HomeAquarium & MaintenanceHow to Clean Aquarium Rocks (5 Steps Easy)

How to Clean Aquarium Rocks (5 Steps Easy)

Aquarium rocks play an important role in aquascaping, as they provide a place for fish to hide and congregate. As such, it’s important to clean them regularly to keep your tank looking its best. Not doing so can lead to many problems, including algae growth and contaminated water.

This article National Park Aquarium will tell you how to clean aquarium rocks using simple steps that anyone can follow. Keep reading to learn more!

Steps to clean your aquarium rocks

how to clean aquarium rocks

Gather Your Materials

In order to properly clean your aquarium rocks, you will need the

following items:

  • Aquarium vacuum
  • A holding tank
  • A colander
  • Clean Water
  • Gravel cleaner
  • A small net
  • Sponge

Step 1: Remove the fish from the tank

Fill the holding tank with non-chlorinated water, and use a small net to bring your fish out of the main tank into it.

It is best that you take out the decorations too so you can take out the gravel without any difficulties.

Remove the fish from the tank
Remove the fish from the tank

Step 2: Remove the Rocks from the Tank

You can do this by gently scooping them out with your hand or using an aquarium vacuum. Be careful not to damage any plants or other decorations in the process. Once all of the rocks are out, it’s time to start cleaning!

Step 3: Rinse the Rocks in the colander

After removing the rocks from the tank, it’s important to rinse them off under running water using the colander. This will remove any dirt, debris, or other contaminants that may be on the surface. Be sure to use clean water for this step – you don’t want to reintroduce any new contaminants to the rocks!

Rinse the Rocks in the colander
Rinse the Rocks in the colander

Step 4: Clean the Rocks with a gravel cleaner

You can fill the bucket with some clean water, then dilute the gravel cleaner according to the instructions on its package. Then, submerge the rocks in the solution and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.

After soaking, use a sponge or brush to scrub off any remaining dirt or algae. Be sure to rinse the rocks well afterward to remove all traces of the cleaner.

Clean the Rocks with a gravel cleaner
Clean the Rocks with a gravel cleaner

Step 5: Rinse and Dry the Rocks

Once you have finished cleaning the rocks, it’s important to rinse them off with clean water. This will remove any residual bleach that could be harmful to your fish. Once the rocks are rinsed, allow them to air dry completely before placing them back in the tank.

Make sure you fill the tank again with clean water and bring back the decorations, and you fish without minimal disturbance.

Our pro tip
  • Using soap or detergents to clean aquarium rocks can be harmful to fish, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead, use hot water to scrub the rocks.
  • Consider using specialized aquarium cleaning brushes or tools to get into the crevices of the rocks.
  • If you have live plants attached to the rocks, be gentle when cleaning so as not to damage them.

Additional Tips for cleaning aquarium rocks

  • It is best to clean your aquarium rocks every two weeks or so to prevent the build-up of dirt and algae.
  • If you have a lot of rocks, you may want to clean them in batches to put the clean ones back into the aquarium while you are still cleaning the others.
  • Be sure to rinse the rocks well after cleaning them to remove any residue from the cleaners.
  • You may need to soak them in a solution of water and vinegar for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  • You can also invest in commercial tank cleaners suitable for rocks. Adhere to the package instructions for optimal outcomes.
tips for cleaning aquarium rocks
Tips for cleaning aquarium rocks

Why Is Cleaning Fish Aquarium Rocks So Important?

Aquarium rocks provide many benefits for both the fish and the owner. They help create a naturalistic environment for the fish, provide hiding places and breeding sites, and even help filter the water. Cleaning fish aquarium rocks is important for several reasons.

  • First, it helps to remove the build-up of debris and waste that can accumulate on the rocks over time. This build-up can cause water quality issues in the aquarium and can also lead to problems with the fish themselves.
  • Cleaning fish aquarium rocks can help to prevent the spread of disease. Diseases can be easily spread from one fish to another through contact with contaminated surfaces like rocks. By keeping the rocks clean, you can help to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in your aquarium.
  • Finally, cleaning the rocks also helps to keep them looking their best. Algae and other growths can make rocks look dirty and unattractive. By regularly cleaning them, you can help to maintain their natural beauty.


Cleaning aquarium rocks is a simple process that anyone can do. With our guide how to clean aquarium rocks and 5 steps, you can ensure that your rocks are free of dirt, debris, and contaminants. Doing so will help keep your tank looking its best and maintain a healthy environment for your fish!

By following these simple steps, you can keep your fish tank looking great and your rocks healthy and clean. Have you tried this method for cleaning your aquarium rocks? What tips would you add?

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Further Reading
Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org


-- Founder --

I'm Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org, where I share my deep passion for aquariums and aquatic life. With over 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, covering everything from tending to saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Kathleen Wood


-- Interrogator --

Kathleen Wood, a seasoned marine biologist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her research on tropical fish biodiversity spans over three decades, and she has contributed numerous scientific papers on aquatic life.