Cleaning Tank After Fish Death

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Leslie3388, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Leslie3388New MemberMember

    I recently had to euthanize my betta, who I believe was suffering from severe fin rot and advanced velvet. Is there a proper way to wash the tank and all equipment/accessories to ensure I’m not spreading disease or sickness to my next fish (when I’m ready)?
  2. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Fin rot and Velvet are quite different issues. Fin rot is caused by poor water conditions, Velvet is a parasitic infection.

    If your fish actually had Velvet, youll want to clean everything well. You MIGHT be able to use scalding hot water to wash everything with, let the tank dry out in the sun for a week and bleach it after that. Then I use Dawn to clean everything well and put the tank back together up and running. Thats IF it was actually Velvet.

    If your fish just had fin rot due to poor water conditions, Id just use some bleach (20-1) and wash everything down, use Dawn to clean everything and get it back up and running.

  3. JamieLuValued MemberMember

    Uve never had a problem using dawn? I get nervous to use soap because of the residues, but ur apparently using it with no harm huh?
  4. Leslie3388New MemberMember

    He had fin rot because his fins were deteriorating/falling off. Towards the end, I believe he was also suffering from velvet, as he had clamped fins, no appetite, lethargy, gold coating on his fins, and extremely labored breathing.

    I will get another fish sometime this year, but it won’t be for another few months. I’d like to reuse the tank, if possible. I just want to make sure I’m cleaning everything properly so that any bacterial/parasite issues from my last fish, don’t somehow transfer over. I’ve always been hesitant to use soap, because of the residue.
  5. BReefer97Well Known MemberMember

    I use Dawn for everything and I’ve never had an issue. You’ve you got to rinse it really well. I’ve used it to clean things for my fish and all of my reptiles. Just make sure it’s the original, blue Dawn dish soap.

    If not, I also use bleach for everything. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Scrub everything, rinse with hot water a few times, and let it dry in the sun so if there’s any remaining bleach it can gas off. Only use REGULAR bleach with no added scents. Splashless bleach is not okay either.
  6. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Nope, never. I use it on everything and as long as you rinse it well there is no problem. I use it to clean my filter intakes weekly as I have hard water and get wicked calcium buildup on everything. When I buy a brand new tank the ONLY thing I do before stocking it is to scrub it with Dawn and rinse it down. Set it up and add water.
  7. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Just clean everything well, let the tank sit for a couple weeks and dry out if youre not in a hurry to set it back up. Dawn (or bleach) is more than fine to clean with as long as you rinse it down good. Ive been using Dawn to clean my fish stuff for 30 years. I use it daily to wash my hands between feeding my tanks. I put my hands into the tank to feed my fish, take them out and wash with Dawn, feed another tank, etc. 15 tanks a day. I also only have one set of "tools" (long tweezers, net, siphon, etc.) and I clean all those with Dawn and put them right back into another tank. No worries as long as you rinse well.
  8. LajosValued MemberMember

    Duane is right.

    QUICK ANSWER (most convenience and quickest way, but cost slightly more)
    1)Replace everything with new ones except for the tank - especially the filters, filters medias which are hard to clean but you can guarantee 100% safe if you replace them with new ones.

    2)Only reuse the tank. Clean the tank according to Duane's suggestion.
    Bleach it, rinse properly. Let it dry under the sun for a few days. Parasites can't survive in dry place.
    This is to kill both the "swimming" parasites and parasites in eggs/cysts form which cannot be killed by most chemical.
    But don't use hot water for cleaning the tank as I'm afraid it will melt the silicon inside.

    LONG ANSWERS(for understanding purpose)
    A few powerful chemical that can kill almost everything(parasites, bacteria, virus) except probably the parasites that are in eggs/cysts form:
    2)Potassium Permanganate
    3)Hydrogen peroxide

    Bleach is the cheapest among the three.
    But you have to use them in the right amount to kill them (refer to suggestion above).

    I usually like to use hot water to clean the filters and accessories.(but not too hot, else it will melt your plastic filters).
    Throw away the filter medias and gravel/substrate as they are too hard to clean even with the above.(my opinion/precaution)

    I like to soak everything inside the hot water especially if it's a Hang on filter(HOB).
    I soak every part especially the intake tubes, impeller, etc in hot water where the parasites may hide in it.

    But for cleaning the tank I like to use vinegar though I'm not 100% sure that it can kill everything.
    Artificial vinegar is cheap.(it's a kind of acid).
    At my place, they are selling $1+ for 500ml.

    To clean the filter thoroughly, this is what I will do.
    I get a small pail filled with tap water. Then I pour almost half a bottle of the vinegar into the filter and turn the filter on.
    I let the vinegar flow/run through every part of the filters especially those parts that are hard to reach by water(impeller and the base which hold the impeller) by turning the filter on with water and vinegar in it.
    Note: Tap water has chlorine and chloramine which can kill most bacteria.

    Don't use bleach for wood, porous material that can absorb the bleach.

    Lastly, please read these discussions which have some very useful information.


    One of the contributor, Colin_T who studied aquaculture, managed several aquaculture facilities for breeding aquarium fishes and worked at an aquatic plant farm is very knowledgeble.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  9. Leslie3388New MemberMember

    Thank you, everyone!!!