Will Magic Eraser Kill Fish? (How to Safely Clean the Tank?)

Does Magic Eraser Kill Fish

As a fish keeper, next to ensuring that your fish(es) are well fed and are in good health, one challenging task is maintaining the fish tank. People use a magic eraser, to get rid of algae messes, hard water stains, dried Coraline residue, and dirt in and outside the tank.

However, many have been averse to the idea of using the magic eraser to clean the inside of the tank as they fear that it might be unhealthy for their fish(es) and can even kill them. How true is this?

In this article, we will be discovering if the magic eraser can harm your fish, how to safely clean a fish tank, the suitability of the magic eraser on your aquarium glass, and many other tips that you would find handy.

Will Magic Eraser Kill Fish?

A magic eraser cannot kill fish or even block its digestive tract. A magic eraser can only be lethal when certain chemicals like detergent, perfume, or disinfectant have been immersed in the foam either by the manufacturer or the user.

Also, some specific magic eraser brands (As there are different ones such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Scotch Brite Easy Eraser, Brillo Estracell, etc.) already state ‘Do not use inside an aquarium’ on the packet.

NOTE: You should always read the label and instructions on any magic eraser packet before mistakenly using a scented or chemically treated one inside the tank.

It is perfectly understandable to see fish owners being nervous about the tiny bits of the magic eraser that often fall off the bigger piece whenever it is left inside the tank/aquarium or in the process of wiping the inner parts.

Usually, the fish may not even notice the bits, and even when they mistake it for food, the magic eraser does not affect the fish when ingested.

What Makes Up A Magic Eraser?

The magic eraser is just like the typical melamine foam. Melamine foam is a product of processed melamine resin that ends up as an abrasive material with a sponge-like covering.

The melamine resin is a mixture of urea, a nitrogen breakdown of amino acid found in the blood and urine of aquatic animals and mammals, and certain chemicals refined together.

Magic erasers don’t contain any bleach.

4 Things To Note When Using A Magic Eraser To Clean A Fish Tank

1- Read the Packet to Discover If the Magic Eraser Is Suitable for the Fish Tank

Manufacturers (Such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Scotch Brite Easy Eraser, Brillo Estracell, etc.) are well aware that people purchase magic erasers not just for basic home cleaning messes but also for cleaning fish tanks.

Considering the issues and doubt that accompanied using the magic eraser in washing fish tanks, makers of melamine foam have produced varieties of magic erasers that CAN and CAN NOT be used inside a fish tank.

Do well to read the packet of any magic eraser to be purchased to discover instructions on whether it is suitable for aquarium use or not.

2- Avoid Scented Magic Erasers

Magic erasers made with perfume usually have a higher chemical composition which can pose health risks to fish, especially when it is left to soak in aquarium water.

Scented magic erasers would definitely change the pH of the water and its quality, contaminating the pure, soft water.

Also, when the bits of a scented magic eraser are ingested by the fish(es), they can get poisoned (depending on the chemical used in the perfume mix).

3- Let the Magic Eraser Soak for a Maximum of 15 Minutes

The solidness of a magic eraser does not last longer than 15 minutes before it begins to disintegrate into tiny bits when dropped in a tank of water.

First of all, it’s excellent we address the fact that dropping a magic eraser into a fish tank (to absorb the slime & algae, and turn the green water into clear water) is not always guaranteed to get the mess cleaned one hundred percent.

Sure, the magic eraser can filter dirt from the tank, but assigning it the role of a water cleaner would NOT always yield desired results.

So, if you are particular about avoiding those tiny chunks of a magic eraser from dropping into the water and being likely swallowed by the fish(es), then you should reduce the amount of time the magic eraser is left to soak in the fish tank.

4- Do Not Reuse Magic Erasers

Maybe you just swiped that smudge off the kitchen cabinet, or you just cleaned the outer body of the tank, ensure that you resist the idea of placing a used magic eraser to clean the inside of a fish tank.

These might seem like basic hygiene tips, but it is essential that you do not take chances with the health of your aquatic animals.

Another ‘reuse mistake’ many make is wiping the algae inside the tank, squeezing the mess off, and placing the same foam inside for another wipe.

Some fail to realize that some of the dirt would still be hidden in the micro-holes, which will end up tainting the water all over again.

How To Safely Clean A Fish Tank?

There are two main methods employed when cleaning a fish tank: you could either remove the fish(es) before cleaning the tank or clean your fish tank with the fish(es) inside it.

