How to Make a Self-Cleaning Aquarium

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Things You'll Need

  • Water filter

  • Live plants

  • Algae-eating fish

  • Commercial water treatment

An aquarium will enliven and enhance the feng-shui (atmospheric flow) in any environment. Aquarium cleaning is an undesirable chore, especially for busy people. However, ignoring a dirty fish tank for too long will lead to foul odors and eventually, dead fish. While a 100-percent self-cleaning aquarium isn't possible, with the right ingredients you can significantly decrease the amount of times tank cleaning is necessary.


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Step 1

Purchase a good-quality aquarium from a pet store. Quality fish tanks will not collapse in a few months, nor will any silicone (used to attach the glass corners) discharge substances into the water that are harmful to the fish.

Step 2

Purchase a basic water filter. Ideally, choose one that has bio-balls and ceramic rings to encourage the growth of nitrate-eliminating microorganisms that like to reside in filters. The filter must be size-appropriate for the quantity of water your aquarium holds, in order for your aquarium to be able to filter the tank at least twice an hour. Filters that are too small also burn out quickly and must be thrown away.


Step 3

Add live plants to to the tank to make your fish at home, provide oxygen and further decrease the nitrate level in the aquarium. Besides beautifying your aquarium, live plants provide food and shelter for smaller fish and may help in naturally cleaning the aquarium as well.


Step 4

Purchase some aquarium-cleaning fish do do the job for you. Some of these are Siamese Algae Eaters, Corydoras and Plecostomus. The Siamese Algae Eater eats the algae, while the Corydora eats the excess food from the ground. The Plecostomus cleans the algae off the glass, plants and rocks. They may not be as pretty as other exotic species, but they are the main ingredient in this self-cleaning aquarium. While snails and shrimp are not a fish, Mystery Snails, tiny ghost shrimp or cherry shrimp and bamboo shrimp can all be dynamo little waste-eaters that would be right at home in your aquarium.


Step 5

Clean the filter at least once every three or four weeks and clean your tank with a water treatment once a year. Choose water treatments with living organisms to lower the nitrate level.