How to Remove Scratches from Aquarium Glass?

Scratches on aquarium glass can have a major effect on the overall appearance of your beautiful fishes and aquatic decorations you are so proud of.

Fortunately, scratches on the glass walls of the aquarium can be fixed using simple techniques to restore the aesthetically pleasing view of your aquarium.

However, the depth of the scratch will have an effect on how successfully it can be repaired.

Cleaning and repairing scratches both inside and outside of the aquarium walls are different compared to how you would repair and clean normal glass objects.

You can’t use chemical solutions or blindly follow any home remedies as this may negatively impact the health of your fishes and live plants.

Determining the Scratch Depth 

Before you begin, you should determine the depth of the scratch on the glass.

This will help you in selecting the right repairing technique and will enhance the chances of its success. Minor cuts and scratches are quick and easy to repair.

However, the deeper the scratch is, the harder it will be to repair it.

Moreover, you will be able to repair a minor scratch more effectively than a deeper scratch.

Removing Scratches from Glass Aquarium

There are two main methods to fix scratches from an aquarium which are as follows:

Cerium Oxide Polish Method 

Cerium oxide polish is easily available in stores and is commonly used to polish jewelry items.

Glass Polish 90006 Cerium Oxide High Grade, Glass Polishing Solution, Glass Polishing Powder/TREO 85% / 3.5 microns / 1.7 Oz

It has also proved effective in buffing out small to medium-sized scratches on aquarium walls. This method includes the following simple steps:

  1. Start by removing some of the water from the aquarium so you can properly work. If the scratch is on the lower side, then you will have to completely empty out the aquarium. Make sure you have a backup aquarium so you can transfer the fishes and live plants in it before getting started.
  2. If you are working with a live aquarium, then it is ideal to cover the water with a plastic wrap sheet to prevent the cerium oxide from entering the water. Use tape to keep the plastic in place.
  3. Take a buffing pad that comes with a hard rubber disk and fasten it on an electric drill.
  4. Mix the cerium oxide solution with water as directed on the packet. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle for easy application.
  5. Now, spray the mixture on the buffing pad so it is wet. It shouldn’t be so wet that it starts dripping, but enough to get soaked in the pad.
  6. Place the buffing pad over the scratch and switch on the drill. The drill must be at its lowest possible setting. Buff in a circular motion, the pressure should be stable. Applying too much pressure or buffing at high speed can cause further damage to the aquarium.
  7. If you feel the aquarium glass getting hot due to friction, then spray some cerium oxide solution or plain water on the glass to let it cool down.
  8. Keep buffing the glass and be sure to check the progress on the scratch. Once the scratch is gone, stop immediately.
  9. Take a clean cloth to wipe the solution away.

You can always use this opportunity to clean the aquarium properly if you have already transferred the fishes in another tank.

Liquid Glass Resin Method 

The liquid resin technology has made it possible to repair windshield cracks in a simple way.

Deep Pour Epoxy Resin Kit Crystal Clear Liquid Glass 2-4 inch 1½ GL, Food Grade Safe Epoxy, Self Leveling Epoxy Kit, Clear Resin Wood Filler, Casting Epoxy Resin, River Table Epoxy Resin 2:1

Injecting the liquid resin on the crack or scratch can fix it.

This liquid has properties that are similar to the optical refraction of the glass. This can also be used to repair deeper scratches on the aquarium glass.

Here is how you can repair and remove scratches from your aquarium glass:

  1. Start by cleaning up the entire area around the scratch. You can do this by dipping a cotton swab in alcohol. This will help in removing any impurities and foreign objects from scratch which might prevent the liquid from efficiently setting in the scratch.
  2. Fill up the syringe with the liquid resin. Use the instructions and guidelines mentioned on the packet.
  3. Begin filling the scratch carefully with the resin liquid using the syringe.
  4. Leave it for at least 24 hours so that it sets in.
  5. Afterward, buff the area to remove any excess liquid. The technique you need to use for buffing is the same as mentioned in the cerium oxide method.

