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?

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?

Generally you can clean your tank once every week or two and this should be fine. However, how often you clean it does depend on the individual tank in question.

You should clean your betta tank every 1-2 weeks dependent on the amount of fish, amount of plants, level of algae growth, and power of your filter. These factors all affect how often your tank needs to be cleaned and have it’s water changed.

If you’re unsure if you should clean your tank remember regularly testing the water can be a good indicator of when your tank needs a clean.

How Often Should You Clean Betta Tank With A Filter?

A 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 give the filter a good clean too!

Even with a filter, it’s still advised to clean the tank every week or two, test the water and perform frequent water changes to ensure that the water conditions are still good. Especially in smaller tanks where water parameters can swing wildly.

(If you don’t have a filter in your bettas tank, you should think about adding one as soon as possible! Here are the best filter choices for your betta!)

How Often Should You Clean A Betta Tank Without A Filter?

Without a filter you may need to attend to your tanks cleaning a lot more, especially if the tank doesn’t have any plants in it to help keep the water parameters in check. In fact, you may even need to clean the tank and change the water every 3-4 days depending on the size of your tank.

Remember, algae build-up is more of an issue in a filterless tank, as well as the amount of waste and by-products 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, or cleaning the filter media themselves, depending on the kind of filter you have. However this is 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 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 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 an algae scrub brush, gravel vacuum, and bucket to get the job done. And having these things handy will sure 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 (Deep Clean)

If you want to know how to clean your bettas fish tank, then here’s a step by step guide of everything you’ll need to do! Just remember, before anything make sure you’re turning off all the equipment in your tank to avoid accidents.

1. Remove Algae From The Glass

The first step is to use your algae scrubber to remove as much algae as possible from the glass. Doing this can be a bit of a pain if you’ve allowed the algae to build up so be patient during this step.

2. Vacuum The Gravel

Next you should begin to vacuum the gravel or substrate in your tank. When you’re doing this you’ll also be removing some of the old water from your tank, so make sure you’re keeping a bucket under the other end of your gravel vacuum.

If you’re using sand, hover the vacuum slightly above so you don’t suck it all up. But for gravel and aquarium soil, try to root around a little bit to remove any debris that may have gotten caught.

And of course, make sure you avoid sucking any fish up!

3. Clean The Filter Media

Now that you’ve got a bucket of water ready, you can begin cleaning the filter media in it. Remember, that to clean the filter, you always want to do so in the tanks old water to avoid killing the beneficial bacteria. During this stage you should also make sure that you’re replacing the chemical filter media if you need too. (Generally once a month)

4. Add New Water

Now that your tank has been cleaned and the filter media has too, you can begin adding new water to the tank. Just remember to condition the water before you add it, and to make sure it’s a similar temperature and pH as the water in your tank already.

Without doing this your betta may end up getting temperature shock or being stressed out.

(I personally love using API Stress Coat. Not only is it a water conditioner but it also has aloe vera which means it will help relax your betta and reduce their stress as well!)

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. 

Buy A Self-Cleaning Betta Tank

There are numerous tanks out there that are labelled as “self-cleaning,” and they are; however, that doesn’t mean you get out of having to do a periodic deep clean. Normally these self cleaning tanks are just aquarium kits where the filter and heater are included.

But if you’re going to pick one for your betta, I’d highly recommend the Fluval Flex. This is the tank I personally use and I love it!

Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit, Black, 15 Gallon
  • Freshwater 15 gallon aquarium kit with bold curved front design

2. Add Some Algae Eaters

There are several species of fish, snails and shrimp that will happily live in your 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.

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

3. 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 other fish exactly what they need.

If you do end up feeding your betta more than they need, then you can just fish the excess food out with a net. Don’t leave it to rot in the tank.

4. Use A Water Testing Kit

Using a water testing kit regularly will help you determine when you should perform a water change in your tank as well. If the ammonia and nitrites are 0ppm, the nitrates are below 20ppm, and the pH is as close to neutral as possible, then you can get away with not cleaning your fish tank for a little bit longer.

5. Keep An Algae Scrubber Handy

Sometimes your tank won’t need a full clean, instead it may just need a quick scrub. If this is the case, keep your algae scrubber handy, scrub away the algae, and let your filter take care of the rest!


Of course, there are always more things to know and understand about cleaning your Betta’s fish tank. So here’s an 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 its resiliency of the Betta.

Generally, a betta can survive a couple of weeks in a small tank with no filter or plants. However, if you have a larger tank with plenty of plants and a filter, it could even be up to a month or more.

Just remember if your betta looks like it’s in distress, it has probably been suffering for quite some time, and you didn’t even realize it. 

(Find out all the behaviors you may notice in your betta before they die or why your betta might be swimming erratically.)

How Often Should I Change My Betta’s Water?

If you have a non-filtered system, you should change 15-20% of your Betta’s water every few days. However, if you have a filtered system you may be able to wait a couple of weeks before having to change it again.

How Often Should I Change Betta Water Without a Filter?

Without a filter you may need to change your bettas water every few days to ensure ammonia doesn’t build up in the tank. With plants in a tank or a tank that’s understocked you may be able to change it even less frequently than this though.

(Find out exactly why you need a filter for your betta, and the different filters you can add to the tank.)

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

You will need to change some of the water in a one gallon betta tank every day. However, doing so will be extremely stressful for your betta. On top of this, the massive fluctuations in the parameters you’ll experience may end up killing your betta any way.

(Find out why the minimum tank size for a betta should be 5 gallons.)

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

Again, two to three gallons is not big enough to be keeping a betta in.

If you are keeping your betta in a tank 2-3 gallons in size, you’ll need to test the water and perform water changes frequently. And you should consider upgrading to a bigger tank as soon as possible.

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 the water parameters are affecting your betta their color will dull out, their fins will be clamp, and they will start swimming more erratically, losing their smooth grace. 

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

If your bettas fins look shredded and they may be suffering from fin rot, which commonly occurs when bettas are stressed from poor water conditions. Test the water, and consider performing a water change as soon as possible

However, it’s important to know that fin loss can be caused by all sorts of reasons. (Find out whether your betta is suffering from fin loss or fin rot.)

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

A one gallon tank is never big enough for a betta. 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?

Betta tanks get dirty fast when they’re overstocked, they’re too small, they lack a filter, or the nitrogen cycle hasn’t completed yet. On top of this, if your tanks in direct sunlight then it may also start growing algae rapidly.

However a dirty tank may also get dirty fast because you’re 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 days. If it lasts longer than two weeks, then it could be a sign of something else.

Do Bettas Need a Filter?

You should absolutely add a filter to your bettas tank to help keep the water conditions in it good. The lack of a filter in the tank will make 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. 

How Often Should You Clean A Betta Tank


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

And remember, that the best way you can keep your betta alive, happy, and healthy is with frequent water changes to the tank!

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. Otherwise, have a great day!