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Guidelines on Cleaning Aquarium Plants

Aquarium plants and ornaments are an attractive addition to your aquarium housed with equally lovely fish. You may be keeping the aquarium regularly clean, but overtime the plants begin to appear dull, greasy and lifeless. If they are live plants, you may worry about damaging them in the cleaning process. With artificial plants also, you may face the difficulty in cleaning and restoring their previous charm. Here’s a look at how to clean and care for live or plastic aquarium plants and accessories.

How to clean Aquarium Plants

Gentle scrub

The continuous movement of fish often causes dust and debris to stick to the plants. You can easily shake off these particles with your fingers when they settle. Additionally, algae can form on the plants, but you can gently rub it off with your fingers. You can do this for both real and artificial plants. If it is difficult for you to get rid of the dirt in the aquarium, you may remove them from the tank, place them in clean water, and rinse them. If the dirt or algae still clings on, then use a gentle scrubber or a brush  to clean the plants. You must remember not to use any soaps or liquid detergents to clean the plants, as the chemicals in them can be toxic to the fish. Also, keep the scrubbers and brushes used for cleaning aquarium plants separately.


If the plants are covered with overgrowth of algae, it can be a bit difficult to remove it by scrubbing. You may clean both live and plastic plants by using a bleach solution, prepared by adding one part bleach to 19 parts water. There is a chance of harming live plants when you bleach them, but the excessive algae growth will kill them eventually, so it is better to give it a try. Place the live plants in the bleach solution for about five minutes or less and immediately transfer them into clean water that has been conditioned. Let them stay for at least ten minutes and then gently rinse them. Place them back in the aquarium carefully. When bleaching artificial plants, there is a chance for dark colors to get discolored. So, you need to be mindful about submerging the plants in bleach solution for the least amount of time possible.

Vinegar solution

Sometimes there may be a buildup of calcium residue on the aquarium plants. This can be removed by using vinegar solution. Mix 1/4th cup of vinegar to 1 litre of distilled water and soak the plants in this solution for about five minutes. Then transfer them into clean water and rinse them well before replacing the plants in the aquarium. This is not suitable for some types of plants, so you need to be careful. You you can do the same with plastic plants or just spray the solution, wipe the residue and clean with fresh water. Vinegar solution is the best option for cleaning without harming your plants.



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