HomeAquarium & MaintenanceHow to Clean Poop out of Fish Tank

How to Clean Poop out of Fish Tank

If you’re a fish enthusiast, then you know that keeping your tank clean is essential for the well-being of your finned friends. But what do you do when there’s poop in the water?

Cleaning a fish tank can be a dirty and smelly job, so it’s not an enjoyable task. In this article, we will show you how to clean fish poop out of tank quickly and easily. Keep reading for instructions on how to get the job done right!

Steps to clean poop out of a fish tank

What you need for this tutorial

  • A fishnet
  • A small bucket
  • A sponge or clean cloth
  • Freshwater
  • Fish tank cleaner (optional)
  • A holding tank (for a large aquarium)
  • A siphon
  • A turkey baster
  • A vacuum
  • Soap
  • Gravel cleaner
why is it so important to remove poop
Why is it so important to remove poop

Step 1: Remove the fish from the tank

If you have a small fish tank, you may be able to scoop the fish out with a net.

If you have a larger tank, you may need to transfer the fish to a temporary holding container while cleaning the main tank.

Step 2: Scoop out the poop

1. Use a siphon

The easiest way to remove poop from a fish tank is to use a siphon. Just insert the siphon into the tank and suck up the poop.

2. Use a turkey baster

You can also use a turkey baster or a small cup to scoop the poop. Make sure to gently do so to not disturb the fish.

3. Use a vaccum

You can use a regular household vacuum cleaner or an aquarium vacuum.

Just place the vacuum nozzle over the poop and turn on the vacuum. The poop will be sucked into the vacuum bag or canister.

Be sure to empty the bag or canister after each use.

4. Use a fish net

You can also use a fish net to scoop out as much of the poop as possible.

Pay special attention to areas where there is a lot of algae growth, as this is where the fish tend to deposit their waste.

Make sure to discard the debris in a garbage bin or a toilet (for solid waste). Take caution not to agitate the gravel excessively, as it might release harmful substances into the water.

Step 3: Clean the gravel

If your fish tank has gravel, use a small bucket to remove and rinse the gravel. Be sure to thoroughly rinse any soap or cleaners you use on the gravel.

If you have a vacuum, use it to clean the gravel and remove any remaining waste. Be sure to vacuum slowly, so you don’t disturb the gravel too much.

Step 4: Clean the tank walls

Use a sponge or clean cloth to wipe down the inside of the tank. If you’re using a sponge, rinse it often to avoid spreading bacteria around the tank.

You can also use a fish tank cleaner, but follow the bottle’s directions.

Step 5: Rinse everything off

Once you’ve finished cleaning the tank, be sure to rinse off all of your tools and equipment. This will help to remove any residue that could potentially harm your fish.

Step 6: Add fresh water

Now, you can add fresh water to the tank. If you’re using tap water, let it sit for 24 hours before adding the fish. This will let the chlorine dissipate and make the water safe for your fish.

Step 7: Add the fish back to the tank

Once the water is safe, you can add the fish back to the tank. Remember to acclimate them slowly by adding a small amount of water from the tank to their temporary container every few minutes.

This will help them adjust to the new water temperature and avoid shock.

Regular maintenance, including siphoning and water changes, is crucial to maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your fish. Properly cleaned tanks not only look better but also promote the well-being of your aquatic pets.

Here are some tips for cleaning up fish poop

how to clean poop out of fish tank

  • If you have a lot of poop in your tank, you may need to clean it more often.
  • Be sure to wash your hands after handling any poop, as it can contain harmful bacteria.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub the sides of the tank where the poop is.
  • Vacuum the gravel at the bottom of the tank to remove any remaining poop.
  • Rinse your cleaning supplies in hot water before using them again.
  • If you notice that your fish are acting strangely or seem sick, check the ammonia levels in your tank immediately and take steps to correct the problem.

What eats fish poop in an aquarium?

A few different creatures will eat fish poop in an aquarium.

  • The most common are scavenger fish, such as plecos and loaches. These fish are specially adapted to clean up the tank by eating uneaten food, detritus, and waste.
  • Another type of creature that will eat fish poop is certain types of shrimp. These shrimp are often used as a “clean-up crew” in aquariums because they help keep the tank clean by eating algae and other organic matter.
  • Lastly, some bacteria consume fish waste and help to break it down. These bacteria are an essential part of the aquarium ecosystem and help keep water quality high.

These animals help to keep the aquarium clean by consuming the waste that the fish produce. In return, the fish get a more hygienic environment to live in, and the aquarium owners don’t have to deal with as much cleaning.

While there are some benefits to having these animals in your aquarium, there are also some downsides.

  • For example, some of these animals can reproduce very quickly and soon become a nuisance.
  • Additionally, they may not be able to consume all of the waste produced by the fish, which can lead to an accumulation of ammonia and other toxins in the water.


Cleaning the poop out of your fish tank can be daunting, but with these tips, you can have it done in no time! Whether your fish tank is small or large, follow these steps to get the job done.

Remember to always take care when cleaning your tank, and be sure to disinfect all surfaces before adding any new fish or plants. Have a question that wasn’t answered in this post? Leave National Park Aquarium a comment below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Happy fish keeping!

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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.