Can I clean my fish tank while pregnant?

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. You can read full disclaimer below.

Updated August 3, 2022

If you’re a pregnant woman who’s wondering: Can I clean my fish tank while pregnant?

You’re not alone.

Many pregnant women are concerned about the potential for harmful chemicals and bacteria to be present in the water and air around them.

Can I clean my fish tank while pregnant?

Fortunately, cleaning a fish tank is generally considered to be safe during pregnancy.

However, you should take some precautions to minimize your exposure to any possible contaminants.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about cleaning your fish tank while pregnant.


Can I clean my fish tank while pregnant?


I was pregnant with my first child and I really wanted a fish tank.

My husband wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I finally talked him into it.

I think he finally gave in because I was obsessed with getting a pet fish and I was pregnant.

We went to the store and picked out a small fish tank and an adorable betta fish that we named Wasabi.

After looking at a bunch of cheap fish tanks, we went with the one below because it had a filter and I wanted to be able to keep the water super clean,

How Fast Do Tilapia Grow
How Fast Do Tilapia Grow

We set it up in our living room and I was so excited.

Check out this little guy:

cleaning fish tank during pregnancy

Photo: Maternity Comfort Solutions

A few weeks later, it was time to clean the fish tank.

I knew I probably shouldn’t do it by myself because I was pregnant, but I didn’t want to ask my husband to do it.

So, I did some research and found out that I could safely clean the fish tank while pregnant.

I started by moving Wasabi to a container with some of his tank water,

Then I emptied the water from the tank.

I then took out all of the rocks and decorations and scrubbed them clean.

I washed the glass with a cleaning solution.

I rinsed everything off and put it all back in the fish tank.

I filled the fish tank up with fresh water and added some new rocks and plants.

I then put the fish back in and watched him happily swim around.

It was so satisfying to see a clean fish tank and know that I had done it all by myself, even though I was pregnant.

So if you’re wondering if you can clean your fish tank while you’re pregnant, the answer is yes!

Just be careful and follow the instructions, and you’ll be fine.


Can I clean my fish tank while pregnant?

Yes, you can clean your fish tank while pregnant as long as you take precautions to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and bacteria.

However, in general, it is probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid cleaning your fish tank while pregnant.

This is because there is a small risk of contracting an infection from bacteria or other contaminants in the water.

If you can have someone else clean your fish tank while you are pregnant, do it.

Why deal with a fish tank and pregnancy if you do not have to?

Many of us have no choice but to take care of pets and other animals while we are pregnant.

We have to do it ourselves.


So let’s talk about how we can clean the fish tank safely during pregnancy:

1. Always wear gloves when cleaning your fish tank.

Make sure to wash your hands afterward thoroughly.

Avoid coming into contact with water from the fish tank.

Get a good pair of rubber gloves or thick disposable gloves.

You want to carefully remove any toys or decorations from the tank.

tey can have sharp edges that could cut your hand and possibly expose you to pathogenic bacteria from the tank.

That could cause you and your unborn baby to become very sick.

2. Wear a mask to avoid breathing in fumes from any cleaning products.

You want to avoid breathing in any fumes from the chemicals used to clean the fish tank and you want to avoid breathing in any aerosolized bacteria from the aquarium water.

3. Open windows for ventilation.

Another good way to protect yourself from fumes or breathing in harmful bacteria is to open some windows to et some fresh air in the room that your fish tank is in.

If your tank is small enough clean it outside.

4. Keep pets and children away from the tank while cleaning it.

when cleaning your fish tank make sure your pets and any other children are not running around you.

They could knock over the tank leaving you a much bigger mess to clean up or cause you to lose your balance while emptying or cleaning the tank, exposing you to tank water or the cleaning solution.

5. Clean the tank and filter regularly to keep it healthy and free of bacteria.

Remember: Do not pour any water from your fish tank down the drains in your kitchen or bathroom sinks.

Clean your tank and filter frequently will help prevent your fish or you from getting sick from a dirty fish tank.

6. Discuss it with your doctor or midwife.

If there are any concerns, consult your doctor before continuing to clean your fish tank during pregnancy.

7. Wash off all surfaces around the tank with disinfectant wipes.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

Wash down all surfaces around the tanks or areas where things in the tank touched.

Did you take your fish toys out and place them on the table or counter?

Wipe the counter or table down with a disinfectant wipe.


Maintaining  your fish tank while pregnant includes many tasks:

Those who have an aquarium know that they require a lot of care to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria.

