Removing Hard Water Stains in an Aquarium?

A dirty aquarium for turtles.
The inside of your aquarium can become covered with hard water marks. Removing them can be done in number of ways, using a scraper, vinegar, and other household cleaners. This page contains various suggestions for removing hard water stains in an aquarium.

2 Questions

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November 8, 2018

I've used vinegar and dish detergent plus baking soda to get rid of cloudy glass and nothing works. What else can I do?

A dirty aquarium for turtles.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
November 8, 20181 found this helpful

You can use bleach and water or vinegar and water. Complete instructions are

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March 19, 2008

I have a fish tank with two goldfish and a red eared slider turtle in it. I have some hard water/foggy stains on part of the glass that is not under water now. How do I clean the glass without killing the turtle and his pets? The tank is 30 gallons, and there is about 25-27 gallons of water in it.

Laura from Arizona


March 19, 20080 found this helpful

Empty the tank and scour with salt. Rinse well and you're good to go. I've done this with my aquariums for several years.

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By Susanfrom hamilton (Guest Post)
March 20, 20080 found this helpful

i bought a magnet scrubber. it looks like a card stamp but has a powerful magnet on one side and the other side has a scrubber pad. one side goes on the inside of the tank and the other on the outside.


you just move your side around and the scrubber cleans off the inside of the tank. can be easily moved to each side of the tank. pet store should have them.

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By june (Guest Post)
March 20, 20080 found this helpful

try vinegar

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By Linda (Guest Post)
March 20, 20080 found this helpful

If you have something else to put the turtle and fish in for a little bit, just lay the aquarium on its side and soak a hand towel in vinegar then lay it on the water stain for a half hour or so. Rotate the tank and do the same with all four sides. It should come right off. Then rinse the tank and your good to go. I would tell you to fill the tank but thats alot of vineager and you dont want to dilute it that much because it wont work. Vineager is good for alot of things. Good luck

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 407 Feedbacks
March 20, 20080 found this helpful

If you don't want to empty it, you can use a razor blade to scrape it off.

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By Laura (Guest Post)
March 21, 20080 found this helpful

THANK YOU all. I used the razor technique as I JUST cleaned out the turtle and fish. The razor worked well. :)

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December 24, 20160 found this helpful

I just take a new green scouring pad and use the fine aquarium sand. It works really well and takes maybe 5 minutes to clean my whole 29 gallon tank, even with two inches of hard water stains on the top.


I have never noticed scratches either, since glass is made with sand.

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