Do you have a old fish aquarium that has that seemingly impossible white film on the glass? Don’t throw it away just yet. It is not as hard as one might think to bring that old aquarium back to its original crystal clear luster it had when it was new and full of your favorite fish. There is no need to go out and buy a new aquarium when you already have one. With a small amount of your time you can have your old aquarium looking as good as a brand new one straight out of the box and it wont cost an arm and a leg or clutter the landfills with glass.
The white film on the sides of the glass is generally salt deposits if you had salt water fish or tropical fish that required a certain amount of aquarium salt. If you had goldfish or other cold water fish that does not require aquarium salt for them to thrive, then the film is probably either calcium deposits and oxidation. Either way it is not as hard as one may think to get it clean and the same method can be used to clean your aquarium.
The first step in cleaning your aquarium is to remove any rocks, sand, driftwood, heaters, and any other decorations or bubble stones from your aquarium. Next is to spray a liberal amount of vinegar all over the glass both inside and outside. Let the vinegar soak for a couple of hours. Then fill the aquarium all the way to the top with one part vinegar and two parts hot water. Caution do not use boiling water just the hot water from your tap. Boiling water will possibly crack the glass and soften the silicone that holds the glass together, resulting in a potential leak. Let the vinegar water sit in the aquarium for a few hours, it wont hurt to let it sit overnight. This will loosen up the salt deposits and make it easier to come off. After letting the water sit, drain the aquarium and lay it on one side. cover the side on the ground in baking soda, and then apply vinegar to the baking soda. This will create a chemical reaction and the mixture will become very foamy and bubbly. While this reaction is occurring use a nylon brush to scrub the sides. Do this to all sides of the aquarium inside and out. Next, clean all of the vinegar and baking soda with water. Your aquarium should now be free of the white stuff that was once on it. It sometimes takes a little elbow grease for tough stains. If the vinegar does not do the trick don’t fret, There is still hope.
Sometimes calcium deposits will not come off with vinegar alone. If this is the case, CLR will do the trick. simply pour the CLR all over the sides where the calcium buildup is and let it set for about an hour. Next fill the aquarium with hot water (not boiling, just from your tap) and add about a half bottle of CLR to the mixture, and let it sit for several hours. For larger aquariums or real thick buildups use a whole bottle, but save a little for the final step. With the water and CLR mixture still in the aquarium, lightly scrub the sides with a scrub brush. Be sure to wear gloves as CLR can possibly irritate your skin. The majority of the buildup should come off easily. Finally drain the aquarium and if there is any deposits left, add straight CLR to your brush and scrub off the remainder of the buildup.
Now all you have to do is thoroughly rinse the aquarium with water to remove all of the CLR and vinegar from the aquarium. Rocks and other decorations can be cleaned with Vinegar and CLR as well Just let them soak in a mixture and thoroughly rinse in a colander while swishing them around. All that is left now is to fill your tank with water, install a new filter and water treatments, and fish bacteria. Let your filter run for at least twenty four hours and then your ready to add new fish and enjoy them for many years to come.