Can I use Ammonia to clean an empty Tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Can I use Ammonia to clean an empty Tank?

Hello.

I have an old 75 Gallon Tank which has been in my garage for the last 10 years.

I am thinking of finally setting it up as a new tank however its filthy.

I think there is a lot of calcium depots all over the glass and wondering if I can use Ammonia to clean it.

I think that Ammonia will evaporate or breakdown over time especially outside in the sun.

Can anyone confirm this or is there a reason this will not work?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:59 AM
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Vinegar will clean calcium deposits.
Stronger chemical would be HCl for buildup.


Bleach can sanitize all, rinse well and dose with prime after.


IMO stay away from ammonia.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Vinegar will clean calcium deposits.
Stronger chemical would be HCl for buildup.


Bleach can sanitize all, rinse well and dose with prime after.


IMO stay away from ammonia.
What exactly is HCl ? Hydrochloric acid? Toilet cleaner?

I have always been under the impression that chemicals(especially anything that leave behind a residue) was very bad to clean an aquarium.

ammonia is advertised at a Glass cleaner(which the aquarium is), will break down on its own especially if left in the sun and I think if anything if left over, it can be neutralized by the same chemicals used to condition the tap water.

Please tell me where I'm going wrong?

Thanks.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
What exactly is HCl ? Hydrochloric acid?
Thanks.


You mentioned removal of calcium deposits.
I am not sure where toilet cleaner came from.


Vinegar is usually 5% acetic acid.
Acetic acid is a very weak acid much scrubbing may be required.
Stubborn deposits may require something more as in HCl.
Typical muriatic acid (brick cleaner) is 38% HCl.


Please read precautions on label if using HCl.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
You mentioned removal of calcium deposits.
I am not sure where toilet cleaner came from.


Vinegar is usually 5% acetic acid.
Acetic acid is a very weak acid much scrubbing may be required.
Stubborn deposits may require something more as in HCl.
Typical muriatic acid (brick cleaner) is 38% HCl.


Please read precautions on label if using HCl.
When I google " HCl cleaner" , Toilet cleaner comes up as like the 2nd result.

Exactly what product do I need to buy for this HCl? I don't have access or a science lab with the exception of maybe sneaking around my old college's science department.

Are you saying that muriatic acid (brick cleaner) is the closest thing to HCI I can get off the shelf. Could the other chemicals be cause for concern dealing with residue ?

May I ask why the ammonia is not recommended? Just does not clean well or too dangerous to fish if left in,etc...?

Thanks.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 02:33 AM
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NH3 will not break down calcium or hard water deposits.
An acid type product will dissolve calcium deposit.
Local hardware stores usually have a brick cleaner (small container).
HD & Lowes sell by the gallon or two.
Muriatic acid is just a nice name for HCl.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 02:35 AM
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Muriatic acid or HCl is sold in some countries as toilet cleaner. I have used it myself to clean the toilet, as a high school kid in Asia.

I can't see ammonia being a problem as long as it is the type without surfactants or scents, as we use it in the fishless cycle. Just rinse very well.

Don't know that it will help necessarily with hard water deposits, but those can come off with a razor blade first, then the cleaner next.

One thing that may not have been considered is the effect on silicone, and that I don't know. Maybe someone else can chime in.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 02:47 AM
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If you are unhappy with these choices citric acid can be used.
Many in the hobby use in powdered form to generate CO2.
It is another very weak acid like acetic acid.
Solubility is about 145g/100ml, not sure of resulting solution in ppm.

Products labeled as "cleaner" could be something to stay away from.
Typical cleaners contain fragrance, tackifiers, coagulants, color changeling dyes, vehicle additives to prevent splash etc...
These extra additives may leave residue of sorts not easily removed.


Unscented ammonia is used by many to cycle aquaria.
Not good at removing calcium deposits though.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-09-2015 at 04:02 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 03:16 AM
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You can also try a product called Acid Magic by Certol. It is a muriatic acid replacement and supposedly less harder to work with.

A local breeder uses it in his fish room for sponge filter cleaning, removing calcium deposits from equipment and tanks, etc, just follow the instructions exactly. DO NOT mix with any other chemicals!!!!

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 03:52 AM
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I would not bother to look for difficult items for this job. Just an easy way to go is vinegar. If you have really thick, hard stuff to remove, I would buy a scraper like designed to clean paint off windows. You can find them often with the painting tools. Then once the really hard thick stuff is gone, soak cloth or paper towels to lay on spots or wipe down the remaining deposits. Ammonia might work but what is needed is an acid to react with the water deposits in many cases. Nothing wrong with using it but it may not help much either. Too much smell for me to want to use it and stick my head in the tank!!!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 03:30 PM
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A razor blade (and/or scraper of some sort, a rag and water is all I usually need. I find that even if I use a cleaner of some sort (be it vinegar or something more caustic), the glass looks clean for a bit but once its dried again it still seems to have a film and/or deposits on the glass. The razor blade has never let me down though!

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 03:49 PM
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 04:02 PM
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Not going to read the whole thread, but Distilled white vinegar desolves calcium and
is harmless after rinsing it out even just good and not 39 times.
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