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Cleaning Hard Water Residue


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  • Regular Member

My new tank came with some pretty serious hard water deposits. I have been working on it, but even with undiluted vinegar, I'm not getting very far. I don't want to use anything abrasive because I don't want to scratch the tank, but I don't know what else to try. does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, the whole tank smells pretty strongly of vinegar right now. Obviously, I'm not planning on adding fish for a while yet, but is there a certain way I need to go about making sure it's safe for them when I do, or is vinegar not a problem?

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  • Regular Member

Someone on here suggested to use steel wool grade 000 or 0000 as those are used to polish chrome and shouldn't scratch glass. I haven't gotten around to get me some and try it myself yet, and I sure would try it in an in-suspicious area first.

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  • Regular Member

Using a 'wet' brush with vinegar always worked for me. But I usually clean the stains fairly soon after they appear - I don't know about encrusted ones.

However, the vinegar smell should go after a rinse. I never rinse it in my turtle tank and the smell always goes away :)

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Yeah, I don't have any trouble getting off new ones. But this tank was sitting for like months at least, after they pretty much let the water evaporate I think. I can actually feel a texture diference on the glass where the stains are around the top. I might have to check out that steel wool, but it kinda scares me.

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  • Regular Member

:yikes HCL?! It must be very diluted, because that's strong stuff. So basically, you'd be eroding a very fine layer of the glass in order to get the hard water stains off?

Personally I'd never use HCL, but that's just because I'm chemophobic... chem lab was like torture :rofl

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  • Regular Member

You have to angle a new sharp razor blade (just the blade so don't cut yourself) perfectly, but it should scrape off the residue...it will actually flake off. And you can spritz vinegar in between. Rinse well after all the vinegar, but it is fairly safe. It is the only thing I use for cleaning my glass now.

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  • Regular Member

Hmmm. Yeah HCl sounds like a :badidea to me! :yikes I'll have another go at it with the razor blade and see if I can do better. I think I'm going to try CLR or Limeaway or something on the lid parts since I can run them through the dishwasher after, but I'm afraid to use anything like that on the actual tank.

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  • Regular Member

I'm the one who recommended the "000" or "0000" steel wool for cleaning glass. I actually use #2 steel wool to clean the plate glass panels I had made to cover my light hoods and protect them from water splashing.

I clean automotive glass and chrome with 000 or 0000 all the time. It works fantastic.

When cleaning the glass in an aquarium (or my glass panels for my lights) I use water as a lubricant.....so I'm not just scrubbing away with a dry biscuit of steel wool right onto dry glass, but remember, I'm using #2 for that, which is much coarser. But on automotive glass and chrome, with 000 or 0000, I do use that dry. Does a beautiful job.

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When i had a SW tank and needed to get the calcium off the tank lights and such. I would remove what I needed clean, try to leave a hot paper towel socked in vinager, then after about 10 mins i would get a sharp razor blade, make sure its flat faced against the glass and it would come off :) just a thought for you :)

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