Complete Guide to Cleaning Artificial Aquarium Plants: Step-by-Step Instructions

Cleaning artificial aquarium plants is easy! I recommend removing them from the tank and rinsing them under warm water. For stubborn dirt, use a soft brush or toothbrush. Avoid using harsh chemicals. Learn more about keeping your artificial plants sparkling clean in the full article below.

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How do I clean my artificial aquarium plants?

Cleaning your artificial aquarium plants is just as crucial as maintaining your tank's water quality, ensuring adequate lighting, and feeding your aquatic friends correctly. These decorative pieces can, over time, become a host for algae and a collection spot for detritus. However, worry not! The cleaning process isn't rocket science, and we can guide you through it smoothly.

Firstly, it's important to recognize the tell-tale signs that your artificial plants need cleaning. Look for visible algae growth or discoloration. These signs often indicate that it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Unplugging and removing the artificial plants

Begin by unplugging any electrical items in your tank for safety reasons. Next, carefully remove the artificial plants from the aquarium, taking care not to disturb your aquatic pets. Be mindful that moving the aquarium or any drastic changes can stress your fish.

Using the Sun to Clean your aquarium plants

For me personally, the best way to clean aquarium plants is to let the sun bleach them. I usually have 2 sets of aquarium plants that I interchange between cleans so whilst one plant is left out on a sunny day, the other is back in my tank.

The process is incredibly simple:

  1. Take the Aquarium plants out of your tank
  2. Place place in a clear box on an outside table
  3. Leave for a few days in the sun
  4. Brush off the dried dirt and debris
  5. Wash under cold water

It's as simple as that!

Cleaning with warm water

You can usually clean less dirty plants using warm tap water. Thoroughly rinse them, scrubbing gently with a soft brush. Don't use any soap or detergents as these can harm your fish when reintroduced.

Using a bleach solution for stubborn algae

For heavily soiled plants, you might need to use a 10% bleach solution. Soak the plants in the solution for about 15-20 minutes. This process will help to get rid of stubborn algae. After soaking, rinse them thoroughly under running water. Leaving any bleach residue can be harmful to your fish, so ensure that you're rinsing them until the smell of bleach is no longer detectable.

Drying and placing the plants back

Allow the plants to air dry completely before putting them back in the tank. It's another precautionary step to ensure no harmful substances make it into your tank. Don't rush this process, as choosing the right environment for your fish is essential.

Regular cleaning

The cleaning frequency will depend on several factors like the number of fish, overfeeding, light exposure, and more. If your tank is prone to algae, you might need to clean your artificial plants more often. Regularly cleaning your fish tank gravel and performing frequent water changes will also help to keep the tank cleaner and make the cleaning process less demanding.

And there you have it. You can now clean your artificial aquarium plants like a pro! Regularly cleaning your plants not only keeps your aquarium looking beautiful but also contributes to your pets' overall health by reducing algae buildup and potential pollutants.

To keep a vibrant, healthy tank environment, remember to take care of other tank elements, such as filter maintenance, the right lighting duration, and ensuring the fish are feeding properly. With a little time and effort, you can maintain an aquarium that's not only visually appealing but also a healthy habitat for your aquatic pets.


Cleaning artificial aquarium plants is an important yet simple process that can significantly impact your fish tank's overall health. It's not just about aesthetics, but creating a healthier environment for your fish. By recognizing when your plants need cleaning, using the right cleaning methods, and regularly maintaining the tank, you'll create a beautiful and clean space for your fish to thrive. Keep on exploring at Fintastic Pets for more aquarium advice and guidance.