I bought a third-hand 10 gallon aquarium the other day, and to my dismay, it was very dirty as it was sitting outside on the porch for a while. I noticed that one of the screws on the hood was rusted. The tank itself has calcification - white stuff that will not come off after scrubbing with my fingernails. Is there a way to clean the tank without using harsh chemicals? I am hesitant to use the "scrub" side of the dish sponge, because I am afraid it might scratch the glass. What should I do?
Don't ask me how because I'm entirely unsure, but I know that people on this forum have suggested, and use themselves, bleach and water. Highly diluted, of course, but bleach nonetheless. Vinegar is another approach, and also gets diluted with water. Regardless of how you clean it, just make sure you rinse several times with hot water, letting the tank dry between rinses.
If you really want to give it a good cleaning you can use vinegar or bleach (I usually use vinegar) and paper towels to scrub it down. Rinse it multiple times, let it dry out in the sun, then rinse it a few more times. You can never rinse too much!
When I get a tank that has lots of crusty stuff on it I found that vinegar and a straight razor work well to remove it, once I get the crust off I clean it well with diluted bleach 20:1 and fill it with this diluted bleach water and let it sit for at least 24 hours to check for leaks, often tanks that have set dry for a while their seals will crack and need replaced.
After I see that the seals are okay I rinse really good with warm water and use a dechlorinator and refill with clean water.
Okay, so it's at least safe to use a vinegar solution. I will do that, and I will use a razor to get stubborn calcification off. And I will definitely leave it out for a day to check for leaks. Thanks for all the awesome advice!
As a weak acid, vinegar works well to remove calcium/lime scale. For upper parts of the tank, soak paper towels in vinegar and place them on the areas and let sit, after a short time the scale will wipe right off. (this also works great on toilet bowl rings, remove water from the bowl first by "flushing" it with a bucket of water)
For really big jobs, muratic acid (availible at pool supply or hardware stores) can be used but I don't recommend it for most people, it is VERY strong and extremely dangerous to unprotected skin, the fumes are also dangerous.
Couple more cleaning tips, always carry tanks from the bottom, not the lip or sides. Avoid moving tanks with water or gravel/rocks on them. Do not rock or tip out tanks with much water in them, it is very hard on the seams. Posted via Mobile Device
I read your post too late and ended up picking up the tank by the top a few times, but I hope it hasn't done any damage. I used vinegar to clean the calcium, but it didn't work, so I ended up using a razor to remove it. I think it looks fine right now...it took a lot of work.
I have it filled with hot water and some more vinegar. I'll let it sit for a day and see if it leaks. I don't think it will :)