How to Clean a Top Fin Filter? Complete Guide

Having a pet beside you, whether it’s a cat, dog or fish is one of the most fulfilling feelings. As it is rewarding itself, it brings some responsibilities as well. Such as clearing and keeping the aquarium fresh and clean in case of fish. But how to do it properly? 

To keep the aquarium clean and water fresh, the first thing you need to do is, clean the filter. For that, you have to take out the filter from the water and separate the parts of it. You need to clean every individual part of the filter thoroughly.

Here in this article below, I am going to talk about how to clean a top fin filter in detail. 

Why do You Need to Clean an Aquarium Filter?

You need to routinely clean your aquarium filter to keep the water clean, prevent harmful debris build-up and keep it suitable for the fish.  

If you know how an aquarium filter works, this answer will get even clearer for you. An aquarium filter makes the water breathable for the fish and keeps it clean. It helps so that beneficial bacteria can build up as well as prevent toxic build-up. 

Without a filter, you may need to clean the tank by removing the fish. After that again place it in the aquarium. It can a traumatizing event for both you and the fish.  

Is It Safe to Clean the Filter?

Yes, if you do it in the right way it is safe and beneficial to your fish. 

I mentioned the “right way” because it can easily go wrong which may turn dangerous to the fish.  It takes a long time to build up an ecosystem in the aquarium. 

If you wash all the good things along with the dirt, it will harm your fish or fish more than it can help. 

So nonetheless it is very important to know how to properly clean the aquarium filter. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Filter?

The ideal time to clean a filter is once a month. 

But it depends mostly on the size of the aquarium or the size or quantity of the fish. If you have a larger or large quantity of fish, your filter needs to be clean more often. 

On the other hand, if you have a large aquarium with a few small fish, cleaning it less often will do the job. 

How To Clean A Top Fin Filter?

Before you start cleaning the filter there are some things you should keep in mind. The beneficial bacteria both in the aquarium and the filter do not like to get shocked. 

While cleaning, you need to be very gentle and never use cold tap water. Use room temperature water or you can take a bucket of aquarium water to clean as well. 

When the actual cleaning begins, firstly unplug the filter and remove it from the aquarium. The best and safest thing you can do is prepare a bucket with room temperature water with a water conditioner. So that you can keep the filter in it as a lot of water drips from it. 

Now, time to disassemble the filter. It’s better to do it in the bathroom. Clean the filter media with room temperature water which has a water conditioner in it.  

Be careful while cleaning the media, because you do not want to clean it 100%. Leave some of the bacteria behind so that they can grow from there again. Do not use any brush or sponge to clean the filter media. 

You can give a good rinse with a brush or sponge to the non-media part of the filter. Remove all the algae and debris. You can use warm water to do that, but do not use hot water. 

Now, that everything is fresh and clean, you can reassemble it all together and put it back in the aquarium.

Is Cleaning Cartridge Enough Instead of Cleaning the Entire Filter?

No, from time to time you need to clean the entire filter for the well-being of your fish. 

The filter cartridge captures the particles inside the water. It also contains filter media. To keep the water environment healthy, you need to change the cartridge every 3-4 weeks. 

You can also clean it, but very gently. Harsh cleaning can harm the media which is necessary for the aquarium. 

But the filter can be clogged by algae and water debris which you need to clean separately. Otherwise, the water filtration system can be interrupted. 

Frequently Asaked Questions (FAQs):

How long can I use the Top Fin filter?

You need to change the filter cartridge every 3-4 weeks and clean the filter once a month. 

How do I know my filter is working?

The easiest way to know is by checking the water flow. When the filter is filled with dirt and debris the water flow slows down. In the extreme case, water stop flowing. 

Is the aquarium filter make bubbles? 

No, a well-functioning filter does not make bubbles. A clogged one may produce a bubble in the fish tank.  

Should I change all of the water after cleaning the filter? 

No, it can be very harmful to both the fish and the beneficial bacteria as they get an extreme shock. 
Change 10% of the water weekly or 25% monthly. Do not forget to use a water conditioner before mixing the water. 


Cleaning the filter is a very sensitive issue. It can go wrong very easily and in the worst case kill all of your fish. None of us want that to happen. 

So, it is wise to gain knowledge about how to clean a top fin filter. You can look forward to someone’s experience in it. If you do not know someone to ask for, I am hoping this article helped you. 

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Arif H Fahim

Welcome to PetFishTank! My name is Arif. I make an effort to publish educational articles using my many years of expertise as a fish owner.

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