cleaning!

In this guide I will share with you how I keep my aquarium so clean. And it's not about rocket science or expensive chemicals! My pristine tank has been reduced to good old fashioned vinegar. That's distilled white vinegar, to be precise.

Cleaning your aquarium with vinegar is an inexpensive and extremely effective way to remove tough algae and water stains from your glass, ornaments and even the plants in your aquarium.

Table of contents

Green dot algae

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Most forms of algae are soft and easily removed by simply scrubbing with a sponge. However,Green dot algaeIt's much harder to change as it forms hard, rock-like patches that stick to tank glass, decorations, and even plants like superglue.

Hard water stains

hard waterThe stains are caused by minerals (calcium) in the water. When the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind, leaving a white residue on the glass. The same mineral deposits can also cover filter systems that are not submerged. Vinegar can change these stains quickly and easily!

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And that's not all!

(Video) How To Clean Used Aquariums With Vinegar - THE ULTIMATE AQUARIUM CLEANER!

If you use the right ratio of white vinegar to water to clean your aquarium, you can also use it to disinfect your filtration system without harming beneficial bacteria or your fish. Even better where otherstank cleaning methodsDoesn't last long or leave residual stains, vinegar is strong enough to safely remove the most stubborn stains without risk of damage.

So if you are looking for an inexpensive, safe and effective solution to cleaning your aquarium, read on!

what will you need

Before you begin, you must assemble the following kit:

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Everything you need for this job can be found at your local grocery store or online at the links we have provided.

How it goes

How to clean your aquarium with vinegar. You can use the same basic method outlined below to clean your tank with the fish in it, or to clean and disinfect an empty tank.

I always use vinegar to clean new ornaments and plants before adding them to my aquariums. That way I know that any possible bacteria or parasites are being killed and my fish are safe.

Stage 1 - Thorough cleaning of your tank

You can use this method on glass and acrylic tanks. However, be very careful when scrubbing stubborn stains on plastic or acrylic aquariums to avoid scratching the surfaces.

1. Drain the tank

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Start by emptying your aquarium. Put the fish in a separate tank, remove all plants and decorations, and then drain the aquarium completely.

2. Solve stains with water

Dampen a sponge with tap water and use it to clean the inside and outside of the tank. The idea is to loosen and remove some of the algae and loosen the limescale. Use the sponge carefully to avoid scratching the surface, especially if your aquarium is made of acrylic.

(Video) Vinegar Cleaning: Aquarium Equipment

3. Apply table salt

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Take the same sponge, dampen it and add some table salt to the sponge. Clean the entire aquarium again. Scrub the tank gently, concentrating on hard spots.

Let the salt sit for a few minutes, but don't let it dry out completely.

4. Flush the tank

It helps for this step if you can place the tank in a bathtub or outside on the grass near a faucet.

Connect your hose to the faucet and rinse the tank well.

5. Scrape off stubborn stains

Skip this step if you have an acrylic or plastic tank..

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Use a razor blade to scrape tough algae and limescale off the glass very gently.

6. Clean the tank with vinegar

Prepare a solution of 1 part tap water and 1 part vinegar. Pour the solution onto a clean sponge and use it to scrub the entire tank until any remaining algae and scale stains are gone.

Don't forget to clean the outside of the glass as well.

7. Rinse the tank well

Finally, rinse the tank well with clean tap water. Allow the tank to dry completely.

(Video) Cleaning Aquariums With Vinegar

Stage 2: Clean decorations, plants and peripherals

Now proceed to clean your plants, decorations and filter equipment if necessary. when you're doneBe sure to rinse everything well with clean tap waterbefore exchanging items in the aquarium.

1. Clean your plants

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To kill large concentrations of algae on live plants, prepare a solution of white vinegar and water at a ratio of 1 part tap water to 1 part vinegar.

Don't let the plants soak in the solution for more than five minutes.

2. Rinse the plants

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Rinse the plants gently under cold running water to remove loose algae and the vinegar solution. Replace the plants in her tank.

3. Soak tank decorations

To clean ornaments, pebbles, and resin rocks, place them in a bucket with a water and vinegar solution made up of 1 part tap water and 1 part vinegar.

Let the decoration soak in the solution for at least 10 minutes.

4. Eliminate stubborn stains

Rinse decorations under clean running water.

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Finally, use an old toothbrush to scrub the items to remove stubborn stains. At this stage, you may need to dip your toothbrush in undiluted vinegar and focus on areas with really bad stains.

5. Clean filters, aquarium covers, etc.

Use a 1 part tap water to 1 part vinegar solution made from water and vinegar and your sponge to gently remove stubborn water stains from all aquarium peripherals including filter housings, covers, etc.

(Video) Clean Old Aquarium Glass - Mineral Buildup & Stains

To clean and disinfect your filter unit, remove the filter media and place it in a small container of tank water. Disassemble the unit and soak the parts in a solution of 1 part tap water, 1 part white vinegar, vinegar and water for 10 minutes.

Rinse all parts of the filter unit thoroughly under clean, running water. Reassemble the unit and replace the filter media.

Clean your aquarium without removing the fish

You can usedistilled white vinegarto remove green spot algae from your tank glass without disturbing your fish or completely disassembling your setup.

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just take oneMagnetic cleaner for aquariumsand pour a little vinegar on the scrubbing side of the cleaner.

Now gently scrub the algae stains with the magnetic cleaner until the green stains are gone.


I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

Keeping my aquarium free of hard water and algae stains keeps the tank in good condition and can reduce the damage to its filtration system that limescale can cause as it builds up.

Let me know how cleaning your aquarium with white vinegar went and don't forget to share the article if you found it useful.

How to clean aquarium with vinegar (11)


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3. Effortlessly Clean Your Acrylic Aquarium with Vinegar: Proven 100% Effective
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