So you've got an aquarium, and you've noticed the glass has gotten a white chalky residue on it? Well, it happens to almost everyone. At least 80% of aquarium owners have had to deal with the white residue on their aquarium glass.
There are tons of tutorials on the web that teach you how to clean aquarium glass white residue, but you need to stop for a moment and ask yourself “Should I trust these procedures?”
The well-being of your fish is important, that’s why we have chosen to include only the safest means of cleaning aquarium glass white residue. Buckle up and get ready to restore your aquarium glass to what it should look like.
Table of Contents
What You Need To Know Before Starting Work
What Is The White Stuff On My Aquarium Glass?
The name for the white stuff on your aquarium glass is called “limescale” It is usually found in the top edge just at the waterline. As a result of evaporation of hard water, calcium or magnesium carbonate escapes thus causing the limescale seen.
Why Is My Fish Tank So Cloudy?
Your cloudy fish tank can be due to a couple of reasons, one of which is beneficial, nitrogen converting bacteria colonizing to oxidize ammonia and nitrites. The beneficial bacteria break down decaying plant debris, unconsumed food, and even fish waste into ammonia thus causing a cloudy fish tank.
Your cloudy fish tank might also be a result of a bad filtration system or dirty aquarium sand or gravel. See how to clean aquarium sand or also our in-depth guide on how to clean aquarium gravel.
How Do I Make My Aquarium Water Crystal Clear?
You’ll need to create a routine for taking care of your aquarium if you want the water to look crystal clear. Here are a couple of things to do;
- Use a good filtration system.
- Clean the sand or gravel twice or thrice a month.
- Wash the entire sand or gravel once a year.
- Vacuum the decorations.
- Get rid of algae.
- Use good and safe water treatment.
- Reduce phosphates and nitrates.
Preparing The Aquarium
If you have your aquarium filled with water, fish, decorations, plants, and other things, you will need to prepare the aquarium for the cleaning process. You should not try the steps with live fish, and plants inside your aquarium.
You can skip this step if you have already emptied the aquarium. However, read on if you are yet to empty it.
Step One:Relocate Fish
Get a spare tank and relocate all your fish to the tank, it must not be big, because this is temporary, a small tank would do the trick. Use a net and slowly transfer your fish from one tank to the other. Also, ensure that the other tank is clean and safe for your fish.
Step Two:Remove Decorations
Your decorations in the aquarium should also be removed and kept in a safe place.
Step Three:Remove The Filter
Disconnect any power source from the aquarium and slowly remove the filtration system. Be sure to clean it thoroughly before placing it back in the fish tank after all is done.
Step Four:Remove Other Livestock
If you have snails, shrimps, and other livestock in your aquarium, you’ll need to remove them too and place them in a safe temporary location.
Step Five:Drain The Aquarium
Get all the water out of the aquarium using a hose.
Step Six:Remove Substrate
You must not necessarily do this, but I would suggest you remove the substrate be it sand or gravel from the aquarium.
7 Methods On How To Clean Aquarium Glass White Residue
Method 1: Using A Razor Blade Or Scraper
This method is not very effective but might work for you if the build-up on the aquarium glass isn’t too hard. All you would need for this is a razor blade or probably a scrapper. However, you will have to be very careful while doing this else you might damage the aquarium glass.
- Get a razor blade or scraper.
- Gently use any of the tools to remove the white residue from the areas affected.
- You can also add a bit of water to the surface and continue scrapping.
If it doesn’t work for you, try another method below.
Method 2: Using Sponge & Rock Salt
The sponge and rock salt method won’t do any good if you leave the white residue unattended for a very long time. However, if the white residue on the glass is fresh, this method would definitely help get rid of it. You’ll need a foam sponge and rock salt. Make sure the salt has large particles.
- Get a foam sponge and insert it inside water for some seconds.
- Bring out the sponge and add a fair amount of rock salt to the sponge.
- Use the section that you added the rock salt to scrub the aquarium glass.
- After the salt dissolves, add more salt and scrub thoroughly.
Doing this should get rid of the white residue on your aquarium glass. But if it doesn’t do not worry, there are other methods to try out.
Method 3: Using Vinegar
This method really works, I have tried it before. You would need to use vinegar along with a damp cloth, sponge, or just about anything that’ll help get rid of the white residue. The vinegar helps to soften the buildup on the aquarium glass.
What you’ll need;
- Spray bottle
- Scraping tool
- Add a good amount of undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Spray the vinegar on the areas with white residue.
- Apply a good amount of vinegar to areas with terrible white residue.
- Let the vinegar soften the white residue for about 12-15 minutes.
- Use a razor blade, scraper, or a damp cloth to remove the residue from the aquarium glass.
- While scraping the glass with the razor, pause, apply some more vinegar, and continue scraping.
Method 4: Sandpaper
This method is old but gold. A lot of people do not know about this but trust me, it really works. Here’s a piece of advice, try this method after you have tried method 3 above, the vinegar, and razor will help soften the build-up for the sandpaper to do its work.
What you’ll need;
- 1000 grit sandpaper
- Cut the sandpaper grit into small sizes that you can use.
- Use the sandpaper to scrub the areas where you have white residue and you should see significant improvement.
- After scrubbing for a while, use new sandpaper and continue the scrubbing.
Method 5: Vinegar, Cornstarch & Alcohol
Here’s yet another method that does wonders. I can't believe how well this worked. I was in a desperate situation and saw this tutorial and decided to give it a try and it worked for me. I think you should try it too. You’ll need a combination of different materials;
What you’ll need;
- Hard toothbrush
- Spray bottle
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Add vinegar to a spray bottle.
- Spritz the vinegar mix on the aquarium glass.
- Use a toothbrush to brush the areas with white residue.
- Apply cornstarch to the area with white residue along with the isopropyl alcohol.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe the treated areas.
Method 6: Pumice Stone
Here’s another working method that you might consider. The pumice stone is great in scrubbing off dirt and even calcium buildup. For this method, simply apply a good amount of vinegar to the glass, then wet the pumice stone and use it to carefully scrub the areas of the glass where there is white residue.
Method 7: Get A New Aquarium Glass
This is more like a stress-free method of getting rid of white residue on your aquarium glass. In fact, it is even more satisfying when you throw the old glass away and get a fresh clean one. Some stains are stubborn and the only way to feel satisfied would be to buy a new one.
If you go with this method, carefully transfer the substrate, fish, decorations and other livestock to the new tank.
How To Prevent White Residue On Aquarium Glass
- Ensure that you have good water flow in your aquarium system
- Use hydrogen peroxide to spritz on the surface. (Be careful not to pour it directly on the fish)
- Use distilled aquarium water instead of tap water.
- Put a plastic wrap over the aquarium glass and replace it every time you feed the fish or once every week.
Maintaining an aquarium isn’t an easy task. You will have to be determined especially if you want to clean the white residue on your aquarium glass. If the residue has been present for a long time, it might be impossible to get rid of, you might have to get a new aquarium glass and save yourself from the stress.
Thanks for stopping by, if this article has been helpful, do not forget to share it with your friends and family that own aquariums, they’ll need this info someday.
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