How Often Should You Clean A Betta Tank?

Two things happen when your betta tank isn’t cleaned with regularity: a build-up of algae and a growing volume of waste and byproducts from your betta fish on top of and beneath the gravel layer at the bottom of the tank. So how often should you clean a betta tank?

For a typical tank—one that has plants, rocks, or other objects—you should clean your tank once per week. For a tank that has your betta fish in it but no extra plants and only an object or two, you should clean it once every two weeks. 

If you don’t clean the tank regularly, this build-up will eventually make your fish sick, very sick, or lethally sick. Also, if your Betta fish is ever injured, unclean water can exacerbate the damage through infection. 

How Often Should You Clean A Betta Tank?

As aforementioned, it matters what you have in the tank and the size of your tank. If you have packed the tank with plants, rocks, interesting, three-dimensional sunken ships, and anything else, you need to clean it once a week.

In fact, with that level of fish furniture in your tank, you may even consider throwing in a twice-a-week cleaning every so often. If your tank is rather bare, with no plants and maybe an item or two, you can get away with cleaning it twice a month or once every two weeks. 

So long as you’re able to keep the build-up that results from the waste products and algae growth in your tank at a reasonable level, your betta fish will live a long and happy life. Of course, if it gets sick, your cleaning routine will expand as well. 

How Often Should You Clean Betta Tank With Filter?

If you are using a filter, it has to be assumed that you also have additional fish in the tank—since betta fish don’t require a filter—and extra fish means the extra waste product, extra items in the tanks, and the possibility of extra algae.

A really good filter will minimize the amount of cleaning that you have to do, but you should still clean it once a week if possible. You should also create a routine where you vacuum the gravel, scrape clean the algae, and change your filter once a week.

Taking care of your Betta can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Click here to read an article with everything you need to know about Betta fish care.

Normally—with non-filter tanks—you’re going to do an extremely thorough cleaning job. However, if you have a filter and do the above-listed things once a week, you won’t have to do a deep, long-lasting clean, but maybe once per month. 

How Often Should You Clean Betta Tank Water Without Filter?

Without a filter, you can get away with cleaning the tank once every two weeks or so, but it has to be a deep clean, not just something that you can do quickly before you kick off your workshoes and hit the Netflix button on your Roku.

If you have a lot of items in there so that your Betta has a bit of variety, cleaning should take place once per week—that means deep cleaning. The more things that you have in there, especially extra plant life and three-dimensional fish tank objects, the dirtier the tank gets. 

Algae build-up is more of an issue in a filterless tank, as well as the amount of waste and byproducts that come from your Betta fish and the fish food that you toss in there periodically. 

(Find out why your betta tank should have a filter!)

Are Betta Tanks Difficult To Clean?

Betta tanks aren’t too difficult to clean. If you have a filter, then there are a few extra steps that need to be taken, such as replacing the filter cartridges. However, it’s more of a necessary inconvenience than anything extraordinarily difficult. 

The more tools you have, the better and easier it is to do the job, especially if you have a sieve, gravel vacuum, and some pads for scrubbing any algae build-up.

What Tools And Instruments Are Needed To Clean A Betta Tank?

You won’t need much to do the job, but you’ll want to make some additional purchases if you want to make the job easier on yourself and more convenient for your Betta. When you purchase a tank and Betta, you’ll often get a few things, but not everything. 

Now, you won’t need algae scrub brush, gravel vacuum, or sieve to do the job, but it sure will make things easier. The quicker you can get the tank clean, the quicker you can get your Betta back inside its home and comfortable once again. 

How To Clean A Betta Fish Tank

We’re going to go over the deep-cleaning tips when it comes to properly cleaning your Betta fish tank. Light cleaning with a filter system involves pulling some of the tips out of the following breakdown but not necessarily going crazily in-depth over it. 

  1. Prep Your Water Before You Get Started

You should know how many liters of water that it takes to adequately fill up your Betta fish tank. Fill up a separate container from the tap, and for every 1 and ¼ liter of water, add 5mL of buffer—such as Seachem Betta Basics—to the water. 