This leads to the two issues you want to be aware of when cleaning your aquarium while pregnant.

  1. Cleaning product exposure: You want to avoid coming in contact with any cleaners, wear gloves and a mask while cleaning. Wash your hands with soap when you are done.
  2. Risk of infection: When cleaning your fish tank you want to be sure to wear gloves at all times. The presence of Salmonella and other microorganisms such as Aeromonas in aquarium water can cause illness in pregnancy.

Cleaning Supplies


How To Clean Your Fish Tank While Pregnant:

1. Transfer Your Fish To A Holding Tank That Has Been Calibrated To The Correct Temperature.

Tropical fish are very sensitive to temperature changes.

Take special precautions when transferring your fish to another tank, using as much of the aquarium water as possible.

Though there are ways to clean the tank without removing the fish, this can prove to be more harmful in the end.

Whether or not it is even possible depends on the size of your tank.

2. Siphon The Remaining Water Out Of  The Tank.

Remove the water using a siphon and then sponge up the water that is left with a towel.

3. Remove The Large Decorative Pieces

After completely draining your tropical fish tank, you will want to remove the large decorative items, such as rocks, and coral, and soak them in a  solution mixed with 9 parts water to 1 part bleach solutions.

4. Remove Gravel

Next, remove the gravel and soak the gravel in a 5% bleach solution as well. If the gravel is particularly dirty you may have to let it soak and rinse with the bleach solution a few times.

Once clean, rinse the gravel thoroughly with water.

5. Clean The Bottom Of  The Tank And The Inside Glass

Once you have safely transferred your fish to a holding tank and removed the gravel and decorative pieces.

Clean the inside glass and bottom of the tank.

Depending on how dirty the tank is you may need an algae scraper or razor blade before wiping the glass down with a dilute 5% bleach solution.

6. Water Filter

The water filtration system will vary depending on the size of your tank.

With everything removed clean the filter thoroughly and add new charcoal.

Another option is to not change the filter until the new water introduced to the tank has had time to run through the filter.



Can you get sick cleaning a fish tank?

It is possible to get sick from cleaning a fish tank, though it is not common.

The most likely way to contract an illness from a fish tank is if the water is contaminated with bacteria or parasites.

These can enter the body through open cuts or mucous membranes, such as the eyes or nose.

Symptoms of an infection include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

To avoid becoming ill, it is important to practice good hygiene when cleaning a fish tank.

This includes wearing gloves and washing your hands afterward.

It is also essential to remove any dead fish from the tank promptly and to clean the tank on a regular basis.

By taking these precautions, you can minimize your risk of becoming sick from cleaning a fish tank.


Bacteria from your fish tank that can make you sick during pregnancy:

It is important to know that the risk of infection is higher in pregnancy and that your fish may look healthy and be behaving normally but these infections can be passed to you from your fish, tank water, or decor in the fish tank:

  • Mycobacterium
  • Erysipelothrix
  • Campylobacter
  • Aeromonas,
  • Vibrio
  • Edwardsiella
  • Escherichia
  • Salmonella
  • Klebsiella 
  • Streptococcus iniae


Can I use vinegar to clean my fish tank?

Yes, you can use white distilled vinegar to clean your fish tank.

It is an excellent cleaner to use during your pregnancy as it won’t harm you or your baby.

Be sure whatever cleaner you use that you thoroughly rinse your fish tank at least twice and let it completely air dry before re-filling it.


What is the best way to clean a fish tank?

The best way to clean a fish tank is to empty it out completely, then wash all of the rocks, plants, and decorations with a mild soap.

Rinse everything off thoroughly, then put it all back in the tank.

Fill the tank up with fresh water and add new rocks and plants as needed.

Finally, put the fish back in and enjoy your clean fish tank!


What are some other things I should avoid using to clean my fish tank?

Avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaners on your fish tank as they can be harmful to your fish and your unborn baby.

Stick to mild soaps and distilled white vinegar to clean your fish tank during pregnancy.



Final thoughts

So, is it safe to clean your fish tank while pregnant?

The answer is yes – with a few caveats.

Be sure to avoid any contact with the water if you’re cleaning the tank yourself, and always wear gloves when handling dirty water or fish waste.

If you have a friend or family member who can help you clean the tank, that’s ideal.

And finally, remember to thoroughly rinse off all of your gear after cleaning the tank – including your hands!

By following these simple safety guidelines, you can keep your fish tank clean without putting your pregnancy at risk.