Only use this method if the scratch is too deep, otherwise, the previous method is good enough to repair the scratch in a glass aquarium.

Removing Scratches from Acrylic Aquarium

Acrylic aquariums get scratches more easily as compared to glass aquariums.

Fortunately, removing scratches from acrylic aquariums is also easy, you just need to use the products specifically intended for acrylic glass since not using the right products can cause more damage.

Here are the steps to remove a scratch from an acrylic aquarium:

  1. Start by cleaning the surface around the scratch. You should use an acrylic safe cleaner for this step. Spray a small amount of solution on the area and use a clean cotton cloth to wipe it clean. Don’t apply too much pressure as this can cause additional scratches. Keep in mind that you must only use a soft cloth and not a sponge.
  2. Allow the area to air dry before moving on to the next step.
  3. Take a 400 grit sandpaper and gently smoothen the scratch in a circular motion. You must make sure that the surface stays cool by dipping the sandpaper in water as you work. Keep checking the surface to check if has become warm. In case the glass has become too hot to touch, then stop the process for a while. Let the area cool off before starting again.
  4. After a while, the area will start feeling smooth. Don’t panic if the glass has become too hazy, it can get polished off.
  5. If the scratch is still visible use an 800 grit sandpaper.
  6. Once the scratch is gone, clean the area as usual.

Let the surface get dry before restoring back your aquarium.

Some Tips to help remove scratches from your aquarium

Here are a few tips to help you remove scratches from aquarium glass successfully:

  • When removing the scratches from the aquarium, you should first determine the method which will be right for your aquarium. In case the scratch feels shallow then the resin method might not be effective. Similarly, if the scratch is deep then simple buffing won’t be an effective solution as it will take a long time and might also affect the structural integrity of your aquarium.
  • You should take appropriate safety measures when cleaning or repairing the aquarium. It is recommended that you always wear a dust mask to protect yourself from glass dust. The glass residue and dust are extremely sharp and can cause irreparable damage if it gets inhaled. Moreover, be sure to wear protective eyewear as well as gloves when doing any type of repairs, even if it is just regular cleaning.
  • For repairing a scratch in a small aquarium, fitting in a drill with the buffing pad can be hard. Opt instead for a rotary tool for this method.
  • Generally, a scratch which you can’t detect with your figure can be repaired successfully and easily. Fixing up deeper scratches requires tedious and work, so ensure that you have sufficient time when you start the repair or consult a professional.
  • Never use abrasive cleaning tools as it could cause more damage.
  • When using a drill to polish the glass, make sure the settings are not too high as that will lead to enhanced heat generated and cause crack the glass.

Scratches on the aquarium glass in all types of tanks can be fixed if you take precautions and use the right tools and methods.

How to Prevent Your Aquarium from Scratching?

Aquarium glass should be regularly cleaned up, both from the outside and the inside at least once a week.

Most of the scratches occur when trying to remove stubborn stains (such as hard water stains) and algae from the aquarium walls.

The rigorous cleaning techniques can cause scratches on the aquarium walls.

In order to prevent this, it is essential to opt for the right cleaning methods and tools.

Avoid using sharp objects to clean the glass as they can lead to foreign residue getting trapped between the cleaning medium and the glass.

Sharp particles, dirt, and sand being dragged along the glass during your cleaning efforts will create scratches.

Always use the specified cleaning techniques and tools to clean both inside and outside of your aquarium.

Keep in mind that the cleaning techniques for glass aquariums and acrylic aquariums are different. So, clean accordingly.

An aquarium looks far more beautiful with clear glass so that everyone can enjoy the view.

The different colors of the live plants, fishes, and décor against the water get reflected on the glass giving a calming and soothing effect for the viewers.

Scratches can create an unappealing visual which is why it is important to use to fix them up immediately to regain the beauty and enhance the safety of the aquarium.

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