Top 4 Tips on How to Make a Self-Cleaning Aquarium

Published On: May 16, 20210 Comments on Top 4 Tips on How to Make a Self-Cleaning AquariumTags: , Last Updated: February 7, 20243.4 min read

If cleaning the aquarium seems like a hectic chore, then you can follow the below-mentioned tips for building a self-sustaining aquarium in a DIY way. An aquarium which cleans itself sounds too good to be true. But this actually is a reality which can be enjoyed by people who don’t get to devote much time towards aquarium maintenance.

Top 4 Tips on How to Make a Self-Cleaning Aquarium

Today we are going to take you through a step-by-step guide of creating a self-sustaining aquarium which imparts adequate importance to live plants and fishes living together in harmony with minimal human interference.

Get The Proper Aquarium

Primarily, you need to get hold of a good quality aquarium from a pet shop. Getting a good aquarium can guarantee you complete peace of mind in terms of durability and against silicone discharge which can otherwise prove detrimental for aquatic life. It is imperative to note here that silicone is used for attaching the glass corners of aquariums. Size of the tank is also an important consideration as they render better results compared to the small ones. It is recommended to get tanks between 30–200-gallon range as they have the best water-fish-plant ratio.

Arrange For A Water Filter

A basic water filter with ceramic rings and bio-balls can add impetus to the growth of nitrate-eliminating microorganisms which reside inside the filters. The size of your filter needs to be in sync with the water held in the aquarium. Small filters tend to burn out quickly. The filters can either be a part of the air pump system or might be a separate element which can keep the water clean and adequately aerated.

Add Live Plants

Live plants such as guppy grass can make your fishes at home as they supply oxygen to the water while bringing down the nitrate count. You can read this guppy grass care guide to learn about its importance to your aquarium tank. They can also provide food and shelter to the smaller fishes other than naturally cleaning your aquarium.

Top 4 Tips on How to Make a Self-Cleaning Aquarium - fishtank

Plants like Java Fern and Java Moss are low-maintenance options which can also double up as a food source for baby fishes. You also won’t have to worry much about your tank getting overcrowded as these plants don’t grow too much. Dense plantations can also offer the perfect hiding spot for the more anxious critters. Plants like Pothos grow above the water level while their roots stay submerged in water to remove all the toxins.

Add Fishes

Aquarium cleaning fishes like Siamese Algae Eaters, Corydoras and Plecostomus can get the job done for you. While Corydora consumes the excess food particles from the ground, Siamese Algae Eater devours the algae and Plecostomus wipes algae from plants, glass and rocks. While these fishes might not be as visually appealing as their exotic peers, they can be of great help in keeping the aquarium clean.

Hoplo Catfish is another example of a residual food eating fish which usually enjoys hiding spots such as dense moss and can survive in a wide gamut of water temperatures. Shrimp and snails do not fall under the category of fish, but they can also assist in the aquarium cleaning drive. Tiny ghost shrimp, mystery snails, bamboo shrimp and cherry shrimp feed on waste to render a cleaner aquatic environment. But before adding the fishes to your aquarium, you need to conduct a thorough research on their size, species and environmental requirements. Certain species have a specific temperature requirement and, in such cases, you need to place compatible species.


Contrary to popular belief, creating a self-sustaining aquarium is not hard provided you have the right kind of plants, fish species and related equipment. Irrespective of your aquarium size, keeping it clean is both time and effort intensive. You need to change water filters, clean air pumps, vacuum the substrate and even change the water from time to time. Building a self-cleaning aquarium can free up your time which can be next diverted to more productive avenues.

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