Method 1: Cleaning A Fish Tank Without The Fish


1- Fishnet
2- Bucket/spare tank
3- Bowl
4- Cleaning ingredients
5- Rubber gloves
6- Sponge


STEP 1: Use a fish net to transfer the fish(es) to a spare tank or new bucket with the old water they were in before beginning the cleaning process.

STEP 2: Pour the dirtiest water at the end of the old tank.

STEP 3: Don the rubber gloves and mix the cleaning ingredients in a bowl.

STEP 4: Use the sponge to wash every corner of the fish tank.

Method 2: Cleaning a Fish Tank with the Fish in It


1- Gravel vacuum
2- Bucket
3- Magic erasers


STEP 1: After turning off the heater and filter, begin by scraping the algae stuck to the body of the fish tank with a magic eraser.

STEP 2: Use the gravel vacuum to suck out the dirt settled at the bottom of the tank.

STEP 3: Pour the old dirty water (with most of the scraped algae and gunk) into a bucket (always retaining half of the water) and put fresh water into the tank.

Are Magic Erasers Safe For Aquarium Glass?

The magic eraser is safe for aquarium glass. Whether your aquarium tank is made of glass, acrylic, or study plastic, a magic eraser can be used to get it cleaned up well without scratches or dulling the quality of the material.

Even when the stains are challenging and require rigorous cleaning, there wouldn’t be any dents.

However, if the aquarium glass is painted or has stickers placed on it, the magic eraser can peel them off.

What Else Can You Use to Clean a Fish Tank Other than Magic Eraser?

1- Salt

As you might choose to call it, salt or Sodium chloride is an effective cleaning agent used in killing germs and bacteria on surfaces. (Source)

Salt has been a reliable choice used in washing a fish tank and would be able to eliminate the source of pest infestation and rinse off bacteria hidden in every corner of the tank.


STEP 1: After getting the fish out of the dirty tank, use the magic eraser to wipe every stain glued to the tank’s body.

STEP 2: Pour hot water halfway into the tank and about 5 tablespoons of salt into the water.

STEP 3: Dip a clean towel into the salty water and wipe the top edges before covering the fish tank.

STEP 4: Let it sit for about half an hour before pouring out the water and rinsing the tank with lukewarm water.

2-Methylene Blue

Methylene blue is not a stranger to aquariums. This is one active ingredient included in producing fungicides used in an aquarium, an active ingredient used in dissolving nitrate concentration, and every infestation in the fish tank.


STEP 1: Transfer the fish(es) and plants to a separate tank.

STEP 2: Get rid of the old water and pour saltwater or freshwater into the tank.

STEP 3: Add a droplet of the methylene blue into the fish tank and let this water sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

STEP 4: Repeat this process for 5 days.

STEP 5: Wash the tank with dish soap and thoroughly rinse with hot water until the methylene blue stains are entirely off the tank before transferring the fish back in.

3- Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach, void of any chemical mixture, is an excellent disinfectant for effectively cleaning aquariums and fish tanks.

When done the right way, you can be assured that your aquatic animals will have a germ-free habitation.


STEP 1: Transfer the fish(es) and plants to a separate tank.

STEP 2: Pour fresh water into the fish tank and a capful of chlorine bleach.

STEP 3: Cover the fish tank for about 15 minutes before pouring the water out.

STEP 4: Rinse the tank thoroughly and let the tank air dry for a day before putting back the fish(es) into the tank.

4- Vinegar

You can get stains scrubbed off easily and kill pests with a vinegar scrub. It is prominent for being suitable with any aquarium material without leaving residue or damaging the quality of the material.


STEP 1: Transfer the fish(es) and plants to a separate tank.

STEP 2: Pour ¼ cup of water and vinegar into a bowl.

STEP 3: Soak a sponge into the mix and scrub the nooks and crannies of the tank.

STEP 4: Rinse the tank thoroughly after all stains have been cleared off. Air-dry the tank.

Final Thoughts!

Rearing fish or having them as a pet requires having ample knowledge of the dos and don’ts regarding how their surroundings can be effectively cleaned. This would go a long way in ensuring that they maintain and live healthy lives.

In this article, we touched on using a magic eraser as a fish tank cleaner, ways to effectively clean a fish tank without putting the lives of the fish(es) in danger, alongside other pertinent information like the things you should use in cleaning a fish tank.

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