This will make the hard water from your tap more agreeable with your Betta. 

2. Transport Your Betta Fish

Ideally, you’ll want to have another container set aside in which you will add water directly from your Betta’s tank. That way, when you transport your Betta, it will be in water that it’s already been in and will be comfortable while you’re cleaning out its aquatic abode. 

3. Strip The Tank

Take out everything that you put in there for decoration or to give your Betta hiding spots and comfortable hangouts. Fake plants, items, decorations, everything needs to come out of the tank with the exception of the gravel (for now).

Once you’ve taken all of the items out, clean them thoroughly, using just water, until all of the slimy feel and any remaining residue is gone. 

4. Pour Out The Remaining Water

Now, you can pour out all of the water from the tank. You can strain it with a standard strainer, so long as the holes are small enough that the gravel doesn’t fall through and end up in your sink drain.

5. Clean The Gravel and All Remaining Decorations

Once you’ve dumped your water through the sieve—at this point, you can choose to replace your gravel altogether or clean it—meticulously go through your gravel and decorations, running warm water over them and using a soft brush to clean any lingering byproducts and grime.

6. Clean Up Your Tank

Don’t use any soap for this job—nor should you use it to clean anything else that’s going to be inside the tank—just run warm water over the glass and use a sponge or a brush (with soft bristles) to get all of the scrums off of the glass.

Be sure to get your corners very carefully with the soft-bristled brush.

7. Put it All Back Together

Put everything back together with the way you originally had it (unless you have a spat of creativity and want to do some rearranging) until you have the tank situated. Pour the freshwater with the buffer mixture into your tank, followed by a hopefully grateful Betta. 

How Do I Keep My Betta Fish Tank Clean?

Keeping it clean will go a long way towards reducing your routine, deep cleaning job. Also, there are a lot of different ways that you can approach this, so feel free to get a little creative, spend some extra money, or follow through with standard maintenance procedures. 

  1. Buy A Self-Cleaning Betta Tank

There are numerous tanks out there that are labeled as “self-cleaning,” and they are; however, that doesn’t mean you get out of having to do a periodic deep clean.

There are lots more to choose from, but these tanks take much of the headache out of frequent cleaning routines.

2. DIY Exchange System

If you’re feeling creative or just enjoy the idea of building things that make you and your pet’s life better, consider building and installing your exchange system. All you need is some PVC pipes and elbow joints, plus a little bit of ingenuity to customize it for your particular tank.

3. Add Some Algae Eaters

There are several species of fish, snails, tangs, and crabs that will happily bounce around the tank, consuming any algae build-up. However, you have to be careful to pick a species that your Betta will be comfortable with. 

There’s no sense getting an algae eater that your Betta will slaughter at the first opportunity or vice versa. 

(Check out this article about all the great algae eaters you can add!)

4. Be Careful With Your Food Generosity

One of the major byproducts that you end up having to clean in your tank comes from the fish food that you put in it. You should stick with premium, high-quality fish food and only feed your Betta and/or other fish exactly what they need, no more and no less. 

5. Aquarium Water Testing Kits

Believe it or not, a solid testing kit will improve how and when you have to clean your tank, probably reducing the necessity of doing it. Simply record each testing so that you can lay out an accurate baseline for when the water reaches the point that it needs to be cleaned. 

This way, you can zero in on how often you have to clean the tank. 

6. Algae Scrubbing Magnet

Algae pads are great for quickly removing algae and deposits on the tank glass; however, if you attach a magnet to the pad, you can leave it in the tank and, when you’re ready to scrub the glass, reach in with an aquarium magnet, connect with the scrubber and get busy. 

It makes for a much easier time, and you can give your tank a quick scrub, reducing the number of cleanings per week/month.

7. Gravel Vacuum

Gravel vacuums are simple tools that you can use to clean the loose deposits from the gravel whenever you have a mind to do so. Combined with the quick algae scrubber, you can create a routine that will barely take more than two minutes to keep your tank well maintained. 

