How To Clean Aquarium Decorations With Vinegar With Simple Steps?

Vinegar is an effective and cheap cleanser that can work on many surfaces. Surprisingly, you can even use it for your aquarium decorations.

How to clean aquarium decorations with vinegar? In this article, we will share step-by-step instructions to clean your aquarium with this simple cleaner.

Let’s get right into the details!

How To Clean Aquarium Decorations With Vinegar?

The tools for this job are easy to prepare, including:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A toothbrush
  • Plastic container

After gathering all the necessary information, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: Prepare the cleanser.

You need a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water for the solution. Do it by filling the plastic container with water 1/3 half full.

Then, pour the same amount of white vinegar into the container and mix the solution thoroughly.

Step 2: Soak the decorations in the solution

Place the tank decorations in the container. Some delicate stuff, such as submarines, pirate ships, or king’s palaces, require more caution.

Allow all the decorations to soak in the solution for several hours. Five hours may be enough to eliminate the debris.

As a gentle acid, vinegar can react to alkaline elements. Hence, it can work with calcium components and reduce their stickiness.

The solution can also handle both stubborn algal and live algae stains by loosening the stain stickiness.


The solution can treat the stains effectively

Step 3: Brush the decorations

The solution has treated most debris on your stuff. However, some hard stains still remain. To remove them, you need to brush the decorations carefully.

Now, grab a new toothbrush with one hand and pick your decoration on the other hand. Then, gently brush it to eliminate the stains.

After brushing, rinse the decorations in water to wipe off residuals. It would be best to wash them with a water hose for this task.

If you still notice stains, brush and rinse them again until the decorations look new and clean.

Step 4: Dry

All that remains is to let the cleaned stuff air dry to remove moisture during the washing process.

tank's decoration

Dry the items before placing them in the tank

Is Vinegar Harmful To Fish?

Vinegar affects the pH level of the water, which might stress your fish, restrict their body’s natural slime coating, or even lead to their death.

Some fish are prone to acidic environments. Some species may like lower pH levels, such as neon tetras and Oscars. Hence, they can withstand for longer.

If you raise snails in the tank, be much more cautious. An acidic condition is risky to your pets since it will contact and dissolve the snail shells.

So, can you add vinegar to the aquarium? The short answer is yes, but with caution. Also, only apply a diluted amount so it won’t alter the pH level.

Another tip is to transfer your pets to another container before adding the acid into their tank. There won’t be any contact between the solution and fish then.

Other Uses Of Vinegar In The Fish Tank

This liquid does a great job at cleaning the tank decorations. Besides, you can also use it to clean the whole tank and lower the pH level in the water.

Clean the tank

The guidelines for cleaning your fish tank using white vinegar are as follows:

  • Empty the tank by moving the fish to another tank and removing the decorations and live plants.
  • Use a wet sponge to clean the tank’s interior and exterior. The goal is to release and get rid of some algae and calcium deposits.
  • Add table salt to that sponge, re-clean the entire tank and then scrub it thoroughly, paying attention to any tough stains.
  • Let the salt sit for a while, but do not let it fully dry.
  • Rinse the tank with a tap or in the bathtub.

Lower the pH level

You can reduce the pH level of the aquarium by adding vinegar, which has a pH range of 2 to 2.5.

Here is how to do it:

  • Use a test strip to determine the current pH of your tank. 1ml vinegar/gallon should be sufficient to maintain an acceptable acidic pH.
  • Measure the right amount of the acid and add it to the high-flowing part of the tank.
  • Allow the liquid to dissolve in the aquarium.
  • Take a new reading using a new pH test strip. This test will help you tell if the fish tank’s pH is at an optimal level. It will tell whether you need to top off the tank with a bit of extra acid.
  • Examine the potential reasons for another pH rise in your aquarium. Also, clean the container and remove all organic waste.
  • If your aquarium needs one, you can perform a water change.

You can learn tips for adjusting the pH level in the aquarium from this video:

Another Way To Clean Tank Decorations

Plain bleach has the same cleaning effect as vinegar. Please follow these steps and learn how to use them for your aquarium decorations:

  • Put the item in the faucet and soak it in hot water for two or three minutes. This step will ease cleaning by assisting in cutting through hardened algae.
  • Create a 5% bleach cleanser by mixing two teaspoons per gallon of water.
  • Place the object in a bucket of solution or pour the solution over it. Give it two to three minutes to absorb.
  • Wipe off any algae and dirt with a toothbrush.
  • To remove any leftover bleach, thoroughly wash the item in lukewarm water for about five minutes.
  • Pour warm water into another bucket and add dechlorinating chemicals to it.
  • Put the item in the bucket and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse the item again and place it back in your aquarium.


Soaking aquarium decorations in vinegar can help loosen most of the debris. All you have to do is brush the stains until the items achieve a glossy look.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!