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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Short Version:
I'm currently setting up a tank and it has a film of expanded clay dust all over the inside. I've tried vinegar and bleach. I've used scrubbers, scrapers, and razor blades. What else can I try that wouldn't hurt the seals in the tank?

Details:
I have a tank that I once used a long time ago as a reef tank. It has since been used in an aquaponics setup and sat in my garage for a long time. I've leak tested the tank and everything is fine. EXCEPT, when I used it for aquaponics, I used an expanded clay pellet for my planted bed. By using this, I have a very tough film all over my glass that I can't get off. I've actually been able to get small amounts off but it's unreasonable to do this to the whole tank. (It's a 6' 125 gallon).

My main question is: What are my options of what I can use to clean this off that would not impact the silicone seals? I've used vinegar and bleach solutions and they have had a minimal impact. I've used "scrubbies", scrapers, and razor blades in my attempts so far.

I'll put images below but I'm not sure how will anything will be noticeable.

Thank you!






 

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When you used the bleach, I wonder if it was the bleach doing anything, or if it was just the razor, and the bleach was really just a liquid that washed away the stuff that you removed.

Have you tried soaking it? For a large tank you might not have to fill it, if you can lay it on its side, and just put enough water in there. I am thinking water + surfactant (Dawn, other). Let it soak several hours or overnight, though you could certainly test it, see how well stuff comes off in just a few minutes.
 

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I was thinking something along the lines of BarKeepers Friend as well. If you want to avoid the acid issue, you could try a paste made from baking soda. Other things that come to mind would be something like Soft Scrub. As long as you just apply it to the glass and rinse the crap out of it, it shouldn't effect the silicone. I also want to say try something like those Magic Sponge things, but odds are that wouldn't work because they are not abrasive.

With all of this being said, the stuff isn't etched into the glass is it? If that's the case, there anything that can be done about it as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When you used the bleach, I wonder if it was the bleach doing anything, or if it was just the razor, and the bleach was really just a liquid that washed away the stuff that you removed.

Have you tried soaking it? For a large tank you might not have to fill it, if you can lay it on its side, and just put enough water in there. I am thinking water + surfactant (Dawn, other). Let it soak several hours or overnight, though you could certainly test it, see how well stuff comes off in just a few minutes.
Was wondering the same thing... Or the vinegar loosened i up enough to be scraped... It did seem a little easier to scrape off after being sprayed with the bleach though.


Cheap plain automotive rubbing compound and some elbow grease.
Or you could use Barkeepers friend, the stuff is amazing, but wash it well as it contains toxic oxalic acid.
I was thinking something along the lines of BarKeepers Friend as well. If you want to avoid the acid issue, you could try a paste made from baking soda. Other things that come to mind would be something like Soft Scrub. As long as you just apply it to the glass and rinse the crap out of it, it shouldn't effect the silicone. I also want to say try something like those Magic Sponge things, but odds are that wouldn't work because they are not abrasive.

With all of this being said, the stuff isn't etched into the glass is it? If that's the case, there anything that can be done about it as far as I know.
Another thing is... I thought I had it done good enough to use so we carried it inside. Was able to see the "haze" worst inside than outside. Definitely not crazy about taking back out to be able rinse it as thoroughly as needed with some of these ideas.

Gonna try some easier stuff first. i.e. Baking soda scrub. Wont be too detrimental if I'm not able to get all of it back out.

It's not etched it. I'm able to get it if I scrape long and hard enough.

I really appreciate everybody chiming in!!! Thanks! I'll keep this updated with what ended up working.
 

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When it doesn't wash off with the things mentioned I find two things may be at work. One is that I go to a scraper. Do you have paint scraper like holds blades and is used for cleaning paint off windows? I find they are work but they do clean almost anything off --if it is truly on the glass and not the glass itself. Stuff left on glass long term can etch or some way wind up IN the glass where I have never been able to clear it. Old salt tanks have a habit of this.

I like the tanks stand. We often get questions about building cheap versatile stands where we mention cinder blocks. Glad to see a nice looking example.
Does this mean you are in college and prone to moving often? That's when my kids discovered them.
 

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I've been through this same thing with aquaponics expanded clay. nothing got rid of the tinge. That's why we use clay in so many groundwater applications, it doesn't react with anything.

so....
Change expectations, and setup a tannin heavy blackwater tank! you wont even notice the clay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've been through this same thing with aquaponics expanded clay. nothing got rid of the tinge. That's why we use clay in so many groundwater applications, it doesn't react with anything.



so....

Change expectations, and setup a tannin heavy blackwater tank! you wont even notice the clay.


Man, I was afraid of this...

Bad thing is that I've managed to get some off so I'm afraid if I just go with it... The progress I've made will just make it look that much worst!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·


Both tanks looked the same, top one was lightly cleaned with rubbing compound.
It looks good enough with water in.
What kind of rubbing compound??

And just out of curiosity... what is going on in this picture? Do you have a tank stacked on top of another tank? What's between them? Did you use them like this or are they just stored this way?

Thanks!
 

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Erm, yes, any cheap automotive rubbing compound should work, they are mostly silica and ash and they have the added benefit of washing off really well.

Yes those were 2 60 gal tanks stacked, I picked them up for about $12 each.... and a few day's rubbing. They were used on a farm with well water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When it doesn't wash off with the things mentioned I find two things may be at work. One is that I go to a scraper. Do you have paint scraper like holds blades and is used for cleaning paint off windows? I find they are work but they do clean almost anything off --if it is truly on the glass and not the glass itself. Stuff left on glass long term can etch or some way wind up IN the glass where I have never been able to clear it. Old salt tanks have a habit of this.

I like the tanks stand. We often get questions about building cheap versatile stands where we mention cinder blocks. Glad to see a nice looking example.
Does this mean you are in college and prone to moving often? That's when my kids discovered them.
Thanks for liking the stand! Super simple and easy to put together!

Definitely not a college student anymore! :) To be honest, my last trip around with a tank, I went a little (lot) overboard in terms of money and time with a reef tank. Soooo... this time, I'm taking it easy and trying not to tick off the wife too much with the expense or time. :)

I got a link to my build thread/journal in my signature if you want to take a look. I actually think you may have replied to that thread too. :)

Thanks again!
 
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