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Of course, there are always more things to know and understand about cleaning your Betta’s fish tank. So we’ve also put together a FAQ section to answer any questions you might have about properly maintaining a Betta fish tank. 

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without a Clean Tank?

How long a Betta can survive in a dirty tank depends on the resiliency of the Betta. There’s really no sure answer that can satisfy your curiosity on this one. It also depends on the size of the tank. The bigger question is, how long before the Betta starts to suffer?

If it looks like it is in distress, it has probably been suffering for quite some time, and you didn’t even realize it. 

How Often Should I Change Betta Water?

If it’s a non-filtered system, you should change your Betta’s water once a week. Or you could remove and replace between 15% and 20% of its water on a more frequent basis so that the water remains clean all of the time. 

How Often Should I Change Betta Water Without a Filter?

Without a filter, you should change 50% of the water once every 7 days—at the very minimum. If you own a non-filtered fish tank for your Betta, you’re probably going to be cleaning it once a week regardless. 

How Often Should I Change a One-Gallon Betta Tank?

You want to change 100% of the Betta tank water once per week when it’s only a gallon’s worth. Of course, you can also combine it with an aquaponics system, which will effectively reduce cleaning time and frequency. 

How Often Should I Change a Two to Three-Gallon Betta Tank?

Two to three-gallon tanks should be changed at a level of 50% per week. If it’s a filtered system, drop the percentage of water volume change by around 20%. If you install an aquaponics system, it will significantly reduce the overall volume of water change necessary. 

How Do I Know if the Water Is Affecting My Betta?

Bettas are robust and vibrantly colored fish. Their fins are also wide open and float freely when they are still—assuming they’re healthy. If they’re not, their color will dull out, their fins will be more taught, and they will start swimming more erratically, losing their smooth grace. 

Does Dirty Water Make My Betta’s Fins Look Shredded?

Your Betta’s fins can get shredded in a number of ways, but not from the dirty water. However, in order for the fin to heal properly, you need to keep the water fresh, clean, and frequently changed. Also, dirty water can make the shredded fin worse with bacterial infections. 

Is a One-Gallon Tank Big Enough for a Betta?

It’s definitely big enough, however, think about it this way: could you live in a lawnmower shed with little more than a cooking stove, mini-fridge, and an end table to eat on? Sure, but no one wants to live that way, and your Betta would love to have a much larger home. 

Why Does My Betta Tank Get Dirty So Fast?

Most often, this is attributed to overfeeding your Betta. Not only does the excess food that it doesn’t eat dissolve and raise the pollutants in your tank, but the Betta will also create more waste material that quickly contributes to the degradation of the tank’s conditions. 

How Much Should I Feed My Betta?

You shouldn’t feed your Betta any more than two to four pellets per day or twice per day. Excess feeding can lead to dirtier water and an increased level of pollutants, which can distress your Betta and cause you to have to clean the tank out more often. 

Is Cloudy Water Bad for Betta Fish?

Cloudy water initially appears after you place your Betta in the tank for the first time. It’s called “Bacteria Bloom” and is mostly harmless, dissolving on its own in a matter of a few days. If it lasts longer than a week, you should change your tank water.

Do Betta Need a Filter?

While they don’t need a filter, the lack of one makes your job a lot more strenuous, as you’ll have to carry out more frequent and in-depth cleanings. With a filter, you and your Betta will be much happier. 


Without a filter, you should get in the habit of cleaning your Betta’s tank once a week, and, with a filter, you should set up a routine for replacing a healthy percentage of the water every week.

The great thing about owning a Betta is that there are a lot of different ways to keep them. If frequent tank cleanings are something you don’t think you can handle, you can also go with a filtered tank or introduce an aquaponics system.

Whatever you decide to do, so long as you have a clean tank and a good schedule set up, your Betta should be a happy and colorful fish for a long time.

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! And if you have any more questions you can ask them in the Q&A Section!