I hadn't touched the fish tank since Zeke died. It made me too sad. For about a month or two, the tank just sat there, devoid of its resident. I had unplugged the filter so the algae started to grow along the sides. Finally I dumped the water out, and let the tank sit a bit longer.
Then we had an overnight guest and I knew I needed to clean the tank. I had made the decision earlier that I wasn't going to get another fish. It makes me really sad - I have really loved having betta fish! And I'll probably get another one someday, just not right now. We have a baby arriving this summer, and I'm sure there will be other priorities on my list besides "cleaning fish tank". Since we don't have a lot of room at our place, it's best that I don't hang on to the fish tank but rather sell or give it away. I've decided to sell it on Craigslist - I've had good luck selling fish tanks there before.
You're not supposed to use soap on fish tanks, so I cleaned it as best I could with just water and a rag. The algae came off readily, and before too long it looked like new. I did wash with soap the parts that the fish didn't touch - the lid, the outside of the tank. But everything else was just wiped down in hot water and left to air dry.
Then I came to the rocks. They are the hardest to clean. I put them in a colander and ran hot water over them until they seemed to fairly clean. Then I was unsure of how to dry them. I didn't want more algae to grow because the rocks were wet. My husband suggested I put them on a pan and bake them in the oven. He pointed out that baking them also might kill any remainder bacteria mesothelioma. So I did that. Put the oven on 400 degrees, and baked my aquarium rocks for 15-20 minutes. That did the trick - they are completely dry now. :-) It seemed silly when I was using oven mitts to pull something out of the oven - rocks. :-)
So now I just need to take some pictures and list the tank on Craigslist. I am going to sell all my other fish supplies along with my tank, which will actually free up some space in the kitchen cabinets which will be nice. Already, the spot where the tank used to sit looks bare! It makes me sad, but I keep telling myself that it's for the best.