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How to Drain a Fish Tank

how to drain a fish tank

Having a fish tank in your home also means learning skills that you need for its maintenance side. And one of these skills is learning how to drain a fish tank. Removing water in your fish tank is normal, especially for maintenance purposes. Whether you are replacing water, cleaning the aquarium, or resealing the leak spots in the aquarium, you will need to empty and drain the fish tank to let you do the task at hand.

But is it easy to drain a fish tank? There are several methods to do it, but one popular way is to use a garden hose. This method is economical and easy to do using a tool that is for sure available in our home. Also, if the need to drain the fish tank arises, you must do it with extreme caution to prevent stressing the fish that might affect them in the future.


How to Drain a Fish Tank with a Garden Hose

When it comes to draining a fish tank with a garden hose, you will need to follow a step-by-step process to make it easy for you to do it at the quickest possible time. Please check down below:

Step 1:

The first step is to remove all the fish out of the fish tank for you to have an easy draining process. But how to do it? You will need to do it slowly using the correct size of fish net to fit into it regardless of sizeit. But, once again, you need to do it with extra caution for the fish not to get injured when transferring.

An option for you is to use two nets when one drives the fish to the other more stable net. You will need to transfer all the fish to the other tank to make them safe. Another way to catch the fish easily is to drain some water to make it shallower. This action will allow you to catch fish easier.

Step 2:

The next step, probably one of the essential steps, is to remove all power connections from your fish tank. After removing the fish, you can disconnect all the tank’s power sources, such as the heater, filter, and even the artificial light you put on the fish tank. This action is for your safety because you do not want live electricity when emptying your fish tank with water. Remember that water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and it is for your safety to disconnect all electrical sources connected to your fish tank.

how to drain a fish tank with a garden hose

Step 3:

Once the fish is out and all the electrical connections are disconnected, you will also need to remove other things inside the fish tank. Whether it’s artificial plants or decorations of the aquarium, it is also essential to remove it for you to have easy access to draining the fish tank with water. Another suggestion is to rinse and clean all of these things before processing the actual draining process.

Step 4:

Before the actual cleaning process, you will need to protect the surroundings from water spillage. Regardless of your experience with aquarium maintenance, the tendency to spill the water will always be there. So, you will need to take some extra precautions not to let these things happen. You can lay down protective materials every time you drain the water, and this can be done by putting some towels or pieces of cloth around the fish tank. If you want to go the extra mile, you can put some tarps or even mats underneath the towels for an extra layer of protection.

Step 5:

The next step is starting the actual draining process, but you need to prepare the garden hose and some buckets to transfer the water. Please ensure that the bottom of the tank is higher than the bucket. Meaning, the greater the distance vertically between the bucket and the fish tank, the quicker the water will flow.

Step 6:

Prepare the garden hose for the siphoning of the water away from the fish tank. It will be better for you to use a transparent hose to monitor the water’s flow quickly. You will need to hold the tube in an exact U shape to fill it from a tap until the water reaches the top of each end. You will need to cover each end using both of your thumbs, but it will be easier for you to ask assistance from another person when doing it.

Step 7:

The next step is to slowly move to the tank while keeping your thumbs in place. If you ask for assistance, then the two of you move together towards the fish tank. Then, slowly inserting one end of the tube to the bottom of the fish tank while the other end of the hose should be placed on the bucket. You will notice that the water will now be starting to flow on the garden hose while also sucking dirt found in the fish tank.

Step 8:

As a reminder, if you want to stop the flow if the bucket is already full. You can lift the tube on the side of the tank water while the water left in the tube will start to be empty. Replace the fully-loaded bucket and replace it with a new empty one. If your fish tank is huge, you might need several buckets during the draining process. Please repeat the process until all the water is drained in the fish tank.


Learning how to drain a fish tank is an essential skill that you must know as an aquarium owner. You will be doing this task frequently on different maintenance activities that you need to do for your aquarium. Whether it’s water replacement, resealing the aquarium, cleaning the fish tank, and other maintenance tasks, you will somehow need to drain the water in all of these tasks. Thus, learning how to drain the fish tank is a must for you.

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