How to Clean Seashells for Aquarium

You can create a beautiful, natural-looking aquarium with the help of clean seashells. Seashells are aesthetically pleasing and functional in your tank – they provide hiding spots for fish to rest in, making them feel more at ease. But before you can add these shells to your aquarium, some prep work needs to be done first! This article will tell you exactly how to clean seashells for aquarium at home. 

How to Clean Seashells for Aquarium

As well as providing shelter for fish, seashore creatures like clams and snails use seashells as their homes. These creatures live inside the shell all their lives, but when it dies or get knocked off rocks by crashing waves into shorelines where people can get to them, they can be collected and used for aquariums.

If you have a small aquarium, you can add two or three of these creatures to the tank and they will clean up the algae that grows in the corners.

As well as being home to fish and small sea creatures, seashells can also be used to make art projects. Many people make jewelry and decorations out of seashells that they find on beaches.

Reason to Clean Seashells for Aquarium

Seashells are attractive, but their natural environment is not suitable for an aquarium. So before you add them into your tank, you’ll need to clean the shells thoroughly and sanitize them – or else it could spell disaster for your fish!

To prevent your aquarium from looking dirty or cloudy, or if you have fish that appreciate the added cover of a shell, you will need to clean and sanitize them first.

What Seashells can be Used for Aquarium

Suppose you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean and collect seashells regularly. In that case, you can try to remove any creatures currently living inside by giving them a spritz with some water and then boiling the shells in some freshwater (not seawater!) for about three minutes before putting them in your aquarium. If you don’t want to keep the seashells, there are other options, such as artificial decor or purchasing shells from a store if they’re available in your area (most aren’t).

Steps on How to Clean Seashells for Aquarium

Step 1-Rinse the Seashells in Water:

It’s best to rinse the seashells with water before putting them in the aquarium. This will remove any salt residue or dirt, so your fish aren’t swimming in a dirty tank.

Step 2 -Fill a Pot About Halfway With Water and Bring to Boil :

Fill a pot about halfway with fresh water (not seawater!) and bring it to a rolling boil.

Tip: Don’t add too many seashells in at once. If they’re overcrowded, it will take longer for water to cool down, and the shellfish inside may die.

Step 3 -Place Shells in a Pot of Boiling Water for About Three Minutes:

You will need a pot of boiling water and some tongs. Place the seashells into the boiling water, making sure they are fully submerged but not overcrowding them. Allow them to sit in the boiling water for about three minutes. If they’re very dirty, you can leave them in for up to five minutes.

Step 4 – Take the Seashells Out of the Pot and Rinse:

After boiling the seashells, carefully take them out with tongs and place them on a clean paper towel to dry. Once all the seashells are rinsed, let them dry completely before adding them to your aquarium.

After Boiling Carefully Take the Shells Out With Tongs

Step 5 – Place the Cleaned Seashells in Your Aquarium:

After the shells are completely dry, you can add them to your aquarium. You may need to leave them out of water for a few hours if they were previously filled with water while cleaning – otherwise, the shellfish inside will die!

One way to add these shells to your aquarium is to drill a hole in the top of each seashell before placing it in the tank. This way, you can easily attach fishing line or monofilament to the shell, which can then be used to hold marbles, rocks, or other decorations above the waterline of your tank.

Once this is done, your seashells will be ready for your fish to enjoy!

You can check it to Plant Water Lily Bulbs in Aquarium.

Tips and Safety


  • Clean seashells in a well-ventilated area to prevent sickness from breathing in the It’s best to use tongs or another type of kitchen utensil that won’t be too rough on the shells as you move them around throughout the cleaning and boiling process.Cleaning Seashells in a Well-ventilated Area
  • Cleaning seashells should be done in a large pot that won’t allow the shells to overcrowd and not be able to move around easily.
  • Never use the same pot you used to boil seashells for cooking food again.
  • Boiling water is hot, be sure to be extra careful when working with boiling water.


  • If you have filled your seashells with water, don’t boil them right away, as the shellfish inside could die. Make sure to dry your shells first and fill them once they’re in the aquarium.
  • This is a great way for kids to clean their shells, but parents should be present to ensure that it’s safe and supervised.
  • Clean old seashells that look to be at the end of their lifespan – and don’t forget to boil the dead ones as well!Cleaning Old Seashells
  • Boiling seashells may release bacteria, viruses, and other parasites. Make sure to clean everything thoroughly with soap and hot water after boiling before placing them in your aquarium.
  • It’s not recommended to boil any seashells that are encrusted with corals, anemones, or other live animals.
  • If you’re unsure about your shells, it’s best not to use them in your aquarium.
  • It’s best to buy new shells from the store if they’re available for purchase near you.
  • Only use seashells that have been in the ocean and not a lake or river.
  • If you’re unsure about whether your seashell is safe, don’t put it in your aquarium.
  • If you have previously boiled any shells before for freshwater tanks, make sure they are completely dry before placing them in an aquarium with saltwater fish.
  • If you have any shells with mercury in them, don’t use them – it can poison your fish.

Frequently Asked Question

Is It Ok to Put Seashells in a Fish Tank?

Seashells in a fish tank is not a good idea because it can harm the fish. The shells will be too small for the fish to eat and it can block their gills, causing them to suffocate. If you do decide to put seashells in your tank, make sure that they are of the right size so that they don’t pose any danger to your fish.

What to Soak Shells in to Clean Them?

To clean your shells, you can soak them in a pot of warm water with a few drops of dish soap. Scrub the outside surface and rinse them well. You can also boil them in a pot of hot water for about five minutes or until they are completely clean.

Alternatively, you can place your shells in the top rack of your dishwasher for about ten minutes on the “air dry” setting.


Below are some tips for cleaning your shells before adding them to the aquarium. When you’re finished, make sure to rinse these seashells off with water and let them dry. The last step is putting a layer of sand on top to not scratch against other objects in the tank. Make sure it’s not too deep because this could cause fish or plants at the bottom of the ocean floor environment. Once all steps have been completed, then it’s time for your new pet to enjoy its home! I hope you enjoyed this article on how to clean seashells for aquarium! Be sure to SHARE this useful information with everyone you know! Thanks for reading!

Check it out also – How to Add Calcium to Freshwater Aquarium .

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