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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up an incredible 125-gallon custom acrylic tank today for a song. The guy used to keep brackish puffers, so there is some build-up in the tank of what I'm assuming are salts and minerals. He said to get some "acrylic soap" to clean it up, but I can't seem to find anything specifically for the insides of acrylic tanks. There are no scratches that I see, so I want to keep it that way.

Does anyone have suggestions for descaling an acrylic tank?

Thanks!
 

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I got a 75 gal custom acrylic tank a year ago for a song too .It was scratched up bad and had deposits . It took me a lot of work to get it right , but , the first thing I did was to use vinegar . Try to soak the problem areas using paper towels . The longer you let it soak the easier the scum will come off . Congrats on getting that tank...I wish I could find a deal like that...lol Just remember...patience , patience , patience . I wish you good results .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for the advice! Is the tank in your avatar your acrylic? It's a tiny pic, but it looks like it's AMAZING! I just bought two gallons of distilled vinegar today for a different project and ended up not using them, so SCORE!

I couldn't resist -- $100 for the tank, a custom stand, a crazy-complicated filtration system, light hood and three boxes of random stuff (including a Fluval 450?). It was almost too good to be true. ;-) The guy was so nice, too. I need to do some work on the stand, but I think when it's done it's going to be a really cool setup.

I'd love to see pics of your setup!

I got a 75 gal custom acrylic tank a year ago for a song too .It was scratched up bad and had deposits . It took me a lot of work to get it right , but , the first thing I did was to use vinegar . Try to soak the problem areas using paper towels . The longer you let it soak the easier the scum will come off . Congrats on getting that tank...I wish I could find a deal like that...lol Just remember...patience , patience , patience . I wish you good results .
 

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+1 on using vinegar. I used to hate it every time my wife used vinegar to clean something. I just couldn't stand the smell. Then I read that it dissolves scale. I have very hard water, so always have a lot of scale built up around the rim of my tanks, on the lids, and on the cords and tubing where they enter the water. I was amazed at how effected vinegar was at breaking down the scale. It turns it into mush after a while. Now for some reason I like the smell. :smile2:
 

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I have never had any luck with vinegar. Must be doing something wrong. I don' know if it is acrylic safe, but you could look in the stores for Barkeepers friend, that stuff is amazing at cleaning salt build ups. There would probably something on the can if there is a problem with plastics.
 

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I find that the scale you want to remove has to be submerged in vinegar. I haven't had much luck with just soaking a cloth with vinegar and keeping it in contact with the scale, or trying to keep it wet with vinegar by spraying it every few minutes.
 

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Vinegar is cheap. Just drench everything in the stuff. Cover really bad sections with paper towels soaked in it. If it is really bad you can even dump a ton of it in the bottom of the tank and then seal the tank. It will evaporate and cover all the surfaces and slowly lossen it up. It may take a couple of sessions to get it all. Acrylic is definitely harder to work with though. On glass you can scrape it off with a razor blade after it soaks for a bit. I'd suggest an acrylic safe scruber like they sell for removing algae.
 

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This is my 75 acrylic. I had to put doors on the stand and redo it and I built the canopy....Also I had forgotten about the Magic Erasers . I used them to clean the tank at first and I use them for weekly inside wipe downs.
 

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Thank you so much for the advice! Is the tank in your avatar your acrylic? It's a tiny pic, but it looks like it's AMAZING! I just bought two gallons of distilled vinegar today for a different project and ended up not using them, so SCORE!

I couldn't resist -- $100 for the tank, a custom stand, a crazy-complicated filtration system, light hood and three boxes of random stuff (including a Fluval 450?). It was almost too good to be true. ;-) The guy was so nice, too. I need to do some work on the stand, but I think when it's done it's going to be a really cool setup.

I'd love to see pics of your setup!
And i thought a 55g with a stand for $60 was a good deal. I dont have much money as I am 15, but i would jump on that opportunity if it popped up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And i thought a 55g with a stand for $60 was a good deal. I dont have much money as I am 15, but i would jump on that opportunity if it popped up.
That IS a good deal on a 55/stand combo! This was just one of those that happened by -- I don't expect to ever get the same opportunity again.

Bump:
Mr Clean Magic Eraser Original (malamine foam with no chemicals) is what some people on reef forums use for cleaning minerals and coraline alage
Oh, that's a good idea! Especially for the algae issue! I'd wondered about that...

+1 on using vinegar. I used to hate it every time my wife used vinegar to clean something. I just couldn't stand the smell. Then I read that it dissolves scale. I have very hard water, so always have a lot of scale built up around the rim of my tanks, on the lids, and on the cords and tubing where they enter the water. I was amazed at how effected vinegar was at breaking down the scale. It turns it into mush after a while. Now for some reason I like the smell. :smile2:
Bump: I've used it for years in the laundry, dishwasher and to soak faucet strainers, etc. It's the best stuff ever. ;-) It does take some getting used to, though! The smell can be so strong!

Bump:
I find that the scale you want to remove has to be submerged in vinegar. I haven't had much luck with just soaking a cloth with vinegar and keeping it in contact with the scale, or trying to keep it wet with vinegar by spraying it every few minutes.
I think given the way the top is built-in (kind of like on a Chi but with a much more generous opening, I could easily turn it on the offending side, submerge it in vinegar, let it sit, descale and then do the other sides.

Bump:
Vinegar is cheap. Just drench everything in the stuff. Cover really bad sections with paper towels soaked in it. If it is really bad you can even dump a ton of it in the bottom of the tank and then seal the tank. It will evaporate and cover all the surfaces and slowly lossen it up. It may take a couple of sessions to get it all. Acrylic is definitely harder to work with though. On glass you can scrape it off with a razor blade after it soaks for a bit. I'd suggest an acrylic safe scruber like they sell for removing algae.
Do reef stores sell these scrubbers? Not a reef person, so just don't know much about what you can and can't get at the saltwater stores.

Bump:
This is my 75 acrylic. I had to put doors on the stand and redo it and I built the canopy....Also I had forgotten about the Magic Erasers . I used them to clean the tank at first and I use them for weekly inside wipe downs.
That's gorgeous! Nice job on the doors and hood, too!!!
 

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I would be very cautious about scrubbing too soon. If the vinegar had broken it loose, the bits of minerals might scratch the tank as you rubbed the area.

I have used this blend on the plastic top and frame of glass tanks (and on the glass).
Citric acid (find it in the grocery store, labeled sour salt) and lemon juice. Wear gloves! It can sting if you get it into a small cut.
Another good acidic product is coca cola.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would be very cautious about scrubbing too soon. If the vinegar had broken it loose, the bits of minerals might scratch the tank as you rubbed the area.

I have used this blend on the plastic top and frame of glass tanks (and on the glass).
Citric acid (find it in the grocery store, labeled sour salt) and lemon juice. Wear gloves! It can sting if you get it into a small cut.
Another good acidic product is coca cola.
Thanks! I will definitely err on the side of caution. I can't imagine it being much different than using a mag-float and accidentally picking up sand if there's still too much mineral build-up.

Thanks for the "recipe"! I keep citric acid to add to the dishwasher, so I'm going to give this a try on an inconspicuous spot. ;-)
 
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