Can I Clean My Fish Tank While Pregnant? Is It Safe?

Fish are nice, low-maintenance pets most people can enjoy, but that doesn’t mean they’re free of upkeep entirely. Fish need proper nutrition, cleanliness, and care to ensure their well-being, but pregnancy can make this a lot less feasible – but does this make it impossible? 

Can you clean my fish tank while pregnant? Most mothers are afraid of being exposed to bacteria or strong cleaning solutions while maintaining fish tanks – with a special emphasis on ammonia, which tends to build up naturally over time. Fortunately, ammonia exposure is fairly easy to notice and handle.

The more common problem (that’s also easy to overlook) is overexertion. Cleaning your fish tank while pregnant may seem like an easy task, but you run the risk of straining yourself. This puts both you and your child in jeopardy, especially if heavy lifting is involved! As much as possible, try to get a helping hand to deal with the more strenuous steps involved here.

It’s going to be easier and safer in the long run to have someone else handle it for you, but that won’t always be an option. If you have to clean the fish tank on your own while pregnant, we can at least provide you with a few pointers to minimize the risk of harm to you and your baby!

Can I Clean My Fish Tank While Pregnant?

Exposure Concerns

Your fish will live, eat, and even poop inside their aquariums. That means that while you can make your fish tank cleaner – with regular maintenance and water replacements – it’ll never be sanitary. Always remember to wash your hands afterward with soap and warm water.

See also  Can I Eat Cheese Ravioli During Pregnancy? Is it Safe?


woman opening fish tank

Invasive bacteria are already a big concern for a lot of people. Cleaning your fish tank while pregnant is liable to put you at an even greater vulnerability to infection!

Fortunately, most aquarium-based bacteria specimens are waterborne. That means that they’re transmitted primarily through direct ingestion (i.e. drinking) or contact with open wounds.

All those disease-causing bacteria tend to have scary symptoms, but the vast majority of risk can be mitigated simply by wearing clean gloves throughout the chore!

That doesn’t mean you can afford to be careless, though – always wear a mask, and if you have cuts on your hands or wrist it may be best to put the task off until those scratches heal up properly.


Ammonia is a common problem in fish tanks, developing over time as organic material decays in the water. Concentrated ammonia can also leak into the air, which can cause chest pains, nausea, and even breathing difficulties – all horrible conditions for a pregnant woman to handle!

The good news is that the scent of ammonia is pretty hard to overlook. The chemical is naturally quite irritating to a person’s respiratory system, causing burning sensations in the lungs and nose. Always stop when something smells off – don’t ever try to power through the fumes.

Overexertion Risks

man putting water on fish tank

While bacteria or chemical risks are the first things that come to mind for most people, the biggest potential danger while cleaning your fish tank while pregnant is the physical strain of the activity.

Changing the water or making other small maintenance efforts should be fine, but try to avoid heavy lifting or standing for long stretches of time. While some exercise is nice to keep in shape, too much physical exertion may induce premature births or even miscarriages altogether!

See also  Does Breastfeeding Make You Hungry? 13 Surprising Facts

This is way less of a concern in the first trimester – you can even do it for a while after, provided your fish tank is small and manageable. If you feel even the slightest bit of discomfort or disorientation, though, stop and take all the time you need to get your bearings.

Final Thoughts

“Can I clean a fish tank while pregnant?”

Absolutely, but you need to take the proper precautions to minimize the potential dangers – even low-risk issues aren’t negligible if your baby’s wellness is at stake!

Even if you feel perfectly fine with the task, always consult with your doctor first. They’ll be able to provide you with more personalized information to suit your situation and ensure that your whole pregnancy goes over smoothly to the very best of their ability.