getting scratches out of glass tank?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2006, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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getting scratches out of glass tank??

bought my my 120 gallon used and didnt notice till i filled it up back at home that it has about 5 or 6 three inch long scratches here and there. is it possible to safely remove these? something that can be safely done by your average joe? im not very crafty or meticulous so if theres a chance of making it worse in the correction process then id rather leave it alone.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2006, 11:13 PM
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"Scratches can be removed using a Hydrochloric acid (HCl). It will work with about any concentration, the higher it is the quicker it will work, but it will also increase the risk of going too deep. A 20% HCl solution is recommended. Practice on a small piece of glass before doing this to your aquarium. Just dip some cotton-wool in the solution and keep rubbing it over the scratch. It will fade away while rubbing. Keep enough fresh water handy to rinse away the acid. Be careful where it drips!!! When you feel the moisture on your fingers, wash them with water and use some new cotton-wool. Your fingers will not drop of immediatly. Use at your own risk"

Home depot muriatic acid is more or less 10% HCl.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 08:02 AM
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Is this something that can be done on a set up tank by draining much, but not all of the water and keeping the fish in the tank?

Being careful of course.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 09:19 AM
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as long as the scratches are on the outside and you are extremely careful ... if the scratches are on the inside ... I definitely wouldn't recommend this process

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 04:29 PM
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awesome i am going to steal some from my chem lab and try this out at home!


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by skiboarder72 View Post
awesome i am going to steal some from my chem lab and try this out at home!
Uh, depending on what level of education you're at, HCl comes in a variety of concentrations. I remember 10-20% in high school. In my upper division college courses, we'd use 10 molar, 12 molar concentrations of HCl. If it drips anywhere, it'd eat a hole through it. ie: gloves, wool, fingers. Make sure you either dilute it before you take it home, or you find something of an appropriate concentration.

I'm not condoning the theft of hazardous material from your school, either. Just be careful if you chose that route.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris333 View Post
Is this something that can be done on a set up tank by draining much, but not all of the water and keeping the fish in the tank?

Being careful of course.
No. You wouldn't want to risk it. Upon contact, the acid could burn your fish or take off their slime coat...not to mention the effects on the pH if you accidentally spilled the bottle of HCl into the tank. Even if you're careful, mistakes happen.

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as long as the scratches are on the outside and you are extremely careful ... if the scratches are on the inside ... I definitely wouldn't recommend this process
I assume you're replying to his question of having fish still inside the tank....yea, I agree. =)
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by yznj99 View Post
"Scratches can be removed using a Hydrochloric acid (HCl). It will work with about any concentration, the higher it is the quicker it will work, but it will also increase the risk of going too deep. A 20% HCl solution is recommended. Practice on a small piece of glass before doing this to your aquarium. Just dip some cotton-wool in the solution and keep rubbing it over the scratch. It will fade away while rubbing. Keep enough fresh water handy to rinse away the acid. Be careful where it drips!!! When you feel the moisture on your fingers, wash them with water and use some new cotton-wool. Your fingers will not drop of immediatly. Use at your own risk"

Home depot muriatic acid is more or less 10% HCl.
After you do this technique, I'd put the tank in your shower or bathtub and flush water for a good 10-15 minutes just to wash out any residues or fumes before filling it with water...better safe than sorry.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
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After you do this technique, I'd put the tank in your shower or bathtub and flush water for a good 10-15 minutes just to wash out any residues or fumes before filling it with water...better safe than sorry.

yup, I couldn't agree more.

I should have stated that although I said you could probably try it and get away with it ... its something I would personally never ever do. I don't even use windex anywhere close to any of my aquariums. No air fresheners nothing ... you never know what could slip into those tanks ... and how many lives it could potentially cost (and money if you look at losses that way)

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 05:10 PM
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... I've got a 75 gallon with some deep scratches caused by live rock avalanches. Would is seriously take them out? Where do i get it?
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 05:57 PM
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I guess I'm sceptical that the acid would affect glass. How exactly is this supposed to work?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 06:15 PM
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To the best of my knowledge hydrochloric acid has no effect on glass. The only acid that does, is hydrofluoric acid. And, that stuff is even more dangerous than hydrochloric. If a substance will affect glass it will etch glass. That will not leave a polished surface, but a very cloudy surface. So, I recommend learning to enjoy the appearance of the scratches and leaving the potent acids to well trained people.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 07:41 PM
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HF, if it is in contact with skin, will not be very noticeable. It seeps through your skin, and then reacts with calcium (think bones). It can disintegrate them without you feeling much, and then it's too late. I would not recommend using it for any home purpose.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 02:25 AM
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Some of the "hard water deposit" removers on the market have some hydrofluoric acid in them. I suspect it is very little, but the bottles say there is some. The stuff is next to worthless in my opinion. I had a patio door that got sprayed lightly with water every time the lawn sprinklers came on, and after 5 years the window was permanently fogged slightly. I scrubbed with that stuff for a couple hours, and couldn't see any difference. I sprayed it on and left it for a half hour and still couldn't see a difference. So, as bad as it is, it really doesn't do much in consumer strength products.

On the other hand, that is the acid used for etching glass too.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 07:47 AM
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You might be able to remove scratches from glass with a buffing wheel and jeweler's rouge polishing compound. I've read about people polishing car windshilds with it. Personally i've never tried it on glass. I used it on various plastic lenses and cell phones. On plastic and acrilics you have to be careful not to let it heat up or remove too much material too fast. On glass i would think it would take much longer.
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