How to Clean Aquarium Ornaments

Updated February 23, 2018

Over time, your aquarium decorations can become covered in brown or green algae. This can be harmful for any plants or fish living in the aquarium. A dirty aquarium is also unpleasant to the eye and can leave visitors thinking that you don't take very good care of your fish. Cleaning your aquarium decorations is pretty easy and can be done right at your kitchen sink.

Make sure you change out your aquarium water once each month to keep the decorations for building up algae at a faster rate. This is important to the overall health of your fish tank.

Remove the ornaments carefully, one at a time, so as not to disturb the fish.

Turn your faucet on hot water and place each ornament under it for 10 seconds. This will rinse off the top layer of dirt and algae.

Fill your sink with hot water and pour in 1/2 cup of bleach. Place your aquarium ornaments in the water/bleach mixture and allow to soak for 1 hour.

Use a toothbrush to scrub off any dirt and algae left in the cracks and crevices of the ornaments.

Run the ornament one more time under some hot water. Do this for 60 seconds for each ornament to make sure that you have removed any bleach that may be on the ornament.

Return the ornaments to your aquarium one at a time, being careful not to disturb the fish.


You can use dish soap to wash the ornaments, but the dish soap won't kill any bacteria like the bleach can.


Make sure there is no bleach left on the ornaments. Even the slightest bleach residue can kill your fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot water
  • Kitchen sink
  • Toothbrush
  • Bleach
